3 months ago
I’m painfully aware that the last blog post on the site was at the end of 2019 (and that I should have posted this one 6 months ago!). It looked forward to 2020 and what may have been in store for the speedcubing world. Of course, we all know the story of the last 15 months or so and everything that has unfolded - but it has remained quite a big period for cubing in my view. In lieu of in-person competitions, a host of different parties worked to create online formats of competitions which brought cubing to thousands of participants and audience members simultaneously. YouTube and Twitch cubing continues to grow, and I suspect a little Netflix original documentary helped to ignite even more interest in the hobby. More on all of that later, after a brief review of my 2020 predictions and goals.
My 2020 predictions were as follows:
My 2020 goals were:
I’ll refrain from posting predictions and goals or 2021 given just how many unknowns there appear to be at this stage, and most of my predictions tend to be WCA/competition-based. We’ve been fortunate enough to have competitions in Australia this year but practicing has not really been front of mind for me. It seems like a World Championship is unlikely at this stage but who knows what can change from here, although I won’t hold my breath – the last 12 months have taught me to keep my expectations low, when the pandemic first hit I thought it would all be cleared up/contained like other recent viruses/diseases and I’d get to go to Euros in Amsterdam in July 2020!
I would like to finish my ZBLL journey this year, This probably looks like full T, U, L, half of Pi, and some H. I’m still a bit skeptical on the practicalities of Pi and H but suspect my recognition will improve over time. Basically, I’d like to get to a point where I’m confident that there’s not much more low-hanging fruit in terms of algorithms I can learn, and with the use of my algs. We’ll see how this goes
There was plenty more that took place in 2020 that I alluded to in the beginning of the post. I was emailed in late 2018 by a woman named Sue Kim who approached me with her idea to create a documentary on speedcubing with the goal of pitching it to Netflix. Over the years I’ve heard a number of similar stories and people starting projects that never come to fruition. There are documentaries that have been created but either tailored to more of a speedcubing audience (Chris Olson’s work), or short documentaries focused on Erno and the cube, rather than the speedcubing aspect. I said I was happy to help and wished her the best of luck with the project, not really thinking it would go anywhere. A couple of months later and Sue let us know that that Netflix loved their idea and gave the pitch a green light, and that they were coming to Sydney and Melbourne in July 2019 to shoot!
Thankfully from my end, the time commitments were quite low – they mostly shot footage at the two competitions (Warm Up Sydney, and Worlds 2019), and the week or two around it. I wore a microphone for the entire 6 days of competing, but apart from that, it wasn’t very intrusive or distracting. The filming team were very subtle and captured everything completely naturally, and never had any requests or set up any shots (apart from a few interviews).
I heard back from Sue in January when they sent across the draft version of the documentary and was really overwhelmed by what they had been able to create. I knew that she was an excellent producer and that this was her passion project for a few years, but this was completely next level. The editing was truly lovely and creates standards that I can’t quite live up to – I’m glad there weren’t any comps for the months after the release.
The reception and feedback was overwhelming. Any free time I had in August and September was essentially spent trying to respond to as many people (including, would you believe, Adele) as I possibly could who shared kind words about the documentary and trying to make the most of a once in a lifetime event.
It seems like it’s the gift that keeps on giving, but earlier this year it was actually shortlisted for the Documentary Short category at the Oscars which is absolutely hilarious and absurd – although didn’t score a nomination in the end.
Also I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like the next few years are shaping up to be one of the most potentially awesome and competitive periods for 3x3 speedcubing if we can get back to some semblance of normal. I’m really blown away by the ability of these kids to churn out sub 6 solves like nothing, whether that’s Tymon, Leo & Matty, or Ruihang, Yezhen, Yiheng who are only going to get better from here – Max is going to have to work hard to stay ahead of the game, although I’m sure he can do it. I thought the excuse of age being barrier to turning speed was rubbish until the last 12 months or so but now I think I’m firmly in that camp.
Looks like more and more competitions are being held around the world each weekend, a sign that hopefully the worst is behind is. Take care everyone!
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