Life After Film School (FXM): I Ask Valerie & Jonathan about avoiding the pitfalls of co-directing ...

LIFE AFTER FILM SCHOOL: RUBY SPARKS Directors, Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton


On Friday, I taped my second appearance as a student-host on FXM Presents’ Life After Film School.

Our guests were Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton — the directing team of this year’s upcoming, Ruby Sparks, the much-anticipated second movie from the multi-talented co-directors of 2006’s Best Picture nominee and multiple Academy Award winning, Little Miss Sunshine (Best Original Screenplay, Michael Arndt, and Best Supporting Actor, Alan Arkin).

There are very few directing partnerships out there. Valerie’s and Jonathan’s is even more unique — because they’re married.

Their remarkable body of work spans almost the entire media spectrum. Beyond feature films, their music videos have garnered several Grammy Awards — Red Hot Chili Peppers (“Californication,” Best Direction), Korn (“Freak On A Leash,” Best Short Form Video, co-directed with Todd McFarlane and Graham Morris), and Janet Jackson (“Rhythm Nation 1814.” Best Long Form Video) — an MTV Video Music Award for Jane’s Addiction (“Been Caught Stealing”) and a total of seven MTV awards for Smashing Pumpkins (“Tonight, Tonight” and “1979”). They’ve even won Clio and ANDY Awards for their Sony Playstation video ad campaigns.

Actually, TWO separate episodes of Life After Film School were taped on Friday.  First up, Sarah, Maeve, and Roy taped theirs, interviewing Producer Katherine Pope (Breakout Kings, New Girl, Touch).  Then, Sydney, Christina, and I taped our interview with Valerie and Jonathan. I’ll be posting more photos and video of the show soon. Here are a few quick shots taken before we sat down with our guests, including a great group shot.

One of the perks of being a host on Life After Film School, and there are a few, is that we sometimes get the chance to see early screenings of new television shows and feature films before the general public.

A couple of weeks ago, to prepare for today’s interview, I got to see Ruby Sparks at the show’s offices. This was a first for me because, although I’d seen some episodes of Archer and Unsupervised before they were aired, this was the first time I had the opportunity to see a major feature film well before its release date.

Due in theaters on Wednesday (July 25), the movie stars Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas and Eliot Gould. It tells the story of a successful young writer who’s going through a slump — professionally and romantically. And so he invents and writes about a dreamgirl named Ruby, who one day magically appears in his kitchen.

Jonathan and Valerie were incredibly friendly and down to earth, which made the interview so easy and enjoyable. They were so generous with their time that, even after the cameras stopped rolling, we continued our conversation and they gave us some tips on directing.  They are both so knowledgeable and open that I could have spent the whole day asking them questions. What an inspiration!

I also had a blast with all the student hosts, including the guys who taped before us. It was cool that we all got to hang out a bit, before and after getting down to business.

This episode of Life After Film School will be airing on the FXM Network (Fox Movie Channel) and the FXM Presents website VERY SOON!


[Editor’s Note (10/01/2012): The interview, now viewable at the top of this page is no longer available on the FXM Presents website.]


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