152. “I’m avidly looking forward to the design document and the release of who your main creators/writers are.”
It was an innocent comment in a Facebook group, but it caught my attention. We’re launching a new larp, and while the website hasn’t been launched yet, there are people who are already curious about the project. In case, you haven’t heard about it yet, it’s a Western larp with the title 1878: Welcome to Salvation, and it’ll take place in Texas, USA.
We’re pretty excited about it, and it’s motivating to see that others are as well.
So why did this particular comment make me think twice?
Because it signifies something important: Larp as a form of expression is not what it once was. People care more. And that’s a good thing.
When people hear that there’s a new movie coming out, they talk about who the director is and that impact that will have on the film (and on society). They discuss styles and views and ideals and impact.
Of course, they do!
It makes a hell of a difference whether a new James Bond movie will be directed by Woody Allen, by Sam Mendes, who did the last two Bond movies, or by Kathryn Bigelow (who still remains the only woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director). Just like it makes a difference who will play the new Bond, in case Daniel Craig retires.
These things matter — sometimes a great deal.
And that’s why it was such a profound comment. Because it means that what we do matters. Not to everyone. Certainly not as much as a Bond movie. But to someone. And that is both humbling, gratifying and overwhelming.
On the positive side, it means that there are people who care about what we do, and that is amazing. Being noticed and acknowledged is something that matters to us as human beings, whether we do street art, high-brow philosophy or larp events. We want to know that what we do matters.
On the negative side, it means that we’ll end up disappointing someone. Not everyone, of course, but definitely not no one either. Because just as the choice of a new Bond director and protagonist will both unite and divide, so will our design choices.
Is our focus on the things that people think it should be? Is our design made in a way they like? Do we have an approach to our subject matter that resonates with them?
No matter what choices we make (and what choices people think we make, even though they may be mistaken), we’re going to be applauded by some and disliked by others.
Are we doing an event with a low ticket price? Some will be happy because it makes it more affordable and accessible. Others will be unhappy because it lowers the production value in a way they don’t like. Do we go for historically inspired rather than historically correct? Some will scoff at our portrayal and unwillingness to “stay true to reality”, while others will breathe a sigh of relief and feel that they’re now welcome.
A year ago, I wrote a piece on the pitfalls and perceptions one faces as a creator of fiction. It’s my post #61 here on Medium, and the link is HERE.
What was true then is even more true today.
And while that is sometimes frustrating, it’s also good.
Because just as it can seem daunting when someone says “I’m avidly looking forward to the design document and the release of who your main creators/writers are.”, they’re also saying “I care about what you do.”
It doesn’t mean that you can make everyone happy. It certainly doesn’t mean that you should try to make everyone happy! Hell, no. That way lies only madness. Even the fact that you’re alive is an affront to somebody somewhere, after all, so don’t make the mistake of thinking you need to please all of us. But it does mean that you shouldn’t laugh it off or shake your head when someone discusses your projects. It means that you matter to them.
And the further we go on our journey from being seen as a community that indulges in play that no one cares about, to a community that (co)creates powerful stories and meaningful experiences, the more people will care.
To me, that’s yet another step in the right direction.
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