AMA with Driving Arizona co-creators Joe Ahern and Dylan Tanous


(Bri Castellini) #41

How’d you get the write-ups? Press releases? Being found via social media or just through Vimeo/StreamNow?


(Ron Valderrama) #42

If it helps, I have advertised for it.


(Jaime Lancaster) #43

This might be a silly logistical question… but is Vimeo good for web series? Like can you make Vimeo playlists? I’ve only ever really seen one off videos on there.


(Joe Ahern) #44

Being found on social media mostly, but one place we reached out to directly and they miraculously watched all four episodes and gave us a glowing review. Pretty cool of them.


(Joe Ahern) #45

Thanks, Ron! You’ve done a ton to help our project, and Dylan and I both appreciate it.


(Bri Castellini) #46

The benefits of having a distributor, eh? Aside from targeted Facebook ads, which you’ve talked about on here before, from a distributor’s standpoint, how do you approach marketing for the shows on your platform? Especially since they’re all different genres with different demos? Is it all social media, or do you do press releases or other things?


(Ollie R) #47

Any good Vimeo tips you can share? I feel like we always hear about YouTube’s algorithm and preferences and crap but never really about how to use Vimeo best


(Joe Ahern) #48

Hahaha, the audio person disguised as a passenger is a brilliant idea! We weren’t that creative though. We had everyone lav’d up, a bunch of other directional mics (Schoeps, I think is the brand), and then a couple other shotgun mics in the van. It was a pain in the ass for our sound mixer, but he was a good sport about it, even when he had to lay down in the trunk to stay out of the shot while checking the audio levels.


(Bri Castellini) #49

This one might have gotten lost in the shuffle :slight_smile: (in response to an answer about how to break into TV writing)


(Dylan Tanous) #50

It’s a partnership. We both work on TV shows outside of Driving Arizona where there’s a showrunner who is in charge and there’s a hierarchy on staff, but in the realm of a project written and produced by us, there’s equal footing. There has to be. Now there are areas where one of us might feel like we have more expertise and we’ll voice that. Or I’ll know that Joe definitively knows what we should do in a situation and I’ll defer to him, but we write and make decisions as a team.

A writer being brought in to help someone with an idea materialize it into a script is a pretty common thing and I think each situation dictates the terms of that relationship. If you’re the one paying for the project, you get to make the final call. But keep in mind that you brought that person in for a reason. And I can’t say it enough – let the best idea win. If your name is on the project or if people know you worked on it, you’ll get the credit you’re looking for anyway.

If that doesn’t answer your question, I’m happy to clarify!


(Anna Bateman) #51

Where did you stow crew while you were driving around??


(Ron Valderrama) #52

Well I think we try to focus on not making creators our audience. We are big with cord-cutters for instance. They are always looking for stuff to watch. We focus way less on website traffic and more on TV traffic. As of last night for instance we launched a new live broadcast feature on our Roku channel which is more like turning on a regular TV channel in that the broadcast is already in progress. I feel like that will help with discovery as most of the content is not known to our viewers. It’s constantly evolving. We are also working on a new VR technology that would take all of our 2D content and make it 3D. I could go on and on but it never really stops.


(Jane) #53

That’s really helpful, thanks! I think maybe I should have stated… the thing I’m most nervous about is us having different ideas of which idea is best, especially in terms of character (plot I’m not worried about as much). What if both ideas are equally valid, just different? Do I have any legs to stand on to insist on something since I created it, even though post-inception of idea we agreed to be partners?


(Joe Ahern) #54

Ron Valderrama at Stream Now found our project via Facebook I believe. He reached out to us and asked if we’d be willing to have our show on Stream Now and we happily agreed. He’s been a champion of our show ever since, and it’s nice to have some people in your corner.


(Ron Valderrama) #55

I actually found it on Vimeo which lends to your point earlier. I love Vimeo and it does tend to have slightly longer content, which is what I look for.


(Joe Ahern) #56

In the van, it was the two camera operators right behind the two front seats getting french overs of the two guys in the front seat, along with coverage of the passengers in the back. Dylan was in the trunk of the van laying down looking at the monitor, along with the sound mixer checking the levels. In most cases, our director Dan Riddle and the rest of the crew would be at base camp (the side of the road, or a driveway) looking at monitors remotely. Not an ideal situation, but one we’ve grown accustomed to.


(Joe Ahern) #57

Good to know! Thanks, Ron!


(Dylan Tanous) #58

I think it’s absolutely necessary to have your own projects. It also helps you develop as a writer/producer. You learn a lot as you watch your project go from a thing that you’ve written in your living room on weekends while drinking too much coffee to a thing that you’re shooting (illegally) on the weekend while drinking too much coffee to a thing that a skilled editor is cutting on the weekend while drinking too much coffee. Each step of the way you learn something that you wouldn’t have if that script just lived on your laptop. Sitting in Post might teach you to start scenes later than you thought you could. Shooting a scene that takes place in the middle of the desert might teach you to not write a scene in the middle of the desert unless you want to do a full company move with actors and gear to a location in the middle of nowhere with the one day you have to shoot 8 pages.

Plus, when you’re talking to someone at work who has the job you wish you had, “I was shooting a project I wrote all weekend with my friends” feels a lot better to say than “I rewatched Ozark instead of working on my pilot.”


(Joe Ahern) #59

I would say don’t begin with something overly ambitious. Limit the story to a couple locations and keep things relatively straightforward production wise. It’s best to start off with something like that, especially with crew who are learning on the fly.


(Bri Castellini) #60

Alright folks, that does it for today’s event! HUGE big thanks to @JoeAhern and @dylan for being here today and sharing their wisdom! Check out Driving Arizona, one of our previous Stareable Staff Picks in fact, and thanks again to Joe and Dylan!