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The Inside Story About Distribber Downfall, Film Aggregators and a Warning with Joe Dain
Today we are going to BLOW THE LID off this entire Distribber/Film Aggregator mess. Today’s guest is Joe Dain from Terror Films. Joe has been on the frontlines of this Distribber debacle and has been affected in a large way. He had many films placed through Ditribber and has been working diligently to save the films he has placed through Distribber. Joe wrote an amazing guest post speaking the real issue facing filmmakers in the shadow of what has happened with Distribber. (Read Here: A Warning About Film Aggregators & the Future).
During his journeys, he has discovered many interesting bits of information about the going on’s of Distribber in the final months and lays out a few “what ifs” that are extremely interesting.
Be ready for a lively conversation about Go Digital/Distibber, Film Aggregators, Predatory Film distributors, where filmmakers are making money today with their films, what platforms do avoid, and much, much more.
BREAKDOWN OF JOE DAIN’S DISTRIBUTION DEAL
This was taken from the Facebook Group Protect Yourself from Predatory Film Distributors/Aggregators
As an example, we have a first look with Shudder and all that means is they will consider any horror film I send them but it does NOT mean they will license it. Holding out for these two things for an indie film is unrealistic in my opinion.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Terror Films
- Variety Distribber – Article
- IFH 272: How to Sell Ancillary Products for Your Indie Film (Pool Party Massacre) with Drew Marvick
- IFH 278: Final Cut Pro X SUCKS…Or Does It? with Brad Olsen
- IFH 346: Do Film Aggregators Make Sense Anymore? + Distribber Downfall Update
- IFH 345: Distribber Bankrupt? How to Protect Yourself
- IFH 343: The Dark Underbelly of Predatory Film Distributors – BEWARE!
- A Warning About Film Aggregators & the Future
- $1 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: FREE AUDIOBOOK
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Alex Ferrari’s Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
- Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
- The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
- Filmtrepreneur® Podcast
- Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
- Six Secrets to getting into Film Festivals for FREE!
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
Alex Ferrari 2:21
So today on the show guys, we have distributor Joe Dain who is going to blow the lid off of this whole distributor debacle. In this episode, which is fairly epic, which comes in at around an hour and 40 hour and 45 minutes. We talk everything about not only how distributor went down, he proposes multiple questions about of what really happened, and how we could follow the money and so on to see what the hell happened with go digital distributor. And we also discussed the much larger looming question of what responsibilities do the actual platforms have for this mess, you know, and what they're going to hopefully do and change things to protect not only themselves from being liable, but also protect independent filmmakers and mid level and larger film distributors who deal with these aggregators all the time, we go into some very, very deep rabbit holes in regards to go digital distributor, film aggregators and the distribution business in general. We also talk about what's making money nowadays, what's not making money nowadays in the distribution space, what things to look out for when dealing with a film distributor and so on. It is a epic, epic episode without question. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Joe Dain. I'd like to welcome the show Joe Dain man Thank you for coming on brother.
Joe Dain 4:02
Thank you Thank you for having me. Sir.
Alex Ferrari 4:03
You you you've you've made you've made some noise on the protect yourself from the stripper Facebook group recently and and I have a feeling that you might be making more noises in the future after this podcast. Oh,
Joe Dain 4:16
Oh, don't don't don't doubt it for a second my friend, don't doubt it for a second. I mean, listen this this whole as I refer to it in my letter debacle, the letter that you you posted on on our behalf to aggregators and filmmakers. This has been you know, for the for the lack of a more tasteful term such a kick in the balls. But one of the things that I felt that was so important to really address was the fact that this was not about an indie filmmaker service going under because as variety initially launched and said, which was on the the heels of your original announcement, we are dealing with a much bigger problem here and And that is really what I want the dialogue to turn to right. And do I think it's important that everybody's, you know, working very hard to get their, their contact near their content back from go digital and get it replaced. Absolutely. That's the immediate concern. And I understand that why everybody is focused on that. But that's not the dialogue that we should be having. Because to me, as far as I'm concerned, it's jumping out of one frying pan and into another frying pan. And that has to do with the lack of the financial assurances that are not coming down from the platforms who are deeming these companies approved. So no matter who the company is, and listen, there's a lot of good companies, we're primarily now moved over to premiere, right premiere digital, they're one of the monsters in this business, they hold most of the major studio accounts, right. They have been tremendous to us. And in being able to facilitate something that probably Now not all other companies were able to do, which was has been a actual backdoor asset change, right? Because we had so many films live, we've been able to accomplish most certainly with the help of premiere, and because of their influence and their connections, where platforms like VUDU, platforms like iTunes, Xbox, soon to be Google Play, instead of our content having to come down and be re availed, they were able to reach out to the platforms on behalf and do a backdoor content switch so that those assets on the back end were literally just switched over to two from go digital to premiere. So that was that was a huge, huge thing for us, right? Because
Alex Ferrari 6:39
Right? Exactly, exactly. So but before we keep going, please tell people who the hell you are. Because there's a lot of people who just don't know who you are, Joe, I know who you are, and people who have read your letter.
Joe Dain 6:51
I'm so invigorated by by getting this information out there that it's so so up, not about us. But
Alex Ferrari 6:57
Tell us who you are.
Joe Dain 6:58
My name is is Joe Dain and I am the president of worldwide distribution for two labels terror films, LLC, which is our genre brand that quite a few people know about. And then we have a sister company called Global digital releasing, which you know, takes on sort of non genre content. It's a smaller label than terror films, but they are sister companies. And it's the same team that operates them both. And you know, we work where if anybody were to look up the principles of the company, where we're independent filmmakers, we have written, directed, acted, produce, sell, finance, executive produced, cast, edited, I mean, you name it, we've done it, we still do it. My Lead partner, Jim Clark, he works all the time as an actor and huge stuff and, and, and happens to also act as our head of acquisitions. Because he loves it, he loves watching films, he loves connecting with filmmakers. And I'm the I'm the business guy, I'm the guy that deals with the the the placement, the pitching the the I oversee the marketing, we're very, very hands on, we're not a what I like to call a content dump company. And what I mean by that is, if you were to look at some of the other mid level distributors that you could maybe call our competitors, you know, you're talking about, there's some companies that they're dumping 150 plus films a year onto the digital platforms. Now by doing so I understand the business model, it's a business model, I get it, if it works for them, it works for them. But there's no way in hell those companies are dedicating any time or energy to the promotion of marketing of your film. And I think one of the things that makes our model unique, and not every it's not for every filmmaker. But you know, we started out when we when we when we launched the label, officially Tara films, which was the first label we launched, we launched officially as a distributor in the last quarter of 2016. But prior to that time, what happened is we had we had put three micro budget horror films into production with the idea that we were also going to handle our own distribution. And part of the reason that we did that is because we were new to the game as a distributor, but we also want to filmmakers to understand, look, we're risking our own money, risking our own money on our own model on our own distribution. And we don't expect you to just be like, Oh, hey, who are these guys? Let me give them my film, right? Like we didn't want people to feel like you know, we were just a bunch of schmucks out of nowhere saying, hey, trust us, right and right. And so much of what we did in in in and continued to do is mold the model, be flexible about the model to put filmmakers first. And so when we first launched the model in the last quarter 2016 with seven films, one of which was hell house LLC, which turned out to be a monster for us. All those seven films three were our originals. And we started out with a traditional model, right? It was 25%. It was sitting behind a certain amount of marketing dollars that was sitting behind all the recoupable is pretty standard par for the course stuff. As we were into that model. I wasn't thrilled with it because we were not putting money in the filmmakers pockets fast enough. I know that's a crazy thing. For a distributors job, but that
Alex Ferrari 10:02
Joe Dain 10:02
Shocking right? But so much of what we we continue to do is, is try to maneuver around all the things that we hate about the distribution model, right that, that we've had our own bad experiences with. I mean, we're not just a bunch of executives, you know, sitting around taking your films like we're meeting potatoes, guys, we're on the ground, we're raising financing, we're doing all kinds of stuff, to make our own films, our own projects happen. So we get what goes into this. And so this idea that, that you as the filmmaker, you know, get the material created, write it, find the financing, produce it, deliver it to be the last person to see $1 never made any sense to me never made any sense to me whatsoever, also to what we never understood is why, especially today in the digital age, right? Were what 85% of the movies being made at all levels, all levels, from 50,000 to 150 million are going straight to streaming platforms. Okay. That's the world we're in right now. So how is it the most mid level distributors are doing Not a single ounce of online marketing? Why are they in advantage of any kind of online marketing, which by the way, is very expensive to do to be able to reach 10s, if not hundreds of 1000s of people that might be interested in your independent content. So what we came up with about sort of mid 2017 ish, was we came up with what we call a partnership model. So it is a 50 $50, one revenue model. Now what that model really is, is, once you've delivered a film to us properly deliver everything, we're going to polish up and create a great trailer, we're going to polish up and create a great poster, we're going to pay for a PR blast, we're going to and this is all by the way, this is all guaranteed in the in the agreement, this is not just me. Talking about distribution in a minute. This, we guaranteed a minimum placement, we guaranteed paid paid ads on every platform link that goes live, okay, so so we cover all those expenses. So anything that comes up once you've delivered, mine is a couple of caveats. Like all the films doing well, the filmmaker decides they want to put the film in Japan, right, and there's going to be a cost the subtitle cost, right. And in that case, if we mutually agree, we'll find that cost and there'll be Only time will recoup something other than that, when your film The minute your film starts making money, and you get a check, whether that is $100, that is $5,000, that is $10,000 $200,000, it doesn't matter, boom, out the door, get a check immediately what that has done. And honestly, when we first introduced it, we had some of our bigger sales rep partners who who would you know, pitch us content? us right, there was a little bit like, and we said, Look, let's launch the model. The worst case is is that people are going to have an adverse reaction to it. And we'll just keep the other model we want to be flexible here. But it was our sort of attempt of of trying something right. Well, the model blew through the roof. Because I think for especially I should I should prerequisite this season filmmakers who'd been there done that under the traditional model, where they sat behind the distributors, expenses, and then marketing percentage and bad bad blah, blah, blah, and would take them a year if they were lucky to get $1 Mmm, got it. They all guidance, they got it immediately. And the other thing is our term a short five years with a renewable yearlings probably got to be one of the shortest in the biz. At the same time, we're flexible with REITs. So let's say that you want to give us just North America, you want to hold on to your foreign because you want to go try and explore a foreign sales agent and see what you can do. They're great, go do it. If it doesn't work out. Or if there's territories leftover that your sales rep can't do anything with come back assigned to us we'll launch it digitally. which is which is by the way, the focus of our of our labels, it's it's really it's really big on the digital distribution. The same with with hard goods. In our in our term sheet, it says you can keep your hard goods go split them somewhere else. We actually work quite a bit with a company called screen team releasing who does picks up a lot of the hard goods side of it. And we coordinate with them all the time as far as, excuse me, let me get that out of the way. We coordinate with them all the time when they're released. So again, it's one of those things where we're super flexible, because that's the other thing. Why is a filmmaker and I certainly never understood. Why am I giving you all my rights for 1520 years. The hell are you doing with my film for 15 years? What the hell are you doing with my damn film for 15 years. Thing excuse my words not a thing. Not a thing it's nonsense it's absolute nonsense now. We love what we do. We're we're we're we're so invested in what we do that this is why this thing with go digital chaps my balls so bad because it's it's exactly what indie filmmakers are always afraid of which is getting screwed. And it's why I refuse to sit idly by and let everybody make this only about go digital distributor going under because they're not they're not the problem there is an industry problem. Okay. Okay. And ad is this approved? again and let me let me preface that word approved. Okay. aggregators, who go through a series of whatever the technical tests are to garner those aggregation agreements with the platform's directly. But here's the gag. There's, there's not a single requirement on the financial side, nothing out one nothing. And I've confirmed this with with the 800 pound gorilla that is premier if they said no, no, we we keep a we have a fine trust where the royalties go that doesn't intermingle with our, you know, production or end or business accounts. But that's self regulated. Right. And that's great. And I love that and I've seen somebody comment on on the, you know, protect yourself restreamer page, that's also an aggregator said the same thing, and that's fantastic. I don't care. I don't care if you self regulate. I don't I don't. That's not that's not what I'm here to talk about. What I'm here to talk about is that the platform's who deem you approved, and trust you and trust you with our royalties, okay. from not just filmmakers, but for many, many, many, many, many distributors of all levels. You're still with the royalties. Okay, platform. What the hell are you doing to ensure that if this company or companies are mismanaged, or there's fraud, or embezzlement? What are you doing to ensure that we're protected? And filmmakers are protected? And I think for the platforms to take the position? That it's not their responsibility? is nonsense. It most certainly is. Because if you're telling me you won't pay me directly, that I have to choose one of these companies. You tell me I have to? I'm sorry, you better talk to your lawyers, because you're missing something because you are potentially liable. And And listen, by no means am I suggesting that we turn on the platforms, right? I'm not No, don't take this, as I'm saying, oh, let's go File class action lawsuit. I'm not suggesting that. What I am saying is that it's time to hold their feet to the fire, it's time to say you need to get this right.
Alex Ferrari 18:13
So I'll use the analogy of if a plumber like if I'm renting a place, and all of a sudden, I have a problem with my plumbing. And the owner of the of the apartment goes, this is my plumber. This is the only plumber you could use. And the plumber comes in and destroys my house. who's who's responsible? Who's you didn't give me any other options? You know, this is the You're the one that dictated what was going on. So you have to hold some sort of responsibility. Regardless, it's a very similar situation with these platforms. They are they're forcing, not just us independent filmmakers, not just you mid level distributors, but the studio system as well. These studios, most of the big ones, all the big ones go through people like premiere, I think premiere has most of those accounts. They have most Yeah, from as I understand it, they have most of the major studio accounts. Right, right. So you're forcing everybody to go and you said something to me a while ago, which was really interesting was like, you know, let's say tomorrow morning, Disney Warner's and Lionsgate wakes up and just goes you know what, man? I don't think this whole aggregation things really working out for us. I think we're just going to call up all the platforms or we're we're going to do it internally and we're gonna, we're gonna submit to you and we're gonna have a direct relationship with you. Do you think that any Do you think iTunes Amazon, Netflix is going to say no, to Porsche?
Joe Dain 19:36
Not Disney? immediately. There you go. Sure. Whatever you want Paramount Warner Brothers. Of course they are. So these studios certainly have nominally the money but the ability to set up their own in house aggregation. Of course they do. Absolutely. They
Alex Ferrari 19:50
did it with post. I mean, remember when post was Oh, they had to go out to an external post company. Now everything's done internally.
Joe Dain 19:57
Right. So so so this is what keeps growing Give me back to this, this bigger problem and and, you know, for any aggregator. Now I don't care if you're an aggregator that is strictly fee based. Or if you're an aggregator that takes a percentage, okay? Doesn't matter to me. I don't care who recommended you. I don't care how good your reputation is. I don't care about any of that. I don't care if you self regulate. What I care about is the the platforms need to do this the platforms the demand, because and listen all due respect to all the aggregators out there. There was one particular you know, on the because I've been obviously much more active now on your your protect yourself and distributor page. There was one aggregator that that responded to my letter that you posted, that mentioned the idea of, well, we can't be over regulated this put us out of business. Well, here's the joke. They're not regulated at all, there's no such thing that said, almost sounded like to me something a wall street guy or a banker, big banker would say, Oh, we can't have any regulations. We got to be able to do whatever the fuck we want to do. That's bullshit. There's no regulation. Here's the thing. I mean, that's it. I mean, I hate to say it, you over regulated over regulate, there's no regulation as it relates to the financials. No, not a single thing. So there's no such thing as over regulation over being over regulate.
Alex Ferrari 21:18
But with that said, with that said, there are there's a difference between obviously, the aggregators and the film distributors, when you go walk into a deal with a film distributor, there is hundreds, if not 1000s, of film distributors out there that you can choose from, and it's your choice to do business with them how they do business is everything. But the concept that you're talking about is aggregators. There's essentially five, if I'm not mistaken, company's gonna be five or six that are actually approved. Yeah, right, there's five or six are actually approved. And then there's probably a handful of other aggregators out there who are doing this, but there's no regulation whatsoever. And it should, even if they're self regulated, there should be some sort of rules put down by the platforms that say, you need to have fiduciary responsibility, you need to have an escrow account, you need to do this, this this, this should be some sort of, you know, insurance policy, if you go under that there's something I don't know.
Joe Dain 22:14
Right. And, and that and that's, and that's what that's what I keep coming back to is this idea that and let's let's let's take it back a step because one of the things I mentioned in my letters, the only platform doing a right, as far as I'm concerned is amazon prime right now. But prime is think about, right? If you put prime next to iTunes next to VUDU, you know, they're they're very similar as far as the space goes, right? I mean, as far as their, their, their, their, their, their worth their value. These are multi billion dollar companies, right? These are not little mom and pop streaming sites. Okay. Right. They are dominating the digital sphere. So why is it How is it that Amazon figured it out? and iTunes hasn't and VUDU has, none of them else have as far as the direct payment? And look, I have no issue with the idea of having to use a designated delivery service. And in fact, we need that benefit. We don't have time to be dealing with the uploads all the time to all these platforms. It's It's It's It's, it's to us at least it's in its it's cumbersome, right, it's too much. It's a pain. So the idea of having to use a platform delivery service that will handle the coding, the delivery, the metadata, the art, whatever's needed, right. fine with that. Here's your check. Thank you for the service, your lab. I appreciate your lab services. Ah, why the fuck are you collecting my money? Right? And, and and are you even? Are you even prepared to handle that money? Do you have an accounting department? Do you have any kind of oversight? What are you doing if you're receiving 10s of 1000s if not hundreds of 1000s of dollars a quarter of revenue to your bank?
Alex Ferrari 24:00
It's the equivalent it's isn't the equivalent of because I own the post house isn't it equivalent of owning a post house someone coming into you a client coming into you and like we're gonna edit your movie we're gonna finish a movie and we're going to deliver your movie and and then we're going to handle all the money from the sales and we'll just pay you out right i mean it's it's essentially the same thing you mean their their service their service company who have now been given the power to get money and distribute it at their at their leisure or at their the way they want to do it there's no It makes no sense
Joe Dain 24:33
Well until and and here's the thing I'd like to address is that is that what I've heard some chatter about on the pages and also from from the mouths of of glass Ratner Oh, well this was go digital distributor was not a sustainable law. I don't know how they were going to do this and figure this out and blah, blah, blah, blah blah and you there's no money in it and that Alright, let's let's have a reality talk about this. And I actually posted something on on the page the other day, I deleted Did a little math test right? And I was like, let's talk about the math. Now I was privy to the fact that in in 2018, go digital distributor had taken on about 1100 new filmmaker clients. Okay. All right. Now, now let's talk about that. Now let's say the minimum fee was 15 $100. Okay, for one platform one placement, right, which is more but let's say minimum, let's just say it's what people decided one platform and it was 1500. Again, I'm not being exact on the math, but let's say 15 101 platform 1100 filmmakers. Okay, let's go even listen, we got a flat 1000. Okay, that's $1.5 million in revenue comes in. Okay, so let's check that off. Now, they weren't approved aggregation partner for Netflix. Now I can't speak for every single film that was that was sent to them by netflix like we were, which is how we met them, which I addressed in our letter. We were charged $1,000 now to Netflix benefit they did not we did not charge Netflix actually built it into our deal. So Netflix essentially paid go digital directly to to do this. So now let's say if you were an approved aggregator for Netflix, Netflix is sending you deals every time they close a licensing deal. They're sending you a film, okay? What do you think would be a fair average per year from Netflix a monster like NetFlow? How many films you thank you?
Alex Ferrari 26:27
Well, they were they were they were the Don't forget, they were the they were a preferred vendor. So they were one of they were one of two companies that Netflix. So basically, Netflix drove all the all the all the clients to them. So I would say but don't don't say it's not only features, we're talking about shows too.
Joe Dain 26:47
So let's say 500 titles a year. That's on the low side. Sure. $5,000 a pop. sure there's another half a million dollars. Okay. Don't forget, don't forget Hulu. All right, well, let's just say I'm, again, I'm doing broad strokes here. Okay, so we got 100 filmmakers 15 $100, a filmmaker $1.5 million. He got $1,000 per film. For every Netflix film, we're averaging 500 films a year is another half a million. Now let's talk about the accounting because after a certain time, after a certain time frame, you start to pay a $50 fee per quarter for the three accounting processing. Okay, so $200 a year per film. Now, last I heard they had roughly 4000 filmmakers under their umbrella. Okay. Let's knock that down to $3,500 at $200 a year. Okay. There's another $600,000 a year coming in. How now? Now we're at what we're at $2.6 million in a year. And we're being rough on the estimate here. Right. Very rough. Two points. Right. $2.6 million in revenue that's coming in, okay. Between new filmmakers, between the Netflix aggregation deals, and between the accounting fees, all right. How's that not sustainable? How's that not sustainable? If you had 20 people on staff making $75,000 a year, which of course, they were not making that much, maybe a couple of high level execs were but the grunt the grunt people, the tech guys, if you were there for 3550 years, you haven't even taken a dent in that $2.6 million. Right. So operationally, this whole idea that the model was not sustainable. Smells like bullshit to me.
Alex Ferrari 28:42
Oh, but don't forget, they had a whole side business of encoding costs and closed captioning and QC.
Joe Dain 28:51
Let's talk about the closed captioning. with them. They charged five to $6 a minute, they will go to wherever they were using Rev. They just go to rev. It were charging. They were getting charged $1 taken $5 from you. So then they were profiting on top of that, right with that with a pretty huge mark.
Alex Ferrari 29:11
Oh, by the way, I was told I was told by someone who will remain nameless. That was like, Oh, don't use Rev. We've been having problems with red. It's just easier if we do it all ourselves in house. Yeah, of course. They said that. I was like, Really? So.
Joe Dain 29:27
So let's let's go back to the money for a second. Now let's ask ourselves. This company's bringing in a couple of million a year. They didn't have a huge staff. The Office wasn't that big, right? pretty reasonable sized office, very anybody who's ever been there, right? It wasn't like they have like,
Alex Ferrari 29:44
I think they were paying. I think they were paying like 8000 a month or something like that for that if I wasn't remember,
Joe Dain 29:49
Like floors of some massive high route, right? It's a pretty slow operation. Okay. So then I have to ask yourself, Where'd the money go? That's a good question who had access to the money? Who had their fingers in the cookie jar? Now I'm going to I'm going to talk about a couple of hypotheticals right now, and I'm not going to anybody have anything we're gonna have? We're gonna have a hypothetical conversation. Okay.
Alex Ferrari 30:19
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Joe Dain 30:31
Let's talk about Nick source. The former CEO, okay. Where's he been in all of this? Has anybody heard a word from him? Has he made a public statement? Has he jumped in on any of the pages? Has he offered anything? No. I wonder why. Ask yourself. I wonder why. I wonder I wonder where he's been. Now, I wonder for all the times that go digital wasn't supplying accounting reports or proper billing statements, or even even invoices for services, which by the way, we never got. I'll explain in a second what we did. I always thought it was strange. The accountants who was there Her name was Jill Johnson. I used to ask Michael source and the former now former head of business affairs,
Alex Ferrari 31:22
Oh, Michael. Michael is no longer there.
Joe Dain 31:25
Now, Michael is officially as I understand it, everybody from from go digital is gone. And that glass Ratner and glass Ratner's technical team, whatever the hell that means is dealing with the content removal and whatever else they can deal with. This is what I heard. Okay. I know for a fact from Michael source, and directly he is no longer with the company, although he is still I guess, assisting in some sort of transitional way. For how long? And I don't know. Yeah. For us, we always questioned, Hey, why are we not getting invoices? Why are we not getting invoices for the placement for all these things. There's always some sort of weird excuse about accounting, they were changing software, they were doing this, they were making changes bla bla bla bla bla bla bla. At one point, they had another accountant there, his name is Michael, I'm not going to give his last name. We got to know Michael, myself in my head of operations, Nick linear. And this guy, Michael was always questioning the way accounting was working. He thought it was very odd that it was that it seems so complex and overcooked. And he was constantly questioning and saying, look, this is this shouldn't be like this. This is it's easier to run this, it's easier to get this accounting department running smooth. Well, guess what? He got fired. When I asked about why he got fired, what I was told is that Jill Johnson got him fired for some reason unknown, and that she apparently went to Nick Saurus. And that he was let go. Now, nobody gave any reason as to why he was let go legitimately. But in looking back, as I look back, if I have to start, you know, reading the the writing on the wall, if you will, Mm hmm. You had, you have now a CEO that has disappeared from the face of the planet, right? He's not addressing this in any way whatsoever. You have an accountant who never provided any kind of statement or legitimate breakdown, you are at the behest of a dashboard that was only as good as the people implementing the actual information as it came in from from from the raw data from the platform's okay. Suddenly, they had no money. Suddenly, everything was gone. Well, how did that happen? If you look at my math example, you you put together the pieces of a completely non existent CEO as far as since this has happened. an accounting department that was always broken, and suddenly there's no money. But when you put the math together, and you consider the fact and let's think about this, you consider the fact that this company is still collecting royalties, right? I don't give a shit. with Seth a glass Ratner says okay, they are still collecting royalties if your film is live under any platform under them. As an automatic sets until the platform's decide they're going to pull their heads out of their asses and stop it. The revenue is still going into go digital distribute bank accounts. Now let's think about that for a second. Let's assume there's 1000s of films still up under their accounts and nonprofits are to save. And let's say that per quarter, let's say what 2000 Films is still under them, and those 2000 films are making $100 per quarter total $100 per quarter. It's nothing That's $200,000 a quarter. Still going into their accounts. Where's the? Where's the money gang? Hey, glass rat in her wisdom money. Yeah, we still know what's going to your good old clients there. Now maybe Hey, Seth, this is to you, baby. Technically, I don't think you work for go digital. You work for me. You work for the filmmakers? Because my guess is is that your highfalutin fees are getting paid off of our backs? Prove me wrong. Tell me otherwise, show me the board of directors write you a personal check for these fees? I don't think so. I don't think so. So I call bullshit. And it's not only incredibly disheartening, let's get into legalities now. Right. So here we have a situation where I just learned from the original one of the one of the one of the original investors go digital media Inc, which actually has nothing to do with go digital or distributor. In fact, they're, they've been in their own ball suit with them. But they were an investor many, many, many, many, many years ago. And they've divested their interest. They're not connected. They're they've got their own heartaches with with this. I know for a fact they've been in a lawsuit with Nick Saurus. Anybody can look up those legal documents, it's all public, you know, access kind of stuff anyway, so I'm not giving anything that anybody can't research on their own. Well, I learned from them this morning, that in fact, now that they have put everything over to an assignee and that assignee is going to start you know, dealing with payouts now what that looks like and what that means. To what extent anybody's going to get paid. I don't know. It's just such a disheartening shit show. But but but but but what I want to get into is this. So there's been a lot of chatter about litigation, there's been a lot of chatter about even trying to force them in into involuntary bankruptcy, right, which was, which was a dialogue I was having very early on with my team and but they're going to pull the trigger on their own bankruptcy soon, maybe we come up with the past. But after talking to my legal team, you know, in going through all the pros and the cons, and the good and the bad, it just didn't really seem like a viable option. Right. Now you have the potential of litigation, right. And there's some chatter about a bunch of people getting together not to sue go digital. Let me get this straight. All you filmmakers listening, there may be everybody an opportunity to get enough people together to go after not just next doors, but the board of directors. And I hate to say that, because I know one of the board of directors, what I think is actually pretty nice, decent guy. But this is not about anything other than business and, and thievery, and, and malicious intent, because as far as I see it, that's what this was. Now, there also poses the question of, if I'm not gonna accuse directly, but if, say Nick Saurus was stealing, if he was stealing, and the Board of Directors knew it. And they did nothing to remove him. Right? Just what ifs. Technically, if he was dealing, right, and if they knew, and did not move to remove him immediately, that makes them complicit. Now, I hate to say it if litigation came up, and it forced them to open the books, and there was an audit, let me tell you, the money Don't lie. You follow the money, you follow the money, you want to know who's been my, if all the money, okay? And then you look at the timing of money that was probably being taken out of those accounts at what the timing was at that money being taken out of accounts, who had access to be able to take the money out of the accounts, who knew money was coming now the accounts and didn't do anything about it or say anything about it? Who kept their head in the sand? I don't know. Again, I'm not saying that any of this happened. I'm saying it's food for thought. It's worth the compensation. Again, you just place it against the mathematical equation I gave you about incoming revenue, versus how the hell are they broke? And the only thing I can attest to and maybe this is me being you know, East Coast Philly guy, right, right. You know,
Alex Ferrari 39:20
I had no I had no idea from the east coast. I had no idea you from the east coast. I thought you were born in Malibu sir.
Joe Dain 39:30
I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday Alex okay. So to me I start to look at the bigger picture and I start to put it together and I say this is this looks like this looks like embezzlement this looks like fraud this looks like this looks like somebody was milking the coffers and and and trying to get away with God knows what and here we are. Here we are. And, and and look, because of all of this and whether or not anything will come of this from a legal standpoint whether or not anybody will see any money even a small portion that remains to be seen. And what I would probably tell everybody, and we've actually prepped our own filmmakers, we've said, Look, we're fighting tooth and nail, we're going to do everything we can. But the truth is, we want to prepare you for the possibility that quarter two, and most of quarter three are probably gone, they're probably gone. And we're probably not going to see any of that money. Now, you put aside the hit, that gives a company like ours, right? We're a small company, and full of guys, that's definitely a kick in the balls. But I gotta tell you, I'm less concerned about us. What kills me this makes me nauseous about this give me knots in my stomach, is the fact that this is taking money out of the pockets of hardworking indie filmmakers who have families that got him queued up. For some of them, they leveraged their own, you know, credit cards and bank accounts and everything else to make these films. So for some shitbag, CEO or Board of Directors, to allow money to be stolen out of out of the mouths of hard working individuals, makes me want to throw up and and and to be perfectly honest, I feel bad for none of them. And I can only hope that enough filmmakers get together and form a class action lawsuit and sue the shit out of them. And not that they'll even get anything out of it. But the fact that by by forcing them into litigation, they're all going to have to lawyer up. And they're all going to have to spend 1000s, and 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of dollars to protect themselves from this nonsense, that that gives me some satisfaction that that might happen, right? Because they should not go away quietly into the night and brush this under the rug through a bankruptcy a chapter seven filing or whatever they're going to do, they shouldn't just get to do that, that they shouldn't just get to go home and get a good night's sleep because they hire rather than take care of it.
Alex Ferrari 41:39
Let me let me ask you a question. Is there any potential for criminal investigations by the La da or by the FBI? If the if that goes into their jurisdiction? What do you think?
Joe Dain 41:52
Let me let me get into a couple of things. Now, obviously, I'm not an attorney. So I would always say to anybody to, you know, make sure that you you talk to an actual attorney. But here's what I know. There's a few things. There's potentially copyright infringement. Right? Because the the day, if they're holding on to films, they don't legally own the right to, and they're continuing to collect royalties. That's a copyright infringement. That's a federal law. that's a that's a federal law. So you've got you've got that as a possibility. You've got the possibility one there bankruptcy side. Hey, Seth, I hope you're listening. There's a few interesting things where you can contest as a creditor, okay. It has to be a certain amount, but you can contest that if your royalties and again, we're talking about forget about service fees here, right? We're talking about royalties, we're talking about money that keeps coming in. If you have money come in last four or five, six months, and it's recent, they knew this was going on. You can you can probably contest, having them not be they were you go to the bankruptcy court and you say, look, we need to discharge our credit, are the debt owed to us because this is malicious intent. They knew this was going on. And there's a chance that the bankruptcy court the bankruptcy judge could say to to go digital distributor. Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, wait a minute, you don't get to wipe this particular debt clean, because they can show just cause and for us, I'll give you an example. And we're talking to our legal teams now. We were provided a prelim, like an early prelim q2 reporting, that was very vague. It was it was well over a month ago was before the ship really hit the fan. It wasn't unusual for us to get that because a lot of times we would ask for something to give us a little view. Right. So now we have something that shows exactly to an extent, what they had had collected for us from a handful of platforms. And I can certainly use that to contest to some degree and say, Oh, no, no, listen, why did they get to charge this off? They just they just collected these. And they're trying to blow this away. Now again, there's another option, there's also the option of people getting together. You know, and I again, I've actually talked to a couple of people privately on I am from your page where enough people get together they get a litigator who necessarily isn't going to take money out out front but sees the bigger picture is going to take a percentage right 20 30% I highly encourage it. If you can get enough people together how he had somebody together and we might join you on that right and, and and take these people in the balls and again, not to say that we'll get anything from it financially okay. But they deserve these people responsible. They deserve to be put through the wringer. They deserve to lose more than a few nights of sleep over this and they deserve to have to go pay exorbitant amount of fees to some attorney to protect their assets from the stuff okay, that might would be the only thing that anybody gets out of it. Now that being said, let's go back to the source of the problem. Why are we here? Why are we here? We're here because the major platforms put us here. Let's make no mistake of that. It's a shitty thing to have to come. It's a shitty thing for any executive at any of these major platforms that might be listening, or paying attention to any of the articles or anything going on. We are here because of them, because of their lack of financial regulation. Not being bestowed upon any of their so called approved aggregators, and I use our own experience. And although we're lucky, we're not doing anything from from a Netflix deal, because that particular deal I reference, you know, was only a two year deal. But this is this is a this isn't this is the 800 pound gorilla in the digital space, who said, Hey, Joe, we're going to build it into your contract that you're going to use go digital, to deliver the film to us and collect and collect the royalties and disperse to you. For us. Okay, right. Yeah. Now, now, let me ask you, and I said again, I said in my letter, would you have questioned that?
Alex Ferrari 46:14
Of course not. Because Netflix is Netflix, if Disney tells me to go do something, and we use this company, I'm going to assume that that company has vetted that comp that that company that they're telling me to go work with, and I'm safe. And that's just a general thing. The liability of the platforms is massive. On so on. This is a massive thing on all the platforms that dealt with go digital, specifically the the big ones that have said, this is the only guy you can use a preferred vendors and that kind of thing. It is on them, because they're the reasons why we're here because they will be paying us directly and just use these guys as service, which is fine. Like I said before, like you said before, I agree with you, man, you need someone to kind of a funnel to do it. Amazon doesn't they figured it out. But but other but the other platforms like hey, you know, Netflix doesn't want to deal with 10,000 filmmakers, I get it, I get it. Hulu doesn't want to deal with 10,000 films, I get it.
Joe Dain 47:09
I'm just again, this is not about them having to deal with the filmmakers. I'm not even suggesting that right. I'm not suggesting that suddenly, you know, iTunes and VUDU and Hulu or any of the major platforms suddenly open up the ability for every single filmmaker and even to some degree mid level distributors have direct access to them. It's impossible. They can't handle it, I get it, I get this. And I, I even had companies tell me I had like Buddha was one of them. That when I was trying to pave a direct relationship, they said we don't have the infrastructure to deal with another direct partner at this time. Okay, fair enough. However, that's not my problem. I'll use one of your approved delivery services all day long. I'll even use some of them to pitch to you if you prefer that, right. I don't even care about that. What I care about is that you're not sending my money to me, after you take your 3040 or 50%, okay, which is a lot of money, these problems are taking a lot of money. And then you're taking the balance of our royalties and sending them to a company that you've deemed approved. And you have set no financial regulations in place to protect us,
Alex Ferrari 48:19
but they're not a but they're not even a financial institution. They know and they're not
Joe Dain 48:24
regulated. It's ridiculous. But but but what I'm saying that was that the platform's could regulate, they could say, Listen, you have to prove to us that you've set up a client, a client royalties escrow account, that does not commingle with your business account, we're going to have to verify once a year that that account is still in good standing. Okay, I'm on top of that, which I mentioned in my letter that the platform's could do very easily, which is to protect content owners, whether it's an individual filmmaker or a mid level or a major studio. And on the back end of the platforms, database, instead of the aggregator being listed as an account holder, you list them as the delivery service on behalf of the content holder, and the content holder should be listed. So that when something like this happens again, and trust me when it's happened again, it's gonna happen again. But when it happens again, now, what happens is that we as the content holders can reach out to the platforms and say, Hey, this is what's going on. And I give an example, Amazon, who, again, they have been so gracious, I've been talking to them via email almost every other day. They're working very aggressively with us, but their big thing was because of their ad direct accounts, right? Anything that we had under under go Digital's ad accounts. And we use them a lot even though we had our own we use them a lot because our dashboard was was not as big as we wanted it to be on the international scope. So we were using them for a long time until our until our own ad account opened up. But here's the problem. Our films even though I can prove that there are Our films and that we we were assigned the copyright to to distribute their under go Digital's ad account. So Amazon just goes, Well, we can't we can't do anything, you have to have them, take them down, and then re deliver to us. Right? That's a problem
Alex Ferrari 50:18
Joe Dain 50:19
And let me something to go step further. What I'm suggesting is not going to be a huge inconvenience for these major platforms. It's not like I'm saying, guys restructure the whole thing that you're doing. Now listen, me suggesting, Hey, why don't you set up what amazon prime is done? Where where the revenue is going to go directly to the content holder of note, that might be a little more difficult, but in this digital age, really, how difficult Could it really be? How difficult Could it really be for iTunes or VUDU, or Google Play, or any of these major platforms to to stay, you have to use an approved delivery service to deliver but we're going to set up the accounts for the for the royalties? And the role data to come directly to you? How difficult in 2019 with the major platforms? Could it be? What a major platform like Amazon Prime, did it well over a couple of years ago.
Alex Ferrari 51:17
It's not that difficult, because there's so many different amot there's so many different accounts out there so many different, you know, my whole business is online. So I have revenue coming in from 1000s of different companies, and they have 1000s of other other people doing things from affiliate like affiliate affiliate, just let's talk about an affiliate marketing thing. Amazon has the largest affiliate marketing program in the world. And that's we're talking about millions, millions of accounts, where money goes directly into a bank account, every single month, and is tracked every purchase. So there's I agree with you 100%, there's no way that these companies can't do that they don't maybe don't want to put the resources in, maybe they'd like I'd really rather not deal with it. I'd rather be easier to do it this other way. But what this has show us is there is definitely a crack in the in the boat, there's a leak a big one. Oh,
Joe Dain 52:10
absolutely. And this is it. Let's think about this. All of these digital platforms are taking anywhere from 30 to 50% of the royalties, okay, just no small amount of money. If you were to have every single independent filmmaker, and every single mid level distributor, say, we're going to take our content off your platforms, you want to talk about a kick in the balls to the platforms and their revenue streams, because let me tell you, their studio movies, the studio calm, there's a level of it, there's not enough of it, right coming out of the pipeline to support the infrastructure of these digital platforms, these digital platforms are dependent upon the independent contents coming from the independent filmmaker, and from the independent mid level distributors like us, they're dependent upon. So as far as I'm concerned, they they have a huge responsibility to this community, a huge one. And, again, we're not even asking for much I'm not even I'm not even requesting something that is so outrageous, that it can't be accomplished. By probably a few simple changes on the platform side. This is the what I'm asking for is a very reasonable change. And, and some accountability, man some accountability, what you took your money, you took your share platform. So now you're sending my share to, Hey, why don't you send all of it to one of your approved aggregators, and let them Delve it out then if you feel so trustworthy of them.
Alex Ferrari 53:44
I mean, it's honestly, and again, without getting into the details of the back end technical aspects of doing this, you create with and with that was that like you and me are trying to build this, we're talking about massive platforms with massive resources that any one of their guys could go in there and code, what we're talking about within a week or two, until we're a team of them can go in there and do it, you can submit a PayPal link to get paid through PayPal, you can submit your direct deposit stuff in your bank account and get paid every every month and set these things up. This is not like manpower, or woman power person power to to be writing checks and bailing them and those days are gone.
Joe Dain 54:26
And let me tell you this by doing that, right. It doesn't even affect the abrogation business because you still you still need to go to them to place your film to deal with the encoding and the Q C's and all of that stuff. You still need to to pay them those service fees. But then what happens if anything, I would think that the aggregators would actually be on board for this too, because it suddenly eliminates this massive strain from them that matters, which they're barely getting paid anything for in the first place. They're essentially a go between right there go between their, their their third party collection account. That's all they are, right? It's no different in something like vintage or freeway, but at least those major collection accounts, they're bonded and insured and everything else. So it's sort of a joke, it's sort of a joke to, to think that what I'm suggesting is going to hurt anybody's business, if anything, This protects everybody, by by implementing a direct pay source, to still keeping the aggregators in place to deal with delivering, in some cases, even pitches, where the where the platforms are sort of protected from the idea that you're inundated by 1000s of filmmakers wanting to talk to them or, you know, so they get a go between in that sense, right. But they should not be allowed to control their mind. And and this way, it alleviates the accounting responsibility from the aggregators, while at the same time protecting the independent filmmaker and the mid level distributors and distributors of all levels, at the same time relieving some potential liability for the platform's because I gotta tell you, I gotta tell you, I mean, in speaking to my attorney, he was like, this sounds crazy. This sounds like there is liability on their part of their mandating it right. Again, this isn't this isn't, this isn't something where we went out and found people on our own right, we didn't go out and just find Joe Blow got himself an aggregator, we had some of these platforms, they list the companies on their own websites and was approved, where you're gonna tell me there's no, you're gonna tell me these attorneys at these big major platforms see no holes in that, they see no liability,
Alex Ferrari 56:31
if I sign a deal, if I sign a deal, if I sign a deal with Netflix, for $2 million for my movie, and it's spread out over the course of two years off the deal. So every quarter, I get whatever half you know, quarter million dollars, or whatever it is, every month, or every every quarter, and I was told you got to go through go digital, they're the ones are going to do everything and they're going to handle the payments you made to tell me that halfway through, they, they just they go out of business and go through what what's going through that Netflix is not responsible at all for that. Obviously, they are obviously they're liable. And for a small guy like me, or or mid level distributor, like you, we're talking about 10s 1000s, maybe even hundreds of 1000s of dollars. But when you're talking about millions of dollars, on a deal, man, some, you know, people might walk away with $50,000, because they're like, it's not gonna be worth it. But when it's three $4 million, you're owed, I promise you some attorneys are going to get involved.
Joe Dain 57:29
Well, the other problem, too, let's talk about also what's broken about the aggregation side of collecting our funds. So at least people you know, they say all the model is Oh, collect 100% of your revenue. And and let's put aside
Alex Ferrari 57:39
the you know, in profit, in profit faster, don't forget, that was the tagline for distribute in profit faster,
Joe Dain 57:45
right. And let's talk about let's for a second sort of extracting the couple of them that charge a percentage, right, they don't charge you fees, but they take a percentage for the life of the film. So the dashboards that you're given access to right, you know, get access to your dashboard, see her films, performing blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, well, guess what? Those dashboards don't mean shit. Those dashboards are up there. The dashboards are property of the aggregator, not the platform, those dashboards are only as good and as transparent as the data being entered as the raw data comes in from the platforms. So as the raw data comes in for your sales from any any given platform, some accounting person at the individual aggregation company has to then implement that roll data into your individual films dashboard, right now. What if they're not doing that properly? What do they miss something? But did they screw something up to being lazy about it? And unless you demand the right to see your role data from the platform, which by the way, you have a right to ask for filmmakers know this, you have a right to ask an aggregator for the raw data from the platform. And they're going to give you some nonsense about oh, well, we get these big reports. And, and and it's all the films and we can't give that to you because it's got other bullshit. They can extract the raw data, title by title by title, I know it for a fact, don't let them tell you that. If you are dealing with an aggregator and you want to see your raw data, which will show every single sale chargeback everything from the platform, ask for it, they have to give it to you, anybody who doesn't give it to you, or gives you some excuse, I would question the accountability of that particular aggregator Okay, so just know that's fair enough. Now let's talk about distribution and independent distribution and some of the things that that I actually plan on doing when I'm out from underneath that mess, because I'm really working so hard with my team to not only pull our films which are almost completely out from underneath this mess, and get everybody back on track while we're dealing obviously with our new releases sometime next year. I actually plan on putting together a little workshop that is about the pros and cons of indie distribution and the pros and cons. distributor versus versus aggregator, there are some differences kind of one in the same in their own right. And there are certain things to to to not be afraid of. First of all, don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask questions about what the distributor is going to do. Let's let's talk about distributors. Right now. I'm not aggregators.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:21
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Joe Dain 1:00:33
If a distributor if your is distributors interested in your film, and let's talk about North America, just for right now. And they're yammering at you about how great your film is going to do how much money your film is going to make, if they're giving you estimates. Now some of them do I know some of them, I've been on the other side of this phone calls as a filmmaker. Here's what you do, once they've dazzled you with how much money your films gonna make. Say, that's great. That's wonderful. Do me a favor, you advance me 25% of those estimates. Now what's gonna happen is you're gonna hear crickets on the other end of that call, okay? Let's say distributors offering you a legitimate minimum guarantee where they're paying you some sort of actual advance, then they're not putting their money where their mouth is, what they're doing is they're blowing a lot of wonderful sunshine up your ass because they know you want to hear it. They know you want to hear how great your film is, and how much money they're going to make you right? Guess what? They don't know shit. They don't know shit. Because if we all had a crystal ball, we all knew how films were going to perform there never be a failed film, there'd never be a film that fell on its face, never not once, because we'd have the magical crystal ball, but we don't have it right. So the difference too, between a distributor foreign sales rep, let's talk about that. Now, foreign sales reps will in fact have the ability to give you estimates highs and lows, but those estimates are based on their experience taking similar films to the market, having them to various territories. So they're coming from a very knowledgeable place of understanding the market, understanding what's being sold, that's similar your film, but even then all all foreign sales reps, the best ones in the biz, they'll they'll be the little tiny, you know, thing at the bottom of those estimates of those highs or lows. They don't guarantee you that they're going to hit any of those, even the lows, right? They don't guarantee it. But it's a guideline. And it's a it's a reasonable guideline. North America, North American distributors have no way of knowing what your film is going to make. Period. End of story. So unless somebody is offering you a nice fat check on the front side, they are talking out of their ass.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:34
And would you would you agree that in today's world that most distributors, you being a distributor yourself? You really have no idea how they're gonna perform on these platforms? Because one one year, one year, you know, like iTunes, I don't know. I love to ask you a question. iTunes at one point was a good revenue stream for civa. There was a lot of T VOD, a lot of rentals, a loving, but nowadays, it's more s VOD, and a VOD. And that could change next year. Who knows?
Joe Dain 1:02:59
And I'm glad you said that, because that's exactly the case. And the truth is, is that a lot of filmmakers like their film on iTunes, because it's kind of a prestige type platform,
Alex Ferrari 1:03:08
but it's a vanity. It's a vanity platform. It's a vanity.
Joe Dain 1:03:10
vanity platform. Absolutely, Alex Absolutely. And they are not really the big revenue generators. We already saw that Amazon Prime was the big guy. Now, however, let's probe is that in the last couple years, Amazon Prime changed their rev share model a couple of times. Right. And not not to the the habit of us. Sure, I think at some point, and if you remember, for a short period of time, they had this Amazon stars bonus program, right. And I don't know if you're familiar with that. We were lucky that we had that I think the last time we saw saw anything was back at the end of 2017. We had four films, what they would do is that they would evaluate films, and by the end of the month, if your film fell into whatever their algorithms were, as far as performance went, and they always practically match what you made. So we had a we had an up we had a thing in the last third and fourth quarter 2017, we had four films where they had performed so well, that we ended up getting a 40 plus $1,000 bonus check for those films.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:12
Can you imagine
Joe Dain 1:04:13
now, somewhere along the line, somebody in Amazon was like, What the hell are we doing, we must be sending so much money out that they they they've pretty much killed that. As far as I can tell. We haven't seen anything since then. And we most certainly had film since that timeframe performed very well, that did not get a benefit of an Amazon star as long as they went into somebody's pocket.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:37
But the bottom line, but the bottom line is what you're trying to say is that these are the things in before in the olden days, let's say the 90s or even early 2000s. There was they were more stable ways of making money and they weren't changing so rapidly. So like you could you could justify the DVD market. You could justify cable deals you could there was that but now things change. So wrap Basically, that what was good in 2017 doesn't make any sense today. So there's no way to broadcast
Joe Dain 1:05:06
any of the platforms I don't think have been able to keep up with the ever changing ingestion of, of content from the consumer. But then to go back to this, so so Amazon was the big performer and they're still very solid, at least for us. I can say you're pretty, pretty solid. But that one is on their heels from our side from our perspective,
Alex Ferrari 1:05:25
and I guess the market can I guess?
Joe Dain 1:05:27
Yeah, to be. Yes. Yes, Ruby TV, man, I gotta tell you, and it goes to show you the ever changing landscape of things because look, what happened years ago, with things like TiVo people got on the kick, and I don't want to watch commercials, I want to fast forward through commercials, no commercials, right, right. Now you got all the streaming sites and the subscription sites. Well, now we're at a point to where it's like, how many streaming sites can people afford?
Alex Ferrari 1:05:53
And there's five and there's five new major ones coming next year.
Joe Dain 1:05:57
It's insane. So what happened now is something like tubi TV, it's owned by ad rise got super smart. And they started creating the A VOD platform. And if you look at to be just if you compare it from just a couple of years ago today, they're getting incredible content. They're getting big movies, they're getting TV shows are getting all kinds.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:13
Everything is being tossed on. Everything is being tossed on. People
Joe Dain 1:06:19
are tuning in, because there's no subscription, there's no signup. There's nothing required. And so what they do is they go, Hey, I don't mind watching the commercials, because the great thing about to be also is they don't edit the content. There's no editing, it's not like it's not like going on to a big ledger,
Alex Ferrari 1:06:39
like watching Scarface edited yourself but yourself. Yeah,
Joe Dain 1:06:44
they don't do that. And I think that that's also been a big part of their success as far as I can tell. So I gotta tell you, we put TO BE TV from a promotional standpoint all the time, all the time, we push the hell out of that platform. And also do they're expanding around the world it was that they were limited to to North America. But now they have an app that's starting to open them up to countries all over the world. So I think they're going to become a real contender. I also think that you look at something like Voodoo is division. Voodoo has a division called movies on us. Same thing, where you're not paying, it's a virtual base, Avon Avon, I'm gonna I gotta tell you, Avon is something for everybody be paying very close attention to because it is it is really becoming the next I think big thing, which is funny because it was what was people were phasing out years ago, which was I don't want to watch commercials is now having a comeback, because people are going, I can't afford to have 10 different streaming sites, subscriptions, right. So So it's this really interesting thing. We're one of the things that we do as an indie company is we're always trying to pay attention to the landscape of these things is what's changing the platforms? What are the new platforms coming up? And I think that the thing that we do that I don't think enough independent distributors do is that we, of course, we play with the majors, of course, we put the films in the big platforms, of course we do, because we want to take advantage of our marketing ability to reach their their fan base and their consumer base. But at the same time, we pay very close attention to the up and coming platforms. I'll give you a couple of examples. We started doing business with iflix, several years ago, there there there are companies were like pan, Pan Asia. It's It's It's mobile stuff. And when we first started with them, we were seeing quarterly reports, coupon docs, couple 100 bucks, cut to almost two years later, we started to see quarterly reports 20 $30,000 a quarter, because the platform had just started to really take wind and really build. We work with companies like seed and spark, we take a look at all kinds of new companies coming up. Because here's what I always say to people. Nobody saw Netflix coming. Nobody knew they were going to be what they became I remember when they were the little dv. Yeah, right. That the Hollywood videos, the blockbusters, the studio's laughed at them when they got into streaming, ah, this is crazy little company right now, right. And so for us, our job is to pay attention to all of this, who are the new platforms, who's coming up over the horizon? What have they done to sort of build up an infrastructure to build up an audience base? What's the rev share model, if it's not transactional, if it's based on ours viewed, right, and we're placing chances with these companies all the time. Some of them work out some of them don't. There's been companies we've done business with that fell on their face just because they couldn't build the consumer base. But we wouldn't be we would not be doing our job if we were not paying attention to these platforms at all levels, because you never know you just don't know what's going to catch when what's going to catch fire. And so it's very important for everybody, but you know, coming back to the independent filmmaker, here would be my suggestion, be perfectly honest. the downfall of aggregation is a few things. One, there's no financial assurances or guarantees to in most, most Cases of not all cases, maybe one or two, they don't promote, they don't market, they don't even offer, like an ala carte sort of marketing package, right?
Alex Ferrari 1:10:08
Because they don't know it's so hard to market, you really have to understand it.
Joe Dain 1:10:13
Right. So what I would say to any filmmaker out there listening, open up your own aivd account on amazon prime, okay? do that directly, then all the money that you would have paid to an aggregator to place for you and do nothing else and collect your money. Open up your ad accounts. And then go hire a small marketing company, go hire a digital marketing company spend that 15 $100 on hiring a hibu, or some other kind of company that specializes or small PR firm, I'm going to give an example. There's a great PR firm called Oktober coast PR, very reasonable to help you get reviews help you get your film out there, get the press out there drop the trailer to do the things that you don't necessarily have to now we're talking about smart money spent right now you're talking about, you've placed it on Amazon Prime, which it can be a combination of accessible to Prime members and transactional where you have access to potentially millions of millions of consumers and put all your time and your energy into promoting that on that platform. And instead of spending this what I feel is good money after bad, you know, for often exorbitant fees, put that towards your marketing because what happens with most independent filmmakers is they they, they sort of drop their wad on the on the placement fees. And they have they don't have any money left for marketing. And they're not savvy themselves in most cases and how to manage something like Facebook ads like that. And I'll tell you for us I gotta tell you love or hate Facebook on a personal level, their their marketing division, the ability to do paid, targeted, marketed boosted ads
Alex Ferrari 1:11:58
are most most powerful marketing machine, Eric,
Joe Dain 1:12:02
it's been a powerful tool. And that's because we figured out how to maneuver to we deal with their algorithms, we deal with the things that we had to go through with what they said was okay or not okay to booze to promote, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So we're always managing sort of their ever changing infrastructure as far as what's okay, but I gotta tell you, phenomenal, phenomenal tool, and something where you can do a $50 boost a $75, boosts $100, boost, a $500, boost $1,000 boost, you can put in the age range, the demographic you can get as as down to the cities, then you can build in your hashtags, the likes things that will all help that film, films promo end up in streams of potentially 1000s and 1000s of potential customers. Right? So it's it's it's it's, it's, it's amazing to me that I don't see enough indie distributors even using that tool,
Alex Ferrari 1:12:50
what I find what I find fascinating, I've said this multiple times on the show, and I and I constantly say it, when you're going to launch a movie, if you're going to focus your energies and marketing muscle, don't spread it out over five or six platforms, focusing on one platform at a time, Amazon arguably is the best place to put your movie right away. Because everyone generally has in North America, at least, generally everyone has access to Amazon, Amazon Prime, or something along those lines. I forgot what the number was for Amazon Prime. But I think it's like 110 million people use in the US in the US have amazon prime. And growing every day they generate I think $53 billion, or something ridiculous off a prime or whatever that number is 10 billion, whatever. So Amazon is no slack by any stretch, if you focus it all completely on Amazon, and you know, iTunes, whatever. That's it's a it's a vanity platform, I wouldn't I wouldn't worry about it. And then the smaller ones that people are like, I want to be on Xbox, I want to be on PlayStation. I want to be on Fandango, those platforms are so minuscule. Yeah, compared to Amazon, it's insane. or Google Play for that matter.
Joe Dain 1:14:08
And what you're saying is where I'm going, if you if you as an independent filmmaker, if you place your film just on Amazon, which you can do directly, at almost no cost, right? And let's say that your film passes the content restriction, quality control that they do because there are films We've had a few it's you know, everything's getting more PC these days where, you know, some films become what's called 18 and up so they won't allow you to place it on prime you only get you only get access to Amazon Instant Video, right? So it's, it's transactional. But that depends if you have pre, you know, intense content. I mean, for us as a horror film company, especially terpenes label, we've made a couple of films that sort of, you know, it's
Alex Ferrari 1:14:53
What would you recommend, but would you recommend and, you know, for Vimeo, that's something like Vimeo pro or Vimeo plus or something
Joe Dain 1:14:59
like that. Because I was going to go though it's it's it's in tune with your the other platforms we're talking about. So if you put everything on, if you put your film on the Amazon Prime and promote that, and you hire a little PR team or a little marketing guy, or a little digital marketing company that really helped get traction, and that film starts to make money, right starts to bring in the money. Well, now that you're seeing money, come in, take some of that money. And now go hire a aggregation company. If you want to be on Google, or Xbox, and you want to expand a little bit right? Then Okay, I get it, right. But but but at least hedge your bets on one of the biggest platforms on the planet. Because if your movies gonna find an audience and start to make money, Amazon Prime's probably one of your best bets. So why not give them the shot first. And, and, and direct money into marketing efforts on that platform, because even if you're not an Amazon Prime member, anybody can go on Amazon, and then pay a transactional fee to rent your film to so you don't even have to, it's not just about tapping into Amazon Prime subscribers, where you're stuck with just the rev share model, right? You also have the ability to point people there just for transactional buy, right? And you can you can list your transactional feed to rent your film at $1.99, if you want to, right, so, so there's so many, there's so many advantages for filmmakers to avoid, you know, spending too much money and having somebody else control their content, and, and more importantly, control their revenue. Right. And again, I'm not not here to undermine aggregation services, I'm really not we need them. We all need them. It's its
Alex Ferrari 1:16:44
origin or district or distributors, good distributors like yourself, like you're saying, like, what you're telling was basically a self distribution model. But yeah, but you know, when you are able to partner with someone that can bring value. And that's I think the biggest thing is, if you're going to partner with a distributor, they have to provide value to you meaning revenue, exposure, marketing muscle, being able to get you in a deeper into deeper markets, like an Amazon where, you know, if you do it yourself, you get to markets, if you go through a company, you might be able to get into many more markets in the world.
Joe Dain 1:17:18
There's so many different. For example, for us right now, I mean, we our dashboard is open to about 60 plus English speaking countries in the Amazon Prime world, right straight. So. And the advantage to something like that is, is when you talk about, you know, a company that supports the film's like, you can probably turn to any one of our filmmakers that and I would I would even pointed the filmmakers have been with us for you know, several years now. Because of our interesting what was the way the model works because we have skin in the game. And because we pay for a trailer and we pay for a poster and we pay for the marketing and we pay for the publicist, and we pay for the platform placement. And we absorb all of that you don't sit behind any of that. What it does is it actually I hate to use this term, but it really does force our hand to do what we say we're going to do No, no in our contract. But but it does sort of put us in a position where we don't do what we say we're going to do if we don't continue to market your films, we don't make any fucking money, we're going to close our doors we're going to go under because we have skin in the game, we've spent 1000s of dollars for every film just for its initial launch, that the filmmaker doesn't sit behind. And so the benefit for a lot of our filmmakers, and anybody following our social media pages, I think specifically our Facebook page for terror films, we're always doing new promotions, there's going to be a new promotion dropping soon, we just did a 21 film placement with Roku, right, that's, that's that bet we're gonna and most of them are library titles, only couple of new titles that that's going to go out, we're going to promote the hell out of that. We're about to do a big content deal with a streaming site called horrify. And we're going to promote that we're always coming back to our films this entire month, this entire month, we're doing something called the ABCs of horror. So every single day, we're promoting several films in alphabetical order from our library, we do a paid boosted ad on every single one of those, most of these films are our, you know, library titles, they're not the new titles, the new titles, you know, but but my point is we keep coming back to them, we're always promoting. And part of that is also because what we've learned, and this has been from trial and error, of course, is that there's never there's never a bad time to find an audience in the digital sphere,
Alex Ferrari 1:19:21
right? It's always a new, there's always someone new, there's always somebody new,
Joe Dain 1:19:24
what's an opportunity where the audience in the consumer can find you. The other thing that we also do is that we're very active on social media with replying to customers. So when somebody drops something on our pages and says, Oh, I really love this movie. We not only thank them, we encourage them to leave a review on the platform because the more good positive reviews they get placed on the actual platforms automatically within the in the in the infrastructure of the platforms, raises those films up in a sort of an automatic promotion within the algorithms of the platform itself to consumers who may not have known about that. may not have seen a promotional release or a trailer or any of the press that we did, and go, Oh, what's this film that that Amazon is promoting or that lou is promoting, or that whoever is promoting, and that's because we're encouraging those positive reviews. Because the more positive more four and five star reviews you get, it's just going to raise to that. So that sums up the heat. And we've had a situation to where we've had some films banned, they first out of the gate, Alex, and they start making money right away. We have other films a four or five quarters in before they start to get traction. This is why we never stopped promoting. That's why we never saw coming back to the films. So again, you know, I think we're independent filmmakers. You know, it's it's you need to ask around, not just about aggregators about distributors. But more importantly, this is an educational process. Well, I hope to have happened from this just mess with go digital distributor is that we get some change to happen. And filmmakers understand that aggregation to one extent from the delivery side is a necessary evil. But the collection of the royalties, and the way that it happens needs to change. And this is affecting everybody. It's affecting everybody. And again, you know, what's difficult about what's happening with go digital distributor is that although they were a top aggregator for Netflix and a handful, the other platforms, they didn't have enough big accounts, right. So so when I think about the noise that could be made is that if we ever find ourselves in a situation where one of the big ones, one of the ones that handles studio accounts, ever ends up in this place, and change hasn't happened by then. I bet you're so it's gonna happen then. And my hope is, wait for that, my hope is that we don't have to, to get to that place. My hope is to make enough noise now. And listen, here's the thing, I'm going to piss a few people off. And I already have. And and I'm not I'm not here to give a shit about that. I'm not here to worry about the platform's feelings and aggregators feelings. I'm here for the independent filmmaker, I'm here to say that something needs to change. I'm here to say these platforms are accountable. And they need to make some very simple basic changes on the financial side that will protect everybody protect everybody. And it's not a big ask. It's not even a big request. It's not even like being unreasonable. Right, right. Even like, I'm seeing something so absurd that they're like, Oh, god, he's crazy. He's out of his fucking mind. That's not No, no, I'm asking for some fiduciary responsibility. As it relates to our royalties.
Alex Ferrari 1:22:34
It was it was a similar it was it was it was a guy, it was a system that was set up originally, when this whole it was we're still very much in the wild wild west of this time period of the streaming time where we're in the wild wild west still. And when they first started coming up on these platforms, like iTunes, I think is the one that really got the ball rolling with the aggregators, because apples, apple, and they wanted to make sure, and then all the other platforms kind of piggybacked on that. It was a flawed system. At the very beginning, they didn't look at the long game, they didn't look at the volume that there was going to be coming in, in the in the years to come. It was a flawed system when they started and as a flawed system now, and that is, that is an example of so many things that we happen in our entire world, where whether it's, you know, burning gas all the time, every single day, as opposed to go to an electrical car, or whatever those you know, whatever those those long term effects are, we're now feeling it here in our in our industry, and there were small enough of a boat, because if you're a big carrier, it takes forever to turn. We're an industry that's small enough that we can make quick, quick reactions to this. And in the end, we're talking about a handful of companies. And we're talking about like, you're not asking for anything that's unreasonable. You know, it's not like you're asking someone, I need a, I need a personal check. delivered by somebody personally, to me at my house every 15 days, like I'm not
Joe Dain 1:24:04
I'm not even asking that the platform's give everybody direct access to them. Right. All I'm saying, all I'm suggesting is that day, pays that up an infrastructure. They set up an accounting infrastructure that allows the revenue to come directly to the content holder. And whether that's an individual filmmaker, or whether that is that is a distributor. And the story, I'll use your guys, I'll use your or use your platform delivery services all day long,
Alex Ferrari 1:24:35
but because it's, but it's justice, and just stop it right there. It's like, it's like saying, you need to use this post house. That's fine, because it's a service and that should end our relationship should end there because it's not like it's like if I go to a post house for a color grading session, and it's not like after you're done, you deliver me the master. We're done. That's the end of
Joe Dain 1:24:57
the service. You do the source. And then other than me needing you to fix something because we're embedded data is off, or at some point I decide I want to take the film down. Again, it's a service. You're not my banker, you're not a financial institution, you're not a collection account. Why are you collecting my money exempt? Why? Why forms and this has to change and until enough filmmakers, aggregators and distributors make noise, we're not going to see change. Be the guy who starts the noise, and I, and I continue not to go, I'm not going to go quietly into the night on this, I'm just not going to be. Last time you hear from me,
Alex Ferrari 1:25:42
obviously, I am as well not going to go quietly. Like I said earlier in my my broadcast, and like, I didn't sign up to be the poster boy for this damn thing. But hey, I'm here. And I'll do it. Because it's right, it's the right thing to do. And, and you know what, when you have a platform, or when you have knowledge, it's your responsibility to use it for the betterment of the community that you are serving. And that's the way I look at it. There's a lot of platforms out there, and a lot of people in my space, who haven't said a goddamn thing about this, right. And a few of them jumped on after I said something, but I was the first one, I was the first one through the wall. And there was a reason because like, I couldn't sit around, and you are arguably one of the first distributors to really come up publicly and call everybody out on their stuff, you know, really heavily, you know, put it out there. So I applaud you for for coming on the show. And in speaking your truth, sir. And, and helping filmmakers.
Joe Dain 1:26:40
I thank you, thank you for having me. Thank you for posting the letter. You know, because like I said, I, you know, when I saw what was coming out, and I saw how thin it was, as far as the the facts and the bigger picture, and what the what the core issue is, is why I felt like I can't, I just can't sit by and let everybody keep guessing. And more importantly, I couldn't let everybody Yeah, I couldn't stand by and let everybody continue to make this about, oh, this is a filmmaker, independent filmmaker service issue only, you know, it's not it's not and that that's the story everybody needs to be talking about. And I really hope that we see something really great from from indie wire, who've I've spoken to and given some information to and, and I'm hoping that the story continues to get traction, because, again, this has to end up at the doorsteps of the platforms. And I will say I'm sort of a final note, I have been actually sending these emails, these links. And then when this podcast is alive and available, I'm gonna send it to the to the platforms directly and say, Listen up, pay attention, pay attention, this needs to come your way. And you need to talk internally. And we'll see what happens. We'll see what happens. But so I really want this to level off. And I want people to take a deep breath. And I want people to ultimately know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But we have to stick together as an independent community. Yes. And we have to keep raising hell. And we need to ask the questions, and we need to not be afraid to piss people off, including the platforms and demand some change. Amen. Brother, preach, baby preach.
Alex Ferrari 1:28:19
And now I am going to ask I am going to ask you a few questions. I asked all of my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?
Joe Dain 1:28:31
Ah, God, I mean, I'll try and keep it simple. Um, one of the big conversations that we have on a pretty regular basis, and I'm going to really keep this about about horror films, specifically, but but it really kind of lends itself to any independent film. We're a very interesting time where spending more does not mean anything, right? So this idea that you need to spend millions of dollars on your film, and you've got to try and get new movie stars, it doesn't matter anymore, guys, it doesn't matter anymore. There was a time in this industry where if you had a certain level of name, you were guaranteed some pretty solid foreign sales, you were guaranteed maybe even some sort of limited theatrical, those days are gone, because there's a really kind of non existent and look, all you have to do is pay attention to the major platforms. How many movies do you see every day? big movies, big stars, they don't go to the theaters. They don't even get TV play. They're going straight to the platforms, okay? There's a reason for that. And that's because consumers have changed the way people want to go see films, the way they want to ingest their content has changed. And when it comes to horror films, specifically, listen, here's the number one rule. I get scary, man. Make it scary. Don't worry about that. Don't worry about your you know, I got to have big effects and I can have all this the bells and the whistles, make a very good story and make it scary. And if it's an indie drama, make it compelling. If it's a comedy make it funny, right. These are some very basic rules and keep and keep your budget As small as you possibly can, because at the end of the day, if you can save some money to put into marketing, especially if you're self distributing through one of these services, you know, then you give yourself an opportunity, right? Maybe you can give yourself a little for wall, maybe you do yourself a little event theatrical through tug. Whatever it is, maybe you swing the bats in and submit your film to AMC independency. If they give you a handful of theaters, right? You know, there's so many ways to cut this and be smart about it. And be smarter about your investment. And I'm not saying don't make the movie you want to make it listen to at the core of things. As a filmmaker, you got to make the movie that you feel good about that you can stand behind. But do your homework and pay attention. Because sometimes sometimes, just because you got money to make a movie doesn't mean you should make that movie. And I think about that.
Alex Ferrari 1:30:43
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. I always tell people, if someone gave me a half a million dollars today, I would make five to 10 movies. I would make I would make five to 10 movies. I mean, I'm being honest, you diversify that portfolio, you have a much instead of swinging once you swing five to 10 times, chances are something's you're gonna get, you're gonna get a much better hit out of that. But that's just me.
Joe Dain 1:31:20
No, no, I agree with that. I agree with that.
Alex Ferrari 1:31:23
Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?
Joe Dain 1:31:29
Oh, wow. In the film business, it took me a while to learn that nobody knows shit. And that is the absolute truth
Alex Ferrari 1:31:39
As William go as William Goldman so perfectly said nobody knows nothing.
Joe Dain 1:31:43
I don't care who you are on the food chain. And what part of the industry you're in, you don't know a goddamn thing you don't know who's going to you don't know whose movie is going to be success. You don't know what scripts gonna work. You don't know anything. You don't know anything. What we're all doing at the highest levels all the way up to the major studio execs and the biggest producers and directors in town is we are taking educated guesses. That's what we're doing. Okay, that's all doing. Now some of those educated guesses are more informed, and based on more experience than others. But at the end of the day, that's all they are. Because if again, if we had a crystal ball, we knew, do you think there'd be another studio that spent $150 million on the movie and another 100 million dollars on PNA. And the film still fell on its face? They would have made that movie if they knew that was gonna happen? No, of course not. They hedge their bets, right. And that's all we're doing in this industry. So although vetting is important, and getting feedback is important, and getting advice is important. Take it all in and then and then divest, we, you know, get rid of what doesn't matter and stick to what feels good to you. Because at the end of the day, you got to go with your gut and you got to go your instincts. And you got to try and make them educated. But that's all they are. They're just guesses. Nobody knows anything, nobody knows anything. And that took me years to really understand, including for myself, I mean, I don't mean honestly, for myself to be able to know that my biggest advantage is knowing what I don't know. And and portly, not being afraid to ask questions, not being afraid to ask for help, not being afraid to ask for for for for advice. And and even as as as I think, as savvy as I can be in many aspects of this business, which took a lot of years and a lot of learning curves, and it certainly was a lot of mistakes. There's still times that I don't get it right. Or sometimes I have to ask for for somebody's input or colleagues input or for an opinion and there's no shame in that. In fact, I think there's empowerment in that I think when you are you are smart enough to know that you don't know at all and that you don't have all the answers. Help. There's power that don't feel weak and that don't feel like you're you you you're you're you're somehow inferior because you have to ask for help or ask for an opinion or ask for something
Alex Ferrari 1:34:03
We all have to ask for help. We all have to ask for opinion. If you're humble enough and and just understand that you know nothing and that your your cup is never full. You will always be it will always be filled up. It's like that Zen Master says is like your cup is full. Why are you coming to me? I can't fill it. You've already know everything. Why should you talk to me? You should always have that empty, empty cup feeling.
Joe Dain 1:34:26
Yeah, and I think the problem though, is you could probably attest to this. I mean, this is a business built on he goes right No, stop
Alex Ferrari 1:34:31
No, stop it No, stop it stop.
Joe Dain 1:34:34
Let me go further. Most of the egos are fragile, right.
Alex Ferrari 1:34:37
Oh, so stop it. I don't believe you. I believe you
Joe Dain 1:34:40
When you are dealing with that. It's really it's really a tough. Sometimes it's very tough to get out of your own way. Even sometimes the most intelligent people have a hard time getting out of their own way until until the industry you know kicks them in their head and that's the other thing too is important to know about this business. It doesn't give a shit about you. Oh doesn't care and and even having Hey, let's say you have a hit movie or hit series matter, right? You're hot for that minute. Now when that movie is gone, and that series is off the air, now it's time to prove that it wasn't a fluke. Now you actually have to work harder to show this business that you didn't just get lucky, right? And that you can continue that success. And now you think you worked hard to get to the first hit, try getting to the second hit. Alright, it's even that much harder, right? And I think that that's really important for everybody to know. And I don't care again, I don't care who you are, you can be an indie filmmaker, you can be the president of Warner Brothers. You don't know everything. You know,
Alex Ferrari 1:35:36
I look, there's certain there's certain directors that you and I grew up with, that were the biggest, most powerful, most amazing artists and now they're not financed. They're not making movies today in the studio system, because they're just not so it doesn't matter. All of everybody has that look like I will always use that example a Spielberg couldn't get Lincoln, you know, financed, you know, he had to go, you barely got his movie finance. Even even better example, Schindler's List. He paid for himself, because nobody would give him money for it. And that was Spielberg, you know,
Joe Dain 1:36:12
nd let's talk just for real quick second about someone like Megan Ellison and Anna poor, right, who is such an advocate of of cultivating arthouse filmmakers. But let's face it, she made some big bets on some not great choices, that now she's her company's restructuring. They're rethinking everything they're doing. And and I'm not saying that as a negative because I have such love and respect for a company like that, that that did. It did it took so many chances independent filmmakers and essentially independent filmmakers, but give them like a $40 million budget right?
Alex Ferrari 1:36:52
As again, scary sometimes scary sometimes.
Joe Dain 1:36:55
But she's her company paid for that. Right her company paid for that, that, that those decisions and I use as an example here, somebody you know, billionaire family, didn't know it all. Took some took some took some pretty hefty bets and got kicked in the face a couple of times more than a couple of times on the financial side. So even she's learning and restructuring and redoing so again, it just goes back to what I keep saying is that nobody knows anything. We're all we're all taking guesses and swinging the bats.
Alex Ferrari 1:37:23
Now three of your favorite films of all time?
Joe Dain 1:37:27
Oh, three of my favorite films of all time, I would say that Goodfellas is definitely up there is probably
Alex Ferrari 1:37:33
I am. I am looking forward to the 100 and $50 million epic Irishman that's going yeah. Which is going straight to streaming on Netflix. Actually no. theatrical, it will go theatrical just
Joe Dain 1:37:46
Rather given it like a 24. Day, theatrical before it hit streaming.
Alex Ferrari 1:37:53
So let's see. Let's see. Let's see. Is it Yeah,
Joe Dain 1:37:55
But it goes to show you though it goes back to the to our earlier conversation it goes to show you the level films going to this is Martin Scorsese.
Alex Ferrari 1:38:03
This is Marty Scorsese with Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Paccino
Joe Dain 1:38:07
Star in the industry. And they all signed up for a movie that's predominantly going straight to streaming, the most important, because that's just where the businesses that that that's who's supporting. I mean, look, Martin Scorsese with that cast couldn't get a studio to write the check. That's the truth. I mean, let's talk about why he went to Netflix. It wasn't because he was like, Yeah, I want to be on Netflix, I want to go straight to streaming it was because nobody was going to write that check. No, the studio wasn't gonna write that because Robert De Niro wasn't playing a superhero, right? Like, let's just let's just call it what it is. Right? That's the truth. That's the truth. Um, I would say that the usual suspects is another movie good for me. I'm a big, big, big, big, big fan of and I'm actually going to go on a little bit of a limb here and say there was an independent film called Elizabeth blue. That That really was a beautiful film that was that was written and directed by actually my husband. And it was based on our true experience and got a lot of got a lot of love, and actually got our unknown actress on the variety Dark Horse lists for the Oscars, which was pretty, we put that out in 2017. And so I only say that because it's not something I say often or lightly. But it was a film that was so beautiful and near and dear to my heart. That it really touched me so but anyway,
Alex Ferrari 1:39:27
Yeah, that's awesome.And where can people find you and your company what you do.
Joe Dain 1:39:34
So you can go to our websites are probably the easiest, which is terrorfilms.net, or globaldigitalreleasing.com. Where you can see our library, you can see a little bit about us, you can see a little bit about our model. And it's pretty straightforward or any of our social media pages, which are pretty straightforward terror films or global digital releasing. And, you know, we're we're super transparent company and and you know, I have these conversations all the time with filmmakers that are that are when films come our way that we're interested in whether it's through a sales rep or a film festival or an individual filmmaker. You know, the biggest part of the conversation I have on a regular basis is I say, first of all, give them a very honest landscape, about, you know, releasing about what it's going to look like, what it's going to be what we're going to do at but what what I always say before I hang up on that, because I say, listen, even if you loved everything I said, even if you've gotten recommended by three or four people that are with us to come to our company, I encourage you to talk to any distributor expressing an interest in your film, talk to all of them, ask them all the questions, look at their libraries, look at what they're doing. More importantly, look at their long form, because a lot of times to what I always what I think a lot of pride in is what we tell filmmakers that we do, and about our model, it's in our agreements, actually, in the long form, word for word and black and white. If somebody is telling you a bunch of nonsense and giving you a song and a dance and all this wonderful stuff, that's great. If it ain't no long form, it doesn't mean shit. Because it doesn't mean they have to do it, they don't have to do it, they don't have a legal responsibility whatsoever to do anything that they told you on a phone call. So that is a big thing that I pride ourselves in is the transparency of being a company comprised of independent filmmakers who have been through this nonsense, or going through this nonsense now with go digital distributor, we're right there with you. And we're fighting hard, and we're giving people education and giving people tools. And I think that we're all going to come out on the other side of this, it's going to be rough, it's going to be a rough probably few months for everybody. But the dust will settle and we will be on the other side of this and and and and we will be a better ideally a better community for it. I do believe that. And that's I think that's our biggest goal here with with the go digital distributor debacle is how do we how do we become a better community of independent filmmakers and independent distributors? And how do we how do we maybe make some change? That's for the better for everybody?
Alex Ferrari 1:41:59
Joe man, it has been an absolute pleasure having you on the show. And thank you again for being so raw and honest and transparent about you know, sounding the the alarm on that just go digital distributor, but also on the much larger problem that needs to be fixed it for us to move forward as a community and as a business. So thank you, brother, for for doing that. I really appreciate it.
Joe Dain 1:42:22
Thank you for having me, buddy.
Alex Ferrari 1:42:25
Again, I really want to thank Joe for being so straightforward. So honest, so raw, so transparent, about what's going on with this whole distributor, film aggregator thing that is happening to our industry and to our to a lot of filmmakers, I was affecting a lot of filmmakers. And now he's coming forward and really, really putting out there some very interesting theories about what could have possibly happened, just what ifs, if you will, of what could have happened to it. The math does not seem to make any sense. So we'll see what happens as things continue to move forward. Now if you haven't heard already, I did do a Facebook update. Facebook live update earlier this morning. And I will put that video in the links or links to that video in the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/352 as well as links to contact Joe Terra films, and also links to the prior podcasts and videos that we've put out there discussing this go digital distributor debacle. Now I am continually talking about this on the show and bringing new elements into the show because it is an ever growing story. And it is affecting 1000s and 1000s of filmmakers and their This is a moment in time where we really need to see what happened, how we can protect ourselves in the future and so on. So I do have other episodes coming up next week that are not relative to the whole go digital distributor thing but I do want to keep an eye on this and also want to keep a focus a spotlight on this topic because it is so so important, especially going into AFM in November. And by the way, I will be at AFM this year the American Film market I will be there a bunch this year. So if you want to reach out to me, you want to grab a cup of coffee or anything like that, just I am me, email me, we'll set something up, I'll be at the lows, walking around doing things, taking meetings and so on. So love to hang out with the tribe. If there's a whole bunch of you, maybe we'll do a little you know, meet up somewhere one of the local bars or coffee joints or something like that. So please let me know reach out to me. I want to talk and help as many filmmakers as I possibly can. while I'm there so thanks again guys for listening. Also, guys, if you have any questions at all about the make your movie Bootcamp, please just email me at boot camp. At indie film, hustle calm, I really do want to make this an insane, insane time pack as much information as I can for you in this amazing two day intensive that I hold in Burbank, we will have some special guests come in some industry heavy hitters, they're going to be dropping major knowledge bombs on you guys, as well. And there might be a few other surprises in there as well, because I do like I said in my last podcast earlier this week, or actually yesterday, which is, I do believe that the future of independent filmmaking is going to be the film entrepreneurial model, the entrepreneurial filmmaker, that is what's going to survive beyond all this other craziness that's going on, though those those basic pillars of being a filmtrepreneur will be, in my opinion, the future of what what filmmakers how they can survive in this ever changing landscape called independent filmmaking, and the film business in general. And if you want to preorder my book, which is going to come out November 7, it's called Rise of the filmtrepreneur, how to turn your independent film into a money making business. Just go over to filmbizbookcom, that's filmbizbook.com preorder it, we are going to be selling it on paperback, you can preorder the ebook, the ebook version as well. And I will be I'm going to do my best to get the audio book out sooner rather than later. So thank you again, so so much for all the support guys, if you have any questions, you have any stories, or any of that kind of stuff, please email me message me hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, wherever I do, check all that stuff. So thanks again for listening guys. I hope this episode was a value to you. As always keep that also going keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.
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