Last week we took a quick trip to Montreal to visit Phil Fish and Renaud Bedard, the designer and programmer (respectively) of FEZ. With the film pretty much all but done, we are ready to start showing this thing that we’ve spent the last 18 months working on.
However, before we began to think public, or even casual, showings of the film. It was incredibly important that we personally show IGTM to the people directly involved in it. Up until this point, roughly 10 people had seen the film. The thought process being: We were exceptionally privileged to capture some incredibly raw, emotional moments while filming this movie. Moments that (we think) make for a very powerful, very true and very inspiring film.
But on the flip side, these are moments of openness and relative vulnerability on the part of the people we were interviewing. We know how nerve-wrecking it can be to have shared so much with a film crew, and have no idea how its going to turn out. In the time between filming and the finished product, tons of scenarios naturally start to play out in your head. Worries can begin to build up.
We wanted to alleviate these worries as much, and as soon as possible by showing Edmund, Tommy, Jon and Phil the film before pretty much anyone else. Above all, we really wanted to avoid them hearing about the film’s content from someone else.
So, we’ve recently personally showed to each of the main developers involved. In many ways, the last year and a half was a build up to these screenings. The eventual premiere will indeed be special, but showing it to these guys was rewarding (and scary) beyond words. We’ve spent such a long time, living and working with their stories. We are now incredibly attached to and protective of their portrayal.
We wanted to know that we did right by their stories.
So earlier this year, we made it down to Santa Cruz and San Francisco, where we showed Tommy, Edmund and Jon the film. Edmund & Tommy may be writing their thoughts someday soon, so we won’t talk too much about it. But we will say the screening went off really really well. And everyone responded to the film in fantastically well - kind of a dream response really :)
Going into last week, Phil & Renaud were the last people on our list that we had/needed to show before going forward with any other screenings. So, we made our way to Montreal for a couple of days. We showed Phil the film on Day 1 and 2. Plus, we squeezed in a nice little follow-up ‘Where’s FEZ now?’ shoot (Special Edition multitasking!).
So, on Tuesday of last week, we sat in the dark, watching the film with Phil for 96 minutes. Our ears were perked, ours bodies exceptionally tense as we watched Phil watching out of the corners of our eyes. Desperately (and somewhat futilely) trying to gauge reaction. In such a situation, you can’t help make note of every laugh, lack-of-laugh, fidget, body repositioning .... anything to give you an indication. Ninety percent of the time, you’re likely over-reading signals, and creating a non-existant narrative - but you can’t help it.
It must be absolutely surreal to watch one’s self go through some of the most stressful, most rewarding periods of one’s life edited together and shown ON A SEVEN FOOT SCREEN* ... SET TO MUSIC ... COMPLIMENTED WITH GRAPHICS.
We can’t imagine how odd that must be. So, even though we think we did a good job, and we think did Phil’s story justice, we’ve been living with this film for so long, perspective becomes a foggy thing, and you don't really know what to expect.
So after an hour and a half of us cluelessly watching Phil watch the film, the lights came up and this happened...
One of the most rewarding (and relieving) moments of our careers ... seriously.
*we were in a pretty nice setup