Enjoying the Drax Files

Chatting with Draxtor Depres
Harvey and me, chatting with Draxtor Depres at the Basilique Performing Arts Company Offices.

Unless you’ve been living under a virtual rock, you’ll not have escaped notice of The Drax Files: World Makers Series on Youtube, airing since March 2013.

Draxtor produces The Drax Files : World Makers in a zippy and engaging 5-minute mini-documentary video format. In it, Draxtor mixes interviews in Skype and in Second Life, mashing real life with Second Life footage of the people behind the designers, role-players, fashion creators, musicians, artists and activists that “move the virtual world of Second Life forward with their passion and persistence.” Doesn’t that sound brilliant?

In Drax’s words, these are “mini documentaries that tell personal stories about people who use their creativity to live a life that is in my opinion enhanced, versus someone who completely thinks creativity is a waste of time.”

Chatting with Draxtor Depres
Enjoying a conversation with Draxtor at the Basilique Performing Arts Company Offices. He’s waving his hands so quickly in this you can almost see four of them! 😉

15 episodes later, the World Makers series views like a state of the art Second Life Hall of Fame, populated by people just like you and me. I’ve been fascinated by this series and have trouble identifying my favourites. 

The first episode I saw featured Elie Spot (creator behind the successful fashion brands Mon Tissu and Celoe). I’ve embedded it below. Having frequently shopped in her Mayfair sim, I was drawn to this interview of the creator behind the brand, that I first heard about on Berry’s blog post.

One minute into the show itself, I knew that this was going to be something completely different from what I’d seen so far about Second Life. Getting a glimpse into Elie’s real life mixed with her activities inworld was a memorable experience. I especially loved her view on how Second Life enriched her life, and how strange it is that people who aren’t familiar with it have such nutty misconceptions about it (that we’re all nerdy basement dwellers that can’t handle the various demands of real life). Elie’s life turns the tables on this overwrought cliché. She’s clearly a well-adjusted, well-spoken, physically active, gainfully employed, socially involved, and vivacious person that just happens to enjoy living and working in virtual worlds. Yes! There are some!

Here is that episode:

When I first saw that, I thought… wow, what an aspirational advertisement for Second Life! Draxtor is quick to deny he’s a Second Life fanboy; and no, these are not commercials for either LL or even the brands or products associated with these avatars. When I suggest that these are great advertisements for Second Life, I really don’t mean that in a negative sense at all! I love Second Life, and I wish it were marketed – and perceived – better. This is the kind of thing I’d like to see a lot more of from the Lab in fact, but I digress into matters that really shouldn’t concern me. They’re spreading the word about the Drax Files in their own way, so perhaps it’s better this way.

Since the Elie Spot episode, I’ve enjoyed and rewatched every episode of the World Makers Series – many of them inspiring, some of them emotional, all of them interesting – each aided by some excellent video work and accompanying music. The highlights for me are the episodes featuring

  • the self-confessed historically-obsessed sim-owner Jo Yardley, that runs the 1920s Berlin Project,
  • the wonderfully talented Argentine-Spanish post-rock band Engrama (that I really must have play at the Basilique!),
  • the talented Scottish animator Abramelin Wolfe – who’s Abranimations motion capture animations we make extensive use in our productions
  • the absolutely amazing and inspiring Fran Seranade (one of my all time favourites episodes right here!) and her daughter Barbie Alchemy, and
  • the evocative and sometimes haunting works of the artists Robin Sojourner and Rose Brochovski

Wow… look what I’ve done, I’ve highlighted over a third of them. The ones I didn’t mention are equally great; still, these are the episodes that most resonated with me. There is so much in each episode, whatever you’re into in our world, you’re bound to find something that will interest you. I strongly urge you to sit down for a while and spend some dedicated time checking them out! Even better, watch them with a friend – whether they’re familiar with Second Life or not. Previous inworld experience is not at all necessary 🙂

Recently, Draxtor has followed up the World Makers Series with the Drax Files Radio Hour with Jo Yardley. These are 1 hour radio podcasts that are more commentary on issues that are circulating around our virtual heads, than profiles about specific people on the grid. They are good fun, hugely informative, and fascinating platforms for ongoing discussions too. Episode 1 and 2 have been a great start to what looks to be a terrific series of podcasts that I look forward to every week.

I’ve had some conversations with Drax about the World Makers Series specifically. His passion for this work is awesome, and one thing he’s said (a couple of times now) has stuck with me, which I’ll leave you with now:

“What I do with this hobby… is that I want to do justice to the story of the individuals that are engaging in whatever activity it is in Second Life… this is a dream of mine, that my kids at some point, when they have created the virtual world (with no lag), or the holodeck, they can point to this series and say ‘Look at these guys… look what they did with this platform!'”

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