~SL~ Connoisseur interview RohanaRaven Zerbino
She grabbed free papers from the kiosk at the tram stop to cover her head from boring november mizzle, wrapping her coat tightly trying to protect her purse with another magazine text she just finished. "Bummer, I forgot umbrella again. Ah, another day in the underground city dungeon" she thought while stepping down the stairs, unaware that that will be the day to change her life.
Edvard: Well that sounds like a good opening line for the novel!
Rohana: Laughs .. if you only knew! Yes, that exactly how I think about all that from this point - a novel!
We were sitting in the middle chaotic building platform sipping ... what is this in the cups anyway?
Rohana: What ever your pixel brain wants. Among everything else, Second Life is a word of personal projections. So, coffee, tea, something hidden in the cup, it is up to you.
Edvard: Then, I'll choose a coffee :) So, what was in those papers?
Rohana: A small article about exciting new world called Second Life. Curious as I am, I've run to open an account ... the rest is history .., at least among my friends and family.
Edvard: And you made your first baby steps on the pixel ground of SL.
Rohana: Yes ... It was very dark period of my life. Earlier that year my father passed away, I was working for a magazine spending my days in the underground office, my personal life was in pieces, and I guess I just needed to run and hide into something completely different. Back then I had no idea that what I really needed was good clean sweep of my life and a fresh start.
Edvard: SL gave you that?
Rohana: Absolutely! First of all it gave me completely new perspective of myself, and over those first 2 years I discovered things about myself I had not idea about. You know, the human brain is fine instrument that can and needs to be re-tuned every once and a while. There are not definite answers in life, no definite solutions. We are like a rivers and we have to experience new things, new problems and always find new solutions for everything. The same goes for virtual worlds: once I started to think about my pixel representation on the screen as "me", I felt my brain had been tuned for something completely new to me.
Edvard: You are very open about your RL and SL
Rohana: As an animator you have to be open to a lot of things! I don't know about other SL professions, but animators are very personally exposed. Anyone who knows how to "read" animations can see the very soul of the animator, the most intimate moments. Sharing what I share with you and your readers right now is nothing compared to what I share through my animations. That was the main reason I waited for so long to start making couples and adult animations. If I got a coin every time I've got the message "Your sex life must be bloody great" I would be a rich woman *laughs. But same is true if we would talk about animations I cannot make. I have had numerous request for child birth animations, but I don't think I would ever be able to make those. Even today, 6 years after I got my child, I still shiver remembering that hell we went trough. So, how could I make such a theme and go trough all that all over again. Impossible!
Edvard: Why have you chosen animations?
Rohana: I didn't. they chose me.
Edvard: How come?
Rohana: In real life I am a trained cello player. Well at least I used to be, till my left ear betrayed me and I had to take a new life course. But 25 years of playing is not something anyone could throw out of the window. So, when I was trying to build in SL at some point I realised that I will get to nowhere with the high prices of full perm animations, and I decided to see what my chances were to start to making my own. So, I downloaded QAvimator, and opened the window. And there it was, a complete orchestra partitura translated into joints was staring at me. Over the time, I've realized that animations are just like music - they have tempo, meter, rhythm, layering, opening, developing, closing, structure, emotions, and a story just like any other musical composition in the world. So, my music-attuned brain and my SL-attuned brain found something in common and met in SL. The only downside is that I cannot listen the music when I work ... it always messes up my animations *laughs
Edvard: And you started your shop.
Rohana: Actually no, I didn't think about that at all till I shared a few of them with the TTT group (Twisted Thorn Textures), and members who got the animations raised questions: "Do you sell those, do you have a shop?" It was the fist time I thought that might be just the right profession for me in SL. And I was right. Luckily, at the time I had no clue what that actually meant. Years after that decision was made I was sitting 15-18 hours in front of the screen as there was so much to learn, to discover, to read, to try, to experiment and running a shop at the same time. If anyone asked me at the beginning to write the business plan it would be just a few lines ... now though, it would be pages and pages. But, to be honest, I would never have made it without the tremendous support of my husband in the first place, who took care of everything else: everyday things, our child, me, our entire life. Then, I will not ever be able to thank to my Second Life friends Jen and Katy enough for all their love and support. I remember when Katy and I would spend hours on Skype just working in silence with a curse now and than, just being there for each other if needed. And Jen who flew all over from Ireland to be with us when I gave birth to our son. Those things gave me all the strength and energy that I needed to make what is [RNP] today.
Edvard: And almost seven years later [RNP] is among the top full perm animations shop in SL.
Rohana: Yes, almost seven years and almost 2000 animations later I am still learning, and I don't think it will ever stop, and if that puts [RNP] among the top FP-animation shops in SL I will not complain, but will still keep my feet firmly on the ground. Second Life is a projection of real life in many aspects, so, that is one of them - the modern human must realize that he/she has to learn throughout life and in a way we are becoming a type of renaissance person again. We still do have the same nasty character as we did at the beginning of humanity, but that is something we have to deal with over the years that come.
Edvard: In July this year, you opened a new department, Personal Use Engines. Why not furniture?
Rohana: I have always had requests for such a packs, whether they were requests for the poseballs, or engines after I started releasing full perm ones. But during the last year the number of such requests increased significantly. Visitor to [RNP] who were not into building asked for restricted perm engines they could use with the furniture of their choice. What they were asking for were animations, not furniture itself. Based on their requests, I've compiled the most wanted ones, adult and non adult engines. There are numerous stores in SL that use [RNP] animations as well as others, but I don't believe any of them use 100% of our animations, nor is that possible. When making a furniture "story" creators pursue their own ideas, and I doubt there is an animator in Second Life who can cover them all. Personal Engines are meant for users who are after the specific [RNP] style, but that doesn't mean they should restrict themselves to that style only. As I said, we all have to stay open to new experiences and new discoveries about ourselves. There are a lot of animators in Second Life, and each of us has a specific style to offer, it is just a question of whether the chemistry works or not.
Edvard: And how can one tell if there is chemistry?
Rohana: If you react on what you have seen on the screen, in a way that is really happening to you. In that case your body will have the same reactions as it would have in RL, you will start shiverring, sweating, breathing heavily, you will have same emotions. I am often asked if I am making porn miniatures in SL. Of course, my answer is always no. Porn is something else, something that is not a part of personal experience, even though it can trigger a lot of things. Second life adult interaction is way more than that. It is you in front of the screen, your own representation communicating to your flesh and body. How can it be porn as we know it in RL? Even if it is used in professional way, there is always at least one participant who takes is personally. And if [RNP] Animations are able to contribute to that feeling, my task is well done :)
Edvard: More than well :) Thank you for coming out of the shadow!
Rohana: The shadow? But I''ve been around for 7 years now. You just didn't know it :) You sure you don't want to add few drops of pixel whiskey to that coffee?
Edvard: That sounds like a good idea!
* New issues of the ~SL~ Connoisseur Magazine are available at [RNP] Info Panel in the Main shop and in Adult center