These are CRAZY TIMES!! They’re also very exciting. For almost 25 years, the characters of Knights of the Dinner Table have been delighting readers in one form or another, from comic panel, to the back of Dragon magazine, to a monthly comic and magazine. They’ve been made into micro busts, game miniatures, T-shirts, and card games.
Now, they’re going to step out of print and become living, breathing people inhabiting a live action series, or even a full-length movie. How bizarre and cool is that? Of course, this latest venture is dependent on the D20 Entertainment’s Kickstarter program and funding from people who want to see this thing become reality.
Ken Whitman, someone Jolly and Dave Kenzer have known for many years due to his prominence in the gaming industry, is a producer and director with D20 Entertainment, and the man who approached Jolly with the crazy, wonderful idea. It happened as Ken was filming another season of his popular webseries the Brothers Barbarian, starring the legendary Larry Elmore and Margaret Weis. He had invited us to come down for season 2. He wanted Jolly to do a cameo – something Jolly was willing to do only if he were covered and camouflaged with orc makeup. I was also invited to tag along and I became the ever present, quite important “human villager.” 😉
It was a wonderful experience, and that was all I had hoped for. Ken had hoped to talk to Jolly about someday doing a Knights’ Live Action Series. Jolly had seen the possibilities with Brothers Barbarian and sort of had hopes that his connection with Ken would come to something similar for his beloved Knights.
Months later, Ken’s pursuit of this dream led him to more talks with Jolly, and eventually producing a proof of concept video to prove to Jolly’s partners, Dave Kenzer, Steve Johansson and Brian Jelke, that it could be done. Just a five-minute trailer was all it was. Ken had only two of his carefully-chosen cast members available for the shoot, Pete and Brian, played by Reaper M Jones and Josh Logsdon, and only one night to shoot. But, with a lot of know-how, talent, and perseverance, he had a great video put together that would give Kenzer and Company a taste.
Eventually, Kenzer and Company agreed to grant a license to D20 Entertainment (of which I am now a producer) to produce a Live Action series and to raise money via a kickstarter program. And so, after much work and preparation, it is now underway. Ken had succeeded where many others had failed.
You see, Kenzer and Company has been approached many times by various entities wanting to take the Knights to a viewing public, some of the offers made by very well-known companies. But, the sticking point was always that none of these companies or people had wanted to grant Kenzer and Company creative control over the characters. One particularly repulsive suggestion being that the Knights’ characters not be “losers” away from the table in their daily lives. It was ok that they played RPGs in their crazy way, but away from the table they should be heroic, doctors, lawyers, people who are just not quite so quirky and unique as the Knights. They should’ve known that all of us at Kenzer love those characters too much to ever let someone come in and destroy them like that.
Comedy comes from the Knights’ exaggerated quirks and the struggles they live with, as well as their crazy roleplaying styles. We don’t see them as losers, we see them as wacky reflections of real people. Over the years, countless readers have asked Jolly and the guys at conventions “have you been spying on my group? You must be because you have my group nailed down in this comic.”
Almost everyone who reads the comic knows one or more of the characters. Many know a Brian, a Bob or a Dave. The Knights remind them of themselves quite often too. They were, after all, based on real people, but, as most created characters go, have taken on a life of their own.
Now, we’d love to see them take on a new form of life – played by real life actors. I’ve seen and talked with all of the actors taking on the roles of the main characters and they are really fantastic. Look for a nice piece about them in KODT issue 205.
If you’d love to see the Knights come to life, consider pledging to the kickstarter. Not only will you get some great rewards for your trouble, you’ll have the knowledge and satisfaction of knowing you had a hand in bringing the Knights to life. Our fans have always been the best part of publishing the Knights of the Dinner Table. Getting to know our readers has brought joy to our lives, given us friendships, and sustained Jolly and I through very hard times. We love our fans, and I can think of nothing better than to be able to include them on such an awesome project. Come along for the ride with us. I can’t think of better traveling companions!
Check out the Kickstarter site — http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/d20e/kodt-live-action-series