General => General Discussion => Topic started by: Angry Monk on October 10, 2016, 03:45:14 PM

Title: Anyone watch Dwarvenaut on Netflix?
Post by: Angry Monk on October 10, 2016, 03:45:14 PM
Just wondering what people thought about Dwarvenaut. I thought it was cool to see someone's passion for D&D turned into a viable occupation.
Title: Re: Anyone watch Dwarvenaut on Netflix?
Post by: Dizzy on October 11, 2016, 01:42:20 PM
had not even heard of it. Just added it to my 'watch later' list. thanks for the heads up!
Title: Re: Anyone watch Dwarvenaut on Netflix?
Post by: sgtslag on October 11, 2016, 05:00:21 PM
I watched it a week ago.  It explained a great deal about trends I have noticed over the past several years with Dwarven Forge, the company.  He had truly successful products, such as the resin, pre-painted, Lizardmen miniatures.  His early sets of terrain are highly sought after, on e-Bay, as they seem to be completely out of production, and have been, for several years!  They were a great success, then they disappeared, unavailable.  It did not make sense...  Until I saw the film.

More recently, I watched his Kickstarter campaigns launch, be hugely successful, gathering $1 million+!!!  But then he launched another couple of KS's...  This struck me as really odd, and downright strange.  If he generated $1 million+, and then launched another couple of KS's, it spoke volumes about his business acumen -- the lack thereof.  He is a talented artist, no doubt.  His business sense, however, strikes me as lacking [in the film, he gets reprimanded by a member of the old TSR staff, from the 70's, for not making a business meeting, during a GaryCon convention -- his excuse is he went drinking the night before, and got drunk, not a good business move for a man in his 40's(?), and a corporate/company CEO...].

In the film, he stated that he needed to break $1 million, just to break even...  From what I've seen, he barely broke even, by what he said!  From a business standpoint, his production costs are excessively high, if grossing $1 million in orders, is not profitable.  I just didn't get it, until I watched the film.  Artists are fantastic at producing art, but most lack business skills, and he seems to fit this mold.  His creations are amazing, but his business model is serverely crippled.  I do not expect DF to exist much longer, to be honest.  I wish him, and his employees, the very best, but I do not believe he understands business well enough to keep his company running for very much longer.

If you are a DF fan, buy as much as you can now, before they go out of business.  All of his products are hand made, in NYC, USA, by his small staff; they hand-paint everything, package it, and mail it to you.  It is a crude production system, being very labor intensive.  They produce great products, but it is all done by hand, in a small operation.  Cheers!
Title: Re: Anyone watch Dwarvenaut on Netflix?
Post by: Angry Monk on October 11, 2016, 05:09:46 PM
The Grognard that reprimands him is Tim Kask. Not surprising from what I've heard about Mr. Kask. I've never seen or checked the price of DF stuff, but I could see why it is expensive. And I can see why the old stuff never gets reproduced. Very labour intensive. But yes I think this artist needs a Robert Khoo to help him.5
Title: Re: Anyone watch Dwarvenaut on Netflix?
Post by: sgtslag on October 11, 2016, 05:23:56 PM
Tim Kask was in the military, prior to working for Gygax.  Yes, he had a gruff reputation.  What I saw of him in the film, though, I believe his behavior was fair, and appropriate:  the DF gentleman had a business meeting with Kask, and he missed it because he went out and got staggering drunk...  Sorry, I have no respect for that kind of behavior.  It was college-student level.  The artist is in his 40's, and the head of a company.  He was scheduled for a business meeting.  His behavior was poor.  I just cannot respect him after seeing that film.  He struck me as someone who has not matured beyond his college days, which are twenty(?) years in the past.  I feel bad for his employees, as I do not see much of a future for his company, with the unprofessional manner in which he is running it.

He has produced an incredible product line.  There are people willing to buy more of his products, but the company is not producing it!  I've visited his web site, to shop, and there is little available.  People bid high, for sets which appear on e-Bay, so there is a market for it.  If only they produced product to sell...  What I saw in the film was a disappointing lack of discipline, in the head of the company.  If he lacks discipline, so, too, will his subordinates, as they will follow his example.  I fear his company is doomed.  Too bad.  Perhaps he will sell off his masters and his molds, and another company will produce his products with a greater profit margin, and make them a success.  Cheers!
Title: Re: Anyone watch Dwarvenaut on Netflix?
Post by: Angry Monk on October 11, 2016, 05:29:10 PM
You're right about his employees. I wonder they mass produce cheaper versions to keep money rolling in for the more high-end handpainted stuff.
Title: Re: Anyone watch Dwarvenaut on Netflix?
Post by: DMMike on October 11, 2016, 07:41:11 PM
I haven't seen the film (no Netflicks), but it seems to me that 3D printing is slowly going to strangle his business. Especially now that you can get multicolored resins to put in the printer to make colored product. Will they be the same level of quality as his stuff? No, but it will be cheaper and people can custom print pieces to their own specifications.

Like we noted in Save or Die 125, Fat Dragon is putting out stuff like gangbusters and their files are not only being customized by individuals, but those files are then shared with the rest of the community. Customization is the key here I think.

I've got Dwarven Forge's starter dungeon kit, the expanded dungeon kit, and their medieval village (Inn) set. I love them, and use them a lot but I'm afraid cost will win out in the end.

DM (Good at pinping a SoD show?) Mike
Title: Re: Anyone watch Dwarvenaut on Netflix?
Post by: Angry Monk on October 11, 2016, 07:48:19 PM
That's what I thought. DF could offer a more affordable model (not made out of indestructible Dwarvenite) that wasn't handpainted. People might buy lots of those, and then the real collectors (like you Mike) would buy the more rare pieces that had been handpainted. I love the idea of craftsmanship but if you can't supply the market, then the market will move. I don't think Stefan Pokorny probably would care. He'll just carry on making things, but if he could create a sustainable business, it would be better for his employees and customers.