The BobbeKins are here

The Magical Man behind Star Wars’ R2-D2 and the Bobbekins

An Interview with Scissores’ Tony Dyson & Chantal Harvey

By Phylis Johnson aka Sonicity Fitzroy, for BOSL magazine

 My journey to Bobbekins began a bit like this….

Scissores, Tony Dyson, Chantal Harvey, Clive, Bobbekins, Bobbekinworld, transmedia,

“This is the magic castle where the wizard sits and teaches,” announces my tour guide. The colors are vibrant, and the room is full of majesty and magic.   She teases me with the wonders that abound, and continues,“A big part of our story is here.”

Where am I, I think?  I was transported into a land of colors and shapes, books, candy, castles, glitter and sparkles, and buttons that zip me across this strange but intriguing universe.  I ponder who are these fantastic creatures of various colors – red, green, blue and yellow, all with eye-popping curiosity?   Ah, I am told that these inquisitive beings are the Bobbekins.  A couch nearby takes us to five mainHolodecks; from there so many lands unfold, opening up infinite possibilities for stories yet untold.

Bobbekins, e-books, children, Tony Dyson, Chantal Harvey, Scissores

 My tour guide takes me back to the castle, asking, “Would you join me on the magic carpet here?  Oops, beware the hole!”   She laughs, as I step around it, then exclaiming, “This is Toy City.  Welcome!”

That is where the main stories take place in this wonderful adventure now set into motion by legendary special effects artist/engineer Tony Dyson of Star Wars fame (and so many other Hollywood blockbusters) and professional Dutch filmmaker/machinimatographer Chantal Harvey.  My host today is Chantal, also dressed as one of the stars, Clive, a Bobbekin.


Welcome to Toy City

Chantal explains, “Toy City is a living city; it forever changes, like overnight. We have around 100 avatars involved.  Most are fantasy creatures.”  She tells me, “Tony built the sets on the ground.  I am dressed as one of the stars – Clive!”

Scissores, Tony Dyson, Chantal Harvey, Clive, Bobbekins, Bobbekinworld, transmedia,

“Adorable,” I respond. “Wow, I can see this in the stores!”

Chantal Harvey adds, “and on real life t-shirts.”  Recently, Chantal took her project to a university nearby where she lives, and presented it to 74 marketing students, and had them experiment with some test marketing. “The reports so far look good.”

Scissores, Tony Dyson, Chantal Harvey, Clive, Bobbekins, Bobbekinworld, transmedia,

The Bobbekins are loveable fantasy creatures with the ultimate mission of teaching children from all around the world through interactive play.  Chantal explains, “I’d like to think of our series as somewhere between Sesame Street and Teletubbies, and we are going for high quality.   We have strived for the best graphic art, and Tony is the best writer, and we bring all our experience into this project.  I have been in Second Life for more than four years.  But working with Tony has helped me see Second Life in a wonderful way, almost like Hollywood, but easier.  We don’t use the use pre-existing sims as designed by others – we control the environment.”

Scissores, Tony Dyson, Chantal Harvey, Clive, Bobbekins, Bobbekinworld, transmedia,

Although both work thousands of miles apart, they have been spending most of their days, and many late nights together in Second Life, implementing their vision for what they believe is the next step in professional animation production – machinima, or what Tony calls “real time animation,” a term he coined way back when he was in the midst of production for various Hollywood block buster movies.    What many people don’t realize is that Tony is also a children’s book writer, and his love for fantasy worlds was a natural for this ambitious project that includes a television show series and digital e-books.

Suddenly, as if she received a news bulletin, she interrupts, enthusiastically, “I just talked to Tony, and we can give you a scoop – we are starting a Machinima Film Academy this summer, with film assignments, workshops and a membership website, plus a signed ‘Certificate of Completion’ at the end of his course.  So if anyone would like to learn the art of the next and hottest film trend this century ‘Machinima’, don’t let this opportunity pass you by, secure your place now and learn from the very best.”

The coming together of so many elements still amazes them.  All their hard work and vision is now a reality, at least virtually!  Machinima is at the core of this project.

Scissores:  Cutting Edge Machinima

“I quoted the phrase ‘real time animation’ in 1983.  It was a direct form of animation that is quite amazing, a totally different way of filming, making characters and building sets. There are some challenges.   The movements in SL are still second rate, so you must find tricks to compensate.”     Because of the difficulty of using human avatars, Tony adds, “Second Life lends itself to fantasy creatures.”  And that is something Tony has quite extensive experience with, the creation of imaginative characters.  He continues, “The Bobbekins were given to us.  I worked on the stories, and there are seven main characters, with which you can pick and choose in story or game forms, or both.  From the start, I liked the idea that they would be like fairies from a different world, living in houses of toys or teapots, all in a full size city.  All in all, I have built 26 different sets for this TV series.”

With Chantal, Tony works under the company name of Scissores. Chantal states, “We work a lot;  spending 5 to 8 hours daily planning, organizing, filming, refilming, testing, writing, and filming.”   She adds, “Think of it this way, we are creating a virtual school.   It is virtual teaching, in essence teaching the basics to children through a TV Series.”   You can sense her excitement, having spent so many months on this project.

Beyond Tony and Chantal, they have 14 people on staff in various capacities.  “The biggest joy and challenge is teamwork,” she notes. “Our whole project is run like a professional studio. For this project, we have fantastic avatars created by Mad Cow.  The Bobbekins were especially created for this series, and for now we are targeting pre-school and down the road, older children.”

In her role as SL Founder of the 48 Hour Film Project, she met Tony, who she asked to judge the 2011 competition.  The most exciting thing for Chantal is to “pick Tony’s mind.   I had to think differently, plan everything, lighting and so many elements.   It is a big job, but we laugh a lot, and we certainly are professional about it.”

Fantasy Abounds in Second Life

There must be “truth” in a story, that credible connection between the audience and the characters. Tony explains, “We tend to look carefully at humanoid expressions and actions.  Those outside of SL still think ‘what am I looking at,’ when they look at human representations through machinima. We found out that by using fantasy creatures in SL, your audience doesn’t miss those emotions.  You can put some feeling into the character in a unique way, one that is not comparable to how we would expect a human to act, for instance.  Human bodies are still rigid in here.   It does take time learning what works in here, and learning what camera movements work even for fantasy creatures.”

Scissores, Tony Dyson, Chantal Harvey, Clive, Bobbekins, Bobbekinworld, transmedia,

The magical race of the Bobbekins might be considered comparable to fairies and elves. Second Life has always been a friendly host to such beings.  The themed subjects are what you would anticipate for the series (i.e. the alphabet, fruits and vegetables) within storylinesinspired by the professional wisdom and caring spirits of Tony, Chantal and those who have helped them along the way.

The Bobbekins spend all their time helping others, “like all magical creatures might be expected to in such a place,” notes Tony.   As the story goes, they even launched their own television station so they could share their lessons with children.   They travelled like nomads from planet to planet, until one day they discover Toy City, and the plot thickens when the Bobbekins find a way to make a home through good deeds.

Hmmm.  Good deeds.  Maybe we might learn a bit in Second Life from the Bobbekins!

Tony muses, saying, “You know, I have to say, I like it when a plan comes together.”  And this one has, most definitely.  Tony reminds us, a lesson learned from having a full life, “It’s exciting to teach children.”  Like the Bobbekins, Tony likes to share his wisdom from his life’s adventures, one that has taken him to Hollywood and across the world, virtual worlds too!






Los Angeles, California – USA
March 20 to 28, 2013

Upcoming Deadline: September 22

The 15th Annual Independent Filmmakers Showcase (IFS) unfolds across some of the best cinema houses in Los Angeles, Hollywood, and Santa Monica, California – offering its attendees a glimpse at the beating heart of American moviemaking. With a focus on great storytelling, IFS is proud to cultivate an environment in which student and independent filmmakers from all over the world can celebrate their accomplishments without commercial pressures. Fourteen winning films and screenplays will be presented with IFS Awards of Merit, designed to honor the best of independent cinema from the past year.

An eclectic batch of stars from large and small screens – including Lance Henriksen (Aliens), Brian Baumgartner (The Office), and Tyler Blackburn (Pretty Little Liars) – have been known to attend IFS with new projects. But, the real stars of the festival are the films themselves, which have helped launch promising careers for talent both in front of and behind the camera. Lesson Plan, last year’s Best Documentary winner, has recently nabbed a North American distribution deal, and Khary Payton, last year’s Best Actor winner, can now be seen on USA’s Fairly Legal . IFS is experienced at recognizing great talent…submit today!


Hollywood, California – USA
December 5 to 19, 2012
Upcoming Deadline: August 19, 2012  

The 8th Annual HOLLYWOOD REEL INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL (HRIFF) celebrates independent cinema in the heart of the American film industry. Offering competitive categories for features, shorts and screenplays, HRIFF offers something for everyone with a story to tell. There’s no better place to be discovered than Hollywood, California.

HRIFF comes alive with film screenings, panels, mixers, and red carpet events that take full advantage of the festival’s Tinseltown location. The festival offers a diverse program, with this year’s slate already set to include such films as DROPOUT, featuring Vanessa Redgrave; the North American premiere of Uwe Boll’s BAILOUT; Bryce Dallas Howard’s latest directorial effort, WHEN YOU FIND ME; the world premiere of MANOS: HANDS OF FATE HD; and much more. HRIFF brings challenging, heart-felt, modestly budgeted films and their creators into direct contact with an industry environment that can launch careers. See what the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival can do for you…submit today!


Hollywood, California – USA  October 11 to 14, 2012

Upcoming is the 8th Annual LA FEMME INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, a four-day celebration of women filmmakers and a festival that is “by women, for everyone.” In addition to rewarding noteworthy films, hosting educational seminars, and offering networking opportunities for its attendees, LA Femme seeks to close the gender divide in front of and behind the motion picture camera while championing strong storytelling that empowers and enhances the diversity of women.

Set amidst the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood scene and attracting notable industry attention, LA Femme pursues national and international distribution opportunities for filmmakers who win top prizes in the Festival’s documentary and feature film categories. Through a variety of the Festival’s connections, all official selections may be considered for these and other unique opportunities. LA Femme has a strong record of seeing award-winning material make its way to screens both large and small. THE COLT, a 2005 LA Femme award-winner, debuted on The Hallmark Movie Channel that same year. BEAUTIFUL DREAMER was picked up by Showtime after winning at LA Femme, and five LA Femme documentaries have been programmed by the Independent Documentary Channel in 2012 alone.

Many of LA Femme’s guest speakers and honorees are familiar faces to film and television audiences. In 2010, Academy Award-nominees Angela Bassett (WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT) and Virginia Madsen (SIDEWAYS) were honored with LA Femme’s Pioneer Award and Visionary Award, respectively. Academy Award-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (JUNO) and Directors Guild of America Award-winner Patty Jenkins have both been honored by LA Femme for advancing opportunities for women behind the scenes.


July 16, 2012 – Late Deadline

LA Femme International Film Festival is dedicated to supporting and nurturing the artistic entertainment productions of women for the benefit of international and domestic audiences.

At LA Femme, filmmakers engage in an environment that is more collaborative than competitive, as each attendee plays an important role in advancing opportunities for women in the exciting world of filmmaking. A complimentary festival pass is offered to each LA Femme applicant whose material is not selected to be screened, ensuring access and support for all women working in film. But this festival isn’t just for the girls: LA Femme welcomes and encourages submissions from any male filmmaker who seeks to create, celebrate, and support strong female roles in cinema.

By providing a platform for showcasing terrific female-driven material, mentoring and inspiring the next generation of women filmmakers, and creating an inclusive and collaborative industry environment that celebrates diversity, LA Femme International Film Festival is a great place for filmmakers to take proactive and empowering steps toward their dreams. Submit today