Portlandia director on why he wants a guerilla operation

Interview: ‘Portlandia’ writer/director Jonathan Krisel. He talks about the advantages to doing a (relatively) low budget show.

It definitely is a guerilla operation. That’s the way I wanted it; I would not want it any other way. You can change gears easier, since the show is totally improvised. I mean, there are scripts (later described as a loose outline), you can meander and it’s nice to have the ability to go, “Something came up in that last take, let’s maneuver to change the story a little bit”. That’s nice, to have sort of a nimble crew and options available, that we can sort of be inspired in the moment and be able to actually do something about it, as opposed to, “Oh, that would have been great, but we can’t actually do that.”The Portland crew is really essential to that; I felt like the people up there are more interested in making artistic things. There’s a real value in it. There’s not as much value in, “Is this going to come in exactly on budget?” or, “We got the day done!”, it’s like “Well whats the creative… what do you guys really need, what do you want?” and there’s a real satisfaction from everyone when we go, “That was really funny and we got it."

It's part of why I like the run and gun style we use when shooting Vooza. Flexibility gives you more room to be funny. The bigger the budget = the more people want you to stick to exact script and production schedule = it gets tougher to capture those funny moments that just pop up. Guerilla style means you can wing it instead of feeling ball and chained.

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