My favorite movie is Almost Famous as you might be able to tell from the quote in the title of this post. I love everything about that movie. I love the music, the scene, and most importantly the depiction of the circus that is a traveling show. This is the movie I watch when I am sad or lonely or sick.
I’ve watched Almost Famous four times in the last two months. A convention has a good deal in common with the feel of this movie and more than anything in the world I wanted LA by Night 2013 to explode with awesome.
(Picture arranged by Stacey Mell)
It was a weekend two-years in the making. The only thing I can imagine akin to the experience would be to be pregnant.
The BNS Development Team labored intensely for 9 months to finish Mind’s Eye Theatre: Vampire The Masquerade.
We finished the word-count death march and turned over the manuscript over to design and instead of taking a well-earned vacation, we immediately pressed forward to create the Blood and Betrayal: Legends of the Grey Ghost.
Special thank you to the entire By Night Studios Development Team: Jason Carl, Ree Soesbee, Kevin Millard, and Jen “Loopy” Smith. We made magic together and then we made even more magic together.
The convention got off to a weird start. The intention was to arrive a day early and just relax and then hit the ground running Thursday. The TSA screening team decided that there was a potential terrorist thread in my lovely wife Lisa’s bra. Personally, I know those breasts have a mind of their own and so I think it was perfectly legitimate that we were delayed just enough to miss our flight on Wednesday. Thankfully, there was a second flight just two hours later and we managed to secure seats on it. We managed to get into town just in time to eat with the team and relax.
The majority of Thursday and Friday were dedicated to preparing for Blood and Betrayal and helping players make characters. The response from the fan community was overwhelming. We had a set of amazing volunteers that helped their fellow players make characters allowing me to serve as a “Pit Boss” monitoring the flow of the process while Loopy ensured that everything was correct.
The following players made this event happen smoothly and we of By Night Studios salute them. If you enjoyed Blood and Betrayal, it would be a Crime Against Nerdom of these folks bought their own drinks at the next convention: Caity Grace, Chris Poszgai, David Bounds, Jason Ruth (and his beard), Jimmy Reckitt, Mahtias Crestborn, Michelle Webb (who saw what needed to be done and jumped in), Peg Brewer, Reid Woodridge, Scott Kerekes, and Skylar Woodies.
Blood and Betrayal felt magical. I’ve always had an image of how Vampire: The Masquerade should look and this exceeded it. Special props to Shane DeFreest for making this vision a reality. The players of the event brought their A-game via role-playing, costuming, and love of the genre. It felt special and rare. Too much happened to recount properly here, but I have a two stories that I will share here and now.
Jimmy Reckitt (as Strauss) and Dhaunae De Vir (Madame Guil)
Photograph from C. Wenzel Photography
During the one of the planned tent-pole scenes of the game, I looked up at the stage to see Prince Strauss of L.A (portrayed by Jimmy Reckitt from OWBN) and Justicar Madame Guil (portrayed by Dhaunae De Vir of the Mind’s Eye Society) on the stage. That moment was everything I imagined Blood and Betryal could be and it spotlighted the brotherhood between the different clubs. We’re all people that love this game and if we extend some hands we could be brilliant friends and partners in making this hobby shine.
By the end of the game, I felt undead and completely out of energy. All I wanted to do was finish breaking down the storyteller table and hide for an hour or two. Hilary ensued as it does.
I looked up to see a pretty young lady approaching the table. I noticed immediately that she was crying. Not gentle tears. She was sobbing. Immediately I started to panic. Had someone hurt her at our game?
I asked her if she was alright. She nodded. I asked her the next question. “Who did this?”
“The game was so beautiful. I cried like three times.”
Once my heart started beating normally, I was ecstatic. We touched hearts and that was the greatest gift of all. Thank you, Maria Cambone. Thank you to all of the players that made this worthwhile.
Saturday was a relaxing day where I was able to discuss business and chat on panels. Special thanks to Eddy Webb who helped with my Interactive Writing Panel. Folks enjoyed themselves.
By Night Studios answered questions about Mind’s Eye Theatre: Vampire The Masquerade and announced that our next book will be Mind’s Eye Theatre: Werewolf The Apocalypse.
More information to come about Mind’s Eye Theatre: Werewolf The Apocalypse as it is approved for release. There is a rumor that Jimmy Reckitt agreed to be auctioned off for the Kickstarter and his next NPC role might be shirtless.
We also shared a panel with my other set of Vampire Overlords aka The Onyx Path. This weekend was the first time I was able to really hang out with the amazing Rich Thomas and Matt McElroy. They are good people that love the community. I had a blast introducing them to the Accord venue from the Mind’s Eye Society.
The rest of the convention was devoted to nerd fellowship and hanging out. There were too many friends to mention. As it is said in Almost Famous. the circus was over and no one wanted to go home.
The circus is still raging via Facebook, texts, and everyone someone remembers the awesome.
Thank you all.