IFH 306: Why Filmmakers Are Programmed to Fail



Top Apple Filmmaking Podcast

20+ Million Downloads

Right-click here to download the MP3

Before we begin I need to reveal a truth to you.

“The Matrix is not a movie, it’s a documentary”

Believe it or not, this is true. Our internal operating system in our mind was programmed years ago when we were children. That programming runs our life through the subconscious. Don’t believe me?

  • Did you drive a car today?
  • Did you brush your teeth?
  • Did you think about walking to the kitchen to make breakfast?
  • Did you think about breathing or making sure your heartbeats?

Probably not. You would be exhaust mentally if you had to think about all of this every day. This is all run by our operating system (aka the subconscious), the problem is many of us are still running Windows 95.

In this episode, I go deep down the rabbit hole and discuss how our subconscious can and does stop us from achieving not only our filmmaking dreams but how it affects all areas of our lives. I discuss how my life changed dramatically when I discovered this and made those upgrades. I also go over the two ways you can upgrade the old operating system in your head.

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” – Morpheus

Let’s all take that Red Pill and see how deep the rabbit-hole goes. Get ready to have your mind blown, literally. Enjoy!

If you find value in this episode please share it with someone who needs to hear it. 

Alex Ferrari 1:58
Now, the title of the episode is why filmmakers are programmed to fail. And I wanted to go deep into this because it is something that is affected my life dramatically. And I really hope that this episodes, clarify some things and bring some things to your conscious mind in a way that hasn't before. I want you to understand something that our lives are ruined by our subconscious mind. And I'll prove it to you. Did you drive a car today to work? Or any time? Did you brush your teeth? Did you think about walking to the kitchen and making breakfast, all those kind of mechanical operations, who's running that who's running the cones driving the car, who's running the shop when that was going on. Because your mind was somewhere else you were thinking about problems or stress. Or you're thinking about why this movie that I'm working on is not getting made, or I can't find the money. Or and this is happening while you're driving a 2000 pound piece of metal down a highway or you're walking down stairs, or you're brushing teeth. Or you're running or jogging, or any of these other kinds of things, even sometimes while you're talking to somebody else, or listening to somebody else for that matter. These operations are run by your subconscious mind. It is not run by your conscious mind, you don't have the mental cognitive energy on a daily basis to run your entire system, if you will. And I'm gonna use a lot of computer terminology because I think it really makes things a lot easier to understand. If you had to actually consciously think about getting yourself out of bed, putting your feet on the floor, thinking about lifting yourself up, coordinate how you're going to walk and think about every single step while still watching everything around us and nothing hits you or bump into you then go to the bathroom. All these things all these morning rituals, I'm just talking about the morning rituals, let alone your daily rituals. All of that is run by your subconscious mind. That is all hardwired operating system that is run by your personal operating system. The problem is that many of us are still running Windows 95. And we really should be running that brand new Mac OS that I want to get into a Windows Mac thing. I'm just using it for an example guys, Everyone calm the heck down. Now I want to I want you to listen to this very carefully. That same operating system. That same subconscious mind that runs your day to day business. Your daily operations also keeps you where you are in life and on your filmmaking or screenwriting path. Let me repeat that. Your subconscious that same Operating System is what is keeping you from what you are trying to obtain in your life. And in your filmmaking in your screenwriting, I want you to understand that the construct that your subconscious has built, has a need to protect itself in its own mind. Your subconscious does not like change or want change, change is scary. Uncertainty is scary. But understand from an evolutionary perspective, this makes perfect sense. stability and predictability is safe, change is uncertain, change my open you up to be eaten by a tiger, or knocked over the head by a competitor while you're trying to, you know, get food or or survive. But these mental models don't serve you anymore. And once you understand this, this is really life changing career changing stuff. When you're about to embark on making a movie, let's say, and you haven't done it a million times before, that's scary. And your operating system is not happy about it, and it will kick in to protect you. And it's mine, it's there to protect you on an evolutionary level, it's there to protect you in any kind of change, or modification in the code will kick in the agents Agent Smith will come in and start sabotaging you and making things hard, because it doesn't want you to go down that road. Now I'm going to throw another thing at you. Your operating system or programming is installed within the first seven years of your life. Now this is scientifically proven. Hell, the Jesuits have been saying this for over 400 years. They said give me a child for seven years, and then I will show you the man that he will become, because they knew that this seven year period is when all the programming all the O 's is installed into you. Now let me explain. In order to survive on this planet, your brain needs to build an operating system. When you come in your your fresh hard drive. You got nothing in it. You don't have any any beliefs. You don't have anything in it you have you have basic basic basic operating systems, how to breathe, how to cry for food, very basic stuff. But in order to survive in the on the planet, you need to upgrade that operating system. So how do you do it? You watch your surroundings, you watch your parents, your siblings, your community, people that are around you. So whatever is going on around you in those first seven years, that is getting imprinted into your operating system. The ideas that you pick up in those first seven years set you up for life, that is what's going to run you for the rest of your life. If you don't believe you can be successful, if you don't believe that you're worth it. Or if you don't believe that, whatever you don't believe on a subconscious level, then you will create habits that will stop you from creating the things that you might want on a conscious level and sabotage yourself. That's what I've seen so many times with filmmakers that I'm like, why is that guy or that girl? not moving forward? They're so talented, and they're so experienced, but yet, something seems to be stopping them. I don't know what I'm not gonna write it off as bad luck. But I'm just curious why that happens. I've seen it so many times, in my experience working with filmmakers, 1000s of filmmakers over the course of my career, that I kept seeing it again and again and again. And I wondered what that was. This simple reason is why poor people stay poor and rich people stay rich. It's because of the programming. Now think about it for a second lottery ticket winners lottery winners, right? How many times have you heard somebody that has never had money in their entire life win $100 million? What happens? The majority of the time they lose the money or they self destruct because they don't have the programming to handle that kind of money. It's just not something that they know or how to deal with or even how to handle. Why is it that 65% of professional athletes lose a lot, if not all of their money within five years of retiring? How many times have you seen athletes at signing table somewhere? years later when they were making $20 million a year? And years later? They're signing for 50 bucks 150 bucks a signature? Why is that? Not in every case. But in some cases? It's the programming. If you think life is a struggle, if you say this film business is just too hard, they'll never let me in. I'll never be successful, I'll never get my movie made. Guess what? If that's what you're saying to yourself, then you're right. Period. If that's the thoughts that are going in your head, you're programming yourself to fail. For years, I did this. For years, I was the angry, bitter filmmaker, who was so upset at everybody else, and looking at everybody else around me, you know, getting a leg up, and I wasn't getting those opportunities. I'm like, why is it? Why is it Why can't I get my shot? I'm sure many of you listening to now, right now have had that conversation in your head, maybe even this morning? Why am I not getting the shot, I'm good enough, I feel that I can do it. But yet, I was programming myself on spinose. To me, I was programming myself to fail. And only when I made a change, only one, I decided to just completely override my operating system did things change, when I finally got to a place where I could not take it anymore, I decided to make that change. And that's when I made my first feature. This is Meg, or from the moment I said, I'm gonna make the movie, it took me 30 days to start shooting that damn thing. And when I did, I didn't get my operating system time to even react. I was there I was in it, I was doing it. And I just said, I'm not going to stop, I'm going to keep going and I overrode my programming. I stopped those horrible mental constructs that I was creating for myself, these limiting beliefs that I kept repeating to myself, again, and again, and the subconscious was listening. And all of my habits, all of the things around me that I was doing, the people that I was attracted to, in the business, meaning people that would bring into my inner circle, all were reinforcing those negative, those bad thoughts that I was putting in my head, that bad programming 95% of our lives comes from these programs in the subconscious, only 5% of your life is being lived consciously. Even if you think that you're at the driver's seat, you're not in all areas of your life, health, career, love, money, creativity, relationships, every area of your life is run 95% by your subconscious mind, by that oh s by that operating system that programming. So what is the solution? What can you do to change this? Step one, recognize where you are struggling in life, just look at your life and ask Where am I struggling? Because if you're struggling in an area that the programmer the OS is not supporting, guess what? You're going to have a problem, it's going to fight back at you, the agent Smith's are going to come at you, and you're trying to be Neo, and you're trying to create new programming, change the system change the matrix. And I'll give you an example. I've spoken about this a little bit before, but I'm going to talk about a little bit more detail. Now. I've always had issues with my weight. And I know a lot of people out there listening because I've heard you guys message me and you know and talk to me about this, that I've had issues with my weight all my life. Why? Because of the programming I had when I was a kid. You know, unfortunately, I had family members who were obsessed about their weight. And even though I wasn't when I was born, ask a baby, what its thoughts are on it's body fat, or how their weight is or how they look in jeans. They don't think about things like that, that is all implanted. That is all programming based around what's around you. So I was programmed with this, that weight is a struggle. It's gonna go up and down. I will never be thin, I will never be in shape. I will never have a six pack. All these thoughts were in my head. And I decided, you know, within the last six months, I said that's it. The same way I changed my mind and change the programming about my filmmaking career. I did the same thing with my health. And I said That's it, I'm going to change. I did the same thing when I was when I went vegan. I said enough's enough. I don't like the way I feel. I don't like what's going on in my body, I'm going to change. And for me, that was a good choice. Not for everybody. But for me it was. So when I decided to change the programming about working out and change my habits. All of a sudden, I was the guy that wakes up at four o'clock in the morning to go work out. I am the guy that works out six days a week and is happy to do it in like jumping out of bed ready to go work out. I'm the one that watches what they eat and how they eat. They make good healthy choices. Am I never gonna eat a piece of cheese Cake again, of course not I, of course, I'm going to indulge. But the point is that that programming has been shifted. And now it's such a habit that I can't go back, it would hurt, it would actually be very difficult for me to sit down and just pick out like it would be difficult in my head to do it. Because my programming has now shifted, I have reprogram myself, I am my own Neo, in the matrix of my life. I'm so sorry, with all the matrix bonds, I apologize, but I'm just using it, I think it's a good, good way to illustrate the point. So that's step one, recognize your struggle and focus on it. That's step one. Step two, it's time to upgrade your operating system. The conscious mind is creative. And it can learn from an audio book, a podcast, an online course. And you can learn information that way you can bring information in. But the subconscious mind does not work like that. The subconscious mind does not pick up those things. There's only two ways to program the subconscious mind to change that operating system. The first way is within the first seven years of life. That's one way. The second way is repetition. Practice, practice, practice. You didn't learn to drive a car in the first seven years of your life, but you learned how to drive a car, didn't you? You learned and you practice until it was installed in your operating system. Now you don't even think about the process of driving. Look at any 16 year old driving a car for the first time. One it's hilarious unless you're in the car or around the car. But secondly, all their mental energies focused on the task, there are a wreck. They're nervous, they're anxious, why? Because that operating system is going haywire. Their urge their want their desire to drive is overriding their operating system. their their their desire for freedom in that car is overriding their operating system in their operating system is trying to handle it is trying to deal with it. But they do it so much that finally it becomes hardwired and now it's cool. If you've been driving for years, like I have been driving since I was 16 years old. It I don't even think about driving again in a car and I go there's never nervousness. There's never anxiety about driving. I don't care. It's amazing. It's amazing once you start thinking about it. That's why Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer can jump in a pool and just swim without even thinking about it. Why? Because he has done it 1000 times. Do you think that Steven Spielberg or Chris Nolan or David Fincher walk on a set and is nervous about the day? Or is nervous about the people that they're working with? Or about the process? Generally speaking, no. They might be nervous about new elements that have been added in like story or actors are getting the performances that they want specifically about this, but the mechanical processes of directing? Do you think Spielberg gets nervous? They think Scorsese gets nervous. Of course not. That's home for them. That is the pool that Michael Phelps one jumps into, it's their home. So when you jump on a set for the first time, you're a nervous wreck. Because you don't know what's going on. You're trying to figure things out, you haven't done it before. So your operating system is going haywire. It's trying to stop you, but your desire to make that movie, your desire to write that screenplay is overriding your operating system. So this is where affirmations come into play. If you want to be a successful screenwriter or filmmaker, repeat every day, I'm a great writer. I'm a great filmmaker, I have the abilities needed to tell stories, I have the abilities needed to direct this film. Say it again and again and again to yourself. And the secret sauce to making this really, really transform your life is adding feeling. If you feel what you are saying, if there's an emotion attached to it, it will supercharge what you're doing in your subconscious. Feeling is so so powerful. Think about a great time in your life and then how that makes you feel in your body. Think about a bad time in your life. And see how that makes you feel in your mind and your body. When you add positive feeling when you add real emotion to a thought that really and truly supercharges your transformation that will begin to change your operating system that will begin to change your subconscious mind. Doing this with a combination of educating yourself on what you need to do or be is a game changer in your life. I'm not saying you're gonna sit there and look in a mirror and go, I'm a great filmmaker and never pick up a book. But if you start to do that, that programming will start kicking in, and then all of a sudden, you're going to notice that other habits are going to start coming in, you're going to want to listen to audio books every day, you're going to want to listen to more podcasts, you might even want to start taking more online courses and start maybe, I know it's crazy, setting up time every day out of your busy day, to educate yourself, to learn your craft to add those tools in your toolbox. But it all starts with the subconscious. Because you could take a thought, look how many people here listening? And I know I can't I can't get any hands up. But I'm sure that many people who are listening have taken an online course taught by some of the greatest masters of all time, yet, it hasn't moved the needle. Why is that? Why is that? How many 1000s of podcasts Have you listened to? How many online courses have you taken? How many audio books Have you listened to? And yet, if you're not moving forward, in what you're trying to do, what's holding you back? Could it be your operating system, could it be your subconscious mind that is holding you where you need to be because that's where it wants you to be because it's safe and predictable. On an evolutionary level, you've got to break through that mental barrier, you've got to break through that mental construct, it serves you no longer if you want to be happy, repeated again and again. And when your subconscious mind gets it gets that programming update, then you won't have to say it anymore. Just like driving a car, just like learning your ABCs How many times did you sing that darn song until you can sing it off the top of your head now, not ever have to think about your ABCs once your subconscious, or operating system gets it, that is when you will start to create habits that will change your life and will change your filmmaking career and your screenwriting career in ways that you cannot even imagine. It has in my life. And like everything on this show. As I go through the journey of my filmmaking career as my creative career, my life, I try to share it with the tribe. If I find value and information that I'm finding, I want to share it with you guys. Because these concepts that I've just laid out, have changed my life for the better. I am healthier than I've ever been in my life, I'm in better shape than I've ever been in my life, even when I was in my 20s. And even when I was working out with a trainer back then I'm in better shape. Now. I can do things now that I was never able to do then. And this is less than six months, guys, I haven't been doing this for years, in less than six months, I've been able to drop almost 40 pounds. And I still got about another 15 or so that I want to get rid of. Because I got to get that six pack. Why not because of ego. Because that's where I need to be. On a health standpoint, it allows me to do more for you guys, for my tribe, for my business for what I do with my family in my life. That is what I've changed my programming to be. And it's changed my filmmaking career, I've done two movies, where the first 40 years of my life, I haven't done any, in the last couple years I've done two and if I really wanted to, I could have probably done four or five movies this last year. But I had other fish to fry I was writing a book when building up the you know the podcast doing all the things I had to do. But if I wanted to, I could have easily done that. Because I changed my programming. Now I also don't want you just to write down on a post it note in your bathroom, that I'm a good filmmaker, I'm a better filmmaker I am. I'm happier. Whatever that is, that is a suggestion. You need to repeat it to yourself, in your mind, or out loud every day. So your subconscious gets it and it will make a difference. I promise you it will make a difference in your life. Because it's made a difference in my life. I cannot tell you all the things that have changed in my life because of this bit of knowledge, this knowledge bomb that I got months ago. I want you to understand something that I'm about to release a book. I am a published author. Now, I never in a million years had a program in my head that I was published. I could be a published author. Why? Because I didn't have anybody around me that I knew that was one. I didn't know it was something that somebody else did. But when I decided I'm like I'm going to write a book, and I'm going to do it and it's going to get released and I'm going to get it published. And that's exactly what Did. Now all of a sudden, I've got three or four books lined up that I'm writing. Why? Because my programming has changed. My program is now telling me Oh, writing books is safe, you can do that. And when I come across New programming that I want to change, I will change it. It's all within your power guys. I want you to understand that the freedom for you to change your life, to change your filmmaking career, to change your screenwriting is all within your own power. It's in side of you. I just did an episode a little bit ago about meditation. It took me years of trying back and forth to be a meditator. Because in my mind, in my programming, I didn't have anybody around me that was a meditator. I didn't have any good role models, I didn't have any, any programming that could reinforce that. So I was like God, something that somebody else does. And I was just talking to a tribe member today, actually, who will remain nameless, but you know who you're who you are, sir. Where when they saw that episode, title, they're like, oh, meditating, that's, that's for somebody else. I'm just gonna keep hustling harder and harder. And I'm going to just keep working harder and harder. Because their programming told them that meditation, that's, that's something new, that's something scary, I don't want to go into that world. And they just wrote it off. Now, mind you, I am a guy who has a company called indie film, hustle, I wear a hat that has hustle period on it. I'm all about the hustle. I'm all about the work. It's about being smart about it. Using that energy properly, hell just even be able to get energy to do it properly, which starts with your health, and your mind, and your mental health and your spiritual health, all of that stuff. That's where you have to go in order to move forward. Once again, guys, you have the power to change your life. Nobody outside of you, nobody anywhere else. If you're waiting for someone else to make you happy or to make your dreams come true. You're going to be waiting a long time. You're going to be waiting and waiting and waiting. It is a recipe for nothing but pain. Understand that you need to take control of your life. You need to start making these decisions and these changes in your own life. And you have the information, there's no excuse anymore. The information that I've laid out in this episode can change your life, your filmmaking life, screenwriting life, your creative life, and just your life in general. I really hope that this episode has helped you guys again, a lot of this information has helped me out dramatically in my life. And as I continue to find and discover new things, I will continue to relay them to you guys. I know you guys have been, I mean getting given me so many emails lately, I can't even tell you so many messages about these new series of podcasts that I'm doing that you guys are really digging it. So please, if you love these podcasts, please share them with as many people as you can. I want this information to get out there. I want my community I want the tribe, I want filmmakers and screenwriters, and people at large to get this information because it is just kind of earth shattering kind of stuff. Because when you're able to change your life, then you can change lives around you. And when you can change lives around you, they can change lives, and so on and so on and so on. So I really hope this helped you guys out a lot. I'm going to put a couple of books in the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/306 that might help you understand a little bit more about this process. All right, thank you guys so much. And if you haven't already, my book shooting for the mob will be released next week, Friday, the 16th if I'm not mistaken, somewhere along those days, because we're just finishing things up. I want everything to be perfect before it goes up. So we're going back and forth to the publisher right now just editing a couple things here and there. But you can preorder it right now at indiefilmhustle.com/mob. And if you are in the launch team and have not gotten a copy of the book to read, please email me at [email protected]. And I will send you a link but you have to be part of the launch team first go on to the Facebook group sign up and then hit me up and I'll get you a copy of it so you can see it and read it and hopefully leave good reviews on Amazon as soon as you can. So thank you guys for listening. And I'll leave you with this. This is your last chance. After this. There's no turning back. You can take the blue pill and nothing will change in your life and you will stay exactly where you are. And you will not move forward or towards the direction you will Want where you can take the red pill and you can truly see how deep the rabbit hole goes. As always keep that also going, keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.



  • [easyazon_link identifier=”1401944590″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter[/easyazon_link] (FREE AUDIOBOOK VERSION)
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”1401953093″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Becoming Supernatural: How Common People Are Doing the Uncommon[/easyazon_link] (FREE AUDIOBOOK VERSION)
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”1401938094″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself[/easyazon_link] (FREE AUDIOBOOK VERSION)
  • Alex Ferrari’s Shooting for the Mob Book- Amazon Link


  1. Bulletproof Script Coverage – Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
  2. AudibleGet a Free Filmmaking or Screenwriting Audiobook
  3. Rev.com – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)



Where Hollywood Comes to Talk

Oliver Stone

Oscar® Winning Writer/Director
(Platoon, Wall Street, JFK)

Edward Burns

(Brothers McMullin, She's the One)

Richard Linklater

Oscar® Nominated Writer/Director
(Boyhood, School of Rock)

Eric Roth

Oscar® Winning Screenwriter
(Forrest Gump, Dune)

Oscar® Winning Writers/Directors
(Everything, Everywhere, All At Once)

Jason Blum

(Shaun of the Dead, Baby Driver)

Oscar® Nominated Producer
(Get Out, Whiplash)

Chris Moore sml

Oscar® Nominated Producer
(Good Will Hunting, American Pie)

(Menace II Society, Book of Eli)

Marta Kauffman sml

Oscar® Winning Writer/Director
(Last Samurai, Blood Diamond)

Emmy® Winning Writer & Showrunner
(Friends, Grace and Frankie)

Free Training of The Week


How to Direct Big Action Sequences on a Micro-Budget

By Gil Bettman

Join veteran director Gil Bettman as he shares the secrets to directing big budget action on a micro budget.