Between Critical Role’s animated series and the many D&D projects at Paramount, Hollywood is recognizing its effect. But more Hollywood creatives could look to both D&D and other TTRPG’s to influence their work. And no one is supporting this cause more than StartPlaying Co-Founder Devin Chulick. He co-founded StartPlaying with his partner Nate Tucker. StartPlaying is almost like Roll20, but it has professional Dungeon Masters on the site. The games cost either as little as $5 or as much as $50. And some games are free on the site.

We got to talk with Devin Chulick about StartPlaying and how Hollywood Creatives can use D&D and TTRPG’s to help with creating and crafting their stories and projects.

Devon Chulick Interview

How did you come up with the idea of StartPlaying?

Devon: A few years ago I was featured in Bloomberg Businessweek in an article, Rise of the Professional Dungeon Master. Since then, Dungeon Masters from all over the world had reached out to me on how to start. Back before building StartPlaying, it was really hard. You needed to market yourself, have a website, etc. When I met my co-founder Nate Tucker, he spoke about how none of his friends wanted to be the Dungeon Master, and I realized there wasn’t a lot of tools to help connect Dungeon Masters and players. We began to think about that problem and thought how cool it would be if there was an AirBnB for finding Dungeon Masters and groups to play with. 

Why was it important to have professional Dungeon Masters host the games offered on StartPlaying?

Devon: Players love our platform because we help connect them with amazing professional  Dungeon Masters, and make billing and scheduling easy. They also know that our DMs are reviewed and can fit their play style. 

Is it different running StartPlaying to being a DM on Total Party Kill? Or is it all the same?

Devon: StartPlaying is all about creating communities through play, which is very similar to what I do with Total Party Chill. It’s a much bigger scale, and it’s exciting to see so many Dungeon Masters making money doing what they love!

It is crazy is it to see a movie and animated series based on both the D&D lore and a live-streamed D&D campaign being made? And how do you think they will change and impact the entertainment world in Hollywood?

Devon: I think we’re seeing a rise to community-created content, and I think it’s incredibly exciting. D&D has been such a part of people’s lives since the 70’s and it’s wonderful to see new people coming to the Tabletop Roleplaying Game hobby. I think collaborative storytelling is integral to creating communities and connecting with people, so to see the rising trend of people getting into TTRPGs is awesome.

Why do you think people who work in entertainment in Hollywood should start using both D&D and other types of TTRPGs to help with their creative process when working on a show or movie?

Devon:  I think a lot of folks in the entertainment industry already do play a lot of TTRPGs. Playing D&D is sort of like sitting around a writer’s table that is also part improv game. The idea of telling a story with others and getting to see how your creativity bounces off everyone else is something we rarely do. Usually, when using our imagination, it’s because we’re reading a book and it’s by ourselves. TTRPGs allow people to collectively use our imagination.

Do you think Hollywood will eventually accept and embrace using TTRPGs as a piece of the creative process in films and movies?

Devon: I think Hollywood is going to draw from more and more properties popular in gaming, but I also think we’re going to see more franchises explore tabletop gaming. Alien and Star Trek and popular roleplaying games based on movies and television, and Marvel is releasing their own new TTRPG as well. 

What will it take for TTRPGs to just be seen as mainstream and not as a niche just enjoyed by nerds and people who do voice acting and video game projects?

Devon: I think we’re about to see a shift towards more people exploring the TTRPG hobby and growing out of a niche interest. Seeing celebrities like Henry Cavill, Football player Myles Garrett, and Aubrey Plaza play and love these games definitely help bring it to a larger audience. In addition, new games, that are coming out that aren’t just D&D are attracting new people who are excited to tell stories and play with their friends. One of the hardest parts of actually getting to play is starting. Most TTRPGs require someone to run the game, a Dungeon Master/Game Master. This is the biggest barrier to entry for most folks. Secondly is finding people to play with. That is why we created our platform, to make it easier for people to Start playing games. 

From what Devon said in the interview, he’s not wrong at all. All creatives in Hollywood should D&D and other TTRPGs to help with creating either their TV Shows or Movies.

You can find StartPlaying across their social media pages, and on their official website as well.