The production sent Niel Guilarte to Los Angeles to capture Danny Peña at E3, one of the largest gaming conventions on the planet. Here is what Niel had to say about the West Coast leg of the trip:
“Traveling to Los Angeles for the film was a bittersweet experience filled with fun and emotion. I’d spent many years living in Cypress, California, about 45 minutes south of L.A. in Orange County in the house where I’d dreamed of becoming a filmmaker. I decided to stay with close friends there in the hopes that I’d be able spend time with them after each work day. I did not expect to have 16-hour shoot days with Danny Peña and the Gamertag Crew! He not only had me following him all day at the E3 gaming conference, but he graciously invited me into invite-only previews of games and industry parties after hours as well as nightly visits to CBS Radio in L.A. to record their podcast! I would drive to Cypress at midnight or later, only to be back in L.A. by eight the next morning!
I was dedicated to capturing Danny’s world and I did. What little free time I had was spent with my dearest friends. We had pizza at a childhood spot, talked a ton and then my buddy Ed took me to see the house where it all started – 6190 Grenada Avenue. As I stood there, it looked like it was frozen in time. I had him take a photo of me to show my parents, and that’s when Ed said to me, ‘Say goodbye. Let this go now. You made it. Full circle. You dreamed it in that window and you are here today to close the circle, complete the journey and move on.’
A tear came to my eye as I realized he was right. I did make it. I was here on this trip directing, shooting and eventually editing a feature-length film, just as I’d dreamed of doing all those years ago. I had a similarly emotional experience in Guatemala, but this trip to California confirmed that I wasn’t dreaming anymore. I was living my dream.”
If you wonder why in the film, Lily Wong is inexplicably podcasting out of a van, there is a reason. Lily has long asserted that anyone can podcast from anywhere. To illustrate this point, the crew filmed Lily in the van, and that footage remains in the final edit, even though an exterior establishing shot of the van was cut because the editors thought it “looked creepy.”