I wish I could say my television background knows what makes good film, but I can’t. But, it is because of my TV news experience, which was classified as a “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” when it comes to making moving images, that I wholly appreciate something beautiful and that appears to have taken great care to make.
The shorts from Tiger in a Jar are like a visual daydream. Each time I pop on Matt and Julie Walker’s site, I lose hours in my day because I just keep clicking and watching and oohing and aahing. I could get lost here for days. I had a chance to talk with the married filmmakers about their little slice of the Internet.
danapop: How did the concept for Tiger in a Jar originate?
Tiger in a Jar: When we decided to start our company we wanted to dig deep within ourselves to find what drives us creatively. We wanted to be able to translate that passion into the films we make so there would be something more to experience when watching a film than to just be entertained.
The joy we find in simple, meaningful, and often day-to-day activities is what drives us creatively. The moments where our minds are freed from overwhelming concerns or to-do lists, where we can observe little details and interesting connections between what we see – that is when we discover the ideas we eventually end up sharing in our films. We try to capture the feeling of these moments so when someone is done watching a film they are inspired to see the world a little differently.
But if you’re looking for the concept of the name of our company, it came from the lyric of a song. Matt brought up a lyric that talks about a lion holding a tadpole in a jar and we worked with the phrasing until we ended up with something that felt right for us. (“Tiger in a Jar” felt right?! I know, its odd, but we really love it!)
danapop: How is it working with your spouse?
Tiger in a Jar: Working with your spouse is a unique experience to say the least. We realize we have spent far more time with each other in the few years we’ve had this business than most couples do in our stage of life. Learning to communicate is one of the first things we’ve had to figure out.
When you have two very passionate, creative people working together you are bound to have disagreements when decisions need to be made. The difference is that when it’s time to finish working, you have to let those moments stay in the “office” and become spouses again. Some days that can be hard, but drawing a line between personal and professional is what we are always working towards. Rules like not talking about work over dinner and having designated spots in the home just for working are ways we are trying to keep the two separate.
We feel very lucky to have been able to work together like we do. We’ve shared fantastic experiences and have met many wonderful people. When it’s all said and done, working together has the potential to really strengthen your relationship with each other.
danapop: How long does one minute of video take to make and what do you shoot with?
Tiger in a Jar: Depending on the video it can take a couple days or weeks of production time. We always tell people when making films to take your time. To make a good film it takes time and thought. Even though a one minute video seems short, it may take longer to make than a two minute film since edits need to be more precise. But typically from start to finish a one minute film probably would take a month or two.
We shoot on Canon DSLR cameras. We typically shoot on the fly and since these cameras are so portable it makes it easy to carry them wherever we go. Another great feature is the ability to change out lenses – we feel like we can really cater to each shot with this capability.