Have you been to the Habbo Hotel lately? No? Me neither, actually. My kids are still in the stage of life where they think that Webkinz are the be-all and end-all of online entertainment. (Yes. The dawn of the technology boom as we know it was predicated on Cash Cow, I am sure of it.)
But apparently Habbo is the place to be for teens who want a fun virtual environment. It’s part instant messenger, part arcade… I could be wrong, but from my quick exploration of it, it sort of seems like Second Life Lite.
Here’s the interesting thing, though—Habbo is hosting an animation contest with real prizes:
Habbo announced today the kickoff of the first worldwide Habbowood Digital Movie Awards 2007. Using the Habbowood MovieMaker tool, aspiring filmmakers are invited to take the director’s chair and create, star in and share their own animated movies in hopes of winning a Habbowood Award. For the first time ever, after claiming the top prize in Habbo.com, the winning film will be entered into a global contest against the winners from 18 other Habbo communities around the world to compete for a grand prize trip for two to Hollywood.
Available now on Habbo (www.habbo.com) for free, the MovieMaker tool is a comprehensive editing device that allows users to select from a wide range of virtual sets, props, special effects and mood music; cast Habbo “actors” and script dialogue to build scenes. Up to ten different scenes can then be combined using the MovieMaker tool to create an animated film up to five minutes long.
For the next ten days, the Habbo community, which numbers more than 15 million registered users in the U.S., will select the ten top films through a combination of page views and scaled ratings. Each day, the Habbo staff will choose a winner from this top 10 to comprise the final nominees which the Habbo community will vote on to select the Habbowood Award winner. The winner will be announced and special awards, such as Best Director, Best Writer, Best Actor and Best Actress, will be presented live in the Theaterdome during the virtual Habbowood Digital Movie Awards gala, on Sept. 21, 2007, starting at 4:00 pm (PDT)/7:00 pm (EDT).
That’s… well, that’s pretty cool, actually. And I think it says something about how important animation is to our kids (even into their teens) that this Habbowood thing has become such a big deal. Don’t believe me?
Habbo.com opened its doors to Habbowood three years ago. Last year, the hugely popular US movie contest garnered more than 140,000 animated short films. On a global level, Habbowood generated more than 700,000 movies last year.
That’s a whole lotta animatin’ going on, right there.
Go on… if you don’t already have big plans for this weekend (you know you don’t), take a trip to Habbowood. There’s bound to be a film or two worth watching, and maybe you’ll want to create your own. Er, maybe your kids will want to create their own, I mean. Right.