Cultural Standpoints is an annual series of podcasts from the graduating Strategy class at the VCU Brandcenter. It follows a myriad of research and findings and their respective cultural implications. This semester, we had the freedom to choose any content format. A strategist, Severin Didriksen, and I decided to explore Dungeons and Dragons, its impact on the gaming landscape, & produce an original creative production to extrapolate our findings.
To learn all things D&D, its category landscape, and produce an innovative video live stream.
We found a changing gamer landscape in D&D paralleling the present-day intersection of nerds and pop culture. A central finding was the impact of streaming, an innovation that lets newbies break down their misconceptions earlier and find groups faster.
Our Bright Idea
Our muse was that we truly loved this project. To speak to this, we were inspired to produce a live talk show to engage and teach the audience about D&D. In it, we unpack the history, assumptions, the current landscape, and how D&D is helping players embark on their first adventures.
Cultural Standpoints traditionally lived in podcast format. However, pivoting into a video medium was a no-brainer. D&D is inherently playful as it requires imagination to enjoy gameplay; we wanted to highlight this through an engaging visual storytelling narrative that genuinely illustrates this core component of the brand. Using this as our fuel, we structured our findings into a content strategy suited for a live-streamed video.
Besides, who doesn't find it amusing to hear the news given by a mage and a dwarf?
The following serves to explain the production process on the live stream.
Did the delivery timeline need to change based on our execution?
Our creative process involved backfilling from the deadline and creating our executions based on that timeline. It allowed for fluidity, as multiple iterations were needed to perfect production and time necessary for post-production and editing.
How much does this cost compared to a podcast?
In addition to a microphone, the essentials are an HD camera, green screen, softbox lighting, non-linear editing platform, high internet connectivity speed, graphic designer/animator, editor, production switcher, open source software for video recording (OBS), Elgato Stream Deck, and a costume wardrobe.
What are the technological limitations? What would we need to learn to imitate this?
This hinges on an individual's capabilities and scrappiness to learn the platforms needed for the executions. The work needs to be externally-sourced if your computer hardware and software technology aren't on par with production requirements. Additionally, research into the user interfaces, OBS, and Twitch, is required.
Why does this need to exist?
D&D has grown far beyond the confines of the blue box it came in. New tabletop board games, online, and offline digital games, and novels bring the experience to life. A talk show perfectly encapsulates the core components of D&D's brand, imagination & storytelling, in an entertaining way.
Could this video platform be used for other brands?
Of course! The gaming industry altogether is a visual category that lends itself well for video content. We knew from our findings that a majority of D&D players have streamed live or discovered the game online. So, we tailored our content to D&D audience behavior and strategized the best presentation method afterward.
We produced a 12-minute talk show that centered around our strategic findings. The trailer is at the top; the full segment is below. We executed based on appealing to our category viewers.