YouTube or Film School? by Dave McCary (Director of BRIGSBY BEAR)
Film Courage: Dave, I understand that you dropped out of film school?
Dave McCary: I did.
Film Courage: [You were there for] 2 years?
Dave McCary: Yes.
Film Courage: I’m curious what classes you would have preferred they teach you?
Dave McCary: Uggh. [Sighs]
Film Courage: [Laughs] Sorry to bring this up!
Dave McCary: No…it’s fine. It’s not like I wanted to learn in that way. I just wanted to make videos and learn by myself. Knowing now and around that time that Youtube was just starting to become a thing and you could find a tutorial on anything if you were troubleshooting something or didn’t know how to work a specific editing function or lighting issue. I just wanted to teach myself when I hit a roadblock. I just knew how easy it was to find the answer on the Internet. And also not go into debt. I was very fortunate to have my best friend who was at USC and making all of these wonderful friends in film and television and music and I ended up just kind of mooching off of his experience really.
I dropped out of school and I would hang out with these dudes and start making videos with them because they were so talented and funny. It was just natural, like I don’t need to spend money on school when I can just do it myself and have pretty much everything I need with a camera and some funny friends.
Film Courage: This was for the Good Neighbor Youtube Channel?
Dave McCary: Yes, that’s Good Neighbor. We started Good Neighbor in like 2006? Right around the time that Kyle graduated college. And I was doing freelance editing. You learn so much more from just having a job or PA-ing or assistant editing. Film is a very specific world in which I don’t think you really need to go to film school. That being said, some film schools like USC, which is so great at developing the community and really the relationships that end up being the thing that truly becomes the reason you spent all that money. But all of the gear and the history of film and the lessons, you can learn about how to direct a scene or whatever. All of that stuff is in books and on the Internet and on directors and actors giving talks. And it’s just my opinion that I don’t think film school is necessary for filmmakers. But I don’t want to discourage someone who really wants to learn that way.
Film Courage: Sure. Did you realize that the film BRIGSBY BEAR was going to be such an inspiration for fan-obsessed filmmakers?
Dave McCary: No…
Film Courage: Because it’s an incredible story in itself, probably one of the best movies I’ve seen so far.
Dave McCary: Oh my God. Thank you!
Film Courage: And it caters to people who are just obsessed with movies.
Dave McCary: Well, we definitely felt that it was a love letter to storytelling and filmmaking in the movie-going experience. But you never want to make something with the expectation of it having that type of reception. I think that’s just unhealthy to hope for that or expect that. We were just trying to have fun and make something that we liked and that maybe our friends liked, but we weren’t trying to build any type of obsession. It’s always nice to hear that people are inspired by it. But I was never thinking “I’m going to make a film that everyone’s inspired by,” which it’s definitely not everyone, but it’s very nice to hear that it gives people that energy of “Oh..I’m excited to go make a video after watching this movie.” That’s a cool feeling.
Film Courage: So similar to making Youtube videos because you never know when the audience is going to relate to one of your comedy skits versus not (it’s hit or miss)?
Dave McCary: Yeah. Again with every Internet video we made (even our Saturday Night Live sketches), we’re trying to be the best we can at not catering to any audiences and just trying to make each other laugh or each other feel or whatever it is. But the repetition of all those videos that we’ve made (the hundreds over the years) was so instrumental going into making this film. And this film really is…it mirrors both Kyle and my experience as both best friends who fell in love with filmmaking together and the movie has a lot to do about collaborating with a best friend and following them up with telling stories so it’s a very meta experience and it’s super special.
WATCH BRIGSBY BEAR INTERVIEW WITH KYLE MOONEY & MARK HAMILL
CONNECT WITH DAVE McCARY
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