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Q&A: Brian Olliver

Brian Olliver directed 2021 WMFF feature “Dani Burt.” We asked him a few questions, see our Q&A conversation below:

What is in your gear bag/kit?

Red Weapon Helium 8K and classic Angenieux Optimo zooms. We did tons of MOVI movements to track Dani both at the beach and around town.

What item can you not live without?

iPhone for fun day-to-day stuff, both video and stills. But otherwise, the older i get, the more i appreciate a large field monitor, preferably a Small HD!

How do you choose music for your films?

I’ve worked with composer, Gregory Reeves, for over a decade. He’s phenomenal, and excels in electronic and abstract space. We’ve done so many projects together, including a feature film. It’s powerful to have a rapport with a fellow artist – we have such velocity with projects now and that puts us closer to something magical each time we partner.

Most necessary character-quality for a director?

The ability to leg to… Diligent pre-production almost always turns into best-laid plans with unexpected twists once you’re in the field shooting. The ability to let go of a shot or soundbite or setup when it’s just not happening is important. Forcing it makes things suck for everyone. As a doc (and even scripted) director, this is key!

Who has been most influential in your directing career?

Was always a Herzog fan, but as far as people in my network, my wife is really influential. She’s an athlete manager and brings a vigor and effectiveness to her work. She’s a monster. I’ve tired to tap into some of that energy to keep film projects going rather than sitting around and talking about them for years. So yea – motivated people are fun to be around.

Favorite on-set memory?

Following along during Dani’s prosthetic fitting was pretty amazing. She was there to update her equipment – the technology inside the prosthetics is profound (she taps her ankle and the knee joint freezes – in case she wants to do push ups, for example) and it was really cool to watch her nerd out. Its how I feel during camera prep!

Craziest on-set/en route to set adventure?

Dani had the case of the ‘there’s probably better waves at the next spot’ one early morning. And we traveled up down the San Diego coast for 90 minutes before settling on a location. My poor PA drove some 40 miles in her car before we landed at her home beach, just down the street from her house.