INsite Magazine

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Visioneers at Common Grounds

Interview with Brandon Drake, Scriptwriter for The Visioneers

Does stress have you ready to explode? That is literally what happens in the dark comedy The Visioneers, the first film by writer Brandon Drake and his brother, director Jared Drake. Tonight (Thurs, Sept 10), Common Grounds will be hosting an exclusive showing at 9pm. We talked to Brandon about working with his brother and the challenges of making an indie film.

What motivated you to write a plot about people literally exploding out of unhappiness?
If people had to confront everything they were repressing, what would that mean for the world? The metaphor in the film is a play on the theme that “I feel like I’m going to explode.” In the movie, one of the symptoms that you’re about to explode is that you start having dreams. The main character George, played by Zach [Galifianakis], starts to dream about the way he wants to be, and he starts to pursue that way of life ... If there’s a theme, it’s about following your heart and listening to yourself.

How does your film appeal specifically to Gainesville’s college crowd?
This is a thinker’s movie. It’s fair to say it’s an intelligent comedy. It’s looking to ask [the audience] questions and think about things, and I always saw college as that kind of time ... This movie is really about my experiences coming out of college, being a human being in the real world.

Your brother Jared directed, while you wrote the script. Was translating your personal relationship into a professional relationship hard? Any sibling rivalry?
It can be complicated. Making movies is about the hardest thing I can imagine doing, especially as a creative person involved in the process ... Jared has one set of skills as a director, and I as a writer, so it works out well. I don’t get too excited to work with actors, and I don’t think Jared has read Fahrenheit 451.

What were some unforeseen challenges?
Running out of film, running out of money, working with crooks ... It’s a never-ending series of struggles. But it’s very rewarding when you get to sit down with an audience of 600 people laughing ... The indie is the Wild West. We don’t get to carry revolvers and kill each other in the street when we get mad, but it’s a wild world out there.

Comedian Zach Galifianakis of The Hangover plays the lead. How was the experience of working with him?
When we made the movie, it was a year and a half before The Hangover. I think he really responded to the material, because he didn’t get paid anything from The Visioneers. The humor in the film is not your typical Hollywood comedy ... Zach has been really supportive. He was on [The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien] this summer, pitching G-Force, and he did us a total favor by asking Conan to hold up our Visioneers DVD on national television. That’s the kind of guy Zach is, with the lengths he’d go to help out our little movie.

Any upcoming projects?
I have a script finished ... that we will be coming out with pretty soon, also a comedy. There’s also a character in The Visioneers called Mack Luster, and he’s a TV star in George’s world, so we’re developing his TV show ... The guy playing Mack Luster is our best friend so it’s going to be a lot of fun.

If you could work with any director or actor, who would it be and why?
I want to work with my brother Jared and Zach again. That is the God-honest truth. If we could do this again with more resources, I would be a pretty happy guy. That’s all I’m working for.

For more info on the show tonight, go to

—Allison Griner

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