one of the best things about doing sand is overrated
is that every so often i get approached by someone--usually a band hoping to gain some admittedly limited exposure--that i otherwise would have never met. it's always interesting to play a small role like that in someone else's life or career, but i recently had an encounter that went beyond interesting.
the other week i blabbered on
about the greatness that is "the king of kong: a fistful of quarters
". (once again, you have to go see this movie if you still can.) when i wrote about the movie, i didn't even attempt to hide my contempt for billy mitchell, so imagine my surprise and excitement when i received an email from the man himself. now, even though some of the events that occurred in the movie seemed indisputable, i was aware that it was still a director's take and interpretation on the story--it was still a movie, after all. and yet, the depiction of billy mitchell in the movie seemed so damning and extreme that i figured that there must be at least some truth behind the way one comes away feeling about him after seeing the movie. so i was pleasantly surprised to find a conciliatory tone in mr. mitchell's email, which attempted to describe his
side of the story. with his permission, here is that side of the story:Mr. Tad,I appreciate your time as I do everyone who chooses to write about me in regards to the film. Incredibly interesting that so many emotions can be created by a film that had an original spoken intention by the producer of being light hearted... humorous... even poke fun of the competitive world of gaming... I am very sorry and please accept my apology for having offended you or anyone for the manner by which I was portrayed in the film. Unfortunately, the movie failed to show so many positive interaction and situations that were captured on and off camera. One example is the extremely friendly phone conversations (each lasting more than one hour) that took place between Steve Weibe and I as well as times I invited Steve and met with Steve and, shared personal/family stories with Steve. The idea that Steve and I hate each other is ridiculous... I don't know him well enough to make such a statement and I never would... however all this makes Good Hollywood... My efforts to stay positive are at times trying... The producer was someone I came to trust and let into my extremely personal life. I introduced them to charities and community activities that I interact with on a daily basis. None of this was given any acknowledgement in the film, it would not have fit the BAD GUY image I played so very well. It is not stated in the movie... I have a family with a wife and 3 kids. I was in hopes that they would get their Hollywood Debut... too bad the producer did not deem it appropriate to show that I too have a family and career. Had the producer chosen to reveal this then people could see for themselves that video games are actually a very small part of an extremely satisfying world that I live in. Again, I can understand and do appreciate your feelings. I hope the very best for you and you are always welcome to contact me. I never lose my sense of humor for this or any experience...
Sincerest Regards... Never Surrender, Never, Billy Mitchell (for real)
And with my permission, here is my response:
Dear Mr. Mitchell,
First off, let me just say that it's a treat to hear from you and get some insight into your side of the story.
Second of all, let me assure you that I was not "offended" by you or the manner in which you were portrayed in the film. Perhaps that was just a poor choice of words, but I think it would be rather difficult for you to offend me without ever having spoken personally or directly to me. That said, I think that if I was Steve Wiebe I would have significant reason to be offended by you...
Thirdly and despite that, I can sympathize with you and your lack of control over how you are portrayed in the film. I understand that there was a story to be told and creative license in editing is always employed to make contrasts in personalities and roles appear more starkly than they perhaps really are.
All that said, I do think that each and every one of us can stand to step back and reflect on the way that we treat other people, be they close friends and acquaintances or complete and total strangers. I would hope that you'd agree that there were some events in the movie that, unless they were just edited in very bad faith, portrayed you in less than favorable light. The one that immediately comes to mind is when you and Steve are finally in the same room at the competition in Florida and you would not even give him the decency of a conversation, instead saying something like "there are some people here that I just don't want to talk to." Don't get me wrong--I enjoyed years of competitive sports and know the value of a certain level of gamesmanship and attitude. But I also know the value in acknowledging the talent in your competition and being a gracious winner, and that kind of civility and decency is something that I think the world can always use more of. If what you say is true and you and Steve enjoyed friendly conversations and meetings, then that's great. I would think they must have happened after the event of which I speak, because if they had happened before that event and that was still the way you treated Steve, well that would seem fairly despicable. But yes, if you and Steve truly do have a friendly relationship and a reciprocal admiration each other's skill and talent, then I'd say that your experiences with competitive gaming, portrayed in the movie or not, have been very positive.
Once again, it was very interesting to hear from you. Congratulations on your successes (I see that you have reclaimed the Donkey Kong world record), and best wishes to you and your family.
now if we could just hear steve weibe's side of the story as well...spoon : "believing is art"
from the lp girls can tell