Interview (Written): Joe Swanberg

A conversation with the 'mumblecore' writer-director about his latest movie.

From The Playlist:

Joe Swanberg is an indie filmmaker in a renaissance period. Yes, he helped create mumblecore with filmmakers like Mark Duplass, Andrew Bujalski, Lynn Shelton and Aaron Katz, but Swanberg has arguably veered the least away from his improvised roots. In fact, unlike say, The Duplass Brothers, who (largely) tightly scripted their excellent HBO show, "Togetherness," Swanberg has mostly kept his loose methodology. It seems like a gamble, especially with name actors in the mix who likely don't want to waste their time or fall flat on their face, but Swanberg understands how to hone that alchemy of spontaneity and character traits and spin them into something organic and life-like. That is all to say, that methodology is changing…slightly.

Joe Swanberg (2nd from left) with cast of "Win It All".

Here are some excerpts from the Chicago-based filmmaker:

Let's start at the beginning. What was the genesis of "Win It All"?
Well, Jake Johnson and I had worked on two films before, and the early genesis just came out of the desire…to collaborate on another project. Typically, we kick around a few ideas around before we land on something that we're both excited about. So, we started with the idea of a duffle bag and an acquaintance headed to prison and asked ourselves if that was interesting or not. Then we started to craft the character and figure out who this guy was and what the temptations were. So, over a couple months of we batted ideas around — we don't live in the same city, so our collaboration begins with emails and phone calls.

With "Win It All," though, we decided we would write a script this time out. So when we started to feel good about the idea, we started doing in-person writing sessions, but that was basically anytime I was in L.A. for business. So it ended up being a project we did in our spare time. He's on "New Girl," so the windows of time where he can work on projects are pretty narrow, and so that often dictates the timeline.

Oh, so you used a script this time, wow.
Yeah, it's the first time — it's the most I've ever written for a film. We still improvised the dialogue and there's still a lot of the process that was the same as our other collaborations, but going in, we had something like an 80-page, fully formed script. For the both of us, having done two heavily improvised films, we were interested in the challenge of trying to write something and attack it from another angle, a more conventional standpoint.

Here is a trailer for the movie Win It All:

For the rest of the interview, go here.


Interview (Written): Joe Swanberg was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

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