I spent the day at WebVideoSummit, where I had the pleasure of sitting-in on a panel with Douglas Gayeton, the genius who spent six months in a room with just one other guy, and who exited having developed, produced and distributed a documentary entirely online, inside the virtual world Second Life.

My Second Life: The video diaries of Molotov Alta tells the story of a man who “disappeared from his California home” and began issuing video dispatches from Second Life.  It was conceived as an online series with legs, and the strategy paid off.  What began as a viral YouTube hit was acquired by HBO in September for a “six-figure sum.”

Here’s the pilot…

###It’s an impressive marketing and sales strategy, but the content itself is what deserves attention.  This is an inspired, inventive application of an online universe with an ever-expanding texture, and Gayeton captures the power of its possibility with a foretelling and probable tale of an inexplicable yet eerily familiar pathos.  His open references to “a Brave New World” reminds us how close we’ve become to the utopia that contradicts humanity… that lonely world beyond boundary.  

Geyeton describes his new role with mainstream media as simply articulating the inherent advantages of animation production within virtual worlds.  “You build visually rich, dense environments in an incredibly short amount of time, and you can work collaboratively using the tools of Second Life.”

Though I am quite impressed with Geyeton’s upcoming projects for traditional television, I am most excited to witness his influence on new media productions. This is a mind with a foresight and storytelling skill that is certain to reshape the field of animation with the tools enabled by new media production and distribution.

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