Alright, maybe today’s title is a little misleading if you were expecting to read breaking news of a new Peter Jackson spectacular based around our favourite virtual world, but that aside, in many ways SL has much in common with the cinematic experience.
To begin with, we experience SL through the medium of a screen, as an observer from the outside looking in. On that screen, events unfold, dramas take place, romance blossoms, friendships are formed, relationships break down and lives are lived, as we look on vicariously experiencing the emotion and energy, absorbed in the ‘reality’ of it all even though we know that it is, at best, a fair degree removed from the real thing.
The big difference, of course, is that few of us will ever get to be the star – or even play a bit part – in a blockbuster movie: The most that we can hope for is an appearance in a shaky, handheld home video, or perhaps a slickly put together Vine, but other than that our aspirations to the silver screen are likely to fall rather short of the mark. Even so, there’s nothing wrong with letting SL provide a handy substitute to live out our cinematic adventures, even though we may not actually perceive them to be so. I’m sure that there’s many of us who have happily created our own inworld versions of James Bond, the Fast and the Furious, Dirty Dancing, War of the Worlds or Lost Boys – we may not have done so intending to live out those big screen exploits, but there will likely have been many similarities to them in which we have been more than happy to indulge.
Movies have their own conventions and idiosyncrasies that we tend to accept without consciously thinking about them, yet we instantly know if they’re missing. There’s something that feels very weird, for example, about a film that doesn’t follow the convention of an introductory section, broken by the opening titles within the first few minutes… In their absence, we find ourselves feeling a mild anxiety, wondering where they’ve got to! Another convention that connoisseurs of soundtracks will be intimately familiar with and which even the casual watcher will latch onto without conscious effort is the character theme. Each character has their own subtle orchestral interpretation of the main theme music. The main protagonists: a stirring personal theme, instantly recognisable and linked to the character – indeed, such themes are often eponymous: Lara’s Theme; Sayuri’s Theme, and so on…
Then you have the dark, brooding instrumentals that accompany the bad guys; the soaring vocals and strings adding atmosphere to the triumphant moments; and then there’s the quirky interludes as the stars fall in and out of love. Music is a subliminal, but highly effective means of communicating both mood and personality and many pieces are inextricably linked to their characters.
So – if SL is virtual movie set, and we are the actors – what would be our supporting themes?
When I think of my circle of virtual friends, there are a number for whom I can conjure up a supporting theme that sums them up perfectly. It seems to me that, because SL promotes larger than life personalities and tends to encourage expressiveness that amplifies – as Torley would say – our awesomeness, it is natural for us to develop associations based on those qualities, and music is an ideal vehicle towards this end. I have friends whose characteristics are a perfect and natural match for certain pieces of music or songs, and I’m sure that many of them would also recognise, if not themselves, then certainly their virtual selves in those particular renditions.
So, what would your SL theme be? When you appear on that big silver screen to act out your adventures and exploits, what are the orchestra playing in the background… And what does it say about you?
Go on… do tell!
And you can’t fight the tears that ain’t coming
Or the moment of truth in your lies
When everything feels like the movies
Yeah, you bleed just to know you’re alive
Goo Goo Dolls – Iris