Henry Joost and Rel Schulman are a directing and writing team, producers and best friends. They founded the New York City production company Supermarché in 2007. Their most recent feature, SECRET HEADQUARTERS, premiers summer 2022 on Paramount+ and stars Owen Wilson, Michael Peña and Walker Scobell. The film is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Films..
In 2020 Henry and Rel directed PROJECT POWER, a Netflix sci-fi action film starring Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon Levitt. The film debuted at #1 in over 90 countries. It held the #1 spot in the USA for over 2 weeks. It remains one of Netflix’s top ten original features of all time.
Their first feature documentary, CATFISH, premiered at the 2010 Sundance film festival where it received critical acclaim and went on to a nationwide release. Their second feature, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3, released by Paramount Pictures, opened to rave reviews and had the highest grossing horror opening weekend in history. Their second film in the franchise, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 was released in October, 2012, and the two combined have grossed $350 million. Henry and Rel directed two films in 2016: NERVE, a summer hit released by Lionsgate, starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco; and VIRAL, a prescient low budget horror movie with Blumhouse, starring Sofia Black-D’Elia. They also executive produced the 2016 Sundance Film Festival hit WHITE GIRL, directed by Elizabeth Wood, which was acquired by Netflix for worldwide distribution.
Henry and Rel are executive producers on the long running series CATFISH: The TV Show, now in it’s 8th season, and have directed dozens of commercials and short films for companies like Nike, Google, Facebook, and Vogue. They directed the short film A BRIEF HISTORY OF JOHN BALDESSARI, commissioned by LACMA, narrated by Tom Waits, which has been screened at over 100 film festivals worldwide. Henry and Rel’s Google commercial DEAR SOPHIE was named Time magazine’s Best Commercial of the Year in 2011. In 2020 they fulfilled a lifelong dream of directing the season opening short film for the NEW YORK KNICKS.
Henry, Rel, and their in-house producer Orlee-Rose Strauss maintain an active development slate. Features in the works include: an adaptation of Capcom’s MEGA MAN which they wrote and are directing for Netflix; an adaptation of Edward Abbey’s novel THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG, produced by Ed Pressman, which they wrote and are directing. They are also signed on to direct a bio-pic about KEITH ADAMS, the deaf football coach who made history leading an all-deaf high school football team to an undefeated season against all-hearing teams. The film is being written by Josh Feldman, and produced by Freddy Wexler, DJ Kurs and Eryn Brown.
Enjoy my conversation with Henry Joost and Rel Schulman.
- Watch Secret Headquarters on Paramount+
- Official Site – Supermarché
- IMDB –Ariel Shulman and Henry Joost
- FREE DECISION-MAKER MEETINGS Masterclass: How To Connect with Producers, Financiers, & Agents!
- Bulletproof Script Coverage– Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
- Audible– Get a Free Screenwriting Audiobook
Rel Schulman 0:00
But I'll say to the guy, Hey, buddy, I believe in you. You got this and then just walk away. And Henry will style over and be like what he means to say is.
Alex Ferrari 0:14
You know, it's always fascinating to me that even on some on big budget films like this shit happens.
This episode is brought to you by the best selling book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur how to turn your independent film into a money making business. Learn more at filmbizbook.com. I'd like to welcome to the show Rel Schulman and Henry Joost. How're you guys doing?
Henry Joost 0:40
Good, how are you?
Alex Ferrari 0:40
Good, man, thank you so much for coming on the show. Guys. I've been I've been watching your stuff for years, man, you know, back in the khakis days back to the catfish days. So you know, very first question I asked for you guys. Why in God's green earth? Did you want to get into this insanity that has the film industry?
Rel Schulman 0:56
Oh, God, I don't think we're any good at anything else.
Henry Joost 0:59
At this point, I don't Yeah, I don't know how to do anything else. That's a huge mistake. And now I can't back out.
Alex Ferrari 1:07
We should have gotten a real job somewhere else doing something? No. So how did you guys get in?
Henry Joost 1:11
It was a lot. It was a complex road. But I think we I think it started out as being just kids who loved movies growing up. And then at some point, there was the realization that like, there were people who actually do that as a job. They make movies, which totally blew my mind. At some point. You know, when I was like, I think I was 16 or something. And I met somebody who was a video producer. I was like, wow, so so they're real people who work in this business. And like that's something you could pursue. I personally became an editor. And, and that's when Raul and I met in high school. And we were both I was kind of like, interested in experimenting with video editing and shooting stuff in high school, and making films and little short films and stuff with my friends. And Rel and I met in our we met in high school, but we really connected in our early 20s. We both had a job at this public access TV station called plum TV. And that was our summer job between you know, like when we were in college, and we were it was this kind of wild place where we were, as you know, 21 year olds given the responsibility to like, they were like, you can make your own show. So I made a show about Hamptons nightlife. And relegated, like a kind of a restaurant conversation show. And oh, and also like a plastic surgery show, right?
Rel Schulman 2:47
Yep. The beauty makeover show Hamptons stuff, which was just crazy. Nice.
Alex Ferrari 2:52
How have you how the academy didn't recognize your work back then.
Henry Joost 2:57
And we were they were like, they're like you guys. You know, you can write direct shoot, edit everything your own half hour show. And but you have to turn it in every week. So we were like, we have this crazy experience, which was made to making a half hour show in one week all by herself. And we kind of commiserated over that and you know, started having our ideas of our own, like, I hope this is not our future to make, you know, plastic surgery shows and stuff like that, like like, what else can can we do? So we started making documentaries and kind of branching out on our own and then eventually formed a production company, which we still have super marchais, which we started in 2007.
Alex Ferrari 3:45
Very cool, guys. I always wanted to ask, you know, directing teams. I've had a few directing teams on the show, and I love asking this question. How the hell do you do it, man? Because I've been directing for 20 odd years, and I can't understand how, like, what like, do you want somebody handle the camera at someone handle the actors? Or, you know, do you guys just ask all the time? Like, what do you think? What do you think? Like how do you actually work together as a directing team?
Rel Schulman 4:11
You know, like, think about if you were on on vacation with your wife and kids and you have like 50 to 100 kids
Alex Ferrari 4:23
Sorry, my my estrus puckered there for a second.
Rel Schulman 4:28
You got to figure out how to get out of the airport, get onto a train and check into a complicated hotel. And there's something wrong with your reservation. How do you split that with your with your wife, you kind of just figure it out. You're both have extraordinary, you know, total responsibility and you got to work together as a team. And you've been an event together for a while.
Alex Ferrari 4:51
And you guys know each other so well at this point, then I'm assuming it's just secondhand. Yeah, you just know oh, this shots this or that shots that are at You both have and you both have similar sensibilities at this point.
Rel Schulman 5:03
Yeah, yeah. So we have to it, otherwise it wouldn't work.
Alex Ferrari 5:07
So then at what point, I have to believe, just like my wife and I, there's disagreements. So how do you guys handle those disagreements or when you're creatively not exactly on the same page?
Henry Joost 5:17
We try to disagree only in private.
Alex Ferrari 5:20
Smart, didn't never, never, never
Never in front of the kids
Rel Schulman 5:27
Because it causes lifelong trauma.
Alex Ferrari 5:31
You know why so funny. But that's what we, my wife, and I do, we're like, we will back each other in front of the kids. But the second the door closes to the bedroom. I can't believe. I know, let's have a conversation. But that's just like an unspoken rule. You never do it in front of the kids. So that's similar to you guys. Yeah.
Henry Joost 5:48
Oh, yeah. We were in production meetings. And like one of us will say, like, all say, I want a million balloons and this scene, and somebody is like, well, that's what you got. Like, that's what both of you guys want rails like, yep. We definitely want a million balloons. The door everybody leaves in the door closes. What the fuck were you talking? We didn't talk about that. We never agreed million have a million isn't a million excessive.
Alex Ferrari 6:16
Yeah, except that you go back the next day. Like, you know, we, we talked about it, you know, 10,000 balloons is fine.
Henry Joost 6:21
Yeah, it's 2 million, please. Yeah.
Rel Schulman 6:25
You can you can appear as extremely collaborative and reasonable. If we come back the next day and say, You know what, we were looking at the whole budget. As filmmakers, we could achieve what Henry was so to want with less balloons. in beta, better craft service.
Alex Ferrari 6:47
So, obviously, you made this, you know, one of those seminal movies of the early 2000s, which is catfish. I remember when catfish came out the documentary and it was a freaky ass, just freaky film. And it was wonderful. And you got into Sundance, what was that whole experience of making that film and then getting it to Sundance, which I'm assuming that was, was that the first time you were going to Sundance
Rel Schulman 7:10
First Feature Film.
Alex Ferrari 7:12
Right. So then, so you out of the gate. You get into Sundance with this documentary? That's, you know, sets the world on fire a bit. What is what was that whole experience? Like? It was, it was wild.
Rel Schulman 7:26
Yeah, it was an awesome roller coaster.
Henry Joost 7:29
We got a little spoiled, I think because we never, you know, we both of us grew up so disconnected from the film industry. And like, we didn't really know anybody who worked in the film industry and didn't end into Sundance and didn't. I don't even know if we'd ever been to a film festival, like, you know, and
Rel Schulman 7:48
I've been to the East Village Film Festival,
Alex Ferrari 7:51
Which is just like Sundance but different.
Henry Joost 7:53
Yeah. It doesn't smell
Rel Schulman 7:58
Henry Joost 7:59
So we kind of didn't know what to expect. And we had these great, we had two great guides in the experience, which were Andrew jerky and Mark Summerlin, who were the producers of capturing the Friedman's. And they were they were they became producers on catfish. After we've made it because we were just like, what do we do with this? We don't We made this movie. And we have this like, pretty good rough cut that we showed her when we showed our friends. They're like, I can't believe that. Is this real? Like, this is insane. What what do we do now? And they were like, okay, so you go to Sundance and here's how it works. And you know, and you get a really warm, really warm jacket.
Alex Ferrari 8:39
Oh, yes, we can have a whole episode on how to prepare for Sunday's long underwear. long underwear written stay hydrated real socks, thermal socks, not Yep, not tube socks,
Rel Schulman 8:51
No, not tube socks and waterproof boots. There's a lot of sloshing around.
Alex Ferrari 8:57
And they never tell you about the altitude do they? Like you walk 15 feet and you're like
Rel Schulman 9:03
You're getting good reviews, it's a little easier to deal with. It's a little it's a slight bit easier to deal with. So there was so that, I mean, I'll never forget that I really feel like that was the moment our careers began in earnest as future filmmakers. And it was but less than five minutes after the first screening, which is a 10am screening at the library. And, and, and that's Sundance. And a woman comes up to us, Rowena Aguilas, who's an agent at CAA. And she was the agent of Andrew jerky, and Mark swirling our producers. And so there was some familiarity and some, I guess, trust because otherwise we had no idea what that world looked like or who to talk to or who to trust or what agency or anything. And there was just someone we are who knew someone we knew and we said or will sign with you. And that day we had agent that's and that's the, and we've been there ever since. And they've helped us like forge a path as working movie directors, which is not something we even really planned for, or had or had totally clearly seen for ourselves.
Alex Ferrari 10:15
It's fascinating that I mean, you guys kind of like, I mean, you obviously had been directing and working hard and hustling to get to where you were. But when you got to catfish, he was kind of like, Alright, what do we do with this? And you just kind of like felt like, oh, you go to Sundance? Sure. Submit to Sundance, get into Sundance, get an agent at CAA, it sounds like yeah, this is just what you do. It's extremely difficult. Everything that you've just read the right place at the right time with the right product.
Rel Schulman 10:41
Alex, the 10 years leading up to that, and it listen, it hasn't been easy, since the hustle never stops, right that 10 years leading up to that where I mean two, three, all not multiple, all nighters every week, to make as many videos and to get better and better at our craft as possible. And that was, that was the public access TV shows like Henry was talking about, but it was like an extraordinary amount of wedding videos, Bar Mitzvah videos, industrial films, anything, anything in New York wanted on film, and desire to finish product, we said yes. And partially it was to make money. I think neither of us wanted another job. We wanted this to be the job. And the only way for that to work and to cover rent every month, which we were doing buy, like a matter of hours at the end of every month was just to make and make and make. And we ended up buying our own equipment. We ended up we had a storage locker with a couple cameras, a couple computers, sound equipment, lighting equipment, and that equipment is what allowed us to shoot and pay for catfish on our own.
Alex Ferrari 11:51
And they There you go. I mean, it's it's you're an overnight a 10 year overnight success basically.
Henry Joost 11:57
Right! Yeah, we just Yeah, we had done the legwork to be we were prepared for the for that incredible opportunity to fall in our laps that the opportunity being just the story of catfish unfolding in front of us. Like, we knew what we knew enough of what we were doing to capture the story. You know, and then we took a really long time trying to figure it out in the edit. And we had our friend Zack store at Ponte a who had been working on all of our other weird stuff that we were doing. Like, we directed the recruitment video for Harvard Business School, like that was like, it was like that, and like weddings and pharmaceutical videos and like the strangest stuff like just anything. Anything is just
Alex Ferrari 12:44
Yeah, and I said yes to everything to when I was to everything. Anything, anything that came along as I was an editor and the director, anything that showed up I genuine. I mean, I'd made I did promos for Matlock. That's like six months working as a freelancer so great. It was I was getting paid well, but my soul was dying with every edit.
Rel Schulman 13:08
But to me the toughest, toughest clients we ever had were. But also the most loyal were the Jewish mothers for the bar mitzvah videos, Bachmann's videos, and that prepared us for the studio executives. Nothing else. It may it may be dealing with studio heads. Piece of cake.
Alex Ferrari 13:29
Exactly. You don't want to mess with a Jewish mother on on the bar mitzvah.
Henry Joost 13:35
Bride relat Ral was once accused of ruining a bride's life.
Rel Schulman 13:39
Yeah. Oh, gotcha. Yeah, I don't know what you could imagine when he says that. But all it really was was I didn't get enough footage of her coming down the aisle, which was a mistake my camera in the wrong direction. There was two of us that were both shooting the groom each other like Oh, shit, one of us needs to point that way. And we tried to fake it in the edit by slowing it down, cutting away and then coming back. We use a moment. And they're like this out. She was like, Is that all you have? Because that's not enough. That was a long aisle.
Alex Ferrari 14:14
I got I got one better for you. I did have I did a wedding as a favor because I never did wedding videos. Because I just never got into that. But I did a wedding as a favor. And I shot like the I don't know the bride party or something like the dinner or whatever, that pre dinner thing. And I was shooting I was just got a new, a new photo camera. It was all film. And I was like, Oh yeah, I'm gonna use this really high speed film. I'm not going to use flash. Oh, no, no, I was. Oh, so I was the only thing shooting it. Like you guys are both just like oh, it's dude. And it was a friend of mine. And and I was the best man at that wedding. So the the the bride She was trying to kill me. She's like you've ruined have no photos of that day.
Rel Schulman 15:04
That was like we didn't know until a week, at least a week later
Alex Ferrari 15:06
A week later because you have to film all that stuff. And I was just like, how do I do that? That's brutal. And this is before iPhone. So there was literally no Yeah, average. There's nothing on that night. It was like I was the photo. So I feel you bro. I feel I've run I've ruined a bride or choose wedding myself.
Rel Schulman 15:22
I still, I still live with that guilt.
Alex Ferrari 15:27
I wake up in cold sweats sometimes.
Rel Schulman 15:29
Yeah, it sounds like you do to Alex. But you know what that kind of failure fuels me. Shooting the movies that we shoot now, which are you know, they they're their big budget, their studio movies, there's a lot of pressure. If you don't get something, we're the ones who pay for it in the edit. Six months later, right? You can't make a scene work. You can't make a transition work. And it haunts us for the rest of our lives.
Alex Ferrari 15:53
Yeah, exactly. Oh, I've been there. And then when you shouldn't be like, oh god, why didn't I get that one wide shot or, sir? And how do you cut around you're like, and then you don't want to go back and go, we need to pick up that you don't want to do that.
Rel Schulman 16:06
I mean, you know what, though, we we tried to never forget the catfish mentality, which was that we can shoot anything, it's, we can make anything happen with the equipment with our mediocre skills. And that goes for pickups, too. So we never say it's impossible. And we managed to figure out something whether we shoot it in the edit suite or in a friend's garage, or
Alex Ferrari 16:30
You read my mind, I did that on my first feet. I don't know that my first feature I there was like a whole scene. And I didn't cut any inserts. And we literally just I literally just went to the edit room grabbed the same camera shot an insert of like a dog on a pillow.
Henry Joost 16:44
Yeah, we shot stuff. We shot stuff in the editing room for this movie. Did you reality, we have we do it on every movie, I would say like we have a we have a Blackmagic 6k. Yeah, camera that we just just travels with as part of our kit. And so we're we're in the Edit constantly, we'll be like, I'm gonna go shoot that in the hallway right now. And we'll and usually we do a rough version. And then sometimes we even, you know, bring the actors back or bring break get we get the props in the editing office. So we can always we have a room just like that's full of the props. So we can just get inserts get whatever we need.
Alex Ferrari 17:20
In now you don't have to bring out a 35 millimeter panel vision camera. Yeah, wait a few days to shoot it. You could just pick up that little camera, boom, take the card out and pop it in and you're shooting and you're ready to rock. Yeah. So let me ask you. So you guys went from catfish to directing small films like Paranormal Activity three and four. Which did, which were not big budget films. They were actually all budgets considering at the studio, but they made massive amounts of money. So what is that? Like? How does the town treat you? What does that experience like? Because I know so many filmmakers would love to know what it's like being inside of the of the kind of the hurricane or the tornado that is being part of those kind of franchises and making that kind of money with those films.
Rel Schulman 18:03
Yeah, I mean, making the studio's money is it turns out to be a very important
Alex Ferrari 18:10
Key to a career as you're saying.
Rel Schulman 18:13
Hey, there's going to cut it but Jason Blum was was a big fan of cat fish. And he was producing those paraNormals at the time, and there had been paranormal too. And he had seen an early cut of cat fish in New York. He was friends with Directv. And he was like, oh shit, this is a good vibe for found footage. I think he believed us that catfish was real which it is but a lot of people didn't and so he showed it to the crew of paranormal two at Paramount and was like, Guys this is what down footage feels like. This is the aesthetic. This is the tone imitate this. And so by the time they got to paranormal three they were like, Well, why don't you try those goofballs and see if they have enough have any ideas for paranormal three. And it turned out the studio, Adam Goodman and a couple other bigwigs at Paramount were convinced it was fake, which I think made them even more interested in us paranormal being a fake found footage movie and there was nothing we could do to convince them it wasn't and I think we just kind of looked at each other and just like Zipit let let them think what they need to think let's take our first like real paying job. All
Alex Ferrari 19:30
Right, and run with it and run with it and you guys did a great and you guys did a great job with those films. And I imagined I imagined there was a little bit of pressure running into like a very successful franchise at this point. You know,
Henry Joost 19:41
The paranormal three I mean, it's not that there wasn't pressure it was it was a pressure cooker. But there was something about like paranormal three had lower because Panama two did really well but it didn't didn't do as well as Panama one. It was I think seen as sort of a steadily declining franchise. So There wasn't there was, which is pretty normal, I think, you know, unless sometimes things pop. But we were we kind of had a lot of freedom and in paranormal activity three, and had a lot of fun even though it was like, it was this incredibly compressed production window like we landed in LA, six months before the release date. We live in New York and they and Jason Blum was like, I need you guys to get on the first flight, the 6am flight tomorrow. We're like, how long are we going to go? Where are we going to be in LA for and he was like six months until the movie comes out. And we landed there. And there was no script. And there was no cast. And there was like, so we went from nothing at all to a movie in the movie theater in six months.
Alex Ferrari 20:42
And that's a Jason That's Jason
Henry Joost 20:44
That's classic Jason but the it was it was pretty fun. Weirdly, paranormal for became higher pressure because paranormal three did so well that then then all eyes were on four. And I think it actually made it a less and made it a less fun, more kind of constrictive creative environment than three three was like, actually, the codename for the movie was summer camp, I think. And it did kind of feel like summer camp like we were. We had this house, it was all wired up with lights and like, we had to cast everybody was really good at improv, and we were just messing around all day.
Alex Ferrari 21:24
You know, it's fun. And I've had Jason on the show he is a force of nature. Yes. Force of Nature, one of the most entertaining conversations ever. He's a madman. Now, is there something that you wish somebody would have told you at the beginning of your career? Like you guys can go back and tell yourself something like, Listen, guys, this is what you really need to do big first of all, get the shot. Get The Shot of that, of that bride? Yeah.
Henry Joost 21:53
Always make sure one cameras pointed at the bride.
Alex Ferrari 21:57
Other than that, is there anything else you wish you'd keep a camera on the bride? That pretty much covers everything?
Henry Joost 22:04
Yeah. Ben younger gave us good advice, which I which we took. Which was Don't wait. Don't wait forever after your first feature to make your second feature. Make your second feature as quickly as you possibly can. Don't be precious about it. Don't be precious. Just do just do it as quickly as you can. And he said he was like, advice we should have taken which was like, Well, I think when we were at Sundance, were basking in the attention. And like the movie, we're traveling with the movie and stuff like that. I'm doing q&a As he was like, you should be writing your next movie, you should be figuring out your next movie now. Because then when when things die down, you're just gonna be sitting there like, what do I do next? You know?
Rel Schulman 22:47
Yeah. And you get so caught up in the festivals and all those free dinners and meeting Danny DeVito. And you're like, oh, shit, it's been six months, and we don't have anything. And it wasn't easy to get another job because catfish was weird. I realistically, I think people like the storytelling and were curious, but they weren't like, Oh, these let's give these guys like, I don't know, Marvel movie or whatever was whatever you could, whatever they were looking for in 2012, or whatever that was. And so paranormal three was kind of the only job studio gig that we were really up for. Because it fit it matched the style of catfish so well. So we were really lucky that found footage was still a popular genre at that moment. Otherwise, it would have been a tougher transition out of catfish
Alex Ferrari 23:38
Than asking with all the all that attention you guys got off of not only staff fish, but also when you did it with paranormal three. How do you guys keep your egos in check? Because man, that is such a danger in our business. It's like when you start everyone tells you you're great. It's tough. It's tough. Do you guys keep you both? Both of you guys keep each other in check. Yeah,
Henry Joost 23:59
I guess so. Yeah, I think we're pretty hard on ourselves.
Rel Schulman 24:04
A little like Jewish self hate.
Alex Ferrari 24:07
So you said there's so there's a, there's a lot of imposter syndrome, even to this day.
Henry Joost 24:12
Yeah, I think when people are like, Oh, it's really great. I'm, like, irrelevant. Even when we talk to each other in private, we're like, it's okay. Right. It's like, it's better.
Rel Schulman 24:25
I think it's, it's a, it's a, it's a belief that we can keep getting better. So I don't think we're ever going to say like that's as good of a film as we can possibly make. Now it's time to relax. It's like there's always things that we could have improved their shots that we could have gotten. We could have storyboarded more, we could have been more prepared. And we'll get them on the next one. Yeah,
Henry Joost 24:49
We'll do better next time.
Alex Ferrari 24:52
No, I mean, I've talked to so many people on the show that you know, big huge, you know, win Oscars and so on legends and sometimes I go Do you guys still have impostor so From the like, yes. Like, really? It's like massive. It's fascinating to me, but it's like what is
Rel Schulman 25:05
The satisfaction we're looking for as filmmakers? We you know, so paranormal three was, at the time the biggest heart opening weekend ever. Right? Right, right. And we're like, whoa, okay, this feels this feels pretty great. But don't be like doesn't win an Oscar? Of course not. That was not
Alex Ferrari 25:27
What I felt you were robbed personally. That's just documentary.
Rel Schulman 25:35
Exactly. Or was it like, it's not going to the Cannes Film Festival, but a lot of people like it. Yeah. So it's like, you can't really hit every single base with a film. So what is the total satisfaction of filmmakers? I don't know. You just want to feel like you tried your hardest, right?
Alex Ferrari 25:52
And look, if you get a movie made, it's unbearable. If you got a movie finished in the can out people to watch, it's an absolute miracle every Yeah, every time a huge achievement. Oh, it's a massive achievement, especially when you're at that level when you're in the studio system. Even I mean, yeah, you got money, and you've got infrastructure and all that stuff. But that doesn't mean that anything gets even made. It's a it's a mystery, to honest.
Rel Schulman 26:15
Yeah, it's a total miracle every time
Henry Joost 26:18
You make a coherent movie is even harder. Like, I'm like, like, to me compliment start at like, well, you made the movie. Like that's, that's it. That's where they started. And then it's like, and it's coherent. Yeah. Makes nice. I understand what's happening in it. I finished
Rel Schulman 26:39
No, for you to say your kids finished the movie. Whether they liked it or didn't like it like it made.
Alex Ferrari 26:45
That's a win. That's a win. Yeah.
Rel Schulman 26:47
So hard. We married to a one on a movie just to get to the point where the operation the small business, or this has come together has come to life. It's standing on its legs. It's been a year, it's been two years, whatever it is. It's now there's 100 People standing there a lot of money's on the line, and a cameras rolling it's like, amazed. That's a miracle.
Alex Ferrari 27:09
Yeah, without question and, and you know, so you go on to do you know, viral with Jason again, and which was awesome. And nerve, which was such a unique love nerve, like the way that we shot it. The idea behind it. There was a lot of layers to that onion, which was really great. But then you make a movie like project power, which is a slight jump in budget, says cat fish. Just like yeah, it's just like a budget jump
Henry Joost 27:39
Alex Ferrari 27:41
So you're not working on a essentially a mini tentpole movie or a tentpole movie for Netflix. And you're working with an Oscar winner, and a massive movie star like Jamie Foxx. When you walk on the set, how do you guys deal with the pressure of that? Because, you know, look, you're like, I'm in the paranormal. That's a 5 million to depend on four or 5 million. And yeah, you've definitely jumped up in budget with the other films that you did. But even from nerve. I mean, project power is a huge jump for you guys. So how did you guys deal with the pressure of just having that on you with an Oscar winner like Jamie Foxx? You know, legend? Like, and all that stuff? How did you guys deal with it?
Rel Schulman 28:20
Alex Ferrari 28:23
Okay, lots and lots,
Rel Schulman 28:26
Uppers and downers you know, we've never really talked about the sunray. But the moment on day one, where we always give a a speech to the crew, you know, there's 100 people standing around, something motivational like like a coach might do in a great football movie. And there's such a pit of anxiety and nervousness in my chest. Like, it makes me feel like I'm in high school. And I've got to speak to the whole school in the auditorium. Or I don't know if you guys ever jumped off a trapeze when you were a kid. And you look over and go to school. That wasn't a school and so, so I mean, that's the pressure, right? That is pressure, which is everyone's staring at us. I feel like a kid. I don't know how how old they see me as or how experienced they think we are. But I feel like like we're not supposed to be here. And dirty. Yeah. And yeah, we need to prove to them that we know what we're doing. We're comfortable and we're in charge and they can turn they can look at us as confident leaders.
Alex Ferrari 29:36
What is their I mean, that brings up a great point is a lot of times is when especially when when you're young directors, wherever when you're not that young if they just don't know what you've done before. How do you deal with the politics of the set? Like crew like you know, when you've got that, you know, 6060 or 70 year old DP who's been around is like when I worked with Coppola on on the Godfather like and you're like, What are you doing like and you have to kind of come up against like, I want to shoot it this way. You're like, yeah, no, that's not the way we're gonna shoot.
Rel Schulman 30:04
How do you deal with that? One of the special the special effects guy on project power? Feel the rock in Raiders of the Lost Ark? No, like, we were like, it's an honor to meet you.
Alex Ferrari 30:21
So, yeah, exactly. I've had I've had the opportunity to work with these kinds of people like that to you like the guy who built the boulder Raiders. He's probably done a few things in his career.
Henry Joost 30:31
Yeah, so we come out with a lot, a lot of love. Like, we're movie fans. So we're just like, you worked on Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Like, why was that? How did you build the giant an Oreo? Like, how did you like yeah, that was awesome. But like, I don't know, we I learned a lot from Mike Simmons, who was our, been our cinematographer many times, just about he has this great way of dealing with people and not offending people. And he does like he, there are a couple of mannerisms. Like, he always says, I assume this he'll be he'll got to be won't be like, I assume that you're putting these lights up because we need this to come to the side. Like, it's not like, Why the fuck are you putting these over here? It's like, he'll be like, I like he'll say, his understanding of things. Like, that's really helpful. And like, I think just being being respectful and just being nice. And being you know, and giving people like, you know, I mean, we're not experts in in everything. We're really experts in nothing, you know, and like, you we hire people who are experts in things, who are, who know a lot more have a lot more experience are better. You know, and it's it's like, letting that experience learning from that, you know, but we have been lucky a bunch of times, like on paranormal three. And I think, with Jamie Foxx on project power. We were sort of seen as these like, on three, they were like, Well, these guys are kind of renegades like they made catfish. And my catfish was our reference film for the panel too. So like, maybe you guys can just like show us a thing or two. Jamie Foxx was like, just the greatest person to work with. And he's like, he's like, I trust you guys. I've seen your stuff. Like, show me the way, Tom, you know, tell me what to do. I trust your taste. I think you guys are really cool. And I think he gave us credit of being much cooler than we actually are. But like, you know, I can we haven't had that experience where it's the opposite of that with a movie star where it's someone who's who's guarded and suspicious and doesn't you know, because like that, that trust relationship has to be there for everybody. So it's establishing that making sure it's there.
Alex Ferrari 32:50
Yeah, if I if I make if I make quote, the greatest action film of all time, Patrick Swayze Roadhouse is amazing.
Rel Schulman 33:00
No. So sometimes we hear things people be like, Well, you guys are really nice directors. And we're like, how, what are the other guys like, oh, but but here's, here's the sympathy I have for an asshole director or the empathy. There's so much on the line for us on a movie, that everything that happens, every decision that gets made, everything that's in the movie sort of gets blamed on us blamed or attributed to, if you're working on the movie, you can kind of like move on. As long as your reputation is solid, you can get your next job, like, our next job kind of depends on how this movie does. And so that we feel that pressure every day, and I think maybe some directors are like, I need everyone else to feel that pressure. Why aren't they feeling the same pressure I'm feeling right now. And they explode and they go berserk. And that actually is not conducive to a good situation.
Alex Ferrari 33:59
I mean, yeah, exactly. I think you guys in the next film should show up with monocles and megaphone megaphone.
Rel Schulman 34:06
Yeah. Now, tell me if there's one thing I think you're an expert at. Hopefully, it was more than one thing. It's quiltmaking, which is the how to arrange this tapestry of experts and to get all those squares in the quilt to match and to make an overall piece. Thanks. Yeah.
Henry Joost 34:33
You're talking about people are actual quotes. Actual quotes. Yeah, actually. I can show you my my quote, man. Good.
Alex Ferrari 34:44
Tell me, tell me about your new film a secret headquarters. To family.
Henry Joost 34:49
It's the it's our first it's our first movie that kids can watch.
Alex Ferrari 34:55
Right! I was about to say. I was thinking like, filmography don't seem Yeah, this was a match for your to PG.
Henry Joost 35:02
Yeah, it's a PG movie. It's a family movie. It's really fun. It's actually something that we've wanted to make it's been on our bucket list for a long time is to make a movie that reminds us of the movies that made us fall in love with movies as kids, you know, so it kind of it What were your inspirations?
Alex Ferrari 35:21
What was your inspiration for this?
Henry Joost 35:22
Well, Jerry Bruckheimer when we first talked to him about this, which was a wild experience, he was like, I've got this thing it's it's it's home alone in the Batcave. It's called secret headquarters Home Alone in the Batcave. And we were like, saying no more. Got it. Yeah. We're in. Yeah. And it's, it's about it's about a kid. It's kind of a it's a superhero movie, but it's from the it's from the perspective of the son of the superhero. And what would it be like to be you know, Iron Man's son, but he never told you he's a superhero. Do you think he's just working all the time, but actually, he's got this incredible secret headquarters under his house full of gadgets and, and, you know, an awesome cars and stuff like that. And he's zipping off all over the world, saving the world. Meanwhile, you're at home thinking your dad's like, a nerd. Who's just like fixing people's servers. And we just like really got got our imaginations going. And we were just like, this would be my favorite movie when I was.
Alex Ferrari 36:28
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. You know, everything. If you can't, if this filament came out in like the 80s, you'd be up there with like, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids or, you know, those kinds of or Neverending Story, those kinds. Yeah, those kinds of fun, fun films. And I was watching it. I mean, I definitely could have weeks, obviously nine and a half weeks and too much juncture to injunction. But when I was watching it, you know, you can there's a little bit of Spy Kids floating around. You could sense that the DNA of Spy Kids in there as well. But there's a lot of that too, so much. It was a lot of fun. And oh, and must have been a ball to work with.
Henry Joost 37:06
Rel Schulman 37:07
What a sweet guy, good natured collaborator,
Alex Ferrari 37:10
That is pretty much like he is in indices. Like what is he's?
Henry Joost 37:16
He's like how he is.
Rel Schulman 37:17
I think he's even kinder than you think he would be.
Henry Joost 37:21
And you forget what a great writer he is. Like he wrote, oh, yeah, he co wrote, you know, Royal Tenenbaums, and Rushmore and bottle rocket. Like, when he when we had rehearsals with him, we got into these dialogue riffs. And would we, we would just write it down and we and then we go home that night, we'd rewrite the scene and we'd send it to him. And he was like, you know, and we, we pop it back and forth. Like, that's, that was such a fun experience to have with an outer.
Alex Ferrari 37:50
Now as directors we all have that day on set. That is like you feel the entire world's gonna come crashing down around you. You losing the sun, camera breaks actor breaks his ankle, whatever. Generally, it's every day something like that happens. But yeah, was there one moment on that film that was like, Oh, my God, what was that moment? And how did you guys get through it?
Rel Schulman 38:10
Yeah, Henry. I don't know if you. I think I just realized today I was going through pictures what the, one of the biggest problems was, I mean, there's always money problems, but there's a huge prop slash character in the movie. And it's the GMO bill. Oh, yeah. Oh, retrofitted. 69 Volkswagen bus that Owen Wilson's character has turned into like a superhero. crime fighting truck. And it wasn't ready. And it was in scenes across the movie, like big action car chase scenes. And the guys who were building it weren't done. And it was shooting in like, two days. And it was so far from done to them.
Henry Joost 38:53
We kept pushing it back. Remember, we were like, there was in the schedule. And we'd be like, well, we'll shoot this side of the scene now. And then in a month, we'll shoot this side of the scene because the thing is background. Yeah, I mean, just like imagine
Rel Schulman 39:06
If they didn't have the Batmobile.
Alex Ferrari 39:08
It doesn't doesn't Yeah, obviously,
Rel Schulman 39:10
The schedule is so fragile, you know, especially with movie stars, like Owen and and he's shooting Loki. You know, it's all like happening the same time. And we're at the point where like the studio and the line producer, everyone's like, well, you need to be ready to erase the gene mobiel from the whole concept from the movie, but you've already shot many scenes where it exists before it gets retrofitted when it's just a VW bus. And that I mean, we really sweat that out.
Henry Joost 39:40
We had staked our our reputations on this vehicle like we like I remember we were kind of dying on our swords about it because there was a lot of pressure even before that to cut it to completely cut it from the movie. And we were like No, just because there was a cannot there can't be a superhero movie without You know, like, a superhero vehicle. And that's just, it just, it has to we have to have that. And it was kind of all it was on us. I remember pulling the picture car guy aside at one point and I was like, Listen, buddy, you got your, your toughest act. That's like, listen, I tried to I'm gonna try to say this in a really nice way. But like, if this thing isn't ready, we're never gonna work again. It was like, Oh, God.
Alex Ferrari 40:29
All right, let me see. If this isn't ready by tomorrow, guys. I know where you live.
Rel Schulman 40:36
We do like a good cop, bad cop thing sometimes where I'll say to the guy. Hey, buddy, I believe in you. You got this and then just walk away. And Henry will style over and be like what He means to say
Alex Ferrari 40:54
You know, it's always fascinating to me that even on some on big budget films like this shit happens.
Henry Joost 41:00
Oh, by the skin of your teeth. Yeah. Like,
Alex Ferrari 41:02
It's like, those indie sensibilities never kind of go away. You. You sometimes gotta like, how am I going to make this work that damn truck? The picture cars not ready. Would you would think that on a budget of this size and this kind of kind of size project? That that would be the least of your issues?
Henry Joost 41:19
Yeah. Yeah, one would think we have yet to work on that movie that's like has such a big budget that you can you know, you don't have to worry about anything. I don't know if that really exists.
Alex Ferrari 41:35
Or one day you'll hear this this sentence. All you have is time and money, guys. So enjoy yourself. You'll never that's a sentence that no filmmaker has ever heard ever. Right? No matter who you are. Maybe Chris Nolan may be crystal. Yeah, maybe. Maybe just a conversation. Now. When's this coming out? Guys?
Henry Joost 41:54
Rel Schulman 41:55
Not just that next week. It's in a little more than a week. Yeah.
Henry Joost 42:00
Alex Ferrari 42:01
Now I'm going to ask you a few questions. I asked all of my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?
Rel Schulman 42:10
Say yes. To any project offered to you.
Henry Joost 42:15
Do not don't think camera at the bride. You read my mind. At least one camera
Alex Ferrari 42:21
At all times. No, just because a lot of times we get a little uppity as filmmakers and just like no I'm I'm the next. Spielberg. I'm the next Tarantino. I don't do weddings. You know?
Rel Schulman 42:32
Yeah, I don't I don't see why not a wedding is built in drama. I mean, look at a wedding is a documentary about people on a really important day with a lot of pressure. And all fam. I mean, some of the greatest movies. It's a genre of filmmaking, which is the family gathering the reunion, you know, like the Big Chill or something like that. Or Rachel Getting Married. Those are great movies. You have an opportunity. someone's paying you to make a documentary about that. That's the way we approached it. And it was it was great training.
Henry Joost 43:03
Yeah, it. Just practice, practice, practice, practice, man.
Alex Ferrari 43:07
Any job that came along, man, I would take it. I didn't care what it was like you're gonna pay me to edit. I'll work you're gonna pay me to shoot. I'll do it. It's just Yeah. And sometimes it's great. Yeah, a lot of times it isn't. But at least you're not out there hustling another job. And you get to at least work on your craft.
Rel Schulman 43:23
Yeah, exactly. Most of them weren't great.
Henry Joost 43:25
Yeah. No, they weren't. No terrible.
Alex Ferrari 43:30
Now what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life?
Rel Schulman 43:36
Changed my socks midday. What what I was waiting for.
Henry Joost 43:42
That was a good one. even change your shoes.
Rel Schulman 43:44
Yeah. Oh, yeah. We bring two pairs of shoes to set now. Do you really? Yeah. Yeah. Just like yeah, freshen up.
Henry Joost 43:52
Those are like, I'll tell you what the great feeling.
Alex Ferrari 43:56
They never teach you this in film school. Good shoes on set on set because I'm always on my feet. I don't know about you guys. I'm all day. You rarely sit down. I like when I sit down. I'm like, Oh, God, I can't get back.
Henry Joost 44:11
I keep going. You gotta keep moving.
Rel Schulman 44:12
Yeah, totally. Man. I think Doug Doug Liman does not accept the director's chair on his sets. Because he refuses to ever sit down on set.
Henry Joost 44:25
And as a few directors, I've heard that don't allow chairs at all.
Alex Ferrari 44:29
Yeah, there's a there's a few. I mean, and then there's our cell phones. And then there's the Peter Jackson's who have a recliner on set.
Henry Joost 44:39
I'm talking about Lord of the Rings.
Alex Ferrari 44:40
They would just literally carry around a lazy boy. He would just sit down it was the best
Rel Schulman 44:47
Apparently the room we cut project power and on Sixth Avenue in New York City was the room that Oliver Stone cut something in Henry remember? Yeah, he had a leather recliner brought into that edit room that he just loved.
Alex Ferrari 45:00
But listen, I've had I've had Oliver Stone on the show, and, and he was one of the most interesting conversations I've ever had in mind. He is so smart. Oh my God, he's he's so so smart. And, and I tell people this all the time and you guys, I think you guys would agree. There's not another 10 year period. And any filmography, like Oliver stops from platoon from platoon, every movie a year, and everyone was like Oscar, Oscar incredible. Oscar, it's just, there's just nobody that's ever had a run like that.
Rel Schulman 45:40
It's Yeah, well, a couple is run is pretty solid, too.
Alex Ferrari 45:43
Well, you know, he's sorry, you did okay.
Henry Joost 45:47
I would I recommend Oliver Stones book is really great. Oh, yeah. That's why he was especially especially listening to it on on tape or on Audible. Like, he has such a great voice. Oh, yeah, it's a great audio, but it's uh, I love film filmmaker audiobooks.
Rel Schulman 46:04
We loved Barry Sonnenfeld book.
Alex Ferrari 46:07
Dude, I got when we when we get off. I'll tell you the story. Had Barry on the show, too. And in the first five minutes, he told me his porn story of how he got started in porn. I'll tell you that.
Henry Joost 46:16
Oh, my God. To me that chapter is like I think what's in the book, right? It's disgusting.
Alex Ferrari 46:23
The first five minutes of our conversation. He's that's what he starts with. I'm like, okay, Barry. I guess you've set the tone now. Porn man, that's how I got my start porn.
Rel Schulman 46:38
But in the book he's talking about and how he started and he said yes to everything and yeah. And the
Alex Ferrari 46:45
Pays camera off. He had to pay 60 millimeter camera off. Yeah.
Rel Schulman 46:49
Maybe a little longer than he needed to.
Alex Ferrari 46:51
By the way that porn paid half half the camera off in a week. So yeah,
Rel Schulman 46:55
I mean any shoot loves really worth it.
Alex Ferrari 46:58
From a party that he'd met this tall. You know, same guy in the corner who isn't talking to anybody is like, Hey, I got a camera. Hey, you want to shoot something? Great. That's your star starts.
Rel Schulman 47:08
Yeah, but it was just the sizzle reel for blood. So that was the system. It was you don't get paid to do?
Alex Ferrari 47:14
Nope. But then he got that. And then I think Raising Arizona. Oh God. What a great conversation. Great career. And last question three of your favorite films of all time.
Henry Joost 47:24
The Big Lebowski Yep, that's it.
Alex Ferrari 47:31
It stops there. Big Lebowski that's pretty much
Rel Schulman 47:37
Yeah, Big Lebowski. Gray man and red notice
Alex Ferrari 47:44
Very strategic answer sir very very steep.
Rel Schulman 47:49
I find that I find that to be the hardest question Am I still allowed to say Woody Allen movies?
Alex Ferrari 47:53
Look man look at any hostel Andy Hall brother. I'm sorry I'm sorry Annie Hall is still Annie Hall. I don't I mean, it's a masterpiece and
Rel Schulman 48:05
It's a masterpiece. You know what I've but if you're if it's there's got to be a Kubrick movie in there which there probably should be Barry Lyndon No, you're like bear Oh, yeah. Yeah, and it's not just to be different
Alex Ferrari 48:18
Mine is Eyes Wide Shut I'm an Eyes Wide Shut guy.
Rel Schulman 48:21
Oh you because you're a pervert. Very Seinfeld episode.
Alex Ferrari 48:30
Obviously the pervert that's why I love Oh, no, we could talk for hours on Kubrick alone Jesus man. Talk about somebody who just had all did whatever the hell he wanted. But but the ledges after I've talked to a bunch of people who worked with him. He's like he had a set of like, 10 people. Yeah, I finally was able to shoot for a year with Tom Cruise. Yeah. 10 people on set?
Rel Schulman 48:51
Yeah, who really believed in him. And we're like soldiers in his in his army.
Alex Ferrari 48:57
He locked up two of the biggest movie stars in the world for a year and a half. I mean, what kind of juice is that? Like? Seriously? I mean, Jesus, guys, it has been a pleasure talking to you both. So it Congratulations on all your success. I can't wait to see what you guys come up with next. And what do you guys have cooking next, by the way? Let's see something about this is something I'm Megaman
Rel Schulman 49:19
Yeah, Megaman adaptation of Megaman for Netflix. God plusspec Write about like the future of automation. Nice. Yeah, it's gonna be really cool man and robot becoming one good or bad.
Alex Ferrari 49:37
Guys, you see, it has been an absolute pleasure, guys. congrats on all your success and continue continued success.
Rel Schulman 49:43
Thanks Alex. Thanks for all the hustle .
Henry Joost 49:45
Thank you so much.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.