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No Film School Needed – Direct & Sell Six Features in Two Years with Elizabeth Blake-Thomas
I have an inspirational treat for you today. On the show, we have writer/producer/director Elizabeth Blake-Thomas. She has recently financed, written, directed and sold six feature films in the past two years, with no professional film school training. Elizabeth has been involved in the creative industries for over 30 years. Studying drama from a young age led her to run theatre schools, train other students and companies and work in various creative industries, culminating in where she is now, a director and writer.
When I heard her story I had to hunt her down and find out how she did it. BTW, she’s not stopping, Elizabeth is currently in prep for three more feature films. Talk about hustle. She is the definition of the phrase “INDIE FILM HUSTLE.”
She is proof that no film school is needed. Enjoy my conversation with Elizabeth Blake-Thomas.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Elizabeth Blake-Thomas – Official Site
- Elizabeth Blake-Thomas – IMDB
- Elizabeth Blake-Thomas – LinkedIn
- Elizabeth Blake-Thomas – Facebook
- BlackBox – Make Passive Income From Your Footage
- Studio Unknown Audio Post – Mention the IFH podcast, and you’ll receive 50% off one day of ADR
- 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 1:52
Today's guest is Elizabeth Blake Thomas, who is a writer, producer director, who has just directed six feature films in two years. And the kicker is she didn't go to film school. She didn't know anything about the film industry per se. Before she got into it though she had been around the entertainment industry for 30 odd years in plays and working with actors and things like that. But she had never shot a feature film or even a short film. And she just hit the ground running, learn what you need to to learn, and started making movies. And not only did she make movies she had these aren't like movies that she pulled, you know, five bucks out of her pocket to make. She had them financed and sold and continues to make more and more movies. And if that's not enough, she has two or three feature films in prep as we speak that she's going to shoot back to back and we'll get more into that in our conversation. But I really I heard this story. And I reached out to Elizabeth because I was like I got to get her on the show. I got to get this inspirational story to the tribe. Because I want you guys to understand it. You can put obstacles in front of you, you can go out and do it. And it doesn't matter. If you're not educated in filmmaking. You learn along the way, as long as you have the will to learn, you can make it happen. Please enjoy my conversation with Elizabeth Blake Thomas. I'd like to welcome to the show Elizabeth Blake Thomas. Thank you so so much for being on the show.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 3:26
Oh, thank you for having me, Alex. It's an absolute treat to be here.
Alex Ferrari 3:30
Thank you. Thank you. And and if if the tribe if you hear some noise in the background is because Elizabeth is literally hustling on the streets of Hollywood as we speak. So you might hear some things in the background.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 3:43
Do you know what that's that's one of the wonderful aspects of being in this industry, isn't it? We never know where we're going to be. And today I happen to be on the streets hustling.
Alex Ferrari 3:53
Right? And you're going meeting to meeting, jumping, jumping in the meeting. So that's awesome. So I wanted to have you on the show because I read an article about you on stage 32, about how you were able to make six feature films in two years, which is a feat in itself. So that's the reason why I wanted to bring you on the show because I wanted to hear your story. And you have a very unique story and very unique background. So before we get started, first of all, how did you get into the film industry in the first place?
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 4:25
Well, I was a theater director back in the UK, I ran my own Theatre Company for about 16 years old. And I love that side of things. I love characters. I love actors, but I'd never considered the film industry, I think, coming from the center of England. theater was something that we all you know, loved. We did it at school. It was something that was obtainable, and you had the West End. Film just didn't register with me until my daughter was nearly five years old and got lead in a TV show. And then she kept being given these wonderful opportunities to be in films, and I would be on set. And I would be naturally immersing myself in this environment. But again, in all honesty didn't didn't register with me that that was possible. And then Isabella, my daughter got off the opportunity to be in LA. And, and I was like, wow, this is Hollywood, this is this is fun for her, again, nothing to do with me, right. And I kept being asked on set to help out, they kept seeing me instruct Isabella or, or kind of have an understanding of what was necessary in a way, you know, producing on a very simple level. And so I thought to myself, this is quite fun. Maybe I should do something for my daughter. So I produced just a short for her. And it went really well. And it was a very good friend of mine. Sean said to me, You should be a film director. And I said, How do you do that? And he said, you just say you all. Okay,
Alex Ferrari 6:09
What a ridiculous What a ridiculous business we are in.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 6:13
But I would like to make sure that there's a caveat of understanding that this wasn't just that I was some random, I don't know, a let's call a swimming pool maintenance person. Never been involved in any form of industry. You know, it was it was a shift, a big shift, but a shift that was within something I understood.
Alex Ferrari 6:35
Right! Exactly. You've been you've been a theater director for a long time. You've you've worked with actors for for most of your career. So you you knew that person. Now all you need to learn was the technical aspects of things, of actually how to work within the media, but film.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 6:50
Absolutely. And and of course, that is never ending. never learn everything. And so that's, I think that's what gave me the courage to do it. Because I thought, well, I don't have to turn up to this job knowing everything. I know what I like, I can use my own insight to what I already know. And if I surround myself with incredible knowledgeable people, then that might work.
Alex Ferrari 7:17
My oh, my God, that's that's, that's actually smart, and intelligent and logical, as opposed to so many first time directors who hire first time, DPS, first time production designers first time grips. Like, you're like, why would you do that? hire people who are smarter than you, and have more experience than you so you can learn from them?
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 7:41
Yeah, always, I always surround myself with people that are much, much more intelligent than me.
Alex Ferrari 7:48
And that's, that is a, that is a sign of a good leader, and a good director, people who, who feel more you feel comfortable in your own skin, you don't have to prove yourself. So that's why you're hiring people who know more than you and their departments, so you can learn from them. And that that's why your films come out good.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 8:05
Definitely, definitely. And don't get me wrong. You know, we started with a very basic crew of 10 people, and it grew to 35. So everybody learned along the way, I kind of took everybody under my wing and said, Do you want to join me for this crazy ride?
Alex Ferrari 8:22
I did. No. Speaking of the crazy ride you did you set out to do six features? Or do they just happen to be that you'd made six features in two years?
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 8:31
Oh, that's a good question. Again, I was given a great piece of advice that once you shoot your first move straight on to your next one, and it was the best piece of advice I've been given because I'd seen a lot of my friends creating their first film. And then 234 years later, deciding to work on another one. So for me, it was within two months, I thought yeah, absolutely. Let's make another one. So I did. And then from that one, I naturally found an exact producer, he wanted to find the next one. And I said, Okay, well listen, if you're gonna give me that amount, I could make two for it if you give me a bit more, so I made two. And then suddenly I was able to make the next one. And then the next one. And it's a lot of hard work and I I often laugh because I am absolutely exhausted all the time. When I'm on such a high the whole time. Then it kind of you know, outweighs each other.
Alex Ferrari 9:26
Because I know look I've directed a few features myself. I understand the the the the amount of energy it takes to direct a feature film, let alone to prep it, let alone to write it let alone to do the post on it. Are you done with the first film when you're starting? The second Are you still kind of in post
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 9:47
I will say I basically had six babies over two years. That's how it feels. birthing a baby every time. No they they did coincide. Which again is always fun. One of the days we were I was finishing shooting one film. And the next day, I was screening my other two, back to back at an Arc Light. And we were finishing them. I really under some pressure. That's insanity. I know, I know that if you don't make yourself accountable, and yeah, I mean, I do work in extreme conditions. But you know, you make yourself these deadlines and dates, I find that you stick to them.
Alex Ferrari 10:30
Well, yeah, when you have no choice like that absolute choice. I mean, I mean, so how did you finance the first one? And tell me the financing strategy behind all six? Because as I'm sure a lot of people are like, Where does she find the money for these things? And how did that come about?
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 10:49
Absolutely. Well, the the kind of, again, the caveat behind all i got six films funded needs to be taken back to, you know, many, many years ago, when I was able to learn the skill of networking, you know, networking being around people being a good person. Because what I didn't realize was, my films were funded from people that I met, just by being a good person, 510 15 years ago, maybe maybe even a wee bit longer, and not knowing that then I didn't even know I was going to end up in the industry. So it's very important. I think that people understand the skills of networking, being a good person, and having a good heart. And that might sound a bit naff, but it's very important that I, I get that across.
Alex Ferrari 11:37
And so then, so those people financially, like you basically went after financing for your first film, and you said, Hey, I'm going to make my first feature film. Can you give me some money to make it to somebody?
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 11:47
Well, well, this was a, this was a wonderful lady who actually had been a location for a film that my daughter had been in. And they actually really liked. The people that had this location, really liked my daughter, and myself, and I just stayed in contact with her. And then when I thought I was going to do something with Isabella, I remember she said, If I ever wanted to approach her about something I should, and I did, and I thought I was going to get you know, about $5,000, which for your first film, I was quite excited. And then, and then she actually said, Hold on a minute. Now I want to produce I've got a story to tell, do you want to make this, and here's a lot of money. And, and so I did. So my first film was actually funded brilliantly by this wonderful individual. And I was able to work with my crew for the first time. But the thing that then got me on to that next one, again, was okay, I need to make another film. How do I fund that. And actually, what I did is I approached six friends who all had children, who were all proper actors, and wanted to be in the industry. And I said, if you all give me a myself included, four or 5k age, I can make a feature film. So we put this together. And again, I use the same crew, but I make it a fun experience. So it's an enjoyable thing to be part of. And all the friends and all these wonderful people said, I'll help I'll be in it. I'll be in it. So we shot that film. And from that film, there was someone that said, I believe in what you do and who you are. I'd like to fund a couple more. So again, I said, Okay, well, instead of just funding this one film for X amount, would you put some more into that? And I'll make two and I shot two back to back. Because I just knew that last I had this momentum, you have to keep on going. Yeah. And then that's what happened with the next one and the next one. So it's really about building that momentum. And that's what I do. Now. The minute I have something the minute I'm there, I keep it going. Because you never know when it's going to stop.
Alex Ferrari 13:56
Now, how many days did you shoot like on your first feature?
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 14:01
12 days is what I average. But I have given myself 15 days if necessary.
Alex Ferrari 14:07
On a on that second feature that you did when you put you pulled together all that money. You made it for about 30 30,000. Yeah, that was probably only eight or nine days on that one in all honesty. Okay, so but even for 30, even for 30 or 40 grand and that general world, that's still a good amount of time. And how did you do post production? Did you do edit yourself?
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 14:30
No. Now I have, again, this wonderful team that have been with me, and they all basically they all believe in me, I seem to have created this wonderful confidence and trust in what I do. So because they'd seen my first film, and this is my second and I said there will be more. Everybody did it almost as a favor. I mean, I still was able to pay them something but I said look by doing this for me. You know, I'm going to give you more work. And I did. And I couldn't have continued to do that. So it's people believing in you. But you know, I always say you can never ask for a favor more than once. And that was my favor, right? No, that was the Come on, guys believe in me, I'm going to make this happen.
Alex Ferrari 15:18
And you can say you cashed in that favor, and then and then followed up with more and more work? And then just build from there?
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 15:25
Yes, definitely. And we have this wonderful little team now that I love and adore. And we're very, very much like a family and work hard.
Alex Ferrari 15:34
And you've made six of them. You're already in pre production for the second, the seventh one?
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 15:38
Well, I'm in pre production for two, I'm shooting back to back in two weeks time, of course, these of course,
Alex Ferrari 15:44
Why wouldn't you be? Why wouldn't you, you should be shooting right now you should be shooting, right? I'll get my camera out. I could I could be shooting myself doing I mean, seriously, that's the see.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 15:56
I'm letting it down and letting the whole side down. Now those two are very simple features, they are being shot over, you know, five to six days, each one single character. They're very artistic. They're very experimental. I'm working on these two subject matters. One is a death of a child and grief. And the other one is, you're kind of coming of age being a 15 year old teenage story. So those times shooting in the next couple of weeks. And then after that, I'm actually in the scripts development. So they've been all developed so far. So I've got six scripts that I will then shoot over the next. I don't know, what should I give myself?
Alex Ferrari 16:41
I say I say 12. I say 12 to 18 months. I mean, yeah, I mean, you've you've been I've been, you've been a little bit lazy, semi sick. You're sorry. Let's push. So you have a book that came out as well. Yeah. What? I was gonna talk about your book in a little. Okay, so what is your writing process for these for these books? I mean, for these
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 17:06
Very technical, very technical, I write a vomit draft. So again, surrounding myself with excellent people, I seem to have a plethora of ideas. I don't know why. They just come to me titles, concepts, ideas, I will write a vomit draft, which is a very bad version of a screenplay. And then again, I've surrounded myself with excellent screenwriters and support. And I find there are certain certain people that take on those certain scripts. So I have somebody that's currently working on that the family comedies, I have someone that's working on, you know, the, the serious version of something or whatever it is, I have three or four screenwriters that then help and support me?
Alex Ferrari 17:48
That's insane what you've been able to? I mean, it's literally insane. It really, really is. Now, the big question I have for you, distribution plan. It's great to make movies, and we a lot of people can make them, but can you make money? Can you sell them? How are you getting? How are you? Are you? How are you getting your money back? How are you making profit for your investors? And how are you distributing these films?
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 18:14
Okay, so I won't be able to mention exact names, of course, but I can give you the, the basic understanding of how I achieved it. Okay, so I, I have a my best friend is head of acquisitions at a very large company. And she gave me advice on the stories pre kind of pre finalized scripts, because to me, it's about saying, hold on a minute, what is the element of this story that is going to be interesting for the the audience, you know, if this isn't for an audience, do I want to make it and of course, that's why I'm making my next two, they're very arty, that, you know, they will get some form of distribution, but not the masses. So I was able to work out. Okay, this is a Christmas script. This is a Halloween story. This is a so in my head, I already had a target audience. Once I've done that, and I've made a script that I believe is suitable to get distributed, I will then find out what those distributions are looking for. Actor wise, you know, obviously, I can't get Angelina Jolie in my films at the moment. But who is it that they like? What are they looking at? So I do quite a bit of research behind my ideas. I might sound like I'm crazy and just do it. But I'm quite business oriented in the, in the kind of the behind the scenes aspect. And so again, once that's sorted, I actually don't think about that, until I have shot the film. I make sure it's the right length. It's got the right characters, I know where it's heading. I will have looked at what other distributors like these kinds of movies.
Alex Ferrari 19:56
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 20:07
And then I have, I mean, the world nowadays is so different. I don't have expectations on things being able to get out theatrically, unless you have certain elements, you know, that's great. They don't have to be nowadays, right? So if I make my budgets affordable, then the way my, the exact producers or finances get their money back, is because it doesn't take very long for those films to recoup that money, because of all the various platforms. So each film actually is with a different sales agent distributor does nothing, that's the same. And if that my next films, every single one has got a different producer behind them, again, enabling me to have a different market, different target audience.
Alex Ferrari 20:54
And then basically, because you've now proven yourself six times over it's becoming easier.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 21:01
Oh, my gosh, unbelievably. So because you have evidence, you have proof of what you've done proof of concept, proof that you can do it. I'm being asked to direct things now, which is a wonderful position to be in movies. And also I have that belief in myself, I very much believe in earning where you are. And so there is no way that after my first film, I would have been happy going, yes, I know what I'm doing. I needed to earn it. Every single film I've gone through, I've learned through something I've learned through something that's happened, whether that be a good thing or a bad thing. And in fact, I've written everything down because my book that will be out later this year, filmmaking without fear. Why not? is based on these six films, and very, you know, the truth behind them? Because it's not easy. You know, it's not, it's not like I'm going to make a film today. And it just go ahead and do it. You know, it takes so much effort behind the scenes, which a lot of my you know, crew might not see your, you know, other people involved. In fact, it's quite amusing when I get a phone call from a friend of ours I see met at the cinema, like, probably not any good, or they don't think it means that it's worth something. Sure. We have all these platforms now that make everything so much more obtainable for so
Alex Ferrari 22:29
I mean, there's 1000s of movies made a year only, like 50 or 100. Make it to the theater. If that. If that if that. That's insane. So basically, you are the personification of what I preach. You are the personification of indie film, hustle. Without question. I mean, you you basically done everything I preach about you, you, you have a system in place, you start you started on you keep your budgets low, you started smart, you hire people that know more about things that you do. And you start building in a building and you're doing it so fast, that you have to succeed at a certain point. And you know, your marketing, you know, your distribution, you know who you're making it for, you're already speaking to the distributors before you make the movie. You do it everything I've ever preached about on this show. And
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 23:24
I'm so I'm so pleased about that. Also, one other thing that I think is important, I have surrounded my for myself by very supportive people that are in the industry. Again, I've met them organically. I haven't gone out and looked them I've gone to film festivals. When I first started, I had a nonprofit, which enabled me to go to film festivals. And that's where I started to learn everything. And it was after about a year of interviewing these filmmakers that I thought Hmm, I know what they're talking about. I understand this. So that that and that hard work that went into that enabled me to meet these wonderful people who now support me and mentor me and, and I do a lot of mentoring because I believe in giving back and my next two films. I have some incredible, all ages, actually male female people that I mentoring that are shadowing me. And that's really important. Really important to me.
Alex Ferrari 24:18
That's That's amazing. And then again, during all of this time you had time to write a book.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 24:23
I did I did what angles a divorce. Oh, I have to throw that in. Oh, like, top of it all. I will say that first film was one of the hardest, most painful times in my entire life. And I actually think by me working on that film, I got through everything because I could focus on that. It was it was an intense time. It was life changing. And I learned an awful lot about myself.
Alex Ferrari 24:59
Now what What is the biggest lesson you learned shooting six feature films in two years?
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 25:04
Oh, good question. Oh, I think the biggest thing I learned, hmm, ah, the biggest thing I learned? Oh, my gosh, that's a really good question. I mean, because every time I did something, I learned something, I think it was definitely, maybe to have the belief in who I am and what I do. Because if you can have that your team respect you and follow you. And I have a very definite way of running my sets. They're very holistic, it's very family oriented. I try to be environmentally friendly. I try to, I think, having set myself the way I do things, and having belief in that. I think that's what what I learned was okay to do. And I'm very happy to say it works. I mean, you know, again, changes can happen. Of course, that belief, I think, and who you are and what you're doing.
Alex Ferrari 26:03
Now, what drives you to hustle as hard as you are, as a very good guy seriously, because people ask me that all the time. But like, why do you do this? I'm like, Yeah, I do it because I have to. I have no other choice.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 26:16
Yeah, I get it, I get it. And everyone's gonna have a different answer. I mean, there's this, there's a deep psychological reason behind it, as well as a much simpler reason. And the the deepest psychological reason is that I feel due to various experiences in my life with various fathers and things that have happened to me and friends, that I needed to prove myself. And that was a, you know, that can be a negative thing if you're doing it for other people. So that was a, I was able to shift that over time to know that I do it for myself. And I like to prove to myself that I say, I'm going to do something, I do it, that I have learned something new. So there's this innate belief system in me that says, if someone says you can't do it, and including, you know, sometimes your own self doubt, makes me want to do it even more. I love this conversation. I love the fact that I can sit here and say, I did that. Everybody said, it wasn't possible. They say, it's not possible to me every single day, I hustle and say, I've got this, I'm going to do that. And someone say, oh, but you haven't I say no, no, but I will have Don't worry about it. And it's that it's that proving to myself,
Alex Ferrari 27:41
You know, it's fascinating, because it's, it's, it's, you know, I haven't met many people like you in the business. Because, because because you remind me a lot of what I do, because I'm crazy like you and doing what we do. And I want to ask you the question, what, because I've had this happen to me so many times with people in the industry, when you tell them you're going to do something that they tell you is impossible. You see the look in their eyes, it's kind of like a glazing over that they cannot comprehend what you're achieving, or what you're doing.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 28:17
Yeah, in fact, somebody last night question the amount that I make a movie for. And of course, I get that. But for me, it's about everybody has their own Hollywood's and so I think people immediately go to a place that they, oh, this can't be made, because I'll be done. Because it needs theatrical release. And because it needs this amount of money. And because you need this star, we all have the ability to make our own Hollywood's, for me the passion every morning is getting up writing, creating, knowing that I'm going to get a group of people together to make something that could maybe make a difference in someone's life. Whether that's even just to make them smile and laugh. It doesn't matter. That's what drives me. And so yes, there's there's definitely a lot of people that look at me and say, well, that's impossible. That's ridiculous. You can't just go to a film festival and meet an investor. And I very much with the belief of the universe and putting things out there. And the minute I verbally say something, yes, and I've put it out there. So it has to happen now, and I but I'm not someone that says things that aren't going to happen. Right, exactly.
Alex Ferrari 29:25
Like I'm going to go win an Oscar, which is a horrible, horrible goal to go.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 29:32
Well, I think if that's your only goal, then you've lost the reason to do it. Christ would like to have the highest accolade possible for the accolade but more because I've made something that has really affected millions million people, millions of people exactly. So that's why I'd like it's just the posh Film Festival, but it's it happens to be the most famous film festival in the world. You know that that's if that's a goal again, it's why Are you aiming for this, we have to have the right reasons for why we're aiming for doing what we're doing. And I think that's why I've been able to do what I've done. Because my sincerity behind it and my belief system behind it, and the way I'm doing it is so far so good.
Alex Ferrari 30:17
I think that one of the reasons for your success is that you're one of the, you're something that is very rare in this town, you're genuine. Oh, you're genuine, like that. But you can hear it in your I've, we've never met in person, but I could hear it in your voice. I could hear it in the passion behind it. And it's real. And then you know, as well as I do in this town, that is rare. You do not meet people who are genuine. And then when people do meet people who are genuine, honest, real, coming from a good place with good intentions, they want to help you because hopefully, I feel that at least in this in this business. There are good people who really do want to do good work and help people. And you attract those people to you by the energy you put out.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 31:03
Yes, yeah, I agree. And that energy is huge. Because I someone said to me, I think again, yesterday or the day before, they said, Gosh, you're on you're very happy person. Because even if I'm not feeling happy, or something's not good, I will always default to that feeling and that emotion, because that is what I'm very privileged. I've worked my way to get here, but I am hustling the streets of Hollywood making films. I remember actually going to a festival and someone said to me, so what do you what do you do? And I said, Well, I'm a director. No, but what do you actually do it? No, no, I'm a director. So I feel very privileged. I'm allowed to say that and be that right?
Alex Ferrari 31:46
Look at this. Exactly. You're not a director who does Uber on the side, you're
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 31:51
I fell very lucky. But I will say again, I make that happen. I'm very frugal. You know, I don't live a lifestyle that maybe other people would like to live if they earn that money. I'm very savvy with it. I think okay, I need to put this into the next project. How am I gonna make this work? And you know, we all have different ways of living and doing things and this happens to suit me again, it would not suit everybody at all.
Alex Ferrari 32:21
We got to you got to find what works for you. And and again, a lot of people want to fit the Hollywood system of movies, or the this kind of directors way of making movies or this kind of directors way of making movies, the all the very successful directors who are in our world in the indie world. They find a way to make movies the way that they can make them and make them happy doing so. Like the duplass brothers like Joe Swanberg like Lynn Shelton, like Kevin Smith or Richard Linklater, or these guys are Robert Rodriguez, these they found their way of making it and they're not trying to insert the Hollywood system because if you talk to someone in the Hollywood system, you're a lunatic. You're You're a lunatic, I'm a lunatic where you're crazy, like, make a movie for five grand, it's gonna look like something you shot on a home video, but they can't grasp the concept that like no, you can make a movie for a certain a certain budget if you know what you're doing. And you can tell a story at the end of the day.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 33:22
Yes. And that's what it's about, isn't it? It's about telling a good story. We all know that. We all know that. That's what makes a film. Because even those massive budgets if they've not got a good story, no one sits there goes. Yeah, but the camera was excellent. Wasn't it? Or the quality of the lighting works. You know?
Alex Ferrari 33:41
The CG was fantastic. Yeah. Yeah. Basically is imperative. Absolutely as as the almost the entire DC Universe that's proven. I will I will only one of them is good. And other than the Batman movies, original Batman movies that Nolan and Wonder Woman Other than that, just horrible. Anyway, alright, so I'm going to give you I'm gonna ask you a few questions to ask all of my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today?
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 34:16
So and they haven't done anything, this is something that they'd like to do. Okay, I would, first of all, do as much research as possible. And that means going to film festivals going to the markets, finding out about the you know, the behind the scenes of filmmaking, because I think that's quite hidden. And, and for you to interview and ask and talk and research for as much information as you can on what it is that the filmmaking is not not about the cameras or the equipment or the styles, none of that yet it's the background information behind I you know, what, what a film needs to have what film is about because I went to the Cannes Film market for you know, many moons ago with my daughter actually had a film there. And I'll never forget that day of walking into the marketplace and going, Oh my god, there's a film with Sharon Stone in and that can't sell. Like what? Yep. So having that expectation and realization of what it really is about, that's what I would do first.
Alex Ferrari 35:24
Okay, now, can you tell me what book had the biggest impact on your life or career?
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 35:32
Oh, gosh, um, I think actually, nothing to do with film or drama. I'd say a lot of the Malcolm Gladwell books, okay. You know, I love the way that you have to have had 10,000 hours before you become an expert. I love the fact that it's all about who you surround yourself with. Yeah, I'd say the Malcolm Gladwell any of his. And actually, I also do like he's called Ken, and wrote a book about education. Because the whole point I'm going to I think it's Ken Livingstone, but that's, I think, also might be my ex, Mayor of London. I don't know. Anyway, he wrote a book about how education has an impact. So for me, that actually helped me bring up my daughter. And I did things I do things very differently. She writes screenplays with me, we have mother and daughter entertainment together. We she's only 15 and a half. And to me, it was about creating something bigger than the norm, what everybody does, and going to school. So I think Malcolm Gladwell and can something or other. I'll remember it. We'll put it on your blog.
Alex Ferrari 36:44
Yeah, we'll put it on. We'll put it on the in the show notes. Now, what lesson took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life? You've got good question. I wish you'd send them to me. I don't I don't often I don't often I
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 37:03
I know. Okay, a lesson a lesson. Well, I have to say, I am always learning. And I would say that even yesterday and the day before. And today, I've learned a new lesson. One of the most recent ones was about my words, actually really thinking about how a word has an impact on somebody that's in life as well as on a script. And that's, I think that's quite a good lesson. I wish I'd learned maybe 30 years ago.
Alex Ferrari 37:35
Yeah. Now what are three of your favorite films of all time?
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 37:40
Oh, are you getting to laugh?
Alex Ferrari 37:43
No, go for it.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 37:44
So okay, so Gone with the Wind.
Alex Ferrari 37:46
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 37:47
Okay, um, probably, it's difficult one between sound and music, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but I like all of them.
Alex Ferrari 37:55
Why does all of those Make sense? I have no idea.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 37:59
They are wonderful. And then I would also say, Hmm, I probably like Midnight in Paris.
Alex Ferrari 38:08
It is a good movie. I'd love
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 38:10
to you know, because I just love that era. And then I know you said only three. But I do like all the old Gerard Depardieu movies. They really affected me growing up, man on the sauce and 200 about jack and yes, I loved those.
Alex Ferrari 38:25
Awesome. Awesome. Now, Elizabeth, where can people find you online?
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 38:30
Online? I was gonna say in Hollywood.
Alex Ferrari 38:33
Where are you right now?
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 38:37
Sunset Boulevard. Exactly. Well, I am I have an Instagram at Elizabeth_B_T. I have a Facebook, Elizabeth Blake Thomas. My website, ElizabethBlakeThomas.com, mother and daughter entertainment. And all my details are are there as well.
Alex Ferrari 38:55
Fantastic. And I'll put all those links in the show notes. Elizabeth, it has been an absolute pleasure talking to you, you are an inspiration. Hopefully you've given a lot of inspiration to the tribe, to prove that you can do it and not to be afraid of doing it.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 39:11
Well, I'm very, very grateful that you invited me on I really, really am. And thank you. And if anybody ever needs any help, they can just contact me. I'm always available.
Alex Ferrari 39:20
Be careful what you wish for.
Elizabeth Blake Thomas 39:23
Alex Ferrari 39:26
I like to first thank Elizabeth for literally doing the podcast on the streets of Hollywood while she's hustling between meetings. That is what I call an indie film hustler. So thank you so so much, Elizabeth, for not sharing not only sharing your story, but sharing the inspiration that anyone can go out there and do it. If you're willing to put in the work and educate yourself. Surround yourself with good people. You can make it happen. Every single filmmaker, even the biggest ones in the world. All started out just like you and me. With a small indie film, small project and got their feet wet, so don't put obstacles in front of yourself. As a famous quote says, if you don't have the best of everything, you need to make the best of everything. Never give up. Never surrender, just keep on hustling. I'd also like to thank our new sponsor streamlet comm now if you're selling your film on amazon prime and noticing that you're not getting a whole lot of cash for nowadays, think about also putting it on streamlet. It is a SVOD platform, a subscription based platform where your movie will not be buried. It's free to submit and has a royalty rate three times as much as Amazon, so you get to keep all the rights. So if you want to submit your film today, go to streamlette.com. That's streamlette.com and I'll leave a link to it in the show notes. And those show notes our indiefilmhustle.com/253 for links to Elizabeth and everything we talked about in this episode. And as always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.
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