The Special Edition (SE) started as a relatively modest, upper-tier promise, made to only 25 people, in our first Kickstarter campaign back in May 2010.
Over the years (gulp), the film grew in many ways - ambition, scope, success, reach - and the SE felt like it had to keep in step. It couldn’t simply be a collection of raw footage, some deleted scenes. It needed, and we wanted it, to be much more. But mostly, the SE needed to do justice to the time, support, money and trust that those early backers invested in us back in 2010.
We wanted it to be good...really good...like Criterion-type of good.
So, with that, we shot some new footage, began unearthing all of the previously-shot material, and sequestered ourselves in a unfurnished house, save from two tables and two chairs, in Arizona. We then began to put together the Special Edition, working full time on it.
That was nine months ago.
At first, to be honest, the process was a bit overwhelming. There was so much footage, many half-cut ideas/scenes and so many directions available. When it comes to a film’s ‘extra content‘ a certain amount of scatological latitude is afforded. But we did want to develop a focus as much as possible.
We wanted to continue to tell stories that resonated - something beyond a simple ‘Where are they now’ (though don’t worry we have that, too).
One of the themes that you’ll find in the Special Edition has to do with the challenges of living a creative life on the Internet. And how one’s relationship with the online world can drastically change, often times as a by-product of success.
All four of IGTM’s main subjects have experienced this in varying, but common ways. We actually explore Jon’s part of this story within the original film, and as we continued to shoot after the film, it was interesting to find similar themes develop within the post-release lives of Phil, Tommy and Edmund.
The Internet is odd. It can simultaneously be the most beautiful and most toxic place in the world - especially from a creative perspective. If one takes IGTM and the SE as a whole, you can almost pull out a lifecycle of this taking place.
Ed and Tommy got their start on Newgrounds. FEZ began its notoriety within a forum posting on TIGsource. The Internet has been a HUGE part of their creative lives. And it continues to play a huge part. It’s just that it’s different for them these days. What was once a deep well of inspiration and support, has turned into something different. Not necesarily in a decidedly good or bad way, but something has changed. That original relationship with Internet has been fundamentally altered and, in ways, an innocence of sorts seems to have been lost.
When putting together the SE, we kept on gravitating towards this. I think a lot of it had to do with where we were ourselves, having just released the film. We also were personally dealing with this odd shift in online dynamics. There is a big difference in an Internet that has your creative work on it and an Internet that doesn’t. It has the potential to effect in strange ways. It’s an strange reality to deal with, one that can be wonderfully uplifting one moment, and brutally devastating the next.
We were experiencing similar orbits while editing the SE, and as a result, you can certainly see a such a theme amongst the SE films.
While the epilogues explore post-creation issues, the other short films double-back upstream in the creative process - concentrating on those moments of epiphany, flashes of brilliance and long hours of iterative coding.
You see these themes when discussing the evolution of the Art of Braid with David Hellman. They are there when we talk Passage with Jason Rohrer and his family. Ditto, when Derek Yu demonstrates how he applies not-so-random system to random generation, and as Steph Thirion tells a story that perfect embodies everything that is so great about being a game creator at this particular point in time.
There is certainly a more to the Special Edition in the Box Set, deleted scenes, cast and crew Q &As, extended interviews, behind the scenes materials & features, but we wanted to give a little bit of insight into what we were thinking when we put it together.
Basically, we wanted to tell the best stories available. Ones that resonate, inform & hopefully, surprise a little too.
So, tomorrow, the Special Edition digital versions will launch. This has been an amazing journey. With IGTM, we did things a bit differently then most films (please take a look at our case study, if you’re interested).
This entire project is the result of making the film that we wanted to see as film-watchers. And then extending that community-centric mode of thinking to the financing, production, communication, distribution - everything. We think we did some interesting things, and, for the most part, it seems to have worked.
None of this would have happened without the support of many people: the developers in the film, our collaborators (Jim, Adam, Edmund, Chris, Sara, Raymond & co, Michael & co, Matt & co, Ryan & co, Kert, Jason, & Kym), our Kickstarter backers and Special Edition pre-order supporters, and anyone who Tweeted, Facebooked etc..
Thank you so much. From the bottom of our hearts.
We hope you enjoy the Special Edition of
Indie Game: The Movie.
Keep in touch and let’s do this again sometime.
ps. A reminder, Limited Edition box set people we will be hand-signing, packaging and shipping your editions from our home in Winnipeg, Canada, in early August. And, you will be receiving Steam access codes by email tomorrow!