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IFH 594: From Micro-Budget to World-Wide Distribution with Shane Stanley

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At sixteen years old, Shane Stanley had already received his first Emmy Award for his work on Desperate Passage (1987) which starred Michael Landon. Over the next few years he learned filmmaking under his father Lee Stanley on what became known as The Desperate Passage Series (1988 to 1995) starring Sharon Gless, Edward James Olmos, Marlo Thomas and Louis Gossett Jr..

The self-produced series earned a total of thirty-three Emmy nominations, (winning thirteen) as well as numerous Christopher Awards and CINE Golden Eagles. In 1994, the Stanleys feature film, Street Pirates (1994) was a two-time winner of the CINE Golden Eagle Award for best feature documentary and film editing.

In 2001, Shane launched Visual Arts Entertainment, his own production company, most notably credited with Gridiron Gang (2006) starring Dwayne Johnson & Xzibit as well as the critically acclaimed independent film, A Sight for Sore Eyes (2004) with Academy Award nominee, Gary Busey.

The film, (produced for under $10,000) marked Shane’s directorial debut and went on to win the Gold Special Jury Award at Worldfest Houston, Best Dramatic Short Film at the International Family Film Festival, a Telly Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film and Television as well as two Aurora Awards for writing & directing. The film was also invited to Cannes to compete in the annual international film festival.

His new film is Double Threat.

After skimming money from the mob, a, well-trained fighter, Natasha (Danielle C. Ryan), finds herself on the run with a kind, naïve accountant, Jimmy (Matthew Lawrence) whose life is about to get more thrilling than he could ever imagine.

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Shane Stanley 0:00
Let's put story aside everybody freaks out and says, Oh my God, it's all about the script. Yeah, the story is important. But let's talk about the look and production value of film. For me there's there's five elements, and no specific order. Your cinematographer got to know his craft, you you have to get actors that are that I hate to keep using the term no their craft.

Alex Ferrari 0:21
Today's show is sponsored by Enigma Elements. As filmmakers, we're always looking for ways to level up production value of our projects, and speed up our workflow. This is why I created Enigma Elements. Your one stop shop for film grains, color grading lots vintage analog textures like VHS and CRT images, smoke fog, textures, DaVinci Resolve presets, and much more. After working as an editor colorist post and VFX supervisor for almost 30 years I know what film creatives need to level up their projects, check out enigmaelements.com and use the coupon code IFH10. To get 10% off your order. I'll be adding new elements all the time. Again, that's enigmaelements.com. I'd like to welcome back to the show returning champion Shane Stanley, how're you doing?

Shane Stanley 1:17
I am doing great, Alex. Thanks for having me, man. It's great to see you.

Alex Ferrari 1:20
Thanks for coming back on the show. Brother, I I appreciate you coming back. And you and I have been working together for a little while we've got a couple of courses up on IFH Academy, we got your book about what they don't teach you at film school up on IFH books. And maybe in the next few weeks, we're going to be releasing a few chapters of that book for free so everyone can get to get a taste of your genius. And what's inside and what's inside that book that will hopefully save a lot of filmmakers lives. But today we're here to hear that one right there. What what? Exactly. So but so today, we're here to talk about your new film double threat. But I just want to get into the weeds a little bit about filmmaking and about where we're, how you put this thing together, the realities of what's going on from financing to distribution and so on. So, but first man, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, the people who did not listen to your first interview with me?

Shane Stanley 2:18
Well, absolutely. You know, I grew up in the industry. I actually became a working actor at nine months old. My father was a working actor. We were at a barbecue and there was a guy kind of looking at me from across the backyard. My dad's very protected. She just walked right up to the guy goes, I don't like the way you're looking at my kid. What's your jam? And he said, Oh, no, no, I'm a commercial director. I'm doing a new campaign for century 21. It's this new real estate company and I need a baby and your kids been sitting there quiet and perked up and well behaved and we can't find a kid that doesn't scream. So luxury started to kick this working kid baby actor till I was you know, fourth, fifth sixth grade. But during that time, my father got out of acting and became a working documentary and educational filmmaker. So he had the flatbeds the movie olas, the splicers and 16 millimeter cameras and so from very young age, I started playing around on those cameras and the splicers and movies. And he just started working and working and working. And he was doing everything at such a low budget, he was literally pulling on me to work in the camera department, the editing department. So I grew up in and around the business that way. And as I got older, around the time, I was in high school, he finally got his big break. And it was on a film that that, you know, he did with Michael Landon that I was very, very much a part of. And that changed our lives. And we started making this, you know, a television series of movie of the weeks for about nine years, which spawned into Gridiron Gang, which was a remake of one of our Mo W documentaries. And I started going down the path of working in a television network and studio system. And I just I didn't like development. I didn't like meetings, I didn't like talking about movies getting made. I wanted to make movies. And when I probably about 1213 years ago, after my 1500 meeting at one of the networks, the head of the network called me into his office and said, Let's talk and we put our feet up on his coffee table. We poured us a glass of scotch and he said it's obvious you're unhappy with this process. You're a filmmaker, get out of here, go make movies. And so I I got $500 together and made a pilot for you know a 45 minute pilot which did more for my career as a filmmaker than any of my resume previously. And I've been on that path ever since and it's been it's been quite a ride.

Alex Ferrari 4:48
It's been it has been served without question. You have made a bunch of independent films over the years and I know that you know a couple of things that you should avoid To in regards to making independent film like, what are a few things that make your independent film look cheap? Look low budget because you make high quality high looking budget films at low budgets. But I I've seen them to men. I even worked on a few of them. When I was coming up as a colorist and an editor, where you look at the stuff you're like, Dude, why did you just God? Why did you shoot against the white wall? Why?

Shane Stanley 5:28
Why did you get your aunt to play a big role in your movie? Yeah, me, you know, look, let's put story aside, everybody freaks out and says, Oh, my God, it's all about the script. Yeah, the story is important. But let's talk about the look and production value of film. For me, there's there's five elements, and no specific order. Your cinematographer got to know his craft, you you have to get actors that are that I hate to keep using the term no their craft. And a lot of new filmmakers say well, I don't know any working actors. That's okay. Go to local acting classes, call colleges. There are a lot of actors amongst us that we don't think about. But most the time they're calling their friends, their girlfriends, their aunt, their mom, their dad, their neighbor to star in their movies, and it just sinks the ship. And there's no reason you can't be working with talent. I think that the thing is so important is location. So many people just shoot in their backyard or garage their house. People want to experience new things. And for me, everything is about location and making something look big. Another element is the editing. I think that's absolutely key. An editor can can sink or swim the film in a heartbeat. And the other one is sound production sound. I've been fortunate on my last nine films to work with a guy that to ADR one line with the exception of we did a scene in a car. And we had to, we knew we weren't going to get it because of where we were driving and the organic nature I wanted to shot in and we shot it with the camera trays and the sound and said just go get this a scratch. We'll we'll get him in the trailer doing it later. And that's I you have to have a great sound man, a good editor, a good cinematographer, good actors in good locations. I think if you have those five things, you have already stepped your game so far up, that you're going to you're going to separate yourself, you know, it's I will say it's separates the sheep from the goats.

Alex Ferrari 7:30
Yeah, and I think the other other thing I would add to that is to just when you frame things, just frame it with a little bit of scope a little bit of, of depth in a shot. So like so many times I see shots where, oh, god, look, they shot a two people talking against a white wall. There's nothing interesting in that at all, shouldn't no window, at least

Shane Stanley 7:49
Look out the window, go outside, you know, go go to a, you know, a set of tracks houses on a day, they're not doing the trash, you know, and you know, put a long lens on that thing and just get some depth and some open, you know, and just that's just it is most of the student films or indie films that I look at. And I know you and I have talked about this, they shoot it up against a white wall, or they shoot it in a garage or a bedroom. And these things could just be taken outside or put into some new area. And our job is storytellers is to take an audience to either a place they've never been a place they are afraid to go a place that they want to go or something they didn't know exist. And I think every time you set something up, you need to think that way.

Alex Ferrari 8:30
Yeah, no question. And I'd love to because in your new movie, double threat, there's a scene that, you know, you're talking about people wanting to be taken to a new place, things you haven't seen before. I haven't seen a woman on horseback with a bow and arrow chasing down a car. Ever that I can remember that double exactly didn't look like a startup. So we'll get into how you shot that in a little bit. But that was just like something you're just like, hey, something I don't see every day. That's, that's interesting. So adding little elements like that if something you just like I've never seen that before, adds a tremendous amount of value to your project.

Shane Stanley 9:14
It's gotten a lot of mileage and also, you know, Danielle C. Ryan, is the actor you're referring to Danielle had one mandate, and she produced the film with me as no stunt doubles. I can do anything that you need me to do. And you know, there's a three and a half minute fight scene in that film, not one double She rehearsed it would talk to him and the other guys for one day on her day off. They showed up we knocked it out. And you know, that was the thing you know, we shot that film the heart of the pandemic, we filled it November, December of 2020. And we lost nine locations going back to locations. We had nine locations committed to the film that one after another dropped out during production. And we had a friend with a film ranch who just said dude, here are the keys, lock yourselves up on the hill and go do what you got to do. And so we were very limited. I had that I had a warehouse, I had a hotdog stand. And we had my cousin's cabin and big bear. Those were the only locations we had. And I would love to shot that film all over the world, but we couldn't because of COVID. So taking what we were talking about a second ago was, yeah, is how do we make this interesting? Let's put a girl on horseback shooting a bow and arrow hitting a moving target, which she actually did. Let's get car chases. Let's have fun with this. Let's do a let's go to the airport and steal a plane and have Matthew Lord started up and take off. I mean, we had no stunt doubles in this film. And that was kind of our hook.

Alex Ferrari 10:35
That's awesome. That's awesome. Now, in another interview, I heard you talk about the 11 minute rule that filmmakers and screenwriters should follow what is the 11 Minute Rule?

Shane Stanley 10:44
I will, I will tell you something funny, I got a lot of heat for that I was doing an interview. And before we started, you know, I just said, casually, I said, thanks. There's an 11 minute rule. And I learned this from sales agents that you know, when you make as storytellers the muscle or Spielberg, or you know, Christopher Nolan, what they're going to sit for two hours before you get to the point, I've learned when you're making an indie film, especially in the climate of streaming and 300,000 channels at your fingertips, you better let your audience know what's going on. Within. I've heard from sales agents and distributors, they've been beating in my head for the last six or seven years, you've got 11 minutes to get to the point are there we're out there, they're gonna you're gonna lose them. And I mentioned this on another interview, and I got crucified for saying that. And of course, it was people that have never made a movie before who've never sold a film. And I learned it by having movies that we're building and developing characters, with sales agents, saying you've got to take three or four minutes out of your movie, you've got to get to it by 1011 minutes, dude, if you don't, we're not going to get a sale. So you know, everybody likes to develop backstory and character and you know, all the you know, all the aficionados out there that have their rules that they believe they need to follow. They crucified me, which is fine, everybody's entitled to an opinion. But what was really funny is I am actually a work for hire as a director on a studio film right now that starts in August, I was hired by Studio to direct a film. And what was so funny is we have our first meeting, and they wanted me to read the script. And they never saw the interview. They don't care about any of the stuff I do outside of what they need me for. And one of the executives actually said to me, there is an 11 minute rule that we need to follow this script doesn't do it, it gets into about 13 or 14 minutes, where we finally know what the hell's going on. We need you to as a director, to do a director polish and get us to this 11 minute plan. And I said to him, I said, Well, where did you hear about this rule? And they said, it's just a rule follow it. I've never heard the term 11 minute rule. And I'm not saying I coined the phrase like Richard Kirino. Like that wonderful comedian that said, he coined the lunch from hell or something from hell, but I had never heard the term I was brought up in the interview. But I have found it, especially in the independent world, when you're hustling, and you're trying to sell your stuff. If your audience doesn't know what the hell's going on, and what the journey is going to be, of course, surprises down the road are good, but they don't know what the whole setup is and who the players are by 1011 minutes, man. Good luck. Good luck.

Alex Ferrari 13:16
No, and that's the thing. And this is the difference where a lot of filmmakers don't understand that in the 80s 90s, even the early 2000s, people would go to a theater, they sit down, or in the 80s and 90s they would rent a movie, they've paid for it. They're gonna watch it. You got a hot, you're hooked. But in today's world, you're flipping, flipping, flipping, flipping, flipping and there is 10s of millions of pieces of content for you to consume and movies and ELA and television and entertainment for you to watch that. I'd argue it's like much faster than 11 minutes because it is for me, I I will sit there and I'll start watching something and man, like we were watching the show. What was it I forgot the name of the show, but it was supposedly a really good show. And it was like a new HBO show. I'm not gonna name the show. But we were watching this new HBO show. And it was like a drama and we're just sitting there going, I'm like, what is so slow. My wife and I just like eight minutes in we're like, I can great cast, same cast, great writers. I just it just took too long for me to get into it. I was just like, if this is the pace of the show, then I'm not going to be able to keep going with it. So I just started watching mayor of Kingston

Shane Stanley 14:28
How do you do it?

Alex Ferrari 14:30
I I'm in the middle of it right now.

Shane Stanley 14:31
I first heard that I saw the whole I saw the tama Jeremy Renner show.

Alex Ferrari 14:37
Yeah, Taylor Terrell shared It's so terrible.

Shane Stanley 14:39
She loved it. It's got you know, look, you can pick apart any series Wouldn't we all love to be hit and Taylor's got it going on right now. I'll tell you something. That the last two episodes it's a two part episode. I'm a cutter at heart. I'm an editor at heart is the best cutting. There's a scene in the prison yard. I'm not going to ruin it for you. It's the best Editing I've ever seen on television and it's comparable. I thought I always thought bravehearts battle scenes were the best cut I'd ever seen because it's comparable to the Braveheart stuff. I was just I rewatched the episodes just for the cutting it was I love the show and I hope so.

Alex Ferrari 15:16
So yeah, I think they're definitely bringing it back. But Mayor Kingston is for everybody not listening is a show by Taylor Sheridan, who is right now the most. The busiest human being in Hollywood has I think 11 shows in the pipeline

Shane Stanley 15:32
Yellowstone.

Alex Ferrari 15:33
1932 and then there's like four or five other ones that are just the one with Sylvester Stallone is coming up. Like everybody in the in the country in the world wants to work with him. So he's got like, I think literally, I'm not exaggerating, but a lot and shows running. What's really cool.

Shane Stanley 15:47
What's really cool if I can interject is Donald aviary who co starts and CO stars in double threat the film that we're talking about. She was in 1883. And they they loved her so much. She is going to be in Yellowstone. This year. She's I mean, the whole season. I mean, how cool is that? I'm so proud of her. Well, yeah. I'm allowed to say that because they that news broke two days ago. So I'm proud of her.

Alex Ferrari 16:11
But the reason why I bring that show up is because the first pilot I'm sitting there watching the pilot of that first episode, I'm just going to so tight. It's so in I'm so I'm so in. And then there's a twist in this in the pilot, which we won't tell you about. And you should like what that done. You're hooked for the series because of what they did in the past one of the best pilots I've seen in a while and a wine

Shane Stanley 16:34
And Taylor is so good at those. I'll tell you going back to what you said a second ago that is so key when we were making movies and up until probably 10 years ago. You got them in the theater, they were hooked. They weren't going anywhere. They paid for the DVD of the VHS, they weren't going anywhere. Now, the problem is is the distractions, the phone, so even if they're streaming your show, this is going off, they've got a tablet, they got a kid crying, there's, it's so you have to make your show look like they can't blink. And that's that was the point of the whole 11 minute rule is and I'd learned it the hard way because when we did break even look, love it or hate it, that film had more potholes in it than than a poorly paved road. But the problem was we took 20 minutes out, which left those holes so we could make our deals. That was the problem. And that 11 minute rule. That was what everybody said is you take 21 minutes to get to the damn point. We don't know what the kids are doing until 17 minutes. And once we hit that 11 minute point, everything changed. I thought the movie suffered greatly for it in plots and story and that's unfortunate, but it made the deals when you talk about business and and that was where that was coming from.

Alex Ferrari 17:49
You know what, and then we'll get off the Taylor train for a second because I just I just such a fan of Taylor's Oh, he's so he's so must see TV for my wife and I when the new season of Yellowstone is up. My kids know. Are you guys see it's Yellowstone night? Okay, we won't we won't knock on the door. Because if they knock on the door while Yellowstone is on, they know they're gonna get it. So anytime they walk in, but like so, yes. And now we're like, it's mayor. Kingstown No, no, no, no, I'm not gonna want to hear anything for an hour. Go away. Go away. The house is on fire. There's a fire extinguisher under the under the sink, just deal with it. But that's Taylor. That's the kind of writing that that Taylor does the kind of filmmaking he does, but the shows. And that is he is the He is a writer and a creator for this moment in time. And probably the best. He's probably arguably one of the best writers in television right now, arguably also means a carrier of Jesus Christ. Oh, Jimmy just occurred to me all his movies where I mean hell or high water you just like, oh, you know, and I was watching an interview about him the other day. I think it was a CBS or something like that. And they were he's like, Yeah, after 20 years of, you know, being number 11 on the call sheet. Someone said you should write and the first thing you wrote was the pilot of mayor, Mayor of Kingston. And then after he wrote it, he goes to him and I wish I would have been doing this 15 years ago. He was just never wrote before that. And he never He just and then he just kept going. And he kept and he said which is the best? He's like, I do movies because to support my horse habit.

Shane Stanley 19:30
Yes. That's I think why he and Don hit it off so well is because you know, she she lives on like this huge ranch. And she is she is all about the horses. And I remember when we were working together on double threat, she was like, I really want to do a film with you with horses. Maybe a Western we should do that. And it's like, okay, and then we wrap double threat and Scott 1883 And she goes off. I found my filmmaker who's got the horses Shane.

Alex Ferrari 19:56
Thanks anyway, Shane I'm good!

Shane Stanley 19:59
I can't Can I like Woody Harrelson and indecent proposal? It's like he's got the big yacht. I can't compete. I can't compete with just some old vintage guitars. That's it.

Alex Ferrari 20:13
And you know that he's doing so Taylor's doing so well that he bought he's a co owner now of the four sixes ranch.

Shane Stanley 20:19
I didn't know that.

Alex Ferrari 20:20
Oh yeah, he bought he bought the inferior one of the four sixes Ranch is the largest ranch in America. I think it's it's 275 miles.

Shane Stanley 20:32
Yeah, it's it's i

Alex Ferrari 20:34
275 square miles or some something insane. He owns and he owns he's a part owner of it now. 200 million or something like that? Something crazy.

Shane Stanley 20:47
Let's be nice. I'm just, I'm just trying to put gas into cars.

Alex Ferrari 20:50
Hence why I moved why I moved to Austin sir.

Shane Stanley 20:55
Man, smart man.

Alex Ferrari 20:58
Now another thing I wanted to ask you about man is titles. The title of your movie and how important the title of your movie is. And a lot of filmmakers think about it as a creative choice. And it is. But a movie like one of the greatest movies ever made. Worst title ever for a film? What movie? Is it? Greatest Movie Ever one of the greatest movie ever made in the 90s worst title in the history of cinema?

Shane Stanley 21:24
Well, I know I know. It was a well for me. It was the best selling book was Shawshank Redemption

Alex Ferrari 21:30
It's a horrible, horrible.

Shane Stanley 21:33
Funny story about that movie. Not many people know but go for it. When we first started doing Gridiron Gang we got that film got acquired by Sony in 92-93. So we spent a lot of years at the studio and without naming names. You know, when you're in the studio system, they'll they'll invite you to screenings premieres and little private showings and I'll never forget being invited to a private showing of a film that the head of production at Sony called and said, We want you guys you and your dad and mom to come to see this film. So we went and it was it was Shawshank Redemption. And it was brilliant. It was like I did the lights came up. I turned to the gentleman who invited us and I says one of the best films I've ever seen. He said, we're not that excited about it. We don't know. He said, we're kind of nervous about it. We it's a little picture we may. And I just I didn't know it was based on a Stephen King movie, because I actually saw it without credits. That's the way I saw it. And I just said to him, I said, my only suggestion is changed the title. And everybody looked at me like I just took a turn on the corner of the room. And they were like, you realize that's a Stephen King novel. And I was like, Oh, I just don't think

Alex Ferrari 22:43
It's not a novel. It was a short story. It was a novella. It's a short story. It's a novella. So wasn't like it, you could change the damn title. And it wasn't actually the name of the title of the

Shane Stanley 22:57
paper saw the title and now I think everybody's it's ingrained in our head. But yeah, but now it's in Shawshank Redemption.

Alex Ferrari 23:05
It was horrible, horrible. So can you talk about the importance of titles in the marketing and selling of your film?

Shane Stanley 23:13
I can I the first time I ever got introduced to the importance of a title, I was fortunate enough. When I was I was running Charlie Sheen's production company from 90 I think it was 96 to 99. And we were doing a lot of projects back then. And we got involved with Avi Lerner who's you know, obviously become one of the most prolific independent filmmakers of, you know, content in the world. And we were doing a film, and the title was The sparrow prophecies. So it was kind of this really cool psychological thriller, and they greenlit the film. And it changed but Avi said to me in a meeting, I'll never forget it. We didn't have he called me said we need to have a meeting. We didn't have Skype, we didn't email we drove to Arby's office. He said, we're having a roundtable meeting about the title. And he said, the title stocks, I don't understand it. But most importantly, it does not translate foreign. He said, On a good day, 18% of our money will come from domestic, it's all about foreign and I never forgot that. So I was literally in the bathroom. I grabbed and all that I was getting ready to go to the meeting and I was looking at an old issue of metal edge magazine and the drummer for poison. They're friends of mine. Yes. Ricky rocket was wearing a shirt that said no code of conduct. So I went to the meeting about two hours later, I'm sitting there and obvious screaming about how horrible the title is. And I finally said, What about no code of conduct and everybody stopped? He wrote it down. He made a phone call. He hung up. He said, That is brilliant. He said, You're good at titles. You're a crappy writer, but you're good at titles. I said to him later was we became friendly. He said, you know, and this was in the home video days, but I tell people this now, he said when people go to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video, they start new releases. They're in alphabetical order. You have to think about by the time they get to M they've made their selection. He said, so always try to think of, of titles before M, but good to word titles that have translation globally. So for me, I realized and making movies especially in the last few years, you know, we have, we have titles like breakeven, we have titles like nitrate, we have titles like double threat, you know, things like that. And, and for me, it's about let's get a catchy title that we say on a daily basis or a regular like when we hear it it's a familiar term. And for me, it's it's it's really important to catch people's eye that know nothing about you as a filmmaker, they may not know your actors or what your films about, or you don't have the publicity money to make it a household name. How can you do that, and that's all the studio system was doing and repeat sequels, prequels and remakes was let's get rebrand what people know. So as an indie filmmaker, I think it's important to come up with really cool titles that people are familiar with subconsciously, that will help just do a little bit of a built in branding for your film. And that's that's what that comes from. But as it is, I can't work on a film until I have a cool title. I just I never could. It's

Alex Ferrari 26:06
So I actually, when I was working in coming up doing deliveries for film for films, I was working with the distributor, and there was a title of a movie. And let's say it was called by train. Alright, let's for lack of what it's called by drinks. He goes That's to can't make that work. Yeah, we need to be in the top of the catalog. Yeah, so for him, he was looking at it from AFM standpoint, from the American Film Market standpoint, where distributors and buyers are looking at the catalog and it starts at a so he renamed the movie A Night Train

Shane Stanley 26:42
Smart. Because they're not gonna make it NightRain comma A and the catalogs to be able to train at night train.

Alex Ferrari 26:48
So I'm using that as a really horrible example. But it's exactly what he did. He just took it and just made a just throw an a in front of it, and you're just like, but that doesn't sound that great. And he's like, it's gonna sell. So there's, and this is the thing, man. And I know, I know, you and I both kind of fall in the same in the same boat in this regards to art versus commerce. We're filmmakers, we're creatives, we want to tell a cool story, we want to be doing what we'd love to do. But then you got to make money in order to keep this train going, no pun intended. You got to keep this thing going. So there are going to be sacrifices at this level. When you're at the studio level and you get to develop or if you're in the art world, our art film level where you don't care. Like I made a movie called on the corner of ego and desire. A it's not something I AFM was not my strength, not my point. It wasn't like buyers are gonna buy this, I made the movie for three, three grand, and it was fun. It was just for fun. And I was gonna sell it to my audience and I made money with it. And we're all said and done. But it was an art piece. It was an art piece. So there's art films. And then there is a studio world where rules are completely different. They're completely skewed, whatever they want. But in the in the, you know, the grinding indie world in the trenches, if you will, you've got to balance art and commerce. And you just said that you kind of cut out 20 minutes of your movie, or else you wouldn't have gotten deals that you could have stuck to your guns as an artist and said, You know what, this is my vision. I'm not moving forward. And that movie wouldn't have made money you would have been able to make the next one is that first.

Shane Stanley 28:25
And that's just it. I say in my book, I remind people you know, I look at every film we make as a gift. Every opportunity we have I look I compare it to a trip to the moon and how many people have been to the moon twice. I don't think many. And I just say look, if you just want to make a movie, go make the movie you want to make but if you want to have a career as a filmmaker, there are sacrifices and things that you have to change to get there. I mean, I've had films that that people said are brilliant. They've won you know 100 awards and really prestigious festivals premiered at Cannes and then the buyer who buys it at Cannes says great we need to take out five minutes we need to do this we need to switch this we don't like this actor we want you to reshoot that and but that's what got me here I am 50 plus years old now and I am making a couple of films a year and I'm very pleased to say pretty much my way because I've learned how to play the game and it just comes from going back to what you said about Title real quick. The original title tonight train was actually blowing smoke because it's a film about speed it's about you know car racing and motorcycles and all this launch

Alex Ferrari 29:33
Smoke i right away I thought of I thought it was a weird movie.

Shane Stanley 29:37
There Okay, so it first was a week then there was blowing smoke up your ass and then I literally said as a joke I said well the the treatment title was Night Train and everybody's like well that's your title Night Train. The truck is actually your third star in the movie. That's the brand that's plus you got the Guns and Roses song that was real familiar of popular so it's again it goes back to that subtle branding. So we Yeah, we scrapped blowing smoke even though that was the working title. But it was always meant to be nitrate.

Alex Ferrari 30:06
Yeah, exactly. Now I want to ask how did you get double threat off the ground? You know, and especially, how did you get, you know, how did you just? I mean, obviously, you came up with the idea you you wrote it correct? No, no CJ

Shane Stanley 30:18
Weezy a story. So, we were in September of 2020. We had all been on lockdown for six, seven months, I was sitting in my home office. And I literally said, Okay, it's September, coming into the fourth quarter, we can look in the rearview mirror and say 2020 kicked our ass and walked us down. Or we can we can turn around and make it our pitch. I said, I am not going down without a fight. A friend of mine called me it was one of my dearest friends in the world. He said, Hey, I got 50 grand burning a hole in my pocket. Can you do something with it? And I said, Sure. So I called up CJ. And I said, I got a friend who just committed 50 grand, I know it's nothing. I got the cameras for free. I know I can get the locations for free. The actors will just put it under an experimental deal. We'll get a decent actor, somebody will come out play with us, we'll get a crew of eight. Let's just go do it. So we talked to Danielle and her manager at the time, Kurt and we all agreed to go make this movie. CJ had a script in six days. And on the sixth day of Christmas, my true love called me and said yeah, my wife said no, you're not going to 50 grand. So it was like, oh, okay, so I actually was having lunch the next day with one of my dearest friends in the world. And it was when they were starting to let people in restaurants if they were outside on streets, and we sat down and he just said, you know, I told you I'd never get involved in your industry is a very successful man and his own business. He said, I'm concerned about you and your friends. You haven't been out of the house in seven months. He said, What is the cheapest you can make a movie for like bare bones with the COVID protocols. I don't want you to get shut down. So I came back to him later that day and said I broken down what we were going to do. Here's what COVID is going to cost. Let's put a little pad in there. Let's do it. Right let's do it through sag. Let's do it. Hey, everybody, here's the number and he said I want you to get out of the house and go make a movie and within two months from concept to that's a wrap. Wow.

Alex Ferrari 32:18
Yeah, that's an insane turnaround for a movie.

Shane Stanley 32:23
Now the best part of the story is not. I had two assistant editors on the film who sadly lost parents, grandparents and brothers and sisters to COVID So I had I had all the 4k or 5k footage sitting. I couldn't find anybody because Hollywood had started to open and we had no money going in. It took me six months to get the picture transcoded song dailies proxies and cut because everybody was back to work and making good money and we didn't have post money going in. And I literally had to ship a hard drive a 24 terabyte hard drive to Cairo, Egypt. There was a gentleman God loves them. He he heard we were in need he reached out and said I am stuck in Egypt I flew here before the pandemic with my wife we cannot leave we're on lockdown. If you trust me I will deliver what you need. And I literally FedEx to Cairo. A 24 terabyte hard drive and a month later he sent it back with everything done. And we were able to

Alex Ferrari 33:28
Affordably I'm assuming.

Shane Stanley 33:57
He did it for like lunch, a screen credit and the new friend. I mean the guy I couldn't have done it without him. Couldn't have done we had no money. We put it all into the shoot and COVID 40 grand went to COVID on that film. We've tested over 400 times not one positive. We had a couple of COVID officers and all the the PP II stuff you needed. I mean, it was it was unbelievable. What went to COVID like a huge chunk of the movie went to COVID. Wow, that's so we posted it for nothing. I mean, my DP Joelle Logan colored it because he wanted to color a film. He said, I'd like to try coloring the film. And I said, Well, I have no money here.

Alex Ferrari 34:36
And when you're when you're working with this budget level, you got to do what you got to do to make it happen.

Shane Stanley 34:41
And it was it was it was a fraction of what we had been used to so and then you add COVID on top of it. And then the fact that when we were in post everybody was back to work. I was calling people that were friends of friends that were looking for work the week before and destitute living in a box. And as we all know, Hollywood went crazy and So, I would call people in like colorist that would say, Yeah, I'll do it for like five and they were like, Dude, you can't even afford me on backed up for six months don't even bother me. I couldn't get anybody to do it.

Alex Ferrari 35:10
Yeah, exactly, exactly. And I was getting calls left and right to color and I just like, I'm retired. I'm retired. I'm a podcaster. Sir, I don't, I don't color. And I'm joking.

Shane Stanley 35:24
I actually had a friend Chris Rosner, who's one of my dearest friends. I love Chris using an incredible cinematography teacher at LSCC. Chris has a very good colorist. And he had been on lockdown. So he had actually offered when we went into this, he goes, if you're getting a jam and needed color, let me know I'll color it for you for lunch. And you know, a couple of favors. And I said, Great. But the problem was, it took us four and a half months to get it transcoded and synced. So by the time I got the film back, and Frank Reynolds and I started cutting the film, Chris was already back teaching, working full time again. So I lost that window. And that was like starting and thank God it's like he said, he color it.

Alex Ferrari 36:02
It's it's pretty, it's, it's, it's the same thing we do. I don't even know why we do it. Honestly, it's just it's insanity.

Shane Stanley 36:09
I questioned it every time.

Alex Ferrari 36:11
Now, you obviously been able to raise money from investors over the years to get your movies and projects off the ground? What are a few reasons why investors want to invest in our in our industry and your project? Specifically? What are a few things that we can kind of know on how to, you know, angle our pitches or you know, just angle what we're trying to do with them?

Shane Stanley 36:33
You know, that's a great question. And I have found, you know, I think for filmmakers, for many years, it was getting rich people that wanted to rub elbows with celebrities, those days are over. It's about relationships, and people don't like hearing this, especially the young ones coming up who are of that instant satisfaction, get it when you want it age of picking up the phone and ordering something from Amazon and having it or being able to text somebody you can't reach. And I talk about it in my book, Alex, the key thing is relationships, the people that have invested in me over the years, with the exception of one, maybe two times in 30 years were people that I had known for decades, most in which said never never talked to me about investing in film, I will never do it. It's in everybody wants to hear it's going to a cocktail party and meeting a rich guy who wants to rub elbows with as they stay in the player with Whoopi Goldberg and make you know, write a check. And that's not how it works. It's it's, it's about building trust, they they want to know that they can trust you, you have to treat their money like it's your own. For me, many times it was working for these people in side hustle jobs or they had a need and they needed something handled professionally, that they didn't know who to call on. So they called on me and said I need something done for my business, nobody's available. So it would turn into me doing a three month job for them. That they look back and said, This guy didn't fail me. He did what nobody else could do. And he delivered and I this is how he's conducting himself and his business. I want him. And that's what he came from me and and with the exception of running into two or three people in the course of 30 years that said, hey, I want to be in the business. I like what you do, here's a check. It's been about deep seated long lasting friendships that were never built on. Maybe one day, they'll write a check for a movie. And that I think is the hardest thing to translate to people. You'll always meet people that say I know somebody that may be interested or I'm a hedge fund manager I know people or my favorite is is you know, I have clients that are deep, deep pockets, and they're interested in getting in the industry and you know, put a proposal together. I think pitch decks and I talk about this a lot. I think pitch decks have to be reality checks for a lot of people pitch decks, especially for filmmakers who haven't done it. They, they, they they put these figures together that are so lethargic. I mean it's like Greek mythology, how they put you know, maybe back in the old heyday of blockbuster and Hollywood Video, these things may have worked. But it's a new day and age the emojis are tiny if you get them at all. I always remind the filmmakers you've got 54 territories and over 170 countries that potentially to buy your film quit making movies for Instagram red carpet moments and think globally not vocally when it comes to building saying that hey, stop putting Ben Affleck and you know Galaga doe in your pitch deck it's not going to happen and you know and all you're doing is I talked about is all you're doing is disappointing your potential investor Why would you go in with these names to try to lower them and then before you've even started shooting the movie Hey, you got some B rate actor that nobody knows no disrespect to them but it sure doesn't add up to Galka doe and Ben Affleck so your investor is going to look at that and go Well why did you present this and you're ending up with that.

Alex Ferrari 39:50
And let's not even talk about projections and you know busting out Blair Witch Project and paranormal activity.

Shane Stanley 39:55
Oh and Slingblade and Napoleon Dynamite and El Mariachi Oh my god, I always tell people look at lovely and amazing once these little films that were made for a half a million dollars that made back Florence, once it's a great one. Yeah, once it's a great example. And I told me, it's like, Look, if I'd like to think that us filmmakers are smart enough to be creative beings and should have some business sense. And what frustrates me as I see them, look, if if you're a potential investor, and somebody came to you and said, Dude, I need 100 grand, we can build buy this house and flip it in six months and make it 30 million bucks, are you gonna give that guy 100 grand? Probably not. But if the guy came to you and said, I need 100 grand, it's going to take us 10 months to remodel. And probably in the next two to three years, we can sell that house for 250 to 300 grand, is that something you'd be interested in? You may actually listen to him. And that's what filmmakers forget. And remember, when you're going to somebody with a lot of money, or the potential to finance your dream, chances are they're smarter than you are. And they have people in their camp that earn a living protecting them from people like us. And you have to lay it out. It's like, you know, I learned at a very young age, don't don't be us and build this pitcher of total fantasy. Go in with the mindset as you're going to get a base hit an occasional double, if you ever get a Grand Slam hallelujah. But that can't be what you're selling, because it's lightning in a bottle.

Alex Ferrari 41:17
Oh, yeah. I mean, if you're always if you're if you only look at the home runs, and not the not the bunts and the singles, and that's where most of it and that's most filmmakers, do they look at the best case scenario, they never look at the worst case scenario, or the Gen, like it's one out of 1001 out of 10,000. You know, do that kind of big kind of money that blows out the onces and the and the me paranormal activities once a once a decade, you know,

Shane Stanley 41:47
Yeah, but how many millions of Paramount put into that movie Seven?

Alex Ferrari 41:51
Yeah, and I know and I know the guys who I mean, who worked on that, you know,

Shane Stanley 41:55
People of Paramount who acquired it.

Alex Ferrari 41:57
Right, exactly. So we know I knew the stories behind it like oh, yeah, they pumped a ton of cash into this. It wasn't like It's like mariachi like, oh, yeah, it was a $7,000 movie. They made 3 million at the box office like Yeah, well, you know, they did spend a little bit of money remastering it they put a lot of money into marketing. I don't know either. But that's that. That's not that doesn't serve the narrative. It doesn't show in there.

Shane Stanley 42:20
No, it does. And I think the days of those sling blades and Napoleon Dynamite because there were the Miramax is in the Hollywood videos and blockbuster outlets that these little gems found found life and they flourished it

Alex Ferrari 42:35
Man I can't even think we haven't had anything like that happen. Like a movie out of nowhere with no stars

Shane Stanley 42:43
We all know where not not the deal was already done. Let's send it to Sundance a roll announcer like literally

Alex Ferrari 42:50
No where no no talent in the in the movie or like barely any no bankable stars. No nothing like a Napoleon Dynamite style like that goes off and makes $50 million. Or Brothers McMullen. Yeah, that went away. $30 million. With no but like literally nobody.

Shane Stanley 43:09
It was amazing project practically.

Alex Ferrari 43:11
Yeah, just put that thing together. Those I don't know if that's even possible today in that in the way it was then because the marketplace was different. There was a marketplace for indie films. And that's the big thing that a lot of people don't understand is there was in the 90s an infrastructure being built for independent films. The DVD market was huge. There were still Hollywood videos and blockbusters are running around. You know, Rick, when he was on the show, Rick Linkletter when he was talking about slacker he's like, the reason why slacker found the spot made money is because there was an infrastructure starting to be built in the early 90s. There were indie movies in the 80s. There was really, you know, great art, you know, independent filmmakers that make great films in the 80s. And in the 70s. But there wasn't the infrastructure to make money with them. The Easy Rider was like the, you know, and it's not Jack frickin Nicholson and Dennis Hopper, and yeah, of course, back then. And that was considered indie. But there were still independent filmmakers making movies back then, but there wasn't the infrastructure. So in the 90s, there was this groundswell of of places you could put movies and actually make money arthouse theaters, every studio had an indie arm Paramount advantage, you know, Fox 2000 All of those all of those things. Were around for that and that's where that's all kind of gone away. There's only a handful of those left Fox Fox Searchlight or excuse me just search like films now. And, and Sony picture classics, and now they're not doing Indies. They're doing big budget. You know, with big stars. Yeah, like under 10 million stars under 10 million. That's that's that's

Shane Stanley 44:58
A totally different animal and we don't Have you know, it's funny because I have a lot of friends in the music industry. And when Napster and file sharing became really big, I remember I went to a friend's house who had had a record release party. And he played some of the songs that he had on his record, and I and he'd had a lot of success. And I remember saying, dude, this is this is huge. And he said to me, said, Let me tell you something, he said, music is free. He said, Now music is free, we don't make our money on music, we make money on touring. And he said, I'm worried about your industry, because you guys don't tour. And I thought that was interesting. And as I look, now, we're kind of so many of us are giving our movies to streaming platforms for nothing. And we don't have an after party to keep people excited, like an artist can go out, they can do an album in their home studio may cost them a few grand, and they put it out and to get a few singles on it that circulate on iTunes or YouTube. But they're giving that out. And we're all sharing the links to it to friends. So they're really not getting a lot of money on it. But they can go out and tour and make 50 6080 100 grand a night for three or four months. That's their follow up. What do we have? And I don't I don't know the answer to that. But it's something to think about.

Alex Ferrari 46:09
Well, I do have the answers in my book, Rise of the filter producer, where you create multiple revenue streams and product lines based on your movie. Now, it doesn't work for every kind of movie, every kind of story. But if you design it around that it is a possibility. And there are examples of filmmakers giving the movie away as a loss leader, to bring them into their funnels to make money other ways. And I feel that, honestly, I feel that that's really the future of independent filmmaking, I do truly believe it.

Shane Stanley 46:39
And you are a trailblazer with that. And I've always been really good at marketing and building a brand. When you're when you're, you don't have the brands such as you know, ifH academy or whatever you can build, it's in, you're just you're going from film to film to film to film, it's often difficult.

Alex Ferrari 46:59
It's a different way of looking at film. So like I can't I don't think that you know, you're not going to be selling double threat T shirts. Generally speaking, it's not that kind of Hold on. Wait a minute, wait a minute. I'm sorry, you are going to be selling double. Bacon COVID. Our pitch again.

Shane Stanley 47:19
I'm not selling that was designed it and current.

Alex Ferrari 47:26
Amazing. That's amazing. But generally, generally speaking, like not every movie is is set up for a film entrepreneur model. But as a filmmaker, you're gonna go okay, how can I build a sustainable business? If I like a certain genre? Can I kind of build a brand around horror movies? Like Blum like Blumhouse? Can you build a brand around action movies? And like really branded so people know that? Is it possible? Yeah, it's I'm not saying it's easy. But it's,

Shane Stanley 47:52
I mean, for us, it's kind of taking the Hal Needham approach of the 70s and early 80s of that. Cannonball, run them and flipping it, where we're putting the women in the driver's seat, and the guys are riding shotgun. And that's kind of what we've been doing these last three or four years. And it's been really exciting. It's like, but you're right. It's like we had breakeven during the pandemic shot, double threat. I've already shot Night Train, prepping another film, but here I am promoting double threat, but I'm already thinking about NightRain and how we're gonna market that. I mean, it's it's constant. And so it worked together a little bit, but

Alex Ferrari 48:22
Yeah, no, I don't know. I have to ask you on the casting side. Yeah. Double threat. I mean, has a great cast. You know, Matt Lawrence, and I worked with him before he's all the Warrens.

Shane Stanley 48:33
Boys are great. I love them. I'm gonna be with him Friday. I love

Alex Ferrari 48:36
Tom, please tell Matt. I said hi, Austin. Austin, and I say hi. I did. I did a little work with him a little while ago, but But generally speaking, nobody in your movie is this giant, bankable star. So yeah, so they're not like, you know that bringing huge money in but they're good actors. And that's great. So how did you get this is the movie itself, the genre and the trailer and what you've put together is that the star that helped sell the film

Shane Stanley 49:07
You know what it was it it basically was the fact that we've got this lovely girl, Daniel, see Ryan, who's five foot two soaking wet with a full moon. And he does all our own stunts. And she's actually a really good actress. She's actually the star and I train. And we, you know, that film was so different. And we got really blessed with Donald Iberia and Matthew Lawrence and Kevin joy. You know, it was it was somebody that one of the producers found and had known and he was great. But yeah, it was, it was like, Look, we know what we're dealing with. I mean, before we had cast, some of the people that we did, we were making calls to some really respectable, bankable quote unquote, names. And we didn't even get past the hi how you doing? We're doing a film and they said, dude, call us back when COVID is over, because if they were bankable and they had that kind of scratch, it didn't need to work. They weren't coming to the house. And notice respect to who we did get to They've all had tremendous careers and are doing very well. But what was really cool is Donald aviary had called her agent three days before we called her. And she said, I know there are some crazy some bitches out there that are Mavericks that are dumb under nose to locking themselves in the house anymore. Finally, somebody respectable he's making a movie. So when we called Don's agent, and she said, Oh, my God, Don just called me two days ago saying find something. And the problem is, is there aren't many people out there making movies. So we got really lucky, similar with Matthew Lawrence, Matthew had been tired of being locked up for six, seven months as a filmmaker and producer at heart. And he was all about getting out in making art. And so we got really fortunate I wouldn't trade one actor in that film for anybody in the world. I couldn't be more proud of that cast. But for us, you know, for me, and I, it's look, when you're working in indie film, you're not going to go get the A listers, you know, I'll never forget when I was doing my film at Sony, when we when we were simmering down, they said, Hey, anything you get attached with Vince Vaughn, you have a go picture. And that tells you the power that an actor may have and a Taurus? Well, when you're making films for half a million dollars, you don't get those kinds of actors. So what I always tried to do what I talked about it in the book extensively is get actors that people are familiar with the they may not be riding the biggest wave today. But at one point in their career, they were or think globally again, it's like I know Matthew Lorenz has done Mrs. Doubtfire has done Boy Meets World, I look at somebody like Donald aviary, who is in you know, House of Cards, and all our house allies forgive me and heroes, these shows are being syndicated in 100 countries right now. So just because we may not recognize the name or face immediately doesn't mean globally to learn on TV three or four times a day, and they're still stars. And that's how I cast my vote.

Alex Ferrari 51:56
Yeah, and that's, that's a really smart way of going about it. Because they might not look like oh, that's doesn't look like somebody I know. Or doesn't that. But what does she know what she a big star in a movie in a show for eight seasons? Or did they do some other big studio movies at one point in their name is still people recognize or see their face, and they recognize it? If the budget level is it depends on the budget level. So you know, if your budget level starting to go to three, four, or five, 6 million, you have to get bankable names to be responsible to the investors is if you're if

Shane Stanley 52:31
You're making a $5 million film, you better allocate $2 million large to one or two stars to justify what you're spending. You have to weigh it trust me. I have this discussion with buyers, distributors and other filmmakers. I got a lot of friends with a lot of $5 million movies they can't even get looked at because they miss Casta. And, Garrett,

Alex Ferrari 52:53
I'll tell you there was a movie I worked on years ago. I did. I did all the posts on it, finished it up had no stars in it. They went out to the marketplace. Everyone said sorry. You had nobody in it. It's I know it's a sci fi action thing. Don't care. Went back. He raised another 5060 grand 100 grand something like that. Got two stars. I think he got like one of the guys from Stargate. The show Star Gate is a sci fi thing. And he got Michael Madsen for a day each shot him out, re edited the movie reasserted the new scenes. i He came back to me like eight months later, he's like, Hey, can we can we can we redo the movie? I'm like, what would you do with it? Oh, okay. We did that. He packaged it, put them on the cover, went back to the marketplace. And they said,

Shane Stanley 53:41
We'll take I will tell you I had a friend years ago who did a film. He spent 500,000 of his own money on it shot it and 35 millimeter couldn't get it looked at it was just it was his friends and locals in another state. And he brought it to California and it wasn't a bad film. It just didn't have anybody in it. And it was the exact same story. Somebody said if you can put a star or two in a scene and reshoot a scene or two, you may you may get some more I know to date this film has generated over $4 million for him because he just went out and got he literally went into a studio and shot one actor replaced an actor from another scene with with an unknown actor paid them you know, probably 1520 grand for the day that anyone got another cameo for a guy to play in arresting officer to date, that film was made over $4 million for him. And this was a film that nobody looked at for 18 months. It was just like, Dude, I don't even need to see it. Nobody wanted it.

Alex Ferrari 54:35
And that's the importance of a bankable bankable name. So and again, it's not and I've said this so many times on the show and I think I have to say it again for people to understand. It's not out of reach for the shoot somebody out on a day. 1510 five grand a day. 10 grand a day. 20 grand a day. For an eight or 10 hour day is You're gonna get that money back tenfold if you're smart. And it's so important and filmmakers just don't think they can one day don't have the confidence to think that they can get it done. Yeah, but I've just seen it. I'm working with people right now some clients that are doing it currently. And they're going out to the talent. They're like, here's how much I'd have. Okay, let's do this. Let's do that. Great. I need you for five hours. Five hours to shoot out scenes for this movie. Can you do it? And I worked on a movie that had Sonic, Sean Patrick Flanery from boondocks and young Indiana Jones and a million other things, right? So they do so brilliant, they shot him out one day, because that's the whole movie. He's in the entire movie. He's not just in one scene, they now pepper them throughout the movie, she's in like six or seven scenes, but they're all in the same place. So in other words, he's the cop that they come back to like to meet with and they always meet at the parking garage. So they just shot the parking garage. Church changed your shirt, spreadsheet header and, and he dropped off two men and he was just on he's on the cover. So and they shot him off for a day. And then you've got now you've got a marketable movie. And that's the that's the way filmmakers need to think especially in a commerce based film, art house, different conversation.

Shane Stanley 56:24
And you know what, let me let me cap that by saying I have a somebody that was brought to my life a couple of years ago who shot a film with three a list, well known stars, and couldn't get anybody to look at the film. And it was content. It was content. And that was heartbreaking. Because this guy actually spent a million and a half dollars. So what was the content? What was wrong with the content? Well, there's, you know, there's two rules in a movie, don't kill a kid and don't kick a dog anymore, right? And he killed the kid and killed the dog. Yeah, well, they killed the kid and kick the dog. And in that way, it's like, dude, and but it was also involving sexual assault to a child that's like,

Alex Ferrari 57:03
No, no, no, no,

Shane Stanley 57:05
What do you fuck. But these actors who have, like, two of the actors generated over 3 billion in the box office on their work, and they agreed to do this, and you wasted this bullet. And they they can't even get looked at because it's, it's based on a true story that everybody knows. And they're like, yeah, no, we didn't touch on that.

Alex Ferrari 57:28
So I might as well throw some religion and politics in there as well. Oh, let's talk about religion and politics while we're at it. I mean, it's oh my god, that's so heartbreaking. But that, but that's the kind of stuff that happens all the time.

Shane Stanley 57:47
Yep. Okay, we got the cast. We missed. We missed the content. Hey, we got the content. We didn't get cast. I just think it's indie rats. We have to we have to think again, you say it so brilliantly is commerce, business and art and how do you find that and it's, it's, it's about you know, I remember I had a film that that had the greenlight before the Oh, seven crash, which thank God it didn't happen because it was it would have been miscast. We had a lot of ageless actors getting it one of the big agencies was packaging it, and they had some serious cats want to get on board. And I was adamant about the lead being an unknown. I was adamant about it because of her meager world in the script. I didn't want somebody looking at like Jennifer Aniston and the good girl going out she makes a million dollars in episode is you know, when you're watching this girl who works in a mini mart who supposedly broke but it's it's headline news everywhere that the stars of friends are making a million dollars an episode. I didn't want that. I didn't want that to taint it. So I was adamant about an unknown. And I remember a head of a studio brought me into his office. And he said, You're you're digging a grave, you have a film that you have everybody clamoring to do that is bankable and respectable yet you want to hang it on and know you're never gonna get this movie pass go. And he was right. He was right.

Alex Ferrari 59:02
So let me ask you then how did you get distribution for this? How, what is the distribution? How were you all for double threat?

Shane Stanley 59:09
Yeah, it was really, you know, look, it was really simple. We knew we knew domestically that we would be looking at a VOD situation. We didn't we didn't have our own farts on this one. We didn't, you know, have any delusions of grandeur. It was this fun little dirt movie we made with our friends and kicked ass and took no prisoners and it is what it is. And so it was one of those things were it was about partnering with somebody who captured the vision. We wanted a woman run company to be behind the film because we are women driven in our storytelling. And VMI is got a wonderful group that runs that company and they happen to be some wonderful, lovely ladies and they saw it and they just fell in love with it. They just loved the idea of a woman out there kicking ass, riding the horse bareback and shooting somebody with a bow and arrow. You know having the fight seems that she does. And it just was one of those things, Alex, where, for us a lot of times, it's not about the dollars up front, it's about what is the passion and commitment, somebody's going to have to put the product out. That was most important. And fortunately for us, you know, the film is new. So went to can piggyback and with night training, and we're starting to sell up the globe now, which is really exciting because it is a fun action comedy without slapstick comedy that sometimes doesn't translate foreign. It's physical comedy. And you can always do well with that. So it's got the combination of some some fun action sacks, horses, fights, airplanes, and some love and you know, road road type movie. So we're starting to see that it's translating very well across the globe.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:48
And you're you've already started selling out different territories.

Shane Stanley 1:00:50
Oh, I think we got 1213 territories since camp. That's amazing, man. And it's been Yeah, it's really some really good timing, you know, talk about Germany, China, or not necessarily. Germany, China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, you know, South America. I mean, it's like I looked at something that came out yesterday, I was like, God, dang. Seems like starting to move. This is exciting. So the UK. Yeah. And that's just based on us just going out there with a cool trailer and some fun art. Unfortunately, and I'll address it, you know, we came out a week after two weeks after the tragedy in OB. And that was a big problem, because we had already started putting out the the artwork. And that was something that we all, you know, realize that that's something that in hindsight, we wish we would have not, you know, you don't know what you don't know going in. But you know, having your star with an AR 15 on the poster, a week after that tragedy is not the best marketing tool. But the horse was already out of the barn with nothing we ended up.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:48
Yeah. And that's the thing to us. Like, there's just elements and there's variables of in filmmaking that you just don't know, that could be good or bad. Something like what you just said, obviously, is a negative light. But then all of a sudden, your star gets picked up, and is going to be the new Marvel movie. And then all of a sudden, you're like, oh, wait a minute. Now this property is worth a whole lot more because our star is going to be on a big show or a big, so you just these are variables you just can't plan for. So you kind of have to roll with it and see, unfortunately,

Shane Stanley 1:02:20
Unfortunately, there's the gunplay in the movie is minimal and it's all justified good guys versus bad guys. It's not anything like oh, no, no, but you can't force it.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:31
What was Stranger Things? Stranger Things right. Remember stranger things right? The new stranger openings, the opening sequence they like literally put a thing out like, hey, this might be a problem. The opening up of Obi Wan Kenobi, same thing you think like this might, you know, they've made those they made those shows we years like a year ago,

Shane Stanley 1:02:54
Like a double threat in November December was done seven months ago. Exactly. Oh, we knew it was coming out in June of 2022. I've made two movies since that it was like out of sight out of mind.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:10
Yeah, it is what it is. So you just have to kind of you know, roll with the roll with the punches. And that says, I want you to discuss something for me. Can you please debunk the myth of streamers? And the that there's so much money to be made by independent buying Netflix is buying movies from independent filmmakers left and right. They're writing checks like they are writing checks, not to us, but not

Shane Stanley 1:03:36
Why I will give you two examples. I have a friend who is a very, very respected filmmaker that made an independent film for $800,000. They made back when Netflix was spending, they made a deal with Netflix for 250 grand once it went on Netflix, nobody will. Nobody else would look at it, because Oh, you're on Netflix by so it made an $850,000 movie made back to 50. But Netflix pays, I think over the course of two years, they pay it in quarterly installments Plus, you've got your 20% sales commission fee, so and their deliverables which are going to cost you more because you're not in a standard deliverable. So you may see out of that 250, they may see $175,000 over the course of two years. And then I have a friend, I gotta be careful how I talk about this, you get a number one show on Netflix, during the pandemic days, he's made nothing and is pitching on a regular basis to them and other streamers to hopefully get another movie made. And he had a number one number one hit on Netflix during the pandemic and he's like, Dude, it barely covered the cost of deliverables.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:46
And that's, that's and that's the thing, and that's the thing. I want people to hear it because everyone's like, Oh, you gotta get on Netflix. You gotta get into. We don't look I got on my first one got on Hulu, which is insanity. How am I five, five As the dollar movie got picked up by Hulu, that's right. It was a bit it was a different time.

Shane Stanley 1:05:04
It was it was probably six, seven years ago when Hulu was it was

Alex Ferrari 1:05:08
It was 20 2017. But it was 2017. So it's 2017. And, you know, and I also sold it to China. So their cats how old that is. So because China was buying at that point,

Shane Stanley 1:05:22
That doors closed, doors closed right now.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:26
But that was that door was open, and I made good money on both of those. Both of those sales, it was great. But it's not what by the way, if I didn't make a $5,000 movie, that Hulu deal wouldn't really made a whole lot of sense. But because I made a $5,000 movie, it was like, of course,

Shane Stanley 1:05:44
He's learned a lot in the process, which is what we talked about earlier, my background of doing that $500.45 minute pilot that did more for my career than anything than anything that I've done. And you're right. And that's the thing is I always it's like so funny when I talk to people, whether they're people not in the business, or people coming in making a deal with Netflix, doing Netflix, it's like, no,

Alex Ferrari 1:06:06
No, but that's, that's but that's a little secret for everybody who's not in the know. Yeah, everyone thinks that like, Oh, you gotta be on the major streams, Amazon's not buying anything. And if you get on HBO, Max, you are you've got to have some major star power. And I've spoken to filmmakers who have their films bought. But then I'm like, oh, but you have this guy who was in a Marvel movie? Who's the lead in a Marvel movie? Yeah, who's who's about to explode in their movie? That's probably one of the reasons. And it also covered a bunch of other boxes that they wanted to check off.

Shane Stanley 1:06:37
Yeah, yeah, I get that. And, and again, it goes back to how you package market and cast and content and what you're putting together as we talked about before, but I the streaming world, especially in North America is very tough is that's why I always tell filmmakers think about your casting, Think global, and realize you're making a movie for 54 territories in 100. And something countries that potentially can buy because, you know, the I think the average is what 18 to 22% of the films revenue comes from North America. But when you're an indie rad, it could be as little as four to 6%. And that's something to remember. And that means that there still are parts of the world that are buying brick and mortar, video, DVD, Blu Ray, it's still out there. And there are small theaters around the country are forgiving other country around the world that will gladly put your movies in there. It doesn't, it does exist. It's just it's not here. And it's not sexy. You know, again, it's my saying earlier is stop making your movies for Instagram likes. It's not it's not all about the bullshit red carpet that you've put up on the side of receipt of Boulevard, that's duct tape by your buddy to try to get people. That's not why we're making movies, it's a business Think global, get your head out of the San Fernando Valley and West LA and start thinking about the world. And that's what I try to impress upon young filmmakers.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:55
Yeah, and I understand exactly what you're talking about. Because I lived in LA for 13 years. So I know exactly what you're talking about. But a lot of filmmakers who even if they're not in LA, they think that that's making it in their journey. Like you got to look at God. I mean, you just walk around AFM and you can see who are the real filmmakers who are making money. Yeah, I don't care if the movies are good or not. That's not a that's not the question here. That's, that's how you make money. Are you making money? Are you making money and then you as a filmmaker, whoever's listening out there, you have to ask yourself the question, what kind of films do you want to make? Do you want to make films? That is a personal piece of backyard, a backyard film, if you will, that's personal to you do that and make it for as cheap as possible, and understand his art. And hopefully, you can make maybe some money back maybe somewhere, go on the festival church, see what happens. You're rolling the dice of that. But that's not a business. That's hard. That's hard.

Shane Stanley 1:08:51
And it's my brother is my brother reminds you want to be an artist go paint in the Park on Saturday. That's his motto.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:58
Exactly. Exactly, exactly. But if you want to make a business and you want to do what you love to do, and do it consistently for a decade or two, you have to think of commerce, you have to think of the business if you don't, you're not stacking to make it man. And that, you know, that's one of the reasons why most people don't even build careers in this business because they have delusions of grandeur, delusions of what they think is supposed to happen, but they don't look at the reality of what is as opposed to what they want it to be.

Shane Stanley 1:09:29
And here's another thing that I really try to remind a lot of up and comers about is this world we're living in now. You know, everybody talks about how why is time going so fast. Well, it's simple. It's because we can't keep up with the news by the time something it's like tragedy. Look at this shooting in Buffalo. By the time the dust settled on that there was another one at a church here in Anaheim. Then there was the big school shooting. There's there was five that following week. My point is think about how fast the news we move from from thing to thing to thing. It's worse than film When your buddy is putting up a trailer of their movie, their buddies are already looking at five other trailers. And by the time you've sent it out once it's already buried, and it's really hard to get the traction you you really, the traction is not something that we have anymore. It used to be, you know, back and up until five years ago, you put a trailer on Facebook or YouTube man, that thing got tons of hits, people were emailing you about it for weeks or months, you get you get, you know, two or 300, maybe 1000 likes and a couple of days they can't see the movie. They're just buried with everything else. They come home and it's like, Oh, honey, the boys is back on or Stranger Things is back on or, you know, you guys found a new Taylor Sheridan film or something. It's like you indie filmmakers, you can't keep up with the machine that is spoon feeding the world with 10s of millions of dollars on PNa. So you have to think globally and where's your film going to stick?

Alex Ferrari 1:10:55
Right, exactly. And then get back to the film entrepreneur method is focusing on a niche. How is it that it helps with cutting through the noise? If you can, if you can attach to an emotional niche that you're into, then you have a much better fighting chance because they're, you know, they're I don't know how many surf movies they're made every day. But or how many skateboarding movies are made every day? It's not a huge genre. But it's a huge market. And there's a lot of people who are looking for those. You know, I remember when gleaming the cube came out, remember gleaming the back into the 80s? Late 80s I think it was 89 which was Christian Slater, or RAD with the BMX bike movie that just got released.

Shane Stanley 1:11:40
Winner takes all for motocross in the 80s. That's a film that's unwatchable.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:45
Right, exactly. But those movies focused on a niche audience and everybody was like, oh my god, did you see gleaming the cube, it's a skateboarding movie. Or that you can you can make noise with an independent film with no budget and even no marketing money. In a niche, you have a chance you have a fighting chance to cut through the noise.

Shane Stanley 1:12:05
Well, especially in a niche like you're talking about, like imagine getting on all the Facebook skateboarding BMX Facebook groups. Yeah. I mean, like, I'm a big motocross guy. You know, I was my life for 3040 years. And that's like, I belong to these, these little pages on Facebook. And there's like 300,000 members. Oh, and then that's one of 12 that I'm a member of, and then you go on, there's 20,000 here. 100,000 there. Can you imagine if you did a little niche movie for a skateboarder BMX, and that group got behind it, what damage you could do? You got to think that's Burly. I mean, that's how you have to think. But that's happened.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:39
I've used multiple examples of that in my book, because it's exactly how you do it. It's the only it's the only weapon we have as independent filmmakers to really compete against the big boys. Because, like I use the I use the example all the time, there was a documentary about vegan athletes that I I saw, the one was Schwarzenegger and yeah, it was game changers game changers, right. And I was dying to see it. And no matter what was around any big Hollywood movie, any billions of dollars that they spent in advertising, I'm like, yeah, yeah, yeah, that's nice. I want to see this, it cuts through all the marketing, I'll get to your billion, I'll get to the next of Japan to film this film. This is the first on my list, because I had an emotional attachment to see that I wanted to see that. So if you can do that, as a filmmaker, it's it's a lot easier. Yeah, that's smart. Now, I'm gonna ask you a few questions, sir. I asked all of my guests. Oh, what advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?

Shane Stanley 1:13:42
My advice to filmmakers trying to break into the business today is, first, make nurture harvest relationships. Whether you're meeting a sound guy on a shoot, or you're meeting a hair and makeup girl on a shoot, my film family runs longer than 2530 years with a lot of us. And those are because of relationships that were made. And I say that or my hair and makeup team or my sound guy writing the checks to finance my movies. No, but they've got my back and I couldn't do it without them. So I think the most important thing is besides shooting and screwing a lot of things up and making yourself better. Relationships me are always number one.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:22
What did you learn from your biggest failure?

Shane Stanley 1:14:26
What I learned from my biggest failure was, you have to keep up with the times I think our biggest financial failure was the film that never got out of the gate when everybody was going to high def in video listening to certain decision makers that were adamant about shooting on film. It raised the price of the film $4,000 more than it should have been, which put us more in the hole and it was that's what I learned is that you were never going to crawl away out and that was kind of a thing and Boogie Nights if you remember with Yeah, Yeah, yeah okay man videotape and I've known a lot of distributors over the years that were always behind the ball when it went from going from film to video video to DDP DVD to blu ray. And that was the one thing I learned is this really good film never saw the light of day because it was just buried in financial whoa because they just they made and I was part of the above the line decisions on that and I should have fought harder.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:23
What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life?

Shane Stanley 1:15:28
If you want loyalty, get a dog through when you're when you're when you're hot, you're hot, and you're not, you know, your phone doesn't ring and the people that you would consider, you know, your brothers in arms or your your, you know, the people in the foxhole. It's loyalty in this industry. I don't think it's very, very, very rare. And it's tough. It's tough. Yeah. So I mean, that's that's just as you know, I get attached to people a little more than I should emotionally because I believe I find somebody of like mind and and then again, I go back to you want loyalty. Get a dog. You,

Alex Ferrari 1:16:07
Sir, are a nice guy who has been beaten up by the business. I have shrapnel along the way. I'm assuming 30 years ago, you were much nicer and less cynical than you are now.

Shane Stanley 1:16:19
I don't know. I mean, I was definitely less cynical Sure.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:24
Stars, the stars were still in the eye. The sparkle was still in the eye.

Shane Stanley 1:16:28
I was still youthful exuberance and excitement. Like the late great Dickie Fox, I clap my hands and I say it's gonna be a great day. Okay, here we go again.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:40
And three of your favorite films of all time.

Shane Stanley 1:16:43
The films that impacted my life the most sideways, I love that film, but But growing up in Jerry Maguire, but growing up, it was the Black Stallion, it was cherries. And it was On Golden Pond. Those were films that my father showed me when I was about eight or nine years old that made me fall in love with the idea of filmmaking. And there you go, like they still play to that.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:09
And where can people find double threat and find out more about you and what you're doing, sir?

Shane Stanley 1:17:15
Oh, bless you. Well, double threat is available on Amazon Prime. But it's just like 15 or 20 different platforms. And I'm sorry to say I don't know off the top my tongue. They're easy to find. It's on Xbox. It's on. You know, Google Play.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:28
Just hit double threat in Google

Shane Stanley 1:17:29
Starring Danielle C. Ryan, Dawn Olivieri, Matthew Lawrence directed by yours truly, you'll find it. Yeah, you can go to what you don't learn in film. school.com That's the website for my book, which has a lot of information if you if you care and you want to go to my website, it's Shanestanley.net It'll take you wherever you need to go. And that's it. That's how you find me and that's what I'm up to.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:53
And if you guys want to check out his book on audio book, yes, always you can always head over to indiefilmhustle.com and and do a search there for it and or go to audible and it's on Audible. Right and it's it's a best seller people love it and it's good and of course if you want to check out Rise of the film trip earner it's not too far either. Check those two good double book if you get both those books, you're gonna be in good shape, sir.

Shane Stanley 1:18:20
You're gonna be in great shape. You're gonna be in great shape.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:23
You get both those books. Those are going to be that to film school right in itself, sir. Thanks so much for coming on the show. But it's always good talking to you, man and continued success. And keep keep that hustle going brother.

Shane Stanley 1:18:35
Hey, Alex. Thanks for having me. Thanks, everybody for checking out and just just keep filming just keep filming guys. It'll it'll eventually you'll find your way you'll find your voice. Just keep doing what you do. You'll get there.

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