The DIY Approach – An Interview with Filmmaker Tanner Beard


Jack-of-all-trades filmmaker Tanner Beard has been rising through the industry over the past few years. From directing, writing, and starring in his Spaghetti-Western 6 Bullets to Hell in 2014 to co-producing Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups in 2015, Beard proves you really can do it all.

We sat down with Beard to talk about what it means to be a DIY filmmaker.

Tanner Beard directed, wrote and starred in spaghetti western, ‘6 Bullets to Hell’


CINEMA THREAD: You’ve been involved in a lot of projects and in varying roles, from producer to actor and more. Do you see your future trajectory as being more singularly focused?

Tanner Beard: Well as many actors know, there can be large gaps in between projects, so I’m always trying to stay involved by getting a great story off the ground. Though, I definitely bite off more than I can chew sometimes. (laughs)

CT: To what extent is it difficult to switch gears from one role to another? For example, from actor to producer or director.

I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take full mental capacity. I think it becomes easier when it’s “your” project or you have skin in the game. It’s fun to do all of your homework. You don’t want to make your directing job harder by not fulfilling your obligations as a producer, or not knowing your lines as an actor. It’s a responsibility, and you try not to disappoint.

Terrence Malick's 'Voyage of Time' | Beard served as Executive Producer
Beard served as executive producer for Terrence Malick’s ‘Voyage of Time’

CT: Where have you found your best resources as a DIY-filmmaker?

I’m a Texan, so people like Robert Rodriguez, Richard Linklater, and Terrence Malick were a big influence on the DIY renegade maverick style, but resources come from the people you surround yourself with. People who are just passionate about making movies as you are. You put yourself out there to find those people. There’s no handbook on it. I think it’s just a matter of making it your life. Making it your #1 hobby, and in turn, it becomes your career.

There’s no handbook on it. I think it’s just a matter of making it your life.

CT:  How did your relationship with Terrence Malick come about and what is he like as a collaborator?

My company Silver Sail Entertainment did Hellion, and through my producing partner, Suzanne Weinert, I was very lucky to meet Sarah Green, who is Mr. Malick’s producing partner. We had such a great experience on Hellion. I was fortunate enough to be introduced to that team and be a part of four incredible projects. Again, kinda of that “putting yourself out there” for that right place right time lottery ticket.

On set for 6 Bullets of Hell
On set for ‘6 Bullets to Hell’

CT: What’s next on the horizon?

2016 was a thriving year. For Silver Sail, we had just released a spaghetti western called 6 Bullets to Hell on iTunes and Google Play. We’re releasing a graphic novel entitled “In the Name of the Gun”, which will undergo production, and our crime drama Riptide is currently in production and shooting in March. We’re following that up with a Christmas comedy Just Be Claus

On the acting front, beginning a film called The 10th Day in January and then Riptide as well. So very excited for that light on the horizon!


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