Edward Landler received a B. A. in Literature and Film under the supervision of film historian Jay Leyda at Yale University. He got his practical film training with Satyajit Ray in India, Luis Bunuel in France, and work on independent feature films in the United States. His first film, "Pharaoh's Dream", an experimental short, was shot in Calcutta and Los Angeles.
Brad Byer, the maternal great-nephew of Sam Rodia, graduated from the University of California at Davis with a Bachelor's degree in English. After college, upon viewing the Watts Towers he grew interested in documenting his great-uncle's life and relocated to Southern California to begin this project.
The filmmakers started working together to make "I Build the Tower" in 1983, shooting the last filmed interview with R. Buckminster Fuller who provided a structural analysis of the Watts Towers. Since that time, their efforts to produce the definitive work on Rodia's achievement have become part of the history of the towers.