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IFH 615: The Unfiltered History of Film Distribution with AFM Co-Founder Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan started his career working in the TV industry for Sir Lew Grade’s UK company, ITC. In 1978 he formed J&M Entertainment with a colleague, a distribution sales agent for independent films. As J&M grew, it developed its business model to also take responsibility for financing new films & providing production finance.

In 1980 Ryan and J&M were founder members of the American Film Marketing Association (AFMA) – later to be renamed Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) – which was formed to provide an annual film market based in Los Angeles. Michael served two terms as Chairman of IFTA (2004-2008) and another three terms from 2015-2021.

In 2000, Ryan partnered with Guy Collins. Between them they have financed, sold and produced over 200 films, including The Wild Geese, The English Patient, The General, Whats Eating Gilbert Grape, The Osterman Weekend, the Highlander series, Planet 51 and more recently, at GFM Films with Fred Hedman, Toei Animations Harlock, Absolutely Anything starring Simon Pegg and Simon West-directed action thriller Stratton starring Dominic Cooper. On July 15, 2022, GFM’s Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, an independently financed and produced animated feature is based on Mel Brooks iconic Blazing Saddles that launched as a project by GFM Films at AFM in 2014, was released across 4,500 U.S. screens by Paramount.

Please enjoy my conversation with Michael Ryan.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Michael Ryan 0:00
There was a top 20 or 30 that anybody would kill to get hold of. So you know it, it will all have that huge Gold Rush formed the quality. And those guys benefited from it. I did too.

Alex Ferrari 0:14
This episode is brought to you by the Best Selling Book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur, How to turn your independent film into a money making business. Learn more at filmbizbook.com. I'd like to welcome to the show Michael Ryan, how you doing, Michael?

Michael Ryan 0:28
I'm good. Thank you. Yeah, very good.

Alex Ferrari 0:31
Thank you so much for coming on the show. I'm excited to talk to you. You've lived a very interesting life in our business. You've done a bunch of different things. And and my very first question is How and why did you want to get into this business? How did you get into this? This insanity? That is the film industry?

Michael Ryan 0:48
Yeah. That's a very good question. I, I started working for a guy called Colonel David Stirling, who was the man who founded the SHS in the Second World War. So all of that stuff, I didn't have anything to do with that was just working as a little Junior making sales of TV programs and blah, blah, blah. Unbeknown to me, he had all sorts of places in hotspots around the world, which were all based in television stations. So basically, he was supplying private armies. So it was all quite interesting. I didn't I didn't join for that. I just joined because I liked the idea of being in television and radio. And then it kind of went from there. And somebody offered me a job I worked for Lord then served all great, who was a wonderful man and taught me a lot of what I get gathered for my knowledge. And I just loved it. And I went for it. He went from there into making movies and some really big movies. And I got the opportunity to travel the world and you know, do the Cannes Film Festival and all of that stuff, which which, which I loved, I have to say, as you said earlier, it was the golden age of independent film. And some of those independent filmmakers became the big major filmmakers that we have today. And I kind of got into it almost almost by accident, but knowing that I wanted to be in something where I had contact with people around the world and travel and all of that. So it kind of worked out that way. And then that that led to producing and financing movies, that cetera, which is basically the whole of my career, I suppose.

Alex Ferrari 2:30
So you were so when you're talking about the golden age of independent film, you're talking about the 70s 80s. And that kind of world?

Michael Ryan 2:38
Yeah, I mean, there was this period was there was this glorious period, where what if you want to see a film out of the cinema, but that soon became video, the invention of the VCR. And at that point, all of us guys that were packaging and making and selling TV programs and films, realized that there was a secondary and third and fourth value to these things. And that's when it became obvious that you could do anything because the money was enormous in those days. It was a brand new brand new invention and people that big video companies were competing like crazy, much, much bigger hunting area than than what we have today with VOD. And so you our value was in library, the value is in production and sales. And can at that point was just a money making machine. It was ridiculous.

Alex Ferrari 3:39
No, but I have a little bit of experience of the 80s in the sense of the distribution space because I worked in a video store. So I saw the product moving in, I saw what kind of movies were being made to my understanding at the beginning of the VHS revolution, just kind of like streaming as well, and kind of like DVD and everything else. The main major studios stayed away. They were very kind of they were kind of like, oh, no, I don't want to just do it. No, I can't do that. And because of that, it allowed companies like New World trauma, the full moon these kinds of be and of course can and these kinds of be movies, companies to come out and just own the VHS home video market. I mean, Canon was built. I mean, he was making I'm God. Those guys were making scene amounts of money with Ninja ninja movies, for God's sakes.

Michael Ryan 4:33
It would there were those days where it literally in those days, the cannon boys you could literally put a poster on a wall with nothing else. A couple of names a title, literally a poster, and you probably make enough sales during the Cannes Film Festival in less than two weeks to finance the movie. So you sold it on a poster. You ended up with a film

Alex Ferrari 4:57
From what I understood talking to some of those boys who worked with with cannon. During those days, like sometimes they would just put the name of the actors up. And they didn't have the actor.

Michael Ryan 5:11
Oh, no, that was the last thing they did. I mean, it really was cowboy time. But bless them, you know, they, they, they spawned a huge industry, they kept variety screen International, those industry magazines going, you know, you'd have a special issue, which would be 250 pages, and about 180 pages, that was canon advertising, each page, a different movie, most of them not made, probably most of them never got made. But it was a it was an extraordinary time. And out of all of that somehow came some really quality movies that were totally independently financed and would never have got made in a major company, which in those days, was the only way to make a movie. So you're right. They did stay away from it. So consequently, it became Gunfight at the OK Corral. You know, everybody was at it. Mario Kasara, Andy Vanja, making first blood, which made them into multimillionaires in one swoop. With Stallone. I mean, just extraordinary time.

Alex Ferrari 6:17
Yeah, he did. They did Terminator two in the early 90s, as well. And Total Recall, the caracal boys and Mario that yeah, it was it was it was it was really the wild wild west. And of course, we can't speak about the 80s without a Ryan. I mean, they they were pumping out Oscar winning movies. And Robocop

Michael Ryan 6:37
I, we were doing a movie with called the hotel in New Hampshire, which is based on Jones book. And I went had to go to New York to meet Arthur Krim, who was old there. And he wanted the movie for North America. And I sat in a big boardroom, it was what it was, you know, I was a kid. And we were doing that. And he said, you know, have you got all these people you say you've got? And I said yes, I'm crossing my fingers under the table? And he said, Well, if you have, then I'm happy to go into business with you. And I said, Yes, we have. And he said, if you've got a moment, and we walked outside into the corridor instead young man, you're either very brave or very stupid. I hope it's the format.

Alex Ferrari 7:28
And that comment, I have to say, is exactly what the film industry is all about. If you're like a you're either very brave, or very stupid, yeah, to get into this business.

Michael Ryan 7:40
And sometimes you do those two in concert with one another, it works both ways. I sometimes still wonder whether Arthur Krim was right.

Alex Ferrari 7:49
So so so I always, always tell filmmakers about the 80s. Because I mean, I was a young man when the 80s. But it was just so much money flowing around in the 80s. And then in the 90s, when DVD showed up, that exploded in a way that it's hard to comprehend. Today as a filmmaker and independent filmmaker, how much money and how easy it was to make money using those formats internationally. And I always used to tell people, because I remember seeing these movies come into the video store in the 80s and early 90s. And literally in the 80s. And please correct me if I'm wrong. If you finished a film just finished it on 35. Yeah, it got a release of some sort, you made some sort of money with it?

Michael Ryan 8:40
Well, there was there was a plethora of, you know, they were video video based or DVD based companies. That's the way they finance themselves. And there were hundreds and hundreds of them. So you could always get a domestic release, you can always get a release in the major countries around the world. And those were the guys who eventually became so good at it. I mean, if they if they weren't very good at it, they went back to selling secondhand cars, which is what they did in the first place. Which is true. And because of that, because of the opportunity, there was some there was some really good companies structured during that period. And it was your right I mean, I, I suppose the reason I sold my company successfully, originally the original company was because we had a very big library, we're making some quite quality movies. And people were falling over themselves. You know, I'd, in the days before cellphones, we have screenings in can of whatever we're screening and people would literally leave the screening early and sprint down the closet to the carton hotel to try and get there before their competitor was ridiculous like the Gold Rush really was extraordinary time. Yeah, it was. We were very lucky to live through it and what I suppose To establish ourselves with it. And it really did work very well. We were, it was a it was a wonderful period. And it did spawn some really good companies, and some really original filmmakers. And you know, you, we all know if you've got a big playing field, there should be a good team coming out of it if you've got picking a few players. And it did, and it worked very well.

Alex Ferrari 10:24
Now, in the 90s, as we come up, I'm kind of going going through the history of from the basically the early 80s. To to where we are today. But in the 90s, there was this movement that happened that wasn't around in the 80s, which was in a big way, which was the the true independent filmmaking movement, which was more the Sundance movement that the Richard Linklater is the clerks, the Robert Rodriguez is of the world those kind of, you know, Spike Lee, those kinds of filmmakers that came out during that time. When I was talking to him, forgive me for dropping a name. When I was talking to Rick Linklater on the show, he was one of the first to come out the gate and the nice thing was 90 or 91. One slacker showed up. Yeah. And he said, when we released it, there was all of a sudden, a business infrastructure to support this kind of filmmaking, which was the VHS, world video store world, they needed product. Because it was there. I know, it's hard to believe now there's we are in a sea of product now. Because it was so cheap to make movies. Now, back then I still I tell people like I used to watch every week, what came out. But like I could literally watch all the releases of the week, which was maybe 345. It was a crazy week. And I would be able to watch every movie that got released in the United States, which was that money. So there was a lack of of that. So there was this infrastructure for that moment. And independent film, how did the markets work with these kinds of films, because they didn't, they weren't genre, some were. But you know, like the John Pearson's of the world, and obviously the Weinstein's and what they were doing. How did the markets work with with this new movement, the 90s kind of Sundance independent movement,

Michael Ryan 12:10
I think it was almost a reaction against the sort of rather crass approach to filmmaking.

Alex Ferrari 12:18
I mean, the Canon boys, the Canon boys, exactly.

Michael Ryan 12:21
And there was that kind of cheapness to it and shabbiness to it. And they were just making films that, as I say, just stick a title on the wall and you make it, there was no real content. And then people I mean, you know, we all talk about Harvey in in derogatory ways, but there was the positive side to him, and the Weinstein Company that Miramax before then, and they began to concentrate on quality, because they realized there was sustainable market out there for more small movies, because very little money with one or two actors, quality actors who weren't necessarily big marquee stars, and it became a business and it really was a business. And those people were able to make movies at a price. And they were sustainable movies that proper proper film buffs, like yourself in those days, would be able to go and see and, and enjoy. Um, so I think it I think it also spawned that it spawned Sundance, you know, I went to the first Sundance, I led to his, you know, place there in the center. Yeah, I did all of that stuff. And that that was spawned by all of all of those days, of course, Sundance concentrated on the quality and the uniqueness and the quirkiness, but it was all there to see. So, as I said earlier, you make enough movies, and some of them are going to be little nuggets. And that's how I started and people like Rodriguez and all of those guys, too, you know, and they all they all came out of that that pool, and establish themselves as a sort of shining example of how to do it, rather than do it in a crass way. And I think, really, it's established what we have today, which is a huge gulf between the big, massive movies that Marvel movies and things like that, that the tentpole movies that the majors make and some other companies, and that the Gulf in the middle is enormous and that that was created in those days, I think by all of the schlock that was being made. And then those little diamonds that came out of it, which people like Harvey Weinstein and others, Bob Shea, people kind of recognize that hang on, there's a bit quality here, this isn't going to disappear down that down the the DVD drain, we can make money out of this and it's sustainable, and it will carry on, and then it becomes worthwhile on the shelf of your company if it's part of your library. And in a way, that's what we did at my company and we had got three or 400 movies, but there was a there was a top 20 or 30 that anybody would kill to get ahold of. So you know it. It All of that huge Gold Rush formed the quality. And those guys benefited from it. I did too.

Alex Ferrari 15:09
Yeah. And then and then they'll and then also the opening of the international market, which was bringing over international films and I know the Weinstein's and Miramax did a fantastic job of feel bringing in like a life is beautiful and, and a lot of these directors that we really never heard of in the States and in the west and spotlighting them and spotlighting them in a way that that didn't exist before.

Michael Ryan 15:32
That's right. I mean, you have, you know, dresses like Chevrolet,

Alex Ferrari 15:35
Chris Losky

Michael Ryan 15:37
I guess last year, I mean, that the international marketplace opened up, and people realize it wasn't just to sell American independent movies, it was actually it was actually spurring those people in those France, Germany, wherever they were actually spurring them on to make more internationally acceptable movies, even though they were local stories. And I think that helps enormously the the marketplace that can the AFM the Venice, Toronto, all benefited by that. And you had this huge conglomerate of people turning up desperate to buy rights. And that became a market and that became a proper business. So film markets became not just as a cheap Film Festival, it became a proper sustainable business. And I think that's why the AFM was formed 40 years ago, but it was formed by all of the professionals in the movie industry thinking, we can't just rely on Cannes, and, and and Berlin and Venice, we've got to create something ourselves. And it was that then that made it work. And still does, you know, they all of those people, it's still a traveling circus, and they go to 345. Everyone, it really is a circuit for three, four or five of those events a year. And it still surprises me actually, in the days of doing things like this, that it still works, you know, I I mean, one particular person that likes human contact, and I think I can do a deal, or make a CO production far better if I'm sitting down opposite somebody than I can on a on a on a camera and a screen. And that still works, I think and that human equality, let's face it, we make films so that we can entertain as many people as possible. So in order to do that, you've got to have a team.

Alex Ferrari 17:30
So you and you were one of the cofounders of AFM. If I'm not mistaken.

Michael Ryan 17:33
I was indeed Yeah, we yeah, there were there. There are a few there are very few left. And it was just literally we realized that at a certain point in the year, which then happened to be February, March, we were thinking there's nothing there in the calendar was a big hole, we can make use of this. And there are about 10 or 15 of us that got together and we put up I think it was 25 $30,000 Each, which in those days was actually quite a lot of money. You got really, that's a lot of money. How do I do that? Anyway, we did it. A lot of us did it, a handful of us did it that created our founder enough money to make it work. And it worked very well. It's, you know, will it will it survive and prosper as it has done with the pandemic in the middle? I don't know. I mean, you know, people have discovered this, and they can use this as a tool very effectively. But I think people will still turn up to do what they do there.

Alex Ferrari 18:34
It's kind of like what happened with the film festivals like yeah, you can watch a movie on your screen. But there's a thing about a film festival that is, is it's very difficult to replicate on in a virtual world, at least at least until my generation dies off. Maybe the generations behind me won't won't understand it. But

Michael Ryan 18:55
I don't know. I mean, I still you're right. I mean it is it is a generational thing. And I still certainly are my friends, kids. Some of them, some of them like you and I are still becoming film buffs. So maybe, maybe there's hope. But there's still that sort of collective sense of seeing something special in a special place. And whether that's your local communal,

Alex Ferrari 19:18
Communal, and a communal, communal experience.

Michael Ryan 19:20
And it works for a lot of movies, especially Thriller Horror, comedy, but that collective experience really works. So I don't think that will disappear. What might disappear is is film festivals in in certain places that aren't going to work. You've got to be very special to have a film festival. People want to travel 1000s of miles to and spend loads of money. But if you're a producer, it's by far the best way to look to launch a movie if you're launching it to launch it to the world and press. That's one thing if you're launching it to sell it, that's a whole other exercise. But all of those things are possible at the right Festival at the right time. And if you get it right, you Got an I've done it hundreds of times you time it right? And that's in the love of the gods most of the time is not because you're so clever. It's Is it ready in time. And if it is ready in time, it's the right festival and you get the right reaction. Then it works and it still does work. And I think that will continue to work as a marketing tool. And it works the other way. I had a movie movie with Timothy Dalton and Valeria galena. It was a historical thing. And a very good director whose name now escapes me. And we got into Ken because it was a French co productions I think strangled, Geagea called to get in. And having voted no, we had a great screening. The I thought the movie played terribly. I was there. The following morning that in the press, the one of the reviewers very clever, he said, I thought it was strange in a strange point in the movie in the middle of the film, there was clapping until I realized that people were leaving the cinema with the sound of the seats doing that as they left. That was it. The film died that very morning, it died. And we there was no way back. So that's the gamble, isn't it? You know, it's a great opportunity. But if you get it wrong, Jesus, you're really screwed.

Alex Ferrari 21:24
And I think what you're saying is there's value in what you're saying in regards to festivals that are five, maybe 10. In the world that matter. Yeah, and the rest.

Michael Ryan 21:35
But what's happening now is, which is kind of encouraging, it kind of works alongside local production. And you know, Netflix, the streamers are getting involved in this, they're making films in, in in strange places where they want to launch their own service. So you're getting Portuguese language movies at the Berber Lucchino fast Oh, Film Festival. So that's that, that can work. And it can work in a in a, in a sales producer type way. And in that you identify if you make a small film, you get go to the right places within a 12 month period. And you can make sales and find distributors in each of those places. So as a kind of local exercise, it's still does work if you've got if you plan it properly, and you're lucky, it does work. And so I think that part of it will carry on, I think that's part of it and exercise MRTS size that that we can still use. And if you use it intelligently, it works.

Alex Ferrari 22:35
Now, I love to talk to you about the Netflix effect, because when streaming showed up, just like everything else that happens in our business, when VHS showed up, everyone's like that's a fad. When DVD shows up as a fad, when streaming showed up, they're like, Oh, this is never really going to take off. I mean, because if I remember logging into Netflix streaming, always horrible. Their movies were horrible. They had nothing there no licenses that nothing was it was atrocious. I'm like, How is this even going to go anywhere? I even did that? It was 2012 I think it was 2011 when it came out. But the impact is it I haven't seen an impact so massive on our industry. In a I mean, you could argue VHS was it was kind of like a VHS was an atomic bomb. Streaming was basically the new killer version of that 20 times Hiroshima kind of size seismic shift. And it has completely changed our business model. It is devalued the movie, because now before that, I always tell filmmakers this, I go look before our movies were worth 2499, then retail, then they were worth 399 for rental. And then when when t VOD showed up, okay, we still can get 999 and maybe 299. If your HD maybe 399. And there was still some value there. But now our movies, generally speaking, and we could talk about the details of it are worth less than a penny, per view. And before it used to be 399. So it's become almost unsustainable as a business in the independent world. Unless you go down bigger stars selling International, you have to become much better at your job where like we were talking in the 80s and 90s, a car salesman could come in and make a fortune and not really know anything about the business. Throw up a couple of ninjas, and we're ready to rock and yeah, it's just your thoughts.

Michael Ryan 24:39
I think you're right, I think but I think what the sort of secret ingredient if you like is is enormous public funding. Very clever people who have structured proper companies and that the car dealers and the VHS traders were as you said originally, you They were from nowhere. And in a way the majors shunned it because it wasn't a business that they understood or wanted to be in, it was rather tacky. Netflix and the others Amazon, whoever have made it into something massive, obviously. I mean, it is so huge. Nobody really understands it. I don't think I'm sure they do. But it's the money is utterly massive, it's mind boggling. And I think that's it, they've got a corporate structure that works. They've got banking and shareholders and investors that work. And it's become a BM off that, that it just carries on working. And I think it's kind of indestructible. It's very difficult, despite what they say, to sell a movie to Netflix. Because they, they, they want to own the world. And if you're doing what I do, which is CO production, etc, you you're you're putting together that jigsaw puzzle all the time. And there's a certain point in time when a Netflix comes in, it doesn't really work for them, because I'm gonna own the world and you say, Hang on, I've got France, Germany, Spain and Italy already in, I'm not going to kick them out because they're part of my structure. So it kind of doesn't work together. Occasionally we do big business with them on a North American deal or a U K deal or a part of Europe. And but generally it's very difficult to do that. And despite they're announcing that they're spending, you know, 25 30 billion on acquisitions, it's more, or buy that and will own it. And we'll take it off your hands guff, you know, and we'll maybe include you for a little share, which they don't. So that that, that'll carry on, I'm sure. And I'll keep making those movies, and some of them. Let's face it a bloody good. You know, we're at a time now where you're looking at the hide No,

Alex Ferrari 26:54
Stranger Stranger Things just that alone.

Michael Ryan 26:57
Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. I mean, look at what's that that's done to the world. What was that what it did for Kate Bush,

Alex Ferrari 27:02
I was about to say, Kate Bush, I'm like, who was Kate by like, I heard of her. But now my kids are like, oh, I need to hear Kate Bush. I'm like, what? The we're in the upside down. Michael, where's the upside?

Michael Ryan 27:15
It is I mean, she, she I used to like her way back. I thought she wrote great, great music. And now she can't believe it. She's like, I don't remember. I'm a bloody grandmother for Christ's sake.

Alex Ferrari 27:27
I'm the hottest song in the world.

Michael Ryan 27:31
And by the way, it's a bloody good song.

Alex Ferrari 27:33
I just listened to it almost every day. The kids haven't played

Michael Ryan 27:37
In the background yet. I think Netflix will carry on it will change it. And only the biggest will survive because we're at a point now. I mean, early days, I suppose. But right now where people's own home economies are really struggling when you see what's happening in the UK and where people can't afford to heat their bloody homes. So the last thing in the world they're going to do is to have more subscriptions to more streaming platforms. So it's going to slim down to one or two, or three. That's all it's going to be everybody's going to have Disney as they've proved. Yeah, probably everybody's going to have Amazon and Netflix, but I'm not sure. I'm not sure about the rest. The rest will be specialized. I guess there's always that room.

Alex Ferrari 28:24
Yeah, like, I mean, HBO Max, now they bought the brand, and they're gonna combine it with Disney Channel and that discovery channel. So that's going to be a much bigger beast. Maybe like HBO might be in that mix. But everyone has prime. I mean, subprime is already there. Netflix is like Netflix. Netflix is Netflix. And you're right, Disney plus came out like a like a juggernaut. And if you have kids, disney plus is I mean, if you want Marvel, if you'd like Marvel, Star Wars, any of those other ways.

Michael Ryan 28:56
Like, imagine, if you said to your kids, you know, okay, I can't afford to go out and buy dinner. So it's either dinner, or Disney plus they

Alex Ferrari 29:07
Disney Disney plus now there's no question.

Michael Ryan 29:11
It's kind of sad, but I get it. I think that will carry on. But it's going to be interesting how I mean, we've seen how many people Netflix are laying off. You know, so if there is going to be a slimming down, I don't know how that works or how they then trim their production acquisitions budgets, or maybe they boost them? I don't know. I mean, it's my way of thinking if we are making a movie, and we're financing it, and they can buy the rights. That's a hell of a lot cheaper for them than spending they, you know, I find make a movie for 25 They're making a movie for 55. And that's just the way it is with the overhead they've got. So it makes sense to me that to carry on acquiring, I suppose I would say that, wouldn't I but it still does make business sense to me. And we still do do it. He's just that you can't rely on that. So what you can rely on is selling a few major territories with the talent, you've got the director, you've got the scripts, you've got whatever, it's always a story. And then at that point, you have the basis to go to a financier or bank and say, here's the collateral, we want to borrow a gap from you. here's the, here's the way we do it. Here's the jigsaw puzzle, that's still possible, thank God. And that's how most of the independent movies get made now. So that'll carry on, but I don't, I don't know which way we go. We, we still, why even today, we were talking to Netflix about a movie that they've just bought from us. And about, about changes in cost and all of that. So they're a good partner to have, let's face it, they got deep pockets. But it's very difficult. At the end of the day, I suppose what I've always lectured to people. And what I've always the thing I've drilled, tried to drill into people is it's all about quality, it's about the story. And if you make a good film, you make a good story, people are going to come and see it, aren't they? So I think I don't think that'll ever change. I think that this financing financing structures will change. And, you know, banks come in and out of the movie industry, like they go in and out of a supermarket. It's it's a strange business being a bank or a financial entity within the film industry, because you have to be you have to be a real expert. I mean, you know, I've, I've worked with banks, who, when they, when I've either sold my company, or they're out of the business, that you look at the bottom line that they've made, it's huge. And that's my movies. You know, they've made much more than me, but in a way they deserved it, because they've been financing it. So it still works. I mean, there are banks that are still wanting to be in it. Thank God.

Alex Ferrari 31:53
Well, let me ask you this, so and the elephant in the room in regards to what we're talking about, which is distribution in general. And I've talked heavily about, you know, distribution and protecting yourself from bad deals and all that stuff. I'm assuming in your day, you might have signed a bad deal here or there. You might have been taken advantage of I'm just guessing along your journey as a film producer and financier. So what I just love to ask you because you have this history in the business. And you know, you were there at the beginning of AFM and everything. The concept of Hollywood accounting, which is been talked about forever. And as before AFM I mean, they were doing Hollywood accounting back in the 30s. I think the second Chaplin showed up, they were doing

Michael Ryan 32:44
Off Charlie Chaplin,

Alex Ferrari 32:46
Right! Yes, why they started United Artists. That's why they started United Artists, because they got they got. So in your opinion, I mean, you're at a different level, you're dealing with, you're on a professional level, at a higher level you you have the context of different territories, you can sell and get paid. But for independent producers coming up in today's world, how are they expected to build a business that is sustainable, if they're constantly being taken advantage of, or just opportunities aren't as, as relevant as or open as they used to be?

Michael Ryan 33:17
It's very tough. I mean, reputation is one thing. Because if you're supplying product, and somebody tries to screw you, that you're not going to go back to that person, so that that's but that you have to build that that's a reputation you have to build. There's belonging to IFTA, which is the organization that organizes the American Film Market, they have a structure where they'll go out for you, and write letters to people and say, you don't do this, you're not going to be go, you'll be barred from the next American film, market, whatever, there are certain procedures that you can make. i It's very difficult, they're there. If you go through a bank, to finance your movie, they'll have a certain amount of power to because they will be borrowing against the contract that you've made with this particular person. I think it's all about background and knowledge, it research. It's very important to know who you're doing, who you're doing business with, and how they're doing. You know, if they're doing badly, are you going to go in and do a million dollar deal with them, because they're probably not going to pay you. So you've got it's all about knowledge and knowledge is that is the thing that takes you through the bad times. And I think it I think that really matters a lot. At the end of the day, if you're a little independent and you go out and making a film, you know nothing about anything and you don't use a sales agent, who then will do that job for you. It's really, really difficult. You might have some sound interference because there's a huge rainstorm going on there. Fair enough.

Alex Ferrari 34:50
No one here in England. I expect that sir.

Michael Ryan 34:52
Went from Sunday afternoon to pouring with rain and hail stones very nice. So I think it is Because I think there are certain procedures that you processes you can go through, and protections that you can give yourself. And a lot of that is choosing the right sales agent to work with. Because they'll have, you're a one time filmmaker, each film is made on its own, and you're not going to be churning them out or selling them, you know, five, six, every film market. So I think that's probably important. Just talking to the people that know how to do it, it will always happen, they'll always be a candidate that goes bankrupt without you knowing that it was never going to happen, it will be surprised to everybody, you know, city world, I mean, hello. Oh, yeah, it's it's a difficult business. But there are things that you can do, and most of it is talking to the right people. And I think if you're a first time, second time independent filmmaker, you have to go through a sales agent with a

Alex Ferrari 35:57
A good, a good a good reputation with the sales agents, because they can take you to,

Michael Ryan 36:02
Yeah, I mean, you get into trouble with, you're going to save that sales agent that just won't give you the money. And I know, lots of those occasions, you know, it's, it's a shame, and it's something that stains that our industry, but let's face it, every industry has their thieves. I mean, there's there, so you can go to Iftar. And say, I've approached this sales agent, what do you know about them, and they'll tell you, you know, so it's, it's using, all of the checks and balances are out there, you just got to use them. If you just go out there and sell your film, just sort of bits and pieces, it's gonna be a mess. So it's all about organization.

Alex Ferrari 36:47
Now, the other thing that I love about the way you're presenting your this conversation is that you look at movies as a business person, first, you're looking at it as a product, you it doesn't seem like you have emotion attached to your project, I'm sure you enjoy them, especially some of the the higher, you know, the bigger, acclaimed ones that you have as emotional. But at the end of the day, you still it's this product, and you're approaching it that way, where so many filmmakers walk into AFM or a Cannes or Venice, with emotion leading with a motion of their move, this is my baby. And nobody wants my baby. And then when the first shark shows up and go, Oh, I love you, oh, like someone likes me. And all of a sudden I'll sign whatever you want, and your movie is gone for 25 years.

Michael Ryan 37:32
That's exactly right. It's exactly you're exactly right. And when we're supposed to be there to look after those movies, we, if we foster those movies and take care of them, we hopefully will do the next one, the next one, the next one that I what I love to do. And we need people to be passionate about their product, I'm passionate about certain things that we do. At the end of the day, it has to be a sustainable business, if we're going to keep carrying on. And they've those people have to understand. If you're spending 500 $600 million on making your passion project, you aren't just going to make it for your mom and dad, you're going to make it tough for people to see it. And in order to get people to see it, you've got to get people to get it out there and give them the ability to see it. And that means selling it and selling your baby. And there might be things that you don't like, but they somebody like me might know better than them about how to market it. And you know, a lot of the time we do you know, it's like don't say that that's ridiculous. You know, here's, here's the way it should be sold. And no, I don't like that image. As I shut up.

Alex Ferrari 38:42
Let me put the poster that's going to sell this depth, which is which leads me to a great I was I was consulting a filmmaker the other day. And they had a film that was under 100,000. beautifully produced. Nice genre, not not nit not a very genre. So it was an action wasn't Zero has a little music in it. And it's kind of you know, did a little bit different, a little bit different. And they said, What do I do? How much do you think I can get for this in the marketplace? And I said, You're not gonna make any money. I had straight like straight I'm like, Look, you will not, you'll barely make if you make $1,000 I'll be impressed. And he's like, What do I do? And I go, okay, so this is what you need to do, because I got it since it's such a low budget. I think a VOD is a really great place for him to make some money, but he has no stars. So I said go out, find a star. Pay them 10,000 for the day, shoot them out in the day, get permission to put them on the thumbnail dabble them throughout the movie. So it doesn't look like he just shot him for two minutes and put them on the on the poster. Really make a part of the movie and do that and that's exactly what we're doing right now. We just locked in the actor. We're talking to the distributor who I know And we're packaging this whole thing. And that like if you have this guy in your chances of making money, there's no guarantees, but the chances of you actually see because now you have a face on that thumbnail. Yeah, that's passing through that you go, Oh, I love that guy. And, you know, unless you're Brad Pitt, and this is Brad Pitt, you know, because at the end of the day, unfortunately, where we are in today's world, it's all about the 16 by nine thumbnail flowing by in either TVOD, AVOD SVOD. It is so, so important. And filmmakers don't understand that. Would you agree with me?

Michael Ryan 40:37
Yeah, I would. Especially at that level. And remember, we have a small division called evolution pictures, and we concentrate on pictures around that level. And there always has to be a recognizable actor, otherwise it will not sell. The only way for you to sell it, if it's good is to go to film festivals and to spend money promoting it. That's going to cost you more than getting an Actor in for a few days. Right? It does pay it if you can do it. Well do it professionally. And with those sorts of movies, I think I understand the sort of maybe you're talking about it's fairly easy to do if you can get the right guy and it just gives a face to the campaign. And it works. I mean, you you can't do that. No, you know, I've got it. I've spent 7 million What do I do now? It's like, well, you're on your time?

Alex Ferrari 41:27
No, have you spent $7 million

Michael Ryan 41:31
Budget movies it gives you it gives you scope to be able to do that you can you can say to everybody, okay, stop, you know, we're gonna get this guy in. And we're going to fit him in here, here, here, here. And here. You know, your, your $7 million filmmaker was in early can't do that to my movie. But you can with this. And I think you're right, it does work. The only other way is to spend huge amounts of money on publicity.

Alex Ferrari 41:55
And even then you it's it's such an echo chamber right now that the studios are having problems show up getting awareness for their $200 million tentpole films. Yeah, that's why they that's why they buy pre IP that everybody knows, shows you like, you know, when Thor's coming out, because everybody knows Marvel, you know, the next Star Wars or the next Star Trek or the next Harry Potter? Because these are all IPs that we all know. So it becomes easier to market that. That's why something like Avatar that was done over a decade ago, was an anomaly, you know? Sure. Sure. A brand new $500 million brand new IP with no major, major stars in it. I mean, I mean, obviously Sigourney Weaver. And and Yeah, but that doesn't justify a $500 million dollar movie.

Michael Ryan 42:43
No, it's fine. It was still a pumped because the the actual techniques they were using were groundbreaking and nobody had ever thought. So would they do that? Again? Probably not. I mean, it, I can't see them spending that sort of money. Today, it just won't work on a new on a new IP.

Alex Ferrari 42:58
But like talking about the marketing, a lot of filmmakers are like, Oh, I have 30,000. I'm like, take that 30,000 Hire an actor that we all recognize. And that's your marketing budget, you've already invested in your marketing budget by hiring an actor that people recognize, because that's going to do more than $30,000 and Facebook ads, when you really don't know how to do Facebook ads?

Michael Ryan 43:20
No, you're absolutely right. And it will it will appeal to those distributors that distribute those sorts of movies. And the first question will be well, who's in it? And you know, if you ain't got the one person that they might be looking at, then you're dead. So you're right, is the ideal way to structure it. And if only they thought about it in the first week, they have, they've thought about it in time now,

Alex Ferrari 43:40
I knew there was this one movie I worked on when I was doing post production supervision where I was posting on a movie. And I was fascinated to see this that they had one what the main star who was not the star of the movie, but the face that we all know, right? And they shot him out in one day. And he they were in they were in a parking lot. So it was the way that he was like the informant or something and that the cops had to keep coming back to, to this to the garage to meet with them. So he was a beautiful structure. He was dabbled throughout the entire movie, so you don't feel gypped and then the rest of the movie, which was very well produced and very well shot with actors that we just don't know, go worked out great. And because his face is on the cover, sold. So like that easily. And that's what filmmakers don't understand. When I try to guess yell from the top of the top of the hill, please hire somebody that we recognize even my short films that I did as a director 10 years ago at Robert Forster in it. They had Lance Hendrickson in it. I had, you know other faces that people recognize that it gave something. And by the way, if you're trying to get into film festivals, film festivals, love having faces and stars. It is They're movies because they're in the asses and seats business.

Michael Ryan 45:03
Yeah, you got you got last last Fredrickson who said, who says, you know? Sure I'll come you know, and you say to say to the festival director, I can get him to come for three or four days. Great. You're in.

Alex Ferrari 45:15
Can you fly him out? Can you fly out? Put them up and last like, yeah, sure, I'll come out.

Michael Ryan 45:20
That's the way that's the way the business works. A lot of people don't understand that. It's that's a fairly simple structure. You get him to agree to go to the festival. He'll probably have a great time.

Alex Ferrari 45:30
Treat them like they'll treat them. Oh, like, royalty.

Michael Ryan 45:33
Yeah, he'll be he'll be treated like Brad Pitt, Brad Pitt, which doesn't always happen as we know it's it still works. And it's still it's still that tub thumping thing is back to the cannon boys. You know, they they did it all the time. And it worked every single time.

Alex Ferrari 45:47
You know, Michael Dukakis just showed up, and Chuck Norris just showed up.

Michael Ryan 45:53
There you go. I mean, we did it. Way back. Oh, God longterm. The first Highlander which we did, yeah. Yeah. Turned out to be a classic movie. But we, we what was so strange to me, because it was, you know, we had a Frenchman playing a Scotsman. And we and we had Sean Connery, a Scotsman playing a Spanish nobleman. But we we, we

Alex Ferrari 46:20
Michael, Michael, there could only be one. There's only could be one.

Michael Ryan 46:25
You see, you see how well that campaign worked. That we needed Connery and he was going on. Anyway, we agreed, and it was half a million dollars a day for five days for contouring. Yeah. Any any any days after that was a further half million. So we said, Okay, fine. And we did it. Obviously pre sold. The movie did very well. And during the shooting of the movie, there was a technical problem. And we needed him for two extra days. It was another million dollars.

Alex Ferrari 46:57
I mean, it's good money if you could get it.

Michael Ryan 46:59
But it, it worked. And you know, if we hadn't had him, it wouldn't have been half the film. It was, you know, and he's really worthwhile. And you know, the guy was great. And then he Sean Connery. She was Sean Connery. Exactly. And the out of that. I got a call from a Japanese advertising agency for some Suntory whisky. And they said, We want him as you know, in His Highness the costume, which had magnificent ties whiskey. So I went to him and said, you know, what do you think he said, I don't do adverts. Okay. So I went back and they said, Tell him it's a million dollars. And he said, No, no, no, don't get out of bed for that million dollars. Anyway, we this went on over a week. In the end, they in the end, they paid $5 million and and the the stipulation was they wouldn't speak. He wouldn't have to drink the whiskey. And the only place it could play was in Japan and Southeast Asia. And they said yes. And it must have worked because it's still playing the bloody ad every time. Every time I go to Japan. So kind of a guy like that. And he doesn't drink the whiskey. I guess for him, it was quite a nice experiment.

Alex Ferrari 48:23
Do you remember the remember? I don't know if you know this. This is just a side note. Do you remember the 80s Madonna was hired by Pepsi to promote? You remember that whole story where she she went on the set? And they're like, Okay, not drink the Pepsi and like, I'm not drinking with ABS. But we need you to drink the Pepsi. We hired you like, you hired me. But no one told me I had to drink it. And she they scrapped the whole thing and they still paid her like $10 million or five whatever it was. They didn't do it because they didn't do it because she wouldn't drink it. She was so we I mean, she I don't know why she did that. But she knew that she had that power and she just wielded it. And she just got paid. And they never because contractually it never said that she had to drink that Pepsi.

Michael Ryan 49:07
I'll hold on to how many lawyers got fired over that.

Alex Ferrari 49:11
Oh, lawyers and executives. Oh my god, are you kidding me? That whole thing was

Michael Ryan 49:16
I knew about the Pepsi thing. I didn't know that they canceled the whole thing because of that.

Alex Ferrari 49:20
I don't think I mean, they might have done something else later. But I know that spot was changed like you know, because I started off in commercials and that was legendary is one of those legendary stories. You're like,

Michael Ryan 49:30
She's probably she probably said I only drink Coca Cola.

Alex Ferrari 49:35
I only drink Coke. Now if you want to put the coke in the Pepsi can I'll do that for me. Imagine you imagine. So with the with AFM. I wanted I wanted to ask you now as you obviously one of the cofounders of and you've seen a change over the years, I mean in the in the glorious golden ages of the 80s when how many days was it was like 10 days or something like

Michael Ryan 49:58
That was like, was ridiculous. It was far too long.

Alex Ferrari 50:00
It was long and yeah, the money was flowing. Yeah, yeah,

Michael Ryan 50:04
You could do what you like. And you know, you'd stay in fancy hotels in Santa Monica or, you know, I'd stay in the Bel Air hotel, we ridiculous things to do. And now we've cut it down to I think it's, By five plus a building day or something like that, right? Exactly. Same dry down, is the right length, people will go home at the weekend, you know, it's just in the mid week period, it's much more much more doable. I think. Now, I've looked at the numbers. And there's a lot of people surprise me actually be thinking about the economic world at the moment. But it's building quite nicely. All the bigger companies have signed up for attending. So it might be, I think it would be a nice surprise, I think, you know, the Cannes Film Film Festival this year was wonderful, because it was like, going back to those those hay days of can, even though the money wasn't falling all over the place. But people were there and people were doing visits and people enjoying themselves. I think that's the thing. This is a hard business. to somewhere like Santa Monica, you'd quite like to get out and go and have a nice meal somewhere. And that's on the beach. Yeah, it's part of what we do. Otherwise, we'd do it in a boring exhibition center somewhere,

Alex Ferrari 51:24
All right, you'd be in Vegas somewhere or you'd be in some way,

Michael Ryan 51:27
And you'd lose all of the Hollywood niche about it, you know, just wouldn't, it just wouldn't be the same. And we find that a lot of the international clients will say, don't take it downtown. Don't Don't take it anywhere else. We go to Hollywood once, maybe twice a year. And if we want to go when we go to Hollywood, we you know, we want to go and see the people that we normally see plus go to the FM so that's where it's going to stay provided that,

Alex Ferrari 51:53
You know, the first year I went to AFM. It was so fascinating. I was I was there covering it for for the show. And it was before I did I started doing talks there and things and I just remember walking into the hotel, and I looked up and I saw a giant banner that was Mike Tyson versus Steven Seagal. And I said, oh, oh, I understand where I am now. And I'm like, Okay, this is and that's and then filmmakers come in expecting to see art and like, this is not art. You are not in an art place anymore. This is business 100% Business. Don't bring your art film here. Don't bring your backyard. You know, you know, personal film here. That's not where this is, you know, unless you've got Steven Seagal fighting Mike Tyson, in your personal drama. No one cares. No one cares.

Michael Ryan 52:51
Like I remember.

Alex Ferrari 52:52
Oh, yeah, they made it. Oh, no, that movie came out. Oh, yeah. I mean, it's even if it's yeah, I will talk about some stuff that he's that has enough stuff talking about him. And I thought, let's not, let's not let's just leave that as is. But look, but look at Mike Tyson, which is it's such an interesting guy. He's an actor, but he's one of the most famous human beings on the planet. And now he's like, I'm gonna do action movies.

Michael Ryan 53:17
You're gonna turn up for that? I mean, of course they will. They're fascinated by

Alex Ferrari 53:22
There was the movie. He was a bad guy fighting. Oh, God, I forgot the kung fu master from China. But he's a legendary actor. He's up there with Jackie Chan. And he fought Mike Tyson in a beautiful each choreographed fight sequence and I was just like, see, that's just it, just you know, there. That's the kind of movies you're going to find at AFM. You're not going to find these arthouse films, you may find some depending on the distributor that might be interested in that. But generally speaking, it's all about money, selling territories, making deals.

Michael Ryan 53:54
You're exactly right. And it's the deal making that people like me go for because I don't do you know, shark movies or whatever. I just don't do that. Not sure it made us for you, sir. I know Paul who pulls Paul who makes those movies and he makes a lot of money and he does a brilliant job and they're really funny. I can't do that. It's not me. So and you'll find and that's the problem with publicizing the AFM you know variety will go in and see all this stuff sharks and Mike Tyson's and Steven to girls. But it shouldn't be because there's a business there. And if you look around some if you look around the attendee companies, the people who are who are exhibiting their this have serious bloody companies they're so they're so so what what happens is that people will turn up and they'll buy those little bits and pieces, you know, the Sharknado is and everything but at the same time that they're they're there to do business with a 24 They're there to do business with the bigger companies that make quality movies. And that's still going on because when it when we formed it is the the the sort of 12 1314 companies that were the original investors and the original creators of it, were very classy companies, there was no schlock them. But the slot came in because they saw an opportunity. And it's still part of our business. And it's a legitimate part of the business. And I, I kind of cherish it, because I love those short movies that man, it's a great idea. And they've made, I don't know, six or seven or eight,

Alex Ferrari 55:29
I really was I saw like the priest, that was a velociraptor, the alligator that turned into like, I mean, it's just, it's, it's fun. Sharknado spawned an entire genre. It's these these films. And then there's the asylum boys who are are basically the the the children of the cannon boys there that

Michael Ryan 55:52
It's a good company. It's not it, but they're doing it really well. And nothing wrong with that. And as we said much earlier on, you've got enough of that stuff bubbling away. And there's bound to be the quality filmmakers coming out of it. Or you cherry pick those, you've got another business. So it does. I'm glad that the bigger GM and GM are coming, you know, they're all signing up now. And I'm really pleased because it means that it'll carry on and I, you know, we didn't build it to just have a little, you know, a little market that runs for a few years. There's a 40 odd years, and I think it will survive, and I think it will carry on. And I'm just pleased to see that quality companies are supporting it.

Alex Ferrari 56:33
So you'll get everything from asylum to a 24. And everything in between. And that's because that's filmmaking. I mean, there was Roger Roger Corman was around for quite some time. And he was making very interesting films, to say the least.

Michael Ryan 56:48
When I was first chairman of the ERV Iftar. Roger was on my board. And I'm thinking, hang on a minute. Roger Corman is on the board that I'm chairman. Oh, that's ridiculous. But he he was, I tell you, I could sit there and listen to those stories forever. The man

Alex Ferrari 57:05
Oh, my. Oh, my. And you want to talk about filmmakers?

Michael Ryan 57:08
Yes, spawned all of the guy that I know he really is the godfather. All of it is extraordinary man. Softly spoken really classy. You know, I found there was it was a big board at that point. It was about 20 people and they hang on his every word because he very quietly spoken. They sit and listen. rather different from Lloyd Kaufman.

Alex Ferrari 57:29
Or you read my mind. I was about to say Lloyd a little bit different approach, Lloyd. But you know, I've spoken to Lloyd on the show. And, and man, I tell you like he's an interesting guy, because he makes those kinds of trauma esque films. Yeah. But when you go back and watch like, Toxic Avenger, the first one that was shot on 35 released theatrically and had a social commentary to it.

Michael Ryan 57:54
Toxic Avenger was really, you know, it was a socially aware picture. Not Not that I really appreciated it because I had an office at the Carlton Hotel at that point. Now, during Ken Oh, God, he organized these bloody great big parades of all these monsters. And it was awful every day twice or three times a day. They'd stand in front of my

Alex Ferrari 58:22
But he made but he was able to do what it I mean, I love him. God bless him and he is able to do what he's able to do and, and you can't take anything away from from him.

Michael Ryan 58:35
He speaks God knows how many languages he speaks Cantonese.

Alex Ferrari 58:37
I mean, he's so smart. He's He's fascinating is an intellect. Yeah. That's what's so fascinating about someone like Lloyd it and like when I talked to him, I was like, yeah, he's like ivy league. You know, he has an Ivy League education. Oh, yeah. He's extremely intelligent. But yet, he's like, Lloyd. He plays this part. It's just fascinating to me.

Michael Ryan 59:00
It was in the same year. I think it was Yale. But same year as George Bush, right.

Alex Ferrari 59:07
He told me that yeah,

Michael Ryan 59:09
We kind of said don't tell anybody that.

Alex Ferrari 59:13
He was. He was he shot behind the scenes of Rocky. I didn't know that. He actually was there during the step scene, because there was the first time they were using the steadicam. And I'm in a big movie right before shining. And he was there shooting it. And then he's like, oh, yeah, MGM just called me up and they're doing some new release. And they were asking for my footage. So I had to go into the archives, and find all this footage I shot of, of that stuff. I was like, wow, I mean, like, what is going on? He kills me. No, he's fantastic. But Michael, listen, I'm going to ask you a few questions to ask all of my guests. Well, first of all, before we get to that, when is the AFM how can people sign up? Where do they go?

Michael Ryan 59:59
By can go to the AFM website. I think it's American film market.com. They can sign up there. It starts on the first of November for I think five days first and sixth. That's right. And it's very simple. And we've kept the price down it for individuals registering. If you're a producer, and you've got something interesting and you want to package it, that's a reason to go. You'll find people like me sitting there. And you know, why not come and say, Oh, by the way, I've got this thing. I might say not now. Thanks. But there's everybody you will want to see, from filmmakers, to bankers to equity investors that everybody's there. So it's up to you to take that opportunity. It's really not very expensive. If you join, if you pay your full entry price, you'll get access to over 100 panels and speeches and stuff like that. So you're, and that's really worth it just for that. I mean,

Alex Ferrari 1:01:02
I know I'm doing I'm doing some of the panels, it's so valuable. The stuff that

Michael Ryan 1:01:07
I think for anybody who wants to make a film has made a film is in the middle of making a film. Just go. And even if you're just soaking up the atmosphere of it there. It's just worth it. And yeah, I mean, there's so many people that you can see in in five or six days. So I think it's worth it and easy to buy a ticket.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:28
And it's so educational. Just even if you walk the halls and see what people are doing and selling and how they're marketing. It is such I always tell filmmakers who haven't gone to AFM, go to FM just take the day pass and walk around. And that alone will show you what the marketplace looks like before independent film in the world that we live in.

Michael Ryan 1:01:50
You're absolutely right. It just changes your whole focus. If you think you have your tunnel vision, making your movie don't do that. Go just go and see how this business really works, and how it's financed and how it sustains itself. And it is fascinating. And I the ticket price alone is worth it for the panels and discussions. And you can sit there all day learning stuff. I'd be like you I'm on a few Alex. And it you see the people that turn up something Wow. That's amazing. You know, they've got these panelists, and it's great, great people, the people as an independent filmmaker, you won't have access to as an individual, where you can sit there and listen to what they're saying. And I think it's great. It's, it's really valuable information.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:34
Now, I'm going to ask you those few questions. Ask all my guests. All right, what what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life,

Michael Ryan 1:02:44
I suppose it's a film film business centric, it's the time that you should say, Stop, whether it be in the middle of the process or whatever, you've come to a point where you're trying try and try and try and try. And the best thing to do is to say, You know what, let's stop right now. So one of the one of the finances might say, well, but we're going to lose 100,000, we said, well, if we carry on like this, we're going to lose 1.1 million. So is it best to stop here. And that took me a long time. And I've done it only thankfully, on two or maybe three occasions where you get to a point where you're pushing a square peg into a round hole, it's just not gonna work. All of the actors are saying, No, you're compromising in every single place, whether it be the production assistant, or the accountant or the designer, and the actors and you should just stop. Don't do it. That's that. It's a brave thing to do. It took me a long time to be able to do it.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:52
So being able to be brave enough to cut you know, cut the line and go. Yeah, very, very good advice. Now, you see here, three of your favorite films of all time.

Michael Ryan 1:04:06
I knew you're gonna say that. I think Cuckoo's Nest probably is usually in support of my list. Yeah. Second of in the it's probably. I mean, this is really crass. But it's probably Citizen Kane, simply because you can look at it and think that's perfect. And thirdly, I don't know, interesting. Very difficult to choose, isn't it? I think I think the shining is probably

Alex Ferrari 1:04:50
I literally have a cinematographer of the shining up behind me. I'm a huge, huge Goomer Yeah, that's a huge huge Kubrick fan. And that is um, masterpiece to say,

Michael Ryan 1:05:01
I mean, I, I just I think that's probably quite a good three.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:06
That's that's a solid three, sir. That's a solid three. And lastly, what advice would you give to a filmmaker starting out in the business today?

Michael Ryan 1:05:15
I think story is really the basis of everything that you're going to do. And if it's not, if it doesn't hang together as a good story that anybody you're pitching the story to would sit and listen, if you don't have that you're never gonna have an audience or watch it anyway. So why still? Why put yourself through all that misery? I think story is, is it and also there are two parts to it. One is the story in the first place in the very first place. And almost just behind that, Squeaks in just second is, what's the audience? Who are you making it for? And that's, I find, I mean, I do love film schools and stuff like that. And so many people don't ask themselves that question. Who's gonna see this? Right? And, and how many films have you watched thinking? Why the fuck did they make that? What's the point? Oh, my God, so many. What were they thinking? Who in Earth would want to go and see that I literally the first, the first sort of rounds of you know, when you do those speed dating things at film schools, and you have like 20 meetings in a day and this post I remember, I remember a couple of times when I was pitched. This the most of Picchu the story, but you don't know anything about it. There was one I went to the Galway Film Festival and I had to Swedish director, producer team. And it was basically the pitch was it's a it's a murder story. And it contains, it's about a brother and sister and it's incestuous relationship. Oh, good.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:07
Stuff. very marketable.

Michael Ryan 1:07:08
Okay, fine. Okay. Thanks. Next it. There are some very strange things.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:14
It's Chinatown. And it's not is what you're saying?

Michael Ryan 1:07:17
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. And you really have to struggle to find out what the hell it's all about, and why you would make it in the first place. So I think those two things are a story because they really have to do with that story. And secondly, what's the audience? I don't know why people don't want anybody wouldn't make something without figuring that out.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:37
Oh, that's a that's very simple. It's ego thing.

Michael Ryan 1:07:41
You know, it's fascinating to me, so it's gonna be fascinating to everybody.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:45
Yeah, I mean, look, even people like Spielberg, Scorsese. Coppola have fallen into that trap, where they think I can make a movie. And everyone's gonna love it, because I love it. And then you look at something like 1941. And you go, Oh,

Michael Ryan 1:08:02
1941 was the one I would cite as well,

Alex Ferrari 1:08:06
Right! I mean, Spielberg has a pretty flawless filmography, generally speaking, but 9041 was that he's like, I could do anything. I can even do comedy. Let's bring the biggest comedy star we're going to do this is gonna be great. And it's pointed a die on.

Michael Ryan 1:08:23
It was shocking. Did shock.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:25
And then and then then again, something like cats.

Michael Ryan 1:08:29
Oh, Christ, I reminded me it's the worst experience of my life. I and I was one of the my wife at the time was an investor in a Vita. So she got invited into all these different so I went to the very first premiere of cats onstage, not cats. The cats the musical, it was amazing. And then too many years later, get to go and see that movie. It was excruciating.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:04
Just really the best the best quote ever for cats, the best review, it's the worst thing to happen the cats to cats and dogs. And that was like the best. The best. There was a Twitter review and I was like, That is brilliant. And I was like, when something like cats comes along, and it doesn't come it comes once in a generation really? Where you have Oscar winners around all the money in the world. Everyone is just moving forward. And it comes out being so bad with so many good people in it and behind it. Yeah, it's not her. It's really it's the Heaven's Gate of

Michael Ryan 1:09:43
Exactly that.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:45
But I actually only saw 20 minutes I couldn't I couldn't pass the roach dancing scene, or the cat anus is flying around. I'm like, what, what is what is what is going on?

Michael Ryan 1:09:58
Have a look at anatomically at a cat, I mean the tails growing out of there ourselves. I mean, it's

Alex Ferrari 1:10:08
Did you see Did you see when the VFX weren't finished on Judi Dench, and like her her digital wristwatch, you could see her watch or something like that, because it didn't finish the V effects.

Michael Ryan 1:10:18
And Judi Dench curled up in a cat basket. I mean, really? Like,

Alex Ferrari 1:10:24
I can't I mean, it's I maybe one day, you know, I'll take some sort of substance and watch the entire thing. But I just can't I could I just like, I can't do this to myself. I'll watch. I'll go back and watch the room, which is arguably one of the worst films ever made. But yet, it's so bad. It's good.

Michael Ryan 1:10:43
Yeah, well, there are those but this was just scruciating the bed and I again, I went to the bloody premiere, so I couldn't leave.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:52
You were stuck there.

Michael Ryan 1:10:54
And it might go worse and worse.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:57
Michael, it has been such a pleasure talking to you. Thank you so much for coming on the show and thank you for all your your your championing of filmmakers and films over the course of your career and trying to help filmmakers make some money.

Michael Ryan 1:11:11
That's what we're all trying to do. You know, it's it's great to be in this business. It's great to have an artistic bent, but Christ you've got to make some money somewhere. I'm trying to I'm trying to help them do that

Alex Ferrari 1:11:23
As am i Sir, as am I thank you my friend.

Michael Ryan 1:11:27
Thanks a lot.

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IFH 612: My Film Made Millions Using the Filmtrepreneur Method with Mark Toia

So insane and talent Australian filmmaker Mark Toia is back to tell us how he made millions of dollars self distributing his remarkable debut film Monsters of Man. After getting offered bad and predatory distribution deals he wondered if there was another way. Enter my book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur: How to Turn Your Film into a Money Making Business. 

When I wrote my book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur I hoped it would help filmmakers around the world. I never thought that a filmmaker halfway around the world would read it and change his entire marketing and distribution plan for his million-dollar+ indie film.

After reading Rise of the Filmtrepreneur he reached out to tell me what he was thinking of doing. He was planning on self-distributing his film as an experiment to see if he could do it and also to prove to filmmakers around the world that you can get a great ROI (Return on Investment) on a million-dollar+ indie film without any major bankable stars.

I asked him,

“So a million-dollar Filmtrepreneur experiment?”

Mark said yes. He had already been offered multiple seven-figure deals from distributors but after looking at the convoluted fine print of the distribution contracts he decided to opt out. The payment schedules were so insane it would take Mark forever to get any money at all. The traditional film distribution path was not designed to help him get paid and if a film like Monsters of Man is having these issues the system is most definitely broken.

Then he discovered my book and down the Filmtrepreneur rabbit hole, he went. When I saw the trailer for the first time I almost fell out of my chair. I recently had the pleasure of watching the film and all I can say is:

“Monsters of Man is one of the BEST films I’ve seen in 2020. A must watch!”

In this conversation Mark is completely transparent on how he made millions with his film. He also reveals not only his successes but also some failures he dealt with along the way. This is truly a one in a decade indie film experiment that you now have access to see how it was done.

Enjoy my conversation with Mark Toia.

Here’s the synopsis of Monsters of Man:

A robotics company teams up with a corrupt CIA agent trying to position themselves to win a lucrative military contract. They illegally airdrop 4 prototype robots into the middle of the infamous Golden triangle to perform a live field test on unsuspecting drug lords that the world will never miss. Volunteer doctors witness the murder of a village and become the targets.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Mark Toia 0:00
I just wanted to know how the distribution process worked. I wanted to know how you get your movies into transactional Video on Demand sites. I wanted to know how s VOD worked. I wanted to know how a VOD worked. I want to know how the theatrical machine work that you know the the business of making money in these four different areas.

Alex Ferrari 0:23
This episode is brought to you by the Best Selling Book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur how to turn your independent film into a money making business. Learn more at filmbizbook.com. I'd like to welcome back to the show returning champion, Mark Toia. How you doing Mark. How you doing my friend?

Mark Toia 0:44
Yeah, good good.

Alex Ferrari 0:46
Thank you so much. Thanks so much for coming back on the show, man, your episode, Episode 407 has been a while we're over 600 now. So it's been a it's been a it's been a few years since we spoken on. You've been on the show. We've been talking on and off all that time. But you you came on and? And? Well, let's just start from the beginning. Can you just recap everybody and let everybody know how you got into the business really quickly what you do for a living day to day.

Mark Toia 1:16
One where I got into the business hobby, complete hobby that went crazy. There was a I was a boilermaker a young Boiler Maker and people didn't know what a boiler maker is we're pretty much people that make anything out of steel. You know, whether it's skyscrapers or a steel box for someone's back or someone's car, you know, who knows it also anything made of steel. So that's what I used to do as a trade. But I was a child artist when I was young, I could paint real life oils when I was like 13 years old. So I had did have a bit of a gifted hand when I was a young fellow and and I could draw anything and I could do my own storyboards if I want all that sort of stuff so but I mean the anyway, the hobby went crazy. Picked up a car stills camera. This is cool, had a bit of fun with that. And sent a photograph off to a magazine company, not thinking they were paid you I had no idea that they paid you. But they sent me a check for $50 and my mind exploded I literally stared at that check for like a day all day going holy fuck they pay you or sorry, the minister. And then I thought should I'm gonna do more of this. And I said some more photographs offer more magazines and a bit. I think two or $200 turned up the next month and I went oh goodness. It's almost paid my week's wages. It just kept having fun. Doing so cool. And then I went completely psycho photographer didn't know what I was doing. And went into the magazine world learned all the hassles tripped over my face a few times. went nuts and all sudden I had a career in photography that was so fast. It was funny because back in those days shooting film, in a maybe it was a bit harder. Running around like an idiot with big lenses was harder, I don't know or easier. I have no idea. But anyway, it took off. And I turned to magazines chase me. And then I used to work for a company called Reuters. We're not work but more is what they call a stringer. And that was good during the former ones and the background praise and world gymnastics, indexing us doing news events and all that. Anyway, I started get bored of that. And I got into advertising, photography, which was a complete loss of income because because I had no idea what the hell I was doing in the advertising world. No one wanted to hire me because I was a complete nobody. It was a very, very hard industry to get into. And you know, a couple of people gave me a couple of jobs that are a bit more action focused, which was pretty good at at the time doing a lot of sport, you know, for the for the newspapers and the magazines. And then someone else noticed and someone else noticed. And after a lot of persistence and a lot of walk around town knocking on doors. I managed to get my advertising career going. I said I'd built this big, obnoxious studio, like massive you can pack trucks in it. And then that everyone said I wasn't crazy, and I was gonna lose all my money. And anyway, it was the other way it took off. And I was the busiest photographer in town. During that I had one of my clients say, coming in whinging about a TV commercial he had made and he showed me that was a pretty basic and he had paid $300,000 for it. This is I'm talking probably 25 years ago. Oh, yeah. And you know, 300 grand back then is a little money, right? And anyway, he was not happy. And I said, I'd love to do a TV ad one day, and he looked at me and he says, Have you ever done one? And I said, Well, I did this video for a friend of mine. But it was very, it wasn't like a helicopter one. He loved it. It says, Well, I've got, you know, like, I think was 25 grand left over. I said, deal. No, go for this. Have fun with it, see if you can do better than this thing. And anyway, we did, and put it together in the most naive way possible, completely. completely naive. I mean, I couldn't believe how naive I wasn't how knowledgeable I was in making TV commercials. Anyway, we did it. We went through a company good, you know, like a post house could focus, I think it was cutting edge or something. And then it was back in the early days. And they helped me edit it together and put together anyway, I won. I went I entered it in the local industry awards that I won Best Director and Best cinematographer. And

Alex Ferrari 6:03
As best as they say, is history. You've done okay for yourself as a commercial director you've made if you just went to your site, right before this conversation, I just let me check about what like Oh, is that Kobe? Yeah, that's Kobe. So he's, you've done okay for yourself as a commercial director, and, and then you had this insane idea that, like I was gonna make a movie. And you made this little mini game, many, many years later, or for fast forwarding a lot. But many years later, you decided to make a little independent film called monsters of man. And and if I'm not mistaken, the budget was a million dollars or so. And you decided to finance that yourself? Is that correct?

Mark Toia 6:40
Yeah, well, it might have been a touch less with the current fluctuation of the US to Australian dollar, but

Alex Ferrari 6:45
Give or take something like that. So So then, and that movie came on, when you reached out to me, the movie had already I think was already done. And you were trying to figure out this whole? How do I make money with this thing? concept? And how did you come across my book, Rise of the Filmtrepreneur?

Mark Toia 7:05
Well, with what I remember, I just literally broken three ribs speaking and I was and I decided I was off. Because I was going to we've shot the movie. And I was editing it under pain.

Alex Ferrari 7:22
As filmmakers do by the way, we all ended under pain.

Mark Toia 7:26
I was sitting there and other back and I'm not doing anything. Now I've got three broken ribs. So I just sat there just started editing the movie. And I wasn't going to I was actually going to give it to an editor friend of mine. But this was a little bit of therapy, while just it was stuck up in the up in the snowy mountains. Doing nothing. I couldn't see us as looking out the window crying every day. So start editing the movie. And I got into it so fast. I mean, I love editing anyway, it's just a thing. I've been doing it for 20 years. I just didn't feel like editing a movie. And I never done one before. And yeah, that's right. I was sitting there and I was scouring the internet. Our side knows so sorry. It's a couple of years ago, Alex, I've got to get my gotta get No, it wasn't listen. All right now we were we were in in the middle of the hole. Selling the movie thing. That's right. Right. Right. It was no actually it was just before that. Anyway, it was in that time. It was in that time. And yes, I stumbled over your podcasts and your then your videos and I started watching this thing. This guy seems pretty much a disrupter of the world and a bit of a troublemaker Alan Howard is a type of guy. Wonder who this Alex Ferrari is. So anyway, that's why I reached out to you. Yes. And I sent you the trailer of a movie that was sort of being finished at the time.

Alex Ferrari 9:00
Right and when you send me the trailer and by the way, I get sent trailers daily by filmmakers from around the world wanting me to come on the show or talk to me or get a consult the god consultation. And when your trailer came in, I was like, Oh, when I saw the review, like the description of like, a bunch of robots get thrown in a jungle. This is gonna be horrendous, like who's gonna? What a horrible because you just think you like the graphics are going to be horrible, the V effects are not going to be good. And I turned this trailer on and this trailer turns on and I'm like, my mouth is on the floor. The visual effects are as good if not better than Marvel films. And the action is really dumb. Like who the hell is Mark Toya like, Who the hell are it's like I like reached right back out dude. Like, yeah, let's get on a call. Man. I want to talk to you like how the hell did this get done? And that's when the conversation started. And I'm not sure did you read the book at that point prior or after that conversation? But no one.

Mark Toia 9:55
I didn't know that the book existed until you until we spoke you said you were Do this book and other I'm reading it right. So you pick it up right away. I ebook that. Sorry, because I don't like reading. But I read scripts, that's about all I read, but I audio books. And yeah, I've got a little coffee shop that the writer literally just, it just was in my ear, and it was fantastic. I mean, it was so fantastic. And, you know, you and you were bang into like, you know, you're making sure no one forgot the message, right? I get fucking ripped off. Don't do this. Don't do that. Don't do that, you know, three chapters later, yeah, like at fucking remember, do the beat the drum heart? Yeah, that's fine. I'm in the drum beating. You know, I talked to my kids. And then I saw had all this poison in my brain that you poisoned me with some real world shit, you know. And then I'm at the moment and at that time, we were suffering our film through a traditional sales pipeline. You know, it was going through CIA, and other people, whatever ad in there wasn't working. And the contracts that were coming through were, were questionable. And.

Alex Ferrari 11:24
But you're serious offers, though you have a million dollar offer.

Mark Toia 11:29
It was 5 million there. And a million over there that, you know, it was all it was all happening. But I just thought, I thought it wasn't so much a bit the sound of the movie, because my wife and I thought if we throw them the million dollars in the bin, whatever it's going to be, we'll use it as a calling card, which and that's another story of off the back of this, which we'll be talking about later. But we'll just use it as a bit of a marketing tool for for me, there's like a show reel, to sell myself with the Hollywood. If we if we don't make any money on it, we're not going to lose sleep over it, right? Because I've been working very hard last 20 years in this game. My wife's a very avid property girl, a woman and she's, and between her and I are we do? Okay. You don't I mean, we did quite a lot. So I'm not going to say it was the ultimate experiment, really.

Alex Ferrari 12:25
By the way, that's a show you might I have to talk about myself, that conversation. So then you know, we're going back and forth over over Skype at the time. So we're going back and forth. And, and then you said, I think I'm just gonna, I'm gonna read your book, man, it's great, I love it. You gave me all sorts of ideas. I think I'm just going to release this myself. And I'm going to use a lot of the things in the book to help me do it. And I'm like, you're going to release a million dollar, you're going to self distribute. And now anybody else, anybody else that would have told me that I would have, I would advise the guests because to self distribute a million dollar product is you got to know. So you got to hit that target, not once, not twice, but like 40 or 50 times, Bullseye to break even. That's from my experience, because it depends on the kind of product but then I saw it but you've got a different kind of movie, you have an anomaly of a movie because there's movie your movie monsters, a man doesn't come along. I've seen it once in my life, a film like that, at that level of quality. And then your marketing savvy your understanding of the year this whole situation is so lottery ticket esque is an example of this. It's just an it's an anomaly without question. But then I'm like, if you're willing to do it, well, you want to come on the show and talk about it. You're like, Sure, come on. So you came on the show we talked about I'm like, You're gonna do a million dollar experiment. And when you're done in a couple years, come back on and tell us how it goes. He goes out and you said and you said I'll come on if I make money or if I don't make money, I want everybody to know what happened. So

Mark Toia 14:01
That was fair. That was fair. And I wanted to I wanted people to either learn by my members, my mistakes, and I made some mistakes during the process. Whether it was gonna be the traditional method or the or the maverick fucking crazy man direction, there's mistakes in both. Right and, and that's what we're here today. Well, let's let's talk about that stuff and just say why it worked, how it could have worked even better. And how what you know, now that the future is yeah, that two years have elapsed since we released it. What could I have done better? And now this is the valuable lessons that only doing what I did has taught me if I just dumped it on the in the district in with a distributor and let them go I would learn nothing. Right.

Alex Ferrari 14:56
And you would have probably made nothing.

Mark Toia 14:58
Now look, I would have got Thank you You know that people were still dumping money on me, I was still made money, but I wouldn't have made as probably as much, right. But I've been doing a lot of work as well. So the thing is distributors that sell your movie do a lot of work, they should get paid. So it's not like the supplying of factors or ripoff service that not that doing what your lazy ass ain't gonna do.

Alex Ferrari 15:24
And by the way, in the book in the book, I say that, like what I'm talking about in this book is work. Like, I never want to get it and

Mark Toia 15:33
I did a lot of it, Alex, right. Crazy. It's fun, it's fun. I said, this is really fucking good fun. I'm really enjoying it. And I'm doing, you know, all our casting on our trailers, marketing profiles, all of our online media, advertising. And mind you, I'm from an advertising agency, I'm not an agency. I don't own an agency. Sorry. But I work with 1000s of ad agencies around the world. I've worked with the best of the best of the best of the best, right? And so that without realizing it taught me so much about advertising, right, you know, you've been doing right down to the little tiny social media type shit. I mean, right.

Alex Ferrari 16:13
You pick up things. I mean, I edited. I mean, I don't hundreds of commercials and promos over the course of my career. And I picked up a couple things along the way working with you just, you just start picking up a couple things here and there. All right. So but the one thing I did get offered, you got all multimillion dollar offers from real studios, not Mickey Mouse studios, real studios. And yet, you decided to just walk away from them, because you're just like, you know, these deals, it's gonna take me forever to get paid. It's shady, there's a lot of outs and ends and it looks like I'm not able to.

Mark Toia 16:48
Yeah, look, the deals are an open book. The one deal was just a million bucks. You know what I mean?

Alex Ferrari 16:57
But, but not, but not, like, right now, they're not gonna just write you a check right now for it right,

Mark Toia 17:02
No you would have been jumping hurdles, and fucking, you know, some guy in their office would go, there's a guy that's 150 feet down the street, we need his release form, or we're not going to pay you, you know, this or that. Or, you know, there'll be some, everyone I know, that have gone through a lot of these deals with these big distributors at jumping hoops for 12 months. And then and I still talked to them. Now, one guy's been still waiting two years. The movies been out since a movie is out. And they got I know, we still need all this paperwork done. Because it's in the contract. We still need all this, this little thing done here. And it's so minimal. No one gives a shit. Yeah, it's just a way for them to hold on that they're using it as a loophole to not pay him. And they probably will pay him but that's just the machine.

Alex Ferrari 17:50
It'd be five years, it could be five years down the line. It's yeah, I've seen I've heard these stories. It's ridiculous.

Mark Toia 17:56
You know, when you do those sales, you are literally handing your baby over, you will never see it again. You'll see it in 10 or 15 years time when the contracts done relative to the rate of everything that it is.

Alex Ferrari 18:12
Alright, so what was the first so from my remember, from my recollection, the first thing you did is started to do your own theater, like you're on theatrical in Australia.

Mark Toia 18:23
That's cool. Well, we we released during COVID. And everyone said, Mark, you're mad. You're crazy. Don't do it. You know, don't ever make

Alex Ferrari 18:31
But you had it. But you had a screening. You had a screen. I remember you had a big screening.

Mark Toia 18:34
You know, I thought, you know, I've got a lot of friends here in town and and we just send everyone an email, they want to come and check out the movie and Everyone's curious. So 500 people turned up, but the ones that did it in IMAX because I do everything, as you know, and RED cameras. So we've got a Fourcade movie. So let's go to the IMAX theater, let's do it properly. And the theater was massive. It was like

Alex Ferrari 19:00
So this is the thing that I love about what you did. You did a it was a free screening, by the way, right? Yeah, it was a free screening for France. Right? Okay. Yep. So the brilliance of what you did is that you filmed everyone's reactions coming out. So it made the film look like it would had a theatrical release. You are in a real theater with like posters in the background. And you filmed all this and then that's what you used in your ads. And it was so powerful in your marketing. So even though you might have not made money on that screening, you got so much free marketing materials to be able to sell your movie on T VOD, SVOD and Avon. Is that Is that a fair statement?

Mark Toia 19:39
Yeah, well, we weren't even going to do it. There was a young young guy said hey, you got to do like a behind this. You know, like a you got to film the movie. And I just want everyone to enjoy it. Anyways, and I'll get me and my friends will cover more shoot it and go nuts. You don't I mean, so anyway, signal the stuff and I went actually I could probably use this for bid a PR. And yeah, it was some PR. And it honestly was the last thing on my mind. To be honest, I

Alex Ferrari 20:08
It was serendipitous. It was serendipitous. It was a look. So I can't You're not taking credit for it I'm trying to give you credit for you're not taking credit for it. But it is what it is. It is because you were able to get it. So sometimes, you know, sometimes the Muse sometimes the universe just gives you a little bit of a helping hand. And that was that was one of them. Because I remember that when I saw

Mark Toia 20:29
Good advertising.

Alex Ferrari 20:30
And I remember when I was seeing your ads, I'm like, Man, those ads are powerful as hell, man. Because anytime you've got testimonials, like the ones you had many, they're very, very, very bad, especially if coming from a movie without any major giant mat, you know, massive bankable stars in it. You know, McKenna is wonderful, but he's not Tom Cruise. So you don't have that and coming from a first time filmmaker, quote, unquote, they really added a lot of value to it. Alright, so what was the release? So how did you release this the first time? You want to VOD first right? Transaction?

Mark Toia 21:00
Um, yeah. Yeah, we just went full TVOD. And yeah, we dropped it on Apple, Amazon all the normal dudes and but actually, I think let's, let's get a little bit more detailed for your, for your listeners, viewers. The movie is done. Right? We've made the movie. And I'm getting a lot of people ringing me up gown ads too fucking long. And it's too that you know that the LT long thing? And you know what, fuck it I'm leaving. It's only two hours, right? It's not.

Alex Ferrari 21:34
It's, it's not a three. It's not.

Mark Toia 21:38
And the other thing too is people will sit there and binge watch a fucking 10 hours of sit on Netflix and completely padded out show without dropping of dropping a single whinge about it. But they don't know. I'm not. And you know what, I did a 90 minute cut? I did. And it was it was it was not. You know, it was over to quick, me when I showed that go, oh, well, it's sort of like, you know, the Romans start attacking them. And then they're at the river and morale, you don't remember, they're escaped it, because you had to get rid of a lot of stuff. 30 minutes is a lot of very exciting material. So that's why I went Screw it. I don't care about 90 minutes. I'm not really that worried about making money on that. It's nice to get your money back, which is great. But I had bigger agenda with the film. And the bigger agenda wasn't so much making money for movie, it was just getting my name out there. So just remember that going in. The part of the experiment was exactly what it's doing now. So I'm gonna get all my, I'm gonna get even more money back by doing all these other big movies that these people are telling me I'm gonna get another story again, so we'll get to that later. Anyway, so then I decided after the, after I've turned down these offers, you know, from the traditional domains. And literally, that's when everyone thought, this guy that ends this movie is a fucking complete loony didn't mean, all these sales guys were just

Alex Ferrari 23:25
I thought that you were crazy Mark.

Mark Toia 23:30
Everyone thought I was crazy. And they don't want it because it's part of the experiment. The experiment was knowledge. And I just wanted to know how the distribution process worked. I wanted to know how you get your movies into transactional Video on Demand sites. I wanted to know how s VOD worked. I wanted to know how a VOD worked I want to know how the theatrical machine work that you know the the business of making money in these four different areas and they are four completely different areas. Yeah trickle especially, you know you might have other movies made $10 million but really what comes back to the filmmaker this guy he is sitting here right by the time the cinema takes half my time the agents take half the delivery guys, the the sales guys everything, you know, you might end up with that much. You know, man, it's just that there's a lot of work, and then hang on. And then there's the advertising that might be attached to your movie that's going to have to be reimbursed and there's all this shit that is that goes with it. Here's for an example. A friend of mine has made a movie over here in Australia. It did really well around the world. I think about he said it grossed over $25 million. He's still yet to see a single cent four years later. Wow. It's gonna come to him. Something's gonna come to you He rings me up. And he he's in tears. You know, you guys should listen to him. And I said, No, No, you shouldn't have listened to me. I'm doing something very fucking stupid. You did it the way, it just happened to work differently for me. But, but I but bigger understanding what better stuff I've put in place to make sure that works. So anyway, we were going through the whole tape or the thing through an aggregator. Because the thing that sucks about the Amazons of the world and all these sort of guys, it's very hard for you, as an individual to get a movie up on these sites, Amazon, you could probably do it with a lot of dancing ants dicking around, but they all of them now are very, pretty much critiquing movies, you can just throw your movie up on all those T boards, you know, you could they will just go nuts Polish sticker Polish ship, now you're out. You know, so you've just made a movie, but then you realize I can't unload it anyway, because Amazon Amazon doesn't like it Apple doesn't like it. You know, Microsoft doesn't like it. IBM has like a Fandango don't like it all these were whoever these there's fucking list of mile long as you know, you still got to get it through all these people to get them to like your movie enough to put it on their platforms. And that's got to unfortunately, go through an aggregator which is another fucking annoying word, word for distributor, right? So there's always there's gonna be someone in your way, which is fine. And I don't know why Apple dot Apple should be, you know, the best movie upload site in the world is Vimeo on demand, but no one fucking watches it. No one uses it. No one uses it. But it is the best of the best of the best that the reason is, you could upload your movie in 4k 8k, glorious, beautiful viewing. It looks stunning on whatever you put it on. You can upload your movie or your subtitles, you can decide what countries you want to sell and everything and probably under five minutes. No one in your way. And they take 10% Thank you, Mark. It's so fucking simple. So when everyone wants to see my movie Now go make just go go to Vimeo it's gonna be easier. And I'll actually make 90%. Right instead of the other way, which is, you know, like, everyone else takes half and then other people and then there's the aggregator fee and there's blah, blah, blah. So anyway, I'm just gonna, I think Vimeo have actually got a great thing there. But I have no fucking idea because Vimeo just useless with the marketing and the way they've done things. That company is still doing what it's doing. It's obviously living off business, you know, sharing out of having an idea, but from a movie perspective, they if they invested in that properly, before indie filmmakers, they will just own that whole space.

Alex Ferrari 28:07
They bought a few HX back in the day VHS was that the all that software, all that technology was VHS. They bought it rebranded it under Vimeo Pro, or Vimeo movies or whatever it is, but they didn't do anything with it. And they never really market it. And there's, you're asking anytime you're asking someone to put a credit card in. It's a layer of resistance for them to product. But if you're on Amazon,

Mark Toia 28:35
Right, Bill, if I set up a PayPal Apple Pay or whatever through Amazon, it would be just click, click, click Run.

Alex Ferrari 28:41
But if it's Amazon, you collect if it's Apple TV, you click because you already have your information there.

Mark Toia 28:47
Yeah, but you know, Vimeo can set up those pay systems through there if they really if they really wanted to. Anyway, the fee about them on not doing an edge with Vimeo does exactly that's, that's the best platform to put up a tee, but your video but every other one is a bit of a pain in the ass. So anyway, we get accepted, you know, Apple, say, yeah, we'll put it on Amazon. But you know that, that still takes two to three months for that process to happen. And then you got there's a date that you want to do a release and you're trying to sync up everyone all at the same time to release on the special December 8. And everyone's telling me oh no, you're mad markets too close to Christmas. You know, the amount of times everyone told me I was mad right? Anyways. Okay, now go back a bit. This is where your book comes in. You got to sell it. No one knows that movie is going to be sitting on Apple TV or sitting on Amazon if you don't tell the world that. Now this is my big fundamental mistake I made. I was where I screwed up was I didn't spend enough in advertising. I should have spent a lot more and the movie would have got right out there because, you know, when you sell a movie on TV or P VOD, whatever you want to call it, there's a spike. It's a new movie, it's out, you know, so you got to create as much hype as you're doing. The studio's do it. Well, they might make a movie for $300 million, or $200 million, or whatever, they're going to spend the same amount again flogging it. I spent a million dollars on my movie, I should have spent a million dollars on advertising. Wow, it would have been a hell of a risk, sir. No, no, it wouldn't have been because I you could see all the stats and all the logistics, everything that comes to you and you had an analyst Analytics on your sales. This is a lot of stuff that distributors don't show you because they just give you the little email saying, Hey, you made $12 today, but the reality is you get a lot of information. Right? About who buys it, whereby is the time they buy it, the you know, the who's buying it, as well as when you do a lot of your digital marketing. With your Analytics, you can dig so deep into those analytics using, you know, female 14 RED CAR lives in Minnesota, whatever, you know, you can really nail down on your target market. So that means you're not wasting your money. Selling, you know, like on your phone monitors man's not turning up and as on some 64 year old grandmother's phone. Right? You are literally once you start getting all this stuff this information, and we did some test trailers that we threw out there. So we can see those test results. And then we were just we we did a little Indiegogo campaign. Not so much to make money from it. But more so sell our movie through that porthole. This was already remember. So what I did, I thought, well, let's do an Indiegogo campaign and say, Look, if everyone helps us with the advertising of our movie, everyone gets the movie free and odds and ends and all the extras and the behind the scenes and bla bla bla bla. And yeah, and I think about 25 $30,000 turned up, which I thought, Wow, that's great. Now, we already had like a quarter million dollars allocated for advertising. I just used that $25,000 From Indiegogo. We've done all our marketing, pre the movie, and we can see all our trailer data spiking so much that people were watching it all the way through, which is super uncommon. Now I'm in because I'm in the advertising game. I hear and I see all the data from a lot of my advertisers, you know, and because they share it with me, they want me to know, so that can help them make better commercials. And I'm looking at these and how long people are staying on my ads and and who is not staying on it. So I can see that there's this type of this group of people that drive black cars and live over here and this and others age, they're only watching it for seven seconds. Right? And these people are watching it for 30 seconds of these people watch it, you know, so I can really start getting my targeting right down. So we spent 25 grand on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, all that sort of stuff and just pumped it out there. And we worked out in that month later on. So that two weeks leading towards the release of our film, we had over 50 million people had seen our trailer. Wow for 25,000 but 25 grand 25 grand. So our advertising work. And mind you I edited 40 trailers different trailers, which we did only testing four weeks beforehand, right. So we we did a real study in what's going to work what's not going to work. You know what I mean? So the trailer that got put out, was it the trailer I liked, but it was the trailer the masses, like you know what I mean? So you got to start you don't make trailers for you. You make trailers for everyone else. You know, and the one we did the testimonials really worked hard. The one with Neal McDonough jumping up, you know, saying you know, what's your movie, you know, there's a few key key little shorter, a couple shorter spots that really resonated with the, with our research. So anyway, so I thought 50 million people faculty in our trailer, all I need is $1 for one of them one. I just need $1 from like 10% of these

Alex Ferrari 34:19
10 cents 10 cents would have been good.

Mark Toia 34:24
I'm not going to spend my spare quarter million dollars I've got put aside for advertising. We've done it we've we've hit advertising gold, and this is where I started to smell my own farts and they're all good smelling

Alex Ferrari 34:38
The roses

Mark Toia 34:44
And anyway, off it went it released. And it did great. It did great. But I knew a year later, if I spent that quarter million dollars over I spent a million dollars advertising. I've got it out well LiDAR, because it's amazing how many people don't even know my movie exists. 25 grand 50 million views is nothing. I realized that our, our base of interest needs to be upwards of 500 million people to make a decent dent on sales. Right. So that's a lot of advertising.

Alex Ferrari 35:25
So let me ask you a question. What was your ROI on the advertising money made? So like, for every dollar you spent in marketing, how much money did you make back? Give or take?

Mark Toia 35:35
25 or 25? Yeah, let's say on the 20. Okay, 25 grand, I know we made a million dollars. It worked, right?

Alex Ferrari 35:42
So it's not a bad. Right? All right. I just want I just want to kind of stuff

Mark Toia 35:51
That's in the first three months, too. So right. Now, the movie is still making money. Now. It's, it's still ticking away nicely. It's like a, it's an apartment building in the corner just ticking away rent.

Alex Ferrari 36:03
So the reason why I'm gonna stop here for a second. So I want to just kind of highlight a couple of things, you said that you're throwing out a lot of gold nuggets here, you offer off a 25 grand you were able to generate your budget back comfortably out of within three months. That's unheard of in marketing and market let's on heard of. But if you would have put in just a quarter of a million you might have been able to make 3456 $7 million possibly offer off of those three months it would that would have worked? Or do you think not?

Mark Toia 36:39
The more people that know about your movie, and the more hype you can build on about it? What do you think Marvel do it this way? Right? What do you do? What do you think all the big movies as spending so much money on advertising? awareness, awareness, awareness, awareness, right? Into the day with my 50 million people is really only one city in China. It's like, not much right? In the grand scheme of things. And it's, and it's saying that million dollars in three months, you know, that million dollars slowly comes in over 12 months, but that you can see that the you see the money being made, including all our international sales, which we'll talk about today. So we walk you through advertising, advertising advertising, I can't preach harder about that, actually. And that's where I think I made that that big mistake I go, Well, you know, we're in a very, very noisy world, right? It's a massively noisy world. There's so much shit on your phones. Now. It's hard to get cut through. Right? I wish I could still spend a million dollars. And you might see my ad, may you might, if you're lucky. I mean, you're in the film industry, you know me, you'll probably get it, you'll probably get hit by it. But your neighbor, who is probably in the Sci Fi films, how the fuck do you target him to your enemy. So you're trusting that the Facebook machine, the instant machine, the Tick Tock machine, the YouTube, the YouTube machine are going to maybe get near that individual for your million dollars. So you need to really think about your advertising your PR, you know, your little news, shit that goes out, everything's got to be very well thought out. Now, that's a lot of work. Again, if you're going to get a distributor to do this for you, who are going to say you're mad, right?

Alex Ferrari 38:40
But by the way, they would never work as hard. They would never work disarm unless they unless they're making tons of cash.

Mark Toia 38:47
You know, that would have and that they're not going to say to you, Hey, Mark, will sell your film and we're going to put a minute we're gonna invest a million dollars on advertising. Right? Because a lot of the guys a lot of the distributors, they know, right? They've been around the traps, they've sold their they've probably got 400 movies on their shelves, you know, rats and mice. That's how they make their money. They get the little percentage of each one of them little movies, and that's how they pay you know, silicones to college, right? But a huge advertising campaign like that off the back of one of these little indie films, that they would fucking shut you down and say you're crazy. But you do need the right product for it too. So if it's if it's just a couple of people running around, fucking Detroit shooting each other and raping their girlfriends and bragging you know, and shooting police and you know, just an action, drama or whatever. With No Name actors, you'd never spend a million dollars because it's you they already know that it's never got to do any better than probably pick up a few 100 grand in the in the trenches. You know what I mean? If they're lucky, with the little $6,000 advertising Um, budgets attached to it, that fully allocated to it. But my movie was that okay, let's go back a bit, a friend of mine from a company that has a big red lager, right? He gave me some data about what their AI robot says is hot right now. And in it, it said, explosions, you know, make sure this many people died, blah, blah, blah. But you know, it was literally a formula movie of just information that was coming into their business that would say they could understand research, they can understand who's watching and who's demanding what to watch. So I saw these 10 key points, action movie sci fi, this, that it literally had all this detail about what should be in a movie hit when what people are watching now. I went, well, that's probably an interesting, let's go make a robot movie. Right? And have some explosions. And we'll do this, we'll do that. So so the movie wasn't like a brainchild movie of mine, which I've been sitting on that script for fucking 10 years. And then I've and I'm 50 drafts in. It's it's one or two draft film, which I was going to polish as we were going with the actors, because I know actors bring a lot to the table. And with all the special effects and all that sort of stuff, I mean, we're going to talk about that later to a bit of what how we did that. But the knowing that the my movie was going to take a lot of boxes when it came to sales. I had an a sort of a name actor in there with Neil, right? He's enough for to give the movie street cred. Everyone loves it.

Alex Ferrari 41:56
Everyone knows his face. Everybody.

Mark Toia 41:58
Everyone knows him everyone loves him. He's a tough guy. He's great for putting in your film, right? But he's not going to make you any money. He's just going to get better. He's going to help you sell the movie. But when you go didn't do all your sales internationally, and all that sort of stuff. They go, Oh, I know that guy. What's his name? All right. So and next thing, it helps you get it over the line. So it's not like nails, nails, not not a list of by any stretch, but he gives them in restricted. I wish I'd put a couple of millennials in there as well. Right, just a few more, and I think we're doing a movie shortly. Just another fun movie like this.

Alex Ferrari 42:36
Jesus Christ I've

Mark Toia 42:37
I've been I want to have a massive ensemble cast and they have liked it. And we just had fun with it, you know? And that, you know, that's another thing. So, so then we were just jumping off track here.

Actually, you know, we were branching off a little we're branching off a lot of things, but not what you said. Is

Pull me back in line Alex.

Alex Ferrari 42:56
I'll bring you back. I'll bring you back in sir. So you're TVODing. You're sending things out your marketing like crazy. How many months do you go through transactional before you decide to go to SVOD or prime?

Mark Toia 43:10
Okay, mistake number two. Mistake number two. Fuck as far as what to go in ate shit all day every day.

Alex Ferrari 43:22
By the way you did get an offer from from that big. That big streamer that hasn't been as well. It's all but you decided not to go with him?

Mark Toia 43:33
Here? I don't I don't streaming is a very it's true streaming is the cancer of indie film, as you know.

Alex Ferrari 43:41
Right industry agreed agreed.

Mark Toia 43:44
I decided it's my movies doing so well on TV. It's sort of fit the curve is bumping down. Right. But so did my advertising too. I probably could have kept it propped up longer. got convinced to get put it on Prime put on prime is screaming for this. You know they want it they want to prime Amazon. We want it we want it. It goes under Prime. I am top five in America for four weeks. On prime. It's getting smashed. Millions of people have watched my movie now. In America. I see one or two or three cents per per view. I might as well just fucking given it to them. Right? It is a total waste of time. There is no economic sense to put your movie on prom. no economic sense at all. Don't put it on Prime don't put it near any streaming network. You see pennies, pennies.

Alex Ferrari 44:49
But you're saying

Mark Toia 44:50
I might have made 100 or 200 grand millions of people watch my movie and I made a couple undergrad done nothing.

Alex Ferrari 44:57
Now you're saying now you're saying that and I want I want to kind of put things into perspective here. You're also making a good amount of money and transactional, where most independent filmmakers are. They don't even they can't make money and transactional because they don't know how to drive traffic. So the only thing that they have is the potential of A prime and A VOD, which we're gonna get to in a minute. But hopefully with this conversation, people will try to give transactional again, again, it has to be the right product, you add the right product. I mean, it's, it's an easy sell. It's killer robots that look as good as anything the studio put out with great action, explosions and things like that people are going to watch that. But you're absolutely right. It's s VOD, and Amazon Prime and those kinds of places. It is and that, by the way, is not a VOD, and we're gonna get to advertising. This is subscription based stuff. It is not that. It's horrible. It's horrible. I wanted to know those numbers. Because I know you had it on there. You're like, yeah, I made a couple 100 grand off of top five on Amazon, like top five period, beating studios.

Mark Toia 46:04
It was sitting there forever. My friends are ringing me for America go fuck. It's still there.

Alex Ferrari 46:09
And you're like, you must be making tons No, you are making

Mark Toia 46:12
I thought I thought fact this is it new by by flying to the jet fuel the jet, you know, if TJ it was underway, anyway.

Alex Ferrari 46:27
Okay, so that's not that's strange.

Mark Toia 46:30
As far as I'm concerned, subscription based. Movies is what have devalued the world's movies. Because now if for seven bucks a month, you can go and watch 100 movies a week, you know, to make you good, right? mess yourself with it. And yeah, subscription company make a fortune because they will they need us subscribers, paying $7 each. Millions of those boom, they make money. But the actual people that own those movies and make those movies. Make nothing. Make nothing. So is avoid, as you know, and you might get the random, you might get Netflix or someone ringing up and saying hey, we'll, we'll buy it off you for a turn. But the amount they offer you is nothing. They're quite happy to go and spend copious amounts of money making that film for themselves if they owned it, but now that it's made, it's not it's worthless. It's they feel that like what's already made, you've already made the film, his first strapping stranger grant, because look, make it they would, they would have blown $10 million and making the damn thing you don't

Alex Ferrari 47:41
They want to meet, they would have spent 10 million bucks to make monsters of man easily. And they would have easily been spent 10 If not more to make a movie like that. But when you want something like that drops in their plate, they should be like, You know what, let's give you about a couple mil for this because this is this is

Mark Toia 47:56
What he would do with a couple of bills that those days are long gone. You You're so fucking three years ago.

Alex Ferrari 48:04
Exactly. I agree. No, I agree. I agree with you. I understand. doesn't pay any I mean, Amazon, Netflix or Amazon? Nobody pays anything anymore. Those days are those days are gone. All right. So you went to SVOD. But you still have transactional running. So people are still you know,

Mark Toia 48:19
I'm leaving it there forever. And I after you know, a couple of months. As far as I saw the numbers like I've got the I can jump you know the aggregator on it with is allowed me passwords to see inside Amazon. So I can see every great idea. By the way, every everyone out there. If you're distributors, you want to be super transparent. And then no one's gonna try and race back. You know, they're not going to try and kill you in the street. Just see the real data and you'll be and you'll have some good trust there. Right? So anyway, I see all that information firsthand. I go through it every week still. And I can see if I'm if I made 22 cents or $20,000 whatever. It's just all the data. I saw the prime data. I was like, Holy shit, this is like pillaging and raping my movie. You know what I mean? It's like, now all those potential T VOD. People have now watched it for three cents for nothing. You don't I mean, a big marketplace just got destroyed by amazon prime. So, you know, that's the system they ran. That's fine. That's their life. I mean, I made the mistake of jumping on it. So you know,

Alex Ferrari 49:33
Pull it out and you pull it out or you left it there. Oh, yeah.

Mark Toia 49:38
Get the fuck out of there. You don't have it? I mean, the IMD TVs that all that sort of on our note, we're going up to a five now Okay,

Alex Ferrari 49:46
That's a bad. So I see the paper transaction was still going and you're still making money on transactional even during that time.

Mark Toia 49:52
Okay. So, anyway, but my advertising has stopped. I'm a bit To remember back on relaunching the movie again, which is another thing.

Alex Ferrari 50:05
Which Yeah, because Because, look, the thing is, it's not like the olden days where a movie comes out big, big hoopla everybody knows about it. And everybody knows is really most people in this world do not know that your movie was ever released. So it's brand new to that. So you can read remarket It read, put it out there, and see what happens. Alright, so now you're still making money off a transaction on may

Mark Toia 50:29
Have bested that already, by the way. And that's gonna work.

Alex Ferrari 50:33
Exactly, exactly. So then you go into the AVOD world, which is arguably the only place that independent filmmakers are truly making money in today's world. Unless you are you unless you know how to drive traffic to a transactional and have an audience that's willing to pay for your product. A VOD is honestly the only place that people are making money from my understanding what's your experience?

Mark Toia 50:55
And not for long? Is the bad news?

Alex Ferrari 50:59
Okay, tell me tell me tell me.

Mark Toia 51:02
Yeah, I bought we dropped out on Shooby and yeah, it exploded it was bad went off. It's good, great. Daddy goods and Bad's of Avon. The good thing with with Tubi is it's small and growing fast. It's full of low weight indie films. And even though my my movie pokes its head at the top of the poo, right? It's still it's still in, it's still making money. What's happening now is the studios with their massive banks of movies over the last 40 years, damping under tubing. So all of a sudden, all your indie films are going to be lost. Right? You're going to be forced down the bottom of the pile again. It's still there. People can still watch it you can still drive people to to be to search it. Or there's this monster the man there. It's you know, getting buried right now. Right now it's getting buried tube Shooby can't put these these Hollywood movies on with Hollywood stars. They can't put that shit on quick enough right now.

Alex Ferrari 52:17
Right! Because you've, you've got like a 10 year old Brad Pitt movie, and actually be like, kill me softly or something like that. And yeah, people like autumn forgot about that movie. Let me watch that. That's going to be watched every day over an independent film. And it's so funny you say that? Because in T VOD indies, where That's where money was made first, then S VOD Indies. That's where the money was made for. Netflix was bought. Nope. Netflix was buying.

Mark Toia 52:43
If it were bought,

Alex Ferrari 52:46
No, no, they were buying independent projects, independent films. And they were spending money on Amazon was at Sundance and everybody. So same thing happened in the studio is like no, no, shoot, and then diluted that then a VOD. Oh, god, oh, God, Oh, God. And then now the studios are dumping that in. The next one is YouTube. And the studios have yet to do that. And you in the YouTube world there. They do clips and they're monetizing the clips off of their movies. But they're not putting their full movies up for free yet. But that's the next place.

Mark Toia 53:16
I will because I'm in talks with them now. So yeah, it's happening. But here's what's happening, right? Here's what's happening with a VOD space. Like things evolved so quickly. As you know, it's just nuts. You think if you only a little, you think you found a little Goldmine, right? You think you found that you're there? And you're like, This is it and then it gets everyone else finds the same goldmine. Everyone piles into the same goldmine. So, you know, for instance, Netflix, I bet you know, not a word of a lie. I have no idea where

Alex Ferrari 53:54
They're going AVOD. Oh, there you go. Oh, no, they're gonna absolutely there's no question in my mind that Netflix in the next two years will have an AVOD option, like Hulu does.

Mark Toia 54:05
All of her will be everyone will be AVOD. And then to be will be the little lonely kid in the corner that started the whole fucking shit show. They will be there back with all their indies again.

Alex Ferrari 54:20
And nobody's gonna want to go over there again. But But yeah, because now because now to be is going to have to fight paramount, Disney, all of them will eventually have a AVOD option. If you want to spend your money. You wanna spend 15 bucks a month or 10 bucks a month, you could do an ad free. So they'll still have both revenues. And they're going to be happy because imagine right now if HBO goes advertising, AVOD, how many people who jump on it watch HBO? How many people watch Disney plus more than they do now? It's I want people to understand how difficult it is to me. Make Money With a movie in today's marketplace. It's absolutely cutthroat brutal. I, you know, I'm going to be speaking at AFM this year, I'll be there in November. I'm dying to see what everybody's talking about and what everyone's because from my experience going to the market, everybody's just like, I don't know what, I don't know, maybe this maybe that nobody knows no distributor really knows what's going to happen the next three or four years. No. So that's why your case study so interesting.

Mark Toia 55:30
Distributors work, distributors work less their sales on commodity. Right? Right. Their business is not about selling movies, their business is about collecting movies. So the more movies they need, the more movies they have, and the libraries, the more little rats and mice you know that it just sprinkles money on them little bits of money, but it all adds up in the end of the day. And we get it you know, so if you're gonna do that, get a distributor to help you he number one transparency. Try and get that person 15% or less and, and flog the advertising yourself as hard as he can, even though they want to do it. They're going to charge you for it and probably spend a quarter of what they've told you they're going to spend, right,

Alex Ferrari 56:28
Which was then you're going to spend the money on the advertising then at the end of the day? Why the hell are you gonna go with them? Maybe Maybe you can make a deal to get into AVOD or something like that? I don't know. Alright, sorry. So I want to I do want to ask you about the Teva. What is the platform that made you the most money Apple, Amazon? Google, what was the platform that in order? Because a lot, there's a lot of myths about Amazon? Which one Amazon

Mark Toia 56:51
Was probably 70%.

Alex Ferrari 56:54
Wow. And that's a that's so valuable for people to understand. Because a lot of people still think that Apple and iTunes is the place to rent, but they're like, oh, I have to be on iTunes. iTunes at the beginning of the TV. Revolution was the place to be but Amazon is just everybody's on Amazon.

Mark Toia 57:12
I think. I think Amazon has just everyone's got an Amazon account buying shit online, right? So a lot of people have prime accounts, their prime accounts, it just comes with when you subscribe when you order your toilet paper online, you get your free ship.

Alex Ferrari 57:28
You got free shipping, you've got Amazon Prime.

Mark Toia 57:30
Yeah, very clever. Very, very clever. Amazon, Amazon is a beast, you know, it makes good money. It you know, when you look at all your data that comes online through their through the portal, you get to see all your sales. You you could do it yourself, you're getting initially loaded up on Amazon yourself hoping that they like it. You don't I mean, if it's thinking part ship, they will just pull it off over time.

Alex Ferrari 57:57
Yeah, without warning, without warning. Without warning, we weren't gonna pull it off staff, they'll just pull things off.

Mark Toia 58:04
It's not making money. I can, I can see why. Right? Because data, data costs money, and they just got so much stuff sitting up online at the moment.

So okay, so yeah, Apple TV, I got it.

I got fleeced by Apple, oh, not so much by Apple. But they've got these recommended list of aggregators.

Alex Ferrari 58:24
I think was one of those distributor was one of those months, a long time ago.

Mark Toia 58:30
Apple just seem to hire or the gun owners at Apple seem to recommend all the sharks, you know, anyway, is company surname unnamed, and we're trying to sue them at the moment, but they literally stole most of our apple profits. So they probably still owe us a half a million dollars or more, and maybe even more, I mean, we literally physically the take the movie down from Apple, wait three months and then put it back up again, like very disruptive from that angle. But Apple is a big apple and a big earner. As much as Amazon Amazon is the machine Apple is next. Believe it or not. The Google Google Play SEO slash YouTube sales were very good as well. And Microsoft was amazing.

Alex Ferrari 59:22
It was even on Playstation and all that. X box. Yeah.

Mark Toia 59:28
The next Xbox PlayStation, whatever it was that no, not PlayStation, new Xbox. That's one.

Alex Ferrari 59:34
What else but that makes sense with your kind of,

Mark Toia 59:36
You know, the fan dangos and the videos and all that. Don't waste your fucking time. Nobody. I think we got like $14 You know?

Alex Ferrari 59:49
That's really good. That's really good information for people listening out there because a lot of times they'll spend all this money with aggregators, like I gotta have it on Fandango and on Vudu and I'm like, no, no I always tell him I have always said I've always consulted filmmakers to do Amazon. I go iTunes is vanity that's a vanity play just to say to people I'm on a habit you still making

Mark Toia 1:00:09
Money there and a lot of people out here in my house for instance, we don't we don't buy shit from Prime I don't

Alex Ferrari 1:00:15
Either I use Apple TV, but those are the two words that you really if you're going to spend money Amazon Apple, maybe Google maybe play maybe

Mark Toia 1:00:25
I'm finding myself now I'm starting to buy more movies. I mean, I've got all the isopods right, I've got the primes the fact that this that they're all They're all a thumbprint away but it's all it's it's love it's a scrap it you know maybe I'll watch too much and I've gone through all the good stuff but you've reached the end of the good but now I've got well here's the latest Elvis just turned up you know? I'll just a bite 25 bucks fucking What the hell is this? Bring me Elvis into my room. You know? I've got a really nice theater in our in our house. So it's like I've seen scrapes.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:04
I've seen pictures of your theater sir it's it's embarrassing. So you should be you should be ashamed of yourself.

Mark Toia 1:01:10
It is not that expensive to set up by the by the way.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:13
They're not as much as they used to be. That's for sure. Now, okay, so with Avon so in a in the Avon world what are the rankings to be number one and I know IMDb TV which is now free V is I heard that's doing really well. And so what an Avon Where are you making your money?

Mark Toia 1:01:34
The AMD IMDb TV in the UK is going great guns at the moment.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:41
Which has now turned into Freeview, by the way, and I think that's changed, I think in the UK as well.

Mark Toia 1:01:46
What you know, whatever they were Yeah, they rebranded it. And then he went, we're not on all the AVOD yet, because I'm still, I'm still I'm still up in here, but I thought I mean, it's there and it's gonna sit there for next 20 years bubbling away. But you're still gonna drive traffic to it. But you can make more money still, I can get one sale on tabled. Right, which equates to 50 people watching my movie on Avon. Does that make sense?

Alex Ferrari 1:02:20
It makes sense the world? Yeah, absolutely. That's fine, if you can, but you gotta find a customer that's willing to pay for it. Either rented, or so you can obviously

Mark Toia 1:02:30
I'm going to spend that money. I'm gonna get I'm gonna do a new advertising campaign. And you know, I'm gonna throw 1000s at it. And it's going to be because I know every time we have put advertising in, we see massive spikes in sales. So the other day, I just did one as a bit of a macro and just a play thing. Right? I put $1,000 in and we got like 70 grand for the sales. Extra sales.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:54
How much did you put in $1,000. So just so you're getting a seven to a return on your on your money on $1.

Mark Toia 1:03:04
That's more excessive as a 349 percenter.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:07
Yeah, exactly. So you're sure you're not doing bad. I mean, I'll do that all day. But just keep putting money in and you keep again, the ROI. Why not? You put $1 in you get $8 out of it.

Mark Toia 1:03:18
Yeah, all of a sudden, you don't see the intern coming in with your advertising going in, he just fucking turn it off. But end of the day, just believe it there. I mean, the sales from that area, just just topping up your advertising spend. So it's just, it's just a cyclic system. It's very basic and simple. Yeah. And I'm thinking about and the original name of my movie was robot four. Do I relaunch the movie again as robot four and put up the 90 minute one, you know, I don't know. All these things that go through my mind.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:49
You could you could do the Director's Cut

Mark Toia 1:03:52
Robot for the target is the is the cut down.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:57
You know, the thing that's wonderful about your story is that you are generating revenue you've you've turned your movie into a money making machine, which is exactly what the book talks about how to turn your movie into a money making machine. You've been able to do that using all these little tools and tricks and stuff. Did you generate I saw that you selling or at least you're focusing energy on the single from the music single. Is that something you own? Are you just trying to give love to the artist on your ear?

Mark Toia 1:04:24
Well, that's my daughter sung that song at the end. Oh, wow. That's awesome. She did great. It's very accomplished musician, singer songwriter. She was living in Sweden at the time. And I said hey, do you want to do a song for the movie? And she goes Yeah, cuz I stress her out apparently. Shocking. Anyway, she sent it to me she was shooting herself and she sent me the sent me the track. We checked it on the timeline at the end. Let's drop this straight over and it was perfect. I got it's great darlin love it. She's like, What? Do you want me to change anything? I said, No. That's your piece of art. And we're going to have as your family. My son helped help me shoot the film. My wife helped me produce the film. My daughter wrote a little tiny piece of music at the end of it.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:16
You don't degenerate, degenerate, generate revenue. Has she generated any revenue with sales from that song or now?

Mark Toia 1:05:23
Oh, she's made a few cents. You know, the music industry is

Alex Ferrari 1:05:27
Just as bad as Spotify, how much do you make negative two cents every time you owe us money every time someone plays it.

Mark Toia 1:05:37
Spotify started the whole cancer is subscription based bullshit. I mean, I've got a lot of disdain for that model. Because it you know, when we're thinking about Netflix, I suppose is Netflix will find a filmmaker with a good idea. Give them the money to go and make the movie. Give them their producers fee directors fee. And that's it. They'll keep the movie and fuck you off. And that's it. And it's all done. So Netflix is great for creating content and paying crew and directors and producers that didn't have the money to make that movie. And do it themselves. You know what I mean? So good on good on Netflix for that. But it's sad when they see a great movie, but they won't pay that filmmaker what that movie is at least cost at least what it costs the anatomy or what they what it could be worth in the marketplace. I've seen a lot of my friends that have sold to Netflix and they are like getting chump change.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:48
You know that way forever and waiting forever for that chump change? Yeah, oh, yeah.

Mark Toia 1:06:53
Well, yeah, the deals are very long, like long, like, oh, yeah, three, three year deals, and they get paid once a year dividend. And if they don't, if it's not really working, and that's falling off the grid a bit they'll just they'll drop it year after year. I'm sure there's a whole bunch of different deals going through. I don't really know in detail. I don't really want to know it's I just see my my filmmaking friends all upset. They've cried their beer in front of me.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:23
So somebody asked you so let me ask you then you because we've kind of hinted about this during the conversation. You use this as a calling card for for Hollywood to go off and do some movies. You from our from our past conversations, which will you know, we won't say who, but you've had some pretty big players in the in the studio system call you about possibly doing some work and you talk whatever you can say about that? Let me know. Can you talk about it?

Mark Toia 1:07:52
It is a few little India haste. But yeah, the biggest, the biggest of the biggest, the biggest, the biggest of court, and the smallest of the smallest of court, or, you know, everyone in between? Yeah, I've been probably sent well over 100 scripts, I think since the movies come out. I've attempted to read most of them. But if they don't have me in the first 10 pages, I'm fuckin I'm out, you know. But it's, you know, I, it's a hard game, even for the studios, right. But they might have the money, they might have the clout, they might have everything, but there's a big, there's big machines attached to a lot of it. And I'm wary to do the big the big John studio job next, because I know I'm gonna have a bit of a hand up the coin puppet thing, you know, I'm gonna be and, and really, they're not going to get my full potential because they literally it's going to be directed from the sidelines. Right? Don't say why ring me. I mean, what they need, they just they need to employ. And this is why a lot of young directors that are shot short films are doing massive blockbusters, because the studio just needs a pop up in there to, to strike together. They've already directed it, they already know what it's going to be like, have you done? Yeah. You know, the, there's, there's 10 directors on that movie, and it's not the one that they hired, you know, he's just pieces, maybe the full guy. Right and the thing, and you go and do those big movies and it doesn't do well and your career is over and done with the rest of your life. It's all finished. You know? So I've been very careful with who I jump in bed with. And a lot of them tell you, a lot of them tell you on my mind is going to be your vision. You've got total creative control, blah, blah, blah. But you know, that's complete utter bullshit, right? You know, give me finally come out of the come

Alex Ferrari 1:09:59
It asked for final cuts, see what happens.

Mark Toia 1:10:05
Look, I love anomalous in respect to all the guys that have called me and the people we're still talking to. And we've, we've got this, there's a half dozen guys with their films, the big, biggest well known producers and they've got some really great script ideas. I'm really excited actually about what's coming up. Now, the thing is, they are still at the mercy of actors. They are still at the mercy of they don't get money unless they're like the signs. They're still going to try and convince that actor that Mark Toya is the director for the job. Right. So there's all these hurdles, I might have opened the door nice and wide, and everyone's jumping on the mat train because they go well, toy just made a fucking movie, what would have cost us catering money, you know, and he's made a whole movie of our catering budget. And it's, it's pretty good. And like, and that's why I'm jumping on because they see me as a bit of a meal ticket in that sense, which is great. And I want them to see me as a meal ticket. Yes, I can do all the special effects myself. I shoot myself I do everything else whole lot myself and I can do that stuff so swiftly and easily. And then I know how to break the rules. I don't need the technic cranes, I don't need all that shit. That complicates the movie and makes the movie massively expensive. And they still get their big budget looking movie for probably quarter the price. So and they know that it's so hard for them now to make movies to make profit on a movie. So all of a sudden people like me that are sort of multi skill are we become a commodity we become the the, the little goldmine for a bit, so. So I've proven that with the monster movie, the monsters Man movie. Now I just need to prove to that. So same people that I can do deep drama as well. So then I'm going to do another film where it's going to be very, very active driven. And that will just tick off that box. I can do the action and I can do

Alex Ferrari 1:12:12
Now are you going to release it the same way? Or what are you going to do with that one? It worked. Yeah, but but there's no explosives. No killer robots are so I'm not sure if the drop explosions.

Mark Toia 1:12:28
Goes in there. And he's, you know, in a gun, he holds up a petrol station in LA and we blow up the petrol station, right? So it's an explosion. Maybe there's an explosive you're in a trailer moments. Seriously, if you're gonna sell a movie, you need moments in that trailer where people go, this looks fucking cool. Right? It does. It can't be stupid, right? Dramas don't sell every distributor in the world will come until here. Unless you got Meryl Streep and the bloody thing. It won't sell. And even if it has Meryl Streep in it doesn't wait, I still don't know. Right? So if you're going to do a nice beautiful drama, or you know, a love story, whatever the odds are you making $1 Lucky next to nothing.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:16
And also, by the way, you also saw you also sold this one to territories individually, right? So you're doing that as well?

Mark Toia 1:13:22
Yes, yes. It's in about 140 Different countries now. You know, we need some to a region, you know, like to Japan, French speaking countries, all of a sudden, that's combines 30 countries or something. But it's not hard to you know, it's nice to say yo sometime in 50 countries, but the reality is we've sold it to, you know, probably a dozen or more regions that encompass those countries. But yeah, now we've done pretty good out of that.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:51
Yeah, it does

Mark Toia 1:13:54
Automate a lot more. I mean, um, during I think it was I think it might have been What's the fucking dodgy show? You love guarantee that AFM

Alex Ferrari 1:14:04
AFM?

Mark Toia 1:14:04
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, there was a guy there. And he rang me up. He said, I'll give you a million dollars for the movie. For international sales, right? I should have just given it to him, because international size is such a pain in the ass.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:17
But that's a whole other level of crazy.

Mark Toia 1:14:21
Yeah, it is a whole lot of little crazy. And you know, the Germans are ringing up in the gate. Oh, Mike, we love your movie. It's fucking great. But our AI robots have scanned your movie, and we've found 137 problems with it, and what type of problems? So you go down to the timecode. And there's like a pixel out that no one will ever see me fix that and they go, Well, there's a little bit of artifacting and I go what it's fucking stock footage, of course, it's gonna have an artifact and I've destroyed the QC QC here. So all the QC stuff and you just go out of it. I think we're probably out of the 100 Something comments is probably false. Things that were okay. There is a tiny is a missing frame or something which you can watch that movie 1000 times and never seen the missing frame. But the robot picked it up. Anyway. So you fucking around the Germans for six eight months just trying to get your movie kisi where everyone else it's playing around the world and no one else has any other problem with

Alex Ferrari 1:15:23
Germans but Germany history right?

Mark Toia 1:15:25
They paid well. In France The French paid well and I've purpose OMA to this thing. I've purposely kept all the English speaking countries for myself. You know, America, Canada's Australia, New Zealand, blah blah But anyway that they speak English I've I'm not going to sell the rights to the movie for the analysts they and this is a nice fat check that the Netflix or the Amazon has ring up and just dangle a carrot which they won't, completely won't. But it's a I love keeping the English speaking one for myself, because that's the one that's going to just keep churning over for me forevermore. You've got probably one distributor rang me saying, you know, telling me everything I wanted to hear. Which is great. They always do. But they he said this thing's probably got with his body of work that he's got that he's selling. He said you probably got another 1015 years. Because it's a relatively current subject. The post production is done really well. It's not shot in a city that's going to age race. In that age is the movie is Neal McDonough has a wire coming out of the zero everyone's Bluetooth now. I don't fuck it. Maybe I'll just paint the wire. There you go.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:44
There you go. Now is there gonna be a sequel? Nah. You left us open at the end.

Mark Toia 1:16:52
Come on, you know I did on purpose. It's it. They could be there's a lot of a lot of people have rung me not a lot. There's been a few people that have rung me again. Hey, can we do? Can we do the second version? You know, we'll pay for it right at the 100 bucks. Nice. But we want you to direct it. No. And get back to me. You know, I'm not listing no time into it. You guys want to go and do that. And that's fine. You go nuts and get back to me and we'll we'll decide then. So, but I like to do a I'd like to do Monsters and Men too. It'd be it wouldn't be fun. Yeah, it wouldn't be fun. It literally is opened up to go bigger. Because when I was making the movie, I thought Fuck, I just want to go full Michael Bay. If

Alex Ferrari 1:17:47
We're gonna give you some money for this, you're like, Okay,

Mark Toia 1:17:50
If I start doing movies to studios, I'm going to try and convince them to fucking do a Michael Bay execution. So.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:57
So my question to you is, sir, do you regret reading Rise?

Mark Toia 1:18:06
Well, again, I didn't read the book. Sorry. I don't like killing trees. But listen, the the ebook was fantastic. And and I've recommended it to a lot of people, don't you worry.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:19
No, no, thank you. I appreciate that.

Mark Toia 1:18:22
It's, it's, you know, you probably just need to do a, what I call the addition to Oh, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:30
I got up there. Yeah, there's,

Mark Toia 1:18:33
Yeah, it might have to do with every year because she changes so fast.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:37
I mean, a lot of the core concepts and they're still gonna be good for their evergreen. But there's some things that I wish I knew I needed an expanded edition, I need to do a second edition and the third edition and a fourth.

Mark Toia 1:18:47
I can't recommend it highly enough. It is that book is a lot. Like I said, when I was listening to it all says God, it's so fucking logical. Right? It's so logical. And within, you know, there's so many alarm bells in the film industry. So many alarm bells. If you were an indie guy wanting to make a movie, you really need to go to therapy first, because and read your book. I was one of the lucky ones. But I the amount of effort and energy I put in behind my movie to make sure it didn't fail was extraordinary.

Alex Ferrari 1:19:32
And you also you also have massive volume of of expertise, education, knowledge about all the things you're doing. So you also are on an anomaly in your own right, just yourself. So it takes a lot to do what you've done without question. Yeah,

Mark Toia 1:19:51
I mean, look, I've I know the whole production production thing. I've been doing posts forever. So I can post a movie on On my laptop, on an airplane, same here, I can make an 8k movie, like literally in my on my laptop where other people have got to go to a post test and they get completely, like, right. Like that they will you'll be getting of getting big bill if you did it that way. Right? That you know just you know people go I've made a movie for 30 grand. I said Yeah, but by the time we do proper sound, proper everything so you can sell it to certain companies this law that's going to cost more than your movie, if you want to do it. Because these companies might even take your movie with your shitty stereo sound that you did in Premiere? You don't I mean, they certainly do this the stems, you need to supply a loan,

Alex Ferrari 1:20:48
Oh, my God, just the deliverables? And then you get into QC with the pixel here and the pixel there that

Mark Toia 1:20:55
Oh. And the reality is no reality is that so overcooked, and so overhyped, I think that's been manufactured by postales is to give them more work. But the reality is that the amazing content you see on YouTube now done by young kids at home, and we got these amazing pieces of content, no one cares about a visa fucking missing frame or a pixel out or whatever. And it looks fantastic. So a lot of that the film Qc is just a lot of shit.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:26
I wouldn't I would agree with you 100%. And, and by the way, if you do have a distributor that will take that crappy version with a crappy audio, I promise you, they'll never get to pay, you know,

Mark Toia 1:21:37
If they because they will have to be fixing it.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:40
Yes. If they fix it, or they just put it out the way it is. And they just don't care. And they're just gonna see whatever money trickles in, like you say the little, the little, the little, the little crumbs that get thrown off of it.

Mark Toia 1:21:51
It is on the front for the record, I don't want to diss on distributors because distributors are there for a reason that they're there to fulfill a job that you're too lazy or inexperienced to do you have into I walked into this completely an experience. I've come out of fucking swiss army knife. You don't I mean, and so I know other pieces. So now I know what a real distributor should be doing. Right? I couldn't do it.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:26
But you're but you know what? You're absolutely right. And it's not that we rag on distributors, distributors have a job to do. And there are good ones out there. It's just the majority of them.

Mark Toia 1:22:36
Other great ones? Not not that great. And yeah, and there's distributors that have a lot of reach. And there's ones that don't, you know, right? There's no fun and games. You know, for example, this is what a movie is worth now, now that the stream has literally devalued a feature film, to literally is now officially a feature film has now officially officially worth about three cents. That's what your feature film is worth in the marketplace. three cents. That's really sad when you say that, right? And I say that three cents, because if the movie will eventually end up in a vote or SVOD or wherever, but that's probably all you're gonna get from your movie. After your TV, VOD experience is about three cents, every time someone watches it. So, you go now, I sold a little bit of stock footage the other day, right to Netflix, for you know, through, you know, through our through just through our stuff, guys. And I made $1,500 for five seconds. Oh, yeah. Well, you know, from an advertising perspective, that's great. So the thing is, how is a movie was so much work and effort from hundreds of people worth three cents when people watch it. But your stock footage, it was a picture of a fucking stop sign, like hundreds of dollars for

Alex Ferrari 1:24:09
So, so perfect example is look, I'll give you a perfect example. Let's say tomorrow, I open up a new service that allows you to get bananas on demand. Demand any anytime you want a banana, you just have to just open up your your your your, your, your cupboard, and there's a banana there because I've set up a technology that allows you to do the bananas before bananas used to cost you know, 69 cents a pound 99 cents a pound, which is not a lot of money, but there's a lot of volume in bananas. Now I've essentially brought down bananas to less than less than a penny, per thing. All of the hundreds of 1000s of people that go into creating bananas, cultivating them, packing them, picking them, packing them, shipping them, all of that all those people, how are they going to be living and that's exactly what's happening to us. as filmmakers we are, we're not able to make a living doing this. And you and I are both old enough of similar vintage to remember, the 80s, the 90s, and even the early 2000s, where you can make crap movies and make a lot of money with it. But now, you can't. And the distributors are still trying to figure it out all of them. The studios are trying to figure it out, which is which is the biggest studio in Hollywood right now. The one that makes the most money

Mark Toia 1:25:26
Would have no idea Disney, Disney.

Alex Ferrari 1:25:30
Now why is Disney make the most money? Because they use the film intrapreneur model. Because I didn't invent it. They've been doing it since the day of seven, the seven dwarfs the second they put Mickey Mouse on a t shirt. They started making money outside the film industry. So now where are they? So where are they making their money's when they do a Marvel movie or Star Wars movie or frozen. They made a billion dollars off the dresses and frozen alone. According to my according to my friend who works at Disney, a billion off the first movie. And that movie, by the way, made a billion in the box office. And they made they make more money off of everything else they sell them the actual movies is that they stopped being a movie studio a long time ago. They're about selling baby Yodas. That's what they want to sell that Mandalorian makes them some money, but it's a marketing tool. And that's what the film intrapreneur method is all about. It's about doing that, but for the independent, and focusing on niches and all that kind of stuff. But, but that's that's and that's the future. And that's why a lot of these other studios are having more difficult times surviving, and making, you know, making money because it's just I don't know where this all gonna go, my friend. But your story is very inspirational. I wanted to have you back on. So thank you so much for being so candid, and open with the audience and with the tribe about your, your, your adventures over the last two years getting this movie out into the world. And of course, when you make your next movie, we will be here to hear what happens with that one as well. And and if you do decide to make one of those big movies, please come back. I want to love to hear this. The stories from the inside of the studio

Mark Toia 1:27:11
Yeah, look, I think I will I will because it's you know, I've got a lot of a lot of time for you, Alex, and the information you give to a lot of filmmakers, because I see a lot of young fellas making movies or young people sorry, not young fellows, but young people making movies, and I'm already looking at dead people walking, right? In many ways. You're absolutely right. And I want to go over there and just say Look, don't don't can't, you know, they've got to go down the path of creating something you don't I mean, creating something to sell. And it's either I think telling a movie is like writing a book, right? For a writer writing a book, or cooking the best fucking food of his life for a filmmaker, creating the best movies can with his own hands. It's a creative release. And it's great if you get if you've got a rich dad or a mom or whatever, that it's just going to dump money on you to go and make your movie and have fun. But the reality is, if you're going to use other people's money, there's a responsibility there. And either, you're never going to be, you're always gonna have this monkey on your back. If you borrow money from the accountant down the road and aren't married, and someone's mortgaged their house, and you go and make a movie, and it doesn't make any money, right? forevermore, the stress that will be upon your head. And the reason why you're not going to make money is not because you might make the most amazing film look like you know, we had a little breakthrough with our one and it did everything right and you got your money back. But the odds if you don't do everything right, you know, and it doesn't work it's going to in the odds are it's not this I don't even know I've I've I know countless filmmakers, independent but myself truly independent guys that have made movies and reached out to me. And literally none of them have got a good story for me. You don't I mean, that religiously ringing me up asking me how. And it's really, really sad that the some of the stories I've heard have been decimated, I mean, terrible. And I've showed them ago. I'm going to tell you my process and that's where I fucked up there. Well, that's okay. That's fine. And you know, and I fucked up in certain areas selling my film as well. I know I could have made a lot more money with it. You know what I mean? But But listen, it's a life lesson. But you know what? System two is you can get into the traditional system. and just make wages, you can go and get your directors fee and whatever. You know, that's the other thing too about being a director is that the director is probably the you're not going to get paid much as a director. You know, I've got a friend of mine that's finishing a movie now for for Netflix. And he worked out because he ended up you know, hanging out with the makeup artist and making out with her. He worked out that per hour. Right? Her our, the amount of time he spent on the movie, compared to the amount of time she spent on the movie, she was making four times more than him because he got a contracted amount of X amount of dollars, you know, 100 grand, she came in just for, you know, the four weeks to suit this thing or five weeks, she was making more money per hour than him. So really, as a director, a movie director, you get jack shit, unless you're going to be like, a fucking famous Marvel director, maybe you know, after your second or third Marvel film, you might be making some good day. But the reality is even a lot of the offers I've been getting, I'll go fuck massive pay cut, you know, I can make what they offer. I can make doing an add in,

Alex Ferrari 1:31:15
Or stock trading week, or two or three weeks.

Mark Toia 1:31:19
You're literally paying me if you want me for a year in a bit, and you're gonna pay me a month's income like it directly at work. directing a movie is not really that What are you thinking?

Alex Ferrari 1:31:34
Right, exactly. And by the way, your story is could have been a cautionary tale very easily you could have if you didn't know marketing, if you didn't know Facebook ads and YouTube ads. If you didn't make your money in T VOD, and just try to throw it on a VOD or let's say you just want to throw it on Amazon Prime and left it there. You you might have been able to make some money with it. But it wouldn't. It this story could have gone wrong in multiple places, multiple.

Mark Toia 1:32:03
But I didn't want it to fail. And if it was going to fail, I wanted to fail with my own hands. I didn't want it to fail on someone else's hands. Because then I would have kicked myself stupid for allowing myself right to let it fail with no because if I'm if I'm going to put no effort into selling that film, I get some years sitting back down. Are they going to do everything for me? Because they told me they're going to do $2,000 in marketing for the PR and they told me they're going to spend six grand here and, and and the movies gonna blow up. Right? Right. I knew that was bullshit. Because I'm in the advertising world. I know that's complete other shit. I mean, like, six grand, don't get you shit. Nothing. Nothing. And online news. You know, when you hit the PR companies and they put stuff on all those fucking Oh, the PR web things? Yeah, yeah, no, talking, no one reads that crap. Come on. No one in how do you how do you even justify monetizing it? You know, it might end up in variety. And it's like poof, gone. It's like, got you know, it's,

Alex Ferrari 1:33:09
I hope this conversation inspires and scares the shit out of people at the exact same time because it is definitely an anomaly. It is a cautionary tale. It's an inspirational tale. And this is the reality of where we are in the world right now. And where we are going as filmmakers. That's why I wrote the book. So we have a fighting chance. Because in the book, you read it, you know, you've got to execute things in order for it to work and you've got to do a lot of work. That's not the filmmaking part of it. It's not the working with actors and getting in the edit room and go into the premieres. That's another part. But in today's world, filmmakers need to do the next part if they want to survive as filmmakers. That's just unfortunate. I don't I don't make the rules. These are the rules. And unfortunately, this is where we're going. Mark, I do want to appreciate your time. Brother, thank you so much for coming on the show again, and being so candid and open with us. And I hope this does help some filmmakers out there. So thank you again, my friend and continued success and let you keep me updated on where you are in the world and what you're doing.

Mark Toia 1:34:11
No worries, Alex, have a good day. It's always good to talk to you mate.

Film Distribution Survival Guide (How to Actually Make Money)

Over the years, by far, the single most significant area where I have seen most filmmakers stumble on is film distribution. There is not a lot of information out there about the inner working of the film distribution process, let alone indie film distribution.

We have all heard the horror stories about and indie filmmaker signing a horrible distribution deal from film distribution companies, never getting a dime and losing control of their film for ten years to boot. As crazy as that might sound, it happens more often than you might think.

These stories are not outliers or exceptions; they are the rule. Most filmmakers have no idea what to do when they get into distribution of their film. For this reason I put together this Film Distribution Survival Guide to help guide you through these uncharted waters. I hope these few tips you are about to read will not only help you but save you time and money.

Traditional Distribution

As I stated earlier, most filmmakers suffer heartache when they deal with traditional distribution companies because of a few reasons.

    • By the time they get to this point in the filmmaking process, they are exhausted.
    • Filmmakers are ignorant about the entire process.
    • Filmmakers have no idea what to ask for or look out for.
    • Many times filmmakers never did market research to see if their film had any value and when the harsh reality hits them they have very few options, so they sign a predator distribution deal to get a digital release of their film.

Now not all feature film distribution companies are immoral or predatory. I’ve run into many good players in this game, but I’ve also dealt with some predator distributors that I wouldn’t trust to carrier my groceries up the stairs.

Here are some essential tips when looking at a potential film distribution partner.

Please note: You should always seek legal counsel when deciding to sign any agreement. The information I layout in this book is based on my experience being in the film industry for over 25 years and should be a starting point of discussions with legal counsel.

Do Your Home Work

Anytime you speak to any independent film distribution companies, always do your homework. Contact filmmakers, they have done business with in the past and ask them about their experience.

  • What did they do for the film?
  • Did they pay you?
  • How often and detailed are the quarterly reports?
  • Would you work with them again?

This one tip could save you years of heartache. I would call at least 3-4 filmmakers and compare notes. You can go to IMDB Pro (if you don’t have an IMDB Pro account get one ASAP) look up the films they have distributed before and reach out to the filmmakers of those films.

How Long Have They Been Doing Business

One of the easiest ways to see if the company you are talking to is better than most is to see how long they have been in business. This method isn’t perfect since I know distributors who have been around for years that I would never work with, but this does weed out potential problems.

If the company is new and the filmmakers they have worked with are giving them good reviews, then do homework on the key players of the company. Many times the CEO and founder has been in the distribution game for years working for a larger company, and he or she is opening up shop. The key is doing that homework.

The Devil is in the Details

Now you reached out to a distributor, have done your homework and you have a beautiful indie film distribution contract sitting on the table for you to sign, all your filmmaking dreams are about to come true, not so fast. You need to go over this agreement over with a fine-tooth comb.

First, have an entertainment attorney look over the agreement. Please do not use your uncle Bob who is a real estate attorney; he will not be savvy enough to understand the little tricks and fine print you will find in most distribution agreements.

Out of Control Expenses

Distribution companies usually will charge you for expenses they accrue in the process of distributing your film. Depending on the distributor this could cover, trailer editing, poster design, film market travel, final deliverables, E&O Insurance, Close Captioning, and many others.

The key is to demand a cap on expenses, which means that you are not responsible for any costs above a certain point. Let us say we cap the marketing fees at $20,000. If the expenses are $25,000, then you are only responsible for $20,000. So the first $20,000 made from sales of the film go to covering those expenses.

If you do not cap these cost and leave them open-ended, then chances of you ever receiving a dime for your film is extremely slim.

Length of the Agreement

I have seen distribution contracts that are ten years, some ever fifteen to twenty five years long. In a nutshell, the distributor owns your film for the length of the agreement.

If you have not signed a smart deal or made an agreement with a distributor that will try to sell your film, then you have given you movie away as a gift to this distributor. You can not generate any revenue from your hard work, let alone pay back investors, or recoup your expenses.

I have signed film distribution agreements for as little as three years, not the industry norm. Most arrangements are between 5 to 7 years. So make sure the deal you sign is a good one because you will be in bed with this company for years to come.

Audit Rights

In the agreement, you need to make sure you have the right to audit their books. I know of a filmmaker that insisted the company put this in contract and years later that filmmaker went into their office and checked their books.

They found thousands of dollars that owed to them. Most reputable film distribution companies will not have an issue with this.

BONUS PRO TIP:

This tip could save your film from falling into a dark prison that you cannot break it out from. Make sure there is a clause in the agreement that if the distribution company happens to closes, is prosecuted or goes bankrupt that the rights of your film return to you automatically. Again, most reputable distribution companies will not have an issue with this.

I know Sundance, SXSW and Cannes filmmakers that had their films locked up in the courts for years because of a bankruptcy. Trust me you do not want this to happen to you.

Paperwork Deliverables

Here comes the fun stuff, the paperwork. Most film distribution companies will ask for a mountain of paperwork to be delivered with your film. The paperwork is there to protect you, your film. the potential buyers and the distribution company.

Some of the paperwork you will need is the following.

Licensor must provide the following items to Sales Agent:

  • Contractual Credit Block
  • Synopsis
  • Production notes
  • Layered Key Art
  • High-Definition Frame-grabs
  • Digital production photographs
  • Lab Access Letter
  • Quality Control (“QC”) Reports with an “approved” grade must be delivered for all 
      high definition masters
  • Errors and Omissions policy maintained by Licensor for five (5) years
  • Complete chain of title comprising the following:
    • Copies of copyright registration certificate filed with the U.S. Copyright office with respect to the screenplay and the motion picture
    • Copies of a Copyright Report (including opinion) and a Title Report
      (including opinion)
    • A complete statement of all screen and advertising credit obligations
    • A statement of any restrictions as to the dubbing of the voice of any player, including dubbing dialogue in a language other than the language in which the Show was recorded;
    • Copies of all licenses, including, but not limited to: fully-executed master use and synchronization /performance music licenses; contracts; assignments and/or other written permissions from the proper parties in interest permitting the use of any musical, literary, dramatic and other material of whatever nature used in the production of the Show;
    • Copies of all agreements or other documents relating to the engagement of personnel in connection with the Show including those for an individual producer(s), the director, all artists, music composer(s) and conductor(s), technicians and administrative staff;
    • Final shooting script
    • Chain of Title Opinion
    • Certificate of Origin
    • The dialogue continuity script
    • Music cue sheet

What is E&O Insurance

Most film distribution companies need E&O (Errors and Omissions) Insurance. E&O is the insurance policy that buyers of your film need to have in place. If you have a scene in your movie with someone dying at the hand of a Coca-Cola bottle while the killer is wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, you are going to have a problem.

The E&O Insurance policy protects buyers from any legal issues your film might have. The insurance company will watch your movie, flag any problems then sign off once everything is to their liking.

Physical Film Deliverables

Film deliverables are the elements that the film distribution companies need to represent your film for sale. Deliverables is a deep subject, but I will give you a brief overview of the basics you will need to budget for when delivering your film. You will need to plan for the following items.

Digital Masters

You’ll need to deliver a Master ProRes 422 HQ Master Quicktime File of Your Film in 1080p and possibly 4K.

Textless Master

You’ll need to create a textless master as well that removes any on-screen graphics (i.e.: locations, time of day, credits) that are graphically placed on the film. These graphics need to be removed so foreign distributors can replace them in their language.

You audio will need to be in stereo and 5.1 surround. You will also need M&E (Music and Effects) separate audio masters for foreign sales (more on this later).

Trailers and Posters

Many times a feature film distributor will pay for new key art and trailer editing. If you feel that you can present the distributor with both then do so. It will cost much more if you have them pay for these deliverables.

Digital Cinema Package

In its purest form, Digital Cinema Package or more commonly known as a DCP could be seen as the digital version of a 35mm film print. Its main advantage is that you can present it to theaters to enable them to project it via a digital projector.

A digital cinema package is recognized and accepted all over the world. The digital cinema package comes in a briefcase. The case is usually either yellow or orange, but many theaters download the DCP from the cloud.

Does every film need a DCP, no? DCPs are just for theatrical exhibition. Do not spend the money on creating a DCP unless you know for sure you will use it.

Below is a typical list of deliverables you will need to provide to your film distributor.

Schedule of Delivery Items Required

LAB ACCESS: Licensor must provide lab access to Sales Agent throughout the active term of this Agreement for both the Feature and Release Trailer in each of the formats listed below. These elements are in addition to those to be delivered to Sales Agent in the following sections of this schedule:

  • Original Negative
  • Original Soundtrack Source
  • 35mm Interpositive or Digital Intermediate
  • 35mm Internegative
  • 35mm Stereo Optical Soundtrack Negative
  • 35mm Final Answer Print from Negative
  • 35mm Check Print from Negative
  • 35mm Textless Sections Interpositive
  • Reel-By-Reel Fully-Filled M&E
  • MASTER FILE: a 2K or High Definition Apple ProRes 422 HQ
  • PROJECT FILE: Final Cut Pro, Premiere or AVID file (including all sound files)
  • PAL 25fps 4×3 Full Frame masters on Digital Betacam (DBC)
  • 23.98fps or 25fps HIGH DEFINITION (HD) master on an HD-CAM SR tapes


THE ITEMS THAT FOLLOW ARE TO BE DELIVERED TO SALES AGENT

Film Items

All elements listed below must be provided for both the Feature and Release Trailer. These elements are in addition to the prints being kept at the lab and may be used on loan to distributors:

  • 35mm Internegative
  • 35mm Stereo Optical Soundtrack Negative
  • 35mm Textless Sections Interpositive
  • 35mm Release Print

Video Items

Masters must be provided for both the Feature and Release Trailer by Licensor to Sales Agent for all items listed below:

  • PAL 25fps and NTSC 29.97fps 4×3 Full Frame masters on Digital Betacams (DBC).
  • PAL 25fps and NTSC 29.97fps 16×9 Full Height Anamorphic masters on DBC
  • 23.98fps and 25fps HIGH DEFINITION (HD) 16 X 9 Full Frame masters on a HD-CAMSR
  • MPEG-2 files in both PAL (720×576 pixels / min 5000/448 kbps) and NTSC (720×480 pixels / min 5000/448 kbps)
  • HI-DEF Quicktime files
  • CLOSED CAPTION files time-coded to agree with both the NTSC and PAL Digibeta masters in. CAP format (this can be expensive but I have a hack for you, see below)
  • BONUS FEATURES on a DVD video disk in both NTSC and PAL

Sound Items

Licensor must provide continuous audio elements to Sales Agent per below:

  • 29.97fps and 25fps sets of PCM or AIFF digital audio files
  • Sets of 5.1 digital audio files, either PCM or AIFF

As you can see, many distributors will ask for EVERY deliverable in the book. Sometimes the reason behind this ridiculous is just plain laziness. The company has an intern or office assistant email you an old deliverables list from the ’90s. If they are asking for Beta SP masters, then this is a dead give away.

Always ask what they need before spending money on deliverables you do not need to spend money on before writing that check.

What is Closed Captioning?

As any filmmaker who has ever delivered a film or video to distribution knows Close Captioning is a big and expensive pain in the butt. The process is convoluted, confusing and most of all  PRICEY.

The cost to have close captioning created for your movie, television series, web series or youtube video can range from $8-$15 per minute. On a 90 minute film that could cost filmmakers up to $1350!

Closed captioning (CC) and subtitling are both processes of displaying text on a television, video screen, or other visual display to provide additional or interpretive information. Both are typically used as a transcription of the audio portion of a program as it occurs (either verbatim or in edited form), sometimes including descriptions of non-speech elements.

Every feature film that is going to stream on iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or any streaming service must have close captioning by law. There is just no getting around it. So you’ll need this.

I’ve been using Rev.com for a while now. I tested the service first with my first feature film. This is Meg, and it worked like a charm. I recommend the service to any filmmaker or client that will listen to me.

Every time I receive my close captioning (CC) from Rev, they have passed QC (Quality Control) for all my streaming options, including super strict platforms like Amazon, iTunes, and Hulu.

Good Luck

I hope this guide has helped you on you film distribution path. There are many sharks and predatory film distributors out but there are also many good, honest distributors out there as well. You are ultimately responsible for any deal you sign so do your homework and get ready do some work.

There is no magic film distributor that will come along, pay you a ton of cash, do all the heavy lifting in getting your film marketed and you just sit back and collect check for life. It doesn’t work that way.

If you want to do a deeper dive into film distribution, try enrolling in our FREE Film Distribution Crash Course. You can find how reserve your spot below.

IFH 597: Can Short Films Make Any Money? with Kim Adelman

Kim Adelman began her producing career with the indie feature, Just Friends. She then launched the Fox Movie Channel’s short film program, where the 19 shorts she produced won 30+ awards and played over 150 film festivals worldwide, including the Sundance Film Festival four years in a row.

Kim Adelman currently teaches Low Budget Filmmaking  at UCLA Extension and Cinema Production II at Mount Saint Mary University. In 2014, she was named UCLA Extension’s Entertainment Studies Instructor of the Year.  In 2016, she won its Distinguished Instructor Award.

In addition to guest lecturing at UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal State Los Angeles, she has also taught filmmaking workshops across the US, Canada, and New Zealand. Most recently she led creative writing workshops for kids at UCLA’s Hammer Museum via 826LA and filmmaking for teens at Pasadena’s Norton Simon Museum.

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Over the past two decades, Ms. Adelman has also reported extensively on festivals and short films for Indiewire, co-programmed the American Cinematheque’s annual Focus on Female Directors short film screening series for fifteen years, and co-founded FFC: the Female Filmmaking Collective.  She has also been a jury member and/or a panel moderator at numerous international film festivals, including Sundance Next and the Los Angeles Film Festival during its final year.

Her short film book, Making it Big in Shorts, is on its third edition and has been published internationally in Spanish and Mandarin.  The three pop culture books she wrote for Penguin Random House are The Girls Guide to Elvis, The Girls Guide to Country, and The Ultimate Guide to Chick Flicks. which was also published in Japanese.

She has recorded a five-part educational podcast on independent filmmaking for UCLA Extension and co-hosted the 15-episode movie adaptation podcast Book to Screen, available on iTunes. She has also appeared as cinema expert in the ARTE documentary From Weepies to Chick Flicks, E!’s Hollywood & Sex special, and the DVD extras for Love Me Tender and Ghost.  She was profiled for Women Transforming Media and appeared on

Kim Adelman was also Director of On Air Creative Production for Style Network until that network shut down. She has worked at multiple cable networks including FX/FXM, E!, G4, PopTV, the Game Show Network, and Cinevault.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Kim Adelman 0:00
I think it is that it's just a matter of getting through the no's until you get to yes, it you know, it's so hard to hear that and it's so hard to constantly run up against the no's. But the reality is as soon as you get that, yes, you can stop. You've achieved it. And everybody can do that. Right? You know, the most dedicated person can go 90 through 99 no's until you get that 100th yes.

Alex Ferrari 0:23
Today's show is sponsored by Enigma Elements. As filmmakers, we're always looking for ways to level up production value of our projects, and speed up our workflow. This is why I created Enigma Elements. Your one stop shop for film grains, color grading lots vintage analog textures like VHS and CRT images, smoke fog textures, DaVinci Resolve presets, and much more. After working as an editor colorist post and VFX supervisor for almost 30 years I know what film creatives need to level up their projects, check out enigmaelements.com and use the coupon code IFH10 to get 10% off your order. I'll be adding new elements all the time. Again, that's enigmaelements.com. I'd like to welcome to the show Kim Adelman. How you doin Kim?

Kim Adelman 1:16
Hi, nice to see ya.

Alex Ferrari 1:17
Nice to see you too. Thank you so much for coming on the show you are, we're going to talk about something that's very dear to my heart. Because that's how I got my start short films. I always want to talk about short films. And I have an extensive amount of experience in short films. I've done many of them I've, I've made a lot of money with short films, I've been in a lot of festivals and short films, I think my shorts have probably gone into two to 300 festivals in the course, it's been a lot. So I do understand a lot about the marketing and selling of short films and things like that. I'm dying to hear your perspective on everything and how we're gonna get into it. So first question, though, how did you and why did you want to get into this business?

Kim Adelman 2:00
I liked that statement and why? This is why I love short films, because it's not really a business per se, right. But I grew up in Los Angeles might nobody in my family is in the entertainment industry. But you know, it's kind of a default thing. And sooner or later you fall into doing entertainment stuff. And I'm actually one of the weird people who did a feature first. Yeah, I produced a feature with friends of mine. And as a result of that, and totally no budget feature. As a result of that I got the gig producing short film. So I'm one of the rare people that didn't reverse present starting with shorts to go to feature. And then after that, I just love short film so much. I didn't want to go back to features and I just kind of fell into teaching. So I've been doing teaching primarily for the last few years.

Alex Ferrari 2:43
So that's why your IMDb is just plump filled with shorts. Like I said, there's never seen somebody shorts in somebody's IMDb before I was like, wow, she really talks a talk here. She loves short films.

Kim Adelman 2:56
Well, in fairness, I was also one of the very lucky people that got paid to make short films. So I didn't find out.

Alex Ferrari 3:03
How did you do that? I have to know how that happened.

Kim Adelman 3:06
Yeah, exactly. I was very, very lucky that I was there's a television cable channel called FXM movies from Fox. It's a sister channel, tap X. And back in the day, they didn't have commercials. So they had to do something interstitially which means fill up that time between movies. And so because they didn't have any original production. The guy who was in charge with interstitial time was like, well, let's make some short films. We'll use that to fill up the time. So I was very lucky that you know, ultimately Fox paid for these short films and paid for me to produce them so it was kind of a Nirvana situation.

Alex Ferrari 3:40
Oh, that's right place right time on that situation that doesn't. Everyone listening that doesn't happen?

Kim Adelman 3:45
No does not happen. And of course, they're no longer doing that. And people always say well, who can I get to you know, produce my films or finance like films and there's really not organizations that are doing that and therefore they will

Alex Ferrari 3:55
Not here in the states not in the States.

Kim Adelman 3:57
Yeah, good point.

Alex Ferrari 3:59
Yeah, in Canada and Europe that will be in but it also in Canada, in Europe, it's more of an art they kind of support the arts more New Zealand and Australia. There's government actually support the film industry here.

Kim Adelman 4:13
To raise up there are filmmakers right and perfect way to make room to groom a new group of filmmakers is to have them make short films. So they're smartly investing in infrastructure to make new filmmakers where we're just like, yeah, people will pay for it themselves.

Alex Ferrari 4:27
Right here we're just Stuckey like you're on your own.

Kim Adelman 4:32
Yes, so many people make short films. So in a way, they're kind of right.

Alex Ferrari 4:38
Every year Yeah, I saw somewhere in your in your book. There's like as a 5000 or 8000. shorts were submitted to the Sundance Film Festival.

Kim Adelman 4:47
So this is always very public with the numbers. So we kind of always use those as kind of a way to look at how many shorts are being made. And of course, these were international and us but over 10,000 short films were submitted last 2020 Sundance Film Festival. And so that just blew my number one, it was the highest number yet. But number two, all those were made during the pandemic. So think about that

Alex Ferrari 5:07
Records are not like 10 year old shorts. These are all fresh shorts.

Kim Adelman 5:10
Yeah. So it's like over 10,000 people made short films during the pandemic in one year.

Alex Ferrari 5:16
Wow. That's insane. Insane. So are so you've seen so many, you've taught a lot about short films, what is the biggest mistake short filmmakers make when they attempt to make a short film?

Kim Adelman 5:28
Well, there's actually several mistakes they make. But obviously the biggest always is the shorts are too long.

Alex Ferrari 5:35
So 52 minutes short.

Kim Adelman 5:37
I think that's a good time for a short, right. Well, you know, a lot of people who don't see short films in their vision of it, they think of those 25 30 minute films, and they think, oh, people won't take me seriously unless I make one of these long films. But the reality is, unless you're in school, sometimes school, there's requirements, and you have trade. But if you're doing it on your own, nobody wants to see anything that long programmers still want to program anything that long. And really, you can prove and you don't want to invest in producing something that long, you can prove your talent in five minutes, 10 minutes, you know, I've always said the sweet spot, I started noticing when I was reviewing films for indie wire, and watching a lot of short films that way. And I kept noticing the films I really liked were 12 minutes long. So it's like sweet, sweet spot, including credits. And that's another mistake filmmakers make their credits are too long at the front and too long at the end. But anyway,

Alex Ferrari 6:29
So it's interesting, because when I made my first short, that I was able to generate over $100,000 selling the DVD and how I made it back in 2005. There was no YouTube, there was no information about it, it was a different time. But that was a 20 minute short. And also in 2005, there wasn't nearly as much competition for short films and film and film festivals. So I was able to get into like 150 I think under 20 550 festivals with that short, I just kept going for like a year and a half,

Kim Adelman 6:58
Which also was probably good.

Alex Ferrari 7:02
I mean, Roger Ebert reviewed it and it wasn't, it was it was it was very well received. I went I did the water bottle tour around LA with it. And, you know, and all that kind of stuff. That's there's, there's more than enough information on my show about that. That short. I don't want to talk about that much about that short, but, but that was 20 minutes short, then my next big short was 10 minutes. And I you know, 10 minutes short is really sweet spot, because it's the one minute shorter two minutes short, like, yeah, it's gonna get maybe get programmed easier. But the 10 minutes, sure it has enough meat on the bone, I think sadly, to do something to show you off. And programmers can program it. Exactly. And that's the thing that filmmakers don't understand. Like, I sat once I swear to God, it was it was an I was at Holly shorts.

Kim Adelman 7:45
Fabulous Film Festival

Alex Ferrari 7:46
Danny and Theo had been on the show, I was at their first festival that's short for I'm one of the original Holly short shorts, and I'm the only one that they still talk to. And I've been there a million times. So sitting there watching a movie, and it was big. I'm not gonna say the movie. But there was it was the opening night and it was very big star very, very big star starring in it. It's 45 minutes. And I was sitting there like, Oh, my God, this is molasses. This is horrible. And then my action short comes on. And everyone's like, Ah, thank God. But it was just as brutal. I was like, I don't care if it's a big giant star in it. Right? It was brutal to watch. So anyone thinking about when you're at 45 minutes, just keep going?

Kim Adelman 8:32
No, I believe that too. Like, if you have enough money that you can do that, then this needs to be a feature. And maybe you can make a 68 minute feature or something like that. Doesn't have to be 90 minute and double it or whatever. But yeah, if you can afford that you can definitely afford a feature. The other thing I will say, you know if it's a short documentary, then you can go a little longer to it's different.

Alex Ferrari 8:51
Yeah, documentaries are a whole other world you could do 30 minute 40 minute documentaries comfortably. But narrative is very difficult. Exactly. I went I went to I went to the School of Mark Duplass when it comes to the length of a film he goes, Yes, anything over 70 minutes is a feature film. So when I when I made my, my, my two features that I've made, both of them are like 73 minutes and 75 minutes. I'm like it that's that's enough story. Yeah, exactly. Just Just get in. But you know, I think anything with a seven in front of it is technically a feature when you're at the 68 I'm like just extended the credits just to get more credits. Do some bloopers at the end, just do something that just extends it just a little bit.

Kim Adelman 9:35
I also say No, I think features are too long as well. You know, I get very tired when they're like 22 hours and 22 minutes or something like that. You're just like, Oh my God, how much more of this is gonna go?

Alex Ferrari 9:45
I was watching was it the new Bond film, the last one film and it's like that's a two hour and in that no two hour and 30 minute movie two hour and 40 minute movie. It's a long movie. But there's action every 16 minutes To the Batman was also almost three hours. And that was like, I think it could have been a little shorter. But generally speaking, that there's action going on on that stuff. So you have to keep that going. Now what a lot of filmmakers want to make a short film, what kind of shorts should they make? What genre is? Is something? Is it? You know? This is my problem with shorts and filmmakers with shorts. They put a lot of pressure on short films, yes, tremendous, I did it. I've done it. So many times, with my short films, I put an enormous amount of pressure like this is the short, that's going to change my life. This is the short that some polywood producers gonna see. And like, all you want to do want to do the next Marvel movie, because it is a visual effect. So let's bring it in. That's the kind of pressure most filmmakers put on shorts. And I made a, I made a $50,000 short with sets built, don't ever do that. Everyone was like, Don't ever, ever do that. But I was like, I'm gonna show everything off, I had top Hollywood, I had an Oscar winner in the movie, like I had tons there was like a big event. And it was very stylistic. And I was like, I'm going to show everybody what I could do. And I put so much pressure on that thing. It just crumbled all the shorts crumble under the pressure that filmmakers put on it, as opposed to like, let me make the best thing I can make me put it out into the world and just see what happens.

Kim Adelman 11:28
You know, obviously, you have to make the right short for you. And at that time, I'm sure you had enough connections. And people were kind of expecting you to make something big and expensive and not like shot in your closet, you know, whereas somebody else who doesn't have all those elements to them shouldn't pay money to get all of that they should make the short film that's appropriate to where they are. And really what people are looking for. In short films are like a unique voice and some talent and something but and that's why I love short films. And I'm more interested in shorts and features because features. So cookie cutter, and so rare that we see an exciting new voice, we're in shorts, there's always something new and thrilling and exciting and memorable. And that's what people really want to see. But I also think if you you know are looking at this as something to say this is who I am a world, you should make something that really says this is who I am. So for example, I could say to you, you should totally make a horror short, there's a whole bunch of horror film festivals that would play it, you know, you can actually probably make the leap from a short to a feature with horror data. But if you hate horror, this is not the thing you should do. You know, and if you love comedy, you should do a comedy short, you should not do you know, a structured drama short. So I really think you should think hard about who you are, and where you want to go and make something that kind of announces to the world. This is what I this is my voice. And the nice thing about shorts is that nobody's there to telling you, you must do more, you must do comedy, you get to choose everything you want to do there as opposed to later on in life where somebody will be giving you money and demanding you do certain things or pigeonholing you in some way, this is your chance to define yourself.

Alex Ferrari 13:02
And I think that shorts in general. You know, like that short that $50,000 Short got me a lot of jobs in music, videos and commercials, things like that it didn't do. It didn't do what I wanted it to do. But it did other things for me. And still to this day, I'm making money, I make money with all my shorts to this day. Just selling them in giving access and stuff.

Kim Adelman 13:26
And actually, just to go back to when you said what mistake filmmakers do. They don't do everything correctly so that they could if there isn't any possibility to commercially exploit that film. Like for example, they use music they don't know. And then, you know, then they can't do it. And they can put on YouTube because YouTube will you know, do they're realizing that there's illegal music and pull you up. Or they don't do the right deal memos with their actors. And then all of a sudden, that's a problem. So I mean, I do think, although there isn't that much of a market for short films, you should always do it right. And be ready in case there is some interest in some way or you know, later on when you become famous, somebody's like, I'd love to put your short film, you know, put, you know, show your shuffle now that you're famous, but you don't have the rights to do it. So, you know, do everything correctly the first time,

Alex Ferrari 14:09
Right. So when Criterion Collection calls you exactly, that's why they're doing a retrospective on your work because you are amazing. As a filmmaker, you want to make sure that you don't have a Rolling Stone song in there that you can't afford. Exactly. Basically, and that was one thing I was very conscious of even back then when it was started with my shorts that all the music was either originally composed and I had agreement signed for it. I was a little delusional. So I had I, I really approached it. I think that delusion helped a bit because I approached it as like this is gonna blow me up. So then I made sure like I'm good. This is going to be huge. And I'm going to have to make sure all these contracts and agreements are in place so I can and that's exactly what I did. So that's the reason why I'm able to explore it and I was able to sell DVDs on there, all that kind of stuff, because I made all those agreements and so the delusion helped a bit But hopefully you can do everything I did without the delusion.

Kim Adelman 15:03
Well, I'm gonna say you're obviously a very confident person, but in a certain way, that's great, because certain filmmakers really have no idea what they're doing, right? I mean, that's why I ended up writing about a book for short filmmakers, because you're a novice, you just don't know what's right, or what's wrong, or what mistakes you're making or whatever. But a lot of people are so insecure, where it really it's a short film, how wrong can you go, you know, and even if you do make all those mistakes, okay, you made the mistakes on that one film now, your next short film that you make, you won't make those mistakes on. So I do think, you know, to a certain degree, it's smart to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. But it's also great to just jump in the pool. You know, don't question a little while I'm moving right or whatever. Make a short film. It's fun, you'll be fine.

Alex Ferrari 15:43
Exactly that no one's doing. We're not curing cancer here, guys. Exactly. Let's just let's move on. The one other big mistake I feel that filmmakers make with shorts is that they try to be somebody else. And that might be worth debating. That might be okay. At the beginning. We all do it. Every filmmaker copies and steals and is inspired by the filmmakers that came prior to them. All of them, even the greats, they all they all do it. You look at Nolan's work, you look finches working go right back to Kubrick. I mean, it's, you know, and Kubrick can go back to other people, and so on and so forth. But the mistake I made, and I've talked about this on the show before, but the mistake I made with that $50,000 short film is I was trying to be somebody else. Now my voice was in there. But I was truly trying to be a little something else that wasn't 100% me I was trying to create something that the marketplace wanted, and not as much something that I wanted to make it things like that. So I think something like whiplash, which is a really great short film example, of a movie of a short that turned into a movie. And there's, there's less of that nowadays, shorts generally don't jump to movies as much as they used to. But whiplash specifically, it's so clear, Damien's vision. And that, I mean, it's so so clear. And it's so original, and it's so him. It just you screamed out voice, new voice. And a lot of these, a lot of these filmmakers that do make the jump from shorts to features, whether it's a feature version of their short, which doesn't happen as much, but a short filmmaker that jumps into television off of a short, or things like that does happen a lot, but they need to hear your voice.

Kim Adelman 17:25
And also, you know, painters did that all the time, they would paint in the style of somebody else. So that's the learning right? So I always say shorts are a learning experience for everybody. That's the learning aspect. And in reality, maybe it's not just for short film that does a lot for you maybe that short for short film as little Are you copying somebody just to get to feel confident that you could do it. But it isn't like hello world this is me. This is my voice. Your voices don't come right away. You see people when they write screenplays, it takes them a while to to get the screenplay to the point that we're the third screenplay finally says this is who I am. And this is you know, something worth paying attention to.

Alex Ferrari 17:59
Yeah, you know, when you start writing, you might be writing like you know, Terrence you try to write like Tarantino or Shane Black or, or Aaron Sorkin. And then that might, you might have a couple of those scripts and you get it out. And then slowly your voice starts to come out. And that's the thing with shorts. And that's the wonderful thing about shorts, is it's close to writing screenplays you can get because it's a candy, very inexpensive. And you can knock out a short in the weekend with your iPhone, and it will look and sound great if you do it properly.

Kim Adelman 18:26
Exactly. And that's the thing that, you know, because I came from when it was very hard and expensive to make short films. I'm so jealous now that everybody there's no excuse not to be shooting something. You know, it's like you've got a fabulous camera in your pocket. Use it. But it doesn't necessarily mean what you're shooting every weekend with your iPhone. It necessarily needs to be shared with the world. But I think just the same way writers should be writing I think filmmakers should be filmmaking.

Alex Ferrari 18:53
Right. And a lot of people look at someone like Robert Rodriguez, yes, who was a you know, he's he is who he is, and you know, a legend in the indie film space. But a lot of people don't understand that he made 20 to 30 Shorts before he ever made El Mariachi. So he was he was shooting it all on VHS with his family as a cast. And he was working it out. He was editing between two VCRs. And he was he was learning the craft. And then when he made his school short film, which was called bedhead. He had learned so much as far as sound effects. And it looked like when somebody saw that like Jesus, this kid is super talented. But he made 20 films, and no one ever saw other than his family.

Kim Adelman 19:37
Yeah, it was rough drafts kind of thing. They nobody ever saw those elements.

Alex Ferrari 19:41
Right and that's the thing that a lot of filmmakers I feel that they are so precious, right but they're with their shorts that they like and I was like I can't make something unless it's perfect, though. You got to just you got to turn on the faucet. Let all the mud clear out of the pipes before the Clean Water Water comes out and all that good stuff starts coming out.

Kim Adelman 20:02
I hate when people look put a lot of pressure on themselves anyway because you know filmmaking could be joyous. And with a short film, you're hopefully making it with your friends, you know, or people who support you and want you to quit job with it. And it should be a story that you're dying to tell. So how exciting for you that you're getting to hang out with your friends and do a story you're dying to tell and, and realizing it from your head to now existing in the world. It's truly an exciting thing.

Alex Ferrari 20:28
Yeah, without without question. So Alright, so let's say we got our short done. All right. And this is this is the Opus like we've already done. We've done our 15 shorts, can we've done our 15? Shorts? We feel comfortable. Our voices out there, I think we have a clearer idea of our voice. There's so many options on how to get this into the world. Yes. How do you launch a short?

Kim Adelman 20:51
Well, I mean, I because I come from festival world. And I spent a lot of time reviewing festival shorts, my inclination is always like, put it on the festival circuit. Now, not every short is a festival kind of short. But I always do kind of encourage people if you think your short might be a festival short to try it. Because you know, when we're talking about how fun it is to make films, it's super fun to have your film show in front of, you know, in a theater, with people who you don't know who do and, and also you get to meet other filmmakers. And when you're meeting them, you meet them as a filmmaker who has made a film you know, it's like all of that, even if it was just a stupid thing you made in the backyard, you know, and you're at the time you're like, This is not gonna be nothing. And yet somehow it turns into being something, how fabulous is it that you're showing this something to people, and they're excited for you, and you're excited for them and the festivals thrilled to have you there. And you're going to parties, and as you said, red carpet is just you know, such a lovely experience for a short filmmaker, whereas feature filmmakers have all the stress about festivals, because it matters to them, you know, matters where they premiere, they're trying to get their film picked up, they're trying to make the next, you know, Introduction to make their career go a huge way short filmmaker will be very happy if anything happens to them. And they happen to meet somebody who wants to represent them, or they get some sort of offer to license their short film. But the reality is more short filmmakers should think of the festival is just a fun time, you know, a time to actually be a filmmaker, have your film seen by the public, meet other people. And also, you know, establishes some credits for yourself that you've been to all these festivals. And then you know, if you make another short film, you can go to these festivals again, hopefully, or if you scrape together money and do an independent feature. Now you already have a base of people who know your talent and have supported you wants to want to support you again. So you know, that's the type of things about the festival world that I think is great for short filmmaker.

Alex Ferrari 22:40
And I think the festivals, I always when I talk about film festivals, you know, they don't have the same juice that they used to, you know, in other words, in the 90s, you got into a certain Film Festival, two or three of them, you automatically got sold, you automatically got a deal. There was all these stories every every day almost in the 90s have these magical stories coming out of Sundance or South buyer, or these kinds of these kinds of festivals Tribeca or something like that. But with festival with shorts, I always warn filmmakers and like festivals are exactly for what you just said they are experience. If you've never gone down the road, you've never had a red carpet, you never had an audience Oh my God, there's so much fun. The after parties, the the the web, the seminars that it's great. And it's like most of the times we live in a bubble unless you live in LA, you live in a bubble of not being in business and the festival is the first time you're surrounded by people that love movies or in movies and things like that, but not to put any pressure on that experience. Because firstly, because festivals are everything you said they should be. But don't think that like oh, just because you got into a major festival, which if you do it's great. It's not that it's a bad thing. But it's not going to open the doors to think many times they don't open the doors the way they think you can but but you can go to a Moose Jaw international Short Film Festival, which doesn't exist. And and there might be an acquisition exec there. There might be an agent that happened to be there. I forgot what was the story I heard I forgot there was Oh god, I forgot the movie. It was it was one of these famous indie movies that couldn't get seen. I don't know if it was Napoleon Dynamite or one of these films. But they were playing this film feature at this. Nobody festival like in the middle of nowhere. And they were playing it at a bar at the hotel.

Kim Adelman 24:29
Yep. And sometimes yes.

Alex Ferrari 24:31
My first first award by the way was at the at the Crab Shack best director and I was like Zizi, but and fun and fun. So that was a nobody festival. Nothing just no written in the middle of nowhere. There was a Hollywood acquisition exec who was on vacation and was staying at the hotel and they had nothing to do that night. And they're like, hey, there's a film festival going on at the bar, let's just go down there, have a couple of drinks and watch something that went down and watched it, and acquired it. So those are the magical lottery ticket stories you hear, but you just didn't ever know what's going to happen. But I just want filmmakers to walk in understanding, have fun, and if anything happens, great,

Kim Adelman 25:23
Exactly. But also the people you meet to you never know, connections among your peers to then you will then all of a sudden meet all these other filmmakers who might, you know, help see faster than you do. And then they help you or you can hire them for your you know, there's just a lot of once you're, you're a professional filmmaker, now you're meeting other people who are in that world, as you said, in where you live, you might not have that opportunity. And so now how great is it that you will so that so that's what I love about festivals, but you know, festivals are not the be all and end all. And there are, I know many people who like apply to a lot of festivals, and it costs money to so you know, this is a money drain, and didn't get into anything, and just were really upset. But you know, festivals have a certain sensibility. And maybe you're the thing you made is more like something that people would enjoy on the internet, you know? And then how great is that, that you can put it on Vimeo, put it on YouTube, do your own little promotion to it, and have people see it and you never know, you know, how that might work out for you. But more importantly, if you if you made a film because you want to communicate with people and say to them, this is a vision that was in my head, and I've now executed it and I want to share it with you. And I hope you get something out of it and you enjoy it, then, you know, the the way that that happens shouldn't bother you. You know, it might happen via festivals, it might not happen via YouTube, it might happen via you and your buddies putting on your own screening so that people can see it that way. You know, you've made something share with the world however you can.

Alex Ferrari 26:52
Yeah, and I just I just had the filmmakers behind Marcel show,

Kim Adelman 26:57
Which was a short films.

Alex Ferrari 27:01
Of course, I didn't know that when I when I had him on the show, I discovered that in my research after I saw the feature, I saw that movie first was fascinated. I'm like, how on God's green earth did this get financed? How did a 24 Get involved? I just told I told the PR people I'm like, get on, I'm on my show. I need to know what how is this a thing. Then doing research, I found out that it was a short film that they put out 10 years ago, too short to me, it was two or three I think they have three in the series. But but it was like two years apart or something like that. And then they had books. So they created an IP based on a short a to three minutes short that they did as a kind of like, and and from what I understood it was a short film that they showed their friends and family. And then they're like, hey, is there anywhere online? That we could so I can share this with my grandma. I think she'd really like it. And then she's like, oh, yeah, I'll throw it up on YouTube and throw it up on YouTube and 54 million plays later. That Okay, so we got something. Yeah, that that whole story is a fascinating, it's a really great story on on how powerful the internet is, which is my next question, YouTube. So so many filmmakers are so precious with their shorts, they're like, I can't put it on YouTube. The festivals are gonna like it. Oh my god, this or that?

You know, again, there's a couple ways to go about I know festivals are a little bit more loosey goosey with that nowadays than they used to be. Especially with shorts, not features. But shorts. Yeah, exactly. But at a certain point, like, you know, at a festival, you're gonna get 2050 eyeballs on it, you know, maybe 100 If you're lucky, you know. So it's a very small audience where if you put it up on the internet, it's It's millions and have access to millions doesn't say you're gonna get millions. But it could go viral, especially if it's something very specific. It's something very cool. Visual effects are really cool stories really interesting. Even fan films, short films, which we'll talk about in a little bit, all of that kind of stuff. So is YouTube a viable option? And by the way, Vimeo, I'm not sure if you know what's going on with Vimeo. Vimeo has kind of gone away from shorts, and are going away from the creators and they're really more now. Their corporate structure has changed more towards corporate, like video stuff. Before they were trying to do it with all the artists is the home for the artists. Exactly. They realize that artists have no money. So So Vimeo was once a place to put short films and it was like you showed it the week and that's kind of gone now. Yeah, so Oh, yeah, exactly. But now YouTube is still a place to go. So what's your opinion of YouTube? How should you approach YouTube? What should you do?

Kim Adelman 30:10
Well, there are, like you said, some festivals do care. So and the old days, I'd be like, I don't even tell them. But you know, one little Google.

Alex Ferrari 30:19
Not that hard nowadays.

Kim Adelman 30:21
You can't hide so much. And you don't want to hide, you know. So if you, if you think you want to go to festivals that do care about it, then you shouldn't put it online, because you know, online is for the rest of your life. So what's the big deal if you hold off for a year while you try to do festivals, and then put it the other thing is Oscar consideration, they still care for Oscar consideration when you have your broadcast debut. And YouTube is considered broadcast. So if you thought, any chance, you know, I made 19, short films, none of them got Oscar nominations. So it's like that was not really going to happen. But I cared. And so I waited. You know, if you care, and you think there's even a slight chance, you want to be smart about what the Oscar rules are, but the odds are so minuscule.

Alex Ferrari 31:06
And I want to bring I want to, I want to just point on something on that, because I've seen so many films, like yours, myself included, wait a year, two years, because of their delusions, and I say that with all the love in the world, because I was a delusional filmmaker in that sense as well, where like I can, I'm gonna get into this Oscar qualifying Short Film Festival, and I have a shot I'm like, it's, it's like 20 or 100 times easier to get into Sundance than it is to get an Oscar nomination for a short film, you know, and it's astronomical, to try to get into Sundance, just to understand the, the ratio that we're talking about here. So,

Kim Adelman 31:45
And also, just the Oscar films tend to really be, as we talked about the better funded ones from other countries. Americans get through, but you do occasionally. And so you know, it's one of those. That's your dream. I mean, I know Oscar nominated filmmakers from the shorter film category. It's totally doable. You don't just in a miracle kind of way. But you know, it's your decision, what you want to do, but in reality is if this is the year that you're trying to get people to pay attention to your short film, do you really want to hold off putting it on the internet for years? What kind of your point that you know? Exactly. So, you know, people want to, you know, give them what that easiness of like, Can I see it and you want to be able to quickly be able to show it to people not to say that you can't do password protected kind of things, you know, that's different.

Alex Ferrari 32:29
Yeah, that's different. But also I do agree with what you're saying is like, if you want to do a festival run up, like six months, you know, go go go six months, go eight months, go around and enjoy yourself, go to red carpet, if you haven't gone down that road, oh, my god, it's so much fun. Especially it strokes, the ego in a way that is so beautiful, everyone, you're the greatest, someone gives you an award, you're like, Oh, my God, I've arrived, all this kind of stuff. By the way, once you have an award, you are an award winning filmmaker. And that's how you should promote yourself.

Kim Adelman 32:58
I 100% agree with that.

Alex Ferrari 33:00
I mean, my first festival was the Ocean City Film Festival in New Jersey, which was played in the back of the Crab Shack, where I won Best for best first time director. I was an award winning filmmaker,

Kim Adelman 33:12
You still claim it. So there you go.

Alex Ferrari 33:13
I still have the certificate that I've got somewhere in Pakhtun way, but it was a big, it was a big deal for me. And Ben, from that point on, I was an award winning filmmaker. And people will laugh at that. I'm like, you're an award winning filmmaker, you can promote yourself as such.

Kim Adelman 33:28
The one other thing I will say is it's really hard to get on TV. But there are people you know, there are organizations like short TV that will get your film on television. And so that also might have be some issues about if you've been online that there might they might not wants you so much for television, so a very small percentage, and but how bad is to be on TV too? So you know,

Alex Ferrari 33:48
And also depends on how bad they want the short. Yeah. So if it's a really, you know, if it's also a really, really mean the world that we live in with so much content and so much media. They're much looser than it used to be before there was always exceptions.

Kim Adelman 34:04
For example, if you had made Marcel and then they're like, hey, we'd like to put Marcel on TV now, because feature has already had 54 million people view but sure, why not? You know, people want to see it. So if you want to want to see aspects to your film, then, you know,

Alex Ferrari 34:18
No question, no question about it, make your own rules.

Kim Adelman 34:21
And you should and you know, because it's short film, because you're used to kind of not necessarily breaking the rules. But yeah, so let's just say breaking the rules or making their own way and making their own rules. Never think there's you know, no, you can always turn a no into a yes. Right.

Alex Ferrari 34:34
Exactly, exactly. Now, the big question that so many filmmakers asked me all the time, can you make money with a short film?

Kim Adelman 34:45
And I will always say no, it's really hard to but you're selling examples such as make money off of for sure. So we can be the opposite ends of the spectrum. I'll be the person who has known that you can sell you buy Yes, but you know, number one again, you have to be able to have your film camera. Actually exhibited, which we talked about previously, there should be no impediments to that. But you know, there is places to have a license short films. And if you have a film that also, I should have said the thing for the festival circuit, it is a way to connect with the people who do license short films, they're looking for the short films on the festival circuit. So it's your kind of way of being in the marketplace. But anyway, you know, should you get an offer, you know, the money will not be what you expect it to be to.

Alex Ferrari 35:30
You mean, you mean I getting that 100,000 mg, you're not getting,

Kim Adelman 35:34
I'm buying a house, I'm gonna share it. I mean, it could be as like, they do it per minute, and they're gonna give you like, $6 per minute, if you have attended a long film, and you're like, oh, from pulling up getting 60 bucks to be.

Alex Ferrari 35:46
You said Poland for a second. That's another thing I want people to understand, especially here in the states that that there is a market for short films outside of the US much more so than in the US. Can you talk about that?

Kim Adelman 35:55
Yeah, for sure. I mean, you know, in the US, again, I mentioned short TV. And then there's also PBS, you know, locally does short films, there's all these little small pockets in the US that potentially could, but they definitely are also, I should mention, too, some festivals have prizes that if you win that prize, and you know, yeah, but you are you go on to HBO, or something like that. But that's part of the deal. Because they're looking for new talent certain way. But anyway, the money still will not be great. And so it's very rare to meet a filmmaker, whoever earned their money back on short films. I should also say real quickly to on festivals, sometimes you went prize money. I know, people have won more money from festival prizes than the cost of making their films. So they actually benefited that way from being on the festival circuit. You probably would earn more money on a festival price, and you'd win on licensing your film elsewhere. But, you know, remember I mentioned that our short films at Fox were made for social purposes, that still does exist in some other countries that they'll put them on TV in between other things if they don't have commercials. So you know, there are opportunities out there, different countries and different amounts of money. And that's also what's so nice about short film, like you're learning about international exhibition the same way you would learn with your feature film. It's just much smaller, much less money.

Alex Ferrari 37:13
Right, exactly. So I'll be on the other end of this, this conversation where I've made a lot of money with my shorts over the years, but I've also thought about it very much like a film trip earner, an entrepreneurial filmmaker, where See ya see how I did that film entrepreneur. Product placement, product placement? No, but honestly, though, it's like I had made a short film. But and the real quick story behind that first short film that we made over 100,000 with, which is I made a short film action, sci fi a lot of visual effects, at the time, very kind of cutting edge in the visual effects world, especially in the indie Space Shot on the mini DV, dv x 100, a Panasonic fantastic camera. And I put it out and I made it edited, put it all together. And I'm like, Alright, we have something cool here. I'm like, how am I gonna make money with this? And I'm like, Who who's gonna pay for this and like, I can't sell this to the general public. No one cares. I'm nobody. I have nobody in movie. I go. But you know, who might be interested as filmmakers, on how I made this, because I made it look like a film. I color graded it in 2005. using Final Cut Pro, I use visual of as you shake the same program that they were using Lord of the Rings, to do the visual effects, we had over 100 visual effects shots in it, there was a lot of stuff like that. And it was action, which is very hard to do in 2004, with gunplay and fights and all this kind of stuff. So I was like, I think people will pay for this. So what I did is then spent six weeks editing together three and a half to four hours of kind of a bootcamp film. And then I put it all on DVD, because there was no other place to make money with it. And I created an email that this is all instinctual, create an email list and start posting a message boards about it. So we put the trailer out there. And people were like, when's this movie coming out when I want to see I want to. And then when I launched I still remember the day with Pay Pal I was just get all these emails are thinking thinking thinking. It was fantastic. And then we just kept selling and selling and selling these at 20 bucks a pop was selling at $20 a pop. But they weren't but they were. So it was a different time. That would work today. But in in the time that I did it, it did work. And then now I've created educational so I use education as a way to make money. If it's really a high end visual effects movie. I know Film Riot, the YouTube channel. They make a lot of short films, their entire business models about making really high end short films with high end visual effects. And they show you how they do it. So that's how they're doing that as well. So you know it's

Kim Adelman 39:48
Also maybe you have but after the people are very interested in and maybe you know people would be interested like you could make your own website and try to get people to pay to see it or whatever. It's just hard in this world was so much as free You know, I always tell people, you know, personally paid to see a short film, you know,

Alex Ferrari 40:06
it can work if you hire like if you hire an actor, I had a, I had Robert forester and one of my films, I had Richard Tyson, who was the bad guy from Kindergarten Cop, if you remember that, I had him and some of these, some of these actors have massive fan bases, right? Who will go crazy for anything they do. So if you can hire someone like that, or hire somebody who has an audience of some sort. So let's say it's a YouTube influencer, I'm just using that as an example. Or a YouTuber, social media star wants to be in a movie, they have 3 million followers, you have cast them in your movie, and you go, look, let's partner up, we're going to sell access to this to your audience. And we're going to sell it for five bucks, and you and I are going to split it. And now you have a marketing machine putting it out into, you know, behind a paywall for the first 30 or 60 days behind a paywall so doesn't hurt any festivals doesn't hurt any broadcast, and you're making money with it. So there's a lot of different ways of doing it. But it takes time, and also niches and things like that, and I talked about it in my book a lot with features, but it can be applied to short. So there are ways to make money with shorts, it's just a lot of work. And you really gotta it's not going to there's no turnkey situation. In other words, there's like, oh, here and you make money,

Kim Adelman 41:17
You know, and I was also gonna say, The Academy Award nominated shorts, they now put them out in the theaters, and people pay to go see these films in theaters. So as much as I'm like, Who pays for a short film, though, people are very excited to pay money to see the academy nominated short films in the theater, you know, which is a fabulous thing that I never would have thought that that would come to be and it has. And so there's interest that way. And, you know, there might be new venues or new ways to do it in the future. And, you know, the beautiful thing is you've created something you own and you can do anything you want with it, no one's gonna tell you no, you can't do that. So why not try different things and see what happens. And you know, you never know how, how your break is going to happen, or what's going to happen, or how you might potentially make money. It's all just wanna give it a shot and see what happens. And you know, keep your expectations low, and be happy with anything, right? So let's say you make $60 You're like, Oh, my God, I made $60 off of this, I'm now you know, making a profit, not profit. But you know, I'm making money. And people are seeing my film. Come on. Great.

Alex Ferrari 42:19
Exactly. So it really all depends on how you what's your approach to the making of the film. If you're making it to get rich, I'm sorry, this is not going to happen. If you're going into it with that, is there a possibility that you can make a lot of money with it? There's very few examples of short films making. I think I'm one of the few honestly, yeah, they've made, you know, I've been actually in case studies and books on short films about, understandably so. Because it's a rarity. And I know that and but doing the shorts that I've done over the years, I've seen what they've been able to do for me. And if you look at shorts as a way to get your career moving forward, express yourself as an artist, get attention for yourself, all that kind of stuff. And then the festival circuits, all the other stuff. That's the way you should approach it.

Kim Adelman 43:05
I think, you know, I've also also animation is a whole nother ballgame. Oh, that's a whole other world. People will pay for animated shorts, you know, that sort of stuff. But I know people who have banded together and put together programs and kind of put that on the road of short films and you know, rent it out for a while theaters and totally turned it into, you know, their life, basically. But you also have to kind of look to like, how much time are you going to put into this as well, I feel like a lot of that kind of stuff you should do for your future. You know, if you're talking about your future, that's the time to invest in all those.

Alex Ferrari 43:35
And then if we're talking about documentaries, that's a whole other conversation. Because with documentaries, there are a lot of places where documentary shorts can make money. And you can do a 3040, even 50 minute short, which could get broadcasted Yes. And if it's in a specific niche, you can actually go on the road, going to different organizations. So like if it's a documentary about a swimmer with one leg, I'm just saying, or a surfer with one leg or a skateboarder with one leg. You know, those are the kinds of things that you can team up with organizations to set up screenings, charge, there's a lot of ways you can make money with documentaries a lot easier to make money.

Kim Adelman 44:14
And also people are dying for short documentaries on the festival circuit. They don't have enough, you know, so it's hard to do a short documentary, I will say that I've seen so many people fail at it. Just because you know, with a long documentary, you've got a long story to tell, but the short documentary have very little time. And so what are you actually saying and showing and doing? It's a it's a hard skill

Alex Ferrari 44:35
There was there was one short that was on Netflix because Netflix does shorts every once in a while. Every once in a while. There was a documentary about end of life and about like just hospice and how to approach end of life. And I had a friend of mine who's a social worker, and he's like, Hey, you should look into the short and I'm like, is it on Netflix? And he's like, Yeah, watch it. And I watched it. I was like, Oh man, this A day as an organization go around using that short as a way to kind of introduce people to end of life conversations. Because it's not something it's not something you want to talk about, generally speaking, you know, it's not a conversation you want to have. But that's that documentary did, apparently that sold to Netflix. So, Netflix, that means Netflix knew something that it was valued.

Kim Adelman 45:23
And Netflix does, I should have said that to Netflix definitely has a category of short films. And you'll see a lot of the ones that are Oscar contenders are close to being an Oscar contender show up there, and they liked the longer short film too. So that's a very positive thing. And they've done a lot have not done but they've acquired, you know, short documentaries. I don't know if any of those original Netflix productions. I think all of them are acquisitions, but they're definitely short films that are showing on Netflix. Again, I don't know how much money people made off of that. But come on to be able to say your short film was on

Alex Ferrari 45:51
1500 bucks. 1000 bucks. 2000 bucks. Are you kidding? It's, it's fantastic. Yeah, depends on the there was. So another another great story on how a short film that turns turned it into a feature to turning it into a feature. And they made obscene amounts of money was Kung Fury. You familiar with Kung Fury? Yeah. So Kung Fury is a short out of I think it's Sweden, or Norway or something like that. But it was a homage to 80s action movies. Dawn in the most ridiculous obscene like, you know, heads been blown off. Dinosaurs going back in time with North got Norse gods. And, you know, like, Thor's there, it was fascinating to watch a 30 minute short, lot of visual effects, all 80s based, these guys put it out, and they got millions and millions of views. But they had the original soundtrack. They had merch they had because it was all connected to a niche that so many people were they love the shorts so much. Then I saw a pop up on Netflix. Then I saw a pop up on El Rey, that people were it's just it was such high production value that people use. And then they they now are in the process of making the sequel that Arnold Schwarzenegger has. They literally he's playing the President in the sequel, or the feature version. And even they were so understanding of their niche I talked about, I actually use them as a case study in my book, that they got David Hasselhoff to do the soundtrack. They paid. They paid David Hasselhoff a good amount of money to write a song for the movie. And then they released a music video with David Hasselhoff.

Kim Adelman 47:39
That's amazing.

Alex Ferrari 47:40
It's amazing. So there's so much creativity with shorts, you could do so much with it. It all depends on you, and where you want to where you want to go with it. So there it's it's an endless pool of opportunities, which, um,

Kim Adelman 47:53
You had mentioned IP earlier. You know, that's the other thing you do when you are creating an IP when you make a short film.

Alex Ferrari 48:00
Yeah, you do create IP. And if you're able to like Marcelle with the show on, they actually released three shorts over the course of three, four years. And they released two best selling children's books on it. So when Hollywood came calling, they, they were like, Hey, let's put Ryan Reynolds with the shell on the like, no. This was before Pikachu. They were basically pitching and Pikachu. That's what they wanted. But they stuck to their guns. And they made the movie that they wanted to make it took 12 years to get it off the ground, but they got it with, but they were able to make money with it and generate revenue off the shorts. And then not to mention off a YouTube even just YouTube ad AdSense off these things. I mean, first it was like 54 million, the other ones like 34 million. And that's something that a lot of filmmakers don't know about as well as if you have a monetized YouTube channel. You can make money, especially if it goes viral, you could make serious money with it. Or if there's another channel where shorts or the kind of short that you're trying to do, maybe team up with that creator, have them pump it out, and they maybe have two or 3 million followers and share that share the money that comes in. There's so many ideas, so many ways.

Kim Adelman 49:08
Hair, love is another example. It's an animated short film, but he didn't book after to. There's many things that there could be opportunities for if you're short film gets attention that gets asked about Oscar nominated. But the other thing too, that we should definitely talk about is you can put spend all that time and money and do all that. But then when people say well, what's next? Because it's like you could spend all that time doing all that for like, Oh, now I've got 100 bucks that I profited off of that. But what's next, you know, what am I going to do next year and when people say to me, I loved your short I'd love to talk to you about doing something together or whatever you need to have it what's next.

Alex Ferrari 49:46
And so if I may tell you the painful backstory of my experience, I got I got I did the waterfall tour I was being called by Oscar nominated or Oscar winning producers and I was it CIA. I was all This stuff went by first short, was going around. And everyone asked me, so I'd love the short we'd love what you're doing. What's next? And we're like, Well, I have ideas. Yeah, that's not enough on the scripts, not ideas, scripts, you need to have two or three of them ready to go. And that's what? Because you could you could pitch them or have this movie about this, this. Yeah, we don't want what else you have. Yeah, because that window, that window is open for that door is open for so short amount of time. And if you don't take advantage next

Kim Adelman 50:31
Exactly, there's always another hot film that people are getting attention to. I mean, not that you can predict you're gonna have that moment. But why not set yourself up for success and have something ready that you want to do? So that you can be like, hello, I'm so glad you love my shirt. Here's my feature film that I want to make next, or whatever else it is that you want to know, do next. And you know, maybe, for example, you really wanted to run commercials or something like that, you know, be prepared with a reel of other things that look like commercials that you can be, you know, whatever you want to do be prepared.

Alex Ferrari 51:02
I think that there's a higher probability of somebody seeing a short at a festival, or online and offering you hey, I love your style. I'd like to work with you. That happens more often than anything else I think we've spoken about. Because it does happen. People are like, oh, I want to work with you. Or what do you want to do next there, those opportunities do present themselves. But most filmmakers aren't prepared for those opportunities when they create, which is what we're talking about. It does, it does happen. It does happen a lot, especially if it's commercials or music videos, or documentaries or things like that. There's always I hear story after story after story about filmmakers getting opportunities based on a short film that someone saw somewhere this or that, and boom, boom, boom. Having that? I mean, Napoleon Dynamite.

Kim Adelman 51:46
Short film. Yeah. Oh, there's many examples of short films. And actually, there's another recent film called emergency that was a short, and then they went on the vessel circuit. And people were like, oh, we'd love to talk to you about the future version of it. And they hadn't even been thinking of that, which is kind of, you know, more power to them. But then they're like, oh, yeah, we're working on that. But if you you know, if you thought there was a future version of it, you should probably script out the feature version of it before you go on the festival circuit. You know, I mean, the you can control when you start the festival circuit. And in theory, if you think of this as launching yourself, well, then you know, have stuff to

Say you are the studio, you know, you need to think of yourself as a studio that will be making things. So, you know, think about when you want to release things, think about what your next project is, think about how you want your studio to be thought of, you know,

Alex Ferrari 52:36
Exactly, exactly. Now, tell me about your book, making it big, in short, shorter, faster, cheaper.

Kim Adelman 52:43
Don't you agree that short should be shorter, faster and cheaper? Absolutely. This is actually the third version. And this is my version. My subtitle that i system for the third version was the shorter chapter the shorter and cheaper faster because if you had to ask me quickly, advice, you know what filmmakers should do? It's like you make a film shorter, cheaper. I mean, Paul's me when I hear how much money people spend on this grant.

Alex Ferrari 53:06
But I did but I'm, I'm an anomaly. Don't that don't do what I do.

Kim Adelman 53:11
I really don't think so. Also, things are so much cheaper now to you know, I think if you're done, and now it wouldn't be as expensive as it was then, although I also teach, and one of my students is making her short film this weekend. And you know, it was it's 2500. And she's under budgeted, you know, I'm like, you just don't have enough money here. And people always think I can do it for a nickel. And it's like, well,

Alex Ferrari 53:34
If someone like myself, who's been in the business for almost 30 years says I could do it for nickel and more than likely I could do it for nickel because I know your favorites. You can call him I know how to do I've done it. But if you've never done it, I say you It's like someone in putting someone on set global fix it in post, like no, no, no. Only the editor or someone who's been in posts can say you can fix and post no one else is allowed to say that

Kim Adelman 53:55
Or have zero budget and and post.

Alex Ferrari 54:00
What she had, oh, really, she was just gonna do it on her laptop while she

Kim Adelman 54:06
Was just, you know, fine for student film. You know, you probably can get away with that. But even so, they're planning on shooting for three days and you've been feeding people for three days. I was like, I don't think you're gonna have enough money. feeding people

Alex Ferrari 54:18
Don't don't don't feed people the spinning wheels of death. You know what the spinning wheels of death are?

Kim Adelman 54:22
Yeah. What are the spinning wheels of pizza?

Alex Ferrari 54:24
Don't. Don't it's because they just they just, they're cheap. But you get what you pay for it and your your crew starts to slow down. It's sluggish. You want to give them food that keeps them energy going and pizza does not.

Kim Adelman 54:37
You will also she made the mistake of telling me she was going to up and she was the purchaser of it. But she was going to make the food herself. I was like,

Alex Ferrari 54:44
Oh, are you and she was the director too.

Kim Adelman 54:47
Now she's only she's only the producer, not only the producer, she is the producer. But still you can't be making food and doing everything else. As a producer.

Alex Ferrari 54:55
Oh, no. That's a rookie mistake. Unless Unless I mean, look, I've talked to some really big producers who have done that, because they had to do it. But you know, it was a different conversation,

Kim Adelman 55:08
Raise a little more money, put a little thing, buy something on the credit card. Yeah, just, you know, you get

Alex Ferrari 55:15
Free by the way you could get by the way, this is another trick I learned is you can get free food, food is easy to get for free. You walk in and go, Hey, we're making a short film, we'd love to promote your place. One, can we do a scene in your place? Or can we shoot at least outside of your place where we can promote your place or two, if you give us a free meal, we'll promote you through social media will promote you through the lot of local businesses will give you free I got free food, constantly making short films.

Kim Adelman 55:43
Soon, I do believe that everything for free concept of like if you have the time and the the right personality to do that, and the right connections, because again, you're gonna get know a lot too. But if you figure you get you're gonna get know a lot. But there are going to be places that no, you are want to support, you have the right mentality, and you will get a yes out of it. So, you know, it's just a matter of time and the right personality to do that kind of stuff. Right? And

Alex Ferrari 56:06
If you're in a small town, I've had filmmakers on the show that that had the entire town help them, right. Because they know you and it's a small town and it's you're making a movie. That's super cool. Like a lot of people still get freaked out when you're like, Oh, you're making movie like, people who are in LA, they just get like, they're jaded. Okay, another movie,

Kim Adelman 56:24
Real people who in their small town, they wrote a newspaper wrote an article about them making a short and I was like, I love that. How fabulous is that?

Alex Ferrari 56:31
Exactly! As you get a lot more attention. It's actually better to be outside of an LA or New York in that scenario, because people are super excited about like, Oh, you're making a movie. You know? Like, yeah, do you want to have a, you know, you want to sit in the background, and this one shot in the diner? What all we need is like three meals, oh, that's fine. Little tips of what you do, you know, I have just haven't done this in a year. So it's not the front of my head. But going back, I'm like, I used to do that. The biggest thing I used to do believe it or not, when I was doing it was in school is I heard that every day, the bakery would get rid of their stuff that's about to expire. Now they'll bread dill muffins, do everything. So I would walk in every day. I'm like, Hey, do you have anything do you want to get rid of and they would just give me a just bags full of breads, and pastries and cakes. And I would go and sell them at the school to make money. But you could arguably use that. It's fine. You can eat it. It's not mold, you're like it's not bad. But it's like going to expire the next day or something like that. So they can't sell it. But it's good for another two or three days. You could take that and use it on your set. I'm just saying that's service right there.

Kim Adelman 57:45
You are indeed Mr. Hustle. I mean, that is seriously, that is the hustle mentality of we're gonna get this done, we're gonna make it happen. We're gonna make our own rules, we're gonna do anything we need to do. And that is exactly how you need to be really to do something for no money.

Alex Ferrari 57:58
Absolutely, absolutely. Now I'm gonna, I'm going to ask you a few questions. I ask all my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today Kim?

Kim Adelman 58:08
I think you know, the right answer is you should always just be making something that you know, nobody's going to stop you. And you never know what the right thing is. It's going to really make or break you or, you know, help you develop your voice. So just constantly be making something.

Alex Ferrari 58:22
What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Kim Adelman 58:28
I think it is that it's just a matter of getting through the nose until you get to yes, it you know, it's so hard to hear that and it's so hard to constantly run up against the nose. But the reality is, as soon as you get that, yes, stop. You've achieved it. And everybody can do that. Right? You know, the most dedicated person can go 90 through 99 nose until you get that 100 Yes.

Alex Ferrari 58:51
If there's one lesson that you can, if anyone listening to one lesson, if you can take from this conversation is that the noes are a guarantee. You're always going to get knows. But if you can get past that, and understand that that's just the rules of the game that you're playing. And that's life. In the film business that's life knows are the general that's the default. If you can get past that, then you open yourself up for those yeses, but you have to understand not to get derailed by the nose because you're gonna get nose constantly throughout. And it happens to everybody at every level. Spielberg got nose, Nolan, he doesn't get nose, but everybody. Nobody did get a no because he wanted things to happen for 10 and it didn't happen. Spielberg couldn't get Lincoln Lincoln financed, you know, so you're gonna get Schindler's List finance and he was frickin Steven Spielberg. So everyone gets knows it's about how you deal with those knows how you keep moving forward. So understand that that is just the default. Don't think in And also don't believe that you are not the Great, the great hope of the film industry. You are not the next Stanley Kubrick, you are the next you. And all of those people that you admire. Are they all are the true versions of themselves. And that's how you should approach shorts and the film business. Do you would you agree?

Kim Adelman 1:00:19
I understand. You said, That's so lovely.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:23
And last question, three of your favorite films of all time.

Kim Adelman 1:00:27
Can I say short films of all time?

Alex Ferrari 1:00:29
Well, I mean, nobody will know them. So you can, but I wouldn't like it like, oh, yeah, Bob's ever than no idea. But go ahead. It's your it's your answer. Unless a very famous shorts that people know, it's up to you.

Kim Adelman 1:00:48
There are shirts that are totally, you know, I'm sure. Well, for example, is just telling somebody else that tecnova tikka, that's the first time I ever saw him was from a short film two cars one night, and I'm pretty sure that is on YouTube or somewhere if you look for it. It's a great short film. And you can totally see his voice in that and the kinds of films that he made later. And that same year, he was he was nominated for Academy Award for that short film that did win that year was Andrea Arnold's short film, wasp. And wasp is like one of my favorite short films of all time, although it is long, but it is great. And I'm pretty sure that one's available to you can Google that one. And of course, she went on to be a fabulous filmmaker as well. And then Jane Campion, her very wasn't her first short film, I don't think but one thing that got her a lot of tension was called peel. And that's a fabulous and short film as well.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:35
There's one short film that I found, as you were thinking, like, what's my favorite short film? There was a short film I saw years ago. I've had the producer on the of the feature since then, I've become friends with him. And I was when I brought it out. He's like, holy crap, you saw that? I'm like, yes, yes, I did. I heard about it. years ago, there was a film called darkness false. released by Universal is a horror movie, the director of that made a short that had nothing to do with the movie. But the short was so good that they gave him a shot to make the movie. There's a different time period. But it was universal for God's sake. So it wasn't like a huge deal. And his feature didn't went on to do very well. But the short was about what if it was a story of basically baby Hitler. And and that they could have, they actually were fighting to give birth. And to make sure that this baby was born and it was baby Hitler. At the end of the movie. We're like, oh, it was such so good. So well done that the production design was excellent. That digital camera, it was beautifully lit. It was really high production really highly produced shot on 35. It was gorgeous. But it was like this emotional thing that you're like, Oh, God, the baby has to go the baby has to get born. Oh my god, all this stuff is happening. And then it's baby Hitler. You're like, Oh, my so good.

Kim Adelman 1:02:53
There's so many films, short films that have Hitler or Jesus is one of the characters. It's always like, Oh, another Hitler shirt. Oh, no Jesus shirt. But it's because it's a character we all know. Right? Right away. So when you tell me baby healer, I totally know. You know what you mean? Why that is etc.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:10
We all know. Absolutely. And one of the famous, the most famous, I argue the most successful short film to ever launch anything. Is the spirit of Christmas. Spirit of Christmas spirit of Christmas. Yeah. So the biggest short film of all time, I'm going to argue to say I don't think there's any film that has generated more revenue than that short film, the spirit of Christmas. A little bit of cardboard, a little bit of a construction paper cut out animated. And it was Jesus versus Santa Claus. And it is built. I mean, what did they sell HBO? I think they said he's 150 million or 250 million.

Kim Adelman 1:03:50
I mean, think of all the merchandising alone that's come off of that they I think

Alex Ferrari 1:03:53
They get I think they get 10% and they still are loaded.

Kim Adelman 1:03:58
Can I just tell you something real quick, because I know we're running out of time. But I had a very good friend who's short film played Sundance in the same shorts program as spirit of Christmas because they did invite spirit of Christmas to play at Sundance. And nobody remembered during the screenings, like nobody wants to talk about my film. Everyone wanted to talk about that. And Jesus

Alex Ferrari 1:04:15
Versus Santa Claus.

Kim Adelman 1:04:18
Water Festival situation.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:22
I still and this is a power of the short back then this is before the internet. I walked into a comic book store. When I was at that age, whenever that came out. I was I think high school or a little bit. I think it was in high school or a little bit younger than high school. When that came out. And the guy behind the counter, the comic book guy said, Hey, man, you want to see something busted out a bootleg copy of spirit of Christmas because it was bootlegged all over the place. And I saw it and my mouth was just like, What did what did I just see? So I said Jesus finding Santa Claus. This is amazing. This is so you know and if You want to talk about voices Jesus? Yeah. Matt and Trey I mean, there's nobody else and boy they've written that horse Haven't they?

Kim Adelman 1:05:10
Yes, they have to

Alex Ferrari 1:05:12
I've been riding that horse until the wheels fall

Kim Adelman 1:05:16
When people recommend love a sword from so much they want to tell you about it encourage you to see it. That's just that's winning right there. That's now

Alex Ferrari 1:05:23
And now it's a Click now to VHS going and now it's a click Email it's a social media posting guys you gotta watch this.

Kim Adelman 1:05:30
The fact that somebody's promoting it that way with no you know, financial in on it, just want to share with you something that they love. That is wonderful. That's the highest.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:38
And Kim, where can people get your book and find out more about what you do?

Kim Adelman 1:05:42
Well, making big insurance available bookstores near you. There's not so many bookstores anymore, so let's just say sadly, Amazon

Alex Ferrari 1:05:51
Hey, Jeff needs to send some more rockets up into space, we got to support him. Some oddly shaped rockets. Anyway. It has been an absolute pleasure having you on the show. Thank you so much for coming on and sharing your knowledge about shorts. Hopefully this has helped a few filmmakers avoid some pitfalls. And maybe we maybe with this conversation, we help launch a few careers. Let's hope making sure you'll never regret. Thank you again so much for being on the show. Kim, I appreciate you.

Kim Adelman 1:06:19
Pleasure talking to you.

IFH 594: From Micro-Budget to World-Wide Distribution with Shane Stanley

At sixteen years old, Shane Stanley had already received his first Emmy Award for his work on Desperate Passage (1987) which starred Michael Landon. Over the next few years he learned filmmaking under his father Lee Stanley on what became known as The Desperate Passage Series (1988 to 1995) starring Sharon Gless, Edward James Olmos, Marlo Thomas and Louis Gossett Jr..

The self-produced series earned a total of thirty-three Emmy nominations, (winning thirteen) as well as numerous Christopher Awards and CINE Golden Eagles. In 1994, the Stanleys feature film, Street Pirates (1994) was a two-time winner of the CINE Golden Eagle Award for best feature documentary and film editing.

In 2001, Shane launched Visual Arts Entertainment, his own production company, most notably credited with Gridiron Gang (2006) starring Dwayne Johnson & Xzibit as well as the critically acclaimed independent film, A Sight for Sore Eyes (2004) with Academy Award nominee, Gary Busey.

The film, (produced for under $10,000) marked Shane’s directorial debut and went on to win the Gold Special Jury Award at Worldfest Houston, Best Dramatic Short Film at the International Family Film Festival, a Telly Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film and Television as well as two Aurora Awards for writing & directing. The film was also invited to Cannes to compete in the annual international film festival.

His new film is Double Threat.

After skimming money from the mob, a, well-trained fighter, Natasha (Danielle C. Ryan), finds herself on the run with a kind, naïve accountant, Jimmy (Matthew Lawrence) whose life is about to get more thrilling than he could ever imagine.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Shane Stanley 0:00
Let's put story aside everybody freaks out and says, Oh my God, it's all about the script. Yeah, the story is important. But let's talk about the look and production value of film. For me there's there's five elements, and no specific order. Your cinematographer got to know his craft, you you have to get actors that are that I hate to keep using the term no their craft.

Alex Ferrari 0:21
Today's show is sponsored by Enigma Elements. As filmmakers, we're always looking for ways to level up production value of our projects, and speed up our workflow. This is why I created Enigma Elements. Your one stop shop for film grains, color grading lots vintage analog textures like VHS and CRT images, smoke fog, textures, DaVinci Resolve presets, and much more. After working as an editor colorist post and VFX supervisor for almost 30 years I know what film creatives need to level up their projects, check out enigmaelements.com and use the coupon code IFH10. To get 10% off your order. I'll be adding new elements all the time. Again, that's enigmaelements.com. I'd like to welcome back to the show returning champion Shane Stanley, how're you doing?

Shane Stanley 1:17
I am doing great, Alex. Thanks for having me, man. It's great to see you.

Alex Ferrari 1:20
Thanks for coming back on the show. Brother, I I appreciate you coming back. And you and I have been working together for a little while we've got a couple of courses up on IFH Academy, we got your book about what they don't teach you at film school up on IFH books. And maybe in the next few weeks, we're going to be releasing a few chapters of that book for free so everyone can get to get a taste of your genius. And what's inside and what's inside that book that will hopefully save a lot of filmmakers lives. But today we're here to hear that one right there. What what? Exactly. So but so today, we're here to talk about your new film double threat. But I just want to get into the weeds a little bit about filmmaking and about where we're, how you put this thing together, the realities of what's going on from financing to distribution and so on. So, but first man, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, the people who did not listen to your first interview with me?

Shane Stanley 2:18
Well, absolutely. You know, I grew up in the industry. I actually became a working actor at nine months old. My father was a working actor. We were at a barbecue and there was a guy kind of looking at me from across the backyard. My dad's very protected. She just walked right up to the guy goes, I don't like the way you're looking at my kid. What's your jam? And he said, Oh, no, no, I'm a commercial director. I'm doing a new campaign for century 21. It's this new real estate company and I need a baby and your kids been sitting there quiet and perked up and well behaved and we can't find a kid that doesn't scream. So luxury started to kick this working kid baby actor till I was you know, fourth, fifth sixth grade. But during that time, my father got out of acting and became a working documentary and educational filmmaker. So he had the flatbeds the movie olas, the splicers and 16 millimeter cameras and so from very young age, I started playing around on those cameras and the splicers and movies. And he just started working and working and working. And he was doing everything at such a low budget, he was literally pulling on me to work in the camera department, the editing department. So I grew up in and around the business that way. And as I got older, around the time, I was in high school, he finally got his big break. And it was on a film that that, you know, he did with Michael Landon that I was very, very much a part of. And that changed our lives. And we started making this, you know, a television series of movie of the weeks for about nine years, which spawned into Gridiron Gang, which was a remake of one of our Mo W documentaries. And I started going down the path of working in a television network and studio system. And I just I didn't like development. I didn't like meetings, I didn't like talking about movies getting made. I wanted to make movies. And when I probably about 1213 years ago, after my 1500 meeting at one of the networks, the head of the network called me into his office and said, Let's talk and we put our feet up on his coffee table. We poured us a glass of scotch and he said it's obvious you're unhappy with this process. You're a filmmaker, get out of here, go make movies. And so I I got $500 together and made a pilot for you know a 45 minute pilot which did more for my career as a filmmaker than any of my resume previously. And I've been on that path ever since and it's been it's been quite a ride.

Alex Ferrari 4:48
It's been it has been served without question. You have made a bunch of independent films over the years and I know that you know a couple of things that you should avoid To in regards to making independent film like, what are a few things that make your independent film look cheap? Look low budget because you make high quality high looking budget films at low budgets. But I I've seen them to men. I even worked on a few of them. When I was coming up as a colorist and an editor, where you look at the stuff you're like, Dude, why did you just God? Why did you shoot against the white wall? Why?

Shane Stanley 5:28
Why did you get your aunt to play a big role in your movie? Yeah, me, you know, look, let's put story aside, everybody freaks out and says, Oh, my God, it's all about the script. Yeah, the story is important. But let's talk about the look and production value of film. For me, there's there's five elements, and no specific order. Your cinematographer got to know his craft, you you have to get actors that are that I hate to keep using the term no their craft. And a lot of new filmmakers say well, I don't know any working actors. That's okay. Go to local acting classes, call colleges. There are a lot of actors amongst us that we don't think about. But most the time they're calling their friends, their girlfriends, their aunt, their mom, their dad, their neighbor to star in their movies, and it just sinks the ship. And there's no reason you can't be working with talent. I think that the thing is so important is location. So many people just shoot in their backyard or garage their house. People want to experience new things. And for me, everything is about location and making something look big. Another element is the editing. I think that's absolutely key. An editor can can sink or swim the film in a heartbeat. And the other one is sound production sound. I've been fortunate on my last nine films to work with a guy that to ADR one line with the exception of we did a scene in a car. And we had to, we knew we weren't going to get it because of where we were driving and the organic nature I wanted to shot in and we shot it with the camera trays and the sound and said just go get this a scratch. We'll we'll get him in the trailer doing it later. And that's I you have to have a great sound man, a good editor, a good cinematographer, good actors in good locations. I think if you have those five things, you have already stepped your game so far up, that you're going to you're going to separate yourself, you know, it's I will say it's separates the sheep from the goats.

Alex Ferrari 7:30
Yeah, and I think the other other thing I would add to that is to just when you frame things, just frame it with a little bit of scope a little bit of, of depth in a shot. So like so many times I see shots where, oh, god, look, they shot a two people talking against a white wall. There's nothing interesting in that at all, shouldn't no window, at least

Shane Stanley 7:49
Look out the window, go outside, you know, go go to a, you know, a set of tracks houses on a day, they're not doing the trash, you know, and you know, put a long lens on that thing and just get some depth and some open, you know, and just that's just it is most of the student films or indie films that I look at. And I know you and I have talked about this, they shoot it up against a white wall, or they shoot it in a garage or a bedroom. And these things could just be taken outside or put into some new area. And our job is storytellers is to take an audience to either a place they've never been a place they are afraid to go a place that they want to go or something they didn't know exist. And I think every time you set something up, you need to think that way.

Alex Ferrari 8:30
Yeah, no question. And I'd love to because in your new movie, double threat, there's a scene that, you know, you're talking about people wanting to be taken to a new place, things you haven't seen before. I haven't seen a woman on horseback with a bow and arrow chasing down a car. Ever that I can remember that double exactly didn't look like a startup. So we'll get into how you shot that in a little bit. But that was just like something you're just like, hey, something I don't see every day. That's, that's interesting. So adding little elements like that if something you just like I've never seen that before, adds a tremendous amount of value to your project.

Shane Stanley 9:14
It's gotten a lot of mileage and also, you know, Danielle C. Ryan, is the actor you're referring to Danielle had one mandate, and she produced the film with me as no stunt doubles. I can do anything that you need me to do. And you know, there's a three and a half minute fight scene in that film, not one double She rehearsed it would talk to him and the other guys for one day on her day off. They showed up we knocked it out. And you know, that was the thing you know, we shot that film the heart of the pandemic, we filled it November, December of 2020. And we lost nine locations going back to locations. We had nine locations committed to the film that one after another dropped out during production. And we had a friend with a film ranch who just said dude, here are the keys, lock yourselves up on the hill and go do what you got to do. And so we were very limited. I had that I had a warehouse, I had a hotdog stand. And we had my cousin's cabin and big bear. Those were the only locations we had. And I would love to shot that film all over the world, but we couldn't because of COVID. So taking what we were talking about a second ago was, yeah, is how do we make this interesting? Let's put a girl on horseback shooting a bow and arrow hitting a moving target, which she actually did. Let's get car chases. Let's have fun with this. Let's do a let's go to the airport and steal a plane and have Matthew Lord started up and take off. I mean, we had no stunt doubles in this film. And that was kind of our hook.

Alex Ferrari 10:35
That's awesome. That's awesome. Now, in another interview, I heard you talk about the 11 minute rule that filmmakers and screenwriters should follow what is the 11 Minute Rule?

Shane Stanley 10:44
I will, I will tell you something funny, I got a lot of heat for that I was doing an interview. And before we started, you know, I just said, casually, I said, thanks. There's an 11 minute rule. And I learned this from sales agents that you know, when you make as storytellers the muscle or Spielberg, or you know, Christopher Nolan, what they're going to sit for two hours before you get to the point, I've learned when you're making an indie film, especially in the climate of streaming and 300,000 channels at your fingertips, you better let your audience know what's going on. Within. I've heard from sales agents and distributors, they've been beating in my head for the last six or seven years, you've got 11 minutes to get to the point are there we're out there, they're gonna you're gonna lose them. And I mentioned this on another interview, and I got crucified for saying that. And of course, it was people that have never made a movie before who've never sold a film. And I learned it by having movies that we're building and developing characters, with sales agents, saying you've got to take three or four minutes out of your movie, you've got to get to it by 1011 minutes, dude, if you don't, we're not going to get a sale. So you know, everybody likes to develop backstory and character and you know, all the you know, all the aficionados out there that have their rules that they believe they need to follow. They crucified me, which is fine, everybody's entitled to an opinion. But what was really funny is I am actually a work for hire as a director on a studio film right now that starts in August, I was hired by Studio to direct a film. And what was so funny is we have our first meeting, and they wanted me to read the script. And they never saw the interview. They don't care about any of the stuff I do outside of what they need me for. And one of the executives actually said to me, there is an 11 minute rule that we need to follow this script doesn't do it, it gets into about 13 or 14 minutes, where we finally know what the hell's going on. We need you to as a director, to do a director polish and get us to this 11 minute plan. And I said to him, I said, Well, where did you hear about this rule? And they said, it's just a rule follow it. I've never heard the term 11 minute rule. And I'm not saying I coined the phrase like Richard Kirino. Like that wonderful comedian that said, he coined the lunch from hell or something from hell, but I had never heard the term I was brought up in the interview. But I have found it, especially in the independent world, when you're hustling, and you're trying to sell your stuff. If your audience doesn't know what the hell's going on, and what the journey is going to be, of course, surprises down the road are good, but they don't know what the whole setup is and who the players are by 1011 minutes, man. Good luck. Good luck.

Alex Ferrari 13:16
No, and that's the thing. And this is the difference where a lot of filmmakers don't understand that in the 80s 90s, even the early 2000s, people would go to a theater, they sit down, or in the 80s and 90s they would rent a movie, they've paid for it. They're gonna watch it. You got a hot, you're hooked. But in today's world, you're flipping, flipping, flipping, flipping, flipping and there is 10s of millions of pieces of content for you to consume and movies and ELA and television and entertainment for you to watch that. I'd argue it's like much faster than 11 minutes because it is for me, I I will sit there and I'll start watching something and man, like we were watching the show. What was it I forgot the name of the show, but it was supposedly a really good show. And it was like a new HBO show. I'm not gonna name the show. But we were watching this new HBO show. And it was like a drama and we're just sitting there going, I'm like, what is so slow. My wife and I just like eight minutes in we're like, I can great cast, same cast, great writers. I just it just took too long for me to get into it. I was just like, if this is the pace of the show, then I'm not going to be able to keep going with it. So I just started watching mayor of Kingston

Shane Stanley 14:28
How do you do it?

Alex Ferrari 14:30
I I'm in the middle of it right now.

Shane Stanley 14:31
I first heard that I saw the whole I saw the tama Jeremy Renner show.

Alex Ferrari 14:37
Yeah, Taylor Terrell shared It's so terrible.

Shane Stanley 14:39
She loved it. It's got you know, look, you can pick apart any series Wouldn't we all love to be hit and Taylor's got it going on right now. I'll tell you something. That the last two episodes it's a two part episode. I'm a cutter at heart. I'm an editor at heart is the best cutting. There's a scene in the prison yard. I'm not going to ruin it for you. It's the best Editing I've ever seen on television and it's comparable. I thought I always thought bravehearts battle scenes were the best cut I'd ever seen because it's comparable to the Braveheart stuff. I was just I rewatched the episodes just for the cutting it was I love the show and I hope so.

Alex Ferrari 15:16
So yeah, I think they're definitely bringing it back. But Mayor Kingston is for everybody not listening is a show by Taylor Sheridan, who is right now the most. The busiest human being in Hollywood has I think 11 shows in the pipeline

Shane Stanley 15:32
Yellowstone.

Alex Ferrari 15:33
1932 and then there's like four or five other ones that are just the one with Sylvester Stallone is coming up. Like everybody in the in the country in the world wants to work with him. So he's got like, I think literally, I'm not exaggerating, but a lot and shows running. What's really cool.

Shane Stanley 15:47
What's really cool if I can interject is Donald aviary who co starts and CO stars in double threat the film that we're talking about. She was in 1883. And they they loved her so much. She is going to be in Yellowstone. This year. She's I mean, the whole season. I mean, how cool is that? I'm so proud of her. Well, yeah. I'm allowed to say that because they that news broke two days ago. So I'm proud of her.

Alex Ferrari 16:11
But the reason why I bring that show up is because the first pilot I'm sitting there watching the pilot of that first episode, I'm just going to so tight. It's so in I'm so I'm so in. And then there's a twist in this in the pilot, which we won't tell you about. And you should like what that done. You're hooked for the series because of what they did in the past one of the best pilots I've seen in a while and a wine

Shane Stanley 16:34
And Taylor is so good at those. I'll tell you going back to what you said a second ago that is so key when we were making movies and up until probably 10 years ago. You got them in the theater, they were hooked. They weren't going anywhere. They paid for the DVD of the VHS, they weren't going anywhere. Now, the problem is is the distractions, the phone, so even if they're streaming your show, this is going off, they've got a tablet, they got a kid crying, there's, it's so you have to make your show look like they can't blink. And that's that was the point of the whole 11 minute rule is and I'd learned it the hard way because when we did break even look, love it or hate it, that film had more potholes in it than than a poorly paved road. But the problem was we took 20 minutes out, which left those holes so we could make our deals. That was the problem. And that 11 minute rule. That was what everybody said is you take 21 minutes to get to the damn point. We don't know what the kids are doing until 17 minutes. And once we hit that 11 minute point, everything changed. I thought the movie suffered greatly for it in plots and story and that's unfortunate, but it made the deals when you talk about business and and that was where that was coming from.

Alex Ferrari 17:49
You know what, and then we'll get off the Taylor train for a second because I just I just such a fan of Taylor's Oh, he's so he's so must see TV for my wife and I when the new season of Yellowstone is up. My kids know. Are you guys see it's Yellowstone night? Okay, we won't we won't knock on the door. Because if they knock on the door while Yellowstone is on, they know they're gonna get it. So anytime they walk in, but like so, yes. And now we're like, it's mayor. Kingstown No, no, no, no, I'm not gonna want to hear anything for an hour. Go away. Go away. The house is on fire. There's a fire extinguisher under the under the sink, just deal with it. But that's Taylor. That's the kind of writing that that Taylor does the kind of filmmaking he does, but the shows. And that is he is the He is a writer and a creator for this moment in time. And probably the best. He's probably arguably one of the best writers in television right now, arguably also means a carrier of Jesus Christ. Oh, Jimmy just occurred to me all his movies where I mean hell or high water you just like, oh, you know, and I was watching an interview about him the other day. I think it was a CBS or something like that. And they were he's like, Yeah, after 20 years of, you know, being number 11 on the call sheet. Someone said you should write and the first thing you wrote was the pilot of mayor, Mayor of Kingston. And then after he wrote it, he goes to him and I wish I would have been doing this 15 years ago. He was just never wrote before that. And he never He just and then he just kept going. And he kept and he said which is the best? He's like, I do movies because to support my horse habit.

Shane Stanley 19:30
Yes. That's I think why he and Don hit it off so well is because you know, she she lives on like this huge ranch. And she is she is all about the horses. And I remember when we were working together on double threat, she was like, I really want to do a film with you with horses. Maybe a Western we should do that. And it's like, okay, and then we wrap double threat and Scott 1883 And she goes off. I found my filmmaker who's got the horses Shane.

Alex Ferrari 19:56
Thanks anyway, Shane I'm good!

Shane Stanley 19:59
I can't Can I like Woody Harrelson and indecent proposal? It's like he's got the big yacht. I can't compete. I can't compete with just some old vintage guitars. That's it.

Alex Ferrari 20:13
And you know that he's doing so Taylor's doing so well that he bought he's a co owner now of the four sixes ranch.

Shane Stanley 20:19
I didn't know that.

Alex Ferrari 20:20
Oh yeah, he bought he bought the inferior one of the four sixes Ranch is the largest ranch in America. I think it's it's 275 miles.

Shane Stanley 20:32
Yeah, it's it's i

Alex Ferrari 20:34
275 square miles or some something insane. He owns and he owns he's a part owner of it now. 200 million or something like that? Something crazy.

Shane Stanley 20:47
Let's be nice. I'm just, I'm just trying to put gas into cars.

Alex Ferrari 20:50
Hence why I moved why I moved to Austin sir.

Shane Stanley 20:55
Man, smart man.

Alex Ferrari 20:58
Now another thing I wanted to ask you about man is titles. The title of your movie and how important the title of your movie is. And a lot of filmmakers think about it as a creative choice. And it is. But a movie like one of the greatest movies ever made. Worst title ever for a film? What movie? Is it? Greatest Movie Ever one of the greatest movie ever made in the 90s worst title in the history of cinema?

Shane Stanley 21:24
Well, I know I know. It was a well for me. It was the best selling book was Shawshank Redemption

Alex Ferrari 21:30
It's a horrible, horrible.

Shane Stanley 21:33
Funny story about that movie. Not many people know but go for it. When we first started doing Gridiron Gang we got that film got acquired by Sony in 92-93. So we spent a lot of years at the studio and without naming names. You know, when you're in the studio system, they'll they'll invite you to screenings premieres and little private showings and I'll never forget being invited to a private showing of a film that the head of production at Sony called and said, We want you guys you and your dad and mom to come to see this film. So we went and it was it was Shawshank Redemption. And it was brilliant. It was like I did the lights came up. I turned to the gentleman who invited us and I says one of the best films I've ever seen. He said, we're not that excited about it. We don't know. He said, we're kind of nervous about it. We it's a little picture we may. And I just I didn't know it was based on a Stephen King movie, because I actually saw it without credits. That's the way I saw it. And I just said to him, I said, my only suggestion is changed the title. And everybody looked at me like I just took a turn on the corner of the room. And they were like, you realize that's a Stephen King novel. And I was like, Oh, I just don't think

Alex Ferrari 22:43
It's not a novel. It was a short story. It was a novella. It's a short story. It's a novella. So wasn't like it, you could change the damn title. And it wasn't actually the name of the title of the

Shane Stanley 22:57
paper saw the title and now I think everybody's it's ingrained in our head. But yeah, but now it's in Shawshank Redemption.

Alex Ferrari 23:05
It was horrible, horrible. So can you talk about the importance of titles in the marketing and selling of your film?

Shane Stanley 23:13
I can I the first time I ever got introduced to the importance of a title, I was fortunate enough. When I was I was running Charlie Sheen's production company from 90 I think it was 96 to 99. And we were doing a lot of projects back then. And we got involved with Avi Lerner who's you know, obviously become one of the most prolific independent filmmakers of, you know, content in the world. And we were doing a film, and the title was The sparrow prophecies. So it was kind of this really cool psychological thriller, and they greenlit the film. And it changed but Avi said to me in a meeting, I'll never forget it. We didn't have he called me said we need to have a meeting. We didn't have Skype, we didn't email we drove to Arby's office. He said, we're having a roundtable meeting about the title. And he said, the title stocks, I don't understand it. But most importantly, it does not translate foreign. He said, On a good day, 18% of our money will come from domestic, it's all about foreign and I never forgot that. So I was literally in the bathroom. I grabbed and all that I was getting ready to go to the meeting and I was looking at an old issue of metal edge magazine and the drummer for poison. They're friends of mine. Yes. Ricky rocket was wearing a shirt that said no code of conduct. So I went to the meeting about two hours later, I'm sitting there and obvious screaming about how horrible the title is. And I finally said, What about no code of conduct and everybody stopped? He wrote it down. He made a phone call. He hung up. He said, That is brilliant. He said, You're good at titles. You're a crappy writer, but you're good at titles. I said to him later was we became friendly. He said, you know, and this was in the home video days, but I tell people this now, he said when people go to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video, they start new releases. They're in alphabetical order. You have to think about by the time they get to M they've made their selection. He said, so always try to think of, of titles before M, but good to word titles that have translation globally. So for me, I realized and making movies especially in the last few years, you know, we have, we have titles like breakeven, we have titles like nitrate, we have titles like double threat, you know, things like that. And, and for me, it's about let's get a catchy title that we say on a daily basis or a regular like when we hear it it's a familiar term. And for me, it's it's it's really important to catch people's eye that know nothing about you as a filmmaker, they may not know your actors or what your films about, or you don't have the publicity money to make it a household name. How can you do that, and that's all the studio system was doing and repeat sequels, prequels and remakes was let's get rebrand what people know. So as an indie filmmaker, I think it's important to come up with really cool titles that people are familiar with subconsciously, that will help just do a little bit of a built in branding for your film. And that's that's what that comes from. But as it is, I can't work on a film until I have a cool title. I just I never could. It's

Alex Ferrari 26:06
So I actually, when I was working in coming up doing deliveries for film for films, I was working with the distributor, and there was a title of a movie. And let's say it was called by train. Alright, let's for lack of what it's called by drinks. He goes That's to can't make that work. Yeah, we need to be in the top of the catalog. Yeah, so for him, he was looking at it from AFM standpoint, from the American Film Market standpoint, where distributors and buyers are looking at the catalog and it starts at a so he renamed the movie A Night Train

Shane Stanley 26:42
Smart. Because they're not gonna make it NightRain comma A and the catalogs to be able to train at night train.

Alex Ferrari 26:48
So I'm using that as a really horrible example. But it's exactly what he did. He just took it and just made a just throw an a in front of it, and you're just like, but that doesn't sound that great. And he's like, it's gonna sell. So there's, and this is the thing, man. And I know, I know, you and I both kind of fall in the same in the same boat in this regards to art versus commerce. We're filmmakers, we're creatives, we want to tell a cool story, we want to be doing what we'd love to do. But then you got to make money in order to keep this train going, no pun intended. You got to keep this thing going. So there are going to be sacrifices at this level. When you're at the studio level and you get to develop or if you're in the art world, our art film level where you don't care. Like I made a movie called on the corner of ego and desire. A it's not something I AFM was not my strength, not my point. It wasn't like buyers are gonna buy this, I made the movie for three, three grand, and it was fun. It was just for fun. And I was gonna sell it to my audience and I made money with it. And we're all said and done. But it was an art piece. It was an art piece. So there's art films. And then there is a studio world where rules are completely different. They're completely skewed, whatever they want. But in the in the, you know, the grinding indie world in the trenches, if you will, you've got to balance art and commerce. And you just said that you kind of cut out 20 minutes of your movie, or else you wouldn't have gotten deals that you could have stuck to your guns as an artist and said, You know what, this is my vision. I'm not moving forward. And that movie wouldn't have made money you would have been able to make the next one is that first.

Shane Stanley 28:25
And that's just it. I say in my book, I remind people you know, I look at every film we make as a gift. Every opportunity we have I look I compare it to a trip to the moon and how many people have been to the moon twice. I don't think many. And I just say look, if you just want to make a movie, go make the movie you want to make but if you want to have a career as a filmmaker, there are sacrifices and things that you have to change to get there. I mean, I've had films that that people said are brilliant. They've won you know 100 awards and really prestigious festivals premiered at Cannes and then the buyer who buys it at Cannes says great we need to take out five minutes we need to do this we need to switch this we don't like this actor we want you to reshoot that and but that's what got me here I am 50 plus years old now and I am making a couple of films a year and I'm very pleased to say pretty much my way because I've learned how to play the game and it just comes from going back to what you said about Title real quick. The original title tonight train was actually blowing smoke because it's a film about speed it's about you know car racing and motorcycles and all this launch

Alex Ferrari 29:33
Smoke i right away I thought of I thought it was a weird movie.

Shane Stanley 29:37
There Okay, so it first was a week then there was blowing smoke up your ass and then I literally said as a joke I said well the the treatment title was Night Train and everybody's like well that's your title Night Train. The truck is actually your third star in the movie. That's the brand that's plus you got the Guns and Roses song that was real familiar of popular so it's again it goes back to that subtle branding. So we Yeah, we scrapped blowing smoke even though that was the working title. But it was always meant to be nitrate.

Alex Ferrari 30:06
Yeah, exactly. Now I want to ask how did you get double threat off the ground? You know, and especially, how did you get, you know, how did you just? I mean, obviously, you came up with the idea you you wrote it correct? No, no CJ

Shane Stanley 30:18
Weezy a story. So, we were in September of 2020. We had all been on lockdown for six, seven months, I was sitting in my home office. And I literally said, Okay, it's September, coming into the fourth quarter, we can look in the rearview mirror and say 2020 kicked our ass and walked us down. Or we can we can turn around and make it our pitch. I said, I am not going down without a fight. A friend of mine called me it was one of my dearest friends in the world. He said, Hey, I got 50 grand burning a hole in my pocket. Can you do something with it? And I said, Sure. So I called up CJ. And I said, I got a friend who just committed 50 grand, I know it's nothing. I got the cameras for free. I know I can get the locations for free. The actors will just put it under an experimental deal. We'll get a decent actor, somebody will come out play with us, we'll get a crew of eight. Let's just go do it. So we talked to Danielle and her manager at the time, Kurt and we all agreed to go make this movie. CJ had a script in six days. And on the sixth day of Christmas, my true love called me and said yeah, my wife said no, you're not going to 50 grand. So it was like, oh, okay, so I actually was having lunch the next day with one of my dearest friends in the world. And it was when they were starting to let people in restaurants if they were outside on streets, and we sat down and he just said, you know, I told you I'd never get involved in your industry is a very successful man and his own business. He said, I'm concerned about you and your friends. You haven't been out of the house in seven months. He said, What is the cheapest you can make a movie for like bare bones with the COVID protocols. I don't want you to get shut down. So I came back to him later that day and said I broken down what we were going to do. Here's what COVID is going to cost. Let's put a little pad in there. Let's do it. Right let's do it through sag. Let's do it. Hey, everybody, here's the number and he said I want you to get out of the house and go make a movie and within two months from concept to that's a wrap. Wow.

Alex Ferrari 32:18
Yeah, that's an insane turnaround for a movie.

Shane Stanley 32:23
Now the best part of the story is not. I had two assistant editors on the film who sadly lost parents, grandparents and brothers and sisters to COVID So I had I had all the 4k or 5k footage sitting. I couldn't find anybody because Hollywood had started to open and we had no money going in. It took me six months to get the picture transcoded song dailies proxies and cut because everybody was back to work and making good money and we didn't have post money going in. And I literally had to ship a hard drive a 24 terabyte hard drive to Cairo, Egypt. There was a gentleman God loves them. He he heard we were in need he reached out and said I am stuck in Egypt I flew here before the pandemic with my wife we cannot leave we're on lockdown. If you trust me I will deliver what you need. And I literally FedEx to Cairo. A 24 terabyte hard drive and a month later he sent it back with everything done. And we were able to

Alex Ferrari 33:28
Affordably I'm assuming.

Shane Stanley 33:57
He did it for like lunch, a screen credit and the new friend. I mean the guy I couldn't have done it without him. Couldn't have done we had no money. We put it all into the shoot and COVID 40 grand went to COVID on that film. We've tested over 400 times not one positive. We had a couple of COVID officers and all the the PP II stuff you needed. I mean, it was it was unbelievable. What went to COVID like a huge chunk of the movie went to COVID. Wow, that's so we posted it for nothing. I mean, my DP Joelle Logan colored it because he wanted to color a film. He said, I'd like to try coloring the film. And I said, Well, I have no money here.

Alex Ferrari 34:36
And when you're when you're working with this budget level, you got to do what you got to do to make it happen.

Shane Stanley 34:41
And it was it was it was a fraction of what we had been used to so and then you add COVID on top of it. And then the fact that when we were in post everybody was back to work. I was calling people that were friends of friends that were looking for work the week before and destitute living in a box. And as we all know, Hollywood went crazy and So, I would call people in like colorist that would say, Yeah, I'll do it for like five and they were like, Dude, you can't even afford me on backed up for six months don't even bother me. I couldn't get anybody to do it.

Alex Ferrari 35:10
Yeah, exactly, exactly. And I was getting calls left and right to color and I just like, I'm retired. I'm retired. I'm a podcaster. Sir, I don't, I don't color. And I'm joking.

Shane Stanley 35:24
I actually had a friend Chris Rosner, who's one of my dearest friends. I love Chris using an incredible cinematography teacher at LSCC. Chris has a very good colorist. And he had been on lockdown. So he had actually offered when we went into this, he goes, if you're getting a jam and needed color, let me know I'll color it for you for lunch. And you know, a couple of favors. And I said, Great. But the problem was, it took us four and a half months to get it transcoded and synced. So by the time I got the film back, and Frank Reynolds and I started cutting the film, Chris was already back teaching, working full time again. So I lost that window. And that was like starting and thank God it's like he said, he color it.

Alex Ferrari 36:02
It's it's pretty, it's, it's, it's the same thing we do. I don't even know why we do it. Honestly, it's just it's insanity.

Shane Stanley 36:09
I questioned it every time.

Alex Ferrari 36:11
Now, you obviously been able to raise money from investors over the years to get your movies and projects off the ground? What are a few reasons why investors want to invest in our in our industry and your project? Specifically? What are a few things that we can kind of know on how to, you know, angle our pitches or you know, just angle what we're trying to do with them?

Shane Stanley 36:33
You know, that's a great question. And I have found, you know, I think for filmmakers, for many years, it was getting rich people that wanted to rub elbows with celebrities, those days are over. It's about relationships, and people don't like hearing this, especially the young ones coming up who are of that instant satisfaction, get it when you want it age of picking up the phone and ordering something from Amazon and having it or being able to text somebody you can't reach. And I talk about it in my book, Alex, the key thing is relationships, the people that have invested in me over the years, with the exception of one, maybe two times in 30 years were people that I had known for decades, most in which said never never talked to me about investing in film, I will never do it. It's in everybody wants to hear it's going to a cocktail party and meeting a rich guy who wants to rub elbows with as they stay in the player with Whoopi Goldberg and make you know, write a check. And that's not how it works. It's it's, it's about building trust, they they want to know that they can trust you, you have to treat their money like it's your own. For me, many times it was working for these people in side hustle jobs or they had a need and they needed something handled professionally, that they didn't know who to call on. So they called on me and said I need something done for my business, nobody's available. So it would turn into me doing a three month job for them. That they look back and said, This guy didn't fail me. He did what nobody else could do. And he delivered and I this is how he's conducting himself and his business. I want him. And that's what he came from me and and with the exception of running into two or three people in the course of 30 years that said, hey, I want to be in the business. I like what you do, here's a check. It's been about deep seated long lasting friendships that were never built on. Maybe one day, they'll write a check for a movie. And that I think is the hardest thing to translate to people. You'll always meet people that say I know somebody that may be interested or I'm a hedge fund manager I know people or my favorite is is you know, I have clients that are deep, deep pockets, and they're interested in getting in the industry and you know, put a proposal together. I think pitch decks and I talk about this a lot. I think pitch decks have to be reality checks for a lot of people pitch decks, especially for filmmakers who haven't done it. They, they, they they put these figures together that are so lethargic. I mean it's like Greek mythology, how they put you know, maybe back in the old heyday of blockbuster and Hollywood Video, these things may have worked. But it's a new day and age the emojis are tiny if you get them at all. I always remind the filmmakers you've got 54 territories and over 170 countries that potentially to buy your film quit making movies for Instagram red carpet moments and think globally not vocally when it comes to building saying that hey, stop putting Ben Affleck and you know Galaga doe in your pitch deck it's not going to happen and you know and all you're doing is I talked about is all you're doing is disappointing your potential investor Why would you go in with these names to try to lower them and then before you've even started shooting the movie Hey, you got some B rate actor that nobody knows no disrespect to them but it sure doesn't add up to Galka doe and Ben Affleck so your investor is going to look at that and go Well why did you present this and you're ending up with that.

Alex Ferrari 39:50
And let's not even talk about projections and you know busting out Blair Witch Project and paranormal activity.

Shane Stanley 39:55
Oh and Slingblade and Napoleon Dynamite and El Mariachi Oh my god, I always tell people look at lovely and amazing once these little films that were made for a half a million dollars that made back Florence, once it's a great one. Yeah, once it's a great example. And I told me, it's like, Look, if I'd like to think that us filmmakers are smart enough to be creative beings and should have some business sense. And what frustrates me as I see them, look, if if you're a potential investor, and somebody came to you and said, Dude, I need 100 grand, we can build buy this house and flip it in six months and make it 30 million bucks, are you gonna give that guy 100 grand? Probably not. But if the guy came to you and said, I need 100 grand, it's going to take us 10 months to remodel. And probably in the next two to three years, we can sell that house for 250 to 300 grand, is that something you'd be interested in? You may actually listen to him. And that's what filmmakers forget. And remember, when you're going to somebody with a lot of money, or the potential to finance your dream, chances are they're smarter than you are. And they have people in their camp that earn a living protecting them from people like us. And you have to lay it out. It's like, you know, I learned at a very young age, don't don't be us and build this pitcher of total fantasy. Go in with the mindset as you're going to get a base hit an occasional double, if you ever get a Grand Slam hallelujah. But that can't be what you're selling, because it's lightning in a bottle.

Alex Ferrari 41:17
Oh, yeah. I mean, if you're always if you're if you only look at the home runs, and not the not the bunts and the singles, and that's where most of it and that's most filmmakers, do they look at the best case scenario, they never look at the worst case scenario, or the Gen, like it's one out of 1001 out of 10,000. You know, do that kind of big kind of money that blows out the onces and the and the me paranormal activities once a once a decade, you know,

Shane Stanley 41:47
Yeah, but how many millions of Paramount put into that movie Seven?

Alex Ferrari 41:51
Yeah, and I know and I know the guys who I mean, who worked on that, you know,

Shane Stanley 41:55
People of Paramount who acquired it.

Alex Ferrari 41:57
Right, exactly. So we know I knew the stories behind it like oh, yeah, they pumped a ton of cash into this. It wasn't like It's like mariachi like, oh, yeah, it was a $7,000 movie. They made 3 million at the box office like Yeah, well, you know, they did spend a little bit of money remastering it they put a lot of money into marketing. I don't know either. But that's that. That's not that doesn't serve the narrative. It doesn't show in there.

Shane Stanley 42:20
No, it does. And I think the days of those sling blades and Napoleon Dynamite because there were the Miramax is in the Hollywood videos and blockbuster outlets that these little gems found found life and they flourished it

Alex Ferrari 42:35
Man I can't even think we haven't had anything like that happen. Like a movie out of nowhere with no stars

Shane Stanley 42:43
We all know where not not the deal was already done. Let's send it to Sundance a roll announcer like literally

Alex Ferrari 42:50
No where no no talent in the in the movie or like barely any no bankable stars. No nothing like a Napoleon Dynamite style like that goes off and makes $50 million. Or Brothers McMullen. Yeah, that went away. $30 million. With no but like literally nobody.

Shane Stanley 43:09
It was amazing project practically.

Alex Ferrari 43:11
Yeah, just put that thing together. Those I don't know if that's even possible today in that in the way it was then because the marketplace was different. There was a marketplace for indie films. And that's the big thing that a lot of people don't understand is there was in the 90s an infrastructure being built for independent films. The DVD market was huge. There were still Hollywood videos and blockbusters are running around. You know, Rick, when he was on the show, Rick Linkletter when he was talking about slacker he's like, the reason why slacker found the spot made money is because there was an infrastructure starting to be built in the early 90s. There were indie movies in the 80s. There was really, you know, great art, you know, independent filmmakers that make great films in the 80s. And in the 70s. But there wasn't the infrastructure to make money with them. The Easy Rider was like the, you know, and it's not Jack frickin Nicholson and Dennis Hopper, and yeah, of course, back then. And that was considered indie. But there were still independent filmmakers making movies back then, but there wasn't the infrastructure. So in the 90s, there was this groundswell of of places you could put movies and actually make money arthouse theaters, every studio had an indie arm Paramount advantage, you know, Fox 2000 All of those all of those things. Were around for that and that's where that's all kind of gone away. There's only a handful of those left Fox Fox Searchlight or excuse me just search like films now. And, and Sony picture classics, and now they're not doing Indies. They're doing big budget. You know, with big stars. Yeah, like under 10 million stars under 10 million. That's that's that's

Shane Stanley 44:58
A totally different animal and we don't Have you know, it's funny because I have a lot of friends in the music industry. And when Napster and file sharing became really big, I remember I went to a friend's house who had had a record release party. And he played some of the songs that he had on his record, and I and he'd had a lot of success. And I remember saying, dude, this is this is huge. And he said to me, said, Let me tell you something, he said, music is free. He said, Now music is free, we don't make our money on music, we make money on touring. And he said, I'm worried about your industry, because you guys don't tour. And I thought that was interesting. And as I look, now, we're kind of so many of us are giving our movies to streaming platforms for nothing. And we don't have an after party to keep people excited, like an artist can go out, they can do an album in their home studio may cost them a few grand, and they put it out and to get a few singles on it that circulate on iTunes or YouTube. But they're giving that out. And we're all sharing the links to it to friends. So they're really not getting a lot of money on it. But they can go out and tour and make 50 6080 100 grand a night for three or four months. That's their follow up. What do we have? And I don't I don't know the answer to that. But it's something to think about.

Alex Ferrari 46:09
Well, I do have the answers in my book, Rise of the filter producer, where you create multiple revenue streams and product lines based on your movie. Now, it doesn't work for every kind of movie, every kind of story. But if you design it around that it is a possibility. And there are examples of filmmakers giving the movie away as a loss leader, to bring them into their funnels to make money other ways. And I feel that, honestly, I feel that that's really the future of independent filmmaking, I do truly believe it.

Shane Stanley 46:39
And you are a trailblazer with that. And I've always been really good at marketing and building a brand. When you're when you're, you don't have the brands such as you know, ifH academy or whatever you can build, it's in, you're just you're going from film to film to film to film, it's often difficult.

Alex Ferrari 46:59
It's a different way of looking at film. So like I can't I don't think that you know, you're not going to be selling double threat T shirts. Generally speaking, it's not that kind of Hold on. Wait a minute, wait a minute. I'm sorry, you are going to be selling double. Bacon COVID. Our pitch again.

Shane Stanley 47:19
I'm not selling that was designed it and current.

Alex Ferrari 47:26
Amazing. That's amazing. But generally, generally speaking, like not every movie is is set up for a film entrepreneur model. But as a filmmaker, you're gonna go okay, how can I build a sustainable business? If I like a certain genre? Can I kind of build a brand around horror movies? Like Blum like Blumhouse? Can you build a brand around action movies? And like really branded so people know that? Is it possible? Yeah, it's I'm not saying it's easy. But it's,

Shane Stanley 47:52
I mean, for us, it's kind of taking the Hal Needham approach of the 70s and early 80s of that. Cannonball, run them and flipping it, where we're putting the women in the driver's seat, and the guys are riding shotgun. And that's kind of what we've been doing these last three or four years. And it's been really exciting. It's like, but you're right. It's like we had breakeven during the pandemic shot, double threat. I've already shot Night Train, prepping another film, but here I am promoting double threat, but I'm already thinking about NightRain and how we're gonna market that. I mean, it's it's constant. And so it worked together a little bit, but

Alex Ferrari 48:22
Yeah, no, I don't know. I have to ask you on the casting side. Yeah. Double threat. I mean, has a great cast. You know, Matt Lawrence, and I worked with him before he's all the Warrens.

Shane Stanley 48:33
Boys are great. I love them. I'm gonna be with him Friday. I love

Alex Ferrari 48:36
Tom, please tell Matt. I said hi, Austin. Austin, and I say hi. I did. I did a little work with him a little while ago, but But generally speaking, nobody in your movie is this giant, bankable star. So yeah, so they're not like, you know that bringing huge money in but they're good actors. And that's great. So how did you get this is the movie itself, the genre and the trailer and what you've put together is that the star that helped sell the film

Shane Stanley 49:07
You know what it was it it basically was the fact that we've got this lovely girl, Daniel, see Ryan, who's five foot two soaking wet with a full moon. And he does all our own stunts. And she's actually a really good actress. She's actually the star and I train. And we, you know, that film was so different. And we got really blessed with Donald Iberia and Matthew Lawrence and Kevin joy. You know, it was it was somebody that one of the producers found and had known and he was great. But yeah, it was, it was like, Look, we know what we're dealing with. I mean, before we had cast, some of the people that we did, we were making calls to some really respectable, bankable quote unquote, names. And we didn't even get past the hi how you doing? We're doing a film and they said, dude, call us back when COVID is over, because if they were bankable and they had that kind of scratch, it didn't need to work. They weren't coming to the house. And notice respect to who we did get to They've all had tremendous careers and are doing very well. But what was really cool is Donald aviary had called her agent three days before we called her. And she said, I know there are some crazy some bitches out there that are Mavericks that are dumb under nose to locking themselves in the house anymore. Finally, somebody respectable he's making a movie. So when we called Don's agent, and she said, Oh, my God, Don just called me two days ago saying find something. And the problem is, is there aren't many people out there making movies. So we got really lucky, similar with Matthew Lawrence, Matthew had been tired of being locked up for six, seven months as a filmmaker and producer at heart. And he was all about getting out in making art. And so we got really fortunate I wouldn't trade one actor in that film for anybody in the world. I couldn't be more proud of that cast. But for us, you know, for me, and I, it's look, when you're working in indie film, you're not going to go get the A listers, you know, I'll never forget when I was doing my film at Sony, when we when we were simmering down, they said, Hey, anything you get attached with Vince Vaughn, you have a go picture. And that tells you the power that an actor may have and a Taurus? Well, when you're making films for half a million dollars, you don't get those kinds of actors. So what I always tried to do what I talked about it in the book extensively is get actors that people are familiar with the they may not be riding the biggest wave today. But at one point in their career, they were or think globally again, it's like I know Matthew Lorenz has done Mrs. Doubtfire has done Boy Meets World, I look at somebody like Donald aviary, who is in you know, House of Cards, and all our house allies forgive me and heroes, these shows are being syndicated in 100 countries right now. So just because we may not recognize the name or face immediately doesn't mean globally to learn on TV three or four times a day, and they're still stars. And that's how I cast my vote.

Alex Ferrari 51:56
Yeah, and that's, that's a really smart way of going about it. Because they might not look like oh, that's doesn't look like somebody I know. Or doesn't that. But what does she know what she a big star in a movie in a show for eight seasons? Or did they do some other big studio movies at one point in their name is still people recognize or see their face, and they recognize it? If the budget level is it depends on the budget level. So you know, if your budget level starting to go to three, four, or five, 6 million, you have to get bankable names to be responsible to the investors is if you're if

Shane Stanley 52:31
You're making a $5 million film, you better allocate $2 million large to one or two stars to justify what you're spending. You have to weigh it trust me. I have this discussion with buyers, distributors and other filmmakers. I got a lot of friends with a lot of $5 million movies they can't even get looked at because they miss Casta. And, Garrett,

Alex Ferrari 52:53
I'll tell you there was a movie I worked on years ago. I did. I did all the posts on it, finished it up had no stars in it. They went out to the marketplace. Everyone said sorry. You had nobody in it. It's I know it's a sci fi action thing. Don't care. Went back. He raised another 5060 grand 100 grand something like that. Got two stars. I think he got like one of the guys from Stargate. The show Star Gate is a sci fi thing. And he got Michael Madsen for a day each shot him out, re edited the movie reasserted the new scenes. i He came back to me like eight months later, he's like, Hey, can we can we can we redo the movie? I'm like, what would you do with it? Oh, okay. We did that. He packaged it, put them on the cover, went back to the marketplace. And they said,

Shane Stanley 53:41
We'll take I will tell you I had a friend years ago who did a film. He spent 500,000 of his own money on it shot it and 35 millimeter couldn't get it looked at it was just it was his friends and locals in another state. And he brought it to California and it wasn't a bad film. It just didn't have anybody in it. And it was the exact same story. Somebody said if you can put a star or two in a scene and reshoot a scene or two, you may you may get some more I know to date this film has generated over $4 million for him because he just went out and got he literally went into a studio and shot one actor replaced an actor from another scene with with an unknown actor paid them you know, probably 1520 grand for the day that anyone got another cameo for a guy to play in arresting officer to date, that film was made over $4 million for him. And this was a film that nobody looked at for 18 months. It was just like, Dude, I don't even need to see it. Nobody wanted it.

Alex Ferrari 54:35
And that's the importance of a bankable bankable name. So and again, it's not and I've said this so many times on the show and I think I have to say it again for people to understand. It's not out of reach for the shoot somebody out on a day. 1510 five grand a day. 10 grand a day. 20 grand a day. For an eight or 10 hour day is You're gonna get that money back tenfold if you're smart. And it's so important and filmmakers just don't think they can one day don't have the confidence to think that they can get it done. Yeah, but I've just seen it. I'm working with people right now some clients that are doing it currently. And they're going out to the talent. They're like, here's how much I'd have. Okay, let's do this. Let's do that. Great. I need you for five hours. Five hours to shoot out scenes for this movie. Can you do it? And I worked on a movie that had Sonic, Sean Patrick Flanery from boondocks and young Indiana Jones and a million other things, right? So they do so brilliant, they shot him out one day, because that's the whole movie. He's in the entire movie. He's not just in one scene, they now pepper them throughout the movie, she's in like six or seven scenes, but they're all in the same place. So in other words, he's the cop that they come back to like to meet with and they always meet at the parking garage. So they just shot the parking garage. Church changed your shirt, spreadsheet header and, and he dropped off two men and he was just on he's on the cover. So and they shot him off for a day. And then you've got now you've got a marketable movie. And that's the that's the way filmmakers need to think especially in a commerce based film, art house, different conversation.

Shane Stanley 56:24
And you know what, let me let me cap that by saying I have a somebody that was brought to my life a couple of years ago who shot a film with three a list, well known stars, and couldn't get anybody to look at the film. And it was content. It was content. And that was heartbreaking. Because this guy actually spent a million and a half dollars. So what was the content? What was wrong with the content? Well, there's, you know, there's two rules in a movie, don't kill a kid and don't kick a dog anymore, right? And he killed the kid and killed the dog. Yeah, well, they killed the kid and kick the dog. And in that way, it's like, dude, and but it was also involving sexual assault to a child that's like,

Alex Ferrari 57:03
No, no, no, no,

Shane Stanley 57:05
What do you fuck. But these actors who have, like, two of the actors generated over 3 billion in the box office on their work, and they agreed to do this, and you wasted this bullet. And they they can't even get looked at because it's, it's based on a true story that everybody knows. And they're like, yeah, no, we didn't touch on that.

Alex Ferrari 57:28
So I might as well throw some religion and politics in there as well. Oh, let's talk about religion and politics while we're at it. I mean, it's oh my god, that's so heartbreaking. But that, but that's the kind of stuff that happens all the time.

Shane Stanley 57:47
Yep. Okay, we got the cast. We missed. We missed the content. Hey, we got the content. We didn't get cast. I just think it's indie rats. We have to we have to think again, you say it so brilliantly is commerce, business and art and how do you find that and it's, it's, it's about you know, I remember I had a film that that had the greenlight before the Oh, seven crash, which thank God it didn't happen because it was it would have been miscast. We had a lot of ageless actors getting it one of the big agencies was packaging it, and they had some serious cats want to get on board. And I was adamant about the lead being an unknown. I was adamant about it because of her meager world in the script. I didn't want somebody looking at like Jennifer Aniston and the good girl going out she makes a million dollars in episode is you know, when you're watching this girl who works in a mini mart who supposedly broke but it's it's headline news everywhere that the stars of friends are making a million dollars an episode. I didn't want that. I didn't want that to taint it. So I was adamant about an unknown. And I remember a head of a studio brought me into his office. And he said, You're you're digging a grave, you have a film that you have everybody clamoring to do that is bankable and respectable yet you want to hang it on and know you're never gonna get this movie pass go. And he was right. He was right.

Alex Ferrari 59:02
So let me ask you then how did you get distribution for this? How, what is the distribution? How were you all for double threat?

Shane Stanley 59:09
Yeah, it was really, you know, look, it was really simple. We knew we knew domestically that we would be looking at a VOD situation. We didn't we didn't have our own farts on this one. We didn't, you know, have any delusions of grandeur. It was this fun little dirt movie we made with our friends and kicked ass and took no prisoners and it is what it is. And so it was one of those things were it was about partnering with somebody who captured the vision. We wanted a woman run company to be behind the film because we are women driven in our storytelling. And VMI is got a wonderful group that runs that company and they happen to be some wonderful, lovely ladies and they saw it and they just fell in love with it. They just loved the idea of a woman out there kicking ass, riding the horse bareback and shooting somebody with a bow and arrow. You know having the fight seems that she does. And it just was one of those things, Alex, where, for us a lot of times, it's not about the dollars up front, it's about what is the passion and commitment, somebody's going to have to put the product out. That was most important. And fortunately for us, you know, the film is new. So went to can piggyback and with night training, and we're starting to sell up the globe now, which is really exciting because it is a fun action comedy without slapstick comedy that sometimes doesn't translate foreign. It's physical comedy. And you can always do well with that. So it's got the combination of some some fun action sacks, horses, fights, airplanes, and some love and you know, road road type movie. So we're starting to see that it's translating very well across the globe.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:48
And you're you've already started selling out different territories.

Shane Stanley 1:00:50
Oh, I think we got 1213 territories since camp. That's amazing, man. And it's been Yeah, it's really some really good timing, you know, talk about Germany, China, or not necessarily. Germany, China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, you know, South America. I mean, it's like I looked at something that came out yesterday, I was like, God, dang. Seems like starting to move. This is exciting. So the UK. Yeah. And that's just based on us just going out there with a cool trailer and some fun art. Unfortunately, and I'll address it, you know, we came out a week after two weeks after the tragedy in OB. And that was a big problem, because we had already started putting out the the artwork. And that was something that we all, you know, realize that that's something that in hindsight, we wish we would have not, you know, you don't know what you don't know going in. But you know, having your star with an AR 15 on the poster, a week after that tragedy is not the best marketing tool. But the horse was already out of the barn with nothing we ended up.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:48
Yeah. And that's the thing to us. Like, there's just elements and there's variables of in filmmaking that you just don't know, that could be good or bad. Something like what you just said, obviously, is a negative light. But then all of a sudden, your star gets picked up, and is going to be the new Marvel movie. And then all of a sudden, you're like, oh, wait a minute. Now this property is worth a whole lot more because our star is going to be on a big show or a big, so you just these are variables you just can't plan for. So you kind of have to roll with it and see, unfortunately,

Shane Stanley 1:02:20
Unfortunately, there's the gunplay in the movie is minimal and it's all justified good guys versus bad guys. It's not anything like oh, no, no, but you can't force it.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:31
What was Stranger Things? Stranger Things right. Remember stranger things right? The new stranger openings, the opening sequence they like literally put a thing out like, hey, this might be a problem. The opening up of Obi Wan Kenobi, same thing you think like this might, you know, they've made those they made those shows we years like a year ago,

Shane Stanley 1:02:54
Like a double threat in November December was done seven months ago. Exactly. Oh, we knew it was coming out in June of 2022. I've made two movies since that it was like out of sight out of mind.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:10
Yeah, it is what it is. So you just have to kind of you know, roll with the roll with the punches. And that says, I want you to discuss something for me. Can you please debunk the myth of streamers? And the that there's so much money to be made by independent buying Netflix is buying movies from independent filmmakers left and right. They're writing checks like they are writing checks, not to us, but not

Shane Stanley 1:03:36
Why I will give you two examples. I have a friend who is a very, very respected filmmaker that made an independent film for $800,000. They made back when Netflix was spending, they made a deal with Netflix for 250 grand once it went on Netflix, nobody will. Nobody else would look at it, because Oh, you're on Netflix by so it made an $850,000 movie made back to 50. But Netflix pays, I think over the course of two years, they pay it in quarterly installments Plus, you've got your 20% sales commission fee, so and their deliverables which are going to cost you more because you're not in a standard deliverable. So you may see out of that 250, they may see $175,000 over the course of two years. And then I have a friend, I gotta be careful how I talk about this, you get a number one show on Netflix, during the pandemic days, he's made nothing and is pitching on a regular basis to them and other streamers to hopefully get another movie made. And he had a number one number one hit on Netflix during the pandemic and he's like, Dude, it barely covered the cost of deliverables.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:46
And that's, that's and that's the thing, and that's the thing. I want people to hear it because everyone's like, Oh, you gotta get on Netflix. You gotta get into. We don't look I got on my first one got on Hulu, which is insanity. How am I five, five As the dollar movie got picked up by Hulu, that's right. It was a bit it was a different time.

Shane Stanley 1:05:04
It was it was probably six, seven years ago when Hulu was it was

Alex Ferrari 1:05:08
It was 20 2017. But it was 2017. So it's 2017. And, you know, and I also sold it to China. So their cats how old that is. So because China was buying at that point,

Shane Stanley 1:05:22
That doors closed, doors closed right now.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:26
But that was that door was open, and I made good money on both of those. Both of those sales, it was great. But it's not what by the way, if I didn't make a $5,000 movie, that Hulu deal wouldn't really made a whole lot of sense. But because I made a $5,000 movie, it was like, of course,

Shane Stanley 1:05:44
He's learned a lot in the process, which is what we talked about earlier, my background of doing that $500.45 minute pilot that did more for my career than anything than anything that I've done. And you're right. And that's the thing is I always it's like so funny when I talk to people, whether they're people not in the business, or people coming in making a deal with Netflix, doing Netflix, it's like, no,

Alex Ferrari 1:06:06
No, but that's, that's but that's a little secret for everybody who's not in the know. Yeah, everyone thinks that like, Oh, you gotta be on the major streams, Amazon's not buying anything. And if you get on HBO, Max, you are you've got to have some major star power. And I've spoken to filmmakers who have their films bought. But then I'm like, oh, but you have this guy who was in a Marvel movie? Who's the lead in a Marvel movie? Yeah, who's who's about to explode in their movie? That's probably one of the reasons. And it also covered a bunch of other boxes that they wanted to check off.

Shane Stanley 1:06:37
Yeah, yeah, I get that. And, and again, it goes back to how you package market and cast and content and what you're putting together as we talked about before, but I the streaming world, especially in North America is very tough is that's why I always tell filmmakers think about your casting, Think global, and realize you're making a movie for 54 territories in 100. And something countries that potentially can buy because, you know, the I think the average is what 18 to 22% of the films revenue comes from North America. But when you're an indie rad, it could be as little as four to 6%. And that's something to remember. And that means that there still are parts of the world that are buying brick and mortar, video, DVD, Blu Ray, it's still out there. And there are small theaters around the country are forgiving other country around the world that will gladly put your movies in there. It doesn't, it does exist. It's just it's not here. And it's not sexy. You know, again, it's my saying earlier is stop making your movies for Instagram likes. It's not it's not all about the bullshit red carpet that you've put up on the side of receipt of Boulevard, that's duct tape by your buddy to try to get people. That's not why we're making movies, it's a business Think global, get your head out of the San Fernando Valley and West LA and start thinking about the world. And that's what I try to impress upon young filmmakers.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:55
Yeah, and I understand exactly what you're talking about. Because I lived in LA for 13 years. So I know exactly what you're talking about. But a lot of filmmakers who even if they're not in LA, they think that that's making it in their journey. Like you got to look at God. I mean, you just walk around AFM and you can see who are the real filmmakers who are making money. Yeah, I don't care if the movies are good or not. That's not a that's not the question here. That's, that's how you make money. Are you making money? Are you making money and then you as a filmmaker, whoever's listening out there, you have to ask yourself the question, what kind of films do you want to make? Do you want to make films? That is a personal piece of backyard, a backyard film, if you will, that's personal to you do that and make it for as cheap as possible, and understand his art. And hopefully, you can make maybe some money back maybe somewhere, go on the festival church, see what happens. You're rolling the dice of that. But that's not a business. That's hard. That's hard.

Shane Stanley 1:08:51
And it's my brother is my brother reminds you want to be an artist go paint in the Park on Saturday. That's his motto.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:58
Exactly. Exactly, exactly. But if you want to make a business and you want to do what you love to do, and do it consistently for a decade or two, you have to think of commerce, you have to think of the business if you don't, you're not stacking to make it man. And that, you know, that's one of the reasons why most people don't even build careers in this business because they have delusions of grandeur, delusions of what they think is supposed to happen, but they don't look at the reality of what is as opposed to what they want it to be.

Shane Stanley 1:09:29
And here's another thing that I really try to remind a lot of up and comers about is this world we're living in now. You know, everybody talks about how why is time going so fast. Well, it's simple. It's because we can't keep up with the news by the time something it's like tragedy. Look at this shooting in Buffalo. By the time the dust settled on that there was another one at a church here in Anaheim. Then there was the big school shooting. There's there was five that following week. My point is think about how fast the news we move from from thing to thing to thing. It's worse than film When your buddy is putting up a trailer of their movie, their buddies are already looking at five other trailers. And by the time you've sent it out once it's already buried, and it's really hard to get the traction you you really, the traction is not something that we have anymore. It used to be, you know, back and up until five years ago, you put a trailer on Facebook or YouTube man, that thing got tons of hits, people were emailing you about it for weeks or months, you get you get, you know, two or 300, maybe 1000 likes and a couple of days they can't see the movie. They're just buried with everything else. They come home and it's like, Oh, honey, the boys is back on or Stranger Things is back on or, you know, you guys found a new Taylor Sheridan film or something. It's like you indie filmmakers, you can't keep up with the machine that is spoon feeding the world with 10s of millions of dollars on PNa. So you have to think globally and where's your film going to stick?

Alex Ferrari 1:10:55
Right, exactly. And then get back to the film entrepreneur method is focusing on a niche. How is it that it helps with cutting through the noise? If you can, if you can attach to an emotional niche that you're into, then you have a much better fighting chance because they're, you know, they're I don't know how many surf movies they're made every day. But or how many skateboarding movies are made every day? It's not a huge genre. But it's a huge market. And there's a lot of people who are looking for those. You know, I remember when gleaming the cube came out, remember gleaming the back into the 80s? Late 80s I think it was 89 which was Christian Slater, or RAD with the BMX bike movie that just got released.

Shane Stanley 1:11:40
Winner takes all for motocross in the 80s. That's a film that's unwatchable.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:45
Right, exactly. But those movies focused on a niche audience and everybody was like, oh my god, did you see gleaming the cube, it's a skateboarding movie. Or that you can you can make noise with an independent film with no budget and even no marketing money. In a niche, you have a chance you have a fighting chance to cut through the noise.

Shane Stanley 1:12:05
Well, especially in a niche like you're talking about, like imagine getting on all the Facebook skateboarding BMX Facebook groups. Yeah. I mean, like, I'm a big motocross guy. You know, I was my life for 3040 years. And that's like, I belong to these, these little pages on Facebook. And there's like 300,000 members. Oh, and then that's one of 12 that I'm a member of, and then you go on, there's 20,000 here. 100,000 there. Can you imagine if you did a little niche movie for a skateboarder BMX, and that group got behind it, what damage you could do? You got to think that's Burly. I mean, that's how you have to think. But that's happened.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:39
I've used multiple examples of that in my book, because it's exactly how you do it. It's the only it's the only weapon we have as independent filmmakers to really compete against the big boys. Because, like I use the I use the example all the time, there was a documentary about vegan athletes that I I saw, the one was Schwarzenegger and yeah, it was game changers game changers, right. And I was dying to see it. And no matter what was around any big Hollywood movie, any billions of dollars that they spent in advertising, I'm like, yeah, yeah, yeah, that's nice. I want to see this, it cuts through all the marketing, I'll get to your billion, I'll get to the next of Japan to film this film. This is the first on my list, because I had an emotional attachment to see that I wanted to see that. So if you can do that, as a filmmaker, it's it's a lot easier. Yeah, that's smart. Now, I'm gonna ask you a few questions, sir. I asked all of my guests. Oh, what advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?

Shane Stanley 1:13:42
My advice to filmmakers trying to break into the business today is, first, make nurture harvest relationships. Whether you're meeting a sound guy on a shoot, or you're meeting a hair and makeup girl on a shoot, my film family runs longer than 2530 years with a lot of us. And those are because of relationships that were made. And I say that or my hair and makeup team or my sound guy writing the checks to finance my movies. No, but they've got my back and I couldn't do it without them. So I think the most important thing is besides shooting and screwing a lot of things up and making yourself better. Relationships me are always number one.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:22
What did you learn from your biggest failure?

Shane Stanley 1:14:26
What I learned from my biggest failure was, you have to keep up with the times I think our biggest financial failure was the film that never got out of the gate when everybody was going to high def in video listening to certain decision makers that were adamant about shooting on film. It raised the price of the film $4,000 more than it should have been, which put us more in the hole and it was that's what I learned is that you were never going to crawl away out and that was kind of a thing and Boogie Nights if you remember with Yeah, Yeah, yeah okay man videotape and I've known a lot of distributors over the years that were always behind the ball when it went from going from film to video video to DDP DVD to blu ray. And that was the one thing I learned is this really good film never saw the light of day because it was just buried in financial whoa because they just they made and I was part of the above the line decisions on that and I should have fought harder.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:23
What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life?

Shane Stanley 1:15:28
If you want loyalty, get a dog through when you're when you're when you're hot, you're hot, and you're not, you know, your phone doesn't ring and the people that you would consider, you know, your brothers in arms or your your, you know, the people in the foxhole. It's loyalty in this industry. I don't think it's very, very, very rare. And it's tough. It's tough. Yeah. So I mean, that's that's just as you know, I get attached to people a little more than I should emotionally because I believe I find somebody of like mind and and then again, I go back to you want loyalty. Get a dog. You,

Alex Ferrari 1:16:07
Sir, are a nice guy who has been beaten up by the business. I have shrapnel along the way. I'm assuming 30 years ago, you were much nicer and less cynical than you are now.

Shane Stanley 1:16:19
I don't know. I mean, I was definitely less cynical Sure.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:24
Stars, the stars were still in the eye. The sparkle was still in the eye.

Shane Stanley 1:16:28
I was still youthful exuberance and excitement. Like the late great Dickie Fox, I clap my hands and I say it's gonna be a great day. Okay, here we go again.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:40
And three of your favorite films of all time.

Shane Stanley 1:16:43
The films that impacted my life the most sideways, I love that film, but But growing up in Jerry Maguire, but growing up, it was the Black Stallion, it was cherries. And it was On Golden Pond. Those were films that my father showed me when I was about eight or nine years old that made me fall in love with the idea of filmmaking. And there you go, like they still play to that.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:09
And where can people find double threat and find out more about you and what you're doing, sir?

Shane Stanley 1:17:15
Oh, bless you. Well, double threat is available on Amazon Prime. But it's just like 15 or 20 different platforms. And I'm sorry to say I don't know off the top my tongue. They're easy to find. It's on Xbox. It's on. You know, Google Play.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:28
Just hit double threat in Google

Shane Stanley 1:17:29
Starring Danielle C. Ryan, Dawn Olivieri, Matthew Lawrence directed by yours truly, you'll find it. Yeah, you can go to what you don't learn in film. school.com That's the website for my book, which has a lot of information if you if you care and you want to go to my website, it's Shanestanley.net It'll take you wherever you need to go. And that's it. That's how you find me and that's what I'm up to.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:53
And if you guys want to check out his book on audio book, yes, always you can always head over to indiefilmhustle.com and and do a search there for it and or go to audible and it's on Audible. Right and it's it's a best seller people love it and it's good and of course if you want to check out Rise of the film trip earner it's not too far either. Check those two good double book if you get both those books, you're gonna be in good shape, sir.

Shane Stanley 1:18:20
You're gonna be in great shape. You're gonna be in great shape.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:23
You get both those books. Those are going to be that to film school right in itself, sir. Thanks so much for coming on the show. But it's always good talking to you, man and continued success. And keep keep that hustle going brother.

Shane Stanley 1:18:35
Hey, Alex. Thanks for having me. Thanks, everybody for checking out and just just keep filming just keep filming guys. It'll it'll eventually you'll find your way you'll find your voice. Just keep doing what you do. You'll get there.

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IFH 591: How NOT to Get Screwed Over by a Distributor with John Kim

If you are a filmmaker that want to sell your movie to the marketplace then this is MUST listen to conversation. Today on the show we have John Kim, Founder and CEO of Deep C Digital Distribution.

With 25+ years of sales and marketing experience, John has sold over 3,000 independent and major studio movies and TV shows to all the major digital, cable, and retail platforms. As Vice President of Digital Distribution at Paramount, he managed the Digital Sales Team and digital account relationships.

Prior to this experience, he spent 10 years at Paramount and Disney managing over $1 Billion dollars of DVD/Blu-ray catalog business. Before entering the home entertainment industry, he served as a Brand Manager at Nabisco and a Marketing Director at Mattel.

Recently, John co-founded with Tyler Maddox, Voices Film Foundation (VFF), a nonprofit corporation uniting all people of color in the entertainment industry. John is a graduate of Yale University and has an MBA from the Kellogg Management School of Business at Northwestern University.

This is, by far, one of the most important conversations I have ever had on the show. Get ready to take notes. Enjoy my conversation with John Kim.

Right-click here to download the MP3

John Kim 0:00
As we flip from from riches to rags, and and a lot of people just can't deal with it.

Alex Ferrari 0:06
Today's show is sponsored by Enigma Elements. As filmmakers, we're always looking for ways to level up production value of our projects, and speed up our workflow. This is why I created Enigma Elements. Your one stop shop for film grains, color grading lots vintage analog textures like VHS and CRT images, smoke fog, textures, DaVinci Resolve presets, and much more. After working as an editor, colorist post and VFX supervisor for almost 30 years I know what film creatives need to level up their projects, check out enigmaelements.com and use the coupon code IFH10. To get 10% off your order. I'll be adding new elements all the time. Again, that's enigmaelements.com. I'd like to welcome to the show. John Kim. How're you doing, John?

John Kim 0:59
Good. Thanks, Alex. How you doing?

Alex Ferrari 1:01
Good. Thank you so much for coming on the show my friend. I I appreciate you reaching out to me. I get I get hit up by a lot of you know, distributors sometimes I think distributors are scared to come on the show now. But many, many of them are. I've had producers reps on the shows. I've had sales agents on the show. And I've had a few distributors on the show as well who are brave enough to come on the show to just have honest conversations no other reason. And after doing research on you and looking you up, you've done you've done a few things in the business. You've been around for a while. This isn't your first barbecue sir.

John Kim 1:36
You know i i got nothing to hide. That's my whole shtick is because you know, I have been around I would have been selling for 20 years, I was at Paramount. I was at Disney did the independent distributor thing. And then I set up my own shop five years ago, and it's been a 30 year answered prayer. So you know, I I'm thankful. I'm very thankful.

Alex Ferrari 2:02
And you've seen this business changed so dramatically from the moment you started in it to where we are right now. I mean, I always love telling people ohh the 90s

John Kim 2:13
I was just trying to think back 90s Yeah, I was still alive. I was still doing this.

Alex Ferrari 2:17
Oh, the 90s in the early 2000s Where DVD was King and you could put out sniper seven.

John Kim 2:24
Yeah, I was putting I was converting VHS to DVD for Disney catalog stuff. So that was an amazing thing. I mean, you just you just pack a DVD and it could be riddled crap. And you know, you sell two main units. I mean, it's crazy.

Alex Ferrari 2:42
It was a different it was a different world. And I know a lot of times, filmmakers still think that we're in a different world. So I know a lot of filmmakers think that we're still in the 90s for like the Sundance scenario, where you gotta get to a film festival, and then someone's gonna discover you and someone's gonna give you billions of dollars and then you're gonna become rich and famous. And because in the 90s that happened almost every month, there was a there was El Mariachi, a clerks of Brothers McMullen. She's gotta have it all these kinds of filmmakers and directors a slacker. And if since then I've had a lot of those filmmakers on the show. And I asked them, I'm like, what is it like having that lottery ticket? And would you make it today? If that movie came out? And every one of them like, it? Probably wouldn't. It wouldn't. If slacker showed up today, if slacker showed up on your doorstep, and it showed up on John Pearson store your doorstep? Could you do anything with slacker today?

John Kim 3:40
Yeah, I mean, it's, it's, it's amazing. What I tell people is, you know, it's a lot easier to go from rags to riches versus riches to rags. And basically the whole industry started from riches. And, and when you start from the riches and all sudden, you don't want to hustle and you don't want to kill for your own food, and right now you gotta shoot for squirrels. But if you've been feasting on, you know, five class meals, it's hard to like get down and dirty in a bit. You know, in any other industry. In progressions starting from that way gives you that discipline gives you the understanding versus the flip. And it's hard to deal with and I think that is the best kind of analogy right now where we're at is as an industry is we flipped from from riches to rags, and, and a lot of people just can't deal with it.

Alex Ferrari 4:32
And you're absolutely right. Oh my God, that's a great analogy, because, you know, we're shooting for squirrels, where before used to be eating, you know, big game, and it was easy. And they do just bring it like it. We were just saying, you know, you put out a crap movie on DVD and you'd make two you sell 2 million units. I would tell people back in the 80s because I worked in a video store back in the 80s when I was coming up as a kid. I used to see VHS show up and I'm like, oh, so if you just finished a movie In the 80s, it got distributed. Right? If you just finished a movie on 35, you had a minimal theatrical release somewhere. And it would go straight to video. And, you know, the Puppet Master series and full moon and all of those things and trauma and, you know, Toxic Avenger got a theatrical release, you know, things, things like that. So, the world is so, so different now. And so many filmmakers still live in the, in the, in the magical times where those those times don't exist. And even five years ago, I mean, I've been doing this show now seven years, from when I launched in 2015. To where we are now. I mean, it's so dramatically different.

John Kim 5:43
Yeah, I mean, it's it's a, it's unbelievable. I mean, if people really knew how hard it is, and if they really looked at the realities of the situation, as far as you know, how many people actually make money on on a movie, you know, and if they had a, you know, a total total right brain, you know, strategic brain and checking off all the risk scenarios that they wouldn't do it. So, but at the same time, innovation only happens with with those people that you know, that can dream and go beyond, you know, the realities of the situation. And then you get a Slumdog Millionaire, but people don't realize that's a one in a millionaire once in a month.

Alex Ferrari 6:26
But that's an anomaly. Yeah, there's that's apparently there's apparently and then let's let's let's dish them out paranormal activity, Blair Witch, you know, then all the movies from the 90s, you know, clerks, El Mariachi, all anomalies they are not there.

John Kim 6:43
I mean, as long as you know that, I mean, you know, you're, you're going for a lottery ticket is a good analogy as a lottery ticket, because people don't realize it is that hard. And for some reason. They think that, oh, this is my movies just as good as that. And this is a greatest thing. They don't realize that the marketplace doesn't care if you if you mortgage your house, or if you you know, you gave your left arm for something. It's just like, show me what you got. Because I could care less. You know?

Alex Ferrari 7:13
That's, that's the reality. Let's I want to give you an example. I want I want this to be laid out because I want people listening to understand. I'm going to give you an example of a film. And you tell me what you professionally think the film could do in the marketplace, if anything at all?

John Kim 7:29
Oh, don't give me don't put me on the line for estimates. No, no, I'm just giving you a thumbs up, I can give you a thumbs down.

Alex Ferrari 7:35
Give me just give me just give me a rough just give me a rough. Alright, well just give me a rough no name that No, I'm not gonna throw any. There's no particulars. This is just off the top of my head. We're going to make a kind of like a low budget film that has a respectable production value. So let's say it's $250,000. Okay, quarter million dollar and indie film, we're going to throw it in the genre of I'm gonna say, if it's a drama, I know no one's gonna buy it. So let's say it's a horror movie, a horror movie, okay, a $250,000 horror movie, with no stars in it. But respectable performances, the production quality is solid, the effects are solid, they got one of the effects guys from Nightmare on Elm Street or something. It looks good, quality trailer, not bad, very solid trailer poster, not bad has a nice little gimmick to it as a horror project. Now, I have no audience. Meaning that I personally as a filmmaker, don't have an audience, the actors in the film don't have an audience that we can we can kind of attach on to. So we're basically coming in cold. So if a movie like the N festival is on a horror movie doesn't really matter that much anyway. But let's say one scream fest, or one fan Gaura or something like that. So let's say wins a big horror festival or an audience award or something. What is the value of that product? in the marketplace today? And what kind of return? Can that filmmaker expect to make? If, if any at all?

John Kim 9:14
Well, first of all, like I said, I don't give estimates because one, you know, I don't I don't. I mean, it's just out the window at this point. There's no transactional value. No one's paying for anything because consumers have 50,000 titles at their American consumers. 50,000 consumer titles at their, at their fingertips with Netflix, Disney, and then Amazon alone. Right. And so, you know, even with Star Power stuff people aren't renting because they're looking at 499 Is that's too much because I already am paying 100 bucks per month, whatever between these services. I mean, I think the best, the best indication of like how much value inherently If your property I wouldn't touch this with a 10 foot ball. I wouldn't touch it with I would not take on this business because one. I don't feel good about you spending 250 And you come in not even close to making your money back. I don't want to hear you know, and I feel I feel bad for I would, I wouldn't, I'd much rather just not participate at all, and deal with your disappointment, because it's not even close. Not even close to coming back. This is again, this is what you just said, I would be like two seconds. Sorry, go go see someone else that is gonna tell you what you want to hear, which is oh, this is a greatest moment. Oh, we're gonna do this everything.

Alex Ferrari 10:43
So there's so there's no emoji for this?

John Kim 10:47
I don't do emojis myself.

Alex Ferrari 10:48
No, no, but you but you know, you get thinking that you as a sales agent connecting it to a distributor?

John Kim 10:55
Don't count with all the platforms.

Alex Ferrari 10:58
Right! Okay. So you wouldn't give it?

John Kim 11:01
I don't know, I don't want to, I wouldn't want to make me make a commission off of 20,000 bucks, right? It's just, it's just not worth the headache of all of that, you know, I thankfully, I'm not in a position where I need to chase you know, where your commission, you know, 10,000 and I will make money off 20% Off 10,025% Off 10,000? You know, 20,000 bucks. So what would that cost of like, a gigantic. What? That that causes way too much on me. So it's much easier just for me to say forget about it. Because,

Alex Ferrari 11:37
And so and then with a minimum guarantee. So a minimum guarantee is basically a number that a distributor will pay upfront for a

John Kim 11:43
No one given out MGS because it's hard, there's no guarantee in this business.

Alex Ferrari 11:48
Right! Unless, unless you're at a different level of of product. 100% Yeah, so So like, if you had you know, we just had Thomas Jane on the show a couple of weeks ago. If a Thomas Jane project comes across with, you know, Wesley Snipes, or some other, you know, starpower at a certain budget range, they are getting in Geez. But, but a different level of there's a different level,

John Kim 12:13
You know what that's like saying, Well, you know, the NBA is thriving. And I got I got LeBron on my side. You know, I got to LeBron movie. I mean, yeah, I like I like reading about this stuff. But I have no business like being in the same court. And, you know, I could play some good street ball, I you know, I shut the winning basket at the YMCA. But I have no business even dreaming or competing. But in the movie business is completely different. Because there's no score. There's no size, there's no like, objective, like, time or anything. Everyone just projects and thinks, Oh, my movie is 100 times better than this crappy movie. You know? What, how come I can't get a $21 billion of Netflix etc. And it's just but that analogy in comparison of what I just said with the NBA is really like how can you compete your case? If we're saying 250,000? That's a lot of money for a small person. It is. But it ain't nothing compared to million dollar per episode. So or 10 million per episode $100 million Doctor Strange million dollar movie. You know how, you know, how can you even you wouldn't do that with LeBron. I can play one on one with LeBron. No, but it's the same kind of comparison.

Alex Ferrari 13:27
And so there's a delusion which I talk about constantly on the show. There's a delusion in the sense that filmmakers come in thinking like I love movies, this is all I need to make it in the business. And that's what you need as a fuel to keep you going. 100% Without question, but like I was telling you earlier, before we got on the show is like my job here in the show is to let people know what they're going to need to do to go on this journey. And what what the reality of the road that they're about to walk is from people like yourself who've been down this road, and up this road and down this road and up this road and down this road. And we've seen so many heartbroken filmmakers along the way that we're trying to warn people, or I mean, I'm trying to warn people about the whole not horse. Sometimes there's horrors, but the obstacles that they're about to face, and there's nothing saying that you can't do it, but just be aware of what you're about to do and try to do it smartly. That's, that's all I tried to say.

John Kim 14:27
Yeah, so I'm a little bit different from your stamp from from where you're sitting. Because, you know, time is money for you. Yeah, yeah, time is money. And it's like, I'm not in the business of educating. You know, why of going through that speech, you know, and I'm not, you know, don't call me Doctor No, you know, I, if you don't want to hear what I don't want to what I'm about to say, you know, please, you know, move on and, and and speak to someone that that that that will tell you what you want to hear. You know, I'm not in a business again. I If this is more than, it's more than a business, like I said, it's like, yeah, I could make money doing that, but it's not worth it to me. It's like, you know, I just want to live the last chapter my stress free and where everybody's happy, right? And I don't feel good about knowing that someone's put in 250. And they're looking at 20,000 Odd return. And like me being a part of that, if you're lucky, if you're lucky for crying out loud, right? And so that's, so I, as a general rule, I mean, as a real rule, because I don't want to do this up and down. Like you were talking, like, I don't take on first time filmmakers, because it's like, it's just, it's just too hard. As far as they don't know what they don't know. You know, God bless you for not knowing it. And because you maybe didn't know, that's why Yeah, push forward. But that's not my that's not my, my, my dream of just, you know, killing a dream. You know, I'm Dr. Kill dream killer. That's not my I don't get any joy from and you can pay me 10,000 20,000 or $100,000. To, to be a part of that, you know, process of seeing your dream just not happen. That can't happen. But that's just not my but

Alex Ferrari 16:11
That's the dangerous and that last sentence is the dangerous part of our business is, there's always a maybe it's like going to Vegas, maybe I'm gonna hit it big this week. But But how many people hit the jackpot in Vegas every week. You know how many people win the lottery every week? Why win, but millions and millions and 10s of millions of people who try. So if your game plan is the lottery win, you will fail. If you're looking and I use baseball analogies all the time, if you're looking for a grand slam home run, every time you will fail. If you're looking for a bunt, or a single and constantly looking for singles, you might have a chance at the business because that means you're you're looking at small increments to get you to an update. So you make one movie for $50,000, you make $60,000 on it, holy crap, you are in the top one, one 1% of a 1% of all filmmakers. next movie, you get 100,000, you make 150,000 on return on that, holy crap, now someone gives you 300,000 Now you'd get some star power involved. And all of a sudden, now you've got a career. And I've seen filmmakers, friends of mine, who literally have done that start off with a $10,000 movie. But even in a $10,000 movie, they were smart enough to get Danny Trejo for for 15 minutes. And like I don't know how much he paid, they paid him back. That gold right there, gold. And now he was able to get $50,000 for his next movie. And then they brought Danny back and brought somebody else in there. And then all of a sudden, after you've done four or five of them, you look around town, you're like, well, there's not a lot of these guys around. Let's give him a little bit of money. And now we could put energy behind them. And now you've built a career up. But that's the mistake that so many filmmakers make the thing that the one movie that they're making is the one that's going to blow them up. You can't look at that like that.

John Kim 18:05
You're just going back to the sports analogy. It's like, you know, LeBron wasn't LeBron on day one. He went to high school, he progressed there, and he did it in college, and he didn't do anything in college and the other pros need college, you know, then it is a progression. And it's a skill, and it just isn't they didn't become, you know, a multimillionaire, you know, superstar overnight. And you're right with films, people just want that one magic bullet. And so the lottery scenario is what what they're chasing. But that progressive thing is, is exactly. I endorse that because I mean, it's a skill and you can't win overnight, just can't. And that's in any business, you know, outside of the movie business. You can't you can't or any sports team, you can't win on grand slam home runs every time at bat, you're just gonna fail. Right? You do have to regress. And so you know, back to our earlier conversation in the early studio days. Yeah, it was like a Grand Slam hit every time.

Alex Ferrari 19:05
You could literally be you could literally have the worst era and show up and hit a homerun. Exactly. You didn't even it was so easy to make money back in the 90s and the early 2000s. Because that was just a marketplace that we were in at that moment. 100% It was just the market and then now it's not it's actually the toughest time to make money as a filmmaker ever in history with the same caveat now, it's easier than ever to distribute your movie Get your movie out in front of an audience and make a movie is cheaper than ever. Because before the the barrier to entry was the cost to make the movie. My first commercial real was I'm 35 I had to pay 50 Grand i should force for commercial spots. You know back in the day to do it properly. To be a real commercial director. You had to shoot 35 Because there was no other option. And then now I can make an attitude for commercials for like five grand if I'm lucky.

John Kim 20:03
And by the way you can you can you can get worldwide distribution. But you're worldwide, I mean, easy. I mean, you can just take a couple 1000 bucks, and you can be in the world, which is amazing to your one little pebble across a 50,000 rock universe. So how you gonna stand? So, I mean, most people, they can't even make their delivery cost, but at the same time, you're right, what kind of access it was never there before worldwide access to 12 year old kid, you know, something?

Alex Ferrari 20:38
Oh, even putting it up on YouTube, which we'll talk about YouTube in a little bit. But even you could put something up on YouTube, you have worldwide distribution for your product. And and then also, you're not just competing against other filmmakers, you're competing against cat videos, you're, you're competing against kids, unwrapping toys. Those are eyeballs, that's time for people's lives.

John Kim 20:59
People, people, even when it's free, if you think about it, free is it's not a cost. It's a this. This is a consumers time. I mean, you bring it to me, I and even for 99. Again, everyone just thinks oh, all I got to do is you know, it's fine. And that was nothing. But it is something even when there's no time, it was on time. Right. So it's there's a lot of like fallacies and just theoretical hypothetical thinking. But it's like, you know what, I have my lemonade stand. And you know, why can't I make a billion dollar business? Right?

Alex Ferrari 21:38
Because everybody could put up a lemonade stand.

John Kim 21:40
Everybody can put up a lemonade stand.

Alex Ferrari 21:41
And it's a commodity as well. There's nothing special about it. Unless you're putting CBD oil or something like that.

John Kim 21:48
I mean, that's the thing. I mean, every story has been done, except one of those few exceptional ones, right? And everything is I mean, when you have to describe something and say, Oh, it's it's like this movie, but you know, like that. It's like, it's already been done that.

Alex Ferrari 22:02
Oh, no, it's just it's it's about it's about execution. It's about the combining of stars that align at the right moment with the right director, the right script, the right actors to become something that's bigger than ever. Look, there's I was looking at waiting, because I haven't seen James Bond, the new James Bond yet. I haven't seen it yet. And I'm waiting for it to come on Amazon. It's James Bond. It's the last Daniel Craig. And I'm like, I got too many other things to watch. I don't wanna spend five bucks right now. It's not about the five bucks. It's not it's not for me. It's not about I'm not like hurting for five bucks. But that mentality. I'm like, do I really need to watch it right now? Or can I watch the 50 other things that are in my queue right now? That are pumping out on Netflix on HBO? Max on this? Oh, the Batman just showed up? Okay, I gotta go watch the Batman. Oh, this new series just came in the full series, the full season came out. Just gotta go watch that. Do you see? So it's not just independent films. It's like, even even, even unless you're really a big huge giant James Bond fan. You're you can wait.

John Kim 23:04
That's obviously there's 50,000 movies out there. There's only 24 hours in a day. And as you said there's other forms of entertainment that was never there. There's cat videos and you know what the funny thing that the the finally kind of like hits home when you know I'm talking with you know, some some some filmmakers who just think it's easy. We don't know. Is it okay? And all sudden there's like, oh, you might be right about the sports analogy. Right? Then the other analogy is, is is what do you do? When's the last time you pay for movie? The independent filmmaker is like totally incentivized that you know, for the industry for himself, you know, to just make it good for everybody. But he's watching it for free. He's watching a pirate he's not paying for anything. Right. So, so think about it, like, you know, Joe, Joe consumer, your consumer could care less. They just want to make I want to be entertained now, right? I'm not in the mood for you know, some independent I want to help him out, you know, you know, stick figure animation. I want to watch a Pixar movie. There it is. So like, there's no incentive really.

Alex Ferrari 24:12
Exactly now. And we're I was going to ask you about TVOD. And I know the answer already. Which, you know, the answer is, is there any money in TVOD for independent filmmakers today?

John Kim 24:50
There are some some genres that that survived. There's always exceptions to the rule. Okay, so it in general I tell my clients without any star power, you know, without any, any, any any star that has, you know, millions of followers without any, you know, don't even bother going to your blog, which is crazy, right?

Alex Ferrari 25:12
And by the way, everybody who doesn't know tiebout has transactional Video on Demand,

John Kim 25:16
Which is straight to AVOD, which, you know, which puts all of this windowing over, you know, your original scope theatrical, and then you're supposed to go in a theoretical world, right? But you don't have any other ingredients. So you're gonna make more money on the AVOD straight up, you know, then doing all that wasting of time and money, you know, again, you need to do your objectives you think number one objective is to make money then then that would be the way if you're trying to brag to your your aunt that you're going to a movie worldwide, then you Okay, put it on iTunes, you're not gonna make any money. It's like, same thing with it's all changed so much. You know, it's like I used to be, it used to be a real like, honor, whatever a bragging point rather, if you were in, in Walmart,

Alex Ferrari 26:01
Right, yeah.

John Kim 26:04
And then on the back end, no one tells a story about a year later, where everything has been returned, and you're actually upside down losing money, right? Again, there's a lot of like, facts and details that people you know, choose to, to ignore or not tell. So it's always somebody who's always like, oh, yeah, I know, somebody did. This isn't like Yeah, right. And then those were putting in the frickin statements.

Alex Ferrari 26:25
And then those those return DVDs are then sold pennies on the dollar to Big Lots to Marshalls to all these outlets, all these outlet places that sell it for that's why you see the blu rays for $2 or $3. And that starts with tape.

John Kim 26:39
Yeah, Blu Ray was supposed to be the save of you know, did it you know, 3d was supposed to be a save, it's just like one it's like a bunch of 10 year old soccer, you know, soccer team, they're all just chasing for one thing and everyone's grabbing and you know, it was nothing is replaced to replicate the conversion from VHS to DVD. And since that, you know, everything is mission and all I wish we could just do that.

Alex Ferrari 27:04
The physical media and the physical media space, HD, you know, 3d, by the way, okay. It's like really, I need to see I need to see the extra pimple on that surface for the for some of these some of these older movies and 4k, do not do it. Because you can see the makeup you can see the cracking. It's like you don't it's old movies from the 70s. You've got to go in and clean it up digitally. If not, it just looks horrible. Some of the stuff again,

John Kim 27:31
I am I'm a widget salesperson. I just saw widgets. So you telling me that I really need the fifth version of a 1970 movies that I already have in DVD that I can't even tell you.

Alex Ferrari 27:43
How many godfathers how many Star Wars? How many Star Wars? Do we have 40 versions of the Star Wars films? How many? How many versions of The Godfather? Can we buy?

John Kim 27:51
Why I worked on like two different iterations of the Godfather boxing, right? It's how many times can you like come up with a 2030 agenda and a 25th and a 50th. And just like enough Hudson River

Alex Ferrari 28:03
Lease or Director's Cut,

John Kim 28:05
That was my, that's what I had to do is just make something spin on on the catalog of titles. But you know, at the end of the day, when am I going to feed my family? Am I going to you know, or am I going to get the 33rd version of something I already have? It's it will splitting hairs and you know, unfortunately, you know, so that's the reality of the situation. You know, when and if you're on the studio side, it's like if you if you you got to drink the Kool Aid otherwise just just don't show up for work.

Alex Ferrari 28:33
There's no question. There was one filmmaker that had on the show and he's actually gonna, we're trying to schedule him to come back on he's an anomaly. He's one of these anomalies I was telling you about. He reached out to me he had a million spent a million dollars. No stars except for Neil. God, I forgot his last name. He's a face. He's not a name. He's a face that everybody recognizes. Okay. Well, killer robots in the jungle. ex military have gone wrong, all this stuff. On paper. It sounds horrible. The pitch, right? It is easily one of the most insanely executed films I've ever seen in my life. He's been a commercial director for 30 years. He's a visual effects master. He did everything. It looks as good of quality as any studio movie ever made. That's how good the robots are. Because you know how hard it is to make robots look good in real life. In three months in T VOD, he made his money back.

John Kim 29:31
Okay. There's, like I said, there's always exceptions to the rule. But

Alex Ferrari 29:35
I'm saying that because the execution of that was so massive, and by the way, he has a marketing agency as well. So he understands how to do marketing. He understood how to do Facebook ads and targeted ads. And he had explosions and robots and he sold it for 399. And he pushed it to Amazon, and he was making money off of Amazon. He was making money off of T VOD. And he's still making money to this day, he's done very, very well with it. But he told me he's like I had a deal on the table. From big eight big Netflix wanted to buy it, but they were gonna give him nothing. Big studio, a big distributor wanted to buy it, who will remain nameless, was gonna give him a million something, mg. That's how good the movie was like a million to mg. He turned it down because of the contract. He's like, I'm never gonna see it, it's gonna take me forever to get this money. So so he's like, Screw it, I'll just do it myself. And he paid for everything out of his own pocket. So he didn't care. It was it was like, whatever. But that isn't in that, but that I'm using that as an analogy that has to be that is as perfect of an execution on all avenues, as I've ever seen in my life, because when he reached out to me sent me the trailer, I'm like, Who the hell are you? Like, I get some trailers for movies all the time, you get sent trailers for movies. If I sent you that trailer, you would go, I want to rip that movie. I'm sure I promise you and I'll send it to you afterwards. It's so good. But that's an example of perfectly executed, and even then he had less than a 20% chance of actually making any money. He was he he was just really good. Really good at what he was doing. Right.

John Kim 31:17
So I mean, again, if you aren't sure. I mean, how many? So what's that one and

Alex Ferrari 31:22
One, one in 30 years I've never seen a movie. So one in 30 years. I've never seen a movie like that in the way.

John Kim 31:29
Is that? Is that a good business model of? Like, I'm gonna compare myself to that, you know,

Alex Ferrari 31:35
Right. Well, yeah, and don't you love i love it in the it when people are trying to raise money, they always put Blair Witch and paranormal activity in their business plans. I'm like, Are you? It's it's come on. It's kind of like, Oh, if Tom if Tom Brady was my quarterback many years ago?

John Kim 31:54
Well, yeah, sure. If I had that defensive line. Yeah, sure. Like, yeah, it's like more power to him. I'm not gonna wait gonna, you know, get in the way of anyone's dreams.

Alex Ferrari 32:05
I don't view. But so. So let me ask you, my friend, you we talked about star power, how important is star power now and what kind of star power is needed to really make a dent in the business because I always tell people like, it's all based on budget. So if you get a certain kind of star, but the budget is so high, you need a, you need a star or group of stars to justify the budget to make sense financially. So if you get a Danny Trejo and you put him in a $10 million movie by himself, the chances of you making your money back are gonna be probably very, very difficult. That's right. But if you put in a Bruce Willis, in a $10 million movie, the chances of you're making money back is higher, because Bruce has a much bigger market value than Danny Trejo does for that budget range. Does that make that is that fair statement?

John Kim 32:58
I think so. I mean, let's be clear. Because there, I'll talk from a business because we're in the b2b to see game, right. So I sell to a platform that then sells to consumers, right? So there's a perspective of the buyer and there's your perspective of a consumer. So when you're flooded with this is a greatest movie ever. Now watch this. Watch this. Uh, yeah, right. I'm talking as a buyer, let's just say as a buyer of Netflix, okay. So it's like, yeah, yeah, I've heard this many times. Okay. So the easiest way to just kind of filter, you know, the aisle, maybe even think about it for just forget it. So I can just kind of have my own day is like, you know, used to be like, Okay, what's the theatrical but there's no theatrical. So, okay, so who's in it? So right away? It's like, no stars. Okay, there. Okay. So who, you know, that is of just a quick swath? It's a filtering filtering process. Right. And we know that, you know, just because you have Brad Pitt in a movie doesn't mean it's going to succeed.

Alex Ferrari 33:58
It depends, it depends on the genre of the movie.

John Kim 34:01
Exactly. So you know, but you also know that rapid isn't going to be an opponent. Right? So you've kind of gotten that's a kind of a surrogate filter for just that, as far as and also kind of a pseudo for production value. Okay, so he's not going to do some schlock.

Alex Ferrari 34:15
He's right. He's not going to do $100,000 movie.

John Kim 34:18
Yeah, exactly. Right. And so, so that is a first like, kind of suas then from a consumer standpoint, when you're just scrolling and you see 30 You know, movie after movie in your computer screen, it's like, you're gonna have you're gonna go into shock of all this stuff. So you have one second to like filter. If you see something that is familiar to the eye, subconsciously, it's gonna be a star. So from that standpoint, it's like helps you right and so, you know, the Super Bowl of advertising for any independent filmmaker, and you've probably done a lot of second is the package, right? If you're gonna if anything is going to spend, it should be on your packaging, because that is it. I mean, it's not looking at a poster The sideboard that you see when you're reviewing a creative is a thumbnail stret sketch. So if you're trying to put a tree at, you know, a montage of this, and that and mini movie, you know, it's like, it looks like a black box, forget it, right, but having one profile of the star boom, that catches your attention. So, you know, there are a number of stars that, you know, Danny Trejo is, is, is valuable, you know, he's valuable. I mean, if he just showed up, you know, for two seconds, and maybe in the end credits, you know, in the AVOD. Well, I put him on the cover, let's just put it that way.

Alex Ferrari 35:34
I know. That's, that's the yeah, that's that you're in a gray area there.

John Kim 35:39
But yeah, again, I'm selling widgets. It's what do you want me to sell for you? That's what you do. I'm not talking about like, all the rules, and, you know, MPa and Omni. That's not my thing. My thing is, I will sell you more units. He's in the credit, put them on the package. But to your point of like, you know, I mean, again, when you're talking even under $200,000 movie, I mean, that is just a drop in the bucket of your competition for Crayola, which is, you know, major studio millions of dollars. Right. So, yeah, there's definitely like Danny Trejo is, is very, very strong and AVOD. Very, oh, huge enabled.

Alex Ferrari 36:20
Right, and Thomas Jane, those kinds of guys, those kind of caliber of guys have value, major value.

John Kim 36:29
I mean, you know, again, if you can just make him show up for, you know, 15 minutes, or whatever, you he'll pay that back easy. That's a number of stars like that. But it's not, I mean, to be surprising how limited and by the way, depending on what platform you're at, you know, there are there are some stars on some of these platforms where the general public has no idea who they are. But they they meant gold. Right? They mean gold. And again, it's like, no one would know them except, like, if they're on a certain platform, and, and, and it's crazy. And, you know, again, the whole gamut of, of, of AVOD versus t VOD, and people paying you know, a BA, it is free. So, the cost of entry really is you know, I'll click on this I yeah, I like I hate my boy, Trent, Danny Trejo. I'm gonna watch what he's got, you know, if he's watching the grass, greener, you know, just watching the grass, cutting the grass. It didn't cost me anything. But I like my boy, Danny trail,

Alex Ferrari 37:30
Right, or Snoop or Snoop Dogg? Snoop Dogg. Snoop Dogg?

John Kim 37:33
His goal? His goal?

Alex Ferrari 37:37
Right. So So and I won't tell you how I know, you probably know this number, but I won't say it publicly. But I know how it costs a day to show up,

John Kim 37:48
Just to make them show up for 10 minutes.

Alex Ferrari 37:50
So the question is, and that's another thing. So, you know, I worked on a project years ago, years ago, where I was doing the post on it. And they were smart enough to had a million dollar budget and about 600,000 went above the line. But that was the only thing that sold that movie. Because they had an Oscar winner. They had some name actors in it, they had like it peppered like with a bunch of faces, and people they knew and some name power in it. And they were able to sell that movie. And I was and that was the first time I saw that the power of star power because the movie was okay. So, but the star power is the only thing that sold that movie. And when people to understand that, you know, it's like, oh, how can I get someone like Danny Trejo, like, if Danny's available and you're shooting in LA, and you're willing to pay his day rate for two or three days, it's more affordable than you might think in a scope of a grand scope of things that like I don't have a million dollars. I'm like, well, Danny's not a million dollars. You know, Sylvester Stallone is for a day. But you know, there are some like Nick Nick Cage for a while he was a million bucks a day, just straight up. But you put in a cage in a movie that you're sold internationally like that, because Nick Cage was in the movie. So there was moments of time though he was pumping out movies because he needed to get make money. So the want people to understand that you can have name talent in your movie. If you bring them up for a day. Some people I've seen I've seen some of these name actors. Five grand 10 grand a day 15 grand a day, right? Am I wrong?

John Kim 39:34
No, no, no, you're absolutely right. And that is that is much better money spent then you know trying to get it just right the whatever, you know, scene of of a car crash or whatever I mean, it's again it's that is well money, good money spent. There's there's actors that that will more than pay for themselves on those little small daily rates. And I would tell them, I Would I advise people just to do that? Because, again, you know, how, how can you compete against against projects that are spending millions of dollars? It's like, you can't put a name a name like that is crazy. It's a lot more affordable than you think. I agree with you. 100%.

Alex Ferrari 40:17
Yeah, and you were saying that, like, you know, you're scanning through and you see that little thumbnail of the actor. There's a reason why Adam Sandler, is Netflix is one of Netflix's biggest stars. And, and everyone thinks, oh, Adam Sandler, he's a silly guy silly movies. But the it this is a lesson for everyone listening. When you're scanning through and you see Adam Sandler, or you see, Kevin James or Rob Schneider, any of the group in the in the Adam Sandler universe. This is not for independent filmmakers, but just in general. You know, if it's a Friday night, and you're at home with your wife, you know what you're gonna get with one of those movies, there's no surprises, you know, you'll get a silly comedy, it's going to be somewhat enjoyable, and you'll have a decent time. There's no what's what you know exactly what you're going to get with an Adam Sandler movie generally, unless he's doing his drama stuff, like he has the new movie hustle out that he's goes off or, or gems. But generally speaking, if it's a comedy, you know what you're getting. And that's why he keeps getting these 100 million dollar deals from Netflix, because everybody just watch them again and again. And it's just one of those things like I just know what I'm going to get with Adam Sandler. So that's kind of the concept of my boy, Danny Trejo, my boy snoop. If snoops in the movie, I just want to see snoop. If, if Danny's in the movie, I just want to sit down and kick some ass for 510 minutes. And I'm solid, I'm good. But you know what you're gonna get when you get you see that cover. And that's what the audience is looking for. Whereas in that movie that I gave you the example of $250,000 horror movie, you know, that has no stars in it, I have to try to sell you on what my story plot is, I have to try to sell you on like, hey, take a look at my trailer. If you've lost, it's so difficult in that space. In the in the I need your money space, it's just so so difficult to do.

John Kim 42:18
Well, in the I need your money space in our consumer space. I mean, you got two seconds, because they have again, people don't realize it until they actually live it. I mean, they realize it until they see in their own household. Even at that level. It's like we got 1000s and 1000s of choice, you got your two seconds to catch your jet. No one wants to hear a whole buildup and storyplot when someone comes in with you as like, forget, I don't even need to just let me see your cover. And I can know right away whether it's gonna sell it and are saying your IMDB page, IMDB page that is, you know, for your audience, I am assuming is your is is a major, major selling vehicle for you. Because that is a Bible for people like me and buyers who just just want to know what the guy is not a consumer angle. Consumers don't know about it. I mean, look, Amazon even changed his name, you know, from IMDb to the freebie. Because of that, right? Even though it's all we got 10 million users and all that stuff. But yeah, it's not a consumer thing. But you know, having for a simple tool for so many users, if you're trying to get some, you know, someone to buy it or take a look, make sure your IMDB page things, you got the good cover, and you've got all the people in it. It's like okay, so that's the first power, we're talking about filtering and streaming, right? That's just an immediate filter.

Alex Ferrari 43:32
Right! And then you'll look at star power. So like, where's the ranking on the star power of the task? And even if you haven't heard about them, maybe they're the new hot guy that's coming out on top and Top Gun who's blowing up right now, but he doesn't keep up in about six months, his value is going to go massive, because our gun is going international. Right?

John Kim 43:51
Oh, yeah, I tell. Again, my arena is way way downstream. But when you know, my my clients are looking at some new movies, whatever they hate, you know, what do you see? Why should I care? I look at that star meter. The relative ranking is important, not the, you know, the rank in 5600, whatever, that doesn't mean anything. But if you have an act, all things being equal an actor with a 3000 score, so our meter versus a 10,000 you go with the higher the lower rank you want, which is higher the 3000.

Alex Ferrari 44:20
But again, when right, but there's a reference, there's a there's a caveat to that, because let's say there is a Danny Trejo and Danny Trejo happens to be in 10,000 that week, for whatever reason, and there's other kids who just showed up, it's 3000 because he's the new, young hot thing, but Danny has more value in general. So there's a balance you have to kind of look at as well.

John Kim 44:39
Yeah, I mean, it's a complex algorithm, but I don't, I don't know how it calculates, but it's, you know, internet mentions and press and all of this stuff. But it's, it's a nice tool. It can you know, you gotta look at all of the different points, but it's a very valuable tool just to say, Hey, this is, you know, again, all things being equal, you know, abilities and know that that is better to go with someone who's just more well known, even if, again, it's for people like when, like you, we don't know about them, but at least it's theirs. That's as as an objective measurement as there is out there. In the absence of anything, really. I mean, there's no like ding ding, ding. I mean, you got rotten tomatoes. But even that, it's like, who cares?

Alex Ferrari 45:20
Right, so so do you remember a time because you and I both have similar vintage? Do you remember a time where you could literally watch everything that came out that week?

John Kim 45:30
I mean, it's, it's changed. It's just yeah, like,

Alex Ferrari 45:34
I remember I remember working. I worked out and I remember working a video store. And I would literally watch every movie that got released that week, every week, because we had everything. There was like seven movies.

John Kim 45:44
What were we what would what

Alex Ferrari 45:47
Was a mom and pop was a mom and pop shop. That's the best time the mom and pop shops. So I just everything that came out. I would watch. And I tell people that like really? I'm like, Yeah, because it just it would cost too much money to make movies back then you just cost too much you would you wouldn't even begin to have a conversation with less than a couple million like that was and there used to be $20 million movies, real $20 million dollar movies. They used to be $50 million dollar movie $30 million movie studios would put out What About Bob? That cost them 30 million bucks. Right? It cost them that was tentpoles didn't show up until in the 90s is when it really started to really blow up like the 100 million dollars. And I mean $200 million. That was insane money back in the 90s. Remember Titanic those $200 million and if it was losing their mind now. That's the starting point for that tentpole you can't even have a conversation about a temple without a couple 100 million 150 170 5 million to start the conversation. Right. It's, it's insane. Now I want to I want you to demystify something for the audience, my friend, Netflix, everyone thinks that Netflix is this amazing Holy Grail. They have so much money they're spending and you see all these 21 billion 18 billion 15 billion? Obviously, everyone's like, well, I all I need is 100 grand? Obviously, Netflix didn't give that to me. Can you demystify the Netflix deal currently, because not the Netflix deal from five or 10 years ago, which is very different than the Netflix deal of today, for the audience.

John Kim 47:24
So in so the headlines of this 21 billion and all that stuff, that the world has changed, because there is just so much competition, right, and there is a there is now as you're seeing in the headlines, there's a finite audience, not a finite, but there's a there's a there's a cap to the number of people that are going to subscribe, and they're moving, they're moving from, and then they're moving in the new term that was never really talked about. Other than just subscriber growth is churn, you know, and that turned into like, Hey, thank you very much, I got the free month promotion, I saw my whole series, I binge watched it, thanks for giving it all available. I'm watching it, you know, and then I'm moving, I cut it off, and then go and then just kind of moving from service to service. So all of that million, all of those millions or billions they're spent on if you really look at it, they're spent on original programming TV shows, you know, the water cooler, you know, again, it originally was house of games, because and there's because they wanted people to subscribe to change services, and then stay there to watch you know, the whole episodes, the whole series, and the whole seasons, you know, a movie if you unless it's a Disney movie, a family movie, it's like, you know, you watch it one and done. Okay, feed me more. Right? So all those money, all that money acquisition is really spent towards that across the board. So you know, for them buying a little indie movie, you know, one, no one's gonna write about it. Number two, you're not going to get you know, you know, millions of people wanting to subscribe to Netflix for this little indie 100,000 movie you're talking about, right? So it ain't 100,000 I mean, it's like 10 15,000. And it's just, you know, a nice to have kind of thing, maybe 1% chance to get like a six month deal for 10,000 bucks. Let's just say, I'm not saying you know, but it's just change all that money is going to original programming TV, or you know, big name.

Alex Ferrari 49:19
You know, movies read notice I read

John Kim 49:21
Again, so the indie player, like, how can you compete again, it's just a different world, you know, to you three and a two to a small, independent first time filmmaker, whatever. 300,000 is a lot but that's like the lunch budget for what we're talking about on these $21 billion spent at Netflix. So it's just it is when people actually really understand I mean, all they read the headlines and they realize like, what is the actuality it is a demystification. Oh my gosh, like you gotta be kidding me kind of situation. Right, right. I mean, it's an even get that is like a miracle. Miracle. Yeah, it's a miracle. I mean, you're it's one in 100 but At the same time, again, it's a different objective, if you need to prove, you know that you got the street cred, you have instant credibility, if you have a net, if you're a Netflix producer, right? Oh my gosh, you're able to screen that out, you didn't make a lot of money on it. But that means you're good. And in fact, you are thing about progression as a, as a as a, as a filmmaker, that is a definite feather in the cap. You know, again, if you want to make money, that's not necessarily but all sudden, you're gonna get investors interested, you're gonna, you know, invest buyers, and she's like, Oh, look, and this guy's got some some skills. But it's not like, you know, it's not like this, you know, he got a seven figure deal that was, you know, Netflix is just like a little piddly thing. But, you know, you got some credibility. Good, great job. You know, I'm gonna I'm gonna talk I want to talk to you.

Alex Ferrari 50:46
So as a distributor, when you do with the Netflix deals, I mean, I'm hearing is telling me if this is true, or not, Netflix deals start paying at the end of the deal. Quarterly, they pay quarterly upfront, or they pay at the end, because I've heard different chord.

John Kim 51:01
I mean, yeah, every deal is different. Everything is different, everything is different. But again, congrats, but congrats to the person that gets a Netflix CEO, because that is a major, major accomplishment. You know, you know, then then the mate then the next big thing is, like, if you were able to get some actual money from,

Alex Ferrari 51:20
Right, like, if you got a Netflix deal, and you made money, holy cow, here's my here, they'll just start throwing money at you at that point. Yeah.

John Kim 51:27
I mean, it's all relative. But, you know, in the absence of, of any known figures, and all that, and everyone making things up, you know, that is definitely a feather in the cap is right. Okay. You're a player.

Alex Ferrari 51:44
Is Amazon a thing anymore for us as filmmakers?

John Kim 51:47
Well, everyone was I gotta like, make sure I don't say anything that

Alex Ferrari 52:00
I don't want to get you in trouble, sir.

John Kim 52:01
So the facts are, the facts are back in the day. People were, were very happy with with Netflix, I mean, with Amazon, then it's been cut, cut, cut cut of the, you know, down to a penny per hour. Again, this is all public information. speaking slowly. So everything was down on, on on Amazon again. Why? Why is because everybody in their city, a 10 year old kid could upload stuff. It's like that just the whole quality control is just not there. Right? It's back to your thing about, you know, back in the day, there were only 20 movies, but now anyone can make a movie, right? And so then you've got a glut of stuff. And I think how do you differentiate yourself between all sudden the 1000s of movies, right? But now that a VOD is becoming a thing. It's always been a thing. By the way, when we were watching cheers and friends. It was a VOD on network TV. It's just been an artificial we don't want to do that from a from a studio content provider. Because it the eyeballs weren't weren't wasn't there and you can train $100 bill for $1 Bill and make money.

Alex Ferrari 53:18
Right. And also and also the other thing was that before in the windowing schedule,

John Kim 53:24
AVOD was like way late it wasn't even contemplating a lot of contracts it was just so beyond right but now that it's like off now that we're looking for every nook and cranny money that we can get because theatrical was done you know, DVD theatrical, you know, and, you know, big checks so we're looking for every little thing AVOD is is is is starting to really become something where it's where it's worthy of being at launch right and not just you know, bottom of the barrel 20 years from now kind of thing and that's

Alex Ferrari 54:00
Hard but that's hard for filmmakers egos to handle.

John Kim 54:04
That's a thing is it an ego? It's a thing. It's you got to leave your I mean, do whatever it takes to make the movie, but I'm just telling you the realities of how you're going to make money right? So if you don't want to hear what anyone have to say, then then Okay, goodbye, fine. But you know, if you want to make money then you know and then and I think you can make money then then I'll talk to you but your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness when it comes to you know, your your right you're saying it's a just Yeah, great. You did that. But just you know, you want to make money. Listen, if say, otherwise, I don't want to waste my time. So what I'm saying is just just a reality, and you can choose to ignore reality fine, but just because you put your head in the sand doesn't mean reality isn't happening. Okay? And there's always exceptions. Okay. So again, there's always exceptions, right? I'm not an exceptions business. I can't I can't feed my family. If I'm just like, Wait Paying for exception to happen every 30 years,

Alex Ferrari 55:03
I just I just had a filmmaker who made a documentary about Michael Bidston, the MMA fighter, the the legendary MMA fighter. He fought with one eye. He literally lost his sight. And everyone's like, Oh, you can't fight and he won a championship with one eye. Is that saying now that all fighters with one eye can win the championship? No, it's an anomaly. There's, there's always an exception to the rule, always. But you can't look at the exception as the that's the way No, that is the exception. And they have to look at it that way. And I try. I tried to yell that at filmmakers so much. I'm like paranormal activity is not going to happen again. That was that movie at that time. At that moment? It just, you know, it was just a specific moment, El Mariachi will never happen again. It was that moment in time with that filmmaker with that film. At that in that's right product, right time. And right time period in history to make it by the way, it also by the way.

John Kim 56:05
I mean, it's a major accomplishment to one get funding and the greenlit get greenlit a movie for crying a lot, Major, because everybody you know, and by the way, everything looks good on paper. Until you know, then, how many? How many failed? How many failed? Movies are there that look great on paper? You know, I mean, right?

Alex Ferrari 56:28
Even the studios aren't going to read all the time.

John Kim 56:31
That's why they survive it is because they're in the numbers game to make 20 movies and hope that two of them succeed, the pay for the sins of all of the rest.

Alex Ferrari 56:39
Basically, the sins, I love that the sins of all. That's a great term.

John Kim 56:43
I mean, everyone's gets married, you know, but what is the divorce rate? 60%. But we're still getting married.

Alex Ferrari 56:49
Right? Because someone's making it work. There you go.

John Kim 56:53
But the stakes are even higher, or harder in the film business, you know, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 57:00
So let me ask you this, during the your time in the business, before you became a distributor? I'm assuming you've might have run into some nefarious people along the way. Some distributors who might have not been upfront with you on a lot of things. How and why, in your opinion, do you think that filmmakers gets almost always, almost always not always? So always exceptions, but the and I would I would fare that would be a fair statement to say that the majority of them either get the short end of the stick on purpose because there's something nefarious going on? Or because of lack of just it's nothing nefarious, it's just the business the way it is. And they're like, oh, they screwed me like, no, everything we've just been talking about. They took the movie, they did the best they could they couldn't make your money back. Life goes on. Why do you believe that there's so much monkey business with that with the Hollywood accounting and all of this kind of stuff. And it's from every, every place every bit in their studio. I mean, Hollywood accounting is a thing. Just like the cat. Just that's a that's a term you could look up that you could look it up, it's called it's there's an actual term in the dictionary, Hollywood accounting, is that they just like the casting couch was the thing prior to the metoo movement. Right? It was a joke. It was a running joke in movies like, oh, that he got it, she got the part because he was on the casting couch. So in the filmmaking side of things, oh, the distributor screwed me. That's just, it's just oh, that's just the way the business is. Why do you believe it is? And is it sustainable at this point, to continue moving forward, for filmmakers and for distributors?

John Kim 58:46
So I have 150 clients, and I would say 90% have been screwed over? More than more than twice. I mean, it's crazy out there. So they're, it's a crazy business. There are there are crooks, and then there are, you know, people that are making people that are legitimately making money. Yet the filmmakers aren't seeing a dime of it, but legitimate, contractually, they're making that money. Right. So, so as far as the crooks I'm not gonna name names. However. However, it's I always scratch my head. It's like, why did they keep on notorious? Everyone knows.

Alex Ferrari 59:30
Oh, yeah. Hey, Dave, unless you start I could start listing off names. And you'd be like, yep. And they just and they've been around forever, right?

John Kim 59:36
Like, how do they continue to do this? You know, and, and the reason why I believe they just continue is because there's a sucker born every minute. And these suckers because they gave their soul and their, you know, their house and a mortgage. They need to believe that what they're being told is going to is true. So they want Have to be they want to be misled fear wanted to say, hey, I don't even want your business I'm sorry. Sorry. And they're like, Oh, you don't see it, whatever. Okay, I'm dealing with the generalities. But you know, they just like, hey, this is great. And I can do this, I can do that. Oh, yeah. They want to be, that's how these the crooks continue to last for years and just find a new, there's a new filmmaker born every minute, right? So, you know, shame on you for not listening and doing your due diligence and all that stuff. You know, you had to call me and actually, I've had scenarios where I warned some people, you know, because it was my fiduciary setup, you know, this human right thing. Like I see an accident, do not go pull the key out of the way, right. I'll say that they just don't. And they're like, no, no, they believe me, John, I can do it. I've seen the projections. The projections, you know, I seen the contract. I see it, you know, and then two years, two years later, John, you're right. And out. 100,000? Yes, seriously, it's like, are you? I told you,

Alex Ferrari 1:01:05
I literally, I literally just consulted on a project. And I kept telling the producers and telling the producers don't do this, don't do this, this is what's gonna happen. Don't do this. This is what's going to happen. Don't and what happened. Six months later, a year later, they come back to me into like, we're never going to see a dime.

John Kim 1:01:23
Oh, my God, I'm like, a human thing. You told them and they didn't want to hear it.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:29
They didn't they didn't want to hear it. They didn't want to hear it. It was it was just fat. It never ceases to amaze me. It never ceases to amaze me. It really never does. But because

John Kim 1:01:41
That's a it's a greatest strength is their greatest weakness. They were congratulations, you got investors, you've made a movie, you know, you did. And then then on the other side is like you want to hear you want to hear reality. So the reality is, I mean, again, that's perfect example. People don't want and so you know what, these people the crooks just continue to survive, because they say what they want to hear. Right. And then the other thing is, there are some contracts, real things that I'm like, just scratching my head, like, Are you Are you kidding me? Right. And so the things that I've seen, you know, from like, a lot of my, a lot of my clients that were there, it's like, you know, run, if you ever see a, you know, $30,000 marketing cap, you know, and then pay for expenses, you know, and, you know, social media campaign, you know, our delivery, you know, 30,000 is a lot of money. And that is is an excuse to never get paid. Right? And then the other trick is like, oh, yeah, we're gonna we're gonna have this a 15 year contract, 15 year contract. I mean, we're babysitters, right? And we're paid on an hour, we should be paid on an hourly basis. And this is your baby, and you don't give your babysitter a 15 year you can do whatever and come back to me in 15 years, don't buy we'll get back to you when they're grown and done, whatever. So those are like two like, easy, like, legal ways of just getting screwed. Right.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:11
I was at AFM walking around. And I get recognized when I walk around AFM, and filmmakers come up to me and they're like, Alex, I have this deal. Can you can you? I want you to can you look at it for me. I'm like, I just told me that the bullet points. I'm not a lawyer, but it was always go to always go to a lawyer, entertainment attorney. But give me the bullet points. And I'll tell you and the bullet points. And I've never seen anything like this. John. This was so blatant. 25 year. Wait a minute. 100,000. Marketing cap. There you go. Wait a minute, yearly. Yearly. So it'd be a $2.5 million. Wait, because the little there's a little word that says yearly on and I'm like, are you 2.5 Like so. And they had the they own the IP, as well. So they had IP and they get executive producer credit. And they get their logo up front. All of this and I told him like, you need to run away as fast as possible. So I go listen to it. She was like, Okay, I'm not gonna do this deal. I'm like, No, this is what you should do go back and counter it. I want to see what they say. So we countered, and they get back and they go, all right. 10 years, and $50,000 total. And I'm like so you were literally just trying to see you throughout the worst deal possible to see if you would bite and if you bite, it's on you. That's immoral.

John Kim 1:04:41
I mean, and people sign you know, because they've heard the company because they've heard of a company. Okay. You know, it's like, it must be okay. Um, I heard of them. But I Yes, it was that's just it's right there and straight up like legally stealing from somebody.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:56
It's legally stealing from somebody and I love what you just said because you've heard of them, or they've represented another movie in the past. That gives them the credibility, you're like, I want to be on the same company that released that movie. 10 years ago, when the owners might have been different, the world was different their, their business practices might have been different. All of that. And I hear that so much like, Oh, I just want to be on this, this big companies name or this company's name, because I've heard of them before, or because of they have this, this this, or they have this Oscar nominated movie at one point or another. I'm like, from when 97 late.

John Kim 1:05:36
Again, it's just a different reality. I mean, think about how much due diligence people do on on allows the, you know, $25, Amazon purchase, you know, let alone level, look at your reviews, go look at, look at this comparison shop, you know, selling your, you know, selling your house, having a real estate agent, sell your house, you know, you're gonna die, I want to see your references, and I want to watch them, you know, selling movies like, Oh, they got a great website. And look, they saw this one like 10 years ago, let's do it. This is gone.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:06
And it's and you're talking about the same amount of money of buying a house, right? You know, like, you know, buying a house, depending on where you live in the world. But you know, $300,000 buys a house 400,000, half a million, that's a lot of money net, for an individual for I mean, look, if I saw half a million on the floor, I'm picking it up, I don't know about you. I know. It's a lot of money. And they don't do the due diligence. They don't do the education. Look, when when I was buying my very first house, I educated myself on the process of buying a house back in the day when I did it. So and then understanding the ins and outs and who's this and that and, and think that's a more regulated industry.

John Kim 1:06:45
This is an unregulated industry.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:48
That's why there's it's such a wild wild west of all the time and it and you go to AFM, I mean, and you just see it, you see walking around, you see the same players doing the same games, and you see the movies, and I'm like, I know that filmmaker, I know he's got screwed. And I know that filmmaker, Nick, I know that movie, that guy behind that movie in it. So I hear the stories on both ends, I hear from the front and the back, you know, from the filmmaker and from the distributor, and look not to just shit on distributors, because there are good distributors out there. There are good there are people who trying to help and but a lot of times too, it's just the nature of the marketplace. You do the best you can sometimes as a distributor. And it's just like you were handicapped the moment you took the film on like that, if you would take on the movie that I gave you the example of when you're smart enough, you're smart enough not to take it. But there are distributors who will take that movie on, promise things that they truly believe possibly could possibly happen. And when they don't happen, then the filmmakers like the distributor screwed me now unlock the true. Very true. There is there are those those are rare, by the way, that doesn't happen all the time. I think it still leans more towards the the other angle of things. But it's just the business is so crazy and changing. Look in the 80s and 90s. In the VHS times in the DVD times. Everything pretty much stayed the same. For years, right? Like you made a movie. This was the output. This was the windowing, BPPV that stood like that for years. And prior to VHS it stood like that for 60 years. Like and

John Kim 1:08:27
There was limited and the projections were were spot were very good. Because there was a limited number of comps that you could then project and there's no variables work today is just like, there's no just throw out the concert COVID There's 1000s It's just there's no comps, right. And so, yeah, that's why I don't want to provide estimates because it's going to be wrong, they're going to be wrong. The question is, is do you? The main thing is do you trust that you're going to get paid? Do you trust that he's going to do what he says he's going to do? Do you trust that? You know, that it's trust? Essentially, that is it? Because everything else? I don't know variable, right? It's just, you know, it's like I can lead the decision maker is gonna see the movie, right? It's gonna be placed here, you know, you're gonna get placement, you're gonna get paid. And that is a lot unfortunately, in this business. Like in any other business, that's just the cost of entry, you expect that, but because there's so many bad apples just that is like, Wow, I can't tell you how many of my clients like why I'm not getting paid. I haven't been paid, you know, in year kind of check. To check. You know, I'm saying I mean, it's, it's sad, but, you know, I've been able to benefit just by doing that by doing what I'm going to say I don't go to the bathroom without your approval. You know, and that's why I want to be working only with people that I want to ask for approval. Otherwise, I don't I don't want to work with you.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:07
Because I've seen a couple of filmmakers with some egos. Just a couple, just a couple of a couple, a couple of delusional filmmakers along the way. By the way, I was one of them. When I was starting out, we all go through that we all go through the process. If you're smart, you go through quickly, and then you move on, and you grow up pretty quickly. But when you come into this business, you come in with stars in your eyes, and I love movies, and Scorsese, and Cor, Salwa and Spielberg and Lucas and and you see all these stories and you want to like I'm going to make the Godfather I'm going to make you know, Inception, I'm going to make Nolan film or Fincher. So that is what you need to get this. It's so difficult to get. Yeah, you need that kind of energy to make it. But once you're done making it, then you really know it's another step that they don't tell you at film school. They don't Hollywood doesn't sell that story. They don't tell it. They sell you the oh, look, this guy went to Sundance and sold the movie for $17.5 million. Oh, great. And now the Dow that's everyone's like, Oh, well, you know, Palm Springs sold for $17.5 million. I go. And I spoke I had that guy on the show. And we went through the whole process. And Hulu paid $17.5 million for that. Amazing. And you know why they paid 17 point 5 million won. I had Adam Sandler and Adam and Adam Sandburg in it. So that was JK Simmons. And they knew that based on their algorithm that Adam Sandberg is going to do very well on their platform. But more than that, the free press that they got for being the highest paid movie ever at Sundance, they estimated it to be like $100 million worth of free advertising for Hulu. So that was a strategic move. was the movie that valuable? At the end of the day, they probably not. But was it valuable for marketing to get more eyeballs on Hulu to get? You see, but that's no,

John Kim 1:12:06
That's the stuff that no one knows. That's my point to is like, no one really knows why. And just to say my movies better than movies, like according to you. But they don't know all these other things out and back to the you know, the waiting days. They don't know, like what actually made them might have happened. And that Cassius or to make it happen. Not that is still happening, right? It's like to just put your head in the sand and say, Yeah, I saw something. I see a Beverly Hills house. So what I'm incompetent in my house is incompetent. It's irrelevant.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:35
Right! Like, yeah, exactly. Like, I'm in Bakersfield. And I have a house, you know, but I saw a house sell for 4.5 million in the hills of Hollywood.

John Kim 1:12:46
And with that exact scenario of what we're talking about,

Alex Ferrari 1:12:51
You're absolutely I never thought I'd never thought about that. But filmmakers think but my house is good that they have a bathroom. I have a bedroom, they have a bedroom. I don't understand. I don't understand why mine is not worth the 4.5 million. And then you're like, oh, you know who lives in that house. Danny Trejo, Danny Trejo, Thomas Jane, Michael Madsen, Eric Roberts, and a few other guys live in that. And they were able to sell on Bruce Willis also lives in there as well. So now, that movie that that house is sold for point five 1.5 million, but your house you live in it. So it's not worth as much.

John Kim 1:13:31
We laugh at this scenario, but it is exactly what's happening to a lot of filmmakers.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:36
Wow, I've never I'm going to use that constantly. It is so brilliant of analogy, because there's there's two houses, but the two houses are not built on the same playing field. They're both houses. Yes. They're both films. Yes, exactly. But they're not equal. They're not equal in the market place in the marketplace. And the marketplace, you can live in it. You can live in that you can watch this movie, you can watch that movie. That's where the similarities end.

John Kim 1:14:10
But there's no such thing. There's no like, objective measurement. Right? You can say it's just like, Well, I think it's a great book. Well, I think it's a great. It's like, look at that. It's just chasing when, you know, unless it's like someone reads like, you know what, I don't I gotta make money. I'm only gonna sell I and I always want to work with people I want to work with. Right. So there you go.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:35
I mean, listen, John, what advice Listen, what advice would you give a filmmaker? What's that? What's that one piece of advice? What would the filmmaker that has a movie that wants to make a movie and wants to get into the marketplace right now. And once the makeup just wants to make it they haven't made the movie yet. So we're catching them before they make their movie. And let's say they could find a couple 100 grand $1,000 to $300,000 they can raise that one is the advice you give a filmmaker at that stage right now? And then what advice would you give a filmmaker who has that $300,000 movie with no stars in it? If there's any advice you could get?

John Kim 1:15:12
It's really hard to speak in generalities.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:14
Right, you really, it is case by case.

John Kim 1:15:16
You're right, whatever it is case by case, but I mean, a central tenet is make the cheapest possible movie you possibly can. Right? And because the return down downstream is just not it's just not their exception. Unless you're an exception. I'm talking you know, generalities, but you know, it just make it for the cheap. Get the best stars that you possibly can for your money. That's more important, any special effect anything whatever, because then you can put it on your your ad spend money on your, your, your your key art, that that's much more important than any little you know, then and that's your Superbowl advertising right there. That's more that's a big line item in your $300,000 movie. Get the best Star get the get the best art possible. And trailer trailer I mean, you know, there's some there's the trailers important because an o on a trailer, don't make your trailer a mini movie. It's called a teaser. Right? It's the T. Everyone wants to like little mini movies. Like you know what? I just saw the whole movie in two minutes. Thank you very much. I'm not gonna buy it. I'm not gonna see it because I saw it from beginning to end. All the best parts, too. I know. Those are your best parts. All the explosions are in a 32nd teaser, like, Oh, that looks interesting. I'm gonna do it. Right. It's just it's like, I mean, again, I want to say get in trouble with the, you know, it's a striptease, you don't show everything right. You just do a little bit that get him interested.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:58
You tease him? Exactly. You tease them.

John Kim 1:17:01
Right. So that's another thing again, I've seen that's the number one thing. Mistake is everyone makes a little mini movie a two and a half minute trailer, you're done in 10 minutes, 10 seconds. You know, it's just get someone they take another look. Right. So that's number one. Number two on the art piece, everyone thinks they gotta do this montage thing when they realize it's a two by two inch thing. And it's just like a black box. Everything on

Alex Ferrari 1:17:22
That's not the one that's standing on your wall. That's different. Like, you know, the poster, the poster you want to build for your wall so you can show people. That's a different poster than what you're dealing with your demanded thing.

John Kim 1:17:34
And by the way, on your thing, you could take a picture of me and you can say that the Jackie Chan is in your movie, because no one's gonna tell the difference.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:43
Why Wow. No, but you write so small, it's so small.

John Kim 1:17:49
And no one's gonna like fact check you but you take a picture. Actually, maybe it's Bruce Lee, not Jackie Chan. Because everyone puts you know, and then they put a whole like list of all the faces and it's like, it really is indecipherable. It could I'm joking, but it looks like that.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:04
So look at Netflix, if you if you just study Netflix right now, I was just watching this the other day, studying Netflix. And there was a movie that I watched and had like two or three stars in it. They choose a star. Like if you seeing red notice flashed by they either put the rock or they put Ryan rentals or put they'll put Galka got on it. They won't put all three generally speaking once the movie is because then because you just Oh, is that the rock up because you don't want to confuse them?

John Kim 1:18:34
Because it's a two thing and it's a squirrel so fast. You've got to catch up. And by the way, they know the analytics of exactly what's who sells what sells. Again, this is all stuff that behind that no one knows. Right? But I mean for the indie people for the end, here's another advice that you back to your thing. Don't do that. Don't do that. Because it is a pipe dream to get on Netflix, go to to VT go to most popular and look who who like look at all the stars that are selling on most popular and to beat those people. That's the chance where you can see stars like, you know, Joe Blow that you had no idea about, there's actually a star because he's selling more than Brad Pitt on the a VA channels. Right, that's more reachable because on a on a VA channel, you're competing. The love the playing field is a little bit less than it's not like iTunes, where you're competing against and vendors forget about you're competing not only to the production by 10 million of advertising, etc, etc. You can't compete. However, on the AI channels. There is a point of theories. It's a little bit late into it because you feel like you're competing against 10 year old 20 year old studio movies. Alright, so I've already seen that, right? So if you look at all the most popular, they're not the Titanic's because everyone's already seen them for. But you look at the most popular look at those stars all sudden you're seeing stars that you've never heard about. Right, and they're next to, you know, they're majorly bracket. Like this is the only playing field We're an independent indie benefit maker can actually compete, right where your your, so that's what I'm saying. Just know, know your limits, you know, again, it says you can dream. But if you want to get that first base, you want to get that bump start here and then go higher and AVOD is the place again, I'm, I'm talking sacrilege to every, you know, filmmaker and you know, all the windowing, and I've said it before you that is, is looking at what's selling and by the way that computers are in line, this is a straight up, like, what are the best sellers, right? And then also, you're gonna see stars in there that you don't know who they are, but you might want to hire them, because you know what algorithms pick them up, they're in your movie, they're gonna pop up in the two V's of the world. And by the movie, you know, I have 600 movies on TV, right? I was with two people and they were 40 I got three kids. You know, if I had another kid, I'm naming them to movie boy or girl. Till we can, boy or girl if to be and I've told them that you know, my friends that to be I've told everyone this because to be is going, I mean free. My number six might be freebie and number seven. Number seven is going to be YouTube. Okay? And that's gonna be you or two or whatever boy or girl because no one's gonna stop that YouTube engine. You got 5 billion people out there, right versus whatever. But, you know, these are little insights. Again, it's you can live in dreamland. But if you want to like really get some some some some some some points on the board. You got to play in this area because a $300,000 movie can't compete against $100 million movie period and no matter what we're except by these AR platforms, because the

Alex Ferrari 1:21:43
100 million because Dr. Strange. Multiverse is not on duty right now.

John Kim 1:21:48
There you go. You're not competing. That's why I'm saying don't even bother with iTunes because you're competing against Dr. Strange for crying out loud. How can you do that?

Alex Ferrari 1:21:55
James Bond?

John Kim 1:21:57
Dr. Strange 10 years from now. Okay, so I've already seen that. So I'm hoping it's free. So I'm open up for you know, watch something for Kerala different?

Alex Ferrari 1:22:05
What is it? What is the return? Give or take? Because I know like Amazon's like a penny. What do we is there is that public knowledge as far as what you get paid on to be but it's decent enough that you're happy?

John Kim 1:22:16
It's a it's a CPM

Alex Ferrari 1:22:19
Can you explain what a CPM is real quick

John Kim 1:22:20
CPM is is is what you're paid per 1000 views. Right, so. So when you think about it, it's like, per 1000 views, you know, you got it, you're gonna need millions of people to watch something, to vert to me of significant value. Right. So the big, the big, big fallacy, there's just the train wreck is happening now. And I just laugh right now is the buzzword is fast, channel faster, and all Avon, I'm gonna, I'm gonna direct consumer, I'm gonna fast channel, everybody and their sisters approaching me. They see me on LinkedIn, whatever. And they say, Hey, I want your movies, you know, you know, we can share the money. And we can have this direct channel and I'm going to be on the Roku box, and we're going to be on fire stick and all this. I'm like, Yeah, you will find people. So why would I use my clients movies to fund your business, that then we share five cents? You know, I'm saying because you can't get 5000 people, you can't get 5000 people to walk

Alex Ferrari 1:23:22
I have a million if I have a million or 2 million or 3 million subscribers, that's a different conversation, even

John Kim 1:23:26
Then WooCommerce even then, I mean, we're not talking subscribers. I mean, even we're even seeing the, you know, the big boys, Disney Netflix saying they gotta go to this AVOD market, because its number of subscribers is not even close to the number of people that want to watch free. by Amy.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:42
So you mean like television, television,

John Kim 1:23:46
That's what I'm talking about before. It's just I tell people, it's just back to the future. We're just going back to TV where it was free for ad supported. But people just you know, as content providers, it's hard to get millions and millions of people to watch something for those numbers to pay out. But they're not even close to what it was before on theatrical DVD. It's subscription, you know, money, which is all going away now. I mean, it's a matter of time. You know? So it really is just knowing your strengths. Thank you for me. I don't do theatrical. No, that's not my thing. I stick to my lane. This is what I do. Again, I'm squirrel hunting. And then, you know, then a elephant gets in the way and I sell it, you know, to, you know, a Sigourney Weaver, you know, a movie that just came out of nowhere, right, but I'm not like just waiting all day for that elephant to come in. I'm shooting squirrels, you know, and eating squirrels or eating and like I said, it's significant, but it's not I don't have my own lot. I don't have you know, 1000 people working for me, I don't have the DP of the bathroom do the payoff. You know where you know, the squirrels ain't gonna feed anything. But you put enough squirrels together and you got a major league meal. And then again, you know, an elephant comes in the way and, you know, that feeds the village. But this business model doesn't work for any studio, it doesn't work for even, you know, a lot of these distributors with lots of staff, whatever, right? It just doesn't. Right. 10,000 $20,000 You know, we can add up a lot. I mean, you were talking about I would, I would pick up $5,000 You know, if it was just there, you know, all day and night, but a lot of people because their costume, they can't even afford it, and they won't do

Alex Ferrari 1:25:29
It cost them more money to pick up that 5000 that it does. That's exactly it, make it exactly it. Yeah, just to have them run there. It's a different world. And I think and filmmakers really need to understand that that, you know, a giant distributor won't pick you up, if you're a small movie, unless they feel that they can make money with it, because it's going to cost more just to put you in the workflow, the funnel of getting everything ready into the assembly line of what they normally do to put movie out, it's going to cost them X amount of dollars, just to release your movie legit, why they have a marketing cap 33

John Kim 1:26:05
I'll take your 30,000 you know, that's my insurance, if that doesn't happen,

Alex Ferrari 1:26:09
Right. And they really cost them about three to four or 5000 to do what they're gonna do. But it's not even

John Kim 1:26:15
It's making you cry in my little portfolio folder. So I can have my you know, my office in one of the film festivals that didn't cost me 30,000 of marketing. And by the way, 30,000 mark up, you might as well just spit in the ocean. I mean, really? What can you do for $30,000?

Alex Ferrari 1:26:31
Not it's gonna be Yeah, it's gonna it's gonna be tough. It's gonna be tough. It's gonna be very tough

John Kim 1:26:36
Talk in general, I don't want to talk in studio. So I'm talking about you know, more, you know, independent filmmakers, where 200,000 is a lot of money. Let's just put it that way.

Alex Ferrari 1:26:44
Right. And can you really quickly? Well, how valuable is a film festival to you? Are you a laurel at Sundance, or at South Bay?

John Kim 1:26:53
Okay, so what? No stars outside outside of the, you know, outside of the name brand ones? Yeah, no stars, no stars didn't book to film festival. It might as well be, you know, junkie in my underwear. Having a screening. It doesn't matter. The only people that are making money on those film festivals are the film festival makers, because they're charging five to $10,000. For for your event, you know, so that thank you very much. And then I mean, it's almost a joke. I'm talking, I'm not I'm talking about non con, you know, non.

Alex Ferrari 1:27:27
So the Alright, so let's say everybody else everybody else is like other than the top 10 film festivals.

John Kim 1:27:37
As a salesperson, it's the last thing I talked about. Because you know what, most people could care less. They're not going to watch a movie of like, oh, this was the film The Audience Choice winner in the set in Timbuktu Film Festival. Who cares? It's hard enough to get someone to watch a movie, when you know, on on much bigger measurements, it's elastic. I mean, I don't even visit film festivals, because it's a joke. I mean, I almost wanted to have a test where I just put those little film morals, you know, you know, on the screen and just call it like, you know, festival just because you know what it's like Jackie Chan is gonna be gone. Who knows all his laurels look the same. People are not buying because it wants some awards. Those film festivals exist for these filmmakers to want to feel good about, about themselves that at least hear one on award. But it's not leading to a darn sale. Again, I'm talking general, I'm not talking generalities. Right. But even the top one is a con this that they can't sell me even Academy Award. Some of those movies can't sell more than 5000 bucks, you know, the crappy Academy Award? Okay. No, you're right. You're absolutely the names. It's just absolutely, you know, they make 10,000 points. You know, no one's talking about the actual money. But again, that's serious credibility, like I was talking with St. Do you want? Do you want an Oscar? Here you go. But a lot of those movies, they're making nothing. So if you've got the creme de la creme, that's nothing. What do you say about Timbuktu Film Festival and you know, Wisconsin or this and that. And

Alex Ferrari 1:29:07
I just wanted you to say it out loud, man. Because I talked about that constantly. And look at film festivals are great, and they have their place and it's fun, and it's great. But if you're thinking that that's going to bring dollars to the bottom line, there's there's probably three or four festivals in the world that might bring a little bit of money to the table. And that's still dependent on the movie still dependent on the genre. So dependent on a bunch of because I know films have won Sundance couldn't get sold and that was 10 years ago. When and that's still I think that's a holdover from the 90s though because in the 90s you put up a Sundance Laurel it was sold

John Kim 1:29:46
You also the DVDs to write so again, right different world it's a different world but you know, so if someone comes to me and says, Hey, man, I want these all I was like, Okay, who's in it? Nobody. Oh, what is the greatest I was like, oh, Okay, sorry. Go go go to someone who is going to tell you they're gonna make a lot of money on that movie, but I ain't taking it. Right. I know, because I I've tested this crap myself, you know, to the point of where I am joking, like putting a Jackie Chan it's calling a car, you know, Jackie Chan's Film Festival for grandma. So all the morals, and I've had, you know what I thought were like, Okay, this sounds pretty good winner of this, you know, in a big market film festival like major market, you know, and I couldn't, I couldn't give it away. Right? Because all those films and no one's buying and I'm in the mood tonight to watch a winner of this. The Timbuktu felt so good to watch this video, I made a movie based on that no consumer does.

Alex Ferrari 1:30:41
Right. Now it's a small, it's a small market of film of film lovers. That might care. But that markets so small, little, track them down

John Kim 1:30:52
And just call them up and say watch my movie, because I know you'd like these kind of

Alex Ferrari 1:30:55
Criterion Collection couldn't make their streaming service work. They go. And they are Criterion Collection. Like they switched it over they they joined another service, because they just couldn't make it work financially. And that says everything you need, because criteria collection means something to a very small group of film lovers. You know, you and I both know who Criterion Collection is. But if you walk down the street 9.9 out of 10 people are not going to give a crap about a Criterion Collection release. They don't care. So not that there's anything wrong with that, but they understand their lane and they do it very well. As far as the distributor is concerned Criterion Collection like they, you know, and that's another feather in the cap. If you got a movie, one of your movies and Criterion Collection you go. I'm there with Richard Linklater, I'm there with Kurosawa. I'm there with Coppola there with all this kind of stuff. So it's, listen, it's been a fantastic conversation. I have a couple questions I asked all my guests I want to I want to ask you before we go. This is these are fun, though. These are fun. What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life?

John Kim 1:32:06
Man, that's that's, that's, that's deep. That's what we all go personal on that I'll just go. I'll just go film. Sure. I'll just go film and every every movie has a price. And just because, you know, you you think that it's worth something doesn't mean it's what the majority thinks. Right. And I think that that's the arrogance of major studios, you know, that make decision making based on on you know, the head saying I know this and you know, that's how quickies happen. Right? Yeah, they're not very worrying. They're ignoring, you know, what reality what the heartland what people want. I mean, they could care less about Steven Spielberg. You know, he's, he's a legend of filmmaking. But you know what, today's to the younger consumers today. It's like, who's Grandpa is this? I don't care. I ain't gonna pay more we care.

Alex Ferrari 1:33:04
We care about like, Oh, my God, let's go see West Side Story. And nobody loves the West Side Story

John Kim 1:33:08
And what happened right?

Alex Ferrari 1:33:10
And it was an Oscar nominee. And it was an Oscar nominated film. And everyone says it was like an amazing piece of cinematic. And it didn't do well.

John Kim 1:33:19
Exactly. And Steven Spielberg is, is the father of filmmaking. That is a perfect sample. So again, just you have to divorce yourself, you know, and just because what you think doesn't mean that's what everybody else in the world thinks, right? So every film has, at the same time, like I said, I have movies where I'm embarrassed to be selling them. They're not on my website. But they're selling millions. Okay? So it goes both ways. And you just have to be able to, like, try to divorce your own emotions and your own involvement. I mean, Spielberg Yeah, that's great. And then look at the marketplace, no reaction whatsoever, right or Academy Award back to the film festival. Okay, so how did that translate? So back to like, if the greatest filmmaker in the history of mankind is having that how are you stack up to that, you know, in your budget in your filmmaking abilities, and they can't work? And it can't work? Right. I mean, it's a hard, hard lesson to learn to accept that fact. Right, okay. You're telling me you really are like you're better than Spielberg? No, I'm not. Well, you're asking me to make more money than Spielberg. That's just your deep silence. Crickets. Again, I'm not in the business of Doctor No, I don't want to kill anyone's dreams. I don't even want to have this conversation with anybody that just even thinks this.

Alex Ferrari 1:34:42
Hopefully. So hopefully, this interview, you could just send this to people. This is you. Here's, here's me. Here's everything I'm gonna say to you. Watch it, don't watch it. It's up to you.

John Kim 1:34:56
Whole length is short to have these

Alex Ferrari 1:35:00
That's why you do it with someone

John Kim 1:35:02
That doesn't want to hear it. Oh, but my Aunt Millie likes this. Oh, but this this is different than

Alex Ferrari 1:35:07
That Millie have 10 million she wants to throw out your way because last question three of your favorite films of all time.

John Kim 1:35:18
Oh my goodness!

Alex Ferrari 1:35:19
Come on three of your three that come to your mind today.

John Kim 1:35:23
Today. I can't you know what it's become such a widget to me that

Alex Ferrari 1:35:29
I'll go back to the young, the young man who love for this business before you got jaded.

John Kim 1:35:37
Jaws. So jaws. Right? Yeah. So yeah, so again, it's all that baggage of all that and then, you know, now it's like, I'm going back to the last one to use that. But but he Okay, back in when I didn't even know about, you know, Hollywood and all that. Okay, very good. But yeah, it's just one painful to like. Because there's just, there's just so many like, you know, I saw so many movies now. It's just I, I am not the film critic, and I am not a film producer. And I could care less about the storyline are, you know, the beautiful special? That's not me. I just, that's why I can't even like answer your question other than Jaws, which was when I was like, you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:36:22
Look John, it sounds to me that you you're journeyman, you've gone through this business a while you've seen a lot of carcasses along the way. And you've seen dreams get shattered, you've seen egos get destroyed, you've seen, you've seen successes as well, you've seen people do well and grow in this business as well. But you've seen too much, to not look at things differently. And it's similar to me where I just been through so much in my career, that when when young filmmakers or new filmmakers that could be 65. And show up by the way, I talked to many of those who show up and have no understanding, they might have been a doctor that had money and I want to be a really what I really want to do is direct, and they show up and they just get destroyed. Because it don't understand what they're walking into. And I always use the analogy of a fight. Whereas most people, most filmmakers walk into this business not knowing that they're walking into a ring. And you're walking in with Mike Tyson in 1987. And most people don't even know that they're in a ring, let alone an arena, let alone in a fight. And all of a sudden, while they're walking around going look at the pretty lights. Mike Tyson comes in and knocks them out. And they're like, and they're like, what happened? Where did this come from? And that's what I'm here to do is to let you know you are entering your inner ring with Mike Tyson and 1987 is to prepare prepare yourself for the punch. Because and I always say this too. I don't care who you are. You always get punched. We just talking about Steven Spielberg. He got punched, he got an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, and multiple other nominations. And he still got punched, everybody gets hit. But if I make but if I may quote the great Rocky Balboa, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. There you go. I gotta get him on the show. One day. I really because I know sly wood. Because you want to talk about a journeyman Holy crap. Can you imagine what slides gone through in his career? Oh my god.

John Kim 1:38:31
No, but let me just since you're talking about about about Sly Stallone, I want to just just say this story because it's also illustrative what we're just talking about going up. I watch rocky every day. I wasn't I wasn't. I was drinking the eggs. I was like doing. I was good. I was you know, in the tiger.

Alex Ferrari 1:38:53
Why the tiger? I have the tiger.

John Kim 1:38:55
Right. So then dial it back 30 years and then I have my own son who was also playing tennis, you know, at a high level nationally ranked, you know, top 100 in the country and like okay, maybe you could kind of watch rocky mint got right. And he's like, No, I don't want you for three years. I was telling you to watch Rocky. You gotta watch the car. Watch. This is a greatest movie. So finally I think is my birthday is I'm fine. I'll watch Rocky. Okay. We pop it in. We're watching it. And you know, we he's in the pet store and he's talking about you know, they will start fighting until like, an hour later. He goes, this is boring. And I'm watching it. I'm like one. This is boring. You know, things have changed. And you know, so things have changed. And then my point is it took me three years and I had my son to like, I'm not giving the car to make him watch it. He only watched it because it's my birthday. Right? It is hard to get To someone to watch a movie, right? That it's hard and then even when I got him to watch it because this is boring

Alex Ferrari 1:40:09
Because you needed to start with Rocky for much faster, much faster, much faster rocky three much fat and then Rocky Balboa even. Yeah, yeah, there you go. So Rocky was a drama Rocky's a drama.

John Kim 1:40:25
So it's like today's consumers don't have three years and a father like hammering him to watch a movie.

Alex Ferrari 1:40:33
Did he like it? Right? Did they enjoy the rest of the movie? Did you watch the rest of the movie?

John Kim 1:40:39
We turned it off. Oh my god, I died.

Alex Ferrari 1:40:43
I was eating raw eggs. Okay, you died a little bit that day.

John Kim 1:40:47
And then I watched and he goes, this sucks. I'm like, Oh my gosh. And I just kind of see where his point was. Right. That's how much things have changed from when we're just talking about the D days today. To today's consumer, if they're in a killing in like the opening credits, you lost the consumer. That's why dramas don't work in general, because these today's kids, and they could care less if it's on a big screen or a two inch screen. It's not like our days when we needed to be on the big screen.

Alex Ferrari 1:41:18
It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter a lot. So now the world is AVOD. It could be watched on an iPhone. It doesn't have to be in the theater. Film Festivals don't really have that much in the market anymore. All these kinds of things. That world has changed so much. And I hope this conversation has shaken people to the core a little bit and really opened people's eyes about what this market place is right now. Because in six months, something else might come out and then a year.

John Kim 1:41:48
And that's not an exaggeration, because

Alex Ferrari 1:41:52
I remember when I went to AFM like three or four years ago, and everybody was talking about Ott, oh, everyone's OTT Oh TTL TTL. TT, and then afterwards like oh, it's that's my that's my that's my that's fine. And then Avod, Avod, Avod, Avod. Everyone's just trying to figure it out. Even the professionals don't know what the hell's going on.

John Kim 1:42:09
YouTube is the next thing.

Alex Ferrari 1:42:13
I've been hearing I've been hearing about YouTube, from my friends in the distribution space for a while. I'm going to do an episode about YouTube in the future. And that's the ultimate like if you think AVOD is like the end of the road. YouTube is an insult to a filmmaker, or it's an it's an insult to throw. Because that's where cat videos go.

John Kim 1:42:32
No, that's I was there. But now I am not. I am a proponent I saw in my own checkbook. Bam. It is the future when you think about it to make money. You got to zig when everyone is zagging. You got to be there before but I was there five years before we were in the Avon thing I had all those contacts because everyone's making fun of it. Myself included when I was at Paramount. Now everyone's going apparently Avon now that's getting now that's gonna get crowded. We never too busy everybody comes in YouTube is the next big when everyone's laughing and wait

Alex Ferrari 1:43:03
Until the studio's finally jump onto YouTube. And then it's again

John Kim 1:43:09
With what's the next thing

Alex Ferrari 1:43:11
What's the what's the next thing? Oh videos on Snapchat? I don't know. Like I have no idea. I have no idea it's it's so amazing. But I really John, I want to thank you so much for your time my friend thank you so much for your so your CAD being so candid and your rawness about the conversation and I hope this helps some filmmakers and please send this this interview to all the filmmakers that you talk to you guys if you want the truth just I'm not gonna do this watch the video just watch the video. This is not my business. This is Alex teaches. I don't teach just go there. Thank you so much.

John Kim 1:43:50
Thank you. Thank you

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IFH 583: Are Film Festivals Worth It Anymore? with Slamdance Co-Founder Dan Mirvish

Dan Mirvish is a director, screenwriter, producer and author. His new feature, 18½, a 70s Watergate thriller/dark comedy is already an award-winner on the festival circuit and will be coming out commercially Summer 2022. The film stars Willa Fitzgerald, John Magaro, Vondie Curtis Hall, Catherine Curtin, Richard Kind, Sullivan Jones and the voices of Ted Raimi, Jon Cryer and Bruce Campbell as Nixon.

Prior to that, Dan directed the award-winning, critically-acclaimed feature Bernard and Huey, scripted by Oscar/Pulitzer-winner Jules Feiffer, and starring Oscar-winner Jim Rash and David Koechner which screened in over 30 film festivals on 5 continents, had a nationwide US theatrical release, and sold to over 49 countries. Dan is the author of the bestselling non-fiction book The Cheerful Subversive’s Guide to Independent Filmmaking: From Preproduction to Festivals and Distribution from Focal Press/Routledge.

The fully updated, post-pandemic 2nd Edition starting selling on July 6, 2021 and hit #1 on Amazon’s New Releases chart. His film Between Us, an award-winning feature starring Julia Stiles and Taye Diggs, played in 23 festivals in 7 countries, and got a 50+ city theatrical release in the US, and sold to 144 countries, plus screening on Netflix, Showtime, Starz and all digital outlets.

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Dan was mentored by Robert Altman on his first film, Omaha (the movie), which led him to co-found the upstart Slamdance Film Festival. His film Open House prompted the Academy Awards to controversially rewrite their rules on the Best Original Musical category. Mirvish also co-wrote his bestselling, critically-acclaimed novel I Am Martin Eisenstadt based on the fake McCain advisor who took credit for Sarah Palin not knowing Africa was a continent.

A former speechwriter for U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, Dan has a master’s degree from USC film school, is a member of the Directors Guild of America, has guest lectured at more than 45 film schools and universities and was named as one of Variety’s Top 50 Creatives to Watch.

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Alex Ferrari 0:09
I'd like to welcome back to the show returning champion, Dan Mirvish. How you doing, Dan?

Dan Mirvish 1:04
Good to see you, Alex. Thanks for having me.

Alex Ferrari 1:07
Of course brother, of course. You know you've been on the show a couple times. I mean, we've you were in my last movie.

Dan Mirvish 1:12
Yes. My book was in your last movie.

Alex Ferrari 1:18
But it's maybe your book was in my last movie. You were my last movie. You gave me a great little blurb at the end the back of Rise of the film trip earner. And we've partied a bit over at Sundance back when we could do things like that you could back in the olden days, but I appreciate you coming on man. So for everybody who doesn't know who that Dan Mirvish is, can you give them a quick little rundown on your history and what you what you did and what you're doing?

Dan Mirvish 1:46
Sure. I like most people I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and, you know, went to but I majored in History and Political Science only did a little bit of film as an undergrad, like super a class and some summer classes at UCLA, then worked in DC for a couple years as a Senate speech writer, then went to USC film school, and got my master's degree there. And while I was there, instead of a short film for a thesis film, I did a feature film called Omaha that movie. And I think I was the first student to figure out the loopholes to do a feature film there. and was lucky enough to be mentored by Robert Altman on that film. And then of course, that film didn't get into Sundance. So I helped co found the slam dance Film Festival in January 95. And still stayed involved with that up till now. And and then meanwhile, I've just kept making indie films along the way and written a couple of books to read the couple editions of the cheerful subversives guide to independent filmmaking. Which, thanks to you, Alex, and your advice is now available also as an audiobook. So thank you for that. And but yeah, but mainly every, you know, three or four or five years, however long between movies I make independent film. So I've done a couple of musicals. I did a film called open house. There was a real estate musical, which was we helped change the rules of the Academy Awards, which is a whole other long story. I did a play adaptation called between us with Julius Stiles and Taye Diggs and David harbor and Melissa George. And the last film I did was called Bernard Huey, which was written by Jules Feiffer, and had David Cameron and Jim Rashon. And then this film 18 and a half, which is an original script I wrote with my friend Daniel Moya. And, you know, he wrote the screenplay, we came up the story together. And but it's upset around the time of Watergate, and it's about a young woman who gets a hold of the missing 18 and a half and a gap in the Nixon tapes and tries to leak it to a reporter and they run afoul of swingers hippies and nefarious forces out to get them

Alex Ferrari 3:56
Well, I'm sure back in the day, looking in hindsight that Sundance wishes that they accepted your film

Dan Mirvish 4:05
Well, eventually it played on the Sundance Channel and in their program notes it actually said and the film played at Sundance, so yeah, I guess they sort of retro actively. Go figure.

Alex Ferrari 4:19
So I wanted to talk to you a little bit about before we get into your do you film 18 and a half I wanted to talk to you about film festivals because you know you you started one of the larger film festivals in the in the country, arguably in the world and one of the easily the top 10 film festivals that actually mean something in the world today slam dance. What is the biggest mistake that you see filmmakers make with Film Festival submissions in general,

Dan Mirvish 4:43
I think just submitting blindly you know, onto film freeway or something or you know, or similar things without any kind of introduction or follow up or connection to the festival is I think that that is a big mistake, you know, or then not doing research on if it's even the right fit for your film. I think that's another kind of related mistake. I think that you know, and it doesn't mean that you have to know someone ahead of time, but you need to try to get to know someone, you know, and reach out to them personally, one way or another, not an intrusive way. But you know, and really say, you know, is this film, the right fit for your festival? Generally speaking, and but then really what that does is it gets the, it gets your name a little bit, you know, floating in their consciousness, like, oh, yeah, that was a person that emailed me or called me or ran into me at another festival. And, you know, and yeah, I'll take their film a little bit more seriously. So I think I think that's the thing is, I think just submitting blindly just doesn't, you know, to any festival is just lowers your odds tremendously. And yeah, so any kind of personal connection you can make to the festival director, the programming director, the artistic director, depending on what the title is, but then also just to help narrow down the number of festivals you're going to submit to because it can get expensive, is do the research, find films that were similar to your own film and genre and length and style? From like, a year or two before and see, where did they apply to? Where did they play? Where did they get in and either contacted the filmmakers or just look on their websites? Usually, you can kind of figure that out. And then, you know, and then at some point, find out, was it good for those filmmakers? Was it a good festival? Was it worthwhile? And in what ways was it worthwhile because, you know, not every festival is going to have a million distributors, you know, you know, hungry to take your film. But there's plenty of festivals that you're going to have great experiences that meet other filmmakers, you meet investors go on a vacation. You know, there's a lot of great reasons to go to a lot of different festivals, and they're not always the same reasons.

Alex Ferrari 7:00
Now, do you? Do you think that it's important for filmmakers? Because I've seen this mistake happen too many times in my films over the years have gotten I think, five or 600 film festivals, I think at this point in the game, back in the day since oh, five when I started submitting to festivals, 18 1805, obviously, even 1905. But But do you believe that it's helpful to have a nice presence on the web, have a trailer have like make your film look a little bit bigger than it truly might be purely through the web through just through your web presence, a nice poster, these kinds of things to make the festival look at it and go, oh, there's some there's something here. There's more value here than just another film from another filmmaker?

Dan Mirvish 7:49
Yeah, definitely. Because you know, every festival programmer at some point and maybe with, you know, when they're first looking at your film, or or when they're making their final decisions, they're going to Google you, you know, and make sure you're not weird, but and yeah, and then you know, they want and they'll all look at IMDb Pro and make, you know, see if you can get your film on there or Wikipedia or whatever it is. And and even if it's a short have a trailer for the short, you know, it doesn't matter, even if it's a one minute short, make a 10 second teaser. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, everybody should be doing things like that. Yeah, I think absolutely. Right. Yeah. Give it as much info as you can.

Alex Ferrari 8:33
No, I have to ask you the question. Because, you know, I've said this so many times on the show before, but I'd love to hear your opinion on it. It's there, you know, film festivals, like filmmakers still think that film festivals have the power that they did back in the 90s and early 2000s. Were back in the day in the 90s. When you got into Sundance, it truly meant, it still means something today, but it was like you were gonna get sold. Just because you got into Sundance or because you have a laurel on your poster, a distributor is going to have a better chance getting it out there, you're gonna make more money with it. But those days are kind of, in my opinion kind of gone to a certain extent. What value does the film festival even the top five or 10 have to the bottom line, not experiences. Because you and I both know Sundance and go to Park City is and slam dance. It is amazing. It's so much fun. You meet people. So there's a lot of other benefits. There's there's lectures, there's webinars, seminars, all this kind of stuff. I'm talking about the bottom line as far as an investment is concerned. Because filmmakers have that kind of delusion that like oh, if I win if I get into Sundance or Sundance or South by or something. It's an automatic where I know and you know, filmmakers who've won Sundance one slam dance one South by one all these and their films didn't get sold or put the needle so what's your opinion on that?

Dan Mirvish 9:54
Well, I think you know, I differ a little bit with you. I think it is still important. I mean, I remember in 95 for directly, you know, fall of 94, your distributors saying, oh, that's we love your film, we want to pick it up for distribution if it gets into Sundance, right, and if it doesn't, we don't. And they were very matter of fact about it cut to, you know, 2000 or one year we 2020 2020 2022. And I still have distributors have the exact same conversation with me, oh, we really love your film. But you know, if it really got if it had played in Sundance or South by or Cannes or Berlin, yeah, we would have picked it up for distribution. But if not, we're not going to now. But the reverse isn't true. I think that's what you're hitting on is that you can still get into Sundance, you can still get into South by and still not get distribution. It's not it, it's, and even in the 90s, that wasn't a guarantee at Sundance either. There were still films that weren't getting picked up. So it's a little bit of a myth in that regard. But if you don't get into those top festivals, it is very, very difficult. Now that said, I've never gotten my homes into Sundance, I have gotten my films into South by but back in 95, when South by was just in second year, so it didn't really mean as much then. But I think what I've been able to do with most of my films, really, pretty much all my films is that is to play at the kind of the next tear down the the a minus and the B plus festivals, and somehow managed to create enough buzz and momentum from a volume of festivals and accumulating awards, audience awards, jury awards, you know, critical reviews, blurbs. And eventually you can get some distributors, someone to pay attention to you in a way that that even just, you know, a failed film at Sundance may not even get that attention. And certainly that was the case with 18 and a half we started playing, you know, last fall. We premiered at the Woodstock Film Festival, which is great film festival, but it's it's not an ageless festival. But it's it's it's certainly respectable. And you know, but also it was partially by design and partially by luck. Yeah, there was this trough between the Delta variant and the and the Omicron variant. I remember that trough where you could have live festivals, you know, because for a year all festivals are virtual, and then they all thought they were going to be back live in 2021. And then delta happen and then it was like, whoo, hang on a second, you know, Toronto was was virtual then. But then, you know, there was about a two month gap there and we're like, you know what, we just finished the film. We're gonna go hard and heavy into festival circuits. We did like 10 festivals in two months. In the US, you know, we won the top prize at Tallgrass in Wichita, we which actually came with money, which was amazing. We played internationally, the International premiere was at Sao Paulo International Film Festival, went to Europe in Spain for the European premiere at the home Film Festival, which is like the third biggest festival in Spain, but around the US, Rome International in Rome, Georgia. And we won a prize, Anchorage, St. Louis, you know, a bunch of festivals, and, and it was based on on those wards and that presence and that kind of geographical spread that we had to prove that it wasn't just a US centric film, Whistler Canada that was there was a Canadian premiere, that based on that we literally that's what got us a distribution deal with a European London based sales agent, international sales agent called one on one film that also does direct VOD distribution in both North America and and and England and the UK and Ireland. And then once we got that, then we got a theatrical distributor, and an airline distributor and a DVD. Blu ray distributor as separate split.

Alex Ferrari 13:55
Do you split? You split up all your deal? Yeah, split up all your rights. Exactly, exactly. So I wanted to kind of point that out to people is that a lot of filmmakers think that you have to just give all your rights to the one distributor. That is not true. I mean, some of them asked for it. Right? But but if you can carve out like not everyone, no one's gonna do airline, if they're not specializing an airline, no one's going to do do theatrical now unless they specialize in that or have strength in it, or DVD, or you know, or or VRS VOD or a bot or T matar and there's 1000 rights that you can give away, you can carve up and then there's International and different countries and things like that. So that's a really great lesson for everyone listening is that you really should think about how you carve out those rights. But also going back to the festival circuit, I agree with you 100% That because I couldn't get into any of the big festivals when I was starting out at all. So what I did, I did the exact same thing on my first short was in 185. And I just stopped Yeah, just after like a year and a half or two years of it because I I submitted to different time periods 2005. But I just kept, and I didn't pay I refuse to pay after like, 40 of them. I was like, Yeah, I'm not paying, right. So I just kept going in there. So it was this volume. Then everyone just said, Jesus, it's gotten into like 100 film festivals, or it's gotten to so many that you lack of quality, you get a quantity. And it helps. So like when I was watching your trailer, I saw with 20 Film Festival laurels all at once, which was impressive. And I recognized in the time that a flash fires like Oh, there I know that festival, and then it was gone. But I knew and I was like, Oh, that's a really great technique on how to use film festivals. Because Film Festival, just other people one Laurel or two laurels. You just like Nah, man, we did 20 film festivals and boom, and so that

Dan Mirvish 15:52
In a global pandemic, you know? Yeah, yeah, cuz after that fall trough, we then did this spring trough tour, you know, between Omicron and world war three, there was a nice little trough of

Alex Ferrari 16:08
Yes, of course, we can't forget world war three, right? Forget or worth three as well. That's, uh, we're joking about it. But we're not really it's not a joke at all about what's going on but and God forbid, knows what the hell that's gonna end up being. But But yeah, so you're I agree with you. And I think we're both on the same page. Because that myth of like, Oh, you just get into Sundance. It's sold is false. But it's still in today's marketplace. Getting into Sundance is great. It's better than not, but the film has to be marketable.

Dan Mirvish 16:45
The film. Exactly. And, and the other thing too, is that, you know, I had a, I had a pretty good feeling, probably more than most people that Sundance wasn't gonna be live this year. You know, they only canceled it before. Claim dance, we canceled like, three weeks before, because we knew, but But even you know, when I was deciding to play Woodstock, I already had enough clues that I you know, this film wasn't going to get in, it wasn't either going to get into Sundance and if it dig in, and Sundance Sundance wasn't going to be live. And if it's not live, you know, I mean, at the end of the day, we're filmmakers we want to engage with an audience you know, for film is virtual, but nobody knows you played it virtually, did you really play it's like the Trojan horse. So I was I'm a big believer, like, go to where ever the audience is, however, you can do it to drive in, if it's a, if it's virtual, but you can engage with an audience great, go for it. But But yeah, I wasn't going to wait around for a virtual festival that I knew I probably wasn't gonna get into. Because also just keep in mind, in these days, 2020, most festivals are showing half as many films as they did before. And meanwhile, there's a backlog of twice as many films trying to get in. So you actually have a 25% of one quarter chance of getting into any given festival than you might have two years ago. So which means you have to apply to four times as many festivals to hope to get into anything. And you've got to be nimble, because festivals are changing. They're like, Oh, we're gonna be live. No, no, there's a new variant, we're gonna go virtual. You know, a festival may call you up a week before and go, Oh, we have a slot that just opened up, do you want to play here, and you've got to be nimble and flexible, and say, You know what, I can't go but my composer can go like he went to Brazil on my behalf or my cinematographer went to Wichita to, you know, represent the film and at Tallgrass, and we wound up winning, I should send her to everything, you know. So you just have to be nimble about all this stuff and just go wherever makes sense it at any given time, but if you wait around for that six months to get rejected from an alias festival, you're gonna be waiting around for another six months for the next day this festival to reject you. So you know, if you can, if you can get out there and somehow find an audience one way or another, do it.

Alex Ferrari 18:59
Now, how many submissions do you guys get and slam dance still? Do you do do you? Are you still like involved heavily or not?

Dan Mirvish 19:07
No, I especially when you know, because we're all filmmakers by unemployed filmmakers, for unemployed filmmakers isn't our motto. And so now when I've been working on my own films, I'm not involved with the programming at all, thankfully. Because it is so time consuming, but it's all done by alumni. So it's nice to get different people every year to be programmers. But we get like 1000 submissions. I mean, I think most of those are shorts, but But it's, it's it's a it's a lot. And you know, and at that level, you know, it's kind of a crapshoot, whether you get in or not, you know, that it's not about how good your film is, because there's a lot of other good films applying to, you know, same with Sundance, you know, at least with slam dance. It's it's, there's no politicking it's, it's there's no early invitations, we don't you know, it doesn't matter if you know, someone or don't know, someone, Sundance that, you know, honestly, their problem is that I think their problem now is that they have so many labs, that they're They wind up obligated to show all these lab films that take up half the slots, or more than half the slots, whether the rooms are good or bad, they kind of have to take them. And so there just aren't as many, you know, and then whatever politicking that goes on as well, you know, that could be a whole podcast, but there just aren't that many, like, openly available slots anymore. And you just have to know that going in and realize your chances are slim to next to none.

Alex Ferrari 20:24
And just so people understand that there is no politics at slam slam dance. I know you. Well, you were in my movie. And that movie did not get into slam dance. That's so. So I mean, the you know, oh, and I shot part of the movie at Slamdance. So no, sorry, does it so there's no politicking so I firsthand experience. There are no politics. It's all good. It's it's that the whole film was such a fun process to go. It's super fun. So can you can you touch a touch upon the economics of film festivals? I think a lot of filmmakers don't understand what it really takes to put on a festival, what the costs are where they make their money. Is it a break? Even Is it a for profit, like all these things, I think if at least from your point of view, doing this for so long?

Dan Mirvish 21:49
So yeah, I mean, and it is good for filmmakers to think about it, like from that perspective. So festivals, most festivals make their money or support their budget, and they don't, most of them are nonprofits or don't profits. But they make them money, their their income from either box office sales at the festival itself, sponsorship either from their local community or, or businesses, or some combination thereof. And submission fees, those those tend to be the the three big I think that's I think that's it and remind me if there's anything else, but merchandise Much, much yeah, and a little bit of merchandise and merch if they can sell, those tend to be the three big drivers of of their things. So if there's a, you know, if there's a global pandemic, or economic downfall or whatever, you know, that's going to impact festivals in different ways, depending on on what they are. I mean, if they're, if 70% of their income comes from Box Office, and there is no box office there, they're tanked. And a lot of festivals went under, you know, or went dormant during the pandemic because of that. But on the other hand, if there is, a higher percentage of their budget comes from submission fees, then then you can survive a little bit longer, just economically, but but the relevant thing to filmmakers is to think about well, all those festivals, especially the ones that are particularly reliant on sponsorship and box office, they need big name actors in their films, they need big name directors to show up and do Q and A's. Just as like, it took me like 20 years to figure this out, like, oh, what's the point of getting stars in your film, like name actors? It's not just to get distribution, it's to get into festivals, too. And there's a reason for it. They, you know, they're trying to get people in their doors and get people to give them money. So once you realize that, like, what then then it makes you realize, okay, what can I offer to that festival? Like, okay, if I have big names, great, you know, if I have, but even just to say it's a premiere, you know, even a short film, you know, to say, oh, it's the Carolina premiere, or the North Dakota premiere, whatever premiere it is, make something up, you know, because that's something that the festival can then use to, to generate some excitement about that film.

Alex Ferrari 24:04
You know, it's really interesting, too, because when I had my film, some of my films had some stars in it and, and people involved in it, and they, in fact, had festivals, like, will that person show up? Before I got accepted? Yeah. That will be the determining factor, essentially. And that's the politics of behind the scenes stuff. Like I've literally had phone calls like will that combat actor show up? And if he can, we have another one done? The next movie online has another actor of similar caliber? Yep. Yeah. And it's so it's not always about if the movie is good or not. Honestly,

Dan Mirvish 24:39
Or if you have a band, will the band play, you know, things like that.

Alex Ferrari 24:42
I remember I remember sitting down and 2000 506 and I had a shorts, shorts package at Sundance, and all of a sudden I see this horribly produced a horribly, horribly produced short film about Batman and Robin on a date Like bat, like Robins on a date and Batman kind of comes in and tries to steal is Robins date? That's basically the whole short, but and I'm like, this is horribly produced. It's bad. And then I'll go oh, well, it's Justin Long is Robin. And Sam Rockwell is Batman. Done.

Dan Mirvish 25:22
There you go. That's it.

Alex Ferrari 25:23
That was a perfect that was the that was the moment that I understood even back then I was like, Oh, these guys need asses and seats. Yep. They need star power as well. If it's not a if it's not actors, then it's a writer or it's a filmmaker, or it's someone of some sort of magnitude that they can bring on. And people other film festival people would love to see them talk or

Dan Mirvish 25:48
I mean, there's a reason. You know, Top Gun Maverick is playing a can. Right? Um, Cruise is there, you know, like,

Alex Ferrari 25:56
Oh, yeah, they called. Will Tom be there? Yeah. Okay. You can you can play. Yeah, you can play. It's George George Miller's new movie. Sure. Well, we'll play George. Right. It doesn't like it just George showing up. Sure. Like, yeah, absolutely. But that's the that's the thing that they don't tell filmmakers, you know, and so many filmmakers are so starry eyed about the process. And there's been so much myth over the years about film festivals, that I really want to kind of pull the curtain back a little bit like, Look, guys, look, this is the reality of what you're going to be dealing with. And now more than ever, things are changing so rapidly, like you were saying, Sunday's canceled. We had friends of mine, like, I booked hotels, I booked flights, I'm losing like it destroy me. Imagine remember South By. Right. And the pandemic blew and blew up?

Dan Mirvish 26:42
Yeah, we shooting 18 and a half at the time. We were like Southwest closed.

Alex Ferrari 26:46
Wow. Like that. After they sold tickets? Yeah. Yeah. I'm surprised that they did not. They were big enough of a festival, because the film festival is like this big, comparatively to exactly the rest of South, which is everything else. So they can handle it. But still, it was pretty. So in the world that we're living today it's not, you know, it's not what everything's always the same. It's changing so, so dramatically. Now, I have to ask you, because you've been around the block, you've been around the block a couple of times. A couple of times, you've you've worked with distributors in the past, I'm assuming that every distributor ever in your life has paid you promptly and has not, has not taken has not taken advantage of you in any way, shape, or form,

Dan Mirvish 27:30
I believe the phrase you're looking for is every distributor has gone bankrupt. So I think that was more.

Alex Ferrari 27:39
And then they reopened a week later under a new name, right? Yeah. And then they buy your and then they buy your your, your the catalog for pennies on the dollar under the new brand. And now they only 100% Things like that, right. So that's, that's another thing too is a lot of filmmakers go to film festivals hoping that the the almighty distributor will come down from Mount Hollywood and write them a big fat check. And they don't have to worry about anything. But in your experience, even in today's world, the fat check doesn't really exist. The ng is very difficult to get nowadays, unless you got major star power or a different level in film for an MG to make sense. You have big stars action, or are certain genres that kind of get those things. But what's your experience with that right now?

Dan Mirvish 28:23
Well, I, I, shockingly, I got a not a huge mg, but an MG is basically minimum guarantee or in advance. We did get one from one of our distributors. So the international sales company, God bless him. And honestly, that was a big reason we went with him because the reality is, you know, some people look at these contracts, and they're like, whoa, I'm getting a bigger percentage on the back end. And this one compared to this other one, I was like, Dude, you're never gonna see that. You know, like, if you're getting any money upfront, take it, cuz that's all you're gonna see. And, you know, and it's not just because distributors are going to actively screw you a lot of times they just passively Screw you. They're like, you know, they can be trying as hard as you are. But they're just not good at it. Or they just go bankrupt. You know, it's like, we tried sorry.

Alex Ferrari 29:10
I love that. I love the term passively. Screw you. That is brilliant.

Dan Mirvish 29:15
Yeah, I don't know

Alex Ferrari 29:17
It's not it's not every distributor is twisting nefarious. Yeah. Twisting their mustache by haha, but not all. Yeah, some and arguably many. But, but there are that just, they just, you're right. Don't know what they're doing. Couldn't figure it out. The market shifted their marketing plan or their bid, their release plan was like DVD and it's 2020.

Dan Mirvish 29:42
Or one of them dies. I mean, that's happened, you know, like, so.

Alex Ferrari 29:47
So again with the film so again, with the film festival aspect, the reason I'm bringing that up is because I want filmmakers to understand that film festivals, looking for a distributor to film festival. Yeah, it's great and it's nice, but if you can get an MGB get some money. But it's not the end all be all again, I love the way you're looking at it more. So we're like you're you're building quantity of film festivals for your movie, which, by the way, make sense? As a film festival style movie is an RD kind of film in that sense. You know what I mean? entertaining, and entertaining? No, but our rd was entertaining. But it plays at festivals where a horror movie doesn't really benefit maybe a little bit here and there, depending on the festival.

Dan Mirvish 30:30
Yeah, I mean, there's a whole there's a whole circuit of of genre festivals now that's becoming just as big or bigger. But the other thing, I think that's interesting that the pandemic is kind of accelerated is the kind of the fuzziness between festivals and art house theaters, which is to say, Now, there's a lot more festivals that are doing revenue sharing, I just got to check yesterday festival, I didn't even know what I was doing revenue share. And I was like, Wow, this I wasn't expecting, I mean, if it wasn't for a lot, but it was for something. And also a lot of festivals are doing year round programming. So even if you don't get into the festival, they may still program you six months later. So you have to be nice to everyone when they reject you. And then likewise, a lot of art house theaters are doing more with Q and A's and zoom Q and A's and, and bringing filmmakers in so there's it's getting a little fuzzy, but you know, there is some revenue you can make. I mean, we've made money on our festival circuit, I mean, bottom line, you know, between awards and revenue sharing that not a lot, but something.

Alex Ferrari 31:29
Yeah. And you know what, I think that is you're right, because it's there, everyone's just trying to survive. So they understand that like a week of film festivals, probably not going to, you know, pay the nut. So we're going to have to do things differently stand out,

Dan Mirvish 31:44
Or they buy theaters, and then they become urine programmers themselves.

Alex Ferrari 31:48
Right! Exactly. They could start making money and then they then there's a revenue sharing person now the filmmakers incentivized to work with them not only for exposure, because maybe it won't be the moment of all the press and attention on that week or two weeks that they're they're running their festival. But now it's a business deal. Okay, we'll run your movie. It's a rev share. Do you want to do it? In Omaha? Yes. Why wouldn't you

Dan Mirvish 32:13
No, I mean, five days ago, we had a screening in Annapolis that was run by the Annapolis Film Festival, which we for whatever reason, we I think I forgot to apply. But they do a year round programming. And that was a revenue share screening, you know, we did as a sneak preview for the film. So yeah, there's a lot of great opportunities out there now.

Alex Ferrari 32:33
Now, tell me about your film 18 and a half, because when I mean, you would you can talk about this for a while now. And if anyone who knows, Dan, if you are in his circle, you will know when he's making a movie, you will know everything about that movie, you will know when he's filmed crowdfunding for it, you will know what has been released. You know, so all the as he drinks from his 18 and a half cup.

Dan Mirvish 32:58
Absolutely.

Alex Ferrari 32:59
So tell everybody what you think you already mentioned what the movie is about. But my one question I wanted to ask you about is how did you raise the money this time for a bunch of different ways?

Dan Mirvish 33:10
Yeah, so with most of my films, I start with crowdfunding. This one we did on seed and spark other films I've done on Kickstarter. And the goal is usually to raise about 10 or 15% of the budget that way, I mean, it's Kickstarter, not kick finisher seed and spark Not, not fire and seeds. Even fire. Yeah. So, um, and, you know, when you do, you know, like, like most people do, like a month long campaign, you know, for for that, and that's, you know, but really, the goal is not about the money. It's about building that community that 300 backers that you get, and you know, Dave, your old bass player, buddy from college may give you $40. But when he posts the video, on his Facebook page, and his brother in law, the Silicon Valley investor gives you $10,000 That's, that's the power of crowd funding. It's it's kind of the Trojan horse to then get you to slightly bigger levels. But the other thing that I do is I always work with a 501 C three as a fiscal sponsor. So the last couple of films has been the film collaborative, because they're one of the few ones that will work with narrative films, there's a lot more than two documentaries. And and I kind of use that as as almost more like a Patreon or only fans page where people can give money, you know, year round, or over the course of two or three years.

Alex Ferrari 34:25
So when you partner with when you partner with a 501 C, that means that they're nonprofits, so that that means it's tax deductible.

Dan Mirvish 34:32
Yeah, for the for the donor, because a lot of rich people, they just want a tax deduction right away, because you know, because I always tell them, Look, you're, you know, you and then the third thing is, is equity investment, like do you want to invest in the film? So I said, Well, look, you can invest in the film, but truthfully, you're not going to make your money back. So if you just want to get a tax write off now this year, then the other way to do it is you donate to the 501 C three, they keep 5% of it for administrative costs for their their kickback and then You get and then the filmmaker gets the rest of the money. And you never have to pay that money back. So it's kind of a win win for the donor, the fiscal sponsor and the filmmaker.

Alex Ferrari 35:09
What was the percent? What were the percentages of each year for the show?

Dan Mirvish 35:13
I think on this film, I think two thirds of the budget came did come from equity investors, from you know, investors. And then you know, that other third was kind of split between crowdfunding through seed and spark and, and and the fiscal sponsor, you know, for the most and yep, donations that came tax deductible donations. So it's, it's, it's winds up paying a fair percentage of it. And again, it can, just by giving people those options doesn't mean they're going to take them, but it shows that you're kind of honest and realistic about your expectations. Like, dude, I told you, you weren't gonna make money. If you want to roll the dice and invest. Great, I'll take it that way. But if you don't, I'll you know, and want to get the deduction this year, that's fine, too. And I think investors appreciate that, like, Okay, well, Dan gave me all the options and was realistic and told me all these distributors were gonna go bankrupt. And while they did, you know, so that's, you know, I put it right there in the business plan. And sure enough, that's what happens every time. So. But, you know, but they're all along for the ride. I mean, I still send them all the same updates and get the same, you know, they get same swag options. And, you know, and and they, you know, they all are part of that community that's building that film.

Alex Ferrari 36:29
That's, that's awesome. Now, casting, you have a pretty awesome cast for for this film. How do you I mean, I mean, obviously, people know who you are, you've done you have, you know, you have, you know, filmography now so it's not like you're starting from scratch. But do you just essentially cast the same way you cast any anybody would cast from you'd send out, call their agent up and go, Hey, or if you have a direct connection, you can try to go to a direct way, and then negotiate afterwards?

Dan Mirvish 36:57
Yeah, my, my kind of, and funny, you should say that there's a chapter in my book about how to get a list actors in a micro budget film, and the name of that books are in the name of the cheerful subversives guide to independent filmmaking. Now avail second edition, available and available on audiobook which I got, but a higher percentage of the print book. But yeah, the main thing I do that may be a little bit unique is I start with New York agents and New York agents, agencies and or the branches of Hollywood agencies in New York. And if you can get in with a junior agent, or an assistant that's about to hit agent, and ask them, they're like, don't come in with a pre existing list. Like, you may have one, but don't tell them about it. Say, look, I respect you, you went to Brown, you have accomplished degree, you know, you're paying back your finance, you know, your student debt. You must be smart, who do you think would be good? And all of a sudden, like, you're asking them their opinion and their advice, and, and then they come back in there pitching people to you, you're not begging people from them. And that just flips the dynamic. And that's exactly what happened on this film. It was a junior agent at one of the ATF paradigm, I think, who I'd worked with on the last film, so I knew him already. And and he had gotten me someone on the last film and on this film, he was like, Oh, you get Dan, you got you. You got to meet with Willa Fitzgerald. I was like Willa, who never heard of her, you know? And and he said, No, no, she's fantastic. Trust me, trust me. Trust me. I was like, Alright, fine. I was in New York. I met with her she was great. And and then I found that she'd been in a film that lucky McKee. It was an old friend of mine from the USC Rian Johnson days. He recommended her he said, Oh, yeah, she's great to work with and, and you know, and, you know, we went we thought considered other people along the way, but it kind of came back around to her, you know, week before shooting, and of course, you know, we shoot the film, she's great. She's wonderful to work with fantastic performance and then she winds up doing reacher afterwards and and just came out as that and shoots up to number two on the star meter like today, we never could have gotten there. But she's still great. You know, she's still wonderful, supportive actress. But I talked to a lot of other directors too. So I was thinking about John Magaro. And I reached out to Kelly Reichardt, who I know just a little bit but she, you know, she said, Oh, yeah, he was great. And first cow, you should cast him and I did you know? You know, someone like Jon Cryer, though, is someone that I met 30 years ago when he and Richard Shankman, were making indie films and they came up to me at a screening and said, Oh, how do you make Omaha the movie, you know, because they were making gone to Coney Island, you know, be back. And so I've kind of stayed in touch with him a little bit through Twitter, but we still had to go through his agency, even though I kind of knew him. You know, Bruce Campbell, who plays the voice of Nixon, you know, was someone that I had? We tried to get him on the last film and schedule didn't work out so I kind of same thing, but I knew his agent, and through his agent was able to get to him. And, you know, but also we made it easy for some of these guys for Bruce and for Ted Raimi and for Jon Cryer, we said, look, it's it's, it's a couple hours of work voiceover because it's there, the 18th, half and a gap. And it'll be sometime in post production, you don't even have to commit to a date at this point. And in the end, we wound up recording that during the pandemic, Jared, we had because we started shooting March 3 2020, what could possibly go wrong, we shot for 11 days had to shut down, we four days left to go. But in the process, we took a six month gap. And during that six months where nobody was doing anything, I was like, You know what, let's do the voice performance now. And let's do it over zoom. We don't have to worry about getting everyone in the same studio at the same time flying people in. It'll be cheaper, easier. They all had pretty decent mics by that point. And they were sitting around not doing anything.

Alex Ferrari 40:47
And it's on a tape that's supposed to be like it's supposed to be.

Dan Mirvish 40:50
Yeah, yeah. So it worked really well for us. But all of a sudden, like June of 2020, where no, no actors were doing anything like we were making part of our movie, you know, over zoom. But availability and schedule is a key thing. I mean, we were already a week into shooting the film. We didn't know who to have our actors were going to be because someone else had dropped out. And again, I called an agent who, who's the head of talent at gershenz guy, Alex Jarosz, who I knew because he was an assistant 20 years ago, and we used to hang out, make photocopies together, you know? And so having that those kinds of relationships, and I could say, Hey, dude, I need someone you know, in 36 hours. He's like, how about Bondi, Curtis all unlike me winter avanti. Cortisol? Yeah, you bet. You know, and sure enough, he shows up. And is amazing in the film, and a lovely absolute treat to work with. So I'm so developing these relationships with talent agents, as opposed to like lit agents. I haven't had my own agent in 15 or 20 years, you know, but having those kind of personal relationships with with agents and managers, you know, because they may have 20 clients. So even if the one person on your list can't do it, they may come back and suggest someone else. You know, that was, that's how I've gotten a lot of people over the years, including Julia Stiles, you know, for my movie between us is because she was in a play. The financing fell through two hours ago. She's completely distraught. And the agents like, do you want her in? Do you want me to send her the script? And I was like, yeah, 24 hours later, she says, Yes, two weeks later, she's in my kitchen rehearsing. Yeah. And so and that was something you know, we learned a little bit from Robert Altman was set that start date, tell everyone trains leaving the station and and see who shows up. You know,

Alex Ferrari 42:34
I have to ask you man, What was it like, you know, haven't haven't worked with Bob. Bob. Like, I know him. Robert, sir, if you will. What was it like having Trotman? You know, mentor you, man.

Dan Mirvish 42:46
Yeah. Well, it was, you know, it was a funny coincidence. I was, you know, I'm from Omaha. And when I went back to Omaha to shoot my film, and I said to the film commission, look, I know, actors here, but I need a local producer. And they say, well, there's this guy, Dana, who, you know, works construction during the day, but he's been producing commercials. He wants to get into, you know, features. So he doesn't have to pour some metal all the time. And they said, Oh, and by the way, his grandfather's Robert Altman, I said he's hired. And so And since then, Dana, and Dana has been Dana Altman still lives in Omaha, and actually lives on a farm outside of Omaha now, and it's still one of my producing partners. But we, you know, then Robert, and Bob, you know, came on board kind of as our mentor on that film, and then I got to know him a little bit after and spend a couple of days on the set of Kansas City watching him work, you know, and, yeah, I mean, it's it, you know, and there's still things that he did that I do, you know, miking every actor individually is a technique that he pioneered with mash and Nashville, and, and I 100% do it on every one of my films. And it's, it's more than just like miking individual actors, but it's also then encouraging them to Okay, now that you've got this mic, talk over each other, you know, like, do overlapping dialogue. And then all of a sudden, even though the script is pretty uncertainly on 80 and a half is a very well scripted script is not a lot of real improvisation, but it's but it's a much more naturalistic performances that you get out of actors by encouraging them to do that, and having the confidence in yourself that in editing, you can work with it, too. But it also means that you never have ADR so you never have those false ADR performances that you're falling back on, which most films do. So there was a lot of other the nuances that I learned from Altman more than just the technical technique, but the kind of the reasons why I mean, he said, point blank, he said, I don't want the lowest paid person on the crew, the boom operator to make the creative decisions about who I was going to listen to, and that's what it was like up until that and he's like, I'm the artist, I'm I want to do you know, I'm gonna be the one making that decision myself. So, I wish we really Blunt Talk, but it was it was true and then you know, and then he combined that With the kind of the wandering zoom lens, which, which I don't do as much of I use in 18, half, there's a lot of zooming. But it's kind of for slightly different, you know, creative purpose. But yeah, but just but also just his philosophy on just make film, make the film, make whatever, you know, I mean, it's amazing how many films he made that most of which most people have never heard of, but he just kept doing it over and over again, you know, and, and he and that feeling of, or that philosophy of set the start date, tell everyone that trains leaving the station. And the interesting thing is, the closer you get to that start date. And you've got to have, you know, iron colonias to pull it off, really, and you have to have backups in mind for cast. But, you know, very often and it's been true in my case, you get better higher level name actors, the closer you get, because actors are not just motivated by money. And agents are mostly motivated by money, but not entirely. They're also all motivated by insecurity and fear. So an agent doesn't want to have an actor calling them up. Why don't I have anything next week? Why don't I have anything next week? And eventually they'll say, alright, fine, fine, this is crappy little indie film, there's no money in it, but just just get out of my hair go to this thing. And and actors love to work, you know, they they hate a vacuum in their schedule, because they never know when they're going to be working next again. So you know, so that was something we really kind of embraced and learn from them.

Alex Ferrari 46:23
That's awesome. Man. That's awesome. I work with people watch your your new movie 18 and a half

Dan Mirvish 46:29
In theaters only. This is not a day and date situation. So you have to go to movie theaters. We are helping bring theaters back whether they want us to or not, and, and bring people back into theater. So on May 27. It is opening in Los Angeles at lumley's for a week long Oscar qualifying run because it's an honor just to be eligible. And, and playing in a few other Lemley theaters around LA and also in New York City, with big premiere may 27 in Brooklyn. And then June 1, we have a big premiere in Washington, DC. And then June 3, it opens coast to coast around the country, North America. And eventually it's going to be probably in about 50 theaters, nationwide, and for for about five weeks until it hits VOD.

Alex Ferrari 47:16
So again, this is through a theatrical distributor.

Dan Mirvish 47:19
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Adventure entertainment. That's awesome. The company Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 47:24
Dan, you are an inspiration, my friend to say the least. You You inspire me all the time, dude. Seriously, like I see you working and doing your thing, man. I'm just like, you hustle hard, bro. The Hustle recognizes us. Oh, man, there's no question about it. And you're still and like, man, were you still do it, dude, all these, like, you just like you're insane. You are the definition of an insane filmmaker, you are

Dan Mirvish 47:47
I'm doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

Alex Ferrari 47:52
We all do. But you have a good time you have a good time doing?

Dan Mirvish 47:55
Yeah. And that's the key. And I think also, and this is something I remember when I first went to South buy in 95. There was this great panel discussion and it was you know, all the bigwigs of the indie film is Steven Soderbergh and Richard Linklater and, and Robert Rodriguez and and you know, all kinds of B Allison Anders maybe was there. And then Greg Rocky was there. And and I remember something Greg said, because he was there with Doom generation, but he'd made five tiny, tiny, little 60 millimeter weird films. To get to that point. He said, Look, all these other guys got to Sundance hit the ball out of the park got a big homerun their first step back. And, and I didn't do that, you know, he's Greg's, like, you know, I had to keep struggling making one film after another film after another film, but five films later, I'm literally on the same panel with these guys. I'm on the same Pantheon, and I'm making films at a similar budget level. And, and he said, you know, look, you can either hit the ball out of the park at bat, but you know, that we know that's 1% of filmmakers every year. Or you just build a body of work. You just keep at it, and keep making films, and eventually someone will recognize Oh, wow, this filmmakers made a bunch of films that there must be something there, you know, and that, to me is still like, you know, the inspiration just keep on making them because you never, you know, and it's not because you think anyone is going to hit the ball out of the park, you know, they may not, but eventually people are gonna go, oh, wow, this person's made some halfway decent films. You add them together. Maybe there's at least one decent film in there, you know?

Alex Ferrari 49:28
Exactly. Brother, man, thank you again, for coming on the show. You're welcome back anytime, as you know, I'm looking forward to what you do next. What insanity you're coming up with next. And

Dan Mirvish 49:40
Well, there's still plenty plenty of you know, I'm still beating this dead horse. You know, so 80 and a half the soundtrack is out this week on iTunes and, and, you know, Spotify, different things like that. There's talk of turning it into a play. There's some chatter of turning it into a TV series. It's mostly We meet chattering but still, there is chatter. And, you know, and I know it's gonna take a while to do the DVD and the blu ray. So this is going to keep me busy for a while. So yeah, get used to me. So, you know, talking about this for listening to hear. Yeah, exactly. And that's part of what you need to do. Like you can't give up. You know,

Alex Ferrari 50:18
It can't just be like, Oh, I'm done all the final cuts done. Whoosh. Okay, let me start working on my next movie. Now. You got about a year, two years on this one.

Dan Mirvish 50:26
Absolutely. And we're lucky because all of us, you know, had a good time on this one despite a pandemic, or maybe because of it, I don't know. And, and we're all excited to keep working on it together.

Alex Ferrari 50:37
Brother man, thanks again for coming on the show. Keep inspiring us all. My friend. I appreciate you.

Dan Mirvish 50:41
Thank you Alex.

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IFH 579: I Made a Short Film Now WTF Do I Do With It (Audio Book Preview)

In this episode you get a FREE PREVIEW of the IFH Books release of I Made A Short Film Now WTF Do I Do With It audio book on Audible.

Written by award-winning filmmaker Clarissa Jacobson, I Made A Short Film Now WTF Do I Do With It is jam-packed with hard-earned knowledge, tips, and secrets on how to enter film festivals, promote your movie… and SUCCEED!

I Made A Short Film Now WTF Do I Do With It covers everything from what festivals to submit to, how to maximize your money, secure an international presence, deal with rejection, gain publicity, harness the power of social media, what a sales rep does and much more.

Included are exclusive filmmaker discounts on services/products from the subtitling company, Captionmax, and promo merchandisers, Medias Frankenstein and The Ink Spot.

What Others Are Saying:

“I Made a Short Film Now WTF Do I Do With It is jam-packed with first-hand knowledge, tips, and secrets on how to enter film festivals, promote your movie, and achieve your wildest filmmaking dreams. It’s required reading for every indie filmmaker who wants to gain an audience, stand out on the festival circuit, and work towards a career as a filmmaker.” — Film Daily

“Ultimately, Clarissa’s book is a very thoughtful reflection on her experiences making and marketing her successful and hilarious horror comedy “Lunch Ladies.” This reflection is a wonderful knew resource for filmmakers who are making or have already completed a new short film, but are looking for some help maximizing its audience-seeking potential.” — Horrible Imaginings Film Festival blog

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 2:51
Now today guys, we have a special episode, we are going to be giving you a free preview to the new IFH books. Audible release of the best selling book I made a short film now WTF do I do with it? A Guide to film festivals, promotions and surviving the ride by the award winning filmmaker Clarissa Jacobson. Now you might remember Clarissa from Episode 538 When she came on the show to discuss her new book at the time. And I was so impressed with her that I decided to publish her audio book through IFH books. Now in this episode, you're going to get a sneak peek to the audio book and hear the first three chapters for free. Now at the end of the episode, I'm going to tell you how to get a free copy of the new audio book. So without any further ado, enjoy your free preview of I made a short film now what the f*** do I do?

Clarissa Jacobson 3:54
Prologue You are amazing. Pep Talk to get you stoked to wade through this book. Congratulations. You are amazing. You dare to dream dare to make a film. raise that money. Save that money. Pinched squeezed and blood that money. slaved over scripts, locations, long nights, early mornings fears, hopes worries argued with the negative voice inside your head and came out alive. Not only alive, but you finished your masterpiece. And it's awesome. NowWTF do you do with it? Well, amazing person. I was you once. I too didn't know the first thing about promoting a film or getting it onto the circuit. I'd heard the tales that politics matter how the odds are stacked against you. What types of films are successful, what types aren't? And short. I knew the word on the street. Why couldn't succeed versus why you could However, I don't listen to that stuff, and neither should you. It does not serve you. First lesson, whenever anything negative comes your way. And there will be a lot. Ask if it serves your film. If it doesn't ignore that will serve you. But I digress. Anyhow, I knew the word on the street, why you couldn't succeed versus why you could. But I also knew my film was terrific. And you must know this too about your film or you've lost already. And I had a goal. I therefore learned everything I could, battled the haters, battle, my insecurities, didn't give up on my short, believed in it, kept my eyes on the prize, worked like crazy, and had an amazing run over 120 film festivals all over the world 45 awards, gold standard distribution, over 100 reviews and interviews and a wide fan base. To be clear, for all you folks who think I had a leg up and anyway, I didn't. This was my first film. I had very few connections. No one on the circuit knew me or my work. Clarissa who and I had a film that didn't fit the mold, a comedy horror genre piece coming in at the appalling length of 19 minutes. Still, it succeeded. And want you to succeed too. And I'm going to pass on all the things I learned how to promote, how to submit to festivals, how to maximize your fest budget, how to think big, how to overcome negativity, how to laugh at rejections, how to love social media, how to get filmmaker, discounts, and more. Let's get started. Chapter One, get a goal, or be a goner. Preliminary first step to keep you focused. I know this probably makes you feel like you're back in junior high, and um, that really annoying teacher who's on your case. But seriously, what is your goal? And what are you going to do with your film, focus your delinquent. Trust me, kids, having a goal is going to make everything so much easier. You put so much time into making your short, but the true marathon is the next 18 months after you finished it. There will be a massive amount of work to do to give it a life. If you look around at the films that succeed, it's not just about quality. There are 1000s of good flicks that never see the light of day, and plenty of bad ones that do. It is also about the filmmakers goal, knowing what they want to achieve. Some people make short films just to create is that you? Some people make short films to practice their craft. Is that you? Some people make short films to get interest in their career. Maybe that's you. Some people make short films as a proof of concept for their feature is that you? Some people make short films because they can't afford to make long ones is that you? Some people make short films because you get my drift.

Figure out why you made your film. When you figure out why you made it. You can figure out what you want from it. Your goal and that will drive you and your strategy. Why do you need a goal and a strategy? Promoting a film is a ton of work. And the only thing that will keep you doing that work, which is absolutely exhausting, is a clear reason to do so. A goal. The only way you are going to achieve that goal or have a chance at it is with strategy. If you have no goal, you are not going to do all the heavy lifting that's required to make it a success. You are going to skip doing social media. You are going to skip entering festivals that require too much work. And you are going to give up with a few rejections. Further if you don't know what your goal is, you will not know what strategy to use to achieve what you want. And that will frustrate you. Figure out first and foremost why you made your film. For example, I'm a screenwriter who made the film versus the director who usually makes the film. More on that in chapter 10. I wanted to get interested in my feature screenplay. Lunch lady's, a surreal, quirky comedy horror with two middle aged female leads. But the industry would often tell me there was no market. I got sick of hearing that nonsense. So I decided I would save my money and make a proof of concept short based on the feature to show the power Here's the be that there were plenty of people who would pay to see lunch ladies and they should fund it. Every step of the process after the short was in the can was with this goal in mind. Number one email every blogger and magazine I could find that wrote about horror and cult film to get them to review it. Why? Maybe some producer out there would read about lunch ladies and want to make it number to prove lunch ladies has a market all over the world and money can be made. This is more drivel, the industry loves to spout that comedy doesn't play overseas. So I wanted to enter as many facts as I could all over the world. Number three, have a great IMDB page. IMDB stands for Internet Movie Database, and I'll explain more about that in depth in chapter two. So have a great IMDB page, put up photos, Film Fest release dates, reviews, awards, keywords, special thanks, etc. A figured anyone wanting to finance my feature, but first go to my IMDB page to check out the short. Number four. Make a Website show industry folks how I would market the film because unless they see the potential, they won't get it. In my site, I have a school store a hairnet club, fan art page, geography lesson announcements and more. Number five, build a fan base. Get busy on social media so I can find my target audience and fans, it becomes crystal clear who that is when you see who follows you. I felt if I knew my target audience, I know who to market it to. And if a producer knows there's a fan base and who they are, that helps to get it made. Number six, be seen. It had to be seen not sit on my hard drive. It must play everywhere it could no matter how small or how big because someone may see it and help. The goal of getting a feature made influenced all my choices in the festival run and gave me a strategy. I wanted to make the feature so bad that it kept me focused and excited. Even when I was exhausted and didn't want to work. I would come home from my day job. write blogs for my website. Each took about two hours. And I wrote over 200 over the course of the film. I post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, populate my Pinterest page, right reviewers, talk to fans, talk to other filmmakers, see other filmmakers films, do interviews. And generally Bob till I dropped. I am certain a huge part of lunch lady success on the circuit was because of all those things that I just talked about that I actually did. The film is great. Remember, you got to love your film. And there are a lot of films. It's the work I did that took it to the next level. Have I achieved my goal of getting the feature made? Not yet. But I'm still trying and having a great ride. Who knows what the future brings and when it will happen? Or if it opens the door to something else. So remember, why did you make your film and what is your goal? Get a flipping goal.

Chapter Two, be prepared press kits, websites, social media and being a goody two shoes. I admit it. I was the goody two shoes who always had her book report done a week before, sometimes two weeks before. Okay, fine. Three weeks. I'm not a procrastinator. So it has always been easy for me to do things ahead of time. You have it harder if you aren't a goody two shoes, but it's a must for your sanity on the circuit. press kits, your website, IMDB page, social media handles, promotional pieces. You want to have that stuff done before you start your festival right now while you're making your film. Don't get all crazy. But when you finish the film, why? Stop arguing with me? I'm trying to help you. The reason why Hardhead is because you are going to be so busy promoting getting into festivals and being a world traveler that you won't have time to do anything else. If you don't have time. Then all the stuff you've procrastinated on that you could have done before the run is going to be sloppy, which is why most press kits I see look like a four year old kid and their dog did them. Those filmmakers waited into the festival or publication asked them for a press kit and they either did one of two things. One, they had a nervous breakdown at the thought of adding more work on top of their crazy festival schedule. And they never handed one in therefore missing a huge promotional opportunity. Or two. They took a shot of tequila and made their press kit in a three hour panic. That's not for you. press kits with typos out of focus photos, bad layout, not for you missing a chance to promote your film because you haven't completed work you could have done earlier.

Nope! Not for you. Having a nervous breakdown because you're overloaded with work when you're supposed to be charming and witty on the festival run. Nope, not for you. You aren't going to do anything amateur. Because if you do, no matter how good your film is, you are promoting that you are an amateur. And you aren't. And always remember, keep your goal in mind. If your goal is to get drunk at film festivals, take your clothes off and flip off the establishment, then hey, you don't need to have an IMDB page, you may need a sexy outfit. So choose what you have to tackle. I had to tackle them all based on how it furthers your goal.

Branding, what is branding, it's how you market your product, your film and make it distinctive. You don't have to have your brand fully developed. But it's super smart to have an idea of what it is. So you get off to the right start and don't have to backtrack. There's a ton of stuff that can go into branding. But I just take it to the simplest level. What is the essence of your film. Now bottle it lunch ladies is a rebellious bloody yet full of heart playful, loud and takes place in a jacked High School. Therefore, those specifics became my brand. For example, I designed the lunch ladies website with a high school motif. The cast and crew are listed under rollcall reviews are listed under grades. There's a school store and a study hall with teasers to watch. The writing is in your face liberal fun and can be offensive like the film. Once you have a concept. Stick with it. And your ideas will evolve into a specific identifiable look which captures the heart of the film. Be consistent. Use the same fonts, colors, logos, and writing style. And you'll be golden IMDb IMDb, for those of you who aren't addicted to reading banal information about movies and movie stars is the Internet Movie Database. You want your short listed on IMDb because it's the go to place that people look for information about film, it's going to move your short up in the search on the internet, and it's going to give it legitimacy. I started my IMDB page immediately after the film wrapped well before it was edited. Because my cast and crew worked so hard for so little. The least I could do is get their credit up. Who knows what jobs it could help them land. Get people's credits up as soon as possible. After that's accomplished, add to your page as much as you can. As often as you can get a poster up, get a trailer up, get your special thanks up, get photos up, get your synopsis up, put them up now. Later on you will spend so much time adding reviews wins festivals etc. You won't have time. Your IMDB page will be the place you visit constantly throughout your films life by keeping it up to date. The initial process of getting all the names and credits correct takes work. So do it now. You won't have time later. And your cast and crew are going to be irked if they've waited a year and you don't have their credits up. Not cool. Here's a sidenote, email every single person on your cast and crew and ask them to send you their direct IMDb link. Unless this is their first credit. If you've got a John Smith on your crew, and you link it to the wrong profile, because there's 30 John Smith profiles, it's a nightmare to change. Trust me, I hooked up profiles to the wrong people at first, learn from My Excruciating time wasting experience. I'm not gonna lie. IMDB is a beast, you will be so frustrated from the learning curve. Wait until you have to tackle posting your wins. But you'll be so frustrated you'll swear your head off scream, wallow in self pity, cry and send nasty emails to some employee at IMDb who will ignore you. It's super confusing. In fact, you may need a PhD to figure it out. But just keep at it like I did. And you will learn to tame the beast that is IMDB. Once you get the hang of it, you'll love it. Nothing is more gratifying than adding new information about your film and seeing it show up for the world to see. In addition, once you really get going the IMDB people begin to know you're short. They probably hate you because you're constantly updating and making work for them. But who cares? You're a self centered filmmaker. The point is Eventually, instead of it taking two weeks for information to be approved and go up, it will take two days. Because the powers that be know you are filling the page with real information, not lying and padding it and they will get your updates up ASAP. press kits, I'm not going to sugarcoat it, press kits, or APKs electronic press kits for those in the know, are no fun to make. And it takes a while to get them right. You have to have patience. But that's why you're doing your press kit now, right? Don't be overwhelmed. I know there's a ton of ideas on how to make a press kit and that can freak you out. It did me to listen, just pick a template that speaks to you. Or make up your own style. No one cares. Her no Prescott police. All that people care about is how its organized, how it looks and what it says. There's no right or wrong way. Be creative. Be smart. Make it look good. represent your film. My Prescott took about a month to complete. Choose people you trust to edit it. They'll find the mistakes you miss. put your ego aside, get feedback and listen. Think of it as a job resume, make it as perfect as you can. And if you have 120 people in the cast and crew like I did, you're gonna misspell a ton of names. And that's disrespectful to those that helped make your dream come to life. So get everyone's name right check them over and over before you send it out. For my press kit, I decided not to list my reviews. Although you may want to. I had so many I didn't want to be constantly updating it. But often I will attach the best ones when I send the kid out, depending on who's looking at it. Also, the length of your kit is dependent on you. Mine was long because I had so many cast and crew also like to talk a lot. If you haven't noticed. If you want to check out my press kit, go to lunch ladies movie.com backslash contact and click the download link. I think it's pretty good. If you don't like it. Geez, what are you the Prescott police, social media handles. If you don't despise social media than Wow, you are ahead of the game. Most everyone hates some type of social media and you have to have them all. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Vimeo, et cetera, et cetera. So stop whining like a baby. Nothing is going to get in the way of your goal. Especially not something as banal as social media. The key to social media is and I'll talk about this more in depth later, you must find a way to love it. Social media is the king pen of all your promotion. Love it like unicorns, puppies, and rainbows. Take it a little at a time. You don't have to have a huge following right away. You don't even need to start posting until the film is on its run. You don't need to do all the social media channels at once. You can build them a little at a time, but get started. Open the accounts, create your handles populate your photos. Because once you're on the circuit, you will need to promote and you won't have time to set it up. For your handles try to remain consistent so people can easily find your film. If your Facebook is the same as your Instagram, you only have to tell people one handle. And that's easy to remember. Some people on the Facebook, some only Instagram, some both. You need all types of social media to really promote or you will miss opportunities. So make the handles as uniform as possible. purchase your domain for your website first, if you decide to make a website, then base all your handles on the site's name. If you do it the other way around, you may find that the handles you've set up are not available for your site. important make sure your website name is 15 characters or less. For my domain, I chose lunch ladies movie.com Because my first choice of lunch ladies.com was taken. In retrospect, I should have chosen lunch ladies film.com because Twitter only allows 15 characters. Therefore, at lunch ladies movie is the handle for all my social media except for Twitter, which is at lunch ladies film. So learn from my screw ups website. My website is my favorite promotional tool, and I highly suggest making one and starting it now as it takes a while to get it up and running. It took about a month learning curve to figure out how to build it, but it has been invaluable. A website will be your go to spot to send people. It has your social media, your blocks if you blog, your announcements, your trailer, your cast crew and synopsis. Everything is there in one beautiful place. Start with picking a great domain 15 characters or less remember, there are many companies you can put purchase that from, but I recommend wix.com. Because it's a one stop shop, you can use their templates to build a website for free, and then purchase the domain and hosting from them at the same time, easy. If possible, make the website yourself, it will save you tons of money because you will constantly need to make updates to your site. If you don't learn how to do it, you will always be paying someone to make the simple changes for you and then waiting around for them to do it. For those of you who have never made a website like I haven't, and don't understand the difference between hosting and domain, like I didn't think of it like real estate. The website is your house. The domain is its address. The hosting is the land it sits on how to pick a domain, you will want your first choice, but often that's already been bought by someone else. So you may have to settle like I did. Remember, I wanted lunch ladies.com and ended up with lunch ladies movie.com. Once you've got a domain you're happy with, it's time to build your website. There are many out there that allow you to use their pre made templates. But Wix had great reviews and was cheap. So I took a chance. Good call. I pretty much love it. The support is super helpful, and the site I created from their template looks legit. Pay for your hosting and off you go. If you're really strapped for cash, you can opt for Wix is free hosting. However, with the free service, they print Wix on the headers and flutters it looks super amateur. So I say cough up the cash and pay for the hosting. Of course, if you're already choking from the aftermath of your overinflated film budget, then okay, go for the freebie some site is better than no site. promotional items. The two things you want to have before your festival run are your postcards and business cards. If you're strapped for cash up for the postcards, eventually you will want both because they are useful for different reasons. postcards are super important because that's what you will use to promote your short at festivals. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but most audiences aren't going to seek your film out. I know it's awesome, but there's a lot of awesome films. Folks attend fests to support friends see certain genres or something specific, and your baby probably isn't even on their radar. You will get on the radar by having postcards displayed and handing them out. Most fests will have a table where filmmakers can put their cards and people do pick up cards from the table and see films that interest them. Many will see your movie just from you handing them a card and introducing yourself. I highly suggest printing postcards no bigger than three by five or four by six. I had a larger size. And though they were really cool looking. They were a huge pain. They didn't fit in my purse, they didn't fit in my pocket. And I'm sure people would pick them up and be annoyed at how flipping large they were and leave them in the bathroom after printing. Print your image on one side of the postcard and the back will have two columns. One column will be blank. This is where you will put your labels and or addresses if you end up mailing them to specific people. And I'm going to discuss this more in chapter seven. The other column will have your concise logline your website if you have one and your information on how to reach you. I know this is a major duh. But I have seen postcards with nothing but the name of the film and the logline. I envisioned some three piece suit picking it up and saying this film is genius. I must invest 5 million in the sequel. Who do I call? Forget it. I'll invest in that condo instead. Business cards are needed primarily for when you meet industry people. Sure, you can give them a postcard, but it shouldn't have your personal info on it. They send on festival tables for the world to see. And you don't want some stalker calling you on your cell phone. You do however want Guillermo del Toro calling you on your cell phone. So you will want a business card with personal information on it for Guillermo. Business cards are also great for night on the town when you don't want to carry bulky postcards are broadly promote your film. You will meet someone new, possibly someone hot trade cards and they will say oh wow, you made a movie. What's it about? Can I buy you another cocktail? Everyone you meet is a chance for promotion. And of course, a hot date. Have your cards professionally done. I know it's tempting to save money, but don't put them yourself on that dot matrix printer hooked up to your ancient Commodore VIC 20. Cheap cards just make you and your film look cheap. Plus, there's a certain pride in having a nice looking business card feels good passing them out and gives you a boost of confidence. It's perfectly fine to wait until you are in your first festival before printing anything.

But it's best to have the artwork ready to go because it will take time to get it right. This goes for posters as well, which you will want once you start the run. Printing is the least of it, you can do a rush if needed. But rushing artwork is always a bad idea. More promotional items that you can start thinking about include pins, pencils, stickers, and other types of swag. It's not necessary to have swag, but I do think it gives the film a push and pays for itself. In the end. I had some fun things when I started and added more during the run. Chapter Three spreadsheets for success. Get organized. Prevent screw ups.

I'm going to teach you to set up some super organized spreadsheets, which will maximize your money and chances that success on the circuit. It's not glamorous, but it will prevent screw ups. Disclaimer. If you are as Angel as me, then you have permission to skip ahead whenever it gets boring. But for the rest of you delinquents pay attention. The film festival grid First, open an Excel spreadsheet or scribble in a three ring spiral notebook. If you're a Luddite Excel will be easiest as you will want to sort columns. But if you don't have the program, that's okay too. Having any list will be a huge help. Title it film festival dates. Why do you need the spreadsheet? You need it so you can keep track of all the rules and dates to enter. Every film fest has a ton of rules and entry dates and they are all different. You will have to read all those boring rules and keep them straight. Because you don't want to waste money entering your film in a festival where it can't be accepted. They'll still take your money, they'll just disqualify you. With the film festival grid. You can easily track everything so no mistakes are made. Your early bird submission dates, that is the cheapest time to enter which festivals coincide, what length of film is accepted and more. You will also need to track which festivals need premieres. Some festivals not all require premieres and there are several types of premieres world premiere, national premiere, international premiere regional premiere and who knows what else. The first time your film plays, that's its world premiere that will also be either your national or international premiere, depending on where it plays. Then there are regional premieres, festivals that will only demand that you haven't screened in their city before premieres are a pain. Your first run will probably last a year and a half. If you are doing great, it can last longer, but my feeling is get out. Don't overstay your welcome. Go into distribution when your time is up and don't hang around like a 22 year old dude hanging around high school stocking hot freshmen. Of course, if some hot freshman wants to date you, for you to say no, so sure, the infests if they pursue you versus you pursuing them. That's not overstaying Your welcome. You're hot. What can you say? If you ascribe to this way of thinking, and if you don't, that's okay. You can be a creepy old dude stalking hot freshmen. Seriously, no judgments, insert sheets on your spreadsheet for two years, one for this year, one for next, because this year, you won't make the due dates to enter some festivals and will have to enter next year. To recap your pages on your spreadsheet are number one, this year number two, next year. If you're into overkill like me, add one more page called add a glance. This will be where you can easily see which festivals you got in and what you didn't hear you will add all festivals you enter in one column. And in the other two columns, you will pull from that list which festivals you got in and which you didn't only do this if you are nerdy like me, and like to know your percentage of success and failure or which festivals you have entered at a glance. Here's what your spreadsheet tab should look like. This year will be the festivals you will enter this year. Next year will be the festivals you will enter next year. Duh. Now it's time to organize both sheets exactly the same. Number one, title the first column film fests. Here you will list the name of the festival. what platform you submitted it on platforms will be discussed in chapter five. And when the festival notifies filmmakers of acceptance, this will help you in festivals are rude and don't have the courtesy to tell you your film wasn't accepted. If the due date has passed, and you never heard from them, you can be certain they want you to get lost. It's good to know and to get lost and stop dreaming you gotten there festival number two, title the second column International. This is where you make sure The festival takes international entries if it's outside your country, sometimes you will be so excited to enter your film and you forget to read the rules and you pay and then realize they don't take international films. They will never refund your money. Trust me. Basically, this is an idiot reminder to make sure you check. Number three, title the third column Oscar. Only a handful of festivals are Oscar qualify. If you win one, you can be in the running to get nominated. There are other ways to qualify but this is the simplest. This helps with decision making when or if you are low on cash. If you really want an Oscar, you can check that column to see which ones are Oscar qualifiers and can weigh their cost against the others that aren't. Number four, title the fourth column location. This is important because some film festivals require premieres as I mentioned earlier, and premieres are always based on location, so you need to keep track of what area of the world you submit to. For example, most festivals in Austin, Texas are notorious for requiring a premiere. If you decide you want to be an Austin Film Fest, wait to enter South by Southwest because if you get an Austin, you can't be in South by Southwest anyhow. And you'll know South by Southwest is an Austin because you put the location in your spreadsheet. Nothing is more aggravating than paying $50 to enter South by Southwest, getting an Austin then getting in South by Southwest and realizing you flushed $50 down the toilet because they won't let you screen because you already screened in Austin. We'll talk about premieres more in chapter four. Number five, titled The fifth column website. You want the festivals website here so you can click it up easily. It will save you time in the long run as you will want to check their website many times if you get in or see who was accepted if you don't get in number six. The next six columns six through 11 will be the entry dates and fees of the festivals. Titled The columns respectably Early Bird, Early Bird fee, regular regular fee. Final, final fee. This will help you strategize your money. You can obviously sort your spreadsheet many different ways depending on what you need. One way you will sort it is by early bird entry dates. These are the dates you want to enter by and will keep you on your toes to never miss a deadline. The reason you list the fees, even though admittedly it's time consuming to do this is so you can easily keep track of the money you are spending. And you can weigh whether you want to wait to enter at a later date if you don't have the cash at the moment. Sometimes early bird entry fees are not that much cheaper than regular fees. Sometimes they are similar. Sometimes they are drastically different. If you know the consequences of not entering a festival by a certain time, you will be much more likely to make better decisions with your money. Then, once a week like clockwork, sort your spreadsheet by early bird entry date and submit to the ones that are due, you will never miss an early bird entry that way. Number seven, title the 12 column festival begin. This is important so you know which festivals coincide in case you get into that run at the same time. This happens a lot. You can check the dates so you can wisely choose which festival you will attend. That way, you won't annoy the programmer by gushing that you are going then backing out when you realize there's another fest you'd prefer. Number eight, titled The 13 column festival and it's good to know the length of the festival. As mentioned, sometimes you get in festivals that coincide. But sometimes one lasts three days while the other is 12. So you can actually go to both. Why don't you put the festival beginning and ending all in one column such as April 15 through 19th, like I did the first time because then you can't sort the column separately, which you may need to learn from my screw ups. Number nine title the 14 column length. This is how long the film can be for acceptance into the festival. If your short is 15 minutes, and the festival only takes films up to 10 You cannot enter but they still will take your money and disqualify you see a pattern once again. If they get your money, it's theirs forever. If you find out the festival is not a fit. I suggest still keeping it on your spreadsheet and graying it out. You will enter so many festivals you will forget which ones you researched and you will waste time unless it's on your spreadsheet. Hmm, I almost forgot blah blah fast. Why didn't I enter blah blah fest? Blah blah fest is awesome. Let me look up the rules. Oh, that's right. I tried to enter bla bla fest two months ago, but it only takes films that are bla bla. And I wish I had remembered now I just wasted 10 minutes researching bla bla fest a second time. So everything you research, keep it in your spreadsheet. Number 10 title, the 15th column premiere status, do they require a premier, you may even want to consider having a separate spreadsheet for premiers to keep things in line. Because this can get confusing fast. Number 11 titled The 16 column notes, this is for anything else like hey, this festival pays for hotel if I'm accepted, or hey, this festival doesn't give awards, forget it, I need awards. Or this one needs English subtitles to submit or they only take films made in the last 18 months. Have you are a good little rule follower. Your spreadsheet will look fantastic. Excellent job, you'll have your film festival Grid Setup. But wait, you aren't done. You also need to make one more spreadsheet, the viewing grid. This is where you will list every single person outside festivals that you send the film, it will come in handy time and again. Put anyone you sent your short to here. industry people social media folks you've met reviewers press their handles their emails, the dates, you've sent them your film, where they're from notes on who they are created. Now, you will need it when you want to ask people to vote for the film if it's up for an award, or to spread the word when you get distribution. You now have a cultivated list of people to ask for help complete with emails. You will also need it if you can't remember who someone is down the line and they are gushing to you. You can look on your viewing grid and know who they are. Lastly, you will need it when you make the feature as there will be so many who will tell you during the run that they want to be part of it when it happens, you may not be able to hire them. Oftentimes we don't have a say when a film gets produced, but you will have their names and how to reach them. If you do have a say the viewing grid is incredibly useful. Now that you've made these really boring spreadsheets that are super useful. Let's enter some festivals. Wait, what's that you say? You don't have a clue which festivals to enter. Except for? Please no. Please don't say it. I said don't say it. Don't say Sundance, Sundance. I mean, okay, whatever, Sundance fine, enter Sundance Sundance, but listen, Sundance, quit saying Sundance. There's a whole world of incredible terrific festivals out there that aren't Sundance that are just waiting for your film. So let's talk about some of those in the next chapter.

Alex Ferrari 42:59
I really hope you guys liked that free preview. Now if you want to pick up the book, all you got to do is head over to indiefilmhustle.com/shortfilmbook and they'll take you straight to Audible that's indiefilmhustle.com/shortfilmbook. But if you don't have an Audible account, and you want to sign up for one, you can get this book for free. All you got to do is go to freefilmbook.com Sign up for a free account on Audible and you get one free audiobook which of course you can make it this book and download it for free there, listen to it, and enjoy the book. So that's your little free hack. Go to freefilmbook.com If you want to sign up for a free account on Audible and get this book for free. Or you could just buy it if you already have an account and just want to buy this book head over to indiefilmhustle.com/shortfilmbook. I hope you enjoyed this guy's 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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IFH 561: How to Raise $2 Million Using NFTs with Arel Avellino

NFTs are all the rage today but how can indie filmmakers use them to generate revenue? I did an entire episode dedicated to NFT and Indie Films last year and it is, by far, one of the most downloaded episodes ever.

Today on the show we have a filmmaker and creator that was able to raise $2 million for a brand new IP using NFTs. His name is Arel Avellino. His brother and him launched an NFT collection called Strange Clan and raised $2 million dollars in sales of the NFTs which has basically helped kickstart the launch of the Strange Clan IP.

Arel told me:
As someone who is in the film space, I know you know how challenging launching a new IP is which is why so many of our movies today are recycled IPs, spin offs, sequels, and relaunches of old IPs that were successful. I’m not sure if I’ve heard you talk about this yet on your show, but crypto is an incredibly powerful tool for funding new IPs because it is transparent, gives your audience huge exposure to the success of the project, and allows for a deeper level of community engagement.
He wants to see more filmmakers coming to the space and taking advantage of the innovations of crypto without getting sunk by the hype.
Enjoy my enlightening conversation with Arel Avellino.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 0:00
I'd like to welcome to the show Arel Avellino, how're you doing Arel?

Arel Avellino 0:14
I'm doing good how you doing Alex?

Alex Ferrari 0:16
I'm doing good brother. I'm doing good, man. Thanks for reaching out because I this is going to be a very interesting conversation I, I've had other conversations about NFT's on the show before and kind of were like one of the first shows to even discuss NFT's as a way to generate revenue, sell collectibles, things like that. But you have a very unique way of approaching NFT's. And we're gonna get into that in a second. But before we started talking, or before we started recording, you told me that you had been in the indie film world, you come from the indie film world. So tell me how you got involved in the indie film world? And why in God's green earth did you, were you in this world?

Arel Avellino 0:54
So good question. So when I got out of high school, like literally from high school, I knew I wanted to be an indie filmmaker. Like, that was the dream. Cuz I had a teacher who was a major film buff, and just, you know, talking with that guy about movies just suddenly gave me this, like, massive appreciation for the art form. Storytelling, all of that really interesting to me, especially visual storytelling. So I went in, I didn't know what the path I said, I wanted to be a filmmaker, I didn't even know that there was like, a different classification of filmmaker called an indie filmmaker, I only learned that trying to just find out what the path was at all. Right. And it's very clear path, right? You know, you have, you know, you go to school for four years, and you do the, you know, work on on on set for free, another free or nothing. Yeah. All right. Yeah. So basically, I found out that there is no path and I went to college for a little bit dropped out of that. Then just started finding sets to be on. I played that game for like four years, met a lot of great people. And then I started a podcast where I was still looking for, hey, how do people even make a living doing this, because it feels like it feels like everybody was just inventing it. Like I would talk to people on sets. And I was like, everyone kind of just invented how they made this sustainable. So talking to enough people, I started interviewing people who are in just different cities and stuff like that, give them excuse to talk to me. And after talking with enough people I just started realize that the the path is essentially just go do enough things continue to offer yourself up to enough people. And you'll you'll start to develop what starts to look like a career, but it's always going to kind of be this like freelance lifestyle. And so that kind of actually started me on a journey in business, which ultimately kind of led me to where I'm at right now. But we can kind of break the story up a little bit, too.

Alex Ferrari 3:04
Yeah, absolutely. So um, and then you you said you were, you've been following Indie Film Hustle for a while, and you're the younger back older days.

Arel Avellino 3:11
I read the book.

Alex Ferrari 3:12
Oh, thank you.

Arel Avellino 3:13
Yeah, man. Cuz I, I, to me the most interesting part about filmmaking, like that has just like, even now, even though I'm not making films right now, I you know, it's not to say that I've stopped, right. Still talk about scripts with friends.

Alex Ferrari 3:32
You can't get rid of it, brother. It's, it's, it's a beautiful illness.

Arel Avellino 3:36
Even with what I'm doing right now has major crossover, which I've had to explain to a couple people like, yeah, why are you? Why are you doing, you know, the game stuff? Like, you know, is that really going to, like, you're going to be in this for like, two, three years, at minimum on this game, you know, are you are you sure you're gonna be able to go that long, perhaps about making a movie, I'm like, Hey, I might still make a movie in there. But at the same time, it's not going to be like, you know, somebody else is going to have to go make that movie. I'm going to just help that person out with that movie, or help with a script, whatever. But anyway. So point being is is, yeah, follow your work, phone, a lot of the guys who have been in the indie space, just trying to speak to people who are up and coming just because the thing that was most interesting to me about indie filmmaking is it was an art form that had to in some way, be a business, because it requires collaboration, perhaps more than most other art forms, you know, save a few others that are kind of like in the immediate space. This is one of the like art forms that requires the most collaboration. So you have to have it be a business otherwise, you can't, you can't do it. You know, you think about how many times a painter punches out a painting. It's so many times, but a director, how many movies does he punch out right so

Alex Ferrari 4:54
Exactly at the best case scenario at the highest end, you get Ridley Scott who put butts out one every three months. Especially nowadays, and then you've got in then you got Kubrick and Malik, who you know, busted out like, nine or 10. And their entire life, you know

Arel Avellino 5:09
Right right!

Alex Ferrari 5:10
So it's, it's, it's, I always say that to people like as an artist, you, as a director, you very rarely get to do your art. It takes years, most of your career is getting revved up to do your art as opposed to a painter or a musician or a writer. It's it's a pretty brutal but we love it, but we love it. There's the craziness.

Arel Avellino 5:34
Definitely takes a different type of person for sure. And I think that that's kind of what cued me up into wanting to do anything else that felt like that, like I couldn't, I don't think I could ever go to even even though business has always interested me especially need to get into it with filmmaking. I don't think I could do a business that was just, you know, trying to sell widgets, you know, or you're trying to do some type of other service other than, you know, creating things for people.

Alex Ferrari 6:05
Yeah, no, I completely understand. Now. We're gonna talk about NFT's can you tell people listening? What are NFT's if they don't know what they are already?

Arel Avellino 6:13
Yeah. So I've always had a struggle with the word NFT. Like just the the term because there's very few things that we refer to by such a technical term, but literally, NFT all it means is non fungible token. And it's very technical, because all those words existed before the term non fungible existed before, but we just, you know, call this thing a non fungible token, because some developer said, you know, this makes the most sense to call it this, because that's great, right, it is a non fungible token, then basically, you've probably explained it before in other episodes. For anyone who's hearing this for the first time fungibility is literally just, if I have $1, that dollar is always the same dollar like it doesn't change in value from $1 to another you can have any dollar and it will always be worth the exact same you know, same thing with if I bought an apple apples are always the same value from apple to apple, so long as all things being equal that apples the same no matter what, but a non fungible asset is essentially an asset of any type, where the specific the specificity of that asset itself is important. So for example, a, a baseball card or any collector's item is considered a non fungible asset. Because you know, when that card was minted matters, you know what the what the cards overall value in the marketplace matters. So the almost the serialization of it is what really matters. So you see this a lot with collectors stuff. Probably collectors are some of the most familiar with non fungible assets because they've literally been dealing with these you know, from the get go shoes to one person might be a fungible asset, but shoes to another person might be a non fungible asset, because you know, the the shoe collector is looking at well which print was the shoe the shoe come from, you know, what is the you know, basically going into the specs from every single shoe not just you know, this particular not just this particular brand, or even that it's a shoe this specifically the manufacturing line this thing came out of

Alex Ferrari 8:34
So basically an apple is an Apple because an apple when it was manufactured still had the value of an apple and when it was grown, it was the value of Apple. Whereas a baseball card for example, or or a Pokemon card for the for the youngins listening today, that nods that back man, they're hot now still, like they're huge now apparently.

Arel Avellino 8:56
Way back for me. Yeah. I dont know the names of the Pokemon anymore.

Alex Ferrari 9:03
I mean, I don't even know I didn't know then dude, um, dude, I was Garbage Pail Kids, man if you want to go real back. First series Garbage Pail Kids. Anyway, the but the cost of the creation of that item. Let's say it's five cents to print the baseball card for just better or worse, it's five cents. That is the actual value and cost of creating that, that asset. Now, the in the collectibles world if it's a printed or if it's a printed baseball of a baseball card of a guy you've never heard of who batted you know 150 It costs the same to make him as it did to make a Mickey Mantle rookie card. It's the exact same cost, but the value is associated with that non fungibility into it which is the collectible aspect of it. And that's the difference between us. So that brings us to NF Ts. So now we've actually brought in baseball cards and comic book ideas into a digital space. So the cost to mint as they say, a non fungible token, argue, let's say to argue we'll say still five cents. But the value of what has been minted is in the eye of the beholder based on the collectible market fair, a fair way of saying it?

Arel Avellino 10:28
The reason why the reason why I say it's bad, like it's a bad name, or a bad because NFT, you have to do all the explaining to simply say, Hey, this is actually just a digital item, like this is a way for us to prove ownership of a digital item. And why that kind of matters, is, we've never had the ability for us to sell digital goods on a secondary market. Great. So it wasn't possible. Think about it. If I buy a DVD, or sorry, if I buy a DVD, yes, I'll go down that rabbit hole, I buy a DVD, which very few people do anymore, we have moved mostly digital, I can sell that DVD to yard sale, I can sell them on Amazon, I could sell it on eBay, like I truly own that DVD. But if I were to buy a digital copy of that, and now it's on my Amazon library, I can't sell it back to Amazon, like I now have that stuck in my library. I couldn't sell it to another person, I couldn't give it to a friend. Like it is stuck in my library and it's trapped there. And FFTs actually give us the way to make that function more like an item. So rather than it being about, you know, essentially just you know, you once you have this digital thing, and you got from that guy, yeah, now it has to stay on that guy's website. And you can only go to it when you go essentially to that guy's house. That's kind of a bad deal. Right? Correct. So now we're treating these like real items that you really own, which is you own it. So now now that you own it, you can go sell it to, you know, one of your buddies, you can sell it to somebody online, or you can give it to them doesn't matter. It's yours, you do with it what you want

Alex Ferrari 12:21
It it's the thing is fascinating to me, because when I discovered, you know, I had the same problem with the NFT name and understand it and I'm a fairly technical and educated man. And I had to go really deep down the rabbit hole, I read probably five or 10 books on blockchain. And crypto. And I really just wanted to get understood. I just want to understand this new world. And then NF T's came out and I just educated myself. I watched every movie I could get my documentary on as I could. So I became a fairly well versed in this world. And yet, it didn't click for me until I said, Oh, this is a digital baseball card. God Yeah, it's a digital comic book guy. Because I've been I was a collector for a long time collected comic books, baseball cards, Garbage Pail Kids, since I was a kid, all that kind of stuff. So I was like, oh, that's what this is. But they're, they're so confusing everybody with this terminology in the way they're trying to explain him like, Dude, it's a digital baseball card. And the NBA is literally made digital clips now with NF T's and they're doing they're doing okay, they do. And Major League, Major League Baseball starting to get into it. It's a whole, it's a whole new world. And for people who don't understand why because if they if they're if you're holding on to a book or a DVD, I hold on to like, Okay, this is something I could hold on to this is a product. But to mentally think about that book as a digital item. It's hard for certain people to grasp that concept, because it's, it's beyond their ability. Whereas the new generation growing up, who's been playing, Roblox has been playing all these role player games, who are literally paying sometimes 1000s of dollars for a digital X that they now own, that makes them more powerful inside of the game. That's a digital item that there's so it makes sense to that generation, but not so much to the baby boomers, if that makes sense.

Arel Avellino 14:10
Yeah, yeah. Because they're used to dealing in digital economies already. And so for them, it makes for most people who are, you know, kind of locked into that digital economy. I mean, we now have a generation that's literally only dealt with digital economies. And so, those guys, yeah, just comes very intuitively, that this makes sense. But for the rest of us, what matters the most here is that the innovation itself, there's a ton of hype, there's a ton of hype, right? But the innovation itself that this is a digital item is is the massive part of the innovation, not just the you know, if we're trying to get all technical, like the the non fungibility asked like, if we try to talk about what NF T's are, I think if we keep the conversation on that, hey, these are digital atoms, it starts to simplify it for everyone else. And then they can start to understand the implications or the implications of that. Because again, like, I think what made it click for even people who I know who have been in the crypto space a long time, very educated in blockchain more than I am, when I told them that what I'm trying to make is a game, that when somebody buys it online, like let's say that steam is selling it, which by the way, they said, they won't, they won't sell it. But we'll come to that whatever version of steam sells this game, somebody, somebody, the person who buys it should also be able to sell it themselves. And what's even more is, me as the developer, that game or any indie developer, who makes a game should also get a cut of every single sale of that of that item, that digital item, which is something you cannot do with a physical item. Correct. But at the same time, it's now possible with the digital stuff. But every other rule of what's possible with the physical stuff as far as being able to do a secondary marketplace, is also now finally true digital stuff, which has been a huge user experience problem with the digital space, held back a lot of Indies from being able to really take advantage of their community, essentially helping to market this thing, because sometimes you get a movie because somebody recommended to you or gave it to you or sold it to you. Or you get a game because somebody gave it to you sold it to you,

Alex Ferrari 16:34
Yeah, I mean, back in the day, I mean, I'm dating myself when CDs there used to be CD. Yeah. There used to be CD stores where you could just buy new and use CDs. Yep. And it was cotton into a lot of the market share of music, an artist. And I remember Garth Brooks, like sued to get to stop that. And the Supreme Court said not when you buy an item, it's yours and you can resell it. And it's just like if you bought a refrigerator, you can resell a refrigerator. A CD or movie is no different. But in the digital space, we haven't been given that option up into this time. Like when you buy a movie on iTunes. I've got movies on iTunes, I can't resell it. I can't sell that same movie that I bought for 10 bucks for two bucks later if I want to in a garage sale or in a digital version or in a Metaverse garage sale. Something like that, which will happen for you go. Yeah, imagine if there will be eventually Metaverse Metaverse to garage sales because there's Metaverse real estate too. There's people buying so much Metaverse real estate since like, and that's another thing you can't even comprehend. Like how much did you just spend? I just saw this whole thing was it on? I think it was on 60 minutes or CBS or something like that, where they're doing Metaverse sale real estate deals, and Snoop. Snoop Dogg bought a big piece of real estate. And then the value of the space is next to him. Just blew up and then people bought in because why? Because they want to be neighbors with Snoop Dogg in the metaverse. It was just like, it's, it's, it's hard, it's really hard to grasp, because it's so new and so revolutionary, that people can grab it. But we can go down the NFT and blockchain rabbit hole for at least another 15 days. So the reason I wanted to bring you on is what you've been able to do with an IP. So can you tell me how you use NFT's to launch your new IP strange clan?

Arel Avellino 18:31
Yeah, so So one of the things that I realized real fast and probably most filmmakers realize this is that nobody cares about your story, because the intellectual property behind your story is brand freaking new. And that's why we don't see original ideas anymore within the film space. So we, me and my brother, both been creative guys, we we've had a creative career for a long time, you know, essentially being creative for other people, most of our career has been creative for other people. So when we were watching kind of like the development of NF T's, and you know how people were using them, one of things I kept telling him and I couldn't commit, I felt like I couldn't convince other creators of this. But one of things I was telling them is like, Hey, this is like a launchpad for intellectual property, because I'm seeing board apes now all over the place. So why, like that's, that's brand new intellectual property that if somebody were to then take that, and now make a board a TV show now make like, now people will recognize it, right? And the value of that asset is going to go up similar to Snoop Dogg moving next door. Like the more the more things you begin to attach to these brand new piece of intellectual property, the more you start to get really interesting, but I wasn't seeing projects do that. I was just essentially seeing a ton of like, you know, spammy looking. You know, images come out with no vision of like, where we're supposed to go after this? So we started talking about what what would it look like if we did a, an NFT launch? And where are we do it and, and all that stuff. Because a cerium, the two main problems with Aetherium. It thought the, there's a, there's lots of different reasons why there's a problem with Aetherium. But one of them being that you, if you bought something for 100 bucks, you might spend $200 in fees. So that's kind of an issue. Plus, also the that area is very saturated. So we looked at several places to try to do this. And that was a huge factor into it. And I'll get into that. But basically, what we want to do is we want to create something brand new, completely unique. And we want it to be something that was unique. The second you saw it. So we came up with this idea for strange clan, because we had a guy on our team. He's a concept artist for us, and he really loves art for for our team as a whole. And we started to really grow out our art team underneath him. And he just said, Hey, man, like, we're, this is totally exploratory, like we really want to try to do something, here, come up with some images. And we want to do like animals, we want to do animals that look like people. And we want this to be like kind of a fantasy esque thing. But we also want to look really like lots of different styles present in it. And my brother did a, we did a talk together, just essentially, like every single day, we kind of have this where we're bouncing ideas back and forth. And one of the big conversations was, well, what's the name going to be? And because we kept talking about having like, Well, lots of different, lots of different looks and styles and feels kind of at the start of it. We, we had this feeling of like, well, it's really, it's really just a strange group of people. Because originally, the idea was actually that we're going to pull in more artists. So we wanted the style of our characters to look really wild for a second. So that other strange looking styles that came in would also match up. And the more we looked at the idea of actually collaborating with other artists, the more realized we were it was it was mainly for us to do kind of a community thing, where all of our IPs started all come up. And maybe we do something where we're trying to make sense of why they're all connected. But it actually turned out that our IP took off. And we really didn't need to like pull in other IPs to make that work. So going back to it, we came with this idea of strange when we said hey, it's a clan, it's a family. It's a it's a, it's a tight knit group of people. And there's kind of a strange environment about the world. And the more that we let that idea play, the more the so you'll see over the last several months of like, our development on our social channels, that idea has grown into a much more mature IP, at the very beginning at the launch of these NFT's. This looks like really raw, like the beginning development of what even this IP is supposed to supposed to be. And that's what's strange about the the NFT world and the way that people are treating these because it's almost as if they are looking to the future of what it's supposed to be very similar to how people treat Kickstarters. But instead of it being you know, all about getting a t shirt or you know, getting a hat or getting a copy of the movie. Instead, they're they're taking the messy artwork that you're producing or, or the things that you're producing. And eventually they'll have to get more mature over time as as people get used to seeing a lot of the same style, right? But they're looking at that and they're looking ahead and saying, Okay, how important is it going to be that this with a vision of where the craters are going? How important is it gonna be that I own a piece of this intellectual property, they own a piece of the starting launchpoint like the first Pokemon card as it were like if Pokemon cards came first and launched that IP, it certainly launched in the US but if Pokemon came for Pokemon cards came first and really launched that IP. This is like the Pokemon card and owning the first Pokemon card, especially projects do it right, because that's kind of what we're trying to say is we're only ever going to do 10,000 of these only ever going to do 10,000 of these. So Amelie that set the value of our if we're successful with making a great looking game, then the collector's cards that we're making at this side of things will always be very rare and always have value on a secondary marketplace.

Alex Ferrari 24:42
So yes, kind of like if you would have owned the NFT's of the original concept art of Star Wars

Arel Avellino 24:50
Yeah, yep.

Alex Ferrari 24:51
If that if that would have been a thing if George was trying to get things off the ground and there was a studio in the Susan environment and he had those those awesome Some, I don't know, 10 or 20 paintings Yeah, put those out on NFT. What would the value of that be based off the backtest IP that is Star Wars. So similar, you're doing that similar for a game, but easily this can be translated into a film as well, if properly. So, okay, so you also told me that you raised a substantial amount of money? How much did you raise with this NFT in launching this IP?

Arel Avellino 25:30
So we only launched 5000 of the 10,000. NFT's and with that five, those 5000 NFTEs, we raised $2 million.

Alex Ferrari 25:37
So like every other independent film, basically, so every other Yeah, generally easily, easily can raise $2 million.

Arel Avellino 25:44
We also raise that money for an independent game with unknown developers. You know, they those, those usually get about $2 million.

Alex Ferrari 25:52
So if you're not if you don't understand this as sarcasm, this is extremely people because so people might be listening like, oh, it's that easy. Am I doing something wrong? No, you're not, it is extremely difficult to raise $2 million in any space under any circumstances. But for an independent game from unknowns, is is the equivalent of trying to raise $2 million for an independent film, with unknown actors with unknown filmmakers with unknown producers and everybody else involved as well. So that is a feat that caught my eye when you when you reached out to me, how did you first of all, how did you? Because it Look man, I could I could tomorrow, I tomorrow, I can come up with some strange pictures, and some cool characters, which there are billions of out there right now. And especially in the NFL space, how did you target the audience? And convince the audience on your vision? That was you able to do this fairly quickly? This was not like over five years.

Arel Avellino 26:51
Yeah, we're talking about two to three months worth of time for the even the lead up to it. So if I were to chart the timeline, we came up with the idea in the the conversate. Wall, between me and my brother. We're like, Oh, hey, one. That'd be a great idea around July time. All right. And then last year of last year, of this past year, yep. Yeah. 2021. And then, in August, was when we started some of the art. We opened up the Twitter in September, and I believe one of our first posts on the strange plan quitter was September like early September, September 1, September 2, like with literally within the first week, and then September, October, October, October 15. It was when we launched, we lost the first time and we actually broke our website. So we actually had to launch again, we were open for less than an hour, probably 30 minutes, we broke the website. We took a week to fix a lot of the problems

Alex Ferrari 27:54
Alright so stop for a second how did you generate enough interest to break a website from an unknown IP and unknown creators?

Arel Avellino 28:03
Yeah, no ad spend,

Alex Ferrari 28:04
Right! So how so how did how did they find out about it? How did how did you target your audience? Yeah.

Arel Avellino 28:10
Yeah, so I've This is really hard for me to like, this is really hard for me to also then make sense of with a lot of the things that I have told people and I have also thought myself, but the people who came on were solely people interested in the technology more than they're interested in the IP. And because we were supporting the technology of what they were doing, the IP became important to them so we grabbed on to a neighboring thing that they cared a lot about, and then the IP became important. Okay, so let me just get specific so the, the place that we chose to build on is Cosmos so what for people who don't know you know, you have Bitcoin you have Aetherium, you have polka dot, you have Cardano Well, Cosmos is within like the top 25 blockchains. And the reason nobody was doing a piece on Cosmos the reason why we said that we needed to go to Cosmos was one it was actually it was blue ocean, and I think you've talked about Blue Ocean. Oh, yeah. Yeah, yep. It's a blue ocean. There's not there's not a lot of people who are over there. But also very different from other blockchains was Cosmos reminded me of where the ball is going versus where everybody is paying attention to the ball right now. Because cosmos is not all these all these blockchain, Bitcoin Aetherium. They're what are called layer ones where basically, this is the blockchain like if you want to build on it, you're basically saying, Okay, I'm gonna try to take a piece of this. I do a little copy code and try to make a weird little copy of it that borrows security borrows a lot of different features from this thing, but it's also kind of like a Frankenstein off of the the original blockchain because block chains were not meant to build these Frankenstein blocks. chains off of them. So what cosmos is, is it's basically the internet of blockchains. It's not really a layer one blockchain, it is a thing that you build block chains on. Because it was meant for that, if you think about Bluetooth, and how your phone can connect so seamlessly to your bluetooth headphones, even though they're made by completely different people. The reason is because there's a standard that says, oh, every time Bluetooth every time we're trying to enable Bluetooth, this is the standard for Bluetooth. And this is how we're going to make this connection. So where I saw the ball going, and where my brother like, honestly, here, I'm gonna actually give all the credits like says, Lex easily prove the idea to me, he said, Errol, I think cosmos is the place to pay attention to, because of interoperability. There's a lot of smart people over there who doing some really cool stuff. And he was basically telling me like this concept of Bluetooth, I got it really quick, because I was like, the way that this is going reminds me a lot of the.com Boom. And the way that we saw the internet develop was you had all these disconnected websites. But even before that, just creating the standard of you know, the internet as a whole was important to even get to that place. And then things have become more and more connected. As we have progressed. So much so that I can log into a website using my Facebook login, right. So as we develop these standards, the standard is going to be what's really important. So I saw cosmos is hey, they are setting the standard. And so if we build here, we actually should be able to connect to anybody else in the in the blockchain world. So we build here we might not have ever have to build anywhere else, again, the people who are in the cosmos space, there they are, oh, and also it's green, like I this is important, too. I think a lot of people, it's green, we're not dealing with a lot of high energy usage. You You also have the community as a whole is actually very positive. I like that about them right away. But anyways, to the community that's there. They believe in this idea that this is going to be the internet of blockchains. Everybody, all the blockchains that are out there are going to try to conform to the standard because they're talking about it now. And ultimately, that standard has to happen. And this is the only blockchain that's really said, Hey, we're setting the standard. This is what the standard is, you know, go out and make your blockchains.

Alex Ferrari 32:20
Does it does does Cosmos have a token? Or is it it doesn't have crypto versa? How do you how do you work with that?

Arel Avellino 32:28
Yeah, so cosmos itself is is the standard there is what's called Cosmos hub, which is essentially the first blockchain built on this cosmos standard. So if you want to think about it, like, Hey, this is the web. Well, what if the, you know, internet said, Hey, we're gonna make the very first website internet hub.

Alex Ferrari 32:47
It's like HTTP. It's HTTP basically. Yeah, it's like that's Yeah.

Arel Avellino 32:52
So Cosmos, hub has a coin. It's called atom. It's available on coin base. It's a way to get your dollars into the whole,

Alex Ferrari 33:00
How much is it right now? How much is it right now?

Arel Avellino 33:03
I think it's like 20 27, it hangs around about $30. So so at the time, we, when we launched our entities, we actually had to do a lot of blockchain development, we had to, we had to find guys who could do the blockchain development, which is actually becoming easier and easier. So that part's actually not terribly hard. And the people who are coming into the cosmos space now including us, are helping, you know, essentially set up marketplaces so that it's easy for people to make, make NF T's and mid 80s at without having to go and build, you know, essentially your own blockchains stuff like Juno stuff like stargaze. And then us.

Alex Ferrari 33:46
So So alright, so just so I can I'll kind of translate that for everybody. And because there's, there's a lot though you discussed there. So basically, one of the big pluses you did is you decided to leverage a community that existed already, which is the cosmos. And by leveraging that, that community, it wasn't particularly ready for you, but it was ready for you. Because there was nobody else doing what you were doing in that community. So that you built a product in that community, which is your IP use, like let's put it over here. And they're just like, Oh, my God, you're over, you're over and our party. We're gonna support you purely because you decided not to go to the cool kids party, you came over to us because we're, we're cool, but nobody really knows that. We're cool. And that's and you kind of leverage that. And that's what built the speed up so fast, as opposed to you going to a general marketplace. Right. So the equivalent

Arel Avellino 34:44
Projects,

Alex Ferrari 34:44
Just before I lose my train of thought. It's the equivalent of you trying to sell a movie about aging athletes. Let's say there's a I'm using this as an exact example there. was a documentary about aging athletes, that are athletes who are you know, Centurions and they like go to the Olympics and said, Now you put that into the iTunes marketplace, you might sell some. But if you head over to a convention that is aimed at retirement homes, and they're looking for entertainment, you're going to clean up. And that's exactly what that filmmaker did. They made over a million dollars in a weekend by selling rights to his movie. That's what you basically did with this is a fair a fair analogy.

Arel Avellino 35:33
That's it. That's a That's exactly right. Because the community, so so the way that we also build our audience up, because we have about 20,000 people in our audience, which, you know, pretty decent for only being around for, you know, five, five months, absolutely. And the way that we kind of made that happen is, you know, we went and engage with the people who are already talking to people in the cosmos space, we talked with the influencers, which is a big, it's that that's a that's a word that's probably a little flexible here, because literally, they only had like 2000 followers or 3000 followers. But that starts to add up over time. And then you start to talk to more people or get to know more people who have actually a lot of influence in the space, that seems actually pretty subtle, because they don't necessarily have the follower count that makes you think that but they know all the guys because they've been around for, you know, years. And everybody respects them in the space in the second. And they can give you an introduction to the guy who actually has, you know, 20,000 30,000 or 50,000 followers. Right, right. And so most of you

Alex Ferrari 36:41
You were leveraging you were leveraging the influencers inside of the community to get the word out on your new IP and your new basically everything you were doing. See, I mean, so so that so you know, ad spend, so everyone listening, no ad spend, it's just understanding the community and then going after influencers in that community. And now when you're going after them, did the influencers just were very happy? They're like, dude, I'm just, I want to support you because it's a school? Or did you have to like, hey, you know, I want a piece of the action. How does it How does that work? Generally,

Arel Avellino 37:10
Ohh dude 100%, there they came in, they're like, Hey, this is cool. Because the the thing about thing about a lot of these very connected ecosystems is they have many ways to win without needing to say, Yeah, I need a piece of the action. Because if let's say you launch an NFT collection, and they know about it, like one they can, they have more time to be able to convince you, maybe they can get on the whitelist it so whitelist, by the way, within the NFT world is just essentially like, Hey, you, you, not everybody's gonna get the chance to even buy this thing. And we're making sure that you're on the list to be able to even get into by it. So there's a lot of exclusivity there. So we can make sure we get them on the whitelist and certain things like that. But at the same time, there isn't a there isn't a agreement, essentially that like, hey, you know, you do this for me, I do this for you, it's really trying to develop that relationship with them. Because when we talked to a lot of these guys, it was, you know, Hey, we love what cosmos is doing, we want to make sure that we are supporting that ecosystem, and adding a lot of value to it. So they're all about that. Because, you know, when you're an influencer in a very tight arena, it feels like pulling teeth to get people to even notice this space that you're talking a ton about. Whereas, you know, somebody comes just comes to you and says, Hey, I already love what you guys are doing. I want to come in and support that. I want to bring my project into that. That gets people really excited. And just so you guys know, this isn't a ship that's like sale. Like if you're listening to this. Oh, so we're so we're extremely early, even you don't have to go find your own cosmos. If you were to bring a project in the cosmos. Right now, the community within cosmos is extremely hungry. You can't be a prick. So don't go in and be like, Alright guys, I thought there was a lot of money in here. So fork it up. But at the same time, there's way more opportunity than you're probably used to, in most other avenues because I've tried to launch projects on Kickstarter. I like Indiegogo. I've had to ask for investment money. I've raised 100 grand on Kickstarter, and I felt really good about that one time. And I raised or I was a part of the raised for 200 grand on a but it was all investment money that was coming into this film. And it was just like pulling teeth it was an absolute nightmare. Launching strange plan was one of the easiest things I've ever done. And that was the most amount of money that we have ever seen. especially for a brand new IP.

Alex Ferrari 40:03
Now, um, yeah, it's it's the equivalent of being on MySpace in the early days or being on Facebook in the early days or being on YouTube in the early days. I interviewed a bunch of guys who were on YouTube early on. And it was so early that they were able to figure in seven. Yeah, I mean, I was on I was, I was there in 2005. And I just stopped and I wish it would have kept going. And that's a whole other I actually have minted, and FTEs of the very for I have the have the privilege and the honor of being the first filmmaking tutorials ever on YouTube. I have Yeah, i and i minted those NF T's. And they sold out like that, because I did only one offs on them. But the thing is that early on, if you're in a platform early on, there's things that you'll be able to do there, that in a few years, you won't be able to do so like I interviewed some I interviewed the RocketJump guys, who are very big in the filmmaking, like showing you how to tutorials and stuff like that. But they Freddy, and those guys, they started in like 2011 2010. And even then, they they were like, oh, yeah, man, we figured out how to hack the front page. So we would do stuff to get our stuff on the front page. And that's how they got to like 11 million followers over the bright, right, but you can't do that now. Like, that's, that's gone. You know, but but that's kind of like what you're able to do here, because it's just so fresh

Arel Avellino 41:29
Because like when when they came in, they were doing something different that you hadn't seen yet, right? You too. And so even though it was not day one for YouTube, it was still new for the platform. So if you even as the space within Cosmos, or any one of these marketplaces starts to fill up, there's a lot of new things that you can bring in to these spaces, especially when you think about, you know, well, who is it that I'm that I'm talking to that needs to buy into this. And I would just start that exploration because we had no idea whether or not this was going to do well, it was all exploration all trying to say, you know, alright, let's just have this conversation with them, you know, let's continue to paint our vision. But our vision was always for that for that to three months, our vision was always kind of like, only about a month out really, for what we were like, really trying to plan. And so everything was, you know, making decisions on the spot, really trying to cultivate, you know, what is it that we're, we're ultimately trying to bring to this and listen to people when they said, Hey, I love what you're doing. I think that if you just did this over here. So for example, we didn't even consider the idea of trying to launch your own token, because none of us were like, particularly blockchain developers. We just happen to have some people who had a gist of it. We had no concept of launch our token, people convinced us to do it. And now we're about to do it. And that's a much bigger money raised for the stuff that we're trying to build. Because now we're getting way more ambitious as far as like, the the types of things that we're trying to take on. Yeah, there's

Alex Ferrari 43:12
Multiple, multiple, multiple IPs, multiple everything. All right, so if you are going to go into the cosmos space right now. Yeah, with an independent film project. Mm hmm. How would you go about it?

Arel Avellino 43:25
Yeah. So for me, I would try to pick something that you could actually carry on because there's a difference between, you know, like, for example, you know, you have the, the point about the, like, retired athletes, right? If you're looking at that project, and you're saying like, yeah, I just want to do like this one off thing, right? I don't know, that's a great place to start, I would say, if you if you're wanting to do that project, think more like the the toys that made us or, like brand like IPs that actually have, you know, longevity to him. Because when you think about the toys that made us that's something that could go on for a long time and continue to go on have a life of its own.

Alex Ferrari 44:07
So you wouldn't say so let's say I just want to do I'm going to create an IP. Um, I have I have I'm not doing this by the way. So everyone's like Alex is fishing. I'm not gonna do this, but I have I have a short film called Red princes blues. It's an entire universe that I created years ago. And I created an animated short film prequel of it, I created a full length you know, had some Oscar winner Oscar nominees in it, it was a big IP. It was an IP that was trying to launch back in 2010 before any of this happened. Now don't get pulled up. It is known as a pretty it's pretty badass is a pretty badass idea. But um, if I would bring this to them and go look, I want to make a feature film of this. I need $2 million to generate revenue. I've got this person involved in this person involved in this person involved. Then I've already packaged a nice, you know, I've got this actor who's thinking, this actor is committed, this actor is committed. I've got this Oscar winning producer on I've got this Oscar winning screenwriter on, you know, and I create a really cool package and go, How would you approach that? I'm not doing this, by the way. So no one email me, but I'm just using it as an example.

Arel Avellino 45:21
Yeah. So the I use the I use the example of the toys that made us thing because I there's probably somebody out there who's like, maybe Oh, well I'm not I'm a fantasy guy or I'm not trying to tell like fiction stories like, that's fine. You can tell like real stories, but there's a way to frame it so that it's actually a unique IP, versus like, the toys that made us create a brand, right? And now they've created a brand that's all about idealizing, you know, brands from the past. That's cool. There's something about that, right. But for years, it's that's easy to talk about. Right? Okay, so step one, you got to be on Twitter, if you're not on Twitter, then you're not talking to the community, especially when we talk about Cosmos, but really all of crypto talk and discussion and, and where the real influences are. Like, that's Twitter. I was not a Twitter guy for the longest time because I freakin hate, like the

Alex Ferrari 46:20
Tweeting, you hate tweeting,

Arel Avellino 46:22
I hate tweeting. It's just obnoxious. So the the problem with well, okay, so go to Twitter first. And then when you talk about this package, to me, that's that's your roadmap, right? And everybody understands, like every project needs a roadmap, because if all this is going to be is just an image that lives on a marketplace, then all those, you know, right click copy, guys, you know, those guys are all right there. Correct. Which basically is like, there's a whole argument to well, it's just a freakin image or a JPEG. You know, if I copy this, and then I go mint, this on the same place that you did, what's the difference between yours and mine? Well, alternately, if you have this roadmap laid out, yours is the only one who's got commerce roadmap ideas are worthless, unless there's actually the ability to back them up. And that's what that roadmap is all about. The Roadmap says, Alright, I'm not just going to make these images. I'm bringing on these actors, I've got this plan for where this is going. So mine is valuable because mine has all these things versus yours, which is just a copy of mine. That's it. Okay, so. So I would say that step one is going on Twitter. Step two, is people are gonna start asking you, okay, Discord, what's the discord, you want to go follow the people who are following influencers within the blockchain and trying to build on I would obviously push towards Cosmos, because I think that's one of the greatest communities that's out there. As far as crypto goes. And you want to go follow the people who are talking about projects, especially ones that are in NFT world, because the people who are looking at those, they not only want to support the ecosystem, but they also believe in the power of NF T's and what what that technology is bringing to the ecosystem, which is most of the guys to be honest, you're rarely going to miss. And then from there, it's all about one continuing the dialogue with the community as far as like, you know, this is what we're doing to lead up to the launch. These are the conversations that we're having. I have we have somebody hired on our team who literally her only job is to every single day, have coffee in the morning with our community answer questions, and then tweet out updates. And, you know, post discord updates, you know, all that stuff. So there's a whole process of engaging with community while you're going through this development process. But then leading up to the launch of just ENFPs that first like two months, let's say it's, you know, make the artwork, the posting little bits of the artwork, find ways to collaborate with the influencers, doing giveaways, potentially giving people whitelist spots on onto your NFT launch. And, I mean, all these are very, like community engagement oriented things. But that's, that's, that's where that's where I would lay the groundwork. That's where I would say that that's the that's the foundation point of it.

Alex Ferrari 49:30
And then from there, you launch and then you will launch NFT's. So when you say and if so, because it's such a broad term, when you raised money for your IP, were you selling collectibles, or were you selling pieces of the will you're selling pieces of the IP or the owners? How is that work?

Arel Avellino 49:49
Okay, okay, so we were selling images of the characters that would be in the game, and these would all be characters that were playable in the game. Our main goal was We were trying to launch this IP was one, we wanted to want to be able to make a game. There were several reasons for that, because we were actually working on a project that could essentially be a form of a Metaverse project. Everyone started calling it Metaverse, we called it a virtual event platform. And we wanted something that we could show like, Hey, this is the power and the complexity of what this thing can actually do. But we want it to be very, like, customer focused. So we're like, Let's build a game on this thing. You guys, if we build a game on this thing, I think that people will people come to the game not knowing all what we're doing. And then there'll be attracted to what it is that we're doing with this platform. So the game itself was kind of like always part of the plan. So when we priced out what our NF T's were going to cost one, we knew they were going to be the playable characters. So that was always something that oh, God, we made a ton of artwork around what the character playable characters were. And then I've been by I've been mentoring another guy who mentoring, mentoring is a big word, I would, I would say that I have been talking with a good friend of mine who has a pretty big audience that he wants to launch NF T collection to. And I've been giving him the same counsel, like, you know, these should be playable characters, or these should be access points, you know, into a community, depending on whether or not he wants to go down the route of making a game or whether or not he wants to, you know, give people access to just a community.

Alex Ferrari 51:26
So in other words, I would if I would do references blues, I would actually introduce my main character or multiple characters, I could create NFT's that were playable inside of strange clan, or another community as a as a way to generate revenue. If we wanted to. Yeah, even though it's based on a movie, it's just using those NFT's inside of one more

Arel Avellino 51:50
Metaverse project, because that is that's the other thing too is, so long as somebody is building something on on the same thing that you are building, there's ways to make connection points that but even the easiest thing, because this does not take a lot of money to do is creating a community. The only people with these NFT's get access to the whole board is Yacht Club, the reason why people spend like half a million dollars on a yacht club is because it is a access card into a private community. And if you don't have that access card, you don't get in, it doesn't matter how many times you try to copy that NFT and mint it yourself, it does not matter you cannot get into this community unless you have that NFT.

Alex Ferrari 52:28
So would you would you like be doing you know, concept our character artists, and NFT's? Would you

Arel Avellino 52:36
Character art, Concept art, I love all that.

Alex Ferrari 52:39
You know, you could you could do you know, anything, you can do 1000 Different kinds of NFT's and you can meant, you know, 100 of them, you can one of them, you can make 500 of them, depending on how you want to do it and price them accordingly. But for an unknown IP, but because I've seen this, I've talked to other filmmakers who have gone on to like the main NFT platforms, and they made a little bit of money with it. And some of them has sold their distribution rights through NFT's and you know, all of that, wow, whole life, all of that world. But it's so early on, it's hard to even fathom how that is going to work. Like you're then

Arel Avellino 53:15
I would say that I would say that there's you're not gonna you're probably not going to make too many mistakes here in the beginning, because we don't even know what the mistakes are. So

Alex Ferrari 53:22
It's it's the internet 1997 Man, that's where we're at

Arel Avellino 53:25
Yes 100% percent. So what I would say is, is there's, there's, there's a few big things to watch out for, if you're going down this space, there's a few big things to watch out for. One is creating something that ultimately has absolutely no utility whatsoever. And you don't put any kind of utility into the plan. Like, honestly, I would just say from the get go say this is going to be access point into a private community, at least have that. And then when you do your agreements and stuff with actors and stuff, you know, I would say try to pull those guys into the private community, at least for you know, a time period q&a, stuff like that, like that should be part of the agreement. The second thing is is you have to watch out for language that's insinuates, unless you're ready to do this insinuates that this is going to be a security. So this is what we're dealing with right now.

Alex Ferrari 54:22
That'd be real careful.

Arel Avellino 54:23
Yeah, this is what we're dealing with right now. Because we're now talking about why our RFPs are totally safe. Now we're talking about better offers offered any like profits and stuff if you own the entities or anything like that. The the main thing that we told people was, this is what we're building this is gonna be the starting price. You know, the we never speculate on what the future price could be. We let other people speculate on that. And but the second you say that, hey, you're going to have the profits from x, which a lot of people even Gary Vee has been like, you know, hey, if you if you're a music guy If you make an NFS, if you make your song into an NF t, and then just share all your profits from that, you know, you can make you can make a ton of money doing that. Yes. If you're also ready to, you know, make an agreement with the SEC, and label this as a security, which you can totally do. They're down with it, they'll let you do that. The only issue is, is are you ready to go hire that lawyer? You can, and you can do it in the reverse. And you can, by the way, this is not legal advice is not financial advice. Yeah, of course. Of course, yeah. 100 of that 100% Entertainment is just my opinion. But what you can do is you can say, I'm going to launch this project, we are going to share the profits. And you build into your pricing and your budget, like whatever the prices, you're going to sell each individual and yet, with the understanding that you're going to pay for the lawyer who's going to help set you up with the SEC to be able to do this legally.

Alex Ferrari 55:54
Man, this is man, we are in the wild, wild west right now. It is it is crazy. Even in the short time that I've been talking about NFTs, and blockchain and crypto and all the stuff that we've been able to talk to you about on the show. It's changed dramatically. someone like yourself comes on and does what they do, man, it's just like, I mean, I had a website in 98. I remember what it was like, I mean, I was making $6,000 a month back in 1997. But unfortunately, my server bills were 6000 bucks a month. So really, yeah, it didn't really,

Arel Avellino 56:30
The price of things goes up, the price of things goes down as development continues. It's crazy, man.

Alex Ferrari 56:36
It is. So I remember the wild wild west at that time. And like nobody even remember flash. Like everyone's Oh, Flash is the future. Like, so so many things are in flux right now. And there is opportunities just like there was in the wild, wild west to you know, put a stake in the land that might be worth worthless now, but oh, yeah, I was. I was in California. And I went to Hearst Castle, up in Northern California, where, you know, the guy that they built the basis again on, but he bought mountain side, real estate on the ocean. 19 cents an acre. Wow. 19. So he owns I think about like 10 or 20,000 acres on the ocean in Northern California. That's insane. But that was the wild wild west of the time. Like if you could afford to buy 19 cents of it to buy an acre. You could you could buy it, other people were buying other things. But so it's the exact same thing. We're here. But now we're in the digital world, where real estate and NF T's and you know, crypto and all this kind of stuff. It's still very volatile, and still very crazy. Yeah, but but it is the future

Arel Avellino 57:58
It is more of the more of the things that you want to see happen. Like, honestly, it's a good thing that we have regulators who are now taking it seriously. What they are saying is, is, in a lot of ways, they're saying that what is happening is legal, or just trying to figure out how to treat it. And so like the internet, for example, the internet, like, you have things like regulators, I mean, literally, so this is what we're dealing with is we talk to our lawyer, probably three times a week. And every time we do a conversation with him, not only do we get an update on how things are going with us setting up some of the regulatory needs, because there's very, there's a reality in which we if in order for us to launch the token that we're applying the launch, we will have to be we will have to be a security, there's a reality in which that happens. And so the crazy part is though is that every single week, we have a new update about what the government is still figuring out about whether they want to treat it as a security or what they even consider to be security when it comes to crypto, and there's constant pushback. So we're literally at the bleeding edge of a lot of stuff like you're saying, and so when it comes to when it comes to some of the unknown unknowns, there's a lot of potential upside. You just also have to prepare for the very worst case scenario. And and that's something that we just knew going in was yes, we're going to we're going to have a lot of money suddenly come in. But then how do we also protect our butts? When while the government is still trying to decide how things are supposed to go? So always back to that subject.

Alex Ferrari 59:37
It is it is a crazy, wacky world that we're going into and man I can't see I honestly can't see. Excuse me a a future in the next 10 or 15 years. It doesn't have this stuff. I mean regarding ingrained in our not only society but specifically in the film industry. It is the future I think people will start to Manding fungible copies of their movies and music that they can resell on a secondary marketplace that will become a thing in the future No, no question because it's just people will start demanding it and, and then films will start, you know, Studio will one studio will do it. The studio that's the scrappy one in the corner, like Cannon Films back in the day. I don't know if anyone listening, I just did an episode with one of the founding guys from Canon, who was one of the directors there. He basically he directed American Ninja. So back in the day, and he was telling me he's like, the reason why can and blew up in the 80s was because the studios were scared to get into VHS. Hmm. So because no studio wanted to put their movies up on VHS. There were all these video stores opening up across the country that needed content needed product. So all the independents started coming in. And that's when you had, you know, not the Terminator, but the exterminator and all these other B movies. But they made so much money. I mean, the American Ninja IP was massive around the world. And then after the studio said, well, we'll wait wait a bit. Well, we can't let these guys make all this money. And then the studio showed up and they start throwing their weight around. So that's what's going to happen here too. Right now. Everyone's dipping their toes. Look when Tarantino just dipped his toes into NFT's and and got his hand slapped. I do I'm on. I'm on Team Tarantino on this. Because I think he does have the right to do whatever the hell he wants to do with that. But yeah, it's but I even said it on the show. I'm like, imagine if guaranteed or bust out an NFT. Like who listens, man? Yeah. Well, then if you're listening

Arel Avellino 1:01:47
And he was like, Hey, I that's a great idea.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:49
If someone from Quintin's team is listening, can you come on the show Brother? I would really appreciate it. I'd love to talk to you.

Arel Avellino 1:01:55
So we're trying to did he actually tried to like tokenize each of the frames?

Alex Ferrari 1:01:59
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, not frames, original copies of the script. And he had an audio commentary explaining why he wrote some scenes like complete, original and NFT. But then, the company Miramax sued him? Because like, Oh no, we own the copyright to the pulp fiction trademark and, and the script that we purchased. And so now you're like, Well, wait a minute, this is a one. This is our this is a one off, we're not mass produced. Like there's a whole thing. So it's a really interesting conversation to be had. But like I always said, Imagine if if George Lucas busted out and NFT for Star Wars back in the day, or Raiders of the Lost Ark or any of the Spielberg's movies or any of Cameron's movies or any of that kind of stuff. You know, it's only a matter of time before we have the avatar and a tease, you know, that yeah, you know, James talking through it, and there's two of them. Yeah, is that gonna be valuable? Same way Mickey Mantle rookie cards valuable man or Babe Ruth card is valuable is because there's, there's there's scarcity of it, and so on and so forth. But again, do we could keep talking for hours, but I really appreciate you coming on the show and explaining your process on how you were able to raise $2 million for a brand new IP, it is a really interesting way of looking at how to raise money for independent films, especially, you know, in a world that it is getting tougher and tougher for independent films to get financed. Is this going to be for every project? Probably not. But can it be, but can it be? Can it be, you know, framed in a way like that could sell in a cosmos or an Aetherium, or in another community, another blockchain community. And if you guys want it.

Arel Avellino 1:03:42
The framing is way more forgiving than people think. I almost just want to say to the community, like hey, go give it a shot, go go, like start talking to people, you know, in Cosmos community in, you know, other crypto communities, especially ones where there's a lot of there's, there's there's two different types of people in the crypto world, you got the builders, and you got the hype, guys, and most, most communities are very much filled with a lot of the hype, guys, but not so much the builders, the builders became a very small percentage. There's a massive amount of builders within the cosmos community, and not quite as many hype guys. So the people who the people who are talking right now are people who they're very level headed. It's a very cooperative community because they just need more people present in order for mass adoption to kick in. So the more you find communities that have that kind of sweet spot where they they're in this collaboration mode, they want to be able to connect with, you know, other audiences get more attention, all that stuff. That's a that's a massive sweet spot for a filmmaker to come in and say, you know, all I want to do This documentary or I want to do, I want to actually launch an IP. Because that's the other thing too is there's lots of people out there who are trying to be the person who's going to launch that first major NFT documentary. And I've seen quite a few, raise your hand and say, yep, we're gonna jump in we're gonna be wants to do it.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:21
So it's and Listen, guys, if you want to get more information about blockchain and NF T's, I'll put the other episodes that I did in the show notes as well, because they're, they're pumped full of a lot of information that we didn't cover. But arrowmen I want to appreciate I appreciate you coming on the show. I'm gonna ask you a couple questions. I asked all my guests. What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life?

Arel Avellino 1:05:44
Hmm, the lesson that took the longest to learn, probably, I'm a slow learner. So it's probably more to do with patience and planning. Because I tend to like to just jump straight in and not take my time. Taking that time like in pre production in setting methodical goals, probably planning,

Alex Ferrari 1:06:11
And three of your favorite films of all time.

Arel Avellino 1:06:16
So Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, massive one, um, I would say this is kind of funny, because it's like a completely different type of film. But Incredibles, if I somebody asked me and somebody asked me, What is the film that you've watched, like, 12 times? The first Incredibles movie, I watched that so many freakin times. So I have to include it because Sure, sure, sure. I'm grateful. Yeah, yeah. Um, and then the third one, I would say, Hmm, this one's there. There's a lot of good ones, but I'm just gonna be kind of like basic and I'll say inception. Because I felt like that movie. Ah, no, I'm taking it back. Sorry. Inception. You don't get it. You don't get it. Grand Budapest Hotel because that movie I was just about to say that inception was like Christopher Nolan's like, that was what put it all together for like a lot of things that he was on a trip to try and bring together but Grand Budapest Hotel to a whole nother level of that. Sanderson

Alex Ferrari 1:07:16
I love Grand Budapest Hotel great, great film, brother, man, I appreciate you coming on man continued success in the in the wild west. That is the NFT space and, and and please, if if you raise it, let me know how this goes, man. I want to see where this goes. So let me know if you if you're pulling in 10 15 20 mil let me know. I want that success. I want the success story to come back on the show. So I

Arel Avellino 1:07:39
Yes sir, absolutely.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:40
I appreciate you.

Arel Avellino 1:07:41
Let's talk. Let's talk in maybe three months.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:46
That would be an amazing conversation. I appreciate you, brother.

Arel Avellino 1:07:49
All right, appreciate you too.

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IFH 555: The Frankenstein Self-Distribution Model with Ryan Templeton

Today on the show we have filmmaker Ryan Templeton. Ryan has been developing a “Frankenstein” self-distribution model for the ever-changing filmmaking landscape. Though this interview was recorded before the pandemic it seemed almost Nostradamus-like in its tone.

Ryan and I discuss the changing Hollywood landscape and how indie filmmakers can take advantage of new opportunities that are being created in the vacuum left by the studio model of doing business.

Enjoy my conversation with Ryan Templeton.

Right-click here to download the MP3

 

Alex Ferrari 0:00
I'd like to welcome to the show Ryan Templeton man, thank you for coming on the show, brother.

Ryan Templeton 0:14
Yeah, man, great to be here.

Alex Ferrari 0:16
We're here to talk about distribution and how to make some money with film in the film business, and your unique approach to it. So we're gonna get into the weeds here, everybody. But before we get started, how did you get into the business? Because I, I heard through the grapevine High School, the musical or something. So please explain yourself, sir.

Ryan Templeton 0:36
Yeah, so I so I started actually at the gateway drug, right, the gateway drug which is acting, that acting bug bit me and I mutated into a carnival freak. And, you know, I started getting a break where I just fell down this, this well, where I just love this business. And I had an opportunity to be in High School Musical. And I did, the best thing to come out of that was that it became a South Park character that when they made fun of when they made fun of High School Musical, they have my character. It basically turned into a South Park character. It was actually yeah, it's that's probably the the highlight of my entire life.

Alex Ferrari 1:16
You, you've arrived, Sir, I don't even know why you're speaking to me so

Ryan Templeton 1:21
Well, you know, the reality is behind it is that once you kind of get into it, and you start to like, see the all the back end side of things like so once you get on the set, you realize kind of how small the actor is, you are the face of the franchise, but at the end of the day, like there's tons of things that are happening kind of all around you and what kinds of things that are happening before you even get there. And after you get there. And so, for me, I just found that I was just fascinated with this whole process. And I really wanted to understand the whole thing holistically. So I started writing, about the time actually that I was in high school musical, which was years and years ago, I don't even remember 15 or more years ago, probably 17 years ago, actually. So I started writing and creating scripts and things for myself, started doing short films, started producing those things started acting in them. And I knew how to edit. So I started doing the post production piece as well. So that's kind of what I ended up. Getting into how I kind of got into this game.

Alex Ferrari 2:28
Yes. So and you you reached out to me, a friend of our Rob Hardy actually reached out to me said, Hey, I had this great conversation with this filmmaker about this new business model, that I think you really should talk to him. So we spoke and I wanted to hear I want you to explain to the tribe, what is this new distribution business models that that's making money or can potentially up filmmakers make money?

Ryan Templeton 2:55
Well, it's not necessarily a new distribution model. It's a Frankenstein of kind of the traditional the traditional business model and the business model that we're now in. So I think it's probably best to talk about maybe let's just go to the traditional business model is getting blown up and you've got an episode about that, which I would encourage people to go and check out. But essentially, the the theatrical exhibition is, is basically going away for the major studios, that is not part of their their business calculus anymore. And so, look at Disney, for example, Disney owns 47% of the market share, but they're only going to create 17 films. So that is not enough to cover all those weekends. And that's only one segment of an audience. And so, you know, the president of AMC, Adam, Aaron basically says like, we need more movies, right? These major studios are in a 16 week or 17 a week, you know, weekends a year. And, but that's not servicing, what is our theatrical exhibition. And so we see reboots, remakes, sequels, tentpole franchises, all this, you know, regurgitation of old IP, because that's the easiest thing to market. But what we're realizing is that, that audiences aren't engaging with those things because the as we become more and more digital, right, you and I are talking right now like not in the same room. And and that's amazing, but what we're actually finding and I this is my background is in marketing is that we want human connection. And so that's what people are engaging with, if you look at online, the influencers, right? We want to connect with human beings and our theatrical spaces is actually a good place to do that to be shoulder to shoulder with somebody enjoying the same thing because when you hear them laugh, right, that gives you you know, that serotonin that makes you feel good and feel like you're part of a community and that's what we need. But those big businesses can't compete in that space because they're not human. They're not human. There's though, who's the face of Warner? are just nice, apparently. You know, Disney, exactly. I mean, it was Walt, but back in the like, but we don't have that face anymore. And this is, you know, and so people want that thing. And so this is why we engage with actors and celebrities, because that's what draws us to things, right? So we recognize that that person as a vehicle of empathy, it's the the protagonist, or the antagonist, or what whoever it is, that is in this film that you, you, you relate to, that's who you travel through the journey of the film with. And as you see, and recognize those people more and more frequently, even though you don't necessarily know that, like, I, again, I'm sitting here chatting with you, I listened to your podcast, and I think you're doing you do great work, right. But I feel like I know you. But this is only that, you know, the second or third time that we've ever chatted. And so you you are a vehicle for me, that that I imbue you with a certain familiarity. And so it's the same thing with our films, the that's why you go out and you get, you know, talent that people recognize it doesn't have to be a list, you just have to recognize the talent because that's how you bring the people in, it's this is my trusted vehicle for how I get into the film. And so independent filmmakers then have a huge opportunity in front of them with the theatrical space, because the the, the major studios are pivoting a huge amount of their resources away from the theatrical space into streaming. And with that, they're gonna now have to start creating crazy amounts of content, almost unsustainable amounts of content. And you look at Netflix, I think is somewhere 1,000,000,015. And then they added to 2 billion just recently. And you can expect that basically everyone is going to follow suit to some capacity, I think Apple is at 8 billion. I heard peacock is somewhere in that 7 billion, you know, Paramount network, and HBO, Max and all these content providers, have, they have this giant catalogue, that's going to get people to start the subscription. But the only way to keep people is new content. And so their business calculus inside that is going to be two things. Does it bring me new subscribers? And does it retain the subscribers that I have? That's it. That's all those business models are going to care about. So and you see this with Netflix, as they dial up the spend on their original series. They dropped a lot more stand up comedy specials and kind of, you know, mid tier documentaries and things like that things that are low cost for them so that they can always have something new.

Alex Ferrari 7:52
Every week, there's a new standard. This is you.

Ryan Templeton 7:55
I mean, man, you how much content do you put out just to maintain the audience you have now? I'm not even kidding. Like, now scale that?

Alex Ferrari 8:03
No, yeah, I don't my spend was 8 billion last year. I'm thinking about a 10 billion on my content, but I'm Miko, just nine I'm not sure yet. But I know that a bit. To be honest, on a business standpoint, one of the reasons why I've been able to really penetrate the audience that I'm going after, which are filmmakers, screenwriters, content creators, is because of the massive amount of content that I put out and the massive amount of energy that I put out on a weekly basis that nobody else has really tried to do or figured out how to do the same way I do it or with the way I do it. And it's that the same model works with what this what the studios in the streaming services are doing. I'm just doing it for less than a billion dollars.

Ryan Templeton 8:43
Well, we don't need you shouldn't also discount the fact that you are doing this genuinely right, like correct. So you are you are the face of your franchise, indie film, hustle is not anything other than basically Alex Ferrari.

Alex Ferrari 8:57
It'd be, it'd be hard to sell indie film hustle without me. So like, if a company came in, like, you could sell Disney, you know, you could sell Apple, I mean, on who'd buy? But you know, who could afford it. You know, you could sell Netflix, but that, but I'm glad that I'm putting into film hustle in that category. So I appreciate you. I appreciate that. But no, it's very difficult to sell this this business without me attached to because I am the face of the business. And that's what makes the business run. And there's many, you know, many companies that do that. And I know like there was a couple other other brands within our niche that tried doing that. But when they lost the main guy and YouTube shows happen all the time where the YouTube show host changes and everything drops. Yes, there's attach that person

Ryan Templeton 9:42
Well, and this kind of goes into exactly what you always talk about, right? Like you talk about the niche, right? Well, the niche is the people who look at Alex Ferrari and go, this is the dude like, this is the guy right? This is the guy whose material that I want to see. And so filmmakers do need to focus on the niche but what niche people Want is actually to then project the thing that they think is niche into a wider space. Right. So a good example, which I try not to use, but like Napoleon Dynamite, right, Napoleon Dynamite, and they use this film all the time to be like, Look, Napoleon Dynamite was maybe

Alex Ferrari 10:20
It's an outlier. It's an outlier. But but the principles are solid.

Ryan Templeton 10:24
The principle behind it is solid, right? Because what is the point of Napoleon Dynamite. It's about a small town in Idaho. And so that's a very niche content. But what that content did is it created a funny affectation of basically like, who these people are. And guess what, those are the people that grabbed on to it, and said, this thing is hysterical. This is about us. And they projected that out into the world. And I mean, everywhere in the world.

Alex Ferrari 10:52
It's same thing with Big Fat Greek Wedding. I mean, I mean, that was another one that was just like, oh, it's about a Greek family, like, no, it's about every family, and then everybody grabbed on to it. And then it exploded to what it became. It's all it's all relative, you know, I actually use napoleon dynamite in my new book, The Rise of the entrepreneur as a model. And I even say like, this is an outlier. But the principles of what happened here are sound, as opposed to Blair Witch Project, or paranormal activity, which were complete lottery tickets, and cannot be replicated. But the concepts behind a Napoleon Dynamite or Big Fat Greek Wedding can be replicated if you use the base concepts correctly. And there has to be a little bit of lightning strike to make that work as well.

Ryan Templeton 11:36
Yeah, but any successful, any successful property has some sort of lightning strike to an extent, right. And that's why because it's such a risky business, like, you look at best practices when it comes to best practices of the business. So just because we're independent doesn't mean that we should not look at what the industry does. That's best practices. And if you look at just the traditional model, what they're doing is they're diversifying their risk across multiple properties. So it's are you familiar with slated? I am sir. Okay, so slate, it has like this rubric, where they basically are talking about independent films and theatrically released independent films, they do a study from, can't remember the dates, I think it's 2012 to 17, or 18, or something like that. But basically, what the they show is that the number of winners and losers at the box office are about equal to about 50%, which shouldn't be terribly surprising, because those are businesses that have actually gotten to their point of sale, which is the theatrical space. And the losers make back, you know, on average, you know, about a point, two, five ROI, but the winners are making back like a 3.35 ROI. So if you put those things together, right, the the overall is a 2.41. ROI.

Alex Ferrari 13:00
And for everybody return on investment, so everybody knows what ROI is

Ryan Templeton 13:03
Yeah, right. Yeah. Yeah, and that's, and so the 2.4 is a decent return. Now, people who invest, they want like the forex and they want the 10x, and they want these giant returns. But a 4x can happen if you have just one of those kind of, let's say you made four films. One of them's a winner, one of them's a loser, one of them is where one of them is a loser. And the rubric basically, is that you would get 2.41 return on investment. That's what sleds data tells us. But investors want that for X number. So you would really need to hit a homerun in one of these things in order to hit that four, or even a 10x. And those are unicorns, right. So if you want make money in the film industry, then you just have to make lots and lots and lots of films. And that's what, that's what everyone says, right? You just have to make lots lots of films. The problem is, is if you don't make a great first film, it's really hard to get your second and it's really even harder to get your third, especially if these two didn't do well. And so what happens is our artists get one chance. And so we put all this pressure on these artists to make a film that's going to give them a career. And that's not fair. Especially for first time filmmaker, that's not fair. Like my first film. Yeah, I would hate to have that be the only thing that people ever judged me on and, and the same sorts of the same sort of pressures put on everyone. And then once you have that first one, how do you get the second one because now you want to try and scale up? You want to try and keep moving the ball forward. And so what we ought to be doing as independent filmmakers, and this is the business model is creating a career play the long game. So get four filmmakers that each have their own story to tell and You work together. But you have to work within the model that exists. So how do we value what a film is? Now we're talking value, what's the value of a film? Well, we know the value of the film based on the budget, because we always talk about the budget of this film is X amount. Budget and cost are not the same thing. It's not the same at all, my budget could be $12 million, but I only ever spend $3 million. So that so that's the value is 12, the spend is only three and how do you calculate the value. So you calculate the value by taking the script and going through it the way that a line producer does. So this is what all the studios do. They go through and they say it cost me X amount of money based on the DGA rules, the WGI rules, sag AFTRA, IRC, and they go through the whole thing, like I absolutely need X amount of things for this film, these are the hard costs and then they make phone calls. And they basically get the bids for what these things cost. And then when the film is actually made, they put those real costs to the film, at the end of the day, and then they know exactly what that film budget is. But it doesn't necessarily mean what was spent, they'll spend on the things that are hard costs, right? They'll spend on you know, renting the equipment, they'll spend on talent, Visscher, the talent and they'll spend on those things they absolutely have to have, but they already have an infrastructure. A lot of these major cities have an infrastructure, so they're portioning. It's an apportionment of their actual people that are inside that is creating this thing called soft money. And soft money isn't like a tangible hard asset. It is Alex Ferrari is working for Warner Brothers at $100,000 a year. But on this film, he is the writer and the director. So you get the DGA minimum, and he gets a right, and he gets a game. And both of those are going to be a combined are going to be somewhere in that, you know, 160,000 or whatever. So because I only pay you 100k A year is my employee, I've created 60k in soft money.

Alex Ferrari 17:18
Okay,

Ryan Templeton 17:19
See, so so you can do this same sort of thing at the independent level. And at the independent level, essentially, it's the same thing. I go through the script, I find the value of the script, if the value of the script is $2 million, which is still a low budget film, this is, you know, and people go $2 million. Yeah, if you're spending $2 million, yeah, you should throw your hands up there and be like, That's ridiculous. But independent filmmakers don't spend the $2 million, they spent a fraction of that because the $2 million value on the film, and you play within the rules of the guilt, because at the end of the day, you want to sell this film, you want to take it to theaters, you want it to live on a streaming service, all those major players play nice with the artist skills. And the reason they do that is because that is the bread and butter of their business. Without the artists, they don't have films. And so it that's what we have to start to talk about is that you play nice inside this budget, but you can dangle the rules to work in your favor. And you do that by creating soft money.

Alex Ferrari 18:23
So I'm confused in regards to the valuation of the of the product. So if you're if you're making a movie for 100,000, and your value yet is 2 million, I still haven't heard the way to do that.

Ryan Templeton 18:34
So all of the positions have to be filled, right. So everything that that is on a film has to be filled. But if I give you a position in writing that you can do that in pre production, and you're my writer, and then I bring you in as my director, and then you are covering two positions, I only pay you for one thing, right? So you get four kind of predator filmmakers together. And you run basically these, you know,

Alex Ferrari 18:59
So you're getting more. So basically the bottom, the model you're talking about is you're creating a bigger bang for your buck. So someone like myself, who can come in, right direct produce, edit, DP bring in their own camera gear, I'm bringing a tremendous amount of value to the project that doesn't install money yet, which is all soft money. So basically, when I made my film on the corner of ego desire, when I made it for about $3,000, hard costs, the value that I presented was probably anywhere between 50 to $100,000. Purely because of all the stuff that I was able to do. As if as if as someone coming into that thing, that's great, but I'm not sure how that how Okay, so continue with your process because you asked me to poke holes so I'm going to poke holes if I see something

Ryan Templeton 19:44
Absolutely. So the the point is like if I get let's say I get for Alex Ferrari, so I get my coning.

Alex Ferrari 19:51
That's impossible. That's impossible. That's impossible, sir. There's only one of me. Obviously,

Ryan Templeton 19:55
There is only one of you. We'll get we'll get some.

Alex Ferrari 19:57
If there was if there was four of me I would rule A world. Let's just put that straight up.

Ryan Templeton 20:03
Okay, so we'll get one of you and then we'll get kind of the second tier Alex Ferrari is it

Alex Ferrari 20:08
Their just copies sir copies of their copies of every copy becomes less and less hustle, because it just degrades by the copy. It's kind of like that old, low to that old movie with Michael Keaton. Multiplicity.

Ryan Templeton 20:17
Multiplicity. Yeah. So we multiplicity, Alex Ferrari here, and then. So we got four of you, right. So now think about all the positions you're going to cover, right, you're going to write, you're going to direct, you're going to shoot, you're going to produce, you're going to make the light all your edit, you're going to do color, you're going to do all your di t, you're going to do your data management, you're going to do everything I need to do your sound design. Well, now, I only have to pay for employees to get all those things, how much did all those other things cost? Now, I'm going to ask you, you for to do that for two years and make me four films, each of you get to run the helm at four films, you do it over the course of two years, now I'm going to pay you your minimum, I'm going to pay you and Alex to and Alex three and Alex for the minimum amount of money you need to survive. And what's going to happen is you're going to see that the difference between what you should have made if you were writing, directing, producing and doing all these things through the unions, what you should have made that giant gap is going to create a huge amount of soft money. That is what you own as, as the filmmaker, right. That's your basically your deferment. And so what you do is then you actually get the hard money to pay you and Alex to and Alex and Alex for you get that hard money for your minimum basic living those that money from an investor, and you pay that money back first. So if you're let's say your minimum amount you have absolutely have to have is $50,000. Now I'm making a movie that might cost me, you know, $2 million. On paper, I have these four people who are creating this huge amount of saving, so maybe a million dollars in savings. So I basically have you guys all for $200,000, I'm saving a million dollars. Now I only need $800,000 In order to make four movies. Because you're going to work for you're going to work for two years on that on that salary, essentially. And that's

Alex Ferrari 22:20
Okay, so you're basically creating a slate of films and basically you're hiring everybody salary to create these these forms of to create these products. So it'd be it's, it's it's simple economics, basically. So as opposed to hiring our freelancers to build your and I always use this olive oil business. So if you if you hire out freelancers to build the bottles, bottle that models do all this and that. So like when I had my, when I had my olive oil company, which again, if no one has heard of this, that's a whole other story for a whole other day. But when I had my olive oil gourmet shop, I had staff, I, you know, I paid them a salary, they sat there and they bottled olive oil by hand in my my factory, which was my my store. So by doing that I was able to create based on paying them an hourly rate, how many bottles could I fill? How much product could I create, based on the hourly now if I would have paid them per bottle, or per groups of bottle as a freelancer, the value wouldn't have made sense. This is right. This is basic economics for any business when you hire a salary versus a freelancer or contract worker, but you're trying to create that model within a cinematic slate of films

Ryan Templeton 23:32
Exactly. And within the independent scene because correct, we talk about independent and part of the problem is that we branded ourselves as independent. So that literally means by yourself. We really, really

Alex Ferrari 23:43
Independent should be independent of the studio system, independent of the system, not independent, like I'm all by myself, somebody had

Ryan Templeton 23:49
But we but we branded ourselves that way, right? By being Renegade and kind of being like solo entrepreneurs and this sort of like look, look at me run around with all my gear all over my body.

Alex Ferrari 23:59
I don't know what you're talking about. I've never done anything at all ever.

Ryan Templeton 24:03
Yeah, there's I'm sure there's some behind the scenes.

Alex Ferrari 24:06
There's a picture of me on this is Meg with like this huge rig with a camera and the mic hanging. I mean, literally, if I had a broom up my butt just like I start cleaning the floors while I shot it was insane.

Ryan Templeton 24:17
Well, that's but that's the whole point. Right? And so as you have this, this independent kind of branding that we give ourselves that we feel like we have to work alone, but we don't in fact, it's actually so much better to work with multiple people because if you put everybody in an equity position, so like I work in post production, you you worked in post production and you know that post production is a service based industry correct. So they come to me and they hand me a film and they hand me money to work on the film and I edit in the you know, we do the assembly or we do whatever we do in the the online, the color, whatever it is that we do the effects. I get paid for that service. I owe nothing when it comes to that film. But the only way to actually scale up your business is to own a piece of equity. And that's, and so what happens is then if you take the the savings that you had in yourself money, that becomes your equity investment in your film. And so when I turn around and I go out, and I raised this at, you know, $100 million, or whatever it is, I then can turn around with that same group of filmmakers and make a very, very strong claim that 50% of this movie actually is mine because of just the equity play.

Alex Ferrari 25:31
Right. And the one thing I've always said multiple times in the shows that if someone showed up with half a million dollars from me, I wouldn't make 10 to 12 movies. With that half a million dollars, I would not try to make one movie, I want it because making a movie is like pulling up pulling a slot machine. So I would rather have 12 shots as opposed to one shot to

Ryan Templeton 25:49
Yeah, sit down and play some hands of poker, right? If we're gonna play this clip, let's not pull the slot machine. Let's play the game. Let's learn the rules. Correct. And let's have a strategy. Shocking. Yeah. Amazing. And, and then, and then place your bets accordingly, right. So if you know that you got one that's a little bit soft in in the slate of films, that's fine. Just do that one as best as you can recoup as much as you can, it can't be zero. But then do the next one. And then maybe you're going to want to gamble a little bit more on that one. And so what you have to do with these films that say, again, I'm using four because it shows you know, you failed, yeah, you can do four films in two years. And you can tolerate any people for two years at a time.

Alex Ferrari 26:35
I've met some people in the business, I'm gonna say I'm gonna call shenanigans on that one. No, you cannot. But you can pick them, you get to handpick them. And if someone has to go, they have to go and you hire and you play somebody else in there. And it's just part of, it's just part of what you're creating. So you're basically just creating a production company that has a slate of films where you're hiring crew, you know, that can do multiple jobs. So like, you know, if you hire a DP, it's a DP will own their own camera, their own lenses, their own grip truck, maybe you and you pay them a salary position where they're getting general, they're getting a steady income guaranteed every day, you know, for months at a time, and something that's going to make sense for them. And or some sort of equity in the project that they're creating, and kind of making it more of a communal way of making films on the making side of it actually producing the product is that basically what you're telling me?

Ryan Templeton 27:29
Basically, yeah, and so because that person, you know, that DP would get hired on maybe one film a year or one every couple of years things? You know, that's it, you know, what I'm doing is, I'm guaranteeing that you will work on at least two films for the next two years. So I'm guaranteeing that that salary. And so then what I'm doing is basically saying your value is based on the DGA, the Directors Guild of America, what you should make working on this, what's the least amount you're willing to take everything that you create in soft money becomes your piece of the equity in the overall budget,

Alex Ferrari 28:06
Which now, so I understand what you're saying. So it's, again, the basics is you're just creating more value by leveraging time and amount of films, and you dialing down was found as well correct. And you're dropping the budgets. Because of that, you're just, you're just being smarter with your money, which sounds great. And I agree with it, I agree with the concept. So the concept of actually, production of the film. Makes sense. And it's something that I've done many times in the past, I haven't done a slate of them, per se I've done it one offs. But if you you know if i People always ask like Alex, why don't you make like five or six movies a year at your budget range, which is gonna be under $10,000? I'm like I could if I want to, but I don't I'm busy doing other things right now. But I could easily do that without question because I have the infrastructure to do it. I have crew that could do it with and your model, I could easily bring two crew members that I work with, and they would be on board without without question. But the question I have for you then is the production is great. And you're able to make your movies at a much more affordable rate. What is the business model to recoup? What is the distribution model? And how can you generate revenue from these films?

Ryan Templeton 29:16
Okay, so yeah, that's great. So essentially, what you're doing is you're going to do kind of a, your day in day is going to look a little bit and I don't know how familiar your audience might be with day and date release. But that's basically you drop it into a theatrical space. And then you put it on a transactional Video on Demand, which means you're paying to either rent or buy that property. So your theatrical, you just go right to you can just go right to exhibitors, and say, I have a finished film. This is my feature film. This is what it looks like. This is Susan, this is the trailer, there's the chiar and they will say yeah, you know, let's do a 6040 or 5050 at the gate. And you show that there's actually like people in your community that one audience see honestly an Audience Yeah. And so that means you have to do that. The work ahead of time to get to that point, but essentially, you're distributing it either directly to the theatrical exhibitors yourself, or you just partner with a theatrical distributor who already exists in a space who does independent films. And there's tons of them that there's tons.

Alex Ferrari 30:16
Yeah, it's always gonna say this. And this is something that I think is one of the big kernels nuggets of gold that you're throwing out there is that there is I do truly believe that the theatrical experience is not a growth industry. For as a general statement, it is not where everyone's going. It is not where I mean tickets, I've either flattened or r&d r&d declined, the occasional big tentpole will maybe jump that number up. But people aren't going more to the theaters, they are watching more streaming content. They're also not renting or buying as much as they used to that that's a holdover from the video store days. And the as the new generations are growing concepts of renting and buying, of buying the movie is pretty awkward, because like, you could just go to Netflix or Hulu, or one of the many streaming services to watch. But the one thing I want to bring out here is that there is a big opportunity for independent filmmakers to fill the void that the studios are leaving behind in the theatrical space. As crazy as that sounds, if you use different models, like I talked about in my book, like the regional cinema model, or being able to bring in an audience, and you can target audiences, or if you go after a niche, and you can prove that and it's the I just released a podcast yesterday on film intrapreneur, which was about how the documentary awake, the life of Yogananda did gangbusters theatrically because they were able to target the audiences of followers of Yogananda in theatrical throughout the country and throughout the world. So there is a huge market there, do you have any advice on how to get into those Viet in those theaters, without, without a middle without a middleman to I would prefer not to go to the theatrical distributor

Ryan Templeton 32:01
This is and this is the thing is like so traditional, you needed to have like a sales agent, someone who's going to help you could roll the sales, right, but because you are your own brand for each of these movies, right, you are the filmmaker, so you are the brand. So what you should be doing with that is be building up the audience that you're going to carry with you into these theatrical spaces, which means, you know, building up that following either on social media platforms, or even a Patreon, a Patreon could actually be your TVOD that actually is realistic to have a Patreon actually be your look at and drop me a buck every month for five bucks every month. And I'll give you all access to everything that I do behind the scenes. And you create kind of like almost like a like a corridor crew. I love those guys put them, you know, kind of like but sure showing how the sausage gets made behind all these films. And then that becomes valuable to an audience who wants to learn about filmmaking, and how this thing was done all the way from start to finish. So that's how you can own your TVOD. Now, if you go to a theatrical space, you can do targeted analytics for a specific theater. There's a company called comScore. If you're, if you're familiar with them, and you can literally go based on look this, this exists right here. And all the films all the comparable films that I have, my films are like this have performed really well in this area. So that means that my demographic is in that area. So now what do I do? I pump money within, you know, maybe 1015 miles, I'm not sure what the exact mobilization rate is around this specific theater, but you start pumping your marketing dollars into that actual radius demographic for those people. And you try and drive them to that one point of sale. And that one point of sale, whether it's successful or not, it doesn't matter, because theatrical is just about marketing. It's just about amplifying the voice that you have. So as soon as my film goes to the theaters, I now have that much more street cred. Right. And now, I am a poster that someone walked by as they went up to the go and see whatever Disney was showing, they saw my poster in there. And then when they see my poster, when they're scrolling, scrolling through Hulu, or Amazon or Apple TV, or whatever it is they go, Oh, I recognize that. That marketing spend that I had called theatrical now causes them to click on it, and that creates revenue for me.

Alex Ferrari 34:26
Yeah, it's just about the model is is it makes sense but the ROI is the issue for me because for you to do a mark, if you can break even on the marketing spend, meaning that if you can break even on theatrical sales, whether that be through actual box office, or actually selling merch, or some sort of ancillary product lines while doing that screening at either conventions, or theatrical or whatever you do, if you can break even or actually make a profit at that point, then this model makes sense. But if you are losing money theatrically, and then you're hoping that people People that happen to pass by look at a poster, or yeah, you stick out. It's gonna be rough.

Ryan Templeton 35:04
Right! But you're not talking about a huge number at $2 million. Like you need 50,000 people to see this movie. That's a lot of people. 50,000 people Yeah, but it's, it's not a lot of people, if you actually turn these things into like events, if you're going to a city, and and you're running an event on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and you're going to be there for a q&a afterwards.

Alex Ferrari 35:26
Yeah, you're touring, you're touring. Basically, you're going on tour with the movie. Yeah, it you're, you're basically frankensteining, like you said earlier, you're frankensteining, a bunch of different models trying to put something together, that makes sense, you're taking the best of every little bit trying to put together this entire model. So I understand.

Ryan Templeton 35:45
So because there's multiple Alex's involved in this right one, Alex can be, you know, running their premier event in Philadelphia, and another Alex can be running at the premiere event in a different city. And you can kind of be grooming those those, those markets. And so after you've done that weekend, you've now saturated the market with, you know, maybe two or three or four screenings, and they've got to see you face to face. And there's a reason to come out because it's an actual event, they can get their photo taken. And you saturate that market with maybe 3000 People that are now out there talking about this movie, and they're bringing in new eyeballs. And then the theaters actually want to do a split with you. So if you had to, for wallet for just your little events, because they're like, we're not sure we're not sure that's fine you for a while, just that one. But the theaters need more movies, they just simply need more movies, and they need it for more demographics. And so if you say, like you're been saying, if you you niche down and you know that niche, and you know how to get to them, and you know where they live and where they are, and you can actually mobilize them to the movie theater, then you can put that in front of them. And then there's a whole reason for them to go out into their communities and say, you know, that niche I like, this is a movie about the niche that I like, and that's the word of mouth marketing, or what they call buzz, that actually brings new eyeballs to come and see that. And the the theaters love those kinds of deals, because a 5050 for them is a better deal than they're going to get from any of the studios,

Alex Ferrari 37:12
Right. And the thing is that again, everything you're talking about really does come back down to the riches are in the niches like it is about bringing niching down you're not doing for movies that are broad spectrum, like a romantic comedy, a generalized drama, you know, a generalized horror movie or something like that. You're creating very niche product for niche audiences within this model, which right now you've now now you're not hedging your bets even more, because now you have an audience that you can actually reach. As opposed to creating Oh, I'm just going to make a romantic comedy for $100,000 with no stars in it, and hope somebody finds it like that's you, you'll die. It's over, it's dead. But I do i

Ryan Templeton 37:53
But you got Sorry, what you need you niche down to a place where then you you provide them with material that they then want to announce correct as if if you niche down and it's only something that can be shared within the niche, it's really only got that narrow mountain. And you can do that and make money in directing, but the way but the way to make money in theatrical is actually to grab the niche, and then have the niche want to tell their friends who aren't in the niche about it. That's the word of mouth marketing. That's the piece that creates those 4x and 10x films, that then can carry your whole production slate, and so you're niching down with the content on the screen. But then, in this sort of model, again, if you're showing how the sausage is made on the backside of it, then those people feel the same sort of reciprocity for the person who's sharing that information with them. And they're potentially paying you here in your transactional video on demand or Patreon kind of style window. And then they're also paying for you inside your theatrical window and they're mobilizing themselves and friends, when you come to town with the events. And you you know, you talk about whatever it is if it's the vegan chef, right, you do the vegan chef seminar, you bring in the you know, a vegan caterer to the premiere? Yeah. You know, and have them sponsored the event. And those are the sorts of things that you do at but the you're not going to pay that vegan chef to come there. That's free marketing for them. They're gonna love that. Right. It's a it's a movie, but that's the thing about our business is it is the sexiest business, because everyone wants to be involved in it in some way, shape or form. And because it elevates everything you're doing now. Go ahead. Yeah, you have a question.

Alex Ferrari 39:39
You know, so it's, it's, we I want to just kind of reiterate what you were saying in regards to the, the kind of the reality show style process of explaining and showing you how the sausage is made, you know, to give everybody listening An example is my film on the corner of ego and desire. I've been talking about this movie for better part of two years now. At this point, and people have been asking me left and right, like, when are you going to release it? When are you gonna release it? I've been busy. I've been busy is coming out in January. But the point is that I've talked about this film so much, and it is so perfectly positioned for my niche audience that, you know, now people are dying to see it and also consume other products or other things that I'm creating about it. And I've already been I've already made money before the movie ever got released, because I've been able to create other ancillary revenue streams from just talking about it, because that's a model that I've been able to build up with indie film, hustle. And I did the same thing with this is meg my first film before then. So it is possible. But this is a long game. This is not a short play. This is a long game plan. And that's how filmmakers need to see their film careers.

Ryan Templeton 40:46
But it's a career. You're right. You're

Alex Ferrari 40:49
It's not a lottery ticket.

Ryan Templeton 40:50
But there is no filmmaker who doesn't want to make a career out of it. But you have to like it's exactly what you see, you have to play the game, we have to sit down and play several hands at the same time. And that showing how the sausage is made, like the back side of that thing is so valuable. Consider that like, how many people can't afford to go to film school, or any post secondary for that reason, for that matter. Now. That's an underprivileged underserved community. And we wonder why we don't have stories coming out in those communities. Why it is everything is homogenized through the lens of New York and LA, right, like, because those are prohibitively expensive cities to live in. Right? I live in middle America, I can't afford to live out in New York or LA, I just simply can't. And a lot of storytellers are in the exact same place. But there is no monopoly on story. There is no monopoly on talent. Right? La has got a real housing problem crisis, right?

Alex Ferrari 41:47
Tell me about it. I'm here.

Ryan Templeton 41:50
I'm here. Yeah, but it's too, it's too expensive to go there and do a startup business. That doesn't make sense. It, it makes sense. If you want to go and serve someone else's vision, who's already got like, you know, a strong foothold. But you're talking about regional filmmaking, with regional releases, and then you're making kind of these communities around those things. Are you familiar with them? Dunbar's number?

Alex Ferrari 42:16
I've heard of it. Explain it to me, please.

Ryan Templeton 42:19
So the theory of Dunbar's number is like, you can have close personal relationships with anywhere between you know, 203 100 people, these are the people that are your family, your friends, your co workers. So essentially, what you're doing is you're creating this, you know, within that 200, so you definitely keep some friends and family and keep you know, those things. But then the other people that you want to try and find are people that you want to work with people who are artists, people who are DPS, people who are, you know, willing to serve an idea, and you can all work together to, you know, rise, raise the tide. So you have your filmmaking crew, and you guys live to you, like you live in relatively in those communities, and you make films together, that's regional filmmaking, and then you amplify that into your, you know, little network again, and that network is going to be, you know, 2000, once you get away from that, first, the first 200, or 300, that you can actually have, there's only about 2000 people, because you're going to all have shared connections. So there's only about 2000 people around that community that you call that your tribe. And your tribe is probably bigger, because you've got other people pulling you in. But ultimately, like the real, real hardcore ones, the Evangelicals for indie film, hustle is probably about 2000. And that's enough to create like a sustainable living for one person. But what you're trying to do is expand that over and over and over again. And by creating the content around these 200, and then making a 2000. It's the same thing, the film itself becomes this 200 thing, you need to find those 200 evangelicals for this film, they're going to create these networks around them. So you can create them in different cities. And you can kind of make this tour with your film, all of a sudden, you start being able to feed the whole.

Alex Ferrari 44:05
The thing is that the one thing that I would like to add to this model that you're talking about is that the unlike the olden days, where you had to go around on a tour like this to make money, which you still can, but now these these, these content can live forever, on line. So for me, I release a immense amount of content, but my catalogue of content is watched and listened to every second of every day someone's listening to something or watch something I've done or read something I've done over the course of the last four and a half years. So every day that goes by I add to the catalog. Now the big difference is my addition to the catalog is extremely affordable because it's a podcast, it's an article, it's a video, it's nothing that's cost me hundreds of 1000s of dollars. So if it's right for filmmakers, it's a little bit more costly, but if you start building this this kind of ecosystem, which includes articles includes videos on YouTube includes this kind of ecosystem of products and services that are dedicated to a niche, then you could start slowly building up a business. I mean, I didn't just wake up and, you know, have 4 million downloads or 5 million downloads on my podcast, like overnight, it took years of work to do. And it still takes a lot of work to keep that going. But it's given me the position where I am now where I can go out make a movie, I could write a book, I could do whatever I want. And I'm very happy and grateful for that. And that's where all filmmakers need to come to, they have to build this kind of ecosystem business for themselves. Or if I may, say, a film entrepreneur, like business, around their art, so they can constantly constantly do it. And to a point where the movie, if they're smart, the movie almost becomes a lost leader. If they've created a good amount of product and services around it, were at the beginning, you you're exploiting the movie for actual revenue from the film. But like many examples I talk about in my book, where the filmmakers literally give it away now, they're like, just take it because I know when you watch it, you're gonna come over here, because you're interested in my niche, and look at all the products and services and information that you're actually looking for. How can I be of service to you? And that is the key of filmmakers moving forward, in my opinion.

Ryan Templeton 46:20
Yeah, and, and, and if we look at this, again, let's go back to like the problems that are actually in the marketplace, right. So you take that thing to the theaters or, or you haven't, you don't think that it has theatrical legs, but you've already started to drive an audience to it. Well, guess what, that is now valuable to who, to streamers. Those people who don't have your subscribers already, guess what, when your film goes to their platform, they'll pick up the subscription of, you know, Paramount network, or they'll pick up the subscription for peacock or whatever it is, just watch your film, now you've actually tangibly moved the needle for that business, and it is part of their catalog. That's what those businesses are, right? It's just a giant catalog, they're not really producing their own stuff, for the most part, they're putting money into it. But what they do is they put the money into it, and they hire people in a service agreement, basically all over the country, they go and find the best tax incentive, and they drop the money in there recoup a piece of that tax instead of and so they're reducing the cost of what that that is, and we here in Utah have High School Musical, which is on Disney plus. And we have Yellowstone, which is on the Paramount network, and those are running on. And those are relatively big franchise properties. And it's being done by all my friends, like, it's just people that are in our community, who we rub shoulders with, you know, you see all the time. So you can take those same people who now have pedigrees of working for these major studios, and why not make a business that has those professional resources, if they're good enough professional resources for those big major studios, then they're definitely good enough for your independent films, rally those people together and create the business model model around that. And then if you really want to, like, give an opportunity to another group of people who are underserved, there are investors who actually want to invest in films, and who are not allowed, because if you have the major studios who create these slides of films, so you know, like I said, Disney's going to do 17 films, so they have one giant equity fund, essentially, that's capturing all this money from their private investors. You're either in or you're out. And if you're out, you're basically out forever. So you always have to put this money in doesn't matter what's in the slate of films. But those things make money, they have $5 billion box office returns this year alone. That's, you know, ridiculous. So yes, you want to put money into there. But other investors don't get the opportunity to invest in films that are going to have recognizable talent, and a theatrical release and have some measure of quality. People want that. They want to invest in that because that's fun, it's entertaining, it's sexy, and it's entertaining and, and they want that, but they want to do it prudently. So you diversify the risk by doing it in a slate deal with them. And so you're, you're mitigating their risk. I would never ever, ever, ever, ever advise someone to invest in one single film because that is super dangerous, right? It's super risky. You can lose, you can lose not one single act of God or you will, you will lose it all.

Alex Ferrari 49:39
I mean, it's 2% of film, independent films actually make their money back and there's a reason for that because you're putting all that pressure on one film to carry all the weight where if you if you take like I said, if you have $500,000 you make 10 to 12 movies off of that, which is doable and still very respectable budgets anywhere between 45 and 50,040 50,000. dollars per episode, which I know a lot of people don't, how can you make a real movie without like I've made to that, and they both sold and they're both making money and I don't care. So it's all depending on the kind of stories you're trying to tell. And if you're in within a niche, imagine if you had an the vegan niche, and the vegan chef movie, and witches, by the way. But by the way, there's an entire chapter of that in the rise of the entrepreneur, it's called the vegan chef, and I just broke it down. By the way, I have a name for it. Now it's called Crazy Sexy vegan. So it's just called Crazy Sexy vegan, why not? It's called crazy, sexy vegan. Imagine in that niche, or the surfer niche, or the skateboarding niche. If you made if it was a niche that could support multiple film, imagine if you made 10, vegan themed or plant based themed movies. And you can include some documentaries in there you and imagine you had a slate of those, do you know how much money you would make with those when a movie like game changes just showed up? And just it was the number one documentary of all time on iTunes. And Netflix paid an obscene amount of money to have it two weeks after that original release. You know, that that that demographic is that niche is huge, or a surfer, a bunch of surfer movies, or a bunch of skateboarding movies are a bunch of trombone movies. I don't think that's going to work. But you know, but there's those kinds of films, imagine if you played a slate as opposed to one, one.

Ryan Templeton 51:21
Yeah. And that's and that's exactly what you're doing is you're diversifying the risk for the capital, right. And so then the money wants to invest in this thing. And then, so you have people at the front end who want to invest in a diversified portfolio, because it's going to be fun for two years to have a new movie, every six months, you're getting to go to a film premiere, you can invite your friends, you can bring your family, you get the red carpet treatment, like it feels fun, that's a good use of your money, and you're supporting a local community of filmmakers. These are the people who live within your region, and you want to support them, because they're artists and heaven forbid, you know, you know, you don't get to tell the stories, that of your community and the niches and things like that, that you're involved in. But then you can even now do the business model of the online public offerings, which is the equity crowdfunding, and you had an episode not too long ago about that, which I highly recommend people go back and listen to. But instead of doing the equity crowdfunding up front, you do an equity crowdfunding when the film is done to support your theatrical. So now, I have a film where I'm showing you the key art, I'm showing you the publicity, I'm showing you, all the behind the scenes and the special trailers and things like that, then I create this fund that says, Look, you put 300 bucks in here, and I'm going to share my box office revenues with you. And that's basically your piece of this, that this film. So now what have I done, I've created an incentive, a financial incentive, where they've invested their $300 into this movie, now they have a $300 incentive to broadcast this film to as many people as possible. So I share with them all my Dropbox with with all my all my assets, and they can hit their own audience with it. So then you've created an avenue for people with larger followings, like yourself or other YouTubers or other people with like niche audiences to financially back you. And then also return on that investment because now what you know your mobilization right, wait 300 bucks, oh, yeah, I can send 3000 people to cities across the country, that is going to turn back your money. And you do that just in a few small things with this film. And now your de risking what your theatrical risk goes down your PNA spend comes down. And the filmmakers are de risking themselves in theatrical space, sharing the box office with the audience who will actually mobilize to go and see it.

Alex Ferrari 53:52
The key though, to this entire conversation is to keep the budgets low, to keep the cost of the product low. And that's what I keep preaching again and again. And I was talking about it at AFM when I was there last week, where you you I talking to filmmakers, and like I did, I talked to a couple filmmakers are like how much do you need? Like, well, I have a quarter of a million dollar movie, but we need a million. So I'm like because you have a quarter million cash. Yeah, yeah, we have 250,000 now, but we need a million. And they had this whole package and everything. And it was an I don't wanna talk about exact What kind of movie it was. But it was a movie that and I told them I'm like, do you want me to tell you the truth? And I say yeah, like, you need to make this movie for $75,000. And if you're smart, you'll make two or three movies with that $250,000 If not five movies with that $250,000 Because you're gonna spend another seven years chasing the $750,000 and you won't be able to make money back with this. I promise you, you just like Oh, who's your cast? What's your theme this and it was just it did not pass the mustard. So if you drop that budget as low as possible, and I would I always tell people as well, when I had people that I talked to go look, if you have $30,000, you're like, I know you want that techno crane shot. But can you get away with it? Like, how much does that techno crane add to the bottom? Yeah. What's it worth, it's like, again, I'll go back to my olive oil. So if I have a bottle in my bottle is gold. It's golden bottle. It's made of pure 24 karat gold, it still has olive oil in it, and has a diamond and crusted cap on it or a cork on it. Okay? How much more money am I going to generate? How much how much more revenue can generate by adding really embellishments that the core customer doesn't care about? You know, like, one or two people are going to buy that I'd love to meet these people. But so there's someone's gonna buy a 24 karat bottle of olive oil? Sure, someone will always buy something. But in the long term, does that techno crane add any more dollars to your bank account? Does it add any more Adi? Like, can you tell the story in a slightly more affordable way? I know it's nice. Look, I've shot with a techno crane. If I could live on a technocrat I would it is wonderful. But does it make financial sense to occur that,

Ryan Templeton 56:13
Right and that's the end, that's the calculus that filmmaker you know. And when we're in art mode, like when we're in art mode, I don't think that we actually should be thinking too much about that, like we really should create from a space of purity. But then like, when you take your first steps back, like you need to go, Oh my gosh, this is so not going to happen. So either I have to do something else, or I have to make this fit within the resources and things that I have in order in order to create. But I guess the point that I really want to like emphasize is that this community idea, and that community of face to face, and working with people creates these regional pockets of the film. And those things can live just in those regional areas. There's filmmakers here in Utah, that have been doing this for 1012 years living off living off of just like

Alex Ferrari 57:07
The regional cinema model, the regional center model,

Ryan Templeton 57:10
Regional cinema model, and then they are releasing it just to the small pockets and niche communities in this area. They have been doing that for 10 years. So now what I'm now what you're saying is to build on top of that, that's what you want to do is build on top of that. So now you are bringing in people who want to be involved in the film business. Imagine if at the front of your theatrical screening, you had, this film is brought to you theatrically by. And it's all the people invested in your equity crowdfunding campaign, their Twitter handles or whatever share their businesses are, that is a huge value to someone because it's entertainment, which is what captures eyeballs and attention. And that's what people absolutely want in their businesses. And so you don't need to spend a huge amount of money that $250,000 filmmaker, right, they're already at the point where they can make a million dollar movie because the magic formula is 25% in capital 25% in debt 25% in pre sales 25%. In incentive funding. Now pre sales is going away. So what you're gonna do, it's gone. It's gone. So you've replaced that piece with equity for your service positions. Everyone dials down their cost,

Alex Ferrari 58:23
Right. But the thing is $250,000 in today's marketplace, in today's tradition, the old traditional model is destroyed that by the time this episode airs, I've already released that episode. But it's gone. It's official. Now it's efficient, not like literally the traditional film distribution model is dead. It's dying, a miserable death and people are trying to hold on to it. It happened in publishing, it happened in the music, business. It's happening here. The model of making money with the art in this industry is changed just like it did in music just did in publishing. It's just adjusting. It's a it's a titanic shift in the way we do business and the way we create art, and people really need to understand that and real quick, I want to go back to what we were saying about if the techno crane makes sense or not. Do you remember the you ever hear the story of Michael Bay on bad boys? For that one shot, you guys. Alright, so Michael Bay, his first movie was called Bad boys with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. And he had no power because he was still just a commercial director. And he wanted to there was a scene in the movie, which I just recently saw so much fun. There's, there's a scene in the movie at the end, where there's a big shootout with all the drug dealers in an airplane hangar. And there's one scene where one of the villains explodes out of the airplane that's parked and it just explodes in a fiery ball of flame into like, explodes out of it and into like a pile of get whatever. He wanted that shot. He wanted that shot so badly that the the line producer wouldn't give it to him. And he's like, what would it cost to come in tomorrow? Early for two hours and get that shot? Shot, and they did the numbers and it was $60,000. To do the shot, the one shot it's on screen for three seconds, four seconds, right. And he paid for it out of pocket. Because he is an artist wanted that shot. Now on a, you know, in there's arguments on both sides here like, did he have to do that with the movie had been successful without spending that $60,000? Yes. And there's no doubt in my mind, the movie would have not lost any box office whatsoever without that shot, but the artist in him wanted to do it. But you know what he did he ponied up his own money to do his art. And that is the big difference that filmmakers don't get. If you want the techno crane, and you want to dig into your credit card, because you want the techno crane shot, and the production can't afford it. Go for it, but understand what you're doing.

Ryan Templeton 1:00:50
Yeah, and this, and this applies to all artists, right? Like, I'm an actor, right? If I get a good script that comes, it comes to me, and I'm like, This is amazing. You pay me just to keep me alive. And I will defer everything else. And other actors are no different. Now, their managers or their agents are going to say no, don't do that. Right. They're gonna say no way. Don't do that. Because for them, they get their percent of their percentage, yeah, their percentage, and then also their publicist and their lawyer. And you know, by the time it gets to them, they're making 40 to 40 cents on the dollar.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:24
10 million doesn't go as far as it used to you only take home maybe three, 4 million after taxes. I mean, it's not really who can live off of that, really.

Ryan Templeton 1:01:33
But independence can go to actors. Yes. And they do all the time, go to an actor and say, Look, I want to pay you a SAG minimum deal to work on this film for however many you know, it should weeks or three weeks, trying to shoot them out as fast as you possibly can. And they will say yes to the things that they think are good. If you've bought a strategy to put that into the theater, then you give them box office bonuses because they are the vehicle they are that the protagonist or antagonist or whatever it is that they're playing in your field that people recognize, that's their brand, and you double them up every time you double up or you give them a you know, the first take off the top in order to get them home. Because at the end of the day, they are artists as well. And that's their sacrifices to work at a lower rate to work on your film. And everyone will do that. It's the the problem is when filmmakers take advantage of people's passion, and say do it for free. And that's a real problem. And there's a lot of filmmakers who don't know how to say no, there's a lot of crew people who don't say no, there's a lot of actors who don't have to say no, because they're being given an opportunity, but you can't live on zero.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:43
You know, without question without question, I neither, you know, when I make my films, I either pay the minimum hour, I give them some value that is worth their time. Whether that be a service, whether that be an exchange of services, whether that be there's something that I give them that that they're willing to do the work for. And it's also I'm not working 20 hour days, it's a lot of things about it. But the one thing I also wanted to say here is that the what we're talking about is with the actors and you know, coming up peace, everybody is becoming everyone's becoming a film Japan or whether they know it or not every all the actors or the crew people to distribute the distribution and everyone's becoming entrepreneurs, you have to become entrepreneurial in the way because the old model is broken is breaking down, if not broken down completely already were stupid, where actors aren't getting $30 million upfront anymore. Those days generally are gone. For the most part. There are exceptions, of course. But I remember that remember the whole days, like when people were paying three $4 million for a script. And then and then you know Arnold was making 25 million for Batman and Robin like those days are gone. Now there's back in participation. There's gross points, there's they're working, they're partners with the studio, and they're leveraging their own fame and talent with the studio's money in marketing, because they understand that. And this is a shift that happened in the in the music industry years ago, where there is very little money now in the music. Like yeah, there are the record sales, and the publishing money that you used to get is not what it was before. Like I wrote an article where, you know, for REL, the the artists who did happy, everyone that song, do you know, I didn't know I'm not gonna do that. He played that movie streamed on Spotify a billion times a billion times is streamed. He owns the right on he's the publisher on that. How much do you think he made on publishing offers off of off of Spotify?

Ryan Templeton 1:04:42
Wow, man. Have a billion a billion of Yeah, but it's so minimal. It's minimal because it's going to be a fraction of a penny back. That's 2 billion.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:50
So how many how much do you think I'm gonna say? It's gonna make it bigger.

Ryan Templeton 1:04:55
So just just under a million, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:58
$1,857 He made off of publishing $1,857. Not the sales, not the stream. This is the publishing aspect of it. He might have made more off the streaming but it was not much that was made some money. But the publishing we're publishing used to be gold used to make obscene amounts with publishing $1,800. He does a whole article, he's like, I can't argue, if a billion dollar of a billion stream saw makes $1,800 what hope is there. So the the money is not in the music anymore. The money's in the brand, the artists, the ancillary product lines, the sponsorships, that's what they started doing. There's bands that go on to touring, because you can't bootleg a tour, you know, you get bootleg that experience. So now I heard bands who are selling VIP tickets, where you can come backstage for like 250 bucks, get an autograph, and a picture with the band after the show. And that's how they're making their money. Because their access access is uncommon. It's insane.

Ryan Templeton 1:06:01
And it's and the collapse of that industry, though, is actually quite sad because you see artists who are creeping up into their 70s and they're at still on tour because they never quite hit the threshold to retire. And so the Rolling

Alex Ferrari 1:06:15
Stones are doing the Rolling Stones. I mean, Bon Jovi is not correct. I'm not gonna for Bon Jovi Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, they're all doing fine, because they were good, and they're fine.

Ryan Templeton 1:06:23
But it's the ones that it's a little bit lower tier, the ones that have been grinding at it for years. And

Alex Ferrari 1:06:28
I just I just saw that poison Motley Crue. And I think somebody else joined force, Guns and Roses, like the three or four of them for a worldwide tour, which this gonna do fantastic. But that's they have to make the cash man.

Ryan Templeton 1:06:43
Yeah, well, you're seeing a lot of the, the middlemen in every in every position goes away. Right. So it's the people in between the film and the theatrical exhibitions, the people in between the film, and the, the TVOD, or the streaming. And we have that example of distributor aggregator actually just an a relatively well established aggregator going under. This is you know, you're seeing this crunch and it's happening in the industry between the the studios right now and the WNBA even right, because their packaging material, those middlemen are creating that that conflict of interest in the at the ATA and the WG are going at it right now, essentially. And the Go ahead.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:29
No, I was I was about to say this exact issue is what came up I actually got a few people asked me what I thought about it, which was the the like, they got rid of this whole Law of the anti What is it the you can't film studio can't be a theatrical distributor. And they finally got rid of that. And when I when someone asked me like, didn't they already get rid of that? I mean, Netflix 80s Yeah, like nothing. I mean, it was still on the books. But yeah, no one enforced it. Because the second that Warner Brothers was making content for HBO, will that broke that and Netflix and their direct relationships. And that is where everything is going. The theaters that the studio's don't want to deal with the movie theaters, if they can make the money going directly to Disney plus, if Disney can make money going directly to Disney Plus, they won't go theatrical. They if they don't need to share 3040 or 50% of their take, where people are going to show up because, look, you know, right now frozen to the only place frozen to could be seen is Disney plus, I promise you, that'll jump 30 or 40 million subscribers in the course of one weekend. Now will they stay? That's the job of Disney plus to keep you there. But if they start every imagine, just imagine a world and I know this world is coming. Imagine a world that now the new Marvel movies, the new Star Wars movies, they're all designed for the direct output because they don't need to go theatrical. And if they do go theatrical, it's kind of like a specialty event or it's not the main revenue source. It's happening already. It's already happening. I don't know if I don't know if you've heard this and I've said this publicly before I'm not sure that I heard through the grapevine that Disney was showing a lot of their people how they actually made money with their movies. So it was quadrants. It was like box office. It was DVD blu ray home video, and merchandise. And when they came to frozen, it was like an 8010 10 So it was like and that made a billion dollars in the box office. So was a billy box office like a billion or so in home video DVD streaming all that stuff. And then 90% 80% was on merch and then do you know how much and you know how much they made off of the dresses. Just the dresses, the frozen dresses, just the frozen dresses alone, how much they made a billion on the dresses just on did not the other obscene amount of merchandising for frozen. Just the dresses was a billion dollars because that's what they that's what they care about. That's what that's where the money is, man. That's what the money is.

Ryan Templeton 1:10:00
Yeah, and that's why and that's why the theatrical is actually important because it elevates your voice. So now you actually have perceptible value to all kinds of other merchandise creators, who then would come to you and say, let me license this ticket on my mugs. Let me license it to put it on my shirts, let me license this in order to, to create dresses are whatever that piece is. But you have to get to that, that saturation kind of point where people know that you exist. And the theatrical space is the way to do that. And if the current leaders

Alex Ferrari 1:10:30
Currently who knows what's gonna happen,

Ryan Templeton 1:10:32
But here's the thing is like, we don't stop going to sporting events, because we can watch it on TV, we still go to just the cost of going to it is going to goes up, right? And that's what's happening with the theatrical space. Like there's something magical about being showing people screaming and yelling at your favorite team. It's the same thing in the theaters, right? You need to feel like you're part of a community. So that's not going to go away. It's just the cost of going to the theater is going up. And we're seeing that, because like you were saying the ticket sales are going down. But what's happening to the revenue numbers, they're flatline, they haven't gone down in years, because the price because the price gives price goes up. Yeah, it goes up based on the number of people and so but that's why you're seeing nicer recliners, because there's fewer people, you're seeing recliners, you're seeing food show up, you're seeing better screens, you're seeing better sound because now I've got to compete with every home theater system in the entire country, I got to blow those guys out of the water to make this an experience that's actually worth your full subs, your full monthly subscription to, you know, Netflix or Amazon or Disney plus, because this is an experience. And that's the that will never go away. That experience will never go away. Because we will have to have we have to have human contact as human beings.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:44
Yeah, please haven't gone away. You know, Broadway probably still doing gangbusters. So you know, and you know, that, arguably do you need to go see a play now. Because you have to be entertained at home, but it's an experience is a different kind of art form and so on. So I agree with you. I don't think theatrical is going to go away completely. But it will morph into a new thing that we don't recognize right now. Yeah, we wouldn't recognize

Ryan Templeton 1:12:05
And there are smaller exhibitors smaller theatrical exhibitors are hurting badly the content right now. Yeah, and, and it's because there's no dollars upfront, to get into independent film to allow for someone to control their own destiny through this theatrical space. And so you really have to look at the whole game, from end to end on like how you can actually play this game, and create strategies for that, like I have my strategy, and then it might not be the strategies for everybody, right. But at the end of the day, like the whole point of, of, you know, independent filmmaking is to create a story that then other people can get rally around, like, the purpose of art is not to create art, it's to build communities and relationships and give people a reason to talk to each other who wouldn't otherwise talk to each other as a mess apart.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:56
Amen. Brother, amen. Preach it a preach it, preach it. So I'm gonna, because we could talk for another hour about this, but I'm gonna, I'm gonna ask you a few questions that I asked all of my guests are, what advice would you give a filmmaker trying to make it into business today?

Ryan Templeton 1:13:13
Storytelling, focus exclusively on storytelling, but in all phases of storytelling. So you can storyteller on the page, which is the one that we always think about when you can chuck straight pelvis storytelling on the, on the screen, and in post production, but their storytelling that can be done with data. I'm using the data points of my film to tell a story in order to create a narrative. So understood, investors understand what it is that I'm actually talking about. That's a narrative focus on that storytelling, focus on the storytelling of marketing. Why it is people need to get up off their couch and actually experience this event and go to this theater at this specific time, and be a part of a larger community. tell those stories focus on that kind of storytelling, because the better you can get at weaving those narratives, not just in the three phases that exist in film, but in all the swirling stories that go around it. So when you go out and you do your publicity, all those things, you can be telling good stories, because that's ultimately what makes someone want to can engage with you.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:16
Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Ryan Templeton 1:14:21
Fear is just a construct. It is completely in here and it here's a quick story when I was a kid I had I had night terrors for years and years like I would wake up, so soaking wet from sweat, and screaming and I was still in the dream. And I would do this over and over and over and over and over again. Same kind of reoccurring stories and it took being awake to realize like I'm going to make decisions in my dreams. I'm going to make decisions in my dreams to control them. And I became a lucid dreamer. I was actually able to like stop these night terrors because I can take control of my dream. So now I really focus on lucid living. It's the same sort of idea, right? Let's not let the fear of reality stop us from from dreaming in real life. And that's the thing that I you know, you can be a lucid dream, you can put that into the world and you can make things happen on your behalf but you have to be the one in charge of it. You have to be in charge here in here in here.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:28
That's awesome. That's a great answer to that question. Now three of your favorite films of all time.

Ryan Templeton 1:15:33
Oh, man. Man, I'm gonna I can't do favorite of all time here.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:38
I just three that come to your head right now, sir.

Ryan Templeton 1:15:40
Okay, I'm going to give you three that hopefully your audience has either seen or will want to see after I'm done telling you them Amelie.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:50
Amazing film.

Ryan Templeton 1:15:52
A foreign film French. Wonderful. And then in America. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 1:15:58
I remember that one. Yeah.

Ryan Templeton 1:15:59
Juice Sheraton? Yeah. Really beautiful. And then one just for you, my friend Alex. Fire Ice and dynamite.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:06
Why does it why does that sound familiar

Ryan Templeton 1:16:10
This German film, and the lore, I can't I don't know if it's true or not. But so after James Bond, the one who were there skiing, Roger Moore, whatever the Roger Moore one was. So they filmed that in the Alps in Germany. And after he left, they have this crew of stuntman that worked on this film. And so they, you know, got tight, and they started to work together and someone comes to them with this script called Fire Ice and dynamite. And essentially, it's just the most amazing low budget stunt action film of all time, but it's so passionately done that I recommend it like if you just want to have a full on like turn your brain off and sit back, relax and enjoy. Just 100% Passion, explosions, wild stunts, like this is the film for you.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:03
Well, it's on my list now sir, thank you very much for recommending that and now where can people where can people find you and your work?

Ryan Templeton 1:17:10
I'm online I do some online like free kind of tutorials called previously unknown at previously unknown film on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, that's where I'm at and then if you want to hit me up on Twitter, I'm @ regular size Ryan.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:28
Craig's twitter handle because I'm assuming at Ryan was taken

Ryan Templeton 1:17:34
Late I got there late and I'll I tweet about it is like soccer so but but you can you can if you got a question for me area that I'm more than happy to engage with people.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:44
Ryan, man, thank you so much for coming on the show, bro. I appreciate it. It's been a pretty cool episode. And I hope it's it's kind of sparked some like some kindling in there in the tribes mind about how you can do things. And this whole Frankenstein model that you've kind of put together is is can work if you're able to. There's a lot of there's a lot of elements that need to fall into place. But if you if you're logical about how you put it all together, it's something that can work with.

Ryan Templeton 1:18:10
Yeah, and I'm already do i mean i I'm not, I'm not espousing this as just an ethereal thing. I'm already doing it. I already have partners. I'm already raising, I'm already putting money right now into an escrow. So like that is it's already happening. So I'm, yeah, I'll keep you updated on how it goes. But please, please, yeah, I we need to pilot this program. Like we need to see what it actually looks like. And if it works, then great. Everyone can use it. And if it's not something that actually works, or if there's pieces that do work, then let's make sure that the information and the good information gets out there to the community of filmmakers that are going to make the stories that myself and every generation after us are going to engage with

Alex Ferrari 1:18:51
Amen, brother. I appreciate them. And thanks for being on the show, man. I appreciate it.

Ryan Templeton 1:18:54
Take care brother.

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