Thoughts on Festivals

There’s been a lot of talk lately about machinima festivals, so I thought I’d share my opinion.

There’s not a whole lot of recognition out there for machinima, and it’s great that some venues are brave enough to include it. However, any sort of festival should be judged and not based on online votes. This is an opinion I’ve held for many years.

I remember the first contest I entered some years ago (under a different name). A friend and I sat down and wrote a script we were fairly proud of. We weighed the pros and cons of including certain elements, found some people to help with the voice acting, and filmed it. It was a little crude compared to today’s standards, but we were pleased with the way it came out. Everyone liked it and we got a lot of positive comments. Despite our success we lost to a “big name” machinima guy. His film contained no plot, no voice acting, no…anything (this wasn’t just my opinion, all the video comments pointed this out as well). It was obvious we never had a chance as a bunch of nobodies competing against a guy with thousands of fans to tip the online vote in his favor.

Years later and online voting still seems to be the preferred system for festivals. Why? They’re either lazy, out of touch with how the internet works, or hoping to get some free advertising knowing the entrants will spam their link everywhere. It’s a bad system.

It turns people nasty and against one another.

There still are some festivals that understand how to run things, which will hopefully influence others to adopt their system. I really admire what the guys are doing, taking the time to review and judge a HUGE amount of films. Although Second Life is a little too out there for me, I’ll be sure to check out the winners.

As a plea to any festival organizers; please do not use online voting. You will send the wrong message and alienate many people. Recognize those whether they be a veteran or a newbie. Don’t turn it into a popularity contest.

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