Being a first-time filmmaker is never easy. But when you're already a famous actor and your writing and directing partner is a famous producer, the pressure is on.

Now imagine doing it and also deciding you'll make a road movie completely dependent on an animal co-star. That's what Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin bit off when they decided to write and direct Dog together.  

Tatum also stars in the movie, which is about an army ranger tasked with driving a military working dog from Washington to Arizona so it can attend its handler’s funeral. It's an emotional, hilarious, and poignant journey through two damaged characters' lives. 

Carolin and Tatum are not new to Hollywood and have been around many sets. But this was the first time they were in charge.

So how did they decide how to run the show?

Tatum told Indiewire recently, "I wouldn’t sit here and say, 'Well, we did this like Soderbergh and that like Tarantino.' Really and truly, you have a story and go, okay, we’re going to set the dominoes up and just chase it. It’s a pseudo-controlled avalanche. It’s hard for me to even talk about directing because I really don’t think I even truly got what it is to direct. Reid really directed this thing. Because I wasn’t in the scenes, I couldn’t be back in the monitors with him picking things apart. I was directing the dog while Reid and Tom Sigel [cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel] were in the back pulling the strings. I was just trying not to get bit in the face." 

Carolin said they did mirror Soderbergh a little through "a low budget and a very short schedule, we had to work really fast."

With such impressive people to model themselves after, they also had to work with an animal that could be unpredictable. Lucky for them, their costar was well behaved.

Even though these guys had experience, they didn't have an unlimited budget. Tatum explains his frustration working on a commercial, and then coming back to set to make this movie.

"I was even frustrated on this movie when we did this Draft Kings promotion. They had like 15 cameras shooting just one run of me and the dog. Where was all this shit when we were doing our action stuff and we only had, like, one camera on an RC car. And the car broke, of course. It’s really frustrating as a filmmaker. We didn’t have to go make the $1 million indie movie with the one handheld camera we have. We got lucky that I’m an actor that can go out and raise money. I’m trying not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but it is really frustrating when we want to shoot a really cool action scene—the bite scene in the hotel—and you get what you get, but the next thing you know, to sell the movie, all the toys come out. You’ve got drones, cranes, people on motorcycles."

Even with more limited resources, they were able to stick to their guns and make a version of the movie with a lot of serious moments, as well as laughs. Much like their other films, they paid careful attention to characters and arcs.

For what it's worth, I found the movie to be charming and intense, and it really moved me at unexpected moments.

Have you seen Dog? What was your takeaway? Let me know in the comments.