*Originally posted on the Monkey in the Cage Website on September 3, 2012
Today there are countless iterations of the Roleplaying genre. From light touches, like social media where individuals create avatars of themselves for daily play. To the heavy, being the innumerable pen and paper RPG’s, LARP’s etc. Even today’s video games often have you control a singular figure through their storylines. What could be the impetus of all this? Well one group of filmmakers wants to reinforce the claim that the hobby many of our readers enjoy, Dungeons and Dragons, brought the concept of Roleplaying, as a source of entertainment for anyone, into the mainstream.
Recently, while covering Gencon from afar (and by covering I mean following various Twitter folk who attended) I was introduced to the project of three filmmakers Andrew Pascal, Anthony Savini, and James Sprattley to really dig into the history of this pastime that shaped a large portion of my own, and a myriad of others’, childhood. They are currently researching for, and filming a documentary to truly bring to light many of the triumphs and tragedies of this beloved hobby’s nearly 40 year story. In the filmmaker’s words from their Kickstarter site (more on that soon)-
“From its humble beginnings in a basement in Lake Geneva, WI, D&D was created by a group of game enthusiasts and game designers. The story of D&D and its creation spans four decades and is a complicated, heart-breaking story. Imagine “The Social Network”, the creation of Facebook, but no one ends up rich. This is a cautionary tale of an empire built by friends and lost through betrayal, enmity, poor management, hubris and litigation.”
Many of us have played the game or have benefited from its effects on gaming in general, which are certainly plentiful, but the story behind it all may not be completely told to date. At least, it hasn’t been done so in the form of a documentary. Sure, we’ve seen a number of wonderful docs chronicling the stories of individuals affected by the game (i.e. Darkon, The Dungeon Masters), but now we have the chance to get at the roots of how it came to be, and how it has changed.
I for one am anxiously awaiting this film and hope dearly to see it grace the big screen in at least a few film festivals, or better yet have a national release. The trio behind the film is not a set of rookies either; they are all veterans in the film and television industry in both New York and L.A. so you know this is getting a professional treatment.
This brings me to the point I’ve been getting at all along, they need a little assistance. They’ve started a Kickstarter campaign that I want to bring to as many people’s attention as I can. There are currently under 20 days to go, and some of the backer levels net you some truly unique items. Early on you can get a digital copy of the finished film at only $25.00, this of course comes with a number of interesting items. I personally went in at the $75.00 level in order to get a 2-Disc Blu-Ray or DVD with all the supplemental stuff and Never before seen items. I will gladly display such a treasure on my mantel. Some of the higher level awards will get you screen time or even a game of D&D with the filmmakers. All along the way too, many of these awards grants you frequent video snippets delivered via email, totally worth it!
So I urge you all too at least check out the page and spread the word, I know this hobby is as important to many of our readers as it is to me. I think D&D deserves the serious treatment these filmmakers are giving it. They’ve already put their own money up front by shooting hours of footage; let’s give them some assistance to make the best final product possible. We all know that there is more to the hobby than a few die rolls, hit points, and some swigs of Mountain Dew. Why not show the world?