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How to Sell Your Indie Film and Yourself with Alec Trachtenberg
Today on the show we have independent film producer, author, and sales consultant Alec Trachtenberg. With over a decade of experience building and managing the sales teams of some of the most cutting-edge technology startups, Alec has worked with major companies, such as Airbnb, Sony Pictures, Netflix, and Amazon. He has directly generated millions of dollars in revenue for a variety of companies in the technology and entertainment sectors, including Surkus, MomentFeed, and Entercom.
He has taken his sales knowledge and skills and written and published Lights, Camera, Sell: Sales Techniques for Independent Filmmakers. Here’s a bit about the book.
Film producer and sales consultant Alec Trachtenberg argues that one must adopt a sales mindset in order to be successful as an independent filmmaker. By highlighting a variety of sales strategies that have worked for him in the world of startup technology companies, Alec shows how you can use the same sales strategies in every stage of filmmaking.
Whether you are a budding freelance cinematographer searching for your next gig, a first-time director ready to shoot your first feature-film, or an indie producer acquiring funding for your next project, Lights, Camera, Sell will teach you how to succeed through strategic sales techniques used by cutting-edge tech startup companies. Walking you through the five stages of the sales process, Alec shows you relevant case studies involving a variety of scenarios in the low-budget independent filmmaking process. Alec will teach you how to:
- Prospect a screenwriter and option a feature-length screenplay
- Lead a discovery call with a prospective domestic distributor
- Demonstrate value with a powerful pitch deck to a financier
- Close a deal with a non-union actor by creating an initial talent agreement outline
- Resolve conflicts with crew members by understanding the principles of relationship success
Lights, Camera, Sell will debunk the negative myths surrounding salespeople formed by our media and society, reveal best practices on asking the right questions, explain how to present your ideas and services in a compelling way, and more.
Enjoy my conversation with Alec Trachtenberg.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Alec Trachtenberg – Offical Website
- Alec Trachtenberg – IMDB
- Lights, Camera, Sell: Sales Techniques for Independent Filmmakers – Amazon
- DONATE to Feed America to help with people affected by the Coronavirus
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
- $1 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)
- The Complete Indie Film Producing Workshop with Suzanne Lyons
- Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story) (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
- Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
- The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
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- IFH Academy – Exclusive Filmmaking & Screenwriting Training
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
- Indie Film Hustle® Podcast
- Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
- Filmtrepreneur™ Podcast
- Inside the Screenwriter’s Mind® Podcast
Alex Ferrari 0:00
I'd like to welcome to the show Alex Trachtenberg man, how you doing Alec?
Alec Trachtenberg 1:07
Good, how you doing?
Alex Ferrari 1:09
I'm as good as I can be in this crazy mixed up world we live in. getting crazier by the second. I'm excited to have you on the show. Man. You reached out to me last year. Thank you for your patience. You reached out to me last year about your new book. The Lights Camera, Lights Camera cell, how to actually sell selling techniques and sales techniques in the filmmaking world. Which is like I was saying earlier, sacrilege you don't talk about salesmanship in in art and filmmaking. I'm an artist, I don't have to think about money in sales. That's somebody else's problem. That's what most filmmakers think, which is to their detriment. And we as we were talking, both the rise of the filmstrip runner and Lights Camera cell are great companion pieces. Because they both go into very different I mean, a lot of the stuff that you talk about in Lights Camera cell could easily apply to the entrepreneur method and vice versa. So I think they're really great companion pieces. But before we get started, man, how did you get into the business?
Alec Trachtenberg 2:17
Yes, so um, it's funny, I actually, when I went to college, I went to Loyola Marymount, which is a pretty big film school, but I actually didn't major in film, I majored in Communication Studies, you know, did some short films on the side, I've always had an interest for producing. And then eventually, I created I produced the feature film called the cabin, which my with my director, who's from Sweden, so as, you know, little indie film, we shot out in Sweden back in 2017. It got picked up on distribution domestically, and they're also representing us internationally as well. But yeah, you know, got the film on to Amazon, you know, Hulu, all the different sites up there. And,
Alex Ferrari 2:58
you know, I've
Alec Trachtenberg 2:58
always had a passion for film. But I also, you know, just working in sales myself, I'm working in a variety companies, you know, help companies like Airbnb, Amazon, in kind of, you know, driving more sales and awareness about their products, I saw there was a huge overlap in, you know, what I was doing as a film producer, and what I was doing in sales as my day job.
Alex Ferrari 3:21
Very cool. And then you decided to write the book Lights Camera cell, which is I'm assuming you saw a hole in the marketplace for a sales book and independent filmmaking. And it's not only sales of movies, but it's also sales of yourself as a filmmaker, accompany your career, and your projects and a script, whatever, any kind. And that's the thing that people don't understand. Please let me know what you think is, people don't understand that sales is in our lives every day, all the time. It's not just the weasely guy selling a used car somewhere. I mean, it sales of like, what are we having for dinner tonight, you've got to sell what what you want, and you know, you got to touch it, and you're talking like, Oh, I want to go to this place? Well, it's constant throughout throughout the life. And I kind of figured that out early on, when I was even trying to date girls in high school. I'm like, it was a sales, it was a sales presentation. Oh, I had to, I had to, I had to fight I had to prospect I had to fight I had to, you know, provide value. Like if you go out on a date with me, you will get this and this and look at how cool I am all this kind of kind of sales techniques I was doing instinctively back then. But now as an adult, I kind of realized what I was doing. So do you do agree with all that? Oh, I
Alec Trachtenberg 4:41
totally do. I mean, in every aspect of your life, whether you know, you have a child and you're trying to convince your child to be you know, behave in a public space, or, you know, like you mentioned dating. I mean, Tinder is like a prospecting platform. I mean, you know, going on these on these websites and trying to find your best match and you're trying to demonstrate value by the photos you post and the things that you say. And you know, sales, printed presentations are those dates in themselves, right? When you're going out and, you know, you're showing you can provide, right. So, yeah, I mean, sales is such an important aspect of everything that you want to, you know, be able to do and accomplish in the world.
Alex Ferrari 5:19
Yeah, and even as a filmmaker, when you're on set, it sails all the time. You know, if you're a dp, you're trying to sell your shot to the director, if you're a director, you're trying to sell your vision for the film to the actors and to the crew. And and working with like, it's, you know, unless you're a dictator, and then additionally, generally doesn't work out very well. But you're generally always, you're always selling you know, like, like, ABC always be always be a closing always be closing. Yeah, that was from Glengarry Glen Ross. But, but you're always selling
Alec Trachtenberg 5:52
such a, it's funny, you kind of harped on that idea with a used car salesman. I mean, there's so many negative connotations towards the word sales. And I think a lot of artists and, you know, people in the film community don't really want to align themselves with that type of, you know, personality or role, right? Because, you know, usually when you think of sales, you think of being pushy or aggressive. You know, people, you know, tend to say, you know, that's not for me, I don't do that, right, but
Alex Ferrari 6:17
they see, like, deceitful, like, being deceitful, and things like that, like a used car salesman, right to screw you over.
Alec Trachtenberg 6:22
But you know, at the end of the day sales is really all about, like, you know, understanding value and, you know, finding common connection with another person and figuring out ways that, you know, both parties can work together for the benefit, right? Um, you know, you if you're an artist, and you have amazing scripts, like if you're a writer, right? I mean, you're providing value to a production company, who you know, would love your your projects, to be able to produce them and put them out into the world. But it's how you convey that and how you communicate it is really important.
Alex Ferrari 6:53
Yeah, I mean, I used to, when I first launched indie film, hustle, I would get some slack from some of my contemporaries, because they just saw it might unrelenting. Just Just sales, constantly marketing and promotions in and just pushing and pushing and pushing. But I felt that I had a strong value proposition, I felt that like I'm providing a value, I'm not, I'm giving away 95% of what I do on a daily basis. So it's not even like I'm selling, selling, selling, I need you to give me my money. Now I want to help. And I wanted to get that information out there as much as possible. And I still do that to this day. And it's been, it's been helpful. And it's helped me grow indie film muscle to where it is. But a lot of a lot of other creatives, they don't have that, that they have that same kind of block that you're talking about, where it's like, I don't want to be associated with sales, or snake oil salesmen, which is literally one of the origins of the bad sales. You know, the guy that comes into town, tells you a whole bunch of lies, steals your money and sells you like, you know, whatever oil to drink to, to get rid of cancer, you know, whatever, whatever that is. And I get it. I get and movies have not helped, by the way. Oh, for sure. I
Alec Trachtenberg 8:03
mean, so many movies out there that you know, portray salespeople not to be the greatest people in the world.
Alex Ferrari 8:08
Right. They're a great villain, they're a great villain. But I think filmmakers, I think people in general are starting to come around to the idea that sales is an integral part and it doesn't have to be dirty, it doesn't have to be sleazy. It actually is all about providing value. And, and convincing people that have a problem and serving that, like convincing people that like if you have a problem, what I'm proposing could help you and that's across all business. In regards to getting a job in a job interview, your your, your sales, you're in sales.
Alec Trachtenberg 8:44
Same thing, you know, you could be the greatest director in the world. But you know, if you go in, you know, with that conversation to that producer or that agent and you don't, you know, communicate that or build that rapport, um, you know, you're gonna it's gonna be lost talent, you know, and nothing is worse than wasted talent.
Alex Ferrari 9:00
Oh, God, I know. And I see it all the time in my in my line of work, where I talk to a lot of these great artists that I see some great movies I'm like, but you're not going to they didn't they didn't get the sales aspect. They don't get the marketing and promotions aspect of it. In your book, you have two great kind of explanations of sales and how important it is to to filmmakers. Can you talk about the Robert Rodriguez example and the Quinn Tarantino example in your book?
Alec Trachtenberg 9:27
Yes. So Robert Rodriguez. You know, it's actually his his father was in sales.
Alex Ferrari 9:34
I don't know that. Yeah.
Alec Trachtenberg 9:36
Yep. And so for him, you know, he didn't have any sort of, you know, blockings to him being able to go out there and make a film if you wanted to make one right. So, you know, he built rapport with, you know, the people around this community, like, you know, friends and really kind of just grass roots went up there and made, you know, a feature film, right. And, you know, it was like, I think was like $7,000 You know, and and he went out and talked to a bunch of just distribution companies put it out into festivals, you know, really, you know, just spearheaded that whole thing, right? Same button Tarantino. So his producer Lawrence Bender, um, you know, he, if it wasn't for Laurens bender to be able to see that talent in Clinton's ability to write, you know, he wouldn't have posed the question of him to direct, right. So he directed Reservoir Dogs, which was unbelievable movie, right, really set the platform for, you know, his his directing career has not only just an amazing writer, but as somebody who can also, you know, direct like film. So, you know, being able to sell these ideas, even Steven Spielberg to I mean, I have an example, where Steven Spielberg would just go on the universal tours, and then he would highly recommend you don't do this anymore. But if you would, like jump off the tram, and then, you know, went to the one of the buildings of where all the producers are hanging out, and he would just confidently sell them as if he will belong there. Right. And then before you know it, I mean, he got introduced to sin sheinberg, who, you know, was the head of universal at the time, and like president, and, you know, at that point, that's kind of where your launch was, and if he didn't have that, that kind of ability to build rapport and, you know, be aggressive to, you know, Chase his dreams mean, we wouldn't be able to see et, or Jaws, or, you know, other amazing movies he's made. So now,
Alex Ferrari 11:27
what is the sales mindset?
Alec Trachtenberg 11:30
So the sales mindset is really understanding that, you know, the value that you can bring to other people, but not only that, being able to know how to communicate that value, right. So, um, you know, in terms of understanding, like, social cues, right, and like, understanding, like, what like, like, for example, if you met, if there was a producer right in front of you, like in the coffee shop, right? Like, you wouldn't want to go up to the guy and start hounding him and start selling, you know, pitching ideas, right? Like, you know, there's a way to really, you know, do it strategically, where, you know, you set up an email to him, or somebody get a referral, fine, you know, a ways like to build it, like, you know, get in on the right foot, as opposed to just, you know, being random and not really having any kind of backdrop to what you're saying,
Alex Ferrari 12:20
isn't it? Isn't it amazing how people online and in person will walk up to somebody who, and it's happened to me, anytime I'm out in a festival or market or something like that, I always get this to happen, man, many of my guests have as well, where you have a filmmaker, or somebody come up and go, Hey, read my script, Hey, watch my trailer, watch my movie. How can you help me? And it's kind of like this, like energy suckers, I call them because it's just like, what can you do for me? Me? Me, me, me, as opposed to providing value? And and what can I do for you? And how do you build that relationship? Before you start asking for stuff, and it's not as dry as trying to be authentic too, because I don't know about you. But you know, my radar is pretty honed out for authentic relationships and, and non authentic relationships. And those, sometimes the non authentic relationships are fine if there's an equal exchange of value, and it's a business transaction at that point. But if it's a, you're actually trying to build a rapport with somebody to truly try to help them with nothing in return, and maybe a year, I mean, I've built relationships. I never asked for anything three years down the line, maybe four years down the line. And we actually built a real relationship. And then when I call them, Hey, dude, can you can you help me with this? Or that? They're like, of course, man, after everything you've given me? Of course, I'll reciprocate. So can you talk a little bit about that approach, which is, so it's the equivalent of walking up to a pretty girl at a bar and like, you and I are going to go sleep together right now. Just let's get in the car, that's not going to work that generally doesn't work generally doesn't work. And you'll probably get someone called upon you, bouncer or police.
Alec Trachtenberg 14:11
So what they call in sales is qualification process, right? So in the first stage of sales, it's considered prospecting. And that's trying to locate, you know, the ideal buyer or the ideal person that's perfect for your service or your project. So, you know, doing research is really imperative. I mean, now that we live in, like, the digital age, where any information you need is at your fingertips. I mean, you can type in someone's name on Google and find something on page seven, that, you know, you never would have known about. Right? And like, you know, really understanding, you know, their background, I'm seeing, like trying to find like trends in terms of like, you know, projects that they've worked on in the past, right, what they might be interested in, paying attention to those things. And then when you're in those conversations in that prospecting phase, and you're qualifying them You know, like, say things like, Oh, I noticed that, you know, the last three films that you that you've worked on evolved in comedies? I mean, it seems like comedy is something that's, you know, interested in you, what's your favorite type of comedy, right? And then you know, from there as a writer, you can really try to understand, you know, okay, maybe this producer is more interested in this type of material. So you're not trying to sell him something that isn't going to fit that box, right. So, you know, really trying to understand what value you can bring to what he's looking at, or she's looking at the moment.
Alex Ferrari 15:28
Now, how do you? How do you eliminate wasting time on people who do not benefit from the value that you have in a project or service that you're trying to give?
Alec Trachtenberg 15:38
So you're saying like, so what do you mean by that? Like,
Alex Ferrari 15:40
like eliminating wasted time? So like, like a perfect example, I think you kind of talked about a little bit, but it's kind of like doing a shotgun email to 500 producers because you find their their email lists on IMDB somewhere. And you're sending comedy spots to, you know, Jason Blum? Like it does. Yeah, I
Alec Trachtenberg 16:01
think so. Yeah. I mean, you know, like understanding, you know, having a target of just a few that you've done really hardcore research on, I'm talking like, looked at, you know, their LinkedIn, their IMDb profile, you know, saw connection, maybe you have a connection, common connection that you can reach out to that can maybe, you know, introduce you in a warm way, as opposed to just you know, randomly, you know, sending mail, right. So, I think it's really important to just to select few, instead of just mass emailing, you know, every single, you know, person out there, because that's kind of garnering the same results.
Alex Ferrari 16:37
Yeah, I get emails, people asking me to produce their films and find financing for like, they paid like, Can you help me get money for my movie? I'm like, you obviously have no idea who I am. What I what I'm capable of, because I am not your guy, like you did, obviously did not do your research here. I do I get curry letters, I get query letters from scripts. I'm like, hey, I want you to produce this. I'm like, No, like, we're in anything. It's not like I'm, I'm hidden, is not like, you can't really do much research on me, there is a ton of stuff out there. If somebody really wants to do research on me. And they still don't do it. It's fascinating to me, but it gets that's just laziness.
Alec Trachtenberg 17:18
Yeah, it's laziness. But also, like, when you are communicating to that person in an email sequence, like, by like, mentioning those personal things about that, you know, individually reaching out is really important, because that's going to show them that, you know, you really took the time to like, you know, look them up and care about them. Right. You know, like, for example, Alex, if I was reaching out to you, you know, I would say, I love listening to your podcasts, specifically, my favorite, you know, episode was with this person, right? And then kind of explaining, you know, what, what did you benefit from, like, you know, listening to that particular episode, that's going to show that, you know, you're not just someone who was just randomly reached out to you who didn't really know, you know, who you talk to you and all that.
Alex Ferrari 18:02
And it's so true, I'll get I'll get email letters from PR people who obviously have no idea who I am, or what I do. And then I'll get emails from other PR people or filmmakers, who will do exactly that, like, Look, we've been listening to you for years, this episode, and this episode, and I've done this, and I've read that. And as I take those, I actually take the time, if I have the time to actually look into those more closely than a blanket, just, you know, flat shotgun is template email. It's, it's fast, it's fascinating. Now, the second, the second stage is discovery, what is discovery?
Alec Trachtenberg 18:39
So discovery is like the time where like, when the first off the prospecting stage, the whole goal, that is to schedule a time to be able to communicate with that decision maker, whether that be like a 30 minute, you know, Skype call or meeting for coffee, right? It really depends on on who you're talking to, for example, you know, if you're speaking to like another dp and your director, you'll maybe meet them up for coffee, right? But, you know, if you're talking to an executive producer, most likely you're going to be going to their office and that person's office or, you know, meeting a common ground, probably, everything's gonna be virtual, and, you know, during the panel, but, you know, that's all is to really just, you know, get on a call with them and ask them questions. So discovery is really that, you know, where you're taking the research that you've done on this person, and then asking questions about what they specifically are interested in, what are their pain points, what are their, you know, their goals, right? And then collecting this information, you can then you know, connect that to your project or service, or what you can bring to the table. But you know, if you go in there blindly trying to sell yourself right off the bat, you know, then you're going to you know, have that used car salesman mentality, which is obviously not been effective.
Alex Ferrari 19:53
Now, what what advice would you give on how to vet potential prospects? So, in the sense of just like making sure that they're so just making sure that they're really great match, I mean, obviously, you could do research, you could do research and things like that. But even going deeper, are there any techniques that you use to vet them to make sure that that you are a good match? And whatever you're trying to sell them?
Alec Trachtenberg 20:24
Yeah, um, so understanding, like the job title of the person that you're speaking to, you know, making sure that you're speaking to a decision maker. So, you know, anything like for finance here, for example, you know, understanding if the person you're speaking to is the one that could actually write the check, or somebody who's associated with that person who, you know, you're there. They're almost like the gatekeeper in a sense, right? They're trying to understand, you know, what your projects about and then they relay that information to, you know, the the key decision maker, but the issue is, you know, the gatekeeper is not going to be able to effectively sell your product or service just as much as you can, right. So, or as better as you right? So you really want to make sure that you're connecting with the right person, right off the bat.
Alex Ferrari 0:00
Now, how do you how do you use discovery to vet potential film distributors? Because as you know, it's one of my favorite topics. The the very, the, if you want to talk about a negative connotations, the sales guys, can you imagine what the connotation is with film distributors? It's horrible. So what do you do to vet potential distributors for your projects?
Alec Trachtenberg 0:25
Yes. So just as much as is like, you know, if a distributor reaches out to you about your project, and you know, I'm sure, as an independent filmmaker, you're excited, you're like, Oh, my God, like me. Everyone likes me, right. But you know, just like in a job interview, you know, this is just as much of an interview for them than it is for you. Right? So, you know, as you really got to make sure that it's the right opportunity and the right, you know, company for, for the goals of your movie. So having a list of questions for that discovery call to really understand, like, you know, um, you know, what is the marketing strategy that you have in mind? Like, what is the key demographic? Do you think that this would be for our film, right, like, you know, females ages 18 to 40, who were into, like, horror movies, like, you know, really kind of, you know, understand, like, what, what they think of your film, and see if it aligns with what you think, right. And, you know, if they, if they make very big promises, you know, it's it's usually a very, you know, a big red flag, I'd say, but you really want to check to see if that person is genuine. Right? So the questions that you're asking, and that discovery call is, you know, most importantly, finding out if they're capable to get your film out there. Most importantly, or if they're genuine, and they actually are, like, you know, passionate about your project, and you're not just going to be one out of, you know, 200 films that they're going to take to Cannes next year to try to sell,
Alex Ferrari 1:48
you know, right, exactly. And they Yeah, there's a couple of bigger, independent film distributors who shall remain nameless, who pump out 30 releases a month 40 releases a month, it's impossible to show tender loving care to every one of them. It's just impossible. They're just a factory at that point. So it's, it's always interesting, and people filmmakers listening right now, when you do get that email, which is so it's like I said, they liked me, Oh, my God, they like me, you feel like you've won something. They, a lot of times, they use that as to their advantage, but you really got to vet them, you really got to figure out if they're a good match. Have they seen your movie? Last time? They haven't even seen your movie? Right? Yep.
Alec Trachtenberg 2:31
Yep. That's the biggest thing is like, what was your favorite part of the film? That's like, one question that you need to like, if you if you do ask that. And they don't answer that. That's like, hang up, like don't even like continue the conversation. You know, how to how do you sell something that you haven't watched yourself? You know, I mean,
Alex Ferrari 2:49
it's, it's ridiculous, but that is the world we live in with distribution. Now, how do you how do you demonstrate value to a potential prospect?
Alec Trachtenberg 2:58
So there's a lot of ways to demonstrate value. So I mean, even like demos, like a demo reel, or resume headshots as an actor, those are all like physical collateral, you know, to really sell yourself and your and your services. You know, be like a sales deck, like a pitch deck, you know, and you know, thinking like graphic design, making sure it's very professional looking. And, yeah, I mean, sorry, we have to cut I don't know why this I haven't like exited out
Alex Ferrari 0:00
Yeah, okay, I'm sorry. I think so. Um, so how do you demonstrate value to a prospect potential prospect?
Alec Trachtenberg 0:08
Yeah, so there's a lot of ways to demonstrate value, um, you know, as a filmmaker So, you know, one thing, you know, like your demo reel, for example, that's an example is something that's collateral that's selling your services and what you can bring to the table. Same thing with headshots, you know, sales decks, like pitch decks of a film, and making sure that you know, when you're creating this collateral that is very professional looking, because, you know, this is going to be in the hands of decision makers and buyers and you know, other people in the industry and you really want to ensure that, you know, you're putting great stuff out there that really reflect your professionalism as well.
Alex Ferrari 0:46
Now, how about for screenwriters? How can screenwriters provide value?
Alec Trachtenberg 0:51
Yes, so for screenwriters, you know, have it having those those scripts, you know, for a variety of different, you know, like, genres. So, for example, if you know, your comedic comedy writer, right, and then like drama, having kind of, like different variations there, if a producer requests it, but also, you know, getting out there, like, like with like film festivals as well, like, if your film has won any like screenplays, that's like, you know, it's a screenplay contest, and that's damaged value as well.
Alex Ferrari 1:23
So and as far as should, should you also create, I mean, pitch decks and stuff like that for screenplays, or is that overkill? Unless you're actually trying to produce it?
Alec Trachtenberg 1:33
I think there's never any hurt in doing that. I mean, you know, it's really any way that you can put a visual aspect to the project to make it a decision maker really kind of see it, I think, is always great things. I think that's definitely recommended, for sure.
Alex Ferrari 1:49
And there's this kind of like value bait is kind of like value based selling, is when you're doing this kind of stuff. Exactly.
Alec Trachtenberg 1:55
You know, it's like, the value that you can bring them for sure.
Alex Ferrari 1:57
Now, any tips on closing the deal?
Alec Trachtenberg 2:01
So as far as closing the deal, um, you know, you really want to ensure that you guys are on the same page in terms of, you know, the project, the service, and that kind of goes in with, you know, understanding like contracts and agreements. I mean, I would definitely recommend, you know, not doing anything without contracts, as you can, you know, agree, I've heard some horror stories on the podcast where, you know, one person didn't get like a waiver for the, you know, for physical parents on the film, and the distribution company won't distribute it, because they don't have that waiver. And then, you know, the whole project falls apart, and, you know, hundreds and 1000s of dollars, you know, go away. So having those agreements in place is definitely important. And, yeah,
Alex Ferrari 2:49
what else? closing deals, closing deals, tips on closing the deal.
Alec Trachtenberg 2:53
Yeah. And then as far as, like, you know, the type of clothes, right, so there's different types of clothes that you can do, like, assumptive closes, right, where, you know, you assume that, you know, that they're their soul in your project, let's say, your dp, right. And like, you know, the producer, you're speaking to your director speaking to, you know, has three other DPS that they're, you know, kind of talking to, you know, maybe like aligning your, your projects and your background and your expertise and how you can bring to the table and demonstrating that value, you know, saying, okay, so when, when a shooting star, right, like sometimes that confidence there can really help, you know, elevate you and show that, you know, this is somebody who's really passionate and wants to work on this project
Alex Ferrari 3:38
now, and how do you handle objections, or fears of potential prospect?
Alec Trachtenberg 3:44
So there are different types of objections out there objections come from anything from like time, you know, let's say the person doesn't have any time to read your script, or, you know, they're not in need of your service, right. So really, understanding the type of objection that you're getting right off the bat is really critical. Because then you can really, you know, strategize on ways to combat that objection. So, think of objections, as you're very welcoming, you really want objections in the sales cycle, because objections means that they're having that kind of dance with you, right? Like, if you were a lost, cause they wouldn't have even interacted with you in the first place. Right? So, you know, it's just a matter of, you know, demonstrating that value and reconnecting to their you know, propositions and you know, goals and pain points and and see how you can connect with both of them
Alex Ferrari 4:37
now, and what is relationship success?
Alec Trachtenberg 4:40
So, relationship success is the last stage of the sales cycle. That's when the sales has been done. Everything's close, but it's actually you know, everyone thinks that once you close the deal, once you get the job once you you know, get the girl it's like, done with, right, but really, you know, it just starts at that point, right. So Customer Success is continuingly providing that value. And and, you know, checking in with that person and making sure that, you know, you're delivering what your spoken what you want, right? If you're a writer working on a contract term, you know, am I you know, getting these these edits drafts in at a at the right time, right on? Am I delivering on what I promised? Right? am I bringing the value to you that I've originally proposed? And then, you know, finding ways to get referrals and, you know, additional and maybe like upselling, in a sense, right. So, for example, if you're working with a particular company as a freelance, you know, videographer or filmmaker who's making like commercial videos, right, maybe there's a way to make additional videos for them, or, you know, find out about their sister company that also needs video collateral as well that you can produce. So that's really what Customer Success is really all about.
Alex Ferrari 5:51
fascinating conversation, sir. It's always it's always good to teach and instruct filmmakers on how to sell themselves and sell their projects. Because it's so so so, so important. Now, I'm going to ask you a few questions. I asked all my guests, what advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?
Alec Trachtenberg 6:10
So I would say, I would think of yourself as an entrepreneur. I mean, at the end of the day, you know, the paradigm of shift of like film just to pass, you know, 10 years, you know, it's really a self, you know, promotional endeavor, right? So, really, you know, think of yourself as a business and go out there and get it done. And don't wait on anyone else.
Alex Ferrari 6:34
Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?
Alec Trachtenberg 6:41
That's good question longest? I'd say you know, understanding that you know, what you're passionate about, and, you know, what, like, you know, what you want to create might not align with other people, but that's okay. Because you'll find, you know, your tribe, just like, you know, you've you found your tribe of people that really, you know, agree and are, you know, passionate about what you're putting out into the world. And, and, yeah, that's, that's exactly
Alex Ferrari 7:10
how we'll end in three of your favorite films of all time.
Alec Trachtenberg 7:14
All right, so I'd have to say I'm a big Scorsese fan. So I'd say you know, Goodfellas and then I'll just don't want to random funny one rat race. Do you remember rat race? Oh,
Alex Ferrari 7:26
God. Yeah, I remember rat race. That was a while ago. Yeah. Yeah, that's a very random net first time on the show, sir. First time rat races on the show. I know that from it's like a he has a ton of different celebrities that are actors
Alec Trachtenberg 7:41
over mark. What is Keven Gooding Jr. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 7:46
everybody's everybody. Everybody else in that they remember it was it was a fun film, if I remember correctly. And now where can people find find more about you? And how can they purchase the book?
Alec Trachtenberg 7:59
So yeah, you could actually go to Alec Trachtenberg calm. So I actually consult one to one, you know, with not only filmmakers, but entrepreneurs on really how to establish that, you know, sales mindset and follow the five stages of the sales process to really, you know, get, you know, what they what they want, right? Whether that be a job, you know, connections, so forth. And then my books available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble it's lights cameras, so so I'm sure I'll give you the link.
Alex Ferrari 8:32
It will be in the show notes. Alec, thank you so much for being on the show, brother. I really appreciate your time. And thank you
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