Daniel Kwan


Daniel Kwan is one half of the directing duo known as DANIELS. Together, they've directed several award-winning music videos and commercials, as well as their first feature film, Swiss Army Man, which won the Best Director award at Sundance. Alone, Daniel Kwan has done nothing of value.

Artist's Chosen Interview:

  • Echograph Presents: DANIELS This is an older video interview which is just a fun talk about process intercut with us being idiots (which is also very relevant to process)
  • Swiss Army Man: DANIELS in Conversation This next one, I don't know how educational it will be, but its one of my favorites from the Swiss Army Man press tour. We were at the end of the press tour and kind of sick of getting asked the same questions, so we asked if we could just interview ourselves. We went in trying to ask hard, weird, personal questions to see if anything interesting came out of it. It turned into an interesting post-mortem on Swiss Army Man and the process of making it. If nothing else, it makes me laugh. 

Artist's Work:
Swiss Army Man (2015)

Inspirational Resources/Recommendations:

  • Chef's Table: Whenever I am in need of an inspiration pick-me-up Chef's Table is one of my go to's. It allows me to look at process through the lens of food, another craft that I love and appreciate. It's sometimes nice to get out of my film bubble and get inspired by ambitious, strange, and creative minds outside of my field.
  • Brain Pickings: I am a huge proponent of interdisciplinary learning and creativity and so this blog by Maria Popova is always a good source of brainfood for me. She is constantly exploring interesting facets of humanity by making connections across science, math, literature, poetry, children's books, music, and philosophy. It can get a little academic sometimes, but she has a small companion blog that periodically posts more bite-sized pieces of inspiration and knowledge. 
  • Used Shooting Scripts on Amazon: While writing a script, I like to keep scripts of some of my favorite movies close by. You can find a lot of great scripts on Amazon used for a couple of bucks (its cheaper, you save trees, and sometimes you find some funny marginalia from college students). Plus a lot of these published versions of the script come with incredible interviews, essays, and other insightful bits of information.
  • Headspace: Filmmaking will probably drive your brain crazy. I think for your sake (and the sake of your crew) you should take better care of it. This app has dozens of different categories for guided meditations for almost any situation you might find yourself in. 
  • Memetics: Memetics is the study of ideas and how they spread through the lens of natural selection and evolution. I don't think any one thing has influenced my understanding of ideas more than memetic has and I always encourage other creatives to look into themselves. It's a fun, big picture way to understand what you are trying to do with your work. Here's a good intro TED talk about it.