A word in support of history

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tagged: bbs, get lamp, tape, 6502, arcade, jason scott, documentary, kickstarter

This post is not about me. It is about Jason Scott.

Jason Scott is a big loud blabbermouth who, in several subtle ways, helped get me to where I am today. I don't mean the Kickstarter invite he gave me, which I used to launch my project a year ago. I mean his giant documentary about text adventures. (Which featured my face, amidst a crowd of IF faces and places.) That movie -- no: the response to that movie -- assured me that there was a place for an independent hacker to pursue interactive storytelling, in this uncertain world, and be supported for it.

Jason Scott, an overdressed loon who will not shut up, funded his movie through Kickstarter. A year ago, I looked at his Kickstarter pitch -- no, the response to his pitch -- and said: this funding thing works. I can do this.

Then I asked him, more or less, "Should I try this?" And he said, more or less, "Of course. Hello. Duh." So here I am. But this post is not about me.

Jason Scott (an Internet addict and obsessive downloader) has posted a Kickstarter pitch for three new documentaries. He wants to do a movie about the 6502 processor, a movie about tape -- video, audio, data -- and a movie about arcades. He is asking for a big pile of money. As I write this, he has roughly one-seventh of a big pile accumulated.

It is my assertion that Jason (blabbermouth, loon, obsessive) should achieve his big pile and make his movies. I don't say this because he's helped me out. I say this because this is what he does. He accumulates information about the history of the computer age -- obsessively. He collects files and interviews people. He turns computer folklore into computer history.

He does not shut up because he has accumulated a vast amount of this interesting stuff in his head and he wants to tell it to you. He gives lectures, or you can just have dinner with him -- it's the information faucet either way. In his documentaries, mind you, he does not talk. You won't see his face much on film. There, he shuts up, gets out of the way, and lets his subjects (and his subject) speak for themselves.

(As for "overdressed", I can't fit that into this narrative. Jason just likes to dress up.)

Get Lamp was Jason's second big movie. His first was BBS: The Documentary. Go trawl those sites if you want an idea how his movies work. I bought a copy of BBS back in '05, while trying to decide whether to let this guy point a camera at me, and I was convinced. Check them out. Or, heck, go looking for the movies themselves online. Jason releases everything under Creative Commons licenses. You can download them if you want -- he's cool with that. If you think they're worth money, buy the nice DVD editions. If you think the upcoming movies are worth money, donate to his Kickstarter project. That is all.