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IFH 575: From Clerks to Shooting Boba & The Mandalorian with David Klein A.S.C.

David Klein, A.S.C. (born December 1972) is an American cinematographer known for working with director Kevin Smith on the films Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Clerks II, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Cop Out, Red State.

Klein, a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, was the director of photography for True Blood on HBO and for Homeland on Showtime. Klein was hired for the latter position beginning with Homeland’s third season, taking over cinematographer duties from Nelson Cragg who had served as the series’ director of photography for two seasons.

In 2020, Klein served as the cinematographer on Season 2, Episode 6 of The Mandalorian, titled “Chapter 14: The Tragedy” which was directed by Robert Rodriguez. He will also serve as cinematographer on multiple episodes of The Book of Boba Fett.

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Alex Ferrari 0:28
I'd like to welcome to the show. David Klein, man how you doing David?

David Klein 4:36
I'm good. How are you man?

Alex Ferrari 4:38
I'm doing great brother doing great man. We've been trying to get this ready and recorded for god months now at this point but you're busy you're busy man you're working on Boba you're working on Mandalorian you're, you know saving the world little by little. So

David Klein 4:53
I'm about all that. But the first two things are true.

Alex Ferrari 4:57
Exactly. So I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to come and talk to the tribe, my friend. So first questions I have for you, man, why God's green earth did you want to get in this insanity that is this business?

David Klein 5:11
Probably because I didn't know that the hours were gonna be what they are.

Alex Ferrari 5:16
No one tell you that no one taught you that you didn't that you didn't have this podcast. Back in the 90's

David Klein 5:22
I thought it was gonna be I thought it was gonna be hanging out with cool, famous people and you know, doing cool stuff, which is which is true, these things are true. But man, the hours are crazy. They're absolutely just insane. But to answer your question, I always, you know, I always was into movies. I think it was Blade Runner. I know, it was Blade Runner that my father took me to do when I was like 13 years or so. And he took me to the driver, and we watched it the driver. And I remember leaving and saying to him, you know, Dad, I think I want to make movies and he's like, sure, whatever, you know, do whatever you want to do. And he you know, he was really supportive. And he actually helped me, you know, my grandfather gave me this 60 millimeter Bolex when I was young, and my father, you know, at the time we had the VHS camcorder that would that would actually plug into the, you know, the VCR that you had to take with you, you know, from the top of the TV. And so I had those two devices and started making you know, stop animation films. And you know, funnily enough I was a kid I ordered that special edition Boba Fett, you know, would you take like the Box Tops from from General Mills, I think it was and you got to check for my dad and you send it to somewhere in Minnesota or wherever it was. And you wait like eight to 12 weeks and you're supposed to get this little boat fit that comes with a rocket that shoots out of its back. Right? And it shows up? Weeks and weeks later. And the fucking rockets glued in? Its back. Right? So I blew the Holy hell out of that thing when we were making one of these little 16 millimeter stop animation films. And, you know, it's I think it's fitting that I would end up on some of these Star Wars shows. After that.

Alex Ferrari 7:11
How much and how much. Yeah, how much would that Boba Fett be worth today?

David Klein 7:15
I think about $18,000.

Alex Ferrari 7:18
Yeah, not bad. Yeah, that would be that's a good return on investment, I think. Oh, man, listen, we all do things to our Star Wars stories when we were younger

David Klein 7:27
That was fine. Yeah, you know, my dad used to help me with those, you know, those rockets, the little model rockets that he'd set up, shut up, no parachute. And so one day, I took one of the the engines to him and I said, Dad, if I cut the nozzle off on this thing and put a like a wick in there, will it just explode? And he was like, come again. And I think he thought maybe I should help you out. And, you know, so he became my my, he became my grip, my gaffer my special effects, man, everything. That's amazing. He was not in the business. But he was no slouch when it came to helping his kids out.

Alex Ferrari 8:08
Did you ever invite him on any of the sets that you worked on?

David Klein 8:10
I did. I did. I don't think he ever, you know, he passed few years back. But and I don't know that he ever really understood what I do. Same here. Were there were some times you know, I was doing a show in in Hawaii, actually. And I think that's why he came. But he came to set and he you know, spent a week on and off the set and had a good time, you know, but still, I don't think it's sunk in what what precisely my job is?

Alex Ferrari 8:36
Yeah, my dad, I invited my dad onto a set that a commercial said I was direct and commercial. And he just was like, looking around. And he went back and told his family and friends. Everyone just listens to Alex. That's all everyone. He says something and they move and they move. That's all I know. I don't understand that still, to this day, he still doesn't understand what to write, let alone this. This is

David Klein 9:01
for sure. I think at times I don't understand what I do. You know what I mean? I still have so much to learn.

Alex Ferrari 9:11
So when you started off in your career, my friend you started off in a little film, little black and white movie called clerks with a little unknown director named Kevin Smith and an unknown producer named Scott Moser now we've had the pleasure of having Scott on the show as well. So I I've heard it from his perspective on how a lot of this stuff went down. How did you get roped into this insanity? That was clerks?

David Klein 9:37
Well, it started the way so many stories start Alex I found a girl in college right? And, and about two weeks after we got there she she dumped me for another young woman which you know, totally understandable. Even cool now. At the time for an 18 year old young man it was heartbreaking. Right? And so I was like, fuck this place man. I'm No no film school, which I had always wanted to do anyway, but didn't have the courage I guess, to go and you know, just go for it. And so I found the Vancouver Film School which used to advertise very heavily in American cinematographer, which is where I saw it. And, you know, they were they have a sister school now, which is the Los Angeles Film School here in LA, on Sunset, they're almost identical programs. At the time, there was just a Vancouver Film School, and it was a one year program, and they have classes started every two months. So every other month, a new class started. And this young lady that broke my heart put me on a path to end up in the same class with Kevin and Scott, you know, had it not been for her and all that timing, which, you know, is the luck, part of how you get into this business and who, you know, what put you where you are, I guess she was the luck part of it. And she put me in the class with Kevin Scott. You know, her time that put me there. And and to be honest, after, you know, Kevin dropped out halfway through the program to save the rest of his tuition for the movie, and and Moser not finished. And the reason they wanted to bring me on to clerks, you know, to be told this because they didn't want a cinematographer who knew more than they did. And I had, I think I had focused I know, I had focused more in to the cinematography aspect of the Vancouver Film School. But still, you know, it was a one year program, how much can you can you learn in one year a hands on not a whole lot. But I think the biggest compliment I got from clerks was when we were doing the 16th, regular 16 millimeter 235 blow up. We did a lab called good fonti film lab or defund the homeworks in New York, and the biggest compliment I got was that I exposed the film properly and really well.

Alex Ferrari 11:53
You know, from from my point of view, I mean, watch Clerk's made it multiple times in my life. It's exposed. I mean,

David Klein 12:02
You're right about that. Alex, it is exposed.

Alex Ferrari 12:04
It is exposed. You didn't under expose you didn't over expose overexposed. I mean, it's man, you You did you exposed? And what's so fascinating, I mean, for people listening, the young uns listening, you shot this on 16? Not even Super 16 Just straight 16 Right. It wasn't regular regular 16 Right. Get the 16 Emma wasn't it wasn't MLS, it was

David Klein 12:24
No, no, it was think sound. And we got all the all the, you know, the camera equipment and the audio equipment from a guy named Mike Spera, who had a little company called, it was called Pro camera, I think at the time, and he actually went on to run the studio in a story, you know,

Alex Ferrari 12:47
Oh, yeah. The big one over there.

David Klein 12:48
Yeah, yeah, exactly for quite a few years. And I ran into him years, all those years later, when Kevin and I were there doing cop out, which was, which was kind of cool. But it was basically all we could afford this. This Aeroflex Sr, just an Sr.

Alex Ferrari 13:02
Was just straight up. It was

David Klein 13:04
SR one straight up of SR one. And it was all we could afford. I think we had $3,500 for all the you know, camera equipment and audio equipment for the run the show, which was about four weeks. And so he's like, that's the one you get, and it sounded like a machine gun. And it did. And we had we had the little Barney that comes with it. We also had I would end up operating the camera with that Barney and just leather jackets and all sorts of blankets and whatnot on my head. Just so we weren't recording some of that that machine got on my camera.

Alex Ferrari 13:41
Probably because you didn't Did you have a blimp or you didn't have a blip?

David Klein 13:44
We had just, you know, the standard that goes over it, you know, kind of leather thing,

Alex Ferrari 13:49
Which was useless essentially,

David Klein 13:52
It was relatively useless. All the sound is coming out of the lens. You know what I mean?

Alex Ferrari 13:56
Right! I'll tell you Well, I my when I was in film school, the camera I got to use was the SR three. And that was that. Whoosh. We were the first.

David Klein 14:07
That was slick, man. I mean, but I think by the time we were we shot chasing AMI Super 16 on SR three is a great camera was one of the best cameras out there. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 14:17
Oh, yeah. Solid. And you can you can hook up your laptop to get like imports and stuff. Yeah, that was like the big thing. Like, you could hook up a laptop.

David Klein 14:25
I remember that. I remember but not with the SR three. But I remember plugging my laptop into a 535. And oh, yeah, during the speed changes and that sort of thing. And it was that it was that black and white MacBook Pro. Not even a MacBook Pro is a black and white MacBook with 110 megabyte hard drive, you know, which was which was screaming back then. Oh, yeah. You think I'll never fill this up. I said emails bigger than that. You know.

Alex Ferrari 14:50
Exactly. So I see. So I have to like the ins and outs I mean, you guys shot that movie what in what ferrets remember correctly it was like a Just a few weeks. Or is,

David Klein 15:13
It was it was it was four weeks, really. But, you know, the was on nights. You know, that's why Kevin wrote into the script that somebody jammed gum in the locks, because we couldn't, we couldn't have the store during the day. And so we shot nights, and we had the store from about, I want to say we had it from 11pm until 5am. You know, so they were, they were sure, but you know, we would shoot and then Kevin would actually work at the store, either either the community sort of the video store all day, and then we, you know, he finds maybe a little time for for sleep a little bit asleep, and then we get right back to shooting. So it was it was more days than you would expect. But they were shorter.

Alex Ferrari 15:55
Did you? I mean, I did I remember when I was coming up, and I would walk on set as a as a director and I early on, and you just don't know what you don't know. So luckily for you, was there anybody on set that knew more than you about the camera department? Or were you the top of the top of the hill at that point?

David Klein 16:18
I was the top of that very small hill. I was the entire department. So you know, operating the camera pulling focus. And, you know,

Alex Ferrari 16:29
Lighting too right or did you do the lighting?

David Klein 16:31
Well, I had a little we had a little help, you know, there was a cat named Ed half stack, who was a friend of Kevin's and and he would show up and Vinnie Pereira would show up. But they had day jobs too, you know what I mean? So they kind of, yeah, they come in and out. People got to work. But whenever we would go through, we'd burn through a mag, I would shut down and I'd go into the tent and change, you know, I reloaded the mag and unload the current mag. So it was a woman department, you know, oh my god. It's also why if you look at the credit clerks, the boom operator is credited as whoever grabbed the pole first, you know, I mean, because it was literally whoever grabbed it. There was I wish I had I wish I carried a camera around back then that's still camera, because there was one scene where Moser and had half stack and I were in the shot, we play the three people that run out from the funeral home after that whole business goes awry, right. Yeah. And so it was the three of us and Kevin were there. And so Kevin was literally operating the camera, sitting on the ground on the street. He had the Niagra down, you know, by his by his thigh. And so he's holding the boom, he's operating the camera. And there's the three of us running in the shot skewed the intersection. Sorry about that. It's no, but I just wish I had a photograph of Kevin sitting there with the SR one with the boom pole, which was I think it might have been a hockey stick actually, with more likely been attached to it. And one man band at that point, you know,

Alex Ferrari 18:07
Sorry. And I know he got the he bought or rented a steam back and edited the whole thing old school because

David Klein 18:14
Right there in the back of the video store.

Alex Ferrari 18:16
Right in there. So I'm assuming you were there. Part of that as well.

David Klein 18:20
Very just the very beginning. And then and then I was out. I had to go get a job to you know what I mean? Right?

Alex Ferrari 18:26
Yeah, cuz I'm sure you didn't get rich off that first job as far as.

David Klein 18:30
No not at all

Alex Ferrari 18:33
So clerks comes out, man, and you I'm imagining, what do you think was going to happen? Seriously, like, I mean, from a DP's point of view, when you do a show like that, you're not going to go, this is gonna go national, this is going to blow up, it's gonna become a phenom. I'm assuming that's not what you thought.

David Klein 18:50
No, it's not what what any of us thought I think at best, we thought that it would be a calling card, just you know, to a studio or a small production companies that hey, these guys can can get a film made. But so let's hire them to do the next one. Which, you know, that did happen and so much more, you know, we didn't expect it to, you know, go to Sundance and be the little sleeper hit that it was, you know, it took off like crazy. And to be honest, for me, eventually. It was it was a deep hole to climb out of because to have a movie that's successful. And look like that is not great for a cinematographer. The same thing happened years later with chasing AMI, which is a wonderful film, and I stand by it to this day, but it doesn't look great. You know, it's not well, it's not well, lens. We barely moved the camera, aside from some of the many arguments in the movie. But, you know, it was a successful film that didn't look that great. So again, as a cinematographer, it was a there was a hole of time out for sure. Yeah, because

Alex Ferrari 19:57
I guess you were like, Oh, this will be a little thing. I can maybe show around. A little bit, no one's ever really going to see this. And then all of a sudden, you're like, I am known for this, like, Oh, you're the dB of clerks, right? And so that was a bit of a bit of a challenge

David Klein 20:12
It's a struggle, it was a struggle, not as much as I might be jumping ahead. But when Chasing Amy was, was at Sundance, it wasn't in competition, it was just a premiere. And, you know, we had done Mallrats in between and Mallrats had been largely kind of ignored. It has since I think found a huge audience, but at the time, it had been ignored. And so Kevin, and the rest of us were nervous, you know, we were nervous about what was going to happen with Chasing Amy. And so, you know, Kevin and Scott had a meeting with with the morally repugnant Harvey Weinstein before our screening and Harvey, you know, I think Harvey knew what he had. He absolutely knew he had a chasing me, but it hadn't even premiered yet hadn't been screened to a large audience yet, so him was nervous about it. And so Harvey offered him a deal for his next movie. But there were stipulations. You know, Joey Adams, who was lead and Chase, ami was going to be the leading dog when Harvey said, No, he said, that's one of the things and he said, Joe is not gonna be the lead. And you know, Dave's not gonna be a cameraman. And whatever else it was, those are the two that I really remember. Because after that meeting, we were all staying in this condo together. And Kevin takes Joey into, you know, a bedroom, and Moser takes me in the bedroom and breaks the news to us, and then we all go to the premiere. So, you know, it was a very surreal experience to have this audience just adore the movie. And you know, I'm sitting in the back row again, and I don't get to do the bucket. Next one, you know what I mean? So it was it was a kick to the gut, for sure. And then for, you know, Ben Harvey kept me out for about 10 years. And in those 10 years, the first question I always got when I was in a job interview was, why aren't you shooting Kevin's current film, and I would tell them the story, and you know, whether they thought it was true or not, or that I was being kept out, just because I was too inexperienced, and not good enough, that didn't matter. You know, whether they believe this, or that it didn't matter, for one reason or another, I wasn't shooting his movies. And so I had to just get out there and work. And so that's what I did, as I put myself on a 10 year plan when I got to when I moved to Los Angeles, and, and I said, if I if I'm not wearing where I want to be in need to be in 10 years, then I'm gonna go do something else. But I'm gonna give it everything I've got for 10 years. And it took just about all of those years, to finally, you know, I think get a grasp on on, on the craft, and being comfortable and what I can do with the crew and set and telling a story. That's what it's all about, you know, you have all the experience in the world, if you don't know how to tell a story. It's irrelevant. It's all irrelevant.

Alex Ferrari 22:55
It's fascinating to hear that story, man, because it means so many people looking from the outside in, you know, unless like, oh, well, you know, you you worked with Kevin and you did a couple of his movies. And then you know, your career was set. And it's the complete opposite. It was actually you had a hole to climb out of in the first movie. And then the second movie, or the third movie that you did with Chasing Amy, you weren't happy with visually. So it wasn't a great calling card for you visually. And then the movie that might have been the movie that would have taken you to the next level would have been dogma, because you would have had a budget, it would have been a studio project, a real a real Studio project. And it would have maybe opened up a lot of doors for you. But you would literally have to hustle for the next 10 years to kind of whittle your widdle a niche in for yourself. So you feel like no man, I can actually do this, for sure and open and open those doors. That's a really great lesson for people listening because it's like,

David Klein 23:49
It's it's a good thing. It's a hard road to travel. Because I had to learn as I was doing it, you know, I think it's an easier path to work, you know, under somebody with a lot of experience because, you know, everybody you ever meet on a set or in life knows something that you don't and you can learn something from them, especially on a film set. If you work with somebody who's got a lot of experience, you're going to learn so much just by watching just by you know, watching what they're doing. Yeah, exactly. And so to do to learn it on the job was rough. And there are a lot of rough looking projects that I did. You know, it wasn't I don't think it was until 1999 when I really started to figure out and and figure out that I want to say how to light but who knows how to light it

Alex Ferrari 24:50
Until you found a groove that you felt comfortable in and felt comfortable with with the quality of the work that you felt from your own eye that you were comfortable with. Like I feel like I'm getting a grasp of this Take a look. I've talked to so many cinematographers over the years, man, and all of them say the same thing. It's an impossibility to master the craft 100%. There's just so much to understand and learn. And then you look at, you know, you look at someone like deacons, you know, and you see what they're doing. They are, arguably masters at what they do. But there's, you could probably count those on one or two hands that are alive. Yeah, that are just at that level. They're just like a. It's like looking at a director and going up, Chris Nolan, David Fincher, you're like, they are at the top of their game. Like, there's very few of those big Spielberg, there's a camera and there's very few of these kinds of people in the world. So it's tough. I have to ask you, though, man, when you were during those 10 years, did you ever get pushback from crew people? You're like, oh, that's the guy who did clerks. Did you ever get any any shit? Any any like, crap out of that?

David Klein 25:56
I don't think so. I don't remember any behind my back, and I'm sure they're all this guy. This fucking guy shot.

Alex Ferrari 26:07
This guy. This guy shot clerks. Jesus, I'm working on

David Klein 26:10
Funny movie but did you see that GarageBand have a fucking you know, and you know, you know story arcs the reasons why did it because we couldn't afford to balance the lights. Right? We're gonna be shooting, shooting fluorescent. And you know, we had a little tungsten kit and it was gonna be mixed all over the place. And we didn't have the money to either gel, the fluorescence or, or even get like an HMI package or a proper Kino package or any of that stuff. So we shove like wine, which is what gave it I think that GarageBand aesthetic, which I love. And now Now I can sit back and watch it and just adore that movie. But for a long time it was it was rough.

Alex Ferrari 26:53
And that's the thing. I mean, you look at the movie now and it's just so it's so it's beautiful. It's wonderful. It's so it is that GarageBand is that raw on filter, just EQ and all aspects from the writing to the acting to the to the cinematography, the directing all of it. And it's you know, but at the time, I understand your point of view. Look, Robert, Robert Rodriguez had the same issues with El Mariachi. He's like, Yeah, no one was supposed to see this. This is just my test film and you want to release it nationally? Are you crazy? So it's, you know, a lot of those movies were like that when I talked to Rick about slacker you know, is the same thing. And Ed burns with Brothers McMullen. Like all these guys. When you guys were coming up during the 90s. You know, it's just such it's true for people who weren't alive during that time. They won't, and they'll never understand the magic of the 90s. In the independent film space, it is a special it's a very special time from I'm going to say 1990 to 99, that that decade will never happen again. And it had never happened before. And it was the Sundance decade. We call it kind of the it was the Sundance independent film decade was where VHS really started to come up. There was a market for these kind of these imagine it and I asked this to everybody like if parks came out today. No one would even look at it. It would be gone. Maybe, maybe you could catch some fire because of the writing.

David Klein 28:22
Yeah. Well, that's what that movie is. I think it is. It's all writing and it could catch on. But if it came out today, it wouldn't look that way. You know what I mean? It would it's you would have shot? You wish. Yeah, it's easy enough to go get a camera that gives you a really, you know, your iPhone, for example, is shooting HD and, you know, what is it 4k now? Even. And it is it is it's pretty gorgeous. And it accepts mixed light, you know, like the Alexa to shoot mixed light all day long and it

Alex Ferrari 28:54
Low light and low light.

David Klein 28:57
And it would have been so easy.

Alex Ferrari 29:02
Not changing, not changing in the back, not changing the backs of the back.

David Klein 29:06
Non of that. You know, there's a funny story where we shot the salsa shark scene. And we had so little money. Kim wasn't happy with one night but we'd wrapped and I have my fucking hands in the bag in the tent and, and he's like, let's reshoot that tomorrow. And I'm like, What do you want me to do with this film? You know, because we he had decided we're gonna reshoot it. And we had so little money. It was like the sec throw it out. We didn't process it. We didn't want to spend the money to process and print because that's the only you know, that's what we were doing back then. And so you cross it out. Yeah. Deleted Scenes.

Alex Ferrari 29:47
You shouldn't have thrown it out. I should have just kept that maybe, maybe maybe develop it after after Sundance.

David Klein 29:53
We were thinking no one's gonna see this is gonna reshoot it

Alex Ferrari 29:57
So after clerks man after clerks do you have this it was obviously a very big hit. It was it was a phenomenal it was a phenom situation. And then you got an opportunity to shoot a studio movie, which was, which was mall rats, which had a bigger budget, arguably much bigger, bigger movie. What was it like jumping from the one man crew to running a crew of people who obviously, many knew more than you did, if I'm not mistaken is that

David Klein 30:37
Everyone of them

Alex Ferrari 30:43
How do you run the show how do you run a set like that man?

David Klein 30:46
Well, I think you've got to have a little bit of humility. And I was very upfront with with everybody that I was turned on to and basically hiring and I said, um, you know, I remember saying to Andy Graham, who's a really good friend of mine, he's been a friend of mine since then, but I met him on that picture. And he was the focus puller he sent has become an operator and he's operating for me in a lot of projects and a lot with Kevin as well. But I remember telling him that I was green. I said, I'm green man, and I'm gonna fucking lean on you. And he said, you know, this happens a lot. You're the first person that's ever said it. And so I That's it. Yeah. So I owned that, you know what I mean? And Nick McNealy was the gaffer, who had just one of our producers was Jim Jackson, he had just done tombstone, and MC MC Anita was the gaffer on that and so he introduced me to make, I'm like, You did fucking tombstone, we're really afraid. Yeah, I'm on board. And, you know, I was the same way with him. I said, I'm gonna lean on you, man. Because I'm bringing and I'm, you know, I'm in this position. It's very fortunate, I'm very fortunate to be in this position. But if I really want to learn from you, and I learned a lot from, from MC. And it was, you know, across the board, that ever every department, you know, so I think you gotta, you always have to surround yourself with with people who know more than you. But I think you got to be upfront about it, too. You know, and don't try and hide the fact that you don't know anything when you don't know anything. Because everybody's been there. You know, we've all been there. And it's one of the things that a lot of people try to hide, and and it comes out in really ugly ways.

Alex Ferrari 32:23
Oh, yeah, the ego and they start snapping at people. Because if you see people doing that, you can see that they're insecure. insecure, people are insecure people with the loud ones. The white ones are generally not the ones you have to worry about. That is that scenario in that scenario. If there's a bar fight, and there's a quiet guy stretching in the corner, that's the guy you got to apply. Guy you gotta worry. Not the guy swinging is

David Klein 32:48
Not the guy. That's, that's, that's, you know, I'll talk. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 32:53
It's the quiet guy. But when it comes to being on set, like there's a quiet, there's a quiet a when you know, you don't need to show in that way. Like I don't have to be blustery. Like, I know how to do this. And I have if you sit if you're that dude, you obviously have no idea what you're doing. You're extremely insecure. And I'm sure you've worked with directors like that, especially in in God.

David Klein 33:17
We need to get into that. Yeah, yeah, it's like, you know, the showrunner of, of homeland he's, he's in any room is and he's the smartest guy, smartest person in the room. He's also one of the most mild mannered and soft spoken. And so you know, when he's very thoughtful, and he's, he'll talk about seeing when we're when we're prepping and rehearsing a scene, and he's very quiet. And like, everybody leans in to listen to what he's saying, You know what I mean? He never feels deep, never feels the need to be loud. And this is, you know, what I think and that sort of thing. And, you know, I run into that, you know, you run to that all over the place and like, composition or going with Dave Filoni and Jeff Albro. Now, the same way, you know, they never feel the need to be the loud voice in the room. It's the quiet voice in the room that, that everybody listens to,you know,

Alex Ferrari 34:04
Yeah, and when you're working at that level, man with that kind of caliber of people, you know, they've done so much each of them in their own right, that, you know, and I'm sure you've, you've you've had the pleasure of working with some amazing directors and, and collaborators over the years, you know, you start seeing when people know what they're doing, they just, they just are, you know, they just do they don't talk about it, they just very quiet very, like, why don't we move over here?

David Klein 34:31
Well, yeah, also also, I think at this level, Alex, you know, there's, there's an amount of preparation has gone into everything and, and I've done this enough times that I know that I gotta I have to prepare, I have to be ready. And whether that means knowing all the shots that we're going to do or just understanding how we want to like to set up to tell the story, you know, you just have to be I have to be prepared.

Alex Ferrari 34:56
Now after Mallrats which we you said, you know, I actually one of the five people who saw it in the theater.

David Klein 35:04
I actually saw the theater. So who are the other three?

Alex Ferrari 35:07
It must have been Kevin Scott. I actually saw it in a theater while I was in college. And I actually got it was it was a special screening and I got the Mallrats got the book. At the theater, they were handing them out at the feet. I never forgot this. The original book, I had it. And and I saw Mallrats I loved it. I thought it was genius. When I saw it, I was like, This is the greatest thing I've seen since sliced bread. This is amazing. And then it died on the vine. It didn't find an audience at the time. So Kevin was pretty much putting in director jail at that point, correct? No, he was like, Oh, it was a once it was a fluke kind of thing.

David Klein 35:43
Well, you know, he had the script for Chasing Amy. And I think what happened is, you know, we went to Universal for this, this project. And Harvey always wanted to work with Kevin, he knew what he added Kevin. And so Kevin had a script Chasing Amy. And he took it to Harvey and he had a meeting without without Scott Mosier, which may have been a little bit of a mistake, because Kevin agreed in that meeting to do it for a price, you know, without any script changes, and and and so when he goes back and meets with Moshe, he's like, Hey, I got our money, motors thing and, you know, couple, 3 million, 4 million whenever he's like, great, would you get to 50 grand, and motors coming in? What one. And so we ended up making that movement for turning 50 grand, which just, you know, kind of it was a bummer at the time. You know, we all wanted to make movies for more money, which which means more time you know, that's what it means. It means you can actually take the time that you want to devote to each and those things are more time anyway. You never have enough time. Nobody ever has enough time. Even the biggest things I've done, it seems like we're always scrambling, you know,

Alex Ferrari 36:59
Even even if I'm assuming no Marvel set, they're scrambling still. I've heard I've actually talked to some people have worked on this 100,000,200 $50 million dollar budgets. And they're like, Yeah, we stole this shot and like you stole a shot. What?

David Klein 37:12
You guys were shooting for 130 days. Why do you have to steal the shot?

Alex Ferrari 37:16
No, I think was chrome worth. Jeff Grant was on a show also network. He's like, Yeah, I stole this shot. And this shot. I mean, David, like, it was just me, David. And like another guy. I'm like, they needed a shot at Harvard. And they couldn't get it. So they stole it.

David Klein 37:28
That's right. I remember. I remember reading about that.

Alex Ferrari 37:31
And I was like, what? That's amazing. You can't forget your roots. Man. You can't forget that hustle. Man, you no matter how big you get them in the Oscars, you win.

David Klein 37:42
It's true. But anyway, so we ended up you know, we made that that for two and 50 grand. And then what I already mentioned, what happened at that, Sundance was 96. And I pushed out for for 10 years, I went to hustled and the same time, you know, Harvey didn't let Kevin use the same cinematographer. Twice. You know, Bobby almond shot shot dogman. Bobby was excellent cinematographer. And, and Harvey said notes for the next movie. And so then they did Kevin to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. And it was Jamie Anderson, Jamie and another great cinematographer. And he didn't like the way that looked either, and so on. Jersey girl gives them below segment ends up really not liking the way that looks either. So Kevin finally said, Well, maybe it's not the DP maybe it's the director that that you're unhappy with. And so after that, Kevin was basically like, give me my guy back. And so he and I got got back together for cliques too. So we've been apart for 10 years, nine, nine and a half, 10 years. And so we were bringing 10 years of experience of working with other people together to an existing friendship, and it was the greatest reunion I've ever had, you know, and then we went on to do another four or five pictures we did you know, after clerks two, we did Zack and Miri Make a Porno. And we did, you know, cop out and red state and we end up doing a pilot or two and, and it was just, it was wonderful because it was bringing 10 years of experience and and just just getting back together. And we had a language from before. But we had a new way of telling stories from all this experience. And that coming together, I think created some of the best work that we've done. commendation, which was Redstate, I think is our finest hour, you know, can we do together? I love that movie. I love I love it so much and a lot of blood sweat and tears. That was us getting back to our roots. And, you know, I was the Kevin I actually wrote a letter to see the poster, who was the president the union at the time to allow me to operate, you know, because that the union would have to allow this to happen and you know, it's got to be a creative choice. It can't be budgetary, and it was absolutely Be creative. You know, we were trying to get back to where we'd started. And, you know, Stephen understood that Stephen has worked with Kevin actually. And, you know, likes him a lot. And so they agreed to it, the union agreed to it. So I actually operated the camera, and we were literally we were back to where we begun. And it was a much bigger project, it was $4 million. But, you know, $4 million, as it goes far in 2008, or whatever it was 2009 2010 as it as it did back in the 90s. No question.

Alex Ferrari 40:35
And this man, after all the years that you were doing, you've been doing this? Is there anything you wish someone would have told you at the beginning of the career of your career besides beware of the sides, get out? Both sides get out and be beware of the morally repugnant Harvey Weinstein?

David Klein 40:52
You know, I think it's probably one of the hardest things that I've had to learn is that there's, there's an, there's an elegance and simplicity, you know what I mean? Because when you're when you're starting out, or when I was starting out anyway, I can't speak for other people. But when I was starting out, you know, I was, I was really trying to light a scene to tell the story. And I was, I think it was a lot of it was, was forced, you know, and it was just too much. And it took me a while to sit back. And, you know, when you're lighting a scene, you always got to look for the light to turn off. Because there's always at least one, there's always at least one that is unnecessary, and you don't need it. And it's not telling the story. It's just, you know, you're showing off or you're being, you know, you're being cute or something. But, you know, I wish that's the lesson that took the longest to learn. I wish somebody would have told me that just just fucking relax. And there is, there's a real elegant elegance and simplicity. And I think, you know, it's hard to describe, it's hard for me to describe what is simple, or elegant in lighting, because I can't tell you why I like to see in a certain way, it all comes from the gut. And that's another piece of advice. I wish I would have learned that, you know, just just follow your gut, follow your instinct and and don't second guess yourself, and even if it's gonna even if you're wrong, just fucking do it. And you're gonna learn from your mistakes. You know, if you are wrong, you'll learn from it.

Alex Ferrari 42:19
And you can you talk about the happy accidents. Because as cinematographers and directors we all want to control everything at all times, which is insane, and never happens ever. Yeah. But they're these little things you're like, how did that was perfect? How did that like, just hit the I chest? Right? The flare hit at the right moment? Can you talk a bit about that?

David Klein 42:44
Absolutely. I mean, some of the some of the coolest things that I've learned have been complete and total accident, you know, and when, when you're, when you're on a set you keep, you have to keep your eyes open for these things. Because you know, electrician will be moving a light, and it'll be on. And you know, because it's an HMI, it's not going to hot restrike. And so they want to keep it on while it's moving. And you'll still hit something that was completely unintentional. And it comes over here, and you know, it's reflecting off of that it's hitting the set, and you're like, fucking stop, just freeze where you are. That's what we want. And then the grips are like, Oh, great, now we got to contain the rest of it. You know what I mean? It's still off here. Yeah. turn those lights off. When your MO don't let him see the lights and your moon around, you know, turn them off. But you always have to be open for that. And even you know, in life you're you're out at a restaurant, you're you know, you're at a bar, you're at the movie theater, whatever it is. Pay attention to your surroundings because there's always, you know, I learned so much about lighting from being in far too many bars in New York in the mid 90s. You know what I mean? They were all dark. And a lot of them were dive bars and and you just see the way that these dimly lit bars had really cool things going on, you know, and always you always have to be open for that and keep your eyes open for it. Because you can learn just as much sitting in a seedy dive bar in New York, as you can be asked on set when it comes to lighting. Trust me.

Alex Ferrari 44:20
I've been at some time. No, you know, as a cinematographer, there's always a day on set, where the entire world feels like it's crashing down around you. It could have been on clerks, it could have been on Mandalorian are those Is there a day that sticks out in your head? That you felt like, I shouldn't be here, this whole I'm gonna get fired, this whole thing's not gonna work. And what did you do to to kind of go through that and get through that obstacle?

David Klein 44:49
I don't know if there's a day or a handful of days in particular Alex, but all that that happens all the time. Happens all the time, and you just have to push rule, you know, there's so many times when it feels like the sets falling apart and you're behind schedule, and you're not going to make your day and you're not getting the shots the way you want each set to push through. You know, you have to you always have to push through because it, it feels like that a lot. You know, I had there was a point I was going for, and I missed it asked me something else, man, I, I'll come back to that.

Alex Ferrari 44:49
Well, I mean, I, as I've been, I've been blessed to talk to so many amazing people on this show. I've realized that everybody from the Oscar winner to the first time filmmaker, all suffer from impostor syndrome. Every single one of them, even to this day, you know, I'm talking to some Oscar winning screenwriter. He's like, Yeah, I don't even know if this next script. I'm like, you just won the Oscar, what's wrong with you? Like you just are like, you're considered one of the best writers ever? Like, why are you? Yeah, he was I just, I just do. And I think I came to realize that everybody deals with it. And I think it's something that kind of keeps you sharp. I'm assuming that you have the same issues as far as impostor syndrome. Always. And,

David Klein 46:20
Yeah, you have to be I mean, you have to be your most your fiercest critic, you have to be your biggest fan, you have to be your biggest supporter, you have to be, you know, your most most critical eye against yourself, I think, because nobody knows what anybody else thinks all you have is yourself. So and you have to rely on all the people around you. Um, let me sound pretentious for a second quote, was it? Orson Welles said that, you know, a painter needs a paintbrush or writer needs a pen and a filmmaker needs an army. You know, and it's true. And no, no cinematographer, no director, no filmmaker is an island. We can't You can't do this alone. You know, what I mean, you have to have this this support this support system that is, is, you know, it's the most record is the most complicated and sophisticated recording device known to man. You know, and a lot of the times, you know, a lot of times it is like being deployed, you know, I did homeland for for six years, and we were either for seven months, either out of the state or out of the country, sometimes both within the season. And it is like a deployment, you know, I, it's, it's, I can't, I can't equate it to going to war. I can't compare it to going to war. I've never been to war. But in my life's experience, it is like a deployment. And you know, you're just in the trenches for seven months, eight months, you know, and it's nonstop. And it's hard to remember sometimes to get out of the way, you know, because if somebody looks at something that I this is probably paraphrasing, I think Deakins, but if if somebody looks at something that I've shot, it says, Wow, that's a great looking episode. You know, that's a great looking show. That's a great looking movie. Without talking about a story that I've failed. You know, I think it is our it is my job as a storyteller to be almost invisible. And it should be we should be the silence between the notes, you know, and if somebody looks at something about shots, well, you know, that was that was a great story, you know, then that's a success for everybody for all of us. But if they single out the cinematography, lighting camera work, then then I don't think we were, we weren't serving the story at that point.

Alex Ferrari 48:48
Very true. A lot of a lot of times, especially I don't know about you, but when I started out, I wanted to call the shots. And the story was the like, I'm like, I want to do that Scorsese shot and Goodfellas, I want to do that shot. That's Kubrick did I want to do that shot that Spielberg did like we all we all do it but as you get older, you start realizing like what's the story? What's the story because before it was a it was a lot harder to do those shots. It was super hard to do a lot of those shots back in the 80s 70s 80s 90s. To do some of those insane shots that those masters did was difficult. Where now that technology has gotten to a place where you know you could with a ronin you can run around instead of getting a full giant Steadicam up and you can you can you could do some insane shots run again jumping through going through like there's things that you can do

David Klein 49:35
Absolutely, absolutely. It's not and but but there's there's still, there's still always the next level. There's still somewhere to take it, you know, but it has to start the story I worked a lot during manda Mandalorian Season Two I worked a lot with Sam Hargrave. He was the main senior director and then he went on to do you know, extraction and some of the stuff that that he was doing and did an extraction is absolutely insane. And it was a perfect blend of it was a perfect blend of his background, being a stuntman and becoming a second year director and then a director. And combining that with all the new technology of the day, you know, there's that scene you look at the behind the scenes stuff, where he's basically riding on a four wheeler ATV of some sort, and he's actually directing and operating the camera and somebody you know, chasing a car basically going forward and in reverse and, and then somebody detaches him and he runs up and shoves the camera through the window. And then there was a takeover or some sort, they did a CG a visual effects blend, you know, going into the car, and then they're all all of a sudden in the car in another shot, they blend it together and the car drives away. And so it's it was beautiful choreography. And it was it was like, you know, watching a ballet dancer, except, you know, is more punk rock than that.

Alex Ferrari 51:02
Yeah, I mean, there's always a place to take. I mean, look at that shot that Spielberg did and where the worlds inside the car where the cameras just rotating around the car while the you know, the aliens are attacking and things are exploding and you just like when you know, when you and I sit there going? How the hell did they do that? Then they've done they've gone to another place. Yeah. Because we Graeme Jesus, I mean, you're just like, how did he do that? So it's, it's, it's it's pretty remarkable, man. Now I have to ask you about Mandalorian. Brother, like you worked on season one. You didn't work on season one. You worked on Season Season.

David Klein 51:42
I came in and season two as the second second cinematographer to bash anyone and Matt Jensen. So I was in seeking a matt Jensen got a little overloaded with prep work. And so he turned the episode six over to me. And as you know, when I met Robert and I had I had gotten here, I gotten here from an introduction to Fabbro. Through Lesli Linka Glatter, who was my main policy director on homeland and then you know, Matt Jensen also brought me up. And so that's how I kind of came to be here. After season two, you know, Matt and bass were going off to do their own things. They weren't coming back for their own reasons. And so I got, I guess, promoted to the main cinematographer on the Book of Boba Fett

Alex Ferrari 52:33
So so when you're, I have to ask you some technical stuff, man. Yeah. How the hell do you lighten the volume? Because I know, I have a couple of buddies of mine who are VFX people working who work the Mandalorian season one. And he was telling me that he's like, yeah, they shoot a lot. But there's still a lot of cleanup work that we need to do with some of the edges and, and, and creases and things like that, that it's not all in camera, but it's a lot better than where it's not a green screen either. So there's a kind of happy medium. But how do you like that? I'm assuming there's not an HDMI off? Like, how do you do that? How do you light it?

David Klein 53:08
You know, it's, that's a hard question to answer. It's kind of like asking, How do you like, how do you like anything? You know what I mean? It's got its own. It's a, it's a fucking process.

Alex Ferrari 53:21
I'm just telling you, it's fucking hard, dude. It's weird.

David Klein 53:25
There's nothing easy about it. I think I had a, I had a lucky introduction to it in that, you know, I was doing just a few days here and there during season two. And so I was getting to know and I was able to watch bass and Matt do their thing in the volume. And so I had a slow introduction to the volume and in season two, and then rolled right into Boba Fett shortly after that, and was thrown in the deep end, you know, where there's, there's a long prep, there was a long prep to Boba Fett, I think I was on for about five months before shooting started. And it has a lot to do with with lighting the content that's going on volume walls, you know. And so essentially, you're in the Unreal Engine, you're in a VR session, and you're lighting the content, the way you would want to light it practically, you know, and that's, that's one thing that is always a sticking point at Fabbro. Because the tendency for a cinematographer, when you get into the VR environment, and a virtual lighting environment is to do whatever the fuck you want, you know, because you can do just about anything. But you also have to match that in the practical set that's going to be inside the volume. And one of those things is like don't light it however, you could in a virtual environment, let it how you would in reality, or else it's going to start to look like a video game. It's gonna you know, it's yeah, you can put a source the size of the sun out there and do this but could you do that if you were lighting this virtual environment practically no, you could you You'd have, you'd have HMIs and whatever you're going to use, and that's also what you're going to use on the practical set. So, you know, it starts with lighting the virtual environment and, and knowing how to bridge the gap between the virtual and the practical, because, you know,

Alex Ferrari 55:19
You could actually move light sources within the volume itself that meaning the, the VR aspect of the Unreal Engine, you could put a light somewhere in the virtual space that lights through the LEDs on and there is an aspect to that correct?

David Klein 55:35
There is there is you're not gonna get, you're not gonna get directionality, you're not going to get hard light, you know, you're gonna get a lot of soft light, you're gonna get all the interactive stuff like that you get from the environment, but any, any direct a hard light, you're going to have to do practically and so when you're doing it in the virtual environment ahead of time you know, you have to know that I'm not going to be able to do this entire wash of sunlight in here I'm only going to be able to do this you know, these spots and these broken up bits of sunlight so that's what I should do in the virtual and then I'll do that also in the in the practical you know, with HMIs or we've also gone into tungsten now with with some of the loads started doing that on Boba Fett didn't didn't know if it was possible or not. And I've been told that it was not possible to get the tungsten in the volume but then I was talking to everybody from from state trapped and ILM and they said we can absolutely go tungsten I don't know who told you that and I to be honest, don't remember who told it to me either. But once we started using tungsten light in there it I think it made everything feel a little more real because it's just it's a full spectrum you know, light source and it just kind of fills in all the blanks wavelengths you know, and it just it just made it all feel a little more real for me.

Alex Ferrari 56:58
When I was talking to Dean Conde because he was on the show and he was right before he was heading out to Boba I think he chatted he did did you Boba, or do you shoot it shoot some episodes Ababa. He was telling me that he was lighting outside the volume as well getting some lights built it's something like that, or am I mistaken?

David Klein 57:16
No, you're not mistaken one thing that we haven't you know, we haven't been able to do and I don't know if it'll ever be possible is to do abroad, you know, sunlight source or you know, open moonlight even anytime you want to just just fill the volume with light, if that's what the scene requires, you need to take it outside. Because first of all, there's not enough room, it seems like it's a big space, but it gets it gets very small very quickly. And if you did wash it with with, you know, giant HMIs or big tungsten sources, the lights just gonna bounce all over the LED walls and render them useless. So, anytime we need open sunlight anytime we need, you know, say the desert at night where it's supposed to be Moon source, we'll go on the backlog. But if we need pockets, if we need, you know, a skylight here in there shooting some sunlight and then we have some some parts of the ceiling that we can take out big sections of the ceiling that we take out. And there's still there's a lot of rigging up there a lot hardware to work around. And so there's still not a lot of space to get lights, you know, away from where they need to be so you can have good shadows and so we ended up using mirrors a lot. So we'll have an opening you know, opening in the ceiling that might be five by 10 by by 12 Something like that. And then we'll have a big mirror of above and then we'll have an HMI Thompson for now whatever it is, another 1520 feet away so that there's a good amount of distance from the light and whatever's cutting it which is usually I go about hanging beneath the opening in the ceiling so that we're trying to get as far away from the light as possible so that we have good shadows you know, and there's there's just so much hardware to work around that it's difficult but we kind of cracked it a little bit and are getting better at it as we as we learn more which you know, we're learning something every day that were in there

Alex Ferrari 59:13
Right it seems like from season one to Season Two to boba and now hopefully I can't wait to see Season Three it seems that things are you can just sense things are getting a little bit more real and the way it's shot it just looks like the end sequence of you know the famous Luke Skywalker see and the season two like that's it's a masterwork honestly that whole episodes a masterwork it's absolutely absolute masterwork, I've watched the end sequence 1000 times because I'm a geek and and I got to ask you to use your your your your your similar vintages me, as far as age is concerned. So you got to keep out every once in a while dude, like you're like, You got to geek out

David Klein 1:00:00
For sure No, I'm turning into a 12 13 14 rolls very often on set, you know, I mean, you know, throw 10 stormtroopers in front of a camera and I'm 12 years old again.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:26
Yeah, the whole lightsaber, a lightsaber pops up. You're just like, Oh, forget it. I'm out. I can't.

David Klein 1:00:33
You know, it goes back to me blowing the hell out of that little little special edition Boba Fett. And, you know, I had all I had all the, the toys. I have some some of them in my office right now. Little baby clients to start with.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:46
That's, that's amazing. But so you on boba, you got to shoot with Robert. You shot for Robert Rodriguez, who is known very well known for being his own dp. So what was it like shooting for Robert because Robert is not used to working with other DPS generally speaking.

David Klein 1:01:05
I'll be honest, he largely left me alone. You know, he, I think he enjoys not having all the responsibility. Alright, you know, because he's still, you know, he's still he still edits everything. And even when we were prepping, ie, we were prepping remotely because it was the beginning of the pandemic. And so he was in Austin with his kids, and he was shooting basically animatics or a stump is with his kids and with some of his old, you know, Star Wars toys from when he was kid. So he's still very hands on. But when it came to the, the, you know, how are we gonna light this I realized, said he had ideas that we will talk about when we were prepping and when we were lighting some of the virtual environments, but for the most part, he left me alone. He would do you know, like most directors, so he'll tell me if he doesn't like something. But it wasn't like he was pointing me in a specific direction for lighting. You know, we he left me Well, let me do my own thing.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:09
He trusted. He trusted that you knew what you were doing?

David Klein 1:02:11
Yeah, I guess so. I dont know that's true, but he might think it is so.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:17
I saw I think it was in one of the behind the scenes that day. philon It was like, He's seeing the animatic that you're talking about? And he's like, can you stop? Can you stop it right second? Did you just shoot an animatic? With Star Wars toys in your backyard? He goes Yes. Yes, I did. And he's like, that is the coolest thing I've ever seen in my entire life. I think that was the moment that the book of boba he's like, wait a minute, let's bring Robert into the book of boba. And let's bring him into this because this is this is insane. And did you do with the season two? Boba episode or? No?

David Klein 1:02:51
I didn't. That was episode six. That's the that's the one that I did with Robert.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:57
Oh my god. Dude, you gotta I mean, okay, let's stop for a second geek out for a second when you saw boba show up for the first time. On set. What I mean, you guys have to be five year old.

David Klein 1:03:09
Absolutely. We are. That was a tough shoot, though. And, you know, it was I can't say it was anticlimactic. But we had shot a lot of the scenes with Boba Fett, you know, onstage and on the volume prior to the, you know, when he put your ducks up? The introduction? Yeah. And the introduction was was done out in Simi Valley because it had you know, we just needed the travel that scene needed the travel that you can't get in the volume. And it also needed that that open sunlight. And and so it, it forced us to go out to Simi Valley. And might be one of the reasons I got that episode because maybe Basma Matt didn't didn't want to go out there. You know, it was it was not an easy issue. It was It was rough. It was rough. It was five or six days out there. in Simi Valley was a lot of fun, but, and like I said, I can't say it's anticlimactic, but we had already been introduced. And so you know, I can't say that we were out there just to get it done. But there was a certain aspect of we got to get this done because we had a finite amount of time. And you know, what's funny is we only had six stormtroopers out there.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:19
Really? You did an alien style where they only had six aliens.

David Klein 1:04:25
Either that or I mean, there are a lot of complete CG VFX Stormtroopers. Wow, really, if you you know, and they're really good. They are really good. It's because I think it's, it's obviously much easier and the effects to do a stormtrooper than than version of face, you know. And there's, there's one that I'll point out and it's the last one to jump on the transport when the transports are taking off that you can kind of tell it's remember it I remember that one, right. I remember that. Yeah. So that's the One that that and I think it was only because I knew you know going in that that was CG and that only a portion of the the rest of them that were jumping on the ramp were actual troopers you know?

Alex Ferrari 1:05:13
It's pretty so much fun that out. But when I saw that episode, and I saw that episode, I was just blown away by how how cool it was. And you could tell it was the first time they were off the volume right in the whole series.

David Klein 1:05:28
Well, no, no, not exactly. Because there's a lot of backlot work. There's there's a lot of backlot work Correct.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:35
That was the first locate. That's the first location, first location.

David Klein 1:05:38
You're right about that. And in Boba Fett, we had a lot of a lot of backlot. And we had one location, which was Huntington gardens we went to for a few days, two days. For the for episode six, which was on the band before us, you know, the Luke Skywalker episode of Boba Fett.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:58
I thought that looks familiar. Like I was watching them like, oh, man, that looks like hunting diver.

David Klein 1:06:05
You know, we did. We did three versions of bamboo forest. In that episode. One was backlot one was on the volume and one was Huntington. And going back to, you know, being the silence in between the notes, some of the band before us that we did on the volume was some of the, that might have been the hardest volume that we did the entire season for many different reasons. But I think it blends in pretty well. And the fact that, that, you know, the transition from backlot to volume to Huntington is seamless. I did is is one is one of the things that makes it successful. But it's also like I was saying earlier, it's getting out of the way. And it's it's making, making that transition, you know, invisible and and just just having a sort of elegance and simplicity.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:57
Well, man, congrats on all the amazing work you're doing with John Dave up there. In Northern California, you guys are doing some good work with the Mandalorian. And we're all super excited to see the new season coming up this year. And it didn't just finish its production. It's not done now. I thought it was I thought I read it somewhere, brother. I'm not trying to get you anything. No, no worries. Don't worry. It's okay. I thought I read.

David Klein 1:07:22
Recently, I've recently finished another season of a Disney plus the streaming.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:29
Fair enough. Fair enough. Fair enough. Fair enough. Fair enough. Now, but no, seriously, man, congratulations on all the all the hard work you've done. And now knowing your backstory a bit more than I did before, man. I respect that even that much more because I didn't know about the 10 years in the wilderness that you had to go through like you were

David Klein 1:07:48
Los Angeles,

Alex Ferrari 1:07:50
Then years in the wilderness trying to trying to kind of carve your way in and climb your way back out of of the situation that that repugnant ly more the morally repugnant Harvey and, and those circumstances kind of hurt you on the way up. So kudos to you, man for keeping up there. And hopefully, this is a lesson for for the lessons for people listening that like, you got a castle doesn't matter where you start, or what happens. It happens, you know, things happen, that can slow your progression down in the sea. And then you have to ask yourself, How bad do you want it? Yeah, that's the question.

David Klein 1:08:25
You know, like I was saying earlier about, you know, advice to the young and up and coming. You know, my father was an orthopedic surgeon, he would not let me be a doctor, because he was a doctor, and his father was a doctor, my grandfather was a doctor, and they were never home. And so, I chose a profession with with ours worse than a fucking surgeon. You know what I mean? It's really, you really got to think long and hard about if you want to be in this business, because it takes a toll, you know, and I've got a marriage that was destroyed. I have a 14 year old daughter who as she was growing up, you know, from, from six to 11 or 511. I was doing homeland and I was gone seven months a year. And so I turn around and she's 12. You know what I mean? And I'm like, we're, we're all that time ago. I missed all that time. So you got to think long and hard about it.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:25
Yeah, it's something that they don't tell you in films will tell you that a lot of men, especially for DPS, even more so than directors, DPS are always working. You know, they're, you know, they're not getting the fat, you know, checks a lot of times, so they have to keep hustling, they gotta keep working, they gotta keep going. And that's time and that does break up. I know, a lot of note a lot of DPS with marriages don't make it. They it's, it's, it's, it's tough. So you really got to love what you're doing. You really really really got to love what you're doing.

David Klein 1:09:57
I remember being at a festival how Ah, festival in Bozeman, Montana. And they would always have a couple of cinematographers there. One one year I was there as one of the cinematographers in Haskell Wexler was the other. And so we were speaking to a group of university students and we were talking about the hours and you know, he was he was still promoting, who needs sleep, the documentary that he made about the working hours in the business and and we were talking about the hours and one of the one of the students, you know, ask the question, how do you guys make it work? You know, how do you how do you? How do you have a life live a life and work these hours? And Haskell just goes? I'm on marriage number three guys. You know it sometimes it doesn't.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:40
Bam. Oh, that's a drop the mic moment right there. That's, that's it that is raw and truthful as as it gets. That's so awesome, man. So awesome. I didn't I know you wanted to do a dress the the accidental shooting that happened on the set of Ross with your friend, can you can you discuss that a little bit.

David Klein 1:10:58
You know, I've known Halina for a short amount of time, you know, about a year. She was a wonderful person she was I thought she was a great cinematographer, I'd introduced her to some some members of camera department that we're actually working with her unrest. And I'll be honest, Alex, I, you know, when we were first getting into this, it was so raw, and I had a lot of emotional opinions about it. And I don't remember exactly what I wanted to say specifically. But I'm not, you know, I didn't see a letter that was going around at the time but a lot of cinematographers about No, no actual weapons ever again, you know, no, real firearms on set the suit all the effects. And I'm not that guy. You know, I've probably photographed 2 million routes, you know, obviously blacks in, in, in my day, and she was she, you know, she was a friend of mine. Like I said, not a longtime friend, but she was a friend of mine. And it's a it's a horrible tragedy what happened. But I think what needs to happen is there just needs to be a safety officer, you know, there needs to be a position created that that oversees all safety, because you can't you can't put that on the abs, you know, you can't put that solely on the armor, you know, you there has to be a checks and balances. And that there needs to be a new position, I think created that is that is safety. And we've seen it for the last two years. During the pandemic, we have safety officers that have been going around, you know, and for the first year of it, it was put your face shield down, keep your mask on, put your face shield down, and now it's now it's just masks, but still, there have there has been an entire department created. So I think there should be a safety officer, you know, there should be that, that at least that one position that is in charge of the thing, the things that we all think the long squarely on the shoulders of the abs, you know, you can't you can't put it on them because that it's just not right. I think we need a new position that oversees all the stuff.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:13
I agree with you on that because, you know, working with a DS all my career, man, it's a big, they can handle a lot, man. They handle a lot on their shoulders, and they should be one layer of protection, but it shouldn't stop with them so that the ad should still have some sort of say in what's going on and let everybody know. And you know, I'm shooting on set and he stopped it said, Hey, we've got a live live arm on set. Everyone be aware, this is it. This is that I get that part. And the armor should definitely also have, you know, have some sort of another layer of protection. But there should be the last stop gap. Someone who just finally goes, let me see the gun. Let me check it, make sure everything's good. All right, and go for it. You know, I've done both of I've worked with live rounds, and I've worked with VFX you know, the airsoft guns, and, you know, it's it. Can it be done? Yeah. But I,

David Klein 1:14:13
Here's the problem I have with Alex you know, even even a quarter load blank or a half load blank. An actor doesn't react to the way they act react to a full blank. You know, I don't even I don't like how it flows. I don't like quarter loads. I like full of blanks, because that's that gives them the correct reaction from the gun for them to respond to you know, and that's that's exactly and that's, that's my main thing. And like I said, you know, I hate it when people say I've been in this business for this amount of time. They usually lose me when they say that but I have photographed a lot. A lot of blank rounds and blanks and never had an issue never had a problem.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:56
I mean listen and I got called by variety in Hollywood for You know, quotes and trying to, you know, the asking my opinion on what was going on and I will be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. said, Listen, guys, and they got this from a few other industry vets who said, how many stunt men have had been hurt in the course of the last 100 years on a set? Do we now do away with all stunts and do everything virtually? No, their safety, there was mistakes, you know, what happened in the twilight zone? You know, that horrible, that horrible accident that happened there? And there's so many other you list, you know, accidents that happen in the State Department. Things happen sometimes. But there has to you can't just wash everything away.

David Klein 1:15:46
Like, you can't, and I'm sorry to interrupt you. But I'd be willing to bet. I'd be willing to bet the Condor lighting cranes have hurt more people in the last 10 years than stunts. Have you ever been agreed? We have so many new there are so many new, you know, new safety rules and regulations regarding condors all the time. You know, I remember back in the day when they didn't need a harness.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:15
I remember I remember. Oh, just remember, you remember the cranes? How about the cranes when you're sitting down? I mean, those long cranes with the camera at the top, and you see the pictures? And I got up on one of those plans? Once I'm like, where's my seat belt? Are you are you? No, I'm not doing this. I'll do this from the bottom. I'm not gonna do this.

David Klein 1:16:33
Well, you know, going back to the 90s, Alex, we used a lot of those cranes, you know, the Chapman, the Titans, the Nikes, all that stuff. Because they were so much cheaper, when the remote heads were new, you know, remote heads were coming out in the late 80s, early 90s. And, and so they're very expensive. So we rode those trains all the time, and there usually is usually our seat belts.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:55
Just cheaper

David Klein 1:16:57
But you are you're up there, you know, you're 50 feet in the air or whatever it is, like, wow, this is this is, you know, it's the most treacherous thing I've probably done, aside from, you know, being being in stock cars, you know, as a camera operator being sent cars is pretty wild, too. But along with that, I've been, you know, what's more dangerous than any of the any of the work with blanks that I've done over the years.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:22
Wow, man! Well, I hope that I hope that there is some changes made, I think there will be I hope they're not just a knee jerk reaction, I hope there's a really thoughtful way of moving forward with it. Because, like, I agree with you, 100%, I think there has to be some sort of position created to help this to help this scenario, because obviously, there's a problem, especially with so many low budget, non union, you know, situations, which I've been involved with a lot in my in my day, I get that. And it's a while it's a little wild, wild west, no pun intended, because that was a question. But it's a little bit wild, wild west, in the sense that, oh, yeah, we'll do this, it's gonna cost too much, we're not going to do that. And there has to be some sort of rules has to,

David Klein 1:18:05
There has to be an account, you know, accountable accountability. And I think the way to do it is to assign a person to, you know, overall safety, as we've been during the pandemic, you know, our COVID safety officers will will give a speech, you know, to us about mask wearing and social distancing, and all that stuff. And so, it's easily done, you know, that position is easily created. And I know everything comes with a price tag, but there's no price tag as big as the one. You know. What? Oh, no, that's bad. You know what I mean?

Alex Ferrari 1:18:39
Amen, brother. Amen. I appreciate it. I appreciate you will be willing to talk about that and bring that out to light. Now, I want to ask you a few questions. Ask all my guests now. Yeah. What advice would you give a young cinematographer or filmmaker trying to break into this vicious business?

David Klein 1:18:58
Still fucking do it! An actual an actuality, you know, I would say, take a long, hard look at this industry and really think long and hard about whether you want to commit this much of your life to to this because it'll take every every minute that you get this industry will take every minute, every hour that you give it and then so think long and hard about it and because none of them will listen to that piece of advice. I will then say, you know, you gotta get out there and work you have to learn. As I said, before everybody on a film set everybody in life knows something that you don't So learn from them, you know, and when you're when you're new in the business, you have to just get on set every in any every way that you can, because you'll learn more in a day on set, you know, being that fly on the wall, then you will In a year of film school, you know, at least in terms of the day to day hands on practical way of telling stories, you know, and that's what it all comes down to.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:13
Absolutely no, I learned more during my internship at Universal Studios, Florida than I did in going to go into my college. I would skip school just to go and hang out on on stages and just watched the grips going, go on tangled that cable, and I'm like, All right. All right. Um, this is so cool. You mean that big pile over there? That's been sitting there since 1976? That pile of cable? Okay, sure. Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

David Klein 1:20:44
You know, I think and we, we touched on it earlier is, I think the longest lesson it took me to learn is that is to get out of the way, you know, and that there is an elegance and simplicity and the you know, don't, don't, don't lie things just to light them, you gotta you got to serve the story, you have to be telling the story, or all the experience, and all the knowledge that you have is irrelevant, you know, and all the slick lighting that you can do is irrelevant. You know, unless you're serving that story, if you want to be, you know, if you want to shoot just just slick images, then then do commercials. Absolutely. You know, because that's what they're all about. And that in and of itself is telling you a story as well, it's telling you a story of how to buy Bud Light, or whatever it is. And so it has to be flashy in in your face and and you know, high key and, and whatever else it is, but but just just tell the story and otherwise get out of the way, you know, be the silence in between the notes.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:54
And three of your favorite films of all time?

David Klein 1:21:57
Ooh, that's a tough one. I gotta say Blade Runner. That's that's one of the films they got me in this into this business in this industry. And not only do I think it's a great movie, but it it it looks amazing. And it's look is relentless, relentlessly devoted to its story. I mean, it's it's creating that world of what was it 2019 Los Angeles.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:27
Not too far off. Not too far off. I'm still waiting for the Jetsons.

David Klein 1:22:39
But it is relentlessly devoted to its story, the look a bit it's after that kind of target. Three favorite movies. There are so many. Number two, I'd say everything that Conrad Hall ever shot. You know, everything and just about anything. You know. I've been devoted to studying his his work for a long time. And

Alex Ferrari 1:23:03
He did Bobby Fischer. Right?

David Klein 1:23:07
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And it's, again, talk about somebody who was relentlessly devoted to telling the story. You know, it's some of the things that he did with his lining, I still blowing my mind. And I don't know how he did it, or where he came where the idea came from. And I don't know that he knew either. It seems like he was somebody that that didn't shoot from the hip. But, you know, it all came from from the gut from the heart. You know,

Alex Ferrari 1:23:34
He was channeling, he was channeling somebody.

David Klein 1:23:37
That's for sure. That's for sure. So, you know, that takes up my next two answers. I think it's all of his movies. Otherwise, it's it's so hard. It's so I mean, would you choose something like Susan, can you choose something? You know, like, like, 1917? Even, you know?

Alex Ferrari 1:23:54
There's, there's too many. There's too many. Well, that's, that's a good, that's a good, good start. And can you tell us what you're up to next?

David Klein 1:24:04
I'm prepping a new Disney Plus series yet to be announced

Alex Ferrari 1:24:14
Yet to be announcedokay. Fair enough. Fair enough. All right. So it's going to be the Jar Jar series. I know. I know what it is. It's a Jar Jar series. You could just you don't have to admit it. No, it's the Jar Jar series. Rather than it has been an absolute honor and privilege talking to you, man. It has been so much fun. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us and the tribe today and continued success. Brother, you're you're an inspiration out there for us, man. So thank you.

David Klein 1:24:42
Thank you, Alex. Thanks for having me, man. Appreciate it.

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IFH 453: Clerks, Sundance and Making $500 Million+ at the Box-Office with Scott Mosier


Right-click here to download the MP3

You guys are in for a major treat. I’m always talking about those “lottery ticket” filmmaker stories that we all dream of happening to us one day. Well, today’s guest’s story is one of the mythological stories that come to life.

We have a 90’s independent film icon, Scott Mosier. Scott is an indie film producer, editor, writer, director, actor, and podcaster of Smodcast, which he co-hosts with his long-term filmmaking partner, Kevin Smith.

From Vancouver Film School to Hollywood, Scott’s trajectory has been inspiring for many in the industry. He produced some of the best 90s classics like Clerks 1 & 2, Jersey Girl, the Oscar® Winning Good Will Hunting, Dogma, and many, many more.

Scott acted in, edited the movie, original sound, and contributed to Clerk’s budget. After the massive hit, they followed up with the embattled Mallrats. The film was not well received and did no money at the box office. Kevin and Scott were essentially discarded and called a one-hit-wonder. For most filmmakers that would be all she wrote but not for Kevin and Scott.

They decided to go back to their roots and make another low-budget indie and prove to Hollywood that they were here to stay. Their next film was the brilliant romantic comedy-drama, Chasing Amy. The tells the unfortunate twist of a male comic artist who falls in love with a lesbian woman, to the displeasure of his best friend.

After self-financing, the majority of their initial projects (Mosier & Smith), 2001, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was Mosier’s first big-budget ($20 million) production.

Based on real-life stoners Jay and Silent Bob, so when they get no profit from a big-screen adaptation they set out to wreck the movie.

If that wasn’t enough Scott also co-executive produced the Oscar® Award-Winning Good Will Hunting in his spare time.

Wanting a change Scott decided to branch out and start directing himself. His 2018 directorial debut was a stand-out project! A box office hit, grossing about $512 million globally and the highest-grossing holiday film of all time. Dr. Seuss: The Grinch became the third screen adaptation of the 1957 Dr. Seuss book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

I had a ball talking shop with Scott. We discussed the genesis of the independent film movement as we know it today, dealing with studios, what was it like being in the Clerks hurricane, and much more.

Enjoy my conversation with Scott Mosier.

Alex Ferrari 2:41
I'd like to welcome to the show the legendary Scott Mosier how're you doing Scott?

Scott Mosier 4:14
The legendary Scott Mosier is not here.

Alex Ferrari 4:18
Well then we'll just deal with the Scott Mosier that's in front of us. Yes. I'm good. How are you? I'm good, man. I'm good. Thank you so much for coming on the show man. I've I've been a fan of of your, you're producing for a long time and you're directing my kids are now fans of your directing as well, which we'll get all into that in a bit. But, you know, many, many of my listeners know that you you know kind of get your start in clerks. Working with Kevin and getting that whole thing going. I have to first tell you when I first saw clerks, because you and I are similar vintage, as far as age is concerned. So

Scott Mosier 4:58
You're looking at I'm about to what's today? Friday on Friday, um, a week. So today's February 24. So March 5, I turned 50. I'm like, Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 5:10
You're a little bit, you're just slightly a bit older. I'm 46. So we're in similar we, we've crossed over the same bodies, in the bits in the business. So, um, when I first thought clerks, I was so upset because I was working in video stuff. Like, it was right in front of me. Why did I think of this? It was like, literally, I was I worked at a video store for five years. And I was just like, God, damn it, man. I was so upset at myself, like I had. And I thought about that. But you guys, you guys did it. So how did you get involved with Kevin? How did you get involved with clerks and that whole kind of crazy story?

Scott Mosier 5:49
So I mean, you know, I backing it up, like I was probably, I guess I was like, 14, or 15. Or even younger than that. It was like Raiders of the Lost Ark was the movie I saw. Where it wasn't just that I was like, Oh, I love this movie. It was more that I was like, Oh, what is how do people do this, like, you know that it's a constructive thing. You know, like, it became, I became aware that it's like, oh, people made it didn't just appear on an air. And so then I started getting released in film. And then, you know, ultimately went to the Vancouver Film School, because I was living just outside of Vancouver, BC. So. And so Kevin and I both just sort of independently end up getting in, we're in the same class. It was like the 25th 26th. Like they were they were numbered, so it's cool, just opened. And we both went because our grades weren't that good. And so it's like, this is a tech school, right? You just go it's eight bonds, you're in and out, Kevin. So we arrived there together, we kind of become friends. But Kevin is the one who came with a plan, like Kevin had already sort of, he was working in a convenience store. And the videos are back and forth. And so he kind of went there with the intention of like, I'm going to learn how to make a movie, and then go back and make the movie with my friends. And then we became friends. And so it became like, around halfway through the program, it's like the four month mark, it was like 10,000 all and then they take it the halfway mark, like you had to put in your next 5000. And Kevin was like, I'm not gonna do it. I'm gonna go home and get my job back. And you say, and finish the term out and learn how or whatever's left tiller. As far as like, all that was really left in the back half of the four months was we switched into doing these sort of narrative 16 millimeter shorts. So you worked on like, two, I think or one now you just worked on one. And and so Kevin left to save the money to put towards the movie. And then I stayed. And that's when Dave like Dave Klein is in our class, who was the cinematographer on clerks. And he we've kind of known each other. But as soon as Kevin laughs like that, Dave and I started hanging out a lot. And so by the time we graduated, so it was like March of 92. We start class, October we finish. And Dave and I are friends. And after that we started making like, there's all there's a bunch of, you know, there's like a community of like, people have gone to the school, and they were making short films outside of the program. And so I was, I was editing one was the editor on one and I was the dolly grip during the shoot, I was doing it, I was cut in at night. David shot and, and so we were all just kind of around with cevin. In the meantime, I remember working on that short when I was Dolly, Dolly grip for a reason. And that's when I read in convenience or the first draft of clerks. So that was like probably November of 92. So we meet in March of 92 by November of 92. I have the the draft for clerks and then and then from there, we were gonna shoot earlier, but then there was a big flood and Kevin's like house was flooded and his car was flooded and so he couldn't do it. And so we we postponed until March and then I was prepping in the morning to rent equipment like I was getting up like really early at like 5am to call houses in New York to rent camera equipment and we'd sort of talked to you know, I mean, there's a lot of stories that we have talked to, you know, we talked to one DP was in New York is an older guy who had his own path lighting and etc, etc. And I remember Kevin, I was talking to him like, this is totally. I mean, look, it all worked out. So, but I remember I remember being like, I remember distinctly feeling like, oh, man, like, if there's that one guy who knows everything, and we're just complete neophytes, it's like it kind of, we both were a little bit like, it feels wrong, like, you know, or it feels like it just felt like the wrong move to have this person who was always like, can't do that. And you have to do this. And you have friends that I think we're just selfish and scared.

Alex Ferrari 10:52
Ignorance, ignorance is bliss.

Scott Mosier 10:54
Yeah, it was it truly was like, kind of like, and then Dave, we knew Dave like, well, let's update. You know, let's, let's, let's bring a lot of people who know nothing.

Alex Ferrari 11:07
So I'd be on paper. This sounds fantastic as an investment. So we were talking about it's I mean, it really does black and white movie about clerks. No Star Power cost about 20 something 27,000 If I'm not mistaken. First time DP really, I mean, other than shorts, first time director first time producer. First time cast essentially had no actors for Summit. So again, on paper, solid, solid investments. Everyone lined up. Everyone's just like, How much money do you need?

Scott Mosier 11:36
Yeah, I'm like, why don't you give us a million? And we're like, no, no, no, no. We only want 1000

Alex Ferrari 11:44
Let's not get crazy. And then And also, I just recently found out that Dave, Dave was the DP on the Mandalorian. So he's done okay, for himself.

Scott Mosier 11:54
Yeah, I mean, dude, you know, shot from day one on the ship shoot, like, most the seasons of homeland, and now he's on Mandalorian. Like, you know, he, yeah, he's sort of, you know, his career. And last two has just taken off, you know, and he's doing, you know, he's been nominated for Emmys. Like, it's just amazing. But yeah, we were at that point, you know, that's my feminine paying for it, you know, essentially all those on his credit cards, but, you know, his, his, his mindset, which always made sense to me was, like, you know, you can go to NYU is if you've got mam IU, or another sort of more prestigious film school site, he could have spent 100,000, you know, 100 $200,000 So it's like, you know, by the time he came out of Vancouver Film School, having spent like, you know, eight to $10,000, and fees, and living, etc, etc. And then you add, you know, another 30 grand and credit card debt. It's like, it didn't seem you know, it was like on paper, once again, like, on paper, it was like, Is this the worst thing like, nuke? Yes, you're in debt. And if the movie is a total disaster, you'll have to dig yourself out of it. But like, I mean, but that's, and I will say this, like, that's, that's, you know, that's not me. That was Kevin, like Kevin had, Kevin's always had that drop, you know, and like to make that sort of like, leap, you know, he made the leap of like, I'm just, like, Fuck it, like, I'm just gonna do it, you know, and like, start rash, like getting credit cards.

Alex Ferrari 13:32
You know, it's, it's, I mean, look, you know, I grew up in the 90s. And that you you guys were part of that first wave of true independent like that what what we consider independent film today was created, starting in 89, with sex lies, and continue with clerics and El Mariachi and reservoir and that whole, you know, Linkletter and slacker and all these guys. And when you guys were making clerks, it hadn't really hit yet. Sundance was Sundance, but it wasn't Sundance like you guys helped create the mythos around Sundance with with clerks, and mariachi and then of course, all these other films that came around that time. So there was, there wasn't even kind of a blueprint for what you guys were doing. Like it wasn't like, oh, yeah, we're gonna submit to Sundance and then obviously, Harvey and Miramax is gonna pick this up and we're gonna get a fat check in our careers. Like, that wasn't even a thing. It's the risk that you guys were taking was not only crazy, looking. In hindsight, it's like on paper, it looked horrible, but it was like really? It was really brave and stupid.

Scott Mosier 14:39
100% but I will, I will sort of like, unfortunately punch a hole.

Alex Ferrari 14:45
Please, please punch away.

Scott Mosier 14:46
Because there was actually like a absolute blueprint with Slacker.

Alex Ferrari 14:52
You're right, I guess. Slacker. Did you write slacker?

Scott Mosier 14:54
Slacker slacker comes out. Kevin sees fluff like, here's the slacker boy. prep. Kevin goes to New York See, slacker goes, it loves it. And he's like, if that's a movie, I can make a movie, right? And then from there, there was like, you know, there was enough examples.

Alex Ferrari 15:14
I guess you're right. You'll be really early though.

Scott Mosier 15:17
Slacker. We were super early. And we definitely became like part of the sort of Sundance mythos of like, the ultra low budget, kind of like film from nowhere, you know, and then filmmaker plucked out and sort of, you know, given a career, like, we're definitely all part of that. But there was enough, you know, right down to the fact that Kevin was like, there was an article about slacker who had framed on his wall, which was, Rick had made the movie and then showed it as a in progress screen in the IFM, which was the international feature film market. And an Amy talbin did this sort of wrap up article every year called, picked a few movies, and she had picked slacker. And so that really was the blueprint, like Sundance was technically not the end zone, the end zone was to get to IFAM and screen it. So we had that blueprint. And then there was another article I remember written by Peter Broderick, which was a budget breakdown of laws of gravity, which is very, very, like by year, but it still was like, and so it kind of helped shape this idea of like, I think we can do this because the slacker was 22,000. And laws of gravity was around there, too. So it was like, it kind of became this sort of, like $25,000 idea. That was the budget, you know, and before you know, the other person who was like, very influential, who had proceeded everybody was Jarmusch. You know, like he stranger than paradise was a huge influence. I mean, like, a big influence as far as like, long takes, you know, like, there was definitely an influence, but it was also just an influence of like, you know, the young and like the those those are the first independent films, like Think stage in Paradise was like the first indie film.

Alex Ferrari 17:23
What was it? What year was that? What year was that? Is that 89 90?

Scott Mosier 17:26
I thought it was 89. I was about to look.

Alex Ferrari 17:29
Yeah, I think, because I know. I mean, obviously Soderbergh's, you know, sex lies was that was a million dollar. I was like, a million dollar movie. That wasn't a small indie. But it was the thing that kind of launched Sundance into being what Sundance essentially became. And prior to that Hollywood shuffle in 87, which was another big blueprint, which I think I think Robert Townsend doesn't get enough credit for, for being like one of the first guys I think he was one of the first guys to put everything on his credit card, and just say, Screw it, and yet, yeah,

Scott Mosier 17:58
And I like I like Kevin, the blueprint. I'm pretty, I think that was definitely Kevin put it on his credit card. It's like it was like the like the Blueprint was sort of like Hollywood shuffle slacker. laws of gravity was just the first budget I'd ever seen where they broken it down into camera equipment, and all that stuff. And I was just like, such a neophyte that I was like, it just gave me something where I was like, oh, like, so if somebody says the camera package cost three times as much I can cry bullshit, and go like No, no like this. You know what I mean? It just gave me something to, to base it off. But we did have this sort of, we had this blueprint and we ultimately go to the AFM. We have a terrible screening. And no one's in. Like there's, there's awesome the cast. And then there's like three or four other people, you know, but there's one guy, there's one guy, this guy, Robert Hawke, who was a consultant for Sundance, and was a big part of the indie film world. And he had watched it, and he becomes this sort of like, he leaves and he tells Peter Broderick, and then Amy Talman wrote the article calls Peter Broderick and says, like, is there anything I missed? And he's like, You got to watch this movie clerks. So then Kevin's in the store, we're all depressed because we're like, Well, that's it right? Like that's, that's 40 grand like, the Blueprint was over. Blueprint grant really ran out. We've turned the page and we're like, Fuck, it's blank. There's nothing left to do except lick our wounds. And then Amy Tabin calls Kevin at the store and basically we become we become the sort of, if the slacker article she wrote as the prototype, we basically become that film for that year we became the film you know, we became the slacker, over article. And then everything just sort of ballooned from there. You know, everything was just like it was all look, it's all so much of it was word of mouth.

Alex Ferrari 20:07
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Scott Mosier 20:18
Because it was like, from Peter Broderick, Amy Talbott, like, it just became like, Larry cartouche from MoMA, and then John Pierce, like it, just, you know, then the film just starts like, then people are moving, advancing things without us doing anything. And we're just sitting back, you know, like, like, watching, like, you know, roller coasters. Like this. Here's like, what to

Alex Ferrari 20:44
Use someone for the ride at that point?

Scott Mosier 20:46
Yeah, as soon as we look, you know, as soon as we get to Sundance, you know, the idea leaving left is like, will someone buy, you know, we still didn't know that. And, and there have been sort of screenings prior. So some of the studios have seen it. And it was really like, well, we got to have a, we have to have really great screens to see it. So that was the only thing kind of left. And then once it's bought, then then it's truly like the roller coaster of like, you know, but it was it was really, you know, it was, it's something that the experience from beginning to end is was so incredible. Like it was it was like it was written, you know, like you by the time you're like, by the time we're in Cannes in critics week. And Kevin and I are like, trying to avoid going to the awards dinner because we didn't want to dress up or some stupid shit. And then we go when, you know, and we're just sort of like, there's this amazing photo of us sort of like, I mean, I think it's more on my back. But Kevin Spacey is just that, like, what? Holy shit moment of like, you know, because you're constantly you in a way you your, your mind sort of adjust to what happened, you know, like, Okay, we got into can and now it's over, like, Okay, we got to Sundance now. They kind of go like, alright, like, just can't keep going. Yeah, like the amazing train has, okay, maybe the train stopped here. Okay, this is great. This is amazing. And then it's like, it just kept going with that movie. It just had such a life of its own. And it was such an amazing sort of, you know, we flew around the world, it was just everywhere. I was 22, I think. So it was such, it was incredible. It was it was like, you know, in four years, it was like it has been, it will always be it will always be the most this incredibly special experience that nothing can really touch. For reasons of like, for reasons that aren't the fault of any other film I've ever worked for Don, it's just, you know, you can't, you can't really experience something for the first time.

Alex Ferrari 23:11
It's like, it's like your first love, like you can't re experience your first love. You might not end up with that person, or whatever. But that moment and that time and your age and where you are in the world and your evolution, all that stuff. You'll never ever get your first kiss. Like that's, that's something you'll never get your first. So Clark's was essentially your first time.

Scott Mosier 23:34
The first time and it was amazing. It was like, we were in Cannes and I remember, there was a Miramax boat. And then next to it was this was a yacht and Simon Obama was on it. And basically, we were, you know, we were running around all the time. But basically, we end up meeting sila bond, and he's like, you know, it kind of says, like, Oh, I love to see a movie. And I was like, I was I was planning like eight in the morning or something crazy. And he's like, we'll come get me. So I basically got up at 730 walked all the way to the because we were staying at a hotel, I walk onto his boat and no one's awake. So I wink I rouse sign on the bar, who's like, and I take him to this and I walk him into a screening. You know, it was just like,

Alex Ferrari 24:20
That's like, that's just that's like bizarro world kind of stuff. Like, you can't even write that.

Scott Mosier 24:25
Yeah, exactly. It was just such an it was such an amazing experience. And there's been so many movies, you know, there's lots of great experiences, but it was, you know, it was being that young, right? You know, and watching these doors open into a world it's like you can't I mean, that's the thing. You know, you only walk through the door wants and that was like such an amazing experience of walking through the door into this sort of world that you know, we generally are our, you know, it's presented as you know, behind the velvet rope. wrote, so to speak. So it's like, you only kind of get to walk in there Watts and that was, you know, that was clerks.

Alex Ferrari 25:07
Now the one thing that I want everyone listening and I think this is this is a this is an issue that I dealt with most of my filmmaking career and I think a lot of filmmakers still do is they look at stories like clerks and slacker and mariachi and, and that kind of time period. And they will think they'll make films today thinking that that's an option. Meaning like, what will happen to you like I always consider you guys like a lottery ticket. Like you guys want a lottery ticket, it was the right place right time right product. And that goes along for like slacker and mariachi, like, if you guys show up today with clerks, do you think you can cut through the noise?

Scott Mosier 25:43
Um, I mean, it's hard to say what I what I will say is like, something always cuts through the noise. Right? Always something that cuts through the noise. And, and part of it is part of it is definitely luck. And timing. You know, it's like, part of it is luck and timing. Because, you know, as our career went on, like, releases of movies, it's also about luck and timing to you know, it's like, you can sort of make a great movie and it gets released that a bad time of the bad marketing campaign. It doesn't sort of like, I think, could, you know, it's like, it's a time right, right now, do I think that the film like clerks? Well, it's like reading our comedy and all that, like, so much of that has grown since we've sort of come on the scene. And there's so many actors in that, in that world, that I do think it would be harder to cut through because we, what we were what and what Kevin was, was like, whether people think he's the voice of a generation, or like, I'm not arguing that point, but he was a voice from that generation that was unique and specific. And that's the thing that that's the thing that, in addition to luck, you know,

Alex Ferrari 27:12
There's a combination, it's a formula, it's not just a one thing, it's a bunch of different things I hit to get

Scott Mosier 27:17
You know, people who are out there going like, you can't if people look at clips, or slack, or it's not like Kevin looked at Slack, or I was like, I'm gonna make slacker, he more was like, Oh, that's a movie that like, that's a that's a vision from Rick Linklater, like, you know, that Kevin was like, This is what I find funny. And this is what I enjoy doing any portal himself into that, and had a unique voice. And, you know, always say this, which is, you know, Kevin had been writing for years and years and years and years since he was really young. So by the time he's 22, and writes a script, it's like, it's just fucking better than you know. And when he's 18, he's like, I'm gonna, I'm gonna write scripts. And then, you know, it's just because I ran those I wrote those, like I wrote, you know, I've tried to write a script, but holy shit like this is, you know, because I, Kevin, who was just a much more developed narrative writer, he's just kind of new, and you can see it on the page. So I think there's a lot of, you know, luck. Luck is so many things. But, you know, the pursuit of a unique voice, right? The goal shouldn't be like, What do I have, you know, like, or it's like, let's just make a movie like, let's make clarbeston in a, you know, a like valets. Let's make ballets. And it's like, you can go ahead. But unless being a ballet is this very personal thing, where you can convey something to the audience that that is unique, then you just become like, a knockoff movie, you know? And I think like, I think when people sit there and go, like, hey, let's make something cheap. It's like, well, maybe something cheap and personal. And those bad combination. Will that that combination, at least has the chance to come through them. Right? Because you're doing something that's like you have to in some people's personal, what's personal to them, and what means something to them can be a $30,000 movie or some people it's like before it even like, you know, sometimes the scale of that can be some people like sci fi, like, it doesn't really matter, but like, I do think finding your voice is and I'll bring it back to me, which is like, that experience of finding your voice was a much longer process for me. And then like I you know, Kevin walked in the door and like 22 like he had been developing his voice for years though, like he But writing school plays and stuff like that. But finding your voice for me is the most important thing that you can do. Like that's the thing that like finding your voice finding that thing that's unique to you. If you can look at something in a way that no one else is necessarily expressing. There's other people who see it the same way. And if you can capture that, that's how you gain an audience, right? Like, we all look at things in different ways. But there's also just like, anyone clerks did it. This is like, not anything I thought about 21. But what I thought what I think it did was it created this sort of, you know, it was an expression of something that didn't exist. And there was this huge audience. So it was like, it does exist. This is how I talked about like, like, this is what we think is funny. This is when we fall short with our friends like, and that that's the part where it's like, there's all kinds of luck that has to come into it. There's all kinds of timing. And we as filmmakers, like I believe, what you have to focus on first and foremost is like, what's the unique? What do you what's, what's the unique sort of perspective that you're bringing? To what you're doing?

Alex Ferrari 31:21
That's a that's a great, great, great piece of advice. You're absolutely right, if you could connect with something that's authentic to you in your own voice. If you try to go make another clerks, you're gonna fail, because there's, there's already a clerks, and it was done authentically by Kevin and you. And, yeah, I agree with you. 100%. Now, after clerks, obviously, you guys are the toast of the town. You know, you're the belle of the ball. You're you're being wooed. It's the it's the early 90s. Money is flying everywhere. And they say, What do you want to do next? And I and Kevin, and you say, hey, let's do mall rats. And you're like, here's, here's that those million dollars you were talking about earlier, now we'll accept your money. So you make mall rats, which by the way, I'm I'm actually a very big fan of mall rats. I actually saw it in the theater test screening in the theater when I was in college. And I got I got that little book that the movie official movie book. They gave one to you as you walked out and stuff i Oh, yeah, I saw I was me and my friend, were pacing ourselves when we saw it, because it was speaking to us at that time in our lives. So Mallrats didn't live up to the financial expectations of the studio. I didn't want to say that loud, it.

Scott Mosier 32:33
Totally bought the bar out of an eel, you know, a long time ago, knowing that, like the audience ultimately found that movie. You know, it didn't didn't, it wasn't 99 You know, when it came out, it was like, it was pretty dark. We're both like, fuck, because you Paul, I work into it. But and you and you.

Alex Ferrari 32:53
And you guys were pretty much so you guys were put in because you you had one hit, which was clerics, which was kind of like, alright, this is an anomaly. Let's see if these guys have anything else. So they give you a little bit of money. And then Mallrats happens and it bombs. So that pretty much blacklist you in town for my understand, like it kind of just your director, jail and producer at this point.

Scott Mosier 33:11
It's this, you know, it's the sophomore slump, because the reviews are terrible, you know, a lot of it sort of like pointed right at Kevin, I think, which was just like, you know, we built you up, we, you know, we really send you and then you make this and, you know, I think in hindsight, I would be curious, if any, if any critics would have the, you know, to go back and relook at that movie and, and understand its connection to clerks, you know, like, understand that it's not this sort of, and I think for you as an audience member, like you understood it, right. Like, it felt like, like a proper extension of what that movie was. And but we were, you know, at that point Kevin has adopted before was over Kevin and started writing a version of Chasing Amy that was a little bit more commercial. And as soon as it happens, it's like, I guess you're in jail, but in a way we didn't even we lived in Jersey, so it was like, it wasn't like, it wasn't like, we were injured. It's like when you're not in Hollywood. It's like you're not it's like you don't really

Alex Ferrari 34:24
You didn't feel the heat. If you will

Scott Mosier 34:26
We didn't feel anything we're just kind of like more bummed out and like, oh shit, what do we do now? And Kevin was like, you know, like, let's just go make a movie. You know, and let's do it quickly. And so JC Nene became a, a reaction to all that money, you know, that we were given and the fact that it didn't do well we're like, well, let's create something that we know we can get enough money. Let's do it cheap and, and also do it our way. You know, we kind of went back to it. Let's do it for enough money that we can be left alone. And then really be specific about what we're doing and not worry about, you know, casting like we can cast to we want so let's do it for, you know, shot the whole thing.

Alex Ferrari 35:15
You know, like 100 grand or 100 grand or something like that, right?

Scott Mosier 35:18
It was like to shoot it and start cutting, you know, to deliver like a sort of a couple cuts of the movie and get it far along is a couple 100 grand. So there's a post cost and all the rest of it, but we did it, you know, we kind of went in and a price point that was like, we knew that it wasn't a huge investment for somebody, we can make our money back, you know, we're using like, a great crew, you know, young people, and because we were young, two of them were I think I was 26 at that point, young crew from New York, you know, it was coming down, you're shooting on Jersey, and then you know, we're back to sort of a version of, of making clerks again, just with, you know, we took the experiences from clerks, we took the experience from our ads and sort of JC Namie becomes the, the rebuilding here, you know, I've become like, let's, let's, let's sort of, like, we, we had other producers on Mara, too. We got along with but it was like, this was like, alright, let's just do this our way. Like, yes, we need a bigger crew. Yes, we need this. Yes, we need that. But like how do we do that through through our filter and through the way we want to do things and then from there, it's like, after GCD we that's where we carry on through document everything else but there was a really like it was a refocus. The whole movie was a sort of like a shift back to like, this is what we're doing

Alex Ferrari 36:45
And the smart thing that you guys did is that you move so quickly. Because Mallrats was you know, you guys, it was a lot of eyeballs on you in town, like oh, these guys obviously, they're there. They're one hit wonder, you know, that's it their bubble gum. Let's it's it's move on. But you guys like No, no, let's let's get in there. And arguably Chasing Amy is one of my favorite of the filmography of what you and Kevin have done. There's so much heart so much authenticity in that film. It's not nearly as silly as Mallrats in the crudeness of it, but there still is those elements. But there's so much more heart in chasing me like there's it's deeper, in a way am I am I wrong on that?

Scott Mosier 37:27
No, no, I mean, I think I think JC Namie becomes the sort of I think a lot of people react to it, because it becomes the sort of the movie that sort of represents kind of more the totality of food cabinets, right. So it's like, the crude humor, of course, is part of it. But it's like, you know, he's also a drama, you know, he's a dramatist. He's, you know, he's, he's also somebody who's like, has a big heart. And, you know, it's also a personal movie, you know, and so, it's a personal movie for him. And I think that that sort of shifts, you know, sort of Clarkson Maher as this becomes something where he's like, I'm gonna tell another personal story, which, you know, just happens to be more grounded in you know, there's a lot more drama and real drama. Right. So it's like, sort of drama coming from stemming from a specific situation, but I think it became like, and that was a year lace of marks comes out in 9596, like February or something, we start shooting juicy Navy in February, March. And then January 97. We're in Sundance, you know, we're we're back.

Alex Ferrari 38:45
And we're back baby. And we're a we're back. And that and that does gangbusters at the box office, especially for its budget and launches. This little known actor really Ben Affleck was just his first starring role and in that, that whole thing, so it was just an exciting time because I was I was following you guys. Like I was following you and Robert and Quinton and all that, you know, that crew and Richard and all that crew, I would watch every damn thing you guys put out. And it was that weird time. And I always tell people that's like the 90s It felt like, every month there was a new Cinderella story. It's either John Singleton, it's, it's at burns. It's it's Kevin Smith, it was like, it's just it was an amazing time to be an independent filmmaker. It was kind of like when, when Spielberg and Lucas and bilious and and Coppola and dipalma that film school brats generation when they were given the keys to Hollywood because Hollywood had no idea what the hell to do. So they'd like here go make taxi driver. And you guys kind of had that run in the 90s. It was that from like, 89 to like, 9899 there was that run that was just so many amazing filmmakers came out during that time.

Scott Mosier 39:55
I mean, I think there's you know, I'm sure someone's read a book about it, but you Like, you know, part of it is like the industry sort of needs to open.

Alex Ferrari 40:05
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Scott Mosier 40:16
You know, sort of like, especially then it's like, nowadays, it feels like there's a lot of venues and ways to get things made. And back then it was like, it was just harder to get things made, because there weren't as many outlets. But you also see the surge of, you know, Fox Searchlight. So there's more sort of like, there's more outlets for these movies, there's more opportunities, but also, it felt like the big you know, like in the 70s, the business kind of like, how do we fucking how to make money? Yeah, like, what do audiences want? Like, you know, there's also a generational thing to me, which is like, the industry has to open its doors every once in a while to let in the new generation of voices that they don't necessarily understand. Either, like, what was happening in the 70s. It's like, it's not like, those guys who were making movies in the 50s. And 60s, necessarily understood like that the audience wanted to see Easy Rider, right? Like, right,

Alex Ferrari 41:15
Easy Rider kind of opened the door for all those guys that like this, wait a minute, this 200 and something $1,000 movie went on and made like, you know, $10 million, or whatever it made, they were just like, we don't know what the hell's going on. Let's give it to these guys. This Scorsese the Spielberg kid, let's give him that shark movie.

Scott Mosier 41:31
Just became a, it's like audiences change. You know, I think it's always like, some combination of, you know, audiences are changing and the fan, you know, jogger, people come up, and it's happening now. Like, like, there's, you know, I'm almost 50. So it's not like I'm the young buck anymore. And there's a whole generation of people coming up that have been influenced by totally different people. And, you know, they've all had the internet, since they were born, like, all of these influences change where people people's tastes. So it's like, I you know, and I think in the 90s, there was a sense of like, coming out of the 80s it was like this need of like, fresh voices and, you know, something that was more reflective of, of that generation coming up.

Alex Ferrari 42:22
The Gen X the Gen X guys, you know, you were Gen X guys were the generation was like, I just yeah, there's the 90s were fun, man, the 90s were fun. I miss I miss them more now than ever before. When you could just go to a movie theater. That was nice.

Scott Mosier 42:39
Well it was like last year. Back to the 90s. But yeah, the 90s were weird a lot. You know, I have a lot of fun in the 90s. It's funny, no one ever talks about the 2000s.

Alex Ferrari 42:52
You know, like, you never hear like, Oh, the 2000s music like no, you know, I know those songs. And I know that and I know those films, but in the 80s and 90s. Get in the 70s 80s and 90s kind of get that they have their own thing. But the 2000s is tough. And like the 2010s was another

Scott Mosier 43:09
just too young.

Alex Ferrari 43:11
I don't know, oh, no, don't worry, it'll come back around. Like right now we're in our 90s nostalgia. And I think now people are starting to kick into the early 2000s. It's like a two decade run. Because eight remember when the 80s was like all the rage, like everything was 80s 80s 80s and 80s. It still 80s is still cool to a certain extent. But I remember when the 70s like in the 90s the 70s were kind of like a thing and it's like a two to three decade delay.

Scott Mosier 43:35
We're old enough for it's like a certain point, like we're not Estelle I like part of is because like we have we you and I will probably never have nostalgia for the 2000s. Right, because we're too bold, like, like, once you hit 30, or whatever it feels like you sort of cease being you know, it's like you stop like living in this, you stop reflecting back in the static terms. Like, as I was going, like, I graduated from high school in 89. So the 80s was like, when you know the movies and music. You're you're you're sort of what I think is like the 80s For me, 80s and 90s was an explosion of like, I'm ingesting massive amounts of art in the form of movies, music, photography, like everything, like the 80s and 90s. Like I would fucking watch like for me, like when I was in, I would watch four movies a day. Yep. Like, like, if this massive period where you're taking things in, partly because you know, you're not great, or you have an outlet to like, put things out. So you're sort of like, you're amassing all this stuff. And so I think that's why it has such a strong influence. Who we are like, I think back to the 80s and 90s. And yeah, like I like everything I do today. It's like it feels a little bit referential to that time, but part of it is because like that is when the synapses are really forming around like, and these sort of large touchstones like land in your head during that period of time like 1000. Like, I don't have all these sort of cultural test touchstones of like, you know, I was, of course, I was listening to music and watching movies, I'm doing all that stuff. There's great movies from that period of great music and all that stuff. But it's still like, it doesn't have the same sheen to it, because it wasn't during that sort of explosive period of like, you know, getting your driver's license and kissing like everything's new.

Alex Ferrari 45:44
You're absolutely you're absolutely right. You're absolutely right. Now, there's a couple of there's a few films that you produced that I had. I mean, I'd heard of a couple of them. But I didn't when I started doing research, I actually went into it, and there was a group of four features that you produce vulgar. Drawing flies a better place in the big helium dog. I I've seen some of big helium dog. It was shot on like, VHS, I'd like I don't beta like what was that?

Scott Mosier 46:12
I think they were all shot on 16 millimeter.

Alex Ferrari 46:15
Really, they were all shot because I guess the copy that I saw was so bad. That it was like you shot it on video. And like, why did they shoot this video? This makes no sense. But the other ones were shot on 16. So you know, some of the people in that like, yeah, the broken lizard guys, you had a cue from Impractical Jokers. And Baba Booey, Brian Lynch, all this these amazing people tell us Can you tell me a little bit about those four movies. And because they were kind of in a small, they were in a short period of time, they were all made.

Scott Mosier 46:45
It was after, I think it was after Chasing Amy. And we had sort of signed a deal with Miramax like an overall deal. And part of what we threw in was like, hey, we want to make these micro budget movies, it sort of in a way to sort of like our career was sort of the movies are getting bigger, you know, the budgets are getting bigger. And we're like, Well, hey, let's sort of with some of the people we know, that have scripts that that they're writing and stuff, like let's go make some of these micro budget things in the 2025 range, basically click to budget, I feel like we got 100 grand to make for movies, and we sort of and then the relationships was, you know, Brian Lynch had worked on tasty Namie. Vince Brera had been around since clerks who directed a better place, and then vulgar Brian Johnson was Kevin's friend for a long time. All these movies just became an extension of that moment, we were like, Oh, well, let's go sort of make some of these movies. You know, and, and it did it happened within like a two, or I think it was like two or three year period, you know, and, and Brian was the one who knew the broken lizard guys, and poor, you know, he kind of had connections to them, and Brian Quinn and just worked at the office. So like, he had worked. Even more, I just, I was talking to him the other day, like, we've known each other for like, 25 years, he had sort of come in to work at the office, like he was in charge of, like, back in 19. You know, 99 If you got a t shirt set in the mail, it was Brian Clinton did it. You know, like, that's where he was.

Alex Ferrari 48:38
He was working. He was working at USQ

Scott Mosier 48:40
Yeah, he was working at USQ at that time. And so all the people we kind of knew, and it was like, you know, we loved independent film. And so we're like, Let's go make some of these movies. And they're all very different, you know, and vulgar got into Toronto, and they all had various degrees of success and, and then and then I think it was like, my memory of like, why didn't we keep doing it? It was it was a lot. It was a lot of like, there's almost too much work.

Alex Ferrari 49:10
Like making making a movie. It's not that easy.

Scott Mosier 49:13
We weren't it's not like we were on set all the time. And I think it was just a matter of like we need dogma so we're heading into dogma and and the club's cartoons happening and it's like the the amount of more coordinating is expanding and then suddenly like to maintain those were to keep them going just saw too much work. But it was really fun.

Alex Ferrari 49:33
And now it's true that there is just no copies of big helium dog anywhere.

Scott Mosier 49:38
I mean, Brian Lynch has one.

Alex Ferrari 49:41
I just saw an interview he said, but he doesn't have one. He said

Scott Mosier 49:47
As far as I know,

Alex Ferrari 49:48
He has a copy of it, but it's not been released, but it's not available and released.

Scott Mosier 49:52
And I can't remember why there was some clearance issue. But it was never released. Now the rest of the hammer

Alex Ferrari 49:59
That's a hell of a cast now.

Scott Mosier 50:02
I don't know what happened to it, it was like it was off and on through the years, it was like music clearances, or there was something that was sort of pain over its head. And it just, it just never sort of my thought of he must have a copy

Alex Ferrari 50:15
I have to believe and he's the director, he's got to have at least just copy of it or

Scott Mosier 50:21
The lost arc define. Exactly. Yeah, I don't know, might be uncertain, like we're USQ or somewhere, there's got to be a copy, I do not have a copy. So

Alex Ferrari 50:31
One day, we'll get one day we'll get leaked on on on online, just like Deadpool did accidentally. Now, you you, you also got involved with another little known film as a producer called Goodwill Hunting. And that was, you know, one of my favorite films of that of that time period. And how did you get involved with that? And how did you like kind of was the band that brought you in on that.

Scott Mosier 50:58
So we were on Mallrats, we met that. And at that time, we were aware of who he was because like the whole saga of Goodwill Hunting was at a trade where they had sold like Ben and Matt install the script to Castle Rock for a bunch of money. So it's like, you know, other young guys, like sell script for a lot of money. And so it was on our radar. And then through Maher ads, we became friends. And my memory is that like during that period, we met Matt during like, a sort of internal screening Mr. outs. But basically, what we found out is that that Castle Rock was going to put into turnaround, because the guys are attached, but they wanted to attach a director that the guys aren't excited about. So basically, there was like a, and so there was like a big turnaround cost. And they sent us the script, and we really loved it. And we had just signed our overall deal Miramax. And so we sent it to our executive job board, and we're like, this is fucking great. You guys should make this like we, you know, like, you should meet with the guys. There's a turnaround cost, you guys should act fast and dive all over it. And so it happened really quickly. And that's, you know, our job. We really were just like, we just signed the deal. So we became a sort of conduit to get up there, hype it up and get everybody excited. And then it happened really quickly. So that time by the time Chasing Amy happens. All that was done. Like basically the movie was at the movie was it was a Miramax and they were writing doing rewrites, and they were also like, like, I remember like meeting with directors, you know, there was like before, like they want to guess to do it because they had met Gus and Gus wanted to do but then it was like Michael Mann and a couple other drugs.

That would have been an inch Michael Mann's Good Will Hunting would have been a very interesting might have been a couple more guns, just a couple,

Like an all guns, but

Alex Ferrari 53:15
It would have been a shootout with Will Hunting, which is that bluff, that great sequel, Good Will Hunting to hunting season for Strikes Back.

Scott Mosier 53:24
The version in a totally different way. But yeah, it was and then we you know, sort of, and then once it's in the hands of governments, and it's sort of just you know, then you just get to be a fly on the wall. So we were up there a couple times are shooting in Toronto, and it was just, you know, it was really interesting. I mean, for me, it was really interesting to watch, because you're working so much you're not on us, you know, you don't go on the sets of other filmmakers. And it's sort of interesting to watch how people act in different ways. Like he's very quiet and sort of, you know, he's not sort of sitting at the monitor shouting like, he sort of directs in this more sort of quiet way. Yeah, I mean, I felt was like, I remember seeing the, we went into New York to see like, the, the director's cut or whatever. And it was like, an ad. Like, it was basically 90% 95% of what the movie ended up being like, it was just so like, he just knew what he wanted it to be. And it was so specific. And like, it was just incredible. Like I remember just being chills was like, wow,

Alex Ferrari 54:28
So, so good. It's just so, so, so, so good. Now, during this time, I think you were heading into dogma. Did you? Did you guys know that this was going to be as controversial, essentially became

Scott Mosier 54:43
We knew, in the sense that, you know, at that point, Miramax was owned by Disney, and Disney was like, you know, we're not going to let you make this movie. So it's like it wasn't like we kind of entered into it. The writing was on the was a little bit from the very beginning that like, there was a real like, problem, that there was a problem and then it sort of it, you know, kind of grew from there and then kind of like, you know, peaked at a certain point and didn't kind of get worse or, or didn't get better or worse. It just sort of, you know, there's pickets in the New York Film Festival and tickets to the movie, you know, ticketing are when the when the movie came out, but

I actually remember seeing Kevin going out to pick it with them, like, Who's this bastard who made this movie? It was

Yeah, he went out. And he protested.

Alex Ferrari 55:41
He protested on his own film

Scott Mosier 55:42
Yeah, it was great. But, but yeah, it was a it was we we kind of knew enough to you know, we had a fake name for the movie while we're making it. You know, nothing really came of it. But there was there was definitely like, a tension about it before. Early on, and it was, I mean, was it a surprise to us? Like, we're like, what's the big deal? Yeah, but enough people at that point, we're like, You got to take it more seriously. And so

Alex Ferrari 56:13
You're playing with fire, you're playing with fire guys. Just be just be aware of what's going on. Don't be completely ignorant of what's happening.

Scott Mosier 56:20
I mean, part of me is just like, it never really got that bad. And I couldn't imagine if you know, today,

Alex Ferrari 56:28
Oh, my god, can you imagine daughter showed up today?

Scott Mosier 56:32
Like I just, you know, partly was social media and all the rest of it. It was just, I mean, that's part of the thing, too. It's like even a protest has to like be ignited. Right, it needs fuel. And I think it was still 1998. And it's like, there just wasn't the, you know, it was still just like people in like, 10 people in front of a movie theater, and I was just driving home, oh, my God,

Alex Ferrari 56:54
Whatever, whatever. Yeah. Okay, yeah. Imagine Facebook around that time, or Twitter or some like that would have exploded?

Scott Mosier 57:01
It would, it would certainly do fewer people. I mean, the key is like, a few people can make a lot of noise now. And you know, and I think back then it was way harder to do. So just sort of the momentum of what happened around the release, it just kind of was like, it just it was kind of gone very quickly.

Alex Ferrari 57:20
Now, another film that you produced, Jersey curl was unlike anything I'd ever seen in the sense of the attention that you guys were getting, like, while the movie was being made, because of Ben and Ben and Jennifer's relationship, or Bennifer, as they like to call it. I mean, the pressure of you guys, as the filmmakers must have been like, do I just want to make a movie and it all of a sudden turns into this thing that it's not even about? Like it's about Jennifer, we got to cut Jennifer out of it now, because she had this thing with Jill with Julie or the other thing that they said, like you got you got caught up in this kind of tsunami, that was not even your fault, or even initiated by you guys got just caught up in the, the banner for tsunami? How do you deal with that being like, in the center of a hurricane like that? When you Kevin, we're dealing with that?

Scott Mosier 58:11
You know, you I mean ultimately, like with everything in life, it's like, you get to a point where you're just like, well, there's nothing we can do about like, there's nothing you can do about it, it but like the you know, the time when we started the movie, it's like, their relationship just started. So on one level, there's, you're like, well, this could be great for the movie, right? Like, there's no you don't know, either way. And then when, and then by the time we get to the test screen, it's just obviously not going to be beneficial to the movie, because people had such a strong opinion of the two of them that it, you know, transferred onto the movie itself. And then it was kind of after the first test or anywhere like, well, there's nothing we can do. You know, it's like, there's really nothing we could do. It's like, the audience is not going to be enamored with this. And so like, it did become about trying to look, you don't want to be in that situation. You know, you don't want to be sort of fueled by or be making creative decisions based on just sort of like a negative response that your audiences has to the actual individuals and not the characters. But you also, you know, there's nothing to do it's like, once you're sitting, and it was it was enough. It wasn't like there's two people it was like there was like, a couple that like we're like we fucking hate those guys. It was like, like it was palpable. You're like, alright, if we keep testing this thing, and it wasn't now there's gonna be a whole other audiences like we love them. We hate them. It wasn't even like it was just like, generally people were like, We don't want to necessarily watch this.

Alex Ferrari 59:59
Well right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Scott Mosier 1:00:10
And so, you know, you try to pivot off of that and try to maintain, you know, the story you want to tell as best as possible, but But you know, ultimately is going on with theater, ultimately, an audience is going to end if it's, if it's keeping the audience. Unfortunately, it's like, you know, it's not what the movie is about. So you're like, right, if it's keeping the audience from sort of interacting with, or sort of being receptive to, you know, what the heart of the movie is, then, you know, you have to make that decision of like, start to trim that part of the movie down and get into the sort of the rest of it. So it was, it was definitely frustrating. But, you know, I tend to believe, like, the interviewer spend battling things you just have no control over is just, you know, a lot of wasted energy. And

Alex Ferrari 1:01:06
Well, that that is, that is that is a words of an almost 50 year old man saying that, and I completely understand what you're saying, because things i There's just stuff you just can't get until you hit a certain age, or experiences in your life.

Scott Mosier 1:01:21
Like, there's a great saying, like worrying is paying debt on money. You don't own.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:25
That's great line. Great line. Yeah.

Scott Mosier 1:01:29
And that's, you know, it's like, and you can apply that to like worrying about things that you have absolutely no control over, is paying debt on money, you don't know, like, you're sort of, you're just grinding in this sort of thing. And, look, we're younger back that. So I can probably impart these ideas, because, like, you go through enough experiences where you're like, oh, wow, there really was nothing we could do like that. That component of the movie was this exterior issue that existed outside of us, we couldn't reach into it, then like, we couldn't read cut their public persona, right?

Alex Ferrari 1:02:07
That that was, that was the thing about it is it was a lot of times when there's controversy and filmic dogma was generated by you guys. Like that's just the nature of the story. And there was a there was a, you know, controversy and all of that stuff. And even Zack and Miri Make a Porno. That had some controversy too, because had to work porn that way. Like it freaked people out. And but again, generated by you guys, but this was out of your control, like it was completely exterior. And I think also people were just so exhausted of seeing those two, together, which we don't want to see a movie with these two now. Like, it was just so much and you guys just got caught up in that week.

Scott Mosier 1:02:42
Yeah, I mean, look, there's, there's, for every look, Hollywood, you know, couples in Hollywood getting together making movies has got has been an incredible publicity benefit. And it's been a bad one. And it's like, it's not like, it's not like we came to that moment. If we all come to that moment, and they're like, every time two stars are moving together like this, it's a disaster, then, obviously, there would have been enough people in the room go like, don't do it. But it wasn't that it was like there's cases in both sides. It's like, it could either be a boon, or it can be bad.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:22
It could be midterm, it could be Mr. And Mrs. Smith, you know, which was exactly the same kind of Brangelina and that whole thing, and it was, but it fed it, it fed that movie, and this one, it just sucked and hurt the movie.

Scott Mosier 1:03:38
And by the time the movie comes out, it's like, there hasn't been a sort of turn. But basically, from the time we started moving on, it's like, you know, you know, the public is is fickle. In their mind and like, and you sort of sit in the tester and go like, alright, you know, like, what are we gonna? Like, there's nothing we could do, we could be bad, like, it was hard. You couldn't really focus your ire on anybody either. I mean, you could try but once again, it was like, it was just that situation

Alex Ferrari 1:04:09
As Don Quixote essentially hitting the windmill at that point, you're like, there's nothing you can do.

Scott Mosier 1:04:14
You, like I said, we couldn't, if we have the ability to get to go in and reshape the public persona, to make it awkward again, we could have done that and get the movie the way it is. But that's we have no we can do that. The only thing we can control is, is the content and the movie sort of, you know, trimming back their sort of relationship with the beginning of the movie.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:42
But it ages Well, like you watch that movie now. It's aged very, very well, because you're so far removed from that ridiculousness that now the movie can live on its own. So it's, I was just I was curious about that.

Scott Mosier 1:04:54
And the movies hopefully about him and his daughter, and so the movies about and and And so you know, it ultimately, like you said, sort of. I don't necessarily I think there's probably a I don't think even trimming back some of the beginning stuff was the end of the world, I think there's probably like a another version of the movie that's more of like a, you know, maybe a slightly extended up to being maybe putting some of this stuff back in there. But I think overall, it's like, you know, it didn't it didn't it didn't sort of break the movie. Let's put it that way.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:29
Exactly, exactly. Now, you know, we've been talking all about you producing and making, you know, VSU kind of films and all that kind of stuff. But then out of left field, almost, I start seeing that you're writing Freebirds and getting involved with that, and then directing the Grinch co directing the Grinch, and how the hell did you get into animation? And like, how did that work around town when you walked in? Like, I think you were saying, like, aren't you the clerk's guy? Like, why are you in animation?

Scott Mosier 1:06:04
I am, you know, I'd always want to remember, I was gonna go to art school or film school. So so the sort of, I was I was I was doodling and drawing. And I was really like, before, I was really debating whether to go to art school or Trump school. Right at the moment that I ended up making a decision, go to Vancouver Film, school and makeup, and like, It's that fast. And I didn't know what to do. And I was living near UCLA. I could, my grades weren't good enough to go there. But I was living in these sort of like shitty apartments there. And I used to run around the campus, like I would do two or three runs around the entire campus. And then sometimes I cut through the middle, and there were these big stairs, where they shot gotcha, like, are these big stairs right in the middle of the thing, and I would run up the stairs. I was running and I was like, What am I gonna do? And I run up the stairs, and it was nighttime, I'd run at night after I was working. And against the top of stairs, it was really bright light in my face, and so I kind of like slow down and adjust. And they were shooting a movie. And I was like, I was I was it like I was like, you know, I was my decision was sort of made in that moment. And then basically, I very quickly applied the main console school, and 455 months later, from that moment in time up in Vancouver, and I mean, Kevin, like after that sort of moment, but was the hard part, you know, the art thing was always in my head.

So in other words, if a if an animation cell would have fell out of a window and hit you in the head, we you might have never gone on that

Life drawing class up there. I'd have been like, oh my god, like I just assign.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:55
This is the sign!

Scott Mosier 1:07:56
And so I go to, but I'd always been interested in it. And then, you know, I've always loved animation. But the big moment was I remember Kevin and I, because Jason league up to see the Incredibles four came out. And it was like, and it was a special screening. And, you know, I loved animation. And, you know, I've thought that Toy Story and I'd already sort of, like, I was really interested in this sort of new technology applied to this sort of classical to these. And so I saw that screening, though. And that was the thing where I was like, oh, no, dude, like, I really love to do this, because it felt like it was a movie. Like it really felt like a movie. It was like, it's an animated movie, but the can't, you know, the camera work the performances, like it just felt like, oh, you can you can just make a movie. Like you could do what crane shot like, you can do whatever you want it like you have all the filmmaking tools inside of this box, you know, and, and from there, and I remember telling Kevin, like, I think I left there and I was like, I want to do that, like I want to I want to get under the hood of that and sort of do it and and so coming off of Zack and Miri it was kind of the moment where I was like, I was like, I'm gonna do it. Like, I gotta, you know, I just got to do it. Like, I gotta sort of stop. I could do this forever. This is comfortable. And, you know, for me, I was like, this is the stop and sort of, you know, rebuild myself like we refocus myself specifically on animation and and writing to and like I sort of stopped up Zach and Miriam was just kind of like focusing on writing and trying to get into animation and that's when this guy Aaron Warner, I knew and then it just and then it becomes like you're in the business long enough and you know enough people and it's sort of if you If you're fun to work with, you're good to work with your work hard, like, you know, all that stuff can pay off, I call the say that which is Freebirds becomes this guy here, and Warner would produce all the tracks was like, have this movie Freebirds was called turkeys at the time. And he was like, you know, cuz you want to if you want to learn animation like this thing's like a fast moving train. And if you're willing to sort of like jump onto it, you'll learn very quickly that and so I was like, as the producer and I was like, Yeah, I was like, This is my shot, you know, because at that point, it's like now, now it's like animated animation, making animated films is a much broader sort of, there's more opportunities, but at that point, it was like, you know, this is the, this is the beginning of everything opening up that, you know, that was more like Pixar and blues, like there's these established studios, if you had an idea, you had to go to those specific places, and that was it. So then I jumped on Freebirds. And just through the process of making it, you know, it's it's a very open, collaborative, sort of medium, it's a little, you know, a little bit different from making live action, because it's just the pace of it's different. It's just a much more open forum, you know, you're sort of making it a you ever, you're getting together with a bunch of artists coming up with ideas. And so I started writing pages, and those are getting, you know, brought in and then I come off of that. I come on Freebirds. And I don't want to do I don't want to do animation. And so because I was tired. It was a it was a tough, it was just tough,

Alex Ferrari 1:11:45
Yeah because you produced and wrote as well.

Scott Mosier 1:11:47
Yeah, it was a tough schedule. And so I came off, I was like, I'm not sure. I was like, I loved a lot of it and the people I worked with, but I was like, I'm not sure if I want to do it. And then then I was just working as an editor, you know, and stepped up to the years. And I cut a documentary on Marvel that was on ABC called from pulp to pop was like, so I did that. And then I was cutting. I've taken over ours finished, I was just doing a Polish, a little polish. I wasn't the main editor, I was just there for the end of a movie called it ultimately became called no escape. But it's called The coup was going Wilson and Pierce Brosnan. It's by the doubt and bro the down the breath down the brothers. We just did the Waco series and like I've known them. And my friend was the editor. And I was like, Oh, get on that. And we're were and then that's when I got emailed by from Chris Mellon Donner email me. And I didn't know. And I was like, Well, I don't understand why I'm getting an email from him. But once again, so Brian Lynch, who was the craft service guy on JC Namie. I've done all these other things. You know, he wrote minions and but he wrote top, so he'd been working in illumination for a while. And he had given me ever he had given Chris my information. And Chris was like, hey, cuz elimination at that point was like, they were making more movies. And so it was like, as opposed to one every two or three years, they're trying to do, you know, to a year like they were just, and he was feeling like, maybe I'll bring in for the first time like a producer, like an independent producer to help me sort of manage projects. And once again, I was like, No, I'm not sure if I want to do animation. And the doubt and brothers are just like, the edit room I were in was like a block and a half from Chris's office. And they're like, they're like, dude, like the fuck, like a walk down the block. And I was like, alright, so I went, and then Chris, and I hit it off really well. And we met three or four times. And then before we met a couple times before the Grinch came up, and then he showed me some artwork had been going on at that point for six, seven months or whatever. And, and so we went back and forth. And then finally, I was like, yeah, like I was kind of, I really got along with him. Well, and I was like, I was like, Yeah, I'm gonna do it so

Alex Ferrari 1:14:30
That it's so funny because when you talk about as you're talking a lot of a lot of filmmakers listening a lot of times they think, oh, it's about it's about the agent or it's about the manager, it's or about, you know, this or that and it's just, it's about relationships. I mean, seriously, the craft service guy, who if you would have been addict to? Yes, I would have never recommended you for that job. Because you never know where anyone's gonna be. And I've had that happen to me in my career where they were my interest And then they all go off and are directing movies and have, you know, all these amazing career? It's so remarkable that just the craft service guy, what is it? 15 years later? 20 years later?

Scott Mosier 1:15:13
24, five years later, and I've kept in touch with Brian like, sure. You know, we've read, he'd send me scripts, and I'd read them and we've kept in touch and but yeah, that was, you know, relationships. Yeah, that was a seed of it of like, then someone like Chris was, like, knew Brian was like, trust his opinion. And then he's like, who do you know, that might be good about and I come off a free bird. So I ultimately had some experience at that size. Like, I had some experience. And so, and I was even honest with Chris was like, like, I honestly don't know if I want to do any

Alex Ferrari 1:15:53
Worst job interview ever.

Scott Mosier 1:15:56
I was really like, I want to get into this. But like I said, I really got on with him. And then, you know, when he finally brought up the grand shots, and look, we brought up the Grinch, I was torn to because, you know, I love the Chuck Jones version. I grew up with that. And so I was like, oh, man, like, I don't know if I want to be the guy that Fuck this. I don't want to be the guy that screws up the grids. Yeah, guys, like, it was just the book. It's like, these are like, oh, you know, like, he didn't do a good adaptation. But it was like, there's there was a lot of things for it. There's, there's the beloved Chuck downs, classic, which was was in me too. But you know, then I was like, but it's a really cool opportunity to sort of build out a different version of it. And also, you know, build a bigger world, you know, that was like, part of what we were doing is like, Oh, we get to really explore Whoville and really expand on it and make this sort of a more expansive, experiential movie of it.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:04
So and it did and it did okay. at the box office did okay.

Scott Mosier 1:17:07
It did ultimately did well, yeah,

Alex Ferrari 1:17:09
Half a half a billion according to IMDb Pro. So, not not bad for a job you didn't want.

Scott Mosier 1:17:17
The credit goes to so many people. Sure. What's so much fun with animation is it's like, there's so many incredible artists from, you know, lay out to, you know, animators to, you know, that sort of concept artists and art directors and the vocal talent of so many people. That's the greatest thing of animation. It's like, you know, it's like, you spend years and years and years, and just when you're like, about to shoot yourself going, like, it's fun to fucking look at a storyboard, you know? It's like, then you start to see, like, then it's like, right, when you're there, it's like, you start animating? And then right when you're sort of like going, like, they start lighting and rendering and like, it's like, right, when you're sort of getting tired and cut going, like, what do we get to see the final, you know, revenues, sort of desperate to see final images, they always seem to pop up. And you go, like, Okay, this is why we're doing it. Cuz it's like, it does just look in crowd. It's like, when you get to send in dailies and see the finished stuff, there's like, it's just so amazing. That's what it is, like, it's a paint, you have to be patient.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:31
No, it's now it's a system. I mean, when they were coming up, you know, when when Disney animation was kind of setting it all up. And they didn't even know what they were doing. But like now, it's there's a system and I have a good buddy of mine that worked that Disney for 12 years as an animator. He did, he did environments. He was in the elite and environments, and I would go into Disney animation. And I'd walk around and I'd see the different apartments and it just like, in awe, it's just in awe of what you could do. And as a director, I cuz I know that they did this a Disney Animation is they would have a board up. And they would give the directors a stack of cash of like paper cash, and they would have all the sequences of the movie Up. And they go, you can put money on what sequences you want to spend a little extra money on. But this is all the money you get. So they would get to choose, like this action sequence. I want a lot more more attention to as opposed to just less Can I kind of get through. And if there's anything like that happened with I was just a Disney thing.

Scott Mosier 1:19:31
That definitely did not happen because I would have just walked out

Alex Ferrari 1:19:37
I'm done. I'm out. My pocket. And it was fake Scott. It was fake money.

Scott Mosier 1:19:43
It was Yeah, we could talk about this later, but I'm gonna take my wife. No, we didn't do that. I mean, you know, it's something that but that, that those conversations are sort of collective. You know, you're you're sort of

Alex Ferrari 1:19:59
We'll be right back. back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Scott Mosier 1:20:10
And, you know, I mean, to me, it's just something you inherently know, whether it's a live action movie or, or right before animated movie, you're you, you're sitting there going, like, hey, we have limited resources, we have limited money, we have limited time. So it's like, you know, you know, in an animation too, there's that sense of like, well, if you want this sequence to be freakin huge, then you better get going now, right? Because there's a pipeline, there's a moment where it's like a movie, it's just like, it's cut off, it's like, you can't add new shots, you can't, they won't make it through in time. So it was a lot of thought constantly put into going like, Oh, this is, you know, we want to do a big shot here. Like we're doing some, there's a big huge, like, kind of drum crane shot and grants where we're like, going through this pod of people skating and all the way up to like, so you have to sort of like get all that stuff arranged. Because all the, you know, it's it's basically live action, you know, you have to sort of make sure that you've made those decisions to be like, Oh, we want to set the time here and want to do that here. And part of that is has more to do. It's just like, making movies with financial limitations, you know, right, which is most people I mean, there are people who don't, you know, there's they're filming, or are given a sort of, do whatever they want. And I don't necessarily like, I mean, he's offered.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:41
These are not problems. You are I have,

Scott Mosier 1:21:44
Yeah, this is not a problem that I have. And I don't think that's a problem that I'll face. But I do think the limitation is those limitations can be really, really helps you, for me, it just helps you focus on the story, right? And go like, hey, like, you better know what's important, you know, or you better figure it the fuck out really quickly, because you are in charge of like, trying to argue why people should, you know, we need more assets, we need this, we need that you're the person who's going to be driving and pushing for things. Like, you know, the limitations will help you figure it out, you go like, alright, like, we, we, you know, like we can we can reduce the amount of shots here, we can do this here. We don't need that many extra was there, like, make that choice? Because like, you know, I really want this to look like this, or I want this to sort of exist there. So, you know, but no, nobody came around with cash.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:43
Very enough. Fair enough. Now, I just have a few questions. I asked all my guests, something like rapid fire. If you could go back to your younger self, what would you tell him?

Scott Mosier 1:22:58
Somebody else asked me this recently, not to, you know, like, call you on originally.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:05
You know, it's got I'm quite offended. That's okay.

Scott Mosier 1:23:09
Like, for like, somebody asked me this. And, you know, um, it's probably more insight in the way my brain work because, like, I take it so literally, I don't, but it's like that I'm like, I don't think I would say anything. I don't know what I would say I don't know what could. Because everything I know is is or every, every, every like, conclusion I've reached, that has any value in my life, is because of the experiences I went to, you know, and I don't think you can go back to your younger self and be like, you know, buy Apple

Alex Ferrari 1:23:47
Buy Apple at $7 buy Apple at $7. Buy face buy Facebook at 30.

Scott Mosier 1:23:52
You have $3,000 from your car sale. I know this won't make any sense. But buy apple

No buy in 2021 there's going to be a Gamestop buy GameStop.

That like that's a good advice and like how your career cuz here's the thing, like my career, in a way makes no sense, even to me. Like it's not like there's no linear line. Like, I can't point to it and tell somebody like, this is what I did. You should do this. Yeah, it's just like I I followed my curiosity, which is what I do now, you know, I still just sort of go I'm not I'm not sort of, I'm driven by my curiosity of like, animation or this or that and I kind of like, which is why my IMDB page is kind of a weird mishmash of producing and documentaries, you know, like, I I love documentaries, like I'll go in that direction. Like, you know, I sort of follow I don't I'm not like my like, I make horror movies or I make you know, real comedies like, I've just love I, from the time I was a kid, but I just love film. I mean, my, my sort of taste in music is the same film, which is really diverse. I just watch a lot of different things. So

Alex Ferrari 1:25:15
Yeah, I mean, honestly, that at the end of the day, you know, I try to hack the whole set, like, what's the path I can take? Okay, should I try to do what Kevin did? No. Okay, maybe what I do what Robert did no. Okay, maybe what I do with Richard, like, and I'm not the only thing like we all do that, like at one point, you know, you start looking at other people. Like you guys were doing it with Richard, you guys were doing with slacker like, literally, that was what we were trying to do. But at the end of the day, it's it's it's a lot of luck. Right Place Right Time. Like you happen to run into Kevin Smith. You to happen to gel. He happened to have a script about clerks and then and then and off you go. And it happened in the early 90s When that was a fertile ground for something like that to kind of take off. Like you said, would that if it would happen in 85? Is there a does it happen in 2005? But you know, I always tell people dislike if Robert shows up with a mariachi today. I'm not sure he breaks through with a mariachi today. But in 91, a $7,000 action movies shot on 16 was exactly what the industry needed. It was the proof of like, oh my god, someone made a movie for $7,000. Or the story they sold at least

Scott Mosier 1:26:30
Robert was, if you, you know, to me, like you transplanted like the $7,000 version of El Mariachi that Robert would have made would have been very, very different. So

Alex Ferrari 1:26:41
In today's with today's Tech, you're right. Yeah, you're absolutely right,

Scott Mosier 1:26:44
Calculate that he could have sort of done it. Because, like, yeah, there's like, the thing that I still go back to, and, you know, it's not about people's career paths. Or look, it is about who you know, making connections, like meeting people having like a deep sort of list of people that you know, people that are making movies, I mean, it starts in film school, like if you know enough people you're working on shorts, and like, it doesn't even matter if the short skirt good just trying to get experience, right. Like that's like you're a good worker, you work hard. You can fucking push a dolly, whatever. Like, for me like that was a big part of it. But I also think like, this specific people want to be writers, you know, writer, writer directors and stuff like that. I think it's like, you know, the thing, it goes back to having that unique voice like what what's the story that only you can tell, you know, and at the end of the day, like no, mariachis, slacker is like very, like, all those guys had one thing in common, which is they really wanted to tell that story. Not because they really wanted to tell that story. And not because it was the idea cheap idea. That to me is like always, like people are like, Yeah, well, I really want to make this but they're like, but then I, you know, I came up with a cheap idea. It's like, well, no, no, like, come up with ideas. And like, if all your ideas are $80 million dollars, then you might have a problem. Like, yeah, but but like, if you like, if your passion isn't in these cheap ideas, like everyone's gonna know this.

Alex Ferrari 1:28:30
You're absolutely you know, I've never really I've really never quantified it the way you stated, because you're absolutely right. Like, you know, when I, when I make my movies, you know, the ones that sing, or the ones that I really wanted to do. And the ones that were like, I'm going to try to be this guy or I'm this is going to get me to that next level, this is going to be the one that gets me the agent or the those don't they fall, they fall flat, you know, and the ones that have all the passion and the voice are the ones that people really connect to. And that's something that filmmakers trying to break into, they really don't get. And that is the thing that will cut through. You're absolutely right, that is the thing that will cut through all the noise.

Scott Mosier 1:29:09
Because if you're I mean, if you have to go talk about a movie you're making, you know, that's the simplest part of the equation. It's like, if you're passionate about I have for hours, you know, if made it as some sort of vehicle, I mean, the amount of people I've known over the years, like, well, I'm doing this, but I really want to do that. And I'm like, I was like I get it, but I was like you have to find like everything should be an extension of your passion. You can do things just to learn, right? Those are the two levels. If you want to go make a film that you're just like because you can because you could afford to do it and learn and become a better director or become a better whatever. There's value in that right. But you have to know that the end result of that is that you learned you know, if you want to The other reason to make some is like, what are you fucking excited about? Like, what are you passionate about? Like, what kind of stories are you passionate about? Like, is it? You know, like, if you love horror movies, then it's like, that's great. But what's the personal version of a horror horror movie? You know? I mean, if you look at Jordan Peele, it's like, that's why those movies are fucking amazing. Because their personal like, it's not, he didn't invent or he basically it was like, This is my perspective of what a horror movie is, right? And I was like, Holy shit, like you are, you are the only version of you. And I'm not saying you're an antique snowflake. But

Alex Ferrari 1:30:40
We're all unique snowflakes that we're all unique snowflakes,

Scott Mosier 1:30:43
Your perception or your take, or your sort of joke on, like, if you throw something on the table, and everyone makes a joke, like, there'll be 10 Different jokes, right? Like, that's what makes you different. And the more you sort of push yourself to find that, and that, to me is like, was a very long process. Like I in 21, like, I did not have a voice. Like I like, and it was having Kevin was like such a great. That was part of the benefit of standing next to Kevin is because I was like, that's what a voice. Like, that's what it means. That's what it means to have a voice. That's what it means to cut through the noise, right? Because all the rest of it is noise. And so I was very aware of how long it would sort of take me to develop my own voice like I did the whole time. I was like, oh my god, like that's a voice, right? Kevin's a voice, like no one can argue that you may not like the voice, but this motherfucker has got his own voice. And, you know, a million people, the Coen brothers like Oh,

Alex Ferrari 1:31:49
Richard Richard Linkletter all those guys. Yeah, they all have a voice. You're absolutely right. Even even Robert, even Robert, who makes those kinds of action and stuff, but that's, that's his voice inside all those movies,

Scott Mosier 1:32:02
You can learn how to you can learn how to edit, you can learn all the technical stuff, and all that stuff is smart. Like that's basically just making you better your job. If you want to tell your story. If you if you want to be a writer, director, you know, you really have to find your most importantly do is find your voice

Alex Ferrari 1:32:20
Two last questions, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Scott Mosier 1:32:25
Find your voice

Alex Ferrari 1:32:28
Next question. Find the voice

Scott Mosier 1:32:32
To find your voice. And like part of the reason about finding your voice is that finding your way through the process of finding your voice, what you will do is create confidence in what your voice is, you know, it's like there's two, there's, there's all these, there's all these positives that come towards really taking a deep dive and be like, what kind of stories do I want to tell? Like, what do I get emotional when I watch? Like, what do I want to create, recreate on the screen, like, you know, some of those basic questions of like, when I watch, like, I love to make people piss their pants laughing. I like to make people shit their pants. Fucking, like scary, or like, if these are all like, we're all here, because we're like, movies make us. Movies evoke emotions, they make us feel things. And I really like for me, part of the process was going like, what what are the things that I love to feel when I'm watching a movie, and therefore that's the thing that I don't want to recreate in my own movies. And so locating that, like, you know, what's the thing that you're like, oh, fuck, like, I go watch a movie. And, and like, I'm terrified, like, I just walk away. And I'm like, from joy. So I'm so excited. If that's it, then you should focus on that. Like, if you're like, No, I love to make people feel like life is worth, you know, like, I like to make people cry. You know, like, all those things exist. And it's sort of, it's almost like finding your voice to me is more about focusing on like, what's the emotions that you like to evoke in the kind of content you're making? Because that's part of like, what will help you fill out the kind of stories you want to tell which is like, what's the emotional impact? You're looking for? anger, rage, love, like all those things. Like those are the things sort of think about so yeah, finding, finding finding my voice was like probably the biggest thing

Alex Ferrari 1:34:30
And three of your favorite films of all time.

Scott Mosier 1:34:35
If so many. I'll just sort of rattle some off. Well, I go way back to the beginning like time band.

Alex Ferrari 1:34:44
It's so good. Terry manTerry Gilliam.

Scott Mosier 1:34:48
Huge. The ones that like, you know, for me, it's always like, ones that shift your perception about you know what a film is? are the ones that really stick in my mind. And there's tons of amazing movies that don't necessarily do that. But like time, man, it was a big one for me. Raising Arizona was another one, like, really early on where I was like, I just, I just hate it. And, you know, and then now I can go. I mean, like Fight Club is a weapon later on in life where I was like, so completely just like, Fuck,

Alex Ferrari 1:35:27
What am I doing?

Scott Mosier 1:35:28
Yeah, just like, just like, I want to walk, like, and then I just watched it like, 100 times. But, you know, eight and a half was another, like, just mind blowing sort of experience, right? Like, you know, we're in that space. You're like, this is a movie. Like, that was the exciting part about being young is like, you're constantly like watching so many things. And that experience would be like I'm constantly redefining what a movie is. Through everything I'm watching. Like that's the sort of those are the movies in like time, man. It's Raising Arizona eight have been Fight Club is one where I was like, I was sort of be like, Oh, okay, like, I'm kind of pivoting and you're like, This is a movie.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:13
I mean, when I when I mean, I've had Jim who wrote Fight Club on the show, and I just geeked out with him and Fincher and basically anything Fincher does you just walk by and just like, what are we? What are we doing it really, I mean, and I've talked to some I've talked to some amazing filmmakers. And anytime Fincher comes up, they just say like, I don't, I just, I don't even know what we're doing here. It's, it's, it's having one of those like, it's like Kubrick when Kubrick would pop up with a movie just like what what am I doing?

Scott Mosier 1:36:42
Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:45
Scott, man, thank you so much for being on the show. Brother. It has been an absolute pleasure talking to you, man. And I wish you nothing but success exploring your new wants and, and things that excite you wherever, wherever you go. And I hope that IMDb account gets a little bit more broad and increased.

Scott Mosier 1:37:26
Me too. Thanks for having me.

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IFH 116: Fast and Cheap: Lessons Learned for the No-Budget Feature Film

In this week’s episode, I go way back to a simpler time, the 90s, and discuss the lessons we can learn from some filmmaking legends. I’ll discuss films by Robert Rodriguez, Kevin Smith, Christopher Nolanand Richard Linklater to break down and learn the techniques they used to make awesome, no-budget feature films with limited resources.

“In no-budget filmmaking, your limitations are your guide.”

If you take note of what filmmakers did before you, you can jump-start your filmmaking career. Enjoy!

I also included this killer video by The Royal Ocean Film Society. In the late 1980s and 1990s, there was a great movement indie cinema of no-budget filmmaking that was the beginning for some of the most successful and popular filmmakers of the modern-day. Let’s take a look at five features from that movement and see what lessons we can learn on how to make a great film with as little money as possible.

Here are some key points discussed:

  • Shoot black and white
  • Be disciplined
  • Try not to use guns
  • Film something that hasn’t been seen before
  • Take stock of what you have and make a movie about it
  • Don’t take things so seriously

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 2:26
So guys, today's episode, I wanted to go back a bit and talk about a time of a much simpler time a lovely time called the 90s where a lot of indie film guys got their start. And I wanted to kind of talk a little bit about the lessons we can learn from a lot of these guys who started their careers back in the late 80s, early 90s. And what they were able to do, and how they did it, and I've studied them over the course of my career, and just started finding similar themes and similar things that each of these guys did, to kind of get out there to get a career started. So why don't I go over, go over individual filmmakers as well as movies and concepts as well. And I hope you guys get a little something out of it. Because I've been I've been getting contacted a lot by filmmakers who you know, are trying to get their first movies made. And I see they tell me like, Oh, I'm going to do this kind of movie, this kind of movie. And it's going to cost X amount of dollars. And I'm just thinking to myself, I'm like my god, you know, the chances of you actually making any money back is going to be very, very difficult. And I wanted to kind of give a little bit of a helping hand if I can with this episode. So first and foremost, guys, when you're going to go into making a movie, your first feature film, do it as cheaply as humanly possible. Dirt Cheap, okay, I mean the bare minimum of what you can do to get your movie finished and made, because a lot of filmmakers will show up and go look, I've got $200,000 for my first movie, I'm like, Well, if you have $200,000 for your first movie, you better pick a genre that's really marketable, you probably better pick a couple stars that are going to be involved. So you can at least get some basic sales off of that. And if you don't do that, you're going to be destined for failure. Because even Sundance winners and big big movie, no big fan of Sundance Tribeca, South by Southwest, full blown winners in audience winners and best of shows, you know, for you to read, read, get the $200,000 back on a let's call it a drama, or a comedy or a drama at or something that's not genre based. extremely, extremely difficult and I think a lot of filmmakers make that big Mistake right up front. And when they finally do do that, and they completely fall on their face, they're discouraged. And never make another movie again. And I don't want to see that happen to you guys. So try to make your movie as cheap as possible. And you know, you could take Robert Rodriguez, Kevin Smith, rich, Richard Linklater, Spike Lee, all of these guys, all their first movies were very inexpensive. But obviously the famous one, which is Robert Rodriguez, a $7,000, Kevin Smith at 30, or $27,000, he put on his credit cards, all that kind of stuff. And I'll use this as magazine example, use myself, you know, we made the movie for under $25 million, we'll release the final budget once the audit is done. But we made the movie at a place where we feel comfortable that we can recoup our initial investment. Now that could be half a million dollars. That could be $5,000. Nothing Meg in general, but just a general statement. Because if you have a certain star, or a certain genre or a certain thing, and a half a million dollars, and you know you can pre sell or sell certain territories and things like that half million dollars makes a lot of sense. If you know you're going to probably get 1.5 back for it. But if you're going in with a drama with no stars at 100,000 200,000 $500,000, budget, good luck. It's, you'd be one of the few and when I say few, I can count them on my hands. If I could even think of movies, that blue out of the water at that kind of budget range when they're first starting out. But what you need to do is embrace your limitations. Do what you can do very well. So again, I'll use Meg as an example. You know, my limitations, which were and limitations I set on myself. I knew what I had, I knew what kind of cast that can get. I knew what kind of locations I could get. I knew what camera I can afford that I could have complete control over as opposed to getting a free Alexa, which would have brought all sorts of, you know, headaches of financial headaches, as well as technical and logistical headaches for this kind of movie. And I just, I just fell right into what I had access to. You know, I'll go back to mariachi, you know, Robert had access to a full Mexican town. So he made a movie about a full Mexican town. Kevin Smith had access to a convenience store. And he made a movie about a convenience store. Richard Linklater made a movie called slacker. What did he have access to Austin Austin back in the 90s, which is not the pool hip Austin, that it is today. He just made a movie about his backyard. And that's another thing you guys have to understand. You should make a movie that is close to you. That is your experience your perspective on something. There's been a lot of convenience stores and movies in the history of film. But no one has ever done it quite like Kevin Smith. It was his perspective, his rawness of what it's really like to be a clerk. And that was his that was his truth. Same thing goes for a go to Richard Linklater and slot and slacker. He wanted to show what these people and this town was like, from his perspective, his voice. And if you start going back and watching all of the first movies of a lot of these great directors, they're going to they're going to a lot of them are going to be very close to home. They're going to be you know, I'm sure there's an there's the occasional, you know, oddball out like the following, you know, by Chris Nolan. But it was still something that he had, he used what he had access to, which was a 16 millimeter camera, and he shot it on weekends for a year, you know, so he definitely embraced his limitations, and tried to make the best thing he could, with the limited tools and an experience and locations and everything yet, but a lot of these other people who really kind of break through, they are telling a story that's very true to who they are, and where they come from. And that unique voice is what people are looking for. They're not looking for an eye. Like if I went out right now and make clerks no one wants to see that movie. And that's what happened with like when Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs came out how many rip offs of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction came out after that. I mean, it was ridiculous how many tried to be hips, the hip, kind of movies came out, but it wasn't authentic, and audiences can smell that. And when you find something authentic, something with some heart, something that that rings true. That's when you break out man. So that's why clerks My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you know for you know, which was one of the biggest independent films of all time. Sure, it wasn't done on a little low, low budget, but it wasn't a studio movie by any stretch. That movie made to $300 million. Why? Because Nina the director, writer wrote from Her heart from her experience from her voice. No one had ever done a movie like that before. But then of course, everyone could relate to that movie, because of the story and how she was able to write it. But again, it came from her life experience. She's got to have it Spike Lee's first movie was all about his experience in New York, what it was like to be a black woman in New York in the late 80s. And that whole experience something that no one had ever seen on screen before. So boys in the hood, another one john Singleton's first movie, is a masterpiece. And it was it completely rings true to the experience he saw that he grew up with, and no one had really talked about it, you know, they did collars, you know that. That movie by Dennis Hopper, and Sean Penn, about the gangs in you know, South el, and you know, South Central and all those areas, but no one was really, it was kind of very Hollywood II, as opposed to boys in the hood, then when you watch boys in the hood, you will tear up, you will go Holy crap, it was so powerful. It was like an atom bomb going off in cinema when that came out, you know, from a 23 year old Why? Because he was authentic to who he was, and his experience. And that's what I want you guys to kind of look for when trying to make your first movie, find something that's authentic to you, that only you could tell that story in mind you. You like, Oh, well, you know, I work in a in a video store. Well, you know, nobody works in a video store anymore. But you work at a convenience store, oh clerks has already been done? Well, maybe you could tell it in a different way from your experience, from your place where it maybe has not been told in that way. You know, there's been a lot of movie, there's been a lot of action movies in the world. But it all depends on the kind of perspective you put on it. And what your voice is, what your your message your theme is. And I think as when you're first starting out, it's the easiest thing to do with a feature. You know, I've done my first shorts were very ambitious, very action packed, very true. But I'll be honest with you looking back at some of those movies, I'm like, you know what, there's just something missing. For me as an artist and being critical of my own work, I'll go back and go, you know what, there's something missing there. Maybe I was onto something, maybe I wasn't, I don't know. But Meg, for, for what better or worse, I really love this as Meg, because it's a really authentic view of what I was seeing through the eyes of Julie, you know, and what she was going through as an actress in LA and I had been very close to that world. And we've all seen movies about actresses, and actors trying to make it in Hollywood. But I don't think anyone's seen one like this before, because it's a very unique perspective, a very unique, authentic view of this world. So that's what I was trying to do. And I did it again, on a budget that I feel comfortable, I can get a return on. So look around you and find out what you have access to. And then you start building your story around that. That's exactly what we did. With this as Mac, we started looking and taking inventory of everything we had. So I'm like Alright, we have an edit suite, there's going to be a scene with an edit sweeten it, because as good production value is the edit suite that we added to the movie in you know, we have houses or you have your house, my house, how many rooms can we do how many things we could do great. We have a car, we have these cards? Great. I have some friends with houses. Great. And then I have all these actor friends of mine. Great. That's a resource. Let's use that. Okay, then I have all this that I bring all my camera gear great. And then that's how we were able to construct the story of this is Meg within the limitations of what we had access to. And clerks did it. mariachi did it. slackers did it. And a lot of people will go well, how about like district nine? You know, Neal cams, a great little short, that got him his first feature. Now, I'm going to argue with it and have a paranormal activity. Okay, great. So I'll argue with you that those two movies were not, quote unquote, from, you know, like a little personal movie. But if you look at district nine, what did it do? Neal set the movie in South Africa, an alien invasion kind of movie in South Africa. I've never seen that before. Have you know, now would have that movie still had the same impact if it was set in Chicago? or New York or LA? I don't know. I personally don't think so. I think one of the charms of that movie is because it's set in South Africa. And why is it set in South Africa? Because guess what, Neil South African, and he felt like he wanted to put something from his experience. So he melted his experience with a really cool sci fi story. Now that was the other thing I'm saying the kind of stories I'm talking about are either going to be dramas, comedies, dramas, even actions but And sci fi, if you look at some Sundance winning movie called sleep dealer by Alex Rivera, that's a movie about basically immigration. And, but he threw a sci fi twist in it. He's a Mexican filmmaker, and he decided to throw his experience, as you know, day laborers and not his experience. But the story of day laborers, but he threw it in with an insane sci fi twist to it. And again, he just twisted it, but used his original and his authentic experience to tell that story. And it's his voice. And that's well The other thing I want to tell you guys, I'll argue that district nine, sleep dealer, paranormal activity, those also are genre movies. So genre, kinda is different than what I'm talking about the drama is the comedies that even the actions but action, sci fi, Hor, those, those are genre genres. And because of those, those are much easier to sell and don't need as much of as an authentic voice as a drama or comedy does. Now, look at district nine. District nine had a very authentic voice mixed in with a sci fi movie, and it was a huge hit. So we mixed genre with authentic voice. And that's something that you guys could do as well. genres are going to be much genre films are going to be a lot easier to sell a lot easier to get out there. And it all depends on what you want to do with your filmmaking career. If you want to go down the festival circuit, you want to make personal films want to make big blockbusters, I you know, it's up to you. Robert Rodriguez made mariachi which was an action movie, which is a genre movie, but was very authentic to his voice, which is in his backyard, which is a Mexican town. He's a Mexican American filmmaker, and he was using his authentic voice his experience to make his genre movie. So to review a little bit of what we just talked about, make your first movie is dirt cheapest possible, the cheaper, the better. Because if you're able to make a movie for 15 grand, you should if you know even remotely what you're doing, make yourself 30 grand off of that. And then the next one you can make will cost 30 grand and then off that 30 grand, maybe you can make 50 or 60 grand off of that. And then you can start growing and growing and growing. And then you can start jumping budgets, once you start figuring the process out a little bit. But trying to jump in right away with a huge budget when I say huge budget $100,000 for someone's never directed a day in their life is a lot $200,000 that's a lot of fucking money, excuse my language. And I know a lot of filmmakers just want to like oh, I'm got my big budget, I'm gonna use all these tools and stuff like that Don't be idiots. Try to do something small First, if you can, if you can execute something on a smaller scale, tell a good story on a $20,000 budget on a $15,000 budget on a $10,000 budget, then you have a much, much better chance of telling a good story and making it look good. When you have a bigger budget. There's a lot of things that you don't think about when working on a bigger budget. But if you do something small, that might work better and I'll use myself again with Meg as an example. You know, we raised a good amount of money to make the movie but it was a number that we felt very comfortable with. I could have easily tripled or quadrupled that kind of budget and made a much bigger movie. Because I have 20 years of experience under my belt. I've directed four or $500,000 music videos and commercials and things like that in my career. But I decided no I'm not going to do that. I'm going to strip it down to the bare bones and Mike look this is about story. Let's see if I can tell a story that I'm proud of before I start jumping into the next big project. Don't be in such a rush to jump into these bigger budgets guys all right, learn from the lessons of Robert Rodriguez Kevin Smith, Spike Lee all these guys that started Richard Linklater that started out with smaller smaller budget selling very personal stories because that's what will take you to the next level and the next level and the next level after that. And again, there always are those people who who are the exception but generally speaking, I don't know of any examples of people who who made a drama or a comedy or a drama at at a very you know, it robust budget with no stars or anything like that involved and was able to be very successful with it. I know of many people who did genre movies, horror movies, action movies, I mean, Eli Roth, Peter Jackson, all these kind of guys. They did genre movies and and that's how they got noticed and how they broke out and started their career. I mean, we can go all the way back to Martin Scorsese's first films. Who's that knocking Which was completely from his experience all his short films, most of his early short films were based around his experience, which is his his experience in the streets of New York, in the 60s and 70s. Growing up seeing the mobster seeing the thing that was his authentic voice. And that voice he's carried on throughout his career jumping in and out from that his next movies and other gangster movie because he's so good at it because he understands that world so well, but that's his authentic voice from where Martin Scorsese came from, then he didn't mean streets, then he starts jumping into something like taxi driver. Then he jumps into Raging Bull, and these other movies that aren't his personal stories anymore, but his personal stories are what got him to the next level. And that's what I'm trying to tell you guys. You should look at. And I know a lot of you going well, Alex, I don't have a personal story. I live in Podunk. Wherever. Not a lot of stuff happens here. On mic. Perfect. That's exactly where your story is. What if something happens in that little town with those characters, those people that you know so well, that you might have never seen on screen before. Again, slacker. No one had ever seen that world before. You know, boys in the hood, no one ever seen that kind of world before. Clark's no one ever seen his partake on that world before. Same thing with mariachi. So guys, I hope you learn something out of this podcast. And I hope you take some of the advice I've given you out here. Hopefully it makes sense to you, and will help you along your, your journey, as filmmakers, as an author, and as artists, and I hope you guys can launch successful careers as filmmakers, which is what we're all trying to do. We're all trying to do that we're all trying to make a living doing what we'd love to do. And hopefully we can look at others who have done it and taking their careers to levels that we can only dream of. So I'm going to put links to all of the movies that I've talked about in this episode in our show notes at indie film hustle.com forward slash 116. There also be a great little video about 10 minute video on lessons you can learn from filmmakers in the 90s when you're making your first feature film. So definitely check that out guys. And as always, please head over to filmmaking podcast calm, and leave me a good review on iTunes, and really helps me out a lot guys. And I want to get this out to as many people as humanly possible. And also I've got a bunch of great stuff coming up at the syndicate, we're going to be uploading a ton of new courses, as well. So check that out as well indie film syndicate.com. And finally, guys, I wanted to ask you, if you want to ask me something. So I'm going to start creating a little a little section either I'm going to do it in its own podcasts, or I'm going to do it at the end of podcast, depending on how many questions I get. But I want you guys to send me some questions. If you have a question that you're just dying to know. And you really wish you could ask and get an answer to and you think I can possibly answer it for you. email me at IF H [email protected] That's IF H [email protected] And that will just write me a question going, Hey, this question and this question and I'll do a podcast episode, answering those questions alone. And hopefully that will help you guys a bit. So you could either do it, that'd probably be the best way to get a hold of me with it. So ifhsubmissions.com. So keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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