2015 SXSW Film Keynote from Mark Duplass [Video]

"What can you do when you are absolutely nowhere and feeling you are full of magic and ideas?" Writer, director, producer, and actor Mark Duplass answers this by outlining 8 steps for filmmaking success during his 2015 SXSW Keynote. Alongside the unvarnished truth that "the cavalry is not coming" to deliver you instant fame, Duplass explores how to spark creativity, put in the work, and stay motivated.

From their college apartment in Austin, brothers Mark and Jay Duplass had only an old video camera and a simple story to tell when inspiration for filmmaking began to brew. With a wealth of ideas but little money to support them, the beginning of their filmmaking career was launched with only a handful of dollars. Mark's first filmmaking step emerges: the power of the $3 film.

"There's no excuse not to make films on weekends with friends."

The Duplass brothers' first short film was seven minutes in length, cost $3 to make, and subsequently got into Sundance and SXSW. Fast-forward to 1996 when Duplass Brothers Productions was founded and began producing low-budget indie films. With a budget of $15K, their first feature film, The Puffy Chair, screened at the 2005 SXSW Film Festival and went on to win the Emerging Vision Award. Still harnessing this micro-budget mindset nearly a decade later, the Duplass brothers produced Sean Baker’s Tangerine (2015) which was shot entirely on an iPhone and was soon purchased by Magnolia Pictures. At the SXSW Keynote podium, Duplass emphasizes the simple routes a filmmaker can take without sacrificing the heart of their story – no matter the production cost, or lack thereof.

From the migration of filmmakers to television and the death of independent film’s middle class as we know it, Duplass gives his honest take on the changing models of film and TV distribution and production. The cavalry may not be coming, but Duplass explores the ever-changing independent sphere and how you can build your filmmaking career from the ground up – the key being to always maintain creative control.

"YOU are the cavalry."

Since their early Austin filmmaking days, multi-hyphenates Mark and Jay Duplass have produced some of the most acclaimed independent films of the decade including Cyrus (2010), Jeff Who Lives at Home (2012), and the SXSW 2016 World Premieres of Linas Phillips’ Rainbow Time and Alex Lehmann’s Asperger's Are Us, to name a few. They have also expanded into television with their HBO series Togetherness (2015-16) and new anthology series Room 104, ranging from comedy to horror.

Get a double dose of Duplass – take a look back at the SX archives and watch the 2015 SXSW Film Keynote with Mark Duplass and the 2016 SXSW Conversation with the Duplass Brothers.

The inspiration doesn't stop there! Dive into more conversations with diverse visionaries from the worlds of film, music, tech, and beyond – watch moments from the SXSW Conference & Festivals over the years on our YouTube Channel.

Check out the latest SXSW announcements and stay tuned for more event updates all season long. Help us write the next chapter of SXSW – explore registration opportunities to join us in March.

SXSW Film 2015 Keynote Mark Duplass – Teaser photo by Heather Kennedy/Getty Images

By Jordan Roberts