Forget The Ticket, Buy The Rights: Interview with Tommy Day
Interview by Anthony Cleveland
Buy the Rights is a Movie Pitching Party Game for 3-10+ players. In Buy the Rights, players create their own movies based on four decks of cards. Each round, one player is the Producer and the other players are Screenwriters. Using the cards as a starting point, Screenwriters pitch their movies to the Producer, who then buys the rights to their favorite ideas. Get as creative as it takes to outpitch your friends and make the most cash!
Tommy Day is a freelance web developer, movie nerd, and wannabe filmmaker. He came up with the idea for Buy The Rights in early 2015 and began developing the idea into a full-fledged game with the help of the rest of the team. Favorite Movies: Jurassic Park, Jaws, and Three Amigos!
Anthony Cleveland: I guess the best place to start would be how did you develop such a passion for the medium?
Tommy Day: I was never really a huge board gamer myself, but I have always been into movies and for most of my childhood I wanted to be a filmmaker. When I would play board games they were usually party games, so that was the genre I was most familiar with.
AC: How did the idea of the board game come together?
TD: I wish I had a better story, but one day the structure of breaking down a movie plot into four decks came to me and I realized that would make a pretty fun party game. To test the concept, my wife and I wrote about 20 cards from each deck and ran a quick playtest with our friends, Michelle and Chad Yadon. I assumed the game would embarrass me, and we would quickly move on to something else, but it actually ended up being pretty funny, and I think we all could see the potential after that first play.
From there, we started writing cards like crazy. We first playtested in April of 2015, and our Kickstarter was funded in December of the same year.
AC: Can you describe what the crowdfunding experience was like?
TD: I was a little over-enthusiastic about the game at first, and so our Kickstarter was a little out of the ordinary. The game in our Kickstarter video looks drastically different, and many of the cards from that version are gone. After our campaign was over, we realized that we should improve the design and writing of the game before we sent it off to the printer, and we spent a few months polishing the game. Our backers were very patient, and I'm so thankful that we spent that time to really make the best version of the game before we printed.
Overall running a Kickstarter was a lot more work than I would have guessed. You have to be ready to dedicate a month to self-promotion, running events, and advertising. We all learned so much and can't wait to apply our experience to another campaign.
AC: The game seems to be a massive hit at gaming conventions. Do you have a favorite fan interaction?
TD: Buy the Rights has been an accidental hit with actual screenwriters and people in the TV and film industry, and it's always a blast to play with them. Last summer at IndyPopCon, we got to play the game with a couple of the hosts of AMC's Comic Book Men, and that was a blast. Overall, I just love playing with strangers and seeing their reactions.
AC: Now that you’ve probably played the game a hundred times, what's the most memorable pitch you’ve heard?
TD: That's a tough one... Recently, we heard a great pitch involving a cat lady who discovers a secret world inhabited by cats, but it turned out that she was hallucinating because of the toxoplasmosis she had contracted from being around all those cats.
AC: What was a pitch that you heard in the game that you wished was a real movie?
TD: During one of our playtests before our Kickstarter, I remember a pretty hilarious pitch about a lumberjack who gets bitten by a radioactive beaver and becomes a woodsy superhero. The pitch included a pretty awesome origin story, and I honestly wanted to see the film.
AC: What’s next for Buy the Rights?
TD: We're currently reprinting the game for the first time, which is super exciting. We're working with Snakes & Lattes distribution in Canada and beginning talks with them about distribution here in the states as well. We also have a ton of ideas for Buy the Rights expansions that we want to write, and we'll probably bundle a few of them together into a new Kickstarter sometime before the end of the year or early 2019. I think the game will really open up and show it's full potential when we can take deeper dives into genres with expansion packs and mix those in with the core game.
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