Less than five years out of film school, Sophie Brooks premiered her directorial debut at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Starring Girls' Zosia Mamet in her first-ever leading role, The Boy Downstairs is a confident film that easily maneuvers between comedy and drama to tell the bittersweet story of an ex-couple trying—and failing—to be friends. Judging from the film's polished nature and the way the witty dialogue rolls off the actors' tongues as if ripped directly from everyday life, it's hard to imagine that this is Brooks' first feature film.

In this episode of the No Film School podcast, Emily Buder talks to Sophie, her former classmate, and Sophie's brother and producer, David Brooks, about how to avoid the mistakes directors inevitably make on their first movie. Among these tactics is the ability to accept many rounds of constructive criticism during the writing process, letting your cast and crew pitch in with ideas for how to change a scene that isn't working, holding many test screenings with your target audience, and more. 

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This episode was produced and edited by Jon Fusco.