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Help Jason Scott, creator of the computer history documentaries "BBS" and "GET LAMP", produce three more documentaries at once.
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Jason Scott

573 backers pledged $118,801 to help bring this project to life.

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ARCADE begins editing

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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.

Onward!

The Documentary Year Begins, and An Example of a Threat

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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.

The Real Deal.

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You've been kind.

You've been understanding.

You've been patient.

That has to end.

No, it's time to get real on these documentaries. Yes, I've been filming. Yes, I've been gathering interviews and shots and generally putting things into piles. But as you've seen from my previous postings and maybe by watching me online, I've been pretty busy with a lot of other things. My life, really, became filled with all sorts of things that were in the same spirit and importance as the documentaries, but which were not the documentaries.

This past week, I hit Inbox Zero (my e-mail was well past 100 intense, waiting-for-me tasks). This past week, I had something I worked on for three years get millions of visitors, and ensured that all that work really, honestly meant something and changed the world (a little bit). And I began setting up my room and home, properly, and correctly, to be a base of operations for filming and editing.

Nitty Gritty

Here is where I think things stand.

Arcade is, if not done, very close to completion in the filming phase. I might come back and do a few additional interviews and shots, but I could probably have a good movie as is (and obviously I want a great movie). So I'm really well along.

6502 needs significant filming of specific historical figures, and could use another round of intensely knowledgeable programmer types, just to have, and B-Roll is definitely welcome. But it is definitely a great, passionate pile of footage.

Tape is and continues to be the runt - the other two are dominating, and Tape needs a LOT more material. I have lots of interviews lined up, but they need to be done. B-Roll as well. I know who I want and who to talk to - it's just the first two have been taking precedence.

Goals

My GOAL is to have Arcade and 6502 in basically final cut form by the end of 2015. That's very, very ambitious and I may have to choose one to go forward into refinement with, before returning to the other after it is shipped. But 2015 is the Documentary Year. I want something of mine in a preview or final showing before Christmas 2015. I want it to be good. I want it to be fun. I want it, in other words, to be something that people are glad they supported me on.

I am now focused at this goal, and I will be doing some very intense planning and setup in the next month. I will be doing some specific travel in support of filming, and I intend to be talking people's faces off about my big documentary projects. 

What's Needed

At the moment, I'm fine. I've got everything I need. Your kickstarter money enabled me to be REALLY well prepped for shooting, and the footage looks and sounds amazing. The people are emotional, the places evocative, and the whole thing will be something I'm very proud to have done. At this point, I'm pretty sure I'll be done with filmmaking (although who knows) after these are done, but what a way to go out. Six documentaries! What a set!

Let's Not Do This Again

And by "This", I mean not have me talk to you for half a year. I have a lot of cleanup to do to get myself more reachable, and I have a lot of prep to do for all the content and material I have. But don't let me do this to you again. Harass me, Check up on me. Ask questions. You bought the right to demand answers.

It's showtime.

But First...

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Both of my currently running Kickstarters are being aimed to this entry.

First, yes, progress is made on both, and those will be separate entries from this one. If your reaction is "I just want to hear about the kickstarter progress", then dump this entry and move onto the next one for each Kickstarter as it's posted. I will not blame you.

 This is primarily about a project of mine that's been years in the making that just went global and has set the entire world's regard for emulation and computer history on its ear. I thought it best to share with you all what that was.

I've referenced, in various places, the work I've been involved with in JSMESS, which is a Javascript porting of the MESS/MAME emulators, allowing them to be run in a browser with no difficulty. It has been years of work herding volunteers and making my case for why this is a critical next step in computer and software history. 

There have been incremental breakthroughs, additional collections of software at the Internet Archive using this project, and now, finally, the Internet Archive has announced three separate, massive collections of instantly-playable vintage software going back decades. They include:

The Internet Arcade - One thousand instantly-playable 1970s-1990s video arcade games.

The Console Living Room - 2,300 playable game cartridges from 21 console systems.

The Software Library - 24,000 (!) pieces of software for Apple II, Atari 8-bit, and ZX Spectrum.

There are other sub-collections, like one of historical business software, but these are the biggies. And with so many programs up and so many things to explore, it was inevitable that one of them would catch fire. 

It turned out to be the arcade.

I probably should have guessed that, but there you go.... the Internet Arcade broke wide.

This was not a minor thing - from when the collections were mentioned on the weekend of November 4th, the Internet Archive was hit with first a largish, and then an unprecedented amount of traffic. On this past Tuesday, the Archive received roughly 5.1 million visitors in a single day, the largest single day in its entire history. (A normal day is 2 million, for the record.) We had hundreds of thousands of people playing games, running software, and messing around with long-dormant and long-lost software and doing so instantly, with no plugins, and even with some compatibility with USB gamepads. 

It even made the TV news:

And a game show.

In one fell swoop, last week, Emulation went Mainstream. Vintage Computing as a visceral concept went mainstream. People can have this explained to them now. They can be shown how these programs can live again, and people can discuss the history and parameters of long-lost software by just referring each other to URLs. It is a pretty big deal.

It also has had a lot of my attention.

Work on both my kickstarters did not stop during this time, but things were slower than they could be. 

I wanted it clear, for both Kickstarters, that this "slowish" time is over. I am now totally geared up to working on all my outstanding projects and getting. things. done. 

I appreciate your incalculable, intense patience with me. I hope this new announcement shows that it was not wasted time. But I have a film to finish, a podcast to record, and a lot of eagerly waiting people to make happy. 

More entries follow.