Monday, January 31, 2005

[TV] Is downloading TV shows illegal?

For the moment, I’m posting the short version of the article I’m working up:

TV shows are copyrighted works (Salon, view ad to read) . You need express permission (in the US) at least to record stuff – technically that makes VHS recorders illegal! So, from what I’ve researched, reproducing and distributing shows that you receive free-to-air, that you don’t pay anything for is against the law.*

However, once something has been broadcast, what the consumer does with it is out of the broadcaster’s control. A network, production company or union can discourage re-distribution by imposing legal penalties and using anti-piracy technology (NY Times, registration may be required). Discourage it, but not eliminate it.

Why would you download a TV show? For starters: you can’t get a show in the country you’re in or the way it’s translated into a foreign language is terrible. Or the free-to-air TV network doesn’t treat the show you’re interested in (say a genre show like Buffy or a difficult to sell comedy like Arrested Development) with any consistency or they even cancel it. Maybe you want to watch a show back-to-back because the continuity works better that way. You could even be interested in something your free-to-air network will never show.

The biggest reason though: you've heard about something that's on in the States and is great (for instance, Lost) and you want to join in the on-line discussions, be part of that 'global' experience. In that case, there may be an argument that downloaders are the pivotal opinion-influencers that broadcasters want watching their shows. They'll tell their friends, encourage other viewers.

However, to encourage downloading is to shoot myself in the foot as a creator. One of my motivations for the work I do is to make lasting items of intellectual property that can independently generate revenue for me.

But this monopoly-to-one-to-many distribution model means a business can only count on making a profit on IP once (whether its by DVD sales, subscription or advertiser dollars). After that initial broadcast, a show is re-distributable forever. … And only one person needs to fork over money.

Click for Alternate Broadcast Models

The two conventional models for making money that come to mind are:
1) Subscription TV; and
2) Advertiser funded TV.

Advertiser funded TV comes in the form of commercials you must be forced to watch. The effectiveness of advertising has anecdotally been questioned before. It can also look like product placement that's built into the show.

Cable shows have a more interesting kink when it comes to developing new shows. At the moment they’re hiring diverse talents but many of the teams are ‘knowns’. Say you paid on a show-by-show and download-by-download basis. Paying after a show has been created and shot is okay. A show can still become a hit that way*.

Paying before a show has been created and shot is okay – not so much. This is called the Hostage model – only after enough money has been gathered, does the product get shot / released. People might be fine about contributing to a Hostage funded show (or pilot) from known creative teams, but almost certainly not from unknowns.

Therefore a 3rd stream of TV show creation could emerge. No-budget groups of friends and family creating their own stuff, controlling their own distribution and merchandising, developing their own rep. is a great example of this already happening.

I’ve got lots of links for this post. Over the next few days I’ll build them into the article.

* I've found one dissenting opinion so far, but it's anecdotal and without citation (read OmegaHack's comment on this thread)
** I've speculated elsewhere that they might lack the critical mass to break through. See The Death of Pop Culture.

[VW] XXX Virtual Worlds

Sociolotron – the adults only MMORPG is starting to attract attention. If you're interested, check out Game Girl and Greg Costikyan (the creator of Paranoia) for some commentary and follow-up links.

[TV] Freaks & Geeks: a flaw?

Episode 5 mined sex education, pornography, academic cheating and tear-jerking sob-stories for comedy. It also highlighted the producers’ philosophy of keeping in all the moments where their great actors look dorky. The sight of the gorgeous Linda Cardellini spraying snot and saliva all over herself as she can’t help laughing at Danny’s sob-story might possibly be my series highlight so far.

The show continues to prove itself as great on well-motivated characters within episodes but it lacks all but the vaguest of continuity between episodes. Despite Danny having sex in their kitchen last ep, the Weirs acted as if they were meeting him for the first time this ep. Despite thinking their daughter’s fallen in with a bad crowd, they act surprised when she’s accused of cheating.

Compare and contrast this with Everwood where you know that even the tiniest of hints about changes in characters’ situations will eventually be followed up with amazingly fresh storylines.

[The Limit] What’s going on?

Wow. Again, this pitching process reveals more about how to present the story in the final film. Here’s the basic situation we start with: Taine’s adoptive family realise that the biological father, a criminal, wants Taine back. The tension for the first 10 minutes is that this is a simple movie about the crim hunting the family to get what he wants … but I didn't realise that tension existed until working on it this morning.

I got some nice feedback about this set-up from Ed. He felt that it was very clear in suggesting what people might do and why they might do it.

So that's good. However, I’m suffering from a slight case of First Day Back [FDB] Syndrome again. At the end of the first 10 minutes, the stakes rise enormously. While the pitch currently is good for the purpose of timing, I have to accept it doesn’t plausibly convey this sudden shift. So I have to re-write it so it does.... and that's made me stall out.

It’ll be hard work but probably not anywhere near as hard as I’m imagining. In fact, I’ll probably spend longer procrastinating than I will in re-writing it.

[Script] ‘Moments’

A film has a distinct identity. You could say “a film has [this] sort of character.”

This expresses itself in at least three ways: its Genre, its Premise [as defined by Egri] and its Style (what is unique about the feel and vibe of your movie).

Once you’ve figured out these 3 elements, you need to make sure you put ‘moments’ into your story that establish and re-inforce that. What will that do? It’ll: a) reward the audience, b) create consistency, c) keep the film on track, and d) remind people what they’re watching …

It's pretty basic stuff really: a horror movie needs horror moments in it (Genre) but they need to be what you define as horrific for the movie you're writing (Style) and they need to be specific to the themes of your movie (Premise). The idea of 'moments' is to make your story unique.

So: identify what your ‘moments’ are, then create them … and then make sure they’re spaced just frequently enough.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

[Film] 12 Angry Idiots

Just got back from acting in Danyl and Andrew’s script read-through. I may have more thoughts to post on this over the next couple of days but overall I think they've succeeded in writing an easily filmable low-budget movie that people are going to enjoy, argue about and have to see.

It’s a satire of the legal system. That’s all the plot detail I should go into.

After about 2 hours of conversation between the actors, now it’s all back on Danyl and Andrew. They have to go away, digest our points, figure out what they do and don’t agree with, then figure out what they have time to change and what they don’t. They have to decide if the things they’re changing are the most important points that were raised and finally submit the redrafted script to 2 different organisations (Project Greenlight and

Their deadline’s 2 weeks – which I think is do-able but I probably won’t be seeing much of them till late February.

[RPG] Still freaking out …

There’s a new thread about our Roger Rabbit / LA Confidential game at the Forge. This one’s discussing what to do in a Contest of Wills. I’ll also be posting some new material to the original Sorceror freaked us out thread in the next couple of days.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

[The Limit] No longer obsessed by time

Yesterday was a write-off due to seeing the Phoenix Foundation, making some new friends and getting very drunk. Now it’s time to become obsessed by whether I’m getting the emotions of this pitch across.

Act 3 feels like it’s achieving this but the earlier stuff feels plain, descriptive. Insight: I have to figure out the emotion that I want each sequence to convey. Then, change the pitch’s language so it’s not so much about what’s happening but how I feel about what’s happening.

[TV] Freaks & Geeks hits its stride

Best episode yet. The 4th episode shows us Kim Kelly’s trailer-trash home life. It also has the series’ second fully-fledged action sequence – escaping from Kim’s step-dad, who’s acting like a rage-infected 28 Days Later extra. But the comedy mostly comes from the Weirs' suburban normality slowly being invaded by Lindsey’s new Freak friends.

Potentially this creates a change in the basic situation: now her parents realise their daughter’s fallen in with the wrong crowd. However, I don’t put much faith in that. So far Freaks & Geeks hasn’t shown much skill (or more charitably, ‘much interest’) in dealing with continuity in a systematic fashion.

Highlight: I finally ‘got’ Nick’s character – a total stoner who'll always try to hit on and/or comfort Lindsey in the worst possible way at the worst possible moment. This episode he met her parents for the first time and wanted to impress them. Don’t know if he succeeded or not; I was too busy being crippled with laughter.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Virtual World, Real Issues

Terra Nova explores the issues surrounding MMORPGs – huge subscriber-funded virtual worlds like Everquest and World of Warcraft. Fascinating stuff from academic disciplines like anthropology and economics, as well as the general interest of seeing what happens when a bunch of computer-savvy gamers with no respect for authority try to hack reasonably authoritarian VWs.

Here are 2 threads I just noticed: this one deals with the onset of sexism in A Tale in the Desert (read down, the interesting discussion happens in the Talkback), and this one has a look at what racism means in a virtual world.

[Film] Director vs Actor vs Supporting Actor

Found a couple of early views about the Academy Awards. Here’s a bitchy look at the Oscars noms from the LA Weekly. Roger Ebert goes a little more matter-of-fact, but also points out the strategising that’ll happen between Jamie Foxx (competing against himself in Ray and Collateral), Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorcese.

[TV] Freaks & Geeks: First moment of genius.

Episode 2 showed how easy it is to introduce doom and social embarrassment into a TV show: Serve a keg of non-alcoholic beer at a Freak party. It also had the series’ first moment of plotting genius, involving Lindsey getting spaded by two guys she doesn’t like, straight after each other.

Ep. 3 was more conventional. The Turning Points for its A-plot (Lindsey trying to be a rebel) were very clear. Still, it deepened my appreciation for a lot of the characters: Bill (“I’ll drink anything”) Haverchuck, Mum & Dad and the terrifyingly beautiful Kim Kelly.

However, Ep 2 felt better because all of the action was driven by strong and clearly portrayed character motivations. Ep 3 used at least one coincidence (the person that Lindsey eggs) to advance the plot. Also, Freaks & Geeks' continuity may be a bit lacking - the consequences of Neil's ridiculously clumsy pass in Ep 2 isn't very clearly dealt with, not even in the subtext of Linda Cardellini's performance.

[RPG] This-Gen Indie Publishing

Clinton R. Nixon of Anvilwerks Online, the writer of Donjon and Shadow of Yesterday, has just revised his essay on how to publish an RPG on the cheap. Lots of details on how to save money at every point. Makes me want to figure out a way to balance working on The Limit's pitch and redrafting Astral.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

[Film] Next-gen indie film-making

Hal Hartley, director of Trust, Amateur, Henry Fool and Unbelievable Truth, has written, directed, produced and self-financed a new science-fiction movie, The Girl From Monday. And he’s going to distribute it himself too, via his website.

You're looking at at least one direction the next indie-film-making boom will come from.

[The Limit] On Time!

The following events take place in real time:

9.30 am: Stop mucking round on internet. Today I’m going to work on shortening the timings on this pitch, then go for emotions.

9.40: 1st Reading: 12 m 55 s … so, that's good. Whispered the whole thing, focused on the words, not the emotions or performance. And I can see lots of places where it could be tightened. Going to focus on 4 scenes now.

I think I can easily get this down to 10 minutes – maybe even 8 or 9. And I know from my speech at the premiere of hopeless that I can hold 9 minutes of speech in my head (especially if I've got the pitchboard to prompt me).

10.36: These 4 scenes, removing finicky amounts of time.

11.08: The Goal: finish reducing all the sequences today and do a timing. So I’m blowing off my routine for the rest of the day and focusing on this.

1.50 pm: So tired. Want to stop and snooze.

2.00: Now I’m working in order through the movie and I only have 8 more sequences to do. Some of them are very short but it seems daunting. Must press on.

2.05: 7 sequences left. 6. Muck around on the Internet for a long time. 5. Going through these scenes fast, not fine-tuning or timing them. There’ll be a bit of fat to trim off them tomorrow if the pitch duration is too long. 4. 3 (that one went quick). Do 2 & 1 in a single burst.

2.53: Finished! Now to immediately rip in to a timing.

3.05: Nine minutes and fifty seconds! It is accomplished! I even got some bursts of emotion from this reading, especially around the end of Act 2. There’s more to cut (especially in the early sequences where the story-telling feels all choppy) but I think I can ease back for today.

3.12: It turns out that entertaining someone for 10 minutes is hard work. Good to know.


Just added a lot of links to the sidebar. A couple of note-worthy current articles :

On her blog, Game Girl gives an overview of 24 from the perspective of a computer game designer.

Something I found via the 20x20 Room, Patrick O'Duffy has an essay-thinkpiece-diatribe on his LiveJournal about White Wolf's Pimp: the Backhanding card game.

And here's a panel discussion about redesigning Superman over at Silver Bullet.

Next up for this site, inserting some code to show when people have made new comments - but before that I should really get back to working on the pitch.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

[TV] Freaks & Geeks

Started watching this series last night. So far, all I can tell is I like all the characters (especially Seth Rogan's deadpan guy) and the specific lines of dialogue are nearly always smart, funny or character-specific.

Freaks & Geeks' story-telling was okay. It's a low-key kind of show that deglamourises standard TV teen dramas (a genre I have a real fondness for) so I'm enjoying that aspect. But it means that its act breaks were usually just setting up the main characters for further embarrassment.

One line from the directors' commentary I thought was true is that on a TV show, ideally you're going to be working with the actors you've cast for 5 or more years. So you adjust the script towards them. You want to have fun with the actors, explore the little moments in their character relationships and most of all make them feel comfortable so they can bring a bit more realism to their roles.

Holy Crap!

Ainsley just got nominated for an Oscar (Best Short Film - Live)! This is awesome!

Puppets, people, tech & art

I love this letter from Lisa Henson. It's about Dave McKean & Neil Gaimen's new movie, Mirrormask, but really it's about the nature of puppetry.

The idea of controlling 3-D puppets via computers - which we've seen developing through
Sheep in the City to Gollum and Kong - just reminds me that as long as the audience for something is human, human performers are what we're going to get a buzz out of watching.

Anyway, you'll have to scroll down a little bit - it starts at the second block of bold type.

[The Limit] Four to go

How to waste time: Watch The Hidden, Aeon Flux, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (my first time!) and the first half of Space Hunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone which features the screen debut of Molly Ringwald. Try and get up five hours later to work on The Limit pitch.

Yeah, yesterday got off to a slow start.

Circled around working for most of the day. Even tried to scare myself into it. Finally, I took all the action sequences I’m confident about performing and squeezed them down. Halved most of the timings and now (I'd estimate) the pitch is down to about 14 minutes.

Plus, massively re-edited ending. This simplification may end up in the film; replacing a fight with a single word.

4 minutes left to cut. The process, well it's going slower than I wanted but the end result's getting better. Now if I could just combine ‘better’ with ‘fast’.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Big Welcome!

Hey there!*

I’ve been writing professionally since 1996 when I made a $44 profit on a play at Bats. Since then I’ve directed a feature film called hopeless, co-created the spin-off TV series lovebites and worked on Shortland Street and Facelift.

So what’s going on here?

At the moment, this blog’s pretty focused: films, scriptwriting, TV, RPGs - basically anything that involves world-creation. There’s an on-going diary about the feature film I’m writing this year, The Limit. It's a thriller about fatherhood and revenge that I'm currently doing the last rewrites on. There's also an (on-hiatus) debrief about creating lovebites.

However, things may expand in the near future, with more diary entries, business related posts and some political commentary.

Check out the side-bar for reasonably up-to-date lists of all my posts on particular subjects and a few selected links. If you want more links, I'd suggest Kung Fu Monkey for all your script-writing needs and the Forge for lots of cool ideas and most of my influences on RPG design.

My approach to posting at multi-dimensional is pretty loose. Quite often I’ll just write up fragments of ideas. After a while – if there get to be enough of them to reach a critical mass – I’ll re-edit them into a longer article and post them over at filmset. So feel free to comment, ask questions and disagree. Hopefully it’ll all help us grow as people!

* Especially to everyone checking me out from Jenni’s blog!

Monday, January 24, 2005

[RPG] Sorceror freaked us out …

What happens when you combine Who Framed Roger Rabbit with L.A. Confidential? You get an Actual Play report on the Forge about our Sorceror game from two months ago. The thread’s called:

Sorceror freaked us out …

[The Limit] Pitching is acting

Take one 90-minute film with A-list actors, special effects and awesome music and tell its story in 10 minutes, by yourself with a football for a prop. That’s what I’ve been doing today.

Read more!
My first
The Limit pitch lasted 24.5 minutes. I controlled my embarrassment enough to read the whole thing aloud - and by the end, was acting it out.

I'd be happy to the pitch for half an hour (or longer) if it was entertaining. I'm happier squeezing that fun down into 10 minutes. To keep peoples’ attention, be brief.

Second reading (25 mins). Memorised and performing a lot more material. '
Imagining the action' seems to be key.
Third reading: forgot to record the duration. However,
the pitch is now simplified.
Fourth read-through (18.5 mins). That's a good start.

The Goal is ‘get this ready for Andrew’. Tomorrow? Then, decide which scenes we’d each love to perform. That may work better than each pitching a subplot (as we did last time).

Despite being exhausted, a couple of times today I had insights into the structure. Cape Fear (both versions) could be a good reference for this film.

Pitching is acting: trying to find The Limit's character and convey its emotions.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Blogger vs. Technology

Update: Success! Click on the link to get a post's full text.


You may notice I'm trying to get my blog to put longer articles 'below the fold'. It's my first time HTML coding and it's not going so well at the moment, but bear with me and it should be sorted in a couple of days.

Meantime, you can get to the full text of a post by clicking on the 'Comments' button below it.

Future Sum Zero.

This is my first short story in about eight years. Inspired by an interview with Alice Munro yesterday, here's a 2-page version of the novel I was going to write in 1994.

Future Sum Zero.

They met at a party the night the world ended. With all the sirens going off and then the quiet that followed, he found her on the out-grown swing in the backyard, musing about 3-D worlds that weren't like this one, conceptual spaces and art.

Why'd she sleep with him? Maybe because she was distracted.

Continue reading FSZ.

He never talked to the real Sheryn, he figured; just a
buffer-persona between her thoughts and the real world. After she’d disappeared, James heard she was smart: 98th percentile smart. A person like that, maybe biological needs like sex and food don’t even figure in to what they want out of life.

He made them coffees, realised the power wasn’t on. Digging out his shitty transistor radio he found one station broadcasting music from old LPs and saying that the computers had gone down.

True. His laptops had died. When Sheryn said she had to leave, go down south, James offered to drive. After all, working in IT he either didn’t have a job today or was going to walk up 28 floors and step into a crisis. Wouldn't it be better spending his time trying to make Sheryn laugh – or even have a functional conversation?

When the petrol ran out, Sheryn accepted a lift, said she’d be back. Or rather, he filled that part of the conversation
in for her. And then he waited while no traffic passed him for nine hours. He decided to walk rather than starve to death beside his car on the side of this country road.

The first farm he came to drove him away with a shotgun.

Stories from the road – most explaining the end of the world as a technical glitch, some of the more colourful stories went biblical.
For a long time no-one recognised his description of Sheryn.

When he found her, he didn’t know if he’d fit in. Everyone at
The Compound had worked together for years; the leader – an enormous man by the name of Van Mees – despised everything about James except his ability to maintain computer networks; and Sheryn and Van Mees were involved in a psycho-sexual relationship. He was dom, she was sub - but with her buffer, James wondered if she noticed.

Her work was important to The Compound. An enormous hemisphere where 3-D movies were being created. Van Mees called them ‘surrounds’ and spoke about finding a new editing-
style to direct the audience’s attention without cuts – which in this hemistheatre would cause viewers to fall over.

One night he took Sheryn out to a field. He had a picnic, a blanket and all she talked about was the single satellite that crossed their field of vision. That was the only thing she said, one sentence, “Look.” In the hours of silence after, he kissed her and she kissed back. So he counted it as a success.

She continued submitting to Van Mees.

They bartered for food with local farms. As the least essential to the creative project, James did the trade. The American who stopped him asked if he thought it was odd that Van Mees’ computer were still running.

So now James had two secrets to keep from Van Mees. Sheryn and an investigation into the network he supervised. It was decidedly uncinematic. He transferred files, compared numbers. When Van Mees discovered him, James almost passed off his espionage as updating an Excel spreadsheet. But Van Mees was already suspicious.

Just smart enough to realise what he was missing out on, James knew whoever designed the computer virus was a genius. 98th percentile. This thing moved faster than anything ever written. When people on the outside found out it was going to spread from his country, they quarantined it. No satellite uplinks, no fibre-optics, they’d even deployed an experimental short-wave jammer that would incidentally cause the skin on peoples’ skulls to expand with lumps in about fifty years.

Sheryn described it as a by-product of her work but what did a virus have to do with 3-D cinema? Everyone had to have a hobby, she said.

He tried to get Sheryn to leave with him but couldn’t find the words. The heart-felt scene he wanted didn’t seem natural. Their physical connection wasn’t enough to get through her buffer. When he pointed to the worthlessness of their work in the hemistheatre and said, “Look,” it made her smile and at least that was something.

And then The Compound was a memory from five minutes ago, ten minutes ago. And then he was passing his car and the farmer with the horse and cart giving him a lift asked what he did. He was a network administrator, James said.

The farmer nodded

Saturday, January 22, 2005

[The Limit] Pre-Hangover Day

Work on The Limit went well yesterday. I described the basic emotional beats of each sequence through to the end of Act 2. That sort of work is tough for me - it involves abstracting out from the details that my head's been previously stuck in.

Assuming that I don't get massively hungover from tonight's flatwarming (unlike certain flatmates, who are already hungover from pre-flatwarming drinks in Te Aro Park, last night), I'll finish off Act 3 on Sunday.

Then, from my room, you'll probably be able to hear me rehearsing my pitch for The Limit aloud. It'll start very quiet and cautious. For a lot of the time, I won't even be able to finish sentences because I'll be too self-conscious about getting them 'right'. Then things should start to click together an hour, 2 hours in.

The goal: work up an effective pitch by Tuesday, take Wednesday off, and then hit the road by Thursday.

Friday, January 21, 2005

[lovebites] Reviewing Episode 1

So this combines a review of both the script and execution of our pilot episode.

Phil arrives back from Australia, much to Maryann’s displeasure. These two used to go out and they haven’t dealt with the fallout of their bitter break-up.

When Phil sleeps with Maryann’s best potential flatmate, things deteriorate.

When Phil proposes they fix the situation by sleeping together, things deteriorate further. They agree to try to be polite to each other around their friends, but Ben can’t stand the tension and forces them to take the gloves off.

Meanwhile, as Phil moves into the Boys’ Flat, Richard cleans up the spare room. In the process he discovers his beanbag, his precious beanbag. Quickly becoming obsessive about it, he’s shocked to learn Phil had sex on it with Maryann’s best potential flatmate. His obsession turns to addiction – and Ben decides to help him kick the habit.


Takes a while to warm up, reaches its peak in Act 2 and then – after a slight dip – has a strong finish.

Continue reading this unedited review ...

This show has funny lines, but that’s not where the comedy comes from. Usually the scenes are just conversational with tiny punches of sarcasm and then out-of-the-blue character weirdness. The fun is in the structure not the dialogue.

Phil’s war-story about how he slept with Monique is funny because seeing how the 3 boys behave under pressure and because it’s combining (for the first time) the ‘flatmates wanted’ and the ‘beanbag’ plots.

The moment where Richard’s love of the beanbag turns into addiction wasn’t handled so well. It’s a big turning point in his sub-plot but we haven’t quite laid enough ground-work to convince people his obsessive behaviour round the bag could be so negative. We also don’t show an effective funny beat of him trying to give up before he goes into withdrawal.

Richard doesn’t get an A-plot (the main story of an episode) for quite some time.

The plot development that Phil and Maryann are going to try and be polite to each other, but that their compliments seethe with a subtext of rage and resentment, came from an earlier version of Episode 1 and may not have been integrated perfectly into this version. In fact, due to time constraints some of the beats that made this schtick really funny had to be eliminated.

Should talk about:
Changing the ‘Flatmates ad’ scene from the Basin Reserve to Oriental Parade.


The show starts to get funny by Teaser 3 … (the beginning of every episode is divided into 3 short scenes between credits that usually set up the A-plot). This is important because – in my memory – the show was quite dead in the first third.

The situation is introduced very fast and the story keeps progressing quickly through the whole episode.

I like the character relationships (at a script level) from the first scene. Also at the script level, the characters are solid and consistent (and funny).

By Act 2, the show is definitely settling down into the style that I recognise as lovebites: relaxed bullshitting conversations and characters who I’m really interested to see what they do next.

Phil’s war-story about Monique is cool. And it’s really our first ‘Boys’ scene, which would turn out to be one of our specialities. In that vein, there’s another huge scene in the pub where the Boys discuss their philosophies on relationships that I thought was awesome.

Phil’s plan to fix the situation by sleeping together and Maryann’s disbelieving response are both fun.

It’s also great that Mia (playing Maryann) actually does get a load of great material in this episode and she knocks it out of the park most of the time.

Richard’s love of the Bag and his withdrawal are fun and visual – playing to Adam’s strength.

Ben taking control and forcing his friends to not be pleasant is a fun solid scene and an enjoyable pay-off to their plot.

[Got to compile some killer quotes from this episode.]


I’m sure there was another sit-com that used a beanbag in one of their sub-plots, but I have no idea what it was.


If we were to redo lovebites from scratch, I’d mess the relationship map up a lot and have Ben and Maryann going out. You see, the ‘They’re meant to be together’ tension we tried to instill in those two’s relationship (aka The Ross and Rachel effect) never really worked. So this’d give us something they were trying to keep from Phil, some subtext, at least 4 episodes worth of material and another big plot point to detonate.

Also, there was a point in Episode 1 where Ben was just grinning gormlessly at Richard, waiting for him to stuff up. I liked that energy – it’s almost Jerry from Seinfeld – it gives Ben’s character a cool edge which I think he needed.


Hate the teasers (which introduce the idea of Phil returning from Australia) because I can see how I would restructure them, turning stuff that is just exposition into actual scenes with conflict. Man, that’s the worst thing about working on something – you figure out how to do it ‘properly’ 2 years too late.

Performances in the teasers and the early half of Act 1 are sometimes too big. It feels like they’re still settling in and trying to impress the audience, win them over. I wonder whether that’s because so many of the early scenes have exposition in them and that the actors felt that that made the scenes ‘weak’ – and therefore they had to do more to sell them, make them more interesting.

There’s some lameness in the early conversational exchanges. The banter isn’t quite fluid yet. Not sure about the cause of that, not sure what order scenes were shot in. But this episode was filmed late in the production schedule, so the actors must have been comfortable playing with each other.

Ha! There’s a really funny sound effects moment when we cut to the ocean and hear a foghorn. Of course. Because we won’t register it’s the ocean without a foghorn. ADR during this scene is pretty bad.

The ‘Phil and Maryann try to be polite’ stuff doesn’t work so well. We don’t get enough shots of Ben observing that something’s wrong. That means we lack an outsider’s perspective on their relationship to really hammer home that something’s wrong.

Oh, and the bowling montage is ick.

But hey, most of my problems are centred on the first 5 minutes of the episode. That’s not too bad from an overall point of view. It’s just, from a sales point of view, those 5 minutes needed to be the strongest.


I used to dislike Act 1 (the act I had the most responsibility for writing) but now I watch it with some distance, it moves fast and it’s pretty amusing.

Quite often through the episode I sensed the actors focusing on trying to impress (and being pleased with themselves) instead of finding the comedy. It was a really fine line – and despite that impression, for the majority of the episode they nailed their characters and nailed them hard.

Also, it’s great seeing the actors become laid back and enjoying themselves. And by the end of the episode – at the picnic – I really like this ensemble, want to see more of them.


So that’s a first-draft itemisation of the things that struck me while re-watching the pilot. I’ll finetune it into a review later.

[The Limit] Impatient!

This was going to be my last full day on Astral. In the last hour I've changed my mind - and The Limit is back to being my primary as of now. The reason's simple: I was feeling frustrated, angry and a little depressed. Probably due to my impatience at not making progress on the script.

So now, let's see if I can use that impatience to overcome my first-day-back syndrome.


Just consulted the I Ching for how to handle this pitch-phase. Some results that were pretty much the opposite of what I thought I should be doing ...

Read more!

19. Approach
__ __
__ __ Help is attracted by modesty. Don’t act out of ego.
__ __
__ __ There’s danger of relapsing into impurity.

About to move into light and growth. There will be success if I persevere with modesty and acceptance. Remain patient, tolerant and gentle.

5. Waiting (Nourishment)

__ __
__ __

This situation can’t be corrected by force or external effort. This is a time for patience and careful attention to inner truth. Do not give in to doubt and agitation.

Accept things as they are and don’t make fruitless comparisons to the situations of others or some imagined ideal.


Created new cards (and a cool new font) for sequences on my pitch-board.

I had this burst where I decided that I wanted this to be the best pitch ever … now I’m aware of that pride and I’ve settled myself down. All I really want is for the pitch to do the job:

1) Clearly communicate the emotions of each sequence;
2) Be succinct (10 minutes max); and
3) As much as possible, be visual.

If you’re interested in pitching a movie, check out this Wordplay column. It’s filled with good advice.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

[Film] Kill Bill 1 & 2

**** (out of 5)
Taken together, this movie becomes an epic. Sure it's about 4 hours long - but also the scope of its action is: one hemisphere, 15 years and an answer to the question "What happens when superheroes fall out?"

This is not a movie about QT's dialogue, this is about Events. And again, some sterling use of structure. At the end of the first chapter, The Bride crosses off the second person on her death list raising the question, "What happened to the first person?" And it's that question that powers the whole first half ... one hour of building up the signficance of the duel between The Bride and O-Ren Ishii.

I'm finding, more than any of his other films, Kill Bill is a movie of great moments that I can watch over and over: Beatrix learning to punch through wood, The Bride arriving in Tokyo, that amazing pause in the duel at the end of Kill Bill 1 where we just listen to the wooden water-clock refill.

Continue reading this unedited review


As someone mentioned to me, when The Bride crosses Vernita Green off her death list, we know that The Bride won’t die for the rest of the film. As I discuss in the Structure and Feelings section I don’t see this as much of a problem.

The Bride convinces Hattori Hanzo to break his oath and forge a sword to kill Bill. Despite the momentous portrayal of this action – and the fact that it helps her along the bloody road of revenge - this katana doesn’t deliver the death blow.

While most of the villains get backstories that make them more complex and sympathetic, Elle Driver (Darryl Hannah) is simply represented as fetish-bitch goddess-evil. And it wouldn’t have been too hard to dimensionalise her; after all, she’s Bill’s current girlfriend (according to the Making Ofs) and therefore playing up her jealousy of the Bride and dependency on Bill could have easily added some interesting vulnerabilities.

QT said he wanted the fight with Elle Driver in Budd’s trailer to be the equivalent action scene to KB1’s sword-fight in the House of the Blue Leaves. Because we’ve already seen this kind of action in the first fight of KB1 (brutal action in a domestic setting, versus Vernita Green), this fight isn’t really spectacular or topping anything.


The Shaw Scope company logo at the start promises goofy fun.

Gripping opening shot of Uma as the battered bride – which immediately has a more serious tone than the logo promised.

The revenge sting that’s used as soon as The Bride sees Vernita Green (or anyone on her Death List) brings a smile to my face.

The knife fight with Vernita is brutal and terrifying – and then the tempo change into protecting the daughter provides many easy gags.

Notice how the way the Bride draws a square in the air is different from Mia Wallace’s in Pulp Fiction.

Uma seems to be channeling Clint Eastwood when she apologises to the daughter for killing her mum.

Hanzo critquing his new katana builds to becoming a tearful moment. It’s great - implies he swore off sword-making because he felt responsible for each of the deaths his weapons caused.

The first ¾ of Kill Bill 1 are subdued, pained and tragic – pierced with moments of fun and coolness. It’s only when the action hits Tokyo that the movie begins to build up lightness and energy, peaking in a sustained splatter-comedy vibe while The Bride dismantles the Crazy 88s before settling back down into its elegiac tone till (pretty much) the end of Kill Bill 2.

The emotional content of the movie is immediately proven more serious than the Shaw Scope company logo at the start promises.

Deep down, we know that The Bride won’t die. The trick is to convincingly test her and put her through hell.


[What do I think of the dialogue between Vernita and the Bride in Vernita’s kitchen?]
[What are the stakes of the movie?]


Vernita introducing her daughter to the Bride is – in a way – equivalent to Christopher Walken handing over the Gold Watch in Pulp Fiction: adults with horrible backstories talking to kids who don’t really understand what’s going on.


The slow song over the opening credits (‘My Baby Shot Me Down’) adjusts our tempo and expectations. It primes us for a long movie.

The knife fight with Vernita Green and the fight with Elle Driver in Budd’s trailer are equivalent in terms of action and intensity. I’d have expected the later fight to build more.

When The Bride crosses Vernita Green off her death list, we know what the rest of the film is about, “How did she kill O-Ren Ishii?”. This is a powerful question with a lot of twists and turns. It sustained my interest for the whole of KB1.

Because of the flashback structure that Kill Bill uses, we are constantly being reminded that The Bride won’t die. After a while, then, that stops being the stakes of the movie.

(More, later)

[The Limit] Emerges into the light

About to re-read The Limit for the first time. AG asked for a copy of it to read on the plane over to Sundance. Now I haven’t heard back from Andrew (his thoughts on readability are always vital) so if it’s not too goofy or plot-holey, then I’m going to send it.

After all: AG has been waiting patiently for it for about 4 years.

Read it, proofed it, sent it. This draft ain’t perfect. It’s not tight enough, for a start. But it will serve to get the ideas across I think.

I am nervous and satisfied. AG is the right person to read this now.

[Astral] Start thinking about editing

So, I'm getting to the end of the first wave of research for this Astral role-playing game. Today, for the first time, I started generating original material for abilities, consequences and story ideas.

Now I want to start moving items from 'Abilities' and 'Consequences' into the appropriate Ratings descriptions. That's all part of the bigger plan: to build up a clearer introduction to how to play this game, what you do and what it's about.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

[RPG] Coming Up Next

Games I want to work on after Astral is finished:

Fortunes of the Joneses - the role-playing game of family TV dramas.
Opera - backstage skullduggery at an operatic performance.
Tapu - exploring the dark side of Maori mythology.
The Big Game - a sports role-playing game of teamwork, star power and leadership.
30 Seconds - the cyberpunk RPG that asks whether you'd rather have The Edge or a life?


My day has suddenly changed direction. Just posted an Actual Play report on last night's game (see below) to the Forge, so I don't feel like finishing the Sorcerer and InSpectres write-ups.

So the question now is: What to do?

* Focus on making lots of progress on the Astral role-playing game.
* Blog lots of articles (current scriptwriting philosophy, another lovebites entry, review of Kill Bill 1 & 2, a list of my Influential Movies, a list of the other RPGs I want to write).
* Work on the horror novel.
* Prepare to pitch The Limit.

Follow-up question: What will make me the most money?

(in descending order)
The Limit.
The novel.

Last question: What do I feel most passionate about?

At the moment, it's Astral. So I'll spend the day working up ideas for that. And hopefully see A Very Long Engagement tonight.

[RPG] My Life with Goldfinger

My Life with Master is an award-winning RPG where you play the pathetic minions to an evil scientist (think Igor to Victor Frankenstein).

Inspired by Evil Genius, Gino wanted to run for a game where we were all of the henchmen of a super-villain. Real James Bond stuff.

The Master and minion generation session last night was quick and easy. I lead the mechanical side of things and Gino threw in his ideas when things got slow. All we knew at the start was Gino wanted 'modern day' and 'minions with the code names of classic arcade games'.

Everyone plumped for a 'Brain' aspected Master (genteel, persuasive). After some debate, we got re-inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas. So we're hunting down people with nightmares for our Master to build a nightmare generator.

Our Master wants Revenge against
the medical community who rejected his ideas. He's going to prove himself right, even at the expense of the rest of the world. At this point, Gino revealed he saw the Master as a young medical prodigy - evil Doogie Howser.

The game (which is usually set in 1805 in an unspecified European country) requires the Master to establish fear and dominance over a Town. For us, the Town equates to the international spy community and anyone who'd appear in that genre. So we have connections like: an assassin, an astronomer and the President of the US.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Some pottering round today (it's a day off). Mostly catching up on financial chores and buying a new chair for my office - in which I got to start practising my haggling skills. The write-up of our Sorceror game is proceeding slowly. It's just about to reach the point where it goes from not-quite-sequential bulletpoints to readable paragraphs.

Gaming tonight, hopefully with the award winning My Life with Master.

Tomorrow, I'd like to finish both write-ups so I can get on with a 24-hour power session on my novel, coupled with more organised thinking about the pitch for The Limit.

To sign off, here's a game design philosophy from Jared Sorenson (Inspectres, the farm):

1) Come up with an idea
2) Worry about it for awhile (2 days to a month, usually)
3) Put it off (a few days to a few years)
4) Drink lots of chai, get inspired, crank some music and write the damn thing in 2 hours
5) Rattle off a logo and sell it

Step 6 is that I play or run it...usually a half year after it's released. Maybe.

Monday, January 17, 2005

[Astral] Abilities

In this game, your astral abilities are determined by the Rating you're trying to employ. But anything can be attempted as long as you can fit it into one of the 4 Ratings (or a 5th Rating of your own devising). Example abilities include:


Continue to full Abilities list

Seeing clearly in darkness.
Spiritual healing. Healing physical injuries of others (and yourself) while astral.
Communicating with animals.
Predictions of accidents.
A fully conscious meeting with a loved one who has passed on.
Surviving a fall.
Revisit past experiences.
Lucid dreaming.
Shape shifting.
Improved vision. Seen through closed eyelids.
Floating. Being weightless.
Reliving your birth. This can be like a moment of clarity.
Sharing dreams with family members or friends.
Meeting animals.
Reincarnation as trees and animals.
Instantaneous (or super-rapid) interstellar travel.
Locating sources of knowledge, represented by books, libraries or wise entities.
360 degree perception, having a dozen times.
Exploring your past lives.
Shape shifting. Into a sphere, into an animal, into your ideal self.
Moving in a vehicle.
Vivid imagery.
Direct knowledge.
Creating elevators, steers or other portals to travel through dimensions and environments.
Perceiving people's true forms.
Protective glow, spiritual armour.
Out run something negative by transferring to a higher energy level.
Create a lightning bolt or flashing sword or a hand grenade of explosive light.

[Astral] Consequences

"I tried to will myself to move down, because I was close to the ceiling fan and was afraid of being hit by the blades."

What happens when things go wrong while astral depends on what Rating your character was trying to employ. [Symptoms] include:

Strange tingling.
Light humming.
Swinging wildly, pendulum like, over your body.

Contine to full Consequences list ...

Slamming back into your body.
Watching your own funeral.
Physical paralysis.
Loud roaring.
Visual distortions.
Uncontrolled drifting.
Feeling surges of electrical currents through your body.
Feeling like you're in an earthquake.
Body vibrating. Sometimes like a train running through your bedroom.
Ashamed of your flaws.
Running away.
Pressure on your chest.
Nightmares and phobic worst cases (like being buried alive, swept away by a tidal wave).
Events that dramatise the fears you need to confront. For instance if you are terrified of violence you could appear in the middle of an ancient battle.
Dense layers of energy: mist, colour, liquids or various walls or borders that impede movement.
Odd humming sound.
Strong vibrations or energy in the body.
Unexplained lights.
Missing or distorted time.
Abducted by force.
Accidentally create a Doppelganger - a versions of you with its own existence.
A babble of voices, requesting help, overwhelming you.
Slowness of breathing.
Voices, laughter or your name being called out.
Coolness or heat.
Arms or legs floating.
Limbs drifting away from your body. [First original thought.]
Energy surges through your body.
Strange noises: wind, engine, music, bells, etc.
A babble of voices, requesting help, overwhelming you.
Slowness of breathing.
Voices, laughter or your name being called out.
Coolness or heat.
Arms or legs floating.
Limbs drifting away from your body. [First original thought.]
Energy surges through your body.
Strange noises: wind, engine, music, bells, etc.
Vision reversals.
Being sucked into a whirlpool or Tornado.
Simple overexcitement that keeps the experience from developing.
Unable to move through a negative experience.
Moving as if underwater.
Dark clouds. An evil presence.
Aliens. Abduction. [As a Focus consequence.]
Unable to speak.
Thumping noises.
Maybe, poltergeist activity.
Simulate your own death. A Focus consequence.
Being touched or pulled.
Being held down.
Having a seizure.
Trapped in darkness.
Growling noises.
Attacked by beasts.
Aberrations, glitches and inconsistencies in well-known environments.
Having your name called out. Being talked about. Being threatened.

[Astral] Why do people first go astral?

Many reasons, but the literature seems to suggest they break down into 2 categories: Escape and Exploration.

People escape from combat experiences such as being under fire or taking injuries. There's also
torture, illness, childbirth, or intense pain and emotional trauma. Examples of these include: being physically attacked; fear and mental stress; physical stress; severe depression and grief.

Reasons to explore include:

Spiritual need and
innocent exploration of dreams and fantasy worlds as a child. In fact, the literature suggests that going astral is common in children, with the first reported journey occurred at average age of four to 12.

There's also (apparently) a connection between astral travel and near-death and after-death experiences as well as with extraterrestrial contact and abduction experiences.

Prisoners report going astral, either to escape or for personal transformation.

Achievement rocks!

Just submitted my review of the farm to Glee! Now to take a small break to celebrate, then start bolting through these actual play reports for The Forge. Then the novel, then preparing to pitch The Limit.

I love finishing short, cool bits of writing. Achieving rocks!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

[Astral] The Others

…. But I shall never sleep calmly again when I think of the horrors that lurk ceaselessly behind life in time and in space ….” H.P. Lovecraft.

[Should insert a positive quote to balance this.]

Depending on your interpretation of this game, the creatures a character meets while astral are either projections of their worst fears and brightest aspirations, or higher-dimensional beings of varying degrees of good and evil.

In other words, the experience your character gets out of going astral could be good or bad depending on the attitude they bring into it (as reflected by their Ethics Rating).

Some of the entities you may encounter include:

The Dead. People you know or historical figures. Loved ones or people you have unfinished business with. Don't become obsessed with the outer shape or form you encounter. They may appear completely different from their form in the real world - a sphere or image of light, a distinctive voice, or a younger version of the person you once knew.

Intelligence spheres of light (and spheres of intelligent light).

Radiant beings – angels, whose wings may symbolise immense inter-dimensional capabilities and freedom. But aside from protective angelic spirits and heavenly environments, you may also find dark creatures and threatening surroundings.

Guides or teachers. They can manifest in any form, usually something comforting. Aside from visual or physical, guides can be unseen whisperings or invisible helping hands. These spiritual teachers may want to you to learn important lessons; this is sometimes referred to as 'Heaven School'.

Meeting your higher spiritual self.

Invisible friends.

Lost and bewildered souls are attracted to conscious spiritual travellers.
(Reasons that astral entities approach us)
1) focusing on exploring the world of matter.
2) refusing to accept the astral world as real.
3) giving out a similar energy to the astral entity.
Demand to see or experience the essence of an entity you encounter.

Please, please, please devise your own as appropriate.

[Script] Send Off: The Sequel

Finished the first draft of this essay for the script review. Very satisfying - I finished articulating to myself the problem I saw with the movie. It was one of those stories where the guy has a good comfortable but pretty boring life. He needs excitement.

What I figured out was that the story was just going to be simple and predictable if you made his comfortable life negative and 'getting excitement back' positive. Things got mixed up in interesting way when I started considering how to represent his current life as a positive and - even better and easier to dramatise – how to represent getting excitement back as NEGATIVE.

So a polish on that and send it off and it should be done.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

[The Limit] Send Off

Sent the polish of The Limit off to AB today. I'm not fully happy that I've integrated Forster's new motivation into every one of his scenes but it seems more important to get this treatment read than to get it right.

Up next:

Based on SDM's feedback, I'll massively simplify my script-outline review. I was making specific comments on the movie but I need to focus on redrafting a short essay about my fundamental problem with the film. Good. This'll challenge the current structure, suggesting what it could be rather than than reviwing what it is.

Taking today off. Essay tomorrow, then The Farm review, then some actual play reports.

Friday, January 14, 2005

[Astral] The Basic Mechanic

Describing rules seems to be difficult for me. I’ll start with an example and do some editing later to try to generalise a description.

Svend needs to rendevous with someone in the middle of a cloud. This is clearly a use of Attunement (currently rated at 8). As it will involve flying it will be [a test / a use] of his Soul. But an Attunement of 8 is heavily weighted towards the Body end of the scale, so Svend is unlikely to succeed.

He now rolls a d10. If he rolls 8,9 or 10 he succeeds and makes the rendevous. If he rolls 7 or below, he fails and gets another (unwanted) outcome.

(... later)

So succeeding at using an ability involves equalling your current score or exceeding it (on the opposite side of the ability you're trying to use).... man, I'll have to work on simplifying that sentence!

Failing means rolling between your current score and the ability you're trying to use.

Another Example:
Steve needs to convince an intelligent sphere of light that he's a good guy. Currently his Ethics are at 6, which means his character sheet looks like this:

Angelic 9 8 7 [6] 5 4 3 2 1 0 Demonic

He's drawing on the Angelic side and with a score of 6 he's got a slightly better than average chance of succeeding. If he rolls 0,1,2,3,4,5 or 6 (between the ability opposite to the one he's drawing on and his current score) then he'll succeed.

If he rolls 9,8 or 7 - between the ability he's drawing on and his current score - then he'll fail.

NB: The current score of the Rating always favours the player. If you roll it then the outcome the player prefers is used.

To think about: If you roll a 9 or a 0, your Rating moves 1 point in that direction. This'd introduce an element of risk into the game.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

[Astral] Fear

“Because you’ve been such good children, the monsters are looking forward to your make-believe visit.”

" is clear to me that what a spiritual explorer requires most is courage."
William Buhlman

deals with your response to the unknown and to ... fear. It measures whether you face the unknown with courage or common sense. It’s all about how you deal with what you find when you travel.

At a rating of 10, you confront with Courage - but mindlessly, impulsively.
At a rating of 0, you use Common Sense - but either retreat or are permanently paralysed

Common Fears of astral travellers:
*The unknown.
*Being unable to return to the body.
*Of possession.
*Of becoming lost.
*Of experiencing evil.

Copious examples of abilities and consequences for all of these Ratings will be added later.

Courage abilities include: Create a lightning bolt or flashing sword or a hand grenade of explosive light. [This seems to fit, here.]

Sense abilities include: Out run something negative by transferring to a higher energy level. Generate a protective glow, spiritual armour. Moving in a vehicle.

[Although I originally liked having repetition in the abilities, now I'm not sure. Suspect I'll be culling them and making each one weaker than the one before.]

2.3.5 The Fifth Rating

Feel free to develop your own if it seems appropriate to the game you're running. Simply find a pair of opposite qualities and the common thread between them.

[Astral] Character Change

Players have total control over the development of their character.* If you want to be more proficient at astral travel, take actions in that direction. If you want to meet darker, more evil entities, go out of your way to run into them.

When you state an action, you get to shift all the relevant Ratings one step in the appropriate direction. This means you can change multiple Ratings with only 1 action – if the action has ramifications for all the Ratings.

Jenni wants to fly through a mountain. Clearly this is a use of Attunement (which is currently rated at 6). She shifts her Attunement score down to 5, one step closer to the Soul end of the range.

A Bigger Example:
Jenni wants to fly through a mountain in order to save an airplane filled with strangers from a malevolent entity that Jenni believes is more powerful than her.

She has Attunement (6), Focus (3), Ethics (7) and Fear (2).

As a result of deciding to take this action she shifts her Attunement down to 5, her Focus up to 4 (because she's widened her focus from herself), her Ethics up to 8 (it's a good action) and her Fear up to 3 (she's being courageous).

* OK, there’s one exception – automatic Fear rolls whenever you fail an action.

If a character hits the extreme of either Rating (10 or 0), they enter Endgame. By the end of the session their story gets wrapped up in a way that's consistent with the descriptions under each of the Ratings. [Add in a more fleshed out 'Endgame' section later.]

[Astral] Taking Action - an Overview

Decided to make a start on describing the rules system for Astral. I realise what follows is unclearly written. I'll tidy it up soon and provide clear examples.


There is only one [rules mechanic] in Astral and the process for using it is always the same. There are 4 phases: Intent, Initiative, Execution and Effect

*Announce action. A roll is initiated whenever a player wants to perform an action that either requires the use of an astral ability or has an effect on one of the 4 ratings.
*Shift scores on any Ratings that are affected.
*Decide which Rating is the most applicable.
*Decide on two possible outcomes for the action - one that the player wants and another that she doesn't.

*In the rare event that two or more players are in conflict, Ratings are trumped anticlockwise to the order they appear on the character sheet. Attunement trumps everything while Response is trumped by everything.
*If two players are using the same abilities, the character whose Rating deviates most extremely from the centre will act first.
*In the event of a tie, simply roll a d10. Highest roll goes first.

*To determine which outcome you achieve, roll a d10.
*If the number you roll falls between the current score score of your Rating and the [extreme] you were trying to draw on, the player succeeds and gets their desired outcome.
*[Describes the opposites.] Failure equals getting their undesired outcome.
*If the number you roll is equal to the current score of your Rating, the player succeeds.

*Role-play the outcome.
*If the outcome was undesired, make a role on the Response Rating (which deals with your reaction to the unknown and fear) and adjust the score [appropriately].

[RPG] Introduction to the Forge

The Forge is an on-line community aiming to improve people's gaming experiences. They analyse actual play, are developing a body of theory about role-playing and encourage indie-publishing. Their philosophy is that game designers should self-publish via the Internet and freely swap ideas for systems and mechanics between each other.

If you're interested seeing what the Forge has to offer try some of these links:*

Moose in the City describes a great gaming experience, the type I aspire to.

Designers, Know Your Hobby! overviews the variety of games published in the last 30 years.
System Does Matter is the basis for much of the theory at the Forge. This essay has 3 sequels that expand on 3 basic approaches to role-playing: Simulation, Competition and Narrative.

*It's wise to spend a couple of days just browsing through past threads, because (in comparison to other Internet discussion groups) the Forge is highly moderated and has some strict posting standards.