The Journey of Jazz Paws

This past weekend we had a couple town hall meetings where we invited the community to come listen as Wynx and myself talked about Raglan Shire and our tiny community and its past, present and future. What follows is just about everything more or less that we discussed. It’s a long read but folks who couldn’t be at the gatherings asked for a way to view the information.

So here it is 🙂

 

The Past:

 

Years and Years ago, Kage Seraph in Second Life was the first to figure out a way to crush standard avatars and had made a little robot using his method. He then offered the scripts to the public and Wynx after having a real life dream one night of cute little upright animals surrounding her, contacted him and he graciously allowed her to use said scripts.

Wynx then spent the next several weeks furiously creating little animal biped avatars which she named “Tinies” and the rest is history.

The original Tinies were enjoyed by many people over the next few years and in early 2007, Wynx and her Extrovirtual friends met up with myself to discuss having them move onto one of my sims with the intent being to create a virtual community around the Tinies. A place where we could invite people to come and be welcomed in a friendly encouraging environment for fun and silliness.

 

And so in April of 2007, Raglan Shire came into existence. Raglan over the last four and a half years has since grown into a small group of 7 sims and in that time what we have done is nothing short of wonderful.  Since it’s inception our one and only purpose has been to involve people in a whimsical place where people can come together and have fun, create, interact and generally share their enthusiasm together. We have made every attempt to afford anyone that wants to be a part of the community the ability to put together interesting, creative and interactive activities and events. Not for monetary or traffic purposes but to truly function as a real community.

 

Over the years we’ve had art walks and talent shows, musical performances and performance art, community created games, fashion shows, themed months for Medieval Festivals, Scary Halloween Octobers, Winter Festivals (complete with Tiny Caroling!) , Tiny Mardi Gras , Wootstock, yada yada yada! 🙂

 

We have our own School (Raglan U!) where wonderful community members teach skills both Second Life and real world related. Film festivals, science fiction and western months, and all of it in our own unique fashion which have been enjoyed by the residents and visitors who attend.  In short we’ve created a nice little place for folks to come in a non role playing environment that has still managed to develop a fun little culture of its own accessible to anyone of any shape or background.

 

What’s really neat is that many of the activities that we put on or are ongoing have merit in the real world. Getting people to interact and collaborate creatively is something that is very important in any world! Encouraging people to learn or encouraging people to share their art or music or just their creativity period… These things are important!

 

Having people being able to meet no matter where they might live in the world.. and become friends,  Seeing people work together to do interesting things they enjoy for the enjoyment of others..  This is just great stuff.   Of course we’re not the first to do this online by any means, But the way in which we’ve gone about doing it has always been special and we’re sorta proud of it.

 

The Shire sims have never been a business per se. It’s never really made any money and we have never tried to market it or corporatize or monetize it really in any way. We don’t take out ad’s or make any claims that we’re anything other then what we are. Sure we have shops for rent and homes, cottages, houseboats and land that’s available but that’s how we subsidize what we do and allow for enormous tracts of public land of differing locales, The Silica Cubicle, The Gobs of prims over the sims that we keep free so we can put on Gala themed activities each month in the manner that we want to.

 

It’s how we pay the very real and large bills that are owed to Linden Lab each month. Also we go out of our way to make sure we’re not just running a mall while at the same time making every attempt to help out the folks that do have shops and get them involved in our community activities as well as get all our residents involved as well.  We do have some lovely residents be they land or home or shop folks and we owe them a great debt of gratitude for making what we do possible as well as our visitors and friends (tiny or big!) who supplement everything with cheerful enthusiasm. If we do make any money, it goes right back into the community to pay for the various things on the Shire that we may need. It’s not easy keeping it afloat being (excuse the pun) a very Tiny niche but we keep pegging away!

 

The Present:

 

So Raglan Shire is what it is, does what it does, and has a great bunch of folks who continuously try and make it the nicest place they can. Barring any Linden Lab Mega Quakes or the like, none of this is going to change and we still look to keep our tiny tradition of friendly creative revelry.. with waffles for as long as we can into the future!

 

The Future:

 

A few years back, I got out of the real world IT field after everything went crazy. I worked on The Washington Mutual Bank Network Account for a large IT company. I had worked there for about 10 years ( 11 years in IT) after being in the Music entertainment industry prior. After WAMU was gobbled up by the federal government and handed to JP Morgan, I decided to get out entirely. I was looking to do something more creative with some heart behind it. After talking to people I started thinking about what it is we do in Raglan Shire… All the great things that do bring people  together with these cute animals in this lush world of Great Trees, Tree cities & Wootberries.

 

I called up Wynx one day and suggested that this very world with its adorable tiny inhabitants had a story to tell.. with characters and places and adventures.

So we started discussing the idea of bringing it to the real world beyond Second Life and virtual worlds. Bringing it, somehow to the rest of the planet.

As we talked we kept coming back to what we do in virtual worlds and how we could do the same in the real world but on a much greater scale. Wouldn’t it be great to have a real life Art Walk one day or a Center for Cancer Survivors, or A place for people to learn and share their art or music or any number of similar ideas that are rooted in what we have been doing in Raglan Shire as we know it.

We decided that a Re-Imagined Version of The World of Raglan Shire and its silly Tiny Inhabitants would be a wonderful way to not only entertain people of all ages, but that it could be a wonderful vehicle to raise money to help fund our ulterior goal of trying to do some real good in the world on a wide scale.

 

Last year Wynx & Myself formed JAZZ PAWS,  our new entertainment company.

 

http://www.jazzpaws.com

 

Our goal is to put forth an animated project featuring an all new re-imagined Raglan Shire and Its Tiny Denizens. Featuring all new characters, backdrops and world.

 

This will be real animation and not machinima.  We’re working with talented people on 3D Models in conjunction with hand drawn/painted 2D/3D environments and a lil bit o’ this and that in between. We have scripts, music, animatics and all of it has been an ongoing process.

 

We’re still a ways off but the core concepts are there. We’re fortunate to be working with the folks who are currently involved, some from virtual worlds and our own community, some from outside who know nothing of Second Life. We have friends in the entertainment world who have offered to help and over time no doubt, more talented people will be joining our team as we attempt to put together what we need to ensure success. At which point we begin the long arduous process of meeting with the various production companies, networks and other entertainment entities across the world that we are looking to ultimately partner with to bring The Tinies of Raglan Shire to the world.

 

Sure it’s PIE IN THE SKY thinking. It’s also terrifying and intimidating for us personally. However we truly believe this is something that people will appreciate and enjoy and we feel we have the talent and the ability to make this happen and again to bring others of talent and creativity onboard to help us with everything that is being worked on and that needs to be done.

 

We are chasing THE DREAM™ and ZOMG what a dream it is. There are so many elements involved that it’s often overwhelming.  The art, the modeling, rigging, scripts, music and everything else involved are non stop. There is just so much to do and then there’s the financial costs as well.

 

ZOMG FINANCES!  The Lawyers alone routinely suck us dry. No offense to lawyers but.. ZOMG!   Between the incorporating, the copyrighting and trade marking and general legalese that’s necessary for a real life business, There’s also the accountants and consultants and software/hardware and studio time and all these other costs that continuously mount and add up.

This is all so stressful when your not making any money to begin with 😉

 

Up until this point we’ve been able to self finance everything but soon we’ll be at a point where we’re going to start having to beg borrow and steal from friends, relatives, banks and angel investors.  To start to address this, we’ve launched our new website at:

 

http://www.jazzpaws.com

 

The new site has information, links, media and a sneak peek at our new comic strip – Raglan Shire – A Tiny Comic,  which will be going weekly starting in January.

(Hi 4 Zephyr)

 

The new site also has some fun Swag and through November 30th, We’re taking a special limited run pre-order on TWO awesome T-Shirts designed By Wynx as well as various Buttons, Magnets and Key Chains also featuring Wynx designs.

All money raised will go directly to helping fund our Jazz Paws Project in bringing The re-imagined Raglan Shire to life.

This is a limited run as we gauge interest and support from folks. After November 30th, we’ll bring in some new Limited edition stuff for folks to peruse. Take a look at the website and see for yourselves!

 

In a few weeks we will also be beginning a KickStarter Campaign to raise funds for the project as well.

 

That’s right folks we are PBS now!  But all joking aside, we thought we’d first bring all of this to our own communities attention and then start spreading the tiny word beyond the virtual Worlds.

 

We’re not looking at any of this as a vehicle for us personally in any shape or form. We don’t want to be famous, we don’t want to live in multiple expensive homes across the world or drive fancy cars. We DO want to be able to feed ourselves, clothe ourselves and be able to afford the basics like.. heat, electricity, internet and maybe a puppy.

 

We ARE looking at this as a vehicle to basically launch a cottage industry that again will not only entertain people and make them smile, but to also market this in such a way to be able to make as much money as humanly possible to be able to fund the very real goals that we have which are the humanitarian pursuits.

When it’s all said and done, we  really, really, really want to do some good in the world.

 

So we will be continuing to pursue this dream and we hope you can appreciate what we’re attempting to do. Everyone has been so wonderful these past few years that we want to be as transparent as we possibly can in regards to the community so that folks will see that we really are sincere in our endeavors and that people will hopefully wish us well.

 

so go ahead and click the Link and have a look!

http://jazzpaws.com

 

Much Love & Appreciation to you all 🙂

 

AND REMEMBER –

Raglan Shire in SL looks to be around for as long as the Lindens allow us to be so.. for anyone that thought Jazz Paws meant we were shutting down ..  that not gonna happen 🙂

The 5th Annual Raglan Shire Talent Show is Next weekend and Winterfest Follows! WOOTMAS 🙂

 

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