It's taken me a while to get my thoughts down, but I wanted to share a few things about my experience filming Let's Play Live.
Last year, I went out to lunch with my buddy @jack and he told me a crazy idea——that Achievement Hunter was going to take what they do on YouTube and at RTX——and place it on a stage for one night only here in Austin, Tx. I immediately asked: “Has this ever been done before?” Neither of us were sure of the answer, but we knew it was a big deal for Rooster Teeth and an opportunity to film a unique and ambitious undertaking.
To me, what was so interesting about exploring this event, was the answer to the question: “Why do people like watch others play video games?” Most people balk at the question. My parents certainly did not have an answer. It is a relatively new idea. Using this live event seemed like the perfect backdrop to answer this question.
So I started broad. The potential chaos, frustration and —let’s face it—failure was all I really had to go with. I began filming five days before the event, talking to crew and filming the setup, then followed Jack around the Moody Theatre the day before capturing as much as I could. It was overwhelming to say the least. There were lots of moving parts, lots of technology, lots of people. I interviewed the crew initially, but realized early on that I had to stick to Jack in order to fully realize the idea of the show—and why so many people were going to attend.
The day of the event was crazy. I had an extra two camera operators and sound technician join me and we split up filming the rehearsal, interviewing fans and portions of the show. I stuck with the Achievement Hunter guys the most, not only because I was a familiar face, but that is where the story was going to be. (And the funny). The guys were surprisingly "off." At one point they stopped noticing I was even there which was exactly what I wanted.
But it wasn’t until a month or two later after reviewing a cut with Chris Demarais that I realized the story was not in the show itself, but within Achievement Hunter. Part of this was luck. There were so many variables. And the fact that Jack and Geoff had a fight right before the show could not have been predicted. It simply came down to whether or not these 6 guys could pull this show off (with the help of a lot of other behind the scenes talent of course). I know some people might think I constructed or manufactured moments. But I can honestly say I avoided this as much as possible. When making any movie—documentary or fiction—you have to construct your story with complications and drama. That’s what keep the audience guessing and, more importantly, entertained.
In one way, we made a documentary about why people love Let's Plays, and in another, I made a movie about one of my best friends. I’ve known Jack for over 10 years now. I’ve known him when I had no idea what he did, to now being a fan of the crew he runs with. It was also fun to get to know Geoff and the guys and have the opportunity to see into their world a little bit.
Maybe they'll let let me make another one...