This chapter explores machinima as a "hybrid animated film" or "hybrid text", with focus on the combination of machinima animation and live-action imagery. Machinima is used as an example of how "novel" or new forms of text evolve. The meaning-making processes of machinima filmmakers and audiences are studied through applying grand theoretical issue on how humans make meaning (semiosis) and dialogic theories pertaining to communication. The dialogic theoretical perspective aids in examining how texts build on previous texts or, are intertextual. Three Bakhtinian dialogic concepts (heteroglossia, genre, chronotope) are applied to analyses of various machinima films, in particular the full-length film My Avatar and Me (2010), because they offer humorous, multiple viewpoints on existential themes. In the discussion, a central theme is how novel forms of text, such as machinima, are relevant for understanding linguistic and cultural evolutions, and may even propel them. This essay concerns the dialogic theories on language and culture inspired by the Russian literary philosopher M. M. Bakhtin (1895-1975) applied to understanding machinima (realtime animation), which is seen as an example of “hybrid animated film”. The phenomenon of machinima is also related to the current shifts in filmmaking with new types of filmmakers/authors using “new media” with its particular means for do-it-yourself (DIY) production and distribution. I review my approach to machinima film, its relative newness, and the history of hybridization of live action and the animated in filmmaking. The hybridity poses several theoretical challenges. On the one hand, understanding hybridity as an aspect of all texts, as any text builds on all previous texts or is intertextual. On the other hand, understanding the meaning-making process of filmmakers and audience. Dialogic theory is applied toward an exploration of how humans make meaning (semiosis) on the basis of previous experience or knowledge. Three main Bakhtinian concepts are discussed in an attempt to gain understand theoretical understanding of the hybrid animated film: heteroglossia (multiple voices in dialogue), genres (compositional forms that continually evolve) and chronotope (model of time and space). The essays closes with a synthesis of the theoretical challenges around meaning-making and reflection on application of the Bakhtinian approach. The discussion pertains to the development of machinima practice in light of dialogic theory, with reference to critical comments by film director Peter Greenway and filmmaker Friedrich Kirschner about a lack of diversity and experimentation in machinima generally.
Understanding Machinima: Filmmaking in Virtual Worlds, 2013, p. 85-107
dialogisk; filmproduktion; tværmedial; receptionsforskning; animation; hybriditet; virtualitet; dialogic theory; machinima; filmproduction; new media; hybridity; Video; audience; genre; film history