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Shooting for the Mob – Listen to Four Chapters for FREE
After months of the IFH Tribe asking me, I finally finished the audiobook version of Shooting for the Mob. It was a tough project to finish but I knew I had to get it to you guys. As a gift for being so patient, I am releasing four chapters of the book for FREE for your listening pleasure. If you are unfamiliar with the story of Shooting for the Mob read below.
A bipolar gangster, a naive, young film director, and Batman. What could go wrong? Alex Ferrari is a first-time film director who just got hired to direct a $20 million feature film, the only problem is the film is about Jimmy, an egomaniacal gangster who wants the film to be about his life in the mob. From the backwater towns of Louisiana to the Hollywood Hills, Alex is taken on a crazy misadventure through the world of the mafia and Hollywood. Huge movie stars, billion-dollar producers, studio heads and, of course, a few gangsters, populate this unbelievable journey down the rabbit hole of chasing your dream. Would you sell your soul to the devil to make your dream come true? By the way, did we mention that this story is based on true events? no, seriously it is.
Here’s what people are saying about the book.
“That Alex Ferrari’s book is autobiographical is almost too much to believe — but it makes his account all the more compelling. With a good dose of ironic self-awareness, Ferrari presents us with a film director’s update of “Faust.” In a “name-changed” story of making a bargain with the devil — a devil in the very real personage of a mobster — Ferrari spins the kind of wild tale that makes the reader laugh and cringe simultaneously.
As a young, aspiring director chasing his dream, the author half-falls and half-skids down the rabbit hole of becoming trapped by his “angel investor” — into an impossible situation, filled with shady characters, shockingly incompetent unprofessionals and money that seems to fly away as it is allegedly secured. This is the ultimate “How-Not-To” primer for beginning directors — and, for everyone else, a yarn to enjoy for its dark-edged hilarity.” – Jim Uhls (Screenwriter of Fight Club)
“Shooting for the Mob is a compelling page-turner that not only brings a fresh take on the mobster genre but also serves as a primer for those looking to establish a career in filmmaking. As a result, Alex Ferrari has woven together a tale that is not only richly entertaining, but informative as well. Oh, and it pairs nicely with some marinara and a full-bodied Barolo.” – Richard “RB” Botto, Screenwriter, Producer, & CEO, Stage 32
Writing this book is easily one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do. Some days I would cry as I was typing. Who wants to go back to the darkest time in their lives and relive that hell. Well, that’s exactly what I did. It took me 18 years to build up the courage to sit down and tell my story. I take you behind the scenes of the real Hollywood. and also see how gangsters and Hollywood go together like peanut butter and jelly. This book is RAW and UNFILTERED. I said to myself,
“If I’m going to write this I have to tell the entire story, warts and all.”
The goal of this book is to help, not only filmmakers and people interested in having a career in Hollyweird but anyone stuck in a bad situation they feel they can’t get out of. The story illustrates how someone can lose themselves while chasing that golden carrot that is their dream, not to compromise their morals and stand up for themselves.
As cheesy as it sounds if I can help one person avoid even 1% of the pain and suffering I went through then it will be worth it. Now this story is not all doom and gloom, it’s hilarious, ridiculous and one hell of an adventure. I hope you really enjoy the story and have fun, laugh, cry and maybe even learn a little something about yourself. You can watch my keynote talk at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood where I breakdown the story of Shooting for the Mob.
If you want to listen to the entire book for FREE just sign up for a free trial of Audible.com. You get one free book. Search for Shooting for the Mob, download and enjoy. Afterward, you can keep your audible membership or cancel it. It’s that easy. Here’s the link.
Enjoy Shooting for the Mob and please leave a review for the book when you are done reading. Thanks!
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
- Shooting for the Mob – FREE AUDIOBOOK VERSION
- $1 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: FREE AUDIOBOOK
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
- Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
- The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
- Filmtrepreneur® Podcast
- Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
- Six Secrets to getting into Film Festivals for FREE!
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
Alex Ferrari 3:00
Now guys, today I have a special episode for you. I know one of the biggest gripes I've been hearing from the indie film hustle tribe. Since I released my first book shooting for the mob back in March of last year was the question I got asked everywhere, when is the audio book coming out for shooting for the mob. And as I told you many times on the podcast before, it was extremely difficult for me to do that audio book because I had to kind of go back in to this book, which was extremely painful and emotional for me and act out some of these parts. So I play the gangster Jimmy, who, who terrified me and tortured me for almost a year while I was trying to make this movie. And I had to go back into that place again the same place I was when I wrote it, but I finally just muscle through it. And it is done. And as a special gift for your patients. I am releasing not only the first four chapters, but also the foreword and the intro for the book in this episode. Now at the end of the episode. If you want to buy the book, I'm going to show you a little trick on how to download the audio book for free. But that will be at the end of the episode. So without any further ado, please enjoy your sneak peek into shooting for the mob. ifH books presents shooting for the mob by Alex Ferrari. Read by the author Alex Ferrari. Truth is stranger than fiction. No phrase better captures the story that you're about to read. Which by the way is based on true events. As unbelievable as it may sound, it has taken me 17 years to find the courage to go back to the darkest time in my life and write this book. Many of us in the film industry chase our dreams really relentlessly, we take chances that we shouldn't get into situations that are sometimes reckless. And let ourselves be taken advantage of just for the chance of making our dreams come true. Whether that dream be writing, directing, or any art form, we all at one point or another, allow our ego to lead our decision making, you do need to have a dash of crazy and you to follow your dream. And that's what it takes hustle, determination, and patience. All the greats who made it happen for themselves were crazy. But the one thing that you can't do is abandon yourself, your morals, or your common sense, in the pursuit of that dream. You cannot allow your ego to take control of the steering wheel. for almost a year of my life. I was trapped in a situation I couldn't escape. I feared for my life almost on a daily basis. I had no idea whether Jimmy the ego maniacal and bipolar gangster who hired me to direct his life story would one day clock me over the head and throw me in a ditch somewhere. The amount of stress and pressure that I was under was incalculable. Yet, I did not leave. Because like any good con man, Jimmy was a master of dangling the golden carrot and dangle that carrot he did. I was flown to Hollywood many times to meet some of the biggest movie stars on the planet, as well as billion dollar producers and even the heads of Hollywood's biggest studios and talent agencies. I even got the chance to meet Batman. Yes, that Batman, you have to remember that I was a 26 year old kid as green as they came, I had no idea how to handle anything that was happening to me. Every time I would meet a movie star or a producer, I would say to myself, just hang in there a little bit longer. Just eat a little bit more shit. And you'll get your dream. You'll get to your goal, Alex. And by listening to that logic, I woke up one day and a year of my life was gone. I hope my story gives someone courage to leave a bad situation no matter how deep they might be in. Now this story is not all doom and gloom. It's hilarious, ridiculous and truly unbelievable. Many of you will not believe parts of this story. But that's okay. It really happened. As Oscar Wilde said so beautifully. When the gods want to punish us they answer our prayers. Over the years, many people have asked me if I would change anything if I had the opportunity not to go through this part of my life. My answer is always No. This experience made me who I am today. The main reason I decided to write this book was to create an account of one of the craziest Hollywood stories I've ever heard. I want to tell a story that would become an allegory of what not to do when chasing your dreams in Hollywood, or chasing your dreams period. So if this book helps just one person avoid pain, fear and crushing disappointment in the pursuit of chasing their dreams, it will all be worth it. as cliche as that might sound. When you chase your dream, whether it be in the film industry, writing songs or opening up a business, you will be tested in ways you cannot comprehend now, that's the universe testing you to see if you really want it, if you're worthy of it. How you react to those challenges will determine if you achieve your dreams or not. I made very poor decisions. When that test came to me in a form of Jimmy the gangster. Those bad decisions are what make up most of this story. I truly hope my misadventures in Hollyweird do not only entertain you, but also help you along your path towards your dream. We all have turning points in our lives. For some they happen early. For others, they happen late. Some moments are painful, exciting, dramatic, fun, or life altering. But there are always life experiences that define who you are. And mine happened 17 years ago when I was a young and green filmmaker, looking for my big break. This is what happened. Forward. This movie is not about me. It's about redemption. Jimmy. How far will somebody go to fulfill their dream of becoming a film director and making their first feature film? Every person you ask will have a different answer, but I doubt that many could follow the path that Alex walked. He made a pact with the devil and sold his soul in order to fulfill his dream. What you're about to read follows the Curious Case of Alex Ferrari, a young aspiring director who undertakes an adventure in filmmaking like no other. And let me assure you, it's all true. To many film professionals, the moral dilemma of putting personal integrity at stake in order to get a movie made always happens at various stages in their careers. For Alex, it happened right at the very beginning. In a way, this experience that brought him to the highs and lows of his own personal and professional existence was a trial by fire that either makes or breaks a human being. Once he went through all the turmoil and survived, nothing that came later in life match the magnitude of sheer madness. absurdity associated with the experience of attempting to make the film you've got to go for it when you receive a call from a producer who's trying extremely hard to sound legitimate on the phone, but at the same time embodies all those gangster cliches. From the small and big screen. You know, this is not going to be a normal gig. I was fortunate to receive that call at a point in my career, and personal life, when being adventurous was very acceptable and even desired. After my courteous and professional request to read the screenplay before committing to the project, and then getting hired on the spot. Before I even had a chance to read it. And knew this project was going to be one hell of a ride. The film business attracts the widest spectrum of characters like no other industry. That's what makes it so vibrant, unpredictable, crazy, exciting and wild. The one thing everybody has in common is that they all are pursuing a dream. Everyone on set may have different goals and dreams. But when the person at the helm of the film is following an ego driven delusion, everyone's dream can easily turn into a nightmare, Alex managed to navigate the stormy waters of you gotta go for it. Even when it was clear to all that the film would never get off the ground. Regardless of the insanity, the bond and friendship that came out of our adventure in moviemaking became something much more valuable that stayed with us for a long time. This unique story is for anybody aspiring to break in or is already working in the film business, or anyone following a crazy dream. Even those who have no idea about how Hollywood really works, will enjoy this wild ride. It will energize some of you to dive in at full speed into the film industry, while others may run for their lives and stick with being a lawyer, accountant or doctor. Regardless of what each of us takes away from this remarkable and unbelievable story. We should always remember that deep down. This is a story of redemption. As Jimmy the gangster kept reminding us during this insane adventure. Boris the cinematographer chapter one speak and the devil appears. You can almost smell the cancer oozing from the walls of this rundown racetrack that is decades past its prime. I walked down a long hallway the floor industrial green linoleum, I come up to the service elevator which looks like a deathtrap and press five. The sounds of clanking and grinding as the doors close would make anyone nervous but not me. I've been writing this elevator for seven months at this point. When the doors open, you can see the vast view of an aging race track from behind monstrous 50 foot high class walls that protect the big rollers from the elements. seats and VIP boxes stretch as far as the eye can see. Beautiful race horses are training on the track outside with the Louisiana swamps as a backdrop. The carpet looks and smells like something out of a 50s Rat Pack casino. The furniture decorating my walk is frozen in time. I swear. I felt like I had just hopped out of a DeLorean with Michael J. Fox and walk into my production office where I'll be having a major production meeting with the film crew of my first independent feature film. The walls are covered in blood red flower pattern wallpaper that would have been right at home in a scene from Goodfellas. This is my bestest filled production office. Yes, I know. I didn't believe it at first either. Generally speaking $20 million feature films with major movie stars attached don't have their production offices built out in a broken down racetrack with alligators lurking on the outskirts of the fence. But it all makes sense very soon. My crew are all sitting around old pushed together cocktail tables. This is our version of conference room. I say hello to my entire team, the Director of Photography production designer, first assistant director, costumes, locations pa and the entire gang from the second floor. This is a big day. We've been working towards production getting started on this film for over seven months. I sit at one end of the tables and on the other end sits the producer Jimmy, a middle aged overweight man who looks like he came out of central casting of a Scorsese film. He's dressed in a red silk shirt and black dress pants. The thick gold chains around his neck shine in the lights. He is unshaven and smoking a cigar. Jimmy is not only the producer, but he's also the subject of our independent film. More on that later. As I sit down Jimmy says in his deep cigar smoking voice, our fearless leader is finally arrived. It's your world Jimmy. I'm just a squirrel looking for not, I replied. The gang only gives a nervous giggle until Jimmy burst out in hysterics than the rest of the crew has the freedom to laugh. I begin to run the production meaning I speak to each department answer a question make decisions and the meeting is going fantastic. My confidence is filling the room. I'm doing what I was meant to do. Being a feature film director. Jimmy is just sitting back and watching it been chasing his dream of making this film for over 15 years. And this is his first real production meeting. I give all the department heads marching orders for the day and I stand up and say, let's have a great first day of pre production everyone and make a great film for Jimmy. The crew claps before getting up and going on with their day. As I stand up, Jimmy pulls me aside and whispers in my ear. He did good today kid really took control of the room. So flying high from the meeting, I said, thanks, Jimmy. It really felt good to finally get this film going. He moves a bit closer to my ear. And with a dangerous tone. He says, just remember who the real captain of this ship is. He places his heavy meathook hands on the area between my shoulder and neck and squeezes so tightly. I think my eyes are gonna pop out of my head. He says I can always crack your skull with a shovel throw you in a ditch somewhere and straighten you out for good. I'm the captain of this ship. Don't forget that. You let's go and yells out to the entire crew. Let's hear it for our fearless director. The room starts clapping loudly and Jimmy slaps me on my back as he walks out. I'm left there in pain scared and extremely confused. Now you must be asking yourself how a young filmmaker with no experience directing feature films caught up with a bipolar ego maniacal gangster trying to make a film about his life. I've been asking myself the same question every day for months. Now, before we get into this crazy story. I think it's important for you to know how I got here. Chapter Two, the film nerd. Like many filmmakers of my generation, I was raised in the glorious 80s. By early Stato, even thinking about being a filmmaker came to me on my birthday in 1982. We were standing in a long line that wrapped around the block in New York City. My mother took me to see a film about an alien who comes to earth and befriends a young boy. What are we watching? I asked my mom. It's called et the Extra Terrestrial she tells me, I looked at the poster, which at that point was the only thing I knew about the movie. And I began to cry and act up in line. I don't want to see that. That looks so boring. My mom in classic style said Well, that's the only movie they're playing in this theater. So that's what we're watching. I wasn't happy, but I went in. After walking out of that theater. My young life had been changed. Steven Spielberg had changed it as he did for so many filmmakers of my vintage. I ran home, busted open a notebook and began to write my first screenplay, which went like this. A boy is playing outside with his toys. When he meets an alien, they become friends in play. That's pretty much it. I know that the most original story ever, but give me a break. I was in second grade with no formal screenwriting education in 1982. There wasn't the same wealth of knowledge available now. Or even the awareness of filmmaking as a career, at least not in my corner of the world. From that day on, all I did was consume as many films and television shows as I could, watching on the small black and white television I had in my room. Video city. filmmaking didn't really pop into my head until I was in eighth grade. As a young an entrepreneurial man, I was looking for a job. But being 15 was a major roadblock to actually getting employment. I walked by a video store that we always rented our movies from and walked in. I asked to speak to the owner and offered myself as a willing and hardworking employee. The owner took a liking to me, and let me wash the windows and dust the shelves twice a week. Within a year, I was the manager of the store, trust me, telling 20 somethings what to do when you're 15 is pretty cool. At the video store, I had access to film history. I would watch three four movies a day, I always had a movie playing in the back of the store during working hours. Almost every night at home was a movie marathon. You have to remember that this was the first time in history that filmmakers could actually study films again and again. Before VHS and video stores. filmmakers will have to wait for films to come back and rerelease in the movie theater and even then they kind of stop, rewind and analyze the scene again and again as it could with the miraculous technology of VHS. During my high school years, I had a steady diet of Hollywood blockbusters, foreign films and classic cinema. Then one day my grandfather gave me a high eight camera as a birthday gift. I had no idea what to do with it, but I knew I loved it. I started playing around with it. I made short funny films for friends in the neighborhood. After a few films, I had standing room only screenings at my house. Editing was a challenge. So I taught myself the craft by using two VCRs. This was purely instinctual, I had to get to even read a book about filmmaking. I was teaching myself how to combine images to tell a story. This would be an omen on how I would work my way up in the film industry years later. By the time my senior year was ending, people including my parents wanted to know what I was going to do with the rest of my life. As I sat in my room surrounded by hundreds if not 1000s of VHS tapes and Criterion Collection laser discs. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. By the way, criterion was the only way I could get those precious director commentaries I love so much. So I said to myself, I seem to love movies. So I guess I'm going to be a film director. And just like that, I began my journey as a filmmaker a little bit. I know what a journey would be film school. So now that I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker, I had to figure out what the next step would be. My mother said, well, let's look for a film school was kind of blown away. As I really didn't think I could ever go to a school where they actually taught you how to become a director. We found a technical school in Orlando called full sail. There, we learn many of the basics of filmmaking, how to wrap a cable properly, and how to make a good cup of coffee during your first couple of jobs as a PA, I kid I kid, I did learn a ton from film school. The one major problem was that I went to school in the mid 90s, the film industry was going through the beginning of a major technological shift from celluloid film to digital media. Much of what I learned in school was completely out of date by the time I got into the workforce, but I still knew how to wrap a cable and make a killer cup of coffee. Tuition well spent, I say, while it's cool, I continue to watch films and expose myself to the new generation of filmmakers that were making some noise in the film business. I remember watching Pulp Fiction for the first time in the theater, and having my mind blown. It seemed that every day there was a new filmmaking success story that you could dream about. It was Kevin Smith with clerks, Quinn, Tarantino with Reservoir Dogs, Steven Soderbergh, with sex lies and videotape. JOHN Singleton with boys in the hood. Richard Linklater, with slacker and of course, Robert Rodriguez with El Mariachi. Robert story was always special to me, a Latino filmmaker makes a kick ass action film for 7000 bucks in Mexico, and gets a huge Hollywood deal from Columbia Pictures at the age of 23. As a Latino filmmaker myself, who was only a few years younger than Robert, his path was one that I felt that I could emulate to get where I want it to go. Trust me. I wasn't the only filmmaker who thought this way about Roberts filmmaking journey. One day, I found a rogue phone in the school that allowed you to call long distance I abused that phone. But that's another story. I had the idea to call Robert up to see if I could get a job. I rang up Columbia Pictures and asked for the Office of Robert Rodriguez. The operator connected me right away. I couldn't believe it. Holy crap. She was actually connecting me. Moments later the line started ringing. I can't tell you how nervous I was. After a few rings. The voice message comes on. And it's Robert. You've reached the offices of Robert Rodriguez, please leave me a message and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks, B. I just started rambling about how much I loved his work that had followed him and his story for years, and that I read his amazing book Rebel Without a crew five times. I think somewhere in there, I asked for an internship. I kept rambling for a while before I hung up. Needless to say, I never heard back from Robert. And to be honest, I wouldn't have called that crazy kid back either. Or my generation. Robert Rodriguez is magical rise in the film business was mythical. His story was the fuel that kept me going through the tough years I had ahead of me. Chapter Three. I'm in commercials now. After college, I landed an internship at one of the largest commercial production companies in my area. My boss, Barry was an alumni of my old school. Never underestimate the power of nepotism within the film, school alumni. My only payment was gas money, which was nice since I had to drive one hour each way on a daily basis. Friends of mine didn't understand why I would show up five days a week, and sometimes on weekends for no pay. I told them, I was going to show up every day until somebody gave me a job, no matter how long it took. I was still living at home during this time, so I could afford to make this bold stance. Also, never underestimate the power of living at home after college really allows you the ability to do crazy stuff like this. Thanks, Mom. After four months, my shot at the big time finally came Barry gave his two weeks notice. And the owner of the company Stanley literally said, Who are we going to get to cover this job? Well, that kid's been here for months. Let's give it to him. So my persistence paid off and boy did it ever. I was offered a full time position at a salary of $23,000 a year. I was so grateful for the job and the money. My position was the head of the tape vault which meant I edited together custom demo reels for commercial directors in the company. The time spent at the production company wasn't all peaches and cream, Stanley turned out to have a mighty bad temper. I have never seen that side of him before. He would yell and belittle his employees, crew members on his set and anyone else who got in his way. It was my first introduction to an abusive boss. I swore to myself when I was a director. I would never treat people like that. When people act like that. It's generally Out of insecurity and fear, and understanding that helped me move forward on my filmmaking journey. I dealt with Stanley's abusive behavior. But mostly I just kept my head down and did my job. during my tenure at the company, I watched hundreds if not 1000s of commercials, studying techniques, styles, and executions. Anytime a director would be in the office, I would pick his or her brain. It was an awesome time. That one day Stanley, who was apparently on his medication that day, came in and kindly asked me to check out the new room that they had just built next door. I walked in, and there she was a brand new avid editing system. The system was running on a speedy Mac Quadro, 950 33 megahertz with 20 gigs of storage, she was beautiful. Then in there, I decided that I needed to learn this machine if I was going to be a director. For the next few months. With any free time I had, I would sit there and practice. I even paid to get certified by avid as an editor. After about a year, I decided to leave my comfy job and venture out into the world of freelance editing. Crazy, I know. But that's what you do when you're 22. Luckily for me, it worked out, I became one of the most well known and popular freelance editors in my area, we were still in the mid 90s. So money was flowing. My ego began to raise its ugly head. But more on that later, I was making Mad Money for a kid my age, and I was still living at home, and life was amazing. After a few years of editing, I decided it was time for me to make the jump into directing commercials. I was going to take the track that David Fincher Michael Bay and spike Jones took, I would become a killer commercial director, and then Hollywood would call. I had a good buddy who happened to work at the tape vault at propaganda films, the world's biggest production company at the time, he would send me demo reels of all of those guys, I would watch them again and again studying every frame. That gave me the idea to put together my own commercial demo reel. I charged up my credit cards with $30,000 to shoot five commercials on 35 millimeter film. Back then digital was still in its infancy. And film was still the industry standard. If I wanted to be taken seriously, by the big boys, I had to have a big boy demo reel. Since my ego was writing checks my knowledge and experience good in cash. The production was a bit of a shit show. I had a crew that had no business being a professional set. My directors of photography, yes, there were two directors of photography, were corporate guys who had never really shot film. I hired them because they owned all the equipment and I could get a film camera cheap. A mistake that would never make again. Never hire crew members just because they own equipment, make sure they know how to use the gear first. After that horrific shoot, I sent the film off to one of the best film labs in the country who will remain nameless. I got a call at 6am which is never good, and was told that the process and machine had broken down and had lost a lot of my footage. At the time I was devastated. But years later, I realized it was a blessing. The footage was garbage. The combination of it being my first time directing a big job and the inexperience of the cinematographers was a toxic recipe. So I called my grandfather and asked him for a $20,000 loan to reshoot the last commercials. My grandfather was always supportive of me. And even though he had no idea what I was really doing with the money, he loaned me the money anyway, I learned my lesson I hired a real cinematographer, a real production team, and we were off the spots came out great. After I had edited together the demo reel I said to myself, wait till they get a load of me. What do I think I was jack nicholson from Batman. Seriously, my ego was growing out of control. I began sending out my demo reel to every major commercial production house in the continental US and waited for the offers to come rolling in. sending those reels out cost a ton of cash. The demo reels were recorded on industry standard three quarter inch tape, add in custom cases and overnight FedEx charges and the expenses really added up. Of course my ego told me I'll pay this credit card off on my first big commercial gig. No worries, boy was my ego wrong. I had no real bites on my demo reel. No one was willing to take a chance on an unknown director without a track record, especially one without representation who didn't live in Los Angeles. Considering that I refused to accept any editing work that was offered to me because I was a director now and needed to be available for potential gigs. The bills really started to pile up. Yes, I was an idiot. I swear my ego was killing me. After almost a year of this. I was in major debt. I hadn't really worked a whole lot and my dream of being a big time commercial director was gone. I was in a bad place. The film business had given me my first big defeat in the battle to achieve my dream and trust me it wouldn't be the last. Enter the con man. When I tell you I sent my demo reel out everywhere. I mean it there must have been 500 copies of it floating in the ether one Those reels fell into the hands of a local commercial producer. And I will use the term producer extremely lightly. His name was Francisco. He rang me up and told me that he'd watched my demo reel and had some pro bono jobs for me to direct some charity commercials. At that point, pay or no pay, I would have taken any chance to direct something. Surprisingly enough, the production went extremely well. There was a budget or real crew, and we even shot on 35 millimeter film, I now have fresh commercials for my demo reel. And this gave me a boost to my morale. Francisco and I would shoot a few more projects together. I started getting calls to direct commercials, not big time stuff, but it was work. I even got a few jobs from my old production company. I had gotten my start with things were looking up and life seemed to be going well. I wasn't where I wanted to be yet, but I was on my way. Then one day, I got a call from Francisco. How would you like to direct a $20 million dollar feature film about the mob. I was excited, but extremely skeptical of the offer. Even with my ego a bit out of control, I knew the chances that I would get an opportunity to shoot a film with a budget of $20 million were slim. But that little voice in my head was saying this is it. This is your El Mariachi. This is what you've been waiting for. Francisco had the tendency to exaggerate being an ex used car salesman. Bad habits are hard to break. But I humored him. There's this ex mobster who's looking for a director to make a film about his life in the mob. He's a real dude spent time in prison and everything. He wants to use a local director because he doesn't trust any of those Hollywood be used. As he puts it. Right Cisco said he would set up a meeting at the production house where we were doing color grading on our latest commercial. I agreed to meet him, but I really didn't think it would go anywhere. I had had so many meetings like this in the past. So much bs so many producers who talk the talk but never walked the walk. Even the few years had been in the game. I learned that much or so I thought chapter four. Meeting the devil was the next day and I was supervising a color grading session in the big post house downtown for a Cisco burst through the doors. He's here. He's here. Who's here? I asked that producer I was telling you about. He said he's hanging out front by the client bar. I just showed him your demo reel in the screening room and he wants to talk. I reluctantly got up and followed him out there in the distance sat a middle aged overweight gangster who looked like he just walked out of a Las Vegas casino in the 60s. He was dressed in a gold silk shirt and black dress pants. A thick gold chain glimmered in the lights. He was unshaven and smoking a cigar. I said to myself, this can't be real. But oh, it was Francisco almost skipped over to him. He was so excited. Alex, man introduce you to Jimmy. He's a producer I've been telling you about. Jimmy stood up and put his hand out. Pleasure to meet you, Alex. I hear good things. Nice to meet you as well. Jimmy I said, shaking his hand and thinking he was like grabbing a tree trunk. We sat down at the bar. And Cisco excused himself. I'll leave you two movie moguls to it. And with that he vanished into the color grading suite leaving the two of us alone. So I hear you're making a movie. I said starting the conversation. Yeah, I am said Jimmy, I want to make a movie about my life. There have been too many lies over the years about who I am and what I did. I want to make a film that sets the record straight. I did my time. And now I want to make something that I could show my mother. So she knows her little boy dunk good. I left the life behind. It's really a story of redemption. I sat down and listened. Have a movie star attached already. And I have a few letters of intent from some others. The budget for my film is 20 million. The script is good, but needs a little work. Could you help me with that? Can you screen right? Yes, I can definitely help you with the rewrite. I said, thinking in my head. How can I turn this into the next Goodfellas? Jimmy continue. I already had a Hollywood line producer break down the script and schedule it. I also saw your demo reel and I have to say I'm impressed. I don't impress easy, kid. Thank you, Jimmy, I replied. Is the budget in place? The money should be dropping any day he answered. Still not quite believing it. I asked. Don't misunderstand. I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth. But why are you looking for local directors to bring your film to life? Why not you someone from Los Angeles? Jimmy pause for a moment. Because I've been studying Hollywood for 15 years. I spent hundreds if not 1000s of my own dollars to get this movie off the ground. You have no idea how much I've suffered for this movie. I don't trust any of those fucking agents, managers, lawyers, studio assholes. None of them want a pure vision for my movie, not a vision that's been tainted by that fucking place. You can tell he was getting heated when he started talking about Hollywood $20 million for a movie like mine is nothing. I could get that kind of money tomorrow if I wanted to, but Hollywood wants to stop alias directors and writers, fucking guys, they have no idea. Let me ask you something kid. What kind of director are you? I pause the moment to really absorb the question. I'm a storyteller Jimmy. I tell stories. Stories is the most important thing. Not the stars, not the camera, not the sets. It's all about the story. Good answer. He said. I'm meeting with some other directors later today. If you get the gig, I'll call you in the next few days. I thanked him and went back to my color grading session. I didn't really think much of it. I'd had ton of meetings like that over the years, though. Never with someone as colorful as Jimmy. those meetings never panned out. So I didn't think this would be any different. Especially from a guy like Jimmy. Boy, was I wrong. Meet me at my office. I'm sitting in my apartment editing some footage on my home editing system when my phone rings. Hey, kid, can you come and meet me at my office? Who's this? It's Jimmy. He laughs don't bust my balls. Good. Can you come willing to see how this played out? Yeah, sure. Where is it? Susie's diner on Fifth and Castro? I'll be there in the back. Booth. 12pm. See you soon. He hangs up the phone, a diner. my curiosity got the best of me. So I headed over. I walked in this diner, which was obviously built in the 70s. This smelt of burnt oil with a dash of maple syrup fill the air. Jimmy was sitting in the back next to a gentleman I didn't know. Thanks for coming kid. This is my office manager Richard shook his hand and had a seat in the sticky booth. There were papers all over the table. You could tell that he'd been there for a while. doors. The waitress walks up. As your friend wants to drink, Jimmy. A glass of water would be great. Jimmy almost looked insulted. Or whatever you want good. Doors will take good care of you. You know what? Bring them a BLT and make it to Richard, you want one? Where Richard could answer Jimmy said, Yeah, just make it three blts doors. Thanks, sweetie. Glad you called Jimmy. Sorry, we had to meet here. He said. I'm in between offices at the moment. So look, I've decided to give you the gig. Do you want to direct my movie or what? I was a bit stunned. Could this really be happening? Yeah, yes, yes, I would be honored to tell your story. That's why I picked you. Because you told me you were storyteller. And that's what this movie needs a real storyteller. The name of the movie is you got to go for it. Jimmy pulled out a copy of the script and smacked it on the table. Here you go. This script cost me hundreds of 1000s of dollars. Read it. Let me know what you think and what you can do to make it better. I picked it up and started flipping through the pages. Jimmy had mentioned that he had two major stars attached the film Oscar winning actor William Hurt, and a young and sober Robert Downey Jr. Jimmy loved the film, heart and soul which Downey starred in and Jimmy said that he was the only one that could play him. Robert was coming off the worst time in his career. And Jimmy said, I wanted to give the kid a shot at redemption like me. Once you read it, you'll understand where I've been what I've done, and the price I've paid. It's really a story of redemption. It has a Count of Monte Cristo feeling to it. That sounds amazing. Jimmy, I can't wait to read it. I said, putting the script aside to concentrate on what he was saying. Now, kid, I've already talked to the bonding company about you. And in order for them to bond you as a director on this film, they need to see how you direct the scene or two. I fought them on this. I told them I had all the confidence in the world that you could do the job. But what can I do? So we need to shoot a sizzle reel, kind of like a trailer with a few scenes from the script to show them that you have the goods I can offer $2,000 for the budget, the real, you match that? I didn't hesitate. Sure I can do that thing that I had no savings and was barely getting myself out of debt. But I still had credit cards. This was my shot. I had to take it right. Perfect. I knew I picked the right guy for the job. I have access to this great race track on the other side of the hill. It looks great. Perfect for shooting a few scenes. The owner owes me a favor. So we'll have full run of the place. Do you have a line producer that can help us put this thing together? Sure Francisco can help. Francisco Do you think he's up to it? Yeah, he's produced a bunch of commercials with me. If you vouch for them, I'm good with it. For some reason, when he said that I got a bit nervous. Jimmy pulled out a box from underneath the counter. had these made up for you, kid, he said, handing me a stack of business cards with my name on it and the name of the film printed on them. You got to go for it. Director Alex Ferrari. Now it's official. Yeah, part of the family. Good. Go home. read the script and let me know what you think. Thank you, Jimmy. Thank you for this opportunity. I won't let you down. We stood up and Jimmy shook my hand. But the grip was tighter this time. He looked me in the eye. I know you won't good doors came over with the blts make one of those to go doors. My friend here has got some work to do. Just as I was getting up from the booth, another gentleman looking like a poor band's Joe pece walked into the diner and headed over to Jimmy's table. I feel later kid my 1230 is here. dazed and confused. I walked out of the diner to my car. I just get hired to direct the $20 million film about a mobster. My going to direct the next Goodfellas Is this the moment I've been waiting for all my life. All I knew is I had a script to read and a shoot to prep for a ran home sat down and started to read the script. Jimmy story was fascinating. But to be honest, the script needed a ton of work. I felt that I could make something really special out of it. I'd ever written a screenplay before. No, not really just some stuff in college. But my ego assured me I could handle a complete rewrite of this screenplay. When you want to believe something so badly, it makes it easy for people to take advantage of you. I didn't know where this was heading. But the one thing I knew was I had just strapped myself into a roller coaster and I had no idea what was going to happen next. To be honest, that's what made it exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Oh, I know we're starting to get good. But now if you want to listen to the rest of the story, just head over to shootingforthemob.com. And that's shooting with two O's shootingforthemob.com. And guys, if you want to get this book for free from Audible, and you don't have an account with Audible, you can sign up for a free trial. And then within those 30 days, you can cancel this subscription or stay on it, I'm on it, I'm addicted to that service myself. But this way you can get the book for free. And I know a lot of you out there will say but Alex I want to support you don't worry. By doing this, you actually help me even more and support the show even more because I will get a commission from Audible for you signing up for free. And I'll also get paid for the book that you buy or download for free as well. So I get paid twice because I am the film intrapreneur so this is a good way to support me support the show and support what we're doing at indie film hustle, so I truly appreciate it. But you can get all that you can go directly to the link at shooting for the mob comm if you want to just go directly to the audible link, just go to freefilmbook.com there but I really hope you enjoyed this sneak peek of shooting for the mob. Like I said before, it was a very important book for me to write and story to tell. And I am so glad I can finally get it out to the world in audio form because you guys listen to my voice all the time. And now you get to hear me tell the story firsthand of how I almost made a $20 million movie for the mob. And don't forget on the corner of ego and desire is being released January 21 2020. So if you want to check that out, please head over to ego and desire film.com and it's going to be available on Amazon, Apple TV. And of course on indie film, hustle TV and indie film hustle TV will be the exclusive place for the special edition version, including audio commentary, about two hours three hours of special features and other amazing content that's related to on the corner of ego and desire including us breaking down the script meant you can see us breaking down the script and talking about the project and then going and seeing the scene right afterwards I did a whole bunch of cool stuff for you so I can't wait for you guys to check that one out. Again that egoanddesirefilm.com that gives you the links to anywhere you want to see it. Thanks again for listening guys. As always, keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.
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By Alex Ferrari |
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