Interviewing Playdead Games (DK) for a Nordic Game Program survey a couple of weeks ago, Mads Wibroe expressed a wish for a larger portion of public grants to be awarded to talented people, in stead of merely to projects.
The first grant awarded to Playdead’s acclaimed game Limbo, was a personal art grant to the creator Arnt Jensen, making it possible to make a concept trailer, building an online fan base and for seeking more public support as well as publishers.
The freedom of this grant to create something striking and original is clearly visible in this concept trailer published in 2006. Since its launch in 2010, the game has sold close to 1 million copies internationally:
The following week I attended the Norwegian premiere of Oslo, 31. August at Haugesund.
Following the screening, director and scriptwriter Joachim Trier and scriptwriter Eskil Vogt talked about the freedom given from film consultant Thomas Robsahm at the Norwegian Film Institute when backing the project. Trust given to a process without demanding the usual formal script re-writes and checkpoints.
If not an awfully original story, Oslo, 31. August is a moving film and clearly a uniquely told story in the auteur-tradition, the kind that is rare to find among Norwegian (and Nordic) films these days. It seems obvious to me that the freedom and trust Mads Wibroe is dreaming of has been present in this project / process.
(Though I’m not one for using quotas for art funds, I wish the same respect of the process described above was given when talking about hand-picking female talents, in stead of talking about PC forces and “handicapped” talent)
As my work has traversed from film and tv into games, focusing about similarities and the possibilities of closer co-operation, it always surprises me that developers insist to put distance between the industries: In contrast to tv and film, games have no story, discussions of quality are irrelevant and artistic vision is impossible in a commercial / collective process.
Signs of teenage rebellion of young business, for sure – just look what has happened to tv drama the past 20 years in the States, surely a collective process can be combined with strong artistic vision.
Though the products and their use are very different, the creative processes described above are most similar, and I hurry to take notes when such similarities occur. To argue for more public support, game developers must start seeing and talking about themselves as creators of art and cultural value.
And quit snobbing downwards (I realize this is a norwenglish term created by me, but you get it).