GETTING TO KNOW THE BRAINS: An Interview With the Team Behind SPIKE TV- “The Duffy Twins”

This week we are unveiling the launch of a new spot for SPIKE TV called, “The Duffy Twins”. Surrounding a pair of conjoined twin brothers, we follow the life and strife of Dan and Ethan Duffy. A modern day take on Goofus and Gallant, Dan is a superstar at life because he watches SPIKE TV whereas his (non SPIKE TV watching) brother Ethan is working as a professional slacker. At his parents house.

I had a chat with the team behind SPIKE TV and the creative process behind this spot. Take a gander below the video to see what they had to say.
Directed by Dave Laden
Written by: Justin Warias and Frances Galvon
Produced by: Jason Gilbert
Production Company: Hungry Man
Director Dave Laden:
What was the most difficult part about shooting with “conjoined twins”? What type of mishaps occurred?
Believe it or not the shoot wasn’t really that difficult.  The twins were super cool and easy to work with. They were open to do anything we wanted. Or at least try. The hardest thing to shoot was the Slip and Slide scene. There wasn’t enough room for the guys to get a real running start and it was actually dangerous because Dan would run and jump and land right on Ethan’s back. HARD.  I think it knocked the wind out of him the fist take. So we rigged a bungie and laid them down. Then pulled them across until they had enough momentum to let go. Oh, and we also had a nip slip.

How did you guys prepare for this shoot?
We had to make hand made outfits that was stitched together very specifically. There were 8 or 9 different outfits for Dan and luckily Ethan only had one.
What was your favorite part about directing this spot?
The cast of friends and family were really funny. A lot of the stuff we shot never made the cut… but we were all laughing the entire time. The energy was also super fun. We did this project directly with Spike… they were a pleasure to work with, extremely collaborative and wide open to ideas.
Did Ethan ever fall off Dan during shooting?
Ethan and Dan only struggled a little. They were/ are actually really good athletes so they only fell a few times. Oddly enough the couch scenes proved to be the most difficult. There was some accidental groin to groin contact they were not fans of.
Anything else you’d like to comment on?
Quite often I get  projects with really funny and or really smart characters. So after casting…we usually all sit around joking about how great it would be to shoot a short film or make these characters into a show etc etc etc.  Truth is… with just a little more time, and maybe a little more money.. and a hair more planning…. its very doable. I’m really grateful SPIKE TV agreed to go ahead and shoot some extra footage. The short film ” The Duffy Twins” is the result.
                                                                                                 (Taken behind the scenes on Justin’s phone)
Justin Warias

Can you tell me a little bit about the whole writing process and how you guys came up with the script?
It was very collaborative between Dave, Frances and I. We would each brainstorm ideas and then talk them out on conference calls. The idea came from us wanting to show the contrast between someone that was exposed to SPIKE TV and someone that wasn’t – so conjoined twins that were facing separate directions made perfect sense.
How did you guys prep for the job?
I prepped for the job by watching some documentaries on actual conjoined twins and seeing how they interact and move with each other. There’s an unlimited amount of comedy that can come from being stuck to someone, so once we applied that idea to the new line up of SPIKE TV shows the scenarios came pretty easily.
What was your favorite part about being on set?
My favorite part about being on set was watching our ideas come to be a reality. All of the actors did an amazing job of squeezing every bit of humor our of the situations.

 

Frances Galvon

Did SPIKE TV give you guys free reign to come up with a spot or was the premise already there?
SPIKE TV gave us a totally blank canvas. They asked us to incorporate new and existing SPIKE TV programming. That was pretty much it. Dave, Justin and I collaborated on several ideas we pitched to them. They sparked to the TWINS idea and we developed a script from there. We looked for ways to make one conjoined Twin better and more productive through watching SPIKE TV. We maximized every idea around our location and tattoo + accounting was born in that writing process. The creative writing was really a tri-collaboration between Justin, Dave and I and then when we had our cast we knew we’d be able to get a lot with improv. So Dave designed a really supportive set for the actors and let cameras roll to capture really long takes of the family dynamic.
What did you use as inspiration for the look and feel of the spot?
The look and feel of the spot were always rooted in a fictional version of anywhere-middle America. We chose “Michigan” and designed the parents characters with that kind of wholesome repression. The SPIKE TV execs who came to the shoot were very supportive and totally allowed Dave free reign. It was an awesome process.