Planting the flag in the soil

Greetings, fellow Internet denizens.  My name’s Eli Kaplan, and I’m setting up a blog for my web series, Ancestral Recall.

I used to be a feature writer at StarCityGames under editors Ted Knutson, Ferrett, and Steve Sadin.  I also did coverage at Japanese Grand Prix, Nationals, and the occasional Pro Tour from 2000-2008 for the Mothership.  I sporadically put out new pieces when new sets came out, but I was pretty much retired on the day I left Japan to head back to the States.

Why did I stop writing?

The biggest reason was that I didn’t have access to the top Japanese players, and I wasn’t playing paper Magic twice a week anymore.  I was just an American among Americans, in an environment where there were plenty of competent writers.  I didn’t feel like I had anything novel to contribute.  And so if I didn’t have anything that would make me stand out, I didn’t have a reason to write.  I value the Magic audience, and I respect their time.  I’m not going to take their time up if I don’t have anything that can’t be replicated by others.

Also, grad school ate up lots of my free time.  I’m on the very last part of a long stretch.  I have my comprehensive exams in March, and then I’m done.

Recently, the adult education program where I teach had its budget cut significantly.  My hours got cut in half.  So as soon as I pass my test, I’m heading back overseas, most likely back to Japan.  Most of the teaching gigs in Philly expect me to be around until July.  I don’t plan to be here that long.  But I needed to do something in the meantime.

I’ve always wanted to write my Magic memoirs, and while I am still an active Magic player at FNM (I haven’t had any motivation to play at PTQs), I know that there aren’t any websites that really pay much attention to Magic’s history.  The only serious outlet where Magic players can get access to stories from the past these days is Mark Rosewater’s fantastic podcast, Drive to Work.

I teach.  More and more teachers are using multimedia, particularly those in curricular development.  I do want to stick my foot into that pool.  So I seek to do video production in order to improve my career skills.

But I don’t feel like making videos about English as a Second Language.  So I decided to do Magic videos instead.

This blog will collect my scripts and show notes.  I ad lib a lot when I shoot, so the scripts don’t correspond to the video that much.  Most of the captions come to me when I’m editing, though as of episode 8 I’m building in wait time so I can add caption gags.  The heart of the show is in the video itself, not the script.  But I hope you can glean some knowledge and enjoyment from what goes on behind the scenes.