So you made a short film, now WTF do you do? Today guest is filmmaker Clarissa Jacobson and she is the perfect person to guide you through the rough waters of getting your short film out to the world.
Clarissa is the writer, producer and creator of the multi-award-winning comedy/horror short – Lunch Ladies – based on her feature. The film garnered forty-five awards and is distributed all over the world.
Her follow up short – A Very Important Film – also got distribution. Her optioned feature screenplay, Land of Milk and Honey, is in development with Elizabeth Avellan and Gisberg Bermudez.
In addition, Clarissa wrote a book – I Made a Short Film Now WTF Do I Do With It: A Guide to Film Festivals, Promotion, and Surviving the Ride.
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.
Get a FREE copy of the audiobook I Made a Short Film Now WTF Do I Do, released by Indie Film Hustle Books.
Enjoy my conversation with Clarissa Jacobson.
Alex Ferrari 0:00
I like to welcome to the show, Clarissa Jacobson. How're you doing Clarissa?
Clarissa Jacobson 0:15
I'm doing great. I'm really happy to be on your show because it's so freakin awesome.
Alex Ferrari 0:20
Thank you so much. Thank you so much. We were talking a little bit off air. And I appreciate all the kind words you said about the show and your you know, that you've been listening to for a while. And you found me through distribution, where a lot of filmmakers end up finding me when they start running into that wall.
Clarissa Jacobson 0:36
Leaving gray area is since it's no fun, and nobody knows anything about and we're all terrified.
Alex Ferrari 0:42
Right Exactly. And then of course, after you listen to me, you're even more scared. Because Because I tell you the truth. I'm like, No, you're never gonna make money here. This is how they're going to screw you. They're don't sign this here. And and
Clarissa Jacobson 0:54
Knowledge is power. Even It's scary.
Alex Ferrari 0:56
I'd rather you I rather you be scared than lose your movie. So but um, but I'm happy to have you on the show. And yeah, you reached out to me about your book that you wrote called, I made a short film. Now, what the eff do I do with it's a guide to film festivals, promotions and surviving the ride? Based on the title alone? I said, Well, I have to have her on the show. I I mean, because I was like, this seems like the kind of gal that I can vibe with on the show. Because it's it's no nonsense.
Clarissa Jacobson 1:29
Yeah, that was my title. And then I just never changed it. And it's super long. So now I just call it my WTF book.
Alex Ferrari 1:37
Exactly, exactly. TF. So, so many. So so many filmmakers do make short films. I mean, I have a long history of making short films and having some success with them early on in my career. But there is so much misinformation about short films, how you what you do with them, can you monetize them? How do you run the festival circuit is you know, where do you go with it? All this kind of stuff. So before we jump into the, into the weeds, how did you get started in the business?
Clarissa Jacobson 2:04
Well, I when I was a little kid, I thought I wouldn't be an actress. So I did the whole acting thing. I went to acting school. You know, I went to Indiana University and majored in theater. And then I went to American musical and dramatic Academy in New York City. And I did that whole thing. But I was always writing. And the thing about acting is you need so many people to to do it. You know, so I had all this pent up pent up artistic energy all the time that it can never use because if you're not in a play, or you're not you just can't use it. And I stumbled on so long story how I met my mentor Joe Bratcher who teaches twin bridges writing so on. But I he offered me a class and I was like, Well, I'm an actress. I don't write, you know, like, I'm an actress. But I took like, yeah, and I took a few. But I was kind of getting that burned out stage where I was feeling like the bitter actress, you know, but I was always trying to do my own projects. And then I started screenwriting with him and I just never looked back. And I had like, you know, that weird come to Jesus moment where I had to like, because I always like want to commit to one thing and really be good at it. And I was like, you know, freaked out going, Oh my God, my whole life is saving actress, I'm leaving that behind. I'm a failure at it. And my friend was like, you know, life is like a tributary, you're just taking another, you know, waterway. And that was like 1415 years ago, and I don't miss acting at all. And I just love screenwriting so much. And then I made a short film for a variety of reasons. And that's when I really realized Holy shit. I'm a filmmaker. Like, that's where I fit like, 100% I fit as a filmmaker. I mean, screenwriting first and foremost, but I, I don't want to just give my screenplays over. I like to be part of the whole process. I just freakin love it. So yeah,
Alex Ferrari 3:49
That's awesome. That's awesome. And yeah, it is, you know, a lot of times you walk into this business wanted to do one thing, and then you find yourself doing something else. And it's, I mean, I walked in wanting to be a director. And that still still was my goal. But I fell in love with editing. Because Oh, I can make a living. And I can learn and I can make connections. I'm like, this seems like a good job. And I I get some carpal tunnel. I work in an air conditioned room. I'm good. I'm good to go enough to be on set all day. As a PA because that's thinks you know, when I first started, I was like, three o'clock in the morning call. What did Oh, I'm getting $75 Well, that's fantastic. And by the way, that was $75 back in 1995. Whoa, that's $75 today $75. So fun money man. That was something like that was some mad money back in the day. But um, so So you so let's discuss your book, how I made short films. I made I made my short films on what the heck do I do? How to we're gonna go over a bunch of stuff. But one thing is a question that we always get people asking me about is branding. Because I've done I've done it a decent job branding my show and branding myself over the years. How do you brand a short and your opinion?
Clarissa Jacobson 5:07
Um, well with my situation I just looked at this the story and what what little thing that I could pull from it that would be that people could latch on to and that was my lunch. So my movies comedy horror about lunch, ladies. So first thing I did is I was like, okay, where does my film take place it takes place in a school. So when I made the website, I don't know where I learned this, I learned somewhere along the line that you, you always do the same type of fonts, you do the same. So I got started doing like, you know, it was going to be the century schoolbook font, it was going to look like at school, it was going to have the same attitude as the film. And when when I talked to other filmmakers, short filmmakers about branding, I say, you know, don't don't like freak out about it. Like, you know, you don't have to be some marketing genius or whatever you have to find like that thing that you can pull from it that other people will react to. So like for me, I my life actually reprehensible. They're, they're like, really, they're the bullied all the time. So you kind of you feel for them, but the reprehensible so like I, I kind of went the opposite. I branded it in a way that like, everything was, if they got in a festival they cheated to get in, everything was so I just found that like little niche kind of thing that I could hang my hat on. And then when I would do all the Instagram posts, the Facebook posts, all the products I took, I find that a lot of people just throw stuff together, I took like a really a lot of time, making sure that everything like fit together matched with the fonts look to get looked good, and that it was consistent across all the social media. And even my blogs, like I mean, if you wrote like over 200 blogs during the course of it, but like if you look at my beginning blogs, there's there you can see how it's helped grows. So like I would say you don't need to be at 100. When you start, you just start somewhere and you you branded in a way that also it's information that you'd want to see. Like you have to like create a look for your film, whether it's comedy or drama, or whether ever when you're creating content, that stuff that you want to look at that you would want to look at. Because I see a lot of times people just want to like announce stuff. So
Alex Ferrari 7:27
So it's basically graphic graphic design 101 is basically like you're thinking about everything you just said is graphic design 101, which most filmmakers don't think about, because they're like, oh, I'll just throw it up there, I'll just take a still and I'll grab whatever font that I find in in Canva, or in Photoshop and my cracked version of Photoshop that I got somewhere on my old Mac, and they just slap it up there. And that's where I always find I think that's really separates. You know, projects is the design of the branding how it looks before anyone even sees the movie. More people will see the website, definitely more people will see the trailer and the poster. And that will tell me like anytime I get sent video of a gets sent pitches for being on the show. I'll look at the trailer. I'll look at the movie poster, right? And the second I look at I'm like, no, they obviously don't know what they're doing purely on the scope of the design. Because design is so powerful of a way to kind of introduce you to your world. And if you haven't done a good job with your posts, your your website, your trailer, chances are, I've never I've never once seen an insanely well done short or insanely well done feature that the poster in the trailer sucked.
Clarissa Jacobson 8:48
Right and, I think it's too like you have to come from such a place of creativity like in that you have to think of the branding as just as creative as the film. And you know, like I fought it, I didn't want to do it. Don't want to do this. Don't want to do that. But you know what, like, I just sucked it up, you got to just suck it up. And you have to find a way to make it joyful. So what I did was I found a way to make it joyful, so and I would send out my postcards because it's about lunch ladies, I would wrap them in in butcher wrap. I would send like the pins in like little wax paper bags with little stickers, you know, like, just what would amuse me, you know, and try to make, make it fun. Because if you're not having fun and you're not being creative with it. It's not going to resonate. So that comes from that authenticity of like what is fun, like what excites me about how to how to do it and so that was kind of like always my thing like if if I was creating something or sending something out what I want to receive this and you know, people would say, you know, nobody, nobody cares are just gonna rip through that paper. I'm like, Yeah, but I know when that the programmer opens that package. They have a little smile on their face. You know? Put a smile on my face.
Alex Ferrari 10:02
Right, exactly. And sorry. So the other question is this branding? This is where a lot of think a lot of filmmakers make mistakes, too. Is there a lot of times they'll brand their film for the mass audience? But you need to understand who your audience is. Is your audience. The public? Or is it Film Festival programmers? Or is it studio execs? Or is it financiers? Like, you've got to really understand your audience? Is that a fair statement?
Clarissa Jacobson 10:29
Yeah, I think so. And I and I, you know, and I just think there's like a big thing to be said, for consistency. And putting yourself out there. I mean, I have a whole chapter on this about the fear of putting yourself out there, because everybody, you know, it's so much easier to shout someone else's work out than your own. And you're afraid that people are going to go, oh, I that person is so egotistical, because all they do is talk about their film. But you know, at fucko you got to talk about what you love. And if you have a passion and an authenticity, and you're putting it out there and spending time, like it takes time to like, make your product look good, like did not just slap together to, you know, stay up a little a little later that night. And like make sure you have the right stuff that you're sending out. You know, like, it takes time in that passion and putting it out there. Like people will respond to it.
Alex Ferrari 11:24
It's you know, that's called hustle. That's called work. And yeah, a lot of filmmakers they, they feel that that once they're done with the short, I'm good, I don't need to do anything else. And that's the I don't want to do the non fun stuff. But
Clarissa Jacobson 11:37
That's what you got to make it fun. That's what I did. I try I made I made I made it. I made it as fun as I could. Right and, and i Nobody thinks that's fun. They can throw like, Oh, you have a talent for it. I'm like, You know what, everybody has a talent for it if you want to do it,
Alex Ferrari 11:49
Right. I personally love the branding. I love the marketing of my projects and things like that, because it's, I just think of it as just an extension of the creative process. Yeah, for me,
Clarissa Jacobson 12:00
That's exactly the way I think of it.
Alex Ferrari 12:01
I mean, you look at you look at Fincher, and he's really in a David Fincher, he's really involved with his marketing, Stanley Kubrick was heavily involved with the marketing from the trailers to the artwork to everything, every aspect of the marketing process of his films, because he saw it as well. So to Fincher that way, and I not that I'm putting myself in the same category as Rick,
Clarissa Jacobson 12:24
Right, you're absolutely right, you have to have that creative. Yeah, I mean, that's the best thing to think about. It is like, it's just an extension of the product, you know. And I think, too, you need to know what you want to do with your short, like, if you you don't want to if you just want to go to film festivals and part of your ass off, and you don't care where your film goes, and you don't need to do all that stuff. But if you have a vision that you want it to be like a proof of concept, or you want people to notice you, then you have to find a way to connect the whole thing together make it part of this. I mean, to me, it is part of the same thing. It's not as fun as making the film. But no, it's part of it.
Alex Ferrari 13:00
And I think the the big benefit that everyone has nowadays and now I'm going to put on my old man hat because back in the day, back in the days in the 90s it was a lot more difficult to put something together online. Oh, yeah, I remember. I mean, yeah, when you still had dial up and like DSL, okay, stop and
Clarissa Jacobson 13:21
Rent a camera to like, do a little video.
Alex Ferrari 13:23
No, no, there was no video. We were 10 years away from YouTube. Okay, that's where we that's where I was. That's how old I am everyone
Clarissa Jacobson 13:32
Like my acting things. I mean, I'm aging myself, but like my acting things, and you had to do like a thing. And I had to like hire somebody to bring a little camera. Oh, yeah, a little tiny tape or
Alex Ferrari 13:41
Mini DV tape and they would have to transfer it to a VHS. Exactly. So but the point I'm making here is that when you when you, you now have the ability to make yourself look much larger and much more established than you might be? Because if you've got good design, and you've got a solid website and you've got a solid trailer, agents, managers, financiers festival festival programmers, they'll look at that and go wait a minute, they must know what they're doing. Because that is the depth honestly, a good design and good branding will set you apart you have so much bad
Clarissa Jacobson 14:27
Even just doing it.
Alex Ferrari 14:29
So that so it so there's different levels, not doing it doing it badly. And doing it really well. Yeah, even doing it bad that like well, at least they got a website they must have done. Right. But if you do it really well and that's from my experience. I mean, I was with my first short film in 2005. I was I got into like, I think three or 400 film festivals with that with a with it was a different time. It was awesome. It was a different world back then. But a lot of times it was about The website we put together which was a flash, it was a flash website. But it was so far beyond anything short film should ever have. plus all the extra stuff I did for and everything. So it looks so much bigger I was getting called by like Oscar winning producers. They're like, what's going on here? Can we can we produce your Oh, that's a whole I'll write another book about that whole story. sure one day about about what happened with the journeys I went through with that project. But it was about the festival, the trailer, the branding, and I did it instinctively. I didn't know any better. I didn't go like I got a graphic this economic. I did it instinctively. But
Clarissa Jacobson 15:37
I was the same. Mine was like such a design. Like I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my film. And I was like, if if this fails, it's going to fail. Because not because I didn't do everything I could to make it succeed. So if it fails, then I can go okay, well, I did everything I could write. So it was such a desire to have it succeed. That I just was like, I had to figure and figure out how to make a website, I figured out like, I didn't know how to use Twitter. I was like, pound what they're like, No, it's hashtag. Like, I didn't have a Facebook page. I was not interested in Facebook. I didn't. I was terrified to like, you know, to talk about it a little bit, you know, because everything, she's gonna have an ego, but the passion to get it out there outweighed my fear. And then I became good, getting good at it became better became better and better at it, you know, the more passionate but Absolutely.
Alex Ferrari 16:31
Now speaking of social media, do you think that you need to create a specific social media presence for each film? Or do you create a brand around yourself as the filmmaker and promote all of your projects through that, that those social channels?
Clarissa Jacobson 16:48
Well, I think you could do it either way, like I have. I'm a co creator with my partner, Shane Webber and we have trouble minx. But I still, you know, we have like everything. We have our projects all there. But I still like have a separate website for lunch, ladies, we're doing a feature and I have a separate, separate thing. I mean, it unless you're like Richard Linklater, right, like everybody knows who you are. I think it's I think it's harder to like drive people to it, than it would be just to send somebody your film and just go hey, guess what, go to my website. And they don't have you know, lunch ladies movie calm, and they can just look at their versus going to my rebel makes website, trying to find where it is trying to find what it's about. And you can put a lot more information.
Alex Ferrari 17:35
Well, yes, but not as much on the websites. I agree with you on the websites. I'm talking about social media. So mean, like, Oh, do we have it do have a lunch lady Twitter account, which has maybe x amount of people on it? Or do you go to rebel minx and have that as your main
Clarissa Jacobson 17:50
One for the films because that way you can gauge who's involved in the films, okay. versus, you know, versus just it might just be your they might be in the one film and another so you know, how many you can gauge how many people are into it? I think it's easier for? I don't know, like, it feels like it's, it feels very professional to have a film website. Like, I don't I mean, I haven't really looked at like, you know, the big films out there. But I would bet that like, like, let's say Warner Brothers puts out a film. I bet all those films have their own social media just feels more,
Alex Ferrari 18:25
But they also have $200 million back.
Clarissa Jacobson 18:27
They don't cost anything to open it up Twitter counters or anything. I just work.
Alex Ferrari 18:32
Yeah, it's it's a lot of work. Absolutely. I think it all depends, too is how much how long? What's the long game here? Because if it's just the one movie because it takes so long to get one movie made, let alone trying to do like two or three. So focusing all your energies at the beginning on individual projects would be great. But then you could also coincide that with a company site or branded site like, like trauma. I'm thinking like trauma films. Yeah. If you're making the same
Clarissa Jacobson 18:58
Thing because trauma has I mean, differently good trauma has a very specific niche style, right? If you're a filmmaker maybe who just does so like I have a comedy horror I have a historical horror, I have a feel good drama I have. There's my films are different. So it'd be hard for somebody who likes I mean, you know, they might people I think would like that like my stuff like my voice, but they might not necessarily like my drama, they might only like my comedy horror. So then, um, you know, I just feel like I can groom people so much more just having, you know, but like, like a trauma. You're expecting a cert in there. All those films are kind of the same, the same vibe. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 19:37
I agree. So if you are a filmmaker who's going to be like, I'm going to be a horror filmmaker. And that's all I'm going to do. That might be something. Yeah, I can see doing that way. Yeah. Or if you're a comedy, and all you do is comedy, there might be something of but if you want to, you know, move across. I gotcha. Gotcha. Now, the big thing with with short films is film festivals. Like how do I get into film festivals? How do I submit the Film Festivals. What's that? What's the it's a land. It's a landmine, field Land, land field related land, field minefield, a minefield of all sorts of do's and do nots and secret. Like you shouldn't do that. But no one's ever told me that before and all this kind of stuff. So what advice do you have for filmmakers submitting to film festivals today?
Clarissa Jacobson 20:24
Well, first of all, and I think I read this in a book a while back and that but I kind of perfected my way of doing it is to have to have a list. But you you can you, you have an Excel spreadsheet where it tells what the early bird is the you know, the so that so that way you can track you can look at that spreadsheet every day and track to get your films to get your film in the early bird. So you can save money that way. And you can kind of organize it by you know, by what you want from your films. So like, Are you a person who wants to have maybe be nominated for an Oscar so like, for example, I was like, Yeah, fuck yeah, I want to be nominated for an Oscar. I'm gonna go I'm gonna go for all the Oscar films for sure. Right? Don't put those all on my list. And then I'm going to go for you know, I'm going to do I did a little research about you know, you like great horror festivals. And so I knew I wanted to be a bunch of horror. So I put those on my list. And then I started really getting into the idea. pretty early on that I was going to get subtitles for everything because even though that's a little bit upfront, you put like 100 bucks or whatever down for 200 bucks for your subtitles. In the end, it saves you so much money because so many festivals across the world are free to enter. And so once I got on the bandwagon of getting first of all, just getting your English subtitles is amazing because once you get your English subtitles, a lot of film festivals will just take your film. Foreign festivals will take your film as your film with the English subtitles and make subtitles for you. So I think that the first festival I got in that was I submitted it with English subtitles was more beat on then they wanted Spanish subtitles. But then all the festivals after that, that I entered, they all made the male made the subtitles for me and then opened up this incredible world in Europe where all the festival first of all, like I went on other other sites because people want always want to just go on Film Freeway, well, there's fest home, there's short film depot, and you can find like the most amazing freakin festivals on there. But your film has got to have some subtitles. But by the time you're done, you're you're you know, so I would what I would do is I go on those those sites and I'd look every week and see what the what ones coming up work, you know, and then I see is that right for me. And if it's free to enter a couple bucks, what do you have to lose nothing, if you got your subtitles. And then you're also having a long game if you have your subtitles, because then if you get picked up by a sales rep, or you do it yourself, then you can, which is harder to do it yourself to get your film distributed in Europe. But if you have a sales rep, then they can go and sell your film in France and Germany, because you already have the subtitles. So I you know, so like, and the other thing is, is a lot of people would say to me, can I have your list? You know, because I want to know, I want to know which ones to enter. And I would say Well, first of all, every film is different. So my film was a 18 minute film. So I didn't there was festivals, I couldn't enter because it was too long, too long. My comedy horror, and in AI and the thing about doing your own list and going out there and researching and like looking at these festivals and see and looking at their websites is pretty soon you start to get a real feel of what's out there, what your film might be right for now, you're always surprised by what your film gets in, like, sometimes you think Oh, for sure that's a shoo in. And other times you don't you know, but you do get a feel, you do get a feel. And I can't say enough even though it's a lot of work to create a list, you know, about what first of all the film, the festivals that you think will fit your film, the festivals that are free. The festivals that maybe are Oscar and you you make that list and you also put the early bird down. So you know that you know how much money you're spending or you know how to weigh it. Once you've made that list. It's like you kind of feel I mean, I like I really got like a real feel of what's out there. And what in what to submit to and how and how to do it, how to get stuff going. So I think it's really important. Like I get filmmakers all the time. I'm like, hey, you know, like, I'll see their phone be like, I bet this film would be great for this or this or this, like I'll give I'm happy to like tell people that. But I but I don't like when people say can I have your list? Because I'm like, how is my list that specific for my film going to help your film? Right? You have to take that time. You have to take that time to create that list. And I was coming from Ground Zero to like I had never been on the festival route. I didn't know I mean, you know, I knew I knew Sundance.
Alex Ferrari 24:50
Yeah. Yes. The five the top five. Okay, no, Toronto. Yeah, yeah, Rebecca
Clarissa Jacobson 24:56
Just got to get out there and just kind of like and then another way that I did it too as I decided that I wanted my lunch ladies to go all over the world. So I'd be like, Oh, God, I gotta get in a festival in Venezuela I haven't been an investor woman is and which ones these have not been Venezuela yet.
Alex Ferrari 25:10
She's still trying, but they didn't they didn't pay your weight. All right, you bet you paid your own way. No, no,
Clarissa Jacobson 25:15
I mean, I met like my, my film, like, I had this feeling like I would create, I created a map of where they had been, because I loved the idea of them going to these, you know, places like in December, it's going to be in Bali. I mean, it's going, you know, so like, There's something so amazing about having your film be seen all over the world. So that's another way to do it, like has your film been seen in Spain and to not get to not give up because it can take a while to break into a country. And then once you break in, it's like, the programmers all talk to each other. And they get to you, they hear about you and the Europeans especially like, I feel like the programmers there really talk to each other and really share films, and really, they'll play your film more than once. So you know, that's another way to do it, too, is like geo geographically or like, which states have by knocking into if you can't decide which ones to enter, you know,
Alex Ferrari 26:05
So the thing, I think one of the big problems that filmmakers have, as well as they always focus on the top five, or 10, the Sundance is and the slam dances and these, these kind of festivals, and the I always tell them, like the chances of you getting your film in are so astronomical. I mean, it was like 30,000 submissions to Sundance last night. And, you know, 110, including shorts get in. So it's so astronomical to get into those kinds of things. And they feel like they're failures when they don't get into the big, the big 10, or the big 20, even bigger, and I always tell them, It's not about you. It's not personal, it's not about your film, you're not hitting what they are looking for that year, that year, they really might be into this kind of film, with this kind of filmmaker attached to it. It's political, it has little to do with the quality of your film, to be honest with you, because I've seen a lot of good projects that don't get in. And then I see projects, sometimes it like, I never forgot this. And forgive me if there's a filmmaker who did this, but I couldn't. I was so angry. I was at Sundance, was such Sundance, and I went I went to the shorts of a shorts block. And I see is called Batman goes on a date, a Robin goes on a date. Okay, and it's Justin Long as Robin and Sam Rockwell as Batman. And, and, and Robin and Justin is like, you know, trying to go on a date, and then Batman's trying to basically move in on Robins date. And that's the short film. And I'm sitting there going, if that was done with anybody other than Justin and Sam rock, it would have never made the Sundance block. And I go, that's just that just upset me. Because I was like, I don't have access to SAM and Justin, especially in 2005. So that it just was like, but that's the way the game is played. It's unfortunate. It's unfortunate. Sometimes, you'll get you know, and then sometimes you'll get the Cinderella stories and sometimes you'll get people that don't have names, get into those festivals, of course, based on their quality and things like that. But that was just one example. It's like, oh, it's not really about my project.
Clarissa Jacobson 28:18
I I find that like you have to go for the big ones. Sure. Because it's fun. But also sometimes like there's ones that are like just so that opened up so many freakin doors. I've had festivals that have opened up so many doors you know that that maybe if that you know cuz I've seen I you know, I talked about this so like, you know, I didn't my film did not get in Sundance. Okay. But,
Alex Ferrari 28:49
Mine either by the way, you're in good company,
Clarissa Jacobson 28:52
You know, but then my film got in Claremont fron and that was the festival that I needed to get it going. Sure. But But, but you know, there's plenty people I mean, come up front is the most amazing festival. There's plenty people don't know, Claremont fry is right. So you know, I got you know, I'd get in that one or I get in some small or into some small festival that I couldn't get in. Or I'd enter another festival that nobody had heard of, but that festival would open another door for something else. So like the idea is like to check out the festivals and make sure they have a real thing going you know, to know that they're legit or not to feel good fake or, and to really just be thankful when you get in them and not. You know, like it was it was a total crazy thing when it got in that one and I wasn't even in the competitive section. And it still was like the most amazing thing in the world. But like, I didn't get in South by Southwest I didn't get in you know a ton of it. But there's always a festival that's that it's for your film and you just got to get out there and just submit some MIT submit and realize, you know, like when I actually did a whole, a whole chapter about that, about why your film doesn't get in festivals, because it's a mindfuck. If you if you go down that path to start believing that your film was bad, you'll drop out and I talked to people that will be like, Oh, I've entered 10 festivals, and I only got one. So I'm dropping out. And I'm like, you know, the average is 10% of the festivals that you get in. So that means you're gonna average film gets in only 10% of the festivals. Oh, yeah. Just get out there and keep, and you can't have, you know, like, there's people that I know, that's a small festival, you know, some of the smallest festivals have been the most amazing.
Alex Ferrari 30:36
Three are the best. They're the best it was ever. I went to I went to when I with my first film, I, I got into so many festivals, but I got into my first 35 festivals turned down from all the major festivals because I had a 20 minute, right, you know, action thriller, not the film festival grading, you know. So, you know, I got into a lot of genre and all that stuff. But after 35 episodes at 35, festivals, I'd spent about $1,000, in submission fees. So I was just like, I didn't know anything about anything. I was just trying to
Clarissa Jacobson 31:10
Bring up the free festivals in Europe.
Alex Ferrari 31:12
I mean there was no free festivals in Europe. I didn't know about any of that stuff. And subtitling costs $10 a minute. So back then it was a whole other world. But then after a while, I said, Well, I got into 35 festivals, no festival that I'm going to get into from this point on is going to explode my career is the way I thought about it. So I'm like, right, I just boycotted paying for festivals anymore. So I just said, I'm not gonna pay for any more festivals. Now. Right? What I did at that point is I didn't stop submitting, I submitted to everybody. And because my branding and my marketing was was so on point with the trailer, my trailer was watched 20,000 times back in 2005. So it was a whole lot like, you know, it's I think it's one of the first trailers ever on YouTube. I'm so old, is I looked it up. I looked it up the other day. I looked it up the other day. And I was like, oh my god, am I the first movie trailer ever on YouTube? And I found, I think Sony Classics had put one up. Oh, my God, I love it. So so it's still up there. And it got like 20 30,000 views back then I've seen and it's a great trailer. Yes. So it was so because of that, I was very confident. I was like, hey, look, I already got some of these other vessels. So what I would do is I would submit to everybody, I mean, I did not discriminate, I submitted to everybody that could be submitted to, and then they would go back and like oh, we like your film, I'm like, great. If you if I'm accepted, I'll be more than happy to pay your submission fee. But I'm not gonna pay a submission fee. If for the mere chance of getting it because at this point in the game, I'm not gonna throw another three or 4000. Right. And I it worked enough that I got into another couple.
Clarissa Jacobson 32:53
And it does get Yeah, I mean, the truth is, is like, you know, if you get that roll going, then people start to come to you. Right. And actually, it takes a little bit, you know, like it's building you know, Jerome Kershaw and calls it a pedigree, it's building that pedigree, I didn't realize that that's what I was doing. When I was like, you know, emailing every single day, you know, someone to write about my film, no matter how small it was, like every single day, like just just building these reviews, building these reveals just creating this buzz for my film. So that after about I would say it took it took a while, but about six or seven months, then I started having people come to me saying, Can I see the film, you don't have to pay the you don't pay the submission fee? Can I see the film? You know,
Alex Ferrari 33:36
It takes a minute, it takes a minute, but once you're able to build up that momentum at a certain point, and don't get me wrong, I got a lot of film festivals. I was like, yeah, no, we need you to pay the submission. I'm like, that's fine. I'm not going to.
Clarissa Jacobson 33:47
And you hustle in the beginning and you always gotta hustle through the whole thing, but it does. But when it starts snowballing and you start getting like people excited and hearing about it and stuff like that, then then it becomes even becomes even more worth it. You know, cuz getting some positive reinforcement.
Alex Ferrari 34:02
And some of the best experiences I've ever had at festivals are always been the small ones. Because it's, it's, it's kind of a mom and pop. Like, you know, everybody, everybody knows you. They treat you like family. Whereas in some larger festivals who shall remain nameless?
Clarissa Jacobson 34:18
Yeah, I can go over that with you.
Alex Ferrari 34:21
After Yeah, I mean, there's a there's one specifically in LA.
Clarissa Jacobson 34:26
I think. That same one. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 34:29
And that specific one in 2005 It's not Holly shorts, by the way. I love Holly shorts. It but I I do 1005 I submitted and got accepted. And it was a fairly big one. It was an Oscar, whatever qualifier and all this kind of stuff. I flew my ass across the country. Put myself up in Hollywood. Can you imagine I was in a hotel in Hollywood. Me and my friend. I never forgot it. We might meet my producing partner we got into this hotel room and the beds. Like
Clarissa Jacobson 35:10
Shut the window.
Alex Ferrari 35:11
No the beds were they were so they were so close to each other it almost seemed comedic.
Clarissa Jacobson 35:17
Like you want trains and automobiles?
Alex Ferrari 35:20
Like is this is this a cleaning closet? And then like out front when I walk into like, you know Marilyn Monroe stayed here once I'm like I'm sure she did but Jesus guys so it caught it cost us a couple you know, by 1000 bucks. 1500 bucks, if not more back to go over there. So we get to our screening. We were in a block with everybody else. And then at the end, no q&a. No q&a, only thing I wanted. It was a q&a. And I talked to the the programmers there and then everyone's like, Sorry, can't do it. We're running late. I'm like, dude, and oh, by the way, I wasn't even the worst another another poor filmmaker in that block flew from Spain. And he didn't get his his and he only had the one screening. There's nothing so yeah, and that's off air. I'll tell you some other stories. But But, but but but, but some of these smaller festivals like there's a wonderful festival down in Florida called the Melbourne Independent Film Festival. I know those guys really well. They love filmmakers. They treated me like like gold. And they're wonderful. There's so many great film festivals out there that that will treat filmmakers well. So don't always look at the big boys the big boys.
Clarissa Jacobson 36:35
Oh, you do you do a nice little mix and then yeah, and now that they have you know fest home and Short Film depot, you can enter the foreign festivals for like next to nothing. And in I've had just met so many amazing people. Yeah. Let's talk many amazing people in the foreign festivals.
Alex Ferrari 36:53
So let's talk let's talk a little bit about the experience of working a festival because a lot of filmmakers just go there with their eyes full of shiny golden lights. and the like. Oh look the
Clarissa Jacobson 37:04
Right expectations like I had to Morty to see
Alex Ferrari 37:07
Exactly, you're like, oh my god, this is gonna be a mate's gonna be like up because all you think about a Sundance, so you think everything's gonna be like, I'm gonna walk the red carpet, there's gonna be people taking pictures of me everyone's gonna want to talk to me about my genius, and about my my artistic expression and how amazing I am. And then eventually, obviously, Steven Spielberg, or somebody is going to watch me for sure, obviously, from going to that first festival. So when you get there, so can we talk a little bit about how to actually work a festival, how to take advantage of what they have to offer and things like that, because a lot of filmmakers just go they're completely clueless about what this is, and what the true opportunities are. And what the true complete delusions?
Clarissa Jacobson 37:54
Yes, absolutely. So one thing is that you can do is you can always work a festival, even if you're not there. Oh, so that means that when you talk to the programmers, so they know who you are, like, don't be a pain in the ass, but you know, talk to them and say, you know, can I send postcards? Can I can I send a poster and I mean, I've sent them to Europe as many times as I could, because if because if you're not going to be there, at least or postcards will be there. And I will tell you like, even if you're not there the first part of the week, and you hear coming the second part of the week, you want your postcards there on the table, I've had distributors that have gone to see the film, because there was a postcard on the frickin table even though I wasn't there. So that's the first way to work your festival is to make sure you know and you got it you have to ask sometimes festivals don't want your swag and they don't want all that but like, you know, get up try to have a presence, then, you know, earned learned early on don't have expectations about how you think it's going to go. So I have a funny story about Morabito fest, which I just I love it so much. But when I went there, I missed my film both times the first time I got in an Uber X. For the first day I was in such a bad. It was like you know that James Bond movie, I got stuck in a Day of the Dead parade and I was running and I was sobbing and I was like me put me Gouda, which was the only Spanish words I knew. And I was running and I was like I couldn't the taxi cab driver dropped me off on the side of the freeway. I ran up I ran into this huge parade. I got to my film right when it was over and got to do the q&a with mascara running down my face. Said the second time.
Alex Ferrari 39:25
I mean, it was a horror comedy. So that makes sense.
Clarissa Jacobson 39:30
What is it 2000 3000 miles to know I know to do this to do this, right? And then the second time the film play twice. I was like I'm gonna get there really early. So I got there really early, you know, like had a gin and tonic like talk to people. And then I found out two minutes before that it was canceled. Yeah. And then I got in a second Uber accident on the way home. So like you'd think this would be like the worst situation right? Well, it wasn't because first of all I like I said I was telling you earlier I had stood in line for the opening night and I met my director there that of my current film. So if I hadn't gone to morbido Fest, I never would have met him. The grammar was just so wonderful like I I talked to him so many times, they've been so supportive, I wrote about them on my book. So you could look at that experiences like, oh my god, that was the worst experience in a world because you have this expectation that you're gonna go to the more Beto fast which is this amazing festival in Mexico City, you're going to be like hobnobbing, and you're going to Oh, and also I went to there was supposed to be a party and I went, I was there by myself and I speak Spanish and we're supposed to be a party. I go to the party, and the guy goes, no party here. No party here. So I went to a bar by myself drink a margarita. And the next morning, I saw on Instagram that they were all partying at the place where they told me there was no need. So that kind of like week but like, but at the same time, like that's when I was like, I already kind of gotten gone to a few festivals where it was like your expectation of what do you have no freakin idea what its gonna be but like, if you can just open it. Open yourself up to it. Something always something amazing always comes out of it. Even the worst festivals I've been horrible festivals where I meet just one person that's so freakin amazing. And they become like my best buddy. And they helped me so much. So the first thing is to try not to have expectations and know that something positive will always come out of it. And then you want to be as prepared as possible with all your stuff. So like, there was many times when I was the only one there with a poster
Alex Ferrari 41:24
Oh my god a poster and an easel postcards all that.
Clarissa Jacobson 41:27
I mean, it sounds simple. It's a pain in the ass to bring it but yeah, if you have a poster and evil people will see will tend to go to see your film over other people's films.
Alex Ferrari 41:36
Right, exactly. And it's, it's, it's just an interesting the whole thing I remember when I first my first I never forgot my first film festival ever got into because I didn't know anything about premieres or if there was premieres or anything like that. So I submitted and got into the Ocean City Film Festival in New Jersey. It's amazing way to make it. I won Best Director. Right, like right first first festival. I don't like a set. I'm like, This is gonna be easy. Like, obviously, everyone's seeing my changes. Like everyone's seeing my genius right away. This is Oh, I should be directing a studio movie within a year. And then I didn't get another award for a year.
Clarissa Jacobson 42:26
That's hard to like when you get in the you don't get you get rejected. But then you get then you then you don't you know, because it comes in waves get kinds of waves, you'll get accepted to a bunch and then it'll be like eight or nine rejections. Oh, yeah, it's it's never gonna get in another festival.
Alex Ferrari 42:42
No, no, it's crazy. But so but the best part was when I looked them up. And again, guys, this was 2005 when I looked it up on their website, which if you can imagine what a 2005 website done by somebody who doesn't know what a website is? It's absolutely brilliant. It was my film was being played at like Billy Bob's Crab Shack. And that was where they were holding the festival. They were like, basically just projecting it in the back of the bar. And this guy, and I think that went on for like two or three. I think it went on for two, three years. And then what a great story, but one I wish I would have gone. I wish I would have gone it would have been amazing. But yeah, but you just never. You never know who you're gonna meet. My best. My best story of working a festival is working Sundance, because I didn't get into Sundance, but I worked it. So in 2005 when my first film came out, my first short broken came out. I flew to Sundance, even though we got rejected, and we were just gonna like make sure everybody at Sundance knew about our film and we literally walked Mainstreet on Park in Park City, with a DVD portable DVD player really was showing people showing people the trailer. And we had postcards all over the place. And people are like, Where can I see this? And I would just send everybody to our website. And I got so much attention. We actually got more attention than most of the festival film.
Clarissa Jacobson 44:04
Yeah, you have to put yourself out there. You know, like, even if you're afraid and believe me, I'm I. I mean, I was so happy to be like out there doing it. So like, sure, you know, up but but I but yeah, there is fear like that. Yo, how am I going to talk to people, you know, and it's like, you just got to talk to people. You don't just pitch pitch. You get to know people and you like, and sometimes it's even better if you don't have your sometimes it's even better, it's fun, or if you have your team with you. But sometimes it's better even if you're by yourself. Because you need more people that way.
Alex Ferrari 44:35
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that it was at that year that we did I think one year we actually wrote We created our own passes. So my parties, so we actually created of like this ridiculous pass. That would not fool anybody. But again, this is 2005 so Sundance was a little bit different. And it just said All Access. That's all it said. It was just an all access. You have no idea
Clarissa Jacobson 45:00
But that takes so much chutzpah like I love that. They're probably like knew knew it was bullshit, but they were like, Oh man, we got to let these guys in because it's been
Alex Ferrari 45:08
You have no idea how many places we got in to. Because we acted like we were in the festival and we're like, oh yeah. And we will leave our postcards it like Sundance's like headquarters and then like, back in the day, like, Who's this guy? And you see it all in the garbage cans we pick them out of the garbage can we like it was just straight up. It was just straight up porcelain like hard, hardcore stuff, but we met or hustle but we met producers distributors that way we had it led to me flying up to they flew me up to Toronto to when we were going to try to make the feature and all this kind of craziness all because we went to a festival that we weren't accepted in. Yeah.
Clarissa Jacobson 45:49
And you work it you talk to people you like got a really I mean, it was parties we were we were like when I was at Monster palooza. I just walked up and down the line. Because I knew that people were there not to see films. And I just was like here, here's a lunch ladies here. Now we please show up my show.
Alex Ferrari 46:06
So this is so this is so this I'm going to tell the story. I'm I don't know if I should tell this story. But I think
Clarissa Jacobson 46:10
Yes, please do. If it's embarrassing tell it
Alex Ferrari 46:12
It's not embarrassing. It's actually a it's a hack. It's one of the many hacks discovered at Sundance.
Clarissa Jacobson 46:19
The to hacks, man. Okay.
Alex Ferrari 46:20
All right. So that was about it. But it does affect somebody else. So we knew so so because we were hustling so much. There was this one agent at CAA that we met there at some parties. And he was, he was a prick. And he wasn't very nice, but we knew his name. So what we would do is we would go to a party up in the hills at one of these giant houses. And they're like, where's the list? And like, Hi, John, John Smith from CAA. And they're like, go right on, and Mr. Smith, we would get there early before John would get that that was like because, because he treated us badly. So then what we would do is, so I would get in, and then I would walk in and find an exit or somewhere and I would let my buddy and I let my buddy and on the side. So we're there. Like I'd never forgot it. We were at this giant house, in the middle of you know, up in the hills in Park City. And we're like partying next to like, Paul Walker, Elijah Wood. Paris Hilton was there at the time, like, all awesome, man. I mean, we were just like, fifth. It's awesome. Oh my God, I believe we're here. Like love that you did that. But that's it. But you know, there was I was younger, I was more foolish that thing times with different guys times were different. But don't do that to any agents that cool guys, please. But, but it was a way it was. And we and one other trick that we did is we got to Sundance probably a date too early, while they were setting up. And we became we became friends with the door guys. That's smart, too. So we walked in, we became friends. We befriended them, we bought them little drinks here and there. So when the parties were happening on Main Street, we just walk up and like Baba and Baba would let us right in. And that was and that and we were able to get into parties that we had no business being in whatsoever. None. None whatsoever, like people are like is that why are these people? What the hell have these idiots? What's all access? What is that about? So? Oh, no, I should write a book just on my Sundance adventures. That's why I made my movie ego and desire because I'd love I just love.
Clarissa Jacobson 48:32
Yeah, I just started watching it. So fun. I think girls are pissed off, get all the credit.
Alex Ferrari 48:40
Because that never happens. Never happens in filmmaking ever. Never. He goes, he goes in filmmaking. Never in a million years would that happen? So, um, so let me get oh,
Clarissa Jacobson 48:53
And show up. The other thing too, is to show up, like can cost you $1,000 Go to the festivals like I mean, I saved a little nest egg. And I found out you know, using Scott's flights, which is amazing that you could go to Europe for pretty much the same price as you can go to New York City to see a festival because a lot of the foreign festivals will pay for your hotels or they'll put for for you know, food or whatever. You know, and I just can't tell you like how valuable it was just meeting just going and meet new people.
Alex Ferrari 49:23
And especially if you're if you're not in LA or New York or Austin or or a hub where there's a lot of filmmakers or in Atlanta. You you get to interact with your kind. Your your people, you meet other filmmakers, you meet other producers, you meet other writers and the networking that you do at these festivals. Even if it's a little hole in the wall festival is important. There's somebody there that you can meet. You have no idea who you can meet there. And sometimes there's a panelist who's on a panel somewhere and you walk up afterwards, and you and you introduce yourself and it's a Weird thing at a festival? Like you couldn't do that on the streets of LA. But no. But at a festival, it's acceptable to a certain extent. Like if they're at the bar, you can walk up to them. And Oh, totally friend.
Clarissa Jacobson 50:13
What do you do? Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 50:15
Do you have any advice? All that stuff? By the way, if you do meet somebody at a festival that's like, you know, big writer, big director, producer, don't just start asking them for things. Please know where and Can I buy you a drink? You know, what advice do you know? What advice do you have for him? But don't go hey, can you see my movie? Hey, can you Hey, hey, I got this script. Don't.
Clarissa Jacobson 50:37
Don't you know, the other good way to is, I know, this goes without saying, but this happened. I mean, this happened. And I talked about this in book two. Another way to make sure that you work a festival is is freakin support the other filmmakers see their films. And when you go to a block and your film is played, don't get up after yours is done. Watch the rest of the films. Right? Do that not like really? Nothing is like worse will than going to a block and somebody gets up in the middle after their film is done and doesn't watch the rest of the filmmakers to support them.
Alex Ferrari 51:12
Yeah, there's there's that Yeah. Yeah, I've been in those. I've been in those as well. And
Clarissa Jacobson 51:18
Makers are your like best.
Alex Ferrari 51:20
The worst is when you get to a film when you're at a film festival, and like the only people in the audience are you in the crew. And that's and there's like, Okay, we bought 10 tickets. Okay. I see there's some sort of
Clarissa Jacobson 51:33
Every once in a while, there's a small audience and yeah, which is great, which is great. And you're like, Oh, bummer. It's a small audience. But I've learned to love small audiences, too. Because sometimes, you could have a huge audience and not a single person could do anything for you, you can have a small audience, and there's somebody there that can help you in some way or wants to help you. Right? So never look down on even a small audience. You just don't know who's in that audience.
Alex Ferrari 51:55
I'm gonna I'm gonna tell one more story. When I was at the Toronto Film Festival, in 2005, or six, somebody, one of the producers who I was working with at the time to like, Hey, we're distributing this film. Here's a ticket to go see this film. It was like a, an independent film. I'm like, Cool. So I went, and we sat there. And I was with my partner, my producing partner, and we look in the back and the like, is that Roger Ebert? sitting in the corner of the theater? And he goes, I think it is, I'm like, let's go up and talk to him. This is before the movie starts. Like let's, let's go up and talk to Roger Ebert. So we walk up over to Roger Ebert. And Roger, you know, we're like, Oh, my God, Roger, you're like the best. Like, you know, we're such big fans of yours, all this stuff. So we're talking to Roger Ebert. And all of a sudden, and then we start, like, we start yapping about our film, like, Oh, we got this, we've got our movie. And we did it for like $8,000. And it's got like 100 visual effects shots in and we shot it with its digital camera, and it looks like film and all this kind of stuff. And we're disputing things off. There is nowhere in my mind that I believe that Roger Ebert will ever watch my film. That's not even that that has not even crossed my mind at all. I'm just depressing. I'm just expressing. I'm just expressing I'm just expressing to Roger Ebert, who was an idol of mine, what I've done as a filmmaker, right in the middle of the conversation, I see something change in his eyes, and he kind of tilts his head, and he goes, Can I take a picture of you guys? And I said, Sure, Roger Ebert. That would be awesome. That was he had, he had his, like, he carried around the, you know, this is before iPhones. So he carried around his, you know, his, his digital his camera with them. So he, and he, you know, we take a picture, he takes a picture of both of us. And, and the only ignorant thing in my mind is like, well, now I can ask him for a picture too, because he asked for one of ours because I wasn't going to ask him for one until this happened. Because I'm not that guy didn't want to like you get big. But he took one of me. So now it's fair. I want to take a picture with you. And he's like, Sure. So I got a picture with Roger. And and then he's like, you know, this story would make a nice little story from my blog, about up and coming technologies, and all of this cause all the up and coming technologies and filmmakers using this. I'm like, great. Would you like to watch our movie? Bam, here's a DVD. And we happen to have our DVD with us. And he's like, Sure, I'll take this. So we took it. And we're like, great, you know, because originally, as we were talking and talking, he's like, Guys, I can't I can't watch your film. I it's not in the festival and I there's so many hours in a day I have and we're like, Roger, of course you're not going to watch our film. You're Roger Ebert. Why in God's green earth would you watch our little $8,000 short film from West Palm Beach, Florida. Like, hey, makes no sense. I made him want to watch it. Um, so then he grabbed it. He took it and we're like, okay, hold on. Ever watch that, but that was really nice of him to do that we got a picture with Roger, but that's all we got. So we fly back to Florida, when we land, our emails blowing up because everyone's like, Roger Ebert reviewed your film on his blog, and wrote a story about
Clarissa Jacobson 55:15
Alex Ferrari 55:16
I'm like, what? And we went to his website, and oh, my God, it's there. It's still there. It's still it's still there. He wrote a long article about a bunch of films he watched. And he in that article, he also wrote about us that he watched the film, he gave us two lines in the movie, effective and professional. What did he say? Oh, got it. I used to repeat it, like on verbatim, but he's like, Oh, the mastery of horror imagery and techniques. I'm like, holy cow, Roger,
Clarissa Jacobson 55:49
But he was he was vibing on your authenticity and your passion. So I would I had similar things happen like that. No, but it was situation at Claremont fron were friends 24 There's a million filmmakers. And they came up to me and I got to have my little film on Fritz 24. You know, what it was to me sedative section. But he said, I said, Why me? He goes, because you were so passionate and excited about your film. So that like translates that's uh, you know, that's, you know, bringing it up. I'm sure. That's why he probably was like, There's no way in hell, I'm gonna see these guys film, but your passion and your authenticity about it, not pushing it. He was like, I got to see this.
Alex Ferrari 56:26
And I'll never forget, I will never forget that to the day I die that a giant like Roger Ebert that's insane. Gave a little a little he sprinkled a little magic dust on on us. And then from there ever was still the best bet still the best film critic in history of film critics. Yeah. But he because of that quote. And because of that attention. I that was my lead with zactly every festival I'm like Roger Ebert reviewed it, Roger Avery, because
Clarissa Jacobson 56:55
See, that's what I mean. Like, when you You never know, like, who's gonna be there. And what you're in is going to be I mean, I've talked about this before, like, I've been in festivals, you know, with films that have gone to Sundance where they, the people in Sundance did their film, they did nothing with their film, they didn't promote it, they were just like, if I was in Sundance, right, their film didn't go anywhere. It just wasn't Sundance, that was it? Right. So. So you know, like, you don't have to get in sun. You know, it's what you do with your film where and who you the passion that you exude when you're you're there. And you you meet? Roger you, but
Alex Ferrari 57:28
It was the most and it was such an it was like, like you were talking about earlier is like, how do these things happen? There was no reason for us to be there, there would have been never asked juried in everything. Everything just happened. Like I met this person that
Clarissa Jacobson 57:41
They feel like I feel like you just drew that dude to you
Alex Ferrari 57:44
No, there's there. Yeah, there was an energy there thing there no question. But then you're like, Okay, here's the ticket to the screening of this obscure independent film from Australia, then, and then I just happened he showed up and showed up and oh, my God, there's
Clarissa Jacobson 57:57
The universe gave me the ticket. And a lot of people be like, oh, you know what, I'm just gonna go have a drink with my buddy. You know, you know, like, I'm gonna go next door that Oh,
Alex Ferrari 58:06
And that and that that one moment, or that one moment opened up so many doors, and I got called by, like I said, Oscar winning producer.
Clarissa Jacobson 58:15
Oh, my God. Yeah. Example the proof for
Alex Ferrari 58:19
Yeah, it was in for a short film. That wasn't in the festival in 2005.
Clarissa Jacobson 58:25
He doesn't even he doesn't he doesn't learn there. He does. Yeah, I mean, he does, I think, only times I've ever heard him even
Alex Ferrari 58:31
Reviewing a short. And when I say review, I use that term very loosely. He watched it and gave me to
Clarissa Jacobson 58:36
Talk about it. And he said nothing about it, and you can use it. And it was positive. It said something positive.
Alex Ferrari 58:42
It was sneaky. And he was so kind. I could have said negative. But he was the thing about him is he he was kind when he didn't need to be kind. He was supportive when he didn't need to be supportive. And that is that is the hallmark of a great, great person in our business. Because and I've heard this, I've heard similar stories about Steven Spielberg, constantly do out. I interview many of his collaborators. I've spoken to many people who've worked with him on the writing side, on the cinematography side on the producing side. And I hear the same things about Stephen that he does things behind the scenes that you're just like, oh my god, he has no reason to be. He there's no need for him to
Clarissa Jacobson 59:29
Always here. Good stuff. James Cameron.
Alex Ferrari 59:32
James Cameron. Well, James Cameron, let me I'd love Jim. I mean, Jim is Jim he's, there's no other filmmaker liking
Clarissa Jacobson 59:39
Stuff, good stuff behind the scenes about him. I've heard good stuff, too.
Alex Ferrari 59:42
He helps. He helps when he can help. I've heard there's also those legendary stories about his temper onset. But, um, but he's he's mellowed over the years and I know a lot of people who've worked with Jim as well. Um, I actually know what it is neighbors cuz he told me stories I was like, he has what? What does he do? That's amazing. But there's there's these giants who who are kind when they don't need to be kind, you know, I got a I got a an autograph from George Lucas in middle of from when he was only gonna have to that's just his book I wish I was a Stanley Kubrick. But But yeah, like he didn't have he didn't have to be that nice. So there's these giants who are nice and are that don't need to be nice and that's such a refreshing thing and Roger Ebert story is one of those. But anyway, so that's something we could keep. We can keep yapping about this for hours, where can people where can people buy your book?
Clarissa Jacobson 1:00:48
Um, so you can get it at my website? HeyImClarissaJ, or you can get it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble target Sunbury Press published, so you can get it there. If you get it from my website, I'll send you some lunch lady swag. Book. If you get it from Amazon, you probably can get a cheaper you can get it on Kindle. You know, so yeah.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:11
Is it an audio book yet? Or not yet? No, it's not you right now. But right now that my but when you're stopped when you stop talking to me, you're going to start recording your audio book. And we'll talk about it afterwards. If I ask you a few questions, ask all my guests. What advice would you have for a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?
Clarissa Jacobson 1:01:35
The biggest thing for me always is to surround yourself to find a class and surround yourself with people that will hold you up and help you and to keep learning.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:44
So what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life?
Clarissa Jacobson 1:01:50
That I am enough. And everybody talks a lot about filmmakers and artists having egos. But, you know, there, I always felt and I know a lot of people feel this way that you just I just wasn't no matter how many classes I took that I just on, no matter how much I did it that there was that I just wasn't enough that I could, I couldn't you know, and then when I just kind of set back into like, I'm enough and they're either gonna get me or not get me. Things started to turn for me, like when you when you can find that belief in yourself. And I have this like, I have this crazy story like when am I in my 20s. So I, I when I was an actress, I wanted to be unmad TV. And I like this is a perfect example. I want to be a man TV and I just bugged them and bug them bug them for an audition. And I finally get to go to the audition. And you had to do three characters and an impersonation. So I decide that I'm going to dress up as my character which was a bingo lady, that the bingo lady and carry a suitcase with all my clothes and do my whole like little stand up thing with them. So I show up to the audition. And I'm the only one dressed up. And all these girls are kind of talking. And I hear like the lady at the front desk doesn't know that here, but I hear her go. Clarissa Jacobson's here, you should see her right. And I felt so mortified and so embarrassed. And so just being in that place of like, Hey, I'm awesome. I showed up. So I went and I did my audition. I did okay, it wasn't. I just was like, I was off. I was off because I was upset about it. I didn't get I didn't get on my TV. But years later, I read that Pee Wee Herman did the same thing for Saturday Night Live. And the difference between him and B was he was so completely in his own like, Fuck, yeah, I'm showing up in my clothes. I'm going to do my thing. And he owned it. And I look back as like a younger artist about thing just not owning. My does.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:46
Yeah, that's that. Yeah. It was so funny. Because I've actually, in my first feature, I worked with Deborah Wilson and, and Joe Michelle McGee on both mad TV alumni. Oh, really? Yes. And they've told me stories all the time about oh my god, it's the golden days of Mad TV and stuff.
Clarissa Jacobson 1:04:03
And I just was like, if so many times if I had just owned because I actually had a frickin good idea of I mean, it was good enough for Peewee Herman. It's just being haters. They were just being haters, you know,
Alex Ferrari 1:04:14
And if you could just be authentic with who you are. That is what's that's what makes you stand out. Yeah, you're authentic and you own your space like Andy Kaufman come out. I mean, come on. He mean, like you look at Andy Kaufman, he owned everything he did, to a level that is beyond normal human capacity. And he did it. He did it in such a level that they're just like, well, we he's we don't understand what he's doing. Let him sit next to that record player and sing my and Mighty Mouse just like it's you like, Oh my God. It's like, but that's the authenticity.
Clarissa Jacobson 1:04:49
So the new idea, don't let the haters get you down.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:53
Own it, own it, own it, own it. If your three of your favorite films of all time.
Clarissa Jacobson 1:04:59
The magic second film Santa song Gray. I don't know if you've seen that.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:03
Vaguely sounds familiar.
Clarissa Jacobson 1:05:05
Okay. A girl walks home alone. And I'm 16 candles.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:14
Clarissa Jacobson 1:05:17
John Hughes is a genius. John was right teens like even today nobody writes teens like John Hughes.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:23
Amen. Amen. But Clarissa thank you so much for being on the show. It has been fun. It's been a joy talking to you. And I hope I hope a whole bunch of filmmakers go out and read the book because it is a guide to really helping you through these treacherous waters and spiders. And I appreciate you so thank you again for being on the show.
Clarissa Jacobson 1:05:42
Thanks so much, Alex. It was really fun.
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- FREE AUDIOBOOK – I Made a Short Film, Now WTF Do I Do
- Clarissa Jacobson – Official Site
- Clarissa Jacobson – Production Company
- I Made a Short Film, Now WTF Do I Do With It (Paperback)
- Lunch Ladies