“Darkon” examines idea of role-playing
From Friday’s “The Oklahoman”:
By Matthew Price
Assistant Features Editor
Live-action role-playing — in which adults act out often fantasy-based scenarios involving battle and adventure — is, if it’s considered at all by the general public, often seen to be an odd hobby. “Darkon” co- Luke Meyer wanted to examine the behavior of role-playing in the context of these games — and he was determined that his film wouldn’t be a vehicle to make fun of the live-action role-players featured in the film.
But he and Andrew Neel first had to convince the Darkon Wargaming Club of their intentions.
“It’s an outsider hobby, it’s not part of mainstream culture, and it’s often pretty widely ridiculed,” Meyer said in a phone interview with The Oklahoman. “They’re all aware of that, and it was definitely on their mind that us, a group of filmmakers coming in, they didn’t know where we were coming from. And it was something that they were concerned about.”
“Darkon,” recently released on DVD, explores the adventures of the Darkon Wargaming Club, a group of live-action role-players, or LARPers.
The film follows the players’ in-game storyline and their personal lives, during a time in the game in which the nation of Laconia led an alliance against the Mordomian empire.
“Initially, when we showed up with cameras, we were just shooting battle stuff and talking to some people on the sidelines. The initial presence was light, and they didn’t mind their battles being photographed,” Meyer said. “As we stuck around, we went through a period of really trying to gain their trust, that we were going to make something that would represent them properly, and they wouldn’t feel like we were making fun of them or anything like that.”
In addition to meeting with the game’s ruling body, Meyer said the filmmakers won over players by simply being at the events on a regular basis.
“Eventually, they felt comfortable with us being there. We came down over and over again, and hung out, and would shoot more footage, and our presence became more of a normal thing,” Meyer said. “They got to know us, and got used to who we were and what we were doing there.”
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