The Video That Wasn’t – M:TG:GP:ST:GR

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If you follow me on Twitter (and you should (@MTGColorPie)), you knew that I was down at Grand Prix: Seattle Tacoma this past Saturday. Being more of a casual guy, I don’t hang around at this places all that often. It was my second time at a Grand Prix; the first one was last time a Grand Prix was at Seattle with Old Extended (2005).

Seven years ago, wow.

Anyway, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to attend Day Two of the Grand Prix even though I theoretically had a chance (the format was Sealed). I still wanted to go down and hang out, but I thought about I putting together another video. It seems like I do one every year or so (My Card Kingdom Interview at NPH Release using my iPad2, My Duel Deck: Phyrexian vs the Coalition with the old Gathering Magic’s Reinhart (I miss ya buddy)) and this would be a great time to do another one before the baby comes.

But what was I going to film about? I didn’t want to do another coverage video, so I started brainstorming some ideas. After Kornman and Holt’s fantastic video at Worlds in San Francisco with MaRo, I knew that it was more acceptable to do more sketch comedy at large events. I first came across to make “Sportscenter” type ads where they are a little off center and show a little “slice of life” of Magic. Such ideas included Trick Jarrett telling Mark Rosewater that the feedback from the internet is that they was more cat cards, Rules Manager Matt Tabak playing a game where he changes all of the card texts to help him win the game. The issue with them is that you have to be knowledgeable about the topic (how many of you how don’t follow sports don’t get many of those references in the Sportscenter ads?).

Eventually when I was brainstorming I had the following image in my head: “Coming this summer, the most action packed movie you’ve ever seen” and it cuts to people playing cards quietly. From there I went to write up a fake parody trailer about the GP. It pokes fun at trying to shoot non-visually interesting Magic competitions (believe me, there’s not that much great action unless you force it), while concurrently parodying Hasbro’s love of making everyone of their properties into an action movie.

If you’re looking to film at a large event, here are some things I learned:

  • You need to contact Wizards. I threw a blanket statement out on Twitter if I needed to and it was more “Ask for forgiveness.” Yeah, that doesn’t fly. Luckily, I was given a Press Pass after some talking to the Tournament Organizer and Wizards contact, but the clear lesson is to talk beforehand to make sure everything goes smoothly.
  • If you want to interview (or anything else) with a WotC employee, you should get permission first. Yep. I was thinking there might be enough down time I would be able to do it, but it’s generally polite to do schedule something first.
  • Judges are extremely busy. I knew they were, but I didn’t realize that busy. I don’t think I ever saw them sit down. Taking a few of them to film for 30 minutes would be a no go.
  • Should most likely contact the Pros I want to show up as well. But considering that I only wanted them to say a line or two, I figured I could get shot between rounds.

Some of these seem like “duh” moments, but I underestimated some things here. It’s easy to forget that even though WotC is pretty open as a company, they’re still a money making company and they have to do things legally. So, consider these points when you want to film something at a huge event (Future self, please review these bullet points before Pro Tour: Seattle).

So, this is the shooting script I was going to use on Saturday. With the script scrapped due to can’t shoot with WotC and can’t shoot with the Judges, it was my assistant for the day Adam Morrison (@morrisonad) that came up with the idea of what the footage will now become (but I want to keep that a surprise). Because I was shooting this, not someone else, it’s not regulation script because I could “see” it in my mind (I just wanted to explain this since it’s not always clear).

I don’t know if this is funny to everyone, or if it even comes across funny on the computer screen.

MUSIC – CARMINA BURANA – O FORTUNA (USUAL ACTION TRAILER MUSIC)

ESTABLISHING SHOT – TACOMA, SHOT FROM FREEWAY.

TITLES – WITH VOICE OVER

 FROM HASBRO – THE COMPANY THAT BROUGHT YOU

TRANSFORMERS

ESTABLISHING SHOT – OUTSIDE THE TACOMA CONVENTION CENTER

TITLES – WITH VOICE OVER

GI JOE

INT. PLAYER’S HALL

The judges are doing the welcoming speech.

TITLES – WITH VOICE OVER

AND BATTLESHIP

INT. PLAYER’S HALL

Two close up shots of eyes, getting ready to square off in a match.

TITLES – WITH VOICE OVER

GET READY FOR THE MOST ACTION PACKED MOVIE OF THE SUMMER.

INT. PLAYER’S HALL

The music stops after it has built up to this point. It’s a long shot of the hall where everyone is playing Magic, quietly.

CUT TO:

The music comes back up; it’s the intense driving quiet part. Close of up feet walking past the tables. A judge comes up to the other judges.

JUDGE #1
We’ve got a problem.

HEAD JUDGE
What is it?

JUDGE #1
I’ve just seen an illegal card being played at one of the matches.

CUT TO:

There’s a STORM CROW on the table. The opponent raises his hand.

PLAYER
JUDGE!

CUT BACK:

HEAD JUDGE
Why didn’t you give him a warning?

JUDGE #1
(Close up, he looks nervous)
His opponent was playing the same card.

CUT BACK:

The first game, we pan around the table to find that his opponent has a STORM CROW on the battlefield as well.

TITLES – WITH VOICE OVER

IT STARTED OUT AS A NORMAL TOURNAMENT

CUT TO:

JUDGE #2
Sir, I’ve spotted several more.

HEAD JUDGE
It’s spreading. But how?

JUDGE #1
We have to call this into Wizards of the Coast.

The Head Judge pulls out his cell phone and makes a phone call.

CLOSE UP:

A hand picking up a ringing phone and puts it next to his ear.

HEAD JUDGE
(Voice Over)
Sir, we have a situation.

CUT TO:

MARK ROSEWATER pushes the doors open and walks into the Hall. He’s followed by other WotC employees.

HEAD JUDGE
Mr Rosewater, we’ve seen a growing number of people who have Storm Crows in their decks.

MARO
That’s impossible. This is a limited event. People build their decks with the random packs we give them. That card hasn’t been printed in years.

JUDGE #1
I know.

WOTC EMPLOYEE
But, that could only mean one thing.

Mark steps forward and takes off his glasses. It’s a zooming “Michael Bay” shot.

MARO
My God…

HEAD JUDGE
(Confused)
What?

WOTC EMPLOYEE
Someone tampered with our production line.

MARO
(Back shot, with him facing the gaming area)
Not someone. Something.

TITLES – WITH VOICE OVER

THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE SAFE

CUT TO:

WOTC EMPLOYEE #2
You don’t mean…

MARO
(He turns around and faces the judges)
Gleemax’s back.

TITLES – WITH VOICE OVER

THEY WERE WRONG

CUT TO: MONTAGE

Players playing cards. Close ups. Dutch angels, moving shots. Looking intense.

(ANY) JUDGE (V.O.)
The cards are multiplying. People’s decks that didn’t have them before are getting them now.

(ANY) WOTC EMPLOYEE (V.O.)
Gleemax is turning every card into Storm Crows.

(ANY) JUDGE (V.O.)
How is he doing that?

(ANY) WOTC EMPLOYEE (V.O.)
We don’t know.

(ANY) JUDGE (V.O.)
Everyone who has a Storm Crow in their deck is turning into a mind controlled zombie.

CUT TO:

A WotC Employee, looking tense.

(ANY) WOTC EMPLOYEE
Gleemax is in control now. We’re all at his mercy.

HEAD JUDGE
We have to stop the tournament. It has to be contained.

MARO
Impossible. It will continue to spread. We need to stop it now.

He turns towards an employee.

MARO (Cont)
Call in ALPHA UNIT.

MONTAGE –

Pro Players, looking intense as they’re playing. Their “Nicknames”show up on screen as the usual freeze, zoom and tilt happens.

TITLES – WITH VOICE OVER

THEY’RE THE MOST ELITE PLAYERS IN THE WORLD.

MARO
All you have to do…

FLASH CUTS TO EACH ONE OF THEIR FACES.

MARO
…is win.

MONTAGE –

People playing, trading, having conversations, being at a GP.

PRO PLAYER (V.O.)
There’s one more person that we need.

FLASH CUTS OF CHRIS PIKULA AND MEDDLING MAGE

PRO PLAYER #2 (V.O.)
But he’s been out of the game for years.

PRO PLAYER #3 (V.O.)
Chris is the only one that can truly stop this threat.

A LONG MOVING SHOT ENDING UP AT CHRIS’ FACE.

CHRIS PIKULA
I aim to misbehave

He slams down a copy of MEDDLING MAGE on the table.

TITLES – WITH VOICE OVER

THIS SUMMER, DON’T JUST DEFEND

MONTAGE OF CLICHÉ ACTION MOVIE SHOTS/QUIPS*

(Included here):

  • Someone opens their hand of cards and sees it fills in Strom Crows.
    Someone falling on their knees screaming NOOOO!!!! With a high angled shot.
    Kibler shuffling cards in his hands.
    Intense close ups of people’s eyes.|
    Waiting in line to get cards signed. Someone hands an artist a stack of Storm Crows to sign.
    “This was his last tournament before retirement!”
  • Your diplomatic immunity has just been revoked.
    Remember when I promised I’d kill you last? I lied.
    I’m sending you back to the Graveyard!
    We don’t have enough mana!
    (Quitting judging is the only way to beat Gleemax)

TITLES – WITH VOICE OVER

ATTACK

CUT TO:

One player sitting down while a friend is sitting nearby.

(ANY) PLAYER
You’re at three life!

Player #2 grabs the first player’s shirt and brings him close.

(ANY) PLAYER #2
Tell me something I don’t know!

TITLES – WITH VOICE OVER

THIS SUMMER, ACTION HAS A NEW NAME.

CUT TO:

Judges in a circle looks nervously at MARK ROSEWATER.

MARO
You have to give them more time.

The large timer clicks to zero.

HEAD JUDGE
Sorry, the round is over.

TITLES –

MAGIC: THE GATHERING:
Grand Prix: Seattle/Tacoma:
Gleemax’s Revenge

CUT TO:

Two guys playing cards. One of them casts a spell.

(ANY) PLAYER
I’ll mill you for two.

The second player looks in disgust.

(ANY) PLAYER #2
You son of a…

TITLES –

COMING THIS SUMMER

THE END

—–

I wanted the tagline to be “Untap, Upkeep, Death.”

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