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July 18, 2019

Josh Lobo, Director of I Trapped the Devil [Episode 20]

Josh Lobo, Director of I Trapped the Devil [Episode 20]

“If anyone gives you a good idea and you're receptive to it and you can get over your ego, that's where some of the best stuff comes from. That crew will work 10 times harder for you because they feel like they're actually like having an impact on the p

Josh Lobo is a first time director, having recently premiered his ambitious and notably sophisticated first feature, I Trapped the Devil. The taught & tense ‘tone poem’ of a movie, echoes early Roman Polanski with nods to Mario Bava. It’s a chilling and rewarding slow burn that marks the beginning of an exciting career. 

Josh and I discussed filmmaking and how he was able to get his first feature off of the ground. 

First, here are Josh Lobo’s key insights for aspiring filmmakers: 

  • Get some skin in the game. They say never put your own money into a production but in Josh’s case, he liquidated his funds to pay for his movie. In doing so, he quickly realized that if the film failed, his entire financial foundation would fail as well, which significantly raised the stakes and forced him to make the movie a success. This is true trial by fire, and sometimes gambling big on you our own success is what can make you successful. 


  • Don’t over-plan your shots, focus on what’s in front of you. Josh refuses to story boars or shot list because it enables him to approach a set without pre-conceived notions of scenes and performances. This is definitely a risky move, but it’s also what David Lynch does to get the most raw and organic takes. Doing this requires you to know your crew and location exceptionally well, so if you throw out the shotlists and storyboards, make sure you do your homework first. 


  • Find and nourish a crew community. Developing a creative shorthand is key to being a director and having consistent collaborators is a key part of doing this. Work on developing your working relationships with a crew over time. After a while, you will all be in lockstep together and your productions will go more smoothly because you will have a circle of people that you can rely on when the going gets tough on set. Being able to pick his crew is so important to Josh that he claims he’d walk off of a project if he couldn’t pick his crew. He also very humbly states that the crew is what made his movie so good. Find your crew, and nourish your relationship with them. 


  • Collaborate closely with your actors. Good actors are critical to the success of any movies but particularly low budget ones. One of the best ways to attract great actors and get incredible performances out of them is to turn to them as actors to help you flesh out the characters. Find out what your actors want to do and craft the characters and performances around what they are passionate about. You and your actors are there to find it together. Being receptive to their ideas and desires allows them to feel more involved and invested in the project which will inspire them to work harder and give a better performance.


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