Car chases, explosions, and shootouts heavy on the special effects. Is this what it might take to make tabletop wargaming interesting to the non-participants?
I've had a troubling thought going around in my mind for quite some time (for a few years?), but I have avoided voicing the opinion until now. It is beginning to seem like the proverbial elephant in the room to me however.
My question to you is this. While we love the various permutations of our hobby, are attempts to televise it or make movies about it really in the hobby's best interest? I saw elsewhere (Yahoo's Old School Wargaming group, I think) this morning that there are plans afoot to make a movie about the hobby if enough funds can be raised through a kickstarter campaign. Apparently, several big names, a well-known publication, and companies that produce wargaming hobby related products have already pledged their support.
Fine. Assuming enough money is raised for the project, but how on earth is this a good idea? Short of writing a script that apes one of the more recent Daniel Craig-era James Bond action films with paper thin plots but lots of shootouts, fights, explosions, and some gratuitous nudity, how in the world could a director and crew make playing with toy solders seem interesting?
When it became available via YouTube a few years ago, I watched the old Battleground TV programs from the late 1970s, starring Peter Gilder and hosted by Callan himself, Edward Woodward. I had always heard/read so much about the series and was eager to see it. In a word -- well, two actually -- it was painfully dull. Excruciatingly so. Even from a historical standpoint. My time might have been better spent painting or having a game myself. That is a harsh, contrarian view perhaps, but how could a film made about the miniature wargaming hobby in, say 2018 or '19 if things proceed according to plan, do any better?
If special effects are added post-prodution, it would simply take away from the spectacle of toy soldiers and well-executed scenery. That is putting the cart before the horse I suppose.
Our military history-toy solider hobby is riveting to us, and I say that with no sarcasm or irony intended. But is it interesting enough to finance and produce a film about it? I'm not so sure. I kind of doubt it to be honest. Have you ever listened to someone who is seriously into online gaming blather on incessantly about it? D&D or other roll-playing games? Model trains? HAM radio? Long distance bicycling? A new mothers' group? Fly fishing? The term mind-numbing seems apt, and, I hate to admit, it came to mind as I clicked on and endured those old episodes off Battleground two or three summers ago.
The question of outsider interest in a niche hobby reminds me of a time several years ago now when I watched a short video of my now defunct Hamburg and Liverpool-era Beatles (before they were famous) band The Indras. The footage was shot at a vineyard in Central Illinois where we played an enjoyable gig one weekend evening in July or August. While our playing and singing were reasonably good for a bunch of middle-aged guys who were not professionals, we were really kind of boring to watch. Truly dull and uninspiring. It was a brutal aha moment that, I guess, helped crystalize suspicions I had rattling around the ol' nogggin and led, ultimately, to my bringing the band to an end a year or so later once our bookings for the year had been fulfilled in mid-December 2012. Scary clarity.
Returning to tabletop wargaming though, what good does film or TV coverage of our hobby do besides making model soldier enthusiasts seem like socially inept, smelly weirdos with nothing else going on in their lives? Why go to the time, trouble, and expense? To me, it is far more interesting to be an actual participant in something than it is to watch from the sidelines. . . or hear about it secondhand later. What are your own thoughts?
In other news, I continue to plug away at those first six limbers, horse teams and Austrian riders. I'll get a progress photo up here this evening for your perusal. So far, it is a slow, but enjoyable process.