Sunday, June 22, 2014

D&D: A Documentary versus The Great Kingdom


At GaryCon a few years ago, I noticed some gentlemen trying to get in the front door, struggling with a bunch of what looked to be video equipment.  Being a smoker at the time and, thus, being out front taking a break, I set down my cigarette and tried to help by holding a door open and ushering the luggage cart through. In the process, I queried them as to the purpose of the video equipment. This was my first introduction to D&D: A Documentary.

I spoke with the young men a few times in passing over the next few days; nothing serious, ust asking how there endeavors were going, learning how tough it was at the convention to get a quiet spot and time to interview the old guard. I still have the business card they handed me that day.  I bought in on the spot. OK, not literally, but figuratively. I did, later, contribute money through kickstarter.

I watched the kickstarter updates without much excitement, to be honest. I had already received my copy of Playing at the World and read it cover to cover a while ago. I was content to simply wait for the finished product so I could see it, finally.

Then, a short time ago, I started to see things pop up on Facebook, Google +, and even at GaryCon, about The Great Kingkdom. “Hmmm,” I thought to myself, “two D&D movies. That’s interesting. Maybe these The Great Kingdom guys should talk to the D&D: A Documentary guys.” Only, they had…because they are the same guys. Well, apparently all but one.

You see, the gentleman for whom I first held the door at GaryCon, lo those many years ago, along with one or two of the other producers of D&D: A Documentary have apparently left that production to instead take up The Great Kingdom production…new Kickstarter and all.

So this is the D&D: A Documentary update on received in April of this year:
“In January of this year it became clear that a competing film is being made by a production company owned by the executive producers of this film. This was a surprise to everyone and it raised questions and confusion.”

Yeah…it sure did raise questions.

OK…so this is probably a good time to clear something up. I know the risks in kickstarters. I understand that I was not really buying anything (although, as I said, I did get the book…and it’s awesome, IMHO); I understand that the folks involved could have just taken the money and walked away. This is not a complaint about anything like that. In fact, I’m not all that upset. And yet, something is kinda eating at me.

Here’s the way the" Risks and challenges" section of the kickstarter of The Great Kingdom starts:
"Some of you may know James and myself from a different D&D documentary project that was started on Kickstarter a couple of years ago. As projects like this go and part of the nature of filmmaking, there were creative differences that opened our eyes to another perspective of the story and ultimately led to our new direction and separation from the previous project."

OK…so there were “creative differences”. I get it. I’m not cold-hearted. But here’s how that same section continues:
“So, to those who helped support the previous documentary, James and I would like to offer a digital, downloadable copy of THE GREAT KINGDOM for FREE. It's our small way of thanking you for your support and patience. All you need to do is email us and there will be a copy waiting for you when the film is done.”

Wait. Maybe this is what is bothering me. I’m not kidding that I’m realizing this as I’m writing it…this is not snark, this is honesty. I want more.

Even though it is spelled out that financially The Great Kingdom “started from scratch”, why I do feel like I helped them because of all of the connections and open doors and interviews and, possibly, stories they got from D&D: A Documentary work? Heavens, I have to kind of believe given the amount and kind of information I’ve seen to this point that The Great Kingdom really only exists as a concept because of what they learned on a project I helped fund that they walked away from!

Here’s my list of demands ( :) )
1)  I want a physical copy, dammit. Come on man…just make a DVD and ship it to me. I know it can’t cost that much. Hell, I might even give you the cost of production once it’s done.
2) I want the real scoop. That’s right, come clean with the dirty little story. Yeah, I know there’s probably legal action. Tough…tell me what happened.
There…that’s it. Easy.
BTW…I owe a write-up of GaryCon VI. Maybe by GenCon!


  1. Wow. These guys went the total authenticity route. The had creative differences, followed by a split-up, then are planning on releasing a product which is almost like the original, but slightly different. Just like TSR!

  2. Hi Jim - We found your blog post today. Yes, would love to tell you what happened. Please email me at and we will explain as best we can.

    - Andrew Pascal
    Producer of The Great Kingdom

  3. Andrew - Let me first express my sheer surprise that you found this. Second, I would like to express my gratitude for the offer; an email is forthcoming. Third, I would like to again express my disbelief that you actually found, read, and responded to this post.

    Did I say I surprised? Because I am.

  4. There's a complaint that was filed against The Great Kingdom in NY Court.

  5. Hi Jim!
    I hope Andrew was able to address your concerns. We are moving forward with our movie and very excited about finishing. For the record, The Great Kingdom is very different from the DnD Doc. Thank you for your blog post.