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Our Story: October 2020

Dancing Lights Press

One of my long-term projects for 2021 is to share the story of Dancing Lights Press. The site needs an “about” page, obviously, but I want it to be more than just a cold description of what we do. I want to tell you about the passion and desperation that led to me start the company. I want to dive into the Black Box Movement and how that philosophy is behind everything I design, write, and publish. On the first of every month I want to share a little more. So here’s a piece of our story: the October 2020 edition.

Mission and Vision

The first thing I want to do is craft public mission and vision statements. Don’t roll your eyes at me. If you want to make a living as a game designer, you need to treat it like a job. If you want to be a publisher, then you need to treat your business as a business. I’m in my fifth year doing this, and this alone, full time. Dancing Lights Press pays my bills. I’ve got over 150 best sellers at DriveThruRPG. I know what I’m talking about.

All a mission statement does is explain the problem you’re solving for. I have versions of this for various product lines: the Building Series provide tools for creators. DoubleZero is a system for settings lacking magic and superpowers. Hippogryph married traditional fantasy roleplaying with DIY storygaming. What I don’t have is a comprehensive mission statement for the company overall. To keep my focus, and to continue to grow the business, I need that clear declaration of purpose.

A vision statement is a declaration of what you want the business to be. If you’re not there already, it’s what you’re striving for. When a mission statement says what you do, a vision statement is about how you do it. There is clearly a philosophy and a set of values behind Dancing Lights Press, in the form of the Black Box Movement. I need to pare that down into something that’s more concise and specific to where I ultimately want to take this business.

Building Community

Another ongoing objective is to build community around our values. If I want people to participate, I realize that I need to put myself out there first. This is neither natural nor comfortable for me. I am an introvert’s introvert. The Our Story segments can hopefully mitigate that a bit. I can explain things in a format that doesn’t send me into a panic, while helping other people understand a bit about why I am the way I am.

Right now I have no idea what that community will look like, other than people leaving comments on this site. Social media is problematic for any number of reasons. Forums just aren’t especially popular anymore, partially because of social media. To keep this about values, I need to be sure we’re communicating in a space that’s supportive, encouraging, and healthy.

I may turn to you all for this part. There’s already a Facebook page run by a fan. The solution might be to make some assets available here, and let you run wild in whatever venue you prefer. It’s important for me to grow the company, but what I care about even more is spreading the Movement. Creativity is for everyone, after all.

Our Story: October 2020

Dancing Lights Press is a lo-fi publisher of tabletop roleplaying systems and system-agnostic creative aids, including the best selling Building series, the DoubleZero action thriller system, and Hippogryph, a fantasy story game system with traditional  roots. Our products embrace a minimalist aesthetic in design and presentation because roleplaying is an activity, not a collection of expensive rulebooks.

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