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Creating a Film Riot During COVID-19 with Ryan Connolly
Well, we made it. #400! I couldn’t have imagined that when I started this little podcast back in 2015 that we would ever get here.
I say “we” because I couldn’t have done it with the IFH Tribe’s love and support over the years. I am humbled, grateful, and honored to have the privilege to serve you all. Thank you for everything guys.
As promised I wanted to make this episode special and today’s guest will do just that. We have filmmaker and founder of the legendary Film Riot Ryan Connelly. Ryan launched Film Riot on Youtube back in 2006 and has been helping indie filmmakers create killer VFX for their films ever since.
Ryan has shot over 15 short films and has taken his followers on the journey of how he made them. I’ve been a big fan of Ryan’s for a long time and just love what he has created with Film Riot. Hustle respects HUSTLE!
We discuss so much in this conversation. From creating Film Riot to when he’ll make his first feature film to how our industry will survive the Coronavirus. I just loved having Ryan on the show.
Enjoy my EPIC conversation with Ryan Connelly.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- DONATE to Feed America to help with people affected by the Coronavirus
- Ryan Connelly – Official
- Film Riot – Website
- Film Riot – Youtube
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
- $1 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)
- The Complete Indie Film Producing Workshop with Suzanne Lyons (COUPON CODE: IFHFILMPRODUCE)
- Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story) (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
- Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
- The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
WATCH OUR FILMS
- IFH Academy – Exclusive Filmmaking & Screenwriting Training
- Indie Film Hustle® Podcast
- Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
- Filmtrepreneur™ Podcast
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
Alex Ferrari 0:55
And as promised, this episode had to be epic. So how else could I have done it? By bringing the OG in the YouTube filmmaking in the film space Ryan Connolly from Film Riot is on the show today. Ryan launched Film Riot back in 2006, where he has been helping independent filmmakers create killer VFX on a budget ever since I've been a monster fan of Ryan, his brother and what they do over at Film Riot for a long time. And I even joke with Ryan in the in the episode where I I see what Film Riot has become. And I know what I could have done something similar back in 2004 2005. When I long I've actually released some of the first if not the first film independent filmmaking tutorials on YouTube, where you can still see them online. But But I'm not bitter. I'm just want to let you guys know not bitter at all. No I really am a huge fan of what Ryan does with Film Riot and, and he provides such an amazing service to independent filmmakers. And I wanted him on the show, I wanted to sit down and talk to the man, because hustle, respects hustle. So this is a fairly epic conversation and we talk about everything from how he started Film Riot to when he's going to make that first feature film, to how we're going to deal with COVID-19 as an industry, especially as indie filmmakers. So without any further ado, please enjoy my epic conversation with film rights,Ryan Connolly. I'd like to welcome the show Ryan Connolly, man, thank you for being on the show today, Sir.
Ryan Connolly 5:48
Absolutely happy to be here.
Alex Ferrari 5:49
And so so everybody understands where Ryan and I are right now. We were about 40 minutes 45 minutes into our first interview when the Coronavirus took out my power and and then we started again, and then his light went out. So we're gonna give us a well, we're gonna start it again. So I'm gonna ask a lot of questions. I already asked Ryan before, but we're gonna go down this road again. And I think you know, take two take three let's see how it goes. But I think it's gonna
Ryan Connolly 6:18
Third time's a charm
Alex Ferrari 6:19
Regardless. So like I said before, right. I'm a big fan of what you you done with Film Riot and and the good work you've been doing for filmmakers since 2009. And I told you this before, but I'll tell you. I was my first video. I was one of the first guys ever to put up a tutorial on YouTube with my first short film broken in 2005, which is still up there. And I wish I would have kept going, but I had that conversation with myself which obviously you didn't which said, I'm not a teacher. I'm not a I'm not gonna do filmmaking tutorials. I'm Spielberg. I'm going to be the next era and Tito. Tarantino doesn't do tutorials. Why should I do tutorials? And that ridiculousness stopped me from continuing down the path which I have now fallen in love with again since 2015, when I launched the indie film hustle. And it's kind of like I wish I would have bought apple at $8. Scott enough situation. So, um, but you and Rocket Jump. I know. Those guys and Indy Mogul. You're You're an OG man. You're an OG in the filmmaking space brother.
Ryan Connolly 7:30
Yeah, we've been doing it for a minute. Yeah, when we started it, it was it was for me, it was kind of filling something that I wish existed but didn't exist. Because it was, you know, I was four or five years out of film school at the time. And I had done some short films. And you know, since film school before film school, it was another like 4050 short films a day. But since film school had been a handful of short films, and, you know, nobody's even seen these and, and then just getting information even at that time was so difficult. I mean, there was Indy Mogul, which was just basically they just did prop builds and stuff. And then there was Philip bloom, who's doing like camera views. And then of course, there was Andrew Kramer, who is doing after effects tutorials, which is basically how all of us learned after effects. And there was this real big slot not being filled. And a friend of mine wanted to go to film school, but didn't have money to go to film school. And he was just venting to me, and then I just thought, you know, what, if there was a thing that created a community more than everything, not that I was like, I'm a film instructor because I didn't even like to call myself a filmmaker, like I was, you know, I had I've had a hard time not making a feature and then calling myself a filmmaker, even to this day, you know, I'm a little bitter about it now, but we're just silly, I know. But in the early days, it was very much about like what our opening said in the opening of the show, I said, you want to be a filmmaker so to y let's figure it out. And that was kind of the heart of what I wanted to do just to put out there and show the process of this you know, person who is pretty obviously green still, again, only four or five years outside of film school, but with a little bit of knowledge thanks to film school and thanks the experience that I've had I had since then, but putting out this thing of you want to be a filmmaker so do I now let's go along this journey, and every week was about me trying something new, somebody sent in an email, hey, how would you do this and be like, Well, let me figure that out. Here's how I did it. I grabbed some duct tape and a firecracker and, you know, stuff like that, you know, like literally like making light stands out of PVC pipe and stuff like that. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, old school stuff, man. Oh, no. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 9:43
Oh, no. Yeah, the Home Depot, like remember the Home Depot lights
Ryan Connolly 9:46
To this day I have them to this day. They're in my studio, we still use I've used those clamp lights. And I even made this like bathroom fixture light which Shane hurlbut showed me like years and years ago, this thing that he made where it's like this two by four and I'm sure he's put it out since then, but it's it's two by four and he put like light sockets across it and created this really beautiful light. So I've just went and bought a bathroom fixture and then I've mounted like a little baby arm to it and and, and then use that as a light. We showed how to build that on the show. And I did construction work before I that once I came out of film school, my dad was a, an electrical contractor. So I went to work with him for several years just making money to, you know, three jobs at one time sort of thing making money to get gear and then that eventually led me to be able to build enough of a reel to where I got work at Alienware, which is Dells gaming division. And so I had a little bit of electrical knowledge, I could build those things too. And, and I still use those things to this day, at least one of them show up on every film set of mine, to this day. So it's like, you know, they still have their uses. It's not always the, you know, $20,000 light.
Alex Ferrari 10:57
Oh, yeah, there's, there's no question, I still have things that I built that I kind of bring onto set every once in a while. And people are like, people are like, what's that I'm like, let me show you. And like, that's how I am like, you know, and,
Ryan Connolly 11:09
And I just, I love the look of a tungsten bulb dimmed halfway, you know, that just real nice, orange, it's just so nice. I love using it, especially just as practicals within the scene, obviously. But um, you know, I really wanted to even then it's like, I've always tried to be very objective about where I'm at, in my career, where I'm going and, and I knew very well, that I was nowhere near ready to make a feature in the beginning. And so it was very much like, Man, what if this could start now, and I know, I'm, I don't know how many years but I know I'm many, many years away from being able to make a feature, whether I just make it myself, or if somebody actually takes a shot on me would have this thing, just track that. And along the way we built the community and you know, figured it out together. And because, like we talked about before, overnight success, you know, a lot of people have talked about how David Sandberg went from, oh, he made this one short film with his, you know, with his wife in Sweden, and then boom, he's making a feature film. Yeah, but no, he, it's like a decade of stuff before that, just like the rest of us. So it was like, What if there could be this thing that showed that this, you know, even five years after film school, it's been another 10 years since then we're going on, you know, 11 years. Since then, uh, you know, trying to get to the point of a feature just busted ass every single week, because there's an episode every single week, sometimes two times a week, just showing that work being put in constantly, hopefully, curbing what we've seen kind of pop up with, you know, that, you know, Willy Wonka golden ticket, you know, mindset that not all have not all, but so you have you do see some people talking about why like, you we do when we do competitions, there's inevitably somebody who is mad that they weren't even an honorable mention, like, I'm disappointed that I'm not even an honorable mention. Well, that should just tell you that not yet. You know, you need more experience, work harder, don't let that discourage you, instead, let that be okay. Let me show you what I can do next time because of what I learned from this time. And let that be, you know, the trajectory. This one's still not good enough. Well, the next one will be okay, this one isn't, well, the next one will be and that's been my mindset and kind of what we wanted to bring to to Film Riot and, you know, not so much to try to be like, you know, a video essay of here's why they did that because I think that's just bs stuff. You know, it's, it's, it's not useful. It's, you know, we just wanted to be something of like, here's the hard work and you know, good attitude that might, you know, get you to a place
Alex Ferrari 13:46
Isn't it? Isn't it true that most Well, I'd argue to most filmmakers they just don't understand what a long road This is. They don't I didn't I didn't either like I thought I was like shoot I should be at the Oscars like next year. I'm like, I'm good. You know, like let's like I gave myself start prepping my speech. But I mean, I got five years solid to get to the Oscars. I mean, that's just come on. So there's there's a level of delusion, which I think you have to be delusional in a general sense to be in this business because it's not it's not a solid logical path to walk. So you've got to be a little bit crazy, but the egos that are involved in our industry. We've all had them I still have mine but it's tamed at age teams it a bit sometimes depends on the person I guess. I just been beaten up so much to be like, yeah, okay, that's fine. It's fine. No much rejection. It's so much rigid. Like I always say I take in shrapnel for like, you know, 25 years in this business. I've just been taking shrapnel I got it in my slower. I walk slower. I got a limp in my knee hurts when it rains. But that's That's kinda how it is in this business. But they don't realize that this is absolutely a marathon and not the sprint, that the sprint that they think it's going to have. And that's what Hollywood sells. So Hollywood sells the golden ticket idea, Holly, because it's a great story. The Robert Rodriguez story is fantastic. The Tarantino story, the Spike Lee's story, the john Singleton story, all these stories that we kind of grew up with paranormal activity, all these kind of stories. They're, they're magical, they're mythical, in a sense, but that's not they're outliers, they happen. You know, once in the gym, I'm still talking about all of like, four of the five of those guys, all of those guys came up in the 90s, four out of five of those guys were in the early 90s. And we're we're like 2020 as of this recording, so like, it shows you how many of these stories lights out, that's one of those stories, but that's also you know, it's an outlier. It's it's a thing, and I don't think they understand the, you got to go in every day and just do the work every day.
Ryan Connolly 16:04
I mean, even even David's story, it just appears to be that and that's what I wanted to that's what I love about film, right that hopefully it will, you know, if Fingers crossed, I can get to that feature that it'll you know, it's right there to watch from 22,009 to whenever the feature happens of how long it took, where's like, you know, David, I know I know David and I know how much work he put in before time I you know, all the short films he did all the time he put in figuring out how to craft these ideas how to connect with an audience you know how to direct the scene, you know, what coverage he needs to accomplish the thing that he wants to so it wasn't this thing where he made a short and it got noticed and you know did is because all the work he put in trying thing after thing and putting thing after thing up. And you know, this competition that competition until finally the right person saw the right thing when he was in the at the right time, in his you know, path to then move to you know, that point. And a lot of people I know it that that's what's really great about where we're at now is like it is possible for you to put something up another another friend of mine just finished writing and directing his first feature starring Idris Elba. He did a short film called the cage and 2017 incredible film, which is awesome, great, great, great short, but it only has like 60,000 views. That's it. But that got passed around to the right people, because it was just great work. And that got this person attached. That person attached this, this producer wanted to talk to him and he was ready for it. And said, here's the other stuff that I have that I want to do, because he's been putting in so much work behind the scenes preparing other things, that he could be like that hit one, you know, I love your short What else you got, oh, I got this, because I've been putting in the work non stop behind the scenes with no congratulations because it's thankless work to do because nobody even knows it exists. But he was ready for it when the opportunity came knocking, and that, you know, turned into making his first feature with frickin Idris Elba. You know, and, and, you know, I have a similar story to what's going on now. You know, it's like, again, it's more outward, it's more open, even our failures have been very open. We were going to have like, it was like, gonna be a $300,000 short film. And it just all fell apart last minute. And that was very, very much an open failure. And but that turned into one of my favorite short films, I've made proximities. So that, you know, great, sure, that's where it went. And so all of the path for what I've done is, is very, very much open. But there's a lot behind the scenes that I just don't talk about that I'm constantly working on, on top of the stuff that I've seen. And it's that stuff that kind of just, it's the ammo that if you ever have the chance, like ballistic, opened up some chances. So when people came calling, I could be like, Well, here's the other stuff I have. Here are the other ideas I have. And then I mean, the interesting story about that is you know, it's all stuff that's going on now. So it's not something that I could talk about in detail, but it's like ballistic, led to getting managers and producers being interested. And then that led to developing a feature but I'm a first time director with an original action sci fi property that would be a very large budget. So you know, that is Yeah. Yeah, so that's where we landed. And we're like, Yeah, we got a producer attached that was a very exciting producer. And he was the one that was like, I really love this but out like a script. I don't know I don't see the path for this and then so I was able to be like well, here's another one and this is a sub 10 thing and it's you know, it's horror. And that's there comes a knocking which I made a short add up. So then I wrote the feature with that because I already had this like 70 page script already written because I just been putting in the work behind the scenes assuming these were, you know, you always got to have that ammo and they all really responded to that. And so we developed that a little further and then decided that a short film would be the right way to go before sending out the script. And so we did that. So we were able to couple the short film with the script. And now you're talking like a year and a half, since, you know, it started since ballistics. And now, they went from ballistic to this. And now we're a year into this. And I still have, you know, it's still thankless, but now, okay, at least I get to make this short film. So I do that. And then, and then finally, we send it out, and it's just silence for months, but then all sudden meetings start to pop up. But now maybe it's not going to be this thing. Maybe it could be this other thing, because then you're in these meetings, and you're talking and then even if they don't like the current project they're doing, they like you. And then they say, Well, what else you got? You know, and if you put all your eggs in one basket, and you're not constantly, like your head says, Hustle, Hustle, Hustle, they're constantly putting in the work behind the scenes that nobody knows about, except your closest friends and collaborators. You know, my answer would be like, Oh, well, I have some ideas. But instead, my answer is, I have these other pitches completely done. And I have pitch docs. And if you're interested, send it to you. I could pitch it right now, if you want in there. Well, let me that that one sounds interesting. Let me hear it. Okay. Well, let me tell you about it. And then boom, you can, because you've already you've already put in the time pitching this idea to friends, just in case, the right person asks you, and then that opportunity presents itself, and then you can deliver it. So it's just, you know, it's all that stuff, I think is what leads to success. And they're not, you know, it's not my original ideas. This is just going off the backs of the smart people who, you know, I've been lucky enough to pick their brains for the past, you know, six years, and I took their good counsel and you know, follow those things.
Alex Ferrari 21:38
Yeah, I mean, the thing like I, with my first short film, broken, the one that I uploaded those tutorials in 2005. Yeah, that that short got around a lot because it wasn't anything like that. There was I was a mini DV short with like, 100 visual effects shots in crazy unique. So yeah, it was it was really unique. And it looked like film. And it was like, you know, film, you know, if you look at it now be like, yeah, doing something for people. But back then people were like, holy crap, what did you do? It was very moody. And it was like shot in a great location. And I got around town, and I started getting calls from producers, agents, managers, I even had like some Oscar winning producers, contact, I was 20. I don't know 24, 25 27, something like that.
Ryan Connolly 22:25
Oh, man, that is too young for me to have that I'm so happy. It didn't happen that you know, it's in myself,
Alex Ferrari 22:31
Well, this is what happened. So I would go into these meetings. And they're like, this is great. And like, do you have a script version of the short? And I'm like, we're working on it. Mistake number one. Do you have anything else? Yeah, I have ideas. Mistake number two. And by the time that the heat, you know, like I was pitching to studios, I was doing stuff, but I didn't have anything ready because no one had ever told me to do what you're doing. Or what I've done since is to have other project prepared other pitches prepared. And by the time I got around with the script, it was obviously like $125 million. extravaganza. Right. And, you know, all the people that were interested in me, I was like, yesterday's news. And I was just like, know that the spotlight is on you for a minute. And you've got to strike when that minutes ready and have a lot of stuff ready to rock and roll. If you're if you're trying to play the studio game, you know, which is, you know, depending on the size of the work you want to do in the projects you want to do, unless you're independently wealthy or can raise that kind of funding yourself, you're going to have to work within the studio system, I opted out my first two features where I opted out of the studio, I'm like, screw it, I'm just gonna do it myself. And I'm like, I'm just gonna do it real low budget, and I'm just gonna do my own stuff. And that's fine. But again, like I always say, Kevin vague. If you're listening, I'll take the meeting. You just let me down to talk, Kevin, anytime. I got some ideas for the next Avengers. But uh, but I was, it was funny. I was in, I was in an agent's office. And this really was kind of jarring to me. I had another short film. I did like five years later, that got a lot of attention as well. And I got to do the tour, the water bottle tour again, I was already here in LA at that time. And I did the water bottle tour around town. And I walked into an agent's room, and they were like, We really love your short this and that, blah, blah, blah. And he goes, listen, I want you to watch a couple of shorts that we have and want to see what you think of it. And they had these other shorts, and this is like 2000 I must say 2011. So we're still early on, you know, the YouTube thing had not really like you know, people weren't watching shorts yet like that on a high level like they are now. It wasn't as it was today. So I was watching DVDs of short, and some of these shorts were from directors from overseas, and people had never heard of, and they were amazing. Like, like insane like Quiet productions Zack Snyder, production quality, David Fincher production quality on short stuff. And I'm like, why haven't I heard about this? Why haven't I seen this. And he's like this is the other project we're looking at. These are the other directors, but they, you know, we're working on developing other stuff. And at that moment, I really, and by the way, most of those guys, I think almost every single one of those shorts didn't ever, they never materialized. They those projects never went anywhere. Because I remember the names, I wrote down the guy's name, like, I want to see it, this guy goes anywhere. And a lot of them didn't go anywhere, they might have gone into commercials or music videos, or something else. But they didn't get to make their features in the studio system. And that was the moment I realized, like, oh, talent doesn't mean everything. Talent is great. And skill is great. But it's also with timing. It's about timing. I mean, if, if El Mariachi or clerks showed up today, we would have never heard of who Robert Rodriguez or Kevin Smith is, period. And they've said it themselves, like, it just wouldn't have made it because that was that moment of time for that, that kind of product. You know, I think I think like a young Robert Rodriguez today would have done what you guys were doing, doing like these really awesome, you know, visual effects, late and short films and putting them up on YouTube and stuff like that. But what he was able to do in 91, you know, it was a different time. So it's about timing as well. And it's weird, and that's the thing, you've, you've kind of got to be ready. At all times, like you're training constantly. You're training constantly for the Apollo fight, you're on, you're always you're you can't be like hanging out, you know, eating bomb bombs, you know, because one day Apollo is gonna call you, hey, do you want a shot at the title? And, and, and you've got to be constantly in shape, constantly ready for when that opportunity comes? And that could take 10 years?
Ryan Connolly 26:49
Yeah. And it's, it's kind of like, you have to have heat and you can try to create heat for yourself and, and that he dwindles out very quickly. And then you got to wait till the heat has been created. But it's the lottery, you're just playing the lottery over and over and over again, you can't I mean, they, there's very few things you can do to like, this is going to create heat. For me. It's like you just try over and over and some of the stuff that I did, I did a short film called Sentinel right before ballistic. And it actually got me contacted by several producers. I never would have guessed this in a million years, it was this short little piece that I just did for fun and kind of just to try something where it was just a visual effects. And one guy, I didn't even write a script, I made it all up as I went, we had a crew of like six people in the middle of nowhere and it costs me sandwiches, you know, and that got me more attention than the $30,000 short film I did with a 30 person crew. And all these actors that I flew in and all the stuff that got me zero attention. Nobody contacted me after that one. And, and similar to you. I had the similar night I didn't really do the water bottle water. Or, but after proximity, I was contacted by some managers, some agents and two different producers. And all of them asked me the same thing and I had the same answers, you know, what's the future version of this? Oh, I didn't even think about a wait a future version of this. That would be cool. Wouldn't it? Ready for that?
Alex Ferrari 28:21
Like should you should write that like you're telling them you should write that all directly good. You should want your help and call me when it's ready.
Ryan Connolly 28:28
Yeah, totally. And then it's like well, what else are you working on? Well was this I was working on this I got a PA get all of that just evaporated because it just tells them like this person's not even kind of ready anyway moving on. We'll see what they come up with down the line. So that taught me a lot and then talking to friends and whatnot needed them telling me the same then after that it was like everything I did I tried to make sure the thing that I could talk about after that and it's just like after that's just constantly trying to make a little bit of heat for yourself like ballistic got some heat which got me some stuff going and then that heat dwindled but then doing the short film there comes a knocking actually brought that heat back up that was like the main reason for making it because yeah, we have the script but if we also have the short that puts some heat because it's something actionable it's something right now that they can look at that you know Begley ballistic created enough heat to have the managers that would then allow this to get passed around because without brutal ballistic that doesn't happen. And then you know, there comes a knocking shows what is it but even what's funny is like everything is gonna lead to something if you let it like I did a short film called Ghost House back in. I think it was 2016. So it is a short film called Ghost House in 2016. It was just for fun. It was basically like a punchline of a short film like horror movies in real life. Like your house is haunted. No one's staying there. You're burning that thing to the ground. Like that's the short film in a nutshell. And a friend of mine saw it and he passed it to a friend of his who was an assistant at three arts at the time. I don't believe he was a manager yet. And and he was like, Oh, this is cool. I'd love to chat with him. So we just talked just Hey, who are you? I may, you know, this is what we do. Oh, that's cool. All right, man. Well, it's great to meet you. That was it from 2016 to the end of 2018, when ballistic hit and then all of a sudden, there's all these different producers, there was like five producers at the same time all saying they wanted to develop a feature with me. And I'm like, how does this how do you navigate this? And so I asked director, friend of mine, he's like, dude, you need a manager now. I'm like, great. So how do I do that? You know, and then I had remembered, oh, this guy, three arts. We really hit it off. Maybe he has a night. So I emailed it. I'm like, man, we I don't wanna take any your time. But I'd love to just pick your brain. Here's what's going on. And I'm not sure what to do next. Not knowing that he's now a manager at three arts and then he's like, Hey, can we jump on a call and then we jumped on the call and he really responded that short. And and that's how I got my manager. You know, and now the him and Luke Maxwell and will Robotham are at three arts are now helping me navigate all this stuff. But it's because of a relationship that just to Hey, man, what's up in 2016 for a short that nobody cared about, you know? So it's like, it's all those little things, like you said, always being ready for whatever it is. And like, all these little ingredients, eventually amount to hopefully that final baked delicious cake, you know.
Alex Ferrari 31:25
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. The one that they've been telling us about since we started this damn journey, talking about getting heat. So I actually, I was I had my first short film broken and the heat kind of fell off a little bit. But then I submitted that short to a little show called Project Greenlight. Oh really as, as a as a sample of my directing. And I made it to the top 20 Top 20 of second season a Project Greenlight. And actually, I'm in the first episode of Project Greenlight Season Two Oh, wait, are you really I am for five seconds and you here and it's I did this. Like my my video, like whatever that video is that you had to put in like the submit yourself like I can do this kind of stuff. I was 20 whatever. I was some 20 something. And I have the I actually posted the video on my YouTube channel because it was so embarrassing. so ridiculous. Like I was so egocentric. I was so like it was and I just like Alright guys, I just wanted you to see what happens. And when that aired on HBO, because that was a big thing for our industry like, project we'd like everybody in the business watch Project Greenlight, because they all wanted to see the train wreck. It was a great show. And, and then I would get calls from the managers and agents that that I like not that like oh, yeah, he's whenever Hey, what are you up to? I saw your project it was that you on Project Greenlight, and it's just me, oh my god, like five seconds in the opening montage saying, I can do this. I can do it. I've lived this. I breathed this. I could do this for I've been wanting to do this for my entire life, something along those lines. And then they cut to somebody else. It's like the montage of all the filmmakers that didn't make it. And it's just so and it's just my face, like so intense. With completely jet black hair. I didn't had no gray back then. I mean, I will I will. For everyone listening, I will put it in the show notes. Because I will put it in the show notes because it needs to happen.
Ryan Connolly 33:54
That's it. They like everything we put online. It's there forever.
Alex Ferrari 33:58
It's brutal. It's brutal, man. Yeah. No, I wanted to ask you, man, you've been doing film right for 11 years, man. How? How do you keep going because I I've been doing mine now is going to be five years in July. And I've seen a lot of people come and go, I know you've seen a lot of people come and go, as far as YouTubers, as far as podcasts as far as film blogs that come and they go and they don't really stay or they do a nice run for three or four years and then they're out. There's a level of endurance that is needed to do this kind of work. And while you're still also chasing your dream, and also doing work that you want to do, and also building and also building your business because you've got to feed that business. I don't know about you, but for me, I find it so rewarding helping people. It's addictive. It's addictive. Now I I can't live without doing something like this, because I see the impact that my work is doing for people. And then I still get the pleasure to do my own work and direct my own movies and Do my own projects and stuff like that. But the endurance is something that a lot of people come jumping into this filmmaking space either on YouTube or podcasting or blog. They have no understanding. Yeah, what it takes, like I want episode almost, I'm getting close to 400 on on this podcast, and you know, you guys, how many videos do you guys have? Like,
Ryan Connolly 35:22
It's almost that cuz we don't count everything we put up but as far as like episodes of film right go We're almost at 1000 but if you would count everything we're well over 1000 but then we used to have a show called film state, which was like a movie news show and that had something like 400 episodes. So all together with like all short films, all videos we've done 2000 probably around 2000 Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 35:49
So that's an insane amount of work to create that much content and consistently do it, which is one of the reasons why you're one of the one of the brands that has has survived and are left at the mountaintop if you will. There's a handful of of those brands that have been around for a long time that are still around but I remember I remember brands that in companies that that were around when I was starting out they're gone to just
Ryan Connolly 36:19
Yeah, you know, yeah, it is an endurance game like you're definitely right about that but I mean I think just like the industry you have to have a sickness you know takes a broken brain like we have Yeah, it's just like where sanity and insanity insanity it's just you cannot help yourself I mean, a story I told earlier on on on another show was you know ballistic when when we shot that there was there was two legs two ballistic was a an action sci fi I did and released in like 2018 and there was an LA leg to it. And there was a Texas like to at the Texas was all night stuff. It was thriller ish. And la stuff was all day action. And there was about 100 plus people on set. We had like six to eight cameras, we had practical explosions. wirework dude lit on fire, you know, ISIS car that we were launching and blowing up and madness, madness. And I had to orchestrate this chaos and Dude, I dry heaved in the morning, and on the way to set every morning, I was like, I want to go back to the hotel, I want to go back to the hotel, I want to go back to the hotel. Yeah, but then the second those monitors come up, all that falls away, it becomes blinders, and you're just in it, and it's like Game on. And, and you get through that process, and it's the most stressful, you can't eat, you know, and it's, it's horrible and amazing. And you get through the process, and you're at the end of it, and you haven't slept and you feel like shit. And you're like, God, that was hard. I can't wait to do it again. We're just sick. We're sick individuals, you know, just even like what we've been talking about, about trying to make it like, it's Jesus. It's like 16 years since film school for me longer for you. And yes, still beating our head against the wall. Because we just can't help ourselves. It's that somebody asked me yesterday, they said, You know, I haven't been doing this this that long. But I feel like I'm not getting better. And, you know, just feels like maybe this industry is not a super viable industry. And I'm like, What can I do? You know, how do you think I'm like, the only question you have to ask yourself is can you do something else? If you could do something else and be happy? This isn't for you do that thing? Yeah, you can't. If you cannot do something else, then yeah, pursue this. But you know, still be smart. I mean, you know, my I will not stop until I either die or make a movie. I don't one or the other, you know, but you still got to be smart just as you have and be able to pay your bills and provide for your family. So there is that no matter what having your financial backup plans as you're still pursuing your goal, you got to be smart, but there's no anything else I don't, I couldn't do anything else. I would be miserable. In fact, there was just like, to emphasize the point. There was a time. God, I think it was around early 2017 where I was getting so burnt out. I was just like, not super happy about life. My wife and everybody was like, dude, you need to take a break because I was working almost seven days a week like once my kids were born I took it from seven days a week to six days a week. But I was still working like insane amount of hours a week and I was starting to get sober dot and my I hadn't taken a vacation since my honeymoon which was like, you know, seven years ago and my brother was like, Alright, I'm forcing you're pulling the plug. You have to go on a vacation. I was like, fine. Okay, yes, I'll go on a vacation, went on a vacation for seven days and I came back feeling physically more refreshed but mentally I felt the exact same. I'm like What is going on? We just went on a week long, gorgeous beach vacation. I should be so like ready to get back to work. And then I started a new project and also Have that, like miserable feeling just went away. And what I realized was, it had been like over a year since I was working on something outside of just general weekly Film Riot, like, like a short film or just writing something. And I was like, Oh, that's what was making it. That's what it was. And which I, you know, we set this we have to do this thing. It's a sickness,
Alex Ferrari 40:22
it's a sick sickness,
Ryan Connolly 40:23
Just to have that like, clear evidence of like, Oh, yeah, I have to be doing this, or I'm legit, miserable, it doesn't make any sense. But you know, if if you have that sickness, it, it makes it a little easier, because you just it's not, you just can't help yourself. And then like you said, it is a bit of a drug to help people like to see it actually helped them is like, more rewarding than anything that we do. Like, if in the end, all I do is film, right, I never get my chance to make my feature. Because either a, I can't bring the finances together, myself or the studio, which is not going to happen, I'm going to do it no matter what's going to happen. But even if that were the case, the reward that Film Riot has been for me for us, would be totally worth it. Like there's been some meetings that I've had for people that, you know, are way more advanced than me. And they're like, Hey, I used to watch film, right? When I was in film school, and I'm like, shut up. Crazy. Yeah, yeah, I've had that too. It's insane. Isn't and it's a sad feeling. And then when they tell you, not only did they watch it, but then they say like, that really helped me, or this is what made me realize this is what I wanted to do. That's like, dude, nothing, nothing is more of a gift than hearing that. So that that's like a huge, you know, motivator. And, and I think, I think that feedback, not just being able to make stuff, like just being able to be creative on a weekly basis, and the education that has been brought, but that feedback, or, you know, the feedback of somebody telling us that it's entertainment for them that lets them get their mind off this or that. That stuff, I think is really what fuels the tank for us to do it over and over and over and over and over again, because it does get you know, it does get tiring. Just having that community. Yeah, that that definitely is, is the fuel for that is the main fuel in the tank, I think.
Alex Ferrari 42:19
Yeah, without question, man. And it can can you can we talk a little bit about the positive side of failing? Because Oh, yeah, because so a whole episode on it, I moved because so many people like I don't want to fail, I don't want to fail, I'm like, you have to, it's very hard to fail big and fell off. Because that's the only way you're gonna learn, you know, you don't win. If you when the, if you hit a home run, every single time you're up at bat, you will never understand when it when and where and when it doesn't happen, you won't be able to handle it because you won't have the resources inside of you. The coping mechanisms to deal with the failure, you should fail often all the time. So when those when those when those things happen that are like amazing, then you're like, Oh, this is nice, but something's gonna happen. I see it, let's go back to work.
Ryan Connolly 43:11
But and then it's also multifaceted. Like I said, I've said, since the beginning of Film Riot, my, my phrase has been like failures, the bridge to success. I don't know, if I stole that from somebody. That's my own thing. I actually don't know at this point. But I had been doing it long enough to know how important failure was. And especially now I understand even more that you two things, one, you can't appreciate what you have, unless it's been hard as hell to get it. If you eat the best $100 steak in the world every night for dinner, you know, it's not going to mean but if you just have shitty fast food all the time, and then you get to take a bite of that steak, then it's like, oh my god. So one, you're appreciating what you have. And it just makes you more well rounded person. All that failure is going to make you like specifically for me, for a director, all the failure that we've had has made me a better director, because it makes me empathize with my crew crew more, and let you lead them better with more empathy and you know, sensitivity. And then I don't know how you can be a well rounded, good storyteller that connects with an audience without experiencing that failure. But understanding of that failure is one, it's just the human experience. And it's gonna put everything in perspective for you. But to every single failure is the best education you've ever had. Like, I don't learn off of success when I show somebody a script, and they're like, this was fantastic. I'm like, cool. But what didn't work though, you know, the that all you say to me is this is fantastic. And there was nothing that didn't work for you. There's nothing I can process. There's nothing I can learn from. But if it comes back with this didn't work, this didn't work. This didn't work, even if it's not, this is why I think it didn't work that's not always needed. It's just like, Okay, this isn't landing for you. Why is that and being able to analyze those. So it's the, it's those failures, those those negative outcomes that allow you to You know, proceed get better advance as a human and a storyteller. And just a craftsman overall, I think.
Alex Ferrari 45:10
There was, there's a this young filmmaker, his name Spielberg, he never heard of him. Never heard of him. He did a few things early in the 70s and 80s. But exactly, not really into cinema, but almost take on that one. Close, I'm so close. No, um, a lot of people look at Spielberg and be like, oh, Spielberg is you know, he's the most successful film director of all time. He's made the most money, all this kind of stuff or close to it. And a lot of people don't realize it because, you know, he did Jaws, we did sugar that express which was a success for its for what it was that he did jaws which exploded. Then he did Close Encounters, which was a hit. Then he did the Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark, as well. So he was like hitting home runs at a level. But then there was this little film that no one talks about called 1941. And everybody pretends just didn't have a just everyone pretends it was this huge, like big, kind of like, john Landis style comedy with john Belushi, and all this kind of kind of stuff. And it was it was fun. It was like a really bad arm. And he, I think, as I've heard him do interviews about it, he was just like, I didn't even know what to do. He was not prepared for that kind of failure. Like, you know, because he had just been rocketing up to the top. So when he fell, it took him a minute to recoup himself and then he did etc. And then and he's had ups and downs. But he's had ups and downs you know, you know, Empire, the sun, you know, the color purple that weren't these big monster hits that he wanted them to be. So he's been up and down constantly throughout his career. But it was very interesting. Even someone like him, I mean, all of them have had it. I mean, I think even like Cameron and Scorsese and Nolan has Nolan had a bomb. I don't know if you still believe. I don't think a bomb. He's pretty much been on a rock a rock meteoric Mira kit, he's, but he's like a mutant. He doesn't really. He's a robot. He's not a robot. I actually saw him on the I saw him on the backlot once in from a distance I was on the Warner Brothers backlight and I saw him walk you just like, No, no, I actually tried to absorb whatever, Musk. He was putting off the aura of Mr. Nolan. And I saw him walk. Like he was walking. But when he walked it was like a walking of purpose. Like he's just like, I don't have time for anything. I am working. He's a mutant. He's one of those like, those creatures that just keeps keeps going. It's a very unique, he is a genius. There's absolutely no absolutely you just show there's very few directors you show up just because it's them. You know, Tarantino makes a movie. You're gonna watch it no matter what it is. You know, Nolan Fincher. You know, they make something you're like, dude, we gotta watch this is this is happening, huh? My language? Come I can't I'm so sad. Am I not mine hunter no more. No more episodes, they canceled it. Like he had five seasons set up by Fincher is crazy. David's crazy is great. David is crazy. David is good. But he's also a sir. A certified genius. His whole family is prodigies. I don't know if you knew this or not. His. His entire families are prodigies, like in music and other areas. And I've known a few people who've worked with him,
Ryan Connolly 48:44
What did they eat?
Alex Ferrari 48:47
I don't know. But they are like a whole like he when he, they're like he's at a whole other. He's playing chess and the rest of us are playing marbles. Like it's not even checkers. It's a frickin marbles. Like he's at a different place. And when you when you meet, when you meet, I've had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to some of these, these people who are at that level. And it's always fascinating, just like it's a you're like, I would have loved to make Kubrick like I would have just loved to have that conversation just for five minutes, but the meaning of your life, like I mean, exactly, you know, I mean, who else could have Tom Cruise and Nicole Kim and the two biggest movie stars of its at that time, locked up for a year and a half doing a drama and just beating down Tom Cruise with 100 of the same damn thing. He's like, I don't really see I don't really see anything until like take 72 that's when we really start getting the engine rolling.
Ryan Connolly 49:50
Okay, yeah. Yeah, actually just I'll be in the trailer. Once you're on take 80 just call me I'll come out and we'll start shooting the movie.
Alex Ferrari 49:58
It's It's insane man. Now there is something we haven't spoken about at all in this episode, which we should probably talk about, there's that elephant in the room, which is called the the Corona, their cerveza sickness that is going on. And it is devastating not only the world, but since this is a film show, we're going to talk about how it's devastating our industry. And I'd love to hear your point of view where you think things are going how things are, are changing, and will change and will not go back to the way they were. There is a lot of stuff happening. This is a once in a generation. Once in a lifetime event, this has never happened in the history of the world. And the way it is happening now. And in our industry is never dealt with any industry hasn't dealt with this. But let alone our industry has never dealt with anything like this. I mean, I can't I can't fathom a summer without a blockbuster summer. I'd like I can't, I can't. Because I'm not going to the movies this summer. I don't care if Dr. Fauci shows up and says, We're good. We're good. We've got the vaccine Rue that Yeah, like, like he says, We're good. We've got the drugs to take care of. That's if you get it. It's just kind of like getting a sniffle. You're good. You're solid. Don't worry, everyone go back outside. If Dr. Fauci said that, which he won't, but if he would say that I still would not, it's gonna take me a while before I shake a hand again, or go into or go into a public place, let alone on a big TV, or an enclosed movie theater. So that's, that's the first question, man as far as how the business is, you know, the theatrical experience. You and I grew up on the theatrical experience, you know, you're a bit younger than me, but we both remember video stores. You know, and we both Remember, you know, I remember 1989. Batman, like it was yesterday. You know, like McDonald's cups. Oh, my God, all of that. Did I still, I still have the cards. I have it for Batman. I still have them somewhere in my account. That's I have all like in the card thing, all organized stuff with the rappers Yeah. But like, I remember that excitement of there wasn't like VHS is around, obviously in video stores around but that theatrical thing, which I don't see it as much anymore, maybe because I'm older. But even when Avengers showed up, which I mean, I obviously wanted to see Avengers in the theater. And game. There's so much competition for eyeballs. Now. There's so much more to watch. Yeah, but the theatrical experience is kind of a holdover from the past. And it should be a movement of the future. I think there'll always be at some sort of theatrical experience. But I don't, there always will be there always will be the IMAX experience. The the, it's I mean, AMC theaters, when you go in there, like those couch things that they got going on now. like they've had to take their game up. But what do you like, I just read the AMC is probably going to go bang. Yeah. Like, what? How do you how do you? How do you? How do you see this going? Yeah,
Ryan Connolly 53:06
I just have a lot of questions. You know, it's like, you know, is this something where you know, you're gonna have a repeat of like, 1918 1919? Where you saw a studio step into the theatrical system? Or? Who knows? I don't know. Um, I think for sure, you know, you're, it seems to me that lower end theaters are going to have a real hard time surviving this one. And I think theatrical experience will exist, because I think people want to get out of their house, obviously, you know, people are going stir crazy. And then just the experience of seeing a movie with them, there's just a whole different level, you can't pause it, you can't, there's a different level of reverence and like respect, and like that communal experience, I don't think will ever go away. You know, I think that'll always be there one way or another, but I definitely, it definitely seems like it's changing quite a bit. And I've talked to a few people that are, you know, what, no way, way more than I did, and then ended up consulting with a few companies, which obviously, I can't I can't say about but consulted with because they're looking at other avenues. Because of the lay of the land. Yeah. And the companies that I was talking to for that it was kind of blown my mind because it's like, Man, what does this mean if you're talking to because you know, they're talking to you guys like us, because we're in this space where the YouTube space, we're in the streaming space, we understand that market, the lower indie market, and so they're starting to turn, you know, their gaze in that direction of what could we do to add another leg in that area? Because this thing is sort of, and that's kind of like, Man, what does that mean? And I don't have an answer.
Alex Ferrari 54:43
Like, if they're talking to us, we're in trouble, right? Yeah.
Ryan Connolly 54:49
Exactly. So it's like I don't know what that means. You know, and and I don't have an answer for it. I just know that those thoughts that those that thought process and those questions are being asked, and that's Like, man, and pretty much everybody I talked to says the same thing like, not 100% sure we're kind of taking it one day at a time, and we'll see what happens. But everybody, you know, keep saying things are fundamentally going to be changed, but then no one's following up with what that change is. Exactly. And so I think no one really knows. You know, I, the optimist in me, and I just, you know, it's just what I think I think we're gonna get back to great stories, I think we're gonna get back to you great storytellers, telling those great stories, you know, entertainment, and the arts are so inter woven with our daily life. And so no, Horton says, just so I mean, that's that, but like, at what in from what platform will be the main you know, source like, you know, you see like trolls to came out today straight to streaming that was gonna be you know, that was gonna be a big moneymaker in theaters for sure. And, you know, for a second, I was reading that they were considering sending wonderwoman straight to streaming and then they might push it.
Alex Ferrari 55:55
They might though, they still might, because there's their mind, how long are you going to push this stuff? Like, everyone's been pushed everything, it's going to Christmas into the winter holiday. And then you're gonna have like, 100, big blockbusters for Christmas. Like, that's not gonna be? Well, not only that, but you know, there is a very good possibility that this thing comes back in the winter. Right, right. And there is a wave of it. There's another wave of it. So and even even if everything's okay, okay, how many people went to the theater? Yeah, like how many people are really going to go to the movie theater? Like, personally, my love hate relationship with movie theaters has happened since I was a teenager, where they've had I've always said they've had a combative relationship with their customer. They they charge for food, and popcorn and stuff. Like you're like you're in an airport. Like, we don't know what a coke cost in the real world. Like there's an in these inflated costs there. And then, for a long time, the experience wasn't particularly that great unless you spent money at a higher end theater. Like now like, AMC figured out that like we better we were putting the money in. So now the seats are good. The floors aren't sticky. The floors are sticky. If you remember that dollar theatres dude. Oh, they're so gross. They were nasty. They were selling if you ever clean this ever, I mean, it was just like layers of like soda pop on the floor. And oh, it was just Oh, oh, it's horrible back in.
Ryan Connolly 57:24
Back in the day when we used to leave our house and go places. Alamo Drafthouse was my thing. Like, that's where me and my wife went like once a week, we'd have a date night to Alamo Drafthouse. Yeah, because it also it also no phones, no talking, like when you
Alex Ferrari 57:37
I love those ads. I love, love, love
Ryan Connolly 57:40
If somebody picks up their phone in front of you, and they're on Facebook, and you're like, What the hell are you doing? Like, it's one thing if you're like a parent, you're like, just checking real quick, and it goes away. Alright, I have no problem with that. But like, you're literally scrolling Facebook, like everyone else paid to be here to row like, yeah, go outside.
Alex Ferrari 57:55
So I've always felt that they've had a combative relationship with their customer base. And now I feel that it's kind of biting them in the ass because now the second there's another opportunity or their second, there's something else. They're like, you know, what I really kind of don't want to go and now have an excuse not to go because I don't want to get sick. That's going to be a difficult thing mentally, to kind of break through the customer. Like the customer is gonna have to feel really comfortable to be in an enclosed space. And that goes for concerts. That goes for huge events. This is going to be it's going to hit so and film festivals like a south by you know, and all the everything's happening with that Kansas holding in there. But the you know, there that's Yeah, that's I don't see I can't see that happening.
Ryan Connolly 58:39
It's just so crazy and interesting to me because it all just is so unprecedented that there's really no like, because I mean, you can look all the way back to 1918 100 years ago like what is that really going to tell? You know what I mean? Like
Alex Ferrari 58:56
didn't even know what they had no idea what bacteria was, they didn't know that washing your hands was a thing.
Ryan Connolly 59:03
And there was no home entertainment that wasn't a thing now we have all these streaming services. We got Netflix, you know have you seen the trailer for that new Chris Hemsworth movie that's going straight to Netflix looks like $100 million blow
Alex Ferrari 59:14
I heard it Yeah. Who is it? Isn't that with the Russo brothers? Yeah, I didn't know that was going to that's going to the Netflix that's going to Netflix
Ryan Connolly 59:21
Going to Netflix and they produce it and I think Joe Russo maybe wrote it one of the Russo brothers read it maybe but it looks badass but it looks like this massive to it is this massive tentpole project and it's just going to, you know, it's a Scorsese film, what straighten it. So it's a different world. So that kind of throws you know, a wrench into the works to of trying to be, you know, trying to predict what might be the outcome of this situation. So it's like, it's just a lot of questions from me. The only thing I land on is, you know, we're gonna keep telling great stories. I don't know what the medium for delivery of those stories are going to be as far as like the main Like, well theaters start to take a much bigger backseat and be less of a thing. You know, for the first time ever, I would say maybe, but are they going to go away? I would say no, no way. But who knows who freaking knows this thing is so crazy.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:14
I mean, look, I remember when home video wasn't a thing I remember when I remember going to my first video store when I was in 84. It was in New York, and I went to my first video store when we rented Flashdance. We rented Flashdance and we watched it on the other top loaded, it was a top loaded VHS I remember I remember it was a tablet, a tank of a VHS and we watched it. And I remember walking into a video store. And I remember, like I worked in a video store when I was in high school. So I worked there for like four or five years. And I I remember that that what like home video wasn't a thing. Like no one ever thought that that was going to take over. No one ever thought that DVDs were going to do the thing. No one ever thought that streaming was going to be a thing. And now we're saying no one ever thought that movie theaters weren't going to be a thing. And if they aren't, and if you look at the current model of businesses, let's talk a little bit about money here. In the current business model, in order to justify a 200 plus million dollar tentpole, there has to be a theatrical revenue stream to justify it. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show that you can't make Avengers for Disney Plus, you might be able to get away with it now. Yeah, right now you can Oh, we can know that you could do it now, because they still only have 20 million subscribers. But when you hit mass, critical mass, in the US, let's say let's say 200 million people sign up for Disney plus. And that's it. Like you're not there's no more if nobody else is gonna sign up for it. Now you're spending 200 million to keep what you have not to make more. So how there's going to be a moment where that money has to drop. And so it makes sense to keep that revenue stream, you see what I'm saying? Where Yeah, me. And also before the $200 million movie was completely reliant on the US box office, which now it's completely reliant on the international box office, which now like when China shut down every once in a while, what what, what what happened? What happened? And then now Oh, Europe, just shut down. And then everything just shut down? So if those revenue streams, aren't there, I, is there a future for as many tent poles? As we're getting?
Ryan Connolly 1:02:45
Yeah, that's that is a good question. That is a very good question. I think, you know, the rest of this year is gonna, like at least present possible outcomes, you know, because I think we're gonna be really, like heading in a direction for the next few years? No, I don't think we're really going to land on the this is the outcome of this happening for another two to five years. But I think, you know, toward the end of this year, I think we'll finally have an indication like, we'll have a mile marker to, to sort of be like, okay, here's what this looks like. It's where where it can be predicted at that point. But, like, right now, at least for me, and I don't know. But I, you know, curious and hopeful and my fingers are crossed? Because, I mean, I certainly don't want theaters to go away.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:31
I don't either. I think they're loved that experience. Yeah, absolutely. But the one thing also, I feel that there is going to be some casualties in the, in the business meeting, our companies, companies or companies are going to go down and studios are going to be either go down or get acquired a big, big studios that we know of, and have grown up with, I mean, look, Fox just got bought, for God's sakes, you know, by Disney. So if Fox could get bought, you know, there's four or five other studios that have that were lower on the totem pole that could easily be purchased by Apple, Google, Facebook, you know, any of those big guys who have those guns, it's that the landscape is going to change in such a way that we can't, nobody really knows. Nobody knows what's gonna happen.
Ryan Connolly 1:04:16
I think it's most definitely going to accelerate the acceptance of and the draw to streaming. I mean, we're already headed there. But obviously that's just gonna accelerate like be the acceptance and adoption of it from some of the major studios and players I think are is going to happen far quicker than it was going to that but that's just kind of obvious. Because what other what other option is there? It's don't or there's this.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:43
Yeah, and I'm curious about this whole $20 you know, I call it premium t VOD, that they have like trolls came out today at 20 bucks. Yeah. You know, like, I don't I want to see numbers. I don't how many people are paying 20 bucks. I feel that's a fair number for a family
Ryan Connolly 1:04:57
Kind of but that's what they charge. Anyway, like It's usually about 1999 when a brand new movie comes it and so it's not even an insult,
Alex Ferrari 1:05:05
But to buy the who's buying who's buying movies nowadays? That's the other thing. Like, I know, I've seen TV numbers, and that but you come from a different generation though.
Ryan Connolly 1:05:12
Yeah, come from my mom. I buy it for the special features if I could rent the special features I totally what,
Alex Ferrari 1:05:18
But the point but yeah, but you but you're an anomaly. Like you're a very small market, like you're a film very true. You're a, you're a filmmaker. And you also come from a generation where we were used to purchasing these things. Because that's what we that's the only way. So we had physical media libraries and DVDs and things like that. But there's a generation that expects all this for free, like or expects it as part of their subscription model, like
Ryan Connolly 1:05:41
Or just feels free because their parents pay for this thing, and they never have that experience of it.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:46
Yeah. So you know, I I'm really curious to see also how much longer I'm now I'm really curious,
Ryan Connolly 1:05:53
is how much is it that to rent like, what's what does it cost to rent for a brand new,
Alex Ferrari 1:05:57
like, if you were gonna rent? No, no, no, it's, it's 20 bucks, period. It's 20 bucks
Ryan Connolly 1:06:02
To rent it?
Alex Ferrari 1:06:03
Yeah, it's not you're not buying if it's in a box, it's renting it for 20 bucks, because it's premium. It's like going to the theater. Gotcha. Okay, so it's not available? That makes more sense. Yeah, it's not. So you're paying a rental. Now, if you're gonna go out to the theater, and you want to first run a movie, and you have a couple and you've got kids, that's an 80 $90. If you get popcorn and stuff, it's 8090 bucks, 100 bucks to go out to the movies. And if you got a full family, or you're going out with Francis, it could easily, you know, go past three figures. So $20 for home in you have a nice system at home. It's not outrageous. But I'm used to paying something else in this environment. And I the psychology of that.
Ryan Connolly 1:06:47
What you're saying is, is because also a ticket costs me let's say 15 bucks. Right? Right. But then I'm looking at him like, this is $20 kids movie, are you kidding me? When really, you know, like you said, in actuality, I'm buying my ticket, my wife's kit kit, my kids ticket, then we're getting popcorn. And it inflates to like this $80 fair wear but it's like $20 for a cartoon just to rent it. That's because of the psychology of like, exactly what you said in this space.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:15
It's a very, so I'm really curious on what those numbers are going to be like, because, you know, they haven't released a bunch of them already. And some of them, they have to have no other way to make any money with
Ryan Connolly 1:07:29
The numbers because they don't really they the streaming numbers are always a lot pretty confusing. They're not as cutting drop box.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:35
Right? And they and this is not a part. This is not a thing like you know, premium t VOD number this week, box off. Yeah. So I'm curious to see what those numbers really are. And if they're making, you know, I know they're not making 20 I know trolls is not gonna make $20 million $30 million. I just don't. I just don't see that. And this never
Ryan Connolly 1:07:57
looked much into streaming numbers. There's there somewhere that that posts those numbers like yeah,
Alex Ferrari 1:08:03
there there isn't there, isn't there? There. I have some back end friends who work at some of these places that showed me numbers. But I would see some of these numbers. I would see some of these numbers and I'd be like, Oh, so that tentpole movie made 50 grand this week. Oh, oh, okay. You know, like, like in TiVo like, Oh, Oh, right. I mean, I personally think t VOD is dying a slow miserable death because nobody want no one's renting. It's very difficult to rent or purchase. Most people are waiting for Netflix waiting for the part of their subscription model. It's just like, they're like, there's just so much good stuff to watch. I don't need to go out unless it's like if it's Avengers, like I paid 20 bucks to see Avengers. I would rather see it in the theater, but I would pay 20 bucks for the next Marvel movie. You know, I probably like I'd probably, you know, I'll probably pay 20 bucks to blackwidow my page 20 bucks for Wonder Woman you know these big, you know, extravaganza kind of films, spectacle films. I might do that. And that's a big might do that. But I mean onward the Pixar movie. It was one week and T premium t VOD. A weekend rentals. like normal and then it's in freakin Disney plus, like two weeks later, I was like, yo, what's going on? What's going on? Like, explain? I don't understand. So the business it's like we are in an upside down Bizarro world right now. I don't think that they I've been saying this for a while that the the the money that's being spent in streaming is a bubble. Like you can't keep that. Spending just buying catalogs buying libraries. 100 billion dollar $100 million for this friend's thing and another 150 for all the South parks and and all this stuff. And they're just buying content buying content cuz it's kind of like a space race, if you will, a streaming race or streaming wars as they call it streaming wars, right? Yeah. To try to bring every By the end, but I think a lot of that is based on future projections of growth. But if those future projections of growth are not there, or slowed because of what we're doing, do you know how much Netflix is? So in the whole Netflix is billions in the hole. And they're leveraged to the hilt, because they're just trying to grab market share. They're trying to grab market share, trying to grab market share. And I don't know, I don't know where it's gonna go, dude. I mean, it's, it's, it's a weird word.
Ryan Connolly 1:10:31
Yeah, yeah. Same here, man. I have no like solid predictions. I just have, you know, optimal towards a story. And that's about it. And then it's like, well, I guess we'll see, you know? Yeah, it's crazy. Have you?
Alex Ferrari 1:10:47
Have you seen any noticeable jumps in your, in your numbers, from traffic and stuff? Since the corona thing, like more people find our
Ryan Connolly 1:10:56
Yeah, our numbers have gone up quite a bit. However, our other show hasn't. Under under my company trying films, we also have another show called variant which is about comic books. But that has pretty much, you know, stayed even keel. And I've noticed other channels didn't, I wasn't really seeing a boost there either. So it's probably more along the lines of the content we're putting out that people were just attaching to because, you know, we're doing the contest of like, we're all stuck at home. Let's, let's talk about that. So it seems to be people are just, you know, responding to that more, maybe I don't, I don't really know, I guess we'll just have to wait and see in the months ahead. As we do different content, if it goes back to normal, or if it will see because it also it all kind of hit at the same time. Like there's been a little bit of a slowdown in film, right as some behind the scenes stuff was worked on. So that's been a little more slow goings. And just as of a few weeks ago, we started wrapping back up and this hit so it I don't really know which thing is doing that, because there's three things happening at once. And I'm, maybe it's all of the above, that's, you know, that's doing that. So I can't really tell because everything else other than that seems to be no difference.
Alex Ferrari 1:12:09
So, sure, so since you are you are a YouTube OG, I have to ask you the question. If you were going to start a YouTube channel today, is it a viable way to make a living?
Ryan Connolly 1:12:25
I mean, I think, you know, I think it's as viable now as it was then like, it's just a stupid idea. You know, it's just like getting into the industry, it's the same thing, you know, if 100 people do it, maybe one of them might be able to be fine, some, you know, success, success, and and, you know, maybe one out of 100,000 might find actual solid success, and maybe one out of a million might find longevity in that success, you know, and that seems very, you know, to be the case across all sorts of media, this kind and it's just and I mean, Film Riot, at first I started as a show called making the film, which in an episode, we put up one of those original episodes, it was unbelievably bad. But I did that for free. Because YouTube didn't make money. There was no monetizing at the time, there was no money to be made. So that came from sponsors, but how am I going to get sponsors and I didn't even know that was a thing yet. So I had no aspirations of money out of the thing to start with, I was just doing it for the love of it. And then it got picked up by revision three, and then they blew my mind with Oh, you can put sponsors on this. And you can actually make this a job. And I was like, wait, I'm sorry, this can make money. And then that happened. And it didn't make me any money for I had a full time job for over I think it was over a year before I was able to finally quit my full time job and focus on this. And then even that it was several years before I could pay anyone else other than myself, really. So it was me doing everything by myself. And then finally I was able to it was bit by bit it took years that turn it into a thing. It wasn't like, you know, you have people who, you know, go on and hit for doing this or that, but that that candle ends up burning out, you know, it's the ones that put in that it took a long time to build and understand. And it's kind of like you You were saying earlier, the maturity that comes with it, I think is what leads to longevity. Because there, you know, it's been really hard. And then sometimes reviews are really good. And sometimes they're not. Sometimes you're getting a great rate from sponsors. And sometimes they're like, Listen, dude, you're getting 30,000 an episode, we cannot pay you that and you're like, great. So then you have to have multiple legs. It can't just be this one thing is one basket, you know, you got to have multiple shows in a store and you're also doing stuff work on the side that no one will ever hear about, but it helps pay the bills. They're versatile. They're diversifying your revenue streams. Exactly. diversification is everything. My dad always posed it to me as like, which is probably you know, he probably got it from somewhere but he's like if you're gonna sit on the stool, you Do you need four legs right now? Like, yeah, that's the like, take off one of those legs now sit on the stool. How comfortable is it? I'm like, Oh, he's like, now take off two legs now How you doing? Oh, now have one leg on that stool? Are you able to sit on that stool? Nope. He's like, there you go. I like and I own a company. And
Alex Ferrari 1:15:16
I'm gonna steal that I'm gonna steal that. That's so good. So good.
Ryan Connolly 1:15:20
And that's what he taught me that since you know, I was young, because he owned a company. And so he really understood what that meant. So he's been quite quite a mentor to me as far as you know, building a company and, and that was I had that person to talk to to help. But if it wasn't for that, thinking, if it wasn't for my dad, putting that four legs on the stool mindset in my head, I don't think film right would be around today, because there's no way I would have sustained it. In fact, we just went through a period of time where we had several months without a single sponsor, we were doing Film Riot, for free. It was everything else that was helping us sustain us through that time, as we move out of one thing and into another. And it had to have that so we could move into a new, you know, path. But you know, the, it's difficult. So I guess the point I'm making is, I don't think it's viable for anyone on its own. If you're gonna do this, it needs to be multifaceted, there needs to be multiple things, and you need to be regardless if it was 2009. Or right now, you need to be ready, just like anything else in this industry, which is basically been our entire talk, you need to be ready to plant your feet in the ground and endure this thing for years and years and years and years. Not case views. We've never chased views. We do like some like flash speed effect every now and again, because we want to because it'll be fun, not because we know it's gonna get a ton of views. And that's been one of the reasons why, you know, our show has probably built slower than it could have the views, you know, are up and down a little more than that. But for me, it's if we're chasing views, I just can't do that. I wouldn't be able to keep doing this. I don't care. You know, I want to talk about what is the psychology between why I put together this action scene not just Hey, check out this cool stuff. But let's talk about the psychology but let's talk about the intention of what's going on. You know that what is it you know, what does it mean with what is happening with the camera you know, that stuff? That stuff doesn't always get the most views but you know, it's the stuff that really matters to me so we balance it out. So it's you know, I think it's that doing something that you have to do just like anything else if you're doing YouTube to make money from it, but it ain't gonna last and and YouTube revenue just frickin forget it unless you're making millions of views every single episode you're not making enough money to sustain it's just not a thing. It's like the YouTube revenue we don't even hardly pay attention to it. It's all that's all like sponsor base or however else you could parlay that into something. So yeah, man, it's just super hard. I think anything in the entertainment industry comes back to that same thing I said before with that Twitter question of the only question you have to ask yourself is can you do something else? If you can? Don't do this? Because it is friggin hard.
Alex Ferrari 1:18:06
And everything you just said and obviously film a shampoo prank videos. That's obviously how
Ryan Connolly 1:18:12
Well obviously shampoo pranks and be a horrible person and blogs and you're
Alex Ferrari 1:18:21
How about if you do a shampoo prank video on a cat while being a douche? A billion YouTube channel now I'm going to ask you a few questions I asked all of my guests sir. What advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today? Besides the shampoo prank cats and being a douche? Okay, besides the shampoo douchebag cat prank? Cats the douchebag and do i think i think we should do a collab honestly, we should do a collab and really do that video.
Ryan Connolly 1:19:00
I think it see what douchebag but I think it's just kind of what we've been talking about is you just need to do it. Everything is for me, it's been entirely about building experience in my entire career has entirely been about building. I mean, even you know, recently, excitingly I'm able to which we've been open and honest about it on the Film Riot channel and will something come of it I don't know. But I've been able to talk to you know, studios and stuff and we're starting to do that thing and being able to have these conversations and pitch the way that I've been able to pitch has been a result of the experience that I've gained from Film Riot and being come becoming comfortable in my voice as a filmmaker and again, that's just all experience based being able to direct their comes knocking like I did or ballistic like I did was purely based off the experience that came before it with each one, learning from it and learning how to you know, not diving into the deep end right away but dipping my toe into the the shallow end of the pool and then getting in Then moving Little by little, you know, starting to work with a dp, I used to do it myself. Now I worked with a dp. Okay, I know what that is. And he taught me all these things. Okay, great. Now we bring in a sound team, and they're teaching me what that is. Okay, great. And now I'm bringing in makeup and wardrobe. And they're teaching me Okay, great. And then the stunt team, and then more of a visual effects team. And then a full post pipeline, and my editors really teaching you how this pipeline works. Okay, great, you know, little by little crafting that experience over the course of it's been, you know, 10 years publicly, but even more so after that. Before that. And then even before getting to those collaborators, all the time that I put in doing it myself, and spending, what could take two hours with a crew is my entire day of shooting, you know, when I shot my short film, tell, which we actually shot in 2008, before film right ever existed. And then we released in 2012. But we made it seem like we were shooting it now. Because, you know, obviously, it would be a lot more fun to feel involved in the moment. But in 2008, I didn't know anybody in film, the only person that knew anything that was happening was my roommate, who's also my cousin who went to full sail with me. So we're the only two people there that know anything about film, my 13 year old sister was the boom operator. And the actors were cool with it, which was amazing, you know, tons of DIY gear, it's me operating a crane as the director, dp sound guy, you know. So it's, and that took, you know, every weekend for that, I remember how it ended up being like a 30 minute short film. And, man, I don't know how many days it actually was, I don't think we put all the days to get we combined days to like, make it faster on the show and not be so boring. But it was more days, just weekend after weekend after weekend after week, because we all had full time jobs. And I put it all on a credit card, which I don't suggest you do, obviously, that's stupid. But you know, I did what I had to do. And so I think that that's it, like getting out of your head that this is an easy road, it is not, it is a very bumpy path. And it is a very long road that might lead to a dead end, it might lead to a dead end, that's just fact, this path that I'm on, it might be a dead end, but I'm going to stay on it until I don't have a choice, you know, and understanding those things, I think is really important. Because they're just hard truths, you know, and you might be a thing where you end up being a filmmaker that you're making film to because you're doing it yourself, no one ever opened the gate to you, you know, that's a possibility. You know, that's, that's more of a likelihood than not, which is discouraging. But if you're doing it for that end goal, I don't know how far you're gonna get anyway, it has to be that sickness, it has to be the passion and love for telling a story and connecting with an audience through that story. If you have that, then that's all that matters, you know, so that would be my, my main bit of advice is Do it, do it again, do it some more and just keep going
Alex Ferrari 1:22:56
And, and enjoy the enjoy the path. Because if that path does lead to it, and then you and your only hope was the end goal, and you hated the path you walked, you're going to be you're going to be the I always say you're going to be you become that angry, bitter filmmaker. And I always anytime I do a talk or something, I go everybody here, we all know an angry and bitter filmmaker. And if you don't know the better filmmaker, you are the angry and bitter filmmaker that everybody else knows. You're the dude that if you don't know them, that means it's you.
Ryan Connolly 1:23:30
That is a that's actually a great way to distill it of no matter what even if you make it because I know we both know filmmakers who are currently doing it. And it is not the end result. That's the reward. It's the journey that's the reward that Olds hold saying and even in the short film realm, you know, I've been lucky enough to make a short film and I have an audience to put that short film out and you know, I think ballistic is over a million views now so but that's not the reward you know, making it there was a reward and then the journey of the audience connection to it is the reward you know, and then if that's on thing well then now I'm on to making the next one and that you know, that path is the reward so it's like you said you got to be happy with the path because the end result may never be a reward.
Alex Ferrari 1:24:15
Now what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life Oh, man, that is a tough one because I'm I'm flawless Obviously, I'm polishing my Oscar as we speak.
Ryan Connolly 1:24:28
Yeah. God, there's so I feel like every other day I'm learning something that I'm like, God, I'm such an idiot. You know? I think balance Yeah, that would absolutely be which is a mixture of, you know, career and life. And to my wife's credit, she is you know, the most patient, angelic saint like human being I've ever met in my life. And I think that's what all of our if we're all still with someone, that's what they are. She She gently helped me arrive to a place of balance. Because you know, I just burning the candle on both ends the entire time. You know, before kids were born seven days a week, minimum 15 hours a day minimum. So my average was 1518 hours a day and then I'd roll into bed roll out of bed and go right back to it. That's just like legitimately what was going on. And often, especially the first year of Film Riot, I've talked about it, I call it the dark days, I went two days without sleeping every week without fail because I had that full time job. And on Wednesday night, I would have to deliver the episodes. So I would stay up all night, finishing the episode, I would hit upload pants on and go right to work, I kept the pillow at work because of that. So you know, during lunch, I would try to take a nap I that's when I discovered Newton naps where you keep a spoon in your hand and you like lay on the thing. And then once you doze off, you release a spoon, it hits the tile and it wakes you up. And that was like these little micro naps and actually helped me out a little bit. And it got even worse during like holidays because then Alienware would ramp up with contents on producing way more. So I'm already working overtime and Alienware. Plus, there was still this thing. And, you know, that was kind of, you know, what choice do I have situation, but then that way of living stuck. And that's how I worked. And it took a while, but there was a, it finally landed on. If I stopped work at this time, the world's not gonna fall apart, everything's not gonna first. It'll be here tomorrow. And it was really the birth of my first kid, my daughter that clicked like, I am not missing this. And I kind of I just regret five years of being married and wasting so much time that we could have been doing more fun stuff. And she was just being patient, waiting for me to figure it out, you know. But even with my kid, she she had a sit down talk with me and, and it's I credit my wife entirely. And she just had a heart to heart of being like, I'll follow you, wherever you go. It wasn't an ultimatum. But she's like, I am terrified that in 20 years, you're going to look back and regret all the time. And I've said it on film, right? Ever since I quoted on film, right ever since at 80 I will not look back and regret the movies I didn't make I'll look back and regret the time I missed with my family. And a man that's that's the lesson that has been learned. And I'm still trying my best I've been doing better. You know, sometimes in this industry, you know, it just gets hard. Right now is one of those times finding balance. So it has its ups and downs. But for the most part, I've found a decent balance. And I've been trying to be there more because I don't know who said it. But I so far, I think it's the truest thing I've ever heard is, you know, just being there is 90% of the way toward being a good parent, you know? So that's I've been really focusing on making sure I'm there and not like this ghost of a memory to my kids like that. That would be the dagger to the heart for me.
Alex Ferrari 1:28:15
Very great answer to that question, sir. And quickly three of your favorite films of all time that will be on your tombstone go.
Ryan Connolly 1:28:23
Jurassic Park. Okay, Alien. God, I have a bunch of Indiana Jones and Mission Impossible? Can I add,Can I four?
Alex Ferrari 1:28:32
How about that Jaw's sitting behind you?
Ryan Connolly 1:28:35
Oh, jaws is up there. Basically any film from hit Oh, rope, rear window. Dial M for Murder psycho. You truly don't understand your film.
Alex Ferrari 1:28:45
You truly don't understand the topic of three.
Ryan Connolly 1:28:48
This hurts me. I would say like, everybody knows who watches the show. Everybody knows my, my sick love for Jurassic Park. And it's just because Jurassic Park like changed my world. I was already making like stuff for my family. But when I saw it as like bark, I was like, 11. And it was an experience. Like I watch movies like that. Yeah. I mean, it really was experience that no one had. But you know, I love to watch movies of that. Yeah, at 11. And so I felt so unsafe in this safe place. So after that, I became obsessed with this Spielberg dude, like, Who's Spielberg? And what's a director because that's what I want to do. Like, and once I figured that out, it was just like, so that's my like, I mean, plus, it's just an incredible film. But that's, you know, that's my massive admiration for that film is that's what made me realize what I specifically wanted to do like what I've been already pursuing and not knowing and to that experience that I felt as an audience member as has been something that I've been chasing ever since. Now, where can people find you in the work you do, sir? You can just go to a Film Riot, calm and pretty much everything's there. Of course, we're on YouTube as well at YouTube. comport slash Film Riot but film right comm has pretty much everything, including the podcasts we do and page to connect with any of us our social media all that.
Alex Ferrari 1:30:09
Man It has been a pleasure talking to you, Ryan for the second time. We just nailed out to full blown podcasts. Thank you, Kyla, thank you, quarantine. Thank you so much for the show. But for all the good work you've done community for the last over a decade of work and all those sleepless hours that you put into, into the work you do with fullbright. Man I truly appreciate and hustle definitely recognize this hustle. So I appreciate everything that you do. And thank you for being on the show, brother.
Ryan Connolly 1:30:46
Thanks. I appreciate that. Thanks so much. And thanks for having me. This is a blast.
Alex Ferrari 1:30:50
I want to thank Ryan for being on the show and dropping those knowledge bombs on the indie film hustle tribe today, brother I I am a fan Ryan, I am grateful for what you do for the filmmaking community at large and have been doing it you are an OG in this space. So thank you again for not only being on the show, but for everything you do, man. If you want to get links to anything we spoke about in this episode, including checking out some film rights awesome content, head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustlecom/400. And guys, I wanted to let you know that the beta version of my new epic course on film distribution called film distribution confidential, or predatory film distributors do not want you to know is in beta launch right now. So I have 100 seats, actually less than 100 seats now available for anyone who wants to jump in early at a massive discount. And you get to watch me build the course and help me build the course as I start uploading new lessons every week. And everyone who's inside so far is loving the course, really giving me some great feedback and helping me build out the most comprehensive course on film distribution for today's world that exists on the planet. So if you want to check that out, head over to indie film hustle comm forward slash let me in. Thank you again, for listening guys. I am again humbled that we have gotten to this, this level in this podcast of Episode Number 400. I continue I plan to continue going I don't see any time in the near future where I will stop doing these. If anything, I'm adding more and more on the pot on podcast on my podcast plate if you will, as you guys know the new podcast filmmaking motivation, which has been very well received when you get your weekly motivation to keep going down this path as insane as it might be sometimes. And we of course launched the ifH Podcast Network, which is going to be housing some of the best filmmaking, podcast and screenwriting podcast around as I personally will be curating new shows as they come in. We are adding new shows all the time. So if you want to check out what we have, and if you want to discover some new podcasts if you don't have enough to listen to with me, you can head over to eye f h podcast network.com. I appreciate you and I thank you guys so much for giving me the privilege of doing this for you every day. Thank you again. And as always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. Stay safe out there. 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.