Research Paper Evaluation

Evaluation of Research Paper
Overall, I’m pleased with my Research Paper. Everyone, who I told the title to, tended to smile, so I believe I fulfilled my aim of adding a “twist”. I also learnt about how to structure a Research Paper, which I didn’t know before. And I’m pleased that I was able to confirm my Thesis Statement – I can now explain that I am “furthering my career aspirations” when I DM D&D games, not just having a fun time with my friends.

I found it very hard to reduce all the information that I found down into this Research Paper, I found out so much more cool and interesting stuff that I wanted to share, and so many actors, directors and others in the Film/Creative Industry who play/played D&D. But I had to keep reminding myself to only actually include things that were relevant to my Thesis Statement. This was a hard but useful learning exercise in keeping to the point. I am thinking that in order that all the “other stuff” doesn’t go to waste, I will probably include some of it in my general journals. And nothing that you learn ever really goes to waste – who knows, one day I may meet Joe Russo and be able to say to him “I want to make movies, so I play D&D”!

Nick had advised me to keep coming back to relating being a DM to being a Fiction Film/TV Director, as an anchor, and I believe that I did this.

I could have gone into even more depth about the discussion that I had with Nick (and that I wrote about in Journal 2) about how immersive storytelling in films, like that in D&D, is expanding rapidly due to the rise of the new special effects due to new technology that is being developed so quickly. I really wanted to include more about this, because it is fascinating, but I was also trying really hard to keep to the relationship between the overlapping skills between DMs and Fiction Film/TV Directors. I could have justified including more about this, but there would have just been so much to say that I felt I had to stop somewhere. I could have gone on for ever otherwise.

I can see a few things that I could have done differently in my survey now. For example, I meant to ask if anyone knew the name of any Directors “who play/have played D&D”, but I didn’t add in the bit in inverted commas here. I have tried to think why I did that. My conclusion is that it was so obvious to me that I meant “who play/have played D&D” that my brain just didn’t include it when I wrote it. I think that this is something that I have a tendency to do, it may be dyslexia linked, to think that things are obvious when they are actually not. Attila asked us in class to watch some old news footage from 1979 by John Pilger and compare it to a newer news item from 2016 that John Pilger had also made. I was initially struggling with this, since I was sort of discounting all the things that I saw as being too obvious and thus (in my mind) not what Attila would be asking for. In the end, not able to think of anything “not obvious” I said about how the aspect ratios were different, 4:3 in 1979 and 16:9 in 2016. Attila said that that was a very good observation. So what I think of as obvious, isn’t always. I think that both this example and my missing out the “who play/have played D&D” show me that I need to work on not assuming that “obvious” things are not the right things to mention since I seem to be training my brain in an unhelpful way about this rather than a helpful way, so I will work on this.

Another question which I would do differently is that I asked, “which do you think is harder to do, being a DM or a Fiction Film/TV Director”, but I can’t see the relevance now that I think about it, since whether one is harder than the other isn’t what I was investigating. And I have no doubt that being an actual Fiction Film/TV Director is harder.

Survey Age Range – My survey was sent to friends of mine, most of whom are relatively close in age to me. I asked people on a D&D server that I am in, some of them could have been a bit older than me but on the whole it wasn’t a wide age range. This is hard to have done much about without reaching out to people who I don’t actually know. People of many ages play D&D but they tend to be in personal groups. If I were to do this again, it is an area that I could look at more, to see if it is possible to contact a wider age range. I noticed that Jim Zub (Canadian Comic writer who did a TEDx talk) was able to send a message to lots of D&D players via Twitter to get responses for his Tedx Talk. Within less than 24 hours he had over 1400 responses. I do not currently have a Twitter account since it is not a platform that most of my friends use. But I can see that this is another reason that I really do need to get a Twitter Account, as well as it being another social media platform that will be useful for my career in the Film/TV Industry.

On the whole I use social media platforms like Instagram where I restrict my posts to being seen by people who I know and have met. It’s ironic that much of the online safety advice that has been given as you are growing up is about how to stay safe by restricting who can see your information and who can contact you, and to reject any online contacts from anyone you don’t know. But I can see that in order to get on in the Film/TV Industry I will need to expand who can see my content, whilst still staying safe and following sensible rules. So, I think that I need to make a Twitter account very soon. That is another thing that I have learnt from this exercise, not one that I was expecting, but very useful for going forward.

Another comment I would make is that although all but one of my respondents play D&D, and many of them do have some knowledge of the Film/Creative Industry, none of them are actually Directors. It would have interesting if I could have got contact details for Film Directors. I did consider trying to find contact details, and had a look, but given the time I had I was not being successful. It is an area that I would like to follow up, maybe as part of a future course either at Level 4 or University, if I have to do a more in-depth research paper. It would be interesting to see if anyone like Jon Favreau, Vin Diesel or Joe Manganiello would be prepared to grant me either an interview answering questions by email, or a Zoom interview since so many people are now familiar with Zoom. I feel like doing this initial Research Paper has prepared me more for doing something like that in the future. I also feel like if I was to get the chance to actually talk to someone like that then I would prefer to be a bit further into my Film education journey so that I could be really professional and knowledgeable when talking to them, since as well as being part of a research paper any opportunity to talk to people like that in the industry is an opportunity to leave a good impression regarding any possible future opportunities and I would want to be able to be sure to do that well.

Regardless of whether I manage to talk with any DMs/D&D playing Directors sometime in the future, one huge takeaway from this research paper is that I hadn’t previously realised quite how big a D&D community there is in the Film/Creative Industry. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised since, even without thinking about it as much as I have done for this research paper, “creativity” is a big part of both.

It’s good to know that there is another thing that I will have in common with a large part of the film community as well as my passion for filming. And that being a nerd is a good thing – if Jon Favreau is happy to describe himself as a “D&D nerd”, then I certainly am too.