This week, I wanted to pick the brain of a brilliant filmmaker and Filmtrepreneur, Mike Dion. Mike is an award-winning filmmaker, marketing strategist, and multimedia storyteller who has made a living over the last 20+ years applying all the tools needed by a Filmtrepreneur. He's found his niche creating documentaries of adventurous brevets and transcontinental cycling races across the US, Mexico, and Canada.
By using the core concepts of the Filmtrepreneur Method, he has been able to continually make money with his films for over a decade.
These core principles are:
- Find a Niche Audience
- Be of Service to that audience
- Create a Film and Products they need or want
- Create ancillary products that service that community
- Build multiple revenue streams
Mike has produced globally distributed feature-length projects like Hair I Go Again, Inspired to Ride, Reveal The Path, Where The Yellowstone Goes, and Ride the Divide that can be streamed across major platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes.
On June 7, 2014, forty-five cyclists from around the world set out on the inaugural Trans Am Bike Race, following the famed TransAmerica Trail. Their mission is to cover 4,233 miles in one enormous stage race, traversing through ten states in a transcontinental adventure of epic proportions. Inspired to Ride follows a handful of cyclists from around the world as they race unsupported in the inaugural year, with four cinematographers, cameras flying in the sky, and GoPro’s galore.
Here's a peak of Mike's latest documentary, Hair We Go Again: Facing a midlife crossroads, two longtime friends risk everything as they set out to fulfill their dreams of achieving rock & roll stardom. The first and last chances happen only once as their improbable journey is chronicled in the feature-length documentary, Hair I Go Again.
One of the reasons I invited Mike on the show was to have him share what he's doing, how he's selling content, what's making money, and what's not making money. In 2008, he created Mike Dion Productions which original content like films, strategy, and branded content for social media, marketing, etc.
In 2012, he paired with his producing partner, Hunter Weeks for his directorial debut documentary film, Reveal the Path—A genre-defying adventure film that contemplates what it means to live an inspired life using the bicycle as a mechanism to explore, dream and discover.
In true Mike Dion niche-storytelling fashion, one of his first producer/editor gigs was the award-winning feature film about the Tour Divide Race in 2010 titled, Ride the Divide. The film weaves the story of three characters' experiences with immense mountain beauty and small-town culture as they attempt to pedal from Banff, Canada to a small, dusty crossing on the Mexican border.
The Tour Divide Race is basically a mountain bike race that traverses over 2700 miles along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.
The COVID pandemic has required everyone to profoundly change how we budget, prep, and produce a feature film or television show project in order to work safely and effectively. So this is a very educational episode if you are looking to learn how to safely shoot a feature film during COVID and how to make money from it.
Enjoy my informative conversation with Mike Dion.
Alex Ferrari 2:32
I'd like to welcome to the show, Mike Dion. Man, how you doing Mike?
Mike Dion 3:44
Doing good. Thank you.
Alex Ferrari 3:46
Good man, thank you so much for coming on the show man. I, our mutual friend kiya kieso, who's also a friend of the show, then on the show as well. She has been talking about you for as long as I've known her. She's like you and Mike have to get together. You guys think alike. You got to do all this stuff. And you and I've been so busy. We've been just going back and forth trying to figure out times for us to actually do so we finally did this. And when I started to dig in deep into what you're doing men, you are the personification of my book come to life. It is it is you. It's like you, you got my copy of Rise of the film entrepreneur and went back in time. And like I'm gonna do this before anybody does, like you were doing everything I talked about and rise the film entrepreneur years ago, almost a decade now ago, when it wasn't cool. And it wasn't the thing to do and self distribution was like, Are you insane? What are you doing? You are building up this, this, this this mini Empire business that you've built over the years and I was just so blown away so I needed to bring on the show. So you can share all your secrets on how you do this so other filmmakers can follow your path. So before we get started, man, how did you get into the Business
Mike Dion 5:01
actually went to film school back in the day in an amazing film school at university You know, I'm sure we've all heard of it. So I was started off there graduated in the early 90s. And luckily enough there were some films being shot in Montana the year that I graduated far and away A River Runs Through It. And luckily enough Professor virus goddess on set for for these, you know, crazy crazy s films getting to hang out with Ron Howard and Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt and Robert Redford. But I think interestingly enough, you know, kind of having this chip on your on your shoulder, it's like, I should be directing these films, I shouldn't be like charging walkie talkie batteries for you know, for Ron Howard's this, you know
Alex Ferrari 5:45
how to be a film student. Oh,
Mike Dion 5:46
my God, look back on that I'm gonna use Silly child. But I think what was interesting about that is I almost got, you know, it's like, this was too big this Hollywood stuff was was was too big. So it almost kind of made it okay then to go get a job with a local video production company and start doing commercials and shooting and producing and editing and everything else. So that's kind of where it all started way back in the day.
Alex Ferrari 6:12
Now, you the movie that kind of launched you into this, this film entrepreneurial business model, if I may, if I may, coined my own word was ride the divide. Now ride to divide, please tell people what rider divide is and who is it aimed at as far as an audience is concerned?
Mike Dion 6:31
Sure thing, right. The divide is a feature length documentary film, that covered an inaugural mountain bike race from Canada to Mexico, and was centered on this cycling, ultra endurance cycling bikepacking. And back in the day, this was kind of a very under the radar event, it's the antithesis to things like the Tour de France. It's the opposite of that, where it's all self supported. There's no teams. And it wasn't really directed at anybody, it was one of those pure passion projects where here's this crazy event, we should capture it to the best of our ability, and then see what happens to it. And, you know, what, could have just been a YouTube video with some effort in the editing and the packaging actually became a real film that, you know, went on to do great things.
Alex Ferrari 7:23
So, so the take me through the process, because there was no Rise of the entrepreneur, there was no education, there's no information about what you're doing. Like there is today. So how did you come to understand like, Okay, well, we've made this movie, obviously, our audience is one of our audiences is bikers and people who like to mountain bike and who are bike enthusiasts and cycle a cycle enthusiasm. How did you begin to put everything together? Like, wait a minute, let's target these people. And how did you target into that? Was it 2010 2010? Early
Mike Dion 7:56
2010 is so
Alex Ferrari 7:57
so Microsoft's my space? My Space was all the rage. So there was no there was no Facebook ads yet there was wasn't no
Mike Dion 8:05
ads, Facebook was Facebook existed and sure existed, but yeah, there was we're spending money on ads then.
Alex Ferrari 8:12
Right? Exactly. There was no targeting like you could do now to find an audience and target and all that. So it was it was a lot more difficult back then. So how did you so how did you start figuring this out?
Mike Dion 8:22
I think the mindset came, the film got into the Vail Film Festival, and it, you know, actually won Best adventure film at the Vale Film Festival and we packed the screening through our own efforts of putting the word out there. It's like, hey, our film is finally done. Come see it. So people traveled to Vail to come watch the film. And when we sold out there were people standing in the back of the room watching this film. And in my mind, it's it was like, the Vail Film Festival is collecting all the ticket sales from this and we're not getting anything we're not writing any of this. So So that gave me almost it's like, Well, shit, I'm gonna start booking my own my own theaters. And one thing that you know, being that it is sports, there was a ski film director Warren Miller I don't know if you ever heard of Warren Miller's ski films but he's been around forever and I remember being a kid going and watching Warren milewski films in auditoriums and things like that so so he kind of had this model where take a film on tour you know, book it book an auditorium or theater sell tickets to the passionate skiers and and kind of have prizes and giveaways and can you have a have a good time so that you know having that as a kid but then wanting to it's like, you know, monetize, collect my own ticket sales. Well, that kind of started it off. And then you know, we booked the the boulder Theatre in Boulder, Colorado, which was 160 seat theater and we sold 550 tickets and had Gregory Allen isikoff perform the music who was from Boulder and also had some sound songs in the film itself. So that was the beginning of What kind of kicked off? It's like I'm taking control of this thing.
Alex Ferrari 10:03
Yeah, cuz you did you even try to go down that the traditional distribution route?
Mike Dion 10:08
Yeah, most definitely. So we did get the film side with new video, which is an aggregator which then got bought out and became cinna dime. So the cinah dime did get us into iTunes and and did get us a tiny Netflix deal super freakin tiny Netflix deal. And it got us into the the digital platforms. But then we also, you know, we're continuing the path of putting on our own events, putting our own DVDs up on Amazon and, you know, direct to consumer type mentality of sales.
Alex Ferrari 10:45
It's so obvious because I missed. So that was your first experience. But did you? Did you get like, I don't say the word screwed. But it wasn't like it wasn't a distributor, it was an aggregator you were dealing with mostly?
Mike Dion 10:56
Yeah, well, yep. So we know they treated us pretty good for, you know, up until about year six or so payments kind of stopped for a while I think as as they kind of transitioned from new video to send a dime payments stopped. But But and there was a good year and a half where payments didn't happen, but then they started making good on on things. So I haven't been royally screwed knock on wood, by by anybody yet. But, you know, we haven't really kind of gone down the path of, you know, I can recognize that a shady situation, perhaps and you know, having enough belief in myself, it's like, No, I don't need you. This doesn't feel right. I'm gonna, I'm not going to choose you.
Alex Ferrari 11:46
Fair enough. Now, you say that you put the word out? How did you actually start cultivating this audience?
Mike Dion 11:52
Yeah, I think Facebook was you know, it was early, it was early on and and Facebook and actually Twitter, were using using Twitter. But then as we would put on our own sort of theatrical screening events, we tried to the best of our ability to connect with local bike shops and advocacy groups and partners in any city that did have potentially newsletter lists and email lists and their own fan bases. So so definitely as much partnership mentality as we could do to help spread the word and then even forums, thinking back
Alex Ferrari 12:29
Oh, yeah, oh, no,
Mike Dion 12:30
we're a thing. message
Alex Ferrari 12:31
boards, message boards, message
Mike Dion 12:32
boards. Absolutely. So it was it was everything and everything, just kind of taking them that that mentality of a PR type person,
Alex Ferrari 12:41
but you were going after cyclists and
Mike Dion 12:43
Alex Ferrari 12:45
So you're going to message boards about cycling and bicycle enthusiasts and anything dealing with that, that niche, if you will, that kind of audience and just starting to pound them as much as you could. That's something I was doing in 2005, with a little short film that was aimed at independent filmmakers to teach them how to make a low budget independent film. And I did it instinctively kind of like you. I was just like, just kind of figuring it out. Like Wait a minute, the audience is here. I've got a product for them. Maybe I should connect these guys.
Mike Dion 13:14
These are my people. How do I present what I just created to my people?
Alex Ferrari 13:18
Right, exactly. And that's, that's amazing. So you start building it up? Did you start figuring out email yet at this point, as far as grabbing email lists, and how important is an email list to you in your business model now, huge,
Mike Dion 13:30
massive email list is freaking massive. And so we did cobble together a WordPress website. And we did start collecting emails from there and then did get sort of a merchant sort of aspect on to this cobbled together. WordPress.
Alex Ferrari 13:50
Mike Dion 13:51
And it was early EA junkie.
Alex Ferrari 13:55
Oh, you did Oh, you use eg I use the junk
Mike Dion 13:58
Yeah. junkie. So eat junkie. How was the merchant piece to this cobbled together? A WordPress site and and, you know, we've kind of put that together and then what was interesting, we finished the website and then I think put put a link on on on Facebook or something woke up the next morning and there was like seven DVD sales. And it's like, isn't
Alex Ferrari 14:20
that isn't that something isn't isn't that the most amazing feel? Like when I when I did that for the first time when I launched because I've been talking to my I was talking to my audience for months, and they had trailers and people were like, excited about this DVD. And the second I hit send on that email. Like it was like, I don't know two maybe like 500 people I collected over the over whatever. And I did it manually. There was no email service. It was just like a manually sending it out to people back in the day. You can't see and all of a sudden I would just hear Pay Pal emails. Ding ding, ding, ding, ding ding. It was just the best, but then you had to fulfill it and that was that. My God
Mike Dion 14:59
you It's like, I still I fulfilled everything out of out of my out of this freakin house for the last 10 years, it's, you know, our garage has been filled with with boxes that it times. But, you know, that's, that's the battle. It's that is the game and, you know, in because I'm fulfilling everything I also get on a postcard to write a little thank you note, you know, john, thank you exclamation mark, Mike Dion put it in the package. So, you know, 98% of everything I've shipped out of here, people have got a little, you know, signed, thank you card for me in over the last 10 years. So it's that I think it's that kind of mentality and strategy and thinking and caring about an audience if someone's going to go through the effort of whipping out a credit card and sending you, you know, money? Or should we not be appreciative for that?
Alex Ferrari 15:53
No, absolutely. Because a lot of times, you know, filmmakers, a lot of times Think of it as almost transactional. And it's not really grassroots, it's not really building a community. And it's because, look, it's daunting to build a community, it's daunting, and it's time consuming, you know, this as well as it takes years, to build a passionate community, you have to provide a tremendous amount of value, you have to give them what they're looking for. It takes time, it takes time, but, but I think you could attest to this, once that audience is built, and that relationship is solid, you can build upon that, and continue to make new products and new films. And that's what you've kind of done.
Mike Dion 16:32
Yeah, it's it's to us ecommerce type men, you know, it's customer lifetime value. So by putting in the effort of building a customer, and or a fan, you've now then you have this customer lifetime value, where if you do then have a new project, and you want to send an email list, hey, here's my next Kickstarter, you hit send. And within 10 days, there's $25,000, you know, right, because in an account because of you know, of that effort that you just said you put into, into that audience building.
Alex Ferrari 17:06
And then also you were doing films in this niche because you just truly loved this niche. Like you didn't do this, like all the money's in biking movies.
Mike Dion 17:15
We should, you know, horror films are doing pretty good. Let's go make a horror film. It's like no one ever said, there's great money in bikepacking films, let's go make a second documentary said no one ever
Alex Ferrari 17:27
write but but once you figure it out, but this is something you truly enjoy. And you've been able to figure out how to monetize this for not just a year or two or not for one or one project or two, you've built an essentially a business a full blown business around this, right?
Mike Dion 17:41
Yeah. And when you say monetize, it's, you know, it's really just creating products for these particular people, and then making the products available to them. And the products just happened to be a film A t shirt, a poster and experience how to piece of content. So, you know, I think we go into too much strategy of, of, you know, what, you know, what's the hot commodity? Right now? It's, it's like, no, if
Alex Ferrari 18:13
you were to go create a product, what would the product be that that you enjoy putting out to your audience? And that, and that's the thing that filmmakers don't get is like, Don't Don't just because it's art, and I get it, sometimes it's art, but art, it's an expensive art form. So if you're going to do something that's expensive, you really need to fit or it's going to take a year of your life, if you want to get paid for that in some way, shape, or form. Even if it is art, you really need to go who's going to watch this? And that question is rarely asked I find with independent films in general, like, Who is this targeting? Who is this aimed at? Who's gonna watch this?
Mike Dion 18:45
Yeah, you know, to, if I often think of this, like, as a startup, you know, let's just like to have a startup mentality, I'm gonna go create a SaaS product, or I'm going to go, you know, create some consumer, packaged good, you know, almost kind of take on the thought process of I'm going to go on creating, if this is a startup, if this film is a startup, exactly, to your point, who's the audience? How is it packaged? How are you, you know, what's the what's the sales mechanism, you know, for this? How are we going to continue to create customers for for this particular product? You know, I think from films, we get into this release, launch works for three months, and then it kind of dies. But if you've got a nutrition bar, if that's your product, are you going to market that for three months? And then it's like, well, that was near the end of my promotion for this awesome nutrition bar I just made now you're gonna continue daily, weekly basis for years upon years upon years, marketing your product, so
Alex Ferrari 19:53
yeah, and that's the thing that that films you're right because films that like they think there's a shelf life, a lot of times films Sometimes they might, there might be a shelf life like, oh, that came out in 2019. I can't watch that. If the if the pandemic has taught us anything, I've gone back to movies, I've watched their 2001 2002 I've gone back and watch old series that I don't remember anymore. And started watching those again. It's it, there is no shelf life. And by the way, ask any of the studios, if there's a shelf life to their, to their libraries, are you kidding me? You know, I mean, Spielberg still makes 5 million a year, he said, I think I heard some more 5 million a year off of Jaws, residuals,
Mike Dion 20:32
I get it, but it's a great story is going to have a shelf life forever. And I'm not sure if you're familiar, I don't read a whole lot of books. But there's a book perennial seller by Ryan Holiday.
Alex Ferrari 20:49
I know, right? Yeah, I know. Right. So
Mike Dion 20:51
he's a perennial seller is the idea of if you're going to put the time and energy into creating a piece of art, whether it happens to be a painting, or a book, or a film, or, or music, put in the extra energy and effort to make it a story that's got staying power, that you're going to surprise and delight the world with this piece of art that you put all this extra thought and energy into. And because it now does rise above and has potential staying power, it becomes something that you can continue to market to 7 billion people in the world. No one's ever going to, you know, fully know your piece of art. So you can continue to market it for your entire life and still not reach every potential person who could appreciate watching it or seeing it or hearing it.
Alex Ferrari 21:46
Right. And if you can figure out a way to automate that process, like with because a website's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 a year. So it's not like you have a lemonade stand that you have to close up after a certain time. If you figure out a way to automate that meaning like you put out content into the world that they click on and like, oh, there's this or I watched this video, oh, look, there's a link to the movie. If you're able to automate that. That is that's where that's where you start really getting into passive income and really start building that stuff. I've built my entire business around that like my I've built this universe of indie film, hustle, and bulletproof screenwriting and all these other companies around this, this model of this ecosystem that I've created, and it's constantly working for me 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And not only am I'm being able to get money from it, but I'm helping people. I'm educating people, I'm helping them on their journeys, my books, I'm assuming the same thing with your movies. They just they just, every day I checked, there's someone bought a book. Somewhere in the world, someone bought a book. It's an audio book, ebook every and it's constant. And when I got into the book, book publishing game, with my first two books, oh, man, I was just like, wow, this is, this is awesome. It's just good. And books are one of those things that day, just go books, just you could find a book from 20 years ago. And if it's as long as it's still relevant information. I mean, look, was it Napoleon Hill? You know, Jesus, you know, I mean, those kind of those kind of self help books, and they just go on and on and on. So do you have that same kind of?
Mike Dion 23:20
Yeah, absolutely. But you say automation, but I wouldn't, you know, let people think automation is easy, right? So, because it's it is easy after the fact. Yes, once you've put the time and energy in creating the gears of the machine that was built, then become a flywheel that have continued motion. So you know, what does automation look like its website is SEO, it's putting out YouTube videos, articles, and content and links and it is building Facebook content Instagram content, and it is putting email automations in place when two people do so but once you've put that system in place, then yes, it does have automatic
Alex Ferrari 24:05
yes situation to it. But it takes a while it takes years sometimes
Mike Dion 24:11
to put that to that strategy, right. But if you've got that mentality back again, this is my startup This is my product, this is my sales mechanism that I'm putting in place and then once it's in place 80% of it is automation and now the 20% that you're kind of putting continuing to feed the machine on a daily or weekly basis becomes easier
Alex Ferrari 24:32
right and like what you've done because you hadn't ride the divide but then to continue to feed that beast you you did inspire to ride you did reveal the path which were all like not sequels but they definitely all go together in a nice package, which of course you should sell as a as a package. But that but you kept feeding that beast over the years, as well as we'll get into the all the product lines and other things that you were built up but just on the movie standpoint, you kept feeding into Do this audience and you kept giving them new fresh content. Right?
Mike Dion 25:04
Correct. Yep. That's right. So for for good. From 2010 to about 2007, teen 2018 it was, it was exactly as you just described, that was a full the full time job really putting out, you know, films and content and marketing. And then, you know, 2018 or so one of the main characters in my film inspired to ride was killed in a in a cycling event and that, that only put through me back but you know, kind of the whole community so that put a wrench in thing for a few years and kind of reassessed things and did a lot more sort of freelance work and contract work. So but you know, now it's kind of coming back into the into the swing of things again, you know, with new ideas, so
Alex Ferrari 25:56
Mike Dion 25:56
but no for this audience, but new distribution, media company type ideas.
Alex Ferrari 26:03
That's, that's excellent. Now, when you were when you releasing your films, did you do a theatrical self to set a theatrical runs on this stuff?
Mike Dion 26:09
Yes, every single one. And we, when the film's first came out, we would do a good foot 20 to 30 City Tour with with the film mostly, mostly in the in the western states. I'm in Colorado, and you know, a lot of cyclists between the Rocky Mountains and West so so why girl kind of hit a theatrical tour for six weeks or so. And then kind of made it available where bike shops and other entities could put on their own theatrical screenings and then almost hired a tour promoter to kind of put on on shows and and stuff like that we can a little secret weapon with that. So
Alex Ferrari 26:49
now did you did you do for walling? Or did you actually get booked?
Mike Dion 26:54
The bulk of the bulk of it was for walling. Yep. And then there was some split ticket sale splits happening as well. But the bulk of it was, was for walling, yep.
Alex Ferrari 27:05
Okay, and then did you sell products at those screenings?
Mike Dion 27:09
Most definitely. That was, that was key. So definitely merge table set up. DVDs, posters, t shirts, all set up with the merch table signing, signing posters, and, and then also to the best of our ability collecting, collecting email addresses, if we were selling our own tickets through something like for, you know, brown paper tickets or or Eventbrite or something like that, well, we then had the email address, and I even cut it for for the last film, when it was out there actually kind of had a little preview, that was nice, welcoming, welcoming people to the screening event, and saying, hey, without your cell phone, right now, I know, which is weird, because, you know, it's dark, and no one should, you know, whip out their phone, but hey, I want you to text, you know, the word inspired film to I forget what the number was 444222. And, and you'll I'm going to, you know, I'm going to select some winners from that. So, you know, that actually was a killer strategy, because then, you know, not only did I get people's phone numbers, but then they entered their email address within this. And then as the film went on to some, some film festivals, and then I mentioned, we kind of had a tour promoter that kind of took the film out on his home. So I'd be sitting at home, and all of a sudden, my phone would just like, go off with, you know, 60 text messages, you know, when he had the film out there, and then you know, that that played, and then and then I waited about 85, like 90 minutes until the film was done. And then I started texting people back. Hey, this is Mike, the director, did you hope you enjoyed the film, and people would lose their minds is like,
Alex Ferrari 28:48
Dude, that was awesome. I loved it.
Mike Dion 28:50
Thank you. So, I'll just have unique strategies, right, you know, having fun with with this whole game?
Alex Ferrari 28:56
Now, did you talk a little bit about hosting your own screenings? How did you do well, with those hosts your own screenings,
Mike Dion 29:02
some of them would would break even some of them, you know, made 1000s some of them made hundreds, some of them lost $100. But, but what I, you know, the goodwill and, you know, creating a fan and having that face to face communication, and then having them potentially go tell a few people. And then if we do you know, again, your earlier question about an email list? Well, no, I haven't, you know, to be able to if I lost money, I now have 70 emails that over the next five years, I likely generated 1000s and 1000s of dollars from those 70 people who showed up at a screening earlier on so so that's kind of how I see that.
Alex Ferrari 29:50
So yeah, when you when if you get 70 people to come up to a screening for a documentary about bike riding. They're pretty passionate, targeted people. They are more unlikely that the percentage and imagine of them purchasing another product, or watching another movie or renting something else you did, or and it's very high, because that's
Mike Dion 30:13
when I'd say 70 was the, you know, between 70 and 250 is generally the screenings
Alex Ferrari 30:19
weren't, and that's, that's worth the price of admission, if you broke, even you're winning, if you lose 100 bucks, you're winning, you know, unless
Mike Dion 30:26
you've got that lifetime value measure structure
Alex Ferrari 30:30
infrastructure in place. Yeah, if you have if you have the infrastructure in place to take advantage of the kind of opportunity to to better serve that that potential customer. All the better. Absolutely. Now, I was always wondering about those sorts of screening things, but and I also saw that you sold credits to your film. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Yeah, a little bit here and there for like, 25 bucks or something like that, which
Mike Dion 31:06
Alex Ferrari 31:06
you want your name in the movie credits. 25 bucks, it was like that do anything? Did you make any money with that?
Mike Dion 31:12
So we still it. Let's see, for the kicks inspire tribes inspired to rides Kickstarter, we did that. And then with this new thing we're doing now, you know, as we're editing this new thing, where I've kind of got a founding members sort of thing happening where Yeah, you do get your name in the credits and, and you get to win the actual camera that shot the original, right, the divide, we haven't talked about what our Td 10 is. But I think if you do it in a cool way, then then yes, I think it's, it's,
Alex Ferrari 31:47
It's a cool thing. But it's also it builds your community, it builds the audience, it builds the niche, and you're connecting with them, like they really are invested in you. Because now My name is on that movie. So now you've created a much more even passionate,
Mike Dion 32:03
right, especially knowing that these films are on iTunes, and these bigger platforms will then it becomes bragging rights. It's like, Dude, come over, we'll watch this, you'll see my name go buy. In the credit roll.
Alex Ferrari 32:16
I think as filmmakers, we forget the power of a credit because we are like, we can just type in our own names because we made the movie so it's not that big of a deal for us. But for for as they we'd like to call them normies. Because we're Mike, we're Carnival folk, we're Carnival folk.
Mike Dion 32:32
Alex Ferrari 32:33
we are Carnival folk, and there's no question about it. So, but carnie and accardi is the normies they would lose their mind and like, Oh my God, if they imagine being in a theater, and seeing your name pop up for the first time. Oh my god, that would be massive. So and if you sell them for 25 bucks a pop? Why not? It's like, or whatever the price is, but still, it's a great, great strategy.
Mike Dion 32:57
Yeah, and there's sort of packages Where? Yeah, as we're kind of working on this RTD 10. If you could also, you know, with the movie poster, we're creating a new movie posters, you know, again, selling an associate producer or producer credit, which, you know, so many how many producers, you know, buy their way into the credits anyway, so,
Alex Ferrari 33:14
well, there's that that too. So yeah, there's, you know, I've, you know, when I was making films, sometimes you'll see like six, seven executive producers, or produced by credits because they like, well, he gave me the grip truck. And you know, he, he brought the cameras so I didn't have to pay for that for the shoot. So, you know, you do what you got to do at the beginning. Like when you're coming up, you do you know, you do whatever you can. And sometimes it's still even as you're going, you know, if you can sell an executive producer credit for five grand. That's, that takes me two minutes. That's, that makes, that's more than any attorney on the planet.
Mike Dion 33:50
Yeah, yeah. It's, again, if you look at this as as a game, you know, carny game or whatever, it's, you know, you get, you know, hey, Step right up.
Alex Ferrari 34:05
No, we didn't look as as filmmakers, we all gotta hustle and do whatever we can. But at the end of the day, we're providing that person who buys a credit experience and bragging rights and an IMDb credit and there's value to that. And I remember I sold I bought I think, originally I might have when I was first starting, I might have bought like, an associate producer credit for like 20 bucks. I was like, Yes, I have an IMDb credit. That's awesome. But everybody that was like 2000 or 996 I think it was 97 or whatever it was when I did it but um, but yeah, it's it's a thrill when you especially when you're just starting out or you just want that that little shiny executive producer credit on there as well. And there's different packages too. You could sell like premiere tickets and other things like that as well. Correct?
Mike Dion 34:53
Yeah, exactly. So it's, it's, again, how can you surprise and delight your audience with whether it be a credit or a unique piece of piece of merchandise or a bundle or a signed movie poster or whatever. So again, it's a utilize the indie music industry, you know, as a lot, you know, from from an example that I kind of steal. I'm kinda like a sponge. It's like, what industry? Can I steal ideas from that work with what I'm kind of doing at the moment? And, you know, I think, you know, traveling musicians putting on tours and selling merchandise and, and putting bundles together and packages together. I think as much as we can look out into other industries. And I'd like I mean, I mentioned, you know, software as a service. Yeah. What ideas can you get from the SAS startup company that you could utilize as, as a filmmaker and strategy and marketing. So be open to getting outside of this little bubble of like, I hope I get into a film festival and someone discovers me, it's like, screw that.
Alex Ferrari 35:57
No, you've got it in today's world is because it's so much harder to make. I mean, even when you were starting out in 2010, and when I was coming up in 2005, with selling stuff, it was easier to make money, like, you know, I sold 1000s of DVDs, back then, now, it's so much harder to generate revenue, because the audience is more, there's so much more competition, these platforms are taking a whole bunch of we'll get into the platforms in a minute. But it's just harder, the more you can control multiple revenue streams, outside of the standard distribution model, which is what you've done, the better you because if sales go down to the DVD, but the T shirts are killing it, because they just happen to be really cool t shirts. All I all the better. And what's to say, you know, three years later, you
Mike Dion 36:41
can't drop a new t shirt, just like a band would, you know, here's our new, you know, designs, here's three new designs, and then you even go to Facebook and Instagram. It's like, Hey, here's five concepts, pick, you know, what are your favorite and then it becomes community engagement. And then you know, the your audience picked the two winners, and now you go produce those. And you're documenting that whole process, you're in the, in the ink printing, you know, facility, videotaping them making it, they're now available, you know, are and then throughout that whole process, you've got them for sale for pre order up on the website. So you've already probably maybe sold four or $5,000 as they're being made. And then once they're made, then you're documenting the shipping out, which generates just more buzz and more interest. So
Alex Ferrari 37:27
Mike, you're talking dirty to me Stop it. Just stop it. Stop it. Pre orders packing stop. And it's just dirty talk, sir. It's so wonderful to talk to someone who gets it. Like, it's just such a wonderful, I'm assuming it's the same for you. Because there's not many people you can actually have a conversation about this with this. I this
Mike Dion 37:48
is you know, like people say are you passionate filmmaker. I I appreciate the art and the steps of Yeah, we documentary filmmakers, we made it we wear a lot of hats. We're shooting we're editing where we're everything else. But this strategy of marketing, dude, that to your point, it's like, Oh, stop talking to me about that. That's exciting. To me. It's like, no, let's try it. Let's see if it works.
Alex Ferrari 38:13
Exactly, exactly. And that's what I always gets me excited as well. I mean, I'm an art. I'm an artist, I'm a filmmaker, I love doing that. But I also love the business side. I also love the marketing side, I also love being able to think about how to put it all together. And it to me that gets me really, really excited. It most filmmakers just I just want to make a movie,
Mike Dion 38:32
right? But it's that that that marketing stuff is dirty. I'm a director, I just want to direct I just want to go from film to film and direct. And that's awesome. That's great.
Alex Ferrari 38:41
If you if you could do it, and I can promise you that's that's 2% of the entire industry that gets to do that as like, like just go and direct and not think about anything else and someone else handles it. Those days are are gone. And there's a small, maybe two to 5% of all directors trying to direct the movie in the world. Get that privilege. And and I've spoken to many of those directors on the show who had this and even they and I promise you like me, the bigger the guy or gal that I talked to. They all still have to hustle to get the next project. It's so fascinating. You know, we were talking to somebody the other day and we were talking about Spielberg. And I'm like, yeah, Spielberg couldn't get money for Lincoln. He had to go hustle his money for Lincoln. Scorsese couldn't get silenced, made. He tried 20 years and he had to go hustle money from India to make it happen. Now he's hustling Netflix, but that's a whole other conversation. Netflix just keeps giving him up to $100 million to dh Robert De Niro. Jesus, but but that's the thing. They always have to hustle and it never stops. It never stops for anybody no matter who you are. You still got to go do it. But the level that we're talking about, which is the indie level, you definitely can't hustle. You can't stop that hustle
Mike Dion 39:58
no with no question. As business you know what company do you have you ever worked for or, or know out there that you don't have to put in an eight hour day? You know what, even if you have a regular corporate job, you're still working eight hours a day. What? It's just, you know, as indie filmmakers, it's like we're just doing we're still putting in eight to 10 to 12 hour days of work. Right.
Alex Ferrari 40:21
Exactly, exactly. Now, how big apart get I'm assuming before physical media was, you know, DVDs and blu rays and that was that was a much bigger deal four or five years ago? What part does it play still to this day?
Mike Dion 40:38
What I haven't put out a whole lot like a new film and you know, in the last three years so you know, I don't have what a new product would do. But I just know from you know, from a library of stuff Absolutely. DVDs have have dropped off however you know, DVDs are still selling on a weekly basis from our we've I've now kind of moved from WordPress to Shopify so Shopify site is kind of our main platform now and then Amazon but absolutely dropped off but you know, they're still selling on a weekly basis physical items like you know, t shirts and bundles you know, do well as they're marketed you know, just from the kind of set it and forget it standpoint. You know, when you put effort into it, people making it aware that it exists whether it be Facebook Can you know, retargeting on Facebook ads or, or an email drop with you know, 10% off or, or something then yeah, they move but but again, it's effort. You're selling your products.
Alex Ferrari 41:43
Right, exactly. And physical products I know depending on the physical product will still do well. And DVD people keep saying Oh, it's dead. It's not dead. It's not that it's still making money man. I know guys. We're making a lot of money but it depends on the niche depends on who it is. Where it is some places in the world. Still DVD is the things still, Netflix still sell still does that the DVD by mail thing? Nobody likes to be Oh, yeah, they don't like to talk about it. But it is still a thing. Red Box is huge. I still
Mike Dion 42:17
still you know, outside of front of my grocery store. I still saw I see people in front of the red box. Yeah, so
Alex Ferrari 42:23
so it's still it's still going. And if you could get a Redbox deal. Oh my god, those things are so Oh, we could talk offline. I could tell you the numbers. Oh my god, it's it's insane, insane. Best distribution deal on the planet right now if you get a good Redbox deal, but anyway, we'll talk about that later. But, um, but yeah, like I saw some, like special wood covered DVD additions and things like that, that you were selling for premium, like 50 bones. But that's something that the collector wants.
Mike Dion 42:52
Right? Right. Yeah, that goes back to right the divide, we did put a bundle together, we It was a wood wood box with a laser engraved sort of top and then inside was a book and a T shirt. And do this goes yeah, you just don't you just want a man is back quite a few, quite a few years. So and we did. We did sort of a live thing with with a fan, you know, a few weeks ago, and he was you know, they're kind of, you know, talking in on his, on his bookshelf behind him was one of those boxes, like from 2010. And like, holy crap, dude, you saved that. He's like, No, dude, it's of course,
Alex Ferrari 43:30
it's a wood. It's a wooden case for a DVD, what am I going to do throw it away.
Mike Dion 43:35
And I'll walk into bike shops and whatnot. And there's, you know, one of my posters, you know, sitting up in a corner somewhere, you know, in a bike shop, and then we got we shipped out probably 6000 posters over the last 10 years between all the films. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 43:53
And that's and that's, that's, I'm assuming a good profit margin on those things.
Mike Dion 43:59
Some of them were profit, and then some of them just happen to be you know, as we, like, you mentioned earlier, when we went into a city for a theatrical event, I you know, I sent posters to all of the bike shops in that particular city with the letter and everything else just to you know, build buzz and everything else. So it's, and then with with some Kickstarter campaigns, in bundles, and things like that, you know, any posters,
Alex Ferrari 44:25
right? And the thing is to like thinking about it, because I've been in bike shops I have I have a bike I'm not anywhere near what you guys do, but I ride, not to divide I just ride but that hobby is expensive. And bike riders spend money. Like it's not just buying a $200 bike you're talking about I've seen bikes, the six $7,000 it's like right, and they and MPN they're very passionate about riding so they will spend money so as a niche audience to provide products for them. is not a bad one to pick.
Mike Dion 45:02
No, you're absolutely right. And it is interesting. So we helped produce another documentary called hair I go again, which was sort of about, you know, kind of like where where are they now from an 80s you know, hair hair metal band. And And what was interesting is like, I think I got spoiled exactly what you just described, here's this middle class upper middle class demographic with with cycling and then we were pushing out this Hara go again, documentary, with, you know, a different sort of niche and, and, man, it just would, it didn't, it did. Okay. But man, it wasn't doing what I got what I got spoiled. You're doing with with the cycling projects,
Alex Ferrari 45:43
right? And people always ask me like, how do you make money with independent filmmakers? Everyone's broke, I'm like, Well, you know, it's just about providing a service and things like that. But a lot of people come into the game, trying to try to just grab money and try to take advantage of filmmakers and things like that. And I feel that filmmakers are the most abused demographic of an audience ever. And they start with film school. Like it starts with starts with paying obscene amounts of money for film school, which you're not going to get an ROI on for a decade, if you're one of the lucky ones that can actually make a career out of it. In film school, so it's I feel that they're just constantly being abused and abused.
Mike Dion 46:20
And then even like the film festival, it's like, oh, it's the please choose me. Industry. It's like, please choose me. Please choose me. It's like, yeah, we we've, we've been. Oh, yeah. No, that's a whole nother topic.
Alex Ferrari 46:34
Yeah. And the whole please choose me. And I think what you've been doing for a long time, and what I talk about in my book, and what I've been doing as long time is to take control, stop asking for permission, start building out your own systems, or building out your own infrastructure. So you can make a living doing this.
Mike Dion 46:48
Can I get an amen?
Alex Ferrari 46:51
preach brother free. Now, um, I saw I see that you use you use Vimeo and msph acts prior to that before Vimeo bought them for sales of your own T. VOD, do you and I saw that it was making me wrong. Some of them are on iTunes, or all of them are on iTunes and all the major TV platforms as well.
Mike Dion 47:11
Correct? Yep. And you know, even though Yeah, is, you know, I put as much effort into as much as I can control. I then, you know, as many places as I can get it from a traditional standpoint with iTunes and Amazon on demand and things like that. Absolutely. And, you know, I know people are like, what's the best platform for my film? It's like, there isn't a best platform. It's like any platform you can get on is the right platform to be on. So
Alex Ferrari 47:38
if you can drive traffic, it's, of course, it's all about driving traffic and but I was gonna ask you what part is t VOD doing well for you because I've been saying for a while now that T VOD. Unless you can drive traffic is pretty much dead for the independent filmmaker. If you could drive traffic, there's still some hope but people's did they've just stopped and I know probably back when these were released. T VOD was still think people are still renting but they don't rent as much anymore. Because everyone's just got used to that whole subscription model. Like I you know, I pay I pay I pay $10 a month I expect to get all these movies eventually.
Mike Dion 48:15
That's exactly right. Now we've been Yeah, Netflix is kind of rude. You know, ruined it, you know, going back a couple years ago and even more so even more so now but but again, it's it's like you've got to keep at it as many places as you can get then frickin do it and you know, yeah, things have have dropped off but you know, there's still there's still sales happening on Vimeo on demand there's still sales on iTunes there's still sales on Amazon on on demand. There's still you know, every place the film is placed. Our jet is generating some some revenue still even
Alex Ferrari 48:55
still to this day on all these films.
Mike Dion 48:57
Yeah, it's you know, granted, they're old old now. So it's not 10s of 1000s of dollars a month but it's absolutely on a daily basis like you said with your book on a daily basis the films are being sold somewhere
Alex Ferrari 49:09
and that adds up you know, and it's something you created 10 years ago is still making you money. And a lot of it's a lot of it is passive even right because it's just out there in the ecosystem that's a that's a win win and it's not going to a distributor somewhere who's smoking a cigar and going Haha, like you know, that image of that cigar that distributor it's it's actually monies going to you and you are controlling that revenue stream because you decided to self distribute. And also I was gonna ask you how dense is this market for movies like documentaries about bike riding, because I haven't seen a tremendous amount of them in my travels
Mike Dion 49:50
not in the cycling world. You know, I think so many there's so much free content up on YouTube for from from cycling and and you You know that the extreme stuff and like Red Bull is kind of got the market on the extreme side of things, which, you know, they put a ton of stuff out for free but you know, with this ultra endurance type stuff that I've put out there, it's, you know, there isn't that much out there and, and I've got the mentality of you know, this is premium. This is premium content. This is a premium story, it's got, you know, great music and tremendous emotion built into into this storytelling. It's, it's a professionally packaged film. And, and there's really no place you can watch the film, you know, for free Unless, of course it was it's on a TV network or something like that, where there's, you know, advertising on it or something like that. So pretty much every place my films are, are either rental or are transactional in nature.
Alex Ferrari 50:51
And you don't you haven't gotten into the A VOD world or s VOD world.
Mike Dion 50:55
Some of them have ended up there. I'm super intrigued by, by by the Avon type stuff. And that's, I'm almost worked what I'm working on right now, again, with the whole, you know, screw the gatekeepers. It's like I'm actually working on building out my own bike packing media company as you should you know, where it's where we're going. It's it's almost kind of merging, you know, Netflix and masterclass calm for bikepackers. So it's going to be video content and how to content and, you know, on our own apps, and what i
Alex Ferrari 51:28
will i can i can after after we get off the air I can I can guide you in this process,
Mike Dion 51:34
then, I've been down that for the last month I've been doing tons of demos and chatting with with folks. And the deeper I go into it, the more My mind is absolutely being being blown. So
Alex Ferrari 51:46
Oh yeah, we could talk I could, I could definitely give you some, whatever advice I could give you, for sure, but of itself. And I saw another product that you created, which was in which is why I talked about in the book, educational products, educational products are so powerful because they tap into an emotion or a need of something that the audience really wants to learn about. And it's when you can tap into emotion of an audience member or a customer that's when you can really make a difference in their life. So something like which was your educational product called bike back a bike packing secrets, which was sold for like 80 bucks about how to backpack properly with all these stars and it's like 10 hours something ridiculous like that. And I looked at that I'm like, oh God, he gets it so well. Oh my god. And it's just and that's just and that's all digital. So that's there's no packing because you're not packing 10 hours of DVDs
Mike Dion 52:39
is exactly right. Yep.
Alex Ferrari 52:42
And then it did well,
Mike Dion 52:43
it did do do well when so with with um, you know, it was stuff that we would put on the DVD extras you know, how to you know, bipac and how you know, the gear and whatnot so, so then then it was you know, people a again mentioned you know, Netflix is ruining it because their people expect it to be free for with their subscriptions. So that the thesis what was you know, people are more willing to pay for information than they are content. So that's kind of where that came from, let's actually package you know incredible how to information what became masterclass calm. So this was, you know, perhaps the precursor to when when masterclass calm kind of started doing, doing their thing, and then bundled it up and put it in a website together and marketed it from a strategy, strategy standpoint, put ad dollars behind it, and, and you're right, what, what my production costs were probably $2,000 to actually go shoot this how to content, whereas, so it cost nothing to shoot and create. And there was not a whole lot of editing involved. But then you know, the payoff is the strategy now the strategy about how to package in marketing and putting it out to your audience, right, and
Alex Ferrari 53:59
you're feeding in you're feeding the audience what something that they really want you to be giving them data, and it's an audience that you've already you've already gathered them. You're like you love my movies. I know you like but you like bike, bike riding and bike packing. Here's a course on how to do it properly. Here's a T shirt because you want to represent, here's a cool poster for your wall. And then you just start adding different product lines, different things. What other ancillary product lines did you create, like, I mean, I'm assuming sweatshirts and T shirts. What are the things that you put together?
Mike Dion 54:32
t shirts, sweatshirts, posters, DVDs, blu rays, were the bulk of it, and then just some unique little one off items here, here and there. Like we took a bunch of titanium bike tubing and chopped it up into sections and put a USB drive so you've got a titanium bikes on that USB drive with a 4k version of the film, so so I guess that The bulk of it and you know nothing too, you know, absolutely, absolutely crazy. And then from, from the T shirts side of things, you know, we've, you know, use our own printer, but then also some print on demand type stuff, which, you know, did okay, but not great. So I guess that's as
Alex Ferrari 55:16
crazy as we got. But then, of course, selling credits, educational products, all these other these, these are all revenue streams, these are all for sure these are all there and then you use also Kickstarter to kind of get things going for each of these projects.
Mike Dion 55:28
Yeah, so Yep, exactly. So the inspired to write film was made. So the Kickstarter for Inspire to ride, which went back to to 2017 was to kind of kickstart the world premiere. And the hook was, what if I could invite the entire world to this world premieres. So we had the, you know, the athletes kind of come to Denver, Colorado, and again, back to the How to tech content before the film for three or four hours. Earlier that day, we put on sort of a summit. So I kind of had a film festival mentality. It's like, when you go to a film festival, you will you attend panels, and you and you kind of have discussions about you know, different topics. So we kind of had sort of how to summit type things going on throughout throughout the day, before the film in the theater, but then we again, the whole inviting the world's we, we sold tickets to people around the world could attend. And this was before live streaming became, you know, was the thing I think, I think YouTube Live, you know, just started later in 2017. So we were kind of getting cobbling together, live events, live streaming events. And we had actually, like 40 people from 40 different countries bought a ticket in tuned, tuned in to, to kind of have this summit that we put on. And then when the film screened, we did utilize VHS. So when the film screened, everyone got their email around the world to watch the film. And then at the end of the film, they could tune back into our live stream to watch the q&a and everything after that did did really well.
Alex Ferrari 57:11
Yeah, and the A lot of times filmmakers underestimate the international market. A lot a lot everyone here in the States. only think about Oh, it's just the US May we can and I may be the UK with a generally just focus on the US. Yes, us is a very large markets are one of the largest markets, I think it still is the largest market in the world. But take it from someone who's got an international podcast, and sells products, digital products online all the time. International is huge. And there's so many people who Imagine if you're living in Nepal, and I've had it and they just like I want to tune in and watch this. Like, because there's no way I'll ever get to go to this thing. I can't afford it. It's just the other side of the world. But for 50 bucks or whatever. 30 bucks. I can log in and watch it that is so powerful. Absolutely. Yep. You're right. And I'm assuming there's bike riders all over the world.
Mike Dion 58:17
Absolutely. And yeah, UK is is a big market for us. Yeah, yeah. Europe and UK in particular has been huge.
Alex Ferrari 58:24
Now, did you? Did you ever approach any promotional partners to help you market or sell this like bike shops or bike brands or anything like this
Mike Dion 58:32
some brands, you know, it was you know, can you know difficult to get a lot of brands to say yes, some brands have have said yes. But I think it's just you know, a lot like trying to go out and find an investor for your indie film or, or again, trying to get into into a festival or something. Do there's still a ton of nose even though even though I've kind of got the three films, you know, that have done well. It's like I can't call up specialized and you know, say Oh, yeah, Mike, you're here I'm here. Now we're going to 350 $1,000 for your next project. I I still don't have that and you know, perhaps haven't put the the same amount of energy energy into it that I should have but it's still a struggle and perhaps, you know, I don't know where we kind of are going with this but I'm still you know, the direct to consumer. It's like I would much rather put my time and energy into again using the frame surprise and delight 1000s of people who appreciate I would much rather try to presale $25,000 worth of my next thing to this audience who I put the time and energy into then trying you know, of course if a sponsor is going to throw me money great, but it's still a struggle there. You know, to get a yes is difficult.
Alex Ferrari 59:49
Yeah. The hustle is real, sir. The hustle is real. Yeah, always, always hustle admit always hustling. We'll be right back after a word. from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Now, I know we talked a little bit about you've mentioned it a couple times RTD 10. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Mike Dion 1:00:14
Yes, right, the divide had its 10 year anniversary last year. So kind of in the middle of the pandemic, you know, we kind of put a virtual event together to kind of celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the film and in brought some some Oh, geez in from sort of the divide bikepacking sort of world and attic and kind of did a cool, sort of three, four hour again, sort of interview type type thing. And then then we watch nail the film with a lot of the people that athletes who were part of the original, right, right the divide, and then as part of again, with bundling, it's like the tickets were, were $10. But you could also then order, again to the pre order, and RTD 10 bundle, which was a new version of the RTD 10 filled with a new poster and new packaging. So we're actually working on on that right now, which is going to be so RTD 10 is going is is right the device, 10 year anniversary box set. And it's still working on what's going to be inside the box set, but there's only going to be 1000 of them ever created. So you know, like the official movie poster will be one of 1000 to have 1000 hand hand number and then probably some some new physical items and T shirts. And and this is where you're getting some brands on board. Hey, brands, do you want to you know, send us 1000 of something that we could put into this box that bundle? So that's kind of where what we're working on? And
Alex Ferrari 1:01:47
what is that going to retail for it just out of curiosity,
Mike Dion 1:01:49
the it'll probably be $125 for this box, that bundle
Alex Ferrari 1:01:58
is kind of 125 bucks times 1000 that's not bad, man.
Mike Dion 1:02:04
That's pretty good. And then and then it's it's a new version of the film. So wait, so the film is back in the edit bay. So we're telling the same story. But anywhere from 25 to 40% of the footage will be different. So potentially new music and, and new scenes and new stories because we ended up with 170 hours of footage from tumor, you know, covering the events so so now it's like it's the same story but you're seeing new new unique scenes and awesome habit, which then I think could really inspire people to like, go back and watch the original to see what's different and then how it is totally different. And then it's also a new film that ends up on iTunes and all the other platforms so and we get to go hopefully pandemic providing some some live events and back to our whole sort of what we do.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:53
That's amazing man. Again, it's been such a just such a pleasure talking to you man and talking to some of the cats it before we get go before we get before we finish, I want to ask you a few questions to ask all my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?
Mike Dion 1:03:08
break into the business? You said the word of the hustle is real man. It's like hustle, get on the phone network, make connections. You know, do what you can do. Gosh it dude and anymore. It's like, again, this fricking iPhone, you know, I'm holding I just saw that DGI just came out with a brand new frickin drone that that you know, fits in your hand to to get aerials. It's like you can go create whatever the note whatever you want. So just get out there and do it hustle make
Alex Ferrari 1:03:40
Yeah, exactly. Now what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life man
Mike Dion 1:03:54
I don't know. Um, gosh, the longest? I don't know. Let's hit the next one. Let's
Alex Ferrari 1:04:03
come back to that one three of your favorite films of all time.
Mike Dion 1:04:07
Ah, freakin Lost Boys. Just so good. So good. It's like I was in dating myself but dude that came out when I was was in college and it was like a midnight screening of Lost Boys and got we were just drunk him you know having a crazy time up in the balcony watching the Lost Boys and and then you know, bought the DVD DVD of that film and just watched it over and over and over again.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:36
Can I tell you my last story? Yes, please. Okay, first. So first of all lost boys. Arguably the coolest vampires of all time. Cinema cinematic vampires near dark pretty close to it but but they would argue the coolest looking pitchers coolest vampires. A buddy of mine was an actor in Lost Boys to not the one they made the direct their direct sequel. That is Didn't get finished. They shot footage, but never finished it. So this is the story. The story was that you remember when Kiefer Sutherland got impaled? Right when he didn't like blow up or sparkle? Or, or something. Sorry, did you hear the tone in my voice when I said you know he didn't blow up or anything so he's in like the in the coroner's office and they pull the they pull the horns out, and he comes back to life. That's how they were gonna start the whole thing and then he was gonna and then all his guys. I think some of his guys actually did blow up but he didn't. So he would they he just breaks out of the thing. And he's just starts grabbing the first people and starts vamping out on them to build up his crew want my buddy was going to be one of those vampires. They shot a bunch of scenes. And then like I think a week into it, someone one of the director walks up to everybody. I was like, we are we're announcement everybody. We're closing down the production because Mr. sutherlin has decided to move on to another project instead. And that was young, and he went on to do young guns. He wanted to go do Young Guns instead of Lost Boys too. So we never got to see a loss boys to I don't even know if Joe Schumacher was directing it or not. But that is the story. That is a little tidbit little Lost Boys trivia.
Mike Dion 1:06:19
That's amazing. I had no freaking clue. I remember my first time in Santa Santa Cruz going holy crap. This is Santa Clara man. This is the bridge that they were hanging from.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:32
Alright, so the other two other two?
Mike Dion 1:06:34
I don't know. I think Lost Boys. You know, that whole discussion covered? You know, number two and number three is fair enough.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:40
Fair enough. And do you want to go back to that other question or just let it go?
Mike Dion 1:06:44
Say it again. rephrase it.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:46
What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?
Mike Dion 1:06:52
Did Yeah, I think I've always had the mentality of you know, don't burn your bridges. Yeah. I think that's just you know, holes hold so true. And of course, I I've probably burned you know, a bridge or two my time but man I think that is don't burn your bridges.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:18
You know, I ever I had a running gag with a lot of the guys I used to work with who were working in my my VFX company and take like, Alex, you don't nuke bridges. You don't you don't burn bridges, you nuke bridges. I'm like, yeah, that's a thing. And when you're younger, you do things like that. But as you get older, you start realizing how small this business really is. And from someone who talks to people on a daily basis interviews and stuff. I'll talk like, look you Nokia I Nokia there's like it's if you and I just met, Oh, I know kale, you know, it's in a few screwed if I screwed key over or you screwed it, you see what I mean? It's so it's such a small business. And that's something that filmmakers really need to understand. They think it's huge. It is not, it is a very, very small, even these big guys who I talked to sometimes on the show, who are very established filmmakers and big, you know, big making $200 million movies. They'll start talking about like, Oh, this guy connected me I'm like, Oh, really, he connected that other guy too. And oh, he's like, it's just fascinating how small the business is. And it gets smaller on a daily basis. It's pretty good. So that's great advice. Don't burn your bridges. Now, Mike, it's been a pleasure talking to you, brother, where can people find you and everything that you're doing?
Mike Dion 1:08:34
Probably, you know, the easiest, gosh, I don't know, Mike do calm is a frickin really old website. I haven't updated it forever. But there's some contact information in there. The new project RTD 10, calm is a place to kind of go, that website will evolve and change as the project kind of goes through its evolution over the next three to three to six months, if you want to check out sort of the Shopify site inspired to ride it is, is that sites done, you know, incredible amounts of revenue from that site. So if you want to see a site that's kind of one of those direct to consumer sites that's actually generated some great revenue, you could check inspired to write it out. Hit me up on LinkedIn, if you want to talk biz.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:19
That's great. And I'll put all the up put those links in the show notes. Mike, man, thank you again, for coming on the show. Man. It has been an absolute pleasure talking to someone who gets it. Who's been doing it. You're an Oji in the film shoprunner space, sir. So
Mike Dion 1:09:32
I appreciate that. Appreciate your time.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:37
I want to thank Mike for coming on the show and not only dropping his knowledge bombs, but providing inspiration to filmmakers around the world that it can be done you can sustain yourself as a filmmaker doing what you love to do. Thank you so much, Mike. If you want to get links to anything we spoke about in this episode, head over to the show notes at indie film hustle.com Ford slash four six, four. And if you haven't already, head over to film, biz book calm and pick up a copy of Rise of the film intrapreneur how to turn your independent film into a money making business. It has become a Amazon number one bestseller and continues to surprise me how many books that we continue to sell day in, day out month in, month out. It's pretty, pretty inspirational. So please pick that book up. It will definitely change the way you make films. Thank you so much for listening, guys. As always keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. Stay safe out there, and I'll talk to you soon.
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Where Hollywood Comes to Talk
Oscar® Winning Writer/Director
(Platoon, Wall Street, JFK)
(Brothers McMullin, She's the One)
Oscar® Nominated Writer/Director
(Boyhood, School of Rock)
Emmy® Winning Writer/Director/Actor
(City Slickers, Analyze This)
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