Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Strong Brothers Make Magic Happen!


Rider Strong best known for his role as Shawn Hunter on the hit show Boy Meets World has recently gone from in front of the camera to behind the lens as a short film director.  Rider alongside his brother Shiloh (who also has a background in acting!) have joined forces to bring their stories to life! The guys have had tons of success with their witty and well put together 'Shorts', receiving rave reviews from the likes of the Tribeca, Sonoma and Palm Springs Film Festivals. And their film Dungeon Master will be playing at this years Comic Con on July 22nd! So needless to say I was SUPER excited to have a chance to chat with Rider about the new journey he has embarked on with his brother. Check out what Rider had to say about The Strong Brother's Magic Show!

Reality by Rach: How long ago did the two of you start working together and what brought that partnership about?


Rider Strong: Our dad came home with a video camera when I was 2 and Shiloh was 4. We made our first movie - starring as cowboys who turned into superheroes -- almost immediately. The rest is history.

RBR: What's the dynamic like working with your brother?

RS: Shiloh is more visual and hands-on. I like geeking out on story and actors. We have almost identical tastes in film but the differences are crucial and helpful - we can sort of check one another but also prod each other to take more risks.


On set, it's great to be able to take mini breaks and let your brother take over when you're tired. I feel sorry for solo directors - they must never stop moving.



Shiloh and Rider at Palm Springs Film Festival



RBR: What goes through your mind when your about to debut a film like you are with 'Method' at the  Palm Springs Short Films Festival?


RS: It's pretty nerve wracking. But there's nothing you can do, the thing's already shot and you just gotta let the film speak for itself. In truth, getting accepted into a festival like Palm Springs means you've already achieved what you wanted. Showing it should be the fun part, but we still get tense...


RBR: Can you tell us a little bit about what 'Method' is about?

RS: Method's about an actress who gets a job and then takes her preparation VERY seriously. I can't really say more without giving too much away.


RBR: So you call your work together a "Strong Brothers Magic Show' which I love and the reasoning behind it. Can you briefly explain the reasoning behind that for my readers?


RS: When we were kids we did magic shows together. It started out as something we did at our school talent show and then we ended up getting paid to do shows for birthday parties and stuff. We were terrible, and we have video footage to prove it. But since we sort of feel like making movies together is a kind of magic trick we're performing for an audience, we call it a "Strong Brothers Magic Show" instead of a "Strong Brothers Film."



RBR: How do you come up with the concepts for your films?


RS: It varies from project to project. Irish Twins started with a monologue based on a family story my dad used to tell us. The Dungeon Master was based on a real experience the two of us had trying to play Dungeons and Dragons again after years of being "too cool" to play it. And Method was a brainstorming session with Alexandra Barreto: she wanted to write a short film that she could act in. Not surprisingly, since we started with that as our goal, we ended up with a short film making fun of actors and acting.



RBR: Was is hard to make an adjustment from being in front of the camera to behind it?


RS: Nope. I think we were always meant to be here.



RBR: What's your favorite part of directing?

RS: Watching these abstract ideas you have, words on a page or the concept for a shot, come to life before your eyes. When you're on a set and an actor nails a beat, or the camera crew completes a difficult maneuver -- suddenly, the movie in your head is now a real thing in the world...it's like suddenly becoming lucid during a dream.


RBR: What sort of message do you hope to get across with your shorts?

RS: I don't know if there's ever really a "message." We worry about story first and foremost. I think if we get too caught up in saying something intellectual or thematic we run the risk of not servicing the story. Although, with The Dungeon Master, we definitely had something to say about hipsters who like to brag about how geeky they were in high school. We wanted to poke holes in that kind of celebration of geek culture, because we think a lot of it is ironic and disingenuous. We saw that in ourselves and didn't like it.



RBR: What advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers?

RS: Expand your circle of friends and reach out to people. If you feel like someone is talented -- maybe even they seem out of your league -- work with them. A lot of budding filmmakers stick with who and what they know -- using their cousin as an actor because he did "that play that one time" or picking your editor because you're already friends with him or her.




So much of filmmaking is assembling your team, and you want your team to be the most talented people you can find. Don't be afraid to take a chance and ask somebody to work with you...they can always say no.




**Be sure to check out the guys' site and also follow Rider and Shiloh on Twitter!



'Method' Trailer:






Method Trailer from The Strong Brothers on Vimeo.



'Dungeon Master' Trailer:







The Dungeon Master Trailer from The Strong Brothers on Vimeo.

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