Monday, June 8, 2015

"Dream a little bigger, darling..."

I've been spoiled.

Something amazing happened to me in the past - we did the impossible and came out shiny, but it has spoiled me and set my expectations way too high.

The amazing thing was Doctor Who.

It was impossible. A crazy, impossible dream that started as a chat over the internet between like-minded individuals, that escalated into just saying "let's go for it"... never expecting it would get anywhere.

It started with a quick chat with Chris Birch, possibly one of the nicest people you could meet in the RPG scene, and now the man with his own company - Modiphius. He'd just bought Conspiracy X 2.0, and got in touch. We chatted about the RPG world in general, and about trying to get new gamers into the hobby, and chatted about licenses that would get kids playing.

Cover of the original pitch to the BBC for the game
Within weeks we'd been talking to Angus Abranson, and Dominic McDowall-Thomas at the recently formed Cubicle 7 Entertainment, who Chris and I knew from past dealings, and we talked, and brought in Fred Hicks - the legend over at Evil Hat - to do some layout design for us, and we put together a proposal to the BBC for a roleplaying game based upon Doctor Who. All of them legends in the RPG world, I was way out of my league.

Never thought anything would come of it.

Even when we all went to BBC Worldwide Licensing in London, to talk about our idea, did we ever think we'd get anywhere. But the BBC liked what they saw, and we'd done the impossible.

(L-R) Me, Dominic Mc-Dowall Thomas, Chris Birch, Angus
Abranson, and Fred Hicks at the official announcement for the
Doctor Who RPG at Dragonmeet 2007
But I'm not posting about Doctor Who. I'm posting about doing impossible things before breakfast. To me, and to everyone around me, getting to write the Doctor Who RPG was an impossible task. I mean, we knew people had tried before to do the game (not just the ones that got published like the FASA one, and Virgin's "Time Lord").

In my head this set a new standard.

To dream a little bigger.

This week I went to see Ruby Wax live. She was doing part of her "Sane New World" tour where she did a live thing on stage that was part recap of her new book and part stand-up. I must admit, I had this moment a few years ago at a Dylan Moran gig where I had a moment of clarity and realised that I didn't like stand-up comedy. Luckily, Ruby Wax's tour wasn't really comedy, so to speak. More a presentation about how our brains work, and how we're screwing ourselves over. Done in an amusing way.

A couple of parts of the show really rang true. The first was how stress can affect your memory, and one of the earliest signs of being stressed is forgetting things. This was a bit of a wake up call, having noticed recently that I'm having difficulty remembering names...

The other is about how we're driven by that dopamine hit, that constant drive for more. You eat the donut, and you're already looking for the next one. It's not the actual donut that's giving you pleasure, it's the thrill of the chase, of the capture of the donut, and midway through eating the donut the brain is already preparing you to look and hunt for the next donut out there in the wilds of the donut plains...

And my writing has been like that.

But I was part of something impossible. And while I kinda burned out on Doctor Who (there was a period when my dayjob and my writing were pretty much non-stop Doctor Who for about a year or two), that dopamine hit is calling and I've spent months, if not longer, desiring the next one.

Part of my brain is screaming at me, saying...

"You did Doctor Who! You can do anything! Why don't we do Star Trek next? Or James Bond? Or Harry Potter!"

And another part of me is shouting...

"You were lucky to get that one, just give it up and know it'll never happen again..."

I know it's impossible. I'm just a little freelancer. I don't have the clout of a massive publishers, or a track record of my own publications. Hell, I've been working on WILD for nearly three years now and it doesn't seem to be getting any bigger.

But I have to dream.

I had the same problem just this morning, thinking about #RPGaDAY2015. I'm going to film a video for it in the next week or two, and the image for the questions for August's RPG-love-fest is coming, but part of me... that annoying "dream too big" part of my brain kicked in again today and started suggesting stupid things like...

"What if I did the video, and I could get loads of game designers and people like that to submit a little video of themselves saying RPGaDAY2015..."

"What if I could get people like Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton to do it? To take part in the month of talking in a positive way about tabletop RPGs?"

Stupid brain.

Anyway, next post will be about #RPGaDAY2015. I don't know if the video will be ready, but I'll try. In the meantime, I'll be over in the corner, dreaming too big for my own good, and eating donuts.

Until next time, dream bigger darlings, and stay multi-classy.


Gareth-Michael Skarka said...

If you decide to dream bigger and shoot for one of those licenses that you and I both obsess over, I'm in. Anything you need.

David F. Chapman said...

Awesome, dude! Thank you! I'll definitely be in touch!

Jeffrywith1e said...

There we go again. Wil Wheaton talking about a Star Trek RPG makes it seem completely doable