On Larp Criticism

When people post critical feedback to an event within hours or days of an events conclusion, I want to scream. 

I am watching people do it with Downfall, even after a very polite request to send feedback in a few days. Including a link to this article about why. People are just ignoring it and posting their feedback in the same damn thread.

It sucks. And selfishly I’m looking down the road to October 23 and know what’s waiting for me.

October is my favorite event. Its also the hardest.

Expectations are HUGE. The pressure is incredible. So I spend probably two months writing, rewriting, revising, planning, editing. Then I take two months of work, throw it in the garbage, and start over. I bother Sara at completely inconvenient times with random ideas. I ping Anastasia with “What ifs.” Then I write, revise, plan. Trash it. Start over. 

I immerse myself in movies for inspiration. I practice walking, talking, and being the role. I get playlists together to put myself in a certain kind of head space. 

Probably a week before the event I basically stop sleeping, because I have all these ideas, worries, pressures in my head that just won’t stop. So I have to physically and mentally exhaust myself before I can close my eyes for a couple hours sleep. Its pretty restless. By dawn I’m too awake to sleep, but not really rested. 

The event itself is a thirty nine hour marathon, set to the pace of a hundred yard dash. Its schizophrenic in the extreme. From one moment to the next I might have to be the organized and efficient game director, keeping dozens of npcs to a strict schedule; an organizer who handles conflicts and personal melt downs with fairness and compassion; or a fictional psychopath who is trying to grind down characters until they are wholly unrecognizable. 

The secret is to simply never stop moving. So I don’t stop moving. I burn more calories than I consume by an order of magnitude. I live on what would be too little sleep for one night, never mind two. I punish my body until it gives up.

By Sunday morning I can feel days shaved off my lifespan. By Sunday night I am nothing but a raw nerve. We eat afters with a small group because we’re off-site when everybody else has already finished eating Chinese food. I’m often quiet. 

Monday I have nothing left in me. I tell close friends to leave me alone. I am distant from my wife. I cry for no reason, and try to distance myself from the frame of references and characters I have created which think the very worst things about people. Sometimes I get angry.

So after all of that.. if you have not enjoyed yourself, if you have something critical to say.. I just want to not hear it right away. I could say that I don’t care, but that would be a lie. 

I do care. I care a lot. I read every Facebook status after an event just hoping that you had fun. Its not healthy and that’s on me. 

If you didn’t - that’s okay. If you have a criticism, that’s okay too. I want to hear it. But I just need a little time and a little care. Because the thing is, I just saw you. I looked you in the face over that weekend, and I marshaled every bit of myself to put on a good show. I gave you everything I had, and for at least a few days after, while I unscramble my brains and right myself, I need to know that everything was enough.