How to Meld the Perfect Collaborative Atmosphere on Set
For 'The Unicorn', director Robert Schwartzman erased the divide between cast and crew to create something outrageous.
Making a movie is like making a good stew. Sure, that may not be the first analogy you’d jump to while racking your filmmaking ethos, but for Robert Schwartzman director of The Unicorn, one of 2018’s best comedies, it just makes sense.
Every good stew requires fresh ingredients. Your cast and crew are the meat and potatoes. But that stew can't just be about the ingredients. Without the proper mixture, it would just be a bunch of vegetables. You've got balance them out in a way so the flavors come together as a harmonious whole. And that’s the real job of the director. They’re the head chef. The captain.
If you walked onto the set of a truly great chef, you'd find yourself in a sacred place that exudes the right collaborative energy. Perhaps the simplest way to achieve this is by treating everyone with the same level of respect, making sure every actor on set knows every crew member, how they contribute to the cooking process, and vice versa. Schwartzman erases the divide between the cast and crew, and focuses on the fact that everyone is just a person, working together to create something great.
When you hear how Lauren Lapkus, Nick Rutherford, Maya Kazan and Darrell Britt-Gibson speak about their director in this podcast, you'll gain a better appreciation for just how important maintaining this type of atmosphere is. Our conversation, recorded at SXSW 2018, is often hilarious and consistently insightful. Enjoy.