Producer Ron Yerxa, known for Little Miss Sunshine, Cold Mountain, Little Children, The Ice Harvest, and the Wilco documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, shared an Oscar nomination for best picture on Nebraska. In this interview, Yerxa recalls what led him to the filmmaking field, and reveals what he looks for in fellow filmmakers. The list begins with intellectual curiosity for pursuits outside of filmmaking. In a script, he’s looking for meaning subtly folded into comedy. His advice: Live a full life.

0:00 – Ron’s path to filmmaking, starting in the ‘60s as a high school teacher

1:45 – More important than film school: intellectual curiosity, knowledge in a related

field, common sense

2:45 – What do you look for in a DP?

4:38 – What inspires you in a script or project? Exuberance, contradictions in the

culture, meaning in comedy

5:45 – Visuals are subservient to the story

6:21 – The decision to go black and white on Nebraska, from the producer’s perspective

7:50 – Work-life balance – “My work is not a hardship”

8:42 – Black and white films that inspired

9:30 – Advice for up-and-coming filmmaking – “Live a full life.”

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