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Tales from a Million-Dollar Debut Feature Film with Giles Alderson
Today on the show I have a good friend and fellow podcaster, Giles Alderson. Giles is not only a podcaster but a successful filmmaker, producer, and screenwriter. I’ve been on The Filmmaker’s Podcast a couple of times now and I just love talking shop with him. One day we got to talking and he told me the crazy story of his debut film The Dare, which cost over a million dollars.
The Dare starred Richard Brake (31, Batman Begins), Alexandra Evans (Redistributors), Bart Edwards (Fantastic Beasts), Richard Short (Vinyl, Public Enemies), Robert Maaser (M.I 5 Rogue Nation).
Giles Alderson has recently locked picture on his directed historical action feature Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot for Signature Ent and Picture Perfect. Starring Richard Short (Macbeth) Stella Stocker (The Good Liar) and Richard Brake (Game of Thrones).
I had to have him on the show to share his misadventures in making a million-dollar debut feature film. Get ready for one whale of a tale. Enjoy my conversation with Giles Alderson.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Giles Alderson – Official
- Giles Alderson – Facebook
- Giles Alderson – Twitter
- The Filmmaker’s Podcast
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Alex Ferrari 2:11
Now guys Today on the show we have filmmaker, producer screenwriter and fellow podcaster Giles Alderson. And Giles is the host of the filmmakers podcast, a very popular podcast over in the UK. Now I've had the pleasure of being on his show multiple times. And we were talking the other day about his first film and when he told me that his first film had a million dollar budget, I was like, You mean your debut feature film was a million bucks. How the hell did that happen? He goes, it's a hell of a story. So he started telling me the story. I'm like, dude, you gotta come on the show. And we got to talk about this. So that's what we did and it is a hell of a tale that he weaves in regards to how he got this movie made. His just the adventures the misadventures everything that went on, on making his film and, and what he's doing now his new projects, how that film led to his next project and so on and so forth. And jaws is just an awesome, awesome guy and I am proud to call him my friend. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Giles Alderson. I'd like to welcome to the show Giles Alderson How you doing my friend?
Giles Alderson 3:29
I am good. Thank you, Alex. It's an absolute delight, honestly, to be here with you.
Alex Ferrari 3:33
Yeah. Thank you for coming on the show, man. You know, we've we've known each other for a little while now. You have an amazing podcast called the filmmakers podcast, which I've I've been blessed and honored to be on as as a guest as well. twice, twice. Yes, I'm a I'm a two timer. Yes. Yes, I am a timer to timer. And, and we also work together a little bit on your documentary, which we'll talk about later as well. But before we get going, man, how did you get into the business?
Giles Alderson 4:09
You see, it's a it's a really interesting one for me, because obviously, the quicker version of it is as an actor for years, but getting to be an actor was a careers advisor in school. And she said to me, because I was like, I'm gonna be a footballer, soccer player. If this is all I'm gonna do, I'm gonna play for England as a goalkeeper. And she said to me, she said, Yeah, yeah, well, while you're waiting for that to happen, I saw you in a school play. And I heard you you know. Of course at college, while you wait for the football, and I went to this performing arts college and I fell in love with the people the girls the the idea of it and I wasn't getting any of the roles, but I wanted it and I got the bug and I fell in love and football didn't happen for May sadly, I still waiting, I'm still waiting in my you know, you never know one day. And then I got into acting. And from there I'd put on plays at the Royal Court in London and the Soho theatre, which I had written and that's sometimes direct them. And it was just an absolute joy to sort of be involved in behind the scenes. But I wanted to be an actor, not a filmmaker, people kept saying you should really direct shorts should go do something like that. And I shied away from it for so long. And luckily, I've managed to be in some great films, I want candy and the dams united and loaded TV. And the dam tonight was a football movie, a soccer movie. So I got to fulfill my two dreams of being a professional footballer, but actually acting away. And then we wrote a pilot for the BBC, the BBC, were interested in this pilot that our team at the time where we were writing, and I said, go off and shoot shoot a pilot, we've said, Okay, all right, great, we can do that. And the director pulled out almost last minute. So I went, I'm going to do it, I am going to do this. And I fell in love with directing. on the spot, I went, this is amazing. I didn't know what it was, it was just the delight of being on set and actually calling the shots and be in control with the addicted camera guy, you know, so actually, I just like to move the shot round here and call and they do it. And you're like, what are you actually doing what I'm saying? Does this make sense? And yeah, choosing the colors in the palette and the costumes. And I then spent the next part of 10 years trying to be a director. And it was very difficult being the actor. Because people were very much like you. You're an actor, mate, you know, and it was very hard to get take be taken seriously as a director. So whenever when for directing gigs, I just didn't talk about the acting. And I started to make music videos and promos and brand media and films for banks and whatever I could get my hands on to learn about filmmaking. And yet, that's pretty much how I got into it.
Alex Ferrari 6:56
Very cool. Now, your your first film is very interesting, your debut film, it's not the standard fare fair? For so. So can you tell the story about how you what was the story behind your debut film, sir.
Giles Alderson 7:14
So to get to my debut film, I it, like I said, it took a long time. And during that time, I got burnt so much by predatory producers, by my lack of understanding about what directors slash producers slash screenwriters should do and be, and I was forever in people's heads. And I didn't feel I belonged and constantly relying on other people to make those decisions. I was always hearing things third party, you know, someone else would have a meeting and get passed down. And now it's not working out, or they'll always be an issue. You know, we had Jason Statham attached to one project at one time, we had Fox attached to another project. And every single time I wasn't the person speaking to the person, if you like, there was always two or three people in between. And it was so much that here this third hand, and by then it'd been diluted and diluted and diluted, and I couldn't take it anymore. And some during that whole process I got ripped off on those projects got taken away from me, and I didn't have any control. So what I decided to do was take back control, I decided to write my own projects fully, I decided to produce my own projects. And I decided to say I'm directing this and no one's gonna take it away from me this time. And I learned massively about doing that. And that being strong and about being vibrant and about, actually, when you do that, people take you seriously, if you're they're going, I'm directing this, if you're not going to put the money in because I'm directing it, or if you're not going to be in it because I'm directing it, then you're not going to be in it. I'm not doing it with you. Whereas in the past, I was so scared. That I think is interesting. So are those two is one project we were doing, where I'd found the investor, I'd found the script, I'd found the actors and the big actors that got it all going It was great. And then suddenly, I get a call from one of the investors. One of the saying, oh, there's a bit of a situation I'm like, What do you mean is it speak to the producer, a producer was now not returning calls. It seemed to be that the writer and producer had gone behind my back and put the option in a different name and then brought my investors to them. And they invested in guides via and rang back up the investor. What are you doing? Why do you do this? And he said, Don't worry, we'll give you an associate producer credit. That'd be really good for your career. I ought to this is the time where I changed and I fought back and I said, I'm not having this anymore. I said I'll take you to court. I'm going to take this further. I'm not having this agents. We're being really dickheads and I just fought back. I said I've had enough and fought back. And it changed, the film didn't happen, which is sad in some ways, but also, you know what I stuck up for myself. And all filmmakers need to do that. About about this all the time. It's so true. It's your project. And if you want to go make a film, you have to be strong. And I don't mean be a dick. And I don't mean be obtrusive. And in the way, you've just got to be strong and powerful and passionate about your project that people want to work with you. And that's kind of how my first project the day came about. So I'm now in this place where I am struggling to get a project made, I'm struggling for people to take me seriously. And I went to see a friend's film called Emmet Gupta. And he'd made some big movies with some big people. And he just made this $100,000 romantic comedy. I said to him afterwards, I said, mate, that was fantastic. But why have you gone from making these two 3 million pound studio movies even bigger, in some cases with big names to making this with no names and no money? He went? Because I'm in control. And I got to make a movie, how I wanted to make a movie. And he turned to me and said, Why are you not making the movie? And I said, Oh, because because because he went go home tonight, find a project and go make it for whatever budget, you can go make it for, and then you'll be taken seriously. And I took him at his word. And that night, I went home, found a script that I was so passionate about. And I went out and I said, right, I'm going to make this movie. During that time, obviously, bits and pieces happened. And I said, I'm also going to write something myself. But that writer of that other project, I brought him on to my project, which was called the dare. And it was two ideas. I'd had sat in a notebook on my desk here. And one point I was reading through ideas, and I went, why don't I stick them together? This is for people in a basement. We don't know why they're there. And then above, there's an old man, and he's got a kid. And we don't know their relationship, but it's not his kid. And I thought, why don't I tie these stories together? Why don't they connect somehow. And that was that was like a light bulb went off in my head. Now I have this story. And within literally a week had written the whole treatment are almost 70 pages of this treatment. And I went to my, another producer at the time and things happened and fell down. And then I went back to this writer and I said you want to write this with me. And within a month, we had a really great first draft. And the story carries on from there and it gets better.
Alex Ferrari 12:18
There's all sorts of so what's the next step after that? So because I know you, you got this movie made? Yeah. How you got a man? It's not usual with the first time out? Director.
Giles Alderson 12:28
No, it's. It's really not. Yeah, quote, unquote, first time director. And this is this is interesting. So I'm now got the data. It's a script ready. There's interest. There's proper interest now from New producers. And people are very excited. It's a commercial prospect. It's a very sore esque gore film, but with much more psychological lead themes. And people are going well, we can make money here. This is great. But no one was actually putting your hand in the pocket. And my good friend Julian cost off who we acted together in a really bad advert years ago for Panasonic. He said, Well, listen, I'm producing now made loads of stuff in Bulgaria bits I've acted and stuff Can I can I send the script to the studio in Bulgaria? And I said, Yeah, of course, whatever, thinking nothing of it. And literally, I think a couple of weeks late, we got report back from the script readers over in New bayana Studios. And I'll tell you more about them in a second. But they came back with a great a really great review saying, Yeah, we could shoot this here. Does the filmmaker want to do it here get in touch. So Julian said, This is amazing. Look what we've got here. This is great. So we got in touch with the studio and their new Brianna. And they said, Listen, we love this, but we're not going to make this now. So come back in a year. Go try and make it then we'll make it with you. We potentially you know all that. We said Alright, fine. We knew that they were connected to Millennium which Millennium media who do amazing films or action big action film, Hellboy lepin is fallen Rambo recently. And we thought, wow, this could be a really great end. Should we wait a year? Because now we've got this other producer here in the UK? Who's saying I can give you 150 grand we can go make this by just didn't believe him. You know when you saw shocking, shocking, shocking, shocking, shocking, shocking. And I thought there was something about him that was just not right. There was just something and I but I was like but I want to make a movie, I need to make a movie. I'm desperate now by this point for those filmmakers out there, who know was going through who was going through that you're desperate to make a film. And it was my baby and I could do this and suddenly this guy is offering some sort of money to go make it. So we went through another month of pre production and we're about to sign the deal and go through this and to be honest, it could have been absolute shit show of it as you know, when you just think Is this real? is it now? Is the money really gonna turn up? Is it really gonna be 60 grand is people going to run away with this money that he's saying he's got and it all seemed really dodgy. There's some dodgy people involved in
Alex Ferrari 14:59
again. Shocking shocking, shocking again. So the money the money is gonna drop any day. Now that's, that's,that's the word
Giles Alderson 15:06
Drop every day. But we were very far advanced with pre production and looking at locations and all this and you know, blah, blah, blah. So Julian went Nope. I'm gonna go back to the studio again and just knock on that door one more time and tell them, we've got money. This is your last chance to make this movie. Do you want to do it? And he calls me back after he called them. He said, You'll never guess what? I said what? He said, If you fly over tomorrow, they're gonna see you. And I went, well, he said, You fly to Bulgaria tomorrow. And this is like 5pm at night, they will see. I'm like, Oh my god, I drop everything I look at flights are going Oh, god, that's way too expensive for my price runs. But okay, you've got to do this. This is an opportunity to go to a major studio.
Alex Ferrari 15:52
It's an adventure. It's an adventure. Oh, yes.
Giles Alderson 15:55
Oh, Gary, let's do this. So I practice my pitch a book. I said, let's do it. Let's do it. Let's book the flight. They said that pay for the hotel. I said, Great. I'll stay for the night. They said, If you and then I spoke to them. I said, Yeah, if you come over, here's the bright details. Here's your hotel details now. We will show you around the studio. So I booked the flight on the time that they suggested done. I'm sitting on this flight on my absolutely khaki myself. I don't know what to expect. This is crazy. I'm like, Oh my god, I'm actually going to a film studio to pitch my movie. Is this real? They like it. We know they like it. I get to the hotel. And they say, okay, vrF is the exact who's running the show. He says he's a bit busy right now. So just chill here for a bit. Okay, I'm now in Bulgaria in some hotel, I can't go out. I've got no money. I can't afford to literally eat. I'm like, Oh my god, how am I going to do this? And eventually shows up this this wonderful, charismatic, interesting guy. And he says like, hey, really laid back almost like in flip flops and a T shirt. And I'm like, really? This guy runs this studio. Okay, cool. Alright, fair hair tall as well, like a bear. I'm like, Wow. Okay. And he says, so. Tell me about your move. You know what? Okay, well, you've you've seen the pitch of what what do I need to tell you? What not? I know nothing. And deep breath, go for it. And this is huge advice I can give to any filmmakers is know your pitch inside out, be fully prepared to bullshit if you have to. But no, it's so well that it's like you're telling your mates down the pub? No, it's so well, that it's exciting. It's enticing. That they really think okay, this guy knows what he's doing because or girl girl because they're investing in you. And this is a secret. I've only learned recently, I got my movie made because of how I pitched it and how I talked about this movie and how I was passionate about it. Because if I'd come across all well, I just don't know. I'm kind of excited to make that with God with me. done. I'm done. I'm out the door. So I had to pretend to be a pretend and I mean, pretend because you're absolutely kicking yourself to know what you're talking about. I've not made a movie. I'm now a major studio. And they're going well. Should Why should I invest in you? Why should I put our hard earned money into you? So I gave my best pitch I did wrong as I could. And I sold myself to high heaven. He said, Great. Thank you. I like your idea. I like you. I need to think about this. And I said, okay, but you know, we've got a UK producer ready to go. We're about to sign the deal. Bullshit bullshit. But yeah, it's kind of true, but you know not? And he said, Yeah, but I need time to think about it. So if you want to take that deal take it
Alex Ferrari 18:48
You don't play you can't you don't don't be playing hardball did that. So So real quick, I want to I want to stop you there for a second because everyone listening there's a moment to play hardball or David hardball. But to play that game of like, Well, you know, there's another couple on the lot that wants to buy this car. And if you don't buy it now, by the next 20 minutes, it's gonna have to go Yeah, that only works if the person that you're selling to really wants and has no other options like they're in love with your project or your car for the for the analogies right now because he was like the studio head he had never even heard about it. Or at least that's what he said. and wanted to hear all of that. That's not the play and you could have very easily screwed up at that moment. It could have been he could have said you know what, why don't you just go off and do that. Thanks buying it. Just look is that fair?
Giles Alderson 19:45
Totally fair. totally fair. And luck was on my side that I again I came prepared as in not only was I very good with the pitch and passionate but I also came with a ton of photos, a ton of moods, a ton of images, even a real rip For you, I came with, what you come is if you were making the movie tomorrow, color palettes, costume ideas, casting ideas, even at that point, we've pretty much cast the movie. It everything I could think of, from listening to your amazing podcast, from listening to people and books that I've read about, or how to go in and pitch yourself. And just being clever about it and thinking. And my main tip there as well would be, I didn't just talk about the movie. And this is interesting in a really fine line, because it's just me and him in a hotel. You know, we hadn't gone to the shooter, he'd come to the hotel, and he said, we're sitting in this echo chamber of this really weird Eastern European gold light hotel that I was put in. And it's just me and him. So I also went on to his level, I also talked to him as the person, I tried to see who's interested in soccer. Now he wasn't, I tried to save his interest in whatever he was interested in. We talked about but I got him to like me, I got him to be interested in me as a person. Because he had no idea if I can make a move, he had no idea of my film was any good. Or if I could actually shoot anything. He was interested in me. And what cleverly he did was he kept passing the buck back to me and asking about me and what I didn't how I anything to not talk about the film, if you like some, I don't enough, have I done enough? So he says, Okay, well, UK, you've got the other film, maybe the other producers, but you choose what you want to do. But I'm coming to London in a month, I'm going to bring my other producer with me. If you're still interested. We're gonna pitch again. Then I said, I said, Absolutely. So first of all, though, I'm going to take you around the studio. And I want you to tell me if you think you can shoot your movie in the studio. Now, obviously, I'm because beautiful Oh,
Alex Ferrari 21:43
Beautiful Oh, masterful?
Giles Alderson 21:44
Well, of course. I don't need to see it. Obviously. I looked at the looked at the whole place. There's no question about it. When someone says can you shoot your movie in a studio? You? Yeah. So at that point, go? Well, great. Yeah. It'd be really good to look at some of the locations and the ideas. Yeah, great. Take me around. I walk into the studio, new piano studios is gorgeous. It's basically they've got New York set New York Street, it looks like New York, they've got London Street. They've got a gulag. They've got forests, they've got everything you can imagine a 16 studio spaces gorgeous. So obviously, I walk around like a kid in a candy shop going, Oh, my God, look at this place, proper tour with the proper people who run the studio. He or he has gone off now doing something else. And eventually I go back, I'm waiting for my flight. And they just sit me in an office for a while and he eventually comes back. He says so could you shoot your movie here? And I look at him in very seriously and look him in the eyes. And I say no. Absolutely. This is absolutely cesspool. It's horrible. And we have a laugh about it. And I said, Of course I can. I've got plans. I know how we could do the forest. You know, the usual. He says, great. Fantastic. Lovely to meet you. I've got to go. Good luck with the flight back. I'm coming to London in a month. Excellent. I go back. I'm like, what are we going to do to Julian? He's like, Well, of course we've got to wait. Now we've got to wait. So we've sort of fobbing the other producer off a bit. And I don't mean that in a nasty way. He was also all over the place. So it worked out well. A month later, he comes back to me, he comes to London, and he sits down with his line, please. And the same thing happened again, we hardly talked about the movie, too. I had two pictures if I'd never pitched it before. I had to describe it as I've never had before. We talked about everything and anything as well apart from the film. And he got to know me, he got to know Julian really well and his other producer was brilliant. And we got on brilliantly. And again, I still believe this. The real reason I got that film made was because he liked me. It didn't really matter about the film. Of course it did. Of course, it was important. What was important was me and the fact that he felt I've got to work with this kid for two, three. And actually, as it's turned out four years before the film's got released in the UK might come to that if you like why it took so long. And now we are and suddenly now after that mean, he goes great. Okay, well, we'd like to do the movie. And I I'm literally burning up inside and my heart is racing. And I'm putting I'm trying to keep it cool. And I go Okay, good. Good. All right. Yeah. Well, I think we can i think i think we could do so well, how you gonna deal with the other producer? When I think you're I think we'll be able to do,
Alex Ferrari 24:24
We're gonna make that work. We'll make that work on our end, and make it work on our end.
Giles Alderson 24:28
We'll make it work. And again, we haven't signed anything to the producer. And it wasn't like it was a anything. It was again, it was all pie in the sky and talk and I just another sort of fake investor producer. He's still not he's not gone and made any other films and he's not. So it was another one of those fake things. Sure. So I think on that way, and then I spent three months in Bulgaria. I'm prepping the movie in the movie studios talking about how we're going to make this movie as it was just incredible. You know, you literally walk it that you had no idea which studio is going to be mine and they're going to build it. We did that And how we're going to build the basement and build the farmhouse. And it was just a magical
Alex Ferrari 25:04
And this is your first film.
Giles Alderson 25:06
And this is my Debut Movie. And it's with, you know, Millennium media and it's with bt y, and it's in a studio in new Breanna. And there I am, this kid who's written something with his pal, Johnny grant. And suddenly now my other pal, Julian Costa is now producing this. If you like hollywood movie, and I'm directing it as my Debut Movie, and I can tell you now, I was shitting myself.
Alex Ferrari 25:32
Well, no, I mean, anyone listening here is like Jesus like this is it's the dream, but it's the nightmare all at the same time. I wanted to back up on something in your in your story where you kept saying that, like they talked about everything except the movie. Yes. And the reason and the reason of want the audience to understand the reason why they do that is because they already know the project is something they're interested in or have quality. That's not the, because they have 20 of those on the on the desk at dislike, you know, this is not avatar. I mean, yeah, this is this is they have 20 other projects, who are of equal or better quality, or marketability, or money making potential, it's all there. But the X Factor is always the filmmaker, it's always you. And I've been in those meetings as well, where they're just feeling you out, because I'm gonna have to go down the road with this guy, or this girl for the next year to two, if not longer. Can I work with this person? And regardless if it's the best script in the world, if you're a dick, yep, it is done. It's over. And that's why they kind of played that game because they were that you could tell that that's a See that's a seasoned producer. That's a seasoned filmmaker who, who walked you through those paces. And like and then made you wait a month on top of that, because he could have easily greenlit it while you were there. Of course, he could have just said, yeah, we want to do it. What do we want to do? No, he let you wait for a month. Let's see how this all plays out. This is all a game. And this is something that is completely unwritten, in, in the game play
Giles Alderson 27:10
In the game manual of making films. It's just unwritten that and I think it's vital. It's so important that filmmakers understand that it is them. They are the ones that get films made. They're the ones I produce movies. Now, you know, it's my journey of that, since that time has produced movies, and I'm working with people, I want to work with it for one. Know this, as well as making the films, one of the hardest things you might do. It's torturous, it's hard work. If you're in the trenches with someone who's a bit of a dick, not even a massive deck, a bit of a dick, you're going I can't be bothered. I've got other things I'd rather make my own project, and God forbid, maybe a deck on that, you know, I mean, it's like,
Alex Ferrari 27:53
so also as you and also as, as you get older, you just start your tolerance for that. Like when you're 20 something your tolerance for that is very high, like things I did in my 20s I look back now I'm like, Oh my god, I would never, but when you're young and hungry, you deal with a lot of stuff that you will not deal with as you get older. But yes, it's so true. So much like as as even in my post business, I would start work talking to potential clients, and I'll be just like, hmm, we could do this for this much. But let's talk about you. And I would just start feeling them out. And I'm like, Oh, no, this guy's gonna be a nightmare. If you do it. Yeah, I would have done it for 20,000 but it's gonna be 50 if I got to put up with you, I need to be paid for this pain.
Giles Alderson 28:40
Absolutely. Right. Absolutely. And and when I get an interesting when I was in that three month period, I actually think it might have ended up being longer. We haven't got a start date. And this was freaking me out because I'm now in Bulgaria away from my family, in a hotel room pretty much on my own a lot of the time getting ferried to the studio, and we didn't have a start date. Because the next London Has Fallen old movies come in or Adrian Brody's now shooting or Antonio Banderas is now shooting and the studio is being pushed. It's being pushed, it's being pushed. And this freaked me out so much that a one point sadly, my misses his dad died. So I was like, Okay, I need to fly back. But if I fly back, this could be a real problem. And the film Might Just Die cuz it's me pushing it here. I'm in the studio again, please give me a start date, please. My actors in our game? Is this really happening? The agents are knocking on the door and Julian's going, Oh, god, what we're going to do. So I said, I'm going to fly back. And I'm gone. And I kind of knew at that point, if they don't greenlight it while I'm gone, this might not happen and it was a risk. And remember, I think I was back a week and a half after the funeral, and I called up the RF and I said, the RF this needs to be the start date. And this needs to be when we start the Edit. Be cuz of my cast and because of the Edit, is this possible, please tell me this, this is a go. And he said, Okay, let's do it. And it was it was such a weird thing that that was the greenlight, that was the moment and whether it was me flying back and not being in the vicinity and not knocking on the door all the time and not being a pest and when I was doing that at all, I was just in this zone, but there's something about that that was really interesting. From that moment. It was all there's the start date, and then it moved forward. I just wanted to talk about x I found that really fascinating as a as a thing. Why did that happen and why? And that whole time the whole time? Really? I was thinking I'm a fraud any moment now There we go. Charles it's not you it's sorry, we made you open the wrong door
Alex Ferrari 30:43
Imposter imposter syndrome. And it's it is something it is a disease that runs rampant through the filmmaking community and screenwriting community. Is that whole like all they're gonna figure me out? Look, I still feel that way. Sometimes. We all do. I've talked to big, you know, I've interviewed big filmmakers, big screenwriters. And you know, I asked them sometimes either on the show or off the show, and they go Yeah, I still, I still feel like you want an Oscar? And they're like, yeah, I still kind of feel like you know, look, Henry Ford's It was a Henry Fonda. It was Henry Fonda. Every time he would go on to do a play, right before he would go on he throw up at 70 at 75 at 75.
Giles Alderson 31:28
I think Judi Dench still does. You know, we had Christie Wilson Cannes, the writer screenwriter of 1917 on the podcast recently she said the same thing she the constitute now writing Star Wars. She says I've constantly feel the imposter. I feel any minute now. They're gonna go You can't write? Why are you here. And we feel that too. And it but because it was my first movie. But it was just this really weird. I didn't feel like a prove myself in any way, shape, or form. And another interesting story with the era of another point, I was sat down with him. And he had made all these shorts award winning shorts and docks and promos and whatever. And he said, so I'm going to tell you what first ad does. I'm going to tell you who calls action I'm going to and I was like, Oh, no, I know. But you know, when you think, oh, if I say I know he's gonna think what? Hang on. But he just kind of explained what how a set works. And I thought, hang on, are you?
Alex Ferrari 32:26
Like I know nothing.
Giles Alderson 32:27
I know, nothing. You said before. And it was really interesting moment that I just looked at Judy. And he looked at me like Shut up. Just let him talk. And it was just amazing moment. He just go Okay
Alex Ferrari 32:38
So this is this. let's dissect that for a second. So this man is giving you seven figures, seven figures to make seven figures to make this film. Which is insane. It's insane. It's insane. I've worked on a project that there was a first time director that had a million dollars and boy that that didn't go well. Like really, really badly. So anytime you give a seven figure deal to have a first time director, I you know, it's you really are rolling the dice. So he, he basically gave you the shot based on the script. And you not your experience, not where you came from. And he was like, so confident in who you are as a human being. Things like I can teach you how to direct. I can teach you have vision and will get people around you and we'll get the movie made. But you have you're the driving force behind it, but you just need some help, technically, and we can help you with that. That is the sign of a very seasoned producer, someone and I've spoken to those guys that I've met those guys and when you speak to people at that level, you they're just at a completely different. Yeah, wavelength. Because normally you and I you know when we're coming up, we're dealing with the schmucks, the guys who like I'm like, I'm I got the money. I got this investor over here. I got that guy. And how much do you want 3 million? That's nothing. I spent 3 million. Throw that away in the morning. Ah, all that stuff. How much do you need? Like all that kind of stuff. And that's these posers are what most filmmakers deal with are Posers, people who are pretending, or they're acting like they're their big shots. But did you notice in your story so far, when you met this guy, he showed up in almost flip flops and a T shirt and he ran the studio? Why? Because he wasn't trying to impress anyone. He was so comfortable with who he was, and what he does, that he doesn't need to impress you. But the dude shows up in a $5,000 suit. You know, and from my experience dealing with these kind of big producers, they don't do that. They don't they don't show off like that. They'll just, they might be dicks. They might be arrogant. They might be other things. But they generally don't show what they do. There's so insecure, it's fascinating.
Giles Alderson 35:04
Alex Ferrari 35:05
But he was very secure,
Giles Alderson 35:07
I got my shot because of that absolutely agree he, he, he'd liked me. He believed in what I could do. And my vision and I constant was telling him my vision. I was constantly updating. I was doing storyboards for days and days and days. They gave me a storyboard artist for God's sake. And I was like, Okay, well, how are you going to do? So now I've got to think about how to draw it, you know, I knew how to make it look, but to draw it. So I'll use Lego figures. And this is really I went to the shop nearby, and I got a load of Lego figures. Because again, I'm in Bulgaria, not everyone's great English, you know that some people are brilliant, but not everyone. So when you try to talk to shot or a specific angle you want, it doesn't really translate. So I've got these little mini Lego figures. And I, I put a dagger in one of their hands. And I just kept moving them around this, you know, cuz most of it set in a basement. And I just take photos of it. Okay, I'm going to shoot from this angle. I'll do that. And she'd go, Okay, cool. And it made a huge difference to understanding my vision. And yeah, but you're right. He, he believed in me. And based on the script and me. And that is a huge lesson to any filmmaker out there is that is what it's about this world is that obviously, you've got to be talented. You've got to know what you're doing. And I'm sure he'd done his homework. But
Alex Ferrari 36:19
yeah, no, no, I promise you the whole I don't know anything that's now. No, I promise you he knew what was going on. He'd probably read the script, he probably listen to the pitch. He just wanted to hear you say it. There's no way a man like that's just going to show up going. Yeah, what's what so what do you about like, he's not going to get in a car drive to your hotel, it's that's no chance. There's no chance at all. But I want to make this very clear to everyone listening. Your story is an anomaly. It is. It is an outlier. It is not the norm. And from someone who's been hustling in the business for 25 years, you're the first positive example of someone having a million dollar plus seven figure plus film. And in their first film, and not just epically throwing the money away, your ego gets out of hand. But how old were you when you made this? is four years ago? So? Yeah, man, you're not a kid? No, I was definitely not okay. Yeah. See, it's it's a little bit different. I promise you if you would have been 10 years younger, this wouldn't have happened.
Giles Alderson 37:33
I agree. tell you he wouldn't. He wouldn't have. And I'm glad because back then when I was trying to make the movie, like, say, the eight year period of trying to do that up until four years ago, I wouldn't have been ready. In like I say, when I had Jason state. And when we had Fox, I wasn't ready for that. That's why it didn't happen as much as it hurt. And I cried in my pillow and all these things when it all fell down. And the other thing is, was I only had one project and I'm never doing that, again, have more than one of 10 so that if one falls down, it's not the end of the world back then I had one. But yeah, it is an anomaly. And I'm amazed and you know what, I worked so hard when we were shooting and I, I gave it everything and you know, fantastically it's done really well that so so
Alex Ferrari 38:15
how did it so why did it take so long to get out?
Giles Alderson 38:18
So it took so long to get out because it's a studio movie. And it we needed to do pickups basically, the last part of the movie originally was they come out of the cabin, if you like, you know not to give any spoilers away of the film, but it was snowing on the day we needed to shoot during our print principle photography. So we were like, Don't worry, we'll come back and shoot in a month's time when you've had look at the idea. You can do some other pickups, then he'd already promised me this was interesting. He only came to set twice or three times. And both times he literally almost walked right onto in the middle of where the camera is just walked on. And I'm there literally with with our young kid, he's playing young Dominic, and I'm, and I could see someone at the corner. I'm like, why is there someone stood there any minute now I'm gonna go I'm sorry. You can't be there. There's the camera coming through and stuff like that. And I'm directing this kid I'm really going into detail was a great moment for him to be stood there watching me really direct this kid to try and get the performance. And I look up and everyone's just stood there sort of half smile at me again. Cool. And he pulls me I'm so glad it was that moment and not maybe another moment where maybe not doing what I'm supposed to do or whatever. And, and he pulls me aside and he says, look, we're really happy where it's going. I'm going to give you two extra pickup days. And I went kind of have them now. I said Can I finish? I need them. I'm desperate. We we had originally we had one bit to shoot there really should take six days. And in the end we got two days at night. It was and it shouldn't have been in any way that I can go into that another time. But he pulled me aside I said you get an extra two days and I said can I have them now and he said no. You will need them later. I promise you when you look at the Edit, you'll need them. So Anyway, so I knew I had these two days. So when the snow fell for came, I was like, Okay, well, we'll have to pick that up in a month's time or whatever. So I'm now in the edit suite. I'm editing away. And Bulgaria still still in Bulgaria for this this point, it was pretty soon after I went back and then edited with my great editor, Holly Parker back in the UK. And during that time, though, there was no sign of any pickup times, it wasn't nothing I might want to have in the went, I'll finish the Edit first, and then we'll look at it properly. And a year goes by and oh, yeah, we've now finished. I think we had two months to do that. So we've done that. And they said, Great, we're now going to do look at the screening. And I went over to Bulgaria A month later. And they said right screen in front of all the execs and the big people I said, gave us notes and said, here's some notes. Here's what we're willing to change. And here's some hiccups we want you to do, I said, Yeah, great. They're all following my style. No problem, I was in a great place, it's like happy, then they just couldn't find time to shoot because the next day since day from film came in, the next fallen film has come in Hellboy then started shooting. And every time was like, we're gonna fit you in, we're just gonna. And then when they found a time actors weren't available. Now they're all doing really, really well. Or they've now cut their hair or all these things had a big impact. So it was a full year later when we shot the first set of pickups. Then we did another edit of the movie and put them in at that point Millennium said, we think you should reshoot the beginning. Because he comes across as a bit of a Dickey lead character It was a stag do I've got all my mates across to play the stag do guys. And they weren't you just gonna have to cut all that we want him to be a family, man. It's better for the story. And it was there were 100% right? But oh my god, it killed me to cut out this stuff, my friends as well. So there was another delay. Now we have to reshoot that we now need to wait for my actors and the studio space to shoot that two years go by? Oh my god,
Alex Ferrari 41:57
you're now you're doing other things during this time?
Giles Alderson 41:59
Of course. Now, I'd made another feature film during that time. You think it? Is anything gonna come out? What if you feel really silly? You know, I'd started the omegas podcast at that point. I'm talking about the data constantly. And I'm like, Is it ever going to come out? Is this ever going to happen? So I think it was, yeah, fully, maybe two and a half up to three years late before we now locked the final film. And then it was a case of now that's showing it, it can. Now we're showing it at these places, we'd already got sales in certain territories already. Just off the back of my first teacher I see teaser I've done three and a half years ago. So we'd already pre sell in so many territories off that. And it took that long, you know, that's just how it is. And in that it came out in March in the US and Canada. And now it's October in the UK. And that's full four years after we first started talking on leazes. It can go like I say I've had another movie two movies out in that time, one that we did a five month turnaround. This is for years. And that's your studio, my Debut Movie has come out after my second and third movies.
Alex Ferrari 43:07
So another lesson we should be talking to everyone listening. Patients shouldn't be so key vacations a lot of that time. That is what this business does. It will wear you down, grind you little by and it's not. Sometimes it's a big hit. But a lot more likely it's the paper cuts of something like this that could just drive you crazy. Imagine if you had been you were like working aside, you work in a Starbucks during this time. Because for whatever reason the your whole life is wrapped around this. You were smart enough to start working on other projects and get other things developed. A lot of filmmakers I know don't do that they'll just sit for four years.
Giles Alderson 43:53
I know I know friends who have done the same or know what this film to come out and be successful. And then I can get a big studio movie off the back of that. I totally disagree with that. I think you improve as a director by directing. If you're not directing, you're set on your bum at home. If an actor is constantly on set a dp is constantly on set they're constantly honing their craft and getting better if you've known directed for four years, God forbid you know let's say the day comes out and it's it was washed out. It wasn't any good. Now voice did for four years, and now no one's gonna hire me. But if I've made two three other movies during that time, people are now going Oh, cool. It doesn't matter what happened to that first movie, you've already had other successes or your failures or whatever they are. Why would you wait, the more I've directed the better I've got lacked
Alex Ferrari 44:40
The will then I'm going to I'm going to play devil's advocate and I completely agree with you. But I'm going to play devil's advocate. But Stanley Kubrick wait seven years between movies. He doesn't direct all the time. And I would answer. He was Stanley Kubrick. A standard for whatever Stanley wants We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Because I know there's a droid I know someone out there is listening going, Well, you know, like, some of these directors take three or four years between movies, you're not to be directing all the time. I'm like, Yeah, those guys have forgotten more about filmmaking than you will ever learn.
Giles Alderson 45:24
Absolutely. And you know what, those guys will probably be paid to retainer or they've been paid on scripts, by studios or on deals all that when you're not, when you're independent filmmaker, what are you waiting for? Go make another movie, don't worry about it. It doesn't matter. You have to be in control of your career. Because you this is another secret, and Alex is probably telling this many times is a lot of these people won't watch your movies. If they're out there being released. They know it's come out back and speak to so and so. So yeah, it was cool that that's all they need to know. They might watch the trailer, you think they're gonna sit through and watch your movie? why they're gonna talk to you about the new one, you've got the next one you've got. So it doesn't matter if you've made another three, four or five movies that maybe aren't as good as that one, or whatever it is. Doesn't matter. You're making films, and you get better. You work better with people. Yeah, more actors want to work with you. Because you've made more films, all these type of things, you meet more people, it's vital that you as a filmmaker constantly work that muscle. That's my opinion. I know. plenty of friends who don't do it that way. That's their prerogative and their choice. But I love being on set. That's why I produce as well because you can be on set right?
Alex Ferrari 46:35
Yeah, it's it's, it's the only thing that cures or at least treats this this. This affliction that we have that is called filmmaking.
Giles Alderson 46:44
Totally, totally. It really is. And just I suppose to wrap up the whole dare thing as much as it's not come out in the UK yet. It did massive numbers in Holland cinema was I didn't even know is on in the cinema in Holland. Huge numbers, I have no idea why have no publicity. Anyway, the good thing about this is this big talk of a sequel and all that. And we're really deep in you know, developing it. And isn't that magical, that some small idea had in literally my loft here two ideas, and it becomes something becomes something real and tangible that people can love and hate and disagree with and argue about. But hey, you get you get to be part of this magical world called moviemaking. And you don't do that by sitting on your ass. And you don't do that by going one day, I'll write a script and one day I'll give it to a producer. Now you've got to do it and you got to send it to those producers and find them and go to events that shit happens.
Alex Ferrari 47:36
And now during this waiting time, you also made a couple other like micro budget films, where would it so which is the one that which is the movie that that went to Showtime and sky? And how did you get that to work out?
Giles Alderson 47:49
So this is called a serial killers Guide to Life. Just after I finished shooting the first block of principal photography on the dare my good friends Dan cousins row said, Look, I'm making this movie called a serial killers Guide to Life. Would you come and help me produce it? Because directing it, he said, You know, there's a few of the producers on and stuff come and share the load. And I did and it was micro budget. But it was a wonderful experience for me. At the time even our producer inherited a load of other stuff to actually go on someone else's movie and not be creative. And do the nuts and bolts of making a film that literally how does the truck go from there? Who empties the toilet? Me? Alright, how do you know all these type of things actors need to get from there to there? Okay, it's raining. We need to get umbrellas out. We need to put tents and all this stuff. It's nuts and bolts filmmaking producing, a lot of people don't realize is producing. So I learned that. And I did it. And we had a you know, a great shoot. And the film turned out wonderfully and got selected for fright first and Scott awards across the board. And you know, for the
Alex Ferrari 48:51
How did. How did you get that microfilm to Showtime and the sky movies?
Giles Alderson 48:55
Yeah. So it was a case of getting with the right distributor with that case. So we did. We knew it was good. We knew that the buzz was great. We're sending out little teasers. And the buzz was really good on the film. So what we did is we kind of did a bidding war in a cinema in London in a screen room in London. And we got all the disputes to turn up. And there was some really lovely people came and saw and gave us some brilliant view. And again, this is a movie with no real names in it. Certainly not the time in now. The sister in fleabag sang Clifford, she's in the movie, but at the time it you know, he wasn't you know, wasn't massive. And just some brilliant actors. And yeah, and we then pitched it to them and pitched it to the whole team how we do this and we negotiate the deals and stand
Alex Ferrari 49:41
directly directly or with a distributor or directly with Skype
Giles Alderson 49:45
Directly with the distributors. Yeah, okay, directly talk to about how we're going to make this for how we're going to sell this film around the world directly with the distributor. So we did the contract stand mainly run that. And yeah, from that, that's how we got it onto sky. movies and TV shows.
Alex Ferrari 50:01
And what was your experience with this distributor? I always love to ask Was it a positive? Was it a negative? Did you get paid? Things like
Giles Alderson 50:08
Yeah, it's very positive horror films are very good in the UK and very well known for that. So we specifically targeted distributors who we knew. And I did my research and homework and said, who the dispute was worth for this type of film, because it's a quirky sightseers, Thelma and Louise type, right? Right. It had a quirk. It's slightly unusual. It's, it's got horror elements. But it's also you know, drama. So we made sure we investigate who these distributors were to make sure that they were right for the movie. And I rang so many friends who would work with them and said, Did they rip you off? Did this happen? And they said, No. This is how to behave. This is how to do it. So we did that we really did our homework, and it's paid off massively. And so we can go to life is done really well.
Alex Ferrari 50:57
Yeah, that's amazing. That's amazing. And I was a micro budget.
Giles Alderson 51:01
It was a micro budget.
Alex Ferrari 51:03
Yeah. And then you did another movie, during this time period, on our theory in legend, low budget.Because what because why not?
Giles Alderson 51:12
Because Why not? Because why not? And also, because when you'd like, say, when you're making movies, and you're around movies, and I produced another movie in that time, and I made another documentary called World of Darkness, and, and then the food for thought documentaries you're involved in as well, we were shooting and then signature entertainment, who a friend of mine was working with a lot said, hey, look, you're in the mix for the making this King Arthur movie, because you'd made movies. That was the bill and it didn't matter there hadn't come out, they could see the trailer, they could see the bits and pieces I'd made for it. And they certainly were really keen for me to come and direct it. And again, the same thing, I went in and pitched and went in and sold myself as how I could do this. And again, the same thing. They liked me. They liked me. But also, what was really interesting here is I felt much more aware of my own ability. And I know it's a strange one. But I was also very much more secure of myself.
Alex Ferrari 52:09
Well, of course, Look, man, you've gone down the path you've gone. You've already walked the path a little bit like yeah, I mean, before shooting for the mob. And after shooting for the mob, I was a little bit of a different filmmaker, you know, dealing with that adventure of the mob and meeting these big movie guys in LA and stuff. Absolutely. You feel something when sometimes you feel more confidence. And other times you feel like I can't do this. There's that as well. But now once you start getting again, you've got a feature under your belt to features and that's the thing I always try to tell people like you know, everyone talks about Robert Rodriguez, no mariachi, but it was his first film like it was 25 shorts. Before then he felt really comfortable with the gear with the visuals. He edited everything. And that's the thing you just got to get the practice in. And the same thing with screenwriting. I can't just write one screenplay.You got to write 20.
Giles Alderson 52:59
Yep, absolutely. Yeah. It's not going to happen for you. If you do that, oh, you wouldn't be massively lucky if you do that you like I said before the dare. I've made so many mistakes, so many issues. So many other screenplays that sat on my shelf now I'll never get made that aren't good enough. But I had to go through those failures to be good enough or to be anywhere close to good enough that someone will take a chance on you. And someone that took a chance on me with Arthur Merlin. And yeah, that's now mostly around the world, in the states in December. But yeah, I got to make an Arthurian movie about King Arthur. I mean, well, how brilliant. I've got to bring on my dp from the day, I got to bring in brilliant actors. I got to bring back Richard break, who stars in the dare and bring him as a Merlin and Richard shore, you know, and these people you just you want to work with and you're passionate about. And I tell you what, if you're good to them, and you treat them well, and you understand how an actor works, which is great, though as an actor as well, because I understand what goes through an actor's mind. I do understand when he covered in blood, or you've been screaming all day, how difficult that is, and how when you say I need another take, they are going to kick off at you and they aren't going to be angry. So you've got to be aware of that and plan your shoots and your shots correctly. Because of that, that these people once you're nice and good to them, they will want to work with you again. And it was so lovely. Richard break obviously has been in Game of Thrones and so many other amazing movies like Mandy and whatnot 31 and loads of really cool stuff that he's been saying in interviews now and he's been promoting Arthur Merlin he came to do it because of me. He wanted to work with me again. And this is just a really important lesson for filmmakers is don't be that deck that Alex always says don't do it. If there's issues on set, keep them to yourself. Don't be the big I am. This is a team game. I learned that is this team. Everyone's in it together from your your production assistants all the way up to your execs. Everyone's in this together and you need to be as careful with them as you are with the money. You know, it's everyone's important and I'm learning you've got to learn but don't be the big thing you know, the big bollocks out Absolutely no.
Alex Ferrari 55:00
So I have to ask you, so you did the dare. It started about this whole process start about four years ago. So I've been so when did you start listening to my podcast? Because I've been doing it for five years. So did you like this? Were you listening to the podcast while you were making this?
Giles Alderson 55:16
Yeah. 100% Yeah, amazing, huge inspiration. And you're an inspiration for starting my podcast and UK because I felt that wasn't an indie film hustle type thing in the UK is such that with an English voice, and it was only after I'd done the day that I felt even anywhere near able to talk about that sort of stuff. But no, I was a full on indie film hustle fan. Through that, let's see what inspired me massively you do we use one of the people who constantly banging on about go make your film, go do it?
Alex Ferrari 55:43
Well, you said you saw you were like listening during when I was making Meg,
Giles Alderson 55:48
When you were making Meg and and the episode you did with the forecast, for me was an absolute joy. I mean, all back then, was it was a huge inspiration for me. And I imagine lots of other filmmakers that
Alex Ferrari 55:58
I've had. No I always, the reason I ask is because there are other filmmakers that I've talked to that were like, yeah, you know, I made my I made my first feature around the time that you were making Meg, and I was listening to you while I was going through my stuff. And I always find it fascinating. It's just like, you know, for you know, this as well as I do, man. Like when when you podcast, he's just talking to a microphone. You know, and if you interview if you're lucky enough to do interviews, you get to talk to one other person, you really don't know how this once you press publish, you really kind of don't know what happens out there in the ether. And I always love hearing stories about you know, email, I get emails all the time, I'm like this or that, but specific stories about like you like, I was making this million dollar, you know, plus film in Bulgaria, while I was listening.
Giles Alderson 56:47
You know, I was totally in the rooms in these on my own in the hotel, listening to your podcast go. Right. Okay, this is how your guests have done it. This is what to go through. Because until you've made a feature film, you honestly do not know what it's like, that's really hard to put into words, we can talk about to a bloom of faith. And even when you did, I still didn't believe it. I still did not believe it. So again, filmmakers out there who have not made one, you'll think the same you guys just talk I'll be fine. No, no, no, no, no, you'll be dead. You will be your brain is fried. You have so much information you need to keep hold on.
Alex Ferrari 57:23
But the thing is, if you no that's the thing that you are making your first feature at a completely different level than I was making my first five grand mine yours. Yeah, a little bit more. With a studio and you know, storyboard artists and backlogs. They're building stuff for you.
Giles Alderson 57:43
But here's what I've learned. Alex, there's no difference. End of the race, of course. But at the end of the day, you know, hey, we got craft services. But the end of the day, we've, it's just you and the actors, you the camera and the actors. Technically, it doesn't matter how beautiful it is. It doesn't matter how amazing your shot is. If the acting is not right, the story is not right. No right care. That's why people love man, because he was you locked in a room doing it. And the story was brilliant. This is it. This is what filmmakers need to know is that it's all about the script. The script has to be the best it can be for the story you've got in the rest doesn't matter. You have to work brilliantly with your actors and get the performances you need so that people enjoy your film. And on an iPhone, you absolutely can shoot on your dad's old VHS camcorder. It doesn't matter as long as the story is good enough.
Alex Ferrari 58:32
I mean, it was I mean, you should show your size the VHS. I mean, let's just throw that out there, Mikey. There's other options. So go to Best Buy here in the States, and then return it in 30 days, and return it in 30 days, you get a free camera. I mean, there's these two. I mean, I don't I don't approve of that. But I've heard other filmmakers do cool things like that. And you were one of the few people ever to watch ego and desire on the big screen. And I had a short film or a film festival, because I didn't do a lot of film festivals with it. But you saw it at the world premiere at rain dance.
Giles Alderson 59:06
It was that the rain dance from France. We obviously promoted it on our podcast a lot. And a lot of the people who listened turned out it's the first time I met a lot of these people as well. And they were they're like, hey, so nice to meet you. And you know, as well talking about the podcasting indie film world is Yeah, you all connect, and this is what I've loved about doing mine and you coming on and everyone will message me and go, I love Alex's stuff. It's so great. You're all connected. But all the indie filmmakers I talked to and you talk to we all kind of know each other. We're all in the world of just going out there and making our showrooms. And what I've learned is that pretty much every single journey is different. Not one route is the same hey, yeah, you need money and you shoot a film showman but there's, there's millions of different ways that that could happen and fall down and go up and down. And that just says it all. There's no there's no secret. There's no like oh, that's the button to press
Alex Ferrari 59:59
the One thing I've learned and I wasted a lot of time doing this when I was coming up is I studied I read every biography about filmmakers I could get my hands on. I watched every documentary about how movies are made. And of course, I came up and I think you and I have similar vintages I think I might be a little bit older than you. But, um, but we came up around the time of the 90s where the myth of Rodriguez turned teen Kevin Smith, Spike Lee Sonnenberg Christian Singleton, those that group of the 90s Linkletter like all of the that that group, it was like, every week, there was a new appointed myth. And in you're like, well, if I, you know, I and I will maybe if I go down to Kevin Smith route, well, that maybe I'll get that way. Or maybe if I go down, mariachis route or, and before that, it was like, maybe I'll do what Spielberg did. I'll do that. And maybe I'll do what Lucas did, or maybe I'll do a couple of days. At the end of the day, there is no, you could study all of them. And you might be able to take a couple of ideas from each path. But the path that comes your path to look at your path. Yeah, there's no path like that. Look at my path, like my path. I was like, Oh, yeah, I made my first feature, because I was a podcaster. Like, after 20 odd years of directing commercials, music videos, and series and doing post on like, 50 features. And all this stuff I did. It was podcasting. That gave me the courage to finally go, I'm going to make my first feature, because I had it for I don't know what it was meant it mentally Dude, I don't know if this was with you. But with me, it was about, well, if it doesn't work, I could just go back to doing what I do. And I was gonna do it anyway. But like, I felt comfortable, I felt safe because I had a community, even even back then was 2017. So a smaller community than I have now. But it was still like, I'm just gonna do this and see what happens. And wow, what the hell
Giles Alderson 1:01:59
and also because you're, you're preaching to people, you know, you're talking to people about filmmaking. And then I can say the difference between you before you've made a feature or after your podcast. Do you know as soon as
Alex Ferrari 1:02:11
You could tell the different change? You could tell them? You could so tell the difference before and after I shot that first feature, the tone, and then with the tone of my pilot, I'm sure as yours as well. It's changed, like, yep, you go back and listen, those first few episodes first 15 to 20. I'm just with First of all, they're horribly hate sets. It's just I know, I mean, yeah, it's just brutal. But you can hear the angry, bitter filmmaker, they're a little bit more, I was a little bit more angry and bitter. So I always tell people, if everybody here knows an angry and bitter filmmaker, and if you don't know an angry and bitter filmmaker, you are the angry. It's true. So you can feel that bitterness a bit more, then, and the grizzled voice and all the stuff in the shrapnel. And that's still with me. But after you made that first feature, as small as that film was, as it's like, is this really quiet little, you know, you know, kind of mumble core style film that I made, which was completely I've never met anything like that. I was always doing action movies. It was just like, I want to get this done. And in afterwards. I can't explain it to people. I don't know if he felt like this because I think I stopped me for so many years and making the movies because I said well, if it's my first feature, it's got to come out like reservoir. Like it's got to come out like mariachi like I gotta come out guns a Blair and there's so much pressure to put on yourself as an as a first time filmmaker, you can't do that. Can't do that. Would you agree?
Giles Alderson 1:03:45
I totally agree. I think people put way too much pressure on their first feature. And I say this a lot to people I mentor and stuff like that now from the London Film, school and whoever else I'm mentoring, stop worrying about your first feature being this breakout hit. How you think of all the filmmakers out there in the world. How many of them are breakout filmmakers, but you can probably name the ones we've just named. There isn't many more. So out of those 100,000 films that came out last year. How many of them have broken out nor had they gone on to make other films? Okay, maybe 50% of them great, be that filmmaker, go make a film and make another one. Don't put everything on your first film being this huge success because you'll only fail by doing that or you'll never make a film. Well, I got I got lucky.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:29
Look, if you look at Nolan his first film as the following, not a breakout here. Not Not Not a break, not a breakout hit. You know, it wasn't a breakout hit. Then you look at Ridley Scott, because Ridley Scott is one of the most accomplished filmmakers. First time filmmakers in history. He had directed what 4000 commercials at that point in his life. And he did the Shootist, and the Shootist, a beautiful film, not a breakout Not a break, I had no so. But that was the myth in the 90s. That kind of, I feel that independent film became independent film in the 90s. And I think so many filmmakers still hold on to that idea of independent filmmaking. That doesn't exist anymore like those guys. And I said this so many times on the show, Kevin Smith shows up today with clerks, you'll never get seen. Robert Rodriguez shows up with mariachi Linkletter shows up with slacker, not the only one out of that crew that really might make some noise is Tarantino with reservoir? Because it's just such a tough one?
Giles Alderson 1:05:33
Man, he'd already written a big breakout hit. Do you see what I mean? It already done the first movie he wrote, you know he
Alex Ferrari 1:05:39
did to romance. He wrote romance and Natural Born Killers. So he was already a screenwriter at that point. Yeah, a publisher or a professional screenwriter, but it's just, you can't put that much pressure on you and us as filmmakers, we put so much pressure and so much stress on it. And when I finally just said, screw it. I'm just going to make a film. And I don't care how it. I mean, I don't care what happens with it. I'm just going to tell my story and go on. And my second film, ego and desire, was that in spades.
Giles Alderson 1:06:11
Absolutely. Brilliant. And I really enjoyed watching, you know, the premiere there in London was so cool. But the fact that you made that in a, you know, at Sundance, who does that, not for our listeners, guess what I'm gonna do if you're not inspired by Alex, you're not inspired by anybody. You know,
Alex Ferrari 1:06:29
I pretty appreciate that.
Giles Alderson 1:06:30
Make a film. There you go. It premiered at raindance Film Festival, where he did that by just going, Hey, I'm going to shoot movie with actors. I've not met,
Alex Ferrari 1:06:40
actors I haven't met. And we're going to shoot in four days for about three grand while I'm shooting interviews for my podcast. So it was like a side hustle. So
Giles Alderson 1:06:49
and you you're in the movie as a podcast that which is even better. I mean, that was
Alex Ferrari 1:06:54
that was it was it's that's such a meta film. I can't even explain to you. But obviously, with all your future films, you need to use a star wipe, obviously a star, why is it move on?
Giles Alderson 1:07:07
I've got to move forward to that level. Once I've got where I need to be. It might take me a while few more films yet. But when you see that stuff
Alex Ferrari 1:07:16
That's in it, that's an insight, you have to see the film guys, it's an inside joke, Star wipe. But if you when the star wipe shows up, you'll just go.
Giles Alderson 1:07:24
Yeah, the the actual, you know, this, the actual star that they have, and then the star grows and goes out. I was looking forward to.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:35
We didn't have the budget for things like that. So we didn't have the time nor the budget for things like that. Um, no, I wanted real quickly want to talk about the vegan documentary? that yes, you're making. So what's the name of it? It's food for thought.
Giles Alderson 1:07:48
It's called food for thought. Yeah. And it's on health. It's on the plant based lifestyle we're having now and it's on animal welfare. And because I have a voice in the filmmaking community, and because I care, and I'm a filmmaker, I was like, Well, why aren't I making something that I'm passionate about? Because the dare is, hey, the desert, you know, a commercial type movie that has a message, but it's not, you know, it's not I'm not gonna change the world. It's not that, you know, it's bullying messages and all that stuff in there. But hey, I wanted to do something I was passionate about myself and Dan Richardson, fellow vegan said, why aren't we making a movie about this and what we care about? And we said, let's do it. You know, he's a big sort of face in that kind of world anyway, and he's, you know, born free ambassador. So we've got connections, and we were like, we've got cameras, we've got equipment, let's just go chew it. So again, with this idea to say, why don't we get a load of people who aren't vegan to go vegan for 30 days, we'll document their whole life. And during that we'll interview people who either care about this or feel that they their cancer cured them, or they got cured of cancer by going plant based, you know, we wanted to talk to these type people who go in plant based or haven't cared about animals made a difference. And we care about this. And we wanted to do something. And we asked you to be in the documentary as well, which you very kindly agreed to be interviewed. And, you know, and that's interesting during the dock, because obviously, we started talking on the podcast and found that you are vegan as well. We are like, right, you gotta be in the dark. So yeah, and we, we got some we were worried about because we've traveled around the world, traveled to Croatia, LA and Sweden and obviously London and South Africa. We were like, how are we going to fold this? This is just ours. And we want to do this properly make this really good. So we did a crowdfunder. We raised a really nice amount of money. But we were very clever about how we did that. And he specifically targeted, we would riches are in the niches as you always say, and we targeted the niches we targeted vegan groups. We targeted animal welfare groups, we targeted health companies, and we literally did different techniques for every day, how we were targeting them more They would invest and then there that would spread out into that market. And suddenly, we'd have money flying in from all around the world. And we ended up raising 75k on that crowdfunder, which is ridiculous and insane. But that's because we were passionate about it. And our story came across that way. And we really worked our asses off, it was literally like making a feature film for a month.
Alex Ferrari 1:10:22
I don't know, it's brutal, isn't it, crowdfunding is a brutal,
Giles Alderson 1:10:24
brutal carpet, it's horrible. We don't want to do it again, it's really
Alex Ferrari 1:10:28
it's rough, it's rough.
Giles Alderson 1:10:29
What what that meant was that we could afford to hiring a camera team, we could afford to fly to these places. And we can afford to spend that on marketing and use a lot of that money to market the movie and self distribute ourselves. And the only reason I wanted to self distribute this movie was because of Alex's brilliant book, Rise of the film entrepreneur. And that is fact Honestly, I appreciate that. about going on, we could we could just read we're gonna jump all over this when we were in can last year, not this year, obviously, demand just springs, we're like, we'll take this, we'll take more courses,
Alex Ferrari 1:11:00
oh, they won't give you any money. But they'll take it
Giles Alderson 1:11:02
They won't give him money. We knew that. But we weren't. But because this is the really weird thing about this, we'd rather this. And this is kind of not true. But we want more eyeballs on this. Because we want people to understand how the world is going to really implode on itself unless we all change and make a difference. So we want more eyeballs on that. So we also didn't want to self distribute this ourselves, if we didn't know what we were doing. And because of the book, we were like, we're gonna sell distribute ourselves, because we thought we can do this, Alex, I felt you gave us that power and passion that we could make the money from this. And I'm not mean then that money can then go back into as making more docs about this world and about how we can save the planet or save people's lives who are eating the wrong kind of foods who are not being careful who are ruining the environment and animals and treating them badly. And that we can do that. Why give it to a distributor who's going to run off with that money. And then we can't make more films from that, hey, people might know of the doc, but we want to continue this as a business and keep going. And you're inspired us to do that. 100% 100
Alex Ferrari 1:12:06
I am humbled. And I appreciate that. And I mean, obviously, because the book, obviously I talk about the vegan chef movie, and all and I want to make that movie.
Giles Alderson 1:12:15
So as a screenwriter who write that I'll make it.
Alex Ferrari 1:12:19
You know how many I you know, I think there's people out there listening who read the book. And they're just like, I'm afraid of doing that. Because Alex said at first I'm like, I am giving you free rein. It's a free idea. If someone out there can make the vegan romantic comedy that I've laid out the story pretty much it's laid out in between episodes and in the book and all this stuff. Yeah, go make it just let me know. I'll come on, I want you on the show. I want to and I'll help you help you put out the business, the film to printer business around it, just please. So basically what I laid out in the book, a lot of examples are with the vegan chef movie, which are like, and you could do this because it's vegan. And you could do that because it's vegan, you basically took that blueprint.
Giles Alderson 1:13:05
As he written this for me, vegan Doc, and he's written this book all about how vegan chef movie could happen. I'm like, well, we can follow all that we can do this ourselves, and hey, it's gonna be a ton of work. But interestingly, since making movies, I've now moved into helping other filmmakers get with the right distributors, and especially with all your wonderful Facebook group as well. There's so much amazing knowledge on there, and other filmmakers helping people. We and luckily, we've got amazing distributors on the day, we've got the horror collective who are just absolutely wonderful. And I can't recommend them enough. And what they do is they spell everything out and they give you a spreadsheet of where the money has been spent. How much money is come back in
Alex Ferrari 1:13:46
Stop it! Stop it!
Giles Alderson 1:13:49
Alex Ferrari 1:13:50
You mean you mean transparency with a distributor? Yep. sacrilege, sir. sacral is that they get kicked out? Did they kicked out of the distributors guild by doing things
Giles Alderson 1:13:59
like that? Yeah. Well, well, interesting. Isha kid used to be epic. And now he's, he's not he set up his own
Alex Ferrari 1:14:05
chikitsa she kids new company the whole That's right. I forgot the name. It was because he has a Yay. Okay. That's one of his branches of his new Yeah, he has no time. So so everyone knows she can spin on the show. She has been on the show a couple times. He's a friend. And he actually does care about filmmakers. And he's a There you go. He's, he's one of the good guys.
Giles Alderson 1:14:27
He's one of the good guys so I highly recommend if you've got a horror movie go to him. They've been brilliant. So because of making movies and helping other filmmakers, we've taken another movie to the horror collective which we are now acting as sort of sales producers reps sales. Yes, the more producers reps and sales, but we is the better word right? Sure, we I know I now understand that world mainly, you know from your book, but also from understanding that and it's so important to self distribution, even though it's going to be very difficult with the vegan documentary food for thought. It makes so much sense. For us to do that ourselves especially with Dan's reach, being born free ambassador and everything and with minding the podcast and my world out there.
Alex Ferrari 1:15:07
Yeah, and the budget and it's not an expensive it's already been paid for essentially. So you're in the black right away already. Yeah, there's so much you could do with that. You know, I one day we'll make make a vegan documentary but I just like I was just like, this makes all the sense in the world like it's I just think the blueprints laid out. I mean, there's so many of these vegan Doc's have just built out multi million dollar businesses around the fence. Totally. Totally. We could give you a percentage really, Alex. Just send cash, toilet paper, and ammo. That's all we need is smoke ammo, because we're American. Obviously, we're American. So we need we need ammo, toilet paper, and just it that's fine. cash cash, if that's fine. Yeah, no wiring, just straight. Actually pounds. If you could send pounds over that even be better. I'll fax them across. My friend, we could keep talking for at least another two hours. This is what happens when two podcasters get together. Gonna so I'm gonna ask you now, a few questions. I asked all of my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?
Giles Alderson 1:16:22
Great question. I love this question. I say educate yourself on everything you can about filmmaking. Don't go into this blind. Find a project that you love. Understand that market. So if it's a skateboarding movie, or BMX movie, perfect, because it's a niche movie, target that audience with it, understand what they like and don't like, get a BMX sponsor on board, whatever it is. That's the way to make a movie as a first time filmmaker, because now you're in a, you've got a chance of your movie breaking out. Not many films get made about gymnastics make one about that, you know, whatever it is be mixing. I think that that, to me is really important. And I suppose it's what I talked about earlier is don't worry about it not being a huge success. Don't worry about it not being on Netflix, and all your friends go in when can they stay on Netflix? Don't worry about that. It's all about your journey. As a filmmaker, I tell you what, if you want to be that filmmaker, director, screenwriter, producer, it's a long career. If your film makes massive straightaway, you might you might never recover from that is too big. Who knows? I mean, yeah, hey, we all want that. But it's a long journey. Don't forget that and find a project that's right for you find a screenwriter that you love. And I tell you what, you need to search for a little email out of Facebook out. I'm looking for screenwriters.
Alex Ferrari 1:17:40
Don't do that. Oh, no. Don't don't don't don't go Hey, I'm looking for a screenwriter. Don't No, no, no, don't do that. Guys. Please. That's, that's, that's, that's a recipe for disaster. Do some research. There's some good there's some good websites, blacklist slated stage 32, where you can network and connect with other screenwriters and other projects that you might be able to work with. But definitely do not. Go, hey, anybody want to make a movie yet? Don't do that.
Giles Alderson 1:18:11
Yeah. Find the right screenwriter, wherever that is, exactly. And then find the team again. So you speak to people go to events, there'll be people then there's another filmmaker, go, Hey, I saw you can I see your short and if the shorts brilliant, ask him who the DP was, and work with that. And there's so many ways you can do it. But that for me that's really vital, is know you know what film you want to make. And then really target how you can really make a business from that and great film from it.
Alex Ferrari 1:18:39
Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life,
Giles Alderson 1:18:46
sign contracts. I, early early on, I didn't do this at all. And it was a huge mistake. Like I say, projects got taken away from me. Things happen if I'd sign a contract with these people, it wouldn't have happened and even if that's on a napkin, and I'm sure you're gonna jump down and say No, don't do that. But whatever it is. But it I feel it's really important that you when you're working with people, things can go wrong when you're starting out. People do talk all the game. So if you've got something signed a lease, then you're not going to get burned. And within that, don't be afraid to walk away. You might have worked on it for so long. But hey, if it's not working, they're not the right people walk away. Because it's too short to be hurt. We messed around, go do something else have more than one project that took me the longest to learn. I spent eight years on one project, or waste of time waste more time. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 1:19:39
Yes. What was the biggest fear you had to overcome to make your first film?
Giles Alderson 1:19:49
I think it was my own fear of not being good enough. I think it was my fear of not understanding my actual ability and my own courage and overcoming That and like say not being scared. Okay, you were the actor. Okay? You wrote stuff, okay? You put stuff on in theater, but it was that fear of thinking you're not good enough. I tell you what if you've got a vision, and you've got an understanding of how you want it to be, so even if you don't know, technicalities or camera or you've not worked with access before, if you've got a vision and you're passionate, you'll be great, you'll be fine. And that to me is that was my fear, and had to overcome that. You know, once you're on a studio movie, you suddenly need to overcome that very quickly.
Alex Ferrari 1:20:32
And three of your favorite films of all time.
Giles Alderson 1:20:35
Okay, Magnolia, love it. I probably should rewatch it. Terminator two, and Slumdog Millionaire. Yeah. Such a great film. I love that. Such great. And plus, they're all very different genres. I notice. Yeah. Love romantic comedy. I'm a sucker for that sucker for that. Making some say
Alex Ferrari 1:20:59
you make a vegan, vegan chef romantic comedy any day now?
Giles Alderson 1:21:03
Well, there we go.
Alex Ferrari 1:21:07
And working people are
Giles Alderson 1:21:08
putting that out on Facebook.
Alex Ferrari 1:21:11
Yes, absolutely. And where? Where can people find you?
Giles Alderson 1:21:14
You can find me on Twitter is mainly where I do a lot of my social media stuff is @CharlesAlderson. On Twitter. Yeah, that's mainly where I am websites, gilesalderson.com but yeah, my films, the films that are out there. And you know, the author movie out through Madden, which is cool. And the podcast if you fancy it is the filmmakers podcast, which is on Twitter app filmmakers pod?
Alex Ferrari 1:21:40
Yes, I recommend this podcast. Fantastic. It's a fantastic podcast. And it's a great addition to the indie to the indie film hustle podcast, because if you get tired of listening to my voice all the time, it's nice, say the episodes without it. You could listen to those But hey, no, no, no, no. That's all they need is to listen to me here and then go listen to me. talk more about that now. It's enough. Jasmine, thank you so much for being on the show, brother. I appreciate and congrats on all your success and for everything you're doing for the for the film community. I appreciate you,
Giles Alderson 1:22:11
Alex, thank you. And honestly, same goes to you. You're an absolute inspiration and a joy. And you're wonderful guy as well. So well done everyone. Give it up to Alex. Welcome, buddy. Thank you.
Alex Ferrari 1:22:22
I want to thank Josh for coming on the show and dropping those knowledge bombs. Thank you for a hell of a tale, Giles. If you want to get links to anything we spoke about in this episode, head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/423. And if you haven't checked out his podcast, the filmmakers podcast I highly recommend it. Now guys, next week, I will be doing a couple more podcasts and oh, Christmas falls on a I think Thursday or Friday or both, you know Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So I will be still releasing a couple of episodes next week. Look for them. Somewhere in the week. I don't know when I'm releasing but they will still be coming out. So keep an eye out for that. Thank you guys so much for listening. I want to wish everybody a Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa Happy Holidays. And I hope you all stay safe in your families. Stay safe in this crazy, crazy upside down world. And this crazy year that has been 2020 I cannot wait for it to be over. And hopefully on to better, better things in 2021 I will talk to you soon. As always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. Stay safe out there. And I'll talk to you soon.
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