This is part one of my three-day diary on filming my currently untitled history of hacking documentary at the Hackers On Planet Earth X (HOPE X) Convention hosted by the legendary 2600 Hacker Quarterly. The conference takes place in a hotel across the street from Penn Station in NYC.
10:10 a.m. - snorted one Ritalin, and drank two cups of coffee followed by a protein shake on the subway to remove the cobwebs.
Arrived at HOPE X and ran into Gabriella Coleman right away. The layout of the conference is a bit confusing, and I need to find a place to dump my stuff and carve out a kind of Ground Control for the fellas, who are due to arrive momentarily, with a lot of gear, some of it I don't know how to use.
Just sat down to catch the end of a talk, which is about the "repair" movement. I'm late but it's an interesting look at resources. I am interviewing Tiffany Rad this time tomorrow morning and she is is on this panel. My morning meal replacement program has me keenly alert and buzzy.
Waiting for the other fellas to show up with the gear. I just pray that I have enough press passes. Ever since they announced that Edward Snowden would be doing tomorrow's keynote, its been a shit show. We are going to need to have someone guarding the stuff the entire time. We may need another person to babysit the table I secured as a makeshift three-day bunker while John and I look for stories. I'm not that worried. The vibe here is friendly and hippie-ish. Everyone here has a ridiculous amount of objects, and no one seems to have a "I'm-gonna-steal-your-stuff" vibe.
11:30 a.m. - Washed down a Ritalin with a "Club-Mate," a carbonated tea with loads of caffeine. They are selling them here and it would appear to be the drink of choice among the hackers. So far, I'm speeding like Lemmy. There's a table nearby that is hacking old Commodores. We gotta get this into the film. A lot of enthusiasts appear to be congregating there. A few look like members of the Grateful Dead. I wouldn't be surprised if people started playing hacky sac.
11:47 a.m. - John and our assistant Adam just turned up. I feel relief. He's already geeking out on camera stuff with fellow attendees. I'm surprised there are more girls here than I thought there would be. This makes me happy.
12:08 p.m. - snorted a 2mg Dilaudid in the bathroom, which reeked of hacker feces. Met the Cheshire Catalyst and I wish he was wearing his space suit. Also met this guy Nick Vivid who is running all kinds of hacks through old Commodores. He's about to setup the acoustic coupler to call BBS boards from here. The real deal.
12:40 p.m. - While scouting for a location to interview Gabriella Coleman, I ran into the great whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg. This is huge. I talked him into an interview for tomorrow after his talk. I hope it happens as I admire him greatly. He said "I'm not a hacker." I said "Yes you are. You hack at truth." He liked that.
12:52 p.m. - Finally met Eric Corley face to face. He said a lot of the other hackers were impressed with how many cameras we use. That makes me feel good. Looking forward to interviewing him after the event soon.
1:23 p.m. - Bathroom broke in the main convention area - there appears to be some sort of poop-splosion. Had to go all the way up the 18th floor to pee and sniff more Dilaudid. The elevators have these small screens that play CNN, riding the elevator is like being in the back of a NYC taxi. I'm hoping someone hacks into the hotel system. I'm starting to feel pretty groovy. Smart as I am, I brought a sandwich from home. We're parked in the "general projects" section of the convention. People look disappointed to see a pile of gear and dudes sitting around. I really gotta finish my interview questions for Gabriella Coleman now. There's a "lockpicking village" next door I can't take my eyes off of.
2:59 p.m. - After another trip to the bathroom, and 1mg of Dilaudid, my patience for dumb shit is severely diminished. There is a blowhard that I interviewed next to me talking to a couple of hacker guys who are clearly not interested. He's trying to talk to them about video games while they are trying to do hardware hacks. Gonna head over to talk with the legendary virtual reality pioneer Mitch Altman before my Coleman interview.
4:00 p.m. - Interviewed the brilliant Gabriella Coleman for the film. She is a great link in terms of connecting the history of hacking and what is happening now. We spoke at length of the cultural differences and how hacking has evolved. It was one of those rare interviews where I didn't know the answers before the questions. She also knows how long to answer a question by being thorough but stopping short of rambling. She's a pro.
6:29 p.m. - After wrapping things up with Gabriella, I bought our assistant a slice of pizza and did some more Ritalin to keep up this high hacking energy. Legendary MOD hacker Mark "Phiber Optik" Abene texted me that he is here, at the same time, my friend Lisa De Simone rolled up. We all went out for a beer across the street. A non-descript Irish pub that I'm told is Hope X's watering hole.
7:15 p.m. - after having beers we head back to the hotel and were waiting for Mitch Altman to come back to do one more interview. I would like to get this done today as tomorrow is going to be insane. It looks like it's going to be Sunday instead.
8:20 p.m. - We're packing up for the day. We had a successful Day 1 of shooting at HOPE X. Everyone has been so cool. There's no showing off and pretension. People here are really concerned about their projects and doing something great, which I certainly identify with.