Don’t Worry Baby: Sitting down with director Julian Branciforte to discuss Don’t Worry Baby – his cinematic feature debut

Posted on June 9, 2016

FF

What’s up? I hear you’re busy in LA these days. Let’s start at the end of this journey and work our way back – what are the final moments like before releasing a film?

JB

I’m back and forth. Personally I think it’s hard to keep working and limit yourself to one or the other…or at all for that matter. Right now I’m just really excited that people are finally going to see the film. It’s such a long process. Getting to the end, doing a trailer, and everything involved with releasing just makes it seem like we’ve never stopped working. I look forward to moving on, but I’m also excited to continue the conversations about Don’t Worry Baby now that people can see it.

Director Julian Branciforte and the cast of Don't Worry Baby

Director Julian Branciforte and the cast of Don’t Worry Baby

FF

Okay now back to the start. Tell us about the genesis of your newest film Don’t Worry Baby (DWB). We will keep spoilers to a minimal but what was the initial moment(s) when you were like “this is the story I’ve got to make a movie about”? Also, just out of curiosity, by the finish how many script drafts did you end up going through?

JB

The film is about a father and son who sleep with the same woman, then four years later they have to compete over the paternity of a child either one of them could be the father of — and that’s it. Once we felt like the concept was nailed we new this was a story worth telling. It lends itself to all the types of story telling we were interested in.  Writing is a different process for everything and everyone. This script changed a lot in terms of characters and dramatic beats. All in all about twenty. Maybe more?

Actors John Magaro, Christopher McDonald and Dreama Walker star in Don’t Worry Baby

FF

You grew up in and around New York City. How did that influence the movie and what are your general thoughts on making a film in the big city? How do you balance the chaos of filming in the busiest place in the States with its potential to contribute culture & character to your story?

JB

I knew where I wanted to shoot and I knew who I wanted to make my movie about, so that helped a lot. That’s really the main reason we shot in the city. I tried writing it for other places. It just never felt as natural. And it’s a character driven story, it was all pretty natural.  Getting the support of my immediate neighborhood — that’s really where this came into play both economically for our shoot and for the story & characters. This was a very low budget film for a twenty day shoot in manhattan. It came down to local relationships. Local everything. Like 4 square blocks.

FF

DWB is your biggest film to date and probably encompassed a cast & crew of over hundreds of people. What was it like managing that many moving parts?

JB

That’s what producers are for. Haha. And that’s also the nature of the beast — handling everything at once. Making films —especially indie films— is about tribe-ing up.

FF

Your promotional print material was provided by FotoFoam. What are the main elements of a killer movie poster?

JB

Making posters is actually quite difficult. It’s cool that we get to make our own, but it was a responsibility. We wanted to try to to tell the story to as many people as possible. The closer we get to a release, the brighter we go and the broader we go. Every film is different. Heavy influences for us were the Little Miss Sunshine poster and 60’s jazz compilations.

On set with the cast of Don’t Worry Baby

The official poster for Don't Worry Baby

The official poster for Don’t Worry Baby

FF

I’m going to just come out with the obvious one here. You clinched Christopher McDonald for the film. What was it like working with one of our generation foremost comedic bad guys? (*cough* “shooter” *cough*).

JB

It was amazing.  No matter how you look at it, this was my first film and his hundred-something.  Everyday he had something to teach me. It made my life and the movie better and better. He came on board because he responded to the material and the character Harry — he really cared. Working with Chris was great because we trusted each other. And honestly, the guy is always right. At first I was a little intimidated but he said it himself the first time we met…”I believe in Harry (his character) and I believe in you.”

FF

Some of your partners on this film were your long-time close friends. I think this is a pretty unique opportunity – to work with people you know so well. What was it like to share the journey with these awesome ladies and gents? (Shout outs welcome.)

JB

That’s really what indie film making is.  It takes your best friends to produce your first movie 9/10 times. Working with people that believe is what is most important, fortunately they are great producers, too.  It was all of our first time making a film. It’s like we jumped out of an airplane together, or something.

Actors John Magaro and Tom Lipinski as Robert and Lenny in Don't Worry Baby

Actors John Magaro and Tom Lipinski as Robert and Lenny in Don’t Worry Baby

FF

What was the wildest moment on the set? Was there a certain take when you were like “wow we just nailed the sh*t out of that shot”?

JB

It wasn’t a particular shot or moment, really. It was a day by day experience. Somedays making up for others.  Sure, I felt like we shot the sh*t out of things, but it takes a while to really step outside of it and see what you did…and then eventually you’re editing…and really getting into it an entirely different way. For instance some scenes I was worried about, we compensated by shooting extra coverage. When it came down to editing for the story, I had a lot to work with, and perspectives to chose from. In retrospect everything I was worried about I was over prepared for and vise versa, actually.

On the set with the crew of Don't Worry Baby

On the set with the crew of Don’t Worry Baby

FF

Over the past couple years of working on the film you’ve probably learned quite a bit. What are a few of the most important lessons you can share with us?

JB

Have patience. Making movies is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes forever and has very little pay off unless you know one thing; that passion for filmmaking is the only way to get through it. The light at the end of the tunnel is your next project.

Actor John Magaro in one of the opening sequences of the film

FF

Right now you’re focused on a strong release for DWB but I believe there is also another “co-vert” project in the works. Can you tease us a bit with regards to that one?

JB

I’ve spent the last few years stepping outside of what I know and diving into research. I can’t say much about my next movie, other than that it is absolutely nothing like this movie. Well I shouldn’t say that. But we are filming it out in Montana next winter. Haha. It’s about modern cattle theft and the world around it.

FF

Don’t Worry Baby will be released in theaters nationwide and on VOD on July 22nd.