How to Make $500,000 Selling a No Budget DSLR Indie Film with Michael Polish
I’m always looking for indie filmmaking models to study. I like to analyze how other filmmakers make successful indie films while doing through a new DIY method, self-distributing their film or achieving critical and fan respect for their work.
Well, I found a film that checks all the boxes, For Lovers Only create by the Polish Brothers, Michael and Mark Polish (more on that film later). These filmmakers have been making films, on their terms, for over a decade now.
Since premiering at Sundance with their debut feature, 1999’s Twin Falls Idaho, the brothers have remained steadfast in their commitment to creating personal, character-driven films.
Michael Polish has created a filmography of critically-acclaimed features, including the karaoke-themed Jackpot (2001), the self-financed period piece Northfork (2003) and the sci-fi drama The Astronaut Farmer (2006). Yet the Polish brothers have always maintained a collaborative—as opposed to competitive—spirit when it comes to finding success in Hollywood
In 2005, he and his brother published the must-read book The Declaration of Independent Filmmaking: An Insider’s Guide to Making Movies Outside of Hollywood, a how-to guide for first-time filmmakers.
How to Make $500,000 on a DSLR Feature Film
How does one make money shooting a feature film on a DSLR? The film in question came from a screenplay that Mark Polish wrote more than a decade ago called For Lovers Only, about an American photographer who runs into an old flame while on assignment in Paris. The film follows the rekindled lovers around Paris, France in a series of quiet vignettes that gradually reveal more about the complications in the couples’ lives.
Inspired by the guerilla style of the French New Wave filmmakers of yesteryear, Mark and Michael Polish came up with a simple plan: they’d fly over to France with only a Canon 5D Mark II camera (which they already owned) and one actress (Castle star Stana Katic) in tow and just go out and shoot feature film. Oh did I mention it was in black and white?
With no budget to speak of they went out into Paris and captured it’s stunning beauty for free. Additionally, shooting solely on a DSLR had quite a few advantages. Not only was the camera extremely portable, and allowed for filming in tight spaces (such as the small alcoves in French churches), it gave the film the level of intimacy it needed.
No one stopped them since they were such a small crew and the camera was a still camera (with video capablities) everyone thought they were a married couple simply on vacation.
Screenwriter and actor Mark Polish explained the process.
“It was me, Mike and Stana, and that was it. We shot for 12 days, and the whole point was to capture this really intense intimacy between the two characters.”
Most of the team’s hotels and meals were comped by their contacts and friends; their only expenses were food and a few taxis, but Mark and Michael Polish don’t consider that part of the budget since those charges would have been incurred if they took a vacation instead.
Michael Polish said that their hotels and some meals were comped; they shot and edited with equipment they already owned; and they don’t consider the few grand worth of meals, taxis and the like to be part of an actual budget.
“There was not one dime that came out of our pocket specifically for this movie — besides the food we ate, but we had to eat, anyway.”
Now what makes the filmmaking story really interesting is the film made of $500,000 through self-distribution. Yup, that’s right. How might you ask?
Using Social Media to SELL!
Michael Polish was extremely smart for casting Stana Katic not only for her amazing beauty and talent but she also had a huge fan base from her hit ABC television show Castle. At Michael Polish’s request, Stana tweeted out to her over 67,000 twitter followers that the film was available on iTunes and word spread very quickly.
Michael Polish leveraged not only his and his brother’s own social networks and also Stana’s. Katic’s rabid Twitter and Facebook followings spread the word.
Then Michael Polish found that the film’s #hashtag was drawing over 1,000 tweets an hour, he drafted up posters using the Twitter raves in place of critics’ quotes. Those posters went viral on Twitter and Tumblr, and further helped create an amazing amount of iTune pre-sales.
I can’t express to you enough that they created this enter film completely in the DIY, no budget filmmaking process. From shooting it to marketing and selling it. This is a model that should be studied by all indie filmmakers. Now you can find the film on all the usual suspects of VOD (Netflix, iTunes, YouTube, Amazon & Movies on Demand via FilmBuff). Since he and his brother own the film, they keep all the profit.
Michael Polish sat down with me for an amazing interview about his filmmaking life, Hollywood and what it means to be an artist.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- The Declaration of Independent Filmmaking: An Insider’s Guide to Making Movies Outside of Hollywood
- Twin Falls Idaho
- For Lovers Only
- The Astronaut Farmer
- Michael Polish – Twitter & Instagram
- DSLR Video Tips: How to Make Your DSLR Film or Video Look More Cinematic
- Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player
- Buy This is Meg on iTunes
- DOWNLOAD – Chris Nolan Screenplays
- DOWNLOAD – Quentin Tarantino Screenplays
- DOWNLOAD – TV Script for 2016-2017 Season
- VideoBlocks.com – (IFH Discount SAVE $50)
- FREE Movie Trailer Editing Course
- Hollywood Film & Television Directing Masterclass (EXCLUSIVE 50% OFF)
- Directing Actors Master Course – (30% OFF – CODE: HUSTLE)
- Get Your Film on Netflix, Hulu & Amazon & Keep 100% of the Revenue – Distribber
- Hollywood Camera Work: Mastering High-End Blocking and Staging (30% OFF – CODE: HUSTLE)
- IFH Masters Circle Filmmaking Community
- IFH’s Online Film School
- Six Secrets to get into Film Festivals for FREE!
To share your thoughts:
To help the show:
- Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
- Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud or via RSS
Thank you Michael, for an amazing interview!!!
How We Made Love – Michael Polish Documentary
Mark and Michael Polish are all about sharing information with indie filmmakers. about the no-budget filmmaking process—and how passion trumps budget every time They created 22-minute documentary on the making of the film called How We Made Love, featuring in-depth cast and crew interviews. It’s an amazing mini film school for all the indie film hustlers out there.
If you liked Michael Polish: How to Make Money Selling a No Budget Indie Film, then you’ll love:
How to Shoot and Sell Six Feature Films in a Year with Joe Swanberg
Enjoyed “Michael Polish – How to $500,000 Selling a No Budget DSLR Indie Film?” Please share it in your social networks (Facebook, Twitter, email etc) by using social media buttons at the side or bottom of the blog. Or post to your blog and anywhere else you feel it would be a good fit. Thanks.
I welcome thoughts and remarks on ANY of the content above in the comments section below…
Welcome to the Indie film podcast episode number 69 the cave you feel to enter holds the treasure you seek Joseph Gamble
Podcasting from the back house in Hollywood is the indie film hustle podcast where we show you how to survive in France and the indie filmmaker in the jungles of the film biz and here is your host Alex Ferarri
Alex: welcome my indie film hustlers to another episode of the indie film podcast I am your humble host Alex Ferrari. Today’s show is sponsored by a new course called DSLR video tips, how to make your video or film more cinematic, it’s a new course that I have developed with my co-instructor Eagan Stefan Junior whose been in the business for probably about 30years and you’ll hear more about him in the coming weeks and a few other courses that we’ve worked on together and I’m really proud of this course and it really goes into a lot of detail as far as the different things you can do to make your images look more cinematic by using different things and understanding different concepts of eh you know KIND of bringing over some of the old films stuffs and the film concept to DSLR shooting. So if you want a deal, we have it on sale right now for 25bucks and you could go to indifilmhustle.com/DSLR that’s indifilmhustle.com/DSLR and let us know what you think of the course and we have some more stuff coming out in the future. So today’s episode men I’m so so so excited for this episode, you guys are gonna get so much info and knowledge off of my quest his name is Michael Polish Polish. Michael Polish Polish is one-half of the polish brothers who are known for making some amazing ah independent films and film like North fork with nick naughty James Woods, Ben Foster, Darrel Hannon and a bunch of other movies and a wonderful movie Roger Albert called a masterpiece emm it is wonderful to watch and the story behind that movie is even more impressive (laughs) then the movie itself, they came swinging with their first film Twin Falls either hole which was a independent film about Siamese conjoined Siamese twins (laughs) ah which is not the easiest thing to get financing, they’ll tell us stories about that followed by jackpot again North fork and then many other films like big sir, stekin bars worth among others. But one of the reasons I really wanna bring him unto the show is not just to talk about all his early indie work but the specific film that I really wanted to go into with him is the movies called four lovers only, this movie was shot on a basically a zero budget, it was shot basically with him as the director, his brother as one of the stars and the other star was staying at kayak from castle film with Nathan film you know on ABC and this movie was has was shot on first and foremost on a DLSR back in 2011 so they were kind of the first but not the first each of the film shot on DLSR. They shot the entire movie in Paris France and Michael Polish goes into deep detail about what kind of gear he used, how he was able to get into like amazing locations and cafes and things like that in France without a permit without anything like that so its Gorilla filmmaking at its finest. But that’s all wonderful and a great stories about filmmakers who make these small independent movies but the wonderful thing about this one is that he actually made money and that chop change mind you real money these ah reportedly goes over half a million dollar on a basically no budget film shot on a DSLR, its one of the few film that have been shot on DSLR that has made a lot of money to my knowledge I might be wrong I’m sure there are others out there but this is the one that I heard of so please if anybody knows of any other DSLR movies that have been made and gone out and made money ah please let us know in the comment they were one of the first independent films to actually leverage iTunes and they sold the majority of that of all their sales on iTunes, they didn’t make any big festival, premiers or anything like that, they just kind of gorilla it completely so he tells us the whole story I really ask him a lot of detailed questions about how he able to make that movie along with all these other amazing gems of information he was so kind he spoke to me for almost over an hour and half and ah I just kept grilling him about questions so he was such a pleasure to speak to ah and just so given of his time and of his knowledge and experience he’s been making movies now over 20years I think at this point, so he’s been pretty amazing ah what he’s able to do so without any further ado guys please enjoy my conversation with Michael Polish.
Alex: I like to welcome to the show Michael Polish Polish thank you so much for been on the show men
Michael Polish: I appreciate that thank you for having me
Alex: so the first question I’m gonna ask you is how did you get that part in Hell Razer?
Michael Polish: oh men (Alex laughing) you know only-only indie duru guys like yourself will ask that question I’ve been asked that question maybe three times in my whole life (Alex chuckles) and guys that are very serious into centre files really understand I, I was, we were doing the movie 24 sierra opera and we searching makeup and how that they want us to character the twins together and Gary Tani kick was the effect supervisor on that show and in exchange for him helping us they asked us if we wanted to do a bit part in that Hell Razer so it was sort of a trade and you know and it was great because you gat to meet Doug Pinhead and you’ve gat to see how this movie was been made smooth and that’s relatively low budget movies too at that point.
Alex: hmm mm that was a secret that was like that third sequel or something like that yeah it was Hell Razer bloodline right?
Michael Polish: yeah bloodline and you gat to see how our makeup sessions were and sort of how everybody gathered together to make something pretty you know pretty special and thumbs up you have a lot of people create you know do creating a movie that you know you don’t necessarily get to see or hear about all the time
Alex: right ah when was that? that was with the 90s right?
Michael Polish: yeah that was the 90s that were last century
Alex: yeah yeah absolutely so let me ask you what made you wanna became a filmmaker you and your brother?
Michael Polish: I was going to high school in this small town I was very good at drawing and I knew a lot I was really obsessive about movies and watching movies and I could remember in the 70s then in the 80s I saw just about everything that came out in the theatres and me would see 3 or 4 movies a day especially in the air conditioning time in summer I will probably watch 4 movies in one complex and then I didn’t have the background in films because it was either super A or and some it was some 16 cameras around but its very difficult to get our hands to get all zeroed up so what I ended up doing was a client ………. With all my drawings and design work and I was able to get into that school better than high school then get myself flowing in cameras and hard work and half film works so I didn’t really get an education and film making but I was intervened by a man who had a lot of filmmaking and all
Alex: so you were on a track for cos kyle artist is kind of like breathing ground for Disney isn’t that em am I correct?
Michael Polish: yes yeah that’s true rather than animation funding there are other stuff you know worked for Disney or have connections for Disney it’s a wonderful school of animation really it’s in pixel when I was there I was been born, a lot of pixels you know today’s pixel, we are the ones running them running pixel and doing a lot of great movies
Alex: very very cool so I first discovered you when I saw the film North Fork ah many many years ago it’s absolutely a gorgeous one by the way but when I did some research I found out that the financing got through a few days before principal photography is that true? but how did they how did they how in Gods great earth did you get that…..because that’s not a simple little like a couple of people in the room movie that’s a periodic it was a periodic (chuckling)
Michael Polish: yeah the sex are been there and when you find yourself when you are making a movie and financing course through that it’s not that uncommon that you are a filmmaker and that happen you probably should figure how to survive you are gonna be in the group of really good filmmakers and how that happen to them you are in a premium class and when that happens. However when we were up there for about 46 weeks and every set is being built so we had money been spent but the second or third round of money that was supposed to land never really landed and so we stretched what we could into the first week of principle but by the second week we were just out of funds and so we were having everybody in the scrabble for money and we ended up borrowing money from we ended up borrowing money from a couple hundred of thousands of dollars (laughing) that’s and-and getting the movie finished we just gat the movie in the can we couldn’t even get to coast what we ended up doing was borrowing that money travelling flying back from Montana cutting a cheese of trailer that was a little bit longer and then started the show on a very rough cut and then we showed it to Sony classics which was the, they release Jackpot nearly strippers and had their first previous and per in courses was a male mask in those-those that karma was having a very good run we weren’t sure of the telling him he was trying out of time. She put them all in a minute and then the movie ended and actually paid exactly what the movie cost and then some and we weren’t able to say we finished the movie without having that em sort of stress of you know trying to pay that person back and it was a remarkable time and it was a remarkable time very stressful time but in the sense of making a movie we actually wanted that you see on the screen it was intended it was intended……….. for me it is one on my favourite experiences regardless of the financial.
Alex: yeah absolutely you know for everybody who has not seen that movie I mean it has an insane cast with Nick Naughty and James Woods so I mean it like like now with the financing fault through one you are independent it was an independent film right? Basically
Michael Polish: yeah I believe we finished the movie with about 800 thous…. I think we spent about 800 thousand at that point and then we finished it for I will say for roughly for 2 months or a month and 7 we ended up. 2002 or 2003 that movie was released. Ironically I’m accepting the golden thumb award that Roger Eber gives it out coast Roger Eber next week because he was one of the sails of the movies yeah yeah that was it when we permitted the sun dance we permitted the at the big theatre across and you gat to know that there are a 1,000 people waiting maybe a 1200 people yeah I remember when you have to brood a net I came up after it was dark and the light came on and not a single person moved and oh God this is just a disaster and understanding that I see this figure walking in the middle of the front room in the theatre come up walk up the stairs and it was Roger Eber and he comes up on a podium and just says will you have breakfast with me in the morning and then I was so shocked and once he did that everybody started to raise their hands (laughing) yeah yeah he was hes done that a couple of times in my career and that surely a good relationship with him I’ve had a great relationship with him because he was such a film fan and then he also protected the people and helped usher people in filmmakers that he thought that needed other people to understand what they were doing and he did that he he would even say that if you met target that he thought couple of my movies have met the target he said I can’t wait to see what you’ll do next
Alex: that’s a very impressive budget for that kind of period piece movie I mean even back in the 90s yeah back in the 90s oh no no 2000s so coming from an indie work cos you definitely are all up until astronaut farmer you had never worked with the major studios so what was that transition from complete control to do whatever you want to working with the studio how was that experience?
Michael Polish: Ummm you know we started with one of our independent which was having sorely much of distributions on board to do that astronaut farmer as sort of a suitor when dependent especially in mid 2000 you know early 2000 interestingly in the late 90s our studios were trying to land grab these things before they were been made and they even get into this bidding once there was a few many majors that was setting up during their own productions they wouldn’t have to go to Saunders and go out in the world and bid for these movies because it was just getting very very expensive for them so it would be easier to make this idea so we went to Mac Georg who came over from merry max he started one of an independent pictures on independent productions and the movie is called weep and Winny Mac from the days when he wanted to ….. and we made it with weep and we did this it was more money that we’ve seen to make a movie you know we had to build a rocket and luckily there was ahh a studio he was I mean his name is Jeff Robin. Robin Jeff was able to really usher filmmakers he was crawling an early talent that Christopher Norlands and that that he was brothers and him found on that me and Mark would probably do something extraordinary with that astronaut farmer so our relationship with Jeff and Mark made that movie happen and what was understanding with Jeff was he said basically if you see me down in Mexico and you feel like you have a problem if you don’t see me we will watch the movie when we get back and I found in recent years I found one of the brothers was really working in recent times they really don’t have a they don’t have a lot to say they don’t have a lot figure touching and they kind of diminish of everything they wanna see what you do and if there is a problem they were gonna step in at least that was my experience with Jeff emmm and that was way easier than any independent I ever made(chuckling) and because you had if you had the vision they had the financing for it and I think Jeff left a Legacy of Warner Brothers to prove that he proved that very very right ……………………… it was Jack you know when Jeff was with Warner Brothers it was a very discussion time cos we saw a lot of we saw a lot of interview we saw you know despite Jones and every he just knew how to crowd this-this class that was coming in I said it was about 97 to 99 and 2000 he was getting this film maker to get to Warner Brothers yeah yeah I.. I.. I… I.. I.. ammmmm you know
Alex: it’s a different world it’s a different world than 97
Michael Polish: yeah it’s a different world it’s a real different time and the idea of not been so corrected……….
Alex: right exactly and you know it’s a shame because I mean I grew up ahh we both similar vintages so we both grew up during the same time period so I remember when Disney and Warners they would put a $10million movie or a $15million movie and you know that comedy like Donald, Beverly Hills back in the 80s like what about Bob ahhh that kind of movies and they just don’t exist anymore it’s like either its under 5 million or a 100? Its like rare to see anything else
Michael Polish: yeah they really put that biggest mentality of betting, betting big all the time you know that Nicole and Day my business they just got away from which you know its understandable when you are in a corporation but its not understandable when you are a filmmaker
Alex: right exactly and I think ahh you know I think that Mr superman is one of those examples right now that they’ve bet a farm out in there they’ll do ok at the end of the day but I don’t think it’s what they expected it to be its not paying off its not paying off exactly that way it should and what billboard said you know the impression of the Hollywood stuff like you know a studio can only do imagine if Batman or Superman made a $100million like it could it would cripple a company it could shut down a studio and says a few more of those happens and it would I think it will happen you agree with me? At one point or another, someone is gonna make enough mistakes that you know it gonna ……………
Michael Polish: well ah I’ve always said when was a $100million something that was a bad thing?
Alex: (laughing so loud) ita ah like they would be extremely set a $100million if that movie was a $100million
Michael Polish: yeah when was a $100million a failure?
Alex: well when it cost $400
Michael Polish: and then you have to look at the people ….. the finger point is that it goes back to the person that is spending the money that you know having said that you look at the film that does require a lot of money to make like the marshall the spectacular look at it was it felt like we were you know it felt like the experience of a child even the movies that were delayed I just thought you were there
Alex:yeah yeah I’ve been blasted one or two one for $5million so I won a $150million in that movie you know with that and you know literally do what he does you know that’s
Michael Polish: yeah yeah I mean you look at fury road and you see every penny on the screen and more so because it pays forward in a way that it’s an experience of all that mad max film did they gave all of that award and they gave you it made you pay all that attention to another work.
Alex: absolutely and that a fairy it should be called fairy also
Michael Polish: yeah yeah
Alex: if you know so (laughing) Max says like 5 words in the whole movie
Michael Polish: Yeah yeah
Alex: but the thing that is most amazing to me about that specific movie I was just gigging out for a second the most amazing thing about mad max is that this whole younger generation had no idea that I think with a 70year old plus director made that he is the hip and visually stimulating as any younger director out there if not more so
Michael Polish: yeah yeah I believe I believe you know those are the films that got me into filmmaking it was the mad max the original of it coming out in Australia I actually watched with HBO just was a brand new home box office channel there two of them and they snoozed through show time
Michael Polish: …. Cinemax and HBO and they show Mad Max probably 6 times a day I watched it
Alex: and then the other times they were playing Terminator and it was far worst (laughing)
Michael Polish: yeah yeah and then what was fascinating was how much I learned you know it was basically a man with no name situation going into this work which is very serious and that I would have to say you know and then I watched the crew I really watched the crew with Mel Gibson and what he was doing because he ended up turning out to be a wonderful filmmaker
Alex: oh what I mean Brave Heart
Michael Polish: yeah
Alex: and even the other movie right after amm ammm
Michael Polish: the apocalypto
Alex: yeah that’s the one
Micahel: Apocalypto is a feast
Alex: it is a visual feast that movie it is a wonderful wonderful stuff amm so I was gonna ask you you’ve worked with some legendary actors what advice would you have for directors when they are working with very seasoned actors?
Michael Polish: listen they’ve been there listen to their stories they’ve either been in the shot you wanna do or they know the shot that you wanna do or acted in the movie the likes and so you are able to emm gain a lot of knowledge before you pull the trigger with these guys and probably girls. These actors are all seasoned that I’ve worked with before and I continue to work with a lot even young talented actors and each treat and everybody treat each other the same way you listen to what’s going on and then you are able to direct because if you start just shooting around then you are gonna you’re just gonna make a bunch of holes you know dealing with Neil Naughty and James Woods it was extremely two different types of actors and extremely two different types of personalities they both have an incredible presence on screen and able to demand your attention and if they trust you and what you are doing it will work on your part
Alex: its only a difficult thing when they don’t trust you
Michael Polish: yeah if an actor doesn’t trust you at any level you are gonna have a hard time
Alex: Exactly and the more season that they pry the more difficult it might be
Michael Polish: yeah because listen they share it all because with most filmmakers first thing you share with this younger filmmakers is people are just trying out they use to say and I wanna do something they never seen before I wanna put a camera here camera is probably put in every single hall and every mouth and every ear and every building and sky scrapper there’s every shot have been made so do the shot that gonna tell the story correctly
Alex: absolutely well I was gonna ask you on the first day of set is there anything you do special when you walk on and like cos I know every movie is a new adventure so is there a thing you do a ritual cos I know a Coupler I read somewhere that he does some mode of like ahh a bonding with all his crew and he makes a meal for everybody and stuff like that is there something that you do specifically that can get this whole adventure off in the running?
Michael Polish: nothing specifically I’ve done because I’ve known a lot of my crew since we were coming out …… and what an actor is trying to do is keep them and don’t think am gonna paint this heavy with them I remember the first day its just a show that he really get his hand in I might think of maybe coming with the crew next time
Alex: well I think is there any advice on the making of an actor feels safe? Cos I know that’s a big thing with actors they wanna make sure they are in good hands is there something that any advice you can give directors to kind of give that energy out
Michael Polish: I always you know I think every director has a special way of communicating with their actors some director and some actors they can express I think if you can articulate what you want in a meaningful manner and that they can really get what you are saying and then not get too many urkel with them in certain ways I tender like the first or second what they wanna see or what they feel they are initial because they’ve been practising on their own or dated rehearsals they come in with their whole their whole you know they have a different card they’re gonna show you and what’s your job your job is to render what edge you think you like in them and that’s speaking in terms of things you don’t wanna do (laughing) its just a deal you know I always find another way to explain how to communicate and sometimes you have to use different types of communication and different methods but most of the time I like to see the actor performing and I trust what they were gonna do because that’s their job and they are really good at it and they are gonna try and make the best decisions they can make at the moment when you are filming
Alex: well let me ask you a question they say never to work with family but not only do u work with your brother but you also work with your wife how do you make working with both of them work? (chuckles)
Michael Polish: trust there’s a big trust factor that am we are in this business as family and we have fallen in love with the business and in the interpretation when we create we trust each other that we have each other’s interest when we are performing or when we are writing when we are directing you wanna make sure that we’re all on the same page it’s a sure hand when you have family that it doesn’t mean that there is no gonna be conflict I find less conflict with my wife just because I have to…….
Alex: (laughing extremely loud) its called politics I’m married to my wife it’s called politics
Michael Polish: yeah I have to find less conflict
Alex: cos you don’t go home and lie down next to your brother at night
Michael Polish: yeah I was actually tied in once yeah through the years we haven’t done a lot of project together in the past 5years just because her careers are different shapes and colours and others so I work mainly more with Kate now just because I’m finding that you know I’ve always loved meeting ladies I’ve always loved what they can do you know leading roles and they are always fascinating just like each of them and all the others and eventually you find out that you know if I wanted to get on that role you know with Kate I find it situation for me
Alex: wow she’s a wonderful wonderful actress and then you have her or it funny that you have ehh when you were shooting Big Sir I was ehhh I couldn’t believe this but I literally was driving up the coast and I saw the film crone aside by the vehicle I’m not kidding you cos I mean I live in L.A so I see film crew everywhere but we were driving through Big Sir we were going through way up to napa valley for a little vacation a baby moon with my wife before our my wins were born and I look over and I like oh look there’s a film crew over and im like its not like little film crew it’s a real film crew and I was like I wonder what movie is been shot up there so I later looked it up am like oh it’s a Big Sir – Michael Polish Polish
Michael Polish: yeah if we up on the road we are probably doing some of those scenes that they are driving up and down you got us a date we spend three days actually on a high way one of them we were in Big Sir we will come looking down and counting for weeks we’ve been on the road for 3days
Alex: I saw the camera and I think they were maybe ocean shots or
Michael Polish: yeah we were part of it ……………… ammm Disney bridge
Alex: yeah it was it just ironic
Michael Polish: great should have stopped by
Alex: I wish I could but we were on a trip to Napa and the last thing my wife was gonna go was I don’t wanna go to another set right now I just want to get out
Michael Polish: you don’t go another set
Alex: so one of my favourite films you’ve done is For Lovers Only I absolutely love that movie and it gave indie film makers Hope that anyone with a story and a camera will make an amazing film
Michael Polish: that was a very very fun movie to make
Alex: can you please fill the audience about how the film came to be and the unique process in which you shot it
Micael: mark and I were talking we were doing movies back to back with fairly big budget it was I think 2009 when economically films were been funded the way they were independent films were been funded the way there were we already aligned ourselves with so many studios we thought maybe France will be fantastic to shot and he had a story and I’ll be in Paris he was here in L.A and the videos and we talked about the birth of DLSR I found a smaller lens I went to Paris they looked great and when I turned it to black and white making the best images I could make in black and white and I called mark and said am ready but he said we need a girl
Alex: how did you page her?
Michael Polish: we were the same agency
Alex: conjoined twins (laughing)
Michael Polish: yeah it just had everything working for us
Alex: yeah very much so on paper
Michael Polish: so I was we said we will do it for a low budget agreement and you know funny thing about North Fork was its presumed to look like a black and white movie
Alex: you talked a little bit about your ladies film hamper which I hear you
Michael Polish: yeah hamper we made right after this set it was a film we had for a while and it was to be a small million dollar film that we are gonna go shoot and really have fun and if we did we had a lot of fun with that movie because its too od for teenagers getting a sex robot …….
Alex: ah by this time like perfect the production value you have to do this and that and these guys just grab a …… they don’t care about sound they don’t care about anything but the story was good
Michael Polish: yeah that’s the fabric of a good movie its just giving the story down and your executions are always gonna be judged even when you make something that is beautiful and they look at it ……. And then some people would say I don’t wanna spend time I just wanna see the acting in the story people said they don’t like the way it looked but it was a funny movie that was a really watched movie and I think the look of a movie has a free pass over and say its great
Alex: I think I actually have a podcast coming out about basically telling filmmakers about no one cares what you shot your movie on and a lot of people are ah I shot it on the road I shot it on the …… and I’m like you and shoot it on your iPhone is your story good
Michael Polish: yeah
Alex: what really matters is is your story good so you actually get a pass visually and even audio is key if you’ve got a good story and I think they are rare aren’t they?
Michael Polish: they really are a rare I’m gonna picture right now when the writing is fantastic and working on speed
Alex: he’s done ok
Michael Polish: you see his works and then you gat to know what’s wonderful about David is he just say his words you don’t have to do anything just let them come out of your mouth and you are there and that’s remarkable in David’s work you don’t have to put any touches on his work you don’t have to bring them up, down polish whatever you just say them and then he ……
Alex: like a …. You know that voice is so crisp and clear and its not you can’t confuse it
Michael Polish: great writers have the tactise like when I did Big Sir because of the way he was he was a linguist spinner he would spin language in a way that was unique at a time he was a train of thought that was recorded that was unique for generation wish probably ask the bloggers of the day they’ll say that
Alex: absolutely absolutely im gonna leave you with the last few questions I have which I ask all my these are my toughest questions so I ask all my quest these what was the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or life?
Michael Polish: well the lesson that took me the longest to learn was am don’t be too fucking precious
Alex: (laughs) oh men that are the lesson most filmmakers need to learn in a big big way
Michael Polish: Yeah yeah
Alex: don’t be too precious about because that preciousness is what as the script since 1995
Michael Polish: well it will kill your spirit it will kill your wife’s spirit it will kill your kids spirit it will kill your dogs spirit because you are gonna start defending a piece of art just to defend it whether its right or wrong you gonna start defending choices based on that probably might not make an actor or make that film that great
Alex: that’s a great lesson to learn and if most filmmakers who are just coming out of school will learn that lesson man I’ve been imposed for about 20 years and I’ve had so many filmmakers walk through my door and so many will be like my God (laughing) you’ll never know a filmmaker or a human being more that you do when you enter the dark room with them more than for 8 hours or 10 hours most times
Michael Polish: you see these families that we create
Alex indi film hustle now that’s your calling card right just search indie film and look my name up all my contact information is there
Michael Polish: its right there right in the corner if anybody is looking for Michael Polish Polish just have that ……
Alex: Michael Polish men it has been an absolutely pleasure talking to you men I really really thank you so much
Michael Polish: I appreciate keep up the good work and you’re doing a great job for the community
Alex: I appreciate it, men
Hope you guys picked up some knowledge for that hour men I hope you guys appreciate I was asking him all those questions I was really grilling him about all the technical questions cos I did even some business stuff cos I was really curious to see how he was able to do everything he did on For Lovers Only if you guys haven’t had that chance to check that out I’m gonna put a link to not only that but a bunch of other. They are not only trying to make that movie but they are throwing a lot of lesson to what you really need to do and how you could make a movie so definitely check that out at indifilmhustle.com/069. So once again thank you Michael Polish Polish for been on the show you are an inspiration thank you for showing us that we can do it no matter what just a good story a camera and a dream and you can go make something happen. As always guys head over to filmmakingpodcast.com thats filmmakingpodcast.com and leave us a good review for the show it really helps us out a lot and I’ve been getting a lot of notes, email, and letters from emmm the trybe of encouragement of thank yous of you know how much the show means to them and how much the website means to you guys and I really really from the bottom of my heart thank you so much thanks for being loyal listeners of the show and it really humbles me every time I get these letters and these emails so please keep them coming it keeps me going you know it does keep me going and I do have a bunch of stuff I’m working on some exciting stuff that I’m gonna be bringing to you guys in the next coming weeks I am working heavily in the lab and they say to bring out some example and cool stuff and I’m gonna be doing some experimental stuff moving forward in the future film role ahh coming up soon so I will keep yo guys abreast of that as it goes forward so as always guys thank you so very very much for being you guys (laughing) thanks, guys I love you guys so much keep that hustle going keep that dream alive and I’ll talk to you soon
Thanks for listening to indie film podcast @indiefilmhustle.com