'Quincy' Co-Director Recalls Challenges of Documenting Legacy of Quincy Jones

Netflix's Quincy FYSEE Event - Publicity - H 2019
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix

"There was 22,800 hours worth of footage, we spent nearly two years editing and we traveled around with Quincy for three years filming him and we shot 350 hours of footage," said 'Quincy' co-director Alan Hicks, citing the massive challenge of documenting the life of a man whose career has spanned decades.

Co-directors Rashida Jones and Alan Hicks both made an appearance at Raleigh Studios Hollywood on Friday night for a Netflix FYSEE screening of Quincy, the documentary about the life and career of Quincy Jones, one of the most prolific and accomplished music producers and composers in history.

A few of his accomplishments include holding the record for most Grammy nominations, with 80, and the second most Grammy wins, with 28, as well being first man to have his music played on another planet when the Apollo 11 astronauts played his arrangement of Frank Sinatra’s "Fly Me to the Moon" after landing on the surface of the moon.

Director Hicks spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the challenge of creating a film that not only documented Jones’ accomplishments, but the man he is as well.

"When Rashida first talked to me about the film, one of the first things she said is that ‘people don’t get to know him as a person because he’s overshadowed by his achievements.' But finding out about him as a man is incredible because he has that jazz musician mentality that is all about passing on the legacy and mentoring and caring about other people."

Hicks also shared with THR his insights into what made Jones someone who was able to innovate and create trends in music, decade after decade.

"The people that I’ve been able to meet that were visionaries are just so inquisitive as people and they don’t let their ego take them over and Quincy is so much that way. If you meet him he’s going to ask you 100 questions about you and he’s going to find out what you’re doing, what you’re up to, what music you’re listening to and I’m sure he’s been like that his whole life and I think that’s helped him have his finger on the pulse musically."

The film is a combination of archival video and audio as well as contemporary footage of Jones, and Hicks explained the scope of the project and why it required two directors to ultimately create the film.

"It’s a massive undertaking. There was 22,800 hours worth of footage and we spent nearly two years editing and we traveled around with Quincy for three years filming him and we shot 350 hours of footage there and he’s recorded 3,000 songs in his career. Most bands record less than 50 so with that mass and whittling that down it takes a huge team and definitely two directors."

The screening took place on one of Raleigh Studios massive soundstages, which Netflix has converted into their FYSEE headquarters.

Following the screening, guests were guided to the back half of the soundstage where Netflix has built elaborate activations for dozens of their shows. There was an oversized Connect Four game for Orange is the New Black, a punch bowl ball pit for Netflix’s comedy specials and even one of Jones’ platinum records hanging on the wall at "Quincy’s Juke Joint."

Jones made an unannounced appearance at the party with his daughter and Hicks, who gave a champagne toast in honor of his life and Rashida shared with the audience one of the benefits of making a film about a living musical legend.

"We also had a brief conversation at the beginning without really thinking 'who should score the film?' We were tired y’all. We were going through a lot of footage and then we realized that obviously was the 3,000 songs that my father had gifted the world."

Quincy is available to stream on Netflix now.