Home Community Spotlight Courtney Daniels, Writer-Director of ‘What Other Couples Do’ Speaks to IndieReign about...

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Courtney Daniels, indie film, IndieReign, What Other Couples Do

What Other Couples Do is a brand new independent feature film that has just been released on IndieReign. This romantic comedy follows four couples in LA who gather for a dinner party and play a kissing game, ‘Seven Minutes in Heaven’. On the dinner party menu we have envy, lust and… donuts.

This film is incredibly funny, witty and even heart-breaking at times.  It follows a story that I’m sure every married couple, parent, dating or single person can relate to and laugh about. Watch What Other Couples Do on IndieReign for just $2.99, it’s smart, funny and believe me, it gets real…

We had the opportunity to talk with very talented writer-director, Courtney Daniels who shared with us a bit about the film and also let us know about her filmmaking background.
Courtney Daniels, What Other Couples Do, IndieReign, indie films

Where did the concept for What Other Couples Do come from?

I had been hosting a lot of dinner parties and thought that the way couples interact is sort of fascinating. When you’re around married friends, you get pulled into their issues. I wanted to document some of the dynamics I witnessed and explore some of the challenges presented by marriage.

What kind of audience do you think will enjoy What Other Couples Do the most?

People who have been in a serious romantic relationship long enough to have experienced problems!

It seems like you had a really awesome cast to work with, how did you find and cast your film’s actors?

Because we live in L.A., there’s a lot of talent, so we just emailed friends, asking them to recommend any good actors they knew (and some of the actors we met would bring in friends for us to audition, too). A few of the cast I’d seen in local theater or in web series and I knew I wanted them. For the remaining roles, we videotaped auditions with as many actors as we could, for a few weeks I think, then studied the tapes and debated which pairings of actors seemed like real couples. Most of the cast have been active in Upright Citizens Brigade, they’ve had pilot and guest roles in TV, they’ve been in national commercials, etc. Besides giving good performances in the film, they were fun to work with. We’ve stayed good friends and often meet up socially.

What was it that fed your passion for film?

In the 80s, my family watched Fawlty Towers and Harold Lloyd on TV and we went to movies like My Dinner with Andre, Stripes, and Saturday Night Fever. I saw Bye Bye Birdie with my grandmother when I was about 12 and it blew my mind. My husband and I met when we were very young and his family had watched a lot of good movies, too, so it was a shared interest. We both became writers and we both wanted to move to LA and write screenplays.

Based on your experience, what are three bits of advice you would give to new filmmakers wanting to make their own movies?

1.  Write a script that is specifically tailored for a low- or no-budget shoot (only one or two locations that you can get for free, no famous music, etc.). Everything hinges on the quality of the script, so make it as good as possible before shooting.

2.  Read Dov Siemen’s book “From Reel to Deal.” Use as little money as possible to shoot, to limit risk and to force yourself to be creative.

3.  Do not expect to get into film festivals unless you have a star or a known producer attached to your film, or a connection to a festival programmer, and even if you do, plan on the likelihood that you will be distributing the film yourself online.

What films/filmmakers have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?

Valley Girl is my favorite movie. I love everything about it. The performances, how it’s shot in a naturalistic way, the music, the truth it captures and the feelings it inspires. I love that the director, Martha Coolidge, was determined not to use a ‘pretty boy’ model type for the lead actor and chose Nicolas Cage’s pic from a pile of rejected headshots. Also, she had been working on projects that had stalled, was living in a room over a friend’s apartment and was depressed when she got the opportunity to direct Valley Girl. She made it for $350,000 and it earned $17 million.

Bonus Question! If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive who would it be and why?

I was going to say my dog, Japetto, or my other dog, Dash, who are in heaven, I hope. And I could say my grandmother on my dad’s side, but that’s probably not of interest to readers. In the spirit of keeping this about filmmaking, I’d like to have dinner with any of the great film editors, like Thelma Schoonmaker, Dede Allen, Susan Morse or Anne Coates. Seems like you could learn a lot by talking to them.

Take a look at the trailer for What Other Couples Do

Want to see more? Click here to watch the full film for just $2.99

Stay in the loop with What Other Couples Do and Courtney Daniels through Facebook and Twitter:

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My name is Ashley, I love fashion, travel, sport and pickled onions but most importantly I love films! So when I’m not doing all these things I’m pretty lucky that I get to do all the social media marketing and PR here at IndieReign.


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