What can I say about Lloyd Kaufman? Director. Writer. Producer. Indie Filmmaker. Innovator. Nice guy. Pain in the ass of mainstream media. I believe all of those statements are true and then some.
Lloyd Kaufman is one of the original indie filmmakers going back to the 1970s. The Troma Universe was born in 1974 with a series of highly original, raunchy comedies such as Squeeze Play!, Stuck On You!, Waitress!, and other film titles ending with an exclamation point.
In my favorite decade, the ’80s is where Lloyd Kaufman really made a name for himself. His 1984 sleeper hit The Toxic Avenger launched his career and his production company Troma Entertainment. Creating his own brand of independent films, Lloyd Kaufman discovered there was a market for his “unique type” of films.
The success of The Toxic Avenger was followed by a string of commercial and artistic triumphs in a similar vein, blending fantasy, comedy, badass action, and a bit of eroticism in a style that can only be described as “Tromatic”.
These films, including the Class of Nuke ‘Em High trilogy, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD and Troma’s War were often ignored or scorned by the intelligentsia of the time but spoke to an entire generation (including yours truly) of young people who rejected the pandering, commercial films of the mid-to-late ’80s. Some of his fans include Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Mike Judge, Peter Jackson, and Trey Parker.
Always one to help indie filmmakers, Lloyd Kaufman just wrote his most recent book Sell Your Own Damn Movie!, the latest installment of his acclaimed series of books on guerrilla filmmaking that includes Make Your Own Damn Movie: Secrets of a Renegade Director, Direct Your Own Damn Movie! and Produce Your Own Damn Movie! The books have inspired Kaufman to teach a successful series of Master Classes at colleges and institutions across the country and the world!
To say this was an enjoyable and entertaining interview would be an understatement. Enjoy my conversation with the one and only Lloyd Kaufman.
Alex Ferrari 0:21
Well, guys, so you know, man, I run this whole thing by myself, okay, and it takes a tremendous amount of time and energy to put all this together. And I want to keep doing all this amazing content for you through the website and through the podcast. And I've got other shows coming up in the coming months, as well as a bunch of other stuff. So the best way you guys can support me and the show and the website is to buy the courses that we're putting out for you guys like filmmaking, hacks, Twitter, hacks, and we have a lot of other shows, Film Festival, hacks, a lot of hacks, story blueprint, other heroes, two journeys, all of those kinds of courses, as well as all the other courses that we support like Nina fetches USC film school how to direct actors, the million dollar screenplay all sorts of stuff so you just go to the courses page www dot indie film hustle calm Ford slash film school and you'll get to you'll go to all of our courses pages and we have like this little mini film school there so by buying any of those or sharing it with other your friends, that really helps us out a lot and what keeps this engine going guys because I'm not independently wealthy at this point in my life yet, but a guy keep that hustle going to get that point. But right now, I don't I still need your help. And I still need your support as well guys. So thank you all have been supporting us and have been purchasing us and tweeting and doing all the kind of stuff that you guys do sharing all of our content, getting the word out. Really, really helpful, man, thank you so so much. So I want to introduce our guest today he is a legend. In the film world. His name is Lloyd Kaufman, from trauma pictures now, many of you in the audience might know who Lloyd is from his legendary movies like Toxic Avenger, class of nukem Hi, Troy, Romeo and Juliet and many, many other amazing movies he put out. Lloyd is one of the most unique souls I've ever had the pleasure of speaking with on the show. I've been a big fan of his ever since I saw Toxic Avenger back in the day. And a lot of people might look at his films as you know, not exactly what mainstream America or mainstream world would like. And they look at something like Toxic Avenger. And they just like, oh, that's just like some sort of exploitation movie. But if you look deeply into what the story is, he's trying to make a social commentary. And I was, I was kind of in awe of discovering what kind of man Lloyd Kaufman was, while talking to him. He's a very deep, deep man who has had very educated man, and he's traveled the world very worldly person, and he's very keen on the world's problems. And he uses his films to entertain and have fun with it and also try to sneak in a social message, everyone every once in a while through his craziness. He is also did an amazing job and wrote a book about or he actually did a documentary about how he kind of took over the Cannes Film Festival. He goes there and does this amazing show and gets a lot of attention and sells a lot of movies around the world by doing it. So he's going to tell us a lot about how it really is to be a true independent filmmaker, which he has been. He was telling me, he tells me stories about him working on the sets of Rocky, back in the day, I think, I mean, Lloyd is amazing. It's just an amazing interview, an amazing story of how Lloyd has been around so long and continues to do what he does. We just had a few weeks ago, a wonderful young director by the name of Kansas bowling, and she made her first movie directed at 17 and shot it on 16 millimeter. And Lloyd picked it up for distribution and and she sold it to Lloyd to get distributed around the world. He really believes in young filmmakers, he really tries to help as many filmmakers as he can. He's written multiple books about how to make movies, his process of making movies and how to make movies that make money and so on. So Oh, and by the way, he is launched many a career. The guys from South Park, Trey Parker, and Matt Stone from South Park fame, as well as James Gunn, the writer, director of Guardians of the Galaxy start off with with Lloyd Vincent D'Onofrio also started off with him. I mean, the list goes on and on of all the people that he launched and has worked with so Lloyd is just a remarkable man. So you know, without further ado, I just want you guys to sit back and enjoy this very fun, very entertaining conversation with Lloyd Kaufman. I want to welcome to the show Lloyd Kaufman from the legendary troma pictures. It's Lloyd thanks again for being on the show. We really appreciate you taking the time.
Lloyd Kaufman 6:43
Hey, I'm an indie film hustle is dramas favorite podcast, so your euro euro hero in trauma value. champion of the independent artists. I heard your podcast with Rodriguez was very, very, very good.
Alex Ferrari 7:01
Thank you so much. I appreciate that. So Lloyd, I know a lot of people, a lot of people the audience might not know who you are how you got into the business. So can you tell us a little bit about how you got into the business?
Lloyd Kaufman 7:11
Well, Alex, I made the mistake of going to Yale University it was the 60s I was gonna be a teacher or a social worker and make the world a better place teach people with hooks for hands how to finger paint teach bums out a fade happy faces on beads and string the beads together that kind of stuff. But I was placed by God in a room with a movie not and God fucked up my life. Our beds were head to toe at night i'd inhale my roommates to go down stink and feet. And next thing I know I'm in a I started drifting into the Yale Film Society screenings. They were all no oh terrorists. They had the Office of the Film Society Yale had a big stack of Cinema of a K two cinema the literally notebooks of cinema but there was the magazine of the cinema tech policy a most I speak French and read it and so I started reading those things. And I bought into the auteur theory of filmmaking those articles in those days were written by people like Chabrol and and and go down and Truffaut the you know who are just starting to kind of phase from journalism into movies. And I bought into it that the director must be the author of the movie must be in total control must kind of be the dictator of the film. And then one day I happened to drift into see a movie called To be or not to be directed by Ernst Lubitsch starring Carole Lombard and Robin stack and jack Benny and it was during that the fact they're only I was trolling actually for some, some boys to fuck and I was knocked out by why they were only about three people in the room. That night, big auditorium and I was so knocked out by To be or not to be by Ernst Lubitsch. It was so crazy and yet so disciplined, so funny, but yet touching, so serious, but yet, slap sticky. That and I majored in Chinese studies out of which I gained a big respect for Taoism. And Yang and opposites. You can't have good without evil, you can't have beauty without ugliness, right, and all that kind of blah, blah. Hmm. So I was right there in that dark room that I decided during Ernst Lubitsch's, To be or not to be that I didn't want to just teach the people with the hooks for hands how to finger paint. I wanted to film them. So if you want to blame somebody for trauma, go to the graves of Ernst Lubitsch. Robert, what's his name in the catalog bard and urinate on
Alex Ferrari 10:01
Now you're one of your classmates was actually Oliver Stone correct?
Lloyd Kaufman 10:06
Not only that, but I grew up with him we were in second grade and spent most of our educational careers in close proximity his folks and my folks were very tight. Oh, cool. And when I say tight, I mean tight. And, and he and I were he packed he was. By the time we went to Yale. He was writing a crappy novel he wanted to be James Joyce and I was making movies with my roommate, Oliver kind of hung out and I am the reason that he went into movies to help produce sugar cookies my first 35 millimeter attempt. And also he's in battle of loves returned the first thing sound a movie I made, which was a battle of loves return on played in New York, a long time ago, unwatchable, but Oliver has a small part of it. And it turns out there he was, thanks to me. We didn't have to read his shitty novel, became a brilliant filmmaker, and he's one of our national treasures. He's got so many Oscars, his masterpiece has to be reinforced. He dropped me as soon as he became successful. Of course I don't blame them one bit.
Alex Ferrari 11:24
Now, you've know you've been you've been you've been
Lloyd Kaufman 11:27
His mother kept in touch though. His mother would call call his mother and my mother were very tight. Okay, they were all my folks were extremely tight with his vote. Now she just died recently and I sent her a note. Hopefully got it
Alex Ferrari 11:39
That's awesome. Awesome that you sent him the note. Now um,
Lloyd Kaufman 11:43
Lovely lady. In fact, I saw that there was a St. James church in New York. He was having some kind of a reception at a reception a a member remembrance for her and I went, I had to leave on an airplane but I the night before I stuck a condolence note under the door and hopefully he got it and I call the church they said they delivered it to him.
Alex Ferrari 12:05
Now you you were an independent film company before independent film companies were in vogue. Back in the day with with trauma right? And did you it was a trauma first, or did you have another company before trauma?
Lloyd Kaufman 12:18
We started something called armor films that were two older guys who I met when I worked at canon, a company that
Alex Ferrari 12:26
Lloyd Kaufman 12:28
Granted, this was canon before the boys from Tiberias took it over. Yes, it was canon who made joke where I met john G. Abelson, who was a major influence on my herbal and with whom I am in constant contact. And he's still he's still a meeting some pumpkin seeds. I'm stupid me. Why am I eating pumpkin seeds? But I'm talking to Alex Ferrari of indie film. Sorry, I guess it's just nerd. It's all good. I've just come back from Portugal. This morning. A we're making a movie over there called mutant blast. So the jetlag probably got me a little loopy a little bit. Yeah, exactly.
Alex Ferrari 13:10
So how did you start trauma?
Lloyd Kaufman 13:14
The armor films thing didn't work out. And Miko hers and his wife had actually Michael's wife happened to go see cry uncle which you can see it's a trauma movie directed by john g Adelson. I was a partner on it and and trauma ended up with a distribution rights but it was produced by Lee Hessel. It's a wonderful film it's hilarious it's a satire of the film well cry uncle you know cry terror cry what darkness by cry uncle and Adelson directed it's hilarious and and some for some reason, Maris Miko hers, his wife took her mother to see this movie in 1970. It was x rated 35 millimeter x rated movie it had a full page and the times, it was a big success, but she must have put a thumb over the x rating part. She took her mother there. And lo and behold, she sees my big screen credit. And I had made a movie at Yale, which featured Michael and his wife or they had a cameo in it called the girl who returned and she remembered and in fact, Michael hers went to he went to camp they were camp counselors. He was a camp counselor with my brother summer camp. So when it was so he had looked me up at Yale because he and my brother were buddies and and I put him in his what his wife to be Maris in the girl who returned a cameo and movie I shot with a bolex a bolex is not an STD it's a camera. A very fine Swiss cat it is
Alex Ferrari 14:52
it was the same sound with it was that it was a tank of a camera boy back in the day.
Lloyd Kaufman 14:57
Oh it's wonderful. Can I still have it? I've never had it service. I've never touched the I have a zoom lens on it a Vario suito zoom lens. I've never touched the lens with human hands or or I've never even cleaned it. I just blow it off with a baby's suction. enema tube and enema thing, right? Yeah, sure. And but I shot the girl who returns a feature length movie whilst I was at Yale, and it's in black and white, it's unwatchable. But Michael and Meyers have a very funny clip in it And anyway, so she had seen my name and Michael was in law school. She didn't want to he Michael did not want to be a lawyer. And he contacted me and we made some we got involved with Menaka go land and have financed a horrible horrible movie called biggest what's the fuss in Israel? It's the worst movie ever made. James Gunn says that it was the worst thing that happened to Western culture since gerbils or something like that, if nobody he said James Gunn said it was the worst thing that happened to the Jewish people in Santa Clara sub their mind camp, or something like that. And indeed it is. It's awful. And the for your viewers who are listening to this, Alex, the lesson there was that Michael has an eye. And by the way, and D lac, who is another childhood friend of mine, Andy lac, who is now running NBC TV, and also ran Sony Music and the big he's a big, big, big as they say. He the three of us were bamboozled into all we had to do was put up the money. And the Israelis would take care of everything. Of course, why did they take care of everything? What a disaster that was. For Michael hers, we, we, we decided we better do something we kept getting ripped off. So we decided we would, when it came time to, to make squeeze play our women's liberation movie, we decided we better learn how to distribute films. And that was in 1974. And indeed, that, that in those days, if you had a movie that was commercially viable, you could get it into movie theaters. And if the budget were really low and and the movie was entertaining, and commercially acceptable, you could make a few bucks and we did from then on we became so that's when we started drama when we decided we have to distribute our own movies. Oh, we're never going to see any money. It's a crooked, crooked world.
Alex Ferrari 17:31
Oh, and it's not gotten any better since 1974. If not, it's gotten a little worse. As far as the distribution game is concerned.
Lloyd Kaufman 17:37
It's much worse because the rules that against monopoly have all been done away with so you've got the vertically integrated devil worshipping international conglomerates, controlling the entire industry from the bottom up. So unless you're a partner with one of the vassals of Rupert Murdoch or, or Viacom or Sony, you can't survive. And the proof the proof of the pudding is where are the sorry to be that use that trite phrase, but where are the dish? Where are the independent movie companies with any longevity we're the only ones Lionsgate is doing great that's it and they're not they haven't been around that long and they are built on the ashes of restaurants on video and
Alex Ferrari 18:21
artists are exactly autism
Lloyd Kaufman 18:25
and and maybe one or two companies that are 15 years old maybe but it's it is not that there are hundreds of independent companies that come and go and it's not that they're making bad movies is that they cannot survive in an industry dominated by a cartel but now but now though with cartel ism it's no absolutely it's it's worldwide that's returned to nukem is a movie that came out last year in about 300 theaters. It It was profitable because was made in conjunction with one of the vessels of a giant company called liberty. They're the biggest either they are Comcast, the biggest cable conglomerates, and stars, stars, entertainment, stars, media, whatever they are, they were our partners. And a young guy who grew up with trauma was in a position to greenlight It was his idea really good and bad. The movie was very low budget. And I had total control and I was if I kept if I kept the budget around $400,000 they give me total control and we did it and we made a little money. poultry guys Night of the chicken did poultry guys is a much is equally as good. Maybe better. And my wife and I put up the money for that. And we lost pretty much 95% of the and that cost about half a million bucks. And and New York Times everybody loved it. It's a musical it's totally good, but we couldn't make any money because we didn't have The cartel binds
Alex Ferrari 20:02
now with the with the world the way it is now and so many different opportunities for for independent distribution Do you see things changing a little bit from that because now an independent filmmaker who has an audience like these YouTubers like these guys who are completely cutting out the cartel as you call them, and creating a business on their own,
Lloyd Kaufman 20:21
there's a big difference between Grumpy Cat and of course of course Angry Video Game Nerd and how to basic and I love them all. They're great, terrific, but that's not my beat. I make 90 minute movies you're right you're gonna if you want to make a 90 minute movie, you have got to get in with one of the vessels of the big companies otherwise you just don't have a chance in terms of making any money. Now we have millions of people I just came back from Portugal we don't have a lick of distribution in Portugal. They did they did at the Portuguese Comic Con in Porto it's important to Portugal it's I swear it's the best Comic Con I've ever been to beautifully organized. Absolutely. Top Notch I was definitely not the big big marker there right but they had 1000 people at my they told me 1500 people were at my panel was toxie and a crappy mask and me and and we have no distribution there so we've got millions of people who are watching our movies through the magic of the internet unfortunately we don't have any you know we don't have any revenue producing distribution.
Alex Ferrari 21:35
Now when you said toxic non toxic This is the way I was introduced to trauma and to you as most people I think are is through Toxic Avenger I saw back in the days when I was working in my video store in the late 80s
Lloyd Kaufman 21:48
where any people saw me dance at the manhole club where I had a wonderful pole dancing
Alex Ferrari 21:54
I wouldn't I'm sorry I missed that one sir. Yeah,
Lloyd Kaufman 21:58
I just want to be sure that I get credit for that part.
Alex Ferrari 22:02
Of course no no so when I saw when I was at the video store working and I I saw this box of about in those VHS boxes which are so beautiful the artwork for Toxic Avenger and I was like what is this and I took it home and I was mesmerized mesmerized by the the audacity of it and I was a young man at the time I was still a teenager and I was just blown away by it I was I was a big fan of it and I'm like wow this is really this is just cool and I it's a warm place in my heart Toxic Avenger and I've always followed trauma and all the all the stuff you do since then but how did you come up with the idea and there's there's a story behind Toxic Avenger and because you released it in the theaters, it was actually a hit. If I'm not mistaken. Can you tell us a bit
Lloyd Kaufman 22:47
originally, first of all the all the movies that I get involved in with Mr. Michael hers. My partner 40 years they all have a political or sociological themes to them. And in the case of the Toxic Avenger, my wife and I used to go camping and everywhere we went, this would be in the 70s there was garbage and it was non biodegradable. We'd go in the wilderness we'd go in the mountains we'd go in the desert, and there were McDonald's cups or whatever they weren't they weren't they weren't going to biodegrade and I got to me thinking look this is a terrible thing the environment by the way this was well before al gore greenspeed Nobel Peace Prize and invented the internet that fat fuck is in the front row at the peace conference in Paris to what what obscenity is that nothing Obama is the one who took us he stuck his neck out Obama took shit that he Obama said our biggest problem is is a global warming and everyone should know who knew our biggest problem is terrorism terrorism he's wrong they are wrong Obama was right it is global warming because of global warming you've got a millions of people running out of the out of they can't live they got to move and they all moved into the cities of Syria and that created all the crap that's going on this is global warming Obama's absolutely correct anyway and gorge taking credit for this so
Alex Ferrari 24:13
you were saying so Toxic Avenger actually you're the seed of the idea toxic venture was because of all of the detract with
Lloyd Kaufman 24:21
the environment but at the same time Alex there were a an explosion of health clubs were my body beautiful right right Yeah, well we are doing we are making ourselves beautiful in these sports clubs. Not Sports Club, you know Athletic Club, workout clubs, you know Yeah, with the machines we go to. gyms. Yes, yes. Yeah, we go we're getting into Athletic Clubs and and making body beautiful while we are defiling and destroying this big blue marble of ours. And it's the yin and yang as I referred, and I thought it'd be a good thing for for a movie. Also, Michael has Notice that the variety or one of the one of the house magazines of the studios might have been Hollywood before it was one of them one of the house organs had a headline saying horror films are no longer viable commercially. So when the experts say something like that we immediately do the opposite of course so that we decided we wanted to switch from squeeze play wager stuck on you the first turn on which all had political themes, by the way, or sociological themes. We wanted to switch into horror, and I couldn't I like comedy as those Michaels so we didn't want to make we wanted the monster to be a good guy. I love Frankenstein and I always felt that the G It's a pity that he, you know, gets killed and destroyed and so we wanted the monster to survive and Chaplin is a big hero for me so the blind girl is from city lights and Preston Sturges I was revisiting Preston Sturges at diamond Solomon's travels was a big inspiration of that movie love that founder of trauma Ville and Bob i can i the book that my first book, all I need to know about filmmaking I learned from the Toxic Avenger that my first book that I wrote, which was written by James Gunn, that first book that I wrote, which was written by James Gunn, as a huge section on I can talk about Toxic Avenger for for an effect I've given masterclasses just on Toxic Avenger. No, because there's so much that when actually all the movies I've done them, they take a year or two to percolate and then we write the script and then another year or two to make, which is why my output is not exactly Allan Dwan
Alex Ferrari 26:42
or Woody Allen for that matter.
Lloyd Kaufman 26:43
Yeah, what he won. I don't know if you remember him, but he was still around when I was at Yale, and he would make he had to. He started like 1912 and finished up like, he made like 150 movies. Now I remember what good he was a good director.
Alex Ferrari 27:00
Now I remember when I first saw you, I think this is going back God like at least 10 to 12 years ago. When you were when you were doing your your tour for your book. You were mentioning the make your own damn movie. Oh, okay,
Lloyd Kaufman 27:15
because I've written six books. Yes, I know. I've written six books that other people have written. Exactly.
Alex Ferrari 27:22
But make your own damn movie was the one that you were talking about. And you were in Florida at the time where I was and and you were talking about Toxic Avenger. specifically about how because at one point you had a cartoon series you had toys you had merchandise and then you said it stopped because some like the cartel or something was stopping you Why don't you talk a little bit about that
Lloyd Kaufman 27:44
yeah, we signed a deal with a new line a division of Turner Warner, whatever Warner Brothers Time Warner whatever. And they were going to make a big budget feature length toxic movie right? And and the and we had the cartoons out the toys were out the all they were like 200 different licensed things kids, sneakers and slippers and colorforms and you know all that stuff. And the whole idea was the movie would be the locomotive to pull all this stuff along. And it turned out that newline had their fingers crossed. They were apparently we using Toxic Avenger as a stalking horse for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with whom they were having difficulty signing part three and they kept us in their back pocket when they signed the third talk turtles movie then they didn't even tell us they weren't going to make a movie they kept us sort of spinning our wheels and the only problem they had was their contract guaranteed that they would make a because we had other deals one is wanted to make a toxic movie a big budget review no big budget movie mainstream and the new line in the contract says that they are guaranteed to make the movie didn't there wasn't a pay in play or any of that crap it was it was guaranteed to make. So anyway, they didn't do it and that destroyed the whole thing and everything went away. Everybody ran for the hills and man and doobie we but we had a we had a we had a nice since we own everything. We had a little period there where we actually made a few bucks. Oh great. we sewed we soon have a new line and these as as they Oh as those kind of companies do. They drag it out for three or four years. They didn't think we had any money but it did. We had really big time lawyers and we were they settled on the steps of the courthouse. As they say yeah, as they say and they most independent producers of mortgages their homes and don't have any money to hire or top major YG lawyers and we did we had them because my father pulled some favors. And we had a major, major major a lawyer named Milton Gould, who actually ran Fox for a while. Wow. So you had some heavy guns after Darryl Zanuck and Cleopatra Fox was in the shed house and and gold in the group were brought in to bail it out. And he was a he and a big time from lawyers and eventually, new line. And whenever I would see the boss of new line, he always would say to me, he just couldn't I guess we were the only ones that drew blood. Me was good natured about it. He said, I you know, you knew I gave you so much money, which he didn't it wasn't that much. Right? Right. But it must we must have been the only ones because he'll always be mom that once it's the one. That's a tough business, that's a hell of a business.
Alex Ferrari 30:56
So now like you essentially and I know you got over the years, you've become kind of the king of marketing your own yourself and trauma. And I know the first I know, a lot of people kind of knew you from the spectacle that you brought to the Cannes Film Festival. So can you talk a little bit about what you do there? And what was your experience the first time you did it and how people reacted?
Lloyd Kaufman 31:17
Well, first of all, let me say that there is a very nice movie on our Movie Channel dramas to mark our 40th year and and do a show appreciation to our fans have been there for 40 years in supporting us. We've given away at least 200 movies on youtube, right? trauma movies on YouTube. It's our channel if you go to trauma movies. One of those films is called all the love you can see a and s and it's a documentary about how trauma sells its movies at the Cannes Film Festival in the face of one billboard by Paramount costing more than a trauma movie. Right and we have to do street theater we do parades we do we have legendary party. Anyway to all the love you can shows you this. And recently, we thanks to the miracle of Kickstarter, our fans helped us get a a sequel a 10 year later sequel to that. But gun and Charlotte Kaufman, our third mutant child is currently editing it. And really, really interesting I think it's called sincerely trauma Ville or something like that. Nice so so your fans could look for that I think it'll be finished. It's been that's taken two or three years because we also have to feed you know, the fans put up some of the money but we've got to put the rest up and we don't have very much. So she's been editing and hopefully next year we'll have in fact some film festivals have already contacted us about sincerely Joe moville they want it seems that they want to not harbor festivals but the other kind of festival we've had a couple I think tried for somebody from Tribeca called Oh, wow, cool. So anyway, it should be interesting for at least for the fans of filmmaking and do it yourself movie making, it does show how we distribute and how we in fact now it can there are lots of independent producers looking for distributors who will go and create the kind of street theater and they bring some sort of an animal like a llama to can and do a parade or they have crazy car they've kind of do what we've been doing for 30 some odd years
Alex Ferrari 33:40
but you were the first one to do it.
Lloyd Kaufman 33:42
I well I don't know where that well I mean, in my day when the first time I went was 1971 I mean people have always done stunts at can but those stunts usually cost a lot of money. We you know the Swartz Nagar gang the the dependent that dependables expended depends wearing a balls whatever. They they had a tank and army with machine guns and all that kind of stuff. But that's very expensive. So we do things in the street that create a huge amount of attention. And the media How many? You know how many photo opportunities with the women and $200,000 dresses can the media put up with where
Alex Ferrari 34:29
when you have a Toxic Avenger walk in the street?
Lloyd Kaufman 34:30
Exactly. The Toxic Avenger with a mask that's all wrapped up and somebody vomited in is actually rather interesting story.
Alex Ferrari 34:39
Now, you have obviously a rabid fan base that's that's been with you for years. Now can you can you discuss the importance of audience building and how you interact with them?
Lloyd Kaufman 34:51
Well, that's a great question Alex. And we wouldn't be here without our fans. The fans and the internet are the two big reasons trauma still exists. We actually are a very small company we have about 10 employees here and but our fans do so much that it's as if we had a huge multinational corporation. I just you know we're making a movie in Portugal and I went for I went for Comic Con because I was invited there but a fan who his family gave us an apartment to live in for free and I'd never met the guy you know he knowing that movie is very low budget we started shooting mutant blast directed by Fernando Ali who is a another very talented young filmmaker who I've discovered he made a movie we distributed called banana motherfucker which is hilarious if he will be the next James Gunn of Trey Parker or Eli you know the next Eli Roth you know a bunch of these guys have come up to drum up and I think he's next in line and anyway he's directly mute and blast we shot the first day while I was there but fans paid for my an apartment right in the center of town or they gave it to me their parents owned it or something they go and take me to the airport they pick us up they they feed us they and they also all around the US they go to the local movie theaters and they say hey Lloyd directed return of nukem hi we want to see it and then we get a screaming we may only get you know one week or one day or one midnight showing it's mainly calendar houses but if I direct a movie we get about 300 theaters one by one by one by one by one and in many cases I have to in many cases I have to go to go to the theater and create sort of an event and interact with the fans of course by saying it's as if we have a big multiple and people have missed it you know on my Twitter app Lloyd Kaufman calm a lot of fans think that we have this huge company and I and they say why can't you show return to newcomers Volume One in Cincinnati Ohio. I say no problem go to the theater and get it booked. Right? They think we do all that stuff. The fans have really we are a fan propelled fan fueled fury FFF
Alex Ferrari 37:23
now and cake I think I heard you once talk about what to sell to your audience and when not to sell 30 on it so that's a mistake a lot of filmmakers and people who with audience do that they just do that hard sell like buy buy buy buy buy and there's a moment when you can sell and there's a moment when you don't sell How do you handle that?
Lloyd Kaufman 37:43
Well I think I interviewed Karen black who is a unfortunately died but she was a big fan of and a good friend. And her thing was I interviewed her for my distribution book distributed your own damn movie, which I think is my best book. Okay, I think it's the most forward looking visionary book. But I interviewed her just because she's a totally idealistic wonderful person. And I thought her comments even though she's not, not in the you know, she's not a distributor, and award winning actress, having worked with everyone from Hitchcock to to me, and she said that you should be honest, you shouldn't sell your movie for something it isn't it and a perfect example.
Alex Ferrari 38:31
Give me what Hollywood Hollywood does on a daily basis is what you
Lloyd Kaufman 38:34
said already often. The international companies a perfect example is observing report. That's a brutal dark comedy with Seth Rogen. And unfortunately they sold it like more like that fat rat actor was in mallrats No no, not more rats more rats was great. Yeah, no, there was a one about a cop. Oh,
Alex Ferrari 38:58
Paul Blart Mall Cop. Yeah,
Lloyd Kaufman 39:00
Paul TV. Oh, garbage, but they sold it. It was a big hit. And they made observe and report sound like that. They made a mistake. It was such a good movie. They should have just sold it as a great comedy, they would have done great with it. It's a wonderful film. So that's a big mistake. I think the best way to sell is to be honest, and we unfortunately don't have a advertising budget. And we only get one theater now in New York. You know in the days of Toxic Avenger. when it opened wide in New York, I think we had 70 theaters a while when waitress in 1980 waitress movie waitress Not to be confused with the one that's playing around now. Waitress in 19 8092 theaters just in New York City. And they bet man so so then you can advertise you can spend money, but one theater we can't spend any advertising money. So we have To get our fans to go out there, and, you know, we use my twitter and the trauma website and trauma, Facebook and I wrote a little bit about, you know, we put a few ads in the New York Times or, you know, maybe in some of the internet sites, but it's all word of mouth. It's got to be word of mouth and the young people today they don't want to be, you know, how many? How many times do you want to see travelers, the critic, Peter Travers, wheezes these likes every movies on every movie poster. You know, I don't think it means anything anymore. I don't mean to single him out. But you know, the, the New York Times critic, every movie and and the front page of the Sunday New York Times theater section, they twist themselves into a not to try to feature and say good things about a movie, just because it's a it's opening a big, big, big movie, you know. And of course, they're on the needle of advertising. So they've got to pay attention to, to, to, you know, we had our 40th year in drama last year, two years ago. It's a New York company, we've hired people who would be on welfare if it weren't for us. We own a building, we pay real estate taxes. We've made movies, how many movies, tons of movies in New York, not one word in the New York Times, not one word. In fact, when my book came out, or was it know, when poultry guys came out, and that we got good reviews, but they stick us in the ghetto, they do like a three paragraph review, you know, they put it in, you know, they put me in with the, with the Iranian guy who's making a politically correct movie about sheep flipping or something. Right, you know, and it's his first movie, right? You know, that's where they stick me and God dammit, so we can't go that way. It's basically our fans. You know, we just have to let them know and ask them to please spread the word lady, movie Blanca lady so he can afford to buy drugs and get drunk or whatever. And we've been
Alex Ferrari 42:12
fortunate and that's the trauma army. That's the trauma army.
Lloyd Kaufman 42:15
Well, there's a perfect example the trauma army army is based in Cooke and Ohio area, and they've been with us for 10 years. The the guy who the the couple who do our conventions. Ron and Kathy, Ron Mackey. Ron Mackey has a cameo and he actually sings in poultry guys. We met him up there in Buffalo when we were making that movie, he and his wife have this huge group of fans and they run our conventions. east of the Mississippi, and they do about 30 Horror, sci fi comic book conventions every year. They don't get paid. They did I tried. You know, every once in a while we try to pay them but they don't even want it. They just do it because they love trauma. We've got a guy in Florida Jimmy, right, who is a very talented musician. architects of fear. I made a music video for him for free. Thank him. But he runs our Florida conventions. And and he's in they both are in our movies of course. And then in California, we have a couple Megan and Marcus, Megan silver and Marcus. Anyway, that scattered No worries, some cat tranquilizer this morning. So basically what you're telling me is lesser moq is lesser they they weren't our conventions in the West and they all do this out of love. And for the fun of it and out of love of drama for the fun of it. Stan Lee got us the Toxic Avenger comic book done. I've been friends with him for 50 years. James Gunn has helped us Eli Roth has helped us a lot of the people who are now in the mainstream, like the guy who greenlit returned the nukem high volume one who was in a position of power at stars. He grew up with trauma and they're all good people and we've been really like, like a Tennessee Williams we depend on the kindness of strangers.
Alex Ferrari 44:22
Now, obey me basically what you have is is something that most independent filmmakers and independent film companies would kill for. You have a passionate rabid audience that supports you and does work for you essentially for free because of the just because of the love of being associated with your brand or being a part of your
Lloyd Kaufman 44:42
brand would be no you know, return to nukem hi is my Sistine Chapel. It's two movies, it's two halves. The first half has come out and played in theaters and been pretty well reviewed. The second half we're currently editing. We did we didn't have enough money to finish the second half. We ran out of money. Our fans put up the money to complete the post production.
Alex Ferrari 45:04
Now, I had the pleasure of speaking to a young lady on the show, Kansas bowling. And she she told me the story about how she went to your office and basically sold her movie to you guys. Can you tell me a little bit about it from your perspective?
Lloyd Kaufman 45:21
Yeah, her movie wasn't finished if I recall correctly, and I had lunch with her in LA and I was so impressed with her I gave her money I didn't ask for distribution rights. I didn't I didn't ask for anything. I took a cheque from the back of my checkbook so my wife wouldn't see it and I gave her a pretty and I think I'm pretty good amount of money I think I'm executive producer of the movie I didn't there were no strings attached I if she could have I you know I told her you go to Paramount if you want but she she stayed with the drama she gave it to drama to distribute.
Alex Ferrari 45:59
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Lloyd Kaufman 46:10
Even though it's very hard to make money, but I was very impressed with her because she when I met her she was 17 minutes something like that. And she was working on this movie shot on 16 shot on 16 millimeter which is pretty interesting too for anybody these days. Right? And it wasn't a zombie. You know so many I get so many pitches and so many scripts and so many tweets tweet people tweeting me I've got the next Toxic Avenger I don't need the next toxin I've got Toxic Avenger. Yeah, I can make my own crappy Toxic Avenger. I I don't need another zombie movie she's making her project was really it was feminist. It was different. It was Thank you. It was absolutely terrific and and she was terrific. I only had seen a little bit of the movie and I didn't I didn't give the money for the movie. I gave it for Kansas bowling because I was so impressed with her. And she was so she We met at Los Angeles. I stayed at a kind of a fleabag and were in Marina Del Rey kind of and there's a Mexican place. Dammit. It's a well known place it's on the thing that goes to the water. It's right near the ocean. Okay, we met there. She took a bus to get there and, and I was so impressed with her. And you know, I hadn't even seen the movie. Really. I saw a little bit of it. But
Alex Ferrari 47:40
in the movies called bc butcher the first serial killer in prehistoric times.
Lloyd Kaufman 47:46
Something like that, but it's a it's a it's a matriarchal movie. It's terrific. Yeah, I can't again, what an impressive it's like a banana motherfucker. We're not gonna make money with that movie. We're gonna lose money, but we'll come out. You know, we're not we're not going to get killed. But that guy Fernando is a talented dude. And the next one mutant blast, which we're financing. Uh huh. That will be his cannibal, the musical that will propel him that I hope will make a few bucks. But I think that will propel him the way that Romeo and Juliet got James Gunn's motor running and got him propelled and I think this movie VC butcher will be a first step for Kansas Bowling for sure she's motivated she's,
Alex Ferrari 48:32
she's amazing, amazing.
Lloyd Kaufman 48:34
Alex Ferrari 48:34
She actually reached out to us even not knowing that I was gonna have you on the show. And she just reached out to us it's like I love you. I love what you're doing. This is my story. I'm like, Oh, I have to have you on because how often do you get a 17 year old Who's shooting a 16 millimeter feature film today? it's great it's it's I don't I don't know
Lloyd Kaufman 48:54
Okay, that is that she lives in California. Where are the Where are the all these wonderful studio people who are so themselves up at the Kennedy Center above themselves? You know, the Spirit Awards and all that shit. Where were they when she was coming along? Same with cannibal the musical? The only person that gave Trey and Matt any kind of encouragement, Stan brakhage the experimental filmmaker big hero to me was in the movie and and trauma right now. Now when you talk to people out in LA the you talk to the suits. Oh, I love that film. I wanted to destroy bla bla bla bla and then ever did that. But meanwhile, it's trauma Who? Right
Alex Ferrari 49:36
right? Is it now can you give a list because Can you give a list of or talk about a handful of the people who've actually come up through trauma who are now big time actors or directors?
Lloyd Kaufman 49:47
Well, we were the first to recognize the great talents of Sir Ron Jeremy. Sir Roger Villa we put him in. He has a he plays the mayor of troma Ville back in 19. 85 in class of Newcomb Hi, Part Two and Three of course Samuel Jackson's first movie, I didn't direct it so it's good it's his first movie his death by temptation. Yeah, I remember that movie and all black we were Michael hers and I were the only white people involved in that movie. And, and was all we did was give him money. And it's a wonderful film, but it wouldn't have gotten made if we didn't step in. And it gave him about 400,000 bucks as I recall, and we distributed it and it did very well in the theaters. But then the videos blew up. We're not they were afraid that to come in and burn their stores down.
Alex Ferrari 50:44
We had it we had it in our little video store in Florida so well
Lloyd Kaufman 50:46
good. Brave the after that boys from the hood came out, which was Columbia Pictures as I recall it 1990 and the stories were not burnt down. I think that opened up a lot. But we unfortunately did not make money and I think death by temptation may be a best film. But I think Samuel Jackson ought to you know, give us a little little that Marvel money. No, give us at least a mention every once in a while because it wouldn't have movie wouldn't have happened without us. Got it. Got it. So who else so people generally the white people, nobody was financing. Bizarre recall. Nobody was financing all black movies then it was if they were it was Spike Lee and that's it. Now you talk about Magnus and Andy in the 50s wasn't much. Now Matt and Trey are because Michael is like that film. Michael Hearn said this is a good film and it wasn't a stereotypical movie. Right? No, it definitely snow brown beat up the women kind of movie. No, no, it's a really wonderful he didn't matter what color the people are in depth by temptation. It's funny. It's scary. It's colorful. It's beautifully shot. And I was scared shit because I had to shoot the big climactic monster blowing up scene. And I had to follow the guy who directed juice and Oh yeah, yeah, I know he talking about I forgot. I had to follow his camera and I was worried that he would be furious because I you know, I had we I dp the end of the movie. Oh, damn it. I've interviewed him too. He's in my book. He's the best he do. You know he did juice but he's a great camera man. I got dp anyway.
Alex Ferrari 52:32
So um, it'll come so that you also you you also launched Matt and Trey of South Park fame.
Lloyd Kaufman 52:39
Yeah, yeah. How big again what and how nice are they they they acted in terra firma movie that I directed which is my most personal film, terror firmer. And I urge anyone who's interested in filmmaking to see it because it's about making a trauma movie, they play hermaphrodite couple and and they did it right after they were on the cover of Newsweek or something and I can imagine their agents and the managers were delighted. I'm sure they were but then those rolls with no pay no
Alex Ferrari 53:12
less. But they walked in they definitely dancer their own beat those two on that right?
Lloyd Kaufman 53:17
And they're awesome. There are people in the main street who are amazing James Gunn is the best. Guardians of the Galaxy.
Alex Ferrari 53:24
Which by the way, I love your cameo and guardians of the galaxy. Thank you. I actually I actually saw and I was like there's Lloyd in the
Lloyd Kaufman 53:33
most happy about that. And you're you're not alone. And that one I got more. More fan mail college. Kudos. What's the other word pro props, props, props, props. I got more props. Those two seconds than anything I've done in 50 years of making movies. Thanks, gun. Oh, no, seriously, that was
Alex Ferrari 53:54
when you're when you're when you're in a
Lloyd Kaufman 53:56
Eli Roth, Eli Roth. It does the commentary track for blood sucking freaks. It's terrific. If you get the DVD or I think we may have just put out the blu ray. If he's too. He loves movies. He is the best great guy, a wonderful guy. And he's always trying to help us. Guillermo del Toro had nothing to do with making movies with him. But he also wonderful guy loves drama, talks about us tries to get our name out there. You
Alex Ferrari 54:24
know, I've spoken
Lloyd Kaufman 54:25
to people in the mainstream.
Alex Ferrari 54:27
Again, most good was awesome. He loves filmmakers. I've met him a few times. And he's been amazing, amazing. Amazing. So where do you see trauma in 10 years?
Lloyd Kaufman 54:37
I think trauma and toxie have a life of their own but it's tough. Very tough. We own a big library of movies. Hopefully it's not you know, I'm going to be 70 years old in two weeks I could I could make a noise like a frog and at any moment and you know, Michael, hers is getting on to the He looks great and these include strong as strong as Superman right? Um, but I think the the best would be to hopefully whoever moves in takes keeps it as, as an entity. It's got its own life and its own energy, everything its own joy and soul and Samar cough. You know he he created the American International pictures out of whose loins everybody including Roger Corman, a corpsman whose loins everybody else, I mean, I'm an amateur. I've stayed in New York in the underground. So a lot of the people who I've worked with are New York underground. You know, they haven't they have not become James Gunn, although they are extremely talented, and they're doing great they are not household words the way jack nicholson from Corman and cupola, everybody came out of corpsman and AIP but but Sam, our cough love trauma, and we were good buddies. And he told me his biggest regret was that he sold his company to what was then called film waves I think that they they eventually became Viacom and of course all those movies in that wonderful spirit that was AIP is of course all dissolved and do you know Yeah, I got such stuff, as dreams are made of in a little life is rounded with this. All dissolved into nothingness, unfortunately and happens AIP American International pictures that's such a great, I mean, my company was basically modeled on that business model, except I'm crazier and not terribly commercially minded. But that was the company that proved to me when I was at Yale when I saw Roger Corman's invasion of Roger Corman's. Man with the X ray eyes, crab invasion of the crab monsters and the pole movies. Sure Allan Poe, Edgar Allan Poe, not the Little Rock and Roll guy that that pole northern river pole when I saw Corman's movies it proved to me that Gee, you can make good low budget movies with good scripts and good acting and and make them worthwhile and have a personal have the personal statement involved to
Alex Ferrari 57:24
now they're very important not just do you have any advice for young filmmakers trying to break into the business today?
Lloyd Kaufman 57:31
Good question. Yeah, I think if you've got to make a choice, okay. I think you if you want the Oscars and the hookers and the mansion and the cocaine and all that you got to go out to LA if you want to make a lot of money, I don't mean go out to LA but you've got to, to to become a partner with one of the vassals of Rupert Murdoch or such. Or you do what I did and do what you you know, do what you believe in and scrape a few bucks together and make a movie that is totally your own and, and, you know, if it does, well, great, if it doesn't, you keep going you keep trucking, and full steam ahead. I think Shakespeare said it best. He's the guy who coined that phrase, to their own self be true. He did that you can, he wrote a bestseller called 101 money making screenplay ideas, otherwise known as Hamlet. I think he had the right idea to learn self to do what you believe in because this is the hardest. It's nothing harder than making movies. And and I made a speech when I was on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy. You know, even though it's a $200 million movie he made a speech about when he's when he's on set, he's channeling he's channeling uncle lady because he wants to be responsible. He wants to be on schedule he wants he wants to have he wants to have total freedom and he does. And he wants to make the best movie he can. But at the same time, he wants to be responsible because you know, we all know about Heaven's Gate we've read that fascinating bone is named right. Final Cut, right? Yeah. One night is fascinating. I mean, I have to do that you as a viewer and you don't want to go that way.
Alex Ferrari 59:27
No, I can imagine the immense amount of pressure on like a JJ Abrams now with Star Wars coming out soon and, and James with guardians and guardians was complete, like nobody knew a lot of people thought it was gonna fail. And nobody knew it. It was an unproven property. I can only imagine the kind of pressure a director is under because if it says a misstep, it's gone. It's over. It's the game just
Lloyd Kaufman 59:49
it's more when you're making a movie for half a million bucks because you have to be responsible for, for everything. Everything from the bathrooms, right? They don't have enough bathrooms a lot of trouble. And there's nobody in between you and the bathroom guy, right? We had a citizen toxie, the Toxic Avenger, Part Four, where we didn't have enough of those porta potties. And they filled up. So when you sat down on them, you felt the person who were dedicated leavings you know, and that's a horrible thing. But I'm the guy, I'm at the top there, I've got to be responsible for the lunches, and are they gonna be on time and where the car is going to park, I don't want them in the shot. You know, we're working in large part with a very idealistic young people who come from all over the world. You know, the guy who came in from Iceland, I can't put him in charge of location scouting, right? for returning the nuclear my volume one. By the way, he beyond the gouter is his name. He knows more about trauma movies, and anybody in the world. But I can't you know, it's it's this huge amount of pressure. It's a very dangerous, you know, we bloke, we have explosions, car crashes, special effects, where people have to transform goals, latex, silicone, all sorts of stuff. It's very dangerous, and that people are working 20 to 20 hours a day, and they're sleeping on the floor and eating crap food and learning how to defecate in a paper bag. And it's very stressful. It's on the other hand, it's the greatest patient in the world,
Alex Ferrari 1:01:26
right? After all of that, but it's the greatest thing I've ever done.
Lloyd Kaufman 1:01:30
I wish I had a little more money to take the pressure off because it really is tough. And and, you know, the other problem, of course, is that insurance is huge for movies, because it's all based on the big boys. You know, we're a half a million dollar movie and insurance ends up a huge percentage of the budget. Crazy. Now, we can't possibly not have it. Of course
Alex Ferrari 1:01:57
Lloyd Kaufman 1:01:57
No, if not definitely we're Sean, Debbie rashaan, Queen of independent movies. And a wonderful Actress at her hand, literally cut off on a low budget movie, down south somewhere with a bayonet, and they didn't have insurance. And then she was totally screwed. No, cheese is horrible. No way that can happen. You know, when we have to have insurance. And they have that everything is aimed at the big guys. That way, it's all the playing field is used to be slightly you know, maybe it would be at a 45 degree angle against you the independent filmmaker. Now it's a little like a strippers, Poland's and it's greased. You can't climb up. But she's very hard. You really, you really have to want to be a filmmaker, very, very independent, or you've got to go join the mainstream and try to do what Trey and Matt and James Gunn and Eli Roth and others have done. You know, not many of them. But there are great, great, great, wonderful people who are making great movies in the mainstream. And there's some great actors I mean, you have to assume that Kristen Wiig I've never met her. I met her once. I met her once because my wife is the New York State Film Commissioner. Right? And but I you know what, we had to two words, but she's she's doing good movies. No, she's doing great stuff. There's a whole generation of mainstream actors and directors, Adam McKay, I'm going to run to see short the Big Show. I'm dying to see that Ray because he's a great director and writer and eastbound and down as to whether so they were great people in the mainstream. And, and again, I don't know a lot of them, but the ones I do know, like the ones I mentioned. They're wonderful people. They're great, lovely people.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:46
Now what, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn in life or in the film business?
Lloyd Kaufman 1:03:53
Oh, well, continuing what I just said. I think that I clearly don't have the ability to navigate the corridors of power away. James and Eli and those guys can Trey and Matt can do and it may be that my vision and my soul and my talent just simply aren't there or don't conform to what the public what the mainstream public is interested in. So I probably that's the the lesson that took a while to sink in. Because for the first 15 or 20 years of trauma we did try to at least we did try to break through that Yeah, to work with the mainstream you know, we went on a lot of goose chases because they you know they hear like I've ever was stuck on you the woman from Warner Brothers had to go out there and bring the stupid movie with me when it was finished and and at one point she started crying because Cuz we didn't want to do it, we knew they, we know that the woman was there to say no, that was why she was there. So I put on my bar mitzvah suit, I take the print out there. 35 millimeter, I go to the studio, they don't have my parking pass. It's a 5000 degree wet day today. I'm sweating like a pig. Got the two cans with me again. So I get a part. Finally, I get a parking space. It's a half a mile from the screening room or whatever. And and then they say, well, you can leave the print here or Wait, am I supposed to meet with the election of Obama? No. And of course, they have no Intel, you just want to say no. So eventually, we gave up. But yeah, we just realize it's not you know, it's just not for us. And then finally, the coup de gras was the final countdown where Kirk Douglas and Peter Douglas, because of our ability to produce movies that look big for very little money, they brought me on to the final countdown. And I was associate producer. We were we had a little piece of the action. We never saw a cent of course, United Artists distributed. But that movie could have been great. Kirk Douglas is a hero, great film director, great actor and great writer, genius. His son Peter, same thing. And I we were the only ones who wanted to make a good movie. Nobody else gave a shit. They all were concerned about who had a bigger suite than a 13 or whatever. One of them wanted to were were upset with me. Because Peter was 19 and I was 30 something and so was I 3045. Yeah, I was 37. He was upset because Kirk had a bigger corner suite than he is the special effects guy practical effects guy was glomming false he was putting in false petty cash I mean that what we're going to have for lunch they didn't like the lunch they didn't got it.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:59
It was not about the movie. Yeah, the director
Lloyd Kaufman 1:07:02
was a drunk the I mean absurd and here's a movie with Martin Sheen Katharine Ross and a bunch of Mr. Douglas and but it was made for very little money compared to what it could have been made for and it has it the director didn't want to use the we wanted to have f4 teams dog fighting with Japanese zeros is terrific way ahead of war games or video games or anything and and the director said no, we can use it's a bug a mugger or something. He had some word to use that he thought was cute. Oh go mugger hugger mugger if we use file footage, you know, and luckily Kirk wouldn't stand for it. And then when I got the Navy to, to agree to use it, yeah, we were able to actually have the f4 teams in the zeros. But if you look at that film and you imagine what would that be? That'd be like rocky without Stallone jumping up the stairs, running up the stairs, right? Of course, of course. But in the case of Rocky, which I worked on, there was a dedicated group there. an enlightened group and the case of Final Countdown that could have been a fabulous movie. It's not bad. Right? Right. Right. Could have been so good. If Kirk and Peter were the only ones that gave and me other than that, it was like we're pulling along a giant barge of garbage by ourselves, so I'm this way if you want to see me event, there's a blu ray. Final Countdown not by blue underground. Yeah. Which in which they interviewed me and I pretty much sum. I talked about it in much more detail. I think I told him to tell the truth. And by the way, if you get the rocky the rocky Fox put out a multi, I think all the rocky movies in a box set. And the big thing they are publicizing is my home movies because the guy who works for us was down in the building the trauma building basement and found all this super great stuff. I must have shot. I don't remember it. But I shot a lot of behind the scenes stuff in Super eight. And I sent it out to john Abelson, the director, and he chopped it down and he and I wrote a script for it. And there's about a 10 minute piece where you actually see how we shot all these great scenes in Philadelphia, line producer or production manager on the US the non union crew from cry uncle. They didn't have enough money to film in Philadelphia and bring everybody there but still alone in Adelson wanted Philadelphia and right they work. So Abelson had me put together the cry uncle gang that he used non union guys about eight days, all those fate all those iconic shots of Stallone running through the fruit market and going up the steps in that store and all that stuff. We did sabrosa and charge of all that and when he And some understanding cam first time a steady cam was used right first time and I had I had behind the scenes what I couldn't believe it just because one of the guy works for us madman juries would whenever he had free time, he'd go down to the basement of our building and rummage around down there and he came up with these movies, I had no recollection of shooting it, except that my wife is in them about every two seconds. So then I saw the camera store I filmed a little bit of end of the reel in the camera store that I use to get the stuff process. So it had to be my
Alex Ferrari 1:10:34
So um, this is a question I asked all my guests. What is your top three films of all time? I'm dying to hear your answer.
Lloyd Kaufman 1:10:43
I don't have top I can tell you just three movies you love. I can tell you the number one movie Okay. Okay. The religious experience and I've only seen this movie once because it was such a religious experience. And I didn't want to Sully that experience. Although I probably should I'll be dead so it'd be kind of curious to see what I think of it now. Mr. Gucci the Japanese john Ford or, or john Ford was the American Mizoguchi. He made a movie called princess young boy fake. And it's a Chinese legend Chinese novel a part of a Chinese novel from the Middle Ages. And it's if you look up the word sublime in the dictionary, you will find princess Yong Wei Fei. And that movie was just such a experience for me cosmic that I didn't want to see it again. I never wanted to see it again. In fact, some fans some fans make it she gave me a plexiglass box with a lock and she locked up the VHS inside the plexiglass box and gave me a key to open it and it says open for if desperate or open an emergency or something like that. And and I haven't I've stepped but I didn't use it. For instance, young boy face So that to me, probably that's the number one movie of all time. But I think I go by directors as I mentioned, I think anything by Chaplin by john Ford by Keaton, Buster Keaton, Keaton I love King Howard Hawks. xiongan while Fritz Lang Stan brakhage, the greatest visual artist in my lifetime probably. I think those kinds of bricks long Leni Riefenstahl? You know, I couldn't really tell you a movie just in Sturgis. I love his book Preston Sturges. I read it a long time ago, between the flops. It's a great day for a cautionary tale. A guy was the Oliver Stone of his day and that he had hit that, you know, major, major mandates, and the suits still wouldn't leave him alone. They destroyed him. They made him they just Buster Keaton also and the lesson the takeaway there is own your negatives do what Chaplin did Chaplin will own these negatives he was he was hounded he was blacklisted. He was he had to run away for you know, he had to flee the United States. And we treated him like shit, but he owned the negatives so he ended up a rich man Buster Keaton equally as talented and maybe more so was unfortunately a contract player. And his career was ruined by the day
Alex Ferrari 1:13:24
He died he died broke if I'm not mistaken.
Lloyd Kaufman 1:13:27
He did. He was destroyed and it's more than money. It's a you know, they break it down. return you to drink. Oh, and I've been lucky. You know, I just came from, I go to San Diego Comic Con. And in terms of celebrity, I get a line of people who want my autograph, right? I go out the street and people have in my way oh man get out. So I kind of have a little bit of celebrity in a certain way. It's pretty interesting. But yet I don't have the it's not like Taylor Swift if somebody were walking on the street right now although my dress as I get older.
Alex Ferrari 1:14:06
Lloyd Lloyd, you are the definition of a hustler, an indie film hustler without question. You are the Grandad uncle of hustling.
Lloyd Kaufman 1:14:16
And that's why you should see terra firma if you haven't if anybody out there because Larry Benjamin he's a blind director. I play the part and you know maybe his films are good maybe they're not but he believes in them he believes in him and he's hustling again even see and and as a result his whatever it is, he attracts a following and and I think that's a lot to be said there. In the end by the way that was the terra firma was shot before Woody Allen did his blind director movie right that one with them. Hollywood ending Oh yeah. Although Hollywood ending is I love how it's a great photo of that. It was not what people didn't like it but I love em
Alex Ferrari 1:15:03
So Lloyd where can people find you?
Lloyd Kaufman 1:15:06
On Twitter? I answer all my own Twitter. Okay, so that's the best way @Lloyd called a double L o y d By the way, not LYOD or Lloyd Kaufman it's unbelievable how many people misspell the word void is a Welsh name and it's pronounced in Welsh
Alex Ferrari 1:15:31
So you've got your you got your Twitter where else facebook?
Lloyd Kaufman 1:15:34
That's the best way to contact me but the trauma website you can contact
Is that troma.com
troma troma.com there's a trauma Facebook, my Facebook Yeah, I've got a Tumblr and YouTube what's your brand?
Alex Ferrari 1:15:48
What's your YouTube?
Lloyd Kaufman 1:15:49
tromas YouTube and as I say we every day we put up a new movie or short film or uncle Lloyd's diary, I do a little video diary. And we have make your own damn movie. Educational Videos, how we raise money, how we squash ahead using every day around the house melon, how we sell our movies, short pieces from my masterclasses or video and videos of pieces of my books. Every day, we put up something new trauma movies, and it's YouTube. Troma movies, we've got 120,000 subscribers
Alex Ferrari 1:16:28
Lloyd Kaufman 1:16:30
It's a very good it's all free. Nothing to lose.
Alex Ferrari 1:16:33
Lloyd Thank you again. It's been an absolutely entertaining by far and educational interview. So thank you so much for taking out the time and I really appreciate it.
Lloyd Kaufman 1:16:42
I love to hear from people who are fans of movies and even those who are opposed to what we're doing. It's I answer everything. So contact me on Twitter is probably the best way. And thank you so much. I really appreciate your interest Alex and, and keep up the good work with indie film hustle.
Alex Ferrari 1:17:03
Man, that was so much fun. I really love talking to Lloyd. Hope you guys got a little bit of insight about how trauma works, and hopefully get some inspiration of how you can build your online media empire as well doing what you do and many guys have followed in in Lloyd's footsteps if you will. So if you really want to get a little bit to know a little bit more about lawyers work and also just see some amazing trailers for like Toxic Avenger. Sergeant Kabuki man, NYPD a bunch of other movies it they're just so much fun to watch. Head over to troma.calm. And if you want to get you want to listen to that interview with Kansas bowling the 17 year old who directed and sold her first feature film on 16 millimeter film, head over to indiefilmhustle.com/059 but I will have it all in the show notes of this show, which will be indiefilmhustle.com/065. So guys, as always, please head over to filmmakingpodcast.com and leave us an honest review of the show it really helps us out a lot and get the word out on indie film hustle. And guys just to let you know I am working a lab on some big working on coming up projects of my own that share with you but projects for you. To get you guys more stuff, more content, more information. I'm obsessed with getting you guys as much information about the business as possible. I'm trying to create a resource that I wanted I wish I had when I was starting out as a filmmaker. So I want to share as much information as I can with you and get it to you in any way I can. Whether it be through podcasting, through video podcast, through YouTube, through Facebook, through Twitter, through skywriting or whatever other way smoke smoke signals whatever way gets to you guys. That's what I want to try to do. So thanks again all for all your support guys. It's humbling every time I get all those those kind of fan letters and thank you letters that I get and emails that you guys send me telling me how much it has helped you how much the show has helped you much the website is you know opened your eyes and helped you guys in your process as artists as and as independent filmmakers and independent filmmaking entrepreneurs. So from the bottom of my heart, I humbly say thank you for all the support guys. So keep the hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.
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- Troma Entertainment
- Lloyd Kaufman – Official Site
- Sell Your Own Damn Movie! (Get a FREE Audiobook Here!)
- Produce Your Own Damn Movie!
- Make Your Own Damn Movie: Secrets of a Renegade Director!
- Direct Your Own Damn Movie!
- How a 17 yr old Directed & Sold Her 1st Feature on 16mm Film