Interview with directors Paul Longley & James Longley

  • Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking is your way of telling stories?

As long as we can remember really. As brothers, growing up it was always about making each other laugh. Creating funny characters, funny scenarios, doing impressions of people etc. We would act out scenes a lot in our front room and then if mum and dad weren’t looking, we would pinch the home video camera and film each other.

  • Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?

No not at all. It’s just about being productive. Nowadays you don’t even need expensive equipment. You can just as easily film a good short film on your phone, post it on social media and find your audience for it and begin your journey as a filmmaker that way. Ultimately the best way to learn how to make films is just to make them and see what happens.

  • Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

Both have their difficulties. Motivation to continue can be tough when things don’t go as you imagined. We are lucky that as brothers we always have one another to share all aspects of it with, both negative and positive. It makes us celebrate the good times better and also put into perspective on the bad days that “today is just another day”, which is important, there will be days when it doesn’t go to plan and you want to delete everything and forget the en=re project, but if there’s someone else there, you can vent, find a solution and laugh about it and get back to enjoying the process.

  • What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?

To enjoy it. The most fun you will have and the happiest you will be is when you are making your project. That’s where the memories are made. The projects that we are most proud of are always the ones that hold the fondest memories.

  • What were the production realities from casting through editing that you had to accommodate? How did you navigate those compromises or surprises and s[ll end up with a cohesive film?

Well, Adventures Brothers was incredibly low budget, and by ‘low’, we mean quite literally zero budget. We filmed it in our house during lock down. So ultimately our main difficulties were finding the best time to film scenes. We had neighbors doing a lot of building work at the time, so any stuff we wanted to film in the garden, we would have to try and nail in one take before someone started chopping up some MDF with a chainsaw.

  • What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of a film, at any stage in production?

The hardest thing is always being able to distance yourself from your ideas and your work for the good of the project. There has been so many times when we have really loved an idea on paper, and even really enjoyed it once filmed, but then it hasn’t quite worked as part of the bigger piece. So for the sake of the project as a whole, being able to take a step back and make non-biased decisions on your work can be tough, but it’s absolutely necessary of you want a good end product.

  • You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?

Well, for this project in particular, the only person we needed to “discover” was our mum. As it turns out, she was brilliant. She had never acted before, but we will definitely use her again. The one thing we did discover what that our dad gets very jealous when not included in stuff, he hasn’t stopped sulking that we didn’t ask him to be in Adventure Brothers. So in terms of ‘keeping a relationship strong’, the thing we have learned is to make sure that our dad is also in our next project.

  • What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?

Well, a filmmaker is also the audience. So you should always try and make what you want to make. People will respond to that and there will be an audience for it. It’s something people can overthink too much, when really there is no answer. Audiences will just enjoy what they enjoy, and some=mes they won’t know what that is until they see it. A lot of people have told us how much they loved Adventure Brothers, but no audience member prior to us showing them it was out there saying “You know what I really want… A Penis Dragon.”

  • What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?

It’s a great way to get our work seen on a larger scale and in a more professional environment. It also helps you see where you are at as a filmmaker and what else is out there. Actually one thing it really does re-affirm sometimes, is to have faith in yourself. One festival you might win, another you might not even get selected. So have faith and pride in your work, and use what you learn about yourself and your project to fuel your next one.

  • Do you believe that a filmmaker should be original and fresh or he/she should stick to classic but safe cinema style?

It’s always best to be true to yourself. Create what you will enjoy and then you have no complaints at the end of it. You are your own audience and you a representative of your own demographic. So make what you will enjoy. Take risks if you want to. See where it leads. If no one ever takes risks, then nothing new will ever be made.