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Music Licensing for Film Demystified with Chris Small
We have all wanted to have a killer song we love in one of our films or projects, that perfect song that makes the scene pop off the screen. When you begin to investigate how to get permission for the song you soon discover the maze of red tape and crap you need to deal with in order to have the song in your film.
From getting film festival rights to broadcast rights to VOD rights, Music Licensing is a headache and a half. Today on the show with have Chris Small, a music licensing professional here to demystified the ridiculous and antiquated process of licensing music for film. Chris breaks down the way to properly license music without falling into legal pitfalls.
Chris also works for Soundstripe, a music licensing company that is disrupting the way filmmakers get music for their films and projects. Take a look at how they are doing it below.
I just love what the team at Soundstripe is doing so I’ve partnered with them. Soundstripe is now the OFFICIAL SOUND LIBRARY OF INDIE FILM HUSTLE.
As part of the #IFHTribe, you get an exclusive DISCOUNT CODE: IFH (10% OFF MEMBERSHIP). Click here to check Soundstripe out.
I love this service and am using Soundstripe music in all of my videos, podcasts and IFHTV Original Productions. Music licensing is a nightmare but it doesn’t have to be.
Enjoy my conversation with Chris Small from Soundstripe.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Soundstripe – DISCOUNT CODE: IFH (10% OFF MEMBERSHIP)
- Filmaka – $30,000 Web Series Competition (END FEB 4th)
- Shooting for the Mob – Amazon Link
- BlackBox – Make Passive Income From Your Footage
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: FREE AUDIOBOOK
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Alex Ferrari’s Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
- Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
- The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
- Filmtrepreneur® Podcast
- Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
- Six Secrets to getting into Film Festivals for FREE!
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
Alex Ferrari 0:06
So today's guest is Chris Small from soundstripe.com. Now Chris has been in the business for a while and he's very well versed on music licensing, specifically for films and other kind of video content. And Chris really kind of breaks everything down and we go we get into the weeds a little bit about music licensing, but man, it is so important to understand this because it could it could hurt your sales you can probably I've seen movies not even get distributed, because it didn't have the proper music licensing for certain things. And then it just draw it just just throws everything out of whack. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Chris Small from soundstripe. I'd like to welcome the show Chris Small man, how are you doing, brother?
Chris Small 3:38
Hey, I'm doing great, Alex. Thanks so much for for having me. I've been looking forward to this for for a while.
Alex Ferrari 3:43
Chris Small 3:43
How's things on the on the west coast?
Alex Ferrari 3:46
The cold but not cold. Like you're cold. The cold like aour cold. So like we're like,
Chris Small 3:51
What's that like?
Alex Ferrari 3:52
Like a 40 with Sun is like, Oh, you know, it's Yeah, it's rough. Yeah. 40s and 50s. It's not it's actually been a really cold winter for us. But again, everybody and then in the north are going to shut up Alex just shut
Chris Small 4:08
Right. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 4:10
So we're gonna talk today a bunch about the wonderful world of music licensing and how interesting of a process that is. But before we get into it, you you come to us from more of the music side as opposed to the film side. So how did you even start going down the road of being in the music side of the business?
Chris Small 4:32
Yeah, yes. So I actually I've been a musician pretty much my entire life. I started playing guitar when I was eight years old and grew up playing in bands, you know, doing the, the the rock thing and and I you know, I think probably was around 10th grade really started thinking Alright, somehow I have to turn this in this passion into Like a career, so I kind of knew that that was the direction I wanted to head down. So I ended up going to school here in Nashville, there was a, there's a school called Belmont University and I studied music business there. And as as are probably like, 99% of the hopeful artists that go to school at Belmont to get involved in the music industry, you know, you come in pretty naive and have no idea what you're doing. But I was fortunate enough after school to get a job at a record label. And it was one of the one of the record labels in town is actually a Christian subsidiary of Warner Music Group called Word entertainment. And I kind of cut my teeth there for the three years doing really not sexy things in business, like making sales, phone calls, and work in spreadsheets, and doing really not fun things. But I learned a lot and, and that was kind of my first, you know, my first foray into the business of music. And, you know, one thing led to another through my own personal music pursuits, and through connections that I had got involved in the music licensing space, and, and eventually, through my own music actually wound up at sound stripe. So that was an that was in 2016. And, and I was originally a composer on the site. And and that eventually led to an opportunity for me to exercise the the other part of my brain and and work on the business at soundstripe. So that's what I've been doing since 2016.
Alex Ferrari 6:41
Yeah, a lot of a lot of even artists in general, they always look at the the sexy part of the business and they never really look at, there's a lot more unsexy stuff in the film business in the music industry in whatever artistic endeavor you have. There's always a business side to it. There's always grunt work, there's always stuff that is just not what they show on TV.
Chris Small 7:03
Oh, 100%. Man, that's exactly right. That's exactly right.
Alex Ferrari 7:07
Get that artists on the stage singing. There's an army of people doing unsexy stuff.
Chris Small 7:13
Oh, yeah. And months of work and failures upon failures upon failures that just add up to the that moment, you know, yeah, for sure.
Alex Ferrari 7:21
No question. So yeah, so let's talk about the sexy world of music licensing.
Chris Small 7:27
Alex Ferrari 7:28
Can you discuss how a filmmaker normally has to license music for film or video because I know, me being a filmmaker. I've tried to license film, music for films. And, you know, even if I go after an obscure song, where it's, it was like, it was a hit back in the 50s. And nobody really knows about it. And my last name is in Tarantino. So it's a it's just a convoluted process. So please explain to the audience what that process is.
Chris Small 8:01
Oh, man, that is a that's an art. So this is a very complex answer. Or it's a really difficult thing. And I think that's why they're, there's so much like, disruption happening in that space right now. But usually, they're traditionally there are a few different ways that a filmmaker would go about licensing a song. And, you know, you may do it by connecting directly with a composer. And this is still I think, like a really viable solid way, especially for those kind of like a narrative base. People that are creating films that are, you know, maybe more dramatic or documentary or you know, anything like that, we are working directly with a composer to kind of score your piece. And that that usually, I think, would be everybody's choice, right? Like, they have an awesome friend who's an amazing musician, who understands the story and is super talented, all self contained, sits down next to them and just writes for the piece. But very few people know that friend, or have that connection, or have the budget to hire a composer or a team to sit down and do it. So that would be that would be step one. But outside of that, you know, you if you're trying to license a song that's like a top 40 track, like a Katy Perry tune or something. The challenge is that not only is that like, just super expensive, but it's very come complicated to acquire the license for that you got to contact a publisher, negotiate a deal, half the time that publisher does not care who you are. And if you're, you know, if you're an independent, or somebody that's like, just now working on your craft, like, forget it, that's gonna be that's gonna be a tough game. So what most filmmakers do that have any type of budget is they hire a music supervisor. And this is somebody who kind of already has those connections. This is somebody who can tap into their network of publishers or their Network of Libraries and actually negotiate those fees, negotiate the licenses It's a very arduous, and frankly not sexy job. And these music supervisors are really difficult to find. And, and, and kind of expensive. So there's that that's the, that's the way it's operated traditionally, and I think, up until recently, maybe 2010 2012, we started seeing really high quality music, being licensed online for the first time. And, you know, stock music or music libraries kind of have this, this reputation of just being terrible quality music,
Alex Ferrari 10:36
Chris Small 10:37
It's just so and, and rightly so, because most of them were, and most of them still are, unfortunately, because it's very difficult to kind of curate a library of music that is that actually has heart. It's actually real, that's made by artists who are like, passionate about what they're doing, and not just trying to make money. So there were a couple of companies that kind of that kind of jumped into that, you know, you can you can music online, and the highly curated for intentional, you know, quality control, but also it's accessible to filmmakers. And, you know, I think what happened in that time period was the model, what that looked like, and how relationship between the company and the artist and the company and the filmmaker was still getting ironed out and soundstripe enter the picture in 2016, and really said, you know, with, with a lot of this content that's being produced, people need access to high quality music, and they need access to it in volume. And so that's really kind of where I think things are headed now is the paradigm shifted to be able to provide fordable quality music for film?
Alex Ferrari 11:53
Yeah, it's, I've noticed that myself just trying to get songs and I have that I have that relationship with a composer who I do call and every time I call him, he's just like, Oh, god, it's Alex. Again, he's gonna want me to do something for like, next to nothing. But he is a friend that I do call. And, and I do have occasionally been able to license a song by calling the artists directly. Like for my latest film, I called an artist directly because it was a very, very specific kind of song. But it's, you know, it's still a process. And it took me weeks to hunt people down and get it, it is a complex process. Can you also talk a little bit about the different rights that filmmakers need? Because a lot of filmmakers just think, oh, I'll just get the rights, you know, just license something, and I'm good forever. And whatever I want to do with it. Like, no, it doesn't technically work that way. Correct?
Chris Small 12:43
This is it? Yeah. So it's a complex scenario. But you know, when you need a piece of music, what you actually what you need is a synchronization license, and that allows you to take that piece of music and associate it with film with video. And that license, you know, grants you the right to, to marry that piece of music, that, that composition to picture and, and that's that's really, you know,the the most important license that you need, and it's, it's required for every piece of music that you want to put in your film. That's not in public domain.
Alex Ferrari 13:21
And then the public domain is a whole other bag of tricks that we don't want to get into at the moment. That's a whole other world of crap. Don't want to jump into but yeah, but the synchronized license for a film, it works, I completely understand what you're saying. But there's also different styles, like different levels of licenses. So like, you can get the film festival rights. You can get theatrical rights, you can get VOD rights, you can get trailer rights to use it for the trailer. And and then how long are those rights associated with it? Sometimes, you know, I'm actually talking, I'm actually trying to license something for ifH. tv. And it's an old show. And the guys were like, Look, when we did this back in the 90s, we didn't think about VOD, so we technically don't have the music rights for that. I'm like, we'll pull the damn music off, man. But yeah, so it is a complex thing. But that's something that a filmmaker shouldn't need to really look after. Like, don't just get the film festival rights, I think, do you agree? Like that's kind of foolish, if you're going to get up get them for the whole thing, at least. Yeah.
Chris Small 14:28
And this is where it's so complicated. Because you know, as a filmmaker, sometimes you don't even know what the end user is going to be. So basing the rights of that, of that license on on its end use is becoming more and more complicated as distribution channels continue to scale. So you have Facebook and you may create something that you you know, you think, Okay, this is going to be just distributed online to some friends, but then later on down the road, you know, you want to go to a film festival or you want to do broadcast and having to get different licenses. But rights for each one of those end users is extremely complicated it.
Alex Ferrari 15:05
Without without question. And then sometimes, you know, filmmakers are like you said, we'll just put something up on Facebook or on YouTube. And all of a sudden, it's got 20 billion downloads. And all of a sudden, you're like, I can't monetize this, because now the right holders of the music is coming after me. And oh, if you would have just license it, you would have had, you know, I'm saying amount of money. Yeah, so true. Now, what are some other pitfalls that you can think of the filmmakers fall into when licensing music? You know, I think we talked a little bit about not just getting one license for one kind of like Film Festival rights with theatrical rights, but trying to get as broad of a license as possible for the music. But what are some other things you should look out for?
Chris Small 15:48
Well, I, you mentioned one, that's, that's still I think, a huge, it's still getting worked out. But YouTube content ID is another thing that's like, incredibly complex, and it's honestly broken. YouTube's Content ID situation, you know, we've been in constant communication with YouTube, talking to them, trying to give them ideas, and also, you know, trying to work out deals for our members and you know, in our, our artists muted and then it's just a really just, it's based on an algorithm, sometimes a piece of music that's 100%, cleared, 100% legally licensed, will get flagged based on a sample that somebody used, and that sample was registered with some other, you know, third party content ID code was just a just an absolute mess right now. And so that's something to keep in mind. You know, sometimes pert, like I said, if you you could do everything, right, and then you go to YouTube, and it just, it's just terrible.
Alex Ferrari 16:46
Oh, no, don't trust me. I deal with it on a daily basis. I put movie trailers up are all you know, I'll put up a all the best is the the commentary, like videos that have a clip of a music or a clip of a movie in it? Yeah. And if the clip is five seconds, in an hour long piece, and I get flagged, and I'm like you sunset it, this is fair use rules. Let's talk about fair use for a second. Yeah, um, what is fair use? And is it a myth.
Chris Small 17:21
Um, I don't think it's a myth. But I do think that people misuse it. So that technically any type of music that's put into a piece of film, that's not for educational purposes, is, is is, you know, is requires a license. And fair use, you know, one thing to just keep in mind about fair uses, it's really kind of a defense, you know, I would be, I'll put it this way, I would be worried or nervous, or, I would make sure to really, really do before putting a piece of music, film that's going to be distributed and not having a license, because you're putting yourself in a position of liability. And if you're having to exercise a fair use argument in a situation where you're getting a takedown notice, or you are getting confronted by a rights holder, I mean, like, obviously, you don't want something like that to get in the way of you pursuing your your art and releasing your product. So So, you know, fair use, in my opinion, is really not a good, not a good argument to, to just use even just a couple seconds of a piece of music in your film, you know, without actually securing those those rights in that license.
Alex Ferrari 18:45
Now, there's something that's always been very interesting, I've always found very interesting in the music business, because, believe it or not, I actually dabbled in the music business. Early, early, early in my career. We will discuss my singing career. But no, absolutely not. I am a horrible,
Chris Small 19:08
We were just singing we were saying puddle of mud before you jumped on here. For some reason that song blurry just came into our brain.
Alex Ferrari 19:14
And we just started. But I actually played around in the music business and hung out and recorded and all that stuff when I was younger. And the concept of publishing versus performance of a song is a mystery. And people don't understand how important publishing is, first of all, because, you know, like the Beatles didn't own their publishing rights. You know, that's right. And Michael Jackson bought it out from Paul McCartney when it went up for people, but that's the Beatles music like how can they not own it? Please explain that a little bit. Oh, man.
Chris Small 19:58
Okay, so I'm gonna try and simplify I think it often actually is confusing. And actually even even trying to delineate or differentiate like, you know, a performance royalty, because technically a performance royalty falls under, right the publishing realm. So in publishing, there are a few different types of royalties that can be collected. And kind of like managed by the publishing side of, of the deal.
Alex Ferrari 20:30
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Chris Small 20:40
And whenever a piece of music is, is, is written and recorded, there are really two different types of intellectual property that are created. It's the, it's the composition, right, like the actual notes that make up the the song. And then it's the recording of that song. And so because you have the composition, and then the recording, there are all these different royalties and organizations and, you know, publishers and record labels and people that kind of like, manage royalty collection, and distribution back to rights holders for each of these type of these type of things. So when it comes to performance, it's really interesting, because there are a few organizations that, that actually monitor the venues and monitor, you know, even like, theaters and bars and restaurants and in track every single time a song is played in a public arena. And a royalty is generated than paid out to the rights holders publisher at that at that game. And so, yeah, then, of course, like, like we mentioned, synchronization licensing that's kind of handled on a publishing print is another thing, too, that's handled under publishing. And that's really like the traditional publishing, if you think about what publishing was in the day was print. So. So that exists as well. And then there's the mechanical royalties that are generated from that, which actually has to do with the amount of times a song is downloaded or streamed online or anything like that. There's a there's a royalty of mechanical royalty that's generated. In that case,
Alex Ferrari 22:16
If I remember hearing the story of I think it was Bruce Springsteen, who like early on, did not own his own publishing. Yeah, like, and he finally said, he talked to his manager. He's like, Well, why don't I just open up a publishing company of my own, and I'll just publish my own stuff. And now he owns and now he owns it all?
Chris Small 22:35
Yeah, you're right. And it's such a weird game in the music industry. And most, most artists actually do that they create their own publishing companies, so that they can actually collect that piece of the pie as well,
Alex Ferrari 22:47
Because it's a fairly big piece if you go like if you're licensing? Well, like a perfect example, was that Beatle song revolution, which Nike licensed when I think Michael Jackson owned and Paul McCartney and the Beatles were Oh, yeah, they were pissed. But man, Mike, Mike pulled in a few few mil off that at least, just because you own the rights to it. It's always fascinating, but I wanted to, I want filmmakers to kind of understand a little bit of the back drop of how film musicians get paid and what the world is. And can you also tell me the average cost in your, in your experience of what like a film festival writes for a song is, because a lot of times filmmakers won't get the whole, you know, thing, and they're like, Look, we just want the film festival rights for it, just to get it into Sundance. Let us just let us watch it there. You know, what's the average cost? I mean, cuz I know, I have a number in my head, I want to hear what you thought.
Chris Small 23:48
So I feel like every single answer that I'm giving here is so ambiguous, I want to try and be clear. But I will say I will say, I am not an expert when it comes to when it comes to this. Like, there are and I think one of the things that that soundstripe kind of aim to do is take all of these what we would consider to be very non universal, or even take it as far as sometimes arbitrary fees on some of these licenses based on end use, and make it as simple as possible. So the simple answer to your is, it's a wide spectrum. So depending on the amount of people that attend the film festival, the amount I mean, like there's several different factors that kind of play into these fees. And, and there's not really a one solid, you know, answer to the question, unfortunately.
Alex Ferrari 24:46
Yeah. For my, for my experience, and from what I've seen, you know, again, it's so varies and by the way, everything we're talking about is not a Katy Perry song. It is not a very popular song. The songs are from independence are just songs that are not as well known. But it ranges from 500 to 1000 bucks, I've seen it all go all the way up to 10,000. Right. But it all depends on the kind of song and who you're who you're talking to. And it also is true, though, and please confirm this or not, it doesn't matter if you use five seconds, or the full song, it's still the same amount of money. Is that correct?
Chris Small 25:22
Yeah, absolutely don't and don't, you know, put, and I will say on on broadcast, there are certain, you know, if you're talking about a broadcast situation, there are actually different fees that will be negotiated based on the length of the amount or if it's a feature film, I know that that's definitely always a good point. So there's all these all these arbitrary little like, you know, things that have been placed on to kind of really, really control I guess, the amount that publishers and, and companies are able to, to charge for a particular use. And that I think was a really solid way to kind of do it for a while. But now we have so much content being produced and the distribution channels have changed to where broadcast is no longer really King. You know, and so, so it doesn't really make sense now. So now you try to put that on the distribution system now. And you have situations where, okay, if your YouTube channel has 1000 subscribers, it's this amount. But if you have 10,000 subscribers, it's this amount. And it just doesn't make sense, in my opinion.
Alex Ferrari 26:32
And no, it doesn't make sense in the least. So I mean, we've just talked for a little while about the horrors of music licensing and and how complicated and ridiculous it is to even get. So basically, now I'm telling everybody listening, just don't use music, just don't use music at all in any of your projects. It is just just shoot yourself. Just shoot yourself. Now. I'm joking. But so we've mentioned we've mentioned sound stripe a little bit, and I want to talk a little bit about sound stripe. Because when I first discovered sound stripe, I was I was like, oh, finally, finally, something that makes sense. Can you explain what soundstripe is? And how your model differs from everything we've just been talking about?
Chris Small 27:17
Yeah, well, I appreciate the compliment. And, you know, thankfully, soundstripe, so we're advocates of the creatives, like our mission is to keep creatives creating, and, you know, what we, as musicians, you know, most of like I said, the leadership team, and the founders all come from the music world. And so we have a heart for musicians, and keeping them creating and providing a consistent stable income for music producers. And then on the flip side of that, we noticed this, what we've been talking about for the past, I don't even know how long 30 minutes or so the complexities in the content and licensing space. And so soundstripe you know, what we what we decided to do was it started honestly, with a with a group of probably 15 or so of our friends here in Music City in Nashville, who were all producers and composers and writers and, and just kind of doing the traditional licensing game pitching songs to brands like Coke, and Kellogg, and you know, landing maybe 1% of those pitches. And we decided to take all of these songs that were just collecting dust on hard drives and heart Blood, Soul sweat, tears went into these things, and provide a no frills, simple, easy solution for content creators to use the songs in their films. And what we didn't realize at the time is that was something that people really wanted. Yes. So so all of a sudden, I mean, within a year, it was very clear, okay, this is this is, you know, not just a side project thing, like we need to really figure this out and create a resource that actually, you know, is valuable, and helps carry out this mission both for filmmakers and for, for musicians. And, and so sound stripe offers unlimited music for video for any use for $15 a month or 135 a year,
Alex Ferrari 29:22
Stop it just stop it.
Chris Small 29:25
Yeah, and we just introduced sound effects to so a lot of our independent filmmaking community is very happy with that. So in fact, I could probably tell you at the time of this video releasing we're adding 10,000 additional sound effects and now our total library would be about 20,000 sound effects as a part of our premium plan to that's 245 a year,
Alex Ferrari 29:45
But that's nothing though. I mean for 220 like less than 20 bucks a month or something like that. Whatever the math is. The amount of stuff that you get is pretty, pretty insane. I actually have experience With filmmakers who found sound stripe and decided to score their film based on the music, because you arguably could score your film, with the music that you find on the service, I mean, you got to work around it, it's not scored for the actual image. But if the images match the music, you could find a composer on there and grab certain themes and literally score your music not only with just music, but actual songs with lyrics. And people singing, you know, for that funny scene, that romantic comedy scene or that, that that love scene, or that action sequence, it is pretty remarkable what you guys were able to do. And that is one of the reasons why I wanted to partner with you guys. So and I'm so proud to be a partner with soundstripe. And to, to spread to know it's serious, because I look at indie film hustle is all about providing value to my tribe, and to any filmmaker, or screenwriter or any content creator that happens to come across my little world, in the on the internet, or on a podcast or wherever they decide to find or wherever they find us. So that's my my mission that is my mission in in what I'm doing with any film, hustle, and you go right into that, because it's a value. I mean, look for 135 bucks a year, you can score whatever, you can use Music for Youtube videos, movies, music, you know, you know, promos, commercials, whatever you want. So if you have a small production company, in wherever, in the middle of Kansas somewhere, you can now provide high end quality music for your projects to your clients. And now you look like your daddy warbucks that's a really rough reference, an old reference, but hopefully some people understand what I mean. You'd like Bill Gates, or Jeff Bezos, in the sense that you they feel like you have Oh, wow, look at this guy. They look at the kind of production it is. And I and I can never tell Never underestimate the power of good music matched with good visuals. It adds so much value and so much production value. They're so good.
Chris Small 32:17
No, I was gonna say Alex like I, I super appreciate you saying that. And one thing I just I would I just feel compelled to kind of address and this is something that often comes up when you juxtapose sound stripes model against what we've been talking about earlier. And that is, well what what about the musician, what about the the money that's coming, that they're used to getting so and I just want to reiterate that sound stripes mission, our purpose is to keep them creating too. So, you know, we just, we feel that, in order to do that, what we have to do is actually placed the value of what we're doing on on the serving our members well and answering a really significant market need. And then finding really talented artists and really talented musicians who actually want to be a part of sound stripes culture and creating a community for them and paying them salaries consistent w two on payroll salary, but in order to write music for sound stripe, so that's that's the model and kind of the the mode that we've taken in order to kind of really put our money where our mouth is, so to speak, and invest in the artist in the musician community, allow them to go get mortgages and pay their bills, and not have to worry about when they're going to land the next coat commercial. So that's that's kind of the way that we've decided we're going to do it and I know that that's controversial sometimes but but it's the it's honestly, the fruit of that and what we've been able to kind of see happen out of the artists community that have kind of surrounded you know, sound stripe and its mission has been amazing.
Alex Ferrari 34:02
You know, it is it is fascinating to think about, you know, artists actually making a living isn't that that it's just like a wonderful idea of artists getting paid to do what they love to do. And I do love the model. I love what you guys are doing in regards to how you're taking care of your your musicians and also taking care of your members. And it's a win win for everybody. You know, it really is a win win for everybody. And again, I'm very proud to be a partner with you guys. And you know, everybody listening, there's going to be a lot more content on ifH TV about music and sound effects and all other kind of stuff that we're going to be doing together with sound stripe, and all sorts of cool stuff. And things that we're going to be bringing to the tribe as well. So I'm very happy to be a part of be in partnership with you guys. I really am and likewise and I really hope that like you know my next like all the videos I create Oh The content I create will be using your music. Any films or anything else that I do from this point on will have some music I do have my composer friend. But other than that, he will probably will he'll probably just say do tissue soundstripe and stuff calling me. But, but, but again, thanks for thanks for shining a light a little bit on the ridiculousness of music licensing and how complex it is. And and hopefully we could do some good out there with with sound stripe and what we're doing at indie film hustle. Now I'm going to ask you for a few questions to ask all of my guests. Okay, and I'm going to change it a little bit because you're not a filmmaker. But what advice would you give an artist trying to break in whatever business they're trying to get in? Whether that'd be a musician, whether it be a writer would be a filmmaker?
Chris Small 35:50
Yeah, this is a good one. So I would say, it's really about I think, like, there's this really amazing thing happening with, with telling compelling stories. And I think in the artists community, it's, it's predominantly through content. And so I have lots of friends who are doing the hustle. Let's see your hat. By the way, hustle, hustle, I see lots of lots of friends that are doing that thing, trying to make ends meet as an artist. And really, you know, the best piece of advice I can give them is to keep building your tribe by producing content doesn't have to be super high production value, even if you just went live on Facebook every once a while and showed them your writing process, something like that. Just keep them engaged. And don't let months go by before you say, Oh, I'm here and I have a I have a song a single I'd like done out like done, you're done. You're done. You can't do that. You got to build that community.
Alex Ferrari 36:45
Isn't? Isn't that true? Like with filmmakers, and with musicians and with writers? They're Quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet. Hey, guys, I just made this movie that cost me $250,000. Can you buy it as opposed to like putting out content just non stop? Yeah, and getting people's faces and people understanding like, hey, oh, Alex is doing something or Chris is all Chris's writing, you know? Wouldn't it be cool for musicians with that just to like, be like, just get a video camera and show the process of, Hey, I'm making this new song, here's a little behind the scenes, boom, and just keep, keep pounding it like that. And all of a sudden, people want to hear about, about what you're doing. It's kind of like almost a little reality show, in a sense using social media instead? Absolutely. It's hard work, but it's well worth it. Absolutely. Now, can you tell me what book had the biggest impact on your life or career?
Chris Small 37:35
Oh, man. So there's several but the one I've read most recently that that I can't stop thinking about is there's a there's a author, her name is Kim Scott. And she is a business author. She worked at Google and also Facebook now Facebook apple and and she wrote a book called radical candor. And it's been kind of floating around in the in the the software as a service and like a tech entrepreneur space, but it's really relevant I feel for life in general, it's a relationship advice book, honestly,
Alex Ferrari 38:13
The relationship with your customer or relationship with like a significant other?
Chris Small 38:17
These would be things like people that you interface with on a daily basis, that you want to establish meaningful connection to. So it could be an employee, it could be an employer, it could be a peer, it could be somebody you're working with on set, it could be a spouse, it could be a brother or sister anybody that you have a meaningful relationship or want a meaningful relationship with a teaches you how to be honest with them, and how to how to have a have a framework of communication and trust and transparency that that builds relational value.
Alex Ferrari 38:51
I am putting it on my audible list as we speak. It's called radical radical candor.
Chris Small 38:57
Radical candor by Kim Scott.
Alex Ferrari 38:59
Radical Candor. Okay, sorry, guys. I just you know, when I hear a good book, I have to, I have to write it down. Next, what is the lesson that took the longest to learn whether in the film business or in the music business or in life?
Chris Small 39:15
Alex Ferrari 39:18
That's like my Oprah question. Like, what if you were a tree? What kind of tree would you be?
Chris Small 39:24
Well, I don't know if this is necessarily a lesson or revelation. But you know, I think I think what what's been beautiful about soundstripe and its culture is that we really kind of have that we have one of our core values is keep it light. And, and it took us It took me anyway a while to understand what the hell that meant. But, but I think like, what it what it actually means is just being real, being authentic. And so there was a couple of and we actually practice that in our culture tremendously with one another but also to our culture. Like, we don't take ourselves too super seriously. But, but you know, there's a, this is probably like a really specific answer. Okay, but I took a personality test called the enneagram test show, I don't know if you're familiar
Alex Ferrari 40:15
Never heard of it
Chris Small 40:17
Okay. Well, it's just based on certain personality types. And that, that test actually, like when I took it, and my wife took it, and we, and then you can read kind of the relationship dynamic, and what things to look out for and things to, you know, you know, you know, celebrate about each other. It was one of the most life changing, and kind of one of the most revealing things about myself, that I had ever experienced. And I think we so we take it collectively, we took it collectively as a company. And, and that was something that I think from a self awareness side was super, super empowering. And, and really, really interesting.
Alex Ferrari 40:58
Very cool. Very, very specific. Very good answer, sir. Now three of your favorite films of all time?
Chris Small 41:08
Well, definitely, I'm a huge I love No Country for Old Men.
Alex Ferrari 41:12
It's made the list a few times on the show,
Chris Small 41:14
Which by the way, is has like very little music like and that is one of the creepiest things about the film is that this is like hardly any score. This thing is just like,
Alex Ferrari 41:26
It's barely it's all sound design and him just walking around. Hey, friend do
Chris Small 41:33
Yes, exactly. This one may be controversial, but I love Lord of the Rings.
Alex Ferrari 41:40
The whole the whole first trilogy.
Chris Small 41:41
Honestly, I love the first film the best. I think most people would say that. Well, I don't know if most
Alex Ferrari 41:45
I like the third. I like the third film the best I like
Chris Small 41:47
Okay, all right. Yeah. And I mean, I think people either love or hate that.
Alex Ferrari 41:52
Oh, no. Yeah, yeah. There's no gray in the Lord. Yes, you either love it or hate it. And what's the third one.
Chris Small 41:59
Probably Jurassic Park.
Alex Ferrari 42:01
Yeah. Another one that makes the list quite often. Of course,
Chris Small 42:05
That one does. The score and just the whole thing is just classic
Alex Ferrari 42:09
With Jurassic Park's like what it's like when you first saw Indiana Jones when you first saw it when you first saw jaws? Mind you all those films are directed by the same man. So there's something to be said about that, Mr. Spielberg. Thank you. But no, it's one of those movies as yours just like holy cow. Like how is that a dinosaur? People forget now they take it for granted. But back in 93 I think you're right. Yeah. 93 seeing a T rex runner. Man, that was just so killer. And you went on an insight on the insight if you notice in Jurassic Park, there's never aerials of any dinosaurs ever staying You know why? Because ILM did not have the technology to do so. Wow, they couldn't there with the camera couldn't go up and they couldn't do it. So that's why everything's always from ground level looking up or looking over, but you never see it from the air. So stylistically, it panned out, I guess. I mean, it worked out awesome. It did okay in the box office. And then where can people find you if they want to connect with you? And of course in soundstripe.
Chris Small 43:21
Oh, man. Yeah. So I will I'll give sound stripes I am terrible at keeping up with like Twitter and Instagram. Although you can find me I think Small Chris's my handle. Small like the pizza.
Alex Ferrari 43:34
Yeah, that you use that quite often. Don't you? Sir.
Chris Small 43:37
You know, I have to I have to give my wife credit because she's the one who always uses it. And now I just have to use it because it's so funny. And she's also like really short to
Alex Ferrari 43:45
You know,how many people call me like hey, Alex, Portia. How are you doing? I'm like, Dude, seriously, just come up with something original.
Chris Small 43:54
Yeah, you can find soundstripe our, our Instagram is soundstripe music and our Twitter's soundstripe app. And you can find us on soundstripe.com and browse our library totally free.
Alex Ferrari 44:06
Awesome. And we will have I'll put links to that in the show notes as well. Thank you Chris. Again, for dropping some music licensing knowledge bombs on the on the tribe today, my friend I really appreciate you taking the time.
Chris Small 44:20
Alex, you're too kind. Thanks for having me, man. This is a blast.
Alex Ferrari 44:24
I want to thank Chris so much for coming on the show and really educating not only you guys but me as well on music licensing and the new options at soundstripe that really helps get filmmakers such really high quality music for a very, very little cost. Now, I also want to announce that soundstripe and I are partnering up and they will become the official sound library of indiefilmhustle.com. So if you want or need any music, any sound effects, definitely check out soundstripe.com, I'll put a link to them in the description or they're going to be throughout the site, especially my resources page and things like that. And it they are an amazing resource. I've been using all their music on any videos that I make from this point on and have been actually for a little while. In my podcast in my videos on YouTube, or anything I'm doing with indie film, hustle TV, I am using soundstripe music, and for $135 for an entire year, that is in sane, and you can use that music for whatever you want, for however long you want. It's yours for life as long as you do it, per project. And it's a pretty insane value. And that's why I decided to partner up with soundtrack because my mission for indie film hustle is to help filmmakers get their movies made, help them build their brands help them just survive and thrive in the film business. And soundstripe is completely in alignment with that message and that mission of mine, because they are giving resources giving access to things that generally in historically were not available to independent filmmakers. And that takes their projects up a notch or two to say the least. Now if you want to get links to anything we discussed in this episode, please head over to indiefilmhustle.com/293. And also look out for special content that soundstripe is going to be creating for ifH. tv. And also I'm going to have some little bits on YouTube as well helping us out with music with sound effects, editing, with music, editing, all kinds of cool pieces of content that we're going to be creating over the over the months to come. So I'm very, very excited about my partnership with them. And I really, really hope you guys find value in what they're doing over at sound stripe. Now if you haven't done already, please head over to shootingforthemob.com It is my new book about how I almost made a movie for $20 million with a mobster hung out in the mafia for a little bit, then got flown out to Hollywood hung out with you know, billion dollar producers and I met Batman and that's a whole story. But it's a great great book and I cannot wait to get it out. So if you want to sign up to be part of the launch team helping me launch the book which comes out February 22. Head over to shootingforthemob.com and you'll get a free copy of the book to read before anybody else does. So thanks again for listening guys. And as always keep that also going keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.
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WATCH A FREE 3 PART LOW-BUDGET FILM PRODUCING VIDEO SERIES
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WATCH A FREE 3 PART LOW-BUDGET FILM PRODUCING VIDEO SERIES
Taught by veteran award-winning film producer and author Suzanne Lyons. The filmmaker behind over a dozen profitable low-budget feature films.