He's mad for movies. Madmaninc Zapatero came into SL to sell computers, fell in with the Steampunk crowd, and ended up living his dream, owning his own movie palace, the Phantasmagoria Theater. He started out with P.T. Barnum's American Museum, but he quickly moved from a 'phantasmagoria' or magic lantern show to showing full length films through blip.tv.
As GoldenWillow Resident, Maddie Mhia, Trilby Minotaur, and the rest of the crowd milled around the grand lobby, getting their popcorn, I asked Mad what is up with film in SL.
Federica Muircastle: I've done many things and this is another chapter in my SL. I found the theater while researching Steampunk. I met Mad and hung out. The films are fun, and I doubt I would know about them unless they were there in front of me.
The main theater seats several hundred people, it's based on a cinema MadManinc worked at years ago. The record crowd so far is 25, who all showed up together to watch the Rocky Horror Show, but you don't have to bring a mob with you to be part of the fun, in fact, you don't have to be in SL at all to watch the full season of films.
MadManinc Zapatero: All of the films are set 24/7, since there are so many time zones, and lag can be a factor, of course. Maybe Linden Labs will get off there asses and install some new servers and I can have World Premieres! But you can see all of my films on the internet, podcast through my Facebook or Twitter accounts, even MySpace if anyone still uses that. Or check out blip.tv, or phantasmagoriatheater.com
MadManinc Zapatero: COMING SOON! we are starting to remake an old sci fi film: The Phantom Creeps! We also produce SL machinima in our studio, so if anyone wants to record something in SL, just ask. I have a empty sky box studio waiting for machinimists. SL is the best place for machinima.Some might say the down side is that you have to build everything. But in RL, you have to find the right town, get all kinds of permits, then there's the waiting around for the weather etc. And there's no SAG in SL!
One outstanding feature of the Phantasmagoria is the huge variety of film genres available, everything from classical stories, to horror, foreign language, and scifi.
How does he respond to those purists who think all content in SL should be original?
MadManinc Zapatero: Everything was made of pieces of something else from the past. Movies have inspired builds in SL, but then also it's a representation of time. When people are trying to build something from the 1950's or 1500 BC, they don't go to museums to check out this stuff, they watch movies. If a picture's worth a thousand words, films are 30 pictures a second. The virtual is the future. Second Life and places like it will take over as the only media.
Of course, there's a lot of room for improvement. Faster internet speeds, to start with. But Mad has even more change in mind.
MadManinc Zapatero: What I hope and would like to see happen in SL is what you get in home gaming systems like xbox, playstation. Hands free controlling, which makes avatars virtual puppets. It will do what you're doing. Then there's 3D TV. That's pretty much virtual reality off the shelf right now. I believe that in less then 5 years the "internet" will require an avatar to navigate it.
Meanwhile,back in the stalls, the friends of the Phantasmagoria were chowing down on snacks and cracking jokes. It's a warm, fun crowd, and they made me feel part of their family. Skye was explaining to Jeremy that he needed to 'wear' his popcorn. I asked her what kept her coming back.
Skye Fairywren: It's a great place to congregate, to talk about the movie with one another as if we were all on Mystery Science Theater. I particularly love watching the old movies with my friends, and just laughing over the exaggerated acting we see in those old films. It is also an absolutely gorgeous building, inside and out, and we love sitting in the beautiful VIP box many times too, for those special occasions, we dress to the hilt, eat popcorn and have one very "phantastic" time!