We are currently in the process of revamping the Way of the Puck website. Please excuse our mess! Regrettably, many things have happened in the interim, including no longer being represented on iTunes.
But we plan to bring more new content to the site, including an exclusive interview with World Champion Billy Stubbs, who sheds light on his obsessive training regimen and his obsessive collection of Kid Robot Dunny vinyl toys… Stay tuned!
During the editing of Way of the Puck I felt a nagging responsibility to be respectful of these players and their personal lives. My friends and associates felt no such compunction. At all. “Who cares what you said?” seemed to be the prevailing opinion. “Now you’re in post and you must make the best film possible. You have a responsibility to your audience to tell an open, engaging story.”
Was that right? Was I not getting to the guts of the story because I was pussyfooting around? Was I in danger of making a subjective, adoring “love letter” that just pitched softballs and probed nothing? Or was I doing all of the cheap things I promised not to do? Was I manipulating footage for easy laughs? Was I artificially pumping up conflict to create drama? Was I focusing on a disproportionate amount of “foolish” and “socially inept” players, or was I focusing on “unique” and “interesting” players and including them because boring, well-adjusted people make for unengaging cinema?
Way of the Puck is now available for purchase and rental at the iTunes Store. WOTP will be going live on the Xbox/Playstation platforms in a couple of weeks!
Way of the Puck will be showing on PBS in Washington State and British Columbia starting on Monday, October 24. Please encourage friends and family in the area to tune in! The rainy Northwest is a perfect environment for a perfect indoor sport like air hockey.
Way of the Puck will screen for two consecutive days at the Grassroots Gaming Expo, this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, in Ottumna, Iowa. Come to casually play video games, compete in tournaments, enjoy live music, and check out a host of other gaming documentaries…
Check out this link: http://www.grassrootsgamingexpo.com/2012-event/film/
“Cinema is an emotional medium first of all, and an intellectual one later. Movies have this effortless ability to forge an instant connection with the viewer and transport them to another place and another time, and this is what I find so compelling. We want to be transported. We want to be affected, to feel. It may seem strange for a documentary filmmaker to be speaking in these terms, but I think it’s important to remember that the viewers are going to respond first to an emotional connection with the material, even if it’s a documentary. Especially if it’s a documentary. You must forge this emotional bond with the viewer…otherwise you’re a failure. Then you’re about as interesting as an insurance seminar.”
There’s also a link at the bottom of the interview that connects to the entire uncut interview with Anderson. Check it out!!!
WOTP has just been acquired by Indiepix Films, which distributes Catfish, the Sundance-winning We Live in Public, Venice-winning Women Without Men, and other terrific films. DVD: February 22, Stream: March 1, Digital Download: April 5! Check them out…
“Way of the Puck lovingly captures the rituals, lore and joy of this nebbishy, throwback American subculture. And it does so because director Eric Anderson resists the temptation to condescend to air hockey’s band of quirky devotees. As a subculture geek myself, respect matters. Praise the table!”
~ Stefan Fatsis, author of Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players; NPR commentator; panelist on Slate.com’s sports podcast “Hang Up and Listen.” Listen to review at 40-minute mark HERE!
Way of the Puck is now available as a digital download at Amazon for only $7.99. If you’re just interested in watching the film and not so interested in any of the bonus features or packaging, this could be for you! See the link for further details…
By Eric Renshaw
If you’re anything like me, you play air hockey poorly, fumbling the puck and shooting it into my own goal. The players featured in Way of the Puck have the skills to put me to shame (better than even I can myself), and they all share a rabid love of the game.
Many of them have been playing since air hockey hit the scene back in the ’70s. They shun holding the rounded handle that juts from the top of a traditional air hockey mallet, opting instead for a three-fingered grip on the mallet that gives them more control.
Director Eric D. Anderson, himself a competitor, traces the history of the game and details the lives of several players who compete in national championships. Mark Robbins (“The Guru”) is an encyclopedia of knowledge, and his garage holds a fortune in equipment and treasures (including a virgin table, mint in box). Tim Weissman (“The Ex-Champ”) is credited with creating the circle drift and with bringing thought and strategy to the game. Andy Yevish (“The Promoter”) is an artist whose wife is not exactly thrilled with all the time Andy spends promoting, arranging and playing the sport.
Way of the Puck calls to mind King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters in how the players’ dedication is portrayed and how the tournaments are covered. Both films brought a true excitement to subjects that don’t set my soul on fire by their nature. It also reminds me of the clever documentary Welcome to Macintosh, mostly in the time spent on Mark Robbins – the trip through the stuff in his barn shares similarities with scenes in Welcome to Macintosh.
To take a subject like air hockey that has a, shall we say, less than massive following, to make it interesting and compelling enough to inspire its viewer to want to seek out that mostly ignored air hockey table at the local arcade and try out that three-finger grip is quite an accomplishment. I say well done.