Dungeons & Dragons, a game that changed the world.
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: A DOCUMENTARY
2014 marks the 40th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons, a game that is, simply put, a cultural phenomenon.
Whether you know it or not, you may be playing Dungeons & Dragons. Any computer game you play, any role-playing game you play, any online profile you fill out, have their elements and DNA rooted in Dungeons & Dragons. It's a game that has had far-lasting, powerful and yet subtle influence in our culture.
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.
Dungeons & Dragons is a game beloved by its fans. A game that brings family and friends together, creates communities, societies and sub-cultures. D&D teaches. We have heard countless stories of gamers who have delved deeper, studying history, language, science and math purely for the desire to be better players. Gamers have created lifelong friendships because of this game and come in all walks of life; firefighters, educators, computer programmers, entrepreneurs, and yes, even a few documentary film-makers.
FILMING THE DOCUMENTARY
We love this game and the people that we've met while shooting it. They deserve our best efforts to create something really special. And you, our audience, also deserve something special, to know the story of D&D. A story that needs to be told so that people know how important Dungeons & Dragons has been in our culture. That's why we've set out to create a definitive look at Dungeons & Dragons. And we need a lot of help.
We've already shot hours of footage and spent the better part of a year putting this project together. It's been an amazing experience. But we've done all that we can and spent as much as we can afford. We still have a long, challenging road ahead of us.
We need to interview people all over the country, find folks who were there at its creation, talk to experts to explain to us why this is such an important game. We also have archival footage to find and pay for. Once we get it "into the can", we then have to cut all of that footage together. We need to edit, add music and include some fun graphics, etc. We then have to sound mix it, master it and put all the finishing touches to make it look great.
And we'd like to get all of it finished by 2014, the 40th anniversary of the first publication of Dungeons & Dragons, when the first boxed set was released.
The good news is, we travel light. With almost 40 years of film making experience between the three of us, we know where to cut corners and shave time without ruining the integrity of the film. We're filling in where we need to and putting on different hats. With just the three of us, we have to. But now, we need your support to elevate this project to a new level. That means hiring a small crew and paying them slightly more than indentured servant wages.
Well, because we love the idea of Kickstarter. We think that Dungeons & Dragons (the game and the documentary) is a perfect fit for this grand experiment. It's a game that's affected millions of lives and there's a built-in community behind it. It was a game made for groups of people and we felt it was a natural conclusion that it should be a film made by groups of people.
That's where you come in. We need your support. It's an expensive project and yes, we are asking for a lot of money. But rest assured, transparency will be our focus and our mission. We will be updating our blog, sharing on our social media sites, sending out reports and making sure that every dollar we spend is accounted for. You will be with us the entire way, at every interview, during the edit and at the mastering. We will need your support making decisions, helping us spread the word and see us through the moments of despair.
This is what makes the Kickstarter idea so exciting for us. That you, our investors, will be with us, that together we can make a great film. Something we can all look back on and say, "yeah, you know that cool little doc about D&D, I was a part of that."
WHY WE NEED WHAT WE NEED
Making a movie isn't cheap, but we've managed to cobble together some figures that might help explain what we need and why need it.
If we get our goal of $150,000, we get to shoot the film. This is the minimum we need for actual production, crew, equipment, flights and lodging.
If we get $250,000, we get to edit, add music, mix the sound, add some graphics and do the Mastering. We get to pay for the archive footage, which, we are learning, is expensive. This pays for all the finishing costs. The $250K level brings everyone to the first of our FIRST STRETCH GOAL, a beta version of our smartphone app: GAMER FINDER. Find gamers around you using your smartphone's geo-tagging features. Now, if you want to play a game and your friends are too busy, just use your app to find gamers near you.
At the $500,000 level, we get to market the film. Yes, marketing is expensive. Even the extra $250K is never enough. This helps us send it out to film festivals (Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, to name a few) and eventually, cross our fingers, sell the film to a distributor so they can get it to theaters. The $500K level brings everyone to our SECOND STRETCH GOAL (and this one, we are very excited about). Everyone who donated $100 or more will automatically receive the Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary Companion Book. This beautifully bound, illustrated book, published by Green Ronin and edited by James Lowder, will chronicle the creation of the documentary and will include essays from interviewees and other special guest contributors. Those who payed less than the $100, will be given the opportunity to increase their pledge to the $100 (or more) level and we will send the book along with your other rewards.
If you can't help us monetarily, help us by spreading the word. Share your stories on our social media sites, follow up on what we're doing with our blog and website. The more people know about this documentary, the better we can get the word out about how influential this game truly is. Everyone should know the legacy of Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson and how they changed the world. We hope that with this documentary, they finally get their due.
A FEW CLIPS
- At the $3,000 Level, you can have this one-of-a-kind item. Once someone snatches this reward up, it's gone. What you are pledging for is a Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary Banner that we've had specially made. We will have everyone who either worked on the film or was interviewed sign their autograph. Plus some special guests.
PS If you go to our Facebook page, you can take a sneak peek at who has already signed it.
- Our 3rd $100 Reward is here. This exclusively-designed shirt by local Brooklyn, graphic artist, Kay Kramme, will have a limited run. Order yours now with a copy of the film.
- At the $150 Level, we have two new Rewards to offer.
Diesel LaForce, famed illustrator who has provided illustrations for many of the first D&D manuals, such as Deities and Demigods and The Shrine of Tomoachan is helping our efforts by creating these two new Premium Rewards. Here is a quick look at some of his iconic work.
D&D artist Diesel LaForce will create a poster-sized print of artwork based off the iconic Greyhawk cover illustration from 1976. The pen and ink print will feature a full scene inspired by the artwork created by Greg Bell of a warrior in battle with the dreaded beholder. This artwork is a limited edition of 300, signed and numbered by the artist. It is being commissioned exclusively for our Kickstarter premium.
D&D artist Diesel LaForce will do a poster-sized print of artwork based off the iconic Player’s Handbook cover illustration from 1978. The pen and ink print will feature a full scene inspired by the artwork created by Dave Trampier of the adventurers pillaging a temple. This artwork is a limited edition of 300, signed and numbered by the artist. It is being commissioned exclusively for our Kickstarter premium.
PS Backers who pledge for either of these two posters will also get the DIgital Download of the Documentary.
PEOPLE WE'D LIKE TO THANK
- Kira Smith, Tavis Allison, Vincent Rodriguez, Raul Mandru & Peter Ramos.
Yes, we do plan on having region-free discs available to those pledging from foreign territories.
And Yes, we also plan to have multi-language options on the discs (DVD or Blu-Ray). Although we don't have a complete list of the languages that will be used, we imagine they will the standard languages used on most disc releases.
At the last moment before we launched, our $100 pledge reward fell through. We are working on several other rewards that will fit into the $100-$225 range, but we are still finalizing the details. We should be able to post them soon. Everyone who has pledged will be given the opportunity to upgrade to the new reward levels. Also everyone who has given us $100 and chose the $75 reward will be allowed to choose between the new $100 reward or stay with the $75 reward.