IFH 222: How to Shoot and Sell a $5000 Micro Budget Feature Film with Claudia Pickering

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Today’s guest is writer/director/actor/producer Claudia Pickering. She recently wrote and directed the feature filmFrisky” for just $5000. I wanted to have her on the show to discuss the tricks of the trade when making a feature for such a low budget. The film has also played at countless film festivals and won a ton of awards.

 

Two twenty-somethings move to San Francisco to chase their career but end up chasing tail instead.

When two twenty-something women move back to San Francisco, where they had met on exchange years earlier, their high career aspirations quickly become sidelined by their sexual interests. While wildly crass and charismatic in their public personas, they are in fact fundamentally at odds on many levels. Their opposing beliefs surrounding responsibility and romance, combined with their close quarters while crashing in an acquaintance’s living room, find them thrust onto a fast track to discovering what their friendship is really made of. Based on true events, Frisky is an honest, tongue-in-cheek look at what it is to be a woman in the limbo years between college and “the real world”.

 

★★★★  “This fearless, fun comedy offers a welcome female take on twentysomethings finding themselves amid aimless drifting, partying and hook-ups, its simple story bolstered by a sharp script and charismatic comedic turn from writer/director Claudia Pickering.” – Empire Magazine

Here’s some info on Claudia:

Claudia Pickering’s comedy filmmaking career began with acting which lead to writing comedy sketches… and they just kept getting longer. To be more specific, it began when she and her mate Anna convinced Danny Trejo – movie star, ex-convict and face of Old El Paso – to perform a Backstreet Boys-style dance under a dimly-lit bridge. They did not ask the 65-yr old to take off his shirt, he did that all on his own as they evidently have that effect on people.

Since then, International film festivals have showered her two feature films [easyazon_link identifier=”B01MSBI744″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Frisky[/easyazon_link] and Winning Formula with official selections and awards, which is a nice change from when she and her mate Tori used to steal stickers in first grade and wear them on their school uniform collars as though they had been legitimately awarded them.

It surprised the pants off Pickering when Frisky was distributed by Madman and optioned by Jungle Entertainment to create a TV show, which is handy as she is likely to be pantsless for a large portion of the show itself. She did manage to keep her pants on, if you can call yoga tights pants, while directing the Resting Pitch Face webseries for Google and is currently in development on 3 features through her company Cliff House Productions with mixed pants status. One of her extracurriculars includes running the Freshflix Film Festival in Sydney (Vivid) and Los Angeles (AiF) which is mostly just an excuse to take photos at the media wall to update her LinkedIn profile.

The above projects have allowed her to avoid the field of Architecture in which she holds a Masters degree – a method superior to holding her breath until she faints, which was her avoidance tactic of choice up until about age three.

Claudia Pickering’s Tips For Budget Filmmaking

  • Use Craigslist to advertise for cast and crew, also ask your network.
  • Offer profit share for people to work for free.
  • Use the majority of your budget for post-production sound and color.
  • Offer bigger credits for those working for free
  • Do most of the dirty work yourself.

Enjoy my conversation with Claudia Pickering.

Alex Ferrari 2:27
So today on the show, we have film director, writer, actor producer, Claudia Pickering. Now Claudia is a Australian filmmaker that caught my eye when I read an article about her in the Huffington Post, how she was able to produce her first feature film for under $5,000. And she came over to San Francisco shot the whole thing out. And I was fascinated with her story of how she was able to do it. And not only such a low budget, but I actually saw the trailer. I was like, Wow, this looks really good. I was really impressed. And I wanted to bring her on the show and wanted to pick her brain on how she was able to do a $5,000 movie that it's been distributed has been released, has been getting a lot of rave reviews over the course of the last six months or so. Not only in her home country of Australia, but also here in the States. So get ready to take some notes because there's a nice knowledge bombs in this episode. So without any further ado, here is my conversation with Claudia Pickering. I like to welcome to the show, Claudia Pickering. Man, thank you so much for being on the show. My dear.

Claudia Pickering 3:41
Absolute pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Alex Ferrari 3:43
I appreciate your hustle. And and I heard about your movie frisky and I had to have you on the show because it's not very often that we see $5,000 Films do as well as yours. And also wanted to get more female filmmakers on the show. And and that's why I reached out. So thanks for being on the show.

Claudia Pickering 4:04
Pleasure, absolute pleasure.

Alex Ferrari 4:06
So how did you get into this business?

Claudia Pickering 4:08
Oh, goodness. Oh, I was working as an architect. Actually, I did all of my study undergrad and postgrad in architecture. And then while I was doing my Masters had a bit of an epiphany that I used to sort of, you know, act and do all sorts of stuff when I was in high school and I that fell by the wayside when I got sort of sucked into the all consuming world of architecture and and so I took a step back and started watching takes it back. I continued doing architecture and went and did a bit of acting stuff that then through that I met a bunch of friends and one friend in particular turned out to be a very close friend and collaborator of mine, and we started making stuff and one project led to another and then I ended up with I'd actually written Then produced three, produce three feature films written and produced to and written, produced and directed, directed one. Yeah, it's all happened over the last few years, they've all been super low budget, you know, they've all been relatively good projects.

Alex Ferrari 5:18
Nice. So you're definitely hustling without question

Claudia Pickering 5:21
My pants off. I'll tell you what, not literally, if you watch winning formula, which is first a chewy okay.

Alex Ferrari 5:32
So how did Frisky come into being?

Claudia Pickering 5:34
Um, Frisky was just that thing where, you know, I'd finished making winning formula in LA and I moved up to San Francisco because I was like, Oh, I need to make money. So I was working in architecture again. And yeah, I was having just a bit of a freakout actually. just slowly being like, why did I move to America to be working in architecture? Again, like, I don't understand why why did I make that late? Why am I here? If I'm working in film anymore, and I've got this thing going through post, why am I sitting on my hands like waiting for something to happen? So yeah, and I've been sort of writing down the different concepts with things that always really like, was like burning a hole in me to tell the stories of you know, they had like amazingly fiery relationships with a couple of mates and was just like, Oh, this is a story I got to tell. And then I went and watched someone else's feature that they'd made for like, 25, grand, San Francisco. It was just like a little, it was a screening to sort of gauge the audience response before he entered festivals. And I was like, What did you make it on, and he was like, Oh, shut it on a seven day and he like shipped all of his friends out to from California to Vermont to shoot the film. And I was just like, I loved that I thought it was hilarious. I was totally drawn in by it. I'm like, I should be making a film like that. And I'd also been collecting a bunch of music for the for winning formula, it was going to post in LA. That was like dicta It was like, all these pieces were falling into place. And like, that was a thing that was weighing on my mind. But these beautiful indie music that like didn't suit winning formula I'm like, that's the sort of film that will actually express what kind of filmmaker I am. And like my tone, and my sense of humor, and my sensibilities, and all that kind of jazz and, and so I was like, Oh, it was all like combing into this idea until that night when he was like, I showed it on a seven day and I was like, I've got a Canon sixth day, I'm when I went home and check that I had enough savings to live like for the next six months or whatever, without working in architecture. Sure. And I did and had five grand leftover

Alex Ferrari 7:48
So which is a fairly psychotic way of going about things which is fantastic. But But let me ask you what made you think in your wildest dreams that you can make a feature film for five grants and shooting never done something like that?

Claudia Pickering 8:04
Well, I mean, we made winning formula, like, we have like a full on like, beautiful crew like grip, drop the whole bit in Formula and, and like the production budget for that was only like 30 grand. But I mean, we had a grant from Penn a vision for it. It was like that was a full on production. And I was like, and I'd made a lot of sketches like sketch comedy stuff. Before that cost, literally nothing to make just like you get the right group of people together, you can just make stuff. And as long as you don't want to sort of take all of the if anything comes of it. You're the only one that get it's like we did a profit share. So it's like, you know, I'm giving anything that that I get everyone splits so it's not like I'm this sort of mogul. evil overlord. do my bidding. Um, yeah. So there were Yeah, I was just like, this is totally possible. Not to mention, like, when I was writing it, I was like, I can do this for five grand because that I did it for 25 grand for one, right? I feel like I can make five grand stretch, because I've been a cheap traveler for the last forever.

Alex Ferrari 9:13
But are you a travel hacker?

Claudia Pickering 9:15
No, no, no, I'm just cheap. Oh, and I, I don't know, I just that was my number. And that's like with architecture with anything like you have a budget you have to work within the budget. You make it work, like you figure out the things that you have to pay for and the things that you don't upfront and that's just yet it's like, that's how I had been taught. So yeah, just just

Alex Ferrari 9:37
Just jumped in. just jumped in.

Claudia Pickering 9:39
Jumped right in.

Alex Ferrari 9:40
So it was a calculated risk. I mean, you had a feeling that you could do something. Yeah. To make it work.

Claudia Pickering 9:46
I knew I had to play like I didn't have to pay for any event. We're like going up venues on location. Okay, sorry. I'm putting on this festival right now. So I'm like using festival words. It's it. Yeah. So I was like, That that's not going to cost anything. If I don't have to pay for casting crew, that's not going to cost anything because they're all going to profit share. Like, what does cost of food, food cost stuff, we'll have to rent gear except like, we've got most of the gear that we need. We don't really you know, you just go through the list and you go Yeah, I can I can do this for no money.

Alex Ferrari 10:19
So it's amazing when you when you start stripping down what you actually have to do what you really need to make a movie. It's, it's, you could do it again, depends on the story you're telling.

Claudia Pickering 10:29
Yeah, that's true. And that is really, really a huge thing about this. It's like, this is a story where you're supposed to feel like you're there with the people it's supposed to feel really personal and really honest. And so like having something like like, a totally suits being completely shoulder mounted, DSLR gritty kind of thing, because that's the kind of story it is, it'd be different if you're trying to shoot some really glossy sci fi. But that's not what I was trying to shoot. I was trying to shoot. Yeah, this really sort of personal indie style thing that had really like, indie music that went with it and all that jazz. So

Alex Ferrari 11:06
So how did you? How did you get all those? Like really cool locations around the city? Yeah, just show. I'm assuming you didn't permit then. Or Chrysler?

Claudia Pickering 11:15
We had no permits. We just um, I don't know I'd kind of is that was easy. It was kind of different to LA. Like, he wouldn't try to do that in LA so much. Um, because your official get a fine. We had a bunch of like, film school. Like I days, actually. A couple of that. Yeah. Yeah. Like leftover from like, all that crew had, like, been in film school at some point. Sure. Or like, We're currently in film school. Like we had a couple of sound people who were in film school. So like, if anybody was gonna bust us, not that they ever really. We never really got into a position where we had to lie. Um, but yeah, we were ready to course. Yeah, they we would have just been like, yeah, we're sorry. It's a film school thing. They'd be like, okay, move along. Please go it's not an industry town like that. So people aren't like, Oh, I can make money off this. Right. I can make money off of making noise next to a film and then giving me hush money or like, you know, all those little tricky things people do in LA. Yeah, 800 bucks every time you're shooting in the street in LA. That's that's that's just ridiculous, right? Yeah, we couldn't have afforded that. You know. That's just not something we could do. But yeah, it's it gives us a different vibe. And we worked with that. Although we did get cops called on us. Did you? Yeah, yeah. When we were shooting the scene where it's like my characters got a guy from a party going down on her in the back of a car.

Alex Ferrari 12:45
Yes, I saw that in the trailer. Yes, it looks fantastic.

Claudia Pickering 12:49
What do I have ever seen? Um, it looked really suspicious like like it did like from the outside you can imagine how sauce it would have looked like I thought it was shooting like an adult film and they're like, we don't want that kind of activity in this neighborhood. And like they're like we've called the cops and we just pulled out of there so fast. Easy to peel out quick when you've got like no proper like you've got like one LED light that's like handheld that someone's holding and let you know there was nothing properly set up so this little skeleton crew that was nimble As You Like It was great.

Alex Ferrari 13:24
That's all I'm assuming is a good tip is when you're shooting something like this you're shooting a $5,000 feature film, having a small footprint really helps a tremendous amount

Claudia Pickering 13:33
Massively oh god it means you so quick, like it means like all of your time. Like everything can move faster. It's not like like for example winning formula we had the grip truck and it was like cool well everything's tripod it so every time you move it like you have to move an entire tripod or like everything's on like there's like a track and we've got a full on Dolly like yeah, you get these beautiful Dolly shots and stuff which is great and it's really suitable for that film but totally unsuitable for frisky and and like we don't want to have to like move yeah long it takes to move track

Alex Ferrari 14:06
Tracks Jesus

Claudia Pickering 14:09
What a nightmare so like that's the sort of stuff where it's like she's this cristiana we with a DSLR I shout him out and it's like oh, I think we should you know change that shot up a little bit and she takes one step and like we're ready to roll

Alex Ferrari 14:22
And you can shoot and you have time to actually do what you want is to create more great more footage and cut more coverage and let the actors play more. So you have more as opposed to spending an hour moving a damn track

Claudia Pickering 14:34
Yeah, which is all just it that's not the point like people the whole point of like I think the whole point of making a film like the made the point of making this one was to show what kind of stories I want to tell not to show like my what my like craft is all about in terms of in terms of although that I'm really proud of the the cinematography that Christiana together I'm particularly under those conditions. Even if it wasn't in those conditions, I love the look of the film wasn't about that? Yeah, it wasn't. It wasn't about like getting the glossiest shots in the most beautiful camera movement. And it being like a Coen Brothers film where it's like a one hour.

Alex Ferrari 15:12
That's the That's nice. That's nice.

Claudia Pickering 15:14
You've just got it. Oh, it's so nice. I just did a thing like, that was so great. But you've got to like, be like, Okay, well, what do I have to give up? What's the main thing I want to get across with this film? This is going to be like a proof of concept for me as a as a director, and as a writer. And it's like, what are the core things that then need to get across? Right? And like, I don't need to have one as and Dolly shots to get that across. Like, I just need to have bloody good performances and fun script, and a really strong sense of story through it. And I think we've got that and I think that's why it's been it's it's been doing well, why people like it. I'm stoked.

Alex Ferrari 15:54
I feel you, I feel you when you when you make a movie, and people enjoy it. It's such a great feeling. Oh, cool. Can you tell people can you tell people a little bit about what the movies about? I'll give you the logline.

Claudia Pickering 16:09
It's about two friends that moved to San Francisco to chase their careers, but they end up chasing tail instead. Yeah, it's just about this sort of like this is really, really intense friendship that is very tumultuous. And you know, it's all of those pressures under that, but also this, this feeling of like, wanting to find themselves and, you know, seeking attention. And then but then then sort of essentially giving, like, completely blowing their friendship, which was actually the thing that makes them who they are in the first place, and then sort of coming back together after that. It's very much about sort of this strong, it's a real friend. It's about friends. It's about friendship, rather than being about like sex, even though there's a bunch of sex in it. Sure. Yeah, that's, that's kind of it's really just differentiate film. It's Yeah, I'm really proud of it.

Alex Ferrari 16:57
Awesome. And you shot it with the Canon 60. Right.

Claudia Pickering 17:00
Shot it on the Canon six days. Yeah. And now it's been optioned to be turned into a TV show in Australia, which is great. That's the best writing actually,

Alex Ferrari 17:08
we're trying to do that right now, with our feature that I just finished, like, Hey, I would love to get it is it's a it's a great Netflix show, or Hulu show or streaming show of some sort?

Claudia Pickering 17:17
Well, that's the thing. It's like, once you've got, I was, I was actually I was just looking at Netflix two days ago, right? Not something I would have expected, I would say like asked me about six months ago, and I'd be like, what I was having a video Netflix. And they were just like, oh, boy, like, it's so great that there's something like, for example, if I was to go in there and be pitching priskie, as the TV show, which we're putting together with jungle in Australia, it's like they're like, usually, we would want to see a pilot or something like that. But really nice thing about having a feature film, as it's a proof of concept. So we get the time we see what it is we understand what it's all about, and like what the show will feel like, it is actually money well spent in that regard. Because you do kind of as long as you've got like a relatively character heavy film, you know, like, you care more about the characters than you do about like the story? Well, you do want a good story too. But you know, they've got strong characters that could then like play into a bigger thing. Like, they, they really they want to see they want to see a pilot, but like, it's Yeah, it's like it's ready to go. Like they're ready to see it. They sort of they're like they've got the film that they've like the footage that they needed to get them over the line. Right, right. Play a pilot and a movie.

Alex Ferrari 18:35
So basically, what you're one of the things that I think a good business model nowadays is, is instead of trying to shoot a pilot, shoot a feature film that's based on a series that you're trying to do, and then you have at least a product that you can go out and sell while you're trying to pitch it.

Claudia Pickering 18:50
Yeah, and you can go around to fifth, it'll get into, you know, festivals, even in their little festivals. Like we were on the little festivals. And look at us, we had mad like, I didn't even enter big festivals, because I was like, No way anyone's gonna give a shit about this. Right? Which now I kind of regret because I think maybe now now with a bit of perspective, maybe I would have had a chance at one you know, they have wildcard people that come in now as always. And yeah, I think it is actually a really sound thing to do rather than shooting just a pilot because of pilots a hard thing to then get into a festival and get notoriety about and like get distribution to like, point to the future success of the concept. It's it's actually just this really yeah, it's a great thing because then you get Yeah, you get best of both worlds.

Alex Ferrari 19:37
Now, what was your post production workflow like with that, that whole thing? Did you shoot one camera shoot to

Claudia Pickering 19:44
The only for the first two days or something? We shot two cameras. Yeah. And then we realized it just wasn't working like it just wasn't fast enough. If we Yeah, it was just not not a great way for us to work. Got rid of our second camera and just shot single camera. But I went through and did all of the like, editors assistant stuff. And like, because I'm like, I want the people who are working for free for me to like, not hate their job, I want them to do the bits that they want to do because they're coming on here, really trusting me. Like to get this project done and Bradstreet joy, I want them to be doing the bit of their job that they like, you know, not the shitty bit. So excuse. Sure. And so they Yeah, so I did that. And I like, you know, did all the data wrangling and synced all the fight like the sound to the and, and like, organized all the files into into like scenes and like that it also it was really beautiful and neat so that when Julia and the editor came in, it was just like, boom, he could just start the stuff that he's good at, you know, which is edit. Instead of being like, I hate this job. I've spent a week like doing editors assistant, just garbage job. like trying to make stuff which I've done a lot of I shouldn't call it a garbage job, but it's hard. It's like does your head in like,

Alex Ferrari 21:03
Yeah, yeah, it's it's like it's it's it's no one I don't think enjoys doing assistant editing like that. They all want to be the they want to all want to edit. So

Claudia Pickering 21:11
Yeah, it's hard. It's hard. And it's just like, oh, man, it's sinking stuff. Oh, my God anyway. Yeah, did that. So that was it and pass it on to Julian, he would do drafts and then I sort of come in and we'd sit together for ages and just go nuts. And would you guys get on with that?

Alex Ferrari 21:29
What did you edit on? Oh, on Premiere? Got it? Got it. And now what was your distribution plan for the film?

Claudia Pickering 21:36
So I didn't really have one. Because I didn't know anything about it. But then I met. I was like, literally once I had it done, I was like, okay, firstly, I guess we'll get we'll do some festivals so that people have seen it. And so there's some laurels and and you know, I'll meet some people and I'll learn from some people in the at those festivals, you know, I can pick people's brains in that environment. And was actually incredibly valuable doing that. And then what else happened? So then, I was just like, Okay, I guess I need to approach some distributors or something. I don't know. And I'm like, trying to try to speak I'm like, trying to research like, distrib Ah, you know, the I

Alex Ferrari 22:16
use them. Yeah, they're great. They look great.

Claudia Pickering 22:20
And then I was like, blah, blah, blah. I don't know. I was like, just trying to see personally I was like, looking in Australia and just trying to figure it out. And I happened to meet really very randomly like, through like three different people got passed on and met this some this absolute legend home, Danielle, and she ended up coming on board. She like she, you know, graduated her master's of producing, like, the year before, and, or maybe a couple of years before and was just and was working in a distribution company that's largely largely does family films, who lawn Christian family films, and she's just like, Nah, this is not for us. Like, but you like, I love this film. And I want to make I want to just, I want to sell it, will you take a chance on me and be the first person, the first film that I have in my new company that I want to start and I'm like Ghana, and you seem like a great person. And that's like pretty much what the success of the film has hinged on. All the way up until now has been like just trusting people who just seem absolutely genuine and the project really good vibes. And so yeah, she took the project. And then once I turned it over to her like a week later, she's like, Oh, I'm going into the French Riviera to like Cannes for another film that I made. So beta and a couple of weeks, so so Oh, like speak to people about the film there. I'm like, What?

Alex Ferrari 23:45
Yes.

Claudia Pickering 23:47
So that was dope. And she went over there. And like, we had a bunch of authors on the film from that. And really, that's Yeah, so you know, which was cool. And, and then, I mean, it was like she met she met a bunch of people. It went well. And then we had to, like play the waiting game for a few weeks off the can because everybody's like, completely swamped. Yeah, sure. In like watching stuff that they people that they met there, and yeah, then we got to we I think we had like five offers or something. We ended up picking, picking gravitas do. They offered us the world? And we were like, cool. We'll start with the US and Canada. We wanted to do that release because it's short. In America. It's technically like an Australian production because it was all like, all the money and all of the all the money. It's so funny. But like all of that sort of stuff like I was I was working largely on it in Australia and like, like in terms of like marketing it and like I wrote it when I was back in Australia. It was like all the stuff that I shot and then came back, right? Because I was I was moving countries back to Australia, three months after we shot. It was also a really great deadline. To have x we screened it for the the cast and crew like two nights before it was moving countries back to Australia. Just so that we did this did that was a really important thing to do to they were just like, Oh, thank you. It's like the color wasn't done. The sound wasn't done, but they were like, cool, we see that it exists. And you're not just like some fly by night idiot who just like didn't finish the thing, you know?

Alex Ferrari 25:22
Oh, yes, I know.

Claudia Pickering 25:24
I can't remember what my I sorry, I got totally sidetracked. I don't know what I was saying.

Alex Ferrari 25:31
You were you were moving back. And you're the final, the final the distribution.

Claudia Pickering 25:35
Oh, this region, this region. Um, yeah, so could have been doing it in, we could have done an Australian release. First, we were like, we think we're gonna make more hype. For our Australian release, if we release it in, like it's gonna be, okay, if we get a big Australian release, and then release in America, America is not going to notice, right? If we get a like, reasonable US release, and then release it in Australia, Australia will notice, like, you'll notice because it's a film that's been released in the US. So that was a very conscious decision we made to do it in that order. And, and we did, and that's exactly what happened. But the release in the US went really smoothly. We had a like, the last minute we were offered to have a screening the night before the release at Australians in film, which is where we're doing this festival on the weekend. And, and they, they screened it, and the q&a went really well afterwards. And people were frothing. And then PETA who runs Australians and film here like spoke to a whole bunch of other industry people about it. And it just like absolutely blew up. Like it was like, ever happened to it and ended up like in the in the paper in Australia. And then that turned into this. Like, suddenly, we were able to get mad men who was like a huge distributor like, well, not huge, but like one of the major distributors in Australia who do like all the movies, I like, who I was like, I'm never gonna have them distribute this film. And suddenly they're interested. And suddenly we've got an option to have a TV show. And it's like mobile. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 27:12
And know how to interview when an a pitch to TV show or the TV show come to you.

Claudia Pickering 27:16
I like went in there. I went into jungle having met with them. Like before they knew that frisky existed, which is funny because it had been made like two years before my original meeting with them. And I was like, you know, because when you tell someone before films released and you tell them that you've made a movie for five grand go like, yeah, good one. I'm sure it's great.

Alex Ferrari 27:37
Mistake number one. You never tell them what the budget is.

Claudia Pickering 27:42
And I was like, oh, like, even if I didn't mention the budget to some people, because I think I saw people's faces dropped when I yeah, I was like, Yeah, I made a movie, and it's gonna get released next year. And they're like, yeah, sure thing. Never heard of it. Shout out, get out. Right. Um, but, uh, yeah. So I went in there having already had a meeting. And they're like, what? Well, yeah, whatever. It wasn't, it was just like, kind of a whatever meeting it was fine. It was went fine. But it was like, cool. You know, maybe see you around at the end of it. And then. And then when priskie came out, they were like, oh, that stuff you said was true. Like the film is real. And and we want to see like, obviously, people are liking it. So what else have you got? And so it was that when I walked in there, I was like, Okay, well, these are all the things I've been working on, like developing for the past couple of years since frisky. And they'll be like, Well, what about freeski? The TV show? And I'm like, What do you mean? freeski the TV show? Now, it's like, I'll never think any other way. It's like every feature I'm writing. I'm like, thinking of it as a potential like TV version. Like Sure.

Alex Ferrari 28:47
Yeah. So that's, I think the future I honestly think that's the future for indie films as well. Because if you can prove a concept and a feature film, it's just so much easier for Netflix or Hulu or Amazon or, or any any streaming service to produce a low low budget version of that for like eight episodes or a few seasons of of that it makes just the most sense in the world.

Claudia Pickering 29:13
It honestly does. And they love it. They love a proof of concept, like thank you for make going up and making that

Alex Ferrari 29:19
you know, right and that you actually have a product at the end of it. And that's like a short film or a trailer. You actually have something that you can go out and sell. Yep, sure do. Now, what's the hardest part of making fischli?

Claudia Pickering 29:31
How does powdermaking freeski was God was like so great. Last time,

Alex Ferrari 29:41
I did that I said the same thing. anyone asked me the same question about my movie. I'm like, I was just awesome. I just had a great time. I loved it. I loved it. I loved writing it.

Claudia Pickering 29:51
I loved casting it. I loved I even love people. I mean probably the hardest part was trying to make the schedule really good so that everyone was happy with it because I didn't want to be putting anyone out because they were all coming and doing it for free.

Alex Ferrari 30:05
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. And what was the what was the how many days did you shoot? Um,

Claudia Pickering 30:19
It was like over 14 days. Okay. I like it was over a 14 day period. But within that there were days off. Sure. So yeah, I think so somewhere inside that 14 day thing. And then I was made was pretty quick. Yeah, and I guess honestly, the hardest thing for me apart I mean, scheduling does you does your noodle a bit, but it's like, it's kind of satisfying when you get it done and right. Until someone really needs to go and watch the Ohio State national championships. It like while you're shooting you're like, what do you mean brand and model? Finally, in the national championship, you go to change schedule. I'm like, Okay, okay, I'm gonna do it for you, man.

Alex Ferrari 31:06
But that's the thing you deal with. That's what

Claudia Pickering 31:09
Did you like? Are you too much of a legend for me to not like make this worked for you? And he gave so much that film anyway. Anyway, so

Alex Ferrari 31:17
That was the hardest part was schedules,

Claudia Pickering 31:19
Deliverables. Oh, my God. And you know why it was the hardest is because I didn't know about

Alex Ferrari 31:28
Delivery probably cost more than the movie it's

Claudia Pickering 31:31
If I had known about deliverables. Sure, distribution companies, I would have been, like, have been so ahead of the game. Sure. I would have, you know, you want to have nice, you want to have like a little marketing package, you want to make sure you've got your little bloody, you know, what are they called, like DVD extras and shit that you get when you're on set. Like we didn't get any of that just would have been nice. But you know, sort of stuff. Fortunately, because I've got my background in architecture, and I have worked as a graphic designer as well, like, from that. It's like doing things like putting together all the pretty print stuff, like your nice posters and all that kind of jazz and like, make up the streets a really good photographer. So he shot the, what's it called? The poster? Sure. Um, yeah, so like, again, it was still being a little scrappy bastard to try and get it all all together. But that sort of stuff is is actually really simple for me because I can I can use all the graphic stuff. I'm the sweet, like, poster girl. Sure. Sure. Sure.

Alex Ferrari 32:43
Now as far as the deliverables are concerned, did you master everything I'm assuming in 1080? Or did you do 4k? What did you master? Okay. 1080 1080 right. So and you put in all your deliverables for everything was pretty much done at? Yep. And that's what I try to tell everybody so much like, Dude, don't worry about 4k

Claudia Pickering 33:04
Session before. Okay, no one cares about 4k at this point in time, like, because no one can watch it. It's insanely cheap to like, put this thing to, you know, projecting a massive cinema. Is it 10 82k

Alex Ferrari 33:17
And 2k. Just a little bit bigger than 280

Claudia Pickering 33:20
Yeah, it's only slightly bigger. Um, yeah, totally chill with 1080 like, I haven't ever had any kind of trouble with that. Like, the only reason why I would shoot in 4k is if I didn't have a dp who was who is like, like onpoint enough and I wanted to be I was like, Oh, I'm I'm gonna have to crop in on this stuff or reframe

Alex Ferrari 33:43
A reframe of constantly right?

Claudia Pickering 33:44
Yeah. Like that's that's the only reason why at this point in time with all the other technology having not caught up yet. Why? God, can you imagine the data? Oh, kill Oh, yeah,

Alex Ferrari 33:56
I know. I know. I know. I yeah. It's a beast. It's a beast. I did my movie a 2.5k. But I shot raw. Oh my god, it was about seven terabytes when we were and we shot two cameras, so seven terabytes when we were done.

Claudia Pickering 34:09
Well, at least that's something like in the future. I would love to I mean, I have been now but like it is like when you're doing color correction on DSLR footage. It's tough.

Alex Ferrari 34:25
On better have a good dp.

Claudia Pickering 34:30
It's gonna be kind of gritty. And yeah, I mean, she shot it as flat as she could. Yeah, sure. But it's like still you up against it, but it's like, do you know what it's a DSLR film? Sure. Like it's not gonna look like you shot it on an Arri Alexa, right?

Alex Ferrari 34:48
That except them and move on and just move on and accept what you are

Claudia Pickering 34:53
Septons that needs to happen, but and focus on the stuff that you need to accept.

Alex Ferrari 34:57
Now what was the biggest mistake you made while making The film.

Claudia Pickering 35:01
Oh, I think not knowing about deliverables,

Alex Ferrari 35:04
Deliverables again.

Claudia Pickering 35:06
They haunt me forever.

Alex Ferrari 35:08
All right.

Claudia Pickering 35:08
Oh my God. Yeah, deliverables

Alex Ferrari 35:15
Yeah, I've been in post for over almost 20 years. So deliverables Don't scare me as much, but I can see if you are not prepared for it. It can hit you like a ton of bricks. Yeah. And you will never not be prepared again. Yes. Oh, no, absolutely. You'll always know like, Okay, I need Yeah, I need to have my digital deliverables. I need to have my hdslr I need to have possibly a DCP. And so on. Oh, sure. Day. Oh, yeah. And it's inexpensive to me, they are expensive. Now what? When I ask you the same questions to ask all my guests. So there's a group of questions asked to prepare yourself. These are very, very heavy questions. What advice would you give a filmmaker just wanting to break into the business? Make a bunch of stuff. Amen, sister.

Claudia Pickering 36:00
Cuz you only gonna, you know, I met. I've met a bunch of people who are like, oh, I've got like a stack of scripts. And I want to make one of them. And it's good. But I've just got to wait until it's the right time until it's perfect. And all this kind of shit. I'm like, You're not even the filmmaker yet. You haven't made anything like how he had how you get to do the best service to that script that you love. If you haven't floody practice, like you've got to practice. Like, I didn't just go and make frisky and be like, Oh, I want to make a movie and then just make a movie. I was like, Yo, I'm gonna make a whole bunch of like, shorts and like online content, and like, really, really silly, comedy sketches, and learn how to do it. And, and then and then embark on doing something bigger. And yeah, it's sure I did it pretty quickly. But it's like I really, really, really made a lot of stuff before embarking on it. Because you there's just shit you don't know about like, that you can't know about without having, like silly little quirks that you can't read about and then understand the actual ramifications of you. Um, so yeah, I just think it's all about making stuff. And then once you've got your head around it and like, also, that script, that's the best script on your pile. Yeah. Like, I don't know how that translates to screen until you've made one. So like, make the best script on your pile. And you'll realize how to make a better script and the other five scripts on that pile you won't want to make once you've made the best script on the pile, right? First, right? And then you'll get better. And just move forward. just constantly, constantly be trying to make stuff that's all and build your like your network of mates who you make stuff for, like be giving, you know, because people going to be giving to you like, you got to you got to give back and like, cool. Do you need a hand on your set like each other? Like, I've got a mate who, actually, we just did some improv together. And she was like, Hey, I heard you made a film. This was like a couple of years ago, it was like six months after we made frisky. She's like, I've stopped you on the internet. And I saw that you made a movie, I want to make a movie. Will Can I buy you lunch and pick your brain? I'm like, absolutely, I'd love I love getting bought lunch. Because like I said, a bit cheap like that. And, um, she bought me lunch. And then I ended up producing her film, like for no money. I didn't get paid to do it. But I was like, Man, I'm going to come and help you on this because other people rocked up and helped me and I got a lot to give for this for you. And, you know, it's like, spread the love, you know, like, um, it's not like, I'm the first person to ever done that. It's like, I had a whole crew of people doing that for me when I when I was doing

Alex Ferrari 38:36
Isn't it? Isn't it true though? Like a lot of filmmakers have a mentality sometimes of like competition, and I can't give away the secret sauce. I'm like, Are you out of your mind? Like, you've got to give you got to help each other.

Claudia Pickering 38:49
It's all about it's all about the team thing. I mean, look at you, you just have to look at what happens in Hollywood. It's like people form these alliances, like look at all of the guys like, like, like you James Franco, crew Sure, all help each other, make their dreams become a reality like they do. They all look each other up. And like, yeah, I'll be anything and you'll be in my thing. And we'll, we'll make stuff and we'll make all the stuff that we want and And like every project that we work on, even though it may not have your name as a film by it's like you're still in it and it's still a credit to your name. And we still learn from it. And God just being on set, you learn so much like last year, I'd never been on set for a TV show. So I was like, rather than being an arrogant, decad and being like, oh, but I'm a director like I shouldn't be doing anything. Directing goes like I'm going to be a third ad in this little slot that I can fill for an Australian like government funded TV show. Sure. I can see what the hell is set looks like and how they function because I want to get involved in that stuff. And it's like, I didn't get paid for that. But you just got to do stuff because you need to or else you blow it like you need to have some experience. You need experience and you Got I just had the hugest rant. I apologize.

Alex Ferrari 40:02
It's all it's all good. It's all good stuff. It's all good stuff. Now, can you tell me what book had the biggest impact in your life or career?

Claudia Pickering 40:09
What What book?

Alex Ferrari 40:10
Yes.

Claudia Pickering 40:11
Oh my god save the cat all day. Yes, Blake. Oh, by Blake Snyder up Bay, my like, just guiding star. Because like, once you know the formula, you can break it. But you know the formula. So it's not a total pile of shit. That's the thing I had, like people who watched the film, they're like, oh, and like, who was like, the who is the president of the Australian Directors Guild who really enjoyed it. She was lovely. We did a q&a together. Yeah. training in Sydney. And she was like, yeah, and like, you know, like, structurally the film's really sound and this and that. And I'm like, Oh, it was Blake Snyder.

Alex Ferrari 40:53
Structure is so important. I mean, I'm a big fan of, I'm a big fan of structure. Because it's, it's, it's not like it's become formulaic. It's like, Look, this is a structure. Now you can now you can dress that structure, however you want the frame of a house, but each room is going to be different. But you need that frame in that foundation. Yeah, so that people can feel stuff, you know? Exactly. Now, what's the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life lesson that took me the longest to learn? Oh, my God, it's deep sleep.

Claudia Pickering 41:25
So there's so many God, something that was really hard for me was leaving being being a blonde girl. And leaving architecture, where you can say to people, I'm an architect, or like, I'm a architectural designer, I work in architecture should suddenly like all manual hates clever, and you're this and that? Well, you know, they're like, Oh, I thought you look like an idiot because you're blonde chick, but you Oh, and like, I suddenly had this credibility. And like, there's a whole lot of ego that comes with that, of course, really satisfying be able to do that. And yeah, so being, like transitioning over to saying I work in comedy, and not telling people that architecture was a really, really tough thing for me to learn how to do. Sure. Because I was almost embarrassed to not be like to let go of a profession that I've worked so hard to make. But then, like, the further I've gotten into this, I'm like, Oh, I'm actually good at this. And I'm, I'm equally as successful as I was working in architecture. And I'm having fun. This is the life I want to live in. Yes. I'm like people do it. Yeah, there's like a huge gap there with like, starting from scratch after you've built something else up. Like people think you're an idiot for doing it. And they they treat you like one they should be like you've done something really stupid and frivolous. And and you know that you're working hard, but it doesn't look like it to them. Doesn't matter how many sketches you're putting on my that's your job now, like I'm working in a taco shop to fund that shit. And yeah, so ego wise, it was really hard and and like, like, trying to convince my family like I've made a good decision was really hard. Actually.

Alex Ferrari 43:23
That must have been brutal.

Claudia Pickering 43:25
Yeah, especially when they're like, oh, cool, she's gonna be fine. Just got a good job in architecture, I should be right. And I'm like, actually moved to America, I'm gonna make comedy yet didn't go down. Well. It's great. Now, though, I've like proven myself. And that's great. But you do. It's that it's like putting your ego aside. And also then having to prove yourself and all of the naysaying that goes on that. And it's not like for me, it wasn't a huge amount of naysaying, but it was like this, really, there was a sense of disappointment from my family that they weren't deliberately trying to give me but it was quite apparent. There was oddest, so that was a very difficult thing to get through. But I just learned that you know, if you do something that you care about, you're going to do a good job of it. So that was a huge lesson.

Alex Ferrari 44:14
Very good. Now what? what are three of your favorite films of all time?

Claudia Pickering 44:19
Oh, my God,

Alex Ferrari 44:21
The toughest question on the list.

Claudia Pickering 44:22
Oh, how do I pick? Are you kidding me?

Alex Ferrari 44:26
Just three. Just three that come to your mind today at this moment in time?

Claudia Pickering 44:30
Oh, God,

Alex Ferrari 44:31
It won't be on your gravestone. Don't worry. Just picture that you think

Claudia Pickering 44:35
I'm completely drawing up like Oh, the castle, obviously. You know,

Alex Ferrari 44:39
The castle. Oh, no. Yeah. No, I don't know that film.

Claudia Pickering 44:43
The castle is an Australian film from the 90s It is one of the best films of all time.

Alex Ferrari 44:48
I will we will look it up

Claudia Pickering 44:50
The castle. So that would be number one. I'm a huge fan of basil and I'm just gonna leave Australia and

Alex Ferrari 44:57
It's all good gozleme. Awesome.

Claudia Pickering 45:00
Pretty much anything gozleme a huge fan. Oh, except maybe Australia, which is funny. Whatever. So yeah, that's that was Yeah. Love him love him love him. Oh god and like, I don't want to say it but like Pulp Fiction.

Alex Ferrari 45:14
Why not say that movies amazing says that.

Claudia Pickering 45:17
It's like such a shi.

Alex Ferrari 45:19
You know, oddly enough, not a lot of people say that movie on the show, believe it or not, it's only come up a few times.

Claudia Pickering 45:26
They're all thinking it actually I pulled the puck this structure apart on Pulp Fiction, and it actually wasn't as impressive as I thought it was. But I'm like, Man, I'm so drawn into those characters. You don't even realize how like, blah, some of the storylines. Like, oh, that kind of amounts to nothing, but it's a bit of character development. That's

Alex Ferrari 45:43
Awesome. Yes, it is. Now where can people find you online?

Claudia Pickering 45:47
Me?

Alex Ferrari 45:48
You the movie anything? Yeah.

Claudia Pickering 45:52
The movies. It's all over the place. It's like, you know, on iTunes and all the places you can find things.

Alex Ferrari 45:59
Okay. social media accounts, media.

Claudia Pickering 46:01
There's frisky movie. At frisky movie, anything or friskymovie.com, you can find all the ways to download the film. And me personally, my handle is the darklord because it's a Harry Potter reference because I love Harry Potter. It's th e de AR CLA UD. Very Australian. American say it's wrong doesn't make sense. The joke doesn't.

Alex Ferrari 46:29
Yeah, that's me. So Claudia, thank you so much. I absolutely love your energy and your enthusiasm to what you're doing and your work. And I hope it rubs off on on the tribe listening today because you can tell that you're just having a good time. And isn't that why we got into this business in the first place?

Claudia Pickering 46:45
Exactly why we got into it, I got into it to stop like drawing CAD lines in rich people's houses.

Alex Ferrari 46:54
Claud, thank you so much for being on the show.

Claudia Pickering 46:56
Thanks for having me.

Alex Ferrari 46:58
I hope you enjoyed that episode. Claudia really is a wonderful filmmaker. And I'm so happy that she's getting all the success that she is. So Claudia, thank you so much for being on the show, and sharing those knowledge bombs with the tribe. And also guys, I wanted to give a shout out to our new sponsor, which is studio unknown. These guys are an amazing group of audio professionals and they've got offices throughout the country, Burbank, Hollywood, Baltimore, and they also can work with you on a remote basis. So if you're not in any of their towns, they can definitely work with you. They're really cool. They really are indie friendly. That's why I wanted to have them on the show as a sponsor. And they're good peeps. So just check them out studio unknown, calm. And don't forget to mention the podcast to get those special deals that I mentioned earlier in the show. And if you want links to anything we discussed in this episode, just head over to indiefilmhustle.com/222 for the show notes. So lastly, today, guys, not only have I been working on this top secret project, but I've got some awesome stuff coming up for for the tribe I'm going to be doing, I can't tell you, I just want to tell you, but I can't tell you just yet. But there's some big things coming up in the film, hustle wise, with the platform, with the podcast with a bunch of other stuff that I'm working on, on the side as well. And I'm not sure if I mentioned this in a prior podcast, I'm going to mention it again. Anyway, indie film producing guru, Suzanne Lyons, who's been on the show a couple times already. and I are going to be coming out with the ultimate masterclass on independent producing. So how to actually produce budgets, from 50 grand all the way up to two or 3 million, and how to raise money, how to do the paperwork, contracts, unions Guild, everything. So if you want to know about how to actually produce a movie with from somebody who's actually produced, I think 10 or 15 movies, if not more at this point, independently. This is a course for you. This is recording of a workshop that she has given over the years that normally cost anywhere between 20 530 $500 to take, and I convinced her to let me work with her on it. I came in and did some of the post production talk as well. And we're going to be releasing it from anywhere between 90 to $100. We're not sure just yet where that that sweet spot is going to be. But it's going to be between 90 and $100. And it's going to be amazing. It's going to be about four to five hours long. Plus a bunch of paperwork, Word documents, PDFs, things that are in valuable just things that cost 1000s of dollars to to put together that Suzanne has been doing over the years, but I cannot wait to release it. So as of right now it's tentatively going to be released April 9. So me and Suzanne are working feverishly to get that ready for you guys. But I wanted to announce it here today. And there might be some specials, early adopting specials you know if you want to get in early things like that, but if you You're interested in the in the in jumping in early, just email me at [email protected] I'll put you on a list and I'll hit you guys up early so you can get early access to the course and trust me, it is unlike any other course out there right now. And as always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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