Filmmaker Q&A with Director Darren Durlach

Is there a particular documentary film or filmmaker that had a major influence on your career?

Hoop Dreams


What motivated you to make your impact video?

Tell a positive story about someone overcoming the negative elements of Baltimore.


Please tell us what camera(s) you shot with primarily – and any other special equipment that you used and why you used it.

C300 mark1, FS700, Inspire drone. C300 to do the heavy lifting. Great ergonomics, quality and overall doc camera. FS700 for slow mo to capture his Yoyo’ing in a way the viewer can see how intricate his moves are. Drone to get many angles of how awesome a talent he has.


Please tell us about any special styles or techniques that you used during the production of your film to help tell your story.

In terms of story, it was really important to make Coffin comfortable so he could communicate with minimal stuttering. So we interviewed him in multiple places experimenting with what would get him to open up. We found that when he was with his friends he was most comfortable. Stylistically we thought this was the perfect opportunity to use slow mo to capture the craziness of his yo-yoing.


How did your story evolve from day one, to the very last day in post? Is your story what you thought it would be?

Every time we met with Coffin and his friends we realized more and more that his journey was more inspiring, courageous and painful than we initially realized. He’s very casual about it but he has surmounted very bad odds and turned it into a positive thing. So the story evolved from a 2 minute short about an amazing yoyo’r to a bigger film dealing with themes of grief, loss, overcoming, and coming of age in a violent place.


Please describe the most rewarding experience you had while making this film.

Seeing Coffin get all the recognition he deserves as well as all of the opportunities he’s had to travel and meet people outside of Baltimore.


What advice can you give to other impact filmmakers?

Story, story, story is everything. Following your gut on what feels right.


What’s your favorite part about the filmmaking process and why?

The highs of making little discoveries along the way. But also being done with the damn thing and it having an impact. It’s hard work.


What’s the one item you always take with you when working out in the field and why?

Lavalier. I like to mic people up so they forget I’m there filming and capturing things they say when they forget i’m there. It’s hard to get people to be authentic when there’s a camera around.


Please provide a brief description of the work or organization featured in your video:

There was a small sponsor but this was really a passion project for my company Early Light Media.


What have you learned about the value and impact of the project?

Everyone’s story is an epic if they give you access to their experiences.


Please share a personal story about your experience making this impact video.

It was an honor. Couldn’t be happier with the outcome and happy to call Coffin my friend.


What do you want audiences to take away from this video?

Be yourself. Only you can make yourself happy and no one else. You have to take responsibility for your own happiness and find purpose in your life.


Please list key points that should be covered in a post-screening discussion:

Why did Coffin want to tell his story? What drew us to him? How did we get access? Why should people care? How did he overcome his issues?


Please provide information on any recent developments regarding the issue or subjects of the video. How have things changed or not changed?

Coffin has been a motivational speaker across the country to kids which is amazing. He wants to do more work with using yoyos to reach people.


What opportunities are available for those interested in getting further involved?

Looking for investors for the feature film!


Please provide any additional resources (websites, links to additional videos, forms, articles, etc.) relevant to the context of the issue discussed in your video:



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