IFH 153: Why You Need to Make Your Independent Feature Film?



Top Apple Filmmaking Podcast

20+ Million Downloads

Right-click here to download the MP3

Why You Need to Get Off Your Ass NOW & Make Your Film

I think the title speaks for itself. Every once in a while I need to hear some stories that inspire me to get off my ass and make sh*t happen. I hope this episode helps inspire you to get off your ass and make your film happen!

Alex Ferrari 0:07
So today, guys, you know, I wanted to talk about something that's kind of dear to my heart. And I think it's something that everybody listening to this podcast needs to hear every once in a while and, you know, I do definitely need to hear it and need to hear stories about what we're going to talk about. And basically Today's topic is going to be why it's never too late to follow that dream. Now I know a lot of you guys listening to this podcast right now, or they're on their commute to work, or working out somewhere, or sitting in their house, you know, drinking some tea or coffee. But in dreaming about where you want to be in your life where you want to be in your career, as filmmakers, as artists as writers. And you know, you look at it as this huge mountain that has to be climbed and or this huge dragon that needs to be wrestled down and you're afraid of that dragon and you're afraid of the climbing that mountain for multiple reasons, whether it be failure, you know, fear of failure, fear of trying and failing, fear of looking like a fool, fear of everything. And at the end of the day, it all goes back to fear. And, and I'll tell you my story. And I know if you guys have been listened to this podcast I've you can see me grow as an artist and as a filmmaker through the now 153 episodes that I am, I've done of this podcast. And you know, I'm in my early 40s and I've been around the block and I've been chasing the dragon, my dragon was to make a feature film. And I always thought that it was an impossible goal. It was just something that was so out of reach. So that's something that other people do. I never had doubts that I could do it if given the opportunity which is the biggest mistake and the biggest trap I fell into as a filmmaker saying to yourself, you know what, if someone just give me the shot, I'll do it. Someone lets me get up to bat I'll hit that home run or I'll make them proud or something along those lines. And I I did that for a long time and only took last year it finally took me losing another opportunity for asking for permission to make a movie to finally say screw it I'm gonna do it myself. And once I made my first feature, this is Meg and I can't wait to share it with you guys. In the summer we're going to be releasing it on iTunes and all other platform soon after.

But when I finally decided to just get up and do it, and not make these grandiose dreams of making a $200 million action extravaganza, and just said, you know what I'm gonna do something that's within my capabilities, where I feel really comfortable doing it, and I'm gonna challenge myself and doing it. I just got up and did it. And I wanted to talk to you guys about just doing it. And also, not just doing it at when you're 20. But also doing it when you're 30. When you're 40, when you're 50, when you're 60. It's never too late to follow that dream. It's never too late to write that screenplay. It's never too late to make that film, to make that short to make that web series to, to jump into the business and or any other aspects of the industry. Because you might think, Oh, I'm just too late that that ship has sailed for me I'm, I got a family. I've got kids, I've got responsibilities. Well guess what, guys? So do I, I've got twin daughters, I've got a family, I got a support. And I said screw it, I'm gonna do it. You got to be smart about it. I didn't mortgaged the house. I didn't charge up my credit cards. You know. And you know, I did it at a small level, but I did it. And that's something that Mark duplass and Joe Swanberg taught me when I studied, they're working their careers. They just got up and did it, they had a story to tell, and they just got out and did it. So I want to give you guys a bit of hope, whoever's listening to this, whether you're a film student, just coming out of film school, and you think, wow, I can never make a feature film, or I can never make that web series that I want to make, or that that streaming series for Netflix, or that short film, or I can never write that screenplay. I'm here to tell you that you can and that you need to, and that it's your responsibility to this planet, to this society to do so. Because there's someone out there that your art will touch. And you have to do it no matter what age you are. You know, I just made my first feature film last year, and we'll be releasing it this year. Since then, I've been given you know, I've been directing here and there commercials and things like that, but I you know, I'm not sure if it's directly because of Meg but I think Meg had something to do with it. I got hired to do a streaming series for Legendary Pictures, digital and the Nerdist. And it was amazing. Just because I got up and started doing stuff, doors start opening, and opportunities present themselves. And you'll be amazed at what happens when you get up and move. And you do something. And like the quote at the beginning of the episode was a comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. So so true. You know, you can be comfortable. But it's when you get uncomfortable when is when you grow. When you challenge yourself. You know, I I was the DP on mag I had never really I've never D beat a feature before. But I said screw it, I'm gonna challenge myself. And it came out well, hopefully you guys will take a look at and you let me know. I am constantly getting emails and you know, Facebook messages from from you guys, the tribe. And I've heard multiple stories of filmmakers who are in their 50s. And even one that's in their 60s. They said, You know what, because of listening to your podcast, I got up and I'm making my first feature film.

And at the end of the day, guys, it doesn't matter if it makes a million dollars. That shouldn't be the goal. The goal is to get it made to be proud of the work you do. If you do it at a small enough budget. You can experiment, you can have fun. You know, Meg was probably the most wonderfully creative process I've ever gone through in my entire career. It was painless. I can't even I can't even explain to you how painless the process was. And anyone who's listening knows that making a film is not painless process. It's usually extremely painful. It's usually extremely hard. But everything just flowed so beautifully and so wonderfully on that project. Because we just kind of let go, we let go. I let go. I have absolutely no expectations of Meg. I don't expect her to make a million dollars. I don't expect her to make $5 I just am going to do my job put it out in the world in the best way I know how and you have to be intelligent about the marketing and the distribution and so on. But I'm just putting it out there and I have been offered distribution deals from other distributors. But I said no, I don't want it. You know, I rather I'd much rather do it myself and see what I can do. Mind you don't don't get me wrong, no one showed up with a million dollars. I haven't turned down any major money. But but the offers have been put on my table. I just like you know what I'd rather not do at this, I'd rather just do it myself. And you know, and let the chips fall where they may, because we did it for a reasonable budget, something that we felt very comfortable with. So it's never, ever ever too late, guys. If you're listening again right now, and you're in your 40s, like I am, you're in your 50s. And you've never done a feature, and it's something you've always wanted to do. Educate yourself, and get up and do it. Maybe you already have the tools. Maybe you have all the education that you need to go get this movie made. But you should do it and do it smart. You know, do it smart, do it under low budget, but go out and do it. Don't ever let time age circumstances stop you from making your art. Making your film writing that screenplay. By the way, no one absolutely no one listening to this should give me any excuses about writing a screenplay or a script meant or anything like that. Because that is literally just time a computer and final draft or scrubber. Okay, something like that. That's all you need to make a screenplay. So I don't want to hear any excuses from anybody listening to this podcast. But filmmaking costs a little bit more, you need a little bit more resources, a little bit more people, a few more people to put it all together. But you can do it. And if you can use me as an inspiration for what I did with Meg, for those who have not heard the multiple podcasts about Megan, the process, I did making Meg Just so you know, I had on the heaviest day on set, three people on the crew, myself, my second camera, and the guy holding the boom, not the sound guy, the guy holding the boom, that's it. Everything else was the actors, which pitched in my my star Joe, she was this late, she was also craft service. She was also a producer, we kept it extremely small, extremely lean, you can do that, too. It depends also on the kind of story you're trying to tell. But ours was a comedy drama. And we thought we could make it work. And we did. So keep it small. If you if you're intimidated about making a big feature, big things right off the bat, you've never done anything, keep it small. Even if it's for yourself, just make it for yourself, and it never gets released. Great. You could just show it to your friends. But make it happen, guys, I guarantee you that once you get up off your ass and do something you will thank me. Trust me, I've been down this road with you guys for 20 years. And when I finally decided to get up off the off my ass and start doing stuff, amazing things have been happening. And I want to keep sharing all of those experiences with you guys as I continue to move forward through my filmmaking career. And hopefully I can continue to help and in some small way inspire other filmmakers, other screenwriters, other artists to get up and do their thing.

But I'll leave you on this note guys. I'm talking to that 40 something or that 50 something out there right now or even that 30 something out there right now. And they're listening to this podcast, on their commute on their workout, sitting at home, sitting in a park, wherever you're listening to this podcast right now, I'm talking directly to you. You need to stop thinking about doing something and start fucking doing it. Okay. I really, really mean that from the bottom of my existence. You have to stop making excuses. You have to stop stopping yourself, you have to stop putting obstacles in front of you. Because there's going to be enough obstacles. You don't need to put more of your own bullshit and obstacles in front of yourself to stop you from doing what you want to do. Now, I know a lot of you out there like Alex, I don't got the money, man. I don't have the money. I've got a family. I can't do it, figure it out where there's a will. There's a way you're listening to this podcast either on a computer or on an iPhone or an Android phone. So you've got that much. So if you've got an iPhone or an Android phone, more likely you've got a camera and you can go out and make your movie with that. Don't say you need to have I need to shoot it with an Alexa or I need to shoot it with an Ursa mini or I need to shoot it with a red. In order to make my movie go make your movie with whatever you can make it with man, Mark duplass and Joe Swanberg they picked up many dv cameras and they went out and shot their movies. DSLRs whatever borrow, borrow it, do whatever you have to do. Go get your camera, go get some gear, and go make a movie, grab some, grab some friends, get some actors, write a script, go make your movie. Okay? be okay with failing, be okay with stumbling and looking foolish. Because, trust me, I literally announced to everybody listening to this podcast, I was gonna make this movie. If this movie fails dramatically, guess what, I'm completely exposed to the world, on my whole process of how I made this movie and how it failed, if it's good if it's bad, or indifferent. But I said, I don't care. I don't care. It doesn't matter to me. I don't have any attachments. I don't care what other people think of it. I just did it. And I'm very proud of the work I did. And I'm proud of the stuff that I'm going to be doing in the future because of it. But guys, get off your ass. Start doing something to move yourself forward. Because I promise you, and this is from talking from experience. Tomorrow morning, you're going to be waking up and you're going to be 70 you're going to be 80. And you're going to go oh my god, what happened to my life? Oh my god, I didn't do what I needed to do. I didn't conquer the mountains I needed to conquer. I didn't wrestle the dragons. I needed to Russell here in my voice, guys, please. Go out. Make your movies, write that screenplay. Do your art. Don't let anyone stop you. Don't be afraid of failing. Just get off your fucking ass and do it. I hope this episode was a little inspiration to you guys. You know, when I curse, I generally curse with a with a purpose. So I'm also going to release today as well. If you guys have not heard Episode 88 I'm going to do a throwback Friday to Episode 88. So I'm going to release both of these today, on Friday. And I want you guys if you haven't listened to Episode 88 which is entitled Why are filmmakers always so fucking broken? How you can change it. Maybe this is a great companion for that because it's it's easily one of the most popular episodes ever. And I think it's time that everyone listens to it again. Because it's it's inspirational for me, and I did it. Every once in a while I'll listen to it. I'm like, damn it, man, I got to go out and do something. So I hope I hope this episodes inspirational. Check out the throwback Friday, I'm going to do as well, for that episode 88. And guys, you know, I love you guys, man, I really do. And I want you guys to succeed. And everything I do here at indie film hustle is to, to share as much information and as much knowledge and experience as I can with you guys. And a truthful, honest, no bullshit kind of way. And I hope you guys appreciate it and find some value in it. So I also have a bunch of cool stuff coming up in the future. In the months to come, I have some ideas and things I'll be doing with indie film, hustle, I might be I am going to be revamping the site, a bit new design I'm going to be working on, don't hold me to one, but we're working on it. And there might be some other kind of cool things I'm doing as well. And I haven't forgotten I did challenge myself at the beginning of year to make two feature films this year. And we're in April, now I have to do my defense, I have been busy. And now I'm in the middle of posts on that on that web series that I'm doing. But don't worry, there's going to be at least one or two movies in the Can I can't promise it'll be finished but it will be in the can by the end of the year. That's my goal. Just kind of get up and do it guys. And if you guys want the Show Notes for this episode, go to indie film hustle.com forward slash 153. And I'll have links to Mark duplass. And Joe's Weisberg's work so you guys can take a look at all of the stuff and their story and get more inspiration. By the way, you have to listen to both keynote SXSW keynote addresses both by Mark and by Joe insane and then I'll have links to that in the show notes. If you want to get inspired. If you really need to get off your ass these guys will help you get there. And I hope this podcast did a little bit to get you off your butts as well. As always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.




  1. Bulletproof Script Coverage – Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
  2. AudibleGet a Free Filmmaking or Screenwriting Audiobook
  3. Rev.com – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)



Where Hollywood Comes to Talk

Oliver Stone

Oscar® Winning Writer/Director
(Platoon, Wall Street, JFK)

Edward Burns

(Brothers McMullin, She's the One)

Richard Linklater

Oscar® Nominated Writer/Director
(Boyhood, School of Rock)

Eric Roth

Oscar® Winning Screenwriter
(Forrest Gump, Dune)

Oscar® Winning Writers/Directors
(Everything, Everywhere, All At Once)

Jason Blum

(Shaun of the Dead, Baby Driver)

Oscar® Nominated Producer
(Get Out, Whiplash)

Chris Moore sml

Oscar® Nominated Producer
(Good Will Hunting, American Pie)

(Menace II Society, Book of Eli)

Marta Kauffman sml

Oscar® Winning Writer/Director
(Last Samurai, Blood Diamond)

Emmy® Winning Writer & Showrunner
(Friends, Grace and Frankie)

Free Training of The Week


How to Produce a Profitable Low Budget Feature Film

By Suzanne Lyons

Join veteran producer Suzanne Lyons as she shows you the three key secrets to produce a successful and profitable independent film.