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Watch Brick’s Making-Of, Rian Johnson’s First Feature Film

Watch Brick’s Making-Of, Rian Johnson’s First Feature Film

“Anybody who’s gone on making a movie at this budget level has gone through this. The hardest thing in the world in this process is when you have the money in place or you have an actor in place, and then it falls appart, and it’s all gone, and you wake up the next morning and you’re literally just at square one. You’re at the same place you were at three years ago with it, and you’re just like ‘argh’.

But what kept me going is that I’m not really useful at anything else in life. Just the fact that this is really all I always wanted to do, there were not any other options so I knew whether it happened now, or whether it happened ten years from now, I would still be trying to get this movie made. And I knew it would happened eventually.” Rian Johnson – Buidling Brick (Brick’s making-of)

A Story in Persistence

American filmmaker Rian Johnson is a happy textbook story: after a childhood spent making films using his cousins for cast and crew during summer, Johnson wrote his first feature film, Brick, at age 24, in 1997, and spent the next six years trying to find the money.

After being rejected by the gatekeepers and the traditional system, because he was a first time director with an odd screenplay, Johnson basically ran a crowdfunding campaign, raising $450,000 from family and friends. Back then, DSLRs didn’t exist, and Johnson had to shoot in 35mm. It’s funny to think that just a few years later, he would have had much less problems to make Brick, but it would have looked much less like an achievement. Digression over.

Brick was the first step in a consistent career with regular jumps in size, budget, and scale, till the point where Johnson just wrapped filming the latest Star Wars, with the same DOP he has been working with since adolescence: Steve Yedlin.

I’ve shared several articles on Johnson over the years, he is a generous filmmaker that comes from the indie trenches and has taken the habit of sharing his notes, process and screenplays for free on the Internet, just like he did with Brick, or Looper.

Watch Brick’s Making-Of 

As I was searching about the backstory making Brick, I stumbled upon this making-of shot by L Jean Schwartz between 2003 (when Brick was shot) and 2005, shortly after its release.

Schwartz was 17 then, and was given access to the set and Johnson who kindly spoke about his journey making the film. There are several nuggets in it, and despite the so-so quality, that couldn’t have been much better on a zero budget back then, it feels like a gem.

For years the making-of was only available on German DVDs (what?), and just like with Niko Tavernise with Darren Aronofsky’s making-of, Schwartz put it online as soon as she could, that is 4 years ago (and remarkably enough, it only got 800 views…)

Enjoy the making-of and if, like me, you’re trying to make your first feature film, this should warm up your heart and give you some endurance for the next few winters.