Live Action Role-Playing:
I consider live action role playing to be an ancient, global art form. It began in the early days of humanity, when shamans would wear animal skins and re-enact the Hunt. Larp, to me, is essentially improvisational acting where everyone participating is both actor and audience and have a certain amount of agency to determine where the narrative goes, that is, through their actions they can decide when, or if, Hamlet kills Claudius.
I have been involved with larp since grade school. In 2006 I realized how widespread larp was, and only in the last few years have I attempted to make larp design and production my vocation: I founded and ran Seekers Unlimited, a nonprofit (501c3) corporation that made 17 educational larps for four schools in the Los Angeles area from 2011-2015. I also co-founded the defunct Live Game Labs, a loose collection of SoCal based larpwrights. I currently serve as secretary on the board of directors of The Game Academy, a 501c3 nonprofit that develops and uses role-playing games to educate life-long learners.
A chapter of explanation to use Pathfinder RPG as a classroom educational tool in Learning, Education & Games, Volume 3: 100 Games to Use in the Classroom & Beyond edited by Karen Schrier. (co-authored with Joshua Archer)
- Informed Consent for Immersive Events for No Proscenium
- Tools of the Trade: Mysteries and Secrets for No Proscenium
- Let’s Play With Fire! Using Risk and Its Power for Personal Transformation online only as part of Knutpunkt 2018 companion book. Co-authored with Bettina Beck. Edited by Johannes Axner and Annika Waern (2018). Used as text for MFA Thesis Production/Creative Theory-Method-Practice in the Dance Department, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.
- LARPs for Learning: Live Action Role-Play in Gamify Literacy: Boost Comprehension, Collaboration and Learning – Edited by Michele Haiken (2017)
- Former Editor in chief of Larp World Magazine (2016)
- Live Action Role-Playing (Larp): Insight into an Underutilized Educational Tool (with Andrew Peterson) in Learning, Education and Games – Volume Two: Bringing Games into Educational Contexts – Edited by Karen Schrier, peer-reviewed (2016)
- Co-creator of the Larp Census. RPGnet article here (2014-15)
- Co-editor of the 2013 Wyrd Con Companion Book
- Co-editor of the 2012 Wyrd Con Companion Book
- Documentation for STEEDS in States of Play, Solmukohta 2012 book, available here
- “The Non-United LARP States of America” in Talk Knutepunkt 2011 book
- Blueprint for Rock Band Murder Mystery (with Morgan Joeck) in Do, Knutepunkt 2011 book
- “Predictions for LARP” in Journeys to Another World, the Wyrd Con 2010 LARP Summit Companion Book
- Former contributor to Larping.org
- Cooler Than You Think: Understanding Live Action Role-Playing (2009): A required text for the University of Washington class “Heroes & Monsters“.
- Contributor to Playground Magazine (issues #6 and #7)
I have done many interviews about larp, you can see and read some of them here.
Past client list:
- The Girl Scouts of America
- Paul Biane Library in Rancho Cucamonga (Recipient of the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, partly due to the larp activities run there)
- West Hollywood Book Fair
- New Roads School/GameDesk
- UCLA Game Lab
- New Heights Charter School
- Sanrio, Inc.
- Texas State University
- San Diego Public Library
- Green Dot Charter Schools
Selected credits as lead designer or co-designer:
- Panelist on Role-Playing Games and Larp in Immersive Theater for LEIA Immersive Intensive – with Kirsten Hageleit
- Presentation on Larp Definition, History, and Design – with Kirsten Hageleit: guest lecture to UCLA Role-Playing & Games course. PowerPoint presentation later shared with students in course 08:206:722 MFA Thesis Production/Creative Theory-Method-Practice in the Dance Department, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University
- Redefining Pi, the second Delta Green larp to run at the Indiana Medical History Museum for GenCon (2018) Photos here
- One Last Thing Before You Go, an original immersive and interactive play for the Hollywood Fringe Festival (2018). Winner of the ENCORE! Producer’s Award and the Double Sweet – Critics and Audiences Agree Award from Better Lemons. (link)
- Green Piñatas, an original scavenger hunt-style larp based on the Delta Green RPG that ran at GenCon 50 (2017)
- Fallen Stars at the Charity Sale, a staged adaptation of the Norwegian larp “Fallen Stars” for the Hollywood Fringe Festival (2017) (link)
- Disaster Popup – A one-day disaster larp to build community interaction, knowledge, and involvement in a Palo Alto neighborhood (2017 x2) (link)
- Something Wicked This Way, an ARG for the Shakespeare First Folio Exhibition at the San Diego Public Library (2016)
- Syrian Refugee Simulation by 10th grade Humanities students at High Tech High in Chula Vista (consultant) (info) (2016)
- Dog Day Afternoon (2016)
- Bookworm (2014) (ARG for San Diego Public Library)
- Dockside Dogs (2013)
- Two Fat Women and a Scent of Marzipan (second place in the Scenario Design Challenge for Fastaval 2012)
- The Game of Sunken Places (2012)
- The Magnificent Market of Marvelous Curious and Miraculous Contraptions (photos) (2012)
- Live Effects Messina fantasy campaign (2009-2011) – advisory GM/designer
- STEEDS (2011)
- ChronoAgents Reloaded – Road Rally (2011)
- Harry Potter Family Fun Day (for Paul Biane Library in Rancho Cucamonga) (2010 and 2011)
- Trail of the Necronomicon (for West Hollywood Book Fair) (2010)
- The Road Not Taken (runner-up in Larpwriter 2010 challenge, this was run in Belarus and Palestine)
- Rock Band Murder Mystery (2010)
- Gatsby & the Great Race (2007)
- Space Cadets: Guardians of the High Frontier (2006)
- Limbo! (2005, and part II, 2007)
- ChronoAgents Road Rally (2004)
- Spirited Away (2003)
- Hogwarts (2001)
- Silver & Sage (1999)
- Sandman: Season of Mists (1993)
- UCLA Spy Adventure (1991)
- Call of Cthulhu (1990)
At UCLA I took as many film and screenwriting classes as a non-film major could take. I also interned for Roger Corman’s company Concorde/New Horizons. After I received my degree in 1993, I made the fateful decision to attend graduate school rather than face my “whopping” $6,000 student loan.
I moved to Chicago to attend Columbia College‘s Master of Fine Arts in Film & Video program. Besides making movies, I also worked for Learn Television, an educational video game company that later became Jellyvision, makers of the popular trivia game You Don’t Know Jack!, Screen magazine (for the weekly print periodical as a staff writer), Terraglyph Interactive Studios as a staff video game designer, and finally a video rental store (customer service representative).
I was also making short films during this time. One of my early school films, The Outsider, coupled with an email request I made to Andrew Migliore of Beyond Books, helped catalyze the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival® in Portland, Oregon (full story here).
After being laid off by Terraglyph with 9/10 of the company and a long dreary spring season, Kirsten and I returned to Los Angeles, and we have been here ever since. I expect to be cremated with my grad school student loan debt.
In Los Angeles I worked in various capacities in the movie business: as a non-union production manager for student films, as an assistant to writer/director Charlie Carner, as the office manager of Next Wave Films, as the assistant production accountant on the movie I’m Losing You, as a freelance editor, cameraman, and production assistant.
I became the Columbia College Alumni coordinator for the west coast, a part time position, but later left to make movies. My imdb credits are listed here.
In 2010 I started a franchise of the long-running Portland-based H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival® in Los Angeles. I have been the organizer, manager, producer, programmer, etc., from 2010 until its final year in 2016.
In 2003 I received the “Howie” lifetime achievement award for contributions to Lovecraft cinema and culture from the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival® in Portland. I looked at it as inspiration to do more, not satisfaction with what has already been done.
You can see some of my movies on YouTube:
- A trailer for The Yellow Sign
- Lady Luck
- R is for Roaches (creepy crawly)
- My Necronomicon
- Call of Tutu
- Morning Commute (thesis)
- The Volitron – An item for use with the Call of Cthulhu (7e) RPG, published in the July 2018 issue of The Unspeakable Oath (#25)
- “The Trembling Giant” in Out of the Woods, a scenario collection for Trail of Cthulhu
- “They Sleep by Twilight” in Worlds of Cthulhu magazine (issue #5) – a Call of Cthulhu RPG scenario
- Farewell, My Sanity – two Call of Cthulhu RPG scenarios
- Umbrage of the Automaton – a steampunk RPG scenario for überGoober Games
- My video game credits, such as they are, are listed here
I am still designing RPGs, and hope to publish more in the future. Because live action role playing games (larps) are such a big part of my life now, they are detailed separately.
- Film Threat
- Film Threat Video Guide
- Columbia College Chronicle
- Screen magazine
- Third Word
- Chicago Imaging and Sound
- Sculptus in Tenebris (Italian)
- Comics Scene (cover story)
- Solid Citizen
- Los Angeles Times
Funny, almost all of those periodicals are now defunct.
- Space Gamer / Fantasy Gamer
- The Unspeakable Oath
- Out of the Woods
“Second Eve” in When the Bough Breaks
- “Anniversary” in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories (Bram Stoker winner, Best Anthology)
- Larp World Magazine (one issue)
- The Wyrd Con Companion Book 2013
- The Wyrd Con Companion Book 2012
- Call Sheet (Columbia College Chicago west coast alumni newsletter)
- Enigmata (UCLA’s Enigma fanzine
From March 2009 to February 2013 I blogged about cocktails for Examiner.com. The pay was third world but the perks were princely. Almost all of my articles remained online until the company thankfully folded. The one they cut was this gem, which links to my favorite or most important pieces. I learned a lot in those four years, not the least of which is how to make a good stiff drink. The Liquid Muse also published a few of my original articles.