MMORPGs, Antonio Banderas and Ballroom Dancing

March 16, 2006 by

Hi. I read this article in today’s Marketing Magazine Online and thought of our evening of video games in Banff. Some of us spent time at the Habbo Hotel that night. If you got a taste for the Habbo life then, consider going back for ballroom dancing lessons with Antonio Banderas. Ooh la la!


Dancing Habbos promote new movie
Fans of the smooth moves of Antonio Banderas can soon dance with a look-alike, online, in a new promotion for his new film Take the Lead, debuting April 7.

The drama is inspired by the true story of a Manhattan dance teacher who teaches dancing to a group of inner-city youth from New York.

A sponsorship agreement between CHUM Interactive and Alliance Atlantis’ Motion Picture Distribution, in association with interactive gaming company Sulake Canada, will integrate the film’s ballroom dancing theme into CHUM’s Habbo Hotel online community. The online game environment for teens allows participants to move their virtual characters, or “Habbos,” through rooms and interact with each other.

As part of the movie promotion, players can partner their Habbos with other players across Canada to learn “Habbo-style” ballroom dancing from an instructor who resembles Banderas. The four-week campaign involves a virtual dance competition in which players practice and audition to be one of 10 finalist couples. Once selected, they learn new dance steps and compete in a “Take the Lead” competition on April 5 in front of a live Habbo audience. Habbos across Canada can then view video clips for the next week and vote for a winner, to be announced April 12.

“It’s a great example of immersive advertising,” says Heather Gordon, sales manager at CHUM Interactive in Toronto. “All of a sudden the movie-going experience becomes a little less passive and more interactive because they are part of a virtual version of this film.”

The target audience of both properties fit well, she says, as Habbo Hotel’s main demographic is 13- to 20-year-olds who are extremely loyal. “They live for this. They don’t consider brands a negative in the hotel, they actually consider them heroes.”

As part of the campaign, Alliance will own a virtual disco in the Hotel, to be renamed “Take the Lead Dance Hall,” and a billboard inside will link to the film’s website.

Drama classes r us

March 10, 2006 by

Now that life back in the working world has settled down, I can finally post the list of improv exercises Colin guided us through last Wednesday. Here’s a short sample below, but download the whole Word doc for a complete list of descriptions, plus special bonus exercises!

(Boy, I feel like I’m copy writing a commercial now.)

And as an aside, I was an absolute pleasure to meet all of you. I’ll try and post from time to time on this central blog, but we’re all administrators. Feel free to post items yourselves as well!



Objective: Energizer, paying attention, spontaneity
The first step in this exercise is to ask participants to secretly choose two people in the group — one person will be the “sun” and the second person to be the “moon”. The moon is the protector, whereas the sun is the enemy. The second step is for the group to imagine that they are at a cocktail party and then are instructed to wander through the room speaking to each of the guests. While each participant is moving through the room trying to strike up a conversation they must also make sure that at all times their “moon” is always between them and their “sun”.

Positive Energy Transfer (PET)

Objective: Concentration, focus, non-verbal communication.
Let the participants form a circle. One person starts the exercise by establishing eye contact with another person, and then transferring energy by an outward-directed handclap towards that person. The receiver accepts the energy with an inward-directed handclap. He / she establishes eye contact with another member of the group and the energy transfer continues. Once the group is comfortable with one PET moving through the group, two, three, or more PET’s can be added.

Hand Guide
Objective: Non-verbal communication, peripheral vision and trust development.
Members of the group find a partner. They name off as partner “A” and partner “B”. Both partners face each other a few feet apart. “A” will start as the “Guide” and “B” will take the role of the “Follower”. The “Guide” will lift the palm of one hand — arm length in front of the “Follower”. Instruct the group to think of an imaginary string that is attached to the “Follower’s” nose — all the way to the palm of the “Guide”. The distance of the string is to stay the same at all times. The “Guide” gently leads the “Follower” throughout the room, being very conscious not to knock into obstacles or other participants. It is important to stress that the “Guide” must move slowly, as the objective is not to outsmart or trick their partner, but rather to gently guide them through the room. After a few minutes the two partners can change roles.

Yes, and
Objective: Non-blocking techniques, story creation, accepting ideas.
Divide the group into pairs. The exercise starts when one person asks the second “Do you remember the time when we…?” and then elaborates on the story until the second person enthusiastically interjects answering “Yes! And…” and continues the story. The story passes back and forth several times with the participants always beginning their response with “Yes! And…”

Soooo not hungry on Friday morning

March 3, 2006 by

I promised to come to breakfast, but they stopped serving this morning before I got anywhere near hungry this morning. I’m sorry to have missed all of you who were planning to say one last goodbye, but I bet I see some of you on the Banff Airporter!

I also wanted to say — the Daily Show (so funny) had a segment on social computing last night. It was a hialrious look at technologies like mySpace, Friendster and others, from an irreverent young reporter. Happily, Comedy Central has put it online! Check it out.

Enjoy your weekends, folks!

After-dinner Entertainment

March 3, 2006 by

Cheryl treated us to a wonderful story-telling session, including a native song and dance!

Buffet Moments

March 3, 2006 by

Ceramics and Individual Photos

March 1, 2006 by

I was asked several times during the program about getting copies of the photos taken during the ceramics and blogging sessions. I’ve pulled them all together into a single zipped (compressed) file that you can download onto your computers.

 A word of warning: this file is quite large! This means it may take a while for it to download, especially on slower Internet connections.

Download the photos (150 MB)

Once you have downloaded the file, you will need to unzip it. WinZip is usually already installed on most Windows machines, so try double-clicking the file and see if WinZip opens. Once WinZip uncompresses the file, use the Extract button to get the photos out.

If you don’t have WinZip, you can acquire it here.

How to contribute

February 28, 2006 by

You can submit comments/thoughts/gossip (there you go, Michel) one of two ways here.

1) Leave a comment on any of the posts

2) Leave a brand new, fresh entry. Click the ‘login’ link under “Meta” in the right-hand nav. Enter the username and password you set up from your own blog, then you’ll be able to click the ‘New post’ link up top in this blog. Dont forget to sign out when youre done.

Actually, thought of a third. Update your own blog, then post here, telling us all to go visit you. More pageviews for you!

Speaking of advice

February 27, 2006 by

What’s one piece of advice you’d like to give to all your fellow participants? Login and go crazy.

Greetings, one and all…

February 27, 2006 by

Consider this your virtual sounding board. Need info? Need advice? Well, here you go. Welcome all!