Our Fine Friends: The Range

April 01, 2015
- Our Fine Friends
Author - Amy Jacobowitz

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Anna Rau and Corbett Jones epitomize the pioneer spirit that makes the world of filmmaking better.

It was only a handful of years ago when they were both in the trenches, working at a well-known commercial production company.

Just a few years later, they were producing documentaries, flying all over the world, and launching their own production company, The Range. How does that even happen, you ask? We wanted to know, too. Meet Our Fine Friends: The Range.

Who are you?

We’re directors/producers. The best way to describe it is a creative combination of cat herder and lion tamer.

Outline a day in your life.

A: I actually tend to start each day asking what’s for dinner – very goal oriented, clearly.

In all truth, the past year has been a bit of a wild ride so its hard to tell what we’ll be doing where on any given day. We have a really bad habit of deciding to leave town 48 hours or less before the departure time – thankfully our friends and colleagues have grown to love us in spite of this.

Regardless of where we might be, we try to follow up with clients and projects in the early morning so anything immediate is handled (or at least has direction) by midday. As we move into the afternoon we try to tie up any loose ends / prep for tomorrow and give a little more love to our own fledgling creative interests : scanning, researching, editing, writing. Evenings are dedicated to pure daydream and wanderlust – a benefit of living with your creative and business partner. The best ideas seem to pop up around half past midnight.

Of course, if we’re producing instead of directing, this all goes out the window pretty fast and its a 24/7 hurricane around here – which suits us just fine. Like surprise departures, surprise production is equally as thrilling.

What is your inspiration?

A: Vast Expanses. Florals. Paul Newman.

Our favorite thing is to go to a brand new place to start poking around and meeting people. Everyone has a story of some sort, even the kid loading the grain silo in middle of nowhere North Dakota. Actually, probably especially him. Its wild to see these small, isolated towns of 50 people and then imagine what its like for a kid who grew up there to go to college in a big city.

C: Thats what was so rewarding about Angelo, we went to small town Trona because it had an interesting landscape and ended up connecting with this kid who was so impressive on so many different levels.

“I like to look at obscure photography, explore untouched places, and go gold panning to come up with new ideas.

When did you decide to “go it your own” so to speak? Like, not a date specifically but a moment, or a need you saw that wasn’t being met by the industry.”

A: After our first year in LA, and our first year experiencing the branded world, we felt there was a bit of a disconnect from the mentality that draws so many to the filmmaking industry : just go do it and love it. We spent the next two years working with friends and each project presented some sort of hurdle that seemed unnecessary, so we thought it would just be easier for everyone if we had our own outfit to run things through.

C: We like to make sure everything is done well and by the book, but we also like to make sure it gets done. That can be a hard balance to convince some people of.

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Do you listen to music or news while working? Or while unwinding?

A: I was actually banned from choosing the play list at my first job because I’ll end up playing Willie Nelson for 8 hours straight. Thats still a problem. Even though its old news, I’ve become re-obsessed with the American Recordings Anthology from Johnny Cash – I put it on and I swear my heart rate slows.

God bless Nickie Kolb at HUM, she’ll send albums our way that show us the light and inspire us in a new and refreshing way. The latest tracks we’ve been playing are from Sylvan Esso, Jungle, and Jagwar Ma.

C: When it comes to news, there’s so much you have to be careful of so I try and get my stories and information from people that are being directly influenced by the event. Reddit and Twitter have allowed for a new way of guerrilla reporting that is super exciting. But when all else fails, you can’t beat a good NPR listen while out and about.

What’s your favorite city you’ve visited on location?

A: Close tie between Hamtramck and New Orleans.

C: Tokyo. We spent 48 hours there last year, which was basically a tease, so now I’m dying to go back.

Anything exciting coming up that you want to plug?

We have some television and feature projects in the pipeline that we’re excited to see where they go. There’s also a fairly notable video we were lucky to produce with Vincent Haycock that we’re looking forward to seeing release.

Otherwise we just wrapped up promotional documentary content for the new Fargo series on FX, and we’ve been slowly working away on personal projects. We spent some time in the Rio Grande Valley at the beginning of this year to get a new documentary going, and Corbett’s finally settled down to edit his piece on The Legendary Escorts.