Of Dice and Men Levels Up from Play to Movie

Of Dice and Men (ODaM), the play about what it’s really like to play D&D, by Cameron McNary, is becoming a film. We’ve been talking about this play since Castles and Cooks began, and have tracked it from a humble stage reading at the first PAX East, to the first staged production at PAX Prime 2010, all the way through its various performances around the country, including at the Brick theatre in New York City in July of 2012.

Based on a screenplay by the man himself, McNary and a team of talented thespians will be bringing the hilarious, heart warming, and occasionally gut wrenching adventures of one middle aged D&D group to the big screen. The story is a “blisteringly funny and deeply affecting comedy feature film about six tabletop roleplaying gamers and what happens when one of them enlists to go to Iraq.”

John Alex (Cameron McNary), Linda (Rebecca A. Herron), John Francis (Evan Casey), Tara (Gwen Grastorf), Jason (Ricardo Frederick Evans). Not pictured: Brandon (Greg Thompson)

When I saw the first stage reading, I originally wrote that Of Dice and Men was “the most brilliant piece of non-Wizards of the Coast Dungeons and Dragons related material since the Dead Alewives.” A few years later and even taking things like the Penny Arcade podcasts into account, I firmly stand by that original assertion. The story really brings together everything you could want in a tale about a gaming group like the inside jokes and the quirky way their personalities and characters overlap and inform each other.

The story perfectly achieves the balance of reminding gamers why we love the game, while providing insight into the world for the uninitiated. The humor and emotion are both deep and the jokes are tailor made for RPG fans of all kinds. And it does all of this with respect for the source material and the people who play. After all, it’s a story written for gamers, by gamers, and about gamers.

Like many projects in this brave new futuristic world of ours, the Of Dice and Men team is looking to crowd funding to help complete the project, which means we can all help make the movie a reality, and we absolutely should, because as cool as our reality is (most of the time) it most definitely would be improved with the addition of this film.

There’s currently a funding program for the film at IndieGogo, a crowd funding website that originally specialized in independent filmmaking. There are several options for backing with rewards that include everything from ODaM swap, to signed scripts, and even some opportunities to game with the cast. We should note that this is a “flexible funding” project which means that regardless of whether they meet their funding goal of $30,000, the project will still receive all the money that is raised.

The project details that funding will be used to rent equipment and space, costs for crew and cast, as well as some green screen scenes. The more funding they get, the better the scenes will look. Hopefully they can raise enough to get to Sharknado level effects because that is most certainly the industry standard now.

If you’re at all concerned about how your funding will be used, you shouldn’t be. While crowd funding projects all have some level of risk, this one is in good hands. McNary has shown the ability to get the project staged and performed a number of times and the fact that the play has been produced all over the country speaks to the quality of the material and interest.

Secondly, the production company CAVEGIRL PRODUCTIONS has had success with kickstarters in the past including an excellent fantasy webseries The Broken Continent that you really should be watching. If you aren’t, please rethink your life decisions up to this point and check it out. At the very least it’ll show the level of quality and care that is behind this project.

We’ll have more information, news, and updates as film production moves along and we head toward a release of the film. Exciting times indeed.

Help fund Of Dice and Men the movie.

Full Disclosure: Castles and Cooks is backing this project (you should too).