Even though we came up with this initial concept, the 4 of us are all really busy people. We joked about it on Twitter and in person, but really there wasn’t much action happening besides some throw away conversations.
Fast Forward to 2015 and the announcement of Rock Band 4 at PAX East. Tifa was ALWAYS a Rock Band Fanatic. She grew up always wanting to perform and Rock Band sort of fills that desire of fronting a music group.
I loved Rock Band and because of games like Rock Band I gained confidence in my vocal abilities. It’s what lead me to no longer be scared about karaoke.
I don’t remember the exact details of the conversation but it ended up with Tifa and I coming up with the idea of Rock Band 4 Charity.
We thought long about exactly what we wanted and what charity we wanted to support. There are A LOT of charities out there and they all deserve support, but how to choose? We decided that we wanted to support Child’s Play, but wanted to directly support the new Domestic Violence Shelter Initiative. Domestic Violence is a serious problem in this country and not all shelters are equipped with the proper tools to help families heal. Plus, this charity doesn't get a lot of spot light and we wanted to change that.
We had the name of the event, and we had the charity we wanted to support. Now, we had to get to work. I started asking around and I reached out to my good friend Shifty Samurai for a logo. I figured it would be easier to “sell” people on the idea once I had a logo. I reached out to people I knew at Harmonix, Mad Catz, and anyone else I knew that could help get us in touch with the people at Rock Band.
We got the logo, now we needed a site. We reached out to Tifa's friend Jaqcui who built the side for The Lady Planeswalker Society. She quickly built a site with little guidance from me. I told her "Um... I want this and this and maybe this" and she put together a great site. We were able to keep updated on donations, and she helped us make last minute changes when we asked for them.
Her hard work made us look more established and more professional.
We had one other problem. “When?” When would the event take place? When does Rock Band 4 release?
As time passed we decided that we wanted to only go for 24 Hours. Doing anything more than that would be too much and for a first year event we were unsure of what the audience would be like. Would we have any donations? Any viewers?
Once the Rock Band 4 release date was announced we picked a weekend that followed close by to have our event. We had a date, we just needed to know that people would be willing to donate their time and money to this event.
Quite quickly we learned that we had the support and interest of not only our friends, but our families and peers in our vast geek network. We hit the ground running asking for help. We were flooded with volunteers both for on and off camera. We got donation prizes from people such as Cards Against Humanity, Harmonix, The Lady Planeswalker Society, Geeky Sprinkles and others that asked to remain anonymous. We had a massive crew of people willing to chip in with computers, laptops, lights, help with food, etc. It was mind blowing.
Tifa and I worked what was essentially a second job to get as many details locked down as possible. We had spreadsheets, emails, text message conversations, and so much more that piled high and all labeled "Rock Band 4 Charity".
Slowly the event date was approaching and the nerves began to sink in. Contacts who said they were "in" ignored communication or dropped out suddenly. People on shift began to request different shifts, and the thoughts of "what if we raise NO MONEY for charity" began to sink in.
I broke down hard in front of my wife as she took my hand.
"No matter what happens, I believe in us. If we raise no money at least we'll still have an amazing weekend playing Rock Band 4 with friends."
She wiped the tears off my face and we got prepped for the weekend.
The event came and went so fast that I still feel like I haven't processed it enough. We had some amazing donations. We got song requests that were awesome. We got song requests that were clearly a troll, and we got some donations "just because".
There were some epic moments and I swear I'll have to rewatch the whole thing to see what I missed. Tifa and I were either hosting, on a computer checking for donations, or making sure people had the chance to play. We were constantly kept busy. Our house transformed into a live stream command central. The living room was where the stream was happening, the kitchen had the streaming machine set-up, the dining room had prizes, the gaming room acted as a "resting spot" for people who didn't want to be in the living room, and the upstairs turned into a hotel.
We had so many epic moments.
- A Linkin Park/Smash Mouth Mash-up
- A donation for a 10-Song Set-List fronted by Tifa
- Tifa's nieces stopping by to surprise her
- Wigs and costumes coming out
- Friends who showed up and stayed until the end
As the clock wound down towards our finish line Tifa and I were exhausted. Friends slept, crashed, napped, passed out, and rested when they could. Some friends of ours ended up staying way past their scheduled time to see it through to the end.
Tifa got up to sing her last song, Smooth by Santana & Rob Thomas. Forgetting about her sore throat she powered through for an epic performance. I stood next to her playing guitar, falling more in love with her note-by-note. She said her thanks and I took the mic to sing the final song of the event.
The familiar chords of Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day started playing and I began to sing. As the song played I looked at Tifa and my eyes started to water. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, maybe it was the exhausted setting in, but all I remember is that towards the end of the song my emotions got to me and I started to cry. I looked at Tifa to see her eyes filled with tears as well. We raised a lot of money for a good cause. We spent 24 hours hanging out with friends online and in-person.
Our event was a success.
We raised $4410 for charity.
Would we do it again?
Do we plan on doing it again?