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Help Jason Scott, creator of the computer history documentaries "BBS" and "GET LAMP",  produce three more documentaries at once.
Help Jason Scott, creator of the computer history documentaries "BBS" and "GET LAMP", produce three more documentaries at once.
573 backers pledged $118,801 to help bring this project to life.

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Cold Hard Facts


Greetings and hello!

Fact: I am going to finish three documentaries. My personal enthusiasm for TAPE is currently low, but that is likely to change - the story is interesting and complex and I like those kinds of stories. The other two are progressing and I intend to finish them.

Fact: I am taking a very long time to do these documentaries. I do not have a proper framing of the time scope for the projects, but as soon as I know, you know.

Fact: I've come to feel like Documentaries are fundamentally incompatible with the idea of Kickstarter. Documentaries are organic and come along, with shifts and movements and different goals coming along as they go. Kickstarter wants you to say that you know how to make copper bowls and can promise 100 copper bowls within three months. It raises so many expectations and people who back documentaries on kickstarter almost always have people going "this is kind of taking a long time". Meanwhile, I watched three documentaries over the last month at a film festival with production times of six years, five years, and four years. They just take a lot of time, and they're very involved.

Fact: I hope that some of the things I've accomplished in the general world with regards to the Internet Archive, the DEFCON Documentary, and other work at least has provided you with entertainment and information of the style and hope you get from the coming documentaries. For example, releasing 5500 pages of scanned Infocom material from the GET LAMP production:

Fact: I realize that for some of you, all this I'm saying is of no interest to you and your specific feelings are that you gave me money and you do not feel secure about me or my prospects for the future films. If this is the case, I wish to offer you a full refund of your kickstarter backing. I don't want anyone in the backer pool who distrusts or resents me - I've had enough rough spots working on the films themselves and the rest of the natural course of life. So do get in contact with me and I'll make arrangements.

Fact: I am humbled and honored people have been believing in me so far. I have made contact with some of my collaborators (musicians, packaging) for the documentaries and the process continues. Interviews continue to happen, editing as well. I have cut off the first half of 2016 from almost any travel or speaking appearances to focus all the time I can on these productions.

That's what's going on, and I thank you for your communications and support in the projects so far.

Editing is Boring - Also, Apple II Reunion


Sometimes people come to me seeking advice on making documentaries, and I give a lot of advice where it's needed, but probably the most important one is Editing is Boring.

To do it right, you have to go through all the footage, mark off or render out what you think MIGHT have meaning down the line, and then keep going. All day. All night. Whenever you have time. Stuff you filmed, that you LIVED through, but have to live through again. I run it at 125% speed, but that only gets back a little time. It's just running the footage as I can and listening. I can't have other music playing (although if I put something on very low, I can sometimes get away with it) and I DEFINITELY can't be watching anything else while I do it. It's just.... so long and tedious.

The highlights, though, are when someone says something that makes me sit up, set it aside as a "VITAL KEEPER" and I know that down the line, audiences will laugh or gasp when they hear it. But I just wanted you to know... it's not you, if you do these projects. It's really that boring. 

For 6502 people:

A couple weeks back, I was lucky enough to get an invitation to an Apple II Reunion hosted by John and Brenda Romero. I flew into California, set up a camera, and recorded a few interviews with some Apple II greats. The sound was not pristine (although I can work with that), and I definitely made some nice contacts and got some good footage. Here's a collection of photos and screenshots from that:

These quick interviews and raw footage will be going to very shortly, as agreed upon with the Romeros. It was a great time and I'm happy to share it.

ARCADE begins editing


ARCADE is the first of the documentaries to enter the editing phase. I'm currently building the clip-library of the footage shot so far. 

If you look carefully at that timeline, you'll see this initial drop/pass is currently at 28 hours long. Some of that is because I'm still synchronizing/sorting audio tracks, and the rest is likely because there are blocks of up to 15 minutes in between sets of interviews or shots. I only started this a day ago, so I bet it'll look radically different very soon.

Turns out, having it go over 24 hours kind of annoys the editing program, but since I'm getting it down to something manageable soon, that annoyance will hopefully go away.

Why now?

Well, two main reasons.

First, ARCADE has come in as the front runner in terms of material. 6502 has a bunch of interviews done but has some vital ones left to do. TAPE is lagging mostly because I'm still working out the breadth and approach. So it's time to get cracking on ARCADE as a functioning show.

Second, I finally had a breakthrough in the direction and approach.

It came, as good ideas often do, over lunch. I was having a lunch and walk with my close friend Chris Orcutt, (who writes great novels, look him up) and we were discussion variant approaches to writing, from journeyman to the back-half slog of the over-successful author forced to go back to the well too many times.

I mentioned how I was working, internally, through where the ARCADE documentary, and then, right in a flash, I had the whole movie laid out and constructed in my mind. Poof.

So, I immediately cleared out the internal editing drive of my machine and I've begun editing ARCADE. I suspect a smattering of interviews and pick-up shots to complete it, but I think I know where it's going.

And that's how it happens. It's going to be quite a movie.

Silly (but required) Note about the Websites

Earlier this week, the TEXTFILES.COM machine took a supreme nosedive. The drive controller and the two drives died out a big death.

I've gotten MOST of the services and websites up, but some are still to be re-added and others are running out of date versions. I'm still tracking down and cleaning up backups, while also doing doc prep and my archiving work.

I just didn't want anyone to hit the sites (arcade is up, 6502 and tape is down) and have them think anything bad or sinister. Hard drive failure, that's all.


The Documentary Year Begins, and An Example of a Threat


Hi there, Jason Scott. I make Documentaries.

This is the year when things go full-bore for filming - preparation or production, every day. Thought you should know that. The /cast/ pages are going to become spreadsheets, so don't flip if those are gone - it'll just make it easier for me. Also, if you're following this as a backer and I suddenly mail you, that's me following up on leads. 

Anyway, I wanted to talk about something else.

Part of this job is keeping track of outside forces that influence your work, good or bad. Events, people, news, you name it.

In another six months or so, a movie will come out, called Pixels.

This movie is going to be fucking awful.

It's basically about the idea of a bunch of man-child has-been video game champions, who suddenly find their worldview validated when Aliens not unlike arcade games attack. It's led by Adam Sandler, Josh Gad, and Peter Dinklage in what is an obvious Billy Mitchell reference. The movie is produced by, among others, Seth Gordon, which tells me that this abortion is likely using the King of Kong Life Rights to be made.

How is this an issue?

Well, my documentary is still filming, and I am reasonably worried/concerned about arcade people clamming up, either because this movie is terrible, or because they're being booked away on some sort of embarrassing promotional stuff related to it. 

The result is, I'll be moving very fast this month to arrange interviews ASAP. 

Just wanted to share the kind of stuff that gets my attention, and how I treat it.

God, this movie looks terrible.