The thing I find most exciting when I tell people we are making a documentary about D&D is not their initial reactions, which fall into categories of being way-too-excited to quiet laughs of derision, but that when told the story, people invariably become interested and want to know more. This confirms that we have a story that wants and needs to be told.
I knew very little about the history of D&D when we first started. I played when I was a kid and we weren’t sticklers for the rules. We had the books, but they were just as good to eat snacks off of, as they were to read.
As we began to do our research on Gary, Dave, TSR, et al, and talked with people who knew the history, we got a glimpse at just how fascinating their story truly is. The way you have to imagine it is to take the story of Facebook, add the Hatfields & the McCoys, throw in some VH1’s Behind the Music and then make sure everyone has forgotten what really happened. It’s a complex, multifaceted story that keeps unfolding the longer we work on this film. I get excited thinking about it.
We hope that by the time we release this film, it will show the impact of the game in the most compelling way possible.
The one regret is that we didn’t start before Gary and Dave passed away. They have left behind a legacy that I think they themselves have never envisioned fully. They will be missed.
Anthony, James and myself are filmmakers first, gamers second. There have been several very good attempts at documenting Dungeons & Dragons (some of which you can find in our Links Section), but as filmmakers and gamers, we were disappointed. Most of these documentaries covered only the very basic information, “How to Play D&D” or “It was Gary’s invention – No, it was Dave’s invention” or worse, “Look at these funny people playing this nerdy game”. None of which satisfied our curiosity about how this game came to exist.
So, we decided to make our own, a documentary for people who play D&D, have heard of D&D or just want to watch an interesting documentary. We are going to do what those other documentaries have yet to do, which is to tell a comprehensive and definitive story of D&D. At least that’s the hope.
We’re very much in the middle of production, having spent the better part of 2011-2012 getting interviews with some of the key players at TSR, a few historians and a handful of great thinkers. We’ve got a lot more interviews to go, research to do and archive footage to look through. We hope to finish by 2014, the 40th anniversary of the release of the first box set of D&D. Wouldn’t that be something?
This project would not be possible without the gamers who play it. This is our valentine to you all. We make it for you, but we also need your involvement. We need help getting the word out, we need help finding footage or pictures of old-school D&D, and most of all, we need help raising money. And we want you all along for the ride. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and read our blog posts. We want you to be with us every step of the way. You’ll see where we are spending the money, who we are interviewing and what locations we are traveling to. We want to be completely transparent and if you have thoughts, concerns or suggestions, let us know.
We’ve got a long road ahead of us, but as Bilbo Baggins once said, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
Let’s hope the road leads us to a great film.
Not A Gamer?
If you’ve never played D&D, or don’t consider yourself a gamer this section is for you. When we set out to make this movie we decided on two things: make a good movie and make it for everyone, not just gamers. We wanted a movie that could be watched by someone who’s never heard of Dungeons & Dragons.
The tale behind the making of the game is a fascinating story of loose alliances, lost friendships, corporate expansion and persecution.
Dungeons & Dragons and TSR, the company that made it, were the training ground for millions of people within some of the most influential industries of our day. We hope that by the time you see how D&D has influenced computer games and online dating to treatment for soldiers with PTSD, you will see a way that D&D has touched your life.
PS. If you play Angry Birds, guess what…you’re a gamer.