IFH 409: Misadventures in Independent Filmmaking & Distribution with Anderson Cowan



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Today on the show we have filmmaker Anderson Cowan. Anderson and I met through a mutual friend in Los Angeles. When I first met Anderson he was a deer in the headlights when it came to selling an indie film into the marketplace. His film is called Groupers. It’s about a grad student who kidnaps two homophobic high-school bullies to use as her subjects in an experiment performed at the bottom of an empty swimming pool.

Needless to say, Anderson went on an adventure getting this film into the marketplace. I wanted to share his journey with the tribe and I hope you grab some lessons of want to do and more importantly what NOT to do when making and selling a film.

Enjoy my conversation with Anderson Cowan.

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Alex Ferrari 0:17
Now guys, today on the show, we have filmmaker Anderson Cowan, and he is the filmmaker behind the new film groupers. Now I had the pleasure of meeting Anderson. Over a year or so ago, we met through a mutual friend and he had just finished his movie at the time. And he was looking for some advice on distribution, and how to get the movie out there and what I thought and he had been listening to my podcast. So I agree because we had a good mutual friend to have lunch with him. And as you will find out in the interview, he was pretty much a deer in headlights. He didn't know the first thing about distribution about getting your movie out there about how to make money with your film. It was it was interesting, and he has gone through a lot of misadventures getting his film up onto the screen and getting money back from his film. So I wanted to bring him on the show so we can discuss a lot of the mistakes he made along the way and hopefully you guys can learn from them as well. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Anderson Cowan. I'd like to welcome the show Anderson Cowan man, how are you doing, brother?

Anderson Cowan 3:01
I'm doing fantastic Alex. Thanks for having me, man.

Alex Ferrari 3:03
Yeah, thank you for coming on the show. Brother. We we've got we've, I've been on your show. I've been a guest on yours on your radio show. And our podcast and our podcast a little while ago when I had my first book out and I had a ball that was back when we could actually sit next to each other without without fear of something happening.

Anderson Cowan 3:26
I'm kind of an isolation is so I don't really mind any of this. This is nice to be able to just, you know, see people two dimensional. I don't like the 3d movies. I don't like 3d people. This is this works for me.

Alex Ferrari 3:35
Now we're here, I want to do on the show because you made a movie called groupers. And there's a lot I mean, when we first came when we first met through a mutual friend of ours, you were talking about this movie and you were talking about what you wanted to do with it and and you wanted some advice and you were kind of just getting your feet wet. This is like what a year and a half ago now

Anderson Cowan 3:35
Yes might have been two years ago, Alex and I still think about that lunch that we had. It was my It was my friend, your friend and I right and I was I didn't realize that I was a deer in the headlights at the time. But I was an absolute deer that I can only imagine what you were looking at when you were sitting across the table from me, because like I had made the movie I was done but I like I didn't know what a film market was gear icon. Well, first thing you want to do is you know looking at AFM like okay, AFM you're like it's the American Film market. And I'm like what, like a fish market? It's like a like, like a sell movies there. You're right. Yes, that's that's how it works. Anderson. I look back on that and the stuff that I have learned since that moment is just unbelievable. And I'm embarrassed of that version of myself. I'm embarrassed of many versions of myself, but that one in particular man, I and there's so many people like that Alex who make them have no idea

Alex Ferrari 4:53
Most, most. No, I'm gonna say most first time filmmakers have absolutely no idea what to do. With the film when they're done with it.

Anderson Cowan 5:02
And you and you know what that that leads me to this which is it's no surprise at all that there are as many sharks as there are out predatory distribute distributors and aggregators and it makes perfect sense cuz there's so many douchebags like me who are like, I mean, for the first 20 years of my moviemaking career, I was just like, you know what I'm going to find the guy that's going to help me or find the woman that's going to help me, you know, get it out there and I'm the artist and I just want to do my own thing and I don't want to be corrupted by the business side of things and I actively avoided it like it's like a total douche. And of course, there's going to be a whole like, you know, litany of predators just waiting to take advantage of people like me, so Oh, God, I found your show and started really reading out before I went out there and the murky waters.

Alex Ferrari 5:46
Oh, no, the I remember when I was coming up. I always I mean, I was I always had some sort of business sense, but I just said, Man, I really when I was at my full douche Enos, which was like a level of high douche early on in my career, where I was so far up my own butt that it wasn't even funny. I was I was like, I need my Brian Grazer. I need my Lawrence Bender, you know? Because find me and by the way, and by the way, I was Ron Howard and Quinn, Tarantino in those scenarios in my mind, so let's just clarify that write that in. But it was.

Anderson Cowan 6:22
I was talking about this the other day, like Stanley Kubrick didn't get discovered like he went out there and pushed himself to become like, you don't get discovered but I think that a lot of us start that way. Like I spent 20 years of my life maybe 30 years of my life I never say movie I everything was a film. Oh, it's a fine film. You know what I mean? And I just look back and it's like, Dude, it's just not it's not a good look. It's not a good vibe and I think that you got to have some level of arrogance so to think that you have a voice enough to want to make a movie so it's good to be a team that when you're younger and then learn your you know, your your livability your limits and the move from there but yeah, I have learned so much about business since

Alex Ferrari 7:01
I'll tell you what I wanted I'll just explain I've said this I think on the show before but to explain to you the level of juiciness that I was at when I was in film school and coming out of film school. My product my first production company was called prepare yourself wait for it. A tour pictures? Oh, no. Oh, yeah. No, I had it was called the tour pictures. The logo which I had made, which was on marble. Not kidding you with a 1996 3d movement camera where the shadow of the of the of the letters that spelled out a tour which just shift that was like big stuff back then when you can move a 3d like

Anderson Cowan 7:44
That is pretty cool. Still. I mean, I'd be impressed by that. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 7:47
But it was a tour pictures.

Anderson Cowan 7:50
Thank god though it didn't happen the way that we had to happen in our own right. Cuz I I hate to think that of what a horrible douche I would have become, you know what I mean? Or would have continued to be if I if it actually did all come true. You know, if it's all it comes from insecurities, right? And knowing that you're a tiny, tiny little fish, and you got to have this chip on your shoulder and this bravado and believe in yourself, because no one else is believing in you. And so I understand where it comes from. But looking back in it, it's just like, Ah,

Alex Ferrari 8:18
No, without question. I mean, if like the book, I was my first book shooting for the mob, which I was on your show about. If that would have happened, if I would have made the 10 or $15 million movie, if I would have worked with those stars. If I would have gone down that road. I I promise you I would have self destructed afterward, I wouldn't mind Yeah, my ego would have not been able to handle that kind of attention, that kind of fame, that kind of anything I would have been in

Anderson Cowan 8:49
My body wouldn't have been able to take it I would die. I think I would die from drug overdose. I would just be out there every single night. And I'd be a total flash in the pan. I'd make one thing and then I would just burn out from drugs and probably die. I'm not kidding. So I don't understand when I see these, like really young kids get early success. It's like good on you for being able to handle that. Because I know that, you know, me in my early 20s was a nightmare.

Alex Ferrari 9:12
Yeah, no question at all.

Anderson Cowan 9:14
Plus you don't really have a whole lot to say when you're early in your early 20s. Right? Like you haven't really lived life enough to be telling large audiences like you know, parts of the world and parts of like stories and human interest stories and I don't get it. I don't get a lot of it. Alex, I'm still learning.

Alex Ferrari 9:28
Well, we all are man we all are. Now you jumped into filmmaking later in life. So can you can you give any advice to people out there that might be listening? Who are scared to take the jump?

Anderson Cowan 9:41
Yeah, well, it's I hate to feel like it was later in life. I mean, I I've been making movies for 20 years, but I didn't really take a swing and actually put myself up for rejection until later in life. Yeah, I got stuck in the radio world and that was that really slowed me down for I worked on on loveline. I'm Adam Carolla. Dr. Drew for almost 20 years and that stalled me man I remember Dr. Drew on a regular basis going Dude, what are you gonna make your movie I'm like I know but you know it cost a lot of money drew it then how you don't just make a movie out of the blue. But the dream never died I never lost interest in movies I'm, I've got a bit of a bit of I'm very obsessive about things. And I've been in love with movies and the idea of movies and studying movies and watching tons of movies my entire my entire life. And I just kept, kept the dream alive. And I just kept pushing and pushing. And I've been doing a couple, two or three different movies shows weekly for the last number of years now. And I used one of those shows to to raise money to make my first feature. I've been writing all along, I got like a number of scripts, but they all cost, you know, a million plus. So I finally wrote something that was cheap enough that I'd be able to raise the money for through my through my audience, which I did. And making groupers, which is pretty much just takes place at the bottom of an empty pool for the first half of the movie. But it's a pretty cheap way to make a movie. Yeah, if you just if you can find find the empty pool, you know?

Alex Ferrari 11:06
Exactly. Now what made you make the jump? Like what was that thing because I know a lot of guys out there a lot of girls out there just sitting there going, I just don't like for me, it took me till I was 40 to finally wake up after another deal went down for me to just say Screw it. I'm going to go make my first film and I did 30 days later, I was shooting my movie. So that's what took for me. What was it that thing that you like I got it. I got

Anderson Cowan 11:27
What was my what was my bottom?

Alex Ferrari 11:30
Your catalyst?

Anderson Cowan 11:31
You know, it's kind of a Yeah, catalyst or my bottom of every single morning I would wake up. And the very first thing that I would hear in my head is you're you're a loser. You've never made a movie. When are you going to make your first movie, I made shorts, but I never made an action. And I got together, I had a really good idea that I wanted to do make a short out of it was about a guy who liked his personal space, it's actually pretty apt for what's going on right now. He was he was this guy that really liked his personal space. And he hated it when people came in with like little, you know, social distancing bubble. And he would he would put on a disguise to make him look like a pedophile to keep people away from him. And I said, I want to shoot this. So I got together with my buddy from film school. And as far as film school goes, the best thing that you can get out of film school are contacts that you can, you know, get together with 10 1520 years later, because when you get out of film school, they're not worth anything as contacts, they can be friends, but they're not going to be able to help you. One of my my best friend from film, film school, he's got a lot of connections, and he had a great relationship or repair division. So I said, Let's get a package from panda vision and shoot a short. And then I looked into the production insurance, which I knew nothing about right and pay inhibitions, like yeah, we'll give you this $500,000 package of equipment for free for the weekend. But you need to have insurance. I'm like, Oh, Jesus, turns out that the insurance for two weeks cost almost as much as for the full year. So we got the insurance for the full year we paid like 3500 bucks or whatever it was, and I we just shot shorts all year long. And that was really the catalyst to you know, get my feet wet again after you know, five years after film school and start figuring this out again. And I just every single day, it was a mantra and I didn't ask for it. Alex, I didn't want to hear the voice in my head calling me a loser every morning, but that's what I heard. And then once I made the movie, or once it was like in the works, the next mantra was you don't have a kid you're never gonna be a dad What a loser. So there's always something

Alex Ferrari 13:28
You need to talk to that that voice and we all got that voice some of them are a little bit more aggressive than others but yeah, I have that I have that voice too. And you know right now it's not easy. You know, hitting you can't hit the gym. So now you've got to like self motivate you got to self motivate to actually you know, do get out there workout stay said not carb up not eat every snack that you have gotten. It's it's tough right now. It's it's really tough in that sense. But you know what, we're in better shape than many people out there without

Anderson Cowan 14:02
It's the best time to be to be in this situation with you know, which is you know, self quarantine and and the stay at home martyrs. never in the history of humanity. Has there been a better time to have to do this with all the delivery services and the streaming services and everything else?

Alex Ferrari 14:17
Absolutely. So now you raise money through your audience and you use the pitch video, can you can you tell me how you raise the money and how and how you kind of package this to your audience because the audience was basically fans of you. And what you did not specifically the film, it was about you?

Anderson Cowan 14:36
Yeah, they knew my sensibilities. They knew my tastes and movies. And they a lot of them just appreciated all of the recommendations I've given them over the years on the film ball in particular, you know, every single week we talk about the three most recent movies we've seen. And then we do a top five list of like, like last week, we did top five supermarket scenes, because you know, we're all spending that's one of the only places we're allowed to go Right now supermarkets so it's kind of tailor to what's going on. And a lot of people just wanted to see me, you know, take a swing and make my dream, a reality to actually make a feature film. And that's where a lot of the money comes from is you don't realize that people, a lot of people who are aren't necessarily doing what they want to do, you know, nine to five, appreciate appear, or somebody else still trying to make the dream happen, and they will, you know, help you out to make that make that go, oh, first thing I did was I got a producer. And I, you know, I've been sniffing around for years for somebody who might be able to be in this position and somebody, Max landworks was my producer. And then he, once you get somebody who's very business minded, you're going to hopefully take the next steps and the next steps is raising the money. He had a bunch of different suggestions, one of which was to get a crowdfunding coach, this guy named Justin Giddings was great, cuz he helped me with the Facebook cuz I'm terrible at Facebook. I'm not a Facebook guy. He helped me with the Twitter. And

Alex Ferrari 16:01
I like the Twitter, the Facebook, the Instagram, it's nice.

Anderson Cowan 16:06
The Twitter machine Yeah, I just I thankfully, I get to wax poetic, you know, via podcast or what used to be radio shows, I get the word out with those. So I don't really see the value in social media because I don't want to like you know, say something on social media that I'm going to just repeat myself again on the on one of the show, so I'm terrible with it all. I just, and every time I get on there, Alex, I see somebody saying something that infuriates me and I just, I'm terrible social media. So it was great having this this Justin guy to kind of walk me through it. And he had a bunch of great ideas. But really, it was my audience. You know, I had a built in audience that that helped propel me to get the the ad, I was looking for $75,000. And we ended up getting $85,000 I don't really know how you go about it. If you don't have a built in audience, especially nowadays, where everyone's got a crowdfunding thing going, you know, the crowdfunding racket has been pretty, pretty run dry, I would say,

Alex Ferrari 16:58
Yeah, the audience, building your own audience is definitely something that needs to be happening. Regardless, whatever your endeavors are. In your filmmaking career, having that audience is super, super valuable in every way possible. Now, when you wrote the script,

Anderson Cowan 17:18
I was gonna say one of the things that you can do, and you talk about this all the time is, you know, look for your niche, and you look for your lane. And if you're good at it, and you know what you're talking about. And that's, that's a great approach. Or in my case, I went for a hook, like a really easy to explain hook something that was obnoxious, that was kind of, you know, gonna stir the pot, and I was able to get people on board pretty easily. That was the Chinese finger traps. I mean, the whole premise of my movie was just, you know, those guys out there that claim homosexuality is a choice. Well, those were my targets. So I the movies about these two homophobic jocks who get kidnapped, and they're there, they are set out to they, they must prove that homosexuality is a choice by being gay for each other. And there's a Chinese finger trap that connects the two of them. So it's an incredibly, sophomore can shine on that level, but then the movie goes much, much deeper, much farther as well, but it's a comedy. I was trying to make an important comedy. And that's tough to do. You know, it's really tough to do. But I pretty much made the movie that I wanted to make which you know is and there's no way I would have without all those shorts that I made that one year when we got the the production insurance so that that helped a lot.

Alex Ferrari 18:37
So you mean you actually practice your craft before you actually go out and did something big No. Stop

Anderson Cowan 18:44
It is one of the toughest crafts to to practice. Like it's it's not like playing catch it or the guitar batting. It's not playing guitar, the guitar, right? You don't get to watch YouTube videos showing you how to direct even though they'll they'll have you believe that Ron Howard will have you give them a bunch of money for his masterclass and, you know, maybe you'll learn some of the stuff that we learned in film school. But a lot of that will to also just have you direct like everybody else, right? So it's to find your voice, find your style to figure out what if you're even good at it or not cost so much money takes so much time and it takes so many people people's energy, not only just you but you have to have all your friends and volunteers work on these things. It's, it's it's crazy. How hard it is to practice this craft.

Alex Ferrari 19:26
You know what, when when you were writing the script? Did you I'm assuming you had budget in mind, you know, before you wrote this,

Anderson Cowan 19:34
Oh, well. Oh, no, that's another problem that I had. And I gotta tell you, I'm writing right now. And I do have that in mind. And I do have marketing in mind as I'm writing it, but I'm not selling out. I'm making sure that I'm not selling out. But I am thinking about all those things, which is so so valuable. I will just write because I was purist Alex, I wasn't gonna you know. I don't care if and no one shows up. I'm making this movie for me. It's ours. It's our ad. Every script I had written like the first four scripts I had written, they probably, you know, one to $5 million range. You know, I'm not thinking about that, because I don't care. It's art. Yeah. This one I was 30 pages in writing it for myself. When it dawned on me, I'm like, holy, holy, I won't cuss. But I'm like, my God, this is a cheap script. I've never written anything that's cheap. And that's when I realized, you know what, this is the first movie I'm going to actually be able to make, and I was excited. But that's also when the wheels started turning to the point where every word became precious because it was the first movie I wasn't writing just for myself. I knew that this was actually gonna be on the big screen and me overthinking, think everything for sure. So it took me a while to write it after I realized that But no, I wasn't thinking budget until I was on about page 30. When I realized cheap, it is cheap. But I, I highly recommend that people just when you're daydreaming up ideas, try and think cheap and small.

Alex Ferrari 20:54
Yeah, because I mean, the the chances of you if you want to be a filmmaker, and you're trying to get a movie, packaged and sent out and, and try to raise financing and stuff, it is doable. But man, you've got to have all cylinders hidden, you know, at full, full throttle, and you really got to know what you're doing. And you really got, it's kind of like, you're going to thread that needle, you've got to have a lot of skilled people around you, as well as yourself to hit that target. And a lot of filmmakers don't they just like it clumsily, like I just picked up the bat, I've watched baseball forever. But I just think that for the first time, I'm walking up to face a major league pitcher, I'm sure it's gonna be fine. Because I've seen it 1000 times. That's what you don't want to do. And I think writing a script that you can actually manage yourself and shoot for 50 grand or less, you know, 100 grand or less, and do it all within your power is, you know, I take that to the extreme with my first two films, you know, five grand and three grand, you know, insane to make those films.

Anderson Cowan 21:58
Verify it, can we actually get some like, number crunchers to come in and

Alex Ferrari 22:02
Knock yourself out. Reason why it makes no sense is because I've spent 25 years putting so many tools in my own toolbox that I carried a lot of weight myself. Oh, if I would have to pay every buddy my jobs that I did off, forget it. Right? Yeah. Well, you you would have a lot of money, it'd be your I mean, I wouldn't have a lot of money. Exactly. So you know, that's the only way you could do stuff like that.

Anderson Cowan 22:26
Something that you actually that I learned from you early on was that, you know, the cheaper the better twofold. One, it's going to be easier to raise the money or find the money if it's cheap, obviously. And two, it's the game is recouping that money, so you can make the next one. And you got to be able to prove that and that's what I want to talk to you about Next is the insanity that is, well, we'll just go with Amazon because they're the big player. In my my movie groupers became available tvod in November of 2019. And my distributor, my distributor, and I have no idea how it's performing, we have no idea. Amazon does not have numbers forth until it's done with until they end of the second quarter of the first full quarter of business, right? Which is crazy, because of course they have the data, why they don't share it with the filmmakers or the distributors or Steven Agra with anybody is is beyond me. I'm an affiliate member with Amazon with one of my shows, you know, you click through a little banner, you get a percentage kickback to the show, I can see what people are buying pretty much in real time exactly what they bought, what they paid for it, what our percentages, they have they have the technology why they don't share this with filmmakers is beyond me. Do you have any ideas on this?

Alex Ferrari 23:39
Oh, yeah, I mean, it makes it makes all the sense in the world. It's the reason why distributors in general. And platforms in general take forever to pay, because they're just there. It's like a bank, they're holding the cash. And they're kind of just paying it flat. And that's

Anderson Cowan 23:54
Fine. I mean, they can save the money. Yeah, but give it to me eventually. Like even with my affiliate program, it takes some 90 days to pay. And that's, that's okay, I'm not gonna but let me see what ads are working. Let me see what media you know, social media posts are working so that I can you know, double down on those.

Alex Ferrari 24:10
It's, it's, there's a serious problem with all of this distribution in general, it's something that I have been racking my brain around, you know, about since last year, if not earlier, but really, really kind of done a deep dive, you know, ever since the stripper debacle and what happened with them. And I was just like, there has to be a better way. So I'm thinking and working on things myself trying to figure out a better way of doing this. But it's lunacy, it's loose, it's lunacy, because the cost of the product is so expensive. You know, it's not like a pen. It's not like a pen that cost me a few cents to make, and it's gonna take me you know, 240 days to get My first payment for it, you know, it's not even a 6090. It's not 180 day, it's actually longer than that. So that's the thing is like, the system is so flawed, it's so, you know, not set up for us as the creators, that that's why I kind of just opted out of the whole system. And, you know, when I, when I made my first two films, I partnered with a distributor that, you know, indie writes who I've worked with, and but they're just one revenue stream, where I have multiple revenue streams coming in, from my movies, through my platform and through other products and other services and things that I do. And that's why I opted out of it. And I think that is the only way moving forward is you have to create other revenue streams from your your art, in order to make it I mean, look at the music industry right now. And right now, before the way they were making money was touring, and live shows and appearances. So I can't even imagine what is going to happen to musicians moving forward. Because now their only way to make money is now going to be virtual, you know, virtual live performances. Now this will this will add, though, I mean, this isn't forever, this will No, it is younger people. No, no, of course it will end. But the point is that it's going to take a while and even the hangover of what's going on right now. It's gonna take at least till next year. So for this rest of this year, I don't see any, there's no Lollapalooza this year, you know, there's no I mean, that regardless, I mean, it's gonna take time before we get back to normal. I'm not going to a movie theater this year, I don't care what they say, you know, so, you know, not this year,

Anderson Cowan 26:40
I will, I'll be there. I know, you will open up those theaters. And I'm gonna be there. Yeah. It really concerns me and upsets me with all these people saying, Hey, who needs theaters? You know, just pay 20 bucks watch it at home? It's like, No, no, that's not what movies are. I mean, not to get douchey again, and get it, you know, like back to our tour pictures again. But movies aren't special, unless they're an event in a theater for a limited amount of time. You know what I mean?

Alex Ferrari 27:05
But that's, but that's our generation, though. That's for our generation, not for a whole other generation.

Anderson Cowan 27:12
So let me ask you this, Alex, like if they're not events that you can only go to and see them the way that they were made to be seen, which is in a theater when when, when these movies are being mixed together with for their sound, and the picture is being color time. They're doing that on big screens with Atmos speakers. And you for your iPod, you correct for your iPad, your face. So your you go to see it the way that was intended to be seen. And you can only see it that way for a limited amount of time, which makes it special. If that's not an option anymore, then do we really even need new movies, maybe maybe one a month to a month because we have 100 years worth of movies that most people have never seen that are going to get us through the day. You know, what is a movie?

Alex Ferrari 27:55
I'll tell I'll tell you. It's a trick. It's a trick. It's a travesty to watch Star Wars on your iPhone, like that. And you know, watching any Nolan film any Kubrick film on a iPhone is a travesty, in my opinion. They're there they're things like I actually had the chance to see Full Metal Jacket in the theater. with with with. I'm going to do shout a little bit here. But I had Kubrick's right hand, man, that guy who made the movie filmmaker like that. Yeah, yeah, he was he was sitting right behind me. And I got to talk to him afterwards. And I watched and I watch full metal jacket with him and Matthew Modine in the in the theater, and I was just like, oh, bitch, this is awesome. And I had never seen Full Metal Jacket in the theater. I'd only seen it on DVD and on VHS and all that stuff over the years. And it was just like, wow, this is insane. like watching 2001 at home is awesome. But watching it in the theater. Like I saw Lawrence Arabia at a theater in 70. mil. I thought it's been around ago. Yeah. Yeah. So like the intermission or whatever. Yeah, exactly. So the thing is, but that's that's an event and for a generation, like you and me who were raised on that, that makes sense. But there's a whole generation of filmmakers and filmmakers, but yeah, well, filmmakers and film lovers who are watching Irishman. Yeah, a Scorsese film

Anderson Cowan 29:19
I get that and I guess, generational thing and I don't want to come off like the old man. But it's, it's about the relationship that you have with the movie and how it's fleeting. And you can only see it for that period of time. In that theater. Like, you know, you can go and have your little intimate moment with that movie. Like there'll be a movie it'll come out once every five years and I'm like, I'm so into it. I'll see it four or five times in the theater and I and it's a bit of knowing that you know, it's only going to be around for another week in the theater you better go see it one last time and have you know, that intimate make sure you can watch it countless times and you know, in your house, but it's not. It's not the it's like it's like kissing someone as opposed to actually, you know, having sex with them.

Alex Ferrari 29:56
No, I get it. I get it completely. And I do I personally believe that the theater experience will stay alive in one way, shape or form. I don't in the next 20 years, man, I don't see the theatrical experience maintaining what we knew. But it will be it will always be there. The IMAX, you can't compete with IMAX, you can't compete with the theatrical experience. Yeah,

Anderson Cowan 30:22
I need Alamo Drafthouse to get a IMAX because I do think that they're going to be one of those souls survivors when Oh, yeah. Because they cater, to cater to people that like, you know, you and I.

Alex Ferrari 30:32
Yeah, exactly. So I think it will be in one way, shape or form, but I don't think it will have and look, this, this whole event that we're going through right now is really proven. The fact that, you know, people are going to an after this event, after this blows over, people will want to go out, people will want to go back to the movies, but there's going to be a nice, large percentage of people are going to go You know what, I'll just, I'll just stay home, unless it's a huge event, like, and you have to go see it in the theater.

Anderson Cowan 30:57
Even before this, Alex, like, I'd go to my AMC theater down the street. And I you know, there'd be four or five people there at 10pm on a Wednesday night, like young people. And I would, I would wonder, like, I'd be happy to see people there. But I'd be like, how do they sell themselves that they think it's a good idea to go watch like an $18 movie? Once when they could, you know, have that that pays for two months of Netflix with unlimited movies? Like it's the model is broken, and it needs to be fixed and changed and saved somehow? And I don't know the answer.

Alex Ferrari 31:30
Yeah. And I think what's going on right now with Look, I've always said this about, we're going off tangent here. But I've always said that the theater in general, the whole industry has had a very combative relationship with the customer with overpriced food, bad experience for a lot of those years, they've actually now up their experience because they had to not because they wanted to, because they had to compete, like you know, now you can sit and plush seats, and everything is clean, and the sound is impeccable. And the screen is great. And all of that stuff that took years decades for that to come up. And they had to do it because they're like, well, people don't need us anymore. But there's still this combative relationship with like, Look, it's like going into an airport and buying a soda. I'm like, do not know what things cost outside. Like I don't know, like, so there's that whole and then the price of the tickets and everything. So it's always been very combative. So now like AMC, who is about to go bankrupt any day now is like, oh, we're not going to show any more universal movies because they said something negative about us because troll two made $100 million on streaming. And I'm telling you, if I was the theaters, I would do everything in my power to try to ingratiate myself to a studio like universal, who's still releasing major tent poles. Like are you Alex what's really funny is the biggest AMC in LA is the universal citywalk It's so awkward.

Anderson Cowan 33:02
But yeah, that whole exchange was so effing childish. It's just it's it shows you that the people still don't know nothing. You know what I mean? Like the fact that they got so petty, so quick. It's it's, it's mind blowing.

Alex Ferrari 33:15
It's it's basically the guy. It's basically Oh, it's the guys who had the horse and buggy guys who who used to build the buggies. And they're like, well, this upstart automobile is ridiculous for the car. Nobody wants that. It's unreliable. It's all this is the same thing happened with kerosene lamps versus electricity. Like you. Yeah, it is what it is streaming is here. Regardless whether you like it or not, it is a it's saving us right now. In this experience that we're going through right now without and I think so many more people are going to get so much more comfortable with streaming, and having it as part of their life and getting great content, they're going to go Whoa, I don't need to go to the theater, maybe once a year, maybe twice a year as a special event. But I'm not going monthly. That's what they'll say. So and then by the way, the whole industry was already you could see it was dropping, it was dropping and dropping and dropping in. And the and the International ticket sales, were the only thing that were really keeping it up to the theatrical expend me remember, I remember a day when the US market was 70, or 80%. and international was 20. And now it's the opposite, as as you can see, with films that have Asian actors and Chinese themes, for no apparent reason, because they need to sell in China, which is a huge market now. So the world is upside down. And I don't you know, it's this happens in every industry, the old guard holds on as long as they can to the way things were. And until they have no other choice. They're blockbuster basically, I think movie theaters right now are blockbuster. I don't think they'll go away completely. But I think by the way, by the end of this thing, we're gonna lose some but we're gonna lose a lot of screens,

Anderson Cowan 34:53
Yeah, there's some of these theaters for sure that have closed and will never open up again. I don't doubt that at all. And even before all this Alex, that my big theater down the street from me is AMC 16. And I love paying 2023 bucks a month to be able to see three new releases each week for 23 bucks a month, it was very affordable for me, for somebody like me who watches movies all the time. But there, it's attached to a mall that is just been abandoned. It's kind of this crazy dead mall where like every single store is gone. It's actually where they shot valley girl that came out just recently. Anyways, um, they're making a new theater, AMC is moving across the street to a mall, it's living, but they're going from 16 screens to 12 screens. So I mean, it's all it was, this is before all this that's before the pandemic. So there we are trending to less screens in this country, at least. You know, it's, it's inevitable. I get it.

Alex Ferrari 35:46
Yeah, I know, without question. Look, look, remember the film and digital conversation, I mean, that, that that whole thing that took forever to finally figure out to the point where now everyone was like, Well, you know, read showed up and change the game. And then airy took them forever to finally catch up. And now they, they, they're like, well, we're not going to go after the main market, we're going to go after the professionals. And that's all we're going to do well let read, you know, have the dentist buy their cameras and shoot their movies. But that's what they're aiming at. So but I remember when that came up, and when people were still arguing film versus digital and all this stuff. And you could have, we could still have that argument about it now, but it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. At the end of the day, people are going to shoot digitally. If they want to shoot film. Go for it. I shot film,

Anderson Cowan 36:34
I love film, but I don't I got it tattooed on my arm. I mean, I have 35 millimeter tattooed on my on my arm. I love the idea.

Alex Ferrari 36:42
I remember selling it with the smell the smell of the roll, like when you opened it. It was you know, I remember changing the chair, I remember changing the you know, in the bag and going to the to the lab and dropping it off. But I'm very much like blot like video stores. I haven't a static relationship with video stores. I wouldn't go back like it was a video store down the street. I'm not going to go read my movies there because it doesn't make sense. I haven't nostalgic feeling for what I felt when I was at that point. And I worked at a video store and I love that that hole. But that was that time. And same thing goes for this.

Anderson Cowan 37:21
I get that. For sure. I worked at a video store and I you know I love that time. And it's a it's an it's a it's a bygone era. And I get that but I'm hearing what I'm hearing and at least it's in the headlines and it's in the media right now is who needs movie theaters you're not going to see packed, you know, you're never gonna see a sold out movie theater again. movie theaters are a thing of the past. And I just totally disagree with that. I agree. I think that there is a portion of us that still appreciate the movie theater and always well. And it's not an old thing. It's a it's a it's a right thing. Because if if there is no movie theater experience, I was so happy that groupers got a theatrical release. I mean, that was a dream come getting a distribution deal was great. But getting that theatrical release that made it in my mind, like I actually made a real movie that had a theatrical release, you get that? But if you don't have that option, then it's just TV. I mean, and Tarantino said a few years ago, that's why he's been threatening to retire for all these years. Because he's like, we're not making movies anymore. We're just making, you know, long TV shows which essentially, I mean, there's something to be said about that. So

Alex Ferrari 38:21
No, I agree with I agree with you. I don't think I don't I look if you don't believe that movie theaters are going to be packed again. Wait to the next Avengers shows up? Yeah, you know, wait to the next day. Right? Yeah, even look, AMC can be pissed off as much as they want. They need the movies. They need Avengers. They need Disney. They need Disney product. They need Warner brother product they need, you know, the next Harry Potter, whatever. They're going to it people will show up? Will it be as big of a pie as it used to be? No, I think there'll be different. Is the window going to be different? Yes. You know, will you will there be a 30 day window as opposed to this 90 day window that movie theaters have been trying to go for forever? I think it's going to that window is going to change and they're going to have to renegotiate if not they're just going to die. They're just not going to make it because theaters need Hollywood. Hollywood doesn't need theaters at this point.

Anderson Cowan 39:17
Ah, yeah, I think that the worldwide will, we'll see. I mean, right now we're all going off of what trolls to Did you know what I mean? Like,

Alex Ferrari 39:24
Well, no. And that's a very unique and that's a very unique, that's the thing. I said, I was talking to somebody else earlier today. I said, Look, trolls is a very unique film, in the sense that it's a low hanging fruit, meaning it was an equivalent low budget movie, 90 million bucks for a for an animated film is fairly affordable, you know, for for them. And it's, it's like, well, we could either shelve it or we could put it out there and it's a kids movie, and it's in the middle of a pandemic and parents are going crazy. It may have checked off a lot of boxes, and that's why I did as well as it did. But what will happen when bond shows up Like, I think if bond if like if we if, if this thing does keep going and nobody goes if the theaters don't open up for until November, and you put bond on a T i call it premium t VOD. Um, yeah, I'm gonna pay 20 bucks to see it. And I'm sure a lot of people will like, so it hasn't really been tested yet. Let's throw a real tent pole up there. Let's see what happens like kit. But like I said earlier, like Tyson fights back in the day, we're baking five $600 million in one night. That was a party thing. That was an event, you have an event at your house, you could host it. Right? Right. So why wouldn't this be waIking? I think that's where this premium t vibe could go for these giant event movies.

Anderson Cowan 40:44
Yeah, and then you got you got it. You got to have to tap into the FOMO too. Because like I said, so much entertainment is so much entertainment. You got to have it so that the kids don't want to go to school on Monday, unless they've seen it. They don't want to be left out of the conversation like this. Are you making one? That's what you're the main motivating factor is to create FOMO. And I guess they're already doing that.

Alex Ferrari 41:05
Yeah, I was about to say what have you not been paying attention to? The last decade? last 100 years? I guess. That's what they do. Well, we went a little bit off, we went a little bit off off target here. But um, but you said you got a distributed with your film? What? What? Who's if you don't mind me asking, what's your relationship with the distributor? Are you making any money with them?

Anderson Cowan 41:27
I don't know. Cuz I'm still waiting for Amazon and iTunes. And all those, you know, show the reports that we find out for the movie that got released in November came out in theaters, I think October, and then it got and then it went to T VOD. And then it's on a VOD as well, I'll let you know where it is all the different places. But that was November, we don't find out what it did how it's done business until July, from what I understand. Like, sometime in July, we'll figure that out. But I landed with terror films, who was the only I got five offers from five different distributors. And I can tell you the first offer i got i would have jumped at had I not known what I was doing a little bit, had I not listened to people like you. And

Alex Ferrari 42:10
What was that deal? What was that deal, by the way?

Anderson Cowan 42:14
It was 3070 split to me. And it was it was a very large distributor who has a whole bunch of movies. And I didn't get very far down the path went back and forth with him a little bit. And then another distributor that I was very familiar with came in and they wanted his I'm thinking great, two big names that I could, you know, say, hey, my movies were so and so you know? And? And then the third guy? No, actually, he was the fourth guy that came in. I was terror films. I also had to deal with the with. I don't want to say any of the names.

Alex Ferrari 42:46
Sure you don't have to say the names. But the but so let me ask you a question with these other deals that you turned down? Was there a minimum? There was no minimum guarantee? So you weren't getting paid any money?

Anderson Cowan 42:56
No, no, MG's.

Alex Ferrari 42:58
No, but was there? What was the was their marketing cap? And also, what was the the terms length? length of the agreements? Just curious.

Anderson Cowan 43:06
I'd have to I'd have to pull it up, Alex. And also I can tell you that I had Glen with circus road.

Alex Ferrari 43:14
Yeah, part of the show for another show. Glenn Reynolds.

Anderson Cowan 43:17
Great guy. And what's funny is I got him out of AFM kind of I met him outside of AFM we set up a meeting and met down the street at FM because he didn't even go to FM that year. And I was all willing to do the deal with him and he was gonna you know find he was gonna be my rep and I'm listening to you talk to Linda with indie rights. Yeah, and you're doing an interview with her right? And you guys are talking about reps and producers reps and and how and sellers reps and how they they just rip people off left and right. And if anyone asks for money up front run, they are they're bad people. They're just there to take your money. And I'm like, you know what, I'm not signing with this Glenn guy. I'll never forget I was showing my movie in Orange County The next day, later that night, and I was getting ready for to show my movie because I for Walden first before I got the distribution deal. And I'm in my my hotel at the Hyatt out in Orange County and listening to you guys talking. I'm like, I'm not gonna, I'm breaking off this deal with Glenn. And then she says or you say unless it's somebody like Glenn.

Alex Ferrari 44:18
Well, there's very few that, right, Glenn's gray and there's very few producers reps who actually do what they say they're gonna do who are fair who care, there's, I could count them on one hand. So they're they're very, very few tastic. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Anderson Cowan 44:43
And as a first timer, I can say if you if you're lucky enough to have somebody like one who likes your film and they want to get it out there for you. They want to work with you. He was great because I never felt like any offer He brought me was going to be taken full advantage or I was going to get screwed and he goes through with a long form and he crossed things and and highlight things that were an issue. And ultimately, though, what kind of made sense was that when terror films came Joe dang with headphones? I know. Yeah. And I'm on since Sure. I since I signed when I took his call just to be courteous as I'm like, Who am I? You know, I had no interest. I saw his 5050 split. I never heard of them. They're a horror film distributor. I'm like, not a right fit. But you know, I'll take his 15 minute phone call, because that'd be rude. And who the hell am I I'm a first time filmmaker, I should be lucky than anybody who wants to even look at my film, right? Talk to Joe. Two hours goes by I'm talking to Joe. And I just love everything he's saying. And because of the things that I heard from you, and other horror stories that I had read about, you know, the first time filmmakers never seen a dime and never having any idea what their film is doing. Joe's business model is built in that you are going to see at least something because you get 50% there are no caps 30 you know, all the marketing is on him. Any business the movie does, I see 50% of it automatically. There's no recoupable for him, it's just straight up. So if your partner and your partners your partners. Exactly. So if it you know if it does two rentals at five bucks a pop, Amazon's gonna take their 50 and then I'm going to split the $5 with Joe and I'm gonna get I'm gonna get a list of $2.50 because I know we're into the movie. So that's nice to know. You know what I mean?

Alex Ferrari 46:20
Yeah, and yeah, Josie, Josie, I have had Joe on the on the on the show. And and if you're a member of the protect yourself from a predatory film distributors and aggregator Facebook group, Joe is a very vocal voice in that group. and has been since the beginning with disturber. And that whole debacle, which is how we met originally. But yeah, I mean, look, it's it's it's not perfect. You know, his model is not perfect for everybody, but it is for some people. And then like I said, there's handful of people that I can count on one hand as far as distributors and producers, rep sales agents, and things like that, that I would trust. And go, you know, what, these are the guys, there's very, very few. So the majority, just understand the majority of who you deal with is going to be it's going to be printed. I was like, Listen, I was listening, I just had a conversation at a concert with a filmmaker who was coaching them through through a distribution deal. And they had they had a million dollar plus minimum guarantee offer on the table. Wait a minute, wait a minute. And the movie was made for about seven 800,000. Okay. It was with a very, it was two deals $2 million plus deals on the table. Both very well known companies, if I said their names, you know who they were. And it was an mg, a million dollar mg. That's how good his film was. He turned them both down. In Do you know why he turned about them, because by the time like it was so much Mickey Mouse bs on when he got paid and how the the payment it was just so and that the deliverables list that he had to set up. He's like, at the end of the day, I was like, I'm never gonna see this, even though they say I'm gonna get an mg, it's gonna take six months to a year, right before I even get to do business. Right. And it was just like, that's standard practice. That is what business as usual is in the entertainment industry. So they, they've, I think the distribution space in general has had such a long run of, hey, it's us or nothing, kind of attitude, that they just like, we're just going to abuse you. And if you don't like it, there's another 5000 movies sitting right behind you that are willing to do it. So we don't really care if you take it or not. And that's the that's the world we live in. So that's why I've been you know, that's been preaching the film intrapreneurial method and and figuring out other ways for filmmakers to make money and to sustain themselves as a career before they can get you know, unless they want to eventually get hired on to work for hire at a big studio or work on TV or or do something else like that. But it's it's brutal out there. It is so brutal. So anytime I talk to a filmmaker and they have a deal, I'm like, give me the details. I want details. is you know off the record, tell me what you how much you made. Make who you make, because I like to hear all this is why you still love going to AFM. I'm not going this year probably. But But I used to go I loved going to FM because I would get stopped every five feet by somebody or filmmaker who was like, Hey, here's my deal, and they would tell me their deals. So I really get a feeling for what the NF got some of the deals I heard I just 25 year deals. 25

Anderson Cowan 49:39
Yeah, you know what? That one of them I was a 25 year deal. One of the offers that I got was 25. with Joe it's a five year deal, which was by far the lowest like it was it's one of the low. I got 1520 and 25 year deals offered to me except for indie rights, which was a whole different ballgame. But that's almost like self distribution.

Alex Ferrari 49:57
We're close. Yeah. And I'm Emma didn't even And Linda and Michael and they they're great. They're great. Yeah. And then they, you know, I got my first check. Oh, cool already. What you're after me though? No, no, but I got my first check from this is Meg. Okay, so yeah, so so they just picked that up and that release first before on the corner of ego did it is not a lot, but I got something

Anderson Cowan 50:23
You got something? Yeah, cuz I heard you talking with the original guide to the disturber guy years ago. And he was talking about how why he did why he created distributors because he Yeah, he had produced 10 movies and he never saw a dime for any of them. And that was his that was his bottom. I guess that was his catalyst to actually go out and create a new model is a way for filmmakers to not have to deal with that. And it's kind of ironic now that here we sit with the last time I was supposed to the first time I was supposed to do your show. That was the day that disturber blew up. And then the second time we rescheduled it. That was the day that Tom Hanks got Coronavirus. So I'm glad that here we are finally recording no pandemics and no major like scandals in Hollywood to

Alex Ferrari 51:04
No as we call last time I'm like, dude, we can record this but man like, I'm my mind's not the world. The world is coming to an end right now we don't know what's going on. Probably not the best time to do this interview. And

Anderson Cowan 51:16
It was literally the day that they cancelled NBA or suspended NBA actually, the day that it became real, right. Alright, um, before I forget, let me let me give a little piece of advice today too, because I know you have a lot of people who are like, like me right now or like, yeah, by the way, I was just, you know, and I don't want to scare people from 20 years of thinking that they're going to be discovered or thinking that it's going to happen just because you know, I got stories that tell I'm a smart guy, I'm gonna be able to I'm gonna change the world. You know what, because that doesn't work. And part of the reason why I was so gun shy, is because I got an appreciation for Stanley Kubrick once again to go back to him at a young age, an unhealthy obsession with his movies, his method, reading books on him obsessing about Stanley Kubrick, and then you get in your head and there's no way you're gonna make anything that looks like Stanley Kubrick. So I was exceptionally intimidated. Now, a lot of the filmmakers that I love, like they grew up watching like Roger Corman movies, or you know, like john Carpenter movies, attainable movies, movies that you and your friends could go make in the backyard with some fun effects. I wish I wish that I had gone on my path, I would have made my first movie probably 10 years earlier. You know,

Alex Ferrari 52:25
That's as that's the same thing for me. Like I didn't make my first feature, even though I had the skill set, probably a decade earlier. But I didn't do it purely because I was up my own ass. I just like I need my first movies got to be Reservoir Dogs. It's got to be mariachi. It's got to be something that comes out and explodes. And I put so much pressure on it that it was just no way it could ever live up to it. So it was just excuses because I was scared. And then I was just the bottom one. It was just excuses for I need 5 million. I need 5 million. I can't work without 5 million. You know, I have to have that. And like that kind of stuff. It's Yeah, it's it's childish. It really is child. Yeah. And I went to the complete opposite. And I'm like, you know what, five grand, screw it. Boom.

Anderson Cowan 53:10
Yeah. Yeah. And I made this for this paltry amount of money. And like, I'm in awe of what you did with the amount of money you had. I mean, that's way more impressive than if you made you know, some shoot them up. $5 million movie, whatever. I've seen that before. You know what I mean?

Alex Ferrari 53:25
Yeah, and you know what the thing is, man, I know, I know, a lot of people in the industry who, you know, we're working directors, and, and their, you know, their employees. And, you know, they're very well paid employees, but their employees, so when the boss doesn't have work for you, you're done. And that's a very weird place to be. And I've always, I've always been, I've been fired from both jobs I've ever had in this industry, as a staffer, very proud of my firings. And I've always been self self employed at running my own company, because I always wanted my fate to be in my own hands in one way, shape, or form. And that's the whole method of the film shoprunner is to control as much of the revenue control the system as much as humanly possible, because I feel it's less just in sane to spend $100,000 or 200,000 or half a million dollars and just magically trust somebody here. I expect to check in six months. That is such a scary thing. That's not a good business sense. It's not a good business in general. So that's what I've been trying to preach for as long as possible.

Anderson Cowan 54:41
And nobody's ever said that like independent film is a smart it's a it's a it's a business that kind of came out of necessity because the studio's you know, they were in control of everything. And there was a bunch of people like you and I and other filmmakers going and I got something to say I like to make one of those pictures, right. So We had to kind of do it on our own over here. And then here come the Sharks like, Oh, you want to do it on your own? Okay, we'll sign right here. We'll help you.

Alex Ferrari 55:08
It'll be it'll be fine. I promise you Everything will be fine. Now, you also went down the festival circuit with this film a little bit. Is there anything? Yeah, done differently?

Anderson Cowan 55:17
Anything that I would have done differently? Yes, I would have cut my movie so that it was less than 90 minutes. I think that's another very important thing. If you're a first time filmmaker, and you're trying to get on the festival circuit, they love the shorter movies, they love movies that are like 7588 minutes. My movies a little fat for an independent movie. It's 109 minutes, hour and 49 minutes. And I think that that that was probably a problem we ended up premiering at cinequest. Which was really, really Yeah. You know, top 10 festival right in the US. So I was happy with, with with where we premiered. And thank God we both got our movies in before all this I feel so bad for people who live. And then you get in your dreams are coming true. And then this happens. Like I can't believe because usually that happens to me, Alex, I can't believe that I dodged this bullet somehow. But yeah, so I went down the festival circuit. And that's fun. I mean, you really got to if you've not done this before, know that you have to be prepared to just be rejected all the time. And you never know when it's gonna happen like, and it hurts as much as being dumped by a girlfriend. If you if you have your dream of, you know, getting into Sundance or south by and you never know where you're going to be when that email comes in. So you'll be sitting, in my case, a lot of time maybe out to eat with my wife and my, you know, one year old son at the time, I'm having a great time. And then I get a little email notification. I look. Oh, my heart

Alex Ferrari 56:36
We regret to inform you. We regret to inform you. It's not you. It's not you. It's us.

Anderson Cowan 56:42
Yeah, especially if there were so many good ones this year. Yeah, it's the same form letter and then I get really angry. I think slam dances had like a bunch of typos which I was furious. Like you didn't even bother to reread your rejection letter. And there's a great documentary called official rejection, which I yeah, recommend people watch before actually going down that road. Because if you're sensitive, I'm a sensitive little guy. I really am. I hate rejection more than most people probably do. And it would just, you know, ruin your day. I can't know for rest of your day and you never know what. And then I was getting rejection letters from festivals I'd forgotten that I even submitted to write which is Houston. International Film Festival, they sent me a letter to my boy, I went up to my my mailbox and there's a letter in there from the Houston. I'm thinking, oh my god, they sent a letter. This is awesome. We regret to inform you. And then a week later, they sent another one with the same exact letter, they doubled me up for whatever. And so I got two rejections from those guys. But you just have to be prepared for lots of nose just non stop. Nope, we are not interested.

Alex Ferrari 57:41
Well, I'll tell you what the Where do you think, you know, where do you think the festivals are gonna go now, man? Because they are not, you know, people are? If you think it's rough getting to go see the Avengers into theater. These smaller festivals, man, I don't think they're going to be able to survive moving forward, especially this year.

Anderson Cowan 58:00
Nice. cleansings Yeah, I mean, there's more festivals and there aren't new movies. There really are right?

Alex Ferrari 58:06
Yeah, no, no, there is I think there might be a gluttony of festivals, but But in general, build up the importance of these bigger festivals. It mean before it was everything you know, and if you got into Sundance or slam dance, it really did mean a whole lot. And don't get me wrong, it still does. But it doesn't guarantee anything at all, at all. So now all of a sudden, we're in a world where south by got cancelled and Tribeca will be canceled and Cannes will be cancelled. And I promise you, Sundance will probably be canceled next year as well, it probably won't go on. Because I think we're gonna be out of this by January, not to the point where they're gonna win, they're gonna come up with some way that right digitally that there has to be some

Anderson Cowan 58:51
Digital screenings and that kind of thing to have the best year. But there's only that

Alex Ferrari 58:56
But that's only two that's only to those top 10 fasts. Like how about the rest of the 1000s that don't have that kind of cachet? And don't have that kind of email list or following? You know, people will log into Sundance, will they log into, you know, a smaller festival, Lena regional like I always said the Moose Jaw, International Film Festival, which doesn't exist, you know, so well, they sign up for the moose jaws Film Festival somewhere in Ottawa. You know, like, it's that. I'm not sure if it doesn't exist? I hope not. I hope I hope it does. If it does, I apologize.

Anderson Cowan 59:30
For the poll to see. I think there's 2500 to 3500 film festivals around the world.

Alex Ferrari 59:35
And that's about five to 6000. It's about five to six from festival. Okay, so maybe it's gone up that much since I was in the festival circuit two years ago. I don't know yet. The numbers that I've seen it was it's around five to 6000 worldwide, including online festivals and all these other kinds of things as well.

Anderson Cowan 59:52
I honestly as much as I love movies, and I think that I've made that pretty clear with you in the audience, just talking to you about my old man ways. You know, theater or die, which I truly believe in. I've never seen the lure of festivals. Honestly, I don't really understand why people like festivals, I get how they help filmmakers. And as a filmmaker, I understand their value. But essentially, they're like screening companies, right? They just screen a bunch of crap to try and elevate the best one so that you know, nobody who else you get to that strainer almost.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:24
It's if i if i may steal a quote from Jonathan Wolfe, the director of AFM. It's a call. It's a cultural event. It is it is a way for film lovers. They get together and see art. It's all it is. It's never was meant to be business. It turned into that, especially at these bigger festivals. But it also makes no sense because you're giving over of your property you're giving over your product. They're selling tickets to show your movie, and they keep 100% of the money. It's like college. It's like college athletes. Like it's amateurism. Yeah, exactly. So, you know, if it wasn't for the filmmakers in the film, Sundance can't make any money at a festival. So it's a weird in the only thing you trade off with that is awards, maybe sometimes cash rewards, maybe some attention, maybe something that can lead to distribution or something that can, you know, help you monetarily later, or get an agent

Anderson Cowan 1:01:24
It's like a trophy to co walk around and be like, Look, I got a little trophy. And they said that my movies better than you know, 95% of the movies that they they got slung their way. And it's it's a cog in the wheel. I think that we could survive without festivals. I, from what I've seen the festivals in my 20 years of looking at festivals I I've been to like three I went to TIFF a few years ago. Yeah. And I just I don't like watching four or five movies in one day. I don't think you're being fair to the movies, when you watch four or five movies in one day. I I'm not a big fan of the festivals, I understand their purpose, but I think that we'd be okay with maybe 20 festivals total, you know, get rid

Alex Ferrari 1:02:00
It's It's It's gonna be interesting how this all shakes out, man, it's gonna be a very interesting time. And let me ask you one last question, what is the biggest lesson you learned from this entire process of making that your first feature?

Anderson Cowan 1:02:13
The business side is actually fun. So it's not it's I was, you know, I already talked about it a little bit with you. But I guess the punk rock side of me growing up in you know, anti establishment, I'm like, you know, if that I can learn anything about the business side of it. I actually really liked the business side of things. And there is a lot of ways to continue to what the few and funeral establishment and you can actually do so more effectively if you understand the business side of things. So I wish that I had not been so anti essentially afraid of the business side of things for as long as I was.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:47
Now what advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business? Not specifically today, but in this general time?

Anderson Cowan 1:02:55
Now withstanding, ah, just start shooting Joe. And now you don't have an excuse. I had an excuse. Because when I first started wanting to make movies, the digital was awful. It looked like oh, terrible. And my excuse was, I can't afford film, which I couldn't now you can do it on your iPhone and you can if you don't believe me watch tangerines. It's fantastic tangerine or tangerines I've seen tangerine tangerine. Greens is the foreign film about the two opposing war combatants that get harmed on the tangerine farmers property and then he mends them both back to the ally they get better in his house and then they started fighting in this house. It was really good tangerines, but tangerine is what I'm talking about. With Shaun Baker. Yeah, it just get your friends together, have fun with it and see if it's for you. A lot of people I think they think they want to direct and then when they give it a shot, they're awful at it or or it's too scary or too intimidating, or they just can't keep their mind straight. So figure out if it's for you. Earlier, the better.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:54
What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Anderson Cowan 1:04:00
Oh man, this is it seems like they're all the same answer. and not being afraid of the business side of things. Okay, really pure artists. They die poor, broken and lonely and alone.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:13
And they cut their ear off. And then foreign movies are made about them 100 years later. What are they and what are three of your favorite films of all time?

Anderson Cowan 1:04:25
Oh, that's easy, because I do that for for my main my main. My main mode of making money is talking movies and lists and stuff. So Clockwork Orange number one. I have a top five shirt chain, fly by Harold and Maude. Midnight Cowboy, Goodfellas and platoon platoon is the first movie that I saw, you know upwards of over a dozen times in the theater and that was the first time that I really connected with a movie to extremes.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:56
Alright, so then I'll give you top three Kubrick films of all Since you're such a Kubrick buff like I am

Anderson Cowan 1:05:03
Son of a bitch, that also changes month to month. But it's a clockwork orange is number one and then I'm probably going to 2001 depending on my mood and then the killing, the killing

Alex Ferrari 1:05:18
killing the killing is the killing is amazing.

Anderson Cowan 1:05:20
Back to my movie groupers it's kind of I was definitely inspired as far as story structure with the killing where you're seeing different different things happen in different times. And everyone's like, oh, Pulp Fiction, and so it seems like Pulp Fiction like Tarantino, like I stole from the same guy that Tarantino was stealing from that's what you're saying?

Alex Ferrari 1:05:37
Well, I will, I will have to say inspired by Sir. What I will say my favorite Kubrick people always shocked by this but it's Eyes Wide Shut.

Anderson Cowan 1:05:47
Eyes. I don't know. That's so funny. I was first in line. Okay, I'll be honest second in line at the Chinese theatre opening day. To see eyes wide shot, I saw it. I had no idea if I was enjoying myself. or four times since I still don't know if I even liked it.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:05
So I just like, so the thing that I shot, because now everyone was listening to me knows that I'm a huge Kubrick fan. And I've, I've I've gone down that well, too deep. Sometimes I've lost in there. But the reason why I love AI as much as I did the exact same thing in 1999. I was the first I was first to go see it. I want to go see it. I walk out. And my friends and I are like, Did you like it? I'm like, I don't know. But I'll probably but I'll probably understand it in 10 years. Because that's what happens with all of his films, like when you see them that you're like where I didn't get it. And then like 10 years later, like, Oh my god, this is an amazing film. And that's what happened with as much as 10 years later, I saw it I was like, this is really good. And then I saw it after I got married. And that that's a whole other level to not that I'm in a sex called thing but but I get right I understand what he was trying to say about love and about relationships and about these two fighting forces between a husband and what I get all of it. And even then I'm still probably missing a whole bunch of it. There's something there. There's still something extremely dreamlike. Every time I watched the movie, I feel like I'm in a dream. And he does that purposefully. He shot it purposefully to make you feel like it's a dream. There's like if you analyze the streets, like where Tom Cruise is walking, it doesn't make sense. Like it's New York, but it really isn't New York because it was shot in London. So like, you know that it's not New York, and it's not really supposed to. There's no street ever in New York that look like that. So there's that whole that whole vibe and stuff. So it's such a unique film inside of his inside of his filmography, but they're all unique. I watched Clockwork Orange, like a year ago, and I'm like, How did this get made back then? Like how? Like, I couldn't get me now. There's no possible way that movie came out in the studio system. But back then, like in the first 25 minutes, the stuff that he got away with was well,

Anderson Cowan 1:08:08
Yeah, he had like Mind blown already left studio system, right. Like because of his experience with smart it's like he's like, I'm never gonna work for you guys. Again, I'm going off and doing my own thing. And I'm bailing. I'm actually going to a different country.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:19
But he was still but he was still working in the studio system. These are all Warner brother films, and other films, but he was like, outside. Okay, open open textbook. Yeah, Correct. Correct. Yeah, it's insane.

Anderson Cowan 1:08:32
Lolita was even more punk rock at the time. I mean, making Lolita was just like, he was a button pusher and and i don't think he gets credit for being the button pusher that he was. And that's what he was. He's, you know, genius filmmaker, but the subjects that he that he tackled, the fact that he gets you to root for a rapist is just unbelievable, right?How is that possible?

Alex Ferrari 1:08:53
Like I again, I'm watching it, and I'm like, it was made in the 70s. And you watch the first 30 minutes of Clockwork Orange, and you're like, that's extreme for today. Like if you put that on the screen today, it people will be like, what like,

Anderson Cowan 1:09:08
Here's the fun fact Alex, A Clockwork Orange and Harold and Maude came out the same weekend. The greatest films ever made to me, came out the same weekend and there's so different but they're, they're both you know of the of their time for sure. Have you ever seen room 237? Please tell me you've seen that.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:28
I've seen 237 Yeah, I've got I've seen any, any documentary on Kubrick I've probably watched. I've seen all the British ones. I've seen boxes. I've seen all of it. I've seen all of me. I'm such a Kubrick fanatic. It's it's not even funny. Like I hate routine because he speaks ill of Stanley Kubrick so I do I dislike Matthew Modine, I'm going crazy with it. I get a little crazy with it. Yeah, I got you know, where can people find you and what your shows and also the movie?

Anderson Cowan 1:09:57
On my website, which I'm in the middle of updating right now. It's very, very early 2000 10s. But that's Anderson Cowan calm and the movies available on tubi. And Amazon is on TV for a VOD. And on on Amazon and iTunes. It's called groupers. And it's it's a movie that I made with the idea of kind of mixing things up having a hook. And, you know, having something to say to and I wanted to be memorable, and I'm hoping that, you know, anyone who sees his movie will want to see what else I can do what I can make next. So that's the idea of groupers. And it's the kind of movie where you see it. Yeah, you immediately want to start talking about what you just saw. And and and what it really meant, or what you were trying to figure out. Or if you know, this kind of movie, you need to talk to people about accuracy. That's what I set out to do. Very cool groupersthemovie.com is a good place to go.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:46
Anderson man, thank you for time. I know we could talk for at least another three or four hours, but I appreciate it. I appreciate your time. And thank you for coming on and sharing your experience in this weird and wacky world that we call the film industry, man. So thanks again, brother.

Anderson Cowan 1:11:00
Buddy good to see you!

Alex Ferrari 1:11:02
I want to thank Anderson for coming on the show and being so raw about his experiences and misadventures in the film business. Thank you so much Anderson. If you want to get links to anything we spoke about in this episode including how to watch his film groupers head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/409. And if you haven't already please headover to filmmakingpodcast.com and leave a good review for the show it does truely help us out a lot and helps get this information to more and more film makers around the world. Thank you again for listening guys. As always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive! Stay safe out there and I'll talk to you soon.



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