DiVAS: The Machinima SeriesEdit
According to Youtube.com, the first episode of DiVAS appeared on December 1st, 2007. Filmed entirely in the virtual platform of Second Life, and then crossing over the Main Character World of Warcraft for Season 2, the premiere episode ran approximately eight minutes long. Later episodes appeared incrementally, on the average of once every two months. The series continues today.
The first episodes are a rather technologically crude outing, with some editing inconsistancies and jagged camera movements, traditional for a Machinima filmed in an environment where the creators do not possess complete control. Despite the challenges, later episodes are more deeply refined, both in quality and storytelling. The first season of the series is predominantly silent, with only a musical score and on-camera action to move the story forward, much like in early era Chaplinesque silent films, making it a unique ode to archaeic cinema using modern resources. That characters did not speak did not seem to harm the series at all, but in fact opened it up to a diverse global audience who would have otherwise relied on subtitles or dubbing in native languages to follow the plots involved.
The series evolves around three primary characters; Phaylen, Evie and Kit. Phaylen is represented as a chainsmoking alcoholic with terrible fashion sense. Because of her habits and the fact that she wears a retro beehive hairstyle has lead to inevitable comparisons to the character of Patsy Stone from the british sitcom of the 90's titled Absolutely Fabulous. Evie is portrayed as a prim and proper middle aged character ala June Cleaver, who often finds herself the unwitting victim of Phaylen's antics. The character of Kit appears as a mid 20's trendy girl. Other critics have also compared it to the USA series Desperate Housewives, although none of the DiVAS characters are married. This seems largely because the setting is a residential street with traditional upscale homes with the exception being Phaylen's unorthodox hot pink house. The three women of the series are represented as neighbors from the second episode onward.
The first episode of DiVAS is relatively stand-alone. From the second episode until the finale of the first season, a storyline develops, beginning with Phaylen moving into the pink house on the corner of the streets 5th and Fabulous. Despite having had physical, slapstick altercations with Evie, the two eventually become friends, and in the third episode when Kit arrives, moving in next door to Evie, the three create a trio. Other special characters appear throughout the series as well as extras.
DiVAS was created by it's undeniable star, known throughout the internet only by her Avatars name: Phaylen Fairchild. According to her credits, she also writes, stars, directs, edits, creates special effects and scores every episode that carries an instrumental soundtrack. In later episodes, credit for scoring transitions to another known only by the Avatar name of Evie Fairchild, who is also one of the series co-stars. Despite possessing the same last name, the two are not related, the common moniker is merely by coincidence. The virtual world of Second Life provides a pre-selected list of surnames and users of the service may not use or create their own. Kit Maitland starred with Phaylen in the virtual incarnation of the CBS series Big Brother produced by Endemol Entertainment in 2006, which also took place in the game Second Life.
DiVAS has appeared worldwide in official Machinima film screenings, and was featured at the Museum of Natural History in Florence, Italy during the Rinascimento Virtuale Exhibit- Translated from Italian to mean Virtual Renaissance. Although the series enjoyed a small audience of primarily Second Life players (Called Residents) the series eventually gathered a cult status that continues to grow in numbers.
The series gained an increased exposure in late 2009 when in the debut episode of the second season, it revealed the Second Life Avatar of Phaylen composited into World Of Warcraft.
PHAYLEN FAIRCHILDEditAlthough her reach has gone beyond the virtual series DiVAS, Phaylen Fairchild seems to operate only under her Avatar identity, including writing an essay on filmmaking for actor Tom Cruise under that name. She also maintains a social network presence using that name as well. While DiVAS has appeared at carious screenings around the globe over the last few years, the creator has never appeared, at least publicly. As the lines between virtual life and real life become increasingly blurred for so many who engage in business and media, Phaylen seems to have rarely crossed that boundary.
Little can be said of her real life identity or qualifications, although she has said in the past that she is a writer of screenplays and novels, and that DiVAS began as a full length feature screenplay ten years ago about a flamboyant black transexual cosmetics saleswoman in a small Iowa town. The storyline was adapted years later when she realized the potential for storytelling using the virtual medium.Before DiVAS, in 2006 Phaylen was selected as one of 15 houseguests to inhabit a social structure for 8 weeks in Endemol Entertainments virtual Big Brother. Big Brother is a voyueristic television series in which participats are kept under 24 hour surveillance, and each week one of the guests is voted out by the other participants. The virtual version followed a different format than it real life counterpart. Those playing the Avatars in the house were required to be online only 8 hours per day, and were not voted out by their housemates, but by the viewing community who would vote for their favorites to stay. Phaylen was evicted on week six along with another houseguest, Kit Maitland, who would later be her co-star in DiVAS. Interesting, another often credited cast member of DiVAS is Allatu Augustus, who was one of the three remaining Finalists in Virtual Big Brother.
After her stint in big brother, Phaylen was tapped by Endemols largest competitor, Italian production company Magnolia TV, to be the American correspondant for their own virtual adaptation of their popular franchise: Survivor.Isola Dei Famosi: Second Life premiered on Rai.Due television in Germany, Japan and Italy, as well as 24/7 streaming online in Summer 2007. Considered a true adaptation of the original series, it's success far surpassed that of Endomols Virtual Big Brother, which, despite hype, never appeared to have an acquired an audience beyond Second Life players and was never televised.
Despite the success of her series, she has evidently dabbled in other types of media, filming commercials for Fashion Designer Moxie Polano, an online game called Angels & Demons and a trailer for the virtual incarnation of the world famous arts festival Burning Man titled Burning Life. Her earlierst traceable online work appears to a machinima endorsing the platform onw hich she creates, Second Life. In the video "Welcome To Your Second Life" released April 1st 2006, Phaylen follows the evolution of a virtual avatar in a new world.
According to the Second Life Wiki, she also organized official community events for Linden Lab, the company that runs Second Life. These include Second Life Anniversary festivals, Day of Remebrance, Burning Life, and Second Life Community Convention in-world events, indicating she is also heavily active in the world of Second Life. Following her Machinima pursuits, she hosted a Conference on Digital media featuring panelists who create virtually filmed entertainment using the Second Life platform. She was a presenter at the Annual MMIF ceremonies two years in a row, which was simulcast live in Amsterdam, according to their website.
In 2008 she created and produced a 7 episode reality series entitled "I Wanna Be A Celebrity" which featured a cast of Avatars challenged with developing skills in content creation in the virtual world. Each week, contestants were met with a Mentor in any number of fields and took a crash course in whatever challenge was presented. Then, each was forced to complete a task independently using the skills they had learned. Phaylen appeared in the series twice, although she was not the host, and never as her Iconic DiVAS character. The show was distributed by Metaverse Broadcasting Channel then later was distributed on Rezzed.TV and met with acclaim from residents in the virtual world.
In 2010, Phaylen Guest Blogged on filmmaking for world famous film legend Tom Cruise, which was simultaneously republished on the actor's Facebook page. She later went on to join the 48 Hour film Project as a jury member alongside renowned real life film director Peter Greenaway and the famous machinimist Tom Jantol, who actually coined the term Machinima.
According to her blog, She also has a non-Divas related film in production entitled "The End Of The World" which is due around Christmas 2010.
EVIE FAIRCHILDEditEvie Fairchild is an original castmember, the only one besides Phaylen to have appeared in every episode of the first Season, although she did not inhabit her role fully until episode 4. In the first episode, she was credited as "Emergency Technician," one of the two that picks the Phaylen character off the street after she blows herself through the roof, and takes her to rehab. In Episode 2, she portrayed a patron of a coffee shop who laughs at Phaylen for having a job wearing a Chicken suit advertising Buffalo Wings. In episode 4, she finally had developed into a character mainstay rather than a prop; Although she was the same character throughout previous episodes. In Episode 4: The Fairy, the Furry and Phaylen, which is a fan favorite, Evie runs over Phaylen with her car as she is being chased by an angry mob of anti-fur protestors. Together they escape, but Evie throws her out of her car once they get to safety. Unfortunately, as she is having her new house sided, she finds Phaylen hobbling down the street she has just moved onto, and discovers that Phaylen, who has caused her so much grief, lives directly across the street in the tacky pink house. From then onward, the show focuses on the polarized characters of Phaylen and Evie, and their unlikely friendship that develops.
Evie, like Phaylen, appears to have no link to her real world identity, although she also has worked outside the DiVAS universe on a mutitude of other projects. Beyond her starring role, evie is also credited with executive producer, and according to the official blog archives, she built the majority of the sets in the DiVAS neighborhood and City and, like other cats members, portaryed more than one role, more explicitely as the small Asian furrier in Episode 4.
Not a strager to Linden Lab event organization, she, like Phaylen, organized many events over her Avatars lifetime, including creating virtual replicas of "Oz" and "Neverland" which was featured in a New York Times article about Second Life in it's early days.
Evie appeared to be the perfect balance for the off-the-wall Phaylen, and the two developed their relationship to the point of believability on screen, despite being animated characters who never spoke. However, it was Evie who broke the silent tradition in the Season One finale's final moments after coming face to face with a Tauren-like beast when she said, simply; "Oh my god." before the screen cut to black.Evie appeared in an interview in Avatar form but as herself on December 24th 2008 on the virtual Jay-Leno like "The Late Show with Angelico Babii." In the interview she explained that the series is largely collaborative and that they had plans to work on other projects beyond DiVAS in the future. These never happened.
After the close of Season one, it was announced that Evie was leaving the cast of DiVAS to "Pursue other projects." Confirmed by a blog post on the official site, the writer said:
"The rumors are true! Evie has indeed left the DiVAS series to pursue other projects and will be deeply missed by all of us, she is irreplaceable and for the rest of us it was a pleasure and a privilege having her participate in the DiVAS vision for so long. You can catch Evie’s farewell performance in the conclusion to last years Season Finale! Good luck in all you do, Evie! Thanks for the memories!"
Since then, Evie has went on to score and perform in some independent comedy-style productions for IdeaJuice studios, such as Blue Kitty Slicing Machine and Asternot Traning Pogram, which was an entry into the 48 hour film festival competition in 2010. She also is credited for scoring IdeaJuice's Little Wooden Boy And The Little Jewish Genie, although she did not perform.
It was never stated why Evie left the series at the height of it's success, but a peek into the history is rather telling. Evie and Phaylen have never participated in a public interview together, even during filming. When making a public appearance on behalf of the series, they typically did so alone. Phaylen can be seen in the one on one talk show "Out and About With Dousa Dragonash" where she gives a tour of the sets. The program, released on December 7th, 2008 wherein she tells the host "We're currently filming season two" also revealed how she and Evie met- through another DiVAS cast member Stampshady Grimm. Phaylen explained, "Evie... I was introduced to Evie by Stampshady Grimm who also works on the show with us here. And Evie and I, believe it or not, we've both been in second life since 2003, we had never met and we were both Fairchilds. And I think there's only 12 of us left and we didn't know each other! Had no clue who each other were. In fact, back then there were so few of us that it was virtually impossible not to cross paths or have gone to an event. So, Stamp introduced us. She's a wonderfully creative woman and I told her about this madcap idea I had about these three women who lived on this residential street and in a world unto themselves who have some really strange things happen. And she wanted to be apart of it. It became a calloborative and then Kit came on board and it was a threesome."
Obviously, season two on the original DiVAS sets never came to pass, which suggested it has something to do with Evie's untimely or unexpected departure. Season two, however, did resume, but not until almost 2 years later, and in an entirely different world, World Of Warcraft.
Whatever tensions strained the relationships, Both Evie and Phaylen appeared as presenters at the 2010 Mamachinima Film festival - but not together. Both are credited on the website as presenters, however Evie appeared with her IdeaJiuce Studios partner, and Phaylen hosted in the final hour alone. An online blog covering the event stated "It was weird seeing the two of them together behave as strangers. Neither spoke to the other, and Evie left before Phaylen went on stage. Don't know what happened but very sad." Regardless of circumstances, neither have commented publicly about the circumstances leading to her exit.
KIT MAITLANDEditKit Mailand entered DiVAS in episode 3: the Dream Dress, where she appeared as a clerk in a boutique whom phaylen hands a tampon too with her telephone number on it. Kit's character, throughout the series, seemed the most undeveloped. Her first major appearance did not come until Episode 5: Dancing Queens, when she moved onto the street the other ladies already inhabited. However, that did not diminish her participation in the series, as reported on the official blog, like the other cast memebers, she played multiple roles, without question some of the most iconic characters. She played the Fairy Godmother in Episode Four: The Fairy, The Furry and Phaylen. She also played Phaylen's Mother, Mabel in both the Halloween Special and Episode 5: Dancing Queens. Her most hilarious storyline came in the Season Finale when she blew one of her pig-tails off with a shotgun after accidentally tripping a trap she had set for a predator.
In an interview with Avastar Magazine, she said "Being a part of DiVAS is just such an amazing creative experience. I feel really, really lucky to be involved."
Unfortunately, DiVAS seemed to close just as her character was really becoming more three dimensional. She was heavily featured in the Season Finale, which, in a departure from it's slapstick comedy actually arrived with a surprisingly frightening undertone. However, her turn as the Siren in The Halloween Special is perhaps one of the funniest roles performed as her own Avatar.Aside from her co-starring role as one third of the DiVAS trifecta, Kit is also a talented and successful virtual clothing designer. Google brings up hundreds of images of her designs crafted under the brand name CKS Designs. DiVAS was not her only forray into machinima, she also starred in an incredible reimagining of Ray Bradbury's classic short story, The Veldt.
Since the Season Final, which premiered on June 14th 2008, Kit has not appeared in any of the episodes of the Second Season in 2010, most likely because her character is not in that environment. It remains to be seen whether she will return at all, or if she has moved on as well. She is credited as participating alongside Phaylen in Second Life's 6th Anniversary Festivities in June 2009.
Kit met Phaylen while both were houseguests in the Virtual Big Brother house, and were eliminated from the show on the same day. In an interview regarding how their meeting transpired, Phaylen said; "We had to live in the same house for something like 6 or 8 weeks. It was an experience. She and I were evicted like on week six, on the same day. We were voted out of the house. We didn't really have any type of relationship in the house... I didn't like drama and I didnt like getting involved in politics, I was not an interesting figure I don't think and thats probably why I was booted. She and I left and we spent some time together after that. We maintained contact throughout the years, but she has a very busy Second Life. She's a really well known content creator, very prolific as well."
Kit's character added some age diversity to the cast, she was obviously younger than the other two women, although thats not confirmed. She was much bolder, the polar opposite of both Evie and Phaylen. With Phaylen described as the daffy blonde and Evie as the conservative, Kit's deliberate integration provided a unique third faction, and it worked. The character also provided a bit of a feminine sexuality that the other two lacked. While Phaylen and Evie seemed more like caricatures, Kit's character broadened the spectrum of how Avatars were represented. While she wasn't the wacky next door neighbor and often a victim by association, she never avoided being wrapped into the outrageous adventures the three embarked on together.
Phaylen Fairchild - Phaylen, Temp Agency Clerk, Michael Jackson -Later with vocals: Phaylen, Saliva/Melvin, Snotball
Evie Fairchild - Evie, Asian Furrier, Playground Child, Cafe Patron, Boutique Patron, Dress Store Clerk, Black Crow
Kit Maitland - Kit, Mable, The Fairy Godmother, Dwarf outside Plast Surgery Clinic, Boutique Clerk
Stampshady Grimm - The Butler, The Man in Black, Harry Potter, Ambulance Driver, Sanitarium Worker, Black Crow
Allatu Augustus - The Man In Black, Garbage Truck Driver, Playground Child, Woman in Boutique
Bredero Jevon - Gay Next Door Neighbor
Glimmer Silverstar - Phaylen's Stand-In
Over the course of the two seasons, several unique characters often make one-off appearances.
WANDA THE NURSE - E1S1
Wanda and Phaylen share a memorable dance together while she is in rehab to the song "On The Verge of Something Wonderful" by Darren Hayes.
THE BARKING DOG - E2S1
Looking for a job, Phaylen goes to a Temp agency. The stern looking clerk accompanied by her barking and biting chihuahua turn her away. To earn her right of passage, Phaylen deliberately sneaks the dog out of the office into the street where she places it in the path of an oncoming car and then pretends to rescue it. The hero is then rewarded a job.
HARRY POTTER - E2S1
After failing to hold any job, Phaylen is assigned recess duty of the local elementary school. Thoroughly annoyed as she puffs on her cigarette, she eyes one of the children dressed as Harry Potter antagonizing the other students with his fake wand. Phaylen reveals to the amazed children her own magical wand as they gather around her in awe. Then, she turns them into chickens.
THE GAY NEIGHBOR - E3S1, E4S1, DiVAS: The Halloween Special, DiVAS: The Season Finale
The Gay neighbor (Portrayed by Bredero Jevon) makes his first appearance in Episode Three of the first Season as he arrives on the street in a moving truck boasting a logo for Ruby Slippers Moving company. The moving truck sprews rainbow smoke from it's exhaust. Falling instantly head over heels in love with him. She rushes over to invite him to dinner, refusing to take no for an answer. She spends the entire day preparing. She gets her breasts and lips enlarged and buys the dress of her dreams. When he finally arrives, the excited phaylen opens the door to find him wearing the same dress
In Episode 4, The Fairy, The Furry and the Phaylen, he appears in a pink robe and shower cap to take out his garbage when he is turned into a blowfish by a rogue wand zap.
In the Halloween Special, he greets trick or treaters dressed as Dolly Parton with a tray of Birth Control pills and edible condoms.
THE FAIRY GODMOTHER - E4S1
Visiting Phaylen in the Middle of the night after a drunken binge isn't safe as her Fairy Godmother quickly discovers when met in the face with a frying pan. But this isn't an average sweet and charming old lady. This Fairy Godmother fights back. They engage in an all out war, with sparks flying from the Fairy's Wand, ricocheting off the appliances and walls. The Fairy turns Phaylen into a Llama for a moment, and then the spell quickly wears off. Phaylen ends up locking her in the refridgerator for the duration of the episode until the end when she escapes and finds Evie and Phaylen in the street and before making her getaway morphs them into rabbits.
MABEL - E5S1, DiVAS: The Holloween Special
Mabel is an old, repulsive looking chain smoking ballet teacher at a local Dance Studio who the women take lessons from in an attempt to win a competition called "So You Think You Can Prance." It is suggested that Mabel is actually Phaylen's birth mother, as Mabel has small photograph of a baby in a beehive hairstyle she pulls from her purse after Phaylen leaves.
Mabel appears again in The Halloween Episode. during a flashback to her youth, Phaylen recalls Halloween when her mother put a paper bag on her head with a face drawn in lipstick; that was to be her trick or treating costume. They lived is a small apartment or house (only interiors were seen) but Mabel seemed more fixated with painting her nails than tending to her child.
Although it was twice suggested that Mabel was Phaylen's birth mother, and once they even came face to face, the storyline never developed beyond those sequences. Despite this, it was obvious that Phaylen did not know her, given their casual interaction at the ballet studio and Mabel pulling out an old photograph after Phaylen left, which leads the viewer to conclude Phaylen must have been adopted.
PAULA ABDROOL - E5S1
The Spoof of So You Think You Van Dance featured a Panal of 3 judges ala American Idol. The center judge bore a striking resemblance to Idol's oddball judge Paula Abdul, complete with a Coca Cola can cleverly rebranded "Cocaine Cola" placed conveniently in front of her. Upon approval, she dramatically puts her head down and claps with her arms in the air becoming increasingly intoxicated as the show progresses. At one point she even sneaks backstage and catches Phaylen drinking and soon they are sharing a flask of desired beverage. Upon returning to the judges table, Paula falls off her chair.
THE MAN IN BLACK - E5S1, E6S1: the Season Finale
Arriving ominously during a lightening storm at the end of Episode five, the stranger moves into one of the vacant houses on 5th and Fabulous. He wears a wide-rimmed hat and his face is entirely obscured by a scarf. The women and Gay Neighbor, paranoid and suspicious of him, break into his house to find a meagerie of relics from throughout history such as Pandora's Box. They are caught by the police and arrested. As they are taken away the Man In Black had pulled alongside the road to watch them escorted from his home. That night when they arrive home, he exact revenge on them for their tresspass.
GRIMSLEY - E4S1, The Halloween Special, E6S1: The Season finale
Phaylen's Butler arrived by unusual circumstances in Episode 4: The fairy, The Furry and Phaylen. She created him using the Fairy's magic wand after trapping her in the refidgerator and immersing herself a human sized Vodka bottle. The Butler, portrayed by Stampshady Grimm, became a regular staple on the show, appearing in The Halloween Episode where phaylen made him dress in drag as a Maid, and in DiVAS: The Season Finale, where he danced to Tom Jones's Sex Bomb.
LANA - E1S1, The Halloween Special, E6S1: The Season Finale
Lana is the Old Lady who appeared in the very first episode of the first season and the very last episode of the first season. Her part was great because of her particularly exaggerated reactions to the events around her. In Episode one, Phalen landed in her front yard after blowing herself through the roof. In the Season Finale, Lana watched on in horror as Phaylen Gyrated to Sex Bomb with her elderly Butler.
SALIVA - E1S2
Saliva is the Orc guild recruiter who interviews Phaylen for a position in The Oathkeepers. He insists on fast responses and proceeds to kick her everytime she hesitstes. He is later revealed to be a young boy when his mother calls in the background for him to go eat dinner.
SNOTBALL - E2S2
Snotball, an undead hunter, is the first unfortunate player in World Of Warcraft to ask Phaylen for a group. After enduring her obxious hyperbole and questions, he threatens to shoot her with his gun if she doesn't shut up. He lives to regret meeting her when her love of harvesting herbs as a tradeskill in the game distracts her after he attacks Thunder Lizard, which kills him while she picks flowers. However, staying true to teh synamic of World Of Warcraft, the Monster then turns it's attention to her.
After the Lizard kills her, Snotball leaves the group without a word, and will probably never ask a stranger to group again.
Tiffani, Amber & Thiessen - E3S2
Tiffani, Amber and Thiessen (An obvious reference to American ActressTiffani Amber Thiessan) appeared in episode 3 of Season two as three Blood Elf Priests who decide to toy with Phaylen while teaching her to use her World Of Warcraft Skills, specifically Polymorph (Which turns a player character into a variety of animals) and frostbolt (A damage dealing spell.) Tiffani - voiced by Second Life Player and Filmmaker Toxic Menges - who appears to be the leader of the trio, grows increasingly agitated with Phaylen's ignorance regarding the game, and even tells her; You know this is a game right? This isn't real. You're a character in a game?"" To which Phaylen responds: "What game?" Despite the well conceived characters of this episode, the most memorable one is the Chicken which Tiffani urges Phaylen to kill in order to test her new found powers. Ultimately, Phaylen escapes with the chicken after turning the three Blood elves, and everyone in the city, into pigs.
Onyxia & Scratch - E4S2
The original iconic World of Warcraft Dragon was vibrantly reimagined as a depressed raid boss whose relevance to the world and players had been diminished by the expansion packs introduced by Blizzard. Informed by one of her nervous Fire Imps, Scratch, Onyxia transforms him in an evil version of Phaylen to exact revenge on the Woman she belives will be the final nail in her coffin.
Part of the most intriguing thing about the DiVAS series is it's evolution. The first several episodes held strong, quality storytelling attributes but the techical aspects were mediocre. Although not a terrible distraction because the series is meant to be a virtual lampoon, so platform forgiveness was given generously, it still would have been branded as an amateur effort in the ever developing realm of Machinima. Phaylen has said "I didn't know a Machinima from a Washing Machine." Later, in an interview, Evie remarked that "We learned as we went along."
One thing that immediately put DiVAS on the map was it innovation in Avatar performance using only expressions, gestures and action to propel each story to it's conclusion. In Second Life, everything used is created by other players of the game, that includes animations the Avatars perform, houses they live in, trees in the yard, literally every element is created by an individual- not game developers of professional set decorators. Because of the stringent limitations, it can be very difficult to achieve fluidity in Second Life, since Avatars cannot interact. They cannot touch without what they call "Pose Balls" they cannot move without executing gestures or animations via a HUD or hotkey.They cannot interact with objects that are not attached to their Avatars or scripted to perform an action when clicked. Those who regularly participate in Second Life and are familiar with it's limitations were the first and largest audience for DiVAS because it seemed to break the rules without a struggle. This left many in awe of what had been accomplished on film. The series never flinched at the achieving the incredible, from fast paced car chases to rigging up an extremely complex trap complete with ropes and moving gears. It never had to reach too far, or even resort to the use of vocals, to tell the story because the quality and execution of it was exceptional.
The last episode sings an extremely different tune from the first. The Season Finale seems more the mark of accomplished veterans. It appears that painstaking precision went into every shot. From the sophisticated camera movement to the comedic timing, to the intricate build of suspense, to the lighting and seamless performances, one almost forgets they are watching a Machinima created in a controlled environment. By the time they had reached the finale, we were seeing grand scale special effects on a professional level. Rarely had a film made in a game platform achieved such a degree of professional storytelling and cinematic quality. For being the first sitcom to come out of Second Life's platform, they set the bar increasingly high with each outing.
The Halloween Episode strongly exhibited their growth, especially in the sequence featuring the children at the door of The Man in Black who, in an effort to terrify them, morphs into a frightening monster. At the end, the women fly against the moon on broomsticks on a midnight adventure. It was becoming more evident to viewers that each scene was more than just a sequence of events, but of startling How'd-They-Do-That moments. As an interesting sidenote, the Halloween Episode also featured a rather large cast of extras. The streets of 5th and Fabulous appeared to come to life, where as previously it seemed the only occupants of it were the three main cast members. It breathed life into what may have otherwise been a static backdrop on which to tell a story. There was movement. Oddly enough, The Halloween Special was the first episode that did not follow the storylines of either of the three main characters, but instead of a group of children trick-or-treating at their houses.
Although DiVAS had been primarily a slapstick romp through their world, the Season Finale, titled Something Wicked This Way Comes, was a 36 minute long mini-movie which embroiled the three central characters in a dark, foreboding mystery. The departure from comedy didn't seem much of a challenge because it is by far the most elegant, involved storyline of the series to date. The darker undertones and content testified to the reach of their talent. From the opening sequence to the gripping climax, it was a true milestone for machinima coming from virtual worlds, and put the DiVAS behind the series on the map.
With each episode the production standards improved exponentially. It was not lost on audiences who started the journey with a simple machinima and ultimately ended up with a bonafide film that is impressive by even the highest stadards.
The DiVAS Season Finale aired on June 16th 2008 and went into a hiatus that lasted until December 2009 when Season Two premiered, minus Evie and Kit, appeared online. The return of the Series found Phaylen in the popular World Of Warcraft game, as her Second Life Avatar, and was the first time voice actung was used in the series. It was a hugely successful change, adding an entirely new dimension to the once silent film. The second season introduced audiences to a new set of characters, players of the game World Of Warcraft as represented by their avatars, The first episode was hailed by Computer Weekly as the Best World Of Warcraft Machinima ever, despite many elements not taking place in World Of Warcraft at all. The usage of voice actng was widely embraced by viewers, making the first episode of the second season the most successful DiVAS to date.
Distribution for DiVAS utilizes web based content storage site like youtube.
Every episode of DiVAS appears on Youtube in their entirety except Episode 4, which ran over youtube ten minute limit allowance. The first minute played on the video and was brought to a screeching halt with text appearing that chastised youtube for penalizing original content creators by limiting their running time.
"We're Sorry. this Episode of DiVAS ran two minutes too long for Youtube. Unlike other old accounts who met the guidelines before the time limit was imposed and were grandfathered in, they seemed to have skipped us over. Youtube has not responded to our inquiries."
Viewers were the provided a redirect to Blip.tv where they could watch the episode in full.
The 36 minute long Season One finale was broken into four parts for distribution on youtube, with an alternative, undisrupted version available on Blip.tv as well.
Episode One - Only Up From Here
Episode Two - You Better Work
Episode Three - The Dream Dress
Episode Four - The Fairy, The Furry and Phaylen (1 minute long, then redirected to blip for full length.)
Episode Five - Dancing Queens
Episode Six: The Season Finale - Part One
Episode Six: The Season Finale - Part Two
Episode Six: The Season Finale - Part Three
Episode Six: The Season Finale - Part Four
Episode One - Phaylen Seeks a World Of Warcraft Guild
Episode Two - Phaylen and the World of Warcraft Group
Episode Three - Phaylen and the World Of Warcraft Blood Elves
Episode Four - Onyxia's Plan
Episode One - Only up From here
Episode Two - You Better Work
Episode Three - The Dream Dress
Episode Four - The Fairy, the Furry and Phaylen (In it's entirety)
Episode Five - Dancing Queens
Episode Six - The Season Finale (In it's entirety.)
DiVAS: The Halloween Special (In it's entirety.)
Episode One - Phaylen Seeks a World Of Warcraft Guild
Episode Two - Phaylen and the World of Warcraft Group
- In the first Season, Phaylen's beehive changes color almost every episode. It has been seen as Blue, Blonde, Red, Green and Brown.
- There are two "Screamers' seen in DiVAS.In Episode 4: The Fairy, The Furry and Phaylen, after Phayeln is hit by a car after running into the street to escape an angry mob of protesters, a spectator on the streetcorner screams while holding her lipstick and compack to her face. In Episode 5: Dancing Queens, when the lights fall from the scaffolding and kill their competition, the judge sitting next to Paula Abdul screams the same scream. This is the same woman, credited as Misty Rhodes.
- It has been said that the first 3 episodes of DiVAS were shot in the sky on fake terrain. It only moved to the ground for Episode 4 onward.
- DiVAS is the first sitcom ever created in the virtual platform of Second Life and has been screened on every continent on Earth except Antarctica, according to the official blog.
- Songs featured in the first few episodes of DiVAS are "On The Verge of Something Wonderful" by Darren Hayes and "Over My Shoulder" by Mika on episode 1. "All Star" by Smash Mouth on episode 2. "Love Today" by Mika on Episode 3. These songs were used despite not having permission from the publishers. When asked in an interview with Talk Show host Paisley Beebe, Phaylen answered "I didn't know it was illegal until YouTube told me. I didn't know anything. I was totally green. I figured after a month of making a film, that was enough, I had no idea i had to score it myself too! Youtube told me it was infringement, which I've since educated myself on. The publishers let the videos stay up though, they just threw ads on them to sell the albums." Only one song appears in a later episode of DiVAS, and that is Sex Bomb by the Max Raab Orchestre, of which permission was solicited prior to it's inclusion.
- The sign outside Lana's house in The Halloween Episode says "Jesus Loves You!" and in small print, "Terms and conditions apply"
- Phaylen is introduced to the viewers in Episode one by blowing herself up with a can of hairspray while smoking a cigarette. In homage to that scene, she blows herself up again in the Season Finale, landing on Kit's front yard.
- Many times, Phaylen is not portrayed by herslef on screen. Because she directs every episode, her stand in, Glimmer Silverstar logs into her account and operates her Avatar for key scenes involving her character.
- The final episode of the series was already shot two years ago, according to Phaylen's blog. The episodes we are seeing in World Of Warcraft are what happens between the Season one finale and the season Two finale.
- After Phaylen's mention of a Sparkle Pony in the Season 2 premiere that went viral, 3 months later Blizzard, the company that created World Of Warcraft introduced a Celestial Steed, which the community of Warcraft affectionatly dubbed The Sparkle Pony.
- The first person to ever voice a character in DiVAS besides Phaylen herself (As many characters) is fellow Filmmaker Toxic Menges from Second Life. Miss menges released her own film, a modern day telling of Little Red Riding Hood featuring the voice of Phaylen as the lead.