SUNDANCE SUBMISSION COMPLETE!
After 2.5 months of 12-16 hour days (literally) I'm proud to say we made the final deadline submission today for The Sundance Film Festival. It has been a grueling and at times brutal process of cutting, recutting and finding not only the story but the production value we want for the film. I'm happy to report as of this morning with our submission to Sundance we have a very solid film on our hands that I know you will all love & I am very proud of. That said, most all initial film submissions to Sundance are what you call "pre-final" cuts which means they still require a final sound mix & master and additional editing tweaks. When and if a film is selected the filmmaker is then allowed to submit the final cut of the film, which gives us a bit more time to make the final final cut of VGTM.
That's right, after a long pursuit we received confirmation a 2 weeks ago that Nintendo would like to participate in our film. I was so thrilled to hear this. With only a few weeks left to finish the film it took some rearranging to schedule and get out to Seattle to film but we made it happen. We wrapped our shoot with them 2 days ago and got terrific interviews with Nintendo President and CEO Mr. Reggie Fils-Aime as well as Don James himself, the longest tenured Nintendo employee (he's been with the company since 1981!) They both gave terrific interviews and we are excited to edit this footage into the film.
I was so relieved when we got this confirmation. As you could imagine it would be difficult to have a film titled 'Video Games: The Movie' without one of the biggest and most influential video game companies on the planet in it. This makes our story truly complete.
The VO Narration script for VGTM is officially completed! We are reviewing several options for our Narrator now and are SUPER excited to be at this stage. It's still very surreal to actually be so close to finishing. Onward!
A HUGE thank you to everyone who supported the VGTM Kickstarter. We are overwhelmed with gratitude. Now on to POST PRODUCTION so we can give you all a finished film!
The Kickstarter for Video Games: The Movie is officially up and running! You can visit the page & view the exclusive trailer by clicking here.
We are pushing hard to reach our $60k goal (and hopefully reach some of our stretch goals which will make the film exponentially better.)
Please help us spread the word via all your networks (FB, Twitter, Reddit) and help us bring VGTM to life!
Here we go!
As of today we have officially wrapped principal photography of Video Games: The Movie. It's very surreal to say (or type) that out loud. As an independent filmmaker everything is an uphill battle, and yes the name of that hill is $money$. Paying for each shoot and trip out of pocket has not been easy (thanks visa & amex) but I know the final film will be well worth it. I can just feel it.
While I know we still have a HUGE amount of work and financial needs ahead of us in post production to make a great film, I had to take a moment earlier and *sigh* in relief. The shooting part is done! It's been a crazy year of events, travel and amazing interviews (yes we have been filming for 1 year!). As a filmmaker I am always looking for that next great sound byte to edit into each section of the film, the best visuals to help tell the story, etc. But as a gamer I'll be honest ... I've had to take some deep breaths before some of these interviews. #gaminggods
During our final push the past couple of months we have had the pleasure of interviewing some real gaming greats like Mr. Cliff Bleszinski (total badass), Brian Fargo (what!!!?), Rob Pardo of Blizzard (he's as cool as you would imagine.), several FANtastic guys over at Naughty Dog, the lovely Alison Haislip, Clare Grant and Ms. Chloe Dykstra!
In about a month we will be launching our Kickstarter campaign for the film where we will be trying to raise approx. $110,000 to pay for post production (editing, music composition, archival footage, motion graphics, music licensing, etc.) To be honest, it is a bit scary to launch a Kickstarter since there is no way to know if people will support us...but I'm hopeful that my fellow gamers and lovers of great documentary film will rise up. Fingers crossed.
Stay tuned for more updates on our KS and post production shenanigans.
One of the item's on our "VGTM Bucket list" has always been to travel to Raleigh, NC to talk with the good folks over at EPIC Games, who are responsible for not only some of the biggest technological milestones in gaming but some of the best games ever made. Our video vignette recap of this shoot, which you can see here - Video Games: The Movie - Epic Games Shoot Vignette is proof that we have in fact successfully checked this off our list & shooting schedule. It was a real thrill to finally see behind the curtain (& film!) of one of the world's most prestigious and successful game developers.
We had the privilege of sitting down with several key individuals inside Epic including Mr. Mark Rein himself, Vice President & Co-founder of the legendary game studio. Not surprisingly Mr. Rein's insights into what makes the modern game experience special as well as the future of the industry as a whole were spot on. We were also very excited to speak with Jim Brown, lead level designer for all of the Gears of War titles who gave us some true insider's info into what makes Gears such a successful franchise. Wyeth Johnson, Art Director and Greg Mitchell, Cinematic Director at Epic also gave great interviews, each with their unique and surprisingly specific POV's on the history, culture and future of videogames.
We are in the home stretch of filming and hope to wrap all our interviews early next month. Fingers crossed we can make our self imposed deadline and get onto the difficult but exciting task of post production. Look for our official kickstarter to hopefully launch directly after our shooting schedule is wrapped.
On our last trip out to LA we shot some great footage at the Spike Video Game Awards, The Machinima Awards as well as a few interviews in and around the LA area. To our delight Mr. Max Landis, renowned screenwriter and pop culture icon, agreed to an interview with us and WOW were we surprised at his in depth and unconventional thoughts on gaming culture and the industry at large. Speaking of "gamer culture" one of Max's more insightful answers was to our question,"Where do you see gamer culture headed in the next 10 to 20 years?"
He basically blew me away with his answer which (if I may summarize) posits the notion that there is no such thing as "gamer culture" anymore. The logic he gave was because gaming, technology, music and movies are all part of a bigger 2012+ culture that everyone accepts as normal, i.e. gaming is no longer a sub-culture, its main stream and If you don't know what video games are or how huge of an impact they have had and are going to continue to have on life as we know it...your a dinosaur and will be extinct soon. It was kind of awesome to hear someone like Max Landis say this because he is very respected in many circles and his opinions fall very much in line with my personal hopes for "gamer culture". We, the gamers, are no longer the minority and never will be again...which is kind of amazing when you think about it.
What can I say...this interview was a surreal moment in my life and a big part of my inspiration for doing this documentary. I've been playing video games since I can remember and like most people my age I have very fond memories of my Atari 2600 and local arcade (aka "Pizza Hut") filled with Atari game cabinets. Needless to say it was a real thrill to have the opportunity to meet and talk with the man responsible for not only the formation and fame of the 1st globally recognized "video game company" (Atari, Inc.) but widely accepted as the father of video games in general. We spoke about everything from the inspiration for PONG to his ultimate exit from Atari, his relationship with Steve Jobs, his biggest hopes & fears for gaming and where he sees the industry headed. Something I didn't foresee was our conversation deep diving into ambition, the philosophy of gameplay and his take on "flow" in gaming. Nolan is a supremely interesting guy and my admiration for him has only grown after spending some time behind the camera with him. I can't wait for us to start editing his interview into our finished film. Video Clip coming soon here in the video section of our site so check back!