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‘From Bedrooms To Billions’
The UK Video Games Industry had to start somewhere!
A 90 minute feature length documentary film telling the remarkable, true story of the British Video Games Industry between 1979 - 1996 and how the creativity and vision of a relatively small number of individuals allowed the UK to play a key, pioneering role in the shaping of the billion dollar video games industry which today, dominates the modern world’s entertainment landscape.
Nearly three quarters of a century ago video games were created on million dollar mainframes simply to satisfy scientific curiosity, before advances in both technology and game development saw the first arcade machines, home consoles and then home computers start to emerge in the 1970’s.
In the UK of the late 70’s early 80’s these developments helped inspire a generation of individuals and small team enthusiasts, hobbyists, school kids, bedroom coders and entrepreneurs. The early UK games scene was largely fuelled by enthusiastic interest as opposed to commercial enterprise, but with advances happening all the time and the games industry constantly evolving that fact was soon to change.
UK developers were learning and inspiring each other, pioneering new programming techniques that stretched available hardware to its limits and allowed for the production of ground breaking games, giving fledgling UK developers, publishers and distributors the chance to cultivate and stimulate an entirely new and emerging fan base.
It wasn’t just the programmers or publishers who found themselves within a rapidly evolving industry, the primitive mail order game days of the late 70’s and early 80’s led to magazine publications across the UK embracing this new trend and the readership it entailed, in a pre-internet Britain, hungry gamers relied on these publications so they could make their decision on which game to play next, these publications often inspired and helped fuel the very UK industry it was writing about. One major magazine publisher was ‘Newsfield Publications’ whose magazines ZAPP! 64, CRASH and AMTIX were written essentially by a collection of school children and young fans whose honest, and uninfluenced reviews could make or break a game when released.
‘From Bedrooms to Billions’ delves into the many elements that make up this incredible, untold British story. Through a series of interviews from those that lived through it, the film will reveal some of the remarkable stories, struggles and successes that saw our video games industry go from quite literally nothing into a major force littered with original thinkers, innovators and eccentric characters.
UK developers worked with, by today’s standards, incredibly basic equipment, devising techniques on the fly, pitching ideas that to most would seem crazy, watching their pride and joy project soar to the top of the charts or sink without trace, bailiffs knocking down doors seeking unpaid bills while programmers climbed out of windows clutching their computers, or developers in buildings with no heating, forced to light fires under their hard drives to thaw them out to finish a project on time.
Nostalgic and gripping this 90 minute feature film documentary promises to fascinate and evoke with its combination of insightful stories and compelling archive, this is a very British story that has never been told before, a story that celebrates the importance of this era and why it has become such a landmark era in the history of British invention, creativity and industry.
An Untold Story
‘From Bedrooms To Billions’ will be a great piece of nostalgic entertainment that documents an important part of UK industry history, starting in the late 70's, spanning 'Thatcher's Britain' of the 80's and culminating in the dramatic shift of fortunes for the UK Video Games Industry by the late 90's. However we are also aiming for the film to be accessible for all, not just industry insiders or those that lived through the time period we are documenting.
This era is so often overlooked and not known by young British talent looking to enter the games industry, as the vast majority of UK children, school leavers and even students believe that gaming originated mainly from the US and Japan and have little to no knowledge that a British games industry even once existed. We aim for this film to be a brilliantly told, historical reminder of what British industry and talent once achieved. The games industry has always craved new talent and new opportunities are once again becoming available. Those watching this film will understand what British industry achieved years ago, on by today’s standards, almost prehistoric equipment.
'From Bedrooms to Billions' tells the story of how, largely fuelled by a sense of eccentric enthusiasm, the British very much played their part in pushing video gaming from a ‘so called’ niche hobby into the biggest entertainment industry in the world.
Interviewees we aim to include;
Featuring: Jon Hare, Matthew Smith, Paul Drury, Archer Maclean, Geoff Crammond, Tim & Chris Stamper, Jeff Minter, Andrew Braybrook, The Pickford Bros, Oliver Twins, Oliver Frey, Roger Kean, Franco Frey, Gary Penn, Julian Rignall, Gordon Houghton, Gary Liddon, Matthew Uffindel, Eugene Lacey, Mike Singleton, Mel Croucher, Steve Merrett, Gary Bracey, Iain Lee, Chris Anderson, David Braben, Sandy White, Jon Ritman, Ian Livingstone, Violet Berlin, Fred Harris, Rob Hubbard, Ben Daglish, Ally Noble, Malcolm Evans, Stuart Fotheringham, Kevin Toms, David Leitch, Jon Gibson, Tony Crowther, Lee Kirton, Eugene Evans, Simon Munnery, Dominic Wheatley, Geoff Brown, David Darling, Bruce Everiss, Miles Jacobson, Kevin Toms...with more to follow so please watch this space or follow us on twitter for regular updates as we film!
Why We Want To Make This Film
'From Bedrooms to Billions' has been a very personal project for us since June 2008. Having completed many documentaries we have always wanted to document the rise of the British video games industry and the incredible story that went with it.
We have already completed pre-production and have begun the production of the film, having already filmed several interviews the story has continued to grow and opened up some additional stories that we really want to include in the film. The funding we have asked for will allow us to complete all of our planned interviews.
Your support for this project will allow us to complete all of the filming and move the film into post-production where we can begin to put the film together.
About The Filmmakers
As a potential investor in our project here is a little background on the team Nicola Caulfield and Anthony Caulfield. We are a writing, producing and directing team from London, England.
We started our careers by making film shorts, ‘The Majestic Side’ and ‘Night of your Life’ which won high praise at the 1997 BAFTA Short Film Competition, before going on to make the comedy sketch show ‘Hals Hangover’ in 1999.
We have worked on many documentaries over the years including being commissioned by the government of Macau to produce a film on the East Asian Games. We have also worked with the rock group ‘Pink Floyd’ to produce a theatrical version of ‘Pink Floyd's – Pulse’ which was distributed worldwide and featured a re-worked soundtrack, we worked closely with the band to fully realise and make the film look as spectacular as possible for the big screen.
We have also written, produced and directed various acclaimed documentaries for both broadcast and commercial release, including ‘The Story of The Young Ones’, ‘Alternative Rebellion: The beginning of Britain’s Alternative Comedy Scene’, ‘Doctor Who - Stripped for Action’ for the BBC, as well as ‘George Michael – FAITH’ and ‘Jeff’s Wayne’s The War of the Worlds’ for Sony Music.
We made two documentaries on gypsy punk group ‘Gogol Bordello’ for Channel 4 and produced the celebrated HD world music TV series ‘Soundcheck at Momo’s’. 2010 saw the release of our first feature film, ‘Immodesty Blaize – Burlesque Undressed’, which had a worldwide theatrical release and then later on DVD and terrestrial broadcast.
In addition to this work we have always had a real passion to produce films that document the video games industry. Some of our work has included short documentary films on CRASH & ZZAP!64 magazine producers Newsfield Publications (The Newsfield Years), Sandy White - Ant Attack and Virtua Tennis as well as recently completing the official Sonic the Hedgehog 20th Anniversary documentary titled ‘Sonic - The Birth of an Icon’.
For more information about the filmmakers and Gracious films in general please visit the Gracious Films website at www.graciousfilms.com
What You Get - The Perks!
We have had such tremendous support from the gaming community and from some of our contributors that we have been really fortunate to have some wonderful perks that we can offer in exchange for your own support for our film.
We have been working very closely with legendary ZZAP!64, CRASH & AMTIX video game magazine artist Oliver Frey to develop the film poster and he has worked with us to create some truly wonderful perks which include him creating your very own exclusive line drawn Reviewer's Portrait in the same style as would have been seen in those classic games magazines.
Another perk has Oliver incorporating your own face into a classic ZZAP!64, CRASH or AMTIX cover of your choice!
We also have a limited number of 'From Bedrooms To Billions' A1 and A2 Film Posters signed and numbered by Oliver Frey. There will of course be T-Shirts and DVD's of the film containing stacks of bonus material.
Please note the Perks ‘Reviewers Portrait’ and ‘Face Incorporated in Classic Cover’ will be supplied to you digitally, allowing you complete flexibility in how you choose to use it. Oliver's fantastic artwork can be viewed here; http://www.oliverfreyart.com/#/original-art-for-sale/4546784667
We really hope that some of these unique perks will be of interest to you and that you can help us by supporting our film.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you like the idea and would like to see this film become a reality, please spread the word as widely as you can to all your friends and colleagues.
If you use social networking sites and blogs please take every opportunity you can to mention our campaign as we really need as much support as possible! This is a film telling a remarkable story and we want to make it as complete and well made as possible and that is why anytihng you can do to help us is so important.
Feel free to leave some comments on who you think we should be talking to. We will be examining all aspects of the UK Video Games industry and hope to uncover some great stories about how it all started, who was involved and where it all went.
If you have any insight into these or other relevant topics, please feel very welcome to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for taking the time to read our proposal and we very much hope that you will support our film and keep gaming!