Today on the show we have 18 time Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Jeff MacIntyre. Jeff is the director of the new film The Great Cookie Comeback. Famous Wally Amos introduced us to his famous cookie in 1975. It was love at first bite! 🍪 Then…he lost it all to a big corporation. For 30 years, Wally’s been hustling to get it back. At 82, facing huge personal and financial challenges, can he make his new cookie as famous as his first? Nobody deserves a Great Cookie Comeback like Wally Amos!
Jeff wanted to be completely transparent on what he did right and wrong on his self-distribution adventures. He decides to create a 45 min+ mini-doc explain the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here's some info on the doc.
Today, anyone can make an indie film or documentary. The real challenge is selling/distributing your film! In this brutally honest case study, I reveal my steps and strategies for launching a feature doc.
Real numbers will be shared! It ain’t pretty, but I hope it helps you. Honestly, there’s too much focus on film-making and not enough on film marketing, film-promoting and film-selling. As indie filmmakers, we must wear all these hats for a fighting chance to successfully self-distribute a film/doc.
I just launched a feature-length doc about Wally Amos…THE Amos behind Famous Amos Cookies. This wasn’t my first film. I’ve been cranking out docs for a major network for decades…picked up 17 Emmy Awards along the way. I’m pretty comfortable with “the making” of content. However, brand new was the selling/self-distribution responsibilities with this documentary.
Choosing to self-distribute wasn’t an easy choice. But the alternative of “traditional” film distribution was as appealing as getting a colonoscopy from a dentist. 96% of distributors see you like a juicy fly which they hope to woo to their web. Getting drained dry by a used Porta Potty salesman wasn’t a priority. So, I decided to blaze the self-distribution trail alone.
There are so many moving parts to pull off a successful film launch. Fresh off the trail, I thought it might be helpful to document the entire experience for other indie filmmakers. Rarely, do creatives share exact numbers? From the film’s production budget to ad spend to profits, I peel the curtain back. Warts and all, you’re going to have a front-row seat on what it looks like to self-distribute, market, and sell a doc in this new era of indie film.
Famous Amos even made it on Shark Tank to pitch his new cookie concept.
I reached out to Jeff so he could share his story with the tribe. If you are thinking of self-distributing your film this is an episode you will not want to miss. Enjoy my conversation with Jeff MacIntyre.
Alex Ferrari 2:23
Now guys, today on the show, we have 17 time Emmy Award winning filmmaker Jeff MacIntyre. And Jeff is the director of a new film called The Great cookie comeback, which is basically a documentary about the founder of famous Amos cookies, and how he lost everything and is trying to make a comeback in his 80s. Now Jeff decided to self distribute his film because he was getting such ridiculous offers from traditional film distributors. So he thought that he'd have a chance on going at it alone and seeing what he could actually make. You know, we have, you know, somebody who's, you have a niche of cookie lovers, you've have someone who's a celebrity people who know who famous Amos is, a lot of things are in his favor with self distribution, the cost of the film was low, all of those kinds of good things. But he had, you know, a few mishaps, and a few wins a few, you know, losses during his misadventure self distributing. So he wanted to come on the show to talk about the good, the bad, and definitely the ugly of self distributing a film in today's world. And if you are thinking of self distributing your film, this is an episode you absolutely need to listen to. So without any further ado, please enjoy my eye opening conversation with Jeff MacIntyre. I'd like to welcome to the show Jeff MacIntyre. Man, thank you so much for being on the show. Brother.
Jeff MacIntyre 3:51
Me. Yes. Great to be here, Alex. Thank you.
Alex Ferrari 3:54
I appreciate that
Jeff MacIntyre 3:55
Let me just say right to kick things off. I think I have to state the obvious, you know, with everything that's going on in the world right now. I don't think there's any bigger warning sign that the end is near by the fact that Alex booked a failed filmmaker on his show. I mean, come on. If that's not proof, the end is coming to start digging your bunker. These are desperate times.
Alex Ferrari 4:16
Listen, listen, my friend. I hope I'm the host. And I'm a failed filmmaker in many ways, as well. So don't don't worry about it. So we have all failed in one way, shape or form. So it's all good. But I also also Do you believe that you learn much more from failure than you ever do from success? So that's why you're present. And that's why you and I which are I'm assuming similar vintages as far as age is concerned. That we wait we have enough old enough sir Exactly. We have the shrapnel and and you What is it? What's that saying? My wife says it all the time. The devil is more devil because of how long he's been around how old he is. So it's not because he's a devil.
Jeff MacIntyre 5:01
Oh, yeah, Oh, yeah, he's had more practice. perfected devilish. And we have the shrapnel but we've also got the medicine to help soothe the wounds.
Alex Ferrari 5:12
For people listening wrote that film. I think he's holding up a wild turkey is that
Jeff MacIntyre 5:19
This is High, West. High, West. Oh, you like good Bourbons and whiskeys. They are just knocking it out of the park.
Alex Ferrari 5:27
There you go. There you go.
Jeff MacIntyre 5:28
I know. I could see you possibly don't believe in you need a little proof. So what I'll do for the community, I'm taking one for the community here. And this guarantees this show is only going to get better.
Alex Ferrari 5:39
I feel that this is going to be a good episode. Jeff, I'm just have a feeling that this might be a fun episode. So first and foremost, how did you get into this ridiculous business?
Jeff MacIntyre 5:50
That is a key word. I'll take you way back to the ripe young age of 15. I got started in radio at this cheeseball local radio station.
Alex Ferrari 6:00
What is it? What is this? What is this? What is this radio you speak of? I don't understand. Oh, Is it like a podcast.
Jeff MacIntyre 6:06
No, no, this was a real FM radio station back in 1985. It was a true cast. Yes, not a podcast. And they eventually acquired even a cheesier cable access station. So that's kind of where the ball started rolling out 1617 started doing on camera stuff. But the real pivotal moment where things really broke open and I really owe a lot of my career to was ASI. Not not the the film school. Alternative fact interpretation. Asi. I told a couple really big lies to score some really sweet positions with ABC TV. This is back in the 90s and they desperate spot they needed technicians in shooters editors, and the bar was so low anyone with a pulse and one working good. I probably could have gotten a gig. So I come in, I meet with the head honcho this gruff, old grizzled news guy. Yeah. Well, who are you? What do you what can you do for me? Well, I am an editor. Sure I am Why not? I can be anything the guy wanted that day. And granted to that point, I had edited, very prestigious productions, like weddings and bar mitzvahs. So I understood the basics of cutting, but maybe not on the broadcast news level, but the interviews progressing. Can you edit? Sure I can. You can do news? Well, it would be news to me if I couldn't do news. Wow. Oh, this sounds good. So you'll start tomorrow? Oh, just out of curiosity for your news. Business here. What kind of equipment do you use to edit your news? Oh, the Sony arm 450. Old Of course. Great choice. That's what I'd use. Thank you. I'll see you tomorrow. So I get in the parking lot. And I break out my big huge cell phone I call a buddy who owns a production company. Hey, Greg. It's Jeff. I just got this sweet gig at CHANNEL SEVEN. But I have to learn how to edit. Do you have a Sony Rm 350. And he said, Come on over, he got me up to speed. And that's what really started the professional ball rolling. And from there, I told some other sweet lies. And sure I know how to shoot professional stuff and produce in the field. So they sent me to foreign countries. And that's what I tell young filmmakers and professionals don't wait till the door opens for you the moment you see a crack you bust through that door and show up with confidence. And if you know in your heart, you're not going to screw people over and you probably can learn on the job and do so quickly. You do it because those opportunities rarely come twice in that those moments.
Alex Ferrari 8:42
And that is exactly what I did with my fake editing demo reel which I used by grabbing other people's commercial spots, raw footage, re editing them slapping a Nike logo at the end of it. And I would go they were like you know 20 like 10 million $5 million commercials, whatever like, but they were foreign raw footage from like Europe. And I was editing I was working at a production house I grabbed it all put it together, send it out. And I started working as an editor really quick. But you knew you had the skills you had not had to make a make a claim? Correct. That's the thing. That's the thing when you're going to get your fake it till you make it you need to understand that you might have to bend the truth to get in the door. But you've got to produce once you're in the door, or learn on the job and things like that. And I did that multiple times while I was coming up and I think all big you know all all professionals have one point or another extended the truth of what their capabilities or experience was and figure it out along the way just to get the opportunity because you're right. If you see that crack, you gotta bust through that door. Without question.
Jeff MacIntyre 9:48
Definitely. It's not like today where we all own the transmitter. Basically, we all have our own channels, but back in the days you and I were coming up. I mean there were a huge gun. Go To gun guarded gates, they weren't letting you in me. And
Alex Ferrari 10:04
That's for damn sure, sir. Now tell me about your new film The Great cookie comeback. Tell me about it.
Jeff MacIntyre 10:10
I really prefer not to talk about that film. I'd like to talk about interpretive dance. What?
Alex Ferrari 10:19
Oh my god, oh my god, it's gonna be like
Jeff MacIntyre 10:22
Okay fine, we'll talk about that film. So, I don't know, too long to admit about four or five years ago, I producing partner Jason. He lives in Hawaii, Honolulu. And he crosses paths with this guy named Wally Gaines. And this by namesake Yeah, well, Amos. I don't know. I've never heard of them. But then when you learn that he's the Amos behind famous Amos cookies, which we've all enjoyed at a gas station. near you. vending machine. Yes. And these actually have the shelf life of gravel. The package version so this is good bunker. Good material. So you know, back in the day, so Wally aim is the cool thing about walling. I'm sorry, I the booze is kicking in. So sure, the focus here, so my buddy crosses, crosses paths with them. And then the idea is, oh, let's do a reality show with Wally. I'm like, No, no one wants to see reality show with his 80 plus year old guy. Let's do a documentary. His life is so rich. And most people only know him, you know based on his sweet treats, but his life or cookies was just jaw droppingly interesting. He was a music agent, one of the first black talent agents in the US work for William Morris. He discovered people like the temptations he signed Diana Ross Marvin Gaye, he discovered Simon Garfunkel, she says so, but exactly, so that part of Wally's life is really, really interesting. And so that's how his entree to cookies came to be. He was representing an actress Sheri summers, who was in Harold and Maude, which is one of my, one of my more favorite classic films, very quirky. And as they were finishing up a meeting, Sherry busts out this bag of chocolate chip cookies, and was like, where'd you get these? Oh, I made them. I just loved them a cookie. So while he started eating them, and it reminded him of simpler days of his past when his aunt used to make cookies. So he went home that night, and just started making cookies. He was so he fell, so in love with the process of baking cookies, and giving them away, that in Hollywood at that time, that became his trademark. Whenever he take a meeting, he'd bring a small bag of his famous chocolate chip cookies. So he kind of he had this reputation around town as the cookie man. So one night, he's meeting with Quincy Jones, his secretary, they're having dinner on the Sunset Strip, and she says, you know, Wally, you and I should start a cookie store. And he left that meeting. And that idea has stuck in his head ever since decades later. So in 1975, Wally opened the very first chocolate chip cookie store. And I hope by today's standards, or there's, there's candy stores, there's cookie stores, back in the day, that wasn't, he took a big risk to try something brand new. And it took off, he became a pop culture icon. He was on every TV show. And for 10 years, he kind of ruled the roost in cookies until he didn't, and he lost it all. But should we go there do anything?
Alex Ferrari 13:37
I mean, we have to watch the movie, they have to watch the movie. So that's
Jeff MacIntyre 13:42
I don't want to give it all away.
Alex Ferrari 13:43
Exactly. Well, I actually, we were discussing before we got on air that I actually saw while he on Shark Tank, he was pitching his new cookies that he was trying to his new cookie companies trying to launch. But just just just know everyone that watched the movie, but generally speaking that while he lost everything, lost his company. It was pretty it's a pretty brutal story, a pretty brutal entrepreneurial story. And and then this, this documentary is about his comeback. I'm assuming hence the name.
Jeff MacIntyre 14:13
Right. And it digs into some of the pitfalls along his path. And it's a great lessons for anyone in business. You don't sign contracts without really understand what you're signing the big thing that kind of crippled them since the 80s. And what he's been trying to overcome ever since when these companies would take him over, he signed away the rights to use his own God given name and likeness for any future big good company. And that's all he does cookies. So they prohibited him for using what everyone knows him for. And he started like 12 other cookie companies since famous Amos, but nowhere along the way was he able to say hey, you out there cookie lovers. I'm the guy who started that cookie that you remember in love That really hurt him and That's why he didn't get a deal on Shark Tank because he has no access to one on that show said, Yeah, you're just another random cookie on the shelf now, we can't tell the public who you were. So that was really tough. But I think the better takeaway from the film, the inspirational lesson is, despite of setback, after setback, nothing stops this guy. He continues to persevere at 85. And he's trying to start his quote, unquote, final final cookie company. But nothing slows him down. And that's a great lesson for all of us, especially in this space. Really hang on to?
Alex Ferrari 15:35
Absolutely, absolutely, you can never, we filmmakers we have, like I said, we only have a sickness that once you're bitten, you can't get rid of it. And it flares up and it goes dormant, but it's always there. It's always there. Now, you have to be smart in how you manage the symptoms. It's good. I like that. I'm going to use that one. I'd like that. Hashtag, baby. And now, if you don't mind me asking what was the budget of this documentary?
Jeff MacIntyre 16:01
Since I wear all the hats, mainly, because I like the cover of my bald spot. I shot it produced it, edited it. So hard cash, hard costs, were roughly 15,000. And that included everything. It's nothing, I tried to keep my productions low.
Alex Ferrari 16:22
And that's very smart. I've been yelling that for the top of the mountain for a long time, keep your overhead as low as humanly possible. So 15 grand for a documentary with a known entity like famous Amos was, I mean, everybody, you just say famous Amos, every one of those other cookie guy have his documentary about the cookie guy. So so you actually have a winning formula. Here, you've got a known person who's very recognizable around the world, just by the name at least. And then you also have very low cost. So this is a perfect like, if you were coming to me and I was consulting you on this, I'll be like you are a perfect candidate for self distribution, without question. So what made you decide to go down to self distribution route, as opposed to going down the traditional route where you could have easily, I think, gotten a distribution deal off of this. And you might even been able to get some sort of MG because of the topic. And because of the star of the documentary.
Jeff MacIntyre 17:21
One step back before I try to dodge your question. And so another great thing that was in our benefit, and I think it's smart as filmmakers to really zoom out and survey the entire landscape of what's going on and some of your main subjects lives. What is your network like? And this was right at the time, we embarked on this, we knew he was going to be on Shark Tank whenever you can leverage somebody else's Free Press. I mean, this episode is rerun probably eight, nine times. And if you were I were trying to drive by a 10 minute slot on that network, forget it. There's no way we could afford that kind of ad, ad money. So that was great to put him back on the radar of public consciousness on that show met helped in our efforts. And But yeah, I mean, I'm kind of in the same rocky leaky boat as other indie filmmakers thinking, well, it let me Google film distribution. I mean, listen to Alex's show. I know he interviews some distributors now and again, these must be the good guys. So I'll blast them all with emails, links to trailers, get them excited. I did all that. And I was met with 90%. of FSU. We have no interest. Thanks. But no thanks. The one or two who bid on the chocolate chip. You know, the standard crappy offer. I threw they threw the flame in the dumpster to see if I wanted to buy the dumpster before the fire really took off. And it was at this time I was getting really frustrated. And that's when I stumbled upon your buddy Rob hardy had a course film audience blueprint where it taught you how to go find an audience for your film, identify niches and then market directly to them. And that course really was an eye opener. Because at the moment, I knew I couldn't take on Hollywood's marketing machinery there was no way I can compete with their ad spends, match them around spending them we will always lose on that front. So the the shotgun approach Hollywood uses to spray out their message to everyone hoping that everyone is their niche and their audience can't work for indie filmmakers. So I thought the only way I could survive this is do a laser targeted niche focus with my market. Find the niches that I think the story resonates with and market direct. And through taking this course it gave me the confidence to step out on my own after getting a couple crappy offers from distributors and I just felt that I could do better. Maybe not. Maybe I didn't the first round. Didn't back that principle. But I still have hope that when I do launch 2.0, I'll be a better arm to make a much bigger splash the next time.
Alex Ferrari 20:10
So how did you focus I because now I'm, I'm kind of breaking this down and analyzing the film and how I would approach it. It is a niche film, but it's a fairly large niche. Are we talking about? You know, seniors? Because he's older? Are we talking about entrepreneurs because of who he is? Are we talking about cookie enthusiasts? Like, who are your niches and how to hack my Excel talk? How to do all that? So how did you first of all identify those niches and, and the thinking in those three niches I just threw out there. Some of them are obvious. Some of them are not like senior seniors is not an obvious choice. But it is a niche that I think that you could address with this film. How did you first of all, pick your niches? And then how did you plan to target them?
Jeff MacIntyre 21:00
So we just broke down? At its core, what are this film's two or three major messages? What groups of people would make them say hell, yes, I want to get to know Wally, I want to hear his story out and be moved by it. I want to find similarities. So seniors, of course, and that was just kind of a no brainer based on Wally at the time when we started shooting, he was 82. And his story is so inspirational. And it really plants to seed and other seniors, people who are retired, it's never too late to start a fresh chapter. There's always a blank page waiting for you to turn your passion into something profitable to start a business even if it's crocheting toilet seat covers, if you love crocheting, look at Wally, he turned his love for chocolate chips into a viable concern, and it brings him joy. So I think that's a great lesson for seniors. And as you know, today's seniors have never been more active. So thought they get and then of course, there's the entrepreneurial the small business owners. And I think when I do my kind of phase two revenue run, I will reach out to business schools. And I will cut to different versions of this film to sell to the educational space, because his story is so chock full of great business lessons that are timeless, really. And that brings a lot of hope. And I'll also, once again on the phase two revenue scheme reached out to all these assisted living facilities, retirement communities that are in desperate need of programming. There's activity directors in every one of these retirement communities that are dying for fresh content. So instead of just selling them a DVD, I put together a whole activity in a box. So this includes the film a discussion guide, it includes activities, and it includes an opportunity to start a club. And this really eases a lot of their pain, like what should we do with all these retirees? Well, I think if you could solve other people's problems with your art, I mean, those are just checks that will hit your account eventually. So that's really the two main niches I considered bakers and cookie lovers, but it was too broad early on.
Alex Ferrari 23:27
Well, I mean, to be to be fair, though, like seniors and entrepreneurs are two very broad, their niches but they're pretty large. They're pretty large
Jeff MacIntyre 23:37
Incredibly broad. Yes. So maybe I didn't drill down enough. I got lazy, and I did I mean, as you know, is is a grueling process. To make the film to finally get it out. You're pushing it through the creative birthing canal, and it's painful point. That's where a lot of filmmakers have run out of gas, not only physical, psychic, creative gas, monetary gas for for many, and they don't have the juice to take you the next mile. And to me, I know you probably agree the next mile is the most important the marketing mile. Oh, absolutely. We better have our best shoes strapped on for that last leg of the journey.
Alex Ferrari 24:15
Most filmmakers don't understand that before. Like when you and I were coming up, making the movie was the toughest part. It was the most expensive part. There was no access. You know, just doing a color grading session would cost you $300 an hour. You know, it was it was insane. But now making the movie technically is the easiest part of the entire filmmaking process. And we've been trained, and Hollywood has been putting out this message that you put out all the audio, you put out all the art first and then you hand over the business of somebody else to handle where in the new film economy, you've got to know everything from script all the way to how to generate revenue with your film. And if you don't understand that, that last part after that final cut is cut and the deliverables are ready, you're done. You're done. And and most filmmakers don't get that, but they learn the hard way.
Jeff MacIntyre 25:13
They do. And it either drives them away, or it makes them stronger once their wounds heal. And to me this this last leg of the race, the marketing, it's like, it's like climbing a mountain. It's a slog. It's climbing a mountain barefoot through three feet of snow with COVID, positive Puranas nipping at your heels just to get into the summit, right. And for many, the first time they get a blister on their little toe, oh, my feet hurt, I'm going home, and they throw in the towel. But this is where strength and resilience and perseverance for us will carry us to the top and get us to the summit where we pop the cork we celebrate. But not only do I believe is it a win for our own films to make it across the finish line. But it's a win for the whole indie film community because we show it is possible to win. Yeah, absolutely. And the more examples of that, I think the more inspiration will provide other filmmakers who may be too scared to, you know, go through the pain of the climb. So that's the vital I think where we're at today. That's one reason I released that brutally honest case study. Because we have to all be more transparent. If we truly are a community. It's up to us to start sharing our wins and our losses so we can learn from each other.
Alex Ferrari 26:28
So you so now you've just you've identified your niches, and you've identified your audience and you have your film and you've decided to go self distribution, what platform did you decide to use or platforms to decide to use to put the film out online?
Jeff MacIntyre 26:44
I guess let's one step before that I had to start generating buzz in marketing. You want to talk about because I did spend a good amount of time you building the Facebook page?
Alex Ferrari 26:56
Well, let's let's talk about that. Let's talk about the platform real quick. The next question is all about the marketing. So what platform Do you got it? I used gumroad. Okay. And then and you didn't put it on any of the other major platforms, iTunes, Amazon.
Jeff MacIntyre 27:08
Oh, okay. No, thank you. Thank you, Alex. I'm sorry. That also as part of phase two, I kind of got sidetracked I wanted to try this launch by myself to market direct to the fans with to sell and rent stream only. No, yeah, to own or rent that the film through gumroad. Which I control the majority of those profits. And then I'm going to do the whole, you know, svod a VOD tvod. That still is on the list. But to date, no, no, I have not ventured into those waters. So I'm excited to get it up on those platforms, for sure.
Alex Ferrari 27:42
Alright, so we'll come back to the platforms and your ROI in a second. But how did you now start planning on putting the word out on this film?
Jeff MacIntyre 27:51
I think two years. Two years before I released it, you know, I launched the Facebook page, and tried to start building up an audience producing a ton of original content, custom graphics meems clips from the film, so I hustled to just drive engagement and to build the numbers, I boosted posts, I put tons of money in Zuckerberg pocket with varying degrees of return. And so I mean, at the end of the day, right before a launch, maybe I had close to 3000 Facebook fans,
Alex Ferrari 28:30
Yeah, which is it's it's not It sounds like a lot but in the scope of Facebook, it's it's it's nothing. Yeah, it's not a whole lot, not for a film launch. Now, Mike, so you decided to focus all of your your energy towards a Facebook page as opposed to a homepage or blog or something like that?
Jeff MacIntyre 28:48
I know, you Good. Good question. I also had the film's website where I had set up, you know, a squeeze page. So a lot of the campaigns on Facebook would be to drive traffic to the film website where people I could capture their email, get them on a news, again, my email list, I could send them newsletters, because that's what filmmakers have to. The first thing you need to do is start building your list that is so important. And whatever you have to do I, I tried a couple different enticements, to see what would move the needle, I offered some people his recipe for free. For others, it was a discount movie ticket. And then I tracked what gave me the most bang for the buck.
Alex Ferrari 29:30
And those are called lead generators for people listening. So that's basically a lead. So you give away a freebie of some sort to get people on your list. So you can start building a relationship with them. And you provide a tremendous amount of value to them with that lead generation, whatever that might be. Could be video, could be PDF, could be a recipe could be a checklist. It could be 1000 different things as long as it's really irresistible to the audience you're targeting. So that and then if you don't mind asking how big was your list when you launched
Jeff MacIntyre 30:02
Alex Ferrari 30:03
Okay, so the email
Jeff MacIntyre 30:05
Wait, no, dammit, you're driving me to drink it was pathetic. Okay, it was truly pathetic. It was no, it was like 121. Okay, so big fail, big fail there.
Alex Ferrari 30:21
Alright, so, okay, so you brought you brought your UI. So you have a small, very small email list. And you've, you focus a lot of energy on Facebook, and you're getting people into your funnel and things like that. So out of all of that, and you have gumroad as your, your main place that you're going to be selling your film. So, right, the Okay, how much did you spend on Facebook ads on your launch? And how many ads to use?
Jeff MacIntyre 30:50
Um, so I ran 121 ads. Now this Keep in mind, this is probably to you. through February into February right to the launch. 121 ads, I dropped $1,383. Not a penny more in ADS. And not anymore? Hell no. is Zuckerberg got enough of my hard earned money? Yeah, there he is. And this is just to build on your last point why it's absolutely crucial to own your audience's info because with one algorithm change, poof, all your connection to your potential fan, oh, it's gone. You don't want any other social overlord to control your fan base, you must be able to reach out directly and communicate with your people. That's why you have to build a list.
Alex Ferrari 31:42
And well, that's exactly what happened with Facebook originally, if you can remember, like we're talking about eight years ago or something like that. You used to be able to post something on your Facebook page and write 30 40% of people would see it. Yeah, now it's a half a percent for free it unless it goes viral unless it gets shared. And unless something else happens organically, generally speaking, it's a pay to play. So that changed the business model for millions of companies around the world, millions of people around the world overnight. So you always have to play in your own sandbox, you have to control the sandbox, because you play in somebody else's sandbox. You play by their rules, YouTube did the same thing. People were making a lot of money off of their ads, and all of a sudden Facebook just when Amazon their affiliate marketing pack, they turn no more. And people lose their minds, because you are, you're completely dependent on that platform. So 100% agree. The email list is the most powerful thing. Any marketer has more powerful than 1,000,002 million followers on Facebook. It doesn't mean
Jeff MacIntyre 32:46
You're exactly right. And to do it again, I would focus more effort on pointing all my ads to that landing page. But keep in mind and I think a lot of indie filmmakers suffer from this early on. We really we get drunk on the dopamine likes and shares it is intoxicating
They like me they really like me.
Oh my god, I don't have to spend money on those therapist I just have to post something. But listen up You damn indie filmmakers. Yes hustlers. This is really important. never confuse the like button with the buy button. One causes a temporary chemical reaction. The other produces a long lasting financial one. And never get wooed in by a like or share. Because those are meaning their vanity metrics that won't pay your rent. You can't call your landlord and say, Oh, you know what? This month's rent? I'm, I'm a little short. You take likes tonight.
Alex Ferrari 33:47
I can give you I can give you 20,000 followers is that because I pay my right? Well, that may have some value. You're awesome. But though it doesn't, because if you just given followers away, this doesn't mean it doesn't work. You could buy followers, right? You can empty it like tomorrow, you can spend i think i think the number is like 20 or $30,000. And you can have a million followers. It seriously that's literally the cost of buying followers. But it means nothing. It's complete vanity because you their people, their robots, or their fake accounts or their people from God knows where, who have no interest in what you're doing. So it's basically just like, look how cool I am. I remember I was spoke to a filmmaker, that that decided to spend. I think he spent like $7,000 on YouTube views to get his trailer to be viewed over a million times. And the movie cost like you know, it was like a low budget $50,000 like action horror film or something like that with like, you know, I think Michael Madsen was in it, or Eric Roberts or something like that. So and he was using his his mind. And he was a little bit out there as far as ego is concerned. And that's saying a lot because we're We're all crazy. But he then called all the film distributors like, Look, there's a million people who saw our film, you've got to buy it, guess what, it didn't really work and they lost $1,000 because of it, because that's vanity. Total vanity, it's command entity.
Jeff MacIntyre 35:17
And that's the thing, you know, likes can be bought, but sales have to be earned.
Alex Ferrari 35:23
And, and before you commit, the thing is with sales, especially with independent film, you've got to put your value proposition has to be massive. If you're if you're trying to go outside that normal world of like iTunes, Amazon places where people are very comfortable spending their money because their credit cards already on file, they just click a little button. And it's done. When you're going to a platform like gumroad, or Vimeo, Vimeo or something like that. They are announced, they don't know who this is. So now you want me to pull out my credit card, type it into the site that I have no idea about to watch a documentary about cookies or to watch an independent film that I made about filmmakers running around Sundance, like it doesn't, you know, it's it's it's not it's not a good business strategy. And I love gumroad Don't get me wrong, I think they're great. And VA checks before they were bought by Vimeo was great as well. Right? But if you're adding another few layers to the process, which creates less sale, so let me ask you, since you've been so forthcoming with your numbers out of that 1000 level those 11 $100.83 1383 1383 Okay, 1383 1383, what was your ROI was your return on investment.
Jeff MacIntyre 36:39
So these numbers, I think, covered the first two weeks of launch. That was all point in that video to say, Hey, this is what self distribution can do for you if you follow all the steps the gurus give you. So the grand total, that week was $36.94.
Alex Ferrari 37:01
Now that's a toy, that's 36 American.
Jeff MacIntyre 37:06
USD USD. But keep in mind, but then I it was that was already depressing enough. But then I said, Oh, it's not 36. Because to test gumroad, I did a couple of test transactions. So the grand total now let me check my math here. It was $29.96 for a launch of a film that took five years. 1300 83 bucks in advertising.
Alex Ferrari 37:34
Wow. Yeah, exactly. So So do you mind if I can kind of dissect this situation a little bit. Get your chainsaw out. I want I want to, I want to because I want to I think this is really great. And I think why you put the video out originally. And I will put that in the show notes. That video is amazing that it's like 40 kilometres an hour. It's insane Manifesto. It's a manifesto. It's a fantastic video. I think because you want to help filmmakers. So I think this is a great learning moment. So you did a lot of the concepts, right? You You found you have a niche product, which is a niche film that's aimed at certain groups, which you could arguably get to it is a valuable a good value proposition because it really isn't anything like this out there. And then the now that's the good stuff. And you you wanted to self distribute, you put it on a platform so you can control the money also good. There's a lot of that stuff. And then you started doing targeted Facebook ads, and you even started building an email list to a certain extent. So I think you've discussed it already. We said it. The biggest mistake you made is all of these ads that you were spending money on. We're not into a funnel. We're not direct the aimed at that email building list. Now, real quick before you slaughter me, guys, I'm not beating them up guys. Listen, I'm not beating him up. This is why he's not
Jeff MacIntyre 39:08
No, he's being incredibly kind to other things I did, or I attempted to do. But the other party's bailed on but I really believe in and I think this is really key for especially documentary filmmakers. I reached out to influencers, who I felt would gel with this film who have an audience that totally would love Wally's message. And let's say for example, a business blog or one of the top business ball bloggers as a podcast, that decent audience, and I analyze and I think every filmmaker you should come up with is this spreadsheet where you put your list all the influencers, that that could relate to your niche and then you also put all their social numbers, how many followers do they have? That's important. You want to align yourself with big beefy networks. I reached out to him I said, Hey, listen, I want to try something new for marketing a film. I'd like to work with you and create a course, I want to create a course that uses Wally's story, to really drive home some of the principles you teach part of your mission statement, and you you're watching the film, you'll pull out five key business lessons in this film, and then I'll produce it for you, we offer it to your audience as an add on to the film, or if you want to give it away as a value add great. But if you make a course, because as you know, courses are huge, and all these guys are looking for fresh content, I thought it would have been a slam dunk, and I got one or two people on the hook, and then they just they vaporize. But I think that is key because then they they have skin in the game. And they're going to work to promote this course that they can then monetize themselves. So I recommend that
Alex Ferrari 40:49
Yeah, absolutely. Education, online education, especially post COVID. Is, is a huge, huge, huge, huge. And as I'm sure you following what I do, I've added a tremendous amount of education to my business. And that's something that I've because that's what the audience wants. That's what my, my, my tribe wants, what my customers want. And the people that I I'm trying to serve want. So yes, absolutely. In my book, film, Rise of the entrepreneur, I talk about courses as one many of many ways you could do it. So to break it back to you. Yeah, so that was great. So like, if I was gonna, if I was gonna go down this road with this film, I would have, first and foremost, I would have seen if there was this, he couldn't go after another cookie company because he's competing with another cookie company. So that that you can't kind of leverage that you might have to, you can maybe find some sort of entrepreneurial organizations, nonprofits, things like that, that you could have maybe partnered with, to get the word out, get on their email list, start leveraging their emails list. And then why you haven't created a course specifically an entrepreneurial course of your own based off of his, that's something you should be doing, because I think you'll make a lot more money selling that course off of his name and getting caught him into it, by the way, and can you give him? Oh, yeah, I plan to Yeah, absolutely. So you partner with him on a course on entrepreneurial course. And that's a huge that would be a huge, huge moneymaker revenue, it's kind of like really low hanging fruit. In my mind, where I see this personally, as the film is elite, lead generator, it's a it's a loss leader, there is if you can make some money with it great. But if you can't, it's all good, you should be able to generate enough other things that could do it. Like if you could reach out to sort of the top or those kind of like sheffy, bakey kind of companies, and see if you can incorporate that into their world somehow, where you give the movie away look, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead did this so beautifully. I use them as a case study in my book. And he literally gave the movie away. And he partnered with the Breville juicer in the movie, and that when I went to go buy my Breville juicer, because that's the juicer I was going to buy, because that's the movie I saw. So it was great marketing, right, I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond. And when I went to go buy it, guess what was sitting right next to it, a DVD of the movie, if you buy it, you get a copy of the movie for free. And it just was he built an entire business around this concept of juicing. there's potential for that here. In the cookie side of things in the baking side of things you can partner with companies have in regards to how you how you create your baking educational baking packages, there's so many different things that you can do to kind of combine him and and the film and try to generate other revenue sources, obviously, t shirts, hats, aprons, baked goods, things like that. But if you're able to create this, but you're now creating an ecosystem, with your film, and if you can create that ecosystem and I think that's one place where you could you could do probably a bit better now it's actually not focused on so much on the getting the revenue from the movie itself, but from all these other revenue sources, because it is a it's a it's a absolutely film intrapreneurial play like it The movie is a giveaway almost
Jeff MacIntyre 44:30
100% and there's a real evergreen quality to it too. Absolutely. And that's something like I said for phase two, it's institutional sales to it's reaching out, like I said to the senior homes, business schools, right and repackaging it in that form. And I think I forget which hotel chain maybe radition they one of their trademarks is they actually leave out hot chocolate chip cookies for guests. So I've while back you know, I just try to be unconscious. with them, too. Why not put Wally's face on these cookies or use his recipe, and we could put the D we could stream the movie on the hotel video on demand systems for a couple months. Airlines. Oh, there's Midwest Express. It was a Wisconsin based airline years ago used to give out hot chocolate chip cookie. Once again, pivot, give out Wally's new cookie, and you get to watch his the movie free in the in the seat back, or stream it in?
Alex Ferrari 45:28
Is there a package? Do you have a package where you get cookies and the movie? For Sale?
Jeff MacIntyre 45:35
Early on? Yes. But once again, the thing with Wally is when we embarked on this, this journey, he actually had kind of a good thing going he had started a cookie company called cookie Kahuna, which when you watched him on Shark Tank, that was the company he was promoting, but wouldn't you know it? couple months before we release, he splits from that company.
Alex Ferrari 45:58
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Thank you. Moment of silence, moment of silence. And then for all the one one table.
Jeff MacIntyre 46:16
Yeah, I'm not gonna pull the bottle up again. And drink. I already did that when it happened. But yeah, he really threw us for a curve. But then the story only got a little more juicy, because then he had to do so he had to leave his home state to try to start another company. And it was a victim of elder abuse in this other state he went to so the story got really wacky. Um, but yeah, that's just kind of in true Wally form. He's and he'll tell you, he's never been a good businessman. He's a great marketer, but he never truly, you know, understood the whole business thing.
Alex Ferrari 46:50
Well, I mean, like, it might even even that you can go down to Costco and buy cases a famous Amos cookies and package them yourself and sell them. I mean, you could arguably, right? There is Yeah, exactly. You know, like, if he's like, Look, I mean, if you could, you could do something like that. I mean, there's, there's, there's a lot of potential here. I think you said this, you said this in the in your video is like it wasn't lack of plan as much as it was execution. And figuring out under percent, those kind of dialing in those certain things. Because of like, if I was trying, like, it's serious, like if I sat there started thinking about how to market this, I would be creating a bigger value propositions, like crazy like cookie packages, and baking and all these other kind of revenue streams, and seeing what I can leverage as far as audiences through other companies and things like that, as opposed to going down the road of influencers are great. And going down the business side is great. And I love your ideas with the senior living and the cruise lines in airlines and business schools and all that. That's excellent. I know. I know. One documentary filmmaker made over a million dollars with a senior based film with the age of champion. Yeah, those guys yeah. And Chris. Yeah, they killed I based a lot of this on them. They're incredible what they did.
Yeah, and I think you could go to that same Senior Living convention Once COVID is done right and sell and sell licenses. There is just no question. You could do that as well. So there is definitely a bright future for the great cookie comeback. There is definitely a bright future. So we discussed what you've done right in a few things that you did wrong as well. Let me see Hold on a second. Cuz we covered a bunch now that so yeah, we covered a lot of stuff already.
Jeff MacIntyre 48:53
I mean, if you want to if you want to dive into I did get a couple offers from distributors,
Alex Ferrari 48:58
So Okay, so with distributors specifically because let me tell you what, let me see if I can guess. So. Okay, let me see if I can guess these deals. No money upfront. No, one zero. So no. MGS Okay, great. So no money upfront. I'm gonna say it's gonna be an eight to 10 year length, give or take. If I was lucky, but okay. Yeah. All right. A little 15 years. Yeah, I was trying to be nice. It's about it's about 15 years. Right. Thank you. I appreciate that. Um, then there was also called the the marketing expenses of course, which still cap and it's gonna range. I'm gonna say on the less predatory side 50,000 on the more predatory side 100,000 little lower, but yeah, 40,000 30,000 think they Yeah, yeah. Like 20 20,000 Okay, that was actually that's not a bad marketing cap. But then that means you'll never see. No, I'll never see anything. Anything. You'll never see anything. It's basically a loss leader at that point. Um, those were the deals you've gotten. But that's the standard deal. And if you would have been a lesser filmmaker in the sense of your knowledge, you would have just bought bid on one of those and prayed because you're like, oh, it only cost me 15 grand, you know, I'll, I'm sure I'll get at least that back.
Jeff MacIntyre 50:19
Never, which you won't, which you won't. And thanks to guys like you and Rob Hardy. I mean, you've, you're really rattling the cages and shouting this from the mountaintops, and you're keeping us awake. And it's all of our responsibilities to stay sober, and not be wooed. Because once again, just like likes and shares, it's very intoxicating when you get an email or return email from a distributor, oh my god, they like my film. And then you know, the Hollywood red carpet fantasy starts playing in your in your mind. But no, you have to shut that down. You got to pull the plug on that projector. Because it rarely ever works out that way. And it's just it's like waiting. It's high school prom, all over again, where you wait a week before the big dance to ask a girl out. And your options are so limited by them. And you're really nervous and you're desperate. They all smell that on you. And you get a bunch of noes in a day three, two days before the prom and eventually this one girl says yes. And you're so elated and relieved. Despite her reputation. She still said yes. Right. The chances that she'll show up or, or actually be there at midnight or dance with you. lopper comes on time after time.
Alex Ferrari 51:32
Well, obviously, isn't this the beginning of every Blake Edwards film? Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, exactly.
Jeff MacIntyre 51:44
Um, and oh, and then by the end of the evening, absolutely. No. Distributing will be going on.
Alex Ferrari 51:51
No. There'll be no distributing. No distributing, no distributing at all is going to happen. Now, did you think of possibly going with a film aggregator to get your film up on these platforms? Is that something you're thinking about doing?
Jeff MacIntyre 52:05
100% and this is an area that I really haven't dipped my toe in the water enough. I mean, filmhub seems very intriguing. No,
Alex Ferrari 52:14
I'm sorry. That was just a twitch in my neck. I apologize.
Jeff MacIntyre 52:17
Oh, gotcha. I think it was Friday and I'm going to replay the video. But aside from them tell me who should I call or all all of us are on the edge of our futons Alex teetering on the edge
Alex Ferrari 52:34
Well, because because of the the whole distribute debacle and how I heavily promoted them for two years it's one of the reasons why I came out so heavily guns have blaring against them when I found out what happened I try not to recommend any specific company because a company that could be good right now is not a company that's going to be good six months from now and I found that anytime I've released one of these podcasts, they are evergreen and I hear people are like oh I went with this distributor because they were on your show and then I'm like oh but they're not good anymore because they did this or that and their companies this now and I have to delete that episode so I Wow Yeah, I've become ever since distributor have become very militant. So I if I if I hear any negative thing about a past company or guests that I've spoken to that could possibly harm filmmakers, I go back and delete it and I delete it from everywhere.
Jeff MacIntyre 53:33
Well, thank you, but on behalf of all of us, thank you because we do look to you and others in the space for kind of sage advice because we don't have access to these big guys so you're in a really I think a unique position and you know it to be able to bring us people that we cannot connect with so we take that to be almost an endorsement when I get your position. But the the deal I got was from a guest from one of your past podcasts a distributor that I've checked your library to see if they're still on not to say
Alex Ferrari 54:04
Oh, I know they are sharks. I know exactly. You just by the terms. I knew who they were. And they are no they are no longer on the on the podcast.
Jeff MacIntyre 54:13
Right? Yeah, rhymes with crappy toss, but which was the nature of the deal?
Alex Ferrari 54:21
No one will get that I have no idea what you're talking about, sir. But oh, what a world what a world it is. It is it's an insane world and it's getting insane Are you know can 2020 be over with please is a general statement, let alone everything else. If I would have told you in January, that not only will the entire world shut down and the economy would shut down in the United States. But all movie theaters will be closed. There would be no summer blockbuster season whatsoever. Without any real foreseeable future of movie theaters coming back to what they are, and that the only lone film that might hold some sort of theatrical hope. And it's a, it's a, it's a Hail Mary, not because of the film, but because of the circumstance is a film that has very few stars in it. And it's based on based on an original IP created by Christopher Nolan called Tennant. And right that, and don't get me wrong, Robert Patterson and stuff like that. But you know, they're not just not a giant Marvel film. So actually, the Marvel DC and James Bond films were pushed, because they were scared, but they're hoping the tenant might open and they're still talking like, as of this recording, you know, it might, we might, we might hold on to it. I don't know. That's a $200 million. Plus, gamble. theatrically it time. And by the way, you have to watch that film theatrically you that's the way you watch a Christopher Nolan film. You watch it in IMAX, if at all possible. But if I would have told you all that you said, Alex, you're insane. You're insane. Put the bottle down, Alex. Come on. Exactly. But that's the world I live in. And I've been, you know, I've been saying this for a while that Rome is burning. And the Coronavirus, unfortunately has added a lot of gasoline to that fire in our industry. And it's gonna it's never going to die, but it will shift. And as filmmakers need to shift with it need to pivot need to figure out new ways to make this work and use the new technology at our disposal that we can use to empower us level instead of defeating us. So to go back to what you were saying as far as aggregators are concerned, I'm not sure that it makes financial sense to go with an aggregator for your film, and I'll tell you why. Because if you're spending money to get on iTunes for t VOD,
Jeff MacIntyre 57:00
No, never I'd never do iTunes. Okay, so for a film like this, there's so little what I've heard there's so little return on investment. I'm not going to spend granted a half to make $24.
Alex Ferrari 57:12
Correct. Exactly. So it so it ends you're not going to well, first and foremost t VOD, as a general statement is pretty much a dead. It's dead for independent filmmakers unless you could drive. Unless you can drive tremendous amount of traffic to those spaces, then you can make but being found organically yet not not going to happen. So iTunes, Google Play Fandango and those kind of T VOD places not worth it. Amazon, you could upload yourself, it will take a lot longer if you upload it yourself. But other than if you went with, you know, another a distribution company or an aggregator, but you could do it yourself. And they do take a big chunk, but they are the biggest marketplace where everybody's on it. And everybody's comfortable hitting that, that that that rental, if you're gonna put it on TV, I will put it up for 99 cents. Because it's better than the three cents you're going to get per hour screened on amazon prime. So that would be my suggestion. Don't spend three to four or $5,000 with an aggregator to get them on all these platforms, because that's a mistake that a lot of filmmakers make. And you really should try to focus your energies as much as you can on one major platform, if at all possible. And I think Amazon will probably be the best bet for you. If you can find a way to get on a VOD, that's where I think your money is going to be made. And I think a VOD is right now as of this recording, a VOD is where the money is. And I agree LIKE TO BE TV to be Pluto. Peacock is coming out. There's so many of these. These a VOD platforms coming out where that's the only place people are making money right now. It's six months. I have no idea. In a year. I have no idea. But right now. That's where money is made it look like when I released my first feature. I sold it to Hulu. That's not possible. No, not No, not not possible. So I actually sold it to China through foreign distributor. Not possible. Not possible though. So there's moments of time that things are available. Like there was a moment for TiVo in 2010 1112 13 t VOD was killed it was killing it. s VOD was not there and there was no Eva then S five started picking up and so on. You might is a big might, you might want to talk to a good qualified producers Rep. To see if they can pitch it to a Netflix or a streaming platform and see if they would take it take it on. I actually will Glenn Reynolds and Sebastian Torres. Both of them have been on the show. They're both really good producers reps who actually do what they say they do. And they actually care about filmmakers might be a possibility. No, they don't exist. I know they're they're unicorns they're actually unicorns in the space. But that might be a possibility as well. Again, it's a conversation. It's a conversation is not a guarantee there's a conversation.
Jeff MacIntyre 1:00:18
It's, it's worth having. I did speak with a couple of producers reps and they just really turned like in your other job do you sell used cars? Yeah, really slick and slimy?
Alex Ferrari 1:00:29
Yeah, and most producers reps, most sales agents, um, you know, a lot of them are very predatory. And a lot of them are very slow. Yeah, I can get you this or I can get you that. And I could do this. And I could do that. And like, you know, Look, guys, do you believe you can make some money with this from make a frickin phone call submitted to Netflix? If you make it? We're gonna cut we'll cut we'll cut the deal. All right. If not, forget it. Well, yeah, moving on, you know, that's what I need you for, if you can make it happen, great, let's cut a deal. If not, I'm not going to spend a whole lot of money for one platform, you know, or this or that. It's just not that kind of film. But that's those are, those are some the avenues I think you can go down. But listen, man, I appreciate, Jeff, that you've come on and talks so freely about this process. It is a rarity. I do anytime filmmakers want to do this, I generally, if it's a good story, I definitely want to bring them on the show, because I've had a few of these bad distribution, story kind of situations on the show, and they are very popular. People love them. And I think it's a real good service to the community to actually hear people who are in the trenches, going through it, figuring it out. But what I love about you is that that was 1.0 release 1.0 now you're planning release 2.0, which is a whole other world. And please let me know what happens with release 2.0 I'd love to hear what happens, how you're able to generate revenue, I think you have a lot of potential with this film,there's just there's a lot of money that could be made. And it can help a lot of people to watch this and inspirational wise and, and things.
Jeff MacIntyre 1:02:02
And and that's the gold turning a loss into a win. And these are all I think losses are real, they're teachable moments and lean into it because I was kind of part of the struggle. Do I really want to release this to the world and say, Hey, I failed. But the community has been really supportive. And, and I have to give a shout out you know, who kind of inspired this was a guest you had on your show? Naomi?
Alex Ferrari 1:02:27
Yes.Naomi McDougal Jones.
Jeff MacIntyre 1:02:29
Right her bite me film. She did the whole cross country tour. And she's amazing. She cut an incredible YouTube series, which I implore every filmmaker to watch her little tear her road trips, it
Alex Ferrari 1:02:40
Its available. It's available on Indie Film Hustle TV.
Jeff MacIntyre 1:02:44
Oh, wonderful. Watch it, you'll learn a ton. And maybe it'll light a fire under you. Yeah, she was great. Try something new.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:51
And she interviewed a couple filmmakers who then I brought on as well who had a horrible distribution deal as well. And they actually like they were brutal. They just like, Oh, this is the company. And this is what they did to me. And they haven't paid me. So screw them. And this is don't say I'm like, Okay, all right.Let's do this.
Jeff MacIntyre 1:03:12
Yeah, how do you really feel that's so important. And to your audience, I just want to follow up with thank you for posting the manifesto. But to let everyone know if they actually make it through that and they're still standing. We want to continue the educational process and offer a free course. Yeah, that's where I teamed up with Rob Hardy, your buddy. And for people who watch the video they can opt in and we would like delivering over an hour and a half of free content to arm people with the right steps to find a niche and market to them directly. That's totally free.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:45
Yeah, I'll put it up. Put all that in the show notes without question. What's next? What's next for you?
Jeff MacIntyre 1:03:50
So two days after the lockdown orders came? And you're in LA you remember those texts? The the mayor sent out?
Alex Ferrari 1:04:00
I'm still getting I'm still getting texts about the riots, sir. So
Jeff MacIntyre 1:04:03
Oh, right. The curfew. Oh, we're cutting to close. But we better wrap this up and shut the shades. But I had met a guy at a party in a couple months earlier. And this party I only found out the next day on Facebook. It was a who's who a former child stars like every child actor was at this party. It was a birthday party for a guy used to go to junior high with and he actually was a pretty big child star Keith Coogan. his grandpa was Jackie Coogan. He was in class and he was in my million. Okay. He was in adventures in babysitting. Don't tell mom the babysitter's dead. Every 80s TV show. So I contact this guy who hosted the party who happened to be a screenwriter and said Hey, Ryan. We're not doing anything. Now. Let's do something wacky and creative. Let's come up with a show that we could, you know, put child actors in and shoot it on zoom. So we came up with the first kind of scripted zoom comedy. It's called the quarantined bunch, and we've got like six former child stars on here. Even Ted lanes from Love Boat Isaac, he makes an appearance. Guess ours. And it's a hoot the premises all these child stars, you know, the reputation they're all little. Yeah. It's called fall Thank you said it. So they used to have a support group where they met in person. But since the quarantine now they have all their meetings on zoom, or everyone could tune into their drama. So the quarantine bunch was born. And it's a fun little show, but it just shows the necessity of being able to pivot, when you can no longer produce content in a way you're used to. We have to quickly turn on a dime, and then channel our creativity in another format.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:43
And well, you first of all, you had me at support group now, but like and this is something that filmmakers today don't understand is that you know, when you and I were coming up it everything was pretty well established. Like things really hadn't changed in I mean occasional little things here VHS showed up it kind of threw a little monkey wrench in right then. Then DVDs showed up cable Remo cable was gonna knock out your channel, select TV, yeah, all this. So there's things and then you know, but then once it once Netflix showed up, and in a way, in the in the streaming space, not in the other space in the DVD rental space, but in the streaming space. Everything's accelerated so quickly that the marketplace, the technology, everything has changed so much prior to the 90s. Really, I mean, when I went to when I went to college, I learned on a flatbed. But I also learned on that Sony and the CMS 3600. Let's let's start data and the Grass Valley as well. But then I use the this is for the for the folks listening, the montage as my editing. Yes, the mind size. The montage was the the nonlinear editing system I learned on which was on Windows 311. And then I would take the floppy and walk it over to the CMS 3600 plug it in and try to get that EDL to work which it never did. Good luck and never did. But then by the time I graduated, dV mini DV starts showing up and then he started showing and then avid showed up and then every so it was kind of like it was weird. I was right in the middle of the shift. So a lot of the stuff I learned in school was pretty much useless like I I know what timecode is, I know a drop frame is you know all this kind of stuff that I needed back then betas, SPS and Digi betas and all that stuff. I mean, all that kind of crazy title safe. Oh titles, I can remember
Jeff MacIntyre 1:07:51
My wife working on movie trailers, marketing and the young bucks who come in there. When they kick back a spot because it wasn't QC properly and they come to my website. What's this thing called? titles? title safe already, because they're on a screen. Nothing's threatening them. Oh, my God. Yeah, it's these little things.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:13
But but then but now? Yeah, no, no, but that but then you have to pivot because things started changing so rapidly. You know, I went from an avid editor to a final cut editor because I couldn't find any work as an avid editor in my market. Because there everybody started using Final Cut. Because everyone started all these in house agencies in house production company started buying Final Cut because it was more affordable. So I learned that then I jumped into color. Then I jumped at the post supervising then I was directing, you know, not just commercials, but other things. So it was just this constant pivoting and shifting, where if you do like, I'm only going to make my movie this way. And I'm going to get it out this way you're done. You've got to pivot, you've got to be able to change.
Jeff MacIntyre 1:08:53
And you have to continue to evolve. If you don't keep evolving, you start evolving. And then you do a circular spiral back into the earth from where you came. And I think a lot a lot of filmmakers, the seed is planted. If you're a movie guy, the seed is planted early on when we went into this year, we were mesmerized by the flicker the 24 frames per second flicker of dreams on the screen. And we love these icons are film heroes. And a lot of filmmakers still think that's the only way they can produce their their craft their art is through the template that their icons used.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:27
Correct. And that doesn't I remember I was I remember I was coming up. And I just in 2005 I released the DVD that I sold to to filmmakers about how I made a movie a short film back then. And in 2005, there was no online education. There was no educational products for independent filmmakers. I know it's hard to believe but there was none. And I decided at that point I made $100,000 off of a short film and we sold 5000 units and we did a lot of great stuff back then. But I was if you go Back to YouTube. I actually have the first tutorials filmmaking tutorials up on YouTube. It's still there. Oh, that's awesome. And I but I do enjoy when you watch it. No, it's actually really fun. They're gonna find me there an SD in there. Yeah, look, I look so much better than I did now. But But the problem The point is that I decided not to keep going down that educational route one because no one knew what YouTube was going to be in no one knew what the whole I didn't see that much ahead. But secondly, I said, well, Spielberg never did this. Why should I Scorsese never did this, I, I'm not gonna, like I don't I'm not gonna be an educator, I'm not gonna go down this road or do something else that my icons my, my idols didn't do. And you can't think that way. You've got to think about what's new. What's the space? What's the technology? What are the platforms? How can I get my message out? How can I move my career Ford, when I jumped into podcasting five years ago, there was a lot of podcasts out there. But not nearly as many as there are now in the filmmaking space. Now, it's everybody has a filmmaking podcast. But I'm one of the few that have stayed. I'm one of the few that survived these last five years, where a lot of my contemporaries decided to just, you know, leave. But it's because I found that niche, I was like, Oh, well, there's not, there's somewhere here, I can make some noise here, as opposed to jumping onto YouTube and trying to do it there. So it's always about pivoting. It's always about shifting and adjusting and putting more tools in that toolbox.
Jeff MacIntyre 1:11:29
And staying persistent. And I think that's really the foundation of your success is you remain vigilant and persistent. And we're most don't, once again, we come back to the views. conundrum where it's tough to create content these days is a lot of competition. There's so much noise out there signal to noise, oh my god, how do you pierce through it. And it is only through consistent, creative output. And that's a lot of work to feed the beast. But then when you don't get the views the social proof. I mean, it's easy to to turn tail and say, You know what, I put eight videos up. They didn't hit I'm going home. I'm trying something new. So to stick with it. Oh, and get over the hump like like you did with your podcast. That's really the formula for success sees they'll just show up, it's digging down.
Alex Ferrari 1:12:15
Showing up is half the battle 100% and you don't have to be perfect. Don't wait to your habit all. You just got to learn as you go. But keep producing. Absolutely building your library. Absolutely no question. No, I'm gonna ask you if you get a question to ask all my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today?
Jeff MacIntyre 1:12:36
I'd say really explore a good trade school. I mean, refrigerators always need repairing. plumbers are in demand. During this time about
Alex Ferrari 1:12:43
Boat engine lock toilets, boat engines
Jeff MacIntyre 1:12:45
Boat to get the hell out out of the country. But what if you have to? Yes, if you're so moved by your inner child to pick up a camera. I mean, really stay sober about this big career choice and make really smart decisions. Don't give all your money to a school with the promise that they're going to arm you with the tools and the career possibilities because they won't you don't need anyone but yourself and an internet connection to be a self taught success story. So don't spend money on a film school. I'm sorry, I that pisses off a lot of people who are still in debt to their film schools. But you don't need that static anymore. Because you've got the only tool you need to start creating.
Alex Ferrari 1:13:32
Oh, no, there. Yeah, there's so much it's so much education out there either free or even paid at a much, much more affordable rate than it is to to go to a film school, which, honestly, when you start film school, if you go in there for four years, do you think everything you're learning is going to be even up to date by the time you're out? Like it doesn't make any sense.
Jeff MacIntyre 1:13:52
I mean, journalism schools up to three years ago, they still were focusing heavily on print. me Hello. This is a sign of the times calling it's 2020. Maybe you've heard Yeah, it's it's a really I mean, it's such a disservice because then you put some money in a vise grip and economic vise grips. Oh, and so write your relevant information and you get them on the hook for the next 20 years to pay you for information that won't produce a dime in their pocket and pisses me off. It does. It's, yeah,
Alex Ferrari 1:14:22
I mean, it's all about ROI.
Jeff MacIntyre 1:14:24
Yeah. And you have to stay focused on that. And suddenly, some, the purists will say, Oh, no, but uh, I'm an artist. I fixed my baray I can't focus on the money. But if you don't focus on the money, you'll never have the backing to create your art and buy your braids.
Alex Ferrari 1:14:40
So there's a balance and your monocle Don't forget the monocle. Oh, the monocle, sir. And let me ask you. I went to film school I went to a trade school went to full sail and Mike my education was fairly affordable. At the time, asked me how many times I've shown my degree or have been asked for my degree Like, how many times have you shown never once? Has anyone asked me? Where did you go to school? Let me see your degree. What are your qualification? Where do they just go? Can you do the job I'm going to hired to do? Do you have a real Do you have a resume? Do you have references? That's all I care about. We are carnies. And the sooner people understand that we're Tech High Tech carnies, that's what the film industry is built on. High Tech carnies, who either are in post in a closet like I was for many years, or onset, directing or onset, you know, doing other jobs. You are a carny in one way shape, or high tech carny. And in the carny world, they don't care about credentials.
Jeff MacIntyre 1:15:42
No, but in the corner word, it's all about your game. Yes, just stop someone for a second, catch an eye, hook a heart, grab someone, and then your patter. And you have to bring something very different than someone else in that marketplace can't bring. So once again, it's really getting in touch with your unique sorry for the cliche, unique value offering to the world. And you can't be scared off by maybe going down a different path. It's so important to stand out these days and have the courage to be your unique self, as the market wants that mean, we're in this era of you know, Authenticity, and authentic storytelling as a currency. So lean into that. I think that's what the market really wants more of these days. It's the only value one more tip, this episode's going on three hours, but I thank you Skype for not shutting the server's down. Another tip for young filmmakers. And this really helped me, especially if you're thinking about going into documentary, I learned so much of every facet of the process by working in TV news, because you have to be a one man band. And it may not it may because an IRA Oh, I don't want to tell those kinds of stories, you know, you're not there for that you eventually will tell the stories you want to tell. But you learn every facet of the technical process, and you become very quick. And that is really key. I don't want filmmakers laboring for five years, there's zero ROI. If you spent five years on a project, you need to turn your your your productions around much quicker and spend less money on them.
Alex Ferrari 1:17:10
Yeah, yeah, like you made your your major film for $15,000. And that's not that's doable, because of your tools and the toolbox you've put over the years 100% if you don't have to pay people to do your job, and you just be the artist, don't forget, if you were just the artists, you had your baray that's 150 200,200 $50,000 job, film. And same thing goes with me with my last film, I spent around $3,000 making my feature, but it was, but it was a you know, it was a different ballgame. But it was I just did a lot of it myself and hired key people that I do. And when I say key, there's three, um, you know, other than the actors, and you but I did that because I have 20 odd years under my belt that I have a lot of tools in my toolbox, and I carried a lot of that way to my own shoulders. If not that movie costs, you know, 100,000 bucks. You know, if we do it right,
Jeff MacIntyre 1:18:01
There's no way to get that back as indie filmmakers where a lot of us are, really have to, to learn the craft, so you can perform at all levels of it, not rely on others. And we know people, older filmmakers who still bring on a dp a sound version, and they have to hire a crew of five, which maybe you and I can single handedly do.
Alex Ferrari 1:18:22
Correct. Correct. And it's all just different, but and I think the generation coming up behind us, and behind them. They're very self sufficient. And they're handling
Jeff MacIntyre 1:18:32
And that's exciting. That is exciting.
Alex Ferrari 1:18:34
Yes. Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?
Jeff MacIntyre 1:18:44
This sounds really crappy. It's it's multifaceted. Nobody gives a damn absolutely about your film. They don't are you. And that is, it's liberating once you can lean into that zero expectations from the world or your audience. And it's on us to help people care about something that is important to us. And you can find a common ground to where people will lean in a little if you're offering them something of value. But also, you're not a slave to what the the market thinks of your work. If this if this project causes you joy while you're creating it, Wow, that is 100% ROI. Your happiness during the creation process is huge that can never be discounted. And we forget that once we labor for a year or two, we put it online, and it just flops. And we think because we got 12 153 views, it's a failure. But we forget how much you know, fun we had and how much we learned during the process of making it.
Alex Ferrari 1:19:49
Yes, without question, great answer, and three of your favorite films of all time.
Jeff MacIntyre 1:19:56
I knew you're gonna ask that. It honestly, I'm not a real Guy
Alex Ferrari 1:20:01
three of your favorite documentaries, documentaries. Okay. I do have some favorite my favorite film is airplane. Oh, I don't know if anyone's ever given you that. Oh has it's been on the show. It's a really, you could turn on airplane right now. And piss yourself. It's so funny. I picked the wrong day to start sniffing glue. I mean, it's just so good
Jeff MacIntyre 1:20:23
You ever been in a cockpit ever seen a grown man naked?
Alex Ferrari 1:20:27
Anytime you like watching, watching barbarian films Johnny I've ever spent any time in a Turkish prison and a Turkish prison. Like
Jeff MacIntyre 1:20:37
There's easter eggs throughout that you could watch it like 10 times and you'll find something laughs So good. So again, it's I actually I sat on the plane. Next to we were going to Beijing for a project. Next to one of the I'm blanking on who are the two guys. J is J. Abrams, Abrams, Abrams and sucker, sucker. Tucker. Zuckerman. I sat next to Tucker chairs. Hilarious guy, but I mean, I love quirky. I mean, there's a guy wrote this guy's name down because I love Steven Conrad. He on the TVs, perpetual grace the Patriot on Amazon. He did Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Have you
Alex Ferrari 1:21:20
I love secret level? Well, to me, it's a great film.
Jeff MacIntyre 1:21:23
I love quirky. Just different.
Alex Ferrari 1:21:26
Fair enough. Now where can people find you and your work?
Jeff MacIntyre 1:21:31
As if they want to after this
Alex Ferrari 1:21:36
If anyone's still listening?
Jeff MacIntyre 1:21:38
I don't know good. Go to moviemarketingmakeover.com . That's how you can get this free course you could find me there. I mean, I don't know you can. Oh, I have a company. By the way. I've only had it for like 25 years. But I have a production company called Content Media Group here in Los Angeles. So you could find me there too. I love you know, opening an ear to the the up and coming generation of filmmakers. So feel free to reach out with any questions. But we're all here to support each other and to keep indie filmmaking alive into the future.
Alex Ferrari 1:22:11
Amen. Brother preach their preach, preach. Yeah. Amen. Amen. Amen. Pass the plate. Jeff, thank you so much for being on the show, man, I really appreciate it. And thank you for being so honest and raw about your experience. Thank you for allowing me to beat it up a little bit. And for the scope of education of our audience, I do truly appreciate it. Because I think we do learn much more from our mistakes than we do from our victories, as I have put my mistakes out there in many, many ways, many times in my books everywhere else. But I think it's really great of you. So thank you again, for everything you've done. And good luck to you with launch 2.0.
Jeff MacIntyre 1:22:53
And thank you for keeping us all awake to the possibilities of what we can become as indie filmmakers, Alex, thank you for building this great community.
Alex Ferrari 1:23:02
I want to thank Jeff for coming on the show not only dropping major, major knowledge bombs on the tribe, but for being so transparent and open about his successes and his failures. Going through this journey of self distributing his film, self distribution, guys is no joke, if you are going to self distribute your film, you really have to be on your A game, the higher the budget of your film, the tougher it's going to be to recoup your money in today's world. So try to keep those budgets as low as possible. But the higher that budget goes, the better you have to execute your plan. And you have to have a plan in the first place. Before you try to self distributed. If you plan on just putting your movie out there on iTunes and Amazon and Google Play and YouTube and you expect, you know people to find your movie. And that's how you're going to make your money back in self distribution, I promise you, you will more than likely fail, because that is not an option anymore in today's world. So I talk all about distribution and a lot of the pitfalls of distribution, what you can do to actually generate revenue with your film in my best selling book, Rise of the film entrepreneur, which of course you can get at film bi z book.com. Now if you want to get links to anything we talked about in this episode, head over to indiefilmhustle.com/412 for the show notes, and before I finished today, guys, I want to let you know that I've got some insane stuff cooking for the tribe. We will be having a bunch of amazing things happening for the last two months of this insanely crazy upside down year. That is 2020. I have a bunch of new courses, webinars, things like that that are coming out for the tribe through ifH Academy. We're adding a bunch of new content over at indie film, hustle TV, as well. And of course, I'm going to be announcing my new book towards the end of the year, which I am feverishly working on as we speak. Thank you again. So, so much. As always, keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. Stay safe out there, and I'll talk to you soon.
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Oscar® Winning Writer/Director
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