BOP Interview: Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton
By Ryan Mazie
July 24, 2012
VF: There is an app I think where you can select different colors on the iPad and it’s like different color gels and it’s amazing.
JD: So we put the iPad on top of the C-stand and hung it over him and that was the light.
VF: It’s so sensitive.
JD: So that’s the direction digital is taking film, but at the same time, it takes 60 people on set to set-up the iPad as the light (laughs)… We spent so much time adding grain and trying to emulate the gate weave.
VF: Persistence of motion, without the shutter and flicker, it just doesn’t feel …
JD: But this movie is going to be shown digitally in 60% of the country and every week more theaters give in, so we had to, we couldn’t turn our backs on it. … Kodak is committed to making film for four more years, but anything beyond that is unknown.
VF: Anything you can do to rescue it, we’re all for it (laughs).
JD: I have to say that there is another issue of people seeing films in a theater and I think they go hand-in-hand. There is how you deliver the film and how you experience it and one of the reasons that we are so happy to be back is that Little Miss Sunshine is the first time we saw our work with an audience, because our music videos were always just on TV. It was so thrilling and there is nothing like it.
VF: And we grew up watching movies in theaters so we feel like that’s the way they should be seen.
JD: Particularly a movie like this that has a challenging subject matter. When Calvin starts to go down that rabbit hole, you kind of want to be with other people.
VF: It’s fun for us to watch audience reactions.
With your music video background, how did you decide on the music for the soundtrack?
JD: Thank-you for asking, because that is one of our favorite parts of the finished film.
VF: We met with a number of composers, and then we started working with Nick Urata who we have such a great shorthand from Little Miss Sunshine. He saw a really early cut of Ruby which is one of the hardest parts about working with composers, having to show them …
JD: (overlapping) your dirty laundry (laughs).
VF: He saw it and wrote a piece just on his impression of the whole film and it ended up being the music we use when Ruby is clingy with Calvin. When we laid it into the scene, it fit perfectly which was the weirdest thing. So he did that spec and we realized he was the right man for it.
JD: We told him we wanted a big score. We did not want indie guitar based music.
VF: No guitar. And he writes on a guitar, but we forced him not to use it. I guess the films don’t have the budget anymore, but Nick was willing to work for very little on this for about five months, a lot of composers just come in when the film’s done and write to the scenes.
JD: And then you’re locked in. If you want to hit a certain note and it’s not breaking down to the measures, you are kind of screwed. So, this was a labor love for everyone involved. There was a lot of pressure coming from Little Miss Sunshine and we knew we wanted a film that was full of feeling and humor…
VF: And hard work. I think people get lazy sometimes. There is no guarantee that if you work hard it is going to be good, but it was fun just to be able to dive into this… [Jonathan’s phone starts ringing and he answers]…are you taking a call?!?
JD: It’s our daughter. I just want to make sure everything is okay. [Into phone], “Hey Augusta, we are doing an interview right now? Is everything okay? Is there anything you want to say about the movie?” [puts phone on speaker].
VF: Why did it take us six years to make the movie?
Augusta: Me, it’s all my fault. (all laugh)
JD: Right answer. … We’ll call you later.