As the title says, earlier today Michael Brockhoff held an Ask Me Anything session over in the reddit neighborhood. Full transcript of the Q&A behind the page break.
Q: Outside of the “pony” fandom, how has the documentary been generally received? (Gibstov)
A: We are just starting a very long process of introducing the film to the general public. So far the reaction has been good as there is a build in desire to find out more when you explain what a Brony is.
Q: What was your favorite part of the opening animation? (Waterstealer)
A: Oh, I love all the animation sequence. I was really dying to see what the reaction to the “clopping” line would b e. When I first showed it to our assistant editor, who is a Brony, his jaw just about hit the floor.
Q: How exactly did you find out about bronies? (gameleon)
A: I was having dinner at John de Lancie’s house one night, and he told me about voicing the show, the reaction he got, and the Bronies. I was fascinated to say the least.
Q: John de Lancie and Lauren Faust have been constantly mentioning that they think that this whole “brony movement” could have a way larger impact on society that we think at the moment (Pirate Party etc). Do you agree with this or do you think that this self-glorification is a bit over the top? (Tschoo)
A: I feel it could really go either way. The future is up to the Bronies.
Q: How much of the show have you seen? Episodes, seasons, all? (Silfe-W)
A: Personally, I’ve seen about six full episodes at this point and lots of clips. We had staff members who watched every single episode.
Q: What was the WEIRDEST thing to get left on the cutting room floor? (BirdmanDodd)
A: Hum, I really don’t think we caught anything weird on camera.
Q: Now I really wish I made my own money to be able to buy a copy. Currently, I’m trying to support you guys by not watching a pirated copy, for which you guys don’t get money. What surprised you personally about bronies that you didn’t expect to learn in producing this documentary? (RiceEel)
A: There were a LOT more women involved in the fandom that I expected. Also, hear from a lot of guys that it was actually a woman who got them into watching the show.
Q: Was there something, an idea or even finished scene, that you wanted to include but just could not for whatever reason? (Zaradas)
A: Oh yeah, there are lots of segements we just didn’t have time to include to due to edit schedule. One of those was a segment on the origins of Derpy. Also we did this great segment on a political party in Germany, this is run by a bunch of Bronies and uses a lot of Brony principals. We hope to release those sometime, somewhere, somehow.
Q: This is probably going to be my only change to ask this so I am going to go for it: did you or any of the other people on the staff ever watch my project about Bronies? I don’t ask to be pretentious but it would be cool to know if I helped out in a way with my video. Btw, solid doc. You all cleaned it up a lot since the pre-screening at EQLA. Quite enjoyable! (Saberspark)
A: I can’t speak for the other crew members. I know I did not watch it because I wanted to go in to this with a fresh mind and be influenced by previous work. That said, I’m open to watching it now and I hope others do watch it. I think you as a Brony probably offer a different perspective on the fandom.
Q. How did you get started working with John de Lancie on your previous work? (saxm13)
A: In 1996 I was producing a show about technology and cmoputers for Discovery Channel and I asked John to appear on the show.
Q: How did you decide which people to show in the documentary? I’m certain it wouldn’t be an easy choice. (Cogitation)
A: Early on we had a casting call where we asked people to write in with their stories. It was not easy picking because there were so many great stories. You just go with your gut on which ones to pick.
Q: What do you make of bronies? (A loaded question, I know) (lotsofjam)
A: As with any group of people it’s a mixed crowd, but for the most part I really like the idea of a group of people who take seriously the message of Honesty, Kidness, Laughter, Geneorsity, Loyalty and Magic.
Q: There were comments about it coming to netflix? If those were true would it be international or just America? And is there a expected release date for netflix? (Living_Dead)
A: Gosh, is Netflix international? I don’t know. Getting on Netflix is a complicated thing unless you are a big movie studio. We are still talking with people and working on it. We know there is a big demand so we will work hard to make it happen.
Q: How do you feel about Hasbro’s recent legal actions against the very people your documentary was about? (pinkerbelle)
A. I’m not sure what you are talking about.
A: I was always under the impression that Hasbro cared more about selling toys than anything else. Of course one could make “fair use” of the video which is permitted under the law, but there are some specific guidelines that have to be followed. http://fairuse.stanford.edu/index.html
Q: How much fan content has John and Lauren seen? Have they watched videos and seen popular artwork? Or they generally stayed away from that? (Sketch_Man)
A: I’m not sure how much they look at on their own, but as part of making this doc we reviewed a lot of stuff together.
Q: I’m curious. How difficult was it to get John de Lancie to participate in this? Assuming there was any difficulty that is. (shellbullet17)
A: John was very much open to the idea once he saw how the Bronies were being treated by the general public.
Q: How did it feel to be part of this whole project and has it changed your view on things in general? (Tschoo)
A: I’m proud to have a hand in perhaps educating the general public that Bronies are not the preconceived notiong they may have. It also gives me hope that there are people in the world that care about things like Friendship and Love and Tolerance.
Q: When I first saw the animation, I thought it was done by the original creators of the show, but then I found it it’s out own beloved JanAnimations. When or how did you decided to go with him? (Kyderra)
A: When we were putting together the idea of aniimating, we knew we wanted to go with fan animators and we had a chance to meet JanAnimation at Bronycon. Lauren was very impressed. To be fair, it was not JanAnimation alone. Richard Sirois and Matt Sullivan were also involved.
Q: It was mentioned that you are planning to showcase the documentary at film festivals, what’s the reasoning behind that? Shouldn’t you focus on showing it to the masses rather than to small group of critics at a festival? (Draxter65)
A: The way you prove to the big guys (TV networks, major distributors, etc) that you are a viable film is by providing yourself at the film festivals. Seems counterintuitive but it does work.
Q: Hey, was it really neccessary to make mean hearted swipes at the previous gens? That hurt. (firefly1984)
A: I didn’t write the lyrics to the song, but it is my understanding that many bronies don’t like to be associated with the previous generations. However I do understand why and apologize that you were offended.
Q: Seeing as you, Tara, Lauren and John are all credited as “Executive Producers”, how much creative input did you guys actually have on making the documentary?
In addition, seeing as you guys got a lot more money than expected which meant the scope of the doc had to broadened, who came up with most of the big ideas that made it into a film?
Finally, who was the awesome person we should thank for coming up with the idea to make John sing? (drakeg4)
A: While I did the day-to-day producing, we all had creative input into the film.
The progression was pretty obvious as we were getting in great stories and we really wanted to go film at peoples homes anyways. John suggested adding the Europe cons.
John had the idea for the song. We debated who would sing it and fortunately John agreeds.
Q: People generally think of bronies as aged 15-35. Does that fit what you experienced, or is the age range broader or narrower than that? (StChas77)
A: That is pretty much the demo with a few exceptions. We found that this study was pretty spot on: http://bronystudy.com/id1.html
Q: I loved the individual brony stories throughout. Were there any individual bronies that you have footage of, but did not include in the movie? Or any great stories, interviews, or locations that just didn’t make the final cut? (TomTheWonderDog)
A: Yes, there were some we just didn’t have time to edit and include. Perhaps one day there will be a bonus disc :)
Q: Will there be a time when I can get the Doc for free? I am a student and short on monday :( (biggysweet)
A: We hope to get the film on Netflix and on TV. I’m sure you could post for a Brony friend who lives near you and would let you come over and watch their copy.
Q: How did you all go about researching the fandom? Did you have a task force for gathering information on YouTube and other sites or did you all just go off what other Bronies told you? Also did you ever contact Saberspark cause I remember he made a doc or project or whatever a while back too. (LightningBrony)
A: We did a combination of all things to research the fandom. We also hired some Bronies as part of the staff to be a resource. We did not collaborate with Saberspark but we love the fact that there are lots of projects out there that take a different perspective than ours.
Q: As for financial income, it was said that some of the people who worked on the doc get paid AFTERWARDS. Did you make enough income to pay them or did sales suffer from the illegal uploads? (Btw, I think its hilariously ironic that the pirate party embraces MLP on the one side and encourages illegal download of your work on the other side). (Tschoo)
A: The film has only been out a few days, so that has yet to be seen. It’s impossible to calculate what kind of loss you suffer from piracy because you don’t know if those people would have paid for it, if they couldn’t have stolen it.
Q: How do you expect to spread brony awareness by charging $13 for the film? Will you eventually show it on TV or YouTube? (Eratyx)
A: The major distributors and TV networks want to know if there is a real solid demand for this film. Actually sales are the best indicator. A YouTube view or torrent download is not equal to somebody willing to take money out of their wallet. The exposure through a public broadcast or major release with news coverage, etc. would do a lot more for Bronies than hundreds of thousands of YouTube views could ever begin to do.
Q: The music choice for the documentary was wounderful! Who was in charge of choosing the music and what was the music choosing process? (Lyonize)
A: Thank you. The compsoer and music supervisor David O. (www.Davidomusic.com). It was a combination of us telling him about some of our favorites, him finding stuff on his own and composing and recording original music.
Q: Do you think that Kickstarter backers (as investors of sort) should receive a financial data chart, showing how much money was spent on the doc and what things it included? (Draxter65)
A: Kickstarter was designed for pre-sales. This film was never presented as or intended as a not-for-profit venture, so no, the exact financial data will not be released to the public. Just FYI, when you enter into a contract with an industrial professional (directors, writings, composers, editors, etc) there is usually a clause which prevents you from revealing their rates anyways.
Q: You have been recently criticized for threatening an underage pirate with legal actin beyond video takedown, can you explain the reasoning behind that? Why sue for damages despite you said the doc is supposed to be non-profit? Proof: http://i.imgur.com/BYknpDf.png (BronySolider)
A: Nobody ever represented the documentary as non-profit. Perhaps this letter from John de Lancie will explain it best:
Dear Contributors, At long last the documentary is finished. It was made possible by your generous contributions and the work of many professions. When we first started, we were asked by many a concerned Brony if their parents, friends, and loved ones would find the documentary appropriate for viewing. Most emphatically, yes. As promised, the film is respectful, insightful and entertaining — we present it to you with love. Now, to a more down-to-earth matter: Please enjoy the documentary with family and friends but, please, do not upload the documentary to the Internet (YouTube, etc.). Why? Let me explain.
When we first had the idea of a Brony documentary, it was budgeted at $60,000.We figured two days of shooting with two cameras, followed by six weeks of editing. However, when the response to the Kickstarter campaign resulted in five times the original request, Mike and I felt duty bound to expand the scope of the show, which meant the immediate addition of four more cameras at the convention site in New Jersey. It also meant including four additional cities in the United States as well as traveling to Israel, Germany, Holland, and England. Of course, with this major expansion, we were now dealing with hundreds of additional hours of raw footage that necessitated the need to hire yet more editors, sound engineers and video engineers. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
As is customary in the film business, one tries to defer salaries so that all the money is put on the screen. Of course airlines, hotels, restaurants, camera operators, sound techs, video and audio post houses do not defer their costs. Neither do lawyers or insurance companies. These people are paid up front. The people who traditionally defer their salaries are the writer, the director and the producers. There are six of us who have worked on this film for over eight months with the hope that our efforts would be recompensed AFTER the film is released. Mike, in particular, has worked an extraordinary twelve hours a day, every day for the entire eight months. This is why I’m asking that you not upload the film to the Internet. If someone, other than yourself and close friends, would like to see the documentary please direct them to BronyDoc.com. It’s a modest amount to pay and it would be greatly appreciated. Also, while we are on the subject of the Internet (YouTube in particular), we want to taking this film to the next step in distribution because we think the Brony message needs to be experienced by the general public and not just Bronies. However, for festivals and film distributors to take the film seriously and to give it a wider viewership, the documentary cannot have been available on YouTube.
Please honor our request. Thank you, John de Lancie