In Boston at the PAX convention, Jason Scott premieried a portion of his new documentary, Get Lamp.
First, I was disappointed that we weren’t getting a final product viewing. I’ve been watching Jason put the film together for four years (he interviewed me and I’m in the film) and I had hoped to see something more complete. From a business perspective, it may be that he simply had to move forward in whatever state it was in. However, the whole thing might have been better served by waiting another six months. The fact that PAX East was in Boston and they were receptive to the several IF panels and the film…this was probably just too good to pass up on Jason’s part. I still would have liked to have seen the entire film.
The hour of film that Jason previewed was well done. There were a few gaudy moments; like holding onto Steve Meretzky as if he’s going to cry. Then holding onto Mike Berlyn as he states very emphatically that commercial IF is dead and no one should every put money into it. I think the former was just goofy. The latter was misleading. There’s more information about Berlyn’s Cascade Mountain Publishing company and with that, Berlyn’s comments become something else entirely. Was Jason afraid to expose dirty details? Isn’t that part of the point of a documentary? To tell the whole story? In any case, I think this point in the film does a disservice to anyone, myself included, trying to rekindle commercial IF. Without the backstory or without some balancing narrative, Berlyn’s comments are wildly out of context. There was a hint of balance coming at the end, but it was nowhere near as strong as Berlyn’s comments.
The rest of the film was excellent. All of the interviews, with Infocom people, Scott Adams, the educators, the blind players, and a few contemporary IF people were all wonderful and really give you a sense of the love and passion many of us have for the medium. In this respect, the film is a tremendous success. I’m sure the unfinished portions will only add more depth to the story.