Just over two and a half years ago, I created and released a documentary called Building R2. As you may have already guessed, it has a heavy focus on R2 droids, containing interviews with several UK R2 builders including some very familiar faces. Now some of you may know me as the one with the camera at conventions, but this is how the glorified groupie came to be.
I first came across the UK R2 Builders Club at Star Wars Celebration in 2016, I was completely wowed by seeing the all the droids together whether fully built or not, it left a lasting impression in my mind that would go on to be the premise for the documentary. The documentary itself was for my final year project at University, it very quickly evolved from a university project to passion project. I first got in contact with Lee and Oliver who would also put me in contact with Sam and Brad. That was the interview stage, next up was Sci-Fi Scarborough with Mark and Glynn. I think I ended up with nearer three hours of footage, from a tour of iWaste to discussing films and even recording R2-D2 coming in and out of lifts, I had never had an experience like it. Shortening the documentary was the biggest challenge, I think it ended up nearer 20 minutes total but didn’t take any satisfaction from cutting it down to this, it just had to be done.
Without needlessly discussing university politics, it was quite clear in my mind that a simple release on YouTube would be far more interesting than ten people watching it a film festival. With this simple idea, and an unhappy university, it only spurred me on to maybe one of the most successful parts of the documentary, marketing. I created a Facebook page for a bit of fun, scheduled a few posts and photo shopped some Building R2 Trading Cards. Next thing I knew there was already an audience, there was traction building and quite honestly I was overwhelmed and shocked by this. Deep into the editing process I knew that I could potentially get this released for May 4th and worked hard to get that done. A little known secret is that I finished editing at 3am that morning, letting the video render while I slept and suddenly it was all done. It released that evening to the masses and here we are later in 2019 with over 15,000 views.
The thing that hit me the most making this was the generosity of the builders. I did not know anyone from the club before this project began, no one had to help me but they chose to. That is something that has stuck with me, the club’s selflessness reflects that of the builders. In the two years that has followed I’ve got to know many more builders, attended club events and even witnessed the birth of the 39.1%’ers. With all this in mind, I am also delighted to say that next year I will be revisiting Building R2, with new interviews, footage and events to cover. When there are more details, I will be happy to share them with you all.
Please find a link to the documentary below: