And a Thousand Coins Rain Down

Posted: August 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: production | 25 Comments »


I’m catching up on Glee, as a few people indicated it would be a good show to check out. They told me this quite a few months ago, but when you’re editing a movie, you can’t exactly sit and watch other audiovisual production without distraction, guilt, and an inability to follow the plot. As I enter into some of these more rote procedures of mailing and distribution, I can afford some attention to musicals and plotlines.

What I have before me are 150 coins, the set of lower-numbered coins which will end up with the Adventurers’ Club. The 50 boxes are scattered among the floor that was full of the boxes that went out this week, as well as near the stacks of to-be-labelled international boxes. The internationals require 2976 customs forms, and even with pre-printed labels for everything, there’s still a lot of handwriting to do. (The box/coin combinations are 9 ounces as I know very, very, very well at this juncture.)

As I put this all together, these hundreds and hundreds of outgoing packages, other ones are landing in homes throughout the country.

People are taking photos and sending them in:

I was especially touched by this one:

There’s a few things I want to say, just general things, as this very special time for me takes place.

First of all, I love being part of the fabric of life and culture. I’ve made something (with a lot of help from a lot of people) and my work is going to be talked about, loved, hated, misunderstood, worshiped, dismissed, and everything in between. People react to the subject, the way the subject is approached, the delivery mechanism, and all other aspects of this creation. As someone who’s trashed some pieces of work I’m sure a team worked on for years or cried to the heavens about how the world just doesn’t recognize how much my favorite stuff rules, I know how all that plays out.  I know I did what I set out to do –  concepts and events are living again inside heads that in some cases haven’t been really, truly addressed for a long time. I am pleased and content.

Next, with very, very scant exceptions, everything about this project from the editing and subject matter and omissions and inclusions and cover art and what have you are the result of specific, thoughtful choices I made to the  best of my ability and perspective. They’re points of pride or shame accordingly, but they’re mine. I am sure I will smile and bow at some junctures and raise my eyebrows and look concerned at others.  I can’t take the good and shuck out the bad as being a case of choices made by others than me. They’re all me. I am comfortable with this.

Third, I know that nothing like this comes without cost, personal and otherwise. I’ve paid various prices to bring this project to life. I am, regardless of the process of doing so, pleased I chose to pay them. Very, very pleased.


When I was a teenager, I dreamed of running a BBS. I even had the name: The Works, named after an obscure computer graphics project that gave my imagination a lightning strike. I put this name on floppy disks and it wasn’t until 4 years later that I booted up a computer with a phone line I’d convinced my dad to get me, and I named it The Works BBS.

In 2002, freshly into work on what would become BBS: The Documentary, I spontaneously decided my next film would be about text adventures and it would be called Get Lamp. I registered GETLAMP.COM in May of 2002, three years before BBS was finished and out the door. Here it is August of 2010, and more than eight years after I am now sitting in a room with thousands of boxes, on pallets and in boxes and envelopes, bearing the name GET LAMP. I’m sitting here and people are mailing in photos of themselves, holding my dream in their hands, waving as they enjoy GET LAMP in their own way, on their own terms.

I dreamed it, and it happened. It’s happening. What more could I possibly ask for?

25 Comments on “And a Thousand Coins Rain Down”

  1. 1 Robert Paloutzian said at 12:57 am on August 7th, 2010:

    Right on! Sincere congratulations, Jason. You deserve it.

  2. 2 Jonno Downes said at 1:17 am on August 7th, 2010:

    Congratulations indeed!

    And what’s next ? ;-)

  3. 3 Johan Herrenberg said at 1:28 am on August 7th, 2010:

    A beautiful piece of stock-taking, Jason.

  4. 4 Sean Huxter said at 5:21 am on August 7th, 2010:

    Well said.

    My credo in life is – put something out there. Doesn’t matter what, but a life of consumption and appreciation is a life of mediocrity.

    A life of creation and invention is one worth living.

    Yes, you did it, sir, and you should be proud. VERY proud.


  5. 5 Andrew Garaffa said at 5:33 am on August 7th, 2010:

    Where’d that guy get four Zorkmids?! I can’t get my hands on one.

  6. 6 Kris Suter said at 7:37 am on August 7th, 2010:

    Mr. Scott, I send you my gratitude along with my sincere congratulations. While I have not received GET LAMP yet, I was rewatching BBS: The Documentary and there’s not many things outside of those cute family/childhood photos that give me that nostalgic absorption about something that I was once so passionate. I commend you for a job well done and I’m eagerly awaiting GET LAMP. Let me know if you’re ever in my neck of the woods as I owe you many a beer. :) P.S. Any insights to your next documentary? Perhaps the “Wild Wild West of the WWW?” :)

  7. 7 Michael Keeney said at 10:31 am on August 7th, 2010:


    Although I am waiting for my copy of Get Lamp to arrive (I’m going to pounce on the mailman today….hoping that it’s there), your efforts with this project are appreciated.

    I was a pre-teen/teenager when Infocom was the pre-eminent text adventure company out there and I still to this day have very fond memories of those games…somthing I am trying desperately to pass on to my children. (My 12-year old son has taken a liking to Zork I, and I am thrilled that he enjoys playing it).

    Your efforts with not only this project, but the BBS Documentary are greatly appreciated, and I certainly will be looking forward to your next project.

    Best wishes.

  8. 8 Val said at 12:49 pm on August 7th, 2010:

    I would never have discovered IF without you, do you know that?

    And I would have been much poorer for it.

    Nor would I likely have had the guts to host a demoparty.

    Thank you.

  9. 9 Josh said at 1:30 pm on August 7th, 2010:

    Congratulations and thanks for your work.

    I just received my copy in the mail today and can’t wait to fire it up!

  10. 10 Christopher said at 3:34 pm on August 7th, 2010:

    This documentary will preserve a vital period of computer history before it fades. Thank you for sticking with it! Fantastic work!

  11. 11 Casper said at 3:57 pm on August 7th, 2010:

    Hey Jason :)
    It’s me again. I had to read a piece of this article to my friend sitting across the room. We’ve all wanted to ‘be a part of the history of the world’ so to say. And now I get to point out to my friend how awesome things could be if he worked harder. Yay.

  12. 12 Michael Keeney said at 4:12 pm on August 7th, 2010:

    Quick follow-up – got my copy of “Get Lamp” today – coin #594.

    The funny thing about the coin number is that I thought I had been pretty quick on the trigger – ordering the day after I got the “pre-order” e-mail.

    Regardless, I’m watching the film now… Thanks, Jason!

  13. 13 Odkin said at 7:05 pm on August 7th, 2010:

    #928 reporting in! Firing up the DVD and even getting the Mrs to watch! Jason, the coin is beautiful, as is the whole package.

  14. 14 Jonathan Quick said at 7:23 pm on August 7th, 2010:

    Got it.
    Watched it.

  15. 15 Mike Andrews said at 9:03 pm on August 7th, 2010:

    Just got mine today! #0952 checking in. I can’t believe how awesome Lukas’s art looks on the big fold out. Gonna wait to get my dad over here to watch it. Love the coin, and love the packaging… Thanks, Jason!

  16. 16 Mike said at 9:53 pm on August 7th, 2010:

    Curse me for living so far away! But looking forward…
    Anyone posted online reviews anywhere?

  17. 17 Daniel Pharos said at 12:00 am on August 8th, 2010:

    Touching. Inspiring.

  18. 18 Ari Braginsky said at 10:35 am on August 8th, 2010:

    It came yesterday and I immediately watched both disks. I’ve been following it since you first started talking about and it’s great to finally be able to take it all in. I wasn’t able to figure out how to “interact” with the interactive version, but otherwise I didn’t have any problems playing it. I especially liked the segment on exploring “bedquilt”.

    Congrats and here are a few pictures:

  19. 19 Sean Huxter said at 3:45 pm on August 8th, 2010:

    Since we’re posting pics, here’s mine:

    Note its revered place on my shelf:

  20. 20 Jason said at 4:42 am on August 9th, 2010:

    Wow, I came here to say (partially) what Ari said: I can’t make the interactive part go.

    After staring at the “what do you want to talk about screen” for about 20 seconds it kicks me back to the main menu, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what I want. Up/down/left/right arrows do nothing, and one of the action buttons (can’t remember if it’s Menu or OK) brings up a piece of the box mural that can only be escaped from by hitting Stop.

    So, how do I make the interactive part interact?

  21. 21 Michael Keeney said at 1:20 pm on August 9th, 2010:

    Have watched probably 75% of the film(s) thus far – excellent, excellent, excellent!

    Jason, great work!

  22. 22 Patrick said at 1:26 pm on August 9th, 2010:

    I’m having the same issue – PowerDVD 7 Ultra and a standalone Sony DVD player from 2006 both go back to the main menu, while my PS3 works, no problem. Weird.

    Plus PowerDVD 7 defaults to having the subtitles on, but that’s more Cyberlink’s problem :)

    What I found really surprising about the movie, though, is that it is kinda overscan-unfriendly. I imagine that while most people (like me) will be piping it through LCDs or 5D holographic brain displays, some folks may still be using CRTs (especially for DVDs), and the safe area in Get Lamp is really really tight.

    So, y’know, nothing that can’t be worked around (my rule of thumb: when in doubt, out, out, damned .VOB!), but something to note.

  23. 23 Alkivar said at 2:15 pm on August 10th, 2010:

    Coin 323 here… I also cant get interactive to work in VLC player on my Mac.

  24. 24 zeep said at 4:19 pm on August 10th, 2010:

    #848 here – can’t wait to watch the documentary – been out of town for a few days – just got home and GET LAMP is at the top of my list! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  25. 25 Steve said at 2:41 pm on August 14th, 2010:

    #1397 arrived here and is beautiful! DVD just popped in the player. Oh boy is this great! :)

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