The Filmworks Innovation Lab encourages local storytellers to take advantage of emerging technologies to make something truly unique and original in Washington State. Some filmmakers may tremble in the face of a daunting task, but Director/Executive Producer Peter Adkison jumped right in. Adkison was a funding recipient in the Fall 2014 Innovation Lab Cycle for Chaldea’s War Room – a fantasy transmedia graphic novel project set in the world of Chaldea. Now, this summer, Adkison is ready to share the magic with the world.
Chaldea has been cooking for quite some time. “The project is inspired from a fantasy world that I’ve been creating since 1981,” explains Adkison, “primarily through roleplaying games like ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ and “Burning Wheel.’ Thirty years of playing in Chaldea has resulted in numerous inspirational characters, heroic and otherwise, fantastical imagery, plot-lines, emotional highs and lows, and the odd comedic moment.” Chaldea came into fruition after Adkison decided he “needed a change of pace and went to film school…eventually producing a web series inspired by Chaldea.”
As Adkison explains, War Room is the pilot episode of the series. However, “it is much more than that – it was also conceived as an elaborate test case for various aspects of this approach – would an audience tolerate switching back and forth between live action and motion graphics, for example? Could we demonstrate competence in both formats?”
The answer seems pretty clear – the project screened at Indianapolis’ Gen Con and “the audience reaction was exceptional.” According to Adkison, he “had a full house, with standing room only, and the audience feedback was exceptionally positive.” Adkison knew he had a right fit in mind when screening the project at Gen Con. “It’s a great place to showcase Chaldea because fantasy is bullseye for the demographic interests of attendees, and I have a long history with this customer base as I own the convention.”
War Room and the world of Chaldea aren’t just a fantasy project – they’re part of the evolution of content expansion. “Our goal,” explains Adkison, “is to produce a web series that is of the highest quality one would expect from an indie film company. [But] our format will be graphic novels, film, and fiction – entirely digital and distributed on our website.” Therefore, War Room fits into Washington’s larger creative economy as a multi-platform story making the best use of advanced technology.
“We are exploring the possibilities of mixing media to tell a story,” says Adkison. “I think the benefit of this is to help make storytelling more economical by demonstrating that we can supplement films with other media to tell a bigger story than what we’d be able to afford to do if we limited ourselves to the idea that the entire story has to be told in film.”
We thank Peter Adkison for sharing the world of Chaldea with Filmworks and the world – and are excited to see what’s next in store for the project! Visit their official page here.
Peter Adkison is relatively new to filmmaking. At age 50 Adkison decided to change careers and follow his dream of becoming a filmmaker. He attended film school, completing a one-year filmmaking certificate at Seattle Film Institute in 2012. Since film school, Adkison has produced and directed two films, The Devil Walks in Salem, and War Room, the pilot episode for his Chaldea web series. Prior to film school, Adkison was a serial entrepreneur. His first business was Wizards of the Coast, which he founded in 1990. During his 11-year tenure as CEO, Wizards published Magic: The Gathering, acquired and relaunched Dungeons & Dragons, and brought the Pokémon trading cards out of Japan to the rest of the world. After leaving Wizards he acquired the Gen Con tabletop games convention which he still owns. Under his ownership, Gen Con has grown from 18,000 attendees to over 61,000. In 2005 Adkison founded Hidden City Games and was CEO until 2011. At Hidden City his team published Bella Sara, a trading card property for girls based that features fantasy, horses, and empowering messages about believing in yourself and following your dreams.