All For Cinedrama: mostly a guest post by Claire Sheridan

Cinedrama is pulp film-style as larp practise. It comes straight out of the Crooked House playbook; notably Dick Britton and the Voice of the Seraph in 2005.

As an attitude to play, it sits somewhere between a UK “LARP is just for fun” instinct I don’t entirely subscribe to, the “Win by losing” playstyle I blogged about for Odyssey some time in March 2013, and the more recent Nordic “Play to lift” mindset. As “rules”, it’s got a cousin in a German one-line “rules system” DKWDDK – “Du Kannst, Was Du Darstellen Kannst” – which can be translated to English in its entirety as “React appropriately to what other people are portraying”, often with the codicil ‘But never expect a specific reaction.” and Eyelarp‘s similar philosophy “Filmsim”, but it puts more stress on helping folk “define some of their spotlight time.”

“Cut” Image: Tom Garnett, used with permission

It’s a key reason I hoped Ian and Rachel, Damien and Dan would come on board and as so damned delighted when the event became a genuine co-production. I had a concept for a three musketeers’ event in my head; welding that onto Cinedrama made All For One. Ian’s words on Cinedrama in an All For One context are over here. I’ll share the original team pitch somewhere: it makes the early importance of Cinedrama pretty clear.

Claire wrote a great post on Facebook about the player experience of it – and here it is…

OK, last one: Musings on the Cinedrama Style.

I wasn’t sure what to expect before attending the event, and less so after the briefing on cut-scenes! My initial thoughts were “what, drop OC a bunch of times? But -why-?”

For a One-Shot, it was a brilliant way of creating the passage of time. I think it worked so very well because there were the location shots (the Black Room and the Linears) which expanded the play space (and I don’t just mean by having other locations) but also because the timetable was so packed at the Academy, too.

Amy and I were going over some of the things we’d done so far as we headed to bed on Friday and kept saying, “oh wow, that was only -this morning-“. Each day felt fuller than one should have been!

I really enjoyed the workshop style of Friday, too. Everyone had the opportunity to brawl in the evening and put that into practice. You could duel whenever you wanted. We all needed to be aware of the politics, and the lesson helped put us all at a similar level of knowledge, if we wanted to be. Several Cadres had poisons feature in their plot, and some also had locks. I think the scent of the bottle we got from Constance hit all the harder because I’d learned all about what that thing was in my lessons.

I don’t think we were ever going to be fully prepared for all the pyrotechnics, but meeting the chaps firing the muskets around me was a level of reassurance.

Saturday morning’s fights and dropping out of my Cadet’s head for a while was really welcome. Perhaps I’m used to it from Empire, but giving a morning to make other people look awesome (and take our turn) was fine.

I think another part of what made it work so well was the unit leaders. All the people giving instructions did so in straight-forward yet friendly ways. I knew they wanted us to have fun and enjoy what we were doing. They made us feel very well looked after.

I think the only thing I missed was coming into a social situation on the Friday night. Events which start Friday tend to have some goings on but after only a few hours one is sat around with like-minded folks from wherever chatting, singing, relaxing. We didn’t see the other cadres a great deal until the evening, and even then people were off intriguing all over the place. It was a different set up to those to which I have become accustomed, and if I am ever lucky enough to have such luxury again I will know to do things differently.

But overall, I liked it, and didn’t find the cuts and takes intrusive at all. I would definitely play a game in this style again.

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