Sunday, December 16, 2012

BOOM lockdown

Right now I'm in LA, living in the documentary editing room (literally) for one week. Ryan recently made a great 2p2 post explaining what we're up to with the movie. Basically, we had always intended on sending out our latest edit to a group of people whose opinions we really value -- experienced filmmakers, storytellers, poker industry professionals and the like -- who we could trust to supply us with the kind of brutal, critical feedback you need to truly see all your weak spots and how to fix them. Our SXSW edit is not bad at all (in fact I think if we released it many people would still enjoy it), but Ryan is right when he says it's just not good enough and doesn't quite do justice to the expectations we established with our first trailer, and to the story we set out to tell. I think it's fortuitous that we didn't get into Sundance, because it gives us a little bit more time to get this done right.

So where do you start once you make the decision to make some large structural changes to a story? After you go to the Tilt Room you get back to basics. What we had was a combination of a character driven narrative and a detailed expose of the shifty, shadowy nature of the online poker industry. That sounds intriguing on paper but because we're a documentary and reliant on footage we've shot already to tell the story, it was hard to make it completely resonate for an audience member who sits down with no preconceptions. We knew that Black Friday was the crux of the plot, and we knew that the way to deliver the most powerful story is in connecting with our characters and the choices they were making on various levels both before and after the pokerpocalypse. So once we made the decision to fully commit to telling their story through the shifting context of the online poker boom (rather than placing the emphasis on the details of the rise and fall of the industry), and after a lot of deep thinking, discussion, and index carding of scenes, we found the heart of our story again. 

And with this new, clear angle in mind, we're repurposing what we have in full support of that heart.

Why should this matter to you? You've been waiting forever and like Ryan said, this probably sounds a lot like perfectionist nitpicking. But it's important to understand that we (and I mean we as a poker community, as enthusiasts of the game, of people who experienced the crazy thrills and spills of the past 10 years in this wild world) only have one shot to have a movie we can love and share that truly captures the spirit of what it was like to be a part of the online poker boom in the 2000s. The road to that movie may have been long and circuitous, but your continued support and enthusiasm for this project has really been a major driving force in getting us to the finish line with something we are confident that we will all be proud of. Thank you for that. As a creator there's nothing that makes you feel better, more optimistic and confident than support and faith from your audience.

Now back to work I go -- right now we're fine tuning and repurposing a fun scene that we've fondly referred to as "the Party Poker boom." Ahh, nostalgia.


  1. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being most similar, How similar is "BOOM" to "All-In the Movie"?

  2. I would say a 2. It's not very similar at all, our movie is pretty squarely an "online poker movie."

  3. It is now almost you guys have any firm date or even an approximate date on the release? Initially i thought the documentary would be done by now (2012 was stated in 2011)...can you provide the poker community with what you anticipate...not trying to be mean but this is a stereotype with poker players, that they have issues with how the real world works and meeting or committing to deadlines is one of them.

    1. We thought we would be done by now too. :-/ When we released the trailer, we thought there was no way in hell we wouldn't be done by at the latest the end of 2012! But we faced a ton of unforeseen obstacles and challenges along the way, and here we are. We could have rushed the movie out the door to meet that trailer's promise, but we wanted to produce something that does justice to the story of online poker, so we had to take our time with it. Making a documentary is hard, and making a good one is really, really hard!

      We do not have a firm release date, and we won't be committing to one just yet because distribution depends on a variety of factors outside our control (how we do in upcoming film festivals is a big one). We don't want to make another promise we end up breaking, basically. But I'll make a new post over the next few days that better outlines the deadlines we are working with and the factors that affect our release date(s), and what the poker world can expect in terms of big announcements from us in the near future.

      Thanks for the support. It means a lot that you care enough to post about the release. You guys have kept us going and I hope the end result lives up to your expectations. GL!

  4. Absolutely buddy, gotta always show support for my jewish brotha! Well written and explained. Glad you're one of the main guys in charge of putting together and telling this powerful story that most people don't even know and need to hear. I really believe that It's very important for our future as a community and I'm glad someone as intelligent and articulate as you is tasked with this huge project. Take your time...I agree quality is most important just was looking for an update i guess. Thanks for the prompt response.