How to Make Movies Like the Duplass Brothers

Mark and Jay Duplass discuss their new film Cyrus with (off-camera interviewer) Anne Thompson. More videos like this are available on AnneCam.

Baghead (2008) and The Puffy Chair (2005) (both microbudget films, reportedly made for under $50,000 each) have guaranteed Mark and Jay Duplass an honored place in indie history. But what will happen now that Fox Searchlight has backed their new movie, Cyrus (which premiered Jan. 24, 2010 at Sundance) to the tune of $7 million?

Apparently the Duplass brothers didn't stray far from their formula - strong story, naturalistic acting, hand-held digital cameras - but this time they spent money on stars like Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei and John C. Reilly.

In the two-part flip-cam interview (the second part is below), the brothers explain their process. They start with a script that sets out structure but not much dialogue. They prefer if their actors improv. They'll even keep certain things secret from one actor in a scene. Once they have some footage, the brothers will huddle to discuss what they will need in the way of additional footage to make the sequence (and the entire film) work. Then it's back to the actors and more creativity on set. This method may not work for all microbudget filmmakers. But it does suggest how the tools we've been discussing (e.g., structure and Egri) can be used to support spontaneity.

To read an article about the process of making Baghead (2008) click here.

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