Filmmakers: Here’s the 12-Step Guide to Co-Directing

This week we bring you some guidelines to help you navigate the waters while Co-Directing…

Play each other in Mortal Kombat, take the ego out of arguing and most importantly, Never Compromise.

Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson work so closely together that they are known as Moorhead&Benson. In that capacity, they have co-directed the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival favorite “Spring,” as well as the sleeper hit “Resolution,” that wowed the film festival circuit in 2012. Recently selected as one of Variety’s “Ten Directors to Watch in 2015,” Moorhead&Benson’s latest film, “Spring,” a monster romance like you’ve never seen before, will be released theatrically on March 20. Indiewire asked the duo to write tips for how to successfully co-direct a movie. Their 12 tips are below:

1. Pick the right partner.

Aaron Moorhead:  You ready for an easy analogy, an analogy that is more low-hanging-fruit than the tired “film is like a blank canvas” analogy? Boom, here it is: Choosing a co-director is like choosing who to marry. Before meeting Justin, I tried co-directing a few times before. The strangest thing happened with other co-directors: although we got along great, we didn’t add anything to one another. The end product turned out bland, “good” at best. However, when I work with Justin, we constantly challenge each other to do better, go further, be weirder, but one key thing remains: despite being extraordinarily different people, we have the same taste. We both like the same movies, and hate on the same movies, and for the same reasons. And that is the absolute key to our relationship. We’re always building toward the same end-goal, but finding different pathways to do it. It’s something I didn’t even know would work until we did it a lot, so just be really careful to not say “yes” to anyone who wants to co-direct with you. Remember, some people have married serial killers…

2. Tag-team stuff.

Justin Benson: There used to be a job called “director” where in pre-production, principal photography and sometimes post-production, you would direct many departments and actors until the producers were happy and then you were done. You would express yourself, hopefully very clearly, and answer approximately several million “yes” or “no” questions until it resulted in a film with your name on it. Luckily, we still get to do this, but uniquely, in 2015 to be a director — at least an indie director —  usually means you also produce, finance, write, shoot, edit, locate props, shop for wardrobe, schedule, run the film festival strategy, submissions, print traffic and travel, visual effects, sound design, color grading, publicity, casting, operating the monster tail when the SFX department is spread thin and the list goes on…

Read the complete article, originally found on Indiewire.