Ember Farina’s Fantasy Faire Acknowledgements

26 04 2010

Ember Farina is a conundrum. As the Fantasy Faire Team Captain and Friends Fighting Cancer executive team member, Ember embodies all that the Fantasy Faire requires in leading, managing and administering the many other dedicated workers involved in making the fantasy a reality; and of course, in liasing with the many generous creators providing goods at the Faire. But take away that public persona of duty and fundamental dedication to making the Faire work, and you find somebody equally dedicated to not being interviewed or not having her photograph taken.

My interview with Ember Farina took four hours, a record created due to both busy-ness from her side, and some real life interruptions from both. But mostly because, as Ember admitted, her SL inbox was still filling up with IM’s, emergencies to deal with, notecards and general requests, even on the last public day for the Fantasy Faire.

Despite this, the interview with Ember – in trying to ask questions of the avatar in front of the Faire, went haltingly but assuredly in the direction that she wanted. Not for Ember, were many questions over what she did – she deflected those quickly enough with long lists of heart-felt thanks for the work of many others on the Faire. I had laid bets with myself beforehand about what turn of phrase Ember might use – either ‘Jack of All Trades‘, or ‘General Dogsbody‘. She eventually volunteered the later, which just goes to re-iterate what a large event like the Fantasy Faire needs sitting behind it – an Ember Farina, in fact. A General Dogsbody leading the work of so many other skilled and hardworking people.

But we all know that General anything isn’t really what Ember is all about, right? Because the woman is a second life dynamo, and Administrator Extroadanaire. Think of the hundreds of roles that Ember must take on, on a daily basis, an hourly basis. Juggling agendas, creator’s needs, entertainers, music streams, lag and script statistics for nine SIMs; writing notecards; monitoring calls for help via notecards, IMs, group chat, emails; juggling databases; wandering SIMs, distributing group notices, suggesting certain visitors put clothes on, or take scripted items off;  and working the Faire to make it become real for so many of us. Oh, and occasionally she also had to feed me lots and lots of folders and notecards of information for this website. Lots. Believe me, lots.

In answer to most of my questions, Ember gave me a list of people who were helping her. On looking at the transcript of our interview chat, I decided to sleep on it overnight, and try to work out how best to portray such a centrifugal force in the Fantasy Faire fairly with little data to go on.

Overnight the Fantasy Faire closed, with a record amount of money raised for Relay for Life. There sits the whole background to what makes Ember Farina the woman I have experienced. The announcement of such a total brought into shape the way I wanted to focus on Ember, because it’s also the way she wanted to be focussed on – during our whole interview, all she gave me really was the acknowledgements for all the other people involved in the Faire, and some reasonings on why she works on the Faire. And that’s what I’m going to give you here – Ember’s Acknowledgements, rattled off the top of her head, and probably missing many people.

But it should be noted that these people are people who Ember Farina thinks of often, and who sit within her own hectic schedules in the captaincy of a huge event. These are the people who made the Faire, under the Freinds Fighting Cancer leadership – the Faire that broke records and broke emotions, and brought real the Fantasy for so many of us.

These, then, are the Friends.

Ember’s Acknowledgements (In Her Own Words)

Like so many others, I have lost people – extremely close family and friends and have sworn never to have others go through the same battle. I want to help fight back and feel empowered that, in some small way I can make a difference in the way I know best, and that’s by working with others to bring a common dream together. And when I feel exhausted, there’s always someone else out there that’s doing so much more and then that energises me again.

The appeal of fantasy was that Second Life is about being anyone, or anything, you want to be. Yes you can be like a human, however the creativity of people here deserves to be celebrated and explored.

I always had the dream of having a Pandora after seeing the movie, and I wanted the SciFi shops on the ground – so when Sharni Azalee and Marcus Inkpen agreed to help out I was blown away by what they created – you have to admit it’s spectacular!

And, through a chance comment by a friend, I heard about a magical sim I “had” to see only a few days before we opened. At that stage I really only had clear ideas of who would landscape 5 sims (2 being me and I don’t landscape) but when I saw Mayah Parx‘s sim I knew we HAD to have her involved. In less than two days she fully landscape Wings, Wands Wonders and Avatopia! WWW is really interactive and I’ve always loved volcanos so Avatopia has a big tick too.

Tremayne did a great job with Dark Realms – his builds on the sims were wonderful and, for another “non-landscaper” he rocks!

We started about 6 weeks ago – Arora Zanzibar and I were the only ones pretty much working on the Faire admin till the beginning of the month. She’s our Creator Liaison and did the work of two people in creating a fantastic database and registration website for us. She also was the first point of contact with all of the Creators. Without her help the Faire wouldn’t have run as smoothly as it did.

Whilst she was working on that I was writing up the info and application forms, following up on sponsors, sim hire, advertisements, promotion material, and getting the build competition out there. After that I was able to start building up my team – pulling in more key people who have all become so critical to how incredibly well this Faire has run this year. I started with asking this incredible lady (yes, of course I mean you) who run the website for me last year and has really, with her great team, made it a brilliant resource, fascinating to read and a great source of information, then I was able to bring Evie (Evangeline Miles) on board to take over PR releases and she added in organising a bloggers preview which ended up being really successful. I bumped into a friend, Diane Fairplay, who took on entertainment for us which was great as she has so much musical experiennce in SL.

Another fantastic helper was Kate Sakai who’s brought great enthusiasm to her role taking over the advertising sales and creating our gorgeous logo to fit my nebulous idea of wings and a ribbon. She’ll be much more involved next year which is fantastic.  This year Zander Greene and Lauren Thibaud, the other execs of Friends Fighting Cancer, had a major project for their work until the beginning of this month so couldn’t start working on the Faire till three weeks ago. In that short time they managed to not only finalise the build competition but also plan out the entire Faire layout, complete a number of builds themselves, package up and send out all a sample of each shop to the creators (with a map and exact orientation) and then fully preset the sims for us (including terraforming and building/setting up the Great Gates) in two days!

Once we got the sims the rest of the team came on board – Sharni, Marcus, Tre  set the sims for us (including terraforming and building/setting up the Great Gates) in two days!  Once we got the sims the rest of the team came on board – Sharni, Marcus, Tremayne and Mayah were amazing with their landscaping, and then our build winners were fantastic too – Romana Falta, Sharni & Tremayne (yes we all multi-task in this group). Earh Primbee as another builder – he did the fantastic stage.

Finally CaptainCrunch Hax and Kirky Kiergarten returned this year to share their amazing expertise with sim management and the lovely Vickie Maidstone to assist with event hosting. And my dear friend Felixx Shepherd for coming and fixing up what I attempted to do in with landscaping in Mer !

I’ve probably forgotten someone, and for that I’m terribly apologetic, but these were the main people on the ground and my job was to coordinate and direct what was going on. I’m fortunate to have a team of people who take my ideas and run with them. I’ve been involved at every level myself from writing up notices and invitations to hosting events, handling money and running the auction. I even through my hand in at landscaping for the first time! Generally the Captain’s job is more a cross between Director / Coordinator and general dogsbody!

Editors Note : I seriously should have laid bets on that phrase being used.

And finally I gave Ember the chance for her last heartfelt words –

[10:08]  Ember Farina: I’d like to thank our amazing Creators, they’ve yet again shown us how incredibly inspired they are at making this Faire their own – their shops are stunning and their generosity has often moved me to tears. Many donating all of their proceeds from this week or significant item/s which we could sell or use for prizes. I love the sense of a community we’ve created together – all working towards making a significant impact against cancer. I definitely watch the kiosk totals …. I’ve been known to count down whenever we near a milestone.  As it is, I am very confident we will easily reach 2 million lindens by the end of the Faire, and that is double last year’s end of Faire amount.  We’ve achieved that through our Creators bringing out new lines and helping promote them at the Faire, the amazing promotion, website and blogs, fantastic entertainers who shared their time and passion and the great auctions.

[10:08]  Ember Farina: Oh and your specding ability has helped as well LOL

[10:09]  PacificBlue Hanly: The what?

[10:09]  Ember Farina: *spending

[10:09]  Ember Farina: Sorry lack of sleep

[10:09]  PacificBlue Hanly: Ohhhhh, lol

[10:09]  Ember Farina: My typonese skills are improving

[10:09]  PacificBlue Hanly: Okies, fair enough. I may not be a creator, but I feel good in spending, lol

[10:11]  PacificBlue Hanly: So, that’s the end of a four hour interview for somebody who really doesn’t want to be interviewed. I have enough material to write this up, just need a picture. Will you be avoiding me at the Trinity Sisters by hiding behind some fireworks?

Insert a chase around the SIMs as Ember refused to have her photo taken until I threatened her with putting a blank card up here with a question mark on it.

You may have found Ember Farina around the Fantasy Faire SIMs in ancient dragon form (she logged out half way in flight, and on logging back in, crashed down onto the head of some poor Creator out there), an eloquent blonde Fae, or lately Ember’s spent some time swimming around as a Mer.If you were Dagmar, you may even have found one moment to kiss her.

Ember’s hope to hit the 2 million Linden mark for Relay for Life was met only an hour or so after this interview. In fact, the Fantasy Faire has raised over 2.5 Million Lindens, all to fight cancer, and to give back lives. Congratulations to all of us, and especially to Ember Farina and the FFC team.

And so, I’ll leave Ember Farina flicking her tail and zipping away from me, having finally caught my fish and pinned her down squirming long enough for an interview. Even though I’m not a fisherman, I know it’s best to eventually let the good ones out of the net, and back into the waters they feel at home in. Until next time, Ember Farina…

And Thank You!!!

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