Thursday, January 13, 2011

Todd Barnes and Brad Barnes on “The Locksmith”

What was your filmmaking background before making The Locksmith?

TODD: We made a bunch of shorts together, 2 of which when to Sundance in '05 and '06. We have also done corporate videos, music videos and basically anything with cameras to make a living.

BRAD: We also shoot scenes every year for an acting school here called The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.

Where did the idea come from? What was the writing process like -- how do you share the writing?

TODD: The idea came from Brad. He did a short documentary on a real ex-con locksmith years ago and the main character was based on him. We wrote a number of scripts over the years based on a similar character, but in this case we locked down some qualities and made a strong outline. Then Sophie Goodhart came in and helped write the scenes based on that outline.

BRAD: The actors also helped with funny lines.

How does the co-directing process work?

TODD: We figure out shot lists and a general plan of action together before we shoot. Then on set I stay close to the monitor and the crew and Brad goes back and forth with the actors. Between takes I might come up with a suggestion or get one from someone else on set and talk about it with Brad. He'll then return to the actors.

BRAD: It's good to have two of us...for speed and agreeing what works.

What type of camera did you use to shoot the film and what did you like about it .... and hate about it?

TODD: We used 2 EX-3's with Letus adapters and prime lenses. We liked having quick turnarounds on the footage. With the lenses we weren't as mobile as we could have been and we only had one set of lenses so we couldn't always match the shots.

BRAD: The 35mm lenses softened the video and we liked it.

What was the smartest thing you did during production? The dumbest?

TODD: Smartest was probably writing the script with the intention of making a movie that we could shoot in 13 days without making everything handheld. We made sure locations would work for either 8 pages or some multiple of 8 so we wouldn't have company moves, etc. The dumbest would probably be not finding someone to be a post-production supervisor to help us with delivery.

BRAD: I agree with Todd ... work with those you like and admire ... and I think we spent too much on our color correct.

And, finally, what did you learn from making the film that you can take to other projects?

TODD: Work with as many of your friends as you can who have talent and experience. We've heard so many horror stories from other people about other projects, which just didn't happen on our set.

BRAD: And take production stills on set. Don't wait till the last day of the shoot.


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