Why would anyone read about larps, you ask?
Larping is one of those things which have to be seen before you believe them. In other words – reading about larps is the same as reading about chocolate; you will probably get an idea about what it is, but there’s no way in hell for you to really taste chocolate by reading a recipe.
Larps fall under a similar category. When you read about larping and you’ve never done it, it’s almost impossible to picture what it’s actually like. Therefore, you have to try it. When you read larp reviews about events you didn’t participate in, you can never actually be sure it’s what really happened. And since larping is quite personal, one person’s recap can never portray all of the event. That’s why the best reviews don’t even try to do that.
And then there’s larp theory and academic articles, a world in itself. Diving into them can do both harm and good (some things require understanding before implementing), but I still consider them precious. And I always feel as lucky as a rabbit when I discover another gem fully available online.
The answer is as simple as two strongest words in the human vocabulary can portray – education and inspiration. Not all of us can meet larpers from faraway lands in person, and reading what they’re passionate about and what kinds of larps they do expands horizons. It also helps to know we’re not alone – in almost anything we do. Education and inspiration can move the world. Larpers do it, too.
Is it for everyone?
If you asked me the same question about a book – any book, especially a controversial YA one – you’d get the same answer – yes. Not everyone will like it. Some people will never see the point in reading instead of roleplaying. Some will love the reviews, some will hate general newbie intros, and so on. But still, it’s worth a shot. You never know what you can find out. Say, I’m still a bit in shock every time I remember that one article about Russian singing larps. Yup, singing larps. Who knows what my mind will devise from that piece of inspiration…
What to look for when reading about larps?
I can only answer the question for myself – since everyone always takes different ideas from the same piece of text, as with fandom stuff. Here’s a few things I’m currently the most interested in reading about.
#1 Dramatic ideas – say, everyone playing the same gender and such. We’re still years away from that, but you never know… sometimes, all you have to do is dare.
#2 Other people’s takes on familiar subjects – fantasy settings reversed, combining larp and ARG elements, fanlarps…
#3 Production team and design cooperation in general – because you can’t manage everything alone, and it’s worth it to learn from the people who have been doing it for years. Many Croatian larps have not reach the scale necessary for huge production teams yet, but we are definitely getting there.
#4 Workshops! Never enough talk about workshops. Maybe it’s a sideffect of growing up by running workshops, or dating a person who’s into them, too – still, I’m always interested in news ways to ease people into an event. And all over the world, people are doing crazy and awesome shit via larp workshops. Can’t wait to start implementing them on a bigger scale here.
Is there anything you’d like to recommend?
(Oh, I thought you’d never ask!)
Some of you may already heard me mention my favourite “drunken Dane”. Claus Raasted is not at all a drunk, but his podcast is both educational and fun as hell to listen to – even when he’s recording his colleagues while having a laugh on their way to Knutepunkt. Finding a good podcast about larping proved next to impossible when I set on it a couple of months back, and this podcast… well, this podcast. “Good” doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Nordic Larp Book came out couple of years back, and it has been recently published online for free. If reading all the Knutepunkt Books, always available for a pdf download, seems too big of a task to you, try with this eye- and mind-candy. Also very helpful when trying to get your favorite muggles to understand the grasp of larping. If you ever get in an argument about low standards or small reach of larping as a hobby, just show them a couple of pics from the book and let me know if there are any survivors.
The third – and last – recommendation I’m going to offer today may seem a bit weird, but still… not really. It’s simple – just Google. There’s a ton of tiny little larp blogs (well… some of them not that tiny) all run by real-life larpers just like you and I. Some of them are doing an awesome job at it – and even those who still have a lot to learn offer their own, precious, unique human perspectives on the game which runs all of our lives. Sometimes – as the Doctor would say – the personal human point of view is all that matters. Why not try to understand the mind of someone who larps on the opposite side of the globe, in a larp tradition totally unrelated to your own? Talk about education and inspiration…