Interview with Luke d. Nowell


Today we share with you part 6 in the ‘ interviews’ series. By Constant Hoogenbosch and Luke d.Nowell.

If you are a filmmaker and want to participate in an interview for also, please contact We like to hear from you!


What is it that appeals to you about the short film?

The short film medium provides an excellent opportunity to hone one’s storytelling skills with a limited time and monetary investment. It is a great and rewarding challenge to attempt to construct a complete narrative in a small timeframe.

What qualities do you believe make a good short film?

Story and creativity are key to me. The best shorts I have seen tend to shock or surprise the viewer in some way. Subsequently, this characteristic must be backed up by an excellent script. Revise, revise, revise until you think you have it right.

To what extent is making short films a stepping stone to making feature films?

The biggest thing for me is that making a short is an outstanding learning experience. You can get a sense of what really works for you, and develop your style both in an aesthetic sense and also in how you run the set. Everything you learn in making a short can dictate how you would approach making a feature- and if you can get people’s attention in the meantime that is an added bonus.

What is the most challenging aspect of making short films?

Trying to tell a complete and compelling story in a limited run time is certainly a large undertaking, but also makes it that much more gratifying if you can pull it off. Once again, this just goes back to making sure you have the best possible script before hitting record.

Do you have a preference to a certain genre? And why?

Comedy is certainly my genre of preference. I have always been drawn to comedy films and my entire childhood consisted of being raised on some of the comedy greats; original Saturday Night Live, Bill Murray, Belushi, Harold Ramis- your Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Animal House, etc. As I grew older I was very drawn to Judd Apatow and some of his contemporaries, watching Superbad and Freaks and Geeks more times than I can count. While I certainly enjoy humor and making me people laugh, what really draws me in is the theme of friendship in these movies. Oftentimes the comedic factor is just the outer shell for this larger theme and I strive to recreate that ideal in some way in my own work.

What do you like most when making a short film – writing the script – directing – camera?

I certainly enjoy writing the script, and drawing the story out with subsequent revisions. However my favorite aspect of production is  definitely directing and working closely with the actors. Film is such a collaborative medium so I love working closely with everyone to get to the best possible interpretation of the script. I am also extremely fortunate to work with one of my best friends in DP/Editor Julian Guindon, and as such I totally trust him to do his thing with the camera. We are almost always on the exact same page and it lends itself to a pretty seamless dynamic on set as he is insanely talented and we compliment each other very well.

Do you work with a script – where do you get the inspiration from?

We did work with a script for this project and almost all of the material was inspired by real life events of some sort. If you are interested in writing drama and/or comedy, there is inspiration all around you if you’re willing to just slow down and listen for it.

Do you leave room for improvisation?

We did leave room for some improvisation as our two main actors, Jeremy Keys and Lior Wolf, are extremely skilled and well versed in  improv. This being the case I wanted to give them every opportunity to riff on some of the jokes and as such some of the punchlines                                           you see in the final version of the film are all them. Just keep the camera rolling and try to keep a straight face!

Did you receive funding for your project?

We did not. All funding was out of my own pocket and the film was made possible by people generously donating their time.

How did you go about assembling a film crew and actors?

I put a casting call out through our local film office and found half of the actors that way. The rest of the cast/crew I was fortunate enough to know already. In fact the majority of the cast/crew (including myself and Julian) all attended the same elementary school where most of our filming took place. This made for an amazing dynamic on set and I feel extremely blessed to know such talented     people from such a small network.

What did you use to edit the film?

We edited the film in Final Cut Pro X, using Motion and After Effects for some of our animations.

What camera did you shoot on?

We shot the film on a Panasonic GH4, using some awesome Nikkor Primes from the 70’s.

Could you name one or two filmmakers that you consider great influences?

Edgar Wright and Paul Thomas Anderson

What are you working on next? Do you already have a new project in mind?

I am currently developing a couple more short projects that I hope to shoot this Summer, as well as a feature length screenplay that we will hopefully be able to shoot with much of the same team in the near future.

What advice would you give to other short filmmakers?

If you have an idea, go shoot it. Don’t wait for money, help, or permission. Just go do it right away to the best of your ability, with whatever resources you have available. Learn from your mistakes, and do it better the next time.

If you are a filmmaker and want to participate in an interview for, please contact We like to hear from you!


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