Monday, 1 July 2013

Framing Film - Two Guys and A Film - Interview Part 2

Hey guys - the second half of the interview with the two wonderful guys can be found below. In case you missed it and somehow stumbled onto this second half, the interview part 1 can be found here.


FI: We've heard great things from you guys about leads like Robyn Buck, as well - so what's it like on set? We see all the photos - but how is it directing your first feature length films?
C: Robyn has been amazing.  We saw so many talented women for the role of Ruth in Hard Sun, but when Robyn walked into the room I knew it was going to be her.  It’s been awesome getting to see her and all the other actors grow as artists through the process.  For most of them, it’s either their first leading roles, or first dramatic roles, so it’s been really fun.  As a director, it always feels great when you’re able to push an actor past their comfort zone and allow them to tap into something they didn’t even know they had.  I do that a lot with Ben Begley.  He works a lot as a comedic actor and so I’m always casting him against type in things.
J: Just like Hard Sun, Get Away saw a lot of actors stepping up to take their first leads. At the same time this was my first time stepping up into directing a feature, which is a very different game. I’ve learned a lot about myself as an artist and that’s really helped me understand how to work better with actors. I remember one shoot day on Get Away, we were already on hour 18 and we had a very heavy scene to do. And one of the actors was having some trouble connecting with the scene, so I sat with them and did take after take trying different techniques, tricks if you will. It took another 3 hours to shoot but when they nailed it, everyone felt it. That was probably one of the coolest moments as a director I’ve had.

FI: You guys are at the LA Film Festival - one which we hope to attend in the future - what's it like there? I know you guys have been Tweeting frequently - but what's it like meeting with fellow filmmakers who share a boat with you and seeing some of the 'bigger films' - talking to distributors, and networking with others in the industry?
C: I love film festivals and LA Film Fest is one of my favorites.  I think I’ve attended the last five or six years in a row.  It’s just an awesome energy.  You’re surrounded by people who either are part of the filmmaking process or just have a genuine love for film.  There’s always great parties and you never know who you’re going to strike up a conversation with.  Plus, I really enjoy the idea of going to see films that I know nothing about.  Sometimes, you discover an amazing film that you would’ve never seen otherwise.  And then sometimes you end up watching a film that is just plain awful.  But I always love those moments as well because it really makes me feel good about my own work.

FI:  How has the funding process been? You advocate places like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter - but you emphasise frequently the need to find other avenues of funding. Can you share some insight into this process and any recommendations you'd make to new film makers?
J: People always ask me how to raise money for their first film and I always start by asking what their plan is. Most people don’t have an answer to that question or they say they are going to crowd fund for their budget but they don’t even have an audience built yet. The biggest piece of advice I give them is to look at crowd funding as only a part of the budget, and to look at other avenues like equity investors and pre-sales as other viable and attainable parts of their budget. There are more ways to finance but these are just a few of the main ways you will raise money for your film. Also, I’ll note that the type of film you are making plays heavily into this because it’s easier to finance a genre (action, horror, sci-fi) than it is to finance a drama or comedy(comedy being the hardest).
FI: How has the forming of your own actual company been? An arduous process? 

J: Super easy.

C: The actual process was super easy, though next time we’ll structure things a bit differently.

FI: Favourite films and reasons why?

J: Gladiator – Ridley Scott did a fantastic job of combining story with action in a way that you don’t feel a lack of either in the film.

C: Braveheart is number one.  Say what you will about Mel, but that movie is perfect.  I think there’s an innate desire in the heart of every man to fight for the things you believe in and I think that film more than any other, speaks to that part of our soul.  Plus it has the best speech in movie history.  James always gives me crap about this one, but Titanic is also one of my favorites.  Technically it was years ahead of it’s time.  Same thing with Avatar.  I really enjoy the technical aspect of filmmaking just as much as I do the creative side.  So any time I see filmmaker’s pushing the boundaries it gets me really excited. 

FI: Top 5 favourite directors - and their 'best' films?

C: Wow, just five?  That’s going to be tricky.  Let’s see what I’ve got on Bluray here. Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Kevin Smith (Chasing Amy), Baz Luhrman (Moulin Rouge), David Fincher (Fight Club), Peter Jackson (Return of the King)

J: Ridley Scott (Gladiator) Michael Bay (Bad Boys) Alfred Hitchcock (Where do I start?) Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) Yeah, I’m going to have to go with David Fincher (Fight Club) also.

FI: If you could work on any movie currently in production/already released (other than the two brilliant ones you guys have going already) - which movie(s) would it be/have been, and why?

J: You mean someone else’s project? Not sure I know how to answer that.

C: Man that’s a tricky one.  I think the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I would’ve just loved to shadow Peter Jackson for two years.  I don’t think that guy slept the entire time.  Insane.

FI:  How's directing your first feature film going? Obviously you exercise a large amount of control (creative and literally) as the director - so how does that play out on the set of an indie feature?

J: Best experience of my life other than getting married, ha ha. Seriously though, it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but at the same time it’s been the most rewarding.

C: Yeah, its been an amazing experience.  As far as control goes, I’m learning with each thing I direct to learn to let go of that a bit.  Not to say that it’s not my vision.  It totally is one hundred percent from beginning to end.  But I used to try and control everything and get everything perfect and that was no way to live.  Too much stress.  Now I’m learning to just roll with it.  Plus I’m learning to listen to other people’s thoughts and suggestions.  My thing is this, if I’m the only one coming up with ideas and solutions, then the film will only be as good as me.  But by involving everyone, it becomes so much bigger and better than me and my capacity at the time.  Plus I get all the credit in the end anyway.  (laughs)

J: Yeah, that’s one I had to learn the hard way on GA.

FI: Obviously you guys are shooting two films, back to back. How did you/do you decide on the process of who got to shoot what where and in what order? Basically - how do the two guys in "2 Guys and a Film" get on? Is it hard splitting time between each other's films, as well as being producers? 

J: We chose to do Hard Sun first because it’s more of a festival film, so we wanted to try and get that one in the can and through post to hit some of the bigger festival deadlines. It’s rather easy splitting time actually, since we shot Hard Sun first it’s always in a different stage than Get Away. So for example while HS might be in sound design, GA is starting vfx.

C: Yeah.  Even though we were shooting two films back to back, we’re not like the Cohen Brothers or anything.  I directed Hard Sun and James directed Get Away.  That was always the plan.  We both were Executive Producers on both films and then we each acted as producer on the ground on the other’s film.

FI: Risks - how is it for independent filmmakers to take risks (obviously not ones dangerous to anyone's health!), but with things such as creative solutions or concepts? Obviously you need a notoriously good ability to adapt and improvise - but how far do you need to push your own work to get it to where you want? Or even perhaps to a place you never thought it could go?

J: I would almost go as far as to say if you aren’t willing to take risks, then you have no place making films. You have to be willing to put it all on the line for something as big as a feature, at least on the indie level.

C: I agree.  I’m to a place in my life where I trust those things that scare the shit out of me more than those things that don’t.  The things that don’t scare me keep me complacent.  It’s when I take risks and feel like quitting that big things happen.

FI:  Everyone's favourite topic - budgeting! How do you guys approach it? Any sagely advice to share that you've learnt from your first two features so far?

J: I would say the biggest thing is having a plan. Like I said earlier there are many ways to raise money, but you can’t just hope someone comes along and gives you a million dollars, you have to do the work to find it.

FI: Finally - the most important thing you wish you had known when you started out?

J: Budget more for post and deliverables.

C: Proper production sound.  We skimped here and it cost us a lot of time in post.  Luckily it all worked out, but I’m definitely going to have a full production sound crew from here on out.

Thanks for the interview guys, we’ve had a blast coming on.

FI: Thank you guys for coming on - we really appreciate all the people who have/do sit down with us for an interview to explore their process, especially when they are working on two feature films!



Right, that ends our interview with these two lovely guys - I'll copy the text verbatim for you guys (not that we're skimping, or anything) from the last post about links and sharing! 

Stay tuned over the course of today/this week - we have several new reviews coming up, as well as our first addition to our greats line. As always, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you, dear readers! This blog would, rather obviously, be nothing with you guys. But you didn't ... you know the score!

Just another set of links, incase you guys missed it the first time round - remember to go and support these guys if you enjoyed the interview/want to find out more!

Link to their IMDb page.
Link to their Facebook page.
Link to their Twitter page.

Remember guys - if you liked the interview, share it with friends. ReTweet - share it on Facebook - shout it from the mountain tops, but just share it! As always, we welcome comments and feedback - but remember, the more exposure we get, the better it gets. Not just for us - but for the filmmakers themselves. More exposure leads to more interviews and more opportunities to be entertained/informed by (potentially) hidden/rising talent. Also - the more exposure we get, the more we can help out rising stars like Canyon and James, who heartily deserve it!

(Plus, you know, more interviews means more original content for you guys to read.)

As usual, our Twitter can be found at @bydhifu!

But most importantly, just remember, you didn't hear any of this from us,

Ferenc and Georgia

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