Even if he hadn't gone into Second Skin with the intent to prove a point, that doesn't mean that the experience wouldn't end up changing prior-held thoughts and beliefs, though. "It made me question a lot of things," he admits, "I was thinking a lot more about the future, and what is happening within our world today that is the future, and how to look at it and use it to our benefit."
As the stories in the documentary vary wildly in tone, so did his point of view. Over the years making the film, he says that there was lots of oscillation between "This is really good, the most empowering and incredible thing I've ever seen," and "This is the worst thing to happen to humanity." On the one hand, he'd seen how people with real-world disabilities could spread their wings and thrive in the online space. On the other, he had seen how crippling an addiction to MMOGs could truly be.
Even so, says Escoriaza, that isn't just a problem of online games. Everyone has their vices, whether drugs, shopping, chocolate or gambling, and if someone hits a rough patch - a dark period - in their life, "something that is benign to begin with becomes a problem."
But are MMOGs and online worlds ultimately positive or negative things for people? That's a question that Escoriaza says he desperately wanted to avoid in Second Skin - because it simply isn't as clear. "Personally, I think that virtual space IS the real world in a way, and the real world is virtual space. Very few things in my real life are real - I live in a house with air conditioning, I never walk on grass, I go from my home, to my car, to work, to my car, to home. Everything is inside this little virtual space I've created. It might be real life, but it isn't nature."
"We've all created all of these different spaces that we feel comfortable in. Is it good or bad? Well, is life good or bad? I believe life is good, so then I believe virtual spaces are good - and they are good, they do things that are good. A small section of the populace finds something detrimental, but we focus on that small section ... but we do that with everything. If you watch the news, it's all negative - who died, what horrible things happened in our real life, and we look at the online space and scrutinize it."
"Most of the stories that come out of the online space are about love and community and finding good things. Though there are very negative aspects to it, overall it is very positive."