Article by Shellie Sands, originally published September 15
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Featuring Nazz Lane, AMForte Clarity and Wiz Norberg
Our very own Nazz Lane appeared recently on Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe. A very skilled interviewer himself, Nazz was on the receiving end this time. Speaking to Nazz just prior to the show, he did not seem the least bit nervous. I, of course, had no doubt he would be brilliant as he spends much of his time here in SL interviewing others, I had every confidence he was prepared and anticipated the types of questions he would be pressed to answer.
Nazz was the first guest. After some sound checks and double checks, Paisley began. Initial bleed over (for lack of a better way to describe it) with each of the speakers made it a bit difficult to follow. The engineers went to work and quickly straightened it out, and the interview proceeded.
Nazz explained he began his journalistic endeavors with Lane's List, a personal account of his experiences in SL. He later stumbled across an ad for the SL Newspaper in his travels and thought he might enjoy writing stories about SL and other events in SL. He contacted the owners, JamesT Juno and Dana Vanmoer, and was given an opportunity for a trial run, for which he was both grateful and excited. This has blossomed into a nearly full time career in SL and he has produced numerous articles and stories for the paper, as well as other publications, including New Vibe magazine, to name one.
Paisley inquired of Nazz what it is about SL that makes good journalism and why he thinks so many people ask him to write for them. Nazz replied he believes it is the fact that he tries to get to the "who" of an individual, to understand who they are, and what motivates them to do what they're doing in SL. He also tries to uncover what drew an individual into SL and what holds him or her in. Understandably, this requires him to be able to keep track of who's doing what in SL and keep his finger on the virtual "pulse" of SL events. He does this via blogs, twitter, RSS feeds, as well as art forums, such as Pirates, Angelgate and Diablos, to keep up on events in the art scene.
Nazz has recently completed the first 5 chapters of his SL book, Borders of Our Lives. The story Is based loosley on the characters in SL, relationships and experiences, from the newbie experiences on. The main character, Jeffrey Goff, is author Jeffrey Stone and RL attorney. Jeff is quickly befriended by a female mentor, who shows him the SL ropes, gets him clothes, hair, etc. Once acclimated, Jeff realizes how it is affecting his RL and finds it difficult to separate the two worlds. (A truer statement I have not heard).
Paisley asked how much of the book was autobiographical versus lives and experiences of people he has met in his SL travels or perhaps people he has interviewed. Nazz acknolwedged he has met many people here, some of whom he absolutely loves and adores and would also like to meet in RL. What Nazz really hopes to achieve with the book is to provide a vehicle by which to bring the SL experience to those outside of SL who have never experienced a virtual world. He tries to achieve this goal through the narrative and also through the dialogue of the characters. Nazz finds it mind boggling that, despite the lack of tactile senses in world, somehow we have a sense of how people feel, how something smells or feels, or the experience of dancing with someone and actually feeling like we are touching them. I think any of us in SL would agree with this, as odd a concept as it may be. This is a diffcult concept to portray to someone who has not experienced SL. It's amazing what our own imaginations can do. Nazz attributes it to the fact that many of us, in our first lives, are engaging in various forms of communication daily, whether it is for the job, via instant messaging or texting, or for some other form of personal enjoyment.
The book can be purchashed via his business office on Tranquil found in Nazz's picks in his profile, or by sending him an IM directly. (Author's Note: Tranquil has since been sold and interested persons should IM Nazz directly to get a copy of Borders of Our Lives.)
According to Nazz, he had always wanted to be a writer in RL but had never tried it. Since he began writing in SL, Nazz has taken steps to hone his craft and hopes to transcend the realm into RL in the future. I am sure we will also enjoy his book when all planned 12 chapters are completed; I anxiously await the final chapter.
Following Nazz was singer/songwriter AMForte Clarity. I have heard AM many times and was compelled to join her group. A very talented performer with a surprisingly refreshing sound, AM spoke about her life growing up in a small village in a suburb or Toronto, Canada.
After performing a song, AM took her place on the couch with Paisley. When asked how she chose her SL name, AM revealed that AM are her RL initials, standing for Anna Maria, her true name. Forte is actually her RL last name so, as she said, she does not hide anything.
AM recounted a bit of her childhood, claiming it was tough growing up and schools were difficult. She noted she was "so uncool" as a kid. Family life was also a struggle for AM. Her family being very religious, she was not permitted to listen to secular music. Of course she did, being the rebel that she was (and still is by her own admission). AM believes being a bit of a rebel sort of keeps it all real and reminds us we are alive as we go through our sometimes mundane, routine filled lives, governed by schedules and "must do" activities. She left home at age 20 to go to North Carolina for school.
Having escaped from the small town environment in which she was raised, AM began looking for love, admittedly in all the wrong places. I can definitely relate to that! A true poetess at heart, AM began turning her prose into songs, setting the words to music. SL has helped AM grow her RL music career. Her website, AMForte.com, includes 5 professionally recorded songs, many other songs she has written that are new and yet to be recorded, and about "300 ideas for other songs," she said, laughing. She has been putting very much effort into getting her RL career off the ground for the past 4 or 5 years, sending demos out to multiple producers, etc. , even including, in some cases, lavish gifts. This she said chuckling, claiming she had heard this was the way to go. Unfortunately, it got to be a bit pricey but she continues to try. You have to admire her tenacity. AM would love to do a RL tour with other SL musicians. My wheels started turning when I heard this. I have ideas for her.
The thing that keeps AM going, she claims, is she nearly died at one point, she did not elaborate, but it opened her eyes. She decided she needed to really start living having been given this second chance at it. This has made her decide that what she really wants to do is sing and write songs rather than have a boring 9-5 job, no matter how profitable it may be. She hopes her songs may help save some lives, through people identifying with the lyrics and the emotions in her songs.
As a poet myself, I can relate to the introversion and using writing as an outlet to express those thoughts and feelings, bourne from our RL experiences, when perhaps times were not always very happy. Listening to AM describe her life's struggles through growing up with strict parents who did not allow her to do much of anything, and often feeling out of place in her environment, I truly felt as though I were looking in a mirror, seeing a reflection of myself and my own life (minus the near death experience). The similiarities were truly uncanny. This interview gave me welcome insight into this talented musician, songwriter, and poetess.
Wrapping up the show was Treettv CEO, Wiz Norberg. Paisley described Wiz as somewhat of a "quiet achiever" with not much written about him, and a real "mover and shaker in SL" due to the content of Treettv, which is fast on its way to becoming one of the biggest media outlets in SL. Wiz says he will appear on some shows, but generally he is so busy making things, he doesn't have much time. The best interviews he's done are with people who have a clue about what he does here in SL, so those interviews go well and are enjoyable for Wiz--much like talking shop to a colleague.
Treettv has been producing 14-15 shows per week generally, for the last 18 months or so. Wiz stated that while it is difficult to know how many people are watching the productions at any given moment, many people watch after the fact, which is why Treettv makes media available via many different options, to accommodate the global community's schedules.
Paisley posed the question that, because there is so much online media available to folks, how is Treettv planning to compete with that? Wiz doesn't believe it is a competion, TV is fun and everyone knows it's graphics they are looking at. "The real competition we have are what other people are doing with their time...because television itself is just .... we're interested in new ways people consume things." Audiences are amazingly committed to the shows on Treettv according to Wiz. He sounded very surprised by this.
Paisley noted that Treettv itself is nearly about to be launched from the former SLCN TV. Wiz clarified that Treettv is already launched and people are watching it a lot inworld. The changes are more due to better production and high definition TV, but the real change is the launch of the website, which is geared to expanding the audience and use the web more effectively. One of the problems they are facing is that so many people are involved for a mere one hour show. Treettv has 3 full time people and various others, and the whole endeavor becomes somewhat expensive. Wiz believes the website will help with this. Wiz would like to turn the virtual island they are on into a bit more of a showcase, complete with museum. The studio Wikipicture project they are currently involved with is a bit of an experience, and it remains to be seen how it will all unfold.
Paisley acknowledged that much of the SL video/media available closely mimmicks RL, citing the example that her SL studio for the talk show is very like a RL TV talk show set. Wiz believes that what happens in SL is just a mirror of our real lives, using the example of journalism, and splitting things into chapters just as in RL. People have tried to do some different forms of writing, but there are "certain ways that we engage in art" and television is a reflection of our current lives. Some shows, such as Simboarding or The Snails, are ideas completely off the beaten path of what we would consider normal, reflective TV. The people factor is that we just want to learn about each other, which I personally is a normal, valid, human response.
This was a great show and to her credit, Paisley is a very skilled and talented interviewer. She exhibits terrific poise and quickly puts her guests to ease. Check out Paisley Beebe on Tonight Live weekly, some of your favorites may be the target of one her shows.
By Shellie Sands
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Nazz Lane would write for SL Newspaper for several more months until striking out on his own in early 2010. Shelie Sands would be among those heading on to SL Newser. Paisley Bebe would continue Tonight Live for another two years, the last show being May 2011.