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It is with some astonishment that I note that the Linden Endowment for the Arts appears to actually be doing something. The slight sense of incredulity that I feel is slightly enhanced by the announcement in the PR dead-zone surrounding April Fools’ Day.

The Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) was established “to help create a center of arts activity in Second Life.”

Following its initial announcement on the 23rd of February last year, the LEA was put on hold – quite possibly to do with the Lab’s management and financial troubles, which were hot on the heels of the LEA’s creation. When I enquired about its status later that year, I received a PR formula normally reserved for moribund projects destined for discreet euthanasia.

Now, more than a year after its initial announcement, the LEA appears to be awake, and taking its first visible step, by creating the Month of Machinima programme – which will screen, review and judge Second Life machinima submissions every month, starting from May.

To be eligible, machinima entries must be submitted in the previous month (the deadline for the May session is 10 April, just over a week from now), and must comply with the following criteria at minimum:

  • Maximum machinima length: 3 minutes. Longer entries would be accepted for special screenings that allow for longer running times.
  • Wide format.
  • No UI in machinima, except when functional.
  • No sex or violence (unless those are set as part of the monthly theme).
  • Copyrights owned.
  • Content of machinima must adhere to the theme (if a theme is announced for a given event).

There seems to be two ways in which this can go. Either the Endowment actually does some – you know – ‘endowing’, on the order of making exhibition space and in-world facilities to accompany the monthly Month of Machinima, or it goes the endowment-free route, giving machinima creators bragging-rights and using the selected machinima primarily as marketing materials for the promotion of Second Life.

I, for one, would like to see that endowment part working. It’s a part of the name, after all. Either way, I can hardly wait to see how large the endowment actually turns out to be.

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