Aiming high while flying low: the exquisite stresses of making ‘Batsh*t Bride’ – an interview with director Jonathan Smith

Flying low: Independent filmmaker Jonathan Smith.

Batsh*t Bride is the third feature film from independent filmmaker Jonathan Smith, following his broad comedy Breast Picture (2010) and his break-up drama Worst Year of My Life (2015). With a background in improv comedy, he studied film at Yale University before joining animation studio Blue Sky.

Speaking from his home in Connecticut, Smith discusses the making of Batsh*t Bride, detailing the disciplines and favour-pulling necessary in creating a self-financed film in America, where filmmakers do not have access to the type of government funding bodies available in Australia.

The interview took place via Zoom on Monday 27 April 2020 (Melbourne time). Please note the hyperlinked index to the interview in the description box to jump to a particular section. (The index is reproduced below, but without hyperlinks)


Interview Index
0:00 Description of film
3:10 The Wedding Industrial Complex
5:55 General approach; switching focus from male to female
7:40 Commercial feel of the film and movie influences
10:55 Mainstream ambitions
13:30 Changing the film for a studio deal: hypothetical
15:35 Work at Blue Sky Studios
18:20 The making of Batsh*t Bride; costs & favours
20:30 Comedy origins and casting
22:30 Favours, big and small
29:30 The value and dangers of improv
32:00 Attitude to screenwriting
33:58 Meghan Falcone
36:30 Improv walkback
38:20 Curb Your Enthusiasm
40:00 Funding independent films in the US
44:00 Importance of reimbursing investors
50:20 Biography; getting to Blue Sky
53:40 Breast Picture
54:40 Worst Year of My Life
1:03:20 Scene trouble on Batsh*t Bride
1:09:20 Budgets on Worst and Breast
1:10:00 The experience of making independent films
1:11:30 Woody Allen
1:12:30 Aversion to online culture