Masterminding Your Machinima Story for the April 12th NonProfit Commons Meeting

Join us this Friday, April 12th at Nonprofit Commons in Second Life to learn how machinima can enhance storytelling. Opal Lei returns to NPC to briefly talk about the process of creating machinima and to facilitate a mastermind group session, where you can exchange feedback about how to incorporate machinima in your organization or project’s storytelling.

Please note that Opal’s presentation will be partly in voice and partly in text, and feature a brainstorming session, so come ready to participate. Bring your ideas for the current TechSoup Digital Storytelling ( challenge, whether you have them already fleshed out or not. Or just what you want to express in your machinima video. Get ideas, feedback, references, links, resources, and information from everyone in the group.

Prior to the meeting, please prepare a short paragraph that describes your organization and its goal, and another short paragraph about what your goals are for your video (i.e.: fundraising, awareness, documentation) and your vision for it (if you already have one).



Opal Lei’s first machinima is a 30-second ad for her Mer Betta brand in 2010. Turning down an offer from a friend to produce it for her for a mere US$50, she chose to learn the basics of machinima filming in Second Life to create her own ad and immersed herself in a new form of creative expression. She helped film and edit MODA Primetime fashion shows and eventually taught machinima to new models at the MODA Modeling School. In 2012, she started two machinima series: “Talk, Like Dim Sum,” a talk show that is a follow-up to her book, and “Splo On The Go,” short clips which document the exhibits at the Splo Museum in SL.


Join us in Second Life!


Nonprofit Commons Weekly Meeting

Friday, April 12th, 8:30 AM PDT / SLT

Plush Nonprofit Commons Amphitheater 



  • 8:30 am Introductions
  • 8:40 am TechSoup Announcements
  • 8:45 am Mentors Central: Jeroen Frans (Frans Charming in SL) 
  • 8:55 am *Featured Presentation: Opal Lei – Masterminding Your Machinima Story
  • 9:45 am Open Mic / Announcements

* Please note, the featured presentation will be partly in voice and partly in text. Please arrive early (8:00 AM PDT) if you need any help setting up Second Life so you can use voice.

The mission of the Nonprofit Commons in Second Life is to create a community for nonprofits to explore and learn about virtual worlds, foster connections, and discover the many ways in which nonprofits might utilize the unique environment of Second Life to achieve their missions.

Written by: Rhiannon Chatnoir

Tiny Stories

A blog post told in short video tales by friends and colleagues….thanks for your TSDIGS submissions and we hope to see you at the NPC Screening Party on 2/23 at 7PM on Aloft Nonprofit Commons! The drive-in opens soon…..
glitter gets them ready!
Here’s a little story from my friends at HitRecord, inspiration for me to continue making tiny stories.

I created a little machinima teaser story for Ethelred at Neenah Historical Society as part of the ongoing Stories of Impact series, looking at Common Ground and how we’ve all come together here at Nonprofit Commons.

As we welcome Rik Riel to join the Nonprofit Commons team as Community Manager we’ll have many great stories to share this year! Look for reasons to wear roller skates and the Veri Oddfellow/Rik Riel danceoff that will hopefully go down in 2011.

If you created a one minute video for the TechSoup Digital Storytelling Challenge you may want to consider entering it into these public festivals:

* TED:

* FILMINUTE: @filminute

We travel around the world for stories and today we were shooting in the Egypt sim as people were VOTING:
Egypt - shutting down the internet

Weighty words from people who cannot access grids, it can happen anywhere. Thanks for sharing your stories here at the Nonprofit Commons. Here’s a last story from The Love Foundation on Plush:

Written by: InKenzo

Digital Storytelling Methods: Time & Resources Needed?

We have thousands of new digital storytellers joining us for TweetChats, webinars and events with TSDIGS Digital Storytelling Challenge this month and many questions have been coming in! You can view some of the forum questions from last week here and chime in with your own questions anytime this week.

One of the most common questions is how much time will it take to produce your first digital story. This varies wildly depending on the people, the team, the equipment availability and how you tend to work so I can only tell you my personal experience with various platforms, in order from least amount of time needed to most amount of time and resources to produce your one minute story.

Time, software and other elements needed are mentioned here….feel free to ask questions and leave comments using the #TSDIGS tag so we can address them in events this week or join today’s TweetChat at 11AM PST.

FLIP CAMERA: Less than one hour total time needed $$
Requires: Flip camera with the flip upload/edit software, time to cut your clips and put them in order, add a quick title card at beginning and end. Can be online to YouTube in an hour from first shooting footage if your shots are simple and require little editing. This is not a tool that looks extremely professional (HD camera lacks broadcast-quality sound and editing options) but this will get you online quickly to be more prolific. Similar tools exist for mobile phones and some platforms have video editing apps available at low cost.

XTRANORMAL, MOVIESTORM & ANIMOTO: One hour to produce a short animated video $
I have primarily used XTRANORMAL but there are many tools that allow you to make quick online movies using your existing images, content or script. With XTRANORMAL I spent a few minutes scripting it out, blocked out movements and animation prompts and did a few iterations in under an hour, uploading it to YouTube at the hour mark. This media works well for humor or for making complex ideas simple.

FLICKR PHOTO COLLECTION: 2-5 hours to produce a 5 photo slide set $
Plan to spend more time curating, fixing, adding text or watermarks in Photoshop and cleaning up your images prior to upload. Taking photos is fairly easy and straightforward but the greatest artists in this arena work with their raw material and help it tell the story more vividly through juxtaposition, composition, additional text & descriptions along with tags and online tools for telling the details of your story, like geolocation and the people featured in your photos.

MACHINIMA: 6-15 hours to produce a short animated/mixed media short video $$
My practice with machinima was to shoot it live using IShowUHD in Second Life and get the energy of what’s happening in the moment (like improv), not overscripting but making sure all characters know what to expect and what questions to answer in their voiceovers. I record VO separately using Audio Hijack and edit pieces together, aiming to have projects take me less than a day’s worth of work, or a few hours spread out over a week. Well produced shorts by Draxtor take more time and more attention to post-production after your shoot.

DIY HD VIDEO: 4-48 hours to produce a short live action video $$$
This wildly varies based on time scripting, how many scenes, how complicated of an edit, are you waiting for special pieces like voiceover or music from someone who is hard to reach? I need at least an hour to polish a short script, an hour to shoot and an hour to edit for upload as minimum but expect that your first video story may take a few afternoons: one day for scripting, one day for shooting the essentials, at least one or two for editing and iterations with room for pickup shots and photoshopping art for title cards. If you will be editing and showing a rough cut to your team prior to uploading a final cut plan for an extra day or two for rewrites and changes as you find your voice.

ANIMATION: 3-555 hours to produce a short animated video featurette $$-$$$$$
Depending on the software you are using and the complexity of your content this can be done in an afternoon or can be produced by dozens of people over the course of weeks. Googledocs, Photoshop and other non-traditional animation tools can make animation available to everyday users without paying for expensive 3D programs like Maya, while AfterEffects and common animation tools for video are more expensive than most DIY solutions and require a professional-level user to make high quality content.

PRODUCED HD VIDEO FOR BROADCAST: 14 days – 90 days with a professional production company $$$$$
Most large nonprofits hire companies that act as production studios for their PSAs and broadcast-ready content. A professional producer/writer/director team will want to meet with your nonprofit team for at least 3-5 sessions where script, shooting details and iterations will be discussed. This is very difficult to pull off in a short amount of time unless there is a focused team that understands tight TV schedules with quick turnaround needs.

Are you curious about other methods, platforms, software or digital storytelling tools? Leave us a comment here so we’re able to share the resources most needed for your team! Remember to enter by January 31st to join the TSDIGS Digital Storytelling Challenge in 2011.

Written by: InKenzo