STÖMOL was released on 23 July 2020 in a private inworld premiere, with the Linden public showing taking place the next day – one year ago exactly.
How to celebrate this? I don’t think we’re at the Director’s Commentary edition just yet; to tide you over until the moment that becomes something that doesn’t cause eyes to roll (I reckon the five year anniversary for that), I’m releasing today publicly a few scenes that never made it into the final movie (yes, these have been previously available, but only if you did Complicated Things With Secret Hidden Stuff).
First off, here is the original visualisation of the Quill’s secret hideout, deleted in the end because it felt too grandiose.
Second, here’s the first attempt at the scene in which we meet Waarheid for the first time. This is more of an abandoned clip than a deleted one: we never got to finish filming it because the sim we were using closed abruptly.
Third, here’s the original version of the street food scene, which was discarded due to the opening of another sim which offered better visual continuity. This scene featured a surprise guest appearance by Ruth, the original SL avatar.
What has happened in the year that has passed? Well, there was STÖMOL’s entry into the Denver Digerati SUPERNOVA film festival in September, in which it took second place in the main competition. This was an unexpected joy, and the thing I’m most proud of about that is the demonstration it provided of Second Life as a platform for animation.
And then, last month, there was the STÖMOL Exhibition at SL18B, which I really enjoyed putting together and then seeing people exploring. Before the exhibition closed, I did a little film of it, which you can see below.
If you’re interested in grabbing some of that limited edition merchandise you saw in that video, you can find the trading cards here and the cutouts here.
What’s next? Well, if you saw my casting call back in May, you’ll known I’m working on something new. Expect an official announcement some time in September…
There’s one last thing for me to do on my STÖMOL tick list: publish a web page with the movie embedded. So here it is. Underneath the video below are a few additional musings which you have my permission to ignore completely.
It’s been a thrilling end to a long journey. When I started on this project I knew next to nothing about filming machinima and it all culminated, last night, in a Linden-hosted inworld screening attended by nearly a hundred people including five Lindens (yes, I counted them). I mean, wow. Sitting there and seeing the reactions to the film from all these people I’d never met was absolutely the cherry on the cake of this experience.
There’s been a buzz about this movie which I would never have imagined possible at the start. I’ve put a lot of work into promoting it, but then again I put work into promoting everything I do. This project caught the eyes of a small number of influencers that my previous work didn’t. I got lucky.
The attention has been hugely enjoyable, but my role in this movie’s life is now pretty much finished. It’s time for me to decide and then focus on my next project.
So I’ll sign off on this topic with some acknowledgements.
First, the visual look of STÖMOL was due in no small part to the content creators of SL and the assemblage artists who created the incredible installations that served as the sets of the movie. In a very real sense, then, this movie was created by the residents of SL.
Second, I’m indebted to my cast. When someone like me, who has zero reputation or track record for movie-making, asks if you would like to have a role in something like STÖMOL then you would be entirely forgiven for politely declining. Why should anyone give up hours of their time for something there is no evidence to suggest will actually be completed or any good if it actually is? Why should anyone stand around for whole evenings being told to repeatedly walk the same little strip of ground or type garbage endlessly into main chat just to make your avatar’s lips move? And yet, none of my cast members hesitated for a second to say yes, and not one of them complained about being told to do the same thing over and over. I would also like to thank the many extras who were mostly folk doing their own thing in various sims and had their peace disturbed by me bursting into their IM window to ask if they would mind me filming them or including them in a shot featuring other characters. Nobody said no.
A special thanks to Caitlin Tobias, who was part of that luck of mine I mentioned earlier in getting noticed. And nobody endured more the endless boredom of standing around doing nothing whilst I tried to figure out how to film something than she did.
Another special thanks to G J Hicks, my lifelong RL friend. His music brought a whole level of immersion to the movie that I simply could not have achieved without him. He might release a soundtrack album. If he does, I’ll let you know here.
A big thank you to Strawberry Linden, who responded so positively to Cait contacting her about the movie. One of the unexpected delights of this process has been getting to know her a little better and experiencing first-hand the genuine passion she has for SL and the creativity of its residents. Thank you also to Brett and Patch for suggesting and then organising the inworld screening.
And Thank you to Wagner James Au for noticing the very first post I made about STÖMOL and expressing an interest in it. His belief in the project contributed in no small way to me finding the determination to finish it.
Finally, a big thank you to everyone who has watched STÖMOL. As I write, it’s less than 48 hours since the release and already we’re well on our way to 1,000 views. That’s amazing. Thank you.
You’re still reading? Wow. A little something for you, then. Hidden on the internet are a few secret extras. But can you find them?
In case you haven’t yet seen it, below is yesterday’s episode of Lab Gab, which was entirely focused on STÖMOL. We spent a whole hour talking to host Strawberry Linden about the movie, and I have to say the time simply flew by. It was great fun – and an enormous privilege.
At the end of the episode, a big announcement was made: Linden Labs will be hosting an extra inworld event for the movie on Friday 24 July at 3pm (24 hours after the film’s release). This will be a live streaming of the film in a four sim venue, attended by the STÖMOL cast and a number of Lindens. All are welcome at this event, and I will be publishing the location once it’s been finalised. We are hugely excited about this and so grateful to Linden Lab for such a great opportunity.
We’re now less than a week away from the film going live. Stay tuned this week for further details.
As we pass into the month of July, with just three weeks remaining before the premiere of STÖMOL, it’s time for one more preview clip. Released exclusively on New World Notes (with a short interview), the scene features me as Epi Stömol, and Ylva as Verity Certain. The music in this clip is by my much missed friend, David H Dean.
And don’t forget, you can watch the previously released clip here and the movie trailer here.
The official trailer for Stömol got its debut on New World Notes this week. Long-term SL commentator and author, Wagner James Au, described the movie there as “among the most ambitious Second Life-related projects I’ve seen in years.” If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out below or view it on YouTube.