In the coming weeks they will be premiering “The Watchers”—a summation of all of their years of experience and dedication to their craft. I sat down with the pair to talk about their unique point of view on the Wilmington movie scene and to learn if they had any words of wisdom for aspiring filmmakers.
encore: Did you come to Wilmington specifically for the film scene?
Brandon Ewers: Absolutely. I wasn’t sure exactly where I wanted to go, but I knew film was where it [would] to be. I came down to visit and was like, “Wow, it’s at the beach, has a movie studio, people are filming.” Josh and I saw John Travolta—for me, to see Travolta, the filming and cameras, I was like, “This is home, this is it.”
e: I understand you hit a bit of a low point after the show, “Let’s Find Out,” which you directed at the Reel Cafe was cancelled. What kind of impact did it have on you?
BE: I was wiped after that show. It took a lot out of me. It was a lot of pressure, and I was disappointed at the end. I thought I was done for a while.” Josh and I kind of put it on idle : we stopped acting, we stopped writing, and I was just kind of like, “Is this really what I want to do? Do I have the energy to put this much effort into it?”
e: But you got back into it. How did that come about?
BE: Both of our families are very supportive. We just started talking about doing it again and knocking around some ideas. Then my mom got me this really nice GL2 Canon camera and I felt like it was time to get back on the horse.
e: Shifting gears to your actual process: During production how do you deal with the inevitable, unexpected pitfalls?
BE: That’s one of the biggest challenges of moviemaking. It’s crazy hard, because it’s not just you doing it, it’s a huge collaborative effort with all these different facets and personalities trying to go in the same direction. On the fly, you have to make up stuff.
e: How does the dynamic of having two people in charge instead of one work out?
BE: I think we make a really good team. . . . We don’t always get along [or] see eye to eye. When we think what the other person is doing is sucking, we’ll say it, and we’ll try to meet somewhere in the middle.
I write and direct, Josh does all of the technical, lighting, sound and edits. Josh will help me with a script, and I sit down with him when he edits; we share ideas. We’ll bump heads, but somehow, someway, that’s better. We push each other to make each other better.
e: What’s the end goal for you two? When can you say mission accomplished?
BE: Creating the interest. With that, we’ve kind of done our jobs, in a way.
JL: If the audience leaves the theater wanting more then I think that’s what you really want.
e: What words of advice do you have for someone with a great idea or a script?
BE: Really have a deep understanding of what you’re getting into if you’re serious about it—even if it’s a small thing. . . .Be original. Even if it’s bad, be original. Don’t go, ‘I’m going to make ‘Halloween’-meets-’Alien’ or ‘Die Hard’ on a school bus.’ . . . Don’t make it incoherent, but have a vision. You have to dig deep and think outside the box.
JL: Set your goals realistically. For instance, in making ‘The Watchers,’ I didn’t set the goal to be on ABC or FX a year from now. I think it’s setting yourself up for failure. Be realistic [and] hopeful. We have enough to make a pilot; we can do that. I can edit, we have a camera, we can write a script, and we have enough friends that are committed enough to do what we can do.That’s a realistic goal.
e: Do you think directing a movie with an attitude that you’re making the next huge thing is an advantage or disadvantage?
BE: By going in and thinking you’re making the next ‘Pulp Fiction’ or ‘Clerks,’ you’re setting yourself up for a big fall. . . . You’re losing focus on what’s important . . . . Let the audience decide on whether it’s a classic film or not.
JL: Be confident in what you’re doing, but don’t be cocky.
BE: And if you fail, do it again. Every good director has made bad movies. Every single one. Too much is going on to make a movie perfect every time.
e: So what’s next?
BE: As far as technical aspects and the business side of things, we absolutely have a lot to learn; that’s what we’re doing now—trying to take the next step in our careers that we’ve been doing since we were 10. We’re ready to start showing the world our stuff.