Collin Davis and Matt Litwiller
Matt Litwiller and Collin Davis are up and coming directors and writers living in Los Angeles, CA. They met in Chicago while attending Northwestern University and have since developed and directed multiple projects together. Their work has screened at multiple festivals and garnered millions of online views. Their short film Telescope was used extensively by the Academy of Arts and Sciences and industry partners such as Dolby in developing new high-resolution and HDR workflows. They are currently in pre-production on their first feature film.
Q & A
If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in? Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way ticket to?
We’d probably want to visit, but not for long. It’s an exciting future where humanity has spread out across the solar system, but the expansion has turned attention away from earth, leaving cities like LA in a state of disrepair. Not a great place to take up residence. As for a one-way ticket, how about continuous passage on the Millennium Falcon. Happy to work for our keep. Maintenance, cooking, navigating... as long as we get to go along for the adventures and get really good at holochess
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
Ewoks seem to have it figured out. They throw good parties, play music, walk in the forest and probably have pleasant conversations around the campfire. Their general sense of curiosity and connection to their surroundings is something we relate to. And they get to hang out on a beautiful moon.
Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence? What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavors?
We’d like to think they could be friends. Assuming advanced artificial intelligence means they’re ahead of us, they probably make pretty good films, but their films are probably geared toward other robots with similar sensibilities. Maybe some humans will like them, but it’ll most likely be in an effort to go against the grain. Do they really like robot films? Or are they just saying they like robot films? Either way, film should be for everyone.
In 1996, Bugs Bunny recruited Michael Jordan and Bill Murray to form the greatest basketball squad of all-time, the Tune Squad; you’re Bugs, who’s on your Sci-Fi Tune Squad?
If we’re trying to win a basketball game, for starters, we’ll hang out on the bench and coach. Too many knee and back problems at this point. On the court, we’d start with the twins from the matrix reloaded. They seem very coordinated and fast. At center we’d pick Chewbacca, just so we could hang out. And how about Groot at power forward. His ability to extend his arms seems like it would be helpful. And then of course, what fictional basketball team doesn’t have Michael Jordan.
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
We have a ton of bad ideas. When we’re workshopping something, we try to open the floor to all thoughts because it’s about building something up from nothing. Rarely does an idea come fully formed. Usually there’s a kernel of something surrounded by a bunch of bad -- leaving space in the creative discussion to get that idea out without getting laughed out of the room most of the time leads to where the idea really wants to go. A classic bad idea that we have kicked around for ages but haven’t found a way to make work tonally is doing something with the Lizard People of Los Angeles. There’s this existing legend that a mysterious humanoid race built an underground society with advanced chemical technology under what is now Los Angeles. This apparently happened 5000 years ago. And yes, it’s filled with untold riches. Actually, maybe that’s a really good idea now that we see it on the page. BRB, writing a franchise.
Do you consider yourself part of a sci-fi community? Or when your brain is in the future and your body’s in the present, is that isolating?
Absolutely. We’re huge science fiction fans. But being part of that community certainly isn’t isolating, it’s exciting. Science fiction is where we can explore big ideas, and it’s great to do that with people that think on that scale.
Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person? What kind of balance do strike between the two? Is there a disconnect between the technology you make films about and the technology that you make films with?
We both are probably digital people with analogue tendencies. Working full time as editors and directors, so much mental energy is spent in the digital space making things. We have to make an effort to try and live outside of that where we can. There’s a lot of real life to experience outside of the digital realm and ultimately that’s where we get the ideas and the charge to bring real creativity to our work.
When you’re creating the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspiration? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
We’ve found ourselves inspired by real life locations more than the physical props and sets that science fiction stories often mandate. There’s nothing more inspiring than a place that makes you feel a certain way, and the science fiction we love is full of atmosphere brought about by place. Recently we’ve been interested in adding a tinge of the unfamiliar to places and things that are ultimately very similar to our own. That way the science fiction “world” can exist on the edges, not dominate, and the human story at the center can be the focus.
Lightning round: Star Wars or Star Trek? Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs? Practical or CGI? Dystopia or Utopia? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Star Wars, even the bad ones. Philip K. Dick. Practical mixed with CGI, so both! Utopia. Ask us this question a few years ago and we probably would have said dystopia but now it seems utopia is so much more unexplored. Mid-Apocalypse, let’s see it happen!