"The AMERICAN DREAM can become the AMERICAN NIGHTMARE, if you’re not careful." - Mary Gygax, 1985
In 1969, GARY GYGAX, a family man and an insurance underwriter with an entrepreneurial mind meets DAVE ARNESON, an idle, yet brilliant game designer. Their collaboration would change the world, their families and themselves.
This is the remarkable true life story of the rise and fall of Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson and the people behind the creation of the epic role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons.
THE GREAT KINGDOM explores the personalities behind the game and the families they engendered. This is the saga of the people who brought a company from its humble basement beginnings and transformed it to a multi-million dollar corporation. A story for our time that parallels the rise, fall and redemption of Steve Jobs and echoes the who-invented-what question of the creation of Facebook.
The story of families, both blood and personal bond, affected by the success of the game, a game that brought joy to millions and heartbreak to its creators. What happens to these individuals as they weather through the success; the excess, the betrayals, the downfalls and eventual redemptions, all takes place in THE GREAT KINGDOM.
Who We Are
James, Chris and myself are long-time friends who learned our film-making skills working years in the LA and NYC film communities. For years, we've talked about how much we've wanted to work together on our own films. When we came up with the idea for a documentary on Dungeons & Dragons, we knew it was the perfect project to work on as a team.
We like to tell people that we are film-makers first, gamers second. Chris and I both played D&D when we were younger. When we eventually met years later, there was already a mutual understanding of what "hit points" meant or what "owlbears" were. But more importantly, we knew the thrill and excitement of telling a good story, the basis of any good adventure. Playing D&D helped frame our eventual choice to become film-makers. James was introduced much later, but has grown to appreciate the fun of role-playing and the importance of community. Together, we have created our own small community of film-makers (our own little adventure party), who are dedicated to bringing you this amazing story.
We've traveled all over the Midwest talking to and meeting a lot of amazing people. We've had the privilege of speaking with the folks who were there from the first miniature wargame to the last court ruling. We've met family members of Dave and Gary, their friends, the guys they gamed with and the people who worked with them at TSR. We've been to the old offices and homes where this beloved game was put together. We've consulted with experts who will be on hand to make sure that what we're showing is true and honest. And now that we've finished principal photography, we're ready to move to post production where we can edit and finish the film.
We Need Your Help to Finish This Film
Though it's a labor of love, we still need finishing funds to complete THE GREAT KINGDOM. That's where we need your help. We've gotten it this far using borrowed funds from friends and family and a good chunk of our own, but we need just a little bit more to get it polished, finessed and ultimately finished.
We need $50,000 to finish the film. It's not a lot of money for post production, but with the amazing partners, who are willing to offer us top-tier talent and facilities for bargain-basement rates, we know it can be done. The money we raise on this campaign will pay for:
- Transcribing Edit (both on and off-line)
- Music (and Music Clearance)
- Archive Material
Any funds raised beyond the $50,000 will be used for marketing and promotion. We've shot most of the film. All we need to do now is put it all together. And what an amazing story we have to tell.
This film is for you: the gamer, the documentary film watcher, the student of cultural icons, the nostalgic. You are our audience. In fact, our first audience. This Kickstarter campaign is a call to action. Yes, we need money, but more importantly, we need you to be THE GREAT KINGDOM's ambassadors to the world. We need your help to spread the word and make as much noise as you can about us.
And we need you to be part of our team. Follow us on our social media sites and read about our exciting journey through our boring blog posts and second-hand retweets. As members of our team, you will be with us all the way to the finish line. And please...ask us anything, we're an email away. We've been at this by ourselves for the past year, we'd love the company.
"The essence of a role-playing game is that it is a group, cooperative experience." - Gary Gygax
Music: "Ten Years Gone" by Led Zeppelin, "The Wizard" by Black Sabbath.
Some maps by Dyson Logos. For more info and a look at his work, check out his blog site.
Risks and challenges
With any endeavor like this, there are setbacks and pitfalls. In fact, we know this first-hand.
Some of you may know James and myself from a different D&D documentary project that was started on Kickstarter a couple of years ago. As projects like this go and part of the nature of filmmaking, there were creative differences that led to our new direction and separation from the previous project.
We started from scratch, raising private funds and some of our own to get us to this point. We knew there was an amazing story to tell. And like any complicated story, there will always be room for different interpretations.
So, to those who helped support the previous documentary, we would like to offer a digital, downloadable copy of THE GREAT KINGDOM for FREE. It's our small way of thanking you for your support and patience. All you need to do is email us (TheMostEpicGame@gmail.com) and there will be a copy waiting for you when the film is done.
And to those who are just tuning in, rest assured that we are now more more focused and excited to finish. We've learned from our mistakes and have great mentors to steer the way for us. We anticipate setbacks, that's just the nature of film-making. But we're confident that we can meet our goals and deadlines. And if we don't, you'll be the first to know why and our plan to fix it.
Our goal is to finish. We've worked too hard not to.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)