Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Director's Statement

Now that it's completely picture-locked, I thought I would post our Director's Statement for The Dungeon Master. Sometimes when you're submitting to festivals they ask for one of these - it's supposed to be an explanation of the why and how of your movie.

If you've been reading this blog from the beginning, there's probably not a whole lot of new stuff in here, but nonetheless...enjoy.


We developed the story for The Dungeon Master to explore what is "cool" and what is "geeky" in a world where adults regularly collect action figures and dress up for conventions. Even the most tolerant and open-minded folks seem to have a point where they snap - where they look at a Star Trek fan, or a video gamer, and want to scream, "Can't you just be normal?!"

We were fascinated by the fact that in our culture, we don't judge people if they wear the jersey of their favorite basketball team everyday of the week, or obsess over fantasy football, or paint their faces in their team's colors...but good old fashioned geeks are still fair game to ridicule.

Also, The Dungeon Master is based on a true story. Mostly.

When we were kids, we were both geeks - we played Dungeons and Dragons and all sorts of other things that make you a social outcast as an adult. As teenagers, we discovered how uncool girls thought these activities were, and so we let them fall by the wayside.

A couple years ago, however, we decided it might be fun to try again. But we approached it in an ironic way. We decided to have a tongue-in-cheek D&D game night.

We couldn't remember all the rules, and so we invited a friend-of-a-friend to come and help us. When this person came to our big game night, he was - in many ways - a stereotypical, awkward geek. We all got along fine and had an OK time, but the next morning the two of us realized a couple things:

1) that we felt compelled to make fun this poor guy and

2) that we were doing so out of of our own insecurity.

We were too cool. Our irony was a self-defense mechanism - and we were letting our insecurities get in the way of having a good time. We were acting like self-loathing snobs who go to a dance, and then stand on the sidelines and make fun of the people dancing.

If we were honest with ourselves, we wanted to participate in a geeky activity, but we were still scared of being perceived as geeks.

The Dungeon Master was our way to dramatize this tension and weave it into a fun, revenge-of-the-nerds narrative.

Stylistically, we wanted to shoot the short in a way that gave nods to both a hipster, mumblecore sensibility (handheld, improvisational - dripping with irony and sarcasm) and big budget fantasy films (sweeping, rich in color - earnest). We wanted our visual style to cross from one to the other and grow more beautiful as the story pushes our identification away from the judgmental cool kids and towards the brave, lonely geek in a cape.

-The Strong Brothers


  1. You're making me want to see The Dungeon Master! Kudos for giving geeks some cred. Geeks rule the world, as you know. This reminds me of how people make fun of me for loving the New Kids on the Block(and still do)! But I don't care, I'm not embarrassed easily. Oh hell, my license plate says I♥NKOTB for god's sake! Hope you submit it to a festival in NorCal! That'd be badass. :0)

  2. Rider,

    When I was discussing the casting of "Polar" with a collegue, your name was one of the first that came to his mind for the role of "Daniel Polar".

    "Budding filmmaker, Kyle Butler, turns his camera on novelist, Daniel Polar, as his real-life story of paranormal activity and disturbing behavior unfolds. What he finds is a story more creepy than anything Polar could write. With line between fiction and reality blurred, Kyle must decide when to set the camera down, helping to save Polar from his ultimate demise."

    Feel free to contact me for treatment, script, or further info. My Name is Chris Hicks, Thanks for your time.