Before the Internet came into millions of homes and businesses, before technology dominated the stock market and earned space on the cover of every major magazine, there was a whole different way that people lived and communicated using computers.

With a simple phone line, a modem, and a home computer, anyone could set up an Electronic Bulletin Board System, or BBS. At a time before flat-rate calling plans, before DSL and Cable Modems, people would call each other's computers one at a time, leave messages for anyone else who called after them, and build entire subcultures that had few rivals in complexity and depth.

From these first few steps across the electronic landscape, an entire generation started to grow up online. They knew then what so many are learning now: the thrill of communication with others like themselves, around the country and the world. They overcame financial and societal obstacles and forged many of the same paths now crossed easily by the internet generations. They made friendships to last a lifetime. And they changed everything.

As I look at the media landscape and history of the BBS, I see an awful lot of sensationalistic reporting, many of them focusing on this or that lurid event involving people who happened to use a BBS, and no-one asking why BBSes were so popular with so many different types of people.

So much happened in the world of the BBS and I am afraid it will be lost to time.

I propose to film and edit a documentary about all the aspects of the Bulletin Board System and its place in human history.

While it may seem only a short time ago that BBSes were the dominant method of computer communication in America, and the ink is barely dry on the events themselves, I believe this is the time to try and bring together all the myriad cast of characters and players that will tell the full story. As time goes on, it will become harder and harder to track down the folks involved in many of the historical events of the BBS, and I feel that this story needs to be told. Some of the important events are 20 years in the past, and even now there are disputes about what happened when and who did what.

To do this project justice, I intend to spend a number of years conducting dozens of interviews with as many folks connected with BBSes as I can. I want to build a team of researchers who will compile massive amounts of information about BBSes and the history and people who played a part in it. I want to capture as many facets as I can.

This will be an enormous investment of time and effort into a project that I think is more than deserving of it, and, with your help, it can be something that the participants will be proud of.

This documentary can be the way to tell later generations what the BBS was and what happened to the people who used it, and why the entire world changed at 30 characters per second.

-*- Jason Scott -*-

If what I have just said interests you, please read the more involved pitch.