Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: PbP Theater: A Design Concept

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    The Imperial Palace
    Posts
    543
    Blog Entries
    9

    Talking PbP Theater: A Design Concept

    I had an idea for a rather large project. Truthfully it is probably to big to be done here on TW. We have an active and creative PbP Community here but that is not TW's focus. D&D and the amazing Virtual Tabletops are what brings most people here.

    But I like this idea quite a bit and it is different from the other Forum-based projects I have done so here it is...

    The Tangled Web Theater

    The Short Description

    The Theater would be the home of the Tangled Web Players a group of people who both RP a little and present a form of Play for others to enjoy. Each Player would take on one or more specialized roles from the following:

    Playwright: This is where it really starts. People who want to present a Story and are willing to write it down. Using a loose standard Script format the basics of Dialogue and Events would be created. The author would not have to write every detail in fact it would be better not to do that. Other people will fill in the blanks in their own way.

    Director: They take over when the Script is done. The Director is responsible for getting the Script turned into a Performance. Directors will look for Scripts that they feel they can bring something special to. Working first with the Casting Director and the Actors they will Cast the Show. Then they are responsible for organizing the rehearsals and getting a Production Designer to help out.

    Production Designer: Probably the easiest basic job but still very important. To make a Play in a Forum interesting takes more than text. The PD would be responsible for finding pictures to represent the various locations in the Show. Many Shows will only need a few pictures but some might need quite a few. Simple pics might do, or animated Special Effects might be requested.

    Actor: Anyone who wishes to perform in a Show would need to join the Group. They would adopt a human stage name (First and Last Names) and could pick the Roles they wish to Audition for. In some cases casting will be pretty automatic, in others there will be competition.

    The Forum Structure

    Unlike a normal game the point of the Theater would be to present things for others to view. I think because of that it would need a very featured location. If it were not really visible I do not see how it could get the attention it would deserve.

    The top level would be the Performance Stages, 1 thread per Show. Along with that would be some Advertising for upcoming shows and maybe some other RP-based things.

    Under that would be a Password Locked BackStage area. This would be for the TW Players only. We would rehearse and work on things out of the public eye. Scripts would be Top Secret until performed. Only small parts for Auditions would be available to the Public until then.


    What Sorts of things could be Produced?

    Anything at all. Personally I see this as a way to do a lot of things that I have never gotten around to making a Game or doing a full piece of Fiction about. Considering the interest in D&D and Fantasy I would imagine that would be a popular genre for Shows.

    And because you do not have to write a complete detailed Story I think more people than the norm would be able to write something worthwhile. I think that could be the secret that could make the idea work. 3 different layers of people will contribute to the final product.

    Directors and Production Designers will take the raw Script and flesh it out with Settings and more detail. Actors will take each Character and define them even farther. There could be a give and take between all the participants as all this goes on.

    However it would be important to remember how things work. The Director has final say over everything. He or she may work with the Playwright a lot, or very little. A Director can hand an Actor a very well defined part, or nothing beyond the Script pages.

    So what exactly gets Produced

    A perfected Play by Post event.

    It might be the length of a Play or Movie, or maybe episodic with cliffhangers, but it will be a polished perfect version of PbP. One thread with people playing their parts with some nice supporting visuals.

    My personal take on Directing would probably go like this...

    I would add a fair amount of notes to a script. But I would leave the bulk of the character development to the Actors. Lots of Pictures always, and Special Effects would never be out of the question. After Casting the first Event would be the Read Through. This would be done in 1 thread and discussed in another. People could do quick first attempts at their parts, doing all the dialogue. Changes and alterations would be discussed and decided on here.

    When that was done (and it would be done over a period of many days so schedules would not be a problem generally) we would move to the Dress Rehearsal. The goal here is to get it right. We do the whole script once and then go back over and tweak until everyone is happy.

    That thread is exactly (plus pictures and other frills) what gets presented on Show Night. It can be done by the Cast or just by the Director, but the Show gets moved/redone in the Public part of the Theater.

    I think having a Show Night and the Cast doing their parts live will generate the most buzz. Seeing us assemble to do this will get others to watch. But I recognize that this is the one thing in the whole design that would cause people will different schedules to have problems. So there are other ways. But if a Live Show can be done, that will be the best, trust me on this one.

    The Cattle... er Actors

    Everyone who joins the group would need a Stage Name. Along with that how much Persona you wanted to attach would be flexible. My whole point with this Design was to create something that could be in addition to the games here on TW. Running, or Playing, most people could probably find the time to be a part of the performing group if they wished.

    But what I was thinking was that along with the name everyone would adopt at least 1 face. An actor or other performer. But not their name. I think it is one thing to use a famous face as your Character but quite another to call yourself Al Pachino.

    What might work even better would be if each Actor had a small number of faces that they could use for different parts. That way a Director could pick the exact face they wanted to use out of your list or even suggest a new one for you to use.

    How much of an RP game would this be?

    Not much. Just doing the Shows would be a normal amount of activity. If you really expanded the RP side of the game it would become a lot of effort. But I would encourage everyone to interact inside the Theater as their Stage Personas. And I think we could have some RP events now and then. Press Conferences spring to mind but other things could happen if desired.

    What would it take to make this work

    Mostly a handful of both Playwrights and Directors. At least 2-3 people of both types who are serious about getting a Show put on. I certainly have things I wish to do but this just will not work without others. I am sure we could get a fair group of Actors here on TW but that is the easy part. Creating the Script, and turning that Script into a Show, that is a whole lot more work.

    But I love the idea and if nothing else I wanted to present it here.



    A.T
    (-)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Daytona Beach, FL
    Posts
    2,166
    Blog Entries
    18

    Default

    I like the concept and I'll be turning this over in my mind for a bit afore adding my thoughts. Seems like you've put a lot of thought into this and my curiousity has certainly been aroused.

    Though our initial focus has always been VGTs, since we've got the die roller added, Play by Post has really taken off around here. So, don't let the fact that we're not a primarily play by post site deter you.

    If this proves to be something doable, we can easily create a Category for the concept.
    Check out my eBook called How to GameMaster Online available on Amazon.com !



    Let the Good Times Roll ! Drop in the Chatroom and say hi.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    The Imperial Palace
    Posts
    543
    Blog Entries
    9

    Default

    It is mostly a scale thing. This started with the idea of a Community type project. If you could bring together the right people what could you do with them?

    I am not sure if the end product would justify the efforts. Or rather if enough people would think it was worthy of reading. But I love the idea of doing a little bit of Hollywood and putting on Shows enough to have written the whole idea up.

    There could be a whole RP game attached much in the manner of a Movie about making a Movie. But I am not sure what the point of such a game would be. Perhaps it would have no point and would just be a big excuse for people to let their ego out as Movie Stars. *grins*



    A.T
    (-)

  4. #4

    Default

    I actually quite like this idea, and I would love to participate in it if it were to happen as both a writer and and actor. Maybe I'd branch out to more who knows? I only question on how long it would take to play out the while pbp play before the show. It might take an exorbitant amount of time to run the rehearsal, and then the actual show would take just a night to finish. Anyone who missed the show it would be just like reading a prewritten story and might take part of the magic out of it, but these are small complaints in the big run. Also, timezones might make getting a large group of actors together at once hard, and we wouldn't want to reject anyone just because of where they lived would we?

    But I overall love the idea.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    The Imperial Palace
    Posts
    543
    Blog Entries
    9

    Default

    The Script would be key in how long it would take to put an individual show together. Just like a screenplay is different from a stage script the Scripts for this would have to take the format into account. But I think that is something that we would learn fairly quicky.

    I think there will be an X number of Pages takes at least Y number of Days to Rehearse formula. Just have to do 1 or 2 Shows to figure that out.

    Like any PbP-based idea the schedules people are on will have to be taken into account to some degree. If everyone can get together at one time a Rehearsal could be done in a single evening. If people can get together a bit but not perfectly then I think most could be done in a week.

    Exactly how much of a Game this would be is a bit of a question. When it comes to putting on the Shows it really is collabrative Fiction. Even more so than normal because the Script would have the outline for the whole Story. All decisions made by the Actors would be in the way of texture or bits of 'business'. (For the non-Actor, Business is anything not in the script that is done to fill in the action a little.)

    But unlike group Fiction projects this one would not require the absolute best writers. Anybody could do this because of all the help they can always get along the way. Behind the scenes a person might always be getting some support but in 'Public' they can act as snooty as they like.

    Normally it is considered bad if a small part of a group goes off to do 'elite' things. But I think when this is done for a positive purpose it can add mystery and interest to a group's activities. Those in the password-locked Hollywood would make each other look amazing. And it would be perfectly ok to lay claim to your entire performance just like any ego-driven Hollywood Actor would do. For once credit where credit is due will be suspended.

    Inside Hollywood the Actors can kiss the butts of those who make them look so good but in Public they can strutt and gloat when people praise them.

    About the Shows...

    I think if a Show is done Live then a little of the magic of the performance will remain. People reading will know what was happening and that matters a bit.

    But in the end yes you have a thread with a Story in it. People would have to find them interesting or else all the effort would seem a waste. It would be fun for the participants to do of course. But without an Audience you cannot really be a Star. I think going with a multi part approach might turn out to really work for most Stories.

    Being able to break the story up into a series of Shows makes them more controlable. Do a much as your Cast and Crew can get done in a week then do a Show.

    That would be nice.

    But given the nature of Forums a biweekly Show might be more realistic for small things. Could we come up with things that are so interesting that others will read them? I have no idea.



    A.T
    (-)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    MN, US of A
    Posts
    350
    Blog Entries
    13

    Default

    This idea still up for options or not really? Cuz I'd be game.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    The Imperial Palace
    Posts
    543
    Blog Entries
    9

    Default

    I never took it much farther. It would require a group who could all meet at the same time I would think.

    Personally I would love to write sort of an old Radio Drama sort of thing. Allow for a touch of cheese but otherwise play it straight. My original thought was someone supplies a Script and then it is expanded by the Players. But as I thought about it other ways to do it occured.

    A big part would be setting things up to get an Audience. BackStory and Flashy Ads would be needed. The anticipation of waiting for a special Day of Performance has to be maximized as much as possible.

    At some point it just becomes either a FreeForm Game or a Cooperative Fiction if you mess around with the ideas enough.

    Done right you could guarantee an Audience. The question is can doing the 'Performance' offset the lack of choices, drama of dice rolls and other RPG things?

    Then the last question is what sort of Story to do? If the plan is for multiple Performances then the cliffhangers would have to be attention-grabbing. People would have to care about what happens next. That is not the easist thing to do.



    A.T
    (-)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    MN, US of A
    Posts
    350
    Blog Entries
    13

    Default

    I think that it could be done. A well done story has its own grab. There are plenty of things that can be done that simulate a set of dice. You could even roll during rehersal.

    I'm all for trying. How big a story you want and what kind of setting? I've got a million and one ideas rolling around to at least get the start of a script.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    The Imperial Palace
    Posts
    543
    Blog Entries
    9

    Default

    I think a lot depends on the number of people involved. But it is unlikely to draw a huge number of Actors so thinking under 10 parts is probably a good idea.

    I don't see any sort of Rolling being all that likely if there is going to really be a script. A Roll implies at least 2 possible branches forward each time. Toss in even a few of those and the size of the Script needed becomes huge.

    The idea to me is to script in the Drama and intense events in sort of the perfect Game play that never really happens. Which really puts it closer to a Play than a Game.

    Any Setting is possible but most of my ideas were period pieces. Radio Serials like the Shadow were a big part of the inspiration. A good mystery with a lot of parts to be revealed might catch people's attention. The old cliff-hanger Movie Serials were also part of the inspiration.

    The thing that is interesting about older time periods is how little it takes for things to be spooky or mysterious. Almost any sort of Psi, Meta, or Mystic ability in the least is very effective and scares the pants off of the bad guys.


    A.T
    (-)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •