10/02/2014 08:58 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Pay 2 Play Board Game, More Realistic Than Monopoly!

In order to face any of our mounting problems, we need leaders who will listen to We The People, not just We The Wealthiest People. I set out to make a documentary about the obstacles to elected office, in hopes of encouraging reform and inspiring future candidates. I also wanted to present this in a way that could be fun, rather than depress the living crap out of folks.

Something about the game Monopoly seemed like the right metaphor for our priced-out political process--perhaps because the player with the most money wins, just like in almost all elections. But upon discovering its true origins as an educational folk game taken over by a corporation, I realized how appropriate Monopoly really is as a symbol for the corporate takeover of our democracy.

The original idea was to show all the hoops a candidate would have to go through running for office, like pointers for campaign reform. But then it became clear there are so many larger forces at play in our elections that make it harder to have a voice in government (Party insiders, for instance). The squares acquired relevant names as we crafted the film, and pivotal concepts were delivered through re-imagined Community Chest cards, animated to hover over the game board, all ominous, like in Time Bandits.


In the final version of PAY 2 PLAY, we work our way around this virtual game board as we cover disenfranchisement, and at the end of the film we realize this game board in a large-scale street art endeavor. In Washington D.C., this board was just unfurled in McPherson Sq. as part of the 28th Amendment National Roadshow, traveling across the country organizing for an amendment to the Constitution overturning the Citizens United decision, affirming that Money is not Speech and Corporations are not People. You can watch today's webcast of the 28th Amendment Roadshow here.

Check out this slideshow about the PAY 2 PLAY Board's creation by L.A. street artist Teacher, all the way to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The PAY 2 PLAY Game Board, from L.A. to Washington, D.C.

After watching the film, some people asked what was on the entire board, since it was never seen in its entirety. Good point!

So, here for the first time is the full game board we created for PAY 2 PLAY, where you can zoom in on it yourself and move around the squares.

Enjoy this board, feel free to make your own. After all, as we found in PAY 2 PLAY, "monopoly" is in the public domain.

PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy's High Stakes is now playing in theaters and at house parties, coming digitally Nov. 1 from Disinformation.