For this film, we’ve had some pretty memorable screenings so far. A quick laundry list of the most important ones include:
- First rough Cut watched front to back on the living room TV.
- Edmund, Tommy & Danielle Screening in Santa Cruz
- Showing Jon Blow and Ron Carmel in Ron’s living room
- Showing Phil Fish in Montreal
- Premiering at Sundance
Each one was equal parts scary and rewarding for various reasons. For the record, the most emotional were showing the people in the film - nothing can prep you for the very odd process of presenting your version of someone’s life back to them. Showing the guys in the film was one of the most rewarding things we’ve ever experienced in our lives.
The Sundance premiere was insanely stressful and crazy, but in a different way. Sundance is a machine, a wonderful machine. But it’s this frenzied torrent of activity with many moving parts. The whole process is so busy, so intense that nerves tend to steel themselves almost as a coping mechanism.
Sitting watching the Sundance showing, we both became extremely self-conscious of the film. Every audience fidget, throat clearing or - God forbid - bathroom break was immediately interpreted as indictment of a seriously crappy movie. It’s very easy to get in an odd head space at your film’s premiere. It was really strange and confusing. Every other Sundance showing was pure jouy, but we’ve never felt more like a vulnerable artist than at the Sundance premiere.
The Winnipeg Show: Three days after we returned from our Sundance debut, we thought it’d be fun to do a small little hometown friend’s n’ family preview show. That small show ended up growing into two completely, utterly sold out shows of 320 people each on February 3rd.
As people started filing in, it was pretty clear that this was going to be another memorable night. A full theater is always a bit nerve wrecking, a theater full of peers, family and friends takes on a whole other vibe. The evening was down-right magical. People laughed in the right sections, we’re eerily quiet in other moments and seemed to really, actually like the movie - this was our most diverse audience yet. Full of people with no connection to games, movies or anything you would think a typical IGTM-like audience would be. The feedback, though carrying a heavy bias I’m sure, was everything we could’ve hoped for.
We did a Q & A period after each show and enjoyed every moment of it. But perhaps the absolute best moment of the evening came courtesy of a guy named Nathan - a 14 year old aspiring designer from Minneapolis. Nathan drove up with his mother from Minneapolis to see the film!!! THAT’S FOURTEEN HOURS OF DRIVING!!
Firstly, my God, Nathan’s mom is the best mom ever! It’s so unbelievably cool that she did that for her son. Nurturing her kid’s burgeoning passion - now, that’s a parent!
Secondly, we’re obviously floored that anyone would travel such a crazy distance for the film. But it’s made all the more special to think that a young kid wanting to be a game designer did it. This film is absolutely perfect for him - in many ways it was made for people like Nathan. When you see the final scene of the film, you’ll understand how wonderful poetic Nathan’s trip to see this film is.
We were unbelievable touched by this all, and, immediately upon meeting Nathan and his mom, started plying them with free stuff (Shirts, Posters and Special Editions) - anyone who drives 14 hours into the middle of the frozen Canadian prairies just to see this film gets free stuff and our eternal gratitude! It’s a pretty solid rule we think.
So, the Winnipeg show was this wonderful gift of an evening. Huge thanks to New Media Manitoba for putting it together, Luc Desjardin for the awesome photos, Nathan & Nathan's Mom for adding to the magic and our family, friends and city of Winnipeg for providing such unbelievable support and such an encouraging, creative environment.
We owe you guys a lot!
PegJam Private Showing: Also going on that weekend was the third PegJam. Prior to planning the jam, Alec Holowka & Kert Gartner had come to us and asked if we’d be down with showing the film to the Jam attendees at the end of the weekend. It sounded like an awesome idea. Game Jams are all about inspiration, collaboration and sharing moments. IGTM, in many ways are these guys’ story - the showing made perfect sense.
However, this was the first sizable developer audience to ever view the film. We were a bit nervous. One of the largest struggles of making this film was attempting to balance the interests/appeal of a non-gamer audience with a more developer-centric one. We wanted to be universal enough without being boring; substantial enough without being esoteric. A definite balancing act.
From the previous screenings, we were starting to feel that we did pretty good in terms of appealing to a general audience. But what would a developer audience think of it?
The lights went down, the film rolled, we did another Q & A, and the impressions started rolling in...