Tuesday, November 18, 2008

If I can't find a reindeer...

When the thought first came to him, Farmer Hoggett dismissed it as mere whimsey. But, like most of his hair-brained ideas, it wouldn't go away.
- Babe
I've been watching a lot of geek documentaries lately, and scouring the internet for more. I made a Top 10 list of the ones I've seen so far, and have been thinking about what subjects seem to be missing their own piece of the geekumentary pie.

Anime, for example, seems to be a very documentable geek sub-genre. From what I've learned, there have been at least two films completed on the subject, but it seems that neither of them got past the film festival stage (at least not yet). Another really great topic would, I'm convinced, be board games. There are two documentaries on Scrabble (Wordplay and Scrabylon), but that's not the sort of board game I'm talking about.

I mean the beautiful, often cerebral games coming out of Germany and other places that are not Wal-Mart. We're talking highly strategic games beyond RISK, though just as many are casual and don't take hours to play. There are conventions (many) and tournaments, and geeks gathering in groups at any house with lots of table space, staying up till 3 AM playing together (I'm not one of these). Even some snobbery towards the "lowest common denominator" style games cranked out here in the US. You know, ALL the hallmarks of a great geekumentary and I haven't even scratched the surface. OK, they probably dont dress up for the most part, though I did don a cloak one night when we were playing Mystery of the Abbey.

So I Google away for "board game documentary" and there are just no rumblings of any such thing in development. IndieGoGo lists a proposal for a doc based on Monopoly that would chronicle the big Monopoly tournament. That's interesting, I'd watch it, and I didn't know there WAS a "big Monopoly tournament." But that's not the sort of board game I'm talking about.

Then one night, the voice in the back of my head, idly musing, struck up a conversation. Some people out there make documentaries with no prior experience. What if I made a board gaming documentary?

The idea is ludicrous at this point in time. While I do know a few people (read: one) involved in the industry, have a brother who believes in me with film school and grip experience and a professional-grade camera, and have heard that one creator of such games is fairly local, I have two young kids, little free time on my hands, and nothing resembling venture capital. Such an endeavor would require a trip to the the Spiel convention in Germany, as well as treks to Origins, probably the Board Game Geeks con in Texas, and something on the West Coast. It would require hours of filming, no YEARS of filming. Learning how to film, how to edit (or finding someone who knows), and about a million OTHER things I'm not even aware of yet and have no skill in.

But this ludicrous idea... over a week later I'm still thinking about it. And despite all the logic I just laid down, a board game documentary needs to be made.

While it would be incredibly cool to pull it off, and as much as I admire people like Negin Farsad and Greg Maletic, I don't pretend to think that just because they could do it, so can I. As cliche as it sounds, all I really want to do is watch this movie. So is there such a doc in development already and I just don't know about it? If not, could somebody make one before I go tilting at this particular windmill?
But Farmer Hoggett knew that little ideas that tickled and nagged and refused to go away should never be ignored. For in them lie the seeds of destiny.

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