Get To Know The Man Behind The Scenes: Danny Farber

Introduce yourself

What’s up everyone, my name is Danny Farber, I like to call myself a “freelance collaborator”. I’m from Deerfield, Illinois and am currently a senior at DePaul University. Over the past 3 years, I have worked professionally for union and non-union film sets to help tell stories and create content.

How was life growing up?

Life was cool. I have two loving parents that didn’t always have the most financially stable background, but whatever they had, they made sure my brother and I always lived comfortable. 

At first you were acting

I got in involved in 6th grade with school plays. There was this touring company out of Deerfield, started by one of my friend’s dad Tommy Lee Johnston. He started this play based on bullying. I landed a good role, got into acting and it all started taking off from there. We went all around the Chicago suburbs playing shows. 

As I got a bit older I wanted to pursue acting in college, but my parents gave me the speech saying that I had to go to school for something else, as a backup. I figured that if I learned what was going on behind the camera, it’d help me in front of it. They thought that was a great idea. I thought it would be cool to produce and star in my own films too. That quickly transitioned into sketches and shorts and looking at every opportunity that DePaul had. I was hungry to get on movie sets. I had this mindset that if I got on one that would open the door for so many other sets, and it did. I met a lot of people and kept in contact with them.

When did you decide to get behind the camera?

My friend Sam Johnston and I use to make films together. He was in a Jesse Eisenberg movie when we were like 15 and I thought that was pretty cool. I wanted to be a part of that. The natural progression was to follow it in college. It was in the middle of college that I started to pick things up and pursue it more aggressively.

Do you think actors make can good directors?

I think for me personally, the fact that I used to act helps me relate to actors better. I found that out on the first project I did. We held auditions and this time I was on the other side of the table. I was able to understand what the casting directors were looking for. That experience made me better at communicating to actors on set. Actors don’t have to know all the technical stuff but someone’s gotta. It was a lot easier for me to direct them specifically having the mindset of an actor.

You’ve been able to work on a ton of huge projects at a young age, how did you work your way into the industry?

Depaul has helped a ton with that. The biggest thing with going to film school is networking. You meet the filmmakers of tomorrow. I started realizing that my sophomore year. Some of us were really excelling, others were figuring out what they wanted to do. I started to notice that I wanted this badly but I’m not the only one that wants this. There’s this monthly meeting called the DCC, DePaul Cinema Collaborative, which is is a program where younger students are able to work alongside knowledgeable upper-class man and faculty members. I went to a meeting and got into DePaul’s Project Bluelight, which is another program for students to get hands-on experience in motion picture production. Being a part of these programs really helped open the doors for me to get involved with some very cool projects early on, which led me to meet a ton of important people. 

How was your Black Apple Media internship?

That was cool. That’s what got me on set for Sunday Candy with Chance. I was able to see the producing side of things. I like being the plug. I like putting people together and finding the equipment and all that jazz. That’s what Black Apple taught me. I realized I could be important and at the above the line without necessarily having to create a story. 

One of your biggest projects was working with Taylor Bennett on his Broad shoulders film

When I left Black Apple’s internship Heston Charres, now a senior at Columbia, took my place. I had met Taylor [Bennett] back in 2012 at a Chance show back when he was touring 10-day. I was in line and Taylor was walking up and down selling merchandise. I told him he looked just liked Chance. He laughed and told me he was his brother and from there we kept in contact. When it came time for Broad Shoulders I got word Heston was trying to make this film with Taylor. So I reached out and offered to help. The first meeting we had was with a room full of kids I didn’t know except Taylor and Heston. I stepped in the room and Tay said “Oh I didn’t know Danny Farber was gonna be here. Hell yea, this is my dude.” Heston and I presented what we wanted to do and from the start they loved it. The concept was not mine. I was a producer. I was just there to make sure it happened and it looked good. It was Heston’s idea to make a visual project for Taylor’s tape. It came together through Heston and Taylor. I was the overseer.

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Recently, we have seen you working with Supa on his new video. What could you tell us about that?

I took this music video production class just to have the excuse to force myself to create more music videos. That, and because of the professor, Steve Jones. I thought it would be a cool opportunity to work with Chicago artists. At first, I was in talks to make a video with Twin Peaks but they went on tour and I started scrambling to find someone else. I hit up a few different people looking to make a video. I ended up with two different videos to shoot. One was for Supa Bwe and the other for Love Joy. I was talking to Mark, Supa’s manager and I asked what type of video they were looking for and they sent me some different songs on sound cloud. There were a few ideas but nothing totally stuck out. Then Mark comes to me with an unreleased song “Honey & Gold”. They told me they had a concept of a hostage situation, in a dark room, with a girl dancing and all the blood that would be shown would be gold. I’m really stoked for you guys to see this video. 

Was Sunday Candy the most memorable project you got to work on?

Everything has been very memorable. Sunday Candy was pretty cool. I met so many people. There are so many impactful things I learned from all the different sets I’ve worked on. I just produced a fashion film directed by Claire Dobbs for this designer, Olivia Engobor, who just got featured in Teen Vogue. It’s called Plz Be Careful and it that talks about black power and femininity. Tyler Krawczyk, the cinematographer just took on both of those music videos with me and our art team Claire DiVito and Josh Lissak stepped on Lovejoy’s video while Dobbs’ did the artwork for Supa’s. It’s all good. All the things we work on are great, memorable projects. But I haven’t hit it yet. Not the project. Last summer I got the incredible opportunity to Co-Produce and Assistant Direct a feature film, Landline, directed by Matt Aaron that will be premiering at the Music Box on March 26th and will be on VOD April 4th. That project was crazy, working with Parks and Rec and Breaking Bad alumni and shooting at Wrigley Field. Super fun work.

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Who are 3 artists you would like to work with in the future?

Mick Jenkins, Russell Hammond (the character from Almost Famous), and Zach Braff

When it’s all said and done how would you like to be remembered?

I just want to be remembered positively. Somebody that worked very hard and became successful. 


Written by: Cory Jackson

 

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