Roger Corman has two seemingly opposed reputations. The first is as the creator of low budget movies which, as cult films, are both beloved and disparaged. The other reputation, though, is as a respected pioneer of independent film. An innovator who rejected the studio system. The man who learned how to make a profitable and entertaining film with limited resources. A mentor who gave many talented actors, directors, and screenwriters their start.
At Dancing Light Press we look to Corman as something of a patron saint. His biography How I Made A Hundred Movies In Hollywood And Never Lost A Dime sits on a shelf next to the books we’ve published. It serves as a regular source of inspiration. While we work in a different medium entirely, we admire his ethos and his work ethic. If Corman had to do things the way the major studios did them, it wouldn’t have been possible to make a single film. The costs, the time required, didn’t work in his favor. He had to find creative ways to utilize small budgets and short production schedules.
Corman never intentionally set out to make a bad movie. He did the best that he could with what he had to work with. His focus wasn’t on winning awards or gaining critical acclaim. All he wanted to do was make movies. He wanted to entertain people, and do so in a way that turned enough profit to finance the next film, and the next, and the next. Corman made a living doing what he loved, at a time when renowned auteur filmmakers like Orson Welles were struggling to get their work produced. Each only won a single Oscar. Welles won Best Screenplay for Citizen Kane, his first film, in 1942. Roger Corman was awarded an honorary Oscar “for his rich engendering of films and filmmakers” in 2010.
When we look at what we want to accomplish in the tabletop games business, we look at the example that Roger Corman set in filmmaking. We aren’t beholden to doing things the way they’ve always been done, or the way everyone else is doing them now. It’s not about making the prettiest book, or what we get nominated for. We’re here to make affordable and enjoyable games in a way the earns us a modest profit. We do the best we can with the resources we have available to us. It’s about getting to create things in a sustainable way, so we can keep creating things.