Interview with a Troupe Leader #5 – Pathmaker Campbell

Most of the dancers in SL are female.  So I thought it would be interesting to get a male perspective on what it’s like to dance and run a dance troupe in SL.  Please welcome Pathmaker!

Path - 4-17-2014



SL Name:  Pathmaker Resident
Display Name:  Pathmaker Campbell
Rez Day: 06-04-2011
Location: Paramount Grand Theater

Name of troupe/group: Paramount Players



What led you to/How did you start dancing in SL?
PC:  I’m a “born entertainer” (i.e. ham) – I love being on stage and and love dancing.  While I’m not a fan of “porn,” I’m definitely interested in “erotica” – both appreciating and creating.

How long have you been dancing?
PC:  Almost three years.  (Three years in July 2014.)

How much time, on average, do you spend in SL each week?
PC:  6 to 8 hours per day, usually.

What made you decide to start a dance group?
PC:  I had an SL “career” going, dancing at two theaters owned by others, but became frustrated at the restrictions upon my own creativity.  One of the things I try to push at the Paramount is for the performers to stretch their “creative wings.”

Do you have your own theatre/venue?  If yes, what is the most difficult thing about owning a venue?
PC:  (Smiles) The most difficult thing about owning our own venue is paying the rent!!!

What’s the hardest part of running a successful dance troupe?
PC:  I love doing it – I guess I haven’t found the “hard” part yet!!!  My SL partner and wife Lotta Difference makes having and running the Paramount a true joy.

What kind of shows does your troupe do?  (ie – variety shows, shows with a theme or storyline, etc.) 
PC:  Our main “staple” is variety burlesque shows.  These shows often have “themes” (such as spies, travel, Halloween) but we also have Dancer’s Choice where the dancers can choose any subject.  We also perform a couple of “Plays” per year.  This is a big part of MY stretching my creativity – as I write, and/or adapt plays to be performed in SL.  Our first play was an original adaptation of a mixture of George Bernard Shaw’s “Caesar and Cleopatra” and Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” into a “Musical Sex Comedy.”  I’m currently at work on revising it and we plan to present it in June this year.  The other play we performed was my adaptation of “The Rocky Horror Show”, which we presented last November, December and January.  It was our biggest success so far and received RAVE REVIEWS.   🙂

How much time, on average, do you spend on a new production/show?
PC:  Regular shows – we usually rehearse weekly for a month.  Plays take MUCH longer – much more preparation and rehearsals.

Do you do multiple performances of the same show?  If yes, explain the reasoning behind it.
PC:  Yes – because we like to make our shows look very good and polished, we spend a month on preparation and then run the show for 3 – 4 Saturdays, usually taking the last Saturday in a month “off” – to work on the next show.

Does your troupe rehearse before a performance?  If yes, how often?
PC: Rehearsal is the life blood of our shows.

How long does it take you to create a set (from start to finish)?
PC: Lotta and some of our Dancers are builders.  I am not.  🙂  I have ideas, but I leave it to the builders to execute them.

Name your ‘go-to’ store for dance animations.

What dance HUD do you primarily use?  Why?
PC:  +AFY+ IDance HUD because it is extremely versatile.

What problems/difficulties in performing group numbers are there that are not present during a solo performance?
PC:  It all depends on the number.  We use the AFY Hud to synchronize dancing – IF synchronization is desired.  The biggest problem used to be getting people lined up where they should be before the curtain opens.

Do you use a movement system?  Which one?  Is there a reason you prefer one over the other?
PC:  We use the Spot On movement system, but not exclusively.

Do you use other HUDs?  What are they? 
PC:  The Dvandva NoteCard Reader – particularly for plays and skits.  It is a great help in timing dialogue.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten about dancing?
PC:  “Remember Path, if you screw up, the audience will not know.  Unless you try to ‘Fix it.’  Just continue on as though you did that on purpose.”

Do you emote?  Why or why not?
PC:  At one time we required emotes for all acts; however, we have rescinded that requirement.

Where do you find your music?
PC: I have a huge collection of CD’s – I also buy individual songs through

Do you make your own mixes?  If yes, where do you find music and/or sound effects?  What about voice-overs?
PC:I have a nice sound editor and do most of our mixes.  The editing software came with a large sound effects library – and I have purchased separate large sound effects library software.

What are your preferences when it comes to dance performances?  – Large/small sets; particles/none; effects/none; faders/none; emotes/none; movers/none; lighting/none
PC:  We like for our sets to emphasize the dancer(s)/performers – and in the case of plays to help tell the story.  Our stage is rather small compared to some – we don’t like the sets to “swallow” the performer.  The shows are about dancing – which includes the dancers and the music.  Everything else exists to support and enhance the dancer.  Our sets are not the “stars” of our shows.  We have, however, received compliments saying that we have “Broadway quality” sets.

What’s your favorite store for costuming?
PC: The store that has the costume we need at the most reasonable price.  🙂

What’s the most embarrassing or frustrating thing that has happened to you during a performance?
PC:  I was performing at a theater in a large RP sim – toward the end of the act I clicked on SOMETHING in the theater – accidentally – and was teleported out into the middle of a crowded street.  I was not wearing a stitch of clothing at the time.

Do you ever consider how an audience member’s computer setup might affect their enjoyment of your performance?  (ie – particles, effects, lag, etc.)
PC:  Lotta, our builder, is extremely aware of the fact that not everyone is using a supercomputer to enjoy our shows.  She is a master at designing and building theaters with “understated elegance” – without using a lot of prims.  We are VERY “prim conservative” in a continuing effort to keep lag as minimal as possible.  The conservatism pays off by us not having to demand that our audience members get rid of all their scripted objects.

What’s the best comment/compliment you’ve ever received about your dancing?
PC:  During the curtain call of one of our performances of The Rocky Horror Show a member of the audience shouted, “I’m not even a fan of the Rocky Horror Show, but that was the best thing I’ve ever seen done in Second Life.”  That was one heck of a compliment.

Do you have a blog/SL group/website/flickr/facebook/other account you’d like to share?
PC:  Blog – The Paramount Grand Theater    Facebook – Paramount Playhouse

What’s the most helpful piece of advice you would give someone new to dancing in SL?
PC: Realize that you need to be practically obsessed with dancing/performing.

Where is your favorite spot to spend time in SL if you are not dancing?
PC:  LOL. The Paramount Grand Theater – working on upcoming projects.

What is one thing you’d like to see ‘arrive’ in SL dance?  (Something that is not currently possible.)
PC:  Actually I would LOVE to see a departure of any MESH clothing that requires an alpha.  Mesh clothing and props are not acceptable on our stage.

Are there any particular difficulties associated with running a theater on an adult sim, as well as doing shows that include full nudity?  Is the nudity a help or hindrance in getting audiences?  
PC:  A minor problem has been people wanting to hang out on our sim in the nude.  I can highly recommend several nude resort sims – we aren’t one of those.  Not everyone wants to see nudity – on stage – at a beach – whatever.  It’s like cable TV – if one doesn’t want to watch – change the channel.  We are not about porn.  Everything we do we try to do with class.  I happen to think that God’s most beautiful and wonderful creation is the human body – and in SL all of us can have bodies . . . perhaps better than those we currently have in RL.  Our shows are intended to be somewhat erotic – quite often VERY humorous, and definitely classy as they use the beauty of Homo Sapiens to entertain.

If you haven’t seen one of the Paramount shows, be sure to check it out.  I’m a fan of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I thought their adaptation was amazing!  Thank you to Path for taking time out of his busy schedule to be interviewed.