|Frank Beddor, Producer & New York Times Best Seller, "The Looking Glass Wars"
IAE: Can you tell us a little bit about what Automatic Games is and what you have going with that
branch of your company?
FB: I’m really excited about it, almost more than the movie or anything else I’m doing. The reason goes back to
what I said about being a writer versus an actor; just having freedom and control over your own career. In the
movie business there’s nothing like a movie to drive your story into popular culture. But it is a political
nightmare to navigate through the shark infested waters of Hollywood when it comes to getting your movie
produced, and achieving high quality. In the gaming world it’s also difficult when you are talking about doing
the console games for Xbox or Playstation. But my company is focused on casual, social gaming. You’ve
probably read about the Farmville’s of the world who have made lots of money, or selling for lots of money; that’
s the space that I’m in. The difference is there’s no other game that has fiction based on books, allowing you to
be social, have game play, and currency of the world and that’s what I’ve created. I created that with a game
that is based on my books called, ‘Card Solider Wars’ [www.cardsoliderwars.com]. Also, my partner, PJ
Haarsma, and me has created a game called ‘Rings of Orbis’ [www.ringsoforbis.com] that is based on his 4
book series, ‘The Soft Wire.’ We’ve raised money for our company, and have been scaling up. We make
money from the micro-transactions made by the players in the game using currency, in my case ‘Wondercash.’
These players take the Wondercash and it allows them to do things with the game. The newest thing that we’
ve created is story missions. We did a survey of our 120,000 players, and their number one thing is that they
want more story. Everything we’re doing now that has to do with story will publish inside the game as one or
two chapters, and the players will go on these missions to find the chapters. They can buy the chapters with
Wondercash and then they’re rewarded with some kind of unique item they can use or trade inside the game.
For me, it’s a very exciting arm of my company.
IAE: What other film projects are you currently working on at the time?
FB: I wrote the story for ‘Monopoly’ and we’ll see what happens. Ridley Scott, who did ‘Gladiator,’ is attached to
direct it. Recently, I sold a story to Sony Pictures called ‘Fondly Fahrenheit’ which I adapted from an amazing
writer Alfred Bester. Chuck Roven and I are developing it and we have Henry Bean writing the screenplay. It’s
lovers on the run in space, so think ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ in space, but with a very unique Bonnie who has a
secret. The tone of it is close to the ‘Borne Identity’ franchise.
IAE: If you could change anything about the entertainment industry what would it be and why?
FB: As a creator, I would make it easier to distribute the content and not have so many “middle men.” The
problem with middle men is each choice that is compromised from the creator, chips away at the original vision.
In the movie business it’s especially prevalent. If you have a lot of power, like James Cameron, then you can
create your movie and nobody’s going to tell you what to do at all. That’s why his [Cameron] movies are so
good; because there aren’t any middle men trying to change the creative vision of the project. Then you have
comedies that come out and people ask why they’re so bad. Well look at the people who are in control;
somebody somewhere is chipping away from what made it funny enough to be put into production in the first
place, but you don’t know it’s happening until it’s too late. It’s almost like eating McDonalds for 20 years and
then wondering why your health is so bad and you’re 500 pounds [laughs]. You don’t realize how you got so
overweight, but it’s because the McDonalds was just chipping away at your health slowly over the years. It’s the
same thing with the movies. First you say, “It’s not that big of a deal,” but then ego gets in the way and then
you go wow that was a really poor casting choice and you can’t recover from it. It’s easier to lose 10 pounds
than it is to kick an actor off a picture [laughs].
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