ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Redlighted —

Shortly, I’ll go into a little bit of detail about the next documentary I’m doing. But I figured I’d mention what I’m not doing, first.

The BBS Documentary was a mission and a crusade: capture a history that was so important (to me and others) and do it before the people involved were gone. Mission Accomplished!

Any more I do are bonuses, stuff I’m going to do because I find this all very fun, and it feels good, and I am accomplishing stuff and otherwise making a difference in the world. So that’s somewhat of a load off, although of course I want any further work I do to be of good quality.

People who like my documentary have gone ahead and suggested other documentaries I could do. Here’s some of them and why I’m not planning to do them.

IRC: The Documentary. A natural follow-through to a “BBS Documentary”, Internet Relay Chat has been around since 1988 (and with predecessors before that) and has a huge influence on online communication. But it doesn’t interest me, is way too huge to really “get” (although it might be interesting to interview the creator and maintainers), and would be a lot of work, probably even more international travel than I’d ever have imagined. There is a story there, but it’s nowhere near done and I don’t think I’d enjoy setting aside those years for it.

Ham Radio: The Documentary. I am not in the least bit concerned that this won’t be made (or hasn’t already been made, I don’t know). They’ve kept their history up very well (although there’s a very false story about where the term HAM came from that floats around) and there’s an active community keeping their history going. If there hasn’t been a recent work on Ham Radio, someone other than me could really clean up and kick ass. Get going.

MUDs, MUSHes, MOOs, MU*, etc. An interesting story in this case; I ran a MUSH for 10 years. (It was called “TinyTIM” and is still up if you telnet to 5440.) As a result, while I do in fact find this subject interesting and cool, I was a part of it, I’m hopelessly biased, and the whole mess will end up being like “Dogtown and Z-Boys”; a movie where the whole thing looks good but there’s serious questions about bias and involvement, since one of the main characters in that story as portrayed directed the film. So someone else get cracking on it and I’ll make myself available for an interview, and point you to my own biased set of suggestions for interviews, and otherwise help you.

The Current _______ Scene: The Documentary. Demoscene, warez scene, music scene, programming scene….. I just don’t want it. There are professionals whose job is to tell the story of current scenes where all the people involved are still around and still doing the work in question. Of course, like a lot of professionals, they’ll be glossy and light and not very accurate, but that’ll just inspire people to try again, and again. I am not interested in competing with professionals on their own turf. I will ultimately lose.

Video Games and First Person Shooters: The Documentary. It’s called G4 and they play this stuff 24 hours a day, when they’re not sucking the fun and joy out of the gaming experience. People have been making video game documentaries for years. The ground is so well-trod, it looks like the front door of a horse barn. Believe me, the world does not need another one of these, even if my take would be slightly different.

Pornography and Expensive Restaurants: The Documentary. Ah, now we have a subject I can work with; I’ve been doing research all my life! Casting begins next week, and I’ll be doubling my efforts to collect all the relevant materials and potential subjects over the course of the next 3-4 years. I’ll let everyone know how it works out.

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  1. Andrew says:

    Where can I preorder?

  2. Mungojelly says:

    Oh dude! TinyTIM! I’ve used TinyTIM! Dude! You’re awesome!


  3. phil says:

    Funny thing is, anytime I go out with a camera, or tell someone for the first time I work with a small video production company, THE FIRST question is “so you make porn movies then?”

    My boss there has developed a response to this,… which is not suitable for printing here :-}

    After “FIDOnet” I can quite understand avoiding documentary segments on certain topics… Doorgames springs to mind – people either get it, or they don’t. And those that get it tend to be obsessive.

  4. Ross says:

    Maybe not an “IRC only” docu. It would be somewhat interesting to do a set of documentaries on the development each of the major internet prototols. POP3, FTP, NNTP, even ping could be interesting as a small ongoing set of interviews.

    You’ve already got a line on Vint.

    Oh wait, this entry was an attempt to get people to stop offering suggestions…

  5. IC says:

    Ross, hahahaha. Seriosuly though, a pre-PPP internet doc would be kind of..(charging cow sounds).. NEVERMIND!

  6. iain says:

    Sorry,… I misread that. I thought you said “Pornography in Expensive Resturants”.