How to Avoid a Bad Film Distribution Deal with Guy Pigden
I’ve said many times before on the show, sometimes you just don’t know what impact these conversations will have when I put out an episode. I mean, it’s just me with a mic in a room with a Yoda statue behind me.
I’m honored to have on the show today, a long-time IFH tribe member who has appreciated and utilized the knowledge bombs we share on here. I’m glad to have on the show today, New Zealand director and writer, Guy Pigden.
After years of working with several production companies in the UK and freelancing in New Zealand, Pigden wrote his directorial debut feature film in 2011, I Survived a Zombie Holocaust, with a grant from the New Zealand Film Commission in 2011. The film was nominated for Best Feature Film Screenplay and Best Emerging Writer by the New Zealand Writers Guild in 2015.
I Survived a Zombie Holocaust is a zombie horror-comedy about a young runner, on a Zombie film set, who ends up having a set day from hell when real Zombies overrun the set.
Pigden has written and directed a couple of TV series and films since his breakout comedy-horror feature including Asylum, Harrow, Older, No Caller ID, etc.
Filmmaking and storytelling had always been a passion for Pigden. At 16 years old he shot his first short film, on an eight-millimeter camera camcorder. He moved to London where he landed jobs as a runner, script reading, and writing.
Once he felt much more confident in his understanding and skills as a writer, it was time to make his transition to the dream. Being a director. Pigden returned to New Zealand and freelanced directing and writing.
After the release and performance of his first feature film, Guy sought out means to grow revenue from low-budget indie filmmaking—-particularly the business aspect of the industry. He found his answers here at the Indie Film Hustle and from my book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Profitable Business. Everything from making deals, to the actual journey. With these tools, he was able to make a turn-around with his second film.
Just this year Guy directed and wrote his latest comedy show, Immi the Vegan which you should check out. Immi the Vegan dreams of finding a good vegan man and gaining the confidence to perform her songs in front of a live audience. But lately, her dates have mistaken her for a vegetarian or tried to send her photos of their meat and two veg.
It was humbling learning of how impactful Guy found our work here at IFH and knowing that what we do here is serving bigger purposes, glad to be of service.
Guy is raw and transparent on the horrible distribution deal he got into on his film and shares how you can avoid the mistakes he made on his filmmaking journey.
Please enjoy my conversation with Guy Pigden.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Guy Pigden – IMDB
- Guy Pigden – Linkedin
- Watch: Immi the Vegan – Amazon
- Watch: I Survived a Zombie Holocaust – Amazon
- The Film Distribution Blueprint Course
- DONATE to Feed America to help people affected by the pandemic
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
- $1 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)
- The Complete Indie Film Producing Workshop with Suzanne Lyons (COUPON CODE: IFHFILMPRODUCE)
- Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story) (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
- Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
- The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
WATCH MICRO-BUDGET CASE STUDIES
- IFH Academy – Exclusive Filmmaking & Screenwriting Training
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
- Indie Film Hustle® Podcast
- Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
- Filmtrepreneur™ Podcast
- Inside the Screenwriter’s Mind® Podcast
Alex Ferrari 0:14
I'd like to welcome to the show Guy Pigden. How you doing guy?
Guy Pigden 0:18
I'm great. Thank you for having me, Alex. great pleasure to be here.
Alex Ferrari 0:21
Yeah, man, thanks so much for coming on the show. You've we've been shot. First of all, we've been trying to do this for a while now. So I appreciate your patience. It's been very busy. At the podcast, the last six years,
Guy Pigden 0:32
man, you've got a couple. I was planning to do like a joke on Twitter or something where it's like, you know, what does all of a star and Richard Linklater and Guy Pigden have in common? They're on the
Alex Ferrari 0:46
Indie Film Hustle podcast.
Guy Pigden 0:47
Alex Ferrari 0:49
Exactly. Exactly. So I could say the exact same Joe. What do these guys have in common? Yeah, they were just all on same podcast. That's it. That's that's the that's where the that's where it all ends. But thank you so much for your patience. Brother, you you you reached out to me a while ago, talking to me about First of all, one of my favorite topics, which is unfortunately one of my favorite topics, a horrible distribution situation, which we're going to get into, and also a seven year independent film, which I always love to get into the details of why it takes seven years to make an independent film. Yeah, and all that stuff. But you've been following me for a while you've been listening to the podcast and stuff. When did you start listening? And then use the books had an impact in your career? Tell me a little bit about how you just found me.
Guy Pigden 1:38
Well, that's right. So I, I was coming from a space. So I was sort of finishing up my second feature film, and I had my first feature film, which is called ice Viper, zombie Holocaust, which came out in sort of 2015. And it came out around 2015. And while had a great festival run, and you know, got some great reviews did not financially do very well for me, for a number of reasons, which you sort of documented in your podcast. And but I was sort of wondering is like, Is this just the experience of all low budget indie filmmakers? Is this what we all go through? Or is it just me? Am I missing something? Am I missing some key piece of information about how because this business seems broken to me that like all of it seemed quite broken in a lot of ways. And and how these firms were distributed, how these deals were done, and also sort of the the cost of making a film versus how much it's actually likely to make back all of that stuff. And I was asking other filmmakers, and no one seemed to have a good answer. And then I came across your podcast where you sort of really broke down the steps. As an indie filmmaker, you sort of broke down how these, these deals can can screw you over, you sort of broke down your own journey with what you were working on with, you know, on the corner of ego and desire. And this is me and all that sort of thing. But you really sort of, I guess, put into context, and framed everything that I had been thinking about that when I need to make my filmmaking a more of a business, I need to stop thinking like, it's just an art form, and then I'll just be discovered, we all we all have to throw away that lottery ticket mentality, all of those things have to, like, you just need a whole shift in perspective, really, if you want to be like, because we can't all be Spielberg. Even though we start off, imagining that we will be sorry, how can we have a sustainable career and without maybe those heady heights, but still get to make our films and so everything that you were talking about, just struck this huge chord with me because it made me sort of really understand, okay, so I'm not crazy. And actually, there's this, this world out there that I need to understand more, and I need to sort of develop these skills, that stuff that you sort of try to educate people on, I need to employ all of that stuff in my filmmaking if I want to continue to grow and develop and so I sort of following yours and and also, what I found is a lot of the principles of my second feature film The way I made that as a micro budget and all that sort of thing, apart from the seven years I failed in the in the in do at the quick turn around, which is again, one of your sort of things turned around quickly. I did not do that. But apart from that, a lot of the principles were you know, I had in mind a lot of these ideas that you you actually put into words ever in your book or on your podcast and, and so that's how I sort of came across you and him have been a sort of loyal follower and subscriber ever since then. And, you know, what a fantastic thing that you have provided for filmmakers like myself, to sort of better understand how we can equip ourselves in this film industry, which, you know, does punch you in the face all the time, as you mentioned, you know, what are you going to do? You're going to keep getting like, yeah, you're going to flinch or you get a, you're going to learn to get your guard up just a little bit to protect yourself. Right, as opposed to just getting just walking straight into those punches.
Alex Ferrari 5:36
Constantly, Constant punches. Yeah, no, and I don't care what you are, you're gonna get hit. You're always gonna get hit all throughout your career. Yeah,
Guy Pigden 5:44
yeah. So So those are all things that, you know, really, yeah, sort of resonated with me. And that's why I sort of have been listening and reached out. And now my film was out, I thought it'd be a great opportunity, hopefully, to talk about some of my experiences and, and how they relate to all of these things that you're, you know, trying to educate people about.
Alex Ferrari 6:07
I appreciate them. And thank you, you know, thank you so much for the kind words, it's it is, like I've said many times before on the show, sometimes you just don't know what impact they'll have when you do an episode. Or you're I mean, it's just me with a mic in a room with a Yoda behind me. Some, you know, somewhere in in Los Angeles, and you just put it you put it out there and hopefully it read it. But look, you're coming from us. Where are you calling from? New Zealand? Yeah, New Zealand. So if you couldn't tell by the by the accent, you know, New Zealand, it was New Zealand or Australia. But God forbid, God forbid you. I know that. You can't do that. No, don't do that. Don't do that. It's like It's like calling all Latinos, Mexicans, and I'm Latino. So I can say that, Joe. But yeah, it just depends on where you are in the country of the US. If you're in New York, you're Puerto Rican. If you're in Miami, you're Cuban. And if you're in LA, you're Mexican, but doesn't matter. So, but thank you for thank you for that. I'm glad I'm glad. What I do is helped you a lot. And that's, you know, also wanting to kind of dig deeper into why Why? What happened with your first film. So before we do that, though, how did you even get started? Why did you Why did you choose this painful, ridiculous path that we call filmmaking?
Guy Pigden 7:20
I love how you call it a like a virus like a sickness. And sometimes you get better and you feel like you've sort of semi recovered, but no, it always
Alex Ferrari 7:29
Guy Pigden 7:31
always come back. And that's always what it sort of been like for me. So I sort of got into the business. I started off I was actually lived in London for a couple of years. And I worked as a runner at a production house there. And that was my sort of like break into the industry I'd already made I'd already had that sort of that indie filmmaker spirit prior to that. So when I was 16, I made my first short film, I you know, I bought like a high eight millimeter camera camcorder to shooter Dinah carried on to VCs, all that sort of thing. And, you know, so that's where I started the idea that I wanted to make films, and I really wanted to make films and tell stories, because I have come from a, my, my background, my parents, you know, would read stories to me and my dad is a huge movie fan. And he would sort of talk to me about also how movies were made and directors, not just, hey, check out this film. And so that certainly sparked my interest and sort of filmmaking, I started to do it. And I did the short film when I was 16. And then again, as soon as we'd shot that as even though it was obviously still quite a painful process, even back then. I was like, Oh man, I have to do this. And so I went to London, and I got a job as a runner. And then as a runner, I also started being a script reader for that same production house there. And I started started reading a lot of scripts. And again, I had quite a strong background, the only thing I did well in school that was was writing creative writing. And so I really started as a writer who wanted to be a director. So I read all these scripts, and I thought, look, these are coming from, you know, these are coming from agents, these are coming and I think I can do as well as most of these scripts of, of, you know, the, you know, sort of, I don't know, a couple of 100 scripts I read only ever recommended, like three. So I didn't I just so I could get to this level. And so I started writing my own scripts and developing my own scripts. And some of those, even as a very young, you know, a young writer at like 2021 did sort of get some, I think I got one of them to Columbia, TriStar in the UK and it got very favorable coverage and they sort of, they're like, Look, this is really good. We don't, we're not going to make it but here's a bunch of agents and maybe you can get representation through The script, and I didn't get representation because I didn't have any follow up scripts, you know, they were like, Hey, this is good. This is promising, but what else have you done, and I sort of like, Well, nothing really. And I didn't have that foresight and that sort of thing to just start writing like crazy and just go, let his five others you know, and really get the ball rolling then. But it did sort of, again, give me some confidence that, hey, I can write and I'm a good writer, and hopefully I can transition to being a writer and a director. And so I came back to New Zealand I started making stuff again, just making stuff and my friends, a lot of those friends that I still work with To this day, started shooting stuff with a slight with a slightly, I guess, a more of an education and film, I have never been to film school or anything like that. But I, I had a bit of knowledge and a better understanding of kind of the business and, and the way things worked a little bit more and obviously, story and structure and all those things from being a script reader. And I started to get actual paid work as a writer. So I developed a few different things that sort of didn't get produced, but you know, sort of took me and again, it's like, Okay, I'm getting paid for writing now. So I know that I must be doing something right. And I must be on a certain level, if, you know this can happen. And what happens in New Zealand is, we have a government body called the New Zealand Film Commission. And they provide essentially grants for films to make movies over here. So very, very, very different. You know, the US and, you know, the studio system, and all that sort of thing. But essentially, this these, these grants given out to make films, and they hope that these films will sort of breakout and I had, you know, made many submissions to the Film Commission, prior to this one. But I made a submission for a new scheme. Around this time, as I was still making my own projects, which was what would become a survivor, zombie Holocaust. So was the zombie horror comedy. And it was for this new initiative called the escalator scheme. And the escalator scheme was essentially they give 250,000 New Zealand dollars to an up and coming filmmaker who has not made a feature film, so you couldn't have already made a feature film. And they give you that money. And through a series of steps, you then give them the money to make the film, but you have to sort of do all the pre production first. So you have to without anything, so you write the script, you do the pre production, you do the budget, you do everything, and you present that to them, then they sort of narrowed down to another group, you go back, you read all that stuff, and you get given the money. And so we were, you know, what went from sort of like maybe 20, or 30, or 40, teams, down to I think 12 teams. And so four of those 12 teams were going to be picked. And fortunately, we were one of those four, four teams that were picked to make that thing. And that was back in 20 2010, the end of 2010 2011. When when that sort of initial thing happened, and there was a couple of rules around it. But you know, one of them was that you kind of had to start production within six months of getting the grant, which we did. And the other thing is that you couldn't get any extra money. So you couldn't get more financing, or try and get more people on board, or people that kind of top that up somehow you just had your 250,000. And that was it. And so we were given that funding, and we sort of shot in 2011, early 2011. And then it was another sort of three years before the film actually came out which we can we can get
Alex Ferrari 13:56
Of course, of course. But we're doing it What are you doing from that you were doing posts, you were doing film festivals? You were getting it out there in other ways. That's right. So so I'd love to I'd love to dive into man. Okay, so what happened with I saw the zombie Holocaust with this distribution situation like you, you told me that there's a horror story here. And we'd love to share those here at the show. Yes, to help and educate filmmakers. So what So what happened? Exactly?
Guy Pigden 14:24
Well, I mean, a lot of it comes down to, to not understanding, you know, a lot of it come down to ignorance on on our behalf as sort of filmmakers. And then, you know, there wasn't something you know, this was back 2014 2015. This is before you really brought blown the lid off this kind of this practice, right. And I think there's also an inherent fear from all of us filmmakers, if we speak out, like if we say something about, yeah, we'll never get another opportunity. And not just from them, but from any other people that know them. And so there's This all well, I can't say to anyone, you know, this, you know, they, they screwed us because we'll just get screwed, or it will only negatively impact us. And so we will stay quiet about what happened. But for us, we sort of, I mean, there was a few issues. But, you know, just, again, we're talking about, I'm from a very small town. And although I've been to London, and I've done all this stuff, and I've done everything I could possibly do to educate myself about filmmaking, there's actually very few books on that. The post production and finishing business at the end, like you're really one of the only and certainly one of the first. And so I didn't understand, like, I didn't even understand, okay, what's a good film festival? Why is the A, B and C, I didn't understand, I got into a good Film Fest was like, great, I got into a bad Film Fest was like, great, I didn't understand the difference. I didn't understand why one might be more important to go to than the other. I didn't understand about festival fees or anything, I was just randomly submitting to random things, and FA got in cool. All of which then sort of leads to obviously, when you have a successful festival run, you start getting approached by sales agents and distributors. And we were approached by a sales agent. And again, there's a lot of things. That sort of real un because they're playing on your naivety to find it,
Alex Ferrari 16:31
and also your dreams. Don't forget, they lay your dreams, they love to dangle the carrot like Hey, hey, this could be the one Spielberg is Mr. Spielberg Come this way. Yeah.
Guy Pigden 16:41
And so we so the first thing they did is, are we haven't even finished the film yet. But we just wanted to come out of the screening and say, we love it. And we think it's amazing. And we we know, we want to sign up straight away. So automatically, wow, you want to sign us all that say like me? Exactly. This, this huge company. And again, we were banking on the fact that they were big, they have all this huge catalogue of films. So well, they must be good, because they're big, which is again, not necessarily at all true. And so we were definitely caught up in that, because we had multiple offers. This wasn't the only offer. But it also wasn't the only bad offer, you know. And so there was a lot of the sort of back and forth over it. But essentially, we sort of did all the things wrong, that we normally that that you have talked about. So marketing sales cap was atrociously high. What was it? Well, I don't think I can't get into specifics, but I can definitely tell you that it was well just put it this way. It was over. It was over $50,000. Okay. And then, you know, there was just a lot of things, but there was a lot of smaller details in that deal. That just mean that there was very, it was be very unlikely, or that's not true. I suppose if it made as again, if it made millions of dollars, great. Of course, you're gonna see that money come back to you.
Alex Ferrari 18:15
Maybe in a minute maybe look for a cup of coffee, according to Paramount Forrest Gump is still not making any money.
Guy Pigden 18:21
So Exactly. And so. But even in that, in that marketing, there was no accounting for that marketing as an there's no way for me to go, Well, can I see where you spent that money? Because they didn't spend that money. They didn't spend any of that money that didn't spend? I would go as far as to say they, you know, spend? I'm sure less than $1,000. But also a marketing sales cap is really, to me more for your distributor than it is a sales agent. Why does a sales agent need?
Alex Ferrari 18:53
Well, wait a minute, this was a sales agent. You haven't even gotten to the distributor yet. We haven't even got to the distributor. Oh my god, I'm sorry. You see what I'm yeah. hurts. It hurts. Okay.
Guy Pigden 19:05
But But that was the problem was we didn't even understand the distinction between the sales agent distributor, because now my first question would be like, why do you need $50,000? What are you doing with that? I'm providing you all these deliverables. So you don't have to make anything. So you're now just giving it to a distributor who will do anything that is required? What is this marketing? You know, what is this marketing sales kit for? And so that was a huge, huge thing. And then there was like other little things built in because you know, it's also Okay, so we've got to recoup that $50,000. But we're also going to take our percentage from that before, so it's not $50,000. So we're taking money for ourselves while we bring back that, that however much money it is so we're not just bringing so it's not just $50,000 it's actually more like 70 or $80,000 because we're taking 20 or 30% or whatever it is. out as we go. So, so then it's like, okay, so it doesn't have to make it has to make $90,000 before we see any money. And then there was just this whole, like what I sort of heard, you know, subsequent, you know, because you also try and speak to filmmakers before you make these deals, but you often speak to filmmakers who have just made a deal with that sales agent, you don't speak to someone that has that three years in, you know, and also, they may be reluctant to tell you, Hey, you know, because of this whole thing, because, you know, thank God for, you know, indie film, hustle, hustle to, you know, to say, like, Hey, you know, this is predatory thing that's going on. It's terrible, it's got to stop, and it's happening. And we're gonna shine a light on it. And I think it's just very, very important. So around that deal around that, that sort of marketing cap was a big thing. But I also sort of then heard rumors later on that this wasn't even a and in terms of, you know, what they made back is always just, whatever that marketing sales cap is, like, almost exactly whatever that is magical. So, so magically, so when you look at that, you go, Okay, so actually, what they're doing is they're getting all these sort of lower budget, you know, horror films, genre films, and they're doing exactly the same thing to all these different first time filmmakers. And they using that pot of money to actually pay for the bigger films, and maybe treat those slightly, you know, better. But so essentially, they had never had any intention of making any more sales, than they're all they wanted as that, that guaranteed, that guaranteed first chunk of money from like, you know, a big bunch of places. So, you know, they This is for, you know, television, and all that sort
Alex Ferrari 22:00
of thing, and there's certainly different territories out in different deals here and there. Yeah,
Guy Pigden 22:04
yeah, like big territories, they just make those sales, and then they don't even push it again, it's like, it's not even part of the thing. It's just, we just needed that, that $50,000 that we don't have to pay back or that, you know, 70,000 $80,000, whatever we have to make, we get that. And we don't do anything more, because it doesn't make sense for us to start really giving much back to the filmmakers, we only deal on those big deals up front with our certain people that we have. And then we sort of walk away and find the next filmmaker and do the same thing, find the next naive filmmaker and do the same thing. And so really, that was, you know, the hardest part for me is that we'd been on this journey for five years, you know, I had passed the the $250,000 that we were given, I had actually invested heaps of my own money into, you know, getting that finished, I'd shot pickups, and I'd been living this thing for so long trying to get it made and get it done. And then just to watch the kind of other people, like, slowly collect money, and then have none of it come back. And we also had like, there was also lots of other things going on. So, you know, one of the other things that they they did is that they said, you know, essentially you have to, like when you give all your deliverables over, as you know, there's sort of something in the contract that states once you've received these certain things, and that's confirmed, right? That's, that's done. You know, you're you're good, you have no more obligations. Well, in the contract, one of the obligations was a letter that said, we have delivered all of these things. Right. So just just a letter that says, You have delivered these things, we delivered those things. We sent a letter to them, not worded in their official way, just worded in a different way. And then sort of a couple of years into our thing, when we realized that, essentially, we'd been screwed. We had one loophole, which was if it hadn't made a certain amount, by a certain time, we could ask to get it back. It was like the one good thing that we sort of put in the Yeah, yeah. And the contract. And so I was like, cool. We need to exercise this right now. And so we go cool. We'd like to exercise this and they go, Oh, no, you haven't handed in all your deliverables. And we're like, well, what are you talking about? You've been selling the film for two years. You've got all the deliverables. We confirmed it. You know, there's been absolutely no issues and they go, Oh, yeah, but if you look in the contract, you'll see that we need this confirmation letter to confirm officially that we've received those. And so that then goes so so they go cool. So So then we sent that letter and they go, okay, the contract starts from now officially and You could absolutely,
Alex Ferrari 25:02
like, what happens all that money that they've been making? Well,
Guy Pigden 25:05
yeah, is that null and void because we hadn't officially delivered the film, you know, there's, and this is the thing, and this is what I hate the most about, the whole thing is, obviously, you could go after them with a lawyer and say, question, but, you know, they know that we're going to bring our lawyer, and however much it's going to cost you is not going to be worth it. And also, we know you're a poor filmmaker, because we've taken all your money. So we know that you can't get a lawyer, we know that you can't afford a lawyer, and we'll just happily sit back and, and do our thing, and, you know, kind of keep your film in purgatory. And that's, that's kind of what happened with that thing. And, but it definitely came from, you know, I'd love to say, it was absolutely a predatory situation. And it was absolutely what you talk about so often here on on the podcast, but it was also, you know, that ignorance of naivety that is exploited when you're a first time filmmaker. And that's where we were sort of at with a lot of that with a lot of that those negotiations as we just did not understand you know, how this could go wrong. And yeah,
Alex Ferrari 26:30
and the you also had, so, you needed something you had a sales agent and you had a distribution company.
Guy Pigden 26:35
So, the sales agent then was the issue that we do have to you know, it did then go on to distribution
Alex Ferrari 26:42
on staff that the sales agent
Guy Pigden 26:44
but the but the sales agent was the one that did this deal that was you know, the this you know, and so you also have to put it into again that perspective of like, what is a sales agent marketing? Like Yes, they taking your film, well, what does that involve? You know, if
Alex Ferrari 27:02
you're there, they're obviously buying giant billboards, near highways, they're spending they're spending at least 10,000 in ads on television and Facebook, you know, targeting your your niche audience Robbins, obviously, they're, they're doing all of this because the ROI makes all the sense in the world. It is, it is terrible. I'm sorry that you had to go through that. But you learned, like, you've been listening to me long enough, you've read a lot of my stuff. You know, I've been through some stuff myself, with the mafia, family, all sorts of different things that I've gone through. So but when you come out of those kinds of events, you are a lot stronger, and you're a lot smarter. You've got that armor that trap note that I talked about so much. You got you've got you've got shrapnel all over you, brother. I could smell it. I could smell it across across the world, sir. I can smell that that that's wrapping those there. But hopefully that that store that you just told will help other people listening right now. Go Oh, wait a minute, I might be getting screwed on this or a damn it. I just got screwed. It there has to be something has to change, man. I don't I don't know what that is yet. I don't know how that. how that's gonna work. Um, I trust me. There's not a day that goes by that I'm not thinking of how I can crack the nut myself, too. I'm like, how can I do something? You know? How can a small podcaster a humble a humble podcaster? You know, with with a Yoda behind him, you know, do do something more than what I've already been doing. because something's got to change, man. Something's got to change. And it's been going around, man. It's been going around since Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin's days. I mean, it's literally been going along with that long. It's crazy. Yeah, I
Guy Pigden 28:47
mean, and that's the thing is, I know that my story isn't new. I know that, you know, we were sort of talking about something that happens a lot, but it's still happening. And I'm still you know, even my experiences people have come to me and said, Hey, you know, what's your experience? And I've told him my experience and then I sort of go so what do you do? Oh, well, we signed with them. Well,
Alex Ferrari 29:09
you know, there's because there's because they didn't have any other options. They don't know any better. And they're like, well, this is the only guy or gal who was willing to date me. So because exactly and it's an abuse in this abusive relationship. So let's put it in that it's an abusive relationship, but this is the only person that loves me so I guess I'm just gonna go with them because you don't believe that there's another option out there for you.
Guy Pigden 29:31
And I also think that we all as filmmakers you go, Ah, well, you got screwed guy you know why? Because your film was just not good enough to make the all that money that you thought you were gonna make. You know that the end there we sort of as naive young filmmakers, we got our you got screwed, but my phone's gonna make a million dollars. The reality is that, you know, that's not gonna happen. That's just exactly that's not gonna happen to me. But it's like, just Consider that your film isn't going to make a million dollars, consider that you just want some good returns on your film. And when do you want to start making back money from that? Do you want to start make? Does it? Does your film have to make you know, 70 $80,000? Before you see a cent? Or do you want to really think carefully about this? And also, you know, the world is changing, right? streaming has changed everything. Even the way that the idea of like, well, we need all this money for marketing. Well, why because for you put something up on, you know, Amazon, or, or Netflix or wherever it's like, you don't need all that marketing, the marketing is done. The viewership is already there, you know, Now, I'm not saying marketing isn't super important, but it's not for a sales agent or, necessarily, or distributor to be to have to spend, you know, that comes when the film is out.
Alex Ferrari 30:56
I just tell you know, I've known a lot of sales reps, and producers reps. I've never heard of one ever spending money for marketing. Maybe Maybe they'll pay something to get a trailer done. Maybe they'll get a poster made if the posters not done, but to like buy ad somewhere. Does it make sense? I mean, I can't even I can't even compare. I mean, the only thing that would make sense is if they bought like, you know, front page ad on Hollywood Reporter during AFM, you know, or that kind of ad buy. That's a big maybe, but for sales producer to drop 30 grand out of their purses out of their pocket. You know, for a frog. That's it's not like it's magic money, that's money that they're putting up and hoping to recoup. Yeah, it doesn't make business unless they think that that 30,000 is going to be an easy sell. Why would they spend that money that generally when a sales rep picks up, picks up a film, or a distributor picks up a film, if they give you an mg, which is rare nowadays, but even if they let's say if that, let's say you got a deal for 50 grand, yeah, that's your mg, you would have probably been like jumping out the way like, Oh my god, I got 50,000 for the MG. And that's just the start of the massive amounts of money, like just massive amounts. First of all, you'll probably never see another dime. First of all, right. But the distributor knows that with two phone calls. with little effort, they'll be able to sell this film, in certain territories based on their relationships, or automatic output deals that a lot of the they have, that they'll make that money instantly. But what I've heard happen is like, let's say your your marketing cap is 75 grand, or 100. Grand, yeah, the moment they hit that 100,000, they literally stop selling it, because they don't want to deal with you anymore. So like, I'm sorry, and they will just stop because like we got our 100 out, we're done, and the filmmaker, and then they hold on to it for the next seven years, and every single time and then because you've signed a horrible deal. And then after that, anytime a new streaming service comes out, or a new cable station in Germany opens up and they're like, we need a lot of content, they'll sell the whole library and licensed the whole library as a package deal. And by the time you try to do the math of how much your movie is worth and not, it's gone, it's gone. It is such a ridiculous business, how the only reason that we are still able to do what we do, or the business survives, is because there's a fresh new crop of films, and filmmakers coming in monthly. And these distributors and these predators know that. So they know that they don't have to build a relationship with you. Because there's 30 more of you right around the corner who are willing to give up. And I've actually consulted filmmakers. And when I was coaching them and consulting them on projects, where we know we're not going to go with the distributor, and some of them are big name distributors who will remain nameless, but I know that their deals suck. And, and the deal that they send over suck, okay, we're not going with them, we're gonna go with these other guys. But let's push them to see how far we can go. And we'll start asking for things like, you know, accounting on a marketing and let's talk the marketing cap or, you know, get a little bit more mg upfront or add, if you go bankrupt that the movie automatically goes back to you, as opposed to sitting in arbitration for the next, you know, five years and you can't do anything with a movie. And I saw it go back and forth once and then afterwards you like it, we're done. Thank you. They didn't want to negotiate anymore because they're like, this obviously is going to be a headache. The film's not worth it. There's 40 more around the corner.
Guy Pigden 34:40
And also they know they go Okay, this person actually knows what they're talking about. Therefore, we cannot use our regular exploitative tactics with them. And we can't make you know, 100k up front that we want off them before we leave. So yeah, we'll just go to the next and there's always another person because You know, we can't we don't know not yet at least we don't all listen to any film hustle, you know yet yet. And so, but I think the most important thing is we have to talk about it, we have to share these stories. Yeah, and we have to kind of converse with other filmmakers, you know, and really say, Look, just, you know, you need to take it to more experienced people, when you've got those deals on the table, you need to take it to more experienced people to comment on it, and like, you know, even paying like, you know, and we did have a lawyer and all that stuff. Look at Look, look at this deal. And we also, you know, crazily we had the foam Commission, the body, you know, the person there looked at the steel and was like, Yeah, looks good. And that still blows my mind. But they don't know, they don't
Alex Ferrari 35:48
know, they don't know any of this, you need to have, like, I say it in the book, I'm like, don't get Uncle Bob, the real estate attorney to look at this, because he won't know what to look for. That's why having a consulting session with me for half an hour, could save you half a million dollars. And that's it, it's actually happened actually happened with me or with with many, there's many good people out there that do what I do as far as consulting and helping filmmakers, with their projects. That will, I literally had a filmmaker reach out, I think he was on the show, at one point. He said, like, dude, you, you saved me a half a million dollars, because of this deal was so bad. And I went with this other deal. And I was able to control my rights and all this kind of stuff. And it was literally a half an hour or hour consultation that I gave them. And I should charge obscenely much more than I do. And that's why I put together that course, that that six hour distribution course on every little detail and trick that they use to screw you over, that was a new one that paid that paper, that that letter thing, that's a completely new level of skirts, summary. Exactly. And, and eventually, eventually,
Guy Pigden 36:59
yeah, and I, you know, sort of recently or not that recently, but I sort of said, so, you know, the deals coming up, this is my, the official leader that would like to terminate our agreement and get the rights back at this time. And they're like, Oh, thanks, but you know, how you didn't send through that letter. So actually, it's an extra two years, you know, because of the leader, you know, and as much and, you know, part of me wants to totally lose my shit. And, and, you know, go after them with everything I have. But the other part of me has to be a bit more Zen about it. And I just hope, like I said, I just hope that we can share these stories, and we can stop people from getting into these busy, you just do not want to be the kind of the low budget, indie horror, which they always do kind of, they always do sell a certain amount, and they always can make money for people. And so you don't want to be that person that's bought up by this big sales nation or distributor, and used essentially, your, you know, they suck the life out of you, they, because they don't just take that film from you, they take that opportunity for the money you make from that film to develop your next film. And, and that's a really key thing is that, you know, you can't just spend five years on something, and then get absolutely nothing to show for it, and have no and then it's like, COBOL, I'm rebuilding from square one. Now I'm back to, you know, obviously, I know a lot more, I've got a lot more experience, but, you know, you've taken the opportunity for me to develop my craft and continue on. And obviously, they just don't care. So that's so it's a very good, I guess, lesson that I learned and I, and through this podcast and through your books has sort of made me really be much more aware of that side of it. But you know, the key to contracts as transparency, you know, transparency, and all the things you know, if you're, if the spirit of they're giving you a marketing, why need to know where that marketing is going, and I need it in the contract that I see everything that is being spent, and maybe that I even approve certain things, you know, and even these marketing captures, like, you know, really, how much are they going to be spending on your low budget, indie film, if we're all making indie films? Are they real? Are they really dropping? You know, $30,000 on your marketing your independent film, like, forget about it, the spending a tiny fraction of that and getting a lot back with these guaranteed places that they always take these two that they know they can sell. And yeah, it's it is borderline criminal, but you know,
Alex Ferrari 39:43
well, it's definitely immoral. And yes, the problem is, first of all, they're destroying lives. They're literally destroying people's lives. I've seen I've seen it time and time again. But what's the most disgusting part about this is that it is just so inherent in side of the distribution world, that this is just the way business is done. And it's like, they don't even think twice. They're like, Oh, sorry, you're gonna have to do another two years because you didn't do that one little thing. And you're just like, wow, like, it's just, it just rolls off their tongue. And I've said this on the show before. And I'll say it again, the same thing that happened with me to where the casting couch was business as usual. It was a running joke in the business. It was in movies that people were like, oh, if you want that part, you're gonna have to go on the casting couch, like, you know, sleeping with the producer or the director. So that was a thing. For throughout. Throughout Hollywood's history, it was just business as usual, to finally some people started standing up and now thank God, that is not the way business is done. As usual. That moment is yet to happen in this space, because it is still I feel like a financial raping of the independent film community. Yeah. Without question. It is a physical abuse, that this that the whole distribution infrastructure is doing to independent filmmakers, and the whole community in general. And again, I've said this again, it's not everybody. They're not all predators. They're not they're I know good people. I've worked with good people. I've talked about them. I've had them on the show. There are good people out there trying to help filmmakers. But a lot of them aren't. And one thing people listening have to understand, it is harder now to make $1 with an independent film, than it has ever been in the history of filmmaking. For independent filmmaking specifically, it is really, really tough. And even with people who know what they're doing, it's tough. So walk in with that being walk in humble to this brother. Like you were saying, like, you gotta walk in humbly like I'm going to be the next Spielberg. Like I had that conversation. You read it in my book. Yeah, like it shooting for the mob. I was just like, it's my time I it's obviously going to happen to me, I'm, When are they going to recognize my genius? Back up the truck with the cash and in my house in the Hollywood Hills? And let's let's let's go have lunch with Spielberg and Cameron. Like, how is like that was the mentality so many filmmakers have? You've got to walk in humble, very humble, because if you don't walk in humble, it will humble you.
Guy Pigden 42:22
Yes. As it has done many, many times.
Alex Ferrari 42:28
And by the way, will continue to carry out your career it will humble you. Look, Jeff Katzenberg, arguably one of the more successful producers in history, you know, with Disney and DreamWorks, and, you know, he worked with, you know, partner with Spielberg and Geffen to create DreamWorks, and, arguably a legend. He just got humbled by kwibi. He thought he could come out, he thought he could come out, he thought he could come out. It's like, you know what, we're gonna throw billion bones in this, we're gonna do this. And we're going to be the next big thing and pop up. And you know what, it didn't work. And a lot of people lost a lot of money. And he was humbled. I don't, but I do give him credit for getting up to the plate and taking a swing. I don't think he walked in thinking that he was the end all be all. I don't know the man. I don't know how it worked. But at least he gave it a shot. But look, a man of literally a legend. In our business, absolute icon. In our business humbled. It happens to every big director, every big director has has a flop Hey, Steven Spielberg, Steven Spielberg, but he had 1941 he did 41 I still loved the movie, but it did not do well in the box office. And he was humbled. If you don't walk in humble to every project, you promise you, you will get humbled at one point or another in your life. And it happens to everybody, everybody.
Guy Pigden 43:54
And I think that's a also a really important distinction to make is that it is very hard to make a good film. And it's even harder to make a good film, and then have that good film, especially in the indie world, find its audience, it's not even just making a good film, you got to make a good film. And then you have to take that one step further and connect to that audience. And that is something that costs money, you know, and marketing and all that stuff, which is, again, we just think, hey, we'll just make this film. It'll be so good. That one, you know, we don't have to worry about the good, bad thing, because it's going to be so good is that is to genius. The audience will just connect to what's true, I'll find my audience. And that was another thing is that we, you know, with zombie Holocaust, we had, you know, like I said, it was on Showtime for years, you know, people were saying, Hey, I saw your film, you know, it was, you know, pirated like, you know, over, you know, millions of times sometimes would pop up on YouTube, and then three, you'd catch it under About 300,000 views on YouTube and go, can we please take this down. So it's not that people weren't watching it. But even that did not truly Connect, like, I could not connect to my zombie fan base, like people that love zombie films still don't necessarily know that that film exists. I couldn't connect to my audience, I couldn't, I didn't have that sort of that marketing push, or that clout, or that sort of even that grassroots thing, to really join those dots to make it a huge success in that way. And these are all things that we don't think about, when we're sort of starting out. So but you have to, and like you said, like the, you know, to use, and I think about this, when I made my second feature, older, which was a micro budget film in 2013, is when I started that film. And in 2013, if you made a feature film, it was still an achievement. People were still like, hey, that's, that's pretty Oh, you you made that you just did that you you sort of put it all together out. That's impressive. And 2021. That's cool. It's like, cool. Well, I think my neighbor did that. He's, he's, he's put I'm pretty sure he's put together a feature film.
Alex Ferrari 46:13
And I think and I think and I think he has Eric Roberts in it. So sorry, Eric. Eric, I apologize. I do love you, man. Best of the Best was awesome. I'm sorry.
Guy Pigden 46:24
That the technology has has made it more accessible and easier to do, which may has muddied the waters to the point where, hey, you know, how you finding those quality indie titles now, because it's not just that they're not just sticking out anymore? right in, in this whole sea of other stuff. And so, you know, that is another challenge that we have to think about and face and, and sort of work on if we want to connect?
Alex Ferrari 46:51
No question. And if anyone listening out there thinks they're going to make an independent film, and your audience is going to find you. I also have some land to sell you or a bridge to sell, as well. Some swamp land in Florida. It's fantastic. I mean, it just that's mentality from 1990 to 9394. When someone could find a clerks, someone could find a brothers but but do you think brothers macmullan, if it showed up today, would make a dime I talked to Ed, and that's Bs, a douchey. La guy who's dropping names. But when we talked when we had that on the show, I asked him like, Did you think he's like I? Probably? Probably not. It's just it would be so difficult to get any sort of attention for a film like that in today's world. So it was about timing and mariachi to I'll you know, when Robert eventually shows up on the show, which he will want to be when Robert shows up on the show go do you think of mariachi would have a chance today? Like, truly, truly do you think you know my reaction? Not that it's not It has nothing to do with the quality of the film? It's the marketplace, can it find its audience. So I hope people listening, take your story, hold wholeheartedly, and realize, and trust me, you've got to be a special kind of person, especially depending on what age you're at, to really look at yourself and go, maybe I'm not the next Spielberg. Because I promise you, every every big guy that you've that you think, or every big director you followed, in the last 30 years all probably thought if they were younger, or another generation from Spielberg thought were the next Spielberg. And they ended up being something else. Like the features of the world. And the kitten, the Nolan's and even Cameron Cameron was inspired by Lucas and he went on to do his own thing. But everyone aims for the masters. Everybody wants to draw like Picasso, or Van Gogh, we, you know, if you pick up a paintbrush you like it has to be Picasso or Van Gogh, yeah, we'd love to get to that place. But the hard reality and the truth is, you're never gonna get to that you more than likely will never get to that place, because it's impossible to get to that place, because there's only one backup period. But you can get to your van Gogh place, whatever that place might be. It could be right there next to him. Or it could be just making a living as a painter and loving your life. And that's O. K, you don't have to be rich and famous. You don't have to be Tarantino to to be a successful filmmaker. I know filmmakers have had on the show, who direct all the time, and just make their movies and aim it at their audiences. And they make a good living. And they're not living up in the Hollywood Hills. But every day they wake up and they get to do what they love to do. And I think that that is the success that is the dream, not making millions of dollars and making a Marvel movie, which by the way, as I always say, Kevin Fay, I'll take the I'll take the meeting. But but that's not. That's not the only definition of success. And I think, hopefully in the show, I've put that out there enough that filmmakers especially younger filmmakers will understand that and I'm glad you've shared this story with us. But before we go, I do want to touch upon the seven Yours, it took you to make your neck your next film older. What happened?
Guy Pigden 50:06
Yes. So, um, after the experience with zombie film, and to be honest, I still going through it, because in 2013, I was still wrapping up the post production on the zombie film. And I was still sort of chipping away at that. But I sort of was like, Okay, cool. I've made this kind of, you know, again, one of my other mistakes is that I tried to make a film that should have cost a, you know, several million dollars for $250,000. So I was not working within my budget in terms of like, so that made every single scene every single thing harder, because essentially, I was asking much more of the resources that I had. So I had to be, you know, much clever about my approach, which I wasn't always, but I am much, but all of that just made it extremely difficult. And I thought, Okay, look, I just want to do a walkie talkie film, I want to do a film, you know, there's much more modest than scope and scale. That is, you know, something that I love, which is, you know, who you've had on the show Richard Linklater films, but I was thinking about before sunset, sunrise, just people talking and hanging out real relationships, all that sort of stuff I loved, you know, those early Woody Allen films as well, that sort of dealt with that sort of thing. And so I wanted to do something like that, which was just as far away from zombies and exploding heads and sort of gore and all those sort of things that I'd been sort of, you know, knee deep, and I wanted to just do the opposite. And that was really my inspiration for shooting old and just do a real relationship drama, because I love those films as well. I'm not just a horror guy. And so I sort of said about, we did some crowdfunding. And this again, this was kind of before crowdfunding was cool. This is when it was sort of in its infancy, like, not everyone was doing it, we did it Indiegogo. And we raised, I think about 5000 US dollars, I also have, with my production partner, Holly nevel, we have this successful YouTube channel, we use some money from our YouTube channel, and we kind of pulled all those resources, and we were just like, it's going to be three weeks, we're gonna shoot it, I'm going to have it all done within a year, just within a year,
Alex Ferrari 52:21
I'm sure that's the way it worked out.
Guy Pigden 52:24
And so, and we shot it, we shot it in three weeks, but with the idea that we'd shoot like 80% of it, so that 80% was like the hardest part of the film, we're doing three weeks, and they would pick up some of the little bits that I didn't have time for that 20% over weekends following on from that. And that was always the way I do it. And I was sort of inspired because, you know, at that time 2013, the five D Mark three had come out in the Mac two, and I'd shot some pickups for the zombie film on the mark two and I was like, holy cow, this camera can almost replicate what I had with a crew of 20 or 30 on the zombie film, but it's just me and another guy, and some photography lenses. And so, you know, obviously, it was this kind of revolutionary moment for indie filmmakers at the time, with that type of gear to get this kind of this shallow depth of field look is really what we're talking about. And so I was like, Okay, we'll get that camera, we'll use that I had a friend over in Australia who was doing photography, he actually flew over for three weeks to shoot, to do that shoot. And we sort of really went back to basics, whether it's super small crew way more, like, you know, we're talking three or four people. And keeping it that small scale, because it gives you a lot of freedom, you know, it gives you a lot more freedom. Sometimes when we're not all thinking about our max and our the focus puller is but out today, you know, all of those things that kind of kind of sometimes stagnate a shoot, when you have a big team and a big crew, you can just go back to the basics. And just it's all about the story. It's all about the performances. And it's it's about character and relationships and all that sort of thing. So we shot that we continue to do those pickups straight afterwards. But what happened is that I kind of then got bogged back down and creating the deliverables and post work for the zombie film, and then the promotion and marketing of the zombie film. So from that sort of end of 2013 and 2014 and 2015 I was really very preoccupied with getting my first feature out there and sort of didn't really start back up editing older until sort of, you know, 2016 ish, really. And then I sort of had some more ideas about maybe I want to change this maybe I want to adjust some things because a I'm a perfectionist and you know you have a love for Stanley Kubrick I have a love for Stanley Kubrick. It's not right until it's right and so when you have such a small crew and such a small team You're on good terms with all of them. You one of the big benefits you have is you can go, you know what, the scene isn't quite right. Let's go back and redo it. Let's, let's, let's shoot it again. And so I sort of did a little bit of that I did a little bit of rewriting of some sections, which again, could have been avoided had I'd done more thorough work on the script to begin with, you know, I was sort of rewriting after the fact and sort of rewriting beforehand, and saving all that time to shoot it twice, you know. So I wouldn't say that, like, essentially, the majority of the film was still that, that 2013, shirked, but there was these bits from 2014, and 2015, and 2016. And actually, all the way up to 2900.
Alex Ferrari 55:45
How did you how did you were the star of this as well. Right?
So how did you like, keep your flike? I mean, you're aging. I mean, I yeah, I'm aging rapidly, rapidly as filmmakers, too, we do not age.
Guy Pigden 55:58
I always joke about this too, is that filmmaking is like staring into the dead lights. And it you know, when it and it turns everything gray, that's, that's filmmaking ages, you years and years, I'm 25,
Alex Ferrari 56:10
I'm 25 years old, look at me looking at, you're like what 17 I mean, look at
Guy Pigden 56:15
you. Sorry, it was a bit of a problem, I sort of went from having here, that was graying to gray here. So I had to keep dyeing my hair for it, I also had to maintain a certain weight as well, because that sort of got in shape, because I knew I was doing these, you know, six scenes and stuff like that. And I was like, Okay, I don't I want to look good on camera, obviously. And so that was a struggle. So it was a battle
Alex Ferrari 56:39
like this, it kept you healthy, it kept telling you, you look better than you ever did for seven years. And now you've completely let yourself go. So that's faster.
Guy Pigden 56:49
Now, totally different. And I'd like look now that time can catch back up. So it was a little bit of a challenge to keep that continuity. And we had actresses, you know, with here twice the length that was you know, and they were like, Well, I'm not cutting it again for this film, guys. So you better figure out a way to dress my hair. So it doesn't look like this. And so there was lots of issues like that. Some of that, like the house that were originally filmed, we no longer live there. So we couldn't film there anymore. So we had to go back in and there was all sorts of stuff.
Alex Ferrari 57:22
So all of this, all of this is all of this is the insanity of it. This is this is the definition of insanity of being a filmmaker. It is and it's wonderful. It's beautiful. And it's just destructive and terrifying. At the same time. It can't be can't be wasn't in this case, but it can be Yeah, imagine if you would have put not 1000, but 80,000, and you would have mortgaged your house. And then all of a sudden, you can't pay the rent. And all of a sudden you lose your house because you've this film, and I've heard these stories, man. So but at least you were smart enough to go, you know, let's keep this micro keep it small, keep it small, keep it small, the worst thing is I'm gonna not have the I can eat those french fries.
Guy Pigden 58:02
look good. And that's and the other battle too was just the Edit because I also edited it myself. And I got busy with other projects, you know, I you know, if someone would come on and say, Hey, can you shoot this web series? It's like, Okay, cool. Well, that's, you know, the next four months of me working on that web series, you know, we're going to, we're going to shoot this other little short film. Okay, well, let me do that. And so I certainly got into having to put put a pause on the film, to do these other projects, which I was very grateful for, because, you know, sort of earlier, maybe in 2013, I wasn't being asked to do those things. So, you know, it was a progression in one respect, but it was also holding up the film. But I think that, you know, that's, again, something that if I had to do over, and I could afford it, I wouldn't eat it at myself. Because it's a lot of work. It's a lot of work. In fact, to me that is the most time intensive part of of the filmmaking you think it's the shoot you, maybe you think it's the writing of it, you think all those things, but as soon as you're in that edit room, and you're chipping away, and you're looking at take six, and you're like, Oh, well I actually did a little bit from here and a little bit from take one a little bit from Tech, you know, to it's it is it's a grind. And so all of those things, because also, you know, I have, I also work other jobs as well. I'm not just a full time filmmaker, sadly, people aren't paying me enough to, you know, just be directing or freelancing. I do like, I do camera stuff and edits for other people, for other people. So all of those things kind of just would put a pause on the film until we sort of finally got to the end and sort of 2020 and sometimes you will started like I'd been through it once I'd been through that whole process. So I was a little bit more patient and understanding of that process. And really the focus was obviously trying to make the film as as good as It could be, but but that seven years goes by pretty quick.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:04
I look, I tell you like I just woke up and I'm 46. Now like, I just I'm like, I just like, last last night, I just got into film school. Like they mean, it was just like, I still remember like just walking onto the soundstage for the first time going, Oh, this is where I'm going to bring in the crane here. And we're going to get the techno over here. And we're going to do this, and none of that could afford. But Richard Linklater said something was such a profound statement. And I've heard a few people tweeted out, after that interview came out, he says that our skill set eventually catches up with our ideas. Because when you're young, and when you're starting out, you've got massive ideas like I can do Avengers. Yeah, I could do this or that. But the skill set the craft, takes time to catch up. And he was the first to admit it. Like when he did slacker, he, you know, there was things and every movie that he kept doing from dazed and confused, and so on, he got better and better and better. And I haven't, you know, told him that and he's like, yeah, you know, after after the fourth or fifth, I'm solid. Like, after the fourth or fifth movie, I was like, you might not like my movies, but you can't argue that I can make movies, you know that I can finish a movie, say like, it took me about four or five movies to get that under my belt, and I'm solid. You can't argue with that. At the beginning, you can like is this guy even going to be able to make this thing work? It takes time to get that craft to catch up to those ideas. And it's patience, brother, it's patience. But listen, I have a couple questions. I asked all my guests, and you will probably know these. Since you listened to the show I should, then you'll be able to do better be prepared, sir. What advice would you give the filmmaker trying to break into the business today?
Guy Pigden 1:01:43
Well, to be honest, because, you know, we've we've mentioned a couple of these. And I actually did try and write down a couple of these things. But, you know, for starters, yeah, forget the lottery ticket mentality, as you say all the time. And think about long term sustainability, view your films as a brand, and business as well as an artistic endeavor. So that's something that I would would definitely throw out there. I would also say, you know, don't assume that people will recognize your talent. Right? So focus on connecting with an audience that appreciates, but stop assuming that I'm a genius. And you know, what I do will just be at that level that I want it to be with all my, you know, all those greats that I look up to. So, you know, you got to shift that mindset a lot. So those are the things I take what I mean, to my younger self, I'd say, Look, man, don't be depressed. But it is gonna take a lot longer than you think. Obviously, it's
Alex Ferrari 1:02:52
gonna take too, it's like, again, I'll go back to Rick as he said this another quote is like, it's gonna take twice as long as you think and it's gonna be twice as hard.
Guy Pigden 1:02:59
Yes. As and, and you know, you know, I know that I can't remember who it was that said, it takes 10 years to become an overnight success. Well, maybe I think it takes 20 years to become an overnight
Alex Ferrari 1:03:14
it turns, it depends on your path. It all depends on the path, you walk some Look, man, some people hit it out of the park, like Robert Sure, without mariachi, and he was given a gift. And a lot of these guys have had on the show, were given gifts, like they happen to be at the right place, right time, right product. And you know what, you know, everyone has their path. So you just kind of walk your path the best way you can. And maybe you're destined for greatness, or great things in the way that you think they're great. Or maybe you're destined to make a beautiful living, doing the art form that you love. And maybe no one will recognize you other than that smaller audience that that loves you. And that is an amazing accomplishment. Or maybe this business isn't for you. And that's a sad reality of, of what we do. Because as we saw in the beginning, that punch comes. Either you know how to take in and keep going forward, or you're knocked out. And I've seen a lot of filmmakers get knocked out. And the only goal I have with this show is to make sure that you know that that punch is coming to let you know, because I wish I had that podcast when you were trying to get this distribution deal made. So I wish I was listening to this. I wasn't even started yet. I hadn't even started yet. So I was in my own turmoil selling olive oil and vinegar and that's a whole other conversation for another day. But But yeah, okay. Now what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in film business or in life?
Guy Pigden 1:04:38
I think it goes back to you're not entitled to success. You are not there is not an entitlement. how good you think you are or how talented you that you are not entitled to success in your own entitled to appreciation. No matter how good you think you are. I think there was a big lesson for me to learn as a younger filmmaker Even though I'm still trying to have to remind myself from time to time, when you know, I, I get into these conversations with, with filmmakers or producers, and I'm like, Man, I've made two films by the effort, you know, like, I know what I'm doing. But you can't look at it like that, you have to come into it humble. And so that was a big thing for me. As you know, there are no entitlements here, you know, and you're not, you don't deserve any of that. That's, you've got to, even if you're the hardest worker in that, because I also thought it was to do with hard work, I thought, if you're the hardest worker in the room, and you've got some talent, you know, it will come together, I actually don't think that's true. Like you can do all those things. And it's still not it come together. At that time. You know,
Alex Ferrari 1:05:45
what I would say, as far as that is concerned, I think if you're the hardest worker in the room, and you have a little bit of talent, something will eventually happen. Yes, it could happen in a year, it could happen in 10 years. But only good things come from that in one way, shape, or form. If you stay if you stick with it. That has been my experience, that's been my experience talking to so many filmmakers, if you show up and just keep working every day, something will happen. And I use, I use the example of the podcast when I launched, nobody knew who I was, no one knew indie film, hustle, I came out of it literally from scratch. And I just showed up every day, and just did as much work as humanly possible. And I've been able to build up what I've been able to build up over the last six years, but purely because of just straight up, hustle, straight up just grinding and grinding harder than anybody else. And good things do eventually happen. But it takes time to do it. But it might not happen to the way you imagined it in your head. And that is the lesson because you're not gonna grow. If you if you say, Oh, I'm gonna win the Oscar, you're done. You're done. Pack it up, you're not gonna win the Oscar, it's not gonna happen. But you know, like, Oh, I'm gonna make a million. Maybe, I don't know, doubtful depends on the movie. Maybe not, who knows. But just, if you can get out of this out of what your vision of your success is, and just let it unfold in front of you, and be open to whatever comes to you. That I think is a much more better recipe for success than trying to plan this open grant this grant thing, because I promise you and I've spoken to these guys on the show, every one of them that had these grand things happen to them, not one of them planted.
Guy Pigden 1:07:32
And it's such an important distinction, isn't it? Because we're coming in seeing these people and expecting the same type of success. You know, the Robert Rodriguez, the Kevin Smith, we're going to go that journey, we're gonna make these then we're going to, and it's like, but they didn't have that plan. They're like, I've just got to make my thing, I got to tell my story, and hope that something comes from it. And then all of this stuff came from it. But, you know, we I think that's, again, goes back to that sort of entitlement thing. Right. And, and, you know, what we are adjusting our expectations. Because I am sort of very proud of the things that I've done in my career. Very proud of having made two feature films and I'm super excited to be you know, just about finishing another one and, and all the opportunities that have come with that all the people I've got to work with along the way. I am incredibly grateful and thankful for that. But it was not, you know, it's not the giddy heights of Hollywood's and and that's okay, as you said that's okay.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:37
Robert, Robert wanted to make a mariachi for the for the Spanish VHS market. He had no intention of ever it being anywhere else other than straight to video to the Spanish market, not even straight to video American market students. And look what happened to him. None of them expected. None of them expected. Do you think Spielberg expected jaws to be the beginning of the blockbuster? To be the biggest movie of all time of its that? No. None of them do. So hope that gets in there. And last question, sir. Three of your favorite films of all time. I mean, this is the hardest one, but you've had time you've had time. I've written times I've written down. So let's go.
Guy Pigden 1:09:18
I've written down I've cheated. So I'm going to but I'm going to throw out so my first top three is the three that I can just off the top of my head, the shining number one original Star Wars trilogy. And back to the future. I know that's a cheat, but there will there will be but now the three the thing, john capita, the original Indiana Jones trilogy, and the dollars trilogy so so you've
Alex Ferrari 1:09:43
cheated all sorts. I mean, you
Guy Pigden 1:09:47
cheat one more time. One more set of cheats as this is a little bit off the beaten path because I know that people always give those ones The Big Lebowski sure the labyrinth Labyrinth I know Yeah, ever in the library.
Alex Ferrari 1:10:05
I don't think Labyrinth has been on the show before sunset, I don't think is a domain made the list either. But But to be fair, you have cheated. So I'm gonna I'm gonna have to do this. I'm gonna have to disclose I'm gonna have to disqualify the sir I'm sorry. But the guy that it has been an absolute pleasure talking to you, man, thank you so much for being so raw and honest and transparent with your experience. And, you know, putting it out there for the world to hear and, and hopefully help other filmmakers out there. It takes a brave filmmaker to come out and just kind of like, Hey, man, look, I learned these lessons. Hopefully, it's gonna help some other people. But I do truly appreciate you coming on the show. And it's been a blast, talking to you, my friend. So thank you so much and much success on your journey, sir.
Guy Pigden 1:10:47
Well, thank you, Alex. Thank you for having me on. I am a cautionary tale for other filmmakers. But I hope that one that people can take a lot and learn from and go cool. I'm not going to make those mistakes, because we all make mistakes, and we keep making mistakes. What do we take and learn from those. So I really hope people learn from my mistakes. And I'd also just like to say, please go and see my new film, which is available now amazon prime to be Google Play, which is older, it's, it's free on most of those platforms. And we begin to some awesome feedback. And, you know, we want to keep making films and long may continue. So please check that out. And you can also find me on YouTube. The savage filmmaker.
Alex Ferrari 1:11:27
Fantastic, man. Thank you again, brother. Thanks a lot.
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