Episode 15 - Olympic Dreams
Jeremy Teicher, the one-man-band director/writer/cinematographer and more of OLYMPIC DREAMS, joins Hollywood Unscripted to discuss his unique opportunity of shooting a film inside Olympic Village during the Olympics
Jeremy Teicher and his wife, Alexi Pappas, shot a feature inside Olympic Village during this Olympics. Jeremy joins Hollywood Unscripted to discuss the details of this incredible opportunity.
This was all possible because Alexi herself is an Olympian. Jeremy starts off by explaining how the origin of Olympic Dreams grew from their previous film, Tracktown (0:43) and how that film reached the president of the International Olympic Committee (1:45). They received an offer to join the Artists-in-Residence program at the Olympics (2:53) and Jeremy explains how their film went from a series of shorts to a feature length film (3:13).
Jeremy dives into the necessities, equipment and logistics of being a “one-man-band” (5:43). He also discusses the inspiration drawn from Richard Linklater (7:46).
The conversation moves to how Jeremy and Alexi met and helped each other grow (8:47).
Jeremy explains the ins and outs of working off a “scriptment” rather than a full script (10:13). He goes on to discuss how on top of the two main actors, Olympic Dreams would utilize real Olympians as additional characters and Jeremy talks about how they would get these Olympians involved (13:12).
Jeremy clarifies the similarities and differences from Alexi’s real experience as an Olympian and her character’s experience (14:07), the reality of post-olympic depression (15:30), and discusses the medal ceremony scene in the film (16:29).
Jeremy describes the freedom he felt on this shoot (20:12). He explains how Nick Kroll came on board (22:21) and Nick’s contribution as a team player (24:16). He dives deeper into the nature of the shoot, explaining how many takes they would get per scene (24:49) and how they worked with a flexible schedule (26:17). He also reveals the differences between the medical practices at the summer and winter games (29:25).
The conversation wraps up as Jeremy dives into his working partnership with his wife and how that connection fuels their creativity (31:09).
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Scott Tallal: Welcome to Hollywood UNSCRIPTED. I'm your host, Scott Tallal, along with Malibu Film Society. Joining us today, Jeremy Teicher, a filmmaker who has gone where no other filmmaker has ever gone before. You actually got to shoot a feature film inside Olympic Village during the Olympics.
Jeremy Teicher: Yes. Thank you for having me.
Scott Tallal: Thank you for joining us. You made this film with your wife, Alexi. It's such an interesting genesis, because I understand Alexi is a dual citizenship Greek American and she ran in the 2016 Rio games.
Jeremy Teicher: Yes.
Scott Tallal: What happened from there?
Jeremy Teicher: Alexi, my wife competed in Rio. And in addition to being an athlete. She's a writer and filmmaker. I am not an Olympic athlete, but just a writer and filmmaker. And we're a creative duo. So when she went to run in Rio, we had just premiered an indie film that we made called Track Town, which was a blend of fiction and reality, kind of exploring the emotional journey of trying to make it to the Olympics and trying to achieve a goal. And you don't know if you're going to get it or not. So when she had this experience of competing in Rio and feeling like you achieve a goal that you've worked for so long, now what, that feeling combined with the insanity of being inside an Olympic village and what that looks like at that time when she was competing and just had finished, we were like, it would be insane to be able to bring a camera in here and make an indie film in the Olympic Village. But obviously, that would be impossible. But then two years later, that's what we did.
Scott Tallal: And I understand that the head of the IOC was on an airplane choosing movies to watch on a long, long, long flight. And one of the movies he watched was Track Town.
Jeremy Teicher: That is right. So as with many indie films, every film has its own genesis story. Ours for Olympic Dreams is that the president of the Olympics was on a flight. Our distributors for Track Town had done an airline deal which, sidebar airline flights I found out where a lot of people sit and watch indie films. I don't know why that is. But whoever is in that ecosystem, I just want to give a shout out to because there's always really great indie films on like long haul flights. And not only did the president of the Olympics see Track Town on an airplane, which led to this invitation to go do a project in the village, which I'll unfold for you in a second. But it's also where Paul Thomas Anderson saw Track Town and mentioned it in an interview. And we later connected with him and he became a mentor to us on Olympic Dreams. And I actually got to show him a rough cut and workshop some scenes with him, which was an incredible experience.
Scott Tallal: I'll bet.
Jeremy Teicher: Yes. So shout out to airline film programmers. You're doing a great job.
Scott Tallal: Now, originally, this was going to be an artist in residence kind of grant, just a series of shorts. But then the head of the Olympic channel stepped in.
Jeremy Teicher: Yes. So after seeing Track Town and realizing that Alexi was actually an Olympic athlete, the president of the Olympics reached out to us because they were starting this artist in residency program in an effort to combine the arts with the games more and open opportunities for athletes to do projects at the Olympics, you know, coming from the Mumblecore indie film. I feel like we came of age looking up to the Joe Swanbergs and Duplass brothers. We knew that, give us a camera. We can make a feature film in the Olympic Village. Put us in coach. Let us do this. But of course, to people not familiar with micro filmmaking, that seems like an impossible thing. So what we landed on was what if we go to make a short film in the Olympic Village? And if there's enough footage, we'll turn it into a feature. That's where it started. And from that point, we developed what the idea would be. So we knew that it would be Alexi and me and we would be able to bring one other person. That's all the security clearance that we could get. We knew that we would pull in athletes and real people to play fictional roles. But, you know, with two main actors, what's a film you can make? So Lost in translation became our biggest inspiration and we unashamedly adapted slash stole that conceit of two people, lost souls at a transitional time in their life, coming together for this transformative period of time. And our backdrop was the Olympics. I knew that we would be able to capture enough footage for a feature, so I kind of planned it all out with the hope that we'll be able to pull this off. And Nick Kroll came on board to be the third leg of our three person team.
Scott Tallal: Dr. E.
Yes, Dr. Easer, as a volunteer dentist, because in Rio, when Alexi competed, she met a volunteer doctor who asked her out. Of course, we were engaged at that time and she politely turned down his offer. But that was the spark for this idea. We had a whirlwind three and a half weeks shooting. I was a one man band, so I shot, did sync sound and directed at the same time. Alexi and Nick did each other's makeup and miked themselves up and I had a feature films worth of raw footage and I cut the short films like retroactively from that. So we made five shorts that are kind of more avant garde like visual. And once those were received, well, we got the go ahead to cut together the feature,.
Scott Tallal: Which is now being distributed by IFC Films and the Olympic channel.
Jeremy Teicher: Yes, it premiered at South by Southwest and IFC came in to do our distribution and Olympic Channel is a new entity within the IOC, the International Olympic Committee. It's actually an exciting group. They're like a group of folks from the entertainment world who now work for the Olympics to try and do cool collaborations like this. And this is their first narrative project.
Scott Tallal: Now there's micro filmmaking and then there is being a one man band because you were director, cinematographer and did 100 percent of the sound.
Jeremy Teicher: Yes. Which is unfathomable for a lot of narrative film makers. A lot of doc filmmakers,would of course, what other way is there to do it? But yes, first of all, we wanted to keep a really small profile. Second of all, we just could not bring more people out with us. So what I did was put together at the time the most advanced one man band rig that we could get. We wanted to have a cinema quality. It's fair to say I was shooting like a verité documentary style, but it needed to be sound quality and picture quality that would let you suspend your disbelief for a narrative film. So I worked with my sound designer, Nathan Rule and some techs from Panasonic to design this rig that would enable me to, Well, OK. There's no way to like not be ultra gear nerdy about this. So let's just do it. So what we did was actually knew we needed to have a Panasonic camera body because they have a deal with the Olympics. So I had to. But it was also cool because I knew if something were to go wrong, there would be techs around. I used the EVA1, which is like their prosumer camera. It has EF mounts so you could use DSLR lenses, which brings the cost down and the weight down. Like honestly, cost is not a factor with the equipment. It was weight. So I had tried the camera that's one step up from the EVA1, the Vericam, but it was simply too heavy for me to deal with on my own. I knew I'm going to have three weeks of picking this thing up 100 times a day. So starting with that, EF mount lenses and then we had a sound devices sync sound rig that I had to sling over my other shoulder, which was then Jam Sync hardwired to the camera so that there was no need to slate if I just hit record. It started recording. The lobs were fed in and then there was like a boom attached to the camera. And I used the monopod and we made friends with the Team USA bobsled chiropractor who would adjust my back every day.
Scott Tallal: After you were done shooting.
Jeremy Teicher: Yeah. So that's how we hauled it off.
Scott Tallal: Pretty wild. Now, you talked about Lost in Translation, but I know that you had some other inspirations on this film.
Jeremy Teicher: Yeah.
Scott Tallal: Before Sunrise,.
Jeremy Teicher: Of course. That's funny. I feel like Richard Linklater's influence is so baked in for me that I don't even think to say it. But yes, I mean, I don't think he was the first person to ever make a movie about two people meeting in a random place and following them for an extended period of time. But certainly that's what people associate that setup with, is Rick Linklater's movies. A cool moment was I had had a chance to meet him and then he came to watch the film at South By and has since become a mentor and friend. And we got to do a Q&A together after one of the screenings. And most filmmakers are super impressed with this one man band thing that we had to do. But he is, That's how I made Slacker, I don't see what such a big deal about doing that.
Scott Tallal: Now, speaking of two people who met totally at random, you and Alexi were at Dartmouth.
Jeremy Teicher: Yes.
Scott Tallal: But there's a difference of opinion, I understand, because you claimed that you met when you were filming a concert on campus and she came up to dance onstage.
Jeremy Teicher: Yes.
Scott Tallal: But she says that you met at a party a semester prior.
Jeremy Teicher: Here's what I'll say about that. Alexi is an Olympic athlete, but there was a period of time when she wasn't running, when our lifestyles could intersect. Like the first time I ever went to a track meet in my life was after we had been dating for a year and I was probably 21 or 22. So I'm not surprised that the memory of maybe our first meeting is a little bit hazy. I think she and I both became much more like serious people about pursuing our goals, like after we met each other where I think she helped me kind of commit to becoming a filmmaker even very concretely when I was trying to figure out how to put together my first movie. She helped me write grant applications for it. This is something you could really do. And I think I did the same by really believing in her path as an athlete and a writer.
Scott Tallal: And for that very first film, you ended up winning an Oscar nomination for best student film.
Jeremy Teicher: A student's Oscar. Yeah, the student Academy Awards for documentaries. I had made a short doc when I was in college and I went back to that area. It was a village in Senegal. I'd known this group of students since I was a student myself and they acted as fictional versions of themselves. And that was Tall as the Baobab Tree. My first film.
Scott Tallal: Watching the film one of the things that becomes apparent very early on is you had a scriptment. You had a story arc, but no scripted dialogue. It was all improv'ed.
Jeremy Teicher: Yes. So we knew that we would need to use improvisation as a technique.
Scott Tallal: How could you not? I mean, you're walking into a completely uncontrolled environment.
Jeremy Teicher: And that can either be something you fight against or something that you embrace. And if you're prepared, then you can embrace it. I think the way to embrace chaos like that is to be rock solid on certain key plot points, tent poles or footholds, whatever you want to call them, and have those in your mind as the director so that you can be completely nimble to embrace chaos around you. What we did was, made an outline like the three acts of the film, which I would do for any script fully written out or not. So we start with that. I am a fan of Save the Cat, the Blake Snyder beat sheet. I find it to be such a helpful way to think of the key beats of the script. So you're not just starting with a total blank page and then things grow from there. But starting with that, making an outline and then as you flesh out your outline, you start to plan the specific scenes. So you're not just doing the big beats, but the scenes between the beats. And then sometimes you maybe have a little line of dialogue that comes to you that you really like. And at certain point you're kind of left with a scriptment. And if it was a traditional film, that scriptment is what I would then use to create my first draft and final draft and all the dialogue and everything. But if it's improvised, that's where you stop.
Scott Tallal: In an uncontrolled environment there are gonna be things that happen or opportunities that present themselves. Talk to us about some of those occurrences in the course of making this film.
Jeremy Teicher: I was just kind of meditating on this today thinking about that process. It's so similar to, you know, when you have your outline, no matter how much you've tried to nail every single scene down, when you start writing dialogue, things change. The characters come to life. They take you in a new direction. And the same thing happens when you are shooting an improvised film. And again, it's improvised based on that outline. It's almost the same process. So you start to shoot, the actors become more confident with who they are and start to really embody the character. There's actually a great example of this. So there is a kiss that occurs in the movie. I can't give away where it happens, but we thought that it was gonna happen in one particular scene. And by the end of the scene, they just didn't kiss. It didn't feel right. So part of me was, oh my God. And like, I couldn't force it. It didn't feel right. It didn't feel like that's what they would do at that point. So I was like, all right. We'll probably have the kiss in the next scene. And then we perform that scene. And the kiss didn't happen again. And it was starting to become this tension which builds in the movie. Definitely. But also it was like building with me behind the scenes. It's like I'm maybe they're not going to kiss in the film. And then when it did happen, it was so perfect, but I couldn't have written it like that. And I think that's something that we experience when you're writing dialogue where things change. And so I found it to be so similar with improvising in real life. You just need to have a nimble schedule and a good memory.
Scott Tallal: It wasn't just Nick and Alexi because you would run into other Olympic athletes and say, hey, want to play?
Jeremy Teicher: Yes, we would.
Scott Tallal: And what was the reaction?
Jeremy Teicher: Well, this is where it was really helpful to have Alexi, an athlete herself. You know, we would go to the dining hall or to the game room and look around at different people. And Alexi could kind of tell, like who would welcome a distraction and who was just in the zone needed to be left alone. What we found is most athletes were super game. You don't really get an opportunity to do something like this, especially not when you're in the middle of a competition time. It was actually great because what I found with non-actors, which I know a lot of people don't even like that term, but non trained actors who you then pull into your film. I mean, this is what the Safdie's did in Uncut Gems. You have people playing characters that are close to themselves in real life. And so you're not pushing them out of their comfort zone in that way. And then as long as there are people who are able to forget that the camera's there, you can get amazing performances in real interaction. So that's what we did with the athletes.
Scott Tallal: So much of this story seems to have been lifted from Alexi's own personal experience in Rio.
Jeremy Teicher: I would say that Alexi's real life experience as an athlete competing in Rio was the seed. But, you know, she's a different person than the character, someone like Penelope, the character in the film, when she's done with her competition it's a cliff for her. She does not know what's coming next in her life. And in some ways, an Olympic athlete has to be like that. That's been my experience with all the athletes that I've gotten to interact with, that I know Alexi can talk to us more personally, but if you focus on what happens after, you don't get to the goal itself. It's the same with making an indie film to some extent. You just need to be razor focused on accomplishing this basically impossible thing. So in Alexi's case, she could really empathize with what our main character is going through. In real life, we're engaged. We have another film project. I think she's a bit more of a person who has her life together than her character in the movie.
Scott Tallal: But I was picking up on the fact that in Alexi's case in real life here is someone who was not a particularly great runner by her own admission, but she worked her ass off.
Jeremy Teicher: Yes.
Scott Tallal: And she became a great runner. And she not only achieved personal bests, she set national records in Greece. And yet her competition in Rio was over like that. You know, it's one thing to look at Olympians and say you are the best of the best and you have made it to the competition. But a lot of people don't think about what happens to everybody else who didn't medal.
Jeremy Teicher: Yes, post-Olympic depression is a real thing. And that's something that the film explores, which I think is relatable to anyone who reaches a big milestone in your life. You're not exactly sure what happens next. And something interesting that we found is we have athletes who have cameos in the film or play roles in the film like Nick's dental patients or other people hang out in the game room who are gold medalists and we chat with them. I think that that phenomenon of hitting that cliff feels the same, whether you're a gold medalist or whether you finish 17th, which is still amazing, 17th in the world.
Scott Tallal: Right.
Jeremy Teicher: It's a feeling that I think a lot of these athletes can relate to.
Scott Tallal: I also sense that after the medal ceremony, it's like the cool kids in high school and everybody else.
Jeremy Teicher: Well, it's easy to feel like the cool kid crowd all feels totally good about themselves when the truth is that a lot of them don't. But yes, our movie is definitely from the perspective of someone who does feel left on the outside of that. One of my favorite shots in the movie is after. And this isn't giving anything away because the athletic competition happens in the very beginning. It's almost like the inciting incident, which I think is kind of interesting for a sports related movie to be like that. But we went to a real medal ceremony, which was like setup in this stage. There was dancers and crowds and the athletes were there getting their medals for some event. I forgot exactly what, but we planted Alexi in the crowd and took a long lens on the camera. All right. Start crying and watch this ceremony because you're sad you didn't get the medal. And then there's this moment, like after the athletes got their medals and left the harsh stage lights were turned off, like the TV cameras had already packed up. But you could see the technical crew come up onto the stage and lift the podium and carry it into a truck. That shot is in the film. That's just such a great moment because we wanted to show a different side of this event that so many people know about. But so if you get to see in this particular way and so I think that was such a great example of visually what it's like. And then also emotionally, the full journey for that person who finishes 17th. And that's still the end of a huge time in their life.
Scott Tallal: In some respects there obviously have been movies like this, in other respects there's never been a movie like this.
Jeremy Teicher: It's not the first story about people who are lost who are trying to figure out what happens next. I feel like that's just such a great topic for movies, especially indie films, but it's certainly the first one to play on this stage.
Scott Tallal: As a viewer you're getting a look at what it's like to be an athlete in the Olympic Village during the Olympics.
Jeremy Teicher: Yes, we were able to bring a camera into areas that have not been allowed to be really filmed before, like the dining hall is the coolest thing I've ever seen. Now, this is like a side bar, but it's just every athlete's in their national uniform. So it looks kind of like a West Anderson movie except everyone's all dressed up in these like different matching things and all sitting together. People are in different moods. Fixed spaces like this that are away from the public eye are only able to be filmed in like super controlled news segments. We had the freedom to do anything. Their dorm rooms, bedrooms, the laundry room. There's a laundry room in the athletes village. We only had that sort of access because Alexi was an athlete herself and the president of the Olympics happened to see our movie. So it definitely feels like this once in a lifetime opportunity that we had to capture this.
Scott Tallal: Were there any restrictions on you, things that you just weren't allowed to get that you wanted to?
Jeremy Teicher: From a story standpoint actually, no. We told them ahead of time what the plot was. And I think everyone was cool with that. You know, we couldn't film athletes getting like medical attention who didn't want to be, just common sense and things that we wouldn't want to do anyway. I think something that's really important to us is when we're portraying a real life community, in this case the Olympic community, we just wanted them to watch the film and feel like their experience was captured accurately and respectfully and that they're proud of what we did in their space.
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Scott Tallal: I would imagine that during the shoot, when you're responsible for directing and sound, and cinematography, everything, you're too busy to realize what's happening in the moment.
Jeremy Teicher: It's so funny because I had the opposite experience like. There was a learning curve, to be sure, with that level of equipment that I was carrying around. Luckily, though, I gave myself a few days like in the rental house ahead of time to familiarize myself. Like physically put the camera on. Walk around. Take it apart. All that stuff. Once I got in the flow there, I actually felt more free as a filmmaker than I ever have since the high school days with yourself and a camera. I felt like when I had bigger crews in the past, my attention was pulled in more different ways than being there with Alexi and Nick. I felt really lucky to have that opportunity to go back to the one man band days that most of us had in childhood, but on a big playing field. It felt like a reconnection to the pure essence of filmmaking in that there is no bullshit, if that makes sense. Yet my hands are freezing cold and sometimes the equipment would freeze. It was so cold. Even the athletes were commenting how particularly cold it was. But I digress. The point is that it just felt once I got used to the equipment, it just felt like I had this direct creative line with the actors. There was nothing between them and me, and that just the way that that felt was so productive and so good. I think I know now, no matter how big the crew is, you need that feeling to really be cooking.
Scott Tallal: As you're walking around, though, is your mind being blown? It's like, oh my God, I'm in an Olympic village and I'm shooting a feature.
Jeremy Teicher: That more comes with reflection. I think it's the same thing when you start working with more famous people for the first time, like the first time I met Nick or when we had Rachel Dratch or Andy Buckley in Track Town or previous films, I think this is something maybe other filmmakers can relate to. You have these star struck moments, but then you're in it. You're just working. We always are keeping our eye open, though, to not take anything that we are seeing around us for granted because it is very special. So just things like, oh, look at this digital map thingy that like they're everywhere. But I'm going to miss this when we're gone. It's not normal that this exists. So let's make sure we capture it somehow.
Scott Tallal: Talk to us about how did you settle on Nick and then bringing him on board. Is it like, hey, Nick, want to go to the Olympics on somebody else's dime?
Jeremy Teicher: It definitely made for a unique offer letter for sure. You know, we had generally like an age range for the Ezra character. We knew kind of a rough sort of vibe of what we wanted. But I think the main priority for us was just making sure that whoever we picked was going to be cool with being one part of a three person team. And that would mean being in the trenches to an unheard of and unusual degree in terms of helping carry stuff. Being cool with doing your own makeup, miking yourself and comfortable improvising and bringing out the best of non trained actors. So we had casting directors help us with this search. And from there was kind of like once we had our somewhat unusual criteria set out, it was just the process of connecting with agents who were passionate about the project and we wanted to aim high. I know we're pretty small indie filmmakers who had a successful but small indie film behind us already. But we're gonna go to the Olympics and this is pretty crazy. So can we somehow get this letter into like people's hands who might not normally look at projects that are like three people big? You know, Nick's agent really believed in it. And then when we met Nick, it was clear right away that coming from the stand up world, he's produced his own shows. Just he had like that energy and instinct, even the way he was talking about how we might go about certain things. We felt good and relieved and excited.
Scott Tallal: So you have a stand up comedian in a dramatic role.
Jeremy Teicher: Yeah.
Scott Tallal: Talk to us about the vibe between takes.
Jeremy Teicher: I hesitate, I suppose it is a dramatic role. I would just say it's a true role. This guy goes through a lot, but I'm never asking someone to ham anything up. He's just being in the moment and reacting to certain things as he slash his character would. And that results in some dramatic moments for sure. Between takes and there's not a lot of time between takes, especially when your crew is one person big, you can just go and be shooting pretty much all the time. Nick became just as familiar with the storyline as I was, and this is why he was so great is that his eyes were always open, too. There was one time we were stuck on a bus and the bus wasn't moving and we learned that we would be stuck there for at least an hour. And it was Nick's idea. Let's shoot something. What can we shoot here? Jeremy, let's use this time. And I referenced to my internal Excel spreadsheet of like what we needed to shoot. And we shot an incredible scene. It's one of my favorite scenes in the movie. So that is what Nick was like.
Scott Tallal: So when you're doing this, how many times are you shooting the same scene? How many takes?
Jeremy Teicher: When you're one camera doing like a verité thing, you're doing multiple takes for coverage and performance. I would like to do long takes so we would pretty much do the whole scene. And I would move around, maybe two to four takes at most for any for any one moment. Sometimes when we would do that long initial performance, I would be able to again mentally edit and say, OK, I know I'm going to need this line. This is probably an important line in the edit. I'm always really involved in the edit. So that's helpful for me to be able to go back and we'll just sometimes hit certain lines again and again. And that's something that I can do with Nick and Alexi because they're more trained. When it's with a non trained actor that's just more on me to be really editing as I'm shooting. I almost don't know another way I could have done it. I could have used a sound guy, but me holding the camera was really helpful because I could tell like sometimes if it was a section of a take that they were saying something that was kind of filler. I would just go down and grab insert shots of like their hands making a gesture or something like that, just knowing that like that's what it's going to take to edit these scenes together. When you're improvising, you need to maintain the freshness. So that does limit the number of takes. But what helps is editing with your mind and giving yourself enough coverage.
Scott Tallal: When you're working on a film like this, you are limited to the fact that you have to start and finish during the Olympics.
Jeremy Teicher: Yes.
Scott Tallal: Talk to us about how you fit your schedule into that.
Jeremy Teicher: So we received a map of the Olympic venues ahead of time and there were some photos of what these places would look like. So what I did was, first of all, break down the scriptment into scenes and do my best guess for how long each scene might take, which is just total guesswork at first, based on my knowledge of just how I like to work. And then we had this list of locations and we just tried to mix and match things. So we knew a number of scenes to be taking place in the main character's dorm room. We knew some scenes were going to be in the dining hall and we had a list like the argument scene. Maybe that could be cool to take place in either the empty stadium or the bobsled rink. And let's look into those two places. So I just did my best to group everything by location. We just shot out locations. That was the easiest way to go about it. And then when we got to the Olympic area, we were there a few days early. So at that point, I connected with a venue manager and we learned then what was going to be available when. And so then you're just kind of playing Tetris at that point. So we would shoot out a day and then every night there's like pictures on my Instagram of me looking super haggard, backing up all the footage, looking at what we were able to shoot, updating my schedule, ingesting information from the various venue people who I was texting with and like making the next day's schedule the night before. So it's just something that you update nightly and the things that influenced that or what you were able to film, the location availability. And also then like what happened in the improv that day, there were certain key tentpoles that were never going to change. But sometimes based on like the kiss example would impact then how important certain later scenes were. So that might impact how I timed out a day. So it was just a nightly update.
Scott Tallal: We talked earlier about the fact that you were able to bring in some real Olympians to play scenes with you. But in general, how are people reacting when you're just walking into the dining room and you've got a camera?
Jeremy Teicher: What was cool is that we were not the only crew with a camera walking around. You have news stations or television entities from dozens of countries who are zipping around at any given moment. So it wasn't head turning to be walking around with a camera like it might be in some other more guerilla filmmaking settings. So in that way, we were able to totally blend in. We were definitely the only people making like a narrative project. But luckily, it wasn't the type of thing where just heads would turn simply because of us being there. If people recognized Nick, then we might have to interrupt a take or two. But luckily we were able to blend in. Another nice thing is that certain public areas like the common spaces of the Olympic Village, including the dining hall and the athletic venues, is like, I don't know the technical term, but anyone there was fair game to be captured in the background,.
Scott Tallal: So you don't have to necessarily get clearances for them.
Jeremy Teicher: That's right. The only people we've got clearances from were the ones who spoke and took part in the film. And then there would always be a conversation ahead of time. The only place that we were really careful not to get anyone who didn't absolutely know they were being filmed was in the medical clinic area for the dental scenes. And we just, we wanted to respect everyone's privacy, which for the most part was fine because we were in the dentist's office. And luckily for us, the dental staff was not very busy during the Winter Olympics, which was funny because during the Summer Games, you know, there's a whole medical suite. The polyclinic it's called. And there's, you have volunteer doctors, mostly from the host country, but also from all over the world who come in to be on call in case anything were to happen. In the Winter Games once people realize there was a dentist you had athletes coming in to get free teeth cleanings. But in the summer games where you have athletes, I mean, frankly, from a more diverse cross-section of the world, because winter sports just do have a high financial barrier to entry by and large. So you tended to have athletes from more affluent countries or affluent situations there. In the Summer Games we checked out the polyclinic because we were starting to brew this idea together and it was just constantly packed because there were coaches and athletes who this was their first dental cleaning. There is an optometrist. So you had athletes getting glasses for the first time. That was so interesting and moving and an interesting difference that we noticed between the summer and winter games, which in this case worked out in our favor because the polyclinic was pretty calm.
Scott Tallal: So the summer games are coming up. Is Alexi training?
Jeremy Teicher: Yes. She is currently training for the marathon. A lot of athletes, at least in the sport of track and field, are marathon. You don't know if you're gonna be competing until pretty close to the time because of the way qualifications work.
Scott Tallal: And what are your plans for the Olympics?
Jeremy Teicher: We actually have another creative project brewing. We're gonna do another film thing. I cannot speak too soon on this because it is very much still in the works. But what I can say is that we have ambitions to do another film project that has not been done before. So it won't be a narrative feature. It will be something else.
Scott Tallal: I will tell you that my wife and I have been working together for 30 years and we have filmed that secret is just don't kill each other.
Jeremy Teicher: I mean, Alexi and I met in college. We, I guess we empowered each other to, like, take our dreams a little more seriously. And I think it's going to be a continual balance to figure out when you're in work mode and when you're not. I am genuinely in awe of what she's able to do. And I think we complement each other very, very well in terms of our interests and also our skill sets. So it's fun to go on this adventure with someone like this.
Scott Tallal: But don't you find it when you're living and working together, it's a journey to find how you divide the roles.
Jeremy Teicher: I mean, you know what is nice about having your business and creative partner be in your family, which I think is maybe why we see so many great sibling pairs is that it becomes easier to totally take away your ego because you truly want the best for the other person. You truly feel that a rising tide lifts all ships. And so I think that's like what the best partnerships really are. If it's something that just has my name on it, you can still rest assured that like Alexi and I have worked on that behind the scenes and vice versa. It's great when you're in a creative partnership where you can take ego out of the equation,.
Scott Tallal: But what about the creative differences that are going to inevitably occur?
Jeremy Teicher: I think as long as you have the shared goal of creating something that is the best thing and you have no ego, then creative differences are ultimately resolved. And this is where ego comes in because it takes a lack of ego to recognize if like one idea is objectively better. Don't get me wrong. There were moments like full blown creative arguments that if we weren't married might have been more serious disagreements. But ultimately, it's cool to have a partner who feels comfortable standing their ground. And also, we do both have the same ultimate vision for things. So when we do have creative differences, no matter how heated a debate gets, we will ultimately decide the same objective like aesthetic decision.
Scott Tallal: Well, best of luck with the release of Olympic Dreams. Joining us today, the director, cinematographer, sound guy, producer,
Jeremy Teicher: Yes.
Scott Tallal: Editor, everything. Jeremy Teicher, best of luck to you. Best of luck to Alexi.
Jeremy Teicher: Thank you so much.
Announcer: Hollywood UNSCRIPTED is created by Curtco Media and presented in cooperation with the Malibu Film Society. This episode was hosted by Scott Talal with guest Jeremy Teicher produced and edited by Jenny Curtis. Sound Engineering by Michael Kennedy. The score from Olympic Dreams featured as the music in this episode was composed by Annie Hart and Jay Wadley and provided courtesy of IFC Films. The executive producer of Hollywood UNSCRIPTED is Stuart Halperin. The Hollywood unscripted theme song is by Celeste and Erik Dick. Please rate, review and subscribe to this podcast for more conversations with top industry professionals discussing the entertainment you love.
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