The aims in this study are to map the dynamics of machinima and to gain insight into innovation and entrepreneurship from the point of view of the creative practitioners (machinimators).
The emergence of machinima (a combination of machine, cinema and anime) capitalizes on the rise of cheap digital tools for filmmaking inside video games (for example, Quake, The Sims, Eve) and virtual worlds (for example, Second Life). Machinima blends a myriad of creative practices, for instance from multimedia art, performance, animation and cinematography.
A problem in the field appears to be the fragmented knowledge about machinima as a new kind of filmmaking practice. There is a wide spectrum of machinimators online (fans, artists, professional filmmakers, etc.) pushing the limits of current technologies for filmmaking. Machinima.com is the most viewed channel on YouTube in January, 2010 (7,032 Videos and 16,867,324 Views). Machinima is attracting the interest of game companies and other creative industries. However, there is as yet little academic research on machinima.
The data production is planned as dialogic online interviews with machinimators from a machinima contest held in the Metrotopia area (the research group's island) in Second Life, 2009.
The outcome of the research will be better understanding of the semiotic practices of machinimators in regards to the contexts of practice, the technologies and the “learning” and meaning-making ascribed by the selected machinimators.
The results will address the conditions for entrepreneurship and user-driven innovation in virtual worlds, specifically, in regards to the creative and commercial potentials of machinima.
The project is part of the strategic research project Sense-making and user driven innovation in virtual worlds (2008-2011). Partial funding is from the Nordic Innovation Centre, as part of a research network on virtual worlds (2010-12).