March 14, 2016
Ever since we were little, my twin brother Phill and I have wanted to make films. We imagined sitting in directors chairs on a Hollywood back lot, placing the actors, setting the camera and lights, and yelling 'action.' It sounded so exciting! Now, a decade into our careers and having worked on over 200 projects across the US and around the world, we have finally begun to define the types of films we want to make.
Like many filmmakers, Phill and I went to film school and then moved to Los Angeles to chase our dreams. We quickly found ourselves in the lighting department being mentored by Larry Parker at Mole-Richardson. During this time, we learned a classic way of working on set from many talented artists and technicians. We took these lessons and applied it to our own work, holding crew members we collaborated with to the highest standard of filmmaking. Measure twice, cut once.Â
Once Phill and I started producing and directing our own projects, my childhood excitement reemerged with a vengeance. However, my dreams of simply being on exciting film sets was replaced with something deeper: a need to make films from great scripts, and to write those scripts after finding those stories that grabbed hold of me.
Often reading scripts seems like the least glamorous part of making movies, but I love it, because there are endless possibilities. In this stage, I can imagine what the sets look like, what the blocking might be, how the actors could deliver the lines, and how many shots it could take to cover the scene. I'm not restrained by a schedule or a budget. There is no first AD reminding me of the time or a crew to manage. Anything and everything is possible. This is where the filmmaker is truly free, with only their imagination as a limit. To me, it is exhilarating, the most critical part of filmmaking.
As a filmmaker, I choose my stories carefully. The one big thing I keep in mind is that I'm going to be with this story and these characters for years. Are these characters - and is this a story - that I want to live in for one, two, four years? Do I find this story compelling enough pull me through the rough times? Why is this a story I must tell?
I use the same vetting process when I take on a project to produce. In the end, the projects that Phill and I pick are unique stories, hard to fit into a single genre. Our latest project, Bad Kids, is a 1950's period pieceÂ about a group of young greasers who witness a murder, turning their world upside down. We hope to shoot on location in Cape Girardeau, MO. This is not exactly an âeasy to sellâ genre movie, but we believe in the unique characters and the director's vision. For us, this is a story worth telling.
Ultimately, what is so fun about independent film is that you can do anything you want, but you also have to dedicate yourself to the project completely. It's that strange duality of limitless yet limited art. And when we gather a core group of talented people who are dedicated to the project, that's when movie magic really happens.
We're in the last few days of our crowdfunding campaign for Bad Kids on Seed&Spark and have been overwhelmed by the amazing response to the project. We have already reached 100% of our funding goal, but now we have a new goal: to grow our community of followers! As a first-timer to crowdfunding, the most rewarding factor has been seeing a community that takes pride in complex, original content as we do. It drives home our mission of writing and producing original stories that are interesting and outside of the fit box. We're finding it true what they say, that with great risk comes great reward.