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Designing a TV show for Gamers

Started by Carson, September 04, 2003, 09:12:05 PM

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Carson

Hi all,

I spent some time designing a TV show about gamers and roleplayers, mainly DND players.  I am now in the semi-finals, going up against other TV show ideas, mostly reality tv and cop shows.

My website is www.gamersanonymous.tv please check it out and tell me what you think.

Also if you would like to vote for my show, web votes determine who gets into the finals, you can vote for Gamers Anonymous at www.pilotproject.tv

I wanted to represent the truth about gamers while at the same not being to sterotypical and marketable.  I think I achieved that with 5 main characters, the Game Master, the Main Character, The Scoundrel, the Uber Geek and the Token Girl.  There day jobs take place at a large software company.  There is a lot more info on the site, let me know what you think I need to make this more accurate and more funny.  

Thanks,

Carson Wasabi
Wasabi Brother

Little_Rat

A show about gamers?
No offence, but the gamers don't look like gamers. I mean, I know the stereotypes but despite this, there are a few traits that while cliche, are true.
While your descriptions sound like gamers, their apperances don't.
Firstly, the wellgroomed guy with a tie. I might accept the well groomed but there is no way in hell you'd see a gamer geek in a tie. They're nooses of the man, the 'suits'. Even if they have to wear one to work or a function, they try to excape its evil bonds as fast as possible. When one of my gamer friends was told he probably didn't need the sport coat for an event  we were going to, he wadded up the jacket and chucked it in the back seat.
Secondly, they look much much much too old even if they're not. Most gamers still have their teenage spots on them, even in this age. Well, at least most of my friends still have their spots. And most of them wear glasses and computer joke or goth t-shirts. The girl is fine and maybe that oscar fellow, the others...Yeah, the day I see a gamer that looks like Matt Dillon or some other movie star is the day I swallow my dice. I'm a chick gamer and I'm including myself in this equation.
Ladies man....is this what he is or what he thinks? If he IS a ladies man, you've got another issue.
I wish you good luck but I guess my main point would be that the gaming world is too full of inside jokes to really be accepted by mundanes. Look at the past history of any show or movie based on gaming...flop. Basically, mundanes think gamers are weird, funny or both. To show them as normal, vaugely well adjusted people working normal jobs AND expect your audience to understand the intricacies of gaming subculture would cause Joe Normal to go: what the 8^&*&^ are those guys doing? What is going on??!! What's an rpg?
Your best source would be Dork Towers or, its predecessor, Knights of the Dinner Table. The Tv show Freaks and Geeks also flopped but that's what "look" and feel you should be going for. Scruffy, angsty, pretty damn bright.
Your characters are too normal to be gamers- in other words, they don't wear their personalities correctly. TV is a highly visual medium and what the character looks like is integral to a series.
Good start, but needs more work.

credentials:
-Four year long and going study on the nerd stereotype and its use in the media, reflections on reality/reality's impact on it etc., and various "flavors" of nerds such as gamers, webheads and the sort.
-Female.
-High school spent with several guys who played robots in a Homebrew star wars rpg. *shudder*

Andrew Martin

Quote from: Carson...let me know what you think I need to make this more accurate and more funny.

Use a spell checker and grammar checker on the site.

Look up all the actor's names on the web and get the correct spelling for them.
Andrew Martin

Mike Holmes

I dunno, Ms. Rat, the show is very close to describing the groups that I'm familiar with. Sure, we're not that good looking, but I think that if this is a sitcom, that you're expected to have actors who are better looking than the real life counterparts. I'm not sure what you think he's after, but your ideas and his seem to have quite a different tone. His seems more like Friends, while, as you say, your ideas are more "reality" like Freaks & Geeks.

I'm not sure how old you are, but most of us angsty teen players have graduated into pretty normal lives. In fact, I'm soon to be in circumstances that would accurately peg me as a SITCOM (Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage). Almost every gamer I know works in a technical position of some sort. For the demographic he's portraying, I think his sample group is just fine in terms of beleivability (which is actually a problem for me, see below). Just like the fact that not all homosexuals are flaming, not all gamers are glaringly geeky.


All that said, I don't think that I could watch it, and wouldn't want it on the air. That is, it looks like it exploits gamer culture for laughs at their expense. This could be my own Paranoia, but let's look at the facts. There's the GM who still lives with his mother. This is exactly the sort of stereotype that I wouldn't want to represent gamers. You say that you don't want stereotypes, but then in the next sentence you refrain from giving the character's names, and instead describe them by their stereotypes. The "Fat Gamer" (Uber Geek) really bothers me.

Now, is it unrealistic to expect a show to get off the ground without that sort of characterization? Probably. But that's small comfort to me. I'm sure that the show that I'd put together would be boring as hell. But at least it'd portray the good side of gaming.

F&G was at least an attempt at realism, so I could forgive the all too accurate portrayals. But I fear a sitcom about the subject. I can just see it getting on the air, and then netweork execs wanting to punch it up by having the player who lives in the sewers. Ugh.

Going "smart" won't help your chances either. There's a show on some small cable channel right now (Bravo? Ovation?) that's all about pilots and series that were really good and critically acclaimed, but got cancelled anyway. It turns out that smart doesn't sell on TV. Big revelation.

Sorry to be so gloomy on the subject, but it just seems to me that a lot of this is problematic. Might be my own insecurities, but then you're asking for feedback.

Mike
Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.

Tim Alexander

QuoteFor the demographic he's portraying, I think his sample group is just fine in terms of beleivability (which is actually a problem for me, see below). Just like the fact that not all homosexuals are flaming, not all gamers are glaringly geeky.

Seconded, from a SysAdmin married to a trauma nurse with a child on the way, and recently saddled with a mortgage.

QuoteAll that said, I don't think that I could watch it, and wouldn't want it on the air. That is, it looks like it exploits gamer culture for laughs at their expense. This could be my own Paranoia, but let's look at the facts. There's the GM who still lives with his mother. This is exactly the sort of stereotype that I wouldn't want to represent gamers. You say that you don't want stereotypes, but then in the next sentence you refrain from giving the character's names, and instead describe them by their stereotypes. The "Fat Gamer" (Uber Geek) really bothers me.

While I'm tempted to agree, part of me thinks that the show wouldn't be sustainable simply on a 'poke fun at the freaks' level. I think your 'normal' protagonists are the ones that are going to resonate with audiences. That means storylines move towards them, and you've then got a positive example out there.

I think I'd be more worried with how the games themselves are portrayed, rather than the players. If they end up looking like fun in spite of any issues about geek/gamer stereotypes it has the capacity to bring folks into the fold, which goes a long way towards helping those stereotypes break down.

Without a real script though, it's pretty hard to make a real evaluation.

-Tim

Mike Holmes

Just for reference, do you have some association with the Wasabi Brother's Manga? Credentials?

Mike
Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.

hix

Lots of interesting reading. These are my first impressions, pretty much in brain dump format.

What I like

What you’ve got here is a situation where the In-Game Characters can provide sub-text for the Main Characters’ real-life. If Hoody is evil when he plays, are the other players going to treat him (not as a villian) but with slightly more suspicion in the RW? If Edi likes Hoody, and deals with him romantically in the Game, how does that spill over into the real world?

It’s that sort of stuff that I’m interested in, plus them creating fantasy analogues of their real world frustrations that they can deal with or defeat in game. I guess I’m comfortable with reality leaking into the fantasy game, but not so much with reality taking on a fantastic tinge.

Questions

Visually, is there going to be a conflict between the Mundane World of the Office and the really exciting Fantasy Game World - with high production values, insane/funny/surreal situations and ironic modern dialogue?

How involved are we - the viewers - with the In Game Characters? Do we treat them as equally real? Do they get equal screentime? Or are there only snippets through the show? Do they have their own stories, or are they only reflections of the main characters?

Characters

Oscar seems like an interesting character. God complex in the game, God complex in his job. Frustrated from being in total control when he’s at home, DMing, by his mother. So I don’t have a problem with him living with his mother, because it serves a comedic point .

When we produced our sit-com, this sort of material always produced the best writing and exploration of the characters. Find out what the character cares about most passionately - whether it be Control, Sexual Prowess, or Success, etc - and then keep frustrating it.

It’s there with Oscar, probably. It’s there with Bolthy, because the idea of someone who keeps in character, but constantly has to deal with the real world is extremely funny to me. Edi, Hoody and Mark - I’m not so sure.

Hoody - Does he want to be as unethical as he can, but his friends keep providing him with a moral centre?

Edi - not sure, have you considered any other passions for her aside from trying to get dates? How does that reflect the major theme of your show: the conflict between fantasy and reality.

Mark - My theory is that your main character should represent that fundamental tension in the show. So I guess Mark should represent the pressure of holding down a job (and all the attention that requires) versus the fact that it’s more enjoyable to chat about the game with your friends and plan the next session. So are you intending to throw things at him like promotions, which’ll mean he’ll have to make a choice between spending more time at work and less gaming?

Finally

Another possibility just struck me. Rather than anonymous workers in a large software company, they could be the main players in a financially precarious start-up. That way they always have significant real world challenges that they should be dealing with, but the fantasy gaming is much more alluring.

The reason I thought of this is that I was annoyed that Bolty just ‘wandered around’. I thought it’d be much funnier if he was constantly forced by his job  to confront the real world. And that led me to think ‘What if he was the start-up’s founder’.

Anyway, hope some of that’s useful.

Good luck,
Steve
Cheers,
Steve

Gametime: a New Zealand blog about RPGs

Perrina

Sounds like a cross between Office Space and The Gamers*- I think it could work, with some tweaks here and there.  (Ex.- Does Edi have to be another secretary?  Can't a guy be the secretary for once?)

Kerrie


*The Gamers thread link:
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=7842
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Ely siriar, êl síla (dreams flow, a star shines).
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