When it comes to actors playing musicians on screen, Haley didn't want to follow the conventional standard of well, having no standards. No lip synching, no dubs, no inserts of a hairy-knuckled hand double who knows how to play the guitar. For Hearts Beat Loud, a film about a father and daughter who somewhat-accidentally-unintentionally become a cool new indie band, Haley worked with Keegan DeWitt to create the perfect music for the film. Then he orchestrated his DP and crew to create a set that would allow his two professional actors (but amateur musicians) to do justice to both their roles and the music. For this film, the two aspects are intrinsically connected. 

I had a chance to sit down with Brett Haley and Nick Offerman on the eve of their premiere at this past SXSW; you can check out the film in theaters starting this June 8. They gave us a glimpse into not only the production requirements for this kind of style, but also what it was like to work together, with this being Offerman's first official leading role.

Topics we cover in our conversation:

  • Production requirements for shooting live music
  • How and when to bring in a composer to write the music in this situation
  • The tools needed to allow the DP and crew to shoot sequences that are happening live, all in one take
  • How a director can help actors who are not professional musicians feel comfortable on this kind of set

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This episode was edited by Jon Fusco.