Jehane was introduced to Chris by a mutual friend. "It was the perfect opportunity," says Hegedus, who immediately formed a partnership with Noujaim. Notes Noujaim, "I immediately liked Chris and Penne and knew that having them on board would increase the possibility that people would eventually see the film."
Notes producer D A Pennebaker, "The real key with these types of films is access." Adds Hegedus, "Having Jehane be the good friend and roommate of the film’s subject offered extraordinary access to the film’s subject." Isaza Tuzman’s trust allowed Noujaim and Hegedus to document their subject with a rare degree of intimacy as they followed him through 18-hour days. Says Noujaim, "I filmed some of the best conversations in gyms, elevators and bathrooms."
Principal photography began on May 20, 1999, when Isaza Tuzman left the security of his job at Goldman Sachs for the Internet business. Most interesting to Noujaim and Hegedus was the relationship between Isaza Tuzman and Tom Herman, Isaza Tuzman’s childhood friend and partner in "I think we saw a classic buddy story between Kaleil and Tom," says Hegedus, "and we aimed for that pretty soon after we started filming." Says Noujaim, "Kaleil and Tom are old friends, but they have opposite personalities … it was pretty clear that, eventually, the pressure of working together would lead to something combustible,"Adds Pennebaker, "I predicted that if we followed these two guys, they would split up before the company made it. We’d have a real human drama that examined their loyalty to each other."

Noujaim and Hegedus quickly won Isaza Tuzman’s and Herman’s confidence with an approach that has afforded Pennebaker and Hegedus access to some of the great personalities of our time. "We tell our subjects, ‘Think of it not as an investigation but as a partnership. Your film and our film,’" says Pennebaker. "This isn’t investigative reporting. We get to like the people we film. We become their friends." Says Noujaim, "Perhaps the strangest part of making this film was turning my friends into movie characters."


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