Just Shoot It is a podcast that dives deep into the ins and outs of what it means to be a successful working filmmaker.
Helmed by comedy director Matt Enlow and director/VFX artist Oren Kaplan, each week’s episode brings in people working at various careers and levels of the film industry to cover such topics as running an audition, writing treatments, forming a production company, and working on set as a film and television director. Earlier this year we released a list of what we consider Essential Podcasts to Augment Your Movie Education, and with 39 episodes and counting, Just Shoot It may be earning itself a spot on that list.
We sat down with Enlow and Kaplan to talk about running a filmmaking podcast—the overriding message of which is: Don’t ever forget how important it is to get off your couch and “just shoot it.”
Andy Young, MovieMaker Magazine (MM): What made you want to do a filmmaking podcast together?
Oren Kaplan (OK): The two things Matt and I wish we had starting out as filmmakers were tips on: one, how to be a better director from filmmakers, not just teachers, and two, how to get work.
I love talking shop. I love asking filmmakers, “Why’d you start the dolly move there? Why’d you put this light here? How much did this cost?”
Matt Enlow (ME): It’s not often you get to hang out with other directors, so it was also an excuse to talk to other filmmakers we like.
OK: Also, I was getting to a place where I wasn’t making things for fun; I was making them just for my career, or for money. The podcast is something we can make every week, which is great because the theme of our podcast is how important it is to just make stuff. We just make each episode and put it out there, and don’t second-guess ourselves like we do with filmmaking. It’s fun and gets back to our roots of just making things all the time.
MM: What do you think people are getting out of your podcast, as opposed to the other filmmaking podcasts out there?
ME: There’s something about the logistics of our level… People know more or less what Steven Spielberg does, but for moviemaking below that level, it can be a little obtuse, so just clarifying terminology and the mechanics of being a working director.
OK: A lot of people are discouraged to go into the film industry because they’re told how “impossible” it is. But people don’t hear from the guys who are making a living doing this job, so I think it motivates people to hear our show and know you don’t have to be super-famous to have a successful career as a director.
MM: You’ve been doing the show for a year and you’ve had such a wide range of guests in the film industry—from indie producers to comedy sketch makers to blockbuster editors. What topics do you want to tackle next?
ME: Development people would be interesting, because they’re often seen as gatekeepers that hire people like us. What are they looking for? How can you make yourself interesting to them? What can you be working on as someone starting out to impress them?
OK: And we want to interview more production designers, wardrobe people, DPs… They work with more directors than we do, so they have a really unique take on that collaboration. We just interviewed actress Anna Akana, and it’s nice to hear the types of notes she likes to hear from directors.
ME: I think the big lesson is there’s more than one way to do things, and every episode you get another perspective.
MM: You have a segment called “Unpaid Endorsements” in which you recommend books/movies/resources to filmmakers. Anything unofficial product placement you’d like to get our readers into?
OK: The Director’s Series on Vimeo. You can’t copy what they’ve done, but you can get inspired by what they’ve done.
ME: I love the Creative Cloud/Adobe suite. When we were coming up, Final Cut was such a huge investment along with all the other things you needed for your rig. People had cracked copies that crashed all the time, and there’s something really wonderful about having professional unlocked software for an affordable monthly price.
MM: What advice do you have for filmmakers just starting out?
ME: I’m constantly squeezing down budgets. A producer once told me, “Turning on a camera costs $20K”—just getting on set. Even simple ideas aren’t affordable. If you’re just starting out, enjoy that time where you can make things for cheap and your friends can help you out—and you can help them on their movies too.
OK: Sharing your ideas is so important. When you have an idea, pitch it to 20 people. Show people cuts. It’s easy to lose track of the fact that you’re making things for an audience. Be in a constant state of sharing your work and getting feedback, the less precious you are the better you become. MM