Molotov Alva and His Search for the Creator
Molotov Alva and His Search for the Creator: A Second Life Odyssey, originally titled My Second Life: The Video Diaries of Molotov Alva, is a 2007 American documentary film created by Douglas Gayeton. Molotov Alva tells the story of a man's passage from his real (analog) life in Petaluma, California into a new (digital) existence inside Linden Lab's virtual world Second Life. The production was filmed entirely in Second Life using machinima, the use of real-time 3-D graphics engines to create animated films.
Molotov Alva was commissioned and co-produced in 2006 by Submarine Channel, a Dutch internet production company, and co-produced by VPRO, a Dutch television broadcaster. The first dispatch, titled "Out of His Skin", was placed on YouTube in February 2007. A rough cut of the documentary premiered at Toronto's Hot Docs Film Festival in 2007. It subsequently appeared in festivals around the world, including the Tokyo International Film Festival, the Rome Film Festival and SXSW. The North American broadcast rights were purchased by HBO Documentary Films in August, 2007, marking the first time a US television network purchased a series which premiered on YouTube.
The first six episodes of Molotov Alva and His Search for the Creator premiered on Cinemax on May 15, 2008. The final four episodes were distributed via Video On Demand, iTunes, and YouTube, making it the first simultaneous multi-platform distribution of an American television series.
- Molotov Alva: a resident of Petaluma, California who abandons his “carbon-based existence” to live inside a virtual world called Second Life.
- Orhalla Zander: first appearing in Dispatch #3, this hobo becomes Molotov's guide for the rest of his journey
This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (March 2009)
The documentary consists of ten parts or "dispatches". Each explores a different facet of life in virtual worlds and purports to be an actual video diary filmed within Second Life by Molotov Alva.
Episode 1: Out of His Skin
A man leaves his Petaluma, California home and enters a virtual world called Second Life as an avatar named Molotov Alva. He arrives with no possessions, not even clothing.
Alva considers all that he has left behind in coming here, and concludes that when his memories of the real world eventually recede into nothingness, his old life will have disappeared.
Episode 2: Molotov's Conundrum
Molotov sets out to create a life for himself in Second Life. He begins by building his own home and furnishing it with objects he discovers during his travels.
However, he ultimately decides that his new home is merely a trap, one that keeps him tied to memories of the life he'd just left. Molotov eventually gets rid of his home (and everything in it) and continues on his journey.
Episode 3: The Trouble with Money
Molotov meets a hobo named Orhalla Zander, who introduces the "Five Ways of the Seeker". These include:
- The Seeker Goes Everywhere
- The Seeker Forever Remains In Motion
- The Seeker Tries Everything Once
- The Seeker Neither Earns nor Spends
- The Seeker only Journeys with other Seekers
Episode 4: Some Friends He Made
Molotov attempts to make friends in Second Life. Along the way he meets the people of Port Caledon, a Luddite community still living in the 19th Century. This episode was included in the Animation Show of Shows.
Episode 5: Oh The Places They Will Go
Molotov and Orhalla search for the Creator of Second Life. Their journey brings them into contact with Gorean sex slaves, Cyberpunks and Furries. Despite these encounters, Molotov and Orhalla fail in their search.
Episode 6: Molotov Perplexed
Molotov decides to search for a mate and settle down. Various misadventures ensue until Molotov finally meets Abigail.
They set up house together but are continually troubled by their inability to have physical intimacy. Orhalla ultimately appears with news that he's found the Creator. Faced with the decision of either staying with Abigail or joining Orhalla, he ultimately decides to complete his unfinished journey.
Episode 7: Somewhere Out There
Molotov and Orhalla return to many of the locations they’d visited earlier in the documentary, yet find no sign of the Creator. Orhalla ultimately brings Molotov to the Oracle, who explains that there is no one single creator of Second Life, but that it is, instead, a world made by its users, each of whom is the Creator.
Episode 8: Flower Power
Having solved the riddle of the Creator, Molotov sets out to become one himself. He apprentices at various jobs, including a stint with Otis Mapplethorpe, “the Johnny Appleseed of this new world”, before setting out to make his own exotic plants. The high demand for his products attracts the attention of a large company, which crushes him with their mass-produced goods. Molotov soon learns that corporations have entered this virtual world en masse and have filled it with their “brand pollution”.
Molotov tries to escape to a desert island, only to find that the corporations have made it even here.
Episode 9: Action / Reaction
Molotov's anger with this virtual world's shortcomings leads him to become a “griefer”. He joins a gang of them and takes part in a number of attacks on other members of the virtual world until deciding that such aggression is ultimately pointless.
Episode 10: Molotov Alva Will Live Forever
Molotov reconnects with Abigail and they rekindle their relationship. The two even consider starting a family, but after Molotov realizes that he is immortal he abandons the thought of having children. He subsequently becomes depressed and for the first time misses his real world life. Finally, Abigail announces that she has found a way out of this virtual world and leaves. Molotov realizes that Abigail is the only real thing he's found in this virtual world and follows after her.
- Andrews, Marke (September 27, 2007). "My Second Life brings virtual world alive on TV". The Vancouver Sun. CanWest. ISSN 0832-1299. Archived from the original on June 11, 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
- Horwatt, Elijah (2008). "New Media Resistance: Machinima and the Avant-Garde". CineAction (73–74). 8–15. ISSN 0826-9866. Archived from the original on 2008-09-20. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
- Weiss, Joanna (May 15, 2008). "'Molotov' launches the virtual reality show". The Boston Globe. ISSN 0743-1791. Retrieved 2009-04-13.