ROBERT: I wrote, directed and produced four feature films prior to D.I.N.K.s (Double Income No Kids). One of these films, Barrymore's Dream, won Best Feature at the Springfield, Illinois Route 66 Film Festival in 2007. I studied film in Chicago in the late 70's and early 80's, producing short films and a few feature length indie films until, due to financial reasons, I was forced to abandon my filmmaking ambitions. I returned to making feature films in 2002.
Where did the idea come from and what was the writing process like?
ROBERT: My wife and I don't have children, never really wanted them and through the years have experienced a lot of discrimination from people with kids because of it. We live in a community that is dominated with parents and family values and we have never fit in. So, when it came time for me to write my next script, I decided to do a dark comedy on that subject. Being that most of the script is loosely based on personal experiences, it was a very enjoyable script to write.
What are the three key requirements -- in your mind -- for making a successful movie for a small budget?
ROBERT: First, know your audience. Make a film that will appeal to as many people as possible. Vanity projects are best left to successful Hollywood Directors with nothing to lose.
Second, never direct or write a film about a subject matter you know nothing about.
Third, keep your film within the limitations of your budget. Never include expensive elements that force you to go the cheap route to produce.
What's your advice for working with actors on a low-budget project?
ROBERT: Find actors that share your vision and understand the limitations of a low-budget and are willing to push those limits creatively to achieve big-budget results.
What kind of camera did you use and what are the pros -- and cons -- of using that system?
ROBERT: My more recent films were shot with the Canon XL2. I like the "vintage movie" feel of the picture. Not too sharp, not too dull. I don't mind shooting in HD as long as the picture doesn't resemble a live sports event. I think that takes away from the cinematic feel of a movie, which in itself depends on the subject matter and style of the film it's used in.
What was the smartest thing you did during production? The dumbest?
ROBERT: The smartest thing I have done, and try to do during a production, is always try to get spontaneous shots that aren't planned in the shoot but that I think might greatly benefit the film during the editing process. I learned this over the years and it has always proved to be rewarding. The dumbest thing: trusting the wrong people.
And, finally, what did you learn from making the film that you can take to other projects?
ROBERT: I learned that going with my gut feelings during a production usually pays off. Especially when it comes to comedy.