As Dungeons & Dragons sees a revival in popularity thanks to its nostalgic presence in TV shows and its newfound home in actual-play podcasts and online videos, its creator has seen his work and life gain similar interest. Gary Gygax’s work was optioned for video games, his biography turned into a graphic novel, and, now, his life story will be told thanks to a documentary from actor/writer Pat Kilbane. Well, if they can Kickstart the money for it, that is.
Kilbane’s The Dreams in Gary’s Basement went live on the crowdfunding site today, hoping to attain $25,000 to tell the story of Gygax’s career as a shoe repairman and its explosion into the head of an entire industry of role-playing products. The film is mostly completed, according to the site, and seeks finishing funds to give the movie a “high-end post-production polish” in addition to a few more photos and videos from the D&D archive.
“The only adventure more wild than those playing D&D is the one Gary Gygax had when he invented the game,” Kilbane said in a release. “He was a man with a wife and five children living on food stamps. But he decided to go all in on this groundbreaking, immersive game and came up a winner. It’s a parable on trusting your inner magic.”
Plenty of magical interviews are included in the documentary, including ones with Dragon Magazine editor Tim Kask, Rogue class creator Dan Wagner, Gary’s son Luke Gygax, Big Bang Theory writer Rob Cohen, Gen Con owner Peter Adkison. Plus more game historians and early role-players than you could fit into a bag of holding! The filming took place around Gygax’s home, adding even more authenticity to the project.
“It was especially uncanny to be in the basement where this phenomenon began,” Kilbane wrote, “You could feel the game in the unfinished floor and exposed beams. Gary’s handwriting was still legible on the basement door. It was pretty mystical.”
Depending on the levels of contribution, funders could earn anything from a digital copy of the film and their name in the credits all the way up to a producer title on the project. As the campaign heads towards its goal, stretch rewards will be unlocked, including a virtual tour of Gygax's home. The film’s Kickstarter ends on Nov. 15 and has so far earned $3,000.