Sherry Shophoff, Interdisciplinary Studies Student and founder of the Machinima and Multimedia Productive Cooperative on Aztlan Island


It is my goal to establish a machinima and multi-media production cooperative on Aztlan Island. It is my belief that a RL/SL cooperative could benefit performing artists, designers and technicians significantly by providing them with the international audience base of SL, as well as open avenues to new RL/SL collaborations and works. I also believe that the courses offered in the School of Theatre, Television and Film could be expanded very effectively into Second Life. The project consists of three overlapping activities, which correlate with three functional spaces:
  1. Creating virtual milieu – Machinima Studio, Artworks Theatre Campus
  2. Recruiting participants and projects –Artworks Theatre, The Loft
  3. Creating and presenting work – Machinima Studio, Artworks Theatre


In accordance with the popular Field of Dreams maxim, “if you build it they will come,” I have developed three areas of my parcel, which I consider an on-going work-in-progress. As the areas are used and tested and the number of participants (hopefully) increases, I expect these areas to adapt and grow in the remarkable way that “bricks and mortar” Second Life so easily can. This is a summary of what I have constructed so far. PLEASE NOTE: It is not possible to teleport to different sites within the parcel. The slurl and landmarks can only be used from outside the parcel to one location. To move between sites on the parcel you must use the teleporter system. Touch the teleporter>choose location>click teleport.

The Machinima Studio consists of a simple platform to which I can add sets, backgrounds, and props for actors. It is currently being set up to film a three-minute segment for my thesis project. Although I am planning to add a camera and other video equipment to the set for verisimilitude, all the adjustments to lighting, camera work and video capture is accomplished through computer hardware and software.
Machinima Studio 10-5-10

The Artworks Theatre currently consists of a small, modified pre-fab theatre structure and a Damami Pro media player. The theatre has a small stage and can provide a venue to screen or stage SDSU student work, host lectures, or entertainment events. The theatre building was designed as a free standing sky box, but I placed it on a platform designed with a SDSU campus motif to provide a milieu that is familiar and easy to maneuver for new SL students/faculty. There is also a whimsical beach scene and plans to expand the “San Diego” experience.
Artworks Theater 10-5-10

Artworks Theatre interior 10-5-10

Artworks Theatre Interior 10-5-10

The Loft is also a pre-fab sky box that resembles an open urban loft space. It has been configured into several smaller seating areas with eclectic design themes. There is also an area for group Tai Chi and I have a dance orb for events. Audio media is played through a juke box radio with 72 stations. The purpose of The Loft is to create a friendly destination for SDSU students interested in machinima, multi-media art, and virtual worlds to meet and gather informally, as they would in a campus community room or coffee shop.
Loft 10-5-10

Loft 10-5-10


With functional destination areas in place, the second phase of forming a cooperative is to recruit students and faculty from the SDSU School of Theatre, Television and Film to participate in producing and/or presenting work in Second Life. As a graduate of Theatre Arts and graduate student of the Television and Film department, I already have contacts at the School. I have not yet devised a “pitch” for the faculty or students and would like to consult with you first. Generally, I would like to offer students an opportunity to stream their existing work into Second Life, invite them to create an avatar and attend their screening. I would like persuade faculty to explore the possibilities for performance art or animation production as an added component to existing courses, and adapt curriculum to include a Second Life project option.


The fruition of this project is to be producing individual and collaborative machinima projects, screening or presenting student films and performances. Ideally the members of the cooperative would meet regularly for discussion, exchanging expertise and instructional resources, attending and organizing events to showcase artists and their works. Optimally, the cooperative would be meeting both at SDSU and at Aztlan Island.


Through this project I expect to greatly increase my knowledge and skills in creating machinima animation. Along with completing the machinima animation segment for my thesis project, I hope to utilize the research, experimentation and new collaborations both inworld and in real life to develop a comprehensive guide to machinima. I am also expect to expand my expertise in multi-media streaming and presentation, including Second Life/Real Life collaborations.

I am also interested in learning about verisimilitude and the suspension of disbelief in virtual worlds, particularly as it pertains to the psycho-social effectiveness of the virtual world milieu. It is my hope that I will be able to garner a better understanding of designing virtual environments through feedback from parcel visitors and participants, but am also hoping to connect with experienced sim developers.

Finally, I expect to gain an understanding of the obstacles involved in engaging an established institution in a new medium for learning and creativity. I hope to succeed in gaining some supporters and innovators from the School of Theatre, Television and Film, but realize that my efforts here may only serve as a groundbreaker for future efforts.