Do y’all ever feel the urge — the NECESSITY, even — to just make something? Maybe it’s a small canvas oil painting of the swamp view in your grandma’s Floridian backyard. Maybe it’s a short story about the plight of the modern cupboard mouse. Maybe, just maybe, it’s a video! Even a short one can satisfy that creativity craving, which is why we wanted to chat with the true masters of video creativity, Burger Fiction.
The dynamic video duo is comprised of Andy Schneider and Jonathan Britnell, two talented filmmakers who vowed to make one video a week for all of 2015. Under their own designated rules, they’ve created gems including, but indeed not limited to:
Read on for details about their videos, their brainstorming and, of course, the origin of Burger Fiction.
Vimeo: How do you two know each other? How long have you each been interested in making videos and when did those interests align?
Burger Fiction: We met six years ago doing video production for a non-profit. We’ve both been into video from a young age and after college, started doing it as a career. When we worked at the same place we enjoyed creating together and felt like we always made better videos when we collaborated. Since then, we’ve stayed friends and always had the idea of making videos together in the back of our minds.
How’d you land on “Burger Fiction” as your name?
He’s Burger and I’m Fiction. Together we are Burger Fiction. A.k.a. we struggled for weeks on a name. Burger Fiction was a random one we said out loud one night and it kept finding itself at the top of the list. It was a name that wasn’t boring. It combined fiction (most of what we’d be creating) with a favorite food, so we ran with it.
What inspired you two to pursue the one-video-a-week idea?
We both love creating, but found ourselves only creating for other people. We’ve talked on and off over the years about making stuff together, but never got around to it. Towards the end of last year we decided we needed a personal project, something that would let us make what we wanted to make. So we made a commitment to upload a video every Monday of 2015. To lock us in, we posted this to Facebook and Twitter, so that our family/friends/followers would hold us accountable. We made some rules for ourselves on the project, and back in January, we launched Burger Fiction.
How do you come up with ideas each week? Do you sit down for brainstorm sessions, or do ideas just pop out at you throughout the week?
It’s definitely a mix of brainstorming and random ideas popping into our heads. We have a running list of ideas we’d like to do. Usually it comes down what can we reasonably execute with our limited production schedules. We’ve learned not to wait for a “brilliant” idea, but just get a decent one and start making it. A big part of our style that we’ve seen evolving over the last few months is the idea of taking something that seems normal or mundane and attempting to make an entertaining video out of it. This works great for us, because we like simple :)
Do either of you make a living off of video work, or do you have other jobs and view video as more of a hobby?
Burger Fiction is definitely a side project at the moment. We both have full-time gigs outside of it. We’ve been doing video/photography/production work professionally in some capacity (at companies and freelance) for a long time. So, while this doesn’t strictly fall into the “day job” category, we’re optimistic about its potential. It won’t take up most of our time, but we’re serious about it in the time it does occupy. It’s kind of a hobby that we hope turns into more than a hobby.
About how much time does each short video take to make, from pre-production to post?
It really depends, but usually we try to get all our shooting completed in four to six hours, and all the post done done in six to eight hours. One of our rules for the project at the beginning was no more than one day of shooting and one day of post. We bend that rule occasionally, but it still keeps us in check. We’ve found that the limitations help us to be more creative and productive with our limited time. That’s the funny thing: as a film/video maker, you think you need a huge amount of resources in order to create, but in reality, limitation and restriction can be your strongest assets.
What’s your equipment of choice?
For cameras we use DSLRs, GoPros, point and shoots, and iPhones (sometimes all in the same video). Whatever the best tool for the job is. The rest of our setup is pretty stripped down and basic, sometimes a Zoom recorder or a small LED light or two, but we like to use natural light whenever possible. For us, simple is better when it comes to equipment.
Who are your main viewers?
Mostly our parents and our wives. They’re all required to watch our videos at least 15 times each. Just kidding… well, kinda ;) It’s been fun to watch our viewership grow slowly but surely over the year. We try to focus on just making videos that we’d want to watch, but it’s super exciting to see other people actually watching our videos and then digging them enough to follow us for our future ones. Seeing other people enjoy our videos is awesome.
Are there any video makers — on Vimeo or off — that inspire you and your work?
Jonathan: The Coen Brothers, Daniels, Nabil Elderkin, David Fincher, Everynone, Wes Anderson.
Any advice for folks that want to make more stuff but don’t feel like they have the time or don’t know quite where to start?
Just start creating. Everyone has time, even if you don’t think you do. The only real barrier is yourself. We had talked for so long about making stuff and said we would when the time was right. The time is never right though. We’re in a place in our lives where we have a lot less free time and resources than we’ve had in the past, but by making a public commitment and holding ourselves to it, we’ve been more productive than ever. No amount of prep, experience, gear, or whatever will make it easier to just start. The most motivating and inspiring moment for us was when we posted our first video (as Burger Fiction) online. Once we did that, we knew we’d have to keep doing it. Looking back on everything you’ve created is really fun. It motivates you even more to push on.