An individual sits at Mission Control in Houston; waking up every morning of their life to help prep some good looking fella for the bone-crushing environment of space. It’s one of those situations where if you have just the sliiiiiiightest thing that’s off, it could spell certain doom for who-knows-how-many people. In times like that, it’s easy to isolate yourself and find that you’ve been lost in the weeds. Sometimes isolation is not the answer; sometimes you have to look outside yourself to find new opportunities to grow.
We (James Reichmuth – that’s me – and Alessio Summerfield) had a meeting in a coffee shop to talk about video games, movies, things that we enjoyed – you get the drift. The whole debacle with Kojima and Konami had just happened – which I recall mentioning specifically because I knew that Alessio was a big Metal Gear Solid fan – and that conversation flowed into what an intensely robust and dynamic game development community existed in St. Louis.
Whaaaat? I hear assumed people reading this journal asking themselves. St. Louis? Yeah, I was pretty surprised myself. With that in mind we decided that it would be interesting to do a couple of documentary pieces on the local gaming scene to see if we could get past just the games themselves and find the more human element in there. We settled on a name for this series – Dev Diary – and set out to find developers who had a story to tell.
And boy did we! While filming Happy Badger Studio here in town, we were clued in on another team that might be an intriguing group to cover. Butterscotch Shenanigans, a three-brother game studio that was in the thick of developing a huge undertaking in Crashlands, which was set to release January 2015. What was supposed to be easily-digestible YouTube content quickly turned into an immensely large-scale project, something bigger than Alessio or myself had worked on before. A year and some change later, after having recruited some friends along the way, we’re finally about to release Season One of Dev Diary.
Suddenly we found ourselves going from a few nifty one-off episodes, to a full blown feature film, to a full blown documentary series (AND a feature film – what up MAGfest 2017). I think it’s safe to say that at one point or another, everyone on the team had felt a sense of fear; that we might put an intense amount of time into something that might not pan out.
A common theme in talking to the Coster brothers is their sense of humor – they all naturally have real solid comedic timing. Within that, though, there’s this fire and resiliency to keep pressing on despite the circumstances life keeps tossing their way, fast-pitch softball style. There was always a positive experience to gleam from whatever negative presence may exist.
For me, being able to turn on the monitor and see these dudes doing it inspired me to keep pushing; to keep moving forward in ways that I hadn’t previously in life. It’s an honor to be able to give them this documentary as a time capsule of an uncertain era in their lifetime, and I hope that they know how much it means to everyone at Forever an Astronaut that we’re able to share this story with the world.
Negativity can seep into the most well thought out of spaces and it can poison some of the brightest people. I don’t think there is any one answer to overcoming that, I think even sometimes it just comes down to brute force and a bit of luck. What I do know is, surrounding yourself with other intelligent people, and pushing yourself to new limits to learn more in the process is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Luckily, we’ve surrounded ourselves with some pretty spectacular people.