Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Show and Tell

I was recently reminded of the old tale of "how I got into writing roleplaying games". The weird thing is, it wasn't anything to do with gaming, it was movies. Neill Blomkamp.

You've probably seen online the recent announcement that Neill Blomkamp, the genius of the high-tech, super-realistic sci-fi genre and director of District 9, and most recently Chappie, was going to direct a new Alien movie, starring Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn. This rather excellent news stemmed from conversations Blomkamp had had with Sigourney Weaver while filming Chappie, and his imagination was fired up. From what I could tell he just wanted to make an Alien sequel, did some designs, some concept artwork, and the project kinda stalled. So, he put it on his Instagram account, saying he was disappointed...

The internet went wild. The internet spoke.

The world wanted to see Blomkamp's Alien sequel, and Fox listened. They greenlit the project, everyone's happy. The fans get the Alien sequel they want. Fox are ensured the interest is there for an expensive movie.

This isn't the only time this has happened, and recently too. The awesome Gillian Anderson was on the Nerdist podcast being her usual hilarious and brilliant self. Naturally, the topic of The X-Files came up. In a jokey way, she asked "Do you think people want a new X-Files?" and listeners were encouraged to show their support by spreading the tag #XFiles2015. Again, the internet answered in their thousands, and Fox listened. Lo and behold, Fox announces the return of The X-Files for a six episode event series. Fantastic!

Though that was a little different, and maybe a little off topic. Any excuse to mention Gillian Anderson. I know... sorry...

Maybe it would be better to use the Deadpool movie as another example. A film the studio had very little faith in - but a short "sample" video to show off the tone and type of movie it would be ends up online, and the massive internet response means that the studio - oh, look... it's Fox again - can make a film that they have an audience for. Clever...

Other examples could be said to include the current spate of "fan videos" that populate Youtube - incredibly high quality short movies such as "Dirty Laundry" or "Judge Minty", that are made by filmmakers who want to prove to the  world that their vision, their creative ideal, is what the world wants. It's like they're making short "showreel" videos, hoping a studio takes note, and gives them the greenlight, or a job.

And that brings me back to Blomkamp again, with his short "Alive in Joburg" which really made everyone aware of his work and really lead to District 9.


What does this have to do with RPGs I hear you say?

I guess it's really just a case of being able to show (a) that you can do it, and (b) what you have in mind. Then you have hope that (c) someone likes it enough to have faith in you.

When I wanted to get into roleplaying game writing oh-so-many years ago, back in the late 80's, I wrote to West End Games, asked for guidelines and if it was okay if had a go at writing an adventure for their Ghostbusters game. You can read about how their positive feedback kept me trying here.

And then when I first talked to Eden Studios about writing for them, for their All Flesh Must Be Eaten line, they said "Sure, show us you can write!" - so I submitted a complete supplement to them. While it wasn't what they wanted there and then, I proved I knew the system and was willing to do the work - and they gave me the task of putting together Terra Primate... and the rest is history.


That said, my head is full of crazy ideas. Games and settings, licenses and designs that I'm convinced would be popular but I can't just publish. So, inspired by Blomkamp, instead of just leaving them in notebooks and as files on the computer, I thought I'd polish them up and put them out as an open letter - a pitch, of sorts - to show the world what I had in mind.

The many notebooks for WILD

If they're licensed properties, they're not designed to infringe on any copyright - they're just ideas for cool games I had in mind that I wanted to share. Who knows, maybe the IP owners will like what they see and think it's an idea worthy of pursuing.

So, if you see a post on here called "Blomkamping", pay it no mind. It's just me, airing the crazy creations that circle my mind. Who knows where it may lead...

No comments: