IFH 285: How I Landed a Theatrical Release with No Bankable Star Power with Josh Doke



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If you ever wanted to learn how to get your local town, group or community behind your indie film this is the show for you. Today’s guest did just that, writer/director Josh Doke got his entire town of Goodland, Kansas to support his film through crowdfunding, production resources and finally distribution.

Goodland was filmed in his hometown of about 4,000 people in Western Kansas and he included as many locals as he could in order to help bring the project to life. We used all practical locations, had vehicles, tractors, props, and costumes donated. He was able to buy a 1990 Crown Vic for $1 from a local car dealership who wanted to help out, and then he repainted it to be a cop car – complete with a donated light bar from the local sheriff’s office. The City of Goodland shut down streets, turned electricity on in abandoned buildings, and pretty much gave him free rein over the town while he was in production.

Off-screen, people donated meals, lodged cast, and crew, and in return, everyone was welcome to come on set and watch the filmmaking process if they wanted to.
Then, when it came time to screen the film, he screened in the local, one-screen theater for two weeks and became the best-attended feature of 2017. Because of that Goodland was held over for an additional week – doing more business locally in our third week than Thor Ragnarok did in its entire run.
These are just a few examples of how this film was able to come to life and eventually get distribution, have a small theatrical run, be released on Amazon, Spectrum, Xfinity, etc., get a streaming deal with a premium cable network, and have the DVD released in Walmart.

This is an extremely inspiring story. Enjoy my conversation with Josh Doke!

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 3:00
Today's guest is Josh Doke, who is a writer director who made the film goodland. Now what made his story unique is he actually did something I had never seen before heard before his community filmmaking, where he literally got his entire town behind him to help him make the movie and add added an amazing amount of production value, which far exceeded his indie budget, let's say. And it was a pretty remarkable story. And I wanted to hear how he was able to galvanize his entire town behind me, which is a little town called good Lynn, in Kansas, in the middle of the country, and also how he was able to get free stuff, get, you know, a car for $1 from the local used car dealer, and so many other things. And then we also discuss his distribution strategy, how he's getting the movie out there, how he was able to do theatrical runs, and so on of the film, and it's been a very, very successful little indie movie about how he made it, and how he got it out there is quite unique. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Josh Doke. I'd like to welcome the show Josh Doke man thank you so much for being on the show,brother!

Josh Doke 4:18
Hey, thanks for having me, Alex.

Alex Ferrari 4:20
So I wanted to first of all before we get before we get started, how did you even get started in the film business?

Josh Doke 4:27
Oh, man. I was back in high school. I was on the football team and I wanted to make a highlight film, you know for for our football team and we're talking like, mid to like 2006 2007 we were on like dv cams. I was converting on Final Cut Pro and putting into some some really bad music, I'm sure. And we only had the one camera in our small High School stadium which was like which was a high amp was Which one was it? It was like the high camera you Like one angle, the one angle so you're cutting in and out

Alex Ferrari 5:05
What was wrong with the camera? What was it was that the Canon was it the DBX?

Josh Doke 5:08
I think it was a JVC. Actually, it was bad. It was rough, that's rough. But I told I was in an art class. And I told my art teacher that I wanted to, to do this. And we actually had Final Cut at our high school. So he just kind of threw me. And this is showing my age a little bit. But this was a little bit before YouTube tutorials

Alex Ferrari 5:29
Dude don't talk about age, okay. In 2005, I was not in high school. So let's just put it that way.

Josh Doke 5:37
Be the actual final cut manual, and totally to figure it out. So that's kind of how I learned in editing. I was always drawn to art, art and story. That'd be a writer for a while I was always drawing. I wanted to be a cartoonist for a while, and it kind of just like transformed into film. And so when I was like 17, or 18, I told my parents that I wanted to go to film school. And one of the fortunate ones who have the type of parents that when they heard that they said like, go for it. And they really supported me. So simply from that point on, I started looking for film school, and I ended up I grew up in western Kansas, the middle of.

Alex Ferrari 6:14
The Mecca, the mecca of Hollywood. Yes.

Josh Doke 6:17
Yes. And then I went to that prestigious film school that is the University of Kansas. Obviously, it's it's up there with USC and NYU, of course, better known for their basketball than for their film program. Although I'm not I'm not dissing their film program. It's just not in any people's radar.

Alex Ferrari 6:32
Yes, exactly. very politically good politically way to say it. Yes. But you learn the basics there, you learn the basics.

Josh Doke 6:37
Absolutely, I didn't. And what came out of it. You know, I had a lot of great instructors. In fact, Kevin wilmont, was one of my professors. He taught me the art of screenwriting. And he actually co wrote black Klansmen with Spike Lee. He's still teaching at the University of Kansas. So that's awesome. Yeah, yeah. So that was really great to kind of like learn under him and be able to take all the classes that he offered. And so but what it really did for me was it introduced me to my my business partners and collaborators, Ian Trimble, who's my director of photography, and Edward srour, who is my editor. And we together make up rockhaven films, which is our production company.

Alex Ferrari 7:23
Nice, man. So So then how did goodland come to life because this is your first debut feature film?

Josh Doke 7:30
Yeah, it's the first one. So I chose going to the University of Kansas, because I had some insight scholarships, I knew that I wanted to keep the cost down low, because I knew that the end goal was to always make real films, I wanted to make a film. And I kept that all the way through through college, met at an IA and we started a production company. And we wanted to we had a lot of like I said, connections in around the Kansas City area, Lawrence, where the University of Kansas was with a lot of different production companies and access to to things that you might not be able to get, you know, I hear you can get a lot of stuff, you know, if you go to the the prestigious film schools, but we were just like working and making friends with all these companies outside of the actual the actual University. So I felt like we had a plethora of resources right there, we had everything that we needed to make a film. So we decided that we were going to make our first feature film, we weren't going to ask for anybody's permission, we were just going to do it there in Kansas, and use that as our stepping stone on to, you know, to hopefully launch our careers and make more films in the future. So initially, I was started working on a script. And it was a Western script, we were trying to keep the budget low. And we started looking into what the insurance costs would be with horses and putting actors on horses, we realize that that wasn't going to at least what we had envisioned, needed to be maybe three or four films down the line, right, really not the first one. So knowing that we kind of went back to the drawing board, and I had this idea for what became goodland when I was about 17, growing up in a small town of about 4000 people. And I had this like just high concept idea at a very young age. And then when we were actually talking about making this film, practically that idea kind of came back up and I was like, I know how to do this and I know that we can do this now, you know with with the amount of money that we can raise and all the resources we have I know that this film could be made now. So I took about four months, really fleshed out that idea and wrote the first draft of the script, brought in a producer Jay s. Hampton, who has also worked with with wilmont on several other of his earlier projects, and kind of got the ball rolling and what became good Blend.

Alex Ferrari 10:01
That's so tell us a little bit about good and what is good.

Josh Doke 10:04
So goodland is a, I always call it a small town crime thriller. It's kind of has some Neo Western vibes to it. But it's primarily about a drifter who comes through town and a very small town and ends up dead in a cornfield, and it's made to look like a forum accident. And then the local sheriff played by cinnamon Schultz, starts investigating and realizes that the the accident isn't so much of an accident, and that there's more going on. And it's kind of all coincides with another character coming into the town who's posing as a photographer, and she starts to kind of chase down the leads and figure out that there's more going on than just a random act of violence. No.

Alex Ferrari 10:51
Now, there's a unique story of how you made this film isn't there? There is Yeah, so can you tell me you know, when you when you when you reached out to me, you were telling me about how you pretty much rally the entire town around your production. And that was a very interesting concept, because there are a lot of small towns in this country and also outside of this country. And where people like, well, Robert Rodriguez kind of did that with El Mariachi, you know, he kind of like gathered, he's like, I know this Mexican town, I can go and shoot in. And he gathered the locals and stuff. How did you do? And what's the story behind that?

Josh Doke 11:28
Right, yeah, and I know that, as you were saying, this isn't the most unique of stories in that like, I read Robert Rodriguez film Rebel Without a crew. I remember. I was a college student, probably not as good of a college student as I could have been because I got that book. And I skipped classes for like two days, and just paste my paste my dorm room for two days, just like racking my brain. It just like, blew off the doors of what, you know, I thought I had to do to make a movie.

Alex Ferrari 11:56
Yeah, but that movie, that book is pretty seminal in our world in the filmmaking world.

Josh Doke 12:02
Right. So yeah, so that's not that unique. I think a lot of people know that that book. And I've heard that, you know, heard these stories before. And all that, but I did practically apply that. But I took it another step further, I think and what became kind of a case study for, you know, what a film could potentially do. So goodland is a real town. It's the town that I grew up in. It's the town that my parents are still living. And I knew that I wanted to set this, this story in a small western Kansas town. Very underrepresented, obviously, as we kind of joked about earlier in any type of film. So I thought it was a unique setting, you know, sure, a lot of people think it's very, kind of like boring and barren. But for me, for like, cinematic, I thought there was a lot of a lot of beauty to the wide open spaces. So I knew that I wanted to do that. So when I had that in mind when I wrote the script, and I also wrote the script. I recited with Robert Rodriguez thinking about the places that I knew I had access to locations that I grew up around, things that I knew that people who still lived in the town could give us access to which were vehicles and any type of thing, you know, that we needed. I knew that or had a good idea that we could probably get that. And then when it came down to it, it came down to I wrote the first draft of the script, and I had, you know, some some working name on the script. And my producer was like, No, we should name this goodland. I was like, I don't know, man. I was like, I don't know if I if that's He's like, well, to you. It's the name of your hometown. But it actually fits pretty well with the themes of the film. It's a cool name. I think that it's catchy. I think it'll work. So So Jay. Jay was right. We called it goodland. And we saw the benefits of doing that right out of the gate. We ran Kickstarter to get some just kind of get a final push. Before going into production. We had most more funding in place, but we needed just that little extra kick that you oftentimes do. So we ran a Kickstarter, and I was not expecting it to do what it did not that we made obscene amount of money. But just the spread on social media having a film called goodland. And also being connected with so many people from my hometown. Anybody who had lived in goodland lives in goodland has driven through goodland lives in a town around goodland shared the Kickstarter because they had never had a film knew nothing you know about the filmmaking process and never had a film shot in or around or knew anything about it and just thought it was amazing that we wanted to bring a film crew and and make this film in town and not only just make it but also call it goodland. So it ended up being like an unforeseen marketing advantage or something Avi? Ma Yeah, well, you say we can claim genius. But in reality, you know, Jay thought it was a good title. He may tell you differently he had this all worked out in the back of his head. But so we did that. And it spread. And we were over half our goal within 24 hours of launching Kickstarter and people that a lot of people that I knew, obviously, I think you think a lot of friends and family are going to help with Kickstarter, but way beyond that, people who may have recognize their names or, or had some slight contact, or you know, I was on the phone with my parents every night being like, do you know so? And so? And they're like, Oh, yeah, they weren't down the street. They you know, and people were excited, and they were getting involved. And to take a step even further back than that. I actually wanted to clear everything with everybody in the town of goodland, before I just like, took their name and slapped it on something, right. The first people I went to were my parents, as I said, they still work and live there. It's their community. So I went to them. I said, I wrote this script. This is what I want to do. I want to call it goodland. Do you guys support this? And they said, Go for it. So with their permission, I then went and spoke at like, the city council meetings while I spoke. Local Kiwanis Club, I'm not sure if everybody knows what the quantites Club is, but

Alex Ferrari 16:21
No idea what

Josh Doke 16:23
Local community organizations I'm sure you should know. So just several different local community organizations, I went and did talks at the high school, I spoke to art classes and their media classes. I got permission from the Sheriff's Department and the police department. In fact, they ended up actually helping out with the production of the film. So we, by the time we launched this Kickstarter, a lot of people already knew about a lot of people didn't. But I had the town in full support, or at least the the main players in the city of goodland. Su help.

Alex Ferrari 16:57
So let me ask you, though, in your opinion, do you think if you would have called it something else, do you think it would have gone the same reaction?

Josh Doke 17:05
I think I would have gotten the same reaction as far as the support from the town. I think that the name really helped people. I think when people are scrolling through social media, sure, and they see like this new branded name of a town on a movie poster or something, they stopped maybe then if I would have called it you know, like, I don't know, three bullets in the wind. I have no idea what I would call the movie. But you know what I mean? I'm from soco title.

Alex Ferrari 17:35
So you're telling me that this is not going to work in Los Angeles?

Josh Doke 17:37
I think that's probably, you need to find a small community outside of Washington.

Alex Ferrari 17:46
So I can call this Sacramento, maybe, I don't know. Sacramento might actually go. So, um, so, in your opinion, the Why do you think the town kind of rallied around you? Was it just because there's like, you know, local boy makes good. He's, you know, trying to bring it you know, I mean, what's, what's the benefit? I mean, obviously, you know, the marketing of the movies name and everything. But, but why do you think they got mad? Because I'm trying to understand the mentality of it, because hopefully other filmmakers can kind of use that. Are there hopefully, they're their path? Well, first and foremost, I,

Josh Doke 18:23
I will say that I was very upfront about the type of film I was trying to make. I knew I was coming in shooting an R rated thriller that had, you know, mature themes. And so I wanted to put that out front. I didn't want anybody thinking I was making a talking dog Disney movie, you know, and

Alex Ferrari 18:42
They make a lot of money a lot of money.

Josh Doke 18:46
Absolutely. I'm not talking about about that type of movie. I just didn't want there to be a shock after the fact when, when people finally saw the movie, and

Alex Ferrari 18:54
We got behind this porno, what is this?

Josh Doke 18:58
I didn't quite take it that far. But you know, I did. I did want them to know what it was. And I had a little bit of anxiety about that, to be honest, like going into this. And knowing that the the script I wrote, I could stand behind, it wasn't embarrassing in any way. But you know, it's like, you know, my parents have to live there after I bring a film crew in and like storm in for 17 days, and then we're out. And then my parents have to like live there. So I was conscious of all that. And but yeah, to get back to your initial question about like, why do I think people rallied behind this? I think being honest and being upfront really did help. I think that people were excited to see someone taking the initiative and doing something like this, especially in a place that a lot of people really care about. You know, I think there's a lot of people who are very proud of the community that I grew up in. And I think that they sometimes they can Like I said that there's kind of like a, like an under, you know, people just kind of write off Kansas as, as a whole, let alone western Kansas, no one even knows what that is. So when someone pays attention and calls their film by that name and draws attention to it in what seems like a positive light, I think people were excited about that. And I think people outside of the the major, the major cities of, you know, New York and Los Angeles are still enamored with the filmmaking process, you know, not, it's not something everybody gets to see every day. I think, as filmmakers, we normalize it. And in a city like Los Angeles, everybody has to normalize, that they're forced. It's on their doorstep day in and day out. But in a place like goodland, you know, we had just people come to set every day and just watch us do what we do. They didn't just wanted to, they just wanted to be a part of it and see, and see the process. They had no idea how a movie was made, they had no idea that you had to shoot, you know, from three or four different angles to cover get coverage for a single thing. It just the process just was, you know,

Alex Ferrari 21:09
Mind blowing. Right. Yeah. Because I mean, I originally come from a smaller town. I mean, it doesn't mean Miami or Fort Lauderdale area, it's out of Miami is still you know, still fairly large, well known area. But compared to Los Angeles, it's it's it's a small town. So, you know, a lot of people, you know, when I started shooting there, too, they they would do the same thing. They just like, I just want to want to like what I want to say, Yeah, I still remember bringing my father to set for the first time when I was shooting a commercial. And he had no idea what I did even 1520 years in still, he's like, you make money. Good. That's all I care about. And when I brought him in, he would, he'd looked around, he was so impressed that everybody was listening to me. Right? Yeah, he went back to tell my relatives like everyone was listening to Alex. I mean, he would just tell him to do something and they would move this gear and, and they would just come like, that's just we're collaborators that But okay, fine, whatever, that makes you work fine.

Josh Doke 22:06
And it's funny at different people's perceptions. Sure. My, my brother, you know, grew up exactly the same, same household in a way that I did and, and I've involved him in a lot of my projects throughout the years. He's a neighbor, he was an EMT, and firefighter. So he had access to a lot of things that were really cool to film very

Alex Ferrari 22:27
Very valuable, very valuable

Josh Doke 22:29
My brother and two things. And I know that he would be he would, he's a doer. So like, when there's a lot of people, like perceive that there's nothing happening on a film set, when actually there's a lot of stuff happening on the film set. It's like, why aren't you shooting right now? It's like, well, we're moving like this that's happening. Those people are doing things. We're waiting for this. We're waiting for that, like everybody's doing what they're doing. But the cameras aren't rolling. So sometimes for people it's perceived as like, you could do this so much faster if you just kept going. Yeah. That's like, it's not gonna look right. If you don't reset the lights and move things around and do it 18 times.

Alex Ferrari 23:08
Right. Exactly. Everyone, not everyone's a What is it? A Monday morning quarterback? Everybody's somebody. Everyone's a backseat driver. Like, oh, I for me, it looks so easy. I could do that.

Josh Doke 23:20
Yeah, there's this quote that I always say when people, you know, say they weren't expecting what they saw on a film set. There's this quote by William Goldman, wrote Princess Bride force, and such. And he says, The most exciting day of my life was my first day on the film set. And the most boring day of my life was every other day on a film set after that.

Alex Ferrari 23:42
You know, he's absolutely right. The first day is super exciting. And then after that, he was like, This is work. Yeah, it's still work. Now, you mean, you had a lot of stuff donated for your film? So you had even food? People were like, how can you like how did that happen? Because food actually, you know, if you want to borrow my car, that's one thing. But if you want to, like, you know, I'm paying, you're spending money to support you by cooking and stuff. How would that work out?

Josh Doke 24:13
Well, my, it's funny, my mom really threw herself into wanting, she found out the term crafty, and she loved it. So she threw herself into craft services. Okay, but she also recruited and asked other people, you know, if they wanted to help out or you know, she owns her own business on main street of the town and a lot of people were interested in coming in talking they were they maybe some people had missed the Kickstarter, or just were wondering how they could get involved or that we needed anything or if we could, they could help and food was always a an easy way to kind of, you know, if someone wanted to to chip in, you know, a film crew always eat.

Alex Ferrari 24:55
Oh, yes, yes.

Josh Doke 24:57
No, that was a an easy way to kind of get some people involved who were interested in wanting to help.

Alex Ferrari 25:02
Now, can you tell me the story of the 1990 crown Vic?

Josh Doke 25:06
Yes. So we are coming. We were coming up to shooting and I actually hit a really good streak of luck when Holton, Whitman, a kid from my hometown, he's a few years younger than me, filmmaker, he actually just happened to be back in our hometown during the time that we were filming. And I was just to give some perspective, I was our studio was five and a half hours away from our locations, we were on location, not where we normally operate our business. So we were bringing everybody out that five and a half hour drive putting everybody up. But there was a lot of things that I was going back and forth on that five and a half hour drive, you know, constantly. So to have someone that I trusted, in goodland, in the town that we were about ready to shoot, leading up to the shoot full time was amazing. Like, I didn't plan for that, it just kind of like fell into my lap. And it ended up being like, I don't know, what we would have done without that. And part of that was, we were looking at several different vehicles to use as our cop car, a lot of our film takes place in a sheriff's office, and we knew that we needed a car to represent that. There's a lot of scenes driving scenes. And so we were looking at various, a lot of times they retire these cop cars, and then they just sell them at auction very cheap. We A lot of you know, a certain amount of budget. But I always wanted to have that kind of more classic square looking box cop car, you know, there was some other some other cars that were coming up or that were a little newer model the the white, you know, kind of like 2000s probably version that everybody knows, and that would have worked, and we would have had a cop car and would have been fine. But then we looked at two, we had two on our radar. And the day before we had to pull the trigger and actually, you know, purchase the car to take it into to get it repainted and made to look like how we wanted it. A car showed up on the lot of the local Ford dealership. And it was a 1990 Crown Vic, it was exactly the model that I had in mind when I wrote the script. I even had reference stills from other films of the cop car that I wanted. And I was you know, they this David Fincher says, you know filmmaking is compromise, and I was gonna compromise to have a cop car. Surely we needed it. And we were coming down to it. But this the day before this 1990 Crown Vic shows up on a lot. So we go to talk to the dealer about what they would need. And they were super excited about the film super excited. And Dan burner Ford of goodland, Kansas ended up selling this Crown Vic to the production for $1 to transfer the name over into my insurance so that we can get it tagged, and essentially donating the cop car towards the cars.

Alex Ferrari 28:09
That's amazing.

Josh Doke 28:10
Yeah, I mean, I I never expected that I almost couldn't take it, you know, told them that they have free commercials whenever they're ready for them. They haven't cashed in yet. But I'm sure I hope they will someday in the future, because I want to warn that.

Alex Ferrari 28:26
That's amazing.

Josh Doke 28:28
So then, Holden, who became my associate producer, his grandfather was auto body paint by profession. And so they took it in and as a matter of a week, it came out looking like a a 1990 Crown Vic Sheriff car. And then we even had the local sheriff department donated the light bar that goes on top.

Alex Ferrari 28:53
That's amazing, man, that really isn't isn't isn't crazy, though. Like how the universe kind of shows up to help you. As soon as you start the process. They won't, they won't, it won't open the door. Sometimes they'll open the door but if it sees that you're doing it and you're going and you're going to flow it'll come in and assist right these little magical moments like your buddy coming back to town like this car coming back down like you know the name goodland like you wouldn't even expect that all I can see all this kind of like almost miraculous coincidences along the way. While making this isn't an incredible,

Josh Doke 29:33
That's very much how it felt. It felt like just like things were just falling into place right when they needed to right before I was about to stress out to the max I was plenty stressed as well as my family and girlfriend can attest to but right before we hit like critical mass, something would fall into place that would make it okay. And it's interesting how it how that happens. But I think it's just like just putting your head down. Just like continuing to work towards something, and also, I'm a proud person, I don't like to, to ask for a lot of help. Sometimes, you know, it's not natural for me to ask for help, I always feel like I'm putting people out. Like, I'm like, it's like, I'm gonna be a hindrance,

Alex Ferrari 30:16
Right! We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Josh Doke 30:29
That was the feeling I kind of had going into this project that, you know, no one and everyone in my hometown was going to be super busy. No one wanted, you know, we were going to be in the way, right, it was also, we had to film at a certain time of the year because it was corn harvest, and that takes part of that's in the plot. So, you know, we had a window that we had to shoot, and I was just gonna be in everybody's way I was gonna be a hindrance, everybody would just put away till I left. And I couldn't have had the more opposite experience that I just like, had convinced myself that that's what was gonna happen. And in the end, I found out that like, more people wanted to help. And I even involved in the process, like, they wanted to help. They wanted to know about it, they wanted to be asked, and they were super excited, isn't it?

Alex Ferrari 31:13
I think it is so true. Because I had that experience on both. Both my feature films I shot, that it just things just started to just show up. Throughout my career, I felt that like, you know, when you're on a production, and just something just shows up, you know, and just all of all of a sudden, and it's I think, I think it's very true, the old steel saying is that when you jump in, net will appear. But you got to jump first. And the jumping is the scary part, you know, you know, but you started going down this road, and all of a sudden, a lot of things happen and continued through your distribution as well. So I wanted to talk a little bit about, first of all, how did you create your local theatrical run before you got full blown distribution? Because there's a little story there as well.

Josh Doke 31:56
There is Yeah. So it's kind of crazy, because I'll just kind of take a step back, talk about how we kind of came about having a producer's rep and kind of getting wrapped, and then how we kind of led into our theatrical run, we ran the 2017 film festival circuit, we had, you know, some success, I use the the movie maker, top 50 festivals worth the entropy kind of as like my guide, I think a lot of people do. We got into three of those festivals and total of five festivals. So I was, you know, pretty happy with that we didn't like spend a lot of we didn't do the scattershot approach, you know, as much as as we could have. So I was a little bit more focused, we got on to five festivals is pretty happy with that. And I had actually been listening to your podcast, and I heard Ben Yanni. From gorilla wrap media, Yeah, come on to your podcast. And he was talking about AFM and a book that he had written about AFM. And so during this time, where we were submitting to film festivals, I got on Amazon, I got his book, and I read it cover to cover. And I just reached out to him on Twitter. And I was just like, hey, read your book. It was great, great information, you know, kind of thanks for putting that together. And then we kind of started talking. And he and Ben, if you get a lot of unsolicited material sent to you after this. I'm sure

Alex Ferrari 33:27
I'm sure I'm sure Ben won't be had. Look, Ben was on episode number 15 of this podcast. He's one of the very first guest I had on the podcast. So he's very dear to my heart because of that he because when I was, you know, just starting out, he was willing to jump on my podcast. And I can't tell you that was over three years ago. And he still gets calls all the time from that episode, which is I'm like, which blows my mind because it's like, that's from three years ago. So I just literally talked to him at AFM the other day, and I'm like, dude, we got to get you back on man. Like we got it. I mean, we got to refresh the situation.

Josh Doke 34:09
Right. I love it. Yeah. Yeah. So we started talking. I sent him we had a trailer out at that time. I sent him the trailer. He liked what he saw. I went through the process of going to his website, you can submit your your material through his website. So I did the full process. There was no shoe and per se so he actually watched the film like the film, got him on board to be a producer Rep. And then, when we were working out the the contract and the deal I had been asked there's a there's a one screen theater in my hometown, the Sherman theatre, and it's near and dear to my heart. It's where I grew up going to see movies. It's where I saw all the most important movies in my life and They, you know, we're very interested, I talked to the owner knew the owner, my entire life, he owned the theater as long as I had been going to the theater. So I talked to him and we wanted to do do some screenings there, but I didn't know what capacity I could promise or how we could do that. Until I had, you know, our distribution locked in and everything. So when as I was talking to Ben, I was like, hey, I want to do this. You know, Ron, in my hometown, it's really important to me. And Ben was like, yeah, you can totally hold back the utricle. You know, Goodwin's probably not going to land in a lot of theaters, or any theaters really, unless we for wallet, so you can hold back the utricle. And I was like, Okay, great. So how Baghdad trickle told them what my plan was set up a two week run at the local theater and goodland. And we were all set to go. Everything was like, looking good. And our run coincided about a week within like a week of AFM happening in 2017. So Ben's at AFM, I'm in my hometown, preparing for this two week theatrical run, where I'm doing introductions and q&a is after every screening. And just kind of getting everything ready. I'm doing like local press, you know, I'm getting going on like local radio stations and talking to local paper and, and all that getting people excited, and everybody was excited. And then Ben, Ben calls me and he says, we may have a problem. And I said, Oh, no. That's like, what is this problem? He goes, Yeah, they want the utricle rights. For our, for our the district, the distributor once once the utricle rights. And that's like every filmmakers dream to hear. And I'm a day away from a two week commitment.

Alex Ferrari 36:57
Course. And I'm sure everybody's waiting for it is going to be a premiere is going to be a thing.

Josh Doke 37:03
Yeah. And I, I must have just like turned white, you know, on the phone with Ben, because I was like, this is like, I can't believe this. Sure. And, you know, Ben and I talked it out. And, you know, we didn't want to necessarily go back to the distributor and tell them no, you can't have theatrical rights, or that, you know, this is more important in the long run, it definitely seems like, you know, signing over the theatrical rights, and everything with them would be, you know, the best thing we could possibly do. And ultimately, I talked it over with Ben and I thought about it, and I slept on it. And I told him that. Essentially, I couldn't break the deal with my local theater, because I had already committed to that I was excited about it. So many people were excited about it. And people who helped you make this movie want people Yeah, right. Absolutely. And so I couldn't do it. And it was with a heavy heart that I made that phone call the band had been understood comes from the small town as well. He took that to the distributor, and they said, no worries. That's okay.

Alex Ferrari 38:16
I was kind of, like, in the back of my head. I'm like, Dude, it's not a big deal. You're like talking about a local theater in goodland. Kansas, right? I think you're going to be okay. It's not going to interfere with your theatrical run of the US.

Josh Doke 38:29
That's what we were totally you know, they wanted basically, you know, we wanted some some Oh, basically to report the the true opening weekend numbers was the reason that we thought that it may get into into a process but or be a problem. Yeah. And it doesn't seem like that big of a bigger thing. But it was like, it was a commitment that I made, and I was afraid that they were just going to tell me to pull the plug.

Alex Ferrari 38:55
That's what we like to call a test. I just like when the universe is like, okay, we gave all this stuff. Yeah, he does the right thing now or if not, we're gonna have to crash and burn this entire thing to the ground. Yeah. would have been a huge karmic. Yes. Mucho karma. Mucho karma would have been on your on your path, sir. But that's great, man. So okay, so you had a theatrical run. And it did. It did fairly well. In a good Yeah, I'm assuming that's a target market.

Josh Doke 39:27
We did really good in the hometown theater. It was we ran for two weeks. It was actually held over for third week. And we had, you know, big numbers. It was their biggest film of the year. I mean, the movie was called Good luck. I'm not saying I'd be biggest cinematic event of the year but people came out to see it.

Alex Ferrari 39:49
I'm assuming someone's gonna go to see that.

Josh Doke 39:53
There was, you know, I was going and introducing the film coming out I would hang out in the lobby with the people working That concession stands and then go in and do the q&a because I've seen the film 100 times before it even got there, I wasn't gonna I didn't sit and watch the two weeks. And I went out one night and someone called and asked the movie theater, what was playing, and they told them goodland. And the person on the other end hadn't heard of the movie or didn't know anything about and they said, I asked what's playing not the name of the town? They just got calls like that

Alex Ferrari 40:28
Constantly, I'm sure.

Josh Doke 40:31
A little bit of confusion on that, you know, even though it's a small town, not everybody knew what was going on.

Alex Ferrari 40:37
So then, so then, how was the What was your distribution plan for the film?

Josh Doke 40:42
So distribution ended up we signed with parade deck and ammo content, and it ended up being like more than I ever thought could happen. You know, before signing, Ben, we are seriously considering self distribution, which is, you know, a very, but especially now, it's a very viable, you know, a way to go and I was excited about you know, thinking about doing that. But then after talking to Ben and gauging interest, we're going to gauge interest before we even decided which way we were going to go. And then parade deck came in and they ended up offering us a small, independent theatrical run I think we were in five cities over the over the course of a couple months in the summer, it was kind of a scattered release just based on availability and open screens at different places. And then after that we went into you know, we went to on onto DVD we got into family video get a trial run at Redbox. We then what's family?

Alex Ferrari 41:40
What's, what's family videos at a family? A video is like a blockbuster. That's that's what I've heard of. I think kids rings. There is a it's still around. Right. Right. Yeah. I think it might be primarily Midwest. I made it Yes. Like it's not everywhere. It's a small, local area. But it is. I remember that that is a thing still.

Josh Doke 42:01
Yeah, so thing and yeah, there's still a chain of video stores that exists in America. So,

Alex Ferrari 42:07
So awesome. It just warms it warms my heart as an x video store employee.

Josh Doke 42:12
Now I was an x video store employee as well. And I actually I live in Nashville now I my office, my production company still in Kansas City. I commute often. And I was on a drive back and forth. And I saw that there was a family video near Kansas City I pulled off and checked and found the goodland DVD there was really, like just see, see your work like in a video store. That is not clear.

Alex Ferrari 42:38
That's such a cool feeling. Man. That's such a cool feeling. So then so and then you have done very well with the distribution.

Josh Doke 42:44
Yeah. And then so now we are streaming you can rent or buy on Amazon. The DVDs available on Amazon as well will be in the DVD will be in Walmart after the first the year end of January. And then, as of the first of December, we'll be streaming on Showtime. It's showtime anytime. And then I believe I just saw today that on December 3 will be on Showtime at 3:30pm. So wait a minute, you got a Showtime deal.

Alex Ferrari 43:14
You got a paid cable deal. We got a paid cable deal. Yeah. And that's I with no stars with no stars. No stars. Yeah, no stars with a movie called goodland from goodland. Kansas, right? There's no excuse for anybody not to be able to make money with a movie.

Josh Doke 43:30
Yeah, that's what I'm saying that I have to give it to. Everybody asked me what my experience with my distributor is. I've heard horror stories, you know, being in this industry for for, you know, 10 years. And I can't say enough great things about about who we went with. And, you know, it was just, it just felt like a match from from the beginning. So I've been really, really pleased with our distribution. That's awesome, man. That's awesome. Now, is there any tips you can give filmmakers who are thinking of going down this path of kind of like community filmmaking? If we can coin a term of putting your whole community together to kind of back and help can a filmmaker? Is there any tips you can give? I think it kind of goes back to what I was saying earlier about being honest. Whatever your project is, maybe just like whatever the scope of the project is, I've always found that it's easier to be honest or even, like overestimate people's time or commitment or over. Yeah, overestimate their time and commitment as opposed to underestimate. So if you're going to be in a location, and you know that you're scheduled there for 12 hours, but it's an indie film set, and you're understaffed and you have no money, like let them know the situation, let them know that like they may say you have a heart out and there's nothing you can do about that. But I would say be respectful. Let them know how the process goes. Like we're saying not everybody knows what it's like to be on a film set or how long things take, if you ask people to show up and be extras or do anything. Yeah, let them know that it's gonna be a full day thing. Let them know that it's a commitment, let them know that you're going to, if you borrow a vehicle, like make sure that they they know what you're going to be doing with it, you know, don't do don't attempt to do any, like high speed, Chase themes meet, we're going to leave it parked. You know, I think just like honesty, first and foremost is probably I mean, at any level, obviously, you know, at this local level, especially where I think in the film industry, people know a little bit more how to gauge if you're being lied to or not, maybe sometimes, you know,

Alex Ferrari 45:41
Don't, don't overestimate that calm. I know a lot of people really have no idea when they're being lied to. And they're sitting around for three years. Like, everyone keeps saying, my script is great. And they want to work with me, but I'm not getting any calls.

Josh Doke 45:55
That's, that's true. So yeah, I would say, be open, be honest. When you're asking for things make it known exactly what you're asking for and and what you need it for. I'm trying to think if there's anything else that relates specifically to this, I guess also be willing to, to talk about the project and ask about ask for things. Like, as I was saying, I went and talked to the city council meeting, we got an entire block of Main Street shut down for an entire day to chew on this awesome old school brick. Wall, small town Americana look that I wanted so bad in my film. And I just had to ask, and so I think that people are very receptive to, to, you know, upfront. requests, I guess,

Alex Ferrari 46:48
It is an inspirational story to say the least, man, it's, that's why I wanted you on the show. Because it's, it's it's a story that I have not quite heard of before. I mean, obviously, with Robert, but that was like a one off, you're like, Well, you know, who's who else is gonna have a Mexican town that they can shoot in? Right? So and to see a real life example of that, in today's world, is a really great thing. So thank you for sharing your experience with us. Now, I'm going to ask you a few questions to ask all my guests. As you know, what advice would you give filmmakers trying to break into the business today?

Josh Doke 47:24
Just keep going. When you start making things, it's not going to be good. And hopefully, you have people who don't tell you that right away. I think that that's, that's really necessary. Like you have to believe in yourself and what you're doing, even if it's great. And I remember the first short films I made in college, I didn't understand why they weren't getting hundreds of 1000s of views on YouTube. But I look back at them now. And I'm like, I can't believe I haven't put that on YouTube. And so I think that you just really have to, like, believe in what you're doing. And keep, keep doing it. And then eventually, as you start to figure out the industry and what's going on, and you start, you start watching things, you start comparing things, you obviously there's a learning curve, you have to you have to also rise to the occasion, you need to you need to learn the entire time that you keep making things. And eventually, as you keep doing more and more and more stuff, you're going to pick up little tips and tricks and and pay attention to those things I made. I have a notes document that's like 10 pages long on all the mistakes I made on goodland. So then on my next film, I won't do that, again. I have a document if I do I have a document that will call me out on it. Oh, yeah. Three says Don't. Don't do that.

Alex Ferrari 48:46
Awesome. Can you tell me what book had the biggest impact on your life or career?

Josh Doke 48:53
This is a two part answer. One we've already talked about. So that's the easy one. I think a lot of people in Vegas. Yeah. Robert Rodriguez Rebel Without a crew just for the practical standpoint of making something with little to no money and not waiting for permission. Because I knew that I didn't want to have a script and circulated around and like get notes for five years. I just wanted to go do the first one. But the second one second one is Sydney limits making movies.

Alex Ferrari 49:20
It's a great book. Man. I love that book.

Josh Doke 49:23
I revisit that. You know, I've only made one feature, but I plan on revisiting that text. Before I go into every new production. It's something that I would like to do, because I think he really lays it out for you in a way that I really hadn't thought about film when I first read that book when I was probably like 19 or 20 years old. And I read it again before before goodland and it made me think about the pre production of film in a way that I had and then also just the production of like, what how lenses can change the meaning of a shot or how a camera moves. I can tell the story. things. I think a lot of people, you know, now it's just kind of, you know, you get your actors in a room and you can shoot coverage, and then you can edit it together later. But he really drills in that, like directing is deciding on that stuff beforehand, and then sticking Well, not necessarily sticking, you always have to be ready to adapt and change and compromise compromise. I do think that that really changed the way I looked. And I would love to do rehearsals the way he does. And in the book, he talks about getting his entire cast together, going through almost like three weeks of rehearsals before production rolls, but that's not really feasible on an indie level, or even in today's like schedule with actors, actors, you just can't use your city limit.

Alex Ferrari 50:51
If you're Francis Ford Coppola, if you're Steven Spielberg, you get these things. Yeah. Other than that, for us to aspire to. Right, exactly. Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life?

Josh Doke 51:05
Longest to learn in the film, industry or life? Wow. I think that I think in the film industry, like I was kind of saying, I think it took me a long time to realize that, especially nowadays with how easy it is becoming to make films that like, you're not really just because you make something you're not owed anything. If that makes sense.

Alex Ferrari 51:40
Oh, it makes absolutely yes. Because as a filmmaker, you make art. And now I expect accolades. I expect Sundance, I expect a check from a Hollywood mogul so I can get my career I expected all

Josh Doke 51:53
Right. Yeah, I think that took a while for me to learn. It took a while for me to learn that it's not 1993 anymore. I'm not, you know, I'm not, you can't make a ward winning short film, and get a three picture deal with Warner Brothers anymore.

Alex Ferrari 52:08
Not so much, not so much. And you can't even make a $27,000 movie about clerks in a video store and then a convenience store and get a deal at Miramax like it doesn't, doesn't work that way anymore. But that was a magical time. That was a magical time.

Josh Doke 52:25
It was and there's a lot of literature on it. So you can go back and relive those moments. And if you read the right or wrong books, depending on what your perspective is, you can be fooled into thinking that that may still be the case. And it's it, the landscape has just changed so much. And you just got to keep up with it. And, and, you know, I heard I can't I won't even be able to attribute who said this, but someone was talking about how, you know, they're saying like, having a college degree is now like having a high school degree 10 years ago, it doesn't necessarily guarantee you a job. I think that true that the same thing is true in the film industry now. And unfortunately, it used to be like if you were able to make a feature and had a feature film, you were on your way. And now having a feature film is about like having a short film, you know, 10 or 15 years ago, right? And that, like it doesn't guarantee anything, it doesn't even guarantee meetings anymore.

Alex Ferrari 53:22
Oh god, no. I mean, it's it has a little bit more weight than a short film, and might open a door to here and there, you have a viable product that you can sell. Still, but I agree with you wholeheartedly like before, if you just got a movie made you were getting meetings, you were getting deals, just purely on the fact of getting it made. And going back to your earlier comment in regards to the 90s kind of myths that were created back then. It took me 40 years till I made my first feature, because I was stuck in that. That mentality and it was just such a glorious time and that's pretty much from like 89 to like 9798 like that whole decade was just every year wasn't it like every year and new is Linkletter SATA Berg, Rodriguez, Tarantino Spike Lee like they all were just popping out like water. It was insane. It was an insane same time. And what are three of your favorite films of all time?

Josh Doke 54:26
three favorite films of all time, okay, I'm gonna go with Okay, so let's start with Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Alex Ferrari 54:38
Popular, popular podcast.

Josh Doke 54:41
That is kind of a cliche thing, but I think it goes back to just like when you're a kid, and you don't know what movies are and you have a VHS copy of something and it just goes in constantly is always you know, getting played over and over and over and over again. And then something that you can probably see Some, some influence for sure. And goodland will go down that road, No Country for Old Men. I think that that that script, just like Pitch Perfect. And it just hit at a time. That was like really important to me. I was working at a video store when that and There Will Be Blood came out. And it was just like, towards the end of my high school years, and I was ready to you know, go off to college and make movies like that. So I think that one and then another one. You know, it's another very popular movie, but it's something that I would like to get into. And I think the tone of this film is very, very hard to hit and land on. And his his men and black the First Men in Black, the comedy sci fi combo and the smart scripts that they had to back up you know, what, essentially is kind of a comedic action buddy film, I think is like super impressive.

Alex Ferrari 56:03
Oh, no, that's a great movie.

Josh Doke 56:05
Yeah. And I've heard the the screenwriter on several podcasts and the struggle. I think sometimes the story behind the film as well influences what is my favorite film of the of the week or the time but him talking about the struggle to get men in black. You know, he was like, hired and fired, like, four times or something in the process of getting that film made and, and everything that he had to go through and the way you know how many drafts he had to go through and where it finally landed? is just kind of an inspiring story. And it's one of those stories. It's like, your first draft shouldn't be necessarily what you go to set with no, no, no, definitely he pitches his first draft, or the first draft of the story on a podcast I listened to and I'm trying to picture men and black was that movie, I probably wouldn't even like it. And you know, because he had to rewrite it so many times it ended up being the film that it is.

Alex Ferrari 56:57
That's awesome. And now where can people find you your your work and your film?

Josh Doke 57:03
So I'm on Twitter at JW Doke. I'm not super active, but I'm there. But you can also on Facebook find goodland just search goodland a movie, a goodlandmovie.com is our website as well. But primarily Facebook is where we do most of our interaction.

Alex Ferrari 57:22
Okay, very cool, man. Well, listen, Josh, thank you again so much for being on the show. It's it's been an inspirational conversation to say the least.

Josh Doke 57:29
Well, thanks for having me on.

Alex Ferrari 57:32
There is no excuse if you want to make a movie and Josh is a perfect example of that. Josh, thank you again so much for coming on and dropping the knowledge bombs on the tribe today, sir, you know, even if you can't, can't afford to get everything done by yourself, man, get the community out, get help find people who are interested in making your movie with you. And believe it you know, I live in Los Angeles but there's a lot of places around the world that when you tell people that you're making a movie, they get really excited and you'll be surprised at what you're able to, to get from them how they can help you locations, you know, vehicles, food, a lot of different things can happen when you tell people you're making a movie or you're making a show or something along those lines. So definitely reach out for help guys believe me, there are people out there that will be more than willing to help you make your movie Now again, I do apologize for my voice today guys I'm doing the best I can I'm listening back as I'm recording this and it doesn't sound like me But hey, I'm here and we're gonna want to get you guys this fresh content this week. So also if you guys are interested in watching the video podcast version of this episode, it will be at the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/285 we'll put links to the movie goodland all the all the everything that we talked about in this episode as well as contact information for Josh and all the stuff that he's doing as well. And if you guys haven't done already, please head over to filmmaking podcast calm and leave us a good review on iTunes. It really really helps the show out a lot. Thank you again guys for listening so much. I got so many things cooking for you guys in the coming weeks. And in 2019 January is going to be an insane year and also by the way, don't forget in January at the end of January, the introductory price for indie film hustle TV will go away for forever it will jump from $10.99 to $13.99 a month regular and it will jump $20 a year as well for the year long pass. So if you guys are interested at all in indie film hustle TV within now before February 1 you got to jump on it. All right, and and that way you are locked in at that price, as long as you stay a member. So thanks again guys for everything and all the support. I can't wait to tell you all The insane stuff I'm working on. But alas, that is the end of this episode. So as always keep that hustle going keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.




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