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Big Budget Visual Effects on a Micro-Budget with Kevin Good
Today on the show we have low-budget visual effects master Kevin Good. Kevin is a freelance cinematographer, VFX artist, and director. He has worked on diverse projects from creating television pilots for Fox Television Studios to shooting interactive feature-length films for the U.S. Army.
His work has been featured in the Independent TV Festival in Los Angeles, the New York Television Festival, the Cannes Film Festival, the Edinburgh International TV Festival, the Festival Internacional de Televisão in Rio de Janeiro, the Boston International Film Festival, and others. Kevin now balances his time between teaching at Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts, freelance production work, and developing his own crazy projects, many of which are featured on his site.
Kevin Good’s debut feature, Dinner with the Alchemist premieres at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood as part of the Dances With Films festival. Dinner with the Alchemist is a masterclass in low-budget filmmaking and using visual effects to create scale and production value.
In the early 1900s, a wealthy alchemist, Jacques St. Germaine, travels to New Orleans to seek help from the legendary voodoo priestess Marie Laveau. When a spate of murders are uncovered, Jacques and the quarreling locals’ butt heads as they try to discover the identity of the killer. Featuring a cast of characters pulled from actual police reports, Dinner with the Alchemist weaves historical fact and imaginative storytelling into a mysterious supernatural drama.
Enjoy my eye-opening conversation with Kevin Good.
IFH Academy’s Film Distribution: Confidential Course – What Predatory Film Distributor Don’t Want You to Know.
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LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- DONATE to Feed America to help with people affected by the Coronavirus
- Kevin Good – Official
- Dinner with the Alchemist
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
- $1 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)
- The Complete Indie Film Producing Workshop with Suzanne Lyons (COUPON CODE: IFHFILMPRODUCE)
- Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story) (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
- Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
- The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
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- Indie Film Hustle® Podcast
- Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
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- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
Alex Ferrari 2:41
Now today, guys, we have visual effects guru, Kevin Good, who specializes in visual effects for micro budget and low budget indie feature films. And I saw a video of Kevin's online about how he was able to recreate this period piece, film independent film that he made, that took place in the turn of the century in New Orleans and how he was able to create a massive amounts of production value in with very little money was very, very impressive. And this is coming from someone who's been in the post production side of the business for over 25 years. So I wanted to have him on the show so he can explain to the tribe how he does it some tips and tricks on how to get a lot of production value with visual effects and making your film look big budget, even if you're making your film on a micro budget. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Kevin Good. I'd like to welcome the show Kevin Good man, thank you so much for being on the show brother.
Kevin Good 3:46
Thank you for having me.
Alex Ferrari 3:48
I appreciate it. Man. I I wanted you on the show because I ran across a video that you did about how you're using these really interesting techniques on creating really high production value for independent film as far as visual effects are concerned. And that's kind of my wheelhouse I've been in post for 25 years and I got started with my first film with over 100 visual effects shots shot on a mini DV dv x panel Panasonic dv x 100 ay ay and one of those Yeah, it was not the greatest little camera man that camera it was such like the look of it is still I mean it's SD but still it was it was the first 24 p man it was the first time we were like and I still remember people like it looks so much like film like no no it doesn't not even a little bit like I look back at it now I'm like no no it did but at the time it was it was better than anything else around
Kevin Good 4:41
Compare everything is is comparable and compared to anything else that looked insanely better.
Alex Ferrari 4:46
Oh god compared to like the Canon XL. Oh god. Anything else? 30 p at the time on mini DV Yeah, it was awesome. But yeah, we use shake back in the day. Shake and then when it came Apple shake out Before they abandoned such a beautiful piece of software,
Kevin Good 5:03
I used to shake a little bit. And I've never really gotten into a node based compositing system after that. Since then I've been using like, since since Apple abandoned it. I've been using After Effects mostly for like, 20 years now. And it's a shame I tried to kind of get into black magic fusion world and, and it's just tough. I think there's a lot to be said for no base compositors. But like, there's also a lot to be said for decades of experience.
Alex Ferrari 5:28
Of timeline of timeline and compositing. My friends that my friends Nuke Yeah, a lot of my buddies use nuke and and, and fusion, but I can't I know how to supervise it. I just don't know how to do it. That's the one schools that's the one thing I don't do a lot of high end visual effects. I wish I did. I wish I did. But I don't. But before we even get into all of that, man, how did you get into the film business in the first place?
Kevin Good 5:54
Um, well, yeah, first of all, thanks for having me on the show. And I'm just glad that I'm here as not a representative of some indie film distribution scheme that has gone awry. Like lately, lately, that's what it is, right?
Alex Ferrari 6:08
So with that said, I'm gonna say something about it. Because by the time this comes out, it's gonna probably be a few months since all the hoopla but God knows, in a few months, I might have three or four more fiber episodes about this. It seems like the whole it seems like I just said it yesterday in my in the podcast into this recording, I said yesterday, I'm like, Rome is burning, ladies and gentlemen, Rome is burning. And everyone needs to just be aware that this is happening and prepare yourselves for whatever's going to happen afterwards. But the whole infrastructure is all around around us. And even before we even get into who How did you get into the business? since you brought it up? Didn't your film? Didn't you go with the stripper for your film as well?
Kevin Good 6:50
We did go with discover, um, and yeah, heartbreaking and frustrating. And I don't know what else to say. I know, other people have lost out bigger than we did. You know, I saw brubacher give it to talk. And you know, I talked to him afterwards. And I said, you know, why should I go with you over cuivre or anybody else? And he said, he said, you know, honestly, it is a commodity business. And so I think the reason you should go with us is because I'm out here doing the outreach, and we're trying to, we're trying to, you know, be there for the filmmakers in a way that maybe some of the other aggregators are not,
Alex Ferrari 7:30
That's fair. And that's a true statement. They were definitely there a way for the filmmakers that no other aggregator was, well, the other aggregators are trying to try to catch up right now. Right, I've given time, give them time. They're all they're all gonna steal from us eventually, is what you're trying to say.
Kevin Good 7:45
Alex Ferrari 7:47
Kevin Good 7:48
When your thinking of when you were thinking of names for your show instead of indie film hustle as you considered a cautionary tale cautionary tales and film distribution.
Alex Ferrari 7:55
That's come it's coming up. You know, the bottom line is you know, my show has you know, I'm now as of this recording, I'm getting close to 400 episodes of this of this, of this of the thank you so much of this one episode, this one podcast, not the others. And the it's, I mean, it's transformed over the years, you've kind of seen me change, you've seen the tone change. I've become a little angrier in areas I've become a little did things come up like distributor and that whole fiasco and then predatory and then I started finding out about in the film intrapreneur thing and everything. So I'm just I'm just kind of a mirror of what the industry is of what's going on. And now I feel that that mirror is shifting towards. I mean, do you agree like before, it used to be the biggest entry point, or the barrier to entry to this industry? Was the technology trying to make a movie was impossible. Now making a movie is not impossible anymore. It's extremely doable, but now getting anyone to buy it sell it see it is the possibility it's very difficult.
Kevin Good 8:59
Partially I think making a movie all right here I'm just going to go off on this tangent right about this, but but making a movie I think, is is really flippin hard. It is it now so I'm trying to censor myself more, right? I'm using like The Good Place version of curse words. The I think everybody's like, oh my god technology's making everything so accessible. I can go buy a Panasonic GH five and it looks really good and people can't tell the difference. And then, you know, my laptop I can edit everything's so I did a little thing here. Um, are you aware of em Knights? The village budget that's like online?
Alex Ferrari 9:36
No, I have never seen it. I know the movie but I don't know the budget.
Kevin Good 9:39
Right? Sure. So so so the budget like leaked online like a really detailed line item budget. And I think it's actually a really interesting thing for people to go look at because it's a $71 million movie. And normally we don't get to kind of like poke under the hood of a $71 million movie. Directed by an A list director starring Joaquin Phoenix and Bryce Dallas. Howard and lends by Roger Deakins and kind of see like, Okay, what how are they doing their thing? And what are their line items? And how does that differ from what I'm doing? I think like filmmaking is so accessible. But I think we also all live in like this delusion bubble about how accessible it is myself included. So for $71 million budget, I just looked this up, right? $71 million is a lot of money. And most of that is going to stuff that costs just as much as it did in I believe 2003 when they made the village right, so So I looked up the for the picture of the film and dailies for the movie cost 386 grand. And then the subsequent film lab expenses cost 596 grand, so under a million dollars for film and all the subsequent film processing dailies printing, all of those expenses is under a million dollars of your $71 million budget. Great. So now the movie is down to $70 million dollars because you're shooting it on your gh five. Right? That's still immensely expensive. And hotels cost the same thing. Joaquin Phoenix costs the same thing. No, actually,
Alex Ferrari 11:02
it's a lot. He costs a lot more Nasser, I just tell you just skyrocketed as a Sunday. Right.
Kevin Good 11:09
And I, carpenters cost the same thing, costume designers cost the same thing, locations,
Alex Ferrari 11:15
arguably all of this stuff costs more, all of the costs more now, because it's things in 2003 costs cost a lot less than the cost now period as far as just inflation in general.
Kevin Good 11:26
Absolutely. Um, and so right. And Joaquin cost 5 million for that movie,
Alex Ferrari 11:31
Oh, you couldn't, he won't walk on set. You won't you won't walk for less than 2025 at this point in the game.
Kevin Good 11:38
Right. And so I think there, I think it is true, this is more accessible than ever. But I think we're also under this delusion of going out and looking at a movie like the village, we could even look at a more modest movie that is maybe a little bit less elaborate in terms of sets and costumes and stars. But it's a little delusional to say like, Okay, I have a cheap editing system and a cheaper camera that looks really good now and so. So movies are super accessible, you know, a lot of it still isn't, and kind of taking a big look at that pie and saying, okay, technology's really done some damage on these parts, but I still have like, 80% of the pie that I have to cover and get really creative about and do really be really ingenious to be able to bring a good story to life and give some some value to the audience. I think is a is a responsible grown up way of treating any film.
Alex Ferrari 12:28
And I would I would agree with you to a certain extent because it also depends on the story you're trying to tell. So you know, like the film I made at the Sundance Film Festival on the corner of ego and desire that cost me about 3000 bucks. And that you know, and if I would have included my flight out there I don't even think I did i don't think i think i was flown out but but if you know it all the costs of get talent out there, get everybody flown and all that stuff. And paying them a lot of stuff was free. You know, we had you know, place to stay for free. All that kind of stuff was unclear, you know, all that stuff. But that's what an indie filmmaker supposed to do. You're supposed to figure things out as far as using the resources you have to make the film you want. So let's say all in if I would have paid for everything, let's say the whole movie would have cost me 15 grand at still insane as far as a cost is to make a film. So for that story, that made sense, you know, the village much larger concept much larger with let's get let's kill all the stars. It's all now non union actors. We're talking about non union community theater actors are now in there. Everyone else stays the same. Deakins is still shooting it costume decided to still costume design. And I think deacons cost almost 400 grand which is I believe that they should pay him a lot more. Yeah,
Kevin Good 13:46
well, again, his his value has gone up in recent years as well. So
Alex Ferrari 13:49
yeah, from since 2003. Exactly. Since Oh, three he's he's he shot a couple things since then. But but so anyway, but even then, it all depends on the kind of story you're trying to tell. And one of the reasons I wanted you on the show is because you were telling an ambitious story with a hearing aid piece, which is called dinner with the alchemist. I know we're jumping the gun here because we've gone off on a tangent but we'll just roll with it. We'll just roll the way it is. But the but the movie that you may call dinner with the alchemist when I saw, you know, the trailer and I saw some of the behind the scenes and how you were doing it. I don't see that very often anymore. I saw it a lot more when I was coming up in the early 2000s when the technology was just breaking and people were filmmakers really excited about it nowadays. I don't see that kind of ingenuity that I saw and what you're trying that we you did and did it at a fairly high level because again, I've been a VFX supervisor for a long time so I understand what a comp is. I understand how it looks how it's supposed to look how how you key you know roto if you need to all the all those things. So when I looked at I'm like okay, he's he's doing a good because other people will do ambitious stuff. And I looked at him like how did you get that you keep that out and find No cut that that Final Cut six. Oh, that's probably not a good idea. Using he's using Final Cut six, exactly, sir. Exactly. At least seven for God's sakes, I was on seven until only five or four years ago. So um, but anyway, but but you were able to do that. So that's why I wanted to bring you on the show. And but again, you also went after something ambitious, but you were also very, but you were also very clever in the way you did it. And I wanted to bring this concept back to two people because you even took it to places that, you know, you know it, we'll talk about all how you did it. Okay, so before we jump into this, because now we're jumping Alright, so we've all gotten off on our tangent, I want to get that budget, by the way, I would love to see that budget. How did you get into the film business in the first place? And then we'll go from there.
Kevin Good 15:48
Great. So I went to school for finance. I have a degree in business. And I
Alex Ferrari 15:53
why god's green earth would you come into the industry? What is wrong with these,
Kevin Good 15:59
and I briefly worked at like this consulting firm on K Street and in DC, where I was living the area, and I was just totally miserable. And I quit. And then I lived in my parents place and took odd jobs for about 10 years until people started to pay me to do stuff that I enjoyed. And I started like teaching Photoshop, and then teaching other photography oriented stuff, and then filming corporate video, whatever's and then filming short films and more short films, more short films, and a few pilots. And then a pilot that I co created. Got some attention and Fox Television Studios got us to film a pilot presentation for them. And, you know, kind of just, I don't know, I just figured it out, man. That's how I got into it. I just liked it a whole lot more than the other things that I felt like I was supposed to be doing good. And so I just kept figuring it out. And I'm still trying to figure it out.
Alex Ferrari 16:49
You know, and that and that's something I said anytime I've had people on the show that I know who are like doctors and left the left their practice this be a filmmaker and lawyers and and business people. And I always I always joke like why would you do something as crazy as that. But the bottom line is, if you're happy, life is too short, if you're not happy, and you've got to also pay the bills. So you've got to figure it out, you've got to figure out how that revenue is going to come in. And if you want to jump into this art form, you're gonna have to understand the business side of it as well. And you started to figure out how to create revenue streams that supported the filmmaking habit, because you obviously were bitten by this virus years ago. And if you can't get rid of it, it's stuck with you forever. It's it's a lifelong virus. And it will, it will flare up. And the only cure is being unset. Basically. Absolutely not. And it's not a cue, it's a treatment. Because once you're upset, you're depressed again, you're like, I want to go back on set.
Kevin Good 17:48
Like that saying, Do what you love. And you'll just work constantly, every waking moment for the rest of your life until you die.
Alex Ferrari 17:56
And I think there's some money there. I'm not sure if there is or not. If you're happy and you can eat, I guess and have a roof over your head. That's all that really matters. Yeah, so so in your opinion, before we get into your movie, why do you think most independent filmmakers fail when they approach ambitious VFX shots because this is something that I've had immense amounts of experience with over the years running a post office in the indie film space. And I see these. I mean, I don't know if you've heard this. Let me see if you've heard this before. When I have an independent filmmaker who would walk into my suite, and they go, look, I have this movie at this idea. And I have these VFX shots I need done. I'm like, okay, and I had a VFX company, so I knew what my boys could do. And they go Okay, do you know that scene in Avengers and I go stop right there? Just stop. Whatever you saw on the Avengers, you can't afford right. It's not gonna happen the way you know. He goes, but boy, like no, no, just Okay, tell me what it is. It's like, so I want this shot of the White House. And I want to fly over. And like Do you have any of this footage now? No, we're gonna do it all in CG got it. Okay, so we're going to do it all in CG. And then the monster that I have written in the script. Oh, there's a monster? Yes. Have you designed this monster? Oh, no, no, you guys are gonna do that. Okay, got it. So we're gonna enter How much do you have? Well, we've got 15 grand. How many shots? How many shots? I thought you're gonna say $300 No, no, I'm cuz I'm not that I had those conversations as well. But even at 15 grand, they're thinking I've got 15 Grand i can i could do right 3540 shots with full CG characters, and environments, and comic and all that for 15 grand. And this is back in the mid mid to late 2000s, early 2000s. And you're just like, No man. So I want to kind of break this myth down and also want to hear what your point of view is why most most filmmakers fail when they attempt these kind of shots.
Kevin Good 19:54
Yeah, so I think there's like a chicken and an egg thing. Right? And and as indie filmmakers, we just have too. We have to reorient how we think. And that is like, you can't take a script and say, This is my script. And here's my storyboard. And here's my vision for this script. And now I'm going to go execute that. We have to do that out of order. That's how Hollywood gets to do things. They get to dream up any stupid thing they want on the page, you know, Iron Man hits its jets flies up above Manhattan and releases this huge blast and all the bad guys blow up. Sorry, I just ruined like three of the Avengers movie.
Alex Ferrari 20:31
Kevin Good 20:33
they get to do that? Well, we have to do is like kind of think backwards and say, Okay, here's the story, we have to tell, but we can't be too precious about it. What are the resources that we have? Maybe those are real world resources, maybe those are visual effects resources. Maybe we have to make the movie with sock puppets, because that's like, the only way that we could possibly tell this story. But we have to think backwards and say, you know, what do I have that could help tell this. And then we go ahead. And we, we essentially change the script a lot, but keeping the essence of it like keeping the essence of the story to accommodate what is what is sort of, like feasible in our world, right? So to use an example out of my movie dinner with the alchemist. And so to kind of catch up your listeners on what's going on here. You know, we wanted to do something kind of different from indie movies, we didn't want to do you know, a few 20 somethings sit around in their apartment and have arguments? Because we've seen that movie too many times, you know, and I feel like so many movies, so many indie movies end up kind of looking like Reservoir Dogs. And it's like, yeah, we saw that one. We saw that one a long time ago. And he's had a really successful career. And
Alex Ferrari 21:41
it was, and it was, and it was, and it did well, I mean, he did it well, back then.
Kevin Good 21:45
He did it really well. And it's already and he already did it in the past tense. We're talking in the past tense, he did
Alex Ferrari 21:51
it like super, like he did it really, really well. He might remember how many products and rip offs there were when Pulp Fiction came out. And it's already it's already out.
Kevin Good 22:00
People can already watch that they've already had an opportunity to watch that. So so we want it to stand out a little bit. And so my wife wrote this period piece. It's set in New Orleans in the early 1900s. Around the turn of the century. And it has a lot of magic and Voodoo and stuff. And some perfect indifferent. Perfect. Yeah, exactly right. Huge cast set in New Orleans, we don't live in New Orleans we were living in in the DC area at the time. Big cast period piece, some location where we weren't where we were, where we didn't live a fair bit of like visual effects shots for like Voodoo and magic sorcery type stuff. And, you know, we're like, Okay, how can we do this? We want to set ourselves apart as an indie, but how can we tackle this thing? And so like, for example, there would be a shot in the script. And it reads like, you know, it's morning rush hour on the docks of old New Orleans as workers are in line to get their jobs for the day, or something, right? And so, if you're an indie filmmaker, and you read a sentence like that, it's just got like, put the fear of God into you, if you if you know anything, right? Or you're ignorant. Oh, this is cool. I can go to Alex's company. I've got 15 grand fitness. We'll just film everybody on green screen. And then I'll go call Alex, right on a $15,000. Check. And we'll come back and it'll look great.
Alex Ferrari 23:21
But wait a minute. But but also don't forget, it's actually four shades of green screen. So like you actually taped. No, you laugh, you laugh. I had that shot come in. They taped four different colored green screens in the background with like tape, and they shot up sword fighting Samurai ever done,
Kevin Good 23:40
I've done so much worse than I did so much worse in dinner with the alchemists, I'll have to send you a picture of some of the green screens we use for that because because we were trying to do like a big set, you know, the docks. And I didn't have you know, real estate I didn't. And again, we were in Maryland, there was no like massive green screen space stage, we could we could rent out for a day. And even if there was we were able to afford it. So I like set up in a parking lot. And like put out all these green things on the ground. I painted it and like hung green. It was it was a mess. It was a total disaster. So anyway, so so I think like, you know, if I read this thing, you know, the New Orleans docks, early 1900s tons of people work. It's totally impossible, right? And even in New Orleans, we can't just go to like New Orleans and get a few people in period costumes and use a really long lens and shoot a narrow view, which is like the other way you sort of think of like problem solving in Indies. It's like cool this. This four foot section of wall looks exactly right. So no dig out. Let's note that let's dig out the long lenses. Everything is gonna be pointing right here. All the actors are just gonna play the scene in front of this little patch. The docks that existed 100 years ago in New Orleans don't exist anymore. New Orleans is a little tourist community now and those docks are a park. So it used to be like working class blue collar neighborhood where there are docks and now it's like statues. And palm trees and cutely manicured grass. So what I did in this case is I went to the Library of Congress photo archive. And I started looking through pictures from New Orleans at the time period. And there were all these cool pictures. This is the docks. And I started thinking to myself, well, this is exactly the environment I want. Could we set the movie here in the picture? Right? And you'd think like, Well, Kevin, these pictures of, like, 100 years ago, you sure they're gonna be good enough to go into your movie that shot with a modern camera. But the thing is, these these photographs that they were doing 100 years ago, were taken on on glass plate, negatives. So these negatives were like eight by 10, I think eight inches by 10 inches. So like, they had way more resolution than a modern like super 35 millimeter camera, I don't care what camera you're shooting on these guys 100 years ago? Sure. They had to work a lot harder for it. But they were rocking some really high res imagery. And so I just started looking through the Library of Congress images, one after the other after the other. Okay, could I set a scene in this image? No, it has nothing to do with my movie. Great movie, I'm gonna set a scene in this image. No, not unless my characters can fly. Can I set a scene in this image? Oh, oh, this is kind of cool. Look, you can kind of Yeah, so if they were kind of standing here, and they, they were kind of blocked with their backs to this thing. And then the other guy walked in from this angle in between these two hay bales. Now we're now we're talking, you know. And so we found a few different old archival photographs that if I, if I blocked it just right, we could we could set the movie in the photograph. And then it's the most authentic location ever. Because that's like the only record we actually have of what those Doc's looked like 100 years ago, are these photographs from the Library of Congress. And so I restored the images, we colorize them, I colorize them with the help of this guy who just does these amazing, like colorizing of black and white photos that I just found online who wanted to help out. And then I just put that up as an overlay on the monitor when we were filming the actors. And just kind of wiggled the camera around until it looked like they were lined up in the right spot in the in the perspective. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So so that was the like, monumental task that we that we tackled to do some of those environments and dinner with the alchemist. And to get back to your question of like, what do I think is the biggest problem that people face? I mean, it's just such a tough one. But it's like I don't want to say like ignorance, because that's like insulting but I mean,
Alex Ferrari 27:37
no, no, ignorance is new, but it's not a look. I'm very ignorant to a lot of things in life. I don't like if you ask me, how do you get how does a rocket go up on my you light the fuse? And it goes up? I don't like it's not like not as might I'm not that ignorant. But But you know what, I'm here. But I'm, I'm ignorant to rocket science. I'm ignorant to brain surgery. So ignorance, I don't feel as as long as you're not pretending you know, everything about that becomes an It's all right.
Kevin Good 28:02
And I think so I think it is like being realistic about what you can pull off, you don't have somebody that's really good with the visual effects involving them way earlier. And like at a storyboard stage, or at like, you know, how could we? How could we find a simpler way to tell this story? Not not simpler in terms of storytelling stem simpler in terms of execution, in terms of feasibility, you know, get somebody you know, if you're not a visual effects, Guru yourself, then find that person, build the tribe reach out, find some people who really understand these things, who you've seen shots from them that convince you that they understand these things, not somebody who, you know, who claims to understand these things as soon as they get a chance to do it. Yes. Yes. And, and then, you know, you have to it's just like, it's a planning thing. You have to work with them and say, Okay, great. You want this shot of the White House? You want the camera to be flying, right, cool. woulda shot if it was a White House from the ground suffice. Is that still tell your story. All right, we can hop onto a stock photo stock video site and get some really great shots of the White House from the ground for about 40 bucks a pop. Now we're talking we've lost a little bit of grander, but we're keeping the story intact. And even in the White House, it says enemy interrupting. Alright, so
Alex Ferrari 29:24
let's talk about the White House for a second. So let's see how we can make that White House shot work, because I want people to understand like, okay, ixnay the monster because the monsters a whole other conversation. But let's say you wanted a shot of the White House. There's so many drone, beautifully shot drone shots of the White House of Washington, you know, that really make it look good from high angle. So you could use that as maybe an introductory kind of shot where then you can cut down to the ground. And so there's ways around it and then with all the tricks of the trade that we could do, you could really add to it. We're trying to make a monster Come out of the White House. Yeah, but we have to, but we still haven't created the monster yet. So that I have to I have to get rid of that. Guys. I'm sorry. We can use sound you could do with jaws.
Kevin Good 30:10
Here's how we do it. First of all, no, there are not a lot of really good drone shots of the White House because all of DC is a flight restricted zone since September 11. Okay, so it's actually really hard to come by aerial stuff of the White House, except for stuff that was taken, like really, really far away for national security reasons. Fair enough. So we might we might have to ground that shot.
Alex Ferrari 30:30
Okay, period. Okay.
Kevin Good 30:31
Yeah, but you could ground that shot, you could do you know, dust elements and stuff like crashing out of the roof, rumble of the ground on the White House, cut to reverse on your characters and a medium shot, and the shadow comes up over their faces. Look at that.
Alex Ferrari 30:49
Done. And it's just right, it's just you don't see it's much scarier, you don't see scary if you don't see the monster. If you don't see it, you just see maybe like a tentacle or an arm or something quick that you, you know, I've actually I've actually used shots that were, you know, you needed to see like a monsters arm. And we literally would just draw it in Photoshop. And then it's like, it's still image. And then we just throw a motion blur in front of it, and compact, compact going across, and you add a nice sound effect to it. Nobody knows the difference. You know, it's it's, it's, you're a magician, you know, when you're a VFX. artist, you're a magician. But what I loved about your explanation of the dock scenes, is that you aren't precious with this. You are in precious with exactly what the word is saying you are becoming your backup, you're backing in to the resources you have at your disposal. So you're you're kind of doing a rewrite of the script. In a macro level, not the macro level, the story is the story. But you're placing things differently. You're and by doing that you're adding more production value. So it's the equivalent of what Robert Rodriguez said will help. mariachi is like, well, I've got a Mexican town. I've got a I've got a guns. I've got a guitar and I got a turtle dude who will just jump off of stuff. If I asked him to. I've got a school bus. Let's just write it all in. So you write it all in and jump off of a school bus. Okay, okay, you go back and you move you're like, how did like they they didn't like they flew across with that, like the pulley like if it's like, this is insane. But this is what happens when you're 20 something and 9190. But right, a button, you're backing into what resources you have. But instead of backing into a Mexican town, you're now backing into, oh, I can do this VFX shot convincingly. So now let me work around the story around the shot I can provide.
Kevin Good 32:39
Right and to like us to quote Gareth Edwards who did the indie breakout monsters, which is incredible. And then went on to direct massive movies like a Star Wars movie.
Alex Ferrari 32:49
Yeah, one, arguably one of the better ones since Disney purchased it.
Kevin Good 32:52
I really enjoyed it. Um, so Gareth Edwards talking about monsters, right. So this was the monster movie that he made on a shoestring budget, just driving around in Mexico and and it's very inspirational. He is extremely good at visual effects. He is so good in After Effects. He's so good. He has a course on FX PhD that if anybody wants to do this stuff, they should just go take because Gareth Edwards is teaching you how to kick ass. And he's really good at it. If you don't want to take advice from a guy who got a gig directing Star Wars, and I don't know what, I don't know how to say, right? Um, so he's extremely good. And he was talking about how he was going through all these shots on monsters and how he would knock out two, three visual effects a day, this is somebody who's great at what he does. And a lot of those where you know, there needs to be smoke going out of the horizon, or they pass by a burned out car or tank or a fighter jet goes overhead or all these things that he knows very well because he knows how to do this stuff or simpler visual effects shots. And then and then there's a shot of the monster it's a monster movie and you finally see the monster spoiler alert, sorry, the movies called monsters. So monster shot the first time you had to do a monster shot I forget. He said it took him like a month or two. Right? And it's just like, a completely different world. Like here, we're gonna see this thing in all its glory. Okay, so somebody who's like a total pro who does this full time professionally, is going to take a month or two to pull off one shot on something and then it's going to take just a few hours to pull off another shot. You need to you need to know that differences as a director or as a filmmaker period. And not not kind of be naive about that. And I think that's part of that like self education thing of like, okay, these are, this is a set of tools. I have my tool bag and this other thing here where I actually want to see the monster in full view busting out of the roof of the White House. I either got to figure out a creative way around that or I got to go raise another million dollars.
Alex Ferrari 34:52
Right and then and then you have to add then you have to put your business hat on and go. If I add another million dollars, am I going to get the million dollars back and say And is showing the monster coming to the White House the right choice, right way to spend that. And that was the other thing, you know, with with, you know, with everything I've talked about by being a film shoprunner and being in the entrepreneurial filmmaker, you have to I always tell people like, Look, I know you want the crane shot, but the crane is gonna cost you another $4,000 to rent that techno crane today. Do you need that shot in? What's the ROI of the techno crane? Like, are you gonna get that $5,000 back in sales? Or can you do it in a with a jib arm? Can you do it with a drone? Can you do it with you know, a steady cam or a gimbal? Or something less of a more affordable is it is cool. No, it's not your Scorsese shot. I'm sorry. But he's played with a different tool set that we are. So you have to he doesn't have to worry about that. Obviously, we all saw the Irishman. That's what happens when you give Martin Scorsese a blank check. I don't think he's ever had that in his entire career. And he's like, you know what, I think we're just gonna bring back every old actor I've ever worked with, and we're just gonna make them young. Screw it. That's it. And, and they just like because originally I was only supposed to be like 150 and it ended up like being to 10 to 20 years. It wasn't really Yeah, it was. No, they gave blank checks, Netflix, Netflix just gave them a blank check. And it were I mean, I don't know how six. I think it was fairly successful for Netflix and definitely got a lot of people talking. I'll never tell us. I don't think Marty's getting that check again. I don't think it
Kevin Good 36:32
They got lots of shots of him sitting at the Oscars and he didn't want anything but they got nominated for a ton of stuff. And they definitely got like, oh yeah level of prestige out of though.
Alex Ferrari 36:40
And everybody was talking about the I mean, the Irishman was on everyone's lips for four weeks, you know, kind of like the Mandalorian was when it was when it was out like it was like Irishman, Irishman, Irishman Irishman. It was like, and they got a lot of press out of it. And it did work. And also, I think from what I heard, Netflix's plans are and also Amazon's plans as they do films like that, so they can attract other creators of that magnitude to go well, they gave Marty 200 million. I just need 100 million and I get free rein. Oh yeah. Where do I sign up?
Kevin Good 37:10
Right? Right? Right. You might not want us if you're a big name director, you might not want to sign on to do something for Netflix. But what are you better than Martin Scorsese, right? opens that gate,
Alex Ferrari 37:22
or you want to because you're tired of you know, the studio's hot, you know, stopping you from being creative. And Netflix, from my understanding. Pretty much lets, you know, even the smallest films, they don't really interfere too much on the creative standpoint, to a certain extent, as long as you're, you're hitting those, those those algorithm markers that they're looking for, but a few Martin Scorsese, it doesn't really matter. So it's a very interesting world. And I think we've gone completely on a tangent with
Kevin Good 37:50
What you're talking about, like the ROI thing, and like, is the crane worth it? And I think it's like, so I think it's important to to keep that in mind. And and keep in mind that sometimes the answer is yes. Some stories depends on that tech, I've seen that techno crane, that's the thing, but you've got to pick your battles. And I think a lot of the quality issues that I see on indie film, my own included, are maybe not like picking the right battles, like I can't, I can't I don't even remember how many times I've had arguments with people over getting like fancy lenses, like, I'm going to rent a set of cooks for my short film. And it's like, no one's gonna know making a few $1,000 short film and no one's gonna really think that this expensive lens rental. And that is so if we think of you know, your movie budget is this pie. And let's say 20% of that pie is like way smaller now because the technology so that's the camera film stock, forget about it, editing systems, you know, 20% of that pie has shrunk massively, and as I was talking about before, we're talking with the village, the other 80% of that pie is largely intact, hotel costs haven't gone down. You need to fly people around, you know. And so, you know, looking at that pie and say saying, you know, where can I get the most gains here, you know, is throwing a bit of money at a fancier lens rather than a cheaper lens The place is going to give me the most gains in this pie. It's like no, no, it's not the cameras are already really good and really cheap. Stop worrying about your damn camera. You know, and like the amount of people that like oh, we should film this on an Alexa 65 Let's go rent what is what are you talking about man?
Alex Ferrari 39:26
And and let's not even talk about workflow. Can you handle the workflow and Alexa 65 that's a whole other conversation right? Go
Kevin Good 39:32
get a Panasonic GH or a Blackmagic Ursa mini twos or whatever, they're great cameras, um, and then and then focus on the rest of your pie. You know, and and you have to say like, Where am I getting the biggest gains? Right? And so sure, maybe, maybe those fancy lenses are giving you a half of a percent gain over the cheaper lenses option, right? You can't get better than a half a percent gain somewhere else in that whole pie. You can't Like spend a little bit more money on your production design or your SAT or have an extra day of shooting so you can take your time and really spend all that coverage coverage you want. So this is just a warning to anyone else who asks me about renting Koch lenses that I'm just gonna go nuclear and start screaming at you.
Alex Ferrari 40:18
I mean, look, look, I I love cook lenses. I love Zeiss lenses. They all have their own thing. They're all great. They're fantastic shot with all of them in my career, but when I shot my last film, I shot it on a sigma 18 to 35 photo lens. Yeah,
Kevin Good 40:36
it's, it's sitting right next to me here. This is my Tamron 2017 photo lens that I've shot more stuff on that I hear this in both Canon and Nikon mount because I use it so much.
Alex Ferrari 40:47
And it's a great and that lens specifically it's an art lens. It's called the art lens. That art lens. I think it cost me like five or 600 bucks five years ago, and I've shot everything I shoot everything with it, you know, and no one I no one's gonna care. And no one can't no one was sitting there watching my movie on the theater in the theater and going guy was at a sigma that looks like you guys do you guys know that chromatic aberration in the upper right corner of the frame you see that? That's it's absurd. It's absurd. But that's where people but that's where filmmakers start their their egos get the best of them. I'm guilty of this early in my career as well like you want because you assume that like if decon shoot with a cook and I shoot on an Alexa 65 and I shoot with an Alexa 65 with a cook I guess I'm gonna be as it's my stuffs gonna look as good as when he can shoot it. No, no, no, just because I have a paintbrush doesn't make me because it doesn't matter. It's about the
Kevin Good 41:52
and that's the ultimate analogy right? I'll take Picasso with the world's crappiest paint brush with his finger any day any day over me with the best paint brush that you can find
Alex Ferrari 42:01
it is not the plunger sir it is a plumber. I don't know if I agree with that. Isn't it crazy? Isn't it crazy that we're the only industry that I know of is like when you when you hire a plumber and they show up to do your to fix the job you do you go what brand of plunger is that? Is that? Is that an Alexa plumber? Is that a? Is that a red? A red plunger? No, no one cares. It's a tool do your job and out but but the whole marketing and everything like that with with gear with the whole gear porn situation. filmmakers get caught up in that and I feel like a lot of times it's an excuse to either not move forward because a lot of people stay stagnant until they get the Alexa 65. And then by the time they go on set, they're like oh, what do you mean? What do you mean I only have one day to shoot the feature? Well, that's all the money you have. If you would a shout out on a black magic with a sigma art lens. You could a shot for six days.
Kevin Good 42:54
And everyone would have thought it looked at the same thing. The other thing it's been like two people would have noticed the difference and it just would have been like you know them studying to DPS out there would be like huh, yeah, what I think this looks like a sigma art lenses to people. That's it?
Alex Ferrari 43:12
Is the story. Good? No one cares if the story is good. That's all that matters. No one cares about what you shoot it on. No one cares about your lenses. Is it clean? Does it look good? Does it sound good? Absolutely. That's much more important.
Kevin Good 43:24
We do see a huge correlation though. It's not like like in sympathy to indie filmmakers. There's a huge correlation between companies that are making stuff and that can profit from that stuff they're making and therefore advertising the hell out of it and what people obsess over so there are camera manufacturers and lens manufacturers and they they need to sell new Alexis to somebody. Right? And Blackmagic keeps coming out with a new camera every week and they need to sell it and they're pushing it and showing you all this beautiful imagery and that has an effect all that advertising has an effect there's no like big location scout company out there. Right
Alex Ferrari 44:04
like there's a new location everyone
Kevin Good 44:06
yeah look at this new location in our locations got it right and so you don't get that same little advertising whatever dying head I think that is that I need that that coveted thing there's no like production design megalopolis out there being like look at our production design this is this is what will make you a real film latest props there. Yeah, there's a lot of money pushing all the new tech and all the new gear and you know from from lenses to cameras to monitors and post production tools. There's a lot of money behind that and they keep developing new stuff and they keep needing to sell it and so that has psychological effects on on you and me
Alex Ferrari 44:45
and I actually I talked to a filmmaker the other day that just shot their feature on the red one. They bought your red one for like, I don't know two grand and they shot it on it was 4k. It's a beautiful camera issues, beautiful imagery. And I mean like Because the Lord of the Rings movies or the Tobey Maguire, Spider Man movies or che, or any of these great, or the ocean's 11 films, are those? Is that was that not good enough for you? But that's exactly that's the thing like people like when 35 was around 35 was always around is it's 35 is 35 everything always look good. And there was just a little bit of change in the technology for the most part. But now every other day, do you need 8k? Do you need 10k? Do you need 15k? Like, I need to shoot my two minutes short on 10k. Because if not, I won't be able to zoom in. We'll just frame it right the first time dude, if you got the money, then God bless you shoot the latest cake ever if you want to. But if not, what's the point like I shot my film that last time I shot I shot nadp. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. I started with a pocket I started with a 1080 p pocket camera Blackmagic I got one of those sitting right here. The great little cameras, the and it worked for the kind of story I was trying to tell I wanted that kind of Super 16 look to it. And it worked great. You know, so it's all depending on right picking the right tool for the right camera and not to get caught up on it. And I know we've gone off in a tangent on gear point a little bit. But it all kind of works into that the concept of how to get the most bang out of your buck and not to allow marketing not to allow ignorance to derail your filmmaking dreams, if you will.
Kevin Good 46:37
Right. And I think going back to the creature coming out of the White House. It's like we can't as Indies. We just can't compete with Hollywood on spending money. No. And so if you're trying to do that you're losing a losing battle. And I think one of the things and I we did this with dinner with the alchemist and it's something that I tried to do with each of my projects is say like, what are we trying to do here that, you know, what kind of a story are we trying to tell that Hollywood can't? Because they're too busy making Avengers movies. You know, um, and unfortunately, you know, I do see a lot of indies also where it's like, oh, yeah, this is like, you know, this is like Avengers, but really cheap and indie. This is like Lord of the Rings. But it's like if it was Indian sock,
Alex Ferrari 47:25
sock puppets sock puppets? Yeah. sock puppets. I do want to say. I mean, I do want to see all those movies and sock puppets. Is there any ones out there? I think that is a niche and niche audience that if you made Avengers and sock puppets, you could get a YouTube channel idea. Oh, that's so huge. It's you just monster. You could create an entire channel just around sock puppet. You're too busy. But any listeners out there? Go do that. We'll watch it. We'll definitely watch it and I'll promote it. Oh, please. Oh, please, somebody go out there do sock puppet Avengers. Can you imagine? If you could throw some real visual effects in there? Oh my god, that would be amazing. Can you imagine sock puppets with high end visual effects? That wouldn't be incredible. That's free for anybody out there listening. Please take it away. Take it on. I just want to see it. Yes, please, please don't send us any money. Just make it that's our payment. There was a there was a shot that you did and dinner with the alchemist, which was really inventive. were establishing shots at so much production value to a movie. And because it and that's something that indeed is a lot of times don't even think about it. They just go from interior to interior to interior to maybe an external student terior to interior. And they don't take the time to do a big establishing shot because the biggest abolition shots generally are more expensive. You got to have more control all that kind of stuff. And what you did with the that with the pictures, can you've talked about that a little bit?
Kevin Good 48:54
Yeah, yeah, sure. So we actually and when I say don't be Hollywood and making a movie, I mean, don't try to compete compete with them on spending money. But in other ways we really need to be Hollywood and we need to be smarter about things and and there are things that I see that indie filmmakers don't do. And one of those is test audiences. I don't know why indie filmmakers don't do test audiences the same way Hollywood does Hollywood does them for all their big movies and for a reason. It's really important after you've sat with something for like probably a couple years and you can't see the forest for the trees to get some some new input and feedback from some fresh people that have never seen it before. And so we did focus groups and tested dinner the alchemist as the Edit was coming together as soon as we had a full edit. We put in front of some people that have never seen any of it. Read it for a few months. Do the same thing again read it for free. Let's do the same thing again. And they came back saying like oh, well, yeah, kind of feels claustrophobic. This than the other basically it needed establishing shots, right. unforced It was like a period piece written about this new orleans at the turn of the century. And I was like, Oh, hell am I gonna do establishing shots, I just don't know what to do here. And so again, we went back to the Library of Congress, photo archive. And I was just looking through all these shots, and they were some kind of cool shots of the, of the city, like from a rooftop of the old skyline of New Orleans 100 years ago. But they were all like really boxy, because of the the, the aspect ratio of those cameras. But I noticed in the pictures that there were a few pictures that had overlapped, like this dude had stood on a rooftop and actually filmed like, taking panoramic photographs. So sure enough, I downloaded these from the library Congress, stitched them in Photoshop, and actually made a panorama from these stills that this dude 114 years ago had taken who had no idea that a panorama or Photoshop would ever subsequently exist. And thankfully, he shot them perfectly for a panorama with just the right amount of overlap. And then again, we colorized it and so then I could build a camera move and that was kind of sweeping across the panorama.
Alex Ferrari 51:10
And because it was so high, rather, because it was so hard.
Kevin Good 51:12
It was so high rez and because I had stitches and I was like super high rez you know, so each each one of those was high rez, now, it was like an insane rise, I could have done like a crash zoom in onto one of the smokestacks, you know, um, and then we added, like some digital elements, like smoke coming out of the smokestacks, and like a flock of birds and all that stuff to give motion to the scene. And it's great. It's one of the best things we were at. We were at a film festival was Orlando, we were at the Orlando film festival with a movie. And I'm a nervous watcher. So I use the bathroom like three times during the course of the movie, because as we were sitting there watching the movie, um, my bladder couldn't take the nerves of sitting with audiences. So I keep running to the bathroom. And then on one time, when I ran to the bathroom, that shot came up, and I was randomly walking past this couple that, you know, strangers at the Orlando Film Festival, they're like, ah, whoo, that's really beautiful. They said, and it was like, Ah, that's it. We're working on that. Yeah, that's like it over here, some strangers in a darkened theater, looking at it on the big screen and hear them gasp when they saw it. I mean, it's like, if that's not that dopamine hit that's gonna make me do something stupid, like, like another movie? I don't know, what
Alex Ferrari 52:27
is, uh, tell me about it. But can you give any advice to filmmakers who don't have a VFX company like I do? Or are the VFX prowess that you do to achieve these films, because I know a lot of filmmakers just don't understand post, let alone high end visual effects or how it's done or how it's shot, or what a cost? Any tips on how, you know, just normal filmmakers who don't have these tools in their toolbox can can achieve these, these shots. I mean,
Kevin Good 52:55
yeah, watch lots of YouTube, you just have to like educate yourself. And so if you can find somebody executing something that you want to do, if you're trying to do like simpler stuff, if you're trying to do muzzle flashes, you type that in After Effects muzzle flashes into YouTube, and not only are you going to not have like really crappy looking overly muzzle flashes, you're gonna have some people that are really showing you how to do a really good job on it, where you have a shell casing popping out in persons faces lighting up from the flash, and you're getting a good composite out of it. So just educate yourself. If you can't find somebody doing a YouTube tutorial on it, chances are, it's really complicated, right? And then at that point, I think you do just need to loop somebody else and find an Alex Ferrari or Kevin good. And talk to them about it, try to, you know, a lot goes into it. And the worst thing you can do is just go shoot a bunch of people in front of a green screen and and try to figure it out later, like you have,
Alex Ferrari 53:56
it's in a post. I mean, you mean fix it on post? Well, I mean, by some nature,
Kevin Good 54:02
like visual effects is like creating it in post, right? But you can't you can't create it in post if you if you don't have a plan if you don't know what you're shooting, you know.
Alex Ferrari 54:11
So it's all about the ingredients. If the ingredients aren't good, you really can't cook it. You know, you gotta you got to have good ingredients. And that's what shooting those plates are and shooting the proper elements are and then you can composite it. But when you when you have a blue screen mixed with a green screen background, and the guy is wearing green and blue. Right, you've seen this, you've seen those memes, right? Like there's a soccer guy in a green uniform on a green screen. You can barely see him. And like
Kevin Good 54:41
I don't know how they did watch guardians the galaxy and they have one character that's green and one character that's blue and I'm like, Man, this must suck to work on and post. guys really did a movie with a green character and a blue character and their siblings and they talk to each other all the time, on screen at the same time.
Alex Ferrari 54:59
That's, that must be interesting. That must be. But when you have ILM, you're good,
Kevin Good 55:04
then all bets are off, then you can just film somebody on whatever. And then you hand it to the guy and write them millions of dollars with checks, and they'll figure it out. I was I have a buddy of mine who worked on Lord of the Rings. He worked on the hobbit films. And he told me those are terrible. They were shot on a red one. I know that the hobbit films those were newer those were newer
Alex Ferrari 55:24
6060 frames a shot on the the epics. Yes, they also accepted Yeah, but that's only a 4k epic. So honestly, it's garbage garbage. So what they what he told me was that, that Peter doesn't really care about what it takes in pose because he just has wetter. So he just like, yeah, just roto it. So he everything was rolled out. Like they would just roto all the characters out. And if you don't know what if anyone listening doesn't understand what a roto scope is. It's literally it's the equivalent of taking a piece of paper and cutting around the lines around like yourself, and then comping it in or pulling them out and then cleaning up the background.
Kevin Good 56:05
It's doing it that at 24 frames per second or 60 if you're doing the hobbit so it's basically like, it's a sweatshop labor of visual effects it very much so
Alex Ferrari 56:14
and it is so time consuming and so brutal, but he did just tons of it. Tons of it, tons of it. And there was just roto guys there's full teams of roto guys doing that so you got you got habit money, you'd knock yourself out, do what you got to do. But be careful because it could turn into cats if you run out of time so real quick before we before we finish up I have to talk to you about cats man.
Kevin Good 56:41
So you know I have not gotten a chance to see I have because of all the negative buzz I really want to see it
Alex Ferrari 56:46
I can't I and I've talked about cats already a few times on the show I haven't seen it yet I'm dying to see it the and I respect the filmmakers who made it and everything but the this happens once in a generation in a studio. The such a colossal failure at all levels creative visual if I'd like you know you're talking about like Ishtar Heaven's Gate glitter. Like some of the biggest bombs, and even those were all nothing compared to cats. Because cats on paper had everything going for it. One of the biggest Broadway hits of all time, Oscar winning director, Oscar reading writer, biggest biggest music stars around Oscar winning actors behind this like, visual effect huge. They had it on paper completely made sense. And then this colossal breakdown of of what it turned into that the story didn't work on screen. It's not a cinematic story. The visual effects my best By the way, my best. The best tweet I ever heard. As far as review of cats. What's so good. Cats is the worst thing to happen to cats and stocks.
Kevin Good 58:06
It's so bad. I think you have like and you see this with movies you see like these tight deadlines and everybody Yeah, yep. Particularly with visual effects like so many of the big tentpole movies now are just visual effects experiments where it's like call them live action is even a stretch. And you kind of always see these things come along, and then you talk people tell the worst stories about how they almost didn't come together. But they always kind of seem to come together. And they always kind of seem to make deadline. And it's like, yeah, oh, yeah, yeah, or not once in a while.
Alex Ferrari 58:37
And by the way, I don't blame the effects team at all for an hour. They just didn't have the time. And also from what I understood, there was just so many mixed messages. It was like by committee. There was like, and like I will look, I have a lot of people who work in it, you know, at the big, the big VFX guys that I know, a big VFX studios. So I understand these, these ridiculous deadlines they put up there like that are insane. But it's it's, you don't go back and just change everything. With three months left, you know, and you don't continuously change and change and change and change and change. And that's what happened to him to the point where they released the movie and what's her name? Dance, showing her hand with a ring on it just didn't just didn't get comped and it got didn't get there. Can you understand that? I mean, you and I both been in the business. I've never I've delivered a lot of features in my life. I've never delivered a film with a VFX that just how many eyes had to have seen that print? How many how many people watched that before it got sent out?
Kevin Good 59:40
Yeah, but how sleep deprived and how big of a hurry were every one of those eyes in exactly. And
Alex Ferrari 59:46
yeah, so it's it's insane. So it's a it is a cautionary tale for filmmakers. Even in the indie level. When you throw these ridiculous timelines are like why need to meet Sundance's deadline or I need to meet South by Southwest is deadline or I need to and you rushing you rushing you rush. It's obviously not as big of a risk as it is putting out $100 million movie at Christmas. Missing visual effects, but it does it does hurt and you can burn through a lot of money very quickly that way.
Kevin Good 1:00:18
Yeah, yeah, I've been working on. This is the thing that I should be slightly ashamed to say. But I've been working on a web series. That's all shot on green screen. Everything every shot. Um, we started Principal photography in September of 2009. Wow, I'm still working on it. Yeah, so when I finished this call with you, I'm gonna open up after effects and compositing
Alex Ferrari 1:00:51
Okay, off air, we're gonna have to have a session man, we're gonna have to have we're gonna have to have a little Yeah, I'm gonna have to have i'm gonna i'm just gonna throw some intervention at you because this is a problem. Because you've made a feature or two between?
Kevin Good 1:01:06
Yeah, made a feature of shot a few. I've held down a life since then. And it can really get bloated. And even somebody who like understands it. Well, like, originally, I was kind of like, Oh, this will be like this really cartoony thing with really bad green screen. It'll be hysterical. And then like, 10 years later, I'm like, or it could look kind of cool.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:25
Let me just work on this a little bit. Oh, no. And then you're gonna wake up and you're gonna be 70. Finally release it. In all the actors will very passed on. Just, it's just a web series to what the hell am I gonna do with it? So first of all, stop calling it a web series. You can't call it a web series. You have to call it a streaming series. There I go. That's no, that's I'm not being I'm not joking about that. That is streaming. You can't if you call it a web series. It's second. You said web series. What do you think of a crackle? All those old bad web series that came out when the internet first showed up? If you call streaming series, you think of Stranger Things. You think of the Mandalorian have to forgive some of my language when I made this the letters didn't exist yet. But I know you were copying and dosser you were coming to dos?
Kevin Good 1:02:21
No, seriously, YouTube? I don't think YouTube existed. Did you know YouTube exists? When did you start?
Alex Ferrari 1:02:28
Oh, '04 '05 is when it came out? Because that's when I jumped on YouTube. Right? Some of my visual effects tutorials back in the day. I put them up on there, and they're still there for my film
Kevin Good 1:02:37
Do you want on muzzle flashes?
Alex Ferrari 1:02:39
Of course it did. But I was doing muzzle flashes before muzzle flashes were like being like it was 2005. So there was no like pre packaged muzzle flash. Any Right, right. And we're doing it we did it in. It didn't shake. We did. We did reflections off the face. We actually had practicals smoke that came out of the airsoft guns, and then the muzzle flashes every single one changed. So it was a gnat because we had a script with us scripts and shake. So it was just kind of like the script that every single time it moved, the parameter moved on it. So it was never the same muzzle flash twice. So we did all of that stuff back in oh four. And that that VFX artists who's who's my buddy, he went on to work for Tippett. So he's, he's doing okay, great. And so I was very lucky with my VFX team, those two guys that worked on that first film will have gone on to work on billion dollar projects. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So I always tell him, I still waiting for my 10% because I launched them I discovered them. But let me let me ask you a few questions that ask all my guests are, what advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today?
Kevin Good 1:03:52
Um, my biggest piece of advice that I give for that is you got to find the day job that supports it. So I do television commercials, you spend so much of your life working, that if you're working in a cafe, if you're working as a barista, or driving an Uber or something else, because it's just your side hustle. You're not working that those muscles that you need to work. So my day job, quote, unquote, I'm going on set I'm meeting new crews and traveling around the country and shooting and I'm editing and I'm learning all the post production tools and I'm using After Effects and we're delivering to stations and all that jazz. So it takes some work to get there. But like you know, if you're working 40 hours a week or realistically more like most people you need that time to be time where you also like building your useful toolset and making yourself more valuable for the stuff you want to be doing.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:49
So make your side hustle inside your industry is basically what's your say?
Kevin Good 1:04:52
Yeah, make your side hustle something that can can help that skill set along. Just to help it push that skill sets. Cuz as you got to be good.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:02
Yes, absolutely. Now what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life
Kevin Good 1:05:10
lesson that took me the longest to learn. I haven't learned it yet, but that I can't do everything myself and I need to quit with the feature bloat. Like the series that I started filming in 2009, that will be it's a, it's almost,
Alex Ferrari 1:05:26
It's almost a done, which is fantastic. But it's almost done day now.
Kevin Good 1:05:32
Almost done any day now. So you know, you really got it, you got to build the tribe, you got to build the tribe. So you can have that support. And you can have the people around you that are going to help you put things out. When I was doing my my web show weapons of mass production, my YouTube show where I would review cameras and stuff. It was it was kind of agonizing, because it took up all my time. And I couldn't do anything else. But at the same time, I was publishing something every couple of weeks that was getting like a lot of viewership and a lot of feedback and just being in that mode of like, put stuff out the door, man put stuff out the door. And so I still have trouble with that. Because, you know, I'm on my 11th year working on one project. And that's not a realistic timeframe.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:14
What do you Kubrick for anyone that is saying? What do you Cooper, come on? I mean, do the file, like the VFX files, they've had to change? How many versions of After Effects
Kevin Good 1:06:26
After Effects Have I gone through? Yeah. And then you see me like getting better. And I was just talking about this this morning with my brother, where you see like the first episode and it's like, it just looks stupid, right? It looks like somebody standing on a green screen and like this poorly rendered CG background behind them. And then you look at the episode I'm working on now. And it's just like so Moody, and intense and fun looking. And it's like, yeah, you just see this progression. So if anybody can can choke down these early episodes, there's really a treat in them, you know, at the end, because it just continues to get better. But
Alex Ferrari 1:06:57
We are going to have an intervention after I stopped recording. What is the biggest fear you had to overcome to make your very first film
Kevin Good 1:07:09
Biggest fear to make a very first film I'm gonna go with very first feature here. biggest fear? I'm just letting everybody down. You know, it's like you're you're so overextended. And you've pulled in so many favors from so many people. And like so we went to New Orleans to shoot just for a few days. And we aren't locals and we had to fly like half of our budget was just for these couple days of shooting some exteriors around the French Quarter. Because travel will hotel, hiring some local crew in New Orleans, all that stuff. So I think I just I just felt like you know, I've I've asked people to do so much and put in so many long hours, and work for so little. And it all might just not come together. This might be the thing I'm talking to people about that I've been working on for 11 years, 11 years from now, you know, so I don't know letting people down so that it was just I don't know, I just wanted to be able to have a premiere and put a movie out that didn't suck, and thankfully we did. But I know the feeling. Yeah, you're really not sure that's gonna happen until the very, very, very end, you know, up until then it might all just be a waste of time and money.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:28
Now, what are three of your favorite films of all time?
Kevin Good 1:08:32
Through my favorite films of all time? Well, the thing that popped into my head immediately was Galaxy Quest.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:36
So good. So good. So good. I can't wait to see that documentary.
Kevin Good 1:08:42
Oh, yeah. I can't wait to see it. I saw it. They did a at that theater in Santa Monica. Yeah, yeah. When when Alan Rickman passed away they did a In Memoriam screening of a bunch of his films. So they had Galaxy Quest with the writer and director and it was great. So Galaxy Quest. What else? I'm a Star Wars kid. I grew up with the original Star Wars. And that was just really formative for me. And then what's another fun movie that I really love Confessions of a dangerous mind is the head that's a really good movie. That's my underrated category.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:13
That's it talks about it. Nobody and is just George Clooney, who directed
Kevin Good 1:09:18
George Clooney directed starring Sam Rockwell. And it's just like, it's just one of those movies that kind of slipped by and
Alex Ferrari 1:09:23
It's really, and the key. I will remember he did some really kind of ballsy directing moves in that like you know like he would change the sets and like you like all in one shot one take that he did some really cool stuff in that movie. And Sam Rockwell was just yeah, that Yeah, he said he's had an okay career since then. He's been a he's been doing it. I just saw Jojo rabbit. What? He was great at Jojo. I haven't seen it yet. It was so good. Alright, so where can people find you and the work you're doing?
Kevin Good 1:09:53
I think Kevin, Kevin be good on Twitter is where I'm kind of most active and then just look For dinner with the alchemist, you know, we were with this aggregator called distributor, you know, they've gone the way of the dodo. And so I'm sorry about what the new home for it is. But it's probably it's probably directly through Amazon. And so we'll be back up soon. Just you know, life gets in the way of those things. So,
Alex Ferrari 1:10:19
All right, Kevin, it is I know, we could talk for another two or three hours about VFX and the time and what and dealing with filmmakers and all that kind of great stuff with VFX. But I do appreciate you coming on. And hopefully, this has been an educational and inspiring story for a lot of filmmakers that you can't go out and do it. You got to think differently. You can't try to compete with Hollywood with a $5 $5 budget. It's kind of like I use the example of Goliath David versus Goliath. Like if you want to fight Goliath uncle life's terms you're going to lose. But if you pick up a stone and throw it between his eyes, you got it. You got a fighting chance.
Kevin Good 1:10:58
Alex Ferrari 1:11:00
So thanks again for being on the show, brother.
Kevin Good 1:11:02
My pleasure anytime.
Alex Ferrari 1:11:04
I want to thank Kevin for coming on the show and dropping those VFX knowledge bombs on the tribe. If you want to get links to anything we spoke about in this episode, including how to possibly hire Kevin to work on your projects, head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/398. And guys, we are in Episode 398. We're only two away from number 400. And I've got a very, very special guest in mind for the tribe for the monumental 400th episode of the indie film hustle podcast. Also next week, I have some big announcements coming to the tribe. So stick around, because you might be in for some more surprises. This is what happens when I am in quarantine. I go crazy. I've launched too many things this year, but I am not. It doesn't see it seems like I'm not gonna stop anytime soon. So all the better for you guys. So thanks again guys. I hope you're doing well. Stay safe out there. And as always, keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.
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WATCH A FREE 3 PART LOW-BUDGET FILM PRODUCING VIDEO SERIES
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WATCH A FREE 3 PART LOW-BUDGET FILM PRODUCING VIDEO SERIES
Taught by veteran award-winning film producer and author Suzanne Lyons. The filmmaker behind over a dozen profitable low-budget feature films.