May 22, 2017

Divide and Conquer: Why You Should Work With a Co-Director [PODCAST]

The minds behind SXSW hit 'Small Town Crime' make the case for why two directors are always better than one.

Brothers Eshom and Ian Nelms come from humble beginnings. Neither went to film school; instead, they learned from going out and shooting a lot of bad stuff. Their first feature, Squirrel Trap, may be the perfect example.

Shot for $1500 in the woods behind their parents' house, their crew consisted of only three people. Their father lit the whole thing with a flashlight and a bounce board. After submitting to a ton of festivals, they only were accepted to about four or five. 

Things are much different now, to say the least. Their latest film, Small Town Crimewas one of the buzziest films at SXSW this year. It's a sterling entry into a resurgent neo-noir genre, starring John Hawkes as an alcoholic ex-cop who finds the body of a young woman and becomes hell-bent on finding the killer.

Much of the duo's success can be credited to the fact that they are just that, a duo. Each acts as the yin to the other's yang with different skill sets and strengths, but they are able to maintain a synchronicity on set that is much appreciated by their entire crew. With a co-director at your side, you have the ability to delegate different jobs, divide and conquer, and possess an instant soundboard to shoot down or agree with your ideas. 

No Film School's Jon Fusco sat down with the directing duo as well as their recurring partner in cinematography, Johnny Derango, and composer Chris Westlake to discuss all the benefits of having a partner in crime on your film shoot.

Listen to the episode by streaming or downloading from the embedded player above, or find it on iTunes here. 


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This episode was produced and edited by Jon Fusco.

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