1. How did you come up with Hospitality?
David: Hey Mike, I have Nick here with me so we'll be answering these together. For me it starts with character. We had the idea of Donna a while ago -- her backstory-- and Jimmy and someone coming by that might be his dad, etc, and that idea just sat for a while, percolating, until one day it was ready to be written. Once words hit the page it happened very fluidly. Didn't have to force it at all.
Nick: We had some of the ideas for Hospitality kicking around for years. Stephen King calls them “cups without handles”. They are the old ideas that never quite get figured out. We write them down and keep those notebooks close because you never know when an old idea will become relevant again. Hospitality started by combining two of those old ideas and then as David said, after that it just clicked.
2. What is your writing habit?
David: I like writing in the morning. I find I write best when I do a little every day, even if it's just going over what I've written.
Nick: I like morning as well. Ideally before looking at my phone or the news. There is also another sweet spot after dinner, which doesn’t always work, but when it does I can get another hour or two in then.
3. What research did you do when writing Hospitality?
David: It's entirely fictional, so I don't think anything...
Nick: That’s not entirely true, I remember we did a little bit of research about the flooring business once we figured out that the Boss was from that world and that he was going to talk about it.
David: Sure. Sure.
4. List three adjectives to describe your directing/writing partner Mr. Nick Chakwin?
David: He's right here so I'll let him describe himself.
Nick: Let’s see… Smart, Brilliant, and Genius
David: Joking aside I found a really great partner in Nick. It's a tough thing that 99 times out of 100 does not work, but we are best friends, have a great short-hand, and tend to complement eachother's personalities nicely. We also like all the same stuff, so that helps a lot. We rarely disagree on movies.
5. Did you know how Hospitality would end or did it come to you while writing the story?
David: I never know how the stories are going to end. That's the fun!
Nick: What David said. Even if we have an idea of where it’s going, it always changes. I think we both feel that if you’re dead set on how your script will end, then you limit it in a way when you make sure it goes that way. Instead we like to let the script tell us where it wants to go.
6. Could you give an interesting, fun fact about your experience working with Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jim Beaver, JR Bourne or any other actors in Hospitality?
David: Sure. Let's see...Jim Beaver is a film historian. He knows as much as anybody about film, so we really clicked in that regard. I think Emmanuelle's favorite movie is OUT OF THE PAST, which is cool and appropriate to this film, so we got her the poster as a wrap gift. We wrote the role for Sam Trammell. I think it's pretty special that we ended up with him.
Nick: JR is an Aries. Conner’s favorite drink is milk, and his favorite actor is Katherine Heigl
7.What is your favorite line from Hospitality?
David: I like when Cam says "People go missing all the time", and then Zane says "they do, don't they" to which Cam replies "I think so..." That always gets a laugh.
Nick: My favorite line from the script is from a scene that we cut from the movie! But I’ll say this, there is a line that Jimmy says “Do I have to clean it up?” It’s not a stand out line or anything, but I love it because it plays differently depending on how you watch the movie. A friend of ours watched the movie alone at home and he said that line was very sad, and then when he saw the movie in a theater with a crowd, he and others laughed at it. So that’s kind of cool. I like the idea that a movie can give you different reactions based on where you’re coming from when you watch it. I know I’ve had that experience with movies as well.
8. Which filmmakers do you admire or inspired your work?
David: I watched a good amount of Roman Polanski before shooting this one, because he's so good with confined spaces, and he's such a stylist but in a smart, subtle way that I thought would be appropriate to this film. My list of favorite directors can go on and on. Lately I've been very into Almodovar.
Nick: My wife just bought me the new Ingmar Bergman box set from Criterion that has something like 40 of his movies, so I’m currently neck-deep in that world and loving it. His productivity alone is such an inspiration. I think he made a movie a year for most of his career. Sometimes two a year.
9.What do you love about directing in general?
David: I love it all. I love thinking visually. I love working with the actors. Just seeing it all come to life is such a joy. Making those unique idiosyncratic decisions that you know someone else wouldn't think to do. Getting specific with production design or curating what music to play and when. Those are the choices that aren't necessarily on the page and they put your stamp on it. Every day I want to surprise myself, or elevate it in a certain way that keeps people on their toes.
Nick: I love every part of the filmmaking process, and directing allows me to be a part of each step along the way. I love it because I don’t think I’ll ever run out of ways to improve. I think it’s a job that attracts those who thrive on challenge, chaos, and uncertainty. But you also get rewarded with such great surprises in the form of seeing the images for the first time after they were just words on a page, seeing magic human chemistry when you put certain actors in a scene together. I love that I am able to bend my little corner of the universe and create an offering of art and entertainment.
10.What were your hobbies as a kid? What are your hobbies now?
David: Reading and watching movies. Listening to music. Going to museums. Art art art. That's what I live for.
Nick: I got a camcorder when I was young, and I loved filming little videos with my friends. That’s where it all started for me, shooting all day with friends, and then taking the footage home and editing it into something I could show them. Now for fun I shoot a lot of film photography. I’m not serious about it really, but it’s so fun and it keeps me working on compositions and learning more about lighting. Plus, there’s nothing like getting a roll of film back.
11.Which novel/novella/short story have you read that you would like to see a film adaptation?
David: I love a book called VIOLENT SATURDAY which was made into a movie with Lee Marvin (which I've never seen). I think we'd do a really great job with that material.
Nick: I’m going second David’s answer. We would knock that one out of the park! There is also a suspense novel called SACRIFICE by John Farris that I think would make a good movie.
12. If a self-published author is seeking a screenwriter, how would one get you to read his or her story to see if it would make a compelling movie?
David: We're not hard to find. If it's a good pitch and the person seems to get what we do, I'd take a look. Nick is known for being a good reader. He'll read people's stuff for notes, etc, whereas it takes me a bit longer, but I try! I think the most important thing is the sense that they're coming to us for a specific reason. They're not sending 100 emails, but they singled out our work because it has qualities they want to see in theirs.
Nick: We’re pretty good about answering emails. Send the email -- that's a good place to start.
13. What would it take for you personally to be interested in translating a self-published story into a screenplay?
David: It would just have to speak to us. I prefer to write my own material, but you never know. It could end up being VIOLENT SATURDAY.
Nick: I think as directors, David and I are very conscious about our voice, and making sure the movies we make feel like ONLY we could make them. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t open to looking at existing material, but as David said, the material has to speak to us in a way where we believe that WE are the best people to bring it to the screen.
14.Which fictional character (besides yours) would you like to sit down and chat with?
David: I don't know if I'd want to chat with any of ours! I really like the guys in Rio Bravo. Chance, Dude, Stumpy, etc. That movie comforts me. I put it on when I'm feeling down and it lifts me right up.
Nick: This is such a hard one! I think at my dinner party I’d have to invite The Dude (from Big Lebowski... different than David's "Dude” played by Dean Martin), Willy Wonka (Wilder duh), Lucy Ricardo, Hermione, and maybe Norman Bates and Hannibal Lecter to spice it up.
15. What can you talk about for hours?
David: Movies and books, but only ones I like. I don't like to talk about bad ones.
Nick: A movie I loved, a place I loved visiting, a person I love
16. If you had to be a teacher of something, what would you teach?
David: Film History, but I'd make it genre specific. History of the western or history of noir. Something like that. Lately I'm into pre-code stuff, and I think that would make a great class.
Nick: In film school at SVA we had production class each year that worked sort of like a home base. You’d check in with your teacher about whichever step of the process you were on with your current project, so it was a little bit of everything. Developing ideas, writing, shooting and then editing. I think I’d enjoy something like that. Also I would make my students call me “teach”.
17. Last question, what childish thing do you still do as an adult?
David: I love cartoons.
Nick: I still count using my fingers! Oh well.
All in all, i'm very honored to have both of them (not just one of them) answer my blog questions. Major thanks to David Guglielmo for making this possible. It was quite fun as well as you can tell by reading their answers. You guys should undoubtedly see watch Hospitality. It's now available on VOD that includes Amazon, Vimeo, and iTunes. Thank you for visiting my blog and reading another amazing interview. Take care and I hope you come here again.