Thoughts on Women in Machinima Panel Discussion

I was able to attend portions of the MachinExpo 2008 in Second Life earlier today.

It was very well-organized and I was impressed by the friendliness, courtesy, and open-mindedness of everyone involved. Thank you to the organizers for getting us all together, and for making it so easy for Second Life noobs to get acclimated!

Of particular interest to me personally was the panel discussion titled “Women in Machinima.” Afterwards, I spent some time reflecting on the women in TMU.

The first director who immediately comes to mind is Sisch. She crafts her movies with fine precision and attention to every possible detail. I honestly would challenge anyone to not watch her movies and walk away inspired and thinking about what she had accomplished. She has proven herself to be a superb writer, director, sound editor, producer, voiceactress, singer – you name it, this woman can do it. In fact, for many, the first TMU director that comes to mind, male or female, is Sisch. She sets the bar.

Kate Lee, who we haven’t seen in some time, is one of the best writers you’ll ever come across, and is by far a master of film Noir. She is a serious woman who truly crafts her work, and, last I heard, is pursuing aspirations outside of machinima and into film.

Riott007 is nothing if not controversial. She has a unique voice and spirit and there is no one else on TMU that she can be compared to. She is not one to hide behind the skirt of feminism – instead, her movies make me feel like she is proclaiming, “This is who I am – take it or leave it world. Either way, it doesn’t matter to me!” She sneaks in technical expertise, all the while making it look effortless.

And, well, in a moment of vanity, I’ll mention myself (Dulci). I’m known more for my voiceacting than my writing and directing (that’s what happens when you’re the first woman in a community who comes forward and offers to voiceact), but my cryptic movies have their own cult following and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Still, of the 458 registered members of TMUnderground, only 16 have marked their gender as female. I’m sure there’s more that just haven’t bothered with their profile, but I was surprised by that figure.

I walked into the panel discussion a bit wary. I was concerned that gender stereotypes would be embraced and that I would be forced to bite my tongue until it bled. Instead, I found myself nodding and smiling throughout the discussion. I walked away believing that women in machinima want to be known for being machinima crafters, not for being women. I couldn’t have asked for a more sound conclusion to the discussion. Well done ladies! I applaud the panel’s level-headedness.


*disclaimer – this post reflects entirely the thoughts of Dulci and not the TMUnderground as a whole*

7 comments:

Docontheweb said...

Very well said.

Sisch, Riott, Kate Lee, and yourself have all raised the bar when it comes to quality machinima filmmaking. I would also throw in Mrs. Guppi for her tremendous voice acting talent.

It is also great to hear that the panel discussion didn't embrace the gender stereotypes that only lead to ignorance and misconceptions.

Good stuff.

Ricky Grove said...

Thank you so much for your comments and for coming by the Expo today. I was also impressed with the Women's panel. We really wanted to spotlight women filmmakers and provide a platform where women could discuss their work and share their experiences with other filmmakers. The fact that you felt the panel worked really makes us proud. And I'll be watching the filmmakers you mention.

Thanks again,

Ricky Grove
Expo producer

Matt Kelland said...

I saw some of sisch's work over on the Moviestorm site earlier today, and was very impressed with her musical and film talents.

Missed the Expo though - too many other things going on this weekend.

TMUnderground said...

@ doc - Yes, I certainly wouldn't want to leave Mrs. Guppi out, as she is a very talented voiceactress. The only reason I didn't mention her (or anyone else who does strictly voiceacting) is because I was focusing on the moviemakers.

@ricky - Thanks for providing a forum/venue for us to gather and discuss such an interesting topic.

@matt - Sisch just has that special "stand above" quality, doesn't she?

sisch said...

Oh my, Dulci, you make me blush! Thanks for you kind words, everyone!

I regret very much that I wasn't able to attend to the Expo, and to the Women's panel - seems I missed out on a great deal!

LifeFactory Writer said...

Hello Dulci!

I am not sure we have met and would like to say hello! Thank you so much for coming to and covering the Women in Machinima panel at the Expo, and I am pleased you walked away encouraged by the panelists’ views.

I think you are absolutely right that women filmmakers simply want to be known as filmmakers, not as women. It would not hurt, however, to have GREAT female voices emerge from the machinima world and cross over into the larger media arena! It is consistently surprising that, so late in the societal game, special steps still need to be taken to highlight the contribution of women

As was so well articulated by the impressive ladies I felt honored to share the panel with, there are loads of talented women in the field, and the machinima community is doing a tremendous job making sure they are recognized. I am very appreciative of this.

I would like to commend Phil and the entire organizational team for the expo. I have attended many events in SecondLife, and this is one of the best executed and run I have seen. VERY WELL DONE!

I hope to meet you at some point, Dulci, and thank you for calling attention to other great filmmakers. I am still very new to the machinima world and am delighting in discovering all the great work that is out here!

Best wishes,
LifeFactory Writer or Life (Sterling Wright)
I invite you to view my first virtual world film “Life on Life” at: http://blip.tv/file/1047096

TMUnderground said...

Thanks Life - I'm sure our paths will virtually cross again. I just watched your SL movie, and you have a very expressive voice, which made the movie both enjoyable to watch and listen to.

Post a Comment