(This article uses the term Creative to refer to: design, plot and character writers. But the manifesto can be aplied to any creative activity within the larp)
I have decided to speak my mind about the importance of the Creatives in larp. Presented as a reflection, with a manifesto as its conclusion.
Larp is evolving towards specialization. Projects are more ambitious and therefore workgroup teams are needed.
The importance given to each task follows a similar path to the one that took place in cinema. The values of production: location, atrezzo, technology, costumes, logistics, etc. are growing higher while other elements purely creative as is general design, character and plot writing are left in a secondary place.
Things like: “Character writers are dime a dozen”, “characters are secondary as are the participants the ones who develop them”, “complex plots are unnecessary, this will naturally come out of the characters’ interaction”, “a basic design is enough because the setting is great”
Show us a blockbuster reality out of Hollywood, useful for a specific kind of larp, that would still benefit from those creative elements.
I do not wish to discuss this kind of larp (as it is a matter of taste) but the relevance of the Creatives in the larp in general, the amount of recognition we receive and the future that awaits us if things continue this way.
Years ago I discovered something obvious: I did not know any screenwriter’s name, but still I could name many directors and actors. But why was it this way if the plot is essential to me? Many promising films are disasters due to bad scripts and therefore the thinking: “Anyone can write a script” is a big fat lie. Then, are scriptwriters important?
A more blatant fact: Spanish film screenwriters often are not invited to their premiers or to the awards. Many even are not paid for their work. The reason: Hollywood scriptwriters have fought to achieve professional recognition (but not the public one) while Spanish have not and as a result in Spain “Scriptwriters are dime a dozen”
Taking this into account I got to the following manifesto:
I would only work on those larps in which:
- The idea is appealing.
- My work is properly valued.
- I will learn and improve my capabilities.
- Grants me recognition.
- I am treated with respect.
- There is a work timeline free of ASAP demands.
- My work is included in the larp credits.
- I will get and appropriate payment due to my work (economical if is a professional larp, of other kind if it is not)
- There will be space for creativity.
- There will be proper workgroup coordination.
- The work I perform affects the larp.
- My work would not be discarded without an important reason.
I understand this can seem overwhelming. There will be occasions in which the less relevant points will not be fulfilled and then compensated with others instead. But this is still a detailed statement of what Creatives need to perform properly their work.
Foreseeing the future that awaits Larp, future that has both pros and cons, it is clear that either we (the Creatives) join ourselves and demand the part that belongs to us or we will be treated as expendables, being our work ruined and underrated (I cannot talk about unqualified practice as the professionalization is still not existent)
Larp is evolving, to underrate its creatives will not only be negative for them but to larp itself.