Playing with FIRE: London Movie Premiere

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The past 2 weeks have been the craziest weeks in our lives thus far. If it seems like our posting schedule has been a bit sparse, sorry about that. We’ll go back to our regular posting schedule shortly.

Here’s how the craziness played out:

Day 1-3: Penguin Audiobook recording in London (with JLCollins reading his Foreward)

Day 3: International premier of “Playing with FIRE” 

Day 5: Back to the studio to finish audiobook recording (apparently 3 days wasn’t enough)

Day 5: Bloomberg TV recording

Day 6-13: Chautauqua

At one point, Wanderer and I had to split up because we were double-booked for Bloomberg and our Penguin book recording. That’s the first time it’s ever happened. 

Wanderer and I now have this running joke that we’re not really retired, we’re just tired. 

We had a call with a friend from back home in Toronto, and when I listed out all the things we were doing, I started to realized just how unbelievable my life has gotten. I no longer have any idea what it’s like to be stressed at work, hating your boss, or going in for overtime. All those problems seem like they were from a million years ago. 

I seriously woke up this week in complete disbelief that this is my life now. I’ve literally said the sentence “I have to cancel my trip to Sweden in order to fly into London so that I can read my audiobook and go to a movie premier featuring myself.” What is happening?! How is it that we spent 7 years of our lives begging the publishing industry to read our stuff and getting rejected within an inch of our lives, only to have them come to us. And now we’re in a movie?!

Anyhoo…disbelief aside, here’s what happened at the Playing with FIRE premier in London. 

Our friend and fellow early retiree Barney, aka “The Escape Artist” and Ken, aka “The Humble Penny” organized a showing of Playing with FIRE at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and it sold out to a crowd of 200 people!

Before the movie started, we all gathered for drinks and schmoozing (there was press there, of course) in the reception area. We even met a few soon-to-be Chautauquans there! (I love running into Chautauquans, because it always feels like we’ve known each other forever, even though we’ve just met). 

Once 7 PM rolled around, everyone eagerly filed into the theatre and Barney gave a hilarious intro. You can tell he and Ken really put a buttload of effort into organizing this screening and we were all super impressed and grateful for their hard work. Thanks, Barney and Ken!

When the movie started, everyone started cheering for their FIRE idols, and laughed at all the inside jokes. Taylor and Scott, the stars of the show, easily won the crowd over with their easy-going banter and fun-loving attitudes. Their adorable daughter, Jovie, also stole the show with every scene.

And ofcourse, Godfather of FI, JLCollins mesmerized us all with his deep, authoritative voice and his sound investing advice. 

In short, it was a blast. We got to sit in a darkened theatre and watch a movie starring us and all our FIRE friends. How fricking cool is that?

YAY! It’s the Madfientist!

After the movie ended, we had the Q&A session with the movie’s Emmy-winning director Travis Shakespeare, Brandon (aka The MadFientist), Wanderer and myself. 

Questions included:

“Do you think people without 6 figure salaries can achieve FIRE?”

“How long did it take to make this film?”

“How do people with kids achieve FIRE?”

“With this movie, do you think the FIRE movement will go mainstream?”

Travis fielded these questions like a champ, telling us that when he found out about FIRE and after attending a Chautauqua, felt he needed to spread the FIRE and tell the world about this incredible movement. Even though Travis loves his job as a Hollywood director, he became FI because he believed it would give him the freedom to continue living out his dream without having to worry about his finances. 

Emmy-winning director and proud Chautauquan Travis Shakespeare


With this movie, he felt that we could spread the FIRE to those outside the FIRE circle who don’t read blogs or books but might just make the time to watch the movie with their friends and family members. And guess what? Looks like his solution is working, because we’ve already heard of couples who said that showing the film to their significant other convinced them to work toward financial independence! So looks like all their hard work is paying off!

From left to right: Carl from 1500days, Alan & Katie Donegan, Brandon (aka Madfientist), director Travis Shakespeare, Barney (aka The Escape Artist), us, Mary, Ken (aka The Humble Penny)

Want to catch a screening of Playing With FIRE near you? Keep on hosting a screening? Just want to see what’s been going on with this movie?  Click here to find out more.

That’s it! Have you seen the “Playing with FIRE” movie? If so, what did you think of it? Let’s hear it in the comments below!





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33 thoughts on “Playing with FIRE: London Movie Premiere”

  1. Hey Kristy,

    Great summary of the night! It was definitely a blast! 🙂 A big highlight of our year so far. Really awesome to hangout with you, Bryce, Barney, Alan & Katie, Carl, Brandon, and ofcourse Travis!! Massive thanks for stopping by. It made a huge difference to the night. Hope to see you back in London soon! I owe you guys a drink.

    1. We had a great time hanging out with you too, Ken! Great job and thanks for all your hard work!l Hope to see you soon!

  2. We backed the documentary’s Kickstarter, so we were able to view it recently. I guess I was underwhelmed by the documentary, probably because I’ve read all of the things regarding FIRE and nothing was new. I wanted the documentary to give more details about Scott and Taylor’s journey, although I did read about it in the Playing With Fire book, I just felt that some of the logistics were lacking. My favorite parts were seeing all of my FI idols on the screen and hearing their amazing advice, which will be great for newbies to the movement to hear. Also, and this was an issue I had with the book, I wanted Scott and Taylor to truly recognize their privilege and how lucky they were to be able to have the freedom to roam around for a year, stay with family and have said family watch their toddler while they went overseas. I loved that Elizabeth Willard Thames discussed her privilege, in depth, in Meet the Frugalwoods.

    1. I also really appreciate the discussion of privilege in FIRE conversations, it’s an important factor and I’m glad Mrs. Frugalwoods addresses it frequently.

    2. “My favorite parts were seeing all of my FI idols on the screen and hearing their amazing advice..”

      That was our favourite part too.

      And yes, I can see why it would feel underwelming if you already know all the logistics related to FIRE. Though, I think Travis wanted the film to go beyond the FIRE community so maybe those who’ve never heard of FIRE will find the material less familiar.

      As for the privilege aspect, Taylor did mention “we are lucky to be able to stay with family, where as some people can’t do that…”, so she does acknowlege that. I don’t think the point is about how to get break out of poverty though, it’s more about the experience of a middle class family pursuing fire, and what that entails.

  3. Best selling books, Hollywood movies, Q&A panels, it looks like you’ve made it to the Big Leagues. You two deserve your current success and I hope more’s to come. Congratulations.

    Did you do your own stunts in the movie?

    1. Thanks, ARB! It’s beyond my wildest imagination and I’m super honoured to be involved in so many cool projects and get to know so many cool people.

      Yes, all the stunts in the movie are my own. I think I might’ve pulled a muscle sitting too hard in that chair 😛 Sitting and talking is hard…

  4. You guys are definitely on a roll. Congrats! Looking forward to the book and film.

    There’s no doubt that your works will change people’s lives.

    1. Thanks, Leeric. Hopefully the film and book will make more people aware of FIRE. Whether they choose to pick the path is up to them, but at least they would be aware of it.

    1. Yup, it’s surprising but true. Of the early retirees I know, rarely do they just sit at the beach and drink pina colada. Random opportunties just come up, and how you can say no to creating cool shit 🙂 #TheFIREisSpreading.

  5. yup looks like “retired” to me – show up at events scheduled by someone else at a place not of your choosing and out of your control – sounds more like work – I guess you could say you’re pursuing others types of work but “retired” is a bit of a loooooooong stretch – i’m guessing you’ll flush the comment

    1. Did posting that make you feel better about yourself?

      Attending a movie premier of a movie that they’re in, about something that they’ve achieved… somehow I think that’s where they wanted to be at that moment. I know I would.

      To me, being retired means being able to choose to do something because you want to do it, not because you need the money. Sounds like they’re living that dream to me.

      Maybe if you’re worried about your comment being “flushed,” you should go make it on your own blog, which you created, and where hundreds of thousands of people go to read what you have to say.

    2. Argh…every time I see comments like these I picture a sad lonely person sitting in a dark stinky room miserable, envious of the “privileged” and other “lucky” people who had it “easy.” Why can’t we just admire and simply be happy for others?
      I grew up poor and came to the US by myself with barely $200 and no place to stay. It took me years to get where I am. Never felt sorry for myself. Never envious of others. You want the same others have? Do what they do.
      FireCracker and Wanderer – KEEP ROCKING! Ya’ll are awesome.

      1. Thanks, Ella! You are inspirational! I love hearing from optimistic go-getter readers like yourself 🙂 Surround yourself with the right people and there’s no limit to how far you can go. Thanks for being awesome!

  6. The movie will help garner followers, but FIRE will never be mainstream. Just like eating healthy will never be mainstream. Too much discipline required. Glad the movie was a success! I look forward to seeing it.

    1. Thanks, Paul. To be honest, I don’t know if FIRE will ever go mainstream either, but if we can get enough people to be aware of it, they’ll at least have the choice to buy their freedom back. I’m so happy this community is growing and has flourished since I discovered it in 2012. Let’s support each other and spread the FIRE!

  7. FIRE will never be mainstream.
    Healthy living and eating will never be mainstream.
    Barbell exercises (the proper way) will never be mainstream.
    Cryptocurrencies and bitcoin will never be mainstream. (Even among investors.)
    Index investing will never be mainstream.
    Living within or under your means will never be mainstream.

    All the good stuff we know, they will never be mainstream.

    We are the few … that’s just how it is.

    1. If you were a backer of the Kickstarter then yes. Otherwise, it’s only theatrical releases now. I believe the creators are looking for a streaming provider.

  8. ***WARNING*** ***SPOILER ALERT***

    Just saw Playing with Fire in Denver, CO.. Great performance FiReCracker, you were straight business, no BS. It would’ve been great to watch your whole interview.

    I would like to see a follow up with the main characters and their FI progress. I think they should’ve been chewed out by you and Wanderer for buying another house when they had the freedom to go anywhere… I guess we can save that for season 1, episode 2 of the NetFlix series… =)

    1. Thanks, JLo! LOL…I’ll pitch that for PwF part 2 and see what Travis says 😛

      Brandon, the MadFIentist has a running joke with Taylor that part 2 of PwF will have Tay Tay getting her BMW back and spending more money than ever! 😀

  9. Hi FIRECracker and readers,

    I live in Canada, and I am trying to buy the documentary on Amazon without success. The content is not available for this region, according to their message. Does someone else had this problem?

    Thanks for your help.

  10. Hey guys,
    Way back when I jokingly said you guys should come to Canada once we could get our hands on this film. Welp, we are finally showing our Calgary viewing on February 22, 2020 at 1:00pm MT (better late than never!) and we were wondering if somehow you guys may be slightly-sorta-not-really-but-fine-we’ll-begrudgingly-do-it interested in a skype sesh after the show to take place in our post-film discussion…..? No pressure whatsoever, but figured it can’t hurt to ask.

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