IFH 399: The Wrong Kind of Women in Hollywood with Naomi Mcdougall Jones

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Today on the show we have award-winning filmmaker, actress, author, speaker, women in film activist and force of nature Naomi McDougall Jones. Many of the IFH Tribe might remember Naomi from her first appearance on the show talking about her distribution adventures with her film Bite Me. You can listen to that episode here: Making Money Self Distributing Your Indie Film with Naomi McDougall Jones

Bite Me, is a subversive romantic comedy about a real-life vampire and the IRS agent who audits her. The film premiered at Cinequest, won Best Feature Film at VTXIFF, and then went on to the innovative, paradigm-shifting Joyful Vampire Tour of America in summer 2019, a 51-screening, 40-city, three-month, RV-fueled eventized tour that involved Joyful Vampire Balls, capes, a docu-series and a whole lot of joy. 

 

Naomi’s first book, The Wrong Kind of Women: Inside Our Revolution to Dismantle the Gods of Hollywood, is now available wherever books are sold in hardcover, audiobook, and e-book. It debuted as the #1 New Release on Amazon. It is a brutally honest look at the systemic exclusion of women in film—an industry with massive cultural influence—and how, in response, women are making space in cinema for their voices to be heard.

Naomi has been a vocal advocate for bringing gender parity to film, both on and off-screen. She has spoken at film festivals and conferences around the world and written extensively on this subject. Naomi’s TEDTalk on these issues and what to do about them, “What it’s Like to Be a Woman in Hollywood, has been viewed over a million times. 

Enjoy my eye-opening conversation with Naomi Mcdougall Jones

Alex Ferrari 2:09
Well guys, today we are in Episode 399. Next week, we will have the epic episode number 400. And I have a very special guest that I think you guys are going to love. But today's guest is a returning champion to the show. Her name is Naomi McDougal Jones, whose first episode on the show was Episode 342 called making money self distributing your indie film. And there we discovered everything about her film bite me and how she went on a tour around the country, and even created a documentary series which is of course available on indie film hustle.tv. And now she has written a book called the wrong kind of women inside our revolution to dismantle the gods of Hollywood. It is a brutally honest, look at the systemic exclusion of Women in Film, and an industry that has massive cultural influence, and how In response, women are making space in cinema for their voices to be heard. I am a big believer that we need as many diverse voices in Hollywood and in our industry as humanly possible from women, from people of color from every corner of the world. And this book really opened my eyes to I mean, the stuff that we talked about in this episode stat and and just this is systemic issues that this industry has had with not only women, but with people of color and just having a different perspective on the world was pretty eye opening. So Naomi is a force of nature without question, and I cannot wait for you guys to hear this episode. So without any further ado, please enjoy my eye opening conversation with Naomi McDougal Jones. I'd like to welcome back to the show returning champion Naomi McDougal Jones How are you doing Naomi?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 4:16
I'm okay and the quarantine is off.

Alex Ferrari 4:20
Yes.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 4:21
Thank you for having me back. This is such a bright spot it feels it almost feels like life might be passing by normally

Alex Ferrari 4:26
I you know it's it's one of the things I wanted to do while while in quarantine. I told my audience, I'm going to keep putting out content I'm going to keep we'll you know, we'll talk a little bit about what's going on in the world. But I need to keep keep it normal. So there's some sort of something you can hold on to that makes you feel like it's something's normal because the show is a lot of people do listen to the show and it's part of their weekly routine. And if you take that away from it, it's just another thing that they don't have anymore, you know, or it's kind of it's another thing so it's making it my goal to kind of keep these Things Yeah, going Not that I have anything else to do obviously wrangle your eight year olds, yes, my my children Oh the miracles of life, aren't they? No, it just for everyone listening beforehand, I had a venting session with Naomi about the quarantine and, and what's going on here at the house. So it's just it's difficult anytime I do any interviews now it's like, oh, look an adult, I get to talk to an adult without a mask on. So that's always you never know. See your mouth move. Right? Instead of just like Bane from Batman was born into darkness. Sorry. Okay, so we brought you back on the show because you have a new book. But before we get into the new book, your last episode, which was about your self distribution, journeys, and adventures, he was one of the most downloaded episodes and in in the history of the show. And it was also put out in the entrepreneur podcast as well, and people loved your story and loves your documentary series about your truthful raw documentary series on indie film, hustle TV about your journey in your self distribution journeys. So can you give us an update? Because at the time you did that episode, you had just started getting numbers back from online from t VOD, and s VOD. And you seemed fairly depressed about that. I want to see how to continue with the raw truth. How how's it gone with bite me?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 6:32
Well, so the the T VOD numbers continue to be horrendous. I think we've made about 18 $100 so far. But from iTunes, Amazon and Google Play combined into VOD antibody we've made. I think 50 $500 from seed and spark because they're awesome. alone.

Alex Ferrari 6:53
Yeah, they pay. They pay ridiculous amounts further. Don't ask questions, just take the money, take the money. Take the money.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 7:04
And so I think overall, from the whole tour, plus t bot, and everything, and merchandise. From that whole episode of our journey we made about $54,000.

Alex Ferrari 7:16
That's including that's including the the trip around the country. And and so that's, that's all the money you've made for them

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 7:23
All the money we've made so far. But in a, in a surprise twist ending. So So part of the thing that had caused us to go on the tour in the first place, was the incredibly depressing conversations we were having with distributors the fall before we did the tour. And where they were just going like we love this movie, but we have no idea what to do with it. And you could just sort of feel the despondency wafting off of them. And we're like we we can't, this is not a good way to distribute this movie. So then we did the tour. And we collected all of this data about our audience. And we had all of these incredibly high click through numbers from our Facebook ads we have we had all of these people come out in costume we had, we had made this, like, audience reaction reel that we cut together. And so then we went back to distributors and sales agents off the back of the tour and knowing that we need to do try to recoup more money in other ways. And we and we had six offers within two weeks of going back to them a year later after the tours

Alex Ferrari 8:31
Is that with MGS? or just offers to take it?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 8:34
Umm offers to take it there weren't any MG's But out of that we got a sales agent. So out of that pool, we decided on the sales agent, Teres Linden cone from top level media, who seems to be like one of the only honest sales agents in existence. And we like really vetted her knowing what we knew by the end of the tour and like talk to old filmmakers that she distributed films with almost every single one of them said they'd bring their film back to her for their next film, and we're like, okay, so she took the film to Berlin to try to sell it internationally, which sort of melted into the Coronavirus, but seems to have a lot of offers in the pipeline. So we'll see. We'll have to have you back. Because I want to know where this goes actually in a support and an even bigger surprise twist. We've been invited to pitch the movie bite me as a TV series to a major network. Yes. So we're working on that pilot?

Alex Ferrari 9:37
That's awesome. Yeah, because I went with it. When I saw it. I was like this would make a great Netflix show or you know, a nice series. I mean, if it's limited, even if it's a limited series, because I don't think you could keep going with the same characters. It would have to be able to create an entire world around it and this kind of stuff, but it seems it seems like it could do very well for

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 10:00
Here's where people kept asking us if there was going to be a sequel. And I was like, No, like, what are you talking?

Alex Ferrari 10:05
I was like a sequel that When Harry Met Sally, like, there's like, I don't understand.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 10:10
But But I but I think what that means is that it was just characters in a world that people really wanted to spend more time in. So that seems to suggest that it would do you really well is a series

Alex Ferrari 10:19
And it is unique. It's a unique, it's a unique world. That's not a world that I've seen very much on screen before. And there's definitely a niche audience that's interested in that world. With so well, good. So it's, it's a long play, this movie is a long play. It's a lot. This is not a short Dine and dash kind of situation. As far as the cash is concerned, but it's a long play. And you you've learned a lot, what would you do differently? If you knew what you knew now? Would you have made the move that movie for that budget, knowing the world that we are in as far as no another Coronavirus, but just in general?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 10:58
Yeah. And I am not sure about the budget, I definitely I would have, I would have still done the tour. But I would have known how to do the tour more cheaply. Like if I if I had the information I know I have now I know how to do the budget version of the tour because I know what worked and what didn't. And we were just we had to like spend money and everything if we didn't know what would work and it didn't look like everything, like everything. And so I would do that. But I wouldn't put the film on T VOD during the tour because that didn't end up amounting to that much cash. And then would have tried to find a creative distributor who was willing to sort of parlay the tour into more deals like immediately after the tour.

Alex Ferrari 11:52
Yeah. Because I feel that that also could do very well because of the genre. Could do very well in physical media. Because the audience loves physical media, DVDs, even old VHS is and things like that. T shirts, hats, all that kind of stuff. Yeah, we do very well with that. It's Yeah, I always go back and like should I What would I have done differently? So it's always nice. It's nice to do a post mortem, no pun intended. Empire jokes are an endless but yeah, it's very interesting. And you and you've been so courageous to be so forthcoming in the the warts and all experience of the film and getting it out there. I'm really curious, please keep me updated on where it goes. If it gets sold internationally, we're in. Yeah, and because I was like, I sold my my, like, little micro budget film in five, four or five territories internationally, which easily covered the budget. And then some, I was just like, it does they do now in today's world? I don't know which

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 12:58
I know. That was the twist ending was going very well. And then Coronavirus happened. So who knows what's gonna happen?

Alex Ferrari 13:06
So that brings me to my next question. What do you think? Or how do you think this industry is going to move on? You know, after this massive change, because it's, you know, the industry will grow, it will continue to go it's never it's never gonna stop. It's it's very resilient. But the way it goes will be different. There is absolutely no question that things have never be back to the way it was a month or two ago. It just, it just won't. I'm curious, just to hear your perspective on where do you think the industry is going to move in, in general? Because I mean, I just saw an article right now that AMC might not open up again. Yeah. And, and you know, all these events are shutting down and not all shutting down. They're all gone. They're all shut down. Yeah, for and nobody knows what's gonna happen. But even the the experiment now, which people been wanting Hollywood to do for a long time, which is to go direct to T VOD. Instead of going theatrical or do a combination of the two day and day with some of these bigger titles, and they are doing it and people seem to be liking I don't know what the numbers are. I don't know what kind of revenue that's being generated. But it's a really interesting time.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 14:20
I mean, for sure, I feel pretty excited about it from the perspective that you and I talk about in your audience thinks about, which is that a moment like this is ripe for some kind of new model. And like, we've been trying to force a new model anyway. But now people's behaviors have shifted. I think, also the fact that everyone's becoming used to low fi production value, because they're watching Jimmy Fallon from his living room with all the lighting and they're watching, you know, like john oliver and

Alex Ferrari 14:56
Jimmy Kimmel, everybody. Yeah.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 14:57
And so I do want If it's going to kind of allow us to strip back to the essence of what matters about storytelling, and allow us to make films more cheaply, but maybe not in a way that doesn't pay people, but just like, like, does it matter if you have this insane production value? Or is it the story that matters and the character that matters? And

Alex Ferrari 15:22
And we've been we've been, we've been kind of going that direction, in general, because the studios are not doing those smaller budget films. And when I say smaller budget, 20 million, I mean, it's like, they're, they're, you know, Disney basically does all they do except for the occasional like, Queen of whatever that that the African just yeah, which was great. But they do that, like once in a blue moon, or they do the Disney nature movies, which don't really count. They're stuck basically, they don't count in the sense of in the scope of Disney World. But they're stuck to doing studio films. And when I say studio films, they're tentpole 100 million plus, don't even look at don't even talk to me. And unless it's 100 120 5 million, and there's an IP behind it, but that's where all the studios have gone already. So everything else is kind of gone lo fi but even then, look at television, I mean, look at Game of Thrones was 12 million an episode or something, right?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 16:18
Yeah. Like, I don't know that that's sustainable long term, either, particularly now that you know, there's Disney plus and all like the the propagation of platforms, I don't know that any one platform is gonna be able to spend that much money on shows anymore.

Alex Ferrari 16:40
That's the key to that's the thing, because when you you pay for a ticket to a movie, you're you bet you make a product you sell that you sell the access to that product. And that was the studio system for you know, over almost 100 years. And there was a revenue stream from that and then you can just from that one revenue stream, then you can go to home video, then you can break down the cable, there's different windows to generate revenue from that thing, where now that the windows would be closed in the sense that like onward, which was a Pixar Disney movie, which was great, by the way, so that's not likely yesterday or two days ago with my kids that went straight to Disney plus, like they did the the experimental t VOD theatrical for like two weeks. And they just said screw it. We're putting it on. I was I was shocked. I was honestly shocked. I did not expect that to go to Disney plus likely that was related to the Coronavirus. No. Well, of course, yeah, it was. Yeah, it was because it was being forced to go to the Coronavirus because of the Coronavirus. So it was shocking. And it did some money in the box of it. But it wasn't in the box office for a long time. So it was it was really interesting. So I'm curious to see where Wonder Woman is going to show up where Black Widow is going to show up, where james bond is going to show up? These movies that are finished in the can ready to rock. But they're like, do we release it? Right? We don't know how long are you gonna wait? I mean, that's the point like how long are you going to sit with 100 $200 million product on your shelf? Like it's weird, like, if you do release it? Like, is it a write off? Because Are you going to generate $400 million? You can't. So that the new model is instead of windowing, you basically have the one window which is your own platform. And it really is not about getting to a certain extent, look, look what happened to Netflix, they got 150 million of us here. There is some growth here in the United States, but not a lot. So that means you're basically now funneling money in just to keep the engine going not to acquire not to grow.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 18:40
And from what I understand about their business model, that's why they're a little screwed right now because I think they've always borrowed against future growth in order to pay for the content right now. And like, they're quickly approaching the point where every human on the planet who will ever have a Netflix subscription already has a Netflix subscription. So then what do they do? It's gonna crater

Alex Ferrari 19:00
it's gonna create exactly so I've been saying this for a long time to that, that this this golden age or this buying spree that everyone's spending all this obscene amounts of money on content. It's gonna it's it's, they can't it can't it's not sustainable. It's a bubble. It's a bubble within our industry, it's going to pop

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 19:18
well, and it's going to pop because it relies on foreign markets, buying our movies, which already even in China, they're starting to go like, wait a minute, why are we watching all these movies about white people? Think our own movies about ourselves and see those movies. And that's going to like the more and more that these audiences become sophisticated and watching these movies, it's going to happen all over the place.

Alex Ferrari 19:42
Right? And there's only the few studio movies that will will penetrate like, you know, like the Disney movies and the universals and all the big the big tentpole things. And if you notice all those big temple films all of a sudden have more Asian actors in it. Right? We have more of this. I mean, it's not. There's like the ones that this is not that not my movie. This is like the mag that big shark movie. It was so the end of that big it was like the it was like basically jaws every every, like 10 years they put out a new job. Yeah, but it's like a dinosaur version of jaws was like disrupting the whole movie was like, like two or three Chinese characters. It was a Chinese company that was setting up the whole thing, but Jason Statham who was in it, but it was just like so blatantly kowtowing to the Chinese market, it was just like,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 20:27
wow, because because domestic audiences hate their stuff now. So like, they're like, and they know that and they don't care because they're making a billion dollars per movie overseas. But it's it's, as you say, it's not sustainable. But this is where I see there's such an opportunity, correct, independent film. And and the problem is that we haven't figured out the distribution revenue model and it keeps changing. And now there's Coronavirus. But But if we could solve that mechanism for revenue and distribution, we should be able to step in and fill that void that Hollywood has left for grown up movies in the United States.

Alex Ferrari 21:09
Yeah, I do. I do agree with you. 100%. I do think that I mean, we were saying earlier, Rome is burning. And some people don't even realize that like, hey, it's hot in here What's going on? While a lot of us are like, dude, do you not see that Rome is burning, and when I say Rome, it's Hollywood. So it's slowly starting to started to shake and certain things are starting to fall. And within a bit before this is all said and done, there will be a lot of casualties. Some of the studios will be acquired or or gotten acquired no one, they're never gonna go away. Right? There'll be acquired by some of their libraries will be acquired by somebody else. But in the rubble is when the great new movements come out, then great new opportunities come out. And I mean, it was in 2008 2009 when Netflix started streaming. And, you know, look what happened then you know, it there's a lot of things that are going to be changing in the coming weeks and months. I was just such an unknown. Like we literally have no idea no fucking I nobody has any idea. In our we're gonna have a summer season. Like, am I gonna go to the theater? I doubt it. Even if everyone says, Hey, we're good. coronas taking care of, here's the vaccine. Here's some treatments. It's all good. Now just go down to your local CVS and get this little shot, you'll be good to go. You're good as rain. Even with all of that, if that was all said there's still going to be kind of this hangover. Yeah, that's left over. And I'm not going to go to the theaters this this. You know, I have kids so I rarely went to the theaters anyway. Right? Because the cost and that's a whole other conversation of how the movie theater industry has basically been abusing us for the last year. It's ridiculous pricing. And now it's people are like, Oh, really well, you know, you really weren't that good to us that but we're good. Now we have these home systems. We don't need to do this.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 23:04
It's a shame. You were overcharging us and making shit content for the last 10 years. Like why why are we coming out for you when we might get Coronavirus? Exactly so

Alex Ferrari 23:15
it This might be the first summer since summer blockbusters became a thing in the 70s that we might not have a summer blockbusters Did you I just read that the only pulse left in the theatrical box office is drive ins. Maybe drivings will come back driving or the sale silver lining here is the only place that people are going to go watch movies is driving. I just saw a whole article about it like because there's the week before it was like zero and made like the whole box office made nothing. Then some drive ins opened up again. And now people are going to drive ins and people were like we I want to I want to go out I want to go but I'll be in my car with my with my dad or my family. Genius. So now drive ins are becoming a thing and that I was like again, isn't that insane? It's like like vinyl is become a thing, though. Because vinyl now is outselling CDs for the first time since the 80s. Yeah, that's true. The vinyls outsell CDs now. For the first time since the 80s. So now drive ins Can you imagine drivers are coming back? Maybe a track? Who knows it's coming back.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 24:24
We're just going backward. We're just going back. The other thing I think so we for my third feature, we're we're looking at an opportunity to turn it into a radio drama during quarantine. First, with the idea of kind of like creating a pre existing IP thing and building audience and testing the idea and all these things. I think that might become a viable model to

Alex Ferrari 24:56
be. Yeah, well, I mean, the whole the whole you know A radio drama is huge and has become a thing. I know a lot of authors who write fiction created their own podcasts to talk about their fiction. And sometimes they'll actually write for them and then sell their books on there. So it's kind of like using the film intrapreneur model, like in the sense of creating content to sell ancillary product lines or services or things like that. You have to start thinking outside the box, period. I mean, that's the only way you're gonna move forward, if you think and I said, I did a podcast about side hustles, for filmmakers and screenwriters in the Corona, the era. And I said, Look, if you guys believe that in three months, it's going to go back to where it was in January, you're out of your mind. You've got to think differently. And I'm still talking to directors and writers and people in the industry, who who are, well, this is fine. If it were good to where everything's business as usual. It's a little bit of a downturn, it's kind of like the writer's strike everything kind of shut down. Like no, guys, no, no, this this is not this is going to really change and, and I don't know if it's delusions, or they're just denying it to themselves, like they just don't like they don't want to believe it.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 26:13
I don't think they want to believe it. Because you and I outside of the system were like ready for this moment where like, we've been preparing, we have the information, like where do we sign up for building the new model? But like if you've invested Oh, no, your whole career in a system that may just have collapsed under your feet that is going to take some time to adjust to

Alex Ferrari 26:33
it that psychologically it's going to take a minute to adjust it. There's no question. I feel like I feel like we're, we're Rocky and rocky one who've been kind of like training around and someone's gonna just kind of like, hey, Apollo just said you want a shot at the title. Like it's kind of like, and Apollo happens to be the Hollywood system. And we're just like, let's do this. Let's let's get in. We have to take them down Coronavirus did it for us. He's weakened, he's shaking, his knees are shaking, we could take them out. And look guys, we joke Look, there's there's hundreds of 1000s if not millions of people who are affected by this in our small industry. And, you know, it's gonna it's gonna change things, there's so many lives that are who are reliant on the industry on the system. Like every, like every business everywhere. But regardless of that, you're going to have to, you know, whether you like it or not, you're gonna have to change like Mike Tyson said, The Great, incomparable mike tyson said, we all have, everyone's got a plan to get punched in the face. And, and we just kept on when we you and meet you. And I've been taking punches for quite some time. We're just like, this, this is just a normal this is I mean, it's harder, it's stronger, it's different. But we've been being punched all day, as far as our industries.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 27:57
I've been thinking a lot about the analogy of forest fires as a natural part of the cycle of a forest. And the fact that at a certain point in growth in a forest, the sum of the trees basically get too big, and nothing can grow underneath them. And so in the natural cycle of things, a forest fire will happen, and it will take down those bigger trees. And after that happens, it's is the only time that new trees really stand a chance of getting any sunlight and being able to grow. And I feel like we're This is that moment. And like, yes, there's destruction, and there's pain, and there's suffering, and I don't want to minimize that. But it's also this unbelievable opportunity for growth. I'm going to steal that

Alex Ferrari 28:42
110% because I when you said it, I knew exactly where you're going with it. And it's a great analogy. Because and I think that's I think that's the, in a lot of ways. There's a lot of industries like that. There's a lot of industries that are fat, and bloated and leveraged. And they just kept, you know, doing their thing and thinking that the good times when it's like it's sort of like the roaring 20s again, it's like it's a great gas. Everything's gonna be great forever. And, and now all of a sudden, the guys were the ones outside the party. We've been knocking on the window for a while and the party's been going great. It's up and now the party's down. And now they're coming out like where do we go? Oh, there's these guys that couldn't get to the party. Let's see what they can do. They've been building a boat. And we're in the succeed guys. We're Bye bye. All right, we've gone off on a tangent a little bit. But I think it was important to kind of talk I'd love to I wanted to hear your opinion about it. And, and this kind of brings us into your new book called the wrong kind of woman. So first of all, tell us a little bit about what this book is right? Because obviously it's about an evil woman who is hurting a man obviously to

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 29:52
take all the men's jobs obviously. The book is called the wrong kind of women in some Are revolution to dismantle the gods of Hollywood. So actually, our last conversation was a perfect segue into this discussion. So the book is about the fact that if you've watched primarily mainstream us movies in your lifetime, 95% of all of those films you have ever seen were directed by men, and overwhelmingly white men. 80 to 90% of all of the leading characters that you've ever seen on screen were men, and overwhelmingly white men. And 55% of the time that you've seen a woman on screen, she was naked or scantily clad. And that has been true for most of the history of cinema and is still true, which is pretty mind boggling when you consider that women are now 50% of film school graduates. So like, somewhere between women graduating films, what 50% and only 5% of them directing studio films, a lot of careers are getting bled out. So the book is, is a look at the how that's happening. How is it possible that that is still true in 2020? What are the mechanisms by which those careers are being bled out? What is the impact that that's having on the brains of the people who are watching our content that that, that our contents coming almost exclusively from this monolithic the white male perspective, and it's not that it's a bad perspective, it's just that it's one perspective out of a whole new perspective, that is currently controlling 95% of our content? And, and then the book is about solutions, like, Okay, what do we actually do about this? Because we've had 7000 panels and discussions and the studios have sent out press release, after press release, saying, look, we've solved our woman problem, and they never have and it's like, Okay, how do we actually fix this?

Alex Ferrari 31:50
Yeah, there's, um, you know, being a, I'm a Latino man, and have been all my life. I didn't, I didn't choose that. Now. I was born that and, you know, for I remember, growing up when I was in the commercial business, I was doing commercial directing. And I worked in Miami, which was, you know, obviously a very Latino area. And there's a lot of, you know, South American clients and things like that. I was told that I couldn't put Spanish commercials on my reel, because I would lose out for anything domestic. That's how ignorant it was, you know, this is before Gizmodo, Toro, Robert Rodriguez, you know, just on the Latino side, and of course, there spike and, and john Singleton all the other great directors of color. But I still I never forgot that I never forgot. It was like, Oh, it's just like, Why? Why can't I you know, I'm not less of a director because I understand Spanish, or just because they're Spanish character or Spanish speaking people on the screen does not mean that I cannot direct English speaking. Right.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 33:04
It's an insane and i would i would question whether that would be that different today, even with those that you cited?

Alex Ferrari 33:12
It is it isn't it is, is not? To a certain extent, if you are because you have to understand, especially in the commercial world, but even in Hollywood, it a little less than Hollywood, but worn in the commercial world. They want to put you in a box, you're the the tabletop guy, you're the dialogue guy, you're the comedy guy, you're the this director, that director and you heard me say guy, every time I said that, right? You've heard me say God, I never once met a female commercial director ever. In my, in my whole journey as an editor as a director, working with 1000s of clients. In the course of my career. I never once met a female commercial director, I worked with many female feature directors and television people, but never, never in the commercial world. And never in the music video world either. Not that they're not I just never ran into them. So it was and there aren't that many for sure. They're just not and it's such a boys club. It was essentially a you know, Anglo Anglo boys club, that it took a while for, you know Latinos to break through and African Americans to break through and Asians to break through like, it's, it's, it's a difficult thing. And I can only imagine for women because, you know, from my perspective, I was raised by a woman, obviously, single, single mom, single mom, and I have only daughters, and I basically have no testosterone in my life. especially nowadays. I talked to a guy in a house with three, locked in a house with three women and think I always tell him like if we get a pet. It's a boy, I need some sort of some sort of testicles. I can't take this anymore. And I can only imagine what's gonna be like it's when they're teenagers, and I don't want to think about these things. Not to think about it these days, not these days. Exactly. So, you know, I, I've always, I've always saw the problem. And I was dealing with my own problems of just trying to break through as a Latino director. But when I saw it when I saw your book, and I saw your TED Talk, by the way, this was Twitch, which was fantastic. It was shocking, but it wasn't shocking at all. Like, the numbers that you just threw out, are, are just ridiculous. They're I mean, that's the thing. It's like, it's so unreasonable. Like, it's not like it's like a 40 7030. Like, it's not like slightly, it's like, 5% it's like, it's stupid. It's stupid.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 35:39
And just, it's stupid. And and like, just to put it in perspective. White men are about 30% of the US population. Which means that the rest of us are 70%. population. And again, it's not that it's a bad perspective, it's not that it's an invalid perspective, it's 100%, valid 30% of the time, it's just that it's taking up 95% of this, of the content and the space.

Alex Ferrari 36:05
Yeah. Without without question, and I think I mean, I do have I have to say, there has been some change in the in the recent years ever since the the me to movement, I have seen change. It's not nearly enough, in all scopes of life. It's got scopes of the job market, but I have seen more like when I watch television, I always watch who directed it. And I always want to see and I have been seeing more female directors.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 36:29
Yes, but but can I get at least bad news? Sure, go ahead. Okay, so yes, and and this, this is sort of this danger point that we're in because we had me too, we had all of the articles we wrote, you know, Weinstein, all this. And, and one of the things that we are seeing that is real changes, there are more diverse characters on screen. So we are seeing more stories about characters who aren't white men, which is good. The problem is that the numbers behind the cameras are the people telling the stories are changing, almost not at all. And the reason that you feel like you're seeing more female directors is because there's been such an explosion of series content, that there is just more of it overall. So it is there are more women directing more shows, but the percentages have not changed, barely at all.

Alex Ferrari 37:25
Guys, there's just more opportunity. Basically, there's more opportunity in the scope of all the opportunity to draw.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 37:32
Like, there's more opportunity for you if you are seeking it out. Or if you tend to like that kind of content to find content, but in the in the scope of what everyone is watching, it is still the same percentage. And I feel that

Alex Ferrari 37:48
Yeah, that makes that makes perfect sense. And, look, I remember when, you know, one of my heroes growing up, Robert Rodriguez showed up and he snuck in the door like he was he's completely snuck in. He was like the first major Latino director working with major budgets doing doing what he was doing. And I always tell people, regardless if you like his movies or not, you got to respect them Africa, how he does what he did, and how he continues to do it. And then get mo and Alfonso and and what's his name? Oh, God. The other one. There's three of them. Yes, interactive. They all they all came in and they just won every Oscar ever. I

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 38:30
know. But okay, but this is super interesting. So you're right. But they are all from foreign countries. For this,

Alex Ferrari 38:37
they're not domestic. This

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 38:38
is super interesting, because in this whole, like, it was awesome. The parasite one, love the director. He's amazing. so great that it won. But a lot of the Hollywood press was like, see diversity is soft, but actually look at the last 10 Best Director Oscars, nine of them went to foreign male directors, which is really interesting, because, of course, they've they've never given that the best dressed director asked her to an African American of either gender and only ever once given it to a woman, which was Kathryn Bigelow. So so it brings up this sort of disturbing implication that the Academy is more willing to see greatness, and empathize with the stories of men who live on the other side of the world than with the women in the people of color beside them.

Alex Ferrari 39:36
Yeah, and that you're absolutely right. I've actually when I was when I was still chasing the, the Hollywood dream years ago, I was like, maybe I should make a feature in Spanish. And, and and just, you know, submit it to some festivals as a foreign film.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 39:51
You'd have to like pretend that you were from Spain or some are threatened by

Alex Ferrari 39:55
it. It's weird. It's a weird it's a weird thing, but look, this is the This is a system that is been in place since since Edison started this whole thing, you know, or the Lumiere brothers. Technically, we're actually somebody

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 40:08
almost. But did you know that during the silent film era, there were more women, directors, writers, studio heads, then at any time, so

Alex Ferrari 40:20
when did it switch? And why did the switch?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 40:22
So it switched when talkies came around, because before that, it was considered basically an eccentric hobby. like nobody really thought there was an industry there. Sure. And the and the men were sort of away fighting World War One. And they were like, yeah, whatever, that's fine if the women are doing this, and there were actually more women, and they were getting paid better than the men were in Hollywood. And then when the talkies came around, and everyone was like, Oh, shit, this is going to be a real thing. Wall Street came in. And you can see in contemporaneous documents, they said to the guys, they were like, okay, we'll invest in this. We'll build it into an industry. But you've got to get the women out, first of all, because they don't know how to run business, obviously. And second of all, because they're making these really radical films about abortion and cross dressing and lesbian ism, and we're talking

Alex Ferrari 41:10
about like the 30s, Jesus, yes.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 41:13
radicals, they were making films that were sparking riots, they were getting, they were shutting down theaters. And so the Wall Street guys were like, we're gonna have a real problem in society, if women around the country keep watching these movies, and start getting all these ideas about what their lives should be, like. So, so. So after an era where there were actually more women than men in these key positions in the industry, by 1945, they had so completely evicted, the women that only one half of 1% of all films were directed by women between 1945 and 1979. One half of 1%, Wall Street strikes again.

Alex Ferrari 41:53
Yes. Well, then this, this makes absolute perfect sense. I didn't know that. I had no idea about that. That's, it's, it's, you know, I've been I've been talking about the sizzle on the steak that Hollywood has been selling people for the longest time, the Hollywood dream. Can you talk a little bit about the Hollywood dream that you were sold, and we were sold together? Yeah. And, and the ambitions to make it in the business. And because I mean, from my perspective, I was sold. You know, when I went to film school, every every student was going to go to Hollywood, and every student was going to be a studio director. If they wanted to go into the directing side. And you were you it was, it's just, it's just you're just wait in line, when Spielberg is not working, you could jump in. And that was, that was kind of the story they sold, because that's how you got those kids in the door. Because if you told the kids, hey, this is really tough. And I came up in the 90s, which was a lot different than it is today, as far as opportunity. And as far as competition as far as anything. If you told them the truth, they would never have a full classroom, because it's like, Who would want to jump into something insane like that? So well. So for I want, that's my perspective. As a Latino man. I would love to hear your perspective as a female filmmaker. What what was what what was the story that they sold you to even think that you could even do anything in business,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 43:21
one thing that they definitely never said was, Hey, your percentage is gonna go down from 50% and film school to 5% of directing studio films, like there was never any discussion about the gender, the gender disparity about what we would run into, about the sexism we would be up against which I, I have been, since the book came out, really pushing it to film school professors. And Dean's saying, like, well, you are doing a good service.

Alex Ferrari 43:51
I wish I hope I wish like I would love them to have my foot my book, The rise of the film entrepreneur, but it completely shatters what they're selling.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 43:59
Well, I guess we've got to start our own film school, then. That's another conversation. Another conversation, but but the point being like, so so I interviewed over 100 women and mostly women, but some men also for this book, and, and ask them about their experiences to like, what did you expect leaving film school or acting school or whatever? And then what happened? And yeah, like I watched the Oscars every year from the time I was six years old in my pajamas. And there was like, I bought the myth, hook, line and sinker. And I never occurred to me that it wasn't a meritocracy, right, which was idiotic and naive, but, but I certainly never occurred to me that unless you were a white man, you basically had no transport like a ridiculously small chance.

Alex Ferrari 44:52
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now, back to the show.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 45:03
And so what I, what I noticed in interviewing all these women for the book is that basically everybody goes through the same cycle, they, they go to film school, like raring to go, confident in their voice as a storyteller, film school slowly starts eroding that, right, because all of the films that are taught are, here is what great cinema is. And it's all buy in about white dudes. And so it's like, slowly, this messaging begins that your perspective doesn't matter that films that resonate with you aren't great. And then, and then you get out into the industry, you face all of this sexism, all of this racism. And you, you think, but you don't compute that, that's what it is, because nobody ever told you that that would happen. So then you go through this 10 year period of blaming yourself, trying to make yourself into something that they will pick, shaving pieces off of yourself. And then eventually, maybe getting to the point of understanding what you're up against, actually, and then maybe, maybe maybe, beginning to think about finding ways around it. But But if you could just, you could just, like, have them read my book, or a book or something and be like, Hey, here's the deal. This is so unfair, but this is what's true. Here's what you're gonna face, here are the things people are going to say to you. And here are some tools to think about how to get around it, you would save them decades of despair. right up front.

Alex Ferrari 46:28
This is what this is basically, my my mission in life. With what I do, yeah, it's what I try.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 46:37
But it's but but but it's interesting how those two conversations tie together. Like this isn't unrelated from what we were talking about in the first half of the episode, because it's all the same myth, right? Like, it's also the myth that you have to wait for the system to choose you. Well, if you're waiting for the system to choose you, and you are not a white man, you are going to be waiting a very, very, very long time, and probably never have a career. So the the necessity of building new systems and finding ways around and being a film intrapreneur for people who are not white men is even more important.

Alex Ferrari 47:14
Without without question, I was mentoring. A friend of mine has a daughter here in in LA and she just got out of film school. And you know, she was a fan of mine and everything's like, do you mind talking to her? I'm like, do you really want me to talk to her? You just want me to talk to her? And she's like, No, no, no, give her the real truth. I'm like, Okay. And I sat her down. And she was the bright eyed and bushy tail. This is right before she got into before she hit the streets, if you will, yeah. She's, she's been in the business now about six, seven months. So you could do the shine is off that. She's She's already been beaten, like she was out on location working in production in our department. And then the director ran off with the money. And they're all left out there with no money to pay the bills, and they like have to drive home. And she's like he took turns out other job like this is she's already she's already going through the wringer a bit. And I told her when I sat down with her, and I told her, I'm gonna be really, really frank and honest with you. And I don't want you to take this the wrong way. But I would rather you hear this from me, then go through pain. Whether you like it or not, unfortunately, you are going to have to be about 100 to 200% better at your job to match up with a man at the same job who's 300% less than you? That's the starting point. And it's unfortunate. But yeah, it's the reality of, and I've seen it on my sets, which I try to always do. And I'm like, why is this dude here? She's much better, or that other dudes much better? Like, why are you here. So on my sets, I always try to make it as you know, I try to employ as best I can, whoever, whoever I can, but, and she was just like her eyes open up. I'm like, I want you to understand. And I go and by the way, that's not this industry. That's basically the world, unfortunately. And I look at this because I have two daughters. And I'm going to have that same conversation with them when they're of age and going to go, guys, this is what it is. But yeah, doesn't mean that there's other ways of going around it, but

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 49:26
right, well, that's what I want to say is that so? So what I had, I'd been an activist in the women and film space for a while before writing this book. So I kind of thought, you know, I I knew I knew what there was to say but but I did these 100 interviews, I pulled 1000s of pages of data and research and scholarly papers and sort of laid that all and like really looked at the whole situation. And there were a number of things that really knocked even meet my knees all over again researching this book, and one of them is that I was looking at this Oscar data right so only five women have ever been nominated for Best Director Oscar in 92 years of the Oscars, and only three of them have been in the last 25 years. So,

Alex Ferrari 50:10
I mean, I laugh, but it's not funny, but it's just like, it's ridiculous. It's absurd. Oh,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 50:15
it's Sophia Cappella, Kathryn Bigelow and Greta gerwig. And so then I was thinking, Okay, well, like how did they do it? Right? Were they was it just that they were 1,000% better than everybody else? Like, like, what is the thing that they have in common? How did they actually manage to do that? Well, they're all white, straight sis. able bodied women for one thing, but then I was looking at I was like, okay, but what's the real connector is that every single one of them is either the daughter or the romantic partner of a man who had already been nominated for an Oscar by the time they were nominated for an Oscar.

Alex Ferrari 50:52
Yeah, yeah, I just when you said that I connected the dots. I know. Each person is like, yeah,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 50:59
Francis Ford Coppola. Healthcare is a living icon. That's good. James Cameron,

Alex Ferrari 51:03
another living icon, Cameron,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 51:05
Kathryn Bigelow and Greta gerwig know about back. Now, these are all very incredibly talented women also, right? I'm not taking over, of course,

Alex Ferrari 51:12
of course.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 51:13
But what that means is that, in the last 25 years, if you have been incredibly talented and ambitious, and white straight says able bodied have all of the privilege, but you are not also directly related to a man who has already been nominated for an Oscar, it is not more difficult for you to reach that peak in your career, it has been literally impossible. And so that is the thing that I want women to understand is that if you play by their rules, you will lose.

Alex Ferrari 51:45
Of course, you're stacked against you,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 51:46
of course, because they're big against you. Like it's not, because I think there's a feeling sometimes like well, but if I just keep my head down, and I don't say anything, and I don't complain, like yes, it's only 5%. But I could be one of the 5%. So a lot of what I want people to understand is there is no woman who has or person of color who has ever had the career they would have if they were a white man, there's nobody. And so then the only option, the only reasonable option is to invent something else.

Alex Ferrari 52:13
So what you're trying to say is just pay the minimum do on your credit card, and everything will be fine, right? You don't have to pay off, just pay the minimum payment. And it'll all work out. equivalence, for advice for like, exactly, just charge it up to the top, or pay your minimum. That's what they say. And if you play by that rule those rules, you'll be okay. You'll be fine. It's the equivalent of it. I actually, I knew a couple of crew members from Point Break. And I was talking to him about like, what was it like, you know, we're working with Katherine and this and that, and, and they were telling me, frankly, like she had the roughest time ever On Point Break. Because James wasn't there every day. James was off doing what James does. But James produced that. And if he wouldn't have produced it, she wouldn't have gotten the opportunity. That's it regarding kathryn bigelow is probably one of the best action directors of all time, or there's no question. And there's that she should be directing a lot more than she has even now.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 53:14
Right? Even now, nobody's had the career sheet that man would have, like if kathryn bigelow had testicles, like, what is the career she would be? She'd

Alex Ferrari 53:24
be Michael Bay, she'd be Michael Bay, Ridley Scott, there's no question about it. Because she's, you mean, look at Point Break, and you look at that just just Point Break, and then you look a strange days and stranger days and other action movies that she did in her career. She's She's remarried, she's better than most men that I've seen. They're much better than most of the big Hollywood directing men that I've seen. But she was having a really, really, really rough time. There was no respect, and this was like, 90, so they shot that in like 89. So you could only imagine a female director on an action movie on a studio production. If it wasn't James. I mean, honestly, without James Cameron signing on, she just wouldn't have done it. Right. And then also james cameron did the next movie with her. So James Cameron basically opened the door. She was done. He was Donnie Brasco. He was like right she's a good fella. They said what it was and then it's Coppola did the same thing for Sophia. Again not taking anything away from their talents but it didn't hurt to get it got them in the door.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 54:26
And it was impossible without that is my point like you can be as talented as kathryn bigelow and if James Cameron as a white man doesn't say like hey, she's she's okay. Oh backer, backer, then you still won't have that career

Alex Ferrari 54:42
without question and I didn't know all three of them. I'd never thought of it. That was bananas, all three of them. And in the scope of thing. No, Batman is a fantastic filmmaker, but he doesn't have the push or pull in town that James Cameron Did you know at all but you And then it's still something and it's, it's fascinating. It's fast. And that's why I like someone like Robert Rodriguez, he snuck in the door. And the person who let him in was his agent who happened to be the most powerful directing agent in Hollywood and brought this 23 year old and he's the one that said, Guys, guys, you gotta check this out. Hey, guys. And then I think he also brought in Singleton. A though and then that started that whole ball rolling. There's always someone if you're going to play this game, you need someone to get you out the door and open that door for you. It's you have to do something so astronomical, so revolutionary, to get the notice of the system outside of this kind of, you know, Donnie Brasco world,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 55:47
but then also win the lottery, like you also win the lottery. Why would you like don't play that game?

Alex Ferrari 55:55
So that's what I've been, I've been preaching for the longest time because I chased that I chased that dragon for 20 years, trying to make my first feature, I'm like, Oh, I'm gonna do this. I played all the games I shot I shot my feature, I shot my short, I had a business proposal had the ppm I did an animated short up, you know, the pre order, sort of, like I created this entire IP. And I went out to town I met a bunch of people had actresses, attacks, actors. And my and of course, for whatever reason, most I think every single one of my films has had a female lead in it. I don't know why. But every single movie I've made, including my two features, have a female lead and it wasn't it was unconscious. I always just said, well, that's just more interesting. Because you spend your life surrounded by women is probably if we're gonna go deep into this Mr. Floyd on this, right? No, but but it's so I mean, I've I created this whole EPA, and I remember I still remember going into these meetings with these guys. And they looked at this this action short that I directed and this Japanese animated prequel, I had a comic book, I had all this stuff that I created for it. And they looked at me like Yeah, can we make the lead a guy cuz just can't make a female actions? Did the females can't, you know, Helm an action movie? And this was 2011 1213. Yeah,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 57:13
no, no, in 2011 and 12. When I was trying to make my first film, which was about two women, heaven forfend. Everybody, with no explosions

Alex Ferrari 57:23
with every meeting, we went with no explosions,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 57:25
no exposure. Right. So it's not just the female action problems, or sort of the woman, the woman problem in general, that every single meeting we went into, they'd say, Well, you can't make a phone back to women who would watch that. Like, I don't know, the 51% of the population that is women. And men, maybe, unlike some men, presumably,

Alex Ferrari 57:49
I actually. So my last film I made was called on the corner of ego and desire, which was a film about filmmakers trying to sell their movie at the Sundance Film Festival. While the festival is going on. I completely gorilla the entire movie. And I know we've all seen the great movies about making movies, you know, the player and living in oblivion and all this stuff. But I had never seen a female director in the lead writer, and I've never seen it. So I decided to make my director who happens to be her name is Sophia. Sonia Hara. I know her so Sonia. Sonia is a great she was she was amazing. In the park. Yeah, she's a psychotic in the movie like you want to. You want to wring her neck sometimes with the things she said it's a character. And I'm like, Oh, my God, you're a genius. But that movie wouldn't be the same if I would have put, which originally was going to be a male. But when I saw Sonia, I'm like, Oh, no, you're you're you're the director. I have to have you as director because it's so much more interesting. And I was like, I'd never seen it. I just thought about like, I'd never seen a female director portrayed on cinema, period. I think in the I don't know if in the history of cinema Has there ever been a female director, there might be I've never seen it, and definitely not out of the Hollywood system. Even in the olden days, there was never because that was just not a thing. So when women might start getting ideas that they could be dangerous, that's a very dangerous thing you don't want. You don't want the women in the ethnics. Getting ideas above their station. And again, I want to be very clear, and I think you've been clear about this as well. There's nothing wrong with being a white male. And there's nothing wrong with white male films. There's nothing wrong with a male perspective. There's nothing wrong with a female perspective and nothing wrong with a Latino or Asian perspective. I mean, crazy, crazy rich Asians. That's a fairly Asian perspective. And it was a huge, huge monsters hit. It's fine. It's just trying to balance it all out a bit more to kind of represent society.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 59:50
Right. That's my point. Like it's, it's so unreasonable. Now it's so like the fact that 30% is taking up 95% of Have the jobs and the content creation, just like at a very basic level makes no sense.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:05
And I lost my train of thoughts on second. So do you find that the system in general, is built to be kind of predatory? In the sense he didn't even, even slow down? Definitely. I mean, I've women, to women and to, to women specifically, but to newcomers in general, like it's about, it's about eating them up and spitting them out and just absorb, like, kind of like almost leeching off of whatever talent or skill to have. And for you to kind of break through that and actually make a name for yourself in the business is, is a miracle. For a woman. It's just like, basically the Second Coming.

I mean, as I can, I can literally count on one, one or two hands, how many Latino directors of name recognition there are in our industry? With one hand, I could do Asian with one or two hands, I could do African American with women? Definitely one. You know, that's that seems to be a problem is, I mean, I'm just saying that seems to be a problem. And again, I'm nothing against the the, you know, white males, but we don't live in an account in a country or specifically in the US. That is 70% white male, you know, and like,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:01:30
well, and like your life is would you wait, man, your lives would be better? Also? With no

Alex Ferrari 1:01:39
perspective? Absolutely.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:01:40
I guarantee like, a the content would be more interesting. So that would be better. And be like part of what makes our industry so toxic is this is that it's all of the people are the same too. And they've whipped up this sort of like penis war toxic masculinity tornado that lies at the core of our industry. And like, it doesn't have to be this awful people.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:05
I'm sorry, stories. Can we can we just back that up for a second? Did you just say penis tornado that,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:02:12
I think I said penis word toxic masculinity tornado.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:17
But let's go back to the penis tornado. I think that is and I think that's a sequel to shark NATO. I'm thinking it could be peanuts, NATO. And this should be directed by a woman. I'm just saying, Let's throw that out there right now. anyone listening? Take it, it's free, no IP, free it make millions to go make millions with it, let us know, give us a special thanks. Though, the other thing I was gonna say. And again, I'm going to go back to my daughter's with this is this is the system. This is the realities of the system. And what I was saying before, when I, when I was chasing my own dream of being, you know, doing my own feature and stuff like that I'm playing by the system by the rules of the system, they have to do this, this, this and this, and I did everything right, and still couldn't break through. I just said to myself, I'm tired of playing by their rules, I'm going to create my own rules, and I'm going to do my own thing. And the second I made that switch in my mind, my entire world changed. And I became much more free as not only an artist, but as a businessman and, and being able to provide for my family and being able to express myself as an artist and to cast whoever the hell I wanted to cast. And, you know, I keep my budgets really low to do what I want to do to have more freedom to do that. But I would tell my girls growing up, I would say, if you don't like the rules of the gate of the sandbox you're trying to play in, then go play in another sandbox or better yet, go build your own sandbox, and play your own game. And I promise you, the kids at the other sandbox will eventually start knocking on the door. And if they don't, it doesn't matter. Because you're having a better sandbox, you're you're going to be doing your thing. And that's exactly what's happened with me in my career where I started to build my own sandbox and now people from that other sandbox have been knocking and Okay, how can we do this? Hey, can we can do that. And that's I think that's the goal. I think that's the only way to do it. Because you know, maybe you and I are both a little bit a little too much shrapnel in us from the business you know and and we just know the realities of the business. I'm curious to see what's going to happen again at the end of this whole thing with the with this and see what because if if things were tough when things were good, meaning like if things were tougher, people of color and women when money was plentiful, when all that tightens down. Oh yeah. I don't see a lot of opportunity in the system. For those stories. They're gonna they're gonna just go straight down to what they know. Yeah, we're gonna do another john Claude Van Damme meets Steven Seagal meets Mike Tyson. And that's going to be sold in that Yeah,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:04:56
right and they're gonna go Yeah, and all those these conversations we've been having since meet And ask her So why didn't like Yeah, but like now, now we need to get down to the real business and like, we don't have space for those conversations anymore. And like, we just need to get back to the white dudes. But But again, like I said at the beginning, this is our moment like, they're weak, right? They've been hit. They they are, they're the Hydra, they're absolutely going to double down on their old thing, but their old thing doesn't work anymore anyway. And like, well, this is the this is the opportunity for something else

Alex Ferrari 1:05:35
I want I want to there's a moment in our history in the film industry that this happened. This has happened a few times, but very not like this, but where there's a weakness in the system. It happened in the 70s when they the Hollywood system had no idea what to do, didn't had no idea how to make useful films. They saw a movie called Easy Rider show up and just blow them out of the water while they're making. Finland's dancing, whatever made it you know, thing that Coppola did, he directed this thing and did like 97 it was like, and no one went to go see it or, or Heaven's Gate are these kind of movies. And and they were like, what do we do? Well, let's, let's let these kids in. And because of that moment, that window of opportunity we've got, you know, again, some of the great Cinema of them in the 70s is amazing cinema. So Spielberg, Scorsese, melius, you know, Coppola, all those kind of guys. They got opportunities that would have never, ever gotten in the system, like Spielberg would have never been able to walk in to the 40s. In the 50s. It just, he wouldn't have been given that opportunity would have been very difficult for him. And I know these are all still white males. But we're talking about that time in history. Yeah, but that but that opened up an opportunity for that. And then it happened again, in the 90s. The Sundance generation, the Tarantino's the Robert Rodriguez is the Spike Lee's that Don Singleton's original link letters of the world. And that group was that small window, right? To get those opportunities. Then there was another window with commercial directors, when the features in the bays and the anti fluke was came in, as well. But you can notice every single time I've said any of these movements, there's no women. No women being spoken about that would be radical. I mean, we're talking about these people of color. So there's some there's some movement, progressively more of those words. Yeah, we get we're getting there. But, but this is going to be that for a for God knows what else, you know, I mean, I always, always tell him, like, you know, imagine Fast and Furious. It was, if it was, you know, the Dirty Dozen, it'd be pretty boring. Meaning that like, it was just like, dude, yeah, you know, that's one of the things that make that film. So well, that whole franchise, so well received, it's that there's such a multicultural. Yeah. And, and, and everything is in there. Moving out? I don't know. It's a very, it's a very tough topic to talk about. And I really am glad that you came on. First of all, I'm so glad you wrote this book. And I want to ask you, what do you what is your hope for this book? What is your hope that this book does for people?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:08:17
Well, so it's, again, it's only been out about a month and a half. And already, I feel like a lot of the things that I'm most wanting to accomplish with it, I've heard are happening. So one, one thing is I'm getting a lot of emails from women, some of them, you know, from high school, all the way up to have been in the industry for three decades writing and saying, like, Oh, I didn't understand what we were dealing with before. And now I do. And I'm never gonna approach my career the same way again. So that's, so that's exciting, right? So it's like, it's like breaking them out of the matrix. I've gotten a lot of emails from from white men who have said, Hey, I didn't, I didn't understand. Like, I kind of got it. But I didn't really know. And like, now you gave me tools to actually be part of the solution. And I'm now like, I'm going to change my behavior going forward. But I have actually gotten a huge response from film schools, we'll see if they if they program it. But so far, there's been a really excited response about the idea of using it as a tool and film schools, and one of the major streaming networks that I can't name, read the book and bought a copy for every member of their content staff to help them understand how they were contributing to this problem. So that's

Alex Ferrari 1:09:41
That's very so look, it's it's books have a very amazing power. There, you know, I've been, I've written a couple books and books will go to places you will not even know about, and yeah, it will affect people in ways that you will never know. never see it. I mean, just the same way as I read, I read a couple books a week, and I try to absorb. And they, I mean, they've changed my life, they've changed my perspective that changed the way I think about things. And when you write a book, and you have that effect on other people, yes, it's, it's pretty amazing. It's it's pretty amazing experience. I got a, I had a school call me up and like we'd like to buy in bulk. I'm like bulk. Okay. Let me set that right up for you. Now, how many of you want and you know, it's like, I guess we're selling in bulk now. So, you know, there were, there were people that were excited about my latest book. And, and I've seen the reviews and the people come back to you, like you said, they come back to you with these things. Like you've changed the way I think about making movies and moving forward. And it's, it's very gratifying. It's very gratifying,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:10:50
So gratifying. And it's, it's so exciting. And I think, like what I would say, to people who are like, well, maybe I'll read this book, maybe I won't. Like, you don't understand. Like, even if you've read articles, and you know, the numbers, and you've listened to this interview, and like, you kind of have a vague understanding, this is a problem. The thing that you can do in a book that you can't really do in any other format is pulling together 100 interviews, pulling together 1000s of pages of data, overlaying the human stories with the numbers and the percentages. And everybody who's read the book has said, like, I didn't really know until I sat down and read this cover to cover and like, saw the scope of it, and like actually understood, so and I think once you do, you can't ever move forward or watch film The same way ever again.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:43
Oh, no, I mean, without question, without question, you look at you like the perspective of what, and I grew up in the, the the 80s, essentially 80s and 90s, you know, coming up, and all I saw was what you said, you know, movies made by basically white males. That's why when she's got to have it showed up, everyone was like, what, what? What is this, you know, or even better? Hollywood shuffle. You remember? How do you remember Hollywood shuffle?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:12:13
No, I think I'm, I missed that slightly.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:17
So Robert, so just to I want Robert on the set. Robert Townsend. You know, remember Robert Townsend, the actor. Okay, so Robert Townsend. So Robert Townsend was so upset about all the parts he was going out for in Hollywood, that he was just like, you know, he was the gang member. He was the this, you know, he was the drug dealer. He was the drug addict. He was like, you know, the butler. He was like those, he was so redeemed. So he's like, you know what, I'm gonna make a movie about that. And he made Hollywood shuffle, which was, it was made in 1987. It was the it was the first time To my knowledge, filmmakers, at least at a grand scale film, a filmmaker, put everything on his credit cards. So he spent he spent like 30 $40,000 $50,000 on his credit cards, and made this movie on film back in the day, you know, he made the whole thing, and then went on to gross like 10 $15 million. And it was all about how, like, how there was a white acting coach telling a black actor How to Talk black. It's hilarious. like, Nah, man, you see, you got to do it. Like the more bait like and he's like, and you see that and the black actress speaking very well. It's really okay. I'm from Juilliard. And it was just so brilliantly the satire was fantastic. And how he did it. So when these kind of films showed up, people were just like, oh, mariachi showed up, and Desperado, showed up on Robert Rodriguez aside, it's, it was amazing. And I was remembering, well, even Sofia Coppola with Virgin Suicides like that was just like, how it's just so it's jarring. It's like you don't know until you know it's you see it, you don't

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:13:59
realize you're in the matrix until you I had a 60 year old 60 year old African American woman come up to me after a talk. And she said to she said, when I watched Queen sugar, she said that is the first time in my whole life that I ever saw my family and myself on screen. And she said in that moment, I suddenly realized that that is what white men experience every time they watch a movie. She was 60 years old.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:30
Wow. Yeah. And that's shameful. It is without without question. And you know, whether you love them or not Tyler Perry, what he's been able to do, you know, with his with his work. He's he saw like, no one saw themselves up there. And I'd argue to say that Latinos are still struggling with that. There's not a lot of there's not a lot of, you know, there is more. There is more we a we had JLo JLo and Shakira on the Superbowl. What more do we want? I mean, seriously, I

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:14:57
know staff complaint. I mean, come on. It's I had an older white gentleman on Twitter the other day, said he, I had made reference to the fact that women are half of the population. And so he first corrected me and said women are actually 51% of the population. And also, it's getting very exhausting listening to women complain all the time. Not as exhausting as it is to have to complain all the time.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:28
So I'm going to ask you one last question. What would advice would you give a female filmmaker wanting to break into this business today? Before you step out of the door, I say the same thing to you.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:15:49
And also read Alex's book, too. It is your civic, moral and ethical responsibility to make sure that you find a way to tell your stories and get them out to audiences who desperately need to see them and want to see them. And if the system works for you, great, but never, ever allow them to determine your worth. Because you have to understand that the system is fundamentally not set up to recognize your worth or your voice. So if it does not work for you, and they do not give you value, you have to make your own and you have to find ways around and tip it please, please find a way to tell your stories, because we need them.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:31
I can't set it better myself. That is a great way to end the show. Can you tell everybody where they can find your book?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:16:39
Absolutely the wrong kind of women inside our revolution to dismantle the gods of Hollywood is available in hardcover, audio book and ebook wherever books are sold.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:49
Um, it's such a great title. That's such a just in your face title. I love it. I love it.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:16:55
I have this Oscar on the cover. You that's a real benefit of buying the hardcover is that you get to have this book on your shelf with a decapitated Oscar.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:07
Naomi and and then where can people watch bite me on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play at the moment at the moment and hopefully other places coming soon. Yeah. Naomi, thank you so much for taking time out of your quarantine to to speak.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:17:28
Thank you for having me back.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:30
Yes, and thank you for doing the the work you're doing and hopefully this episode will shine some light on it and open some minds and help help some filmmakers regardless of of race or gender to be able to tell stories that they want to tell within the system or preferably without outside the system. I just more fun being outside the party. I just

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:17:53
Very bad party.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:55
Thanks again.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:17:56
Thank you.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:58
I want to thank Naomi not for just coming on the show. But to having the bravery to write a book like this. I absolutely recommend all of you to pick up the book on Audible if you want. If you want to pick it up for free, head over to freefilmbook.com and sign up for a free trial account of audible and you can download that book for free. Or you can go to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/399. And I have links to everything we talked about in this episode. And guys, if you haven't already checked it out, I have launched the indie film hustle Podcast Network, which is going to be the place to get all of your filmmaking, screenwriting, and film analysis podcasts. We have 11 podcasts in there already, including obviously all of my podcast but we also have indie film Academy Dave bullas podcast, film trooper and scrip summit, screenwriting podcast and we are working on getting more podcasts in there. So if you want to check it out, head over to eye f h podcast network.com Thank you for listening guys. I am so excited for next week and what I have in store for you guys in Episode Number 400. Thanks again so much guys. As always, keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. Stay safe, and I'll talk to you soon.

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IFH 342: Making Money Self Distributing Your Indie Film with Naomi McDougall Jones

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Today episode is probably one of the most important shows I have released in some time. On the show is filmmaker Naomi McDougall Jones the writer, actress and producer behind the indie film Bite Me, a subversive romantic comedy about a real-life vampire and the IRS agent who audits them, directed by Meredith Edwards.

The filmmakers of Bite Me have decided to take a radical approach to distribute their film: they’re doing it themselves. For 3 months, they traveled in an RV around the U.S. and screening the film wherever they can – be it a theater, a bar, or someone’s living room. Not only did they tour around the country like carnies they also documented their entire process with a docu-series.

EVERY FILMMAKER NEEDS TO WATCH THIS SERIES. It is mandatory for every IFH Tribe member. I’ve never said this before so take it seriously. It will save you a ton of pain and suffering. Naomi is so open, raw and honest about her experience. Get ready for one heck of an interview.  Enjoy!

Alex Ferrari 0:00
Today's guest is Naomi Mcdougall Jones. And she is one of the filmmakers behind the independent film bite me which is a subversive romantic comedy about real life vampires and the IRS agent that audits them. Now what's incredible about this story is what they did and how they went about trying to make their half a million dollar budget back. Now they have no bankable stars in the movie. So there was going to be a little bit of an uphill battle to be able to recoup that money. And then when they went down the road of trying to find a distributor, they were just so disinherited by the horror stories and how the system is literally rigged with most distributors, not all but most distributors. And that whole model, that whole legacy model of traditional distribution is kind of set up to screw the filmmaker, I hate to say it, but it's the truth. There are really, really good distributors out there, like indie rights, which I highly, highly recommend. And there's a couple other ones. But generally speaking, every distribution company I've dealt with, other than a handful have been just horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible. And Naomi really wanted to kind of do something interesting. So they literally went on a tour around the country. And they called it the joyful vampire tour of America, where they rented an RV, put some things on it and went around to city after city like a carnival, and, and showed their films and sold their wares. Older ancillary products made money with their movie, and were in complete control of the revenue coming in. And their bravery of what they're trying to do. And this entire crazy journey. What's documented in this must see, I repeat, must see documentary series called the joyful vampire tour of America, where they literally as if I may quote her, they pull their pants down and show the good, the bad and the ugly of everything. They're completely transparent with all of their numbers. If they screw up, they let you know if they make money. They let you know what they could have done better. What could they have done worse, they interview other other filmmakers and their processes in this series. It is an amazing must see series for anybody wanting to make a movie in today's world. And specifically, you're going to try to self distribute your film. A lot of the things that we talked about in distribution, you know, even six months ago, eight months ago a year ago is obsolete now. It everything changes so rapidly. You know why? Because the industry is trying to figure it out. Everything is changing so quickly. The consumers are changing so quickly. Everything is changing so quickly, we got to try to figure out ways for independent filmmakers to actually make money. And Naomi was wonderful. She's a wonderful guest. She completely is transparent with everything and drops knowledge bomb after knowledge bomb after knowledge bomb with also a few inspiration bombs as well. So I'm not going to talk anymore. Without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Naomi Mcdougall Jones. I'd like to welcome the show. Naomi Mcdougall Jones, how you doing?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 5:32
Hey, I'm great. Thank you so much for having me.

Alex Ferrari 5:34
Thank you for being on the show. I greatly appreciate it. You guys reached out to me. And I heard about your craziness. And I said I need to I mean, you're insane. And I love it. And anytime I mean, insane filmmakers who are good at it, because there's crazy insane, which is just like, I've lost my mind. I'm an egomaniac and that we've met those filmmakers. Yeah, but but you were you're good kind of insane. Something ambitious. You have Audacity. I love that. You had an audacity, I'm like, we're going to do this watch. So I felt that was a perfect story for film intrapreneur. And because you are a film entrepreneur without question, you are a a definition of entrepreneurship without question. So before we get going, I want to know, tell me a little bit about your film bite me and how it came to life because we're going to talk a lot about this film.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 6:29
Sorry. So binary is my second feature film. I wrote it. I was one of the producers and I started it. And it is a subversive comedy about a real life vampire IRS agent who audits her.

Alex Ferrari 6:45
Now when you say real life vampires like someone who identifies as a vampire.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 6:49
Yes. So there is a real global community of people who identify as vampires in real life. Well, you say of course, but not everybody knows.

Alex Ferrari 6:56
I mean, I've been I'm very, I'm very hip that way. Yes. Because when you say vampires, like cuz people might think is like, Is this like, interview with a vampire? I'm like, No, this is like, these are people who are real, who are in the lore. I mean, I, I had a lot of golf friends in high school, so I am aware of this.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 7:12
So so some portion of that community believes that they need to drink human blood to stay healthy. And they do through donors through donors. So so the genesis of the film was wanting to I to write a really great romantic comedy. I love romantic comedies. I'm really sad that the genre has taken such a horrible nosedive.

Alex Ferrari 7:33
Ever since Nora Ephron left us.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 7:35
Yeah, I know.

Alex Ferrari 7:36
She was so wonderful

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 7:37
The early 2000s it's just been terrible.

Alex Ferrari 7:40
It's been pretty rough.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 7:40
So anyway, so I was sort of, like, how do you? How do you make something smart, and edgy and well written and feminist and just like a well made movie that is also a romantic comedy. And I found out about this vampire community. And those two ideas kind of smashed together. And

Alex Ferrari 7:57
What what I mean, I heard the story when I when I saw the trailer, I'm like, well, this is genius, like, and the reason there is the IRS agent is, is because they are trying to identify as a nonprofit because of their religion. Or,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 8:11
Well,

Alex Ferrari 8:12
How does that work?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 8:13
So they so vampires would tell you that that vampirism is not a religion, it's it's a fact of their lives. Sure, and identity. But the vampires in the film have registered as a church, right, basically, for tax reasons. Right, possibly, to scam the government slightly. They get audited at the beginning of the film. And that sort of sets the whole story in motion. I mean, seriously, that just alone is hilarious.

Alex Ferrari 8:42
I mean, just that concept is it's a very high concept in film, which is great. Now, the other thing that I found interesting about this, is that you guys, you guys raised a lot of money for this film. I mean, I mean, and no, it's considered in the in the world of studios, a low budget, you know, argue some of them would even argue to say it's a micro budget, I wouldn't call this a micro budget, but it's a low budget film. The budget from what I've read is half a million, correct. That's right, that is a lot of money for a for a romantic comedy, with no marketable quote unquote, actors in it. So how, first of all, how did you raise the money for this kind of project? And then we'll talk about how we're going to get the money back.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 9:29
Yeah, well, so I made my first feature film, imagine I'm beautiful on a true micro budget scale for $80,000. And that we had crowdfunded most of that, and then kind of cobbled the rest of it together through some small investments. And then, you know, we made the film and it won a bunch of awards on the festival circuit, that film actually even got a traditional theatrical distribution deal, but we put it like and there are some things I love about true micro budget filmmaking, but we wanted a bigger.

Alex Ferrari 10:03
Yeah. You want to eat? I get it. You want to time to play.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 10:07
Pay ourselves and people and things like that

Alex Ferrari 10:10
Bigger toys to play with. Got it?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 10:12
Yeah. So we, when we felt like having demonstrated that we could do that with 80,000 that we could go out and raise the half a million, which we did over a three year period, it took us three years to raise the money. Yeah. Which is as you as from the face you're making you know, it's brutal.

Alex Ferrari 10:31
Well, yeah. Because how many how many filmmakers Do you know are still looking for that money to drop any day? Now that investor is gonna drop that money? And when you look, and you look at the clock, and you're like, oh, wow, five years have gone?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 10:42
Oh, totally. And, and, and it's brutal, because during that period of time, there's no guarantee that it will work, right? Because you also know that right there, the filmmakers were, like 20 years into this and never have found the money

Alex Ferrari 10:54
A day before a day before the money will go away.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 10:57
Yeah. Right. So. So it's just sort of like the sheer willpower of yourself and your team to keep going and the belief that this will eventually work out. But so we did raise, we use the New York's tax credit. So we took out a loan against the 25%, New York tax credit towards financing the movie, and the other 75% we raised through equity investments from private investors. We raised it from around 20 investors. So it was a it was a matter of cobbling together smaller investment amounts.

Alex Ferrari 11:32
Okay. So that makes that makes sense. And the tax credits are a huge deal. Especially. I had another New York filmmaker on the other day. And they they were saying that here, New York is a wonderful place to shoot. I hear they're just super open. And you know, and now let's think it's like 300 bucks. He told me that for all permits, like you could shoot

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 11:52
Yeah everyone assumes it'll be really, everyone always thinks it's really expensive to shoot outside in New York, and it's actually the cheapest place to shoot,

Alex Ferrari 12:01
And has the most production value. Yeah, they were they're really open because everyone here at La You mean you even you can't you need a permit to shoot in your house. Right? You I mean, technically, you need a permit to shoot in a house if someone calls you like if you're shooting a little movie in your house. And if some if the neighbor doesn't like and calls the cops, you will be ticketed, and you will have to go to court and pay a fine Oh, it's because because we're in LA. So that's why you assume all big cities are like that and they're not LA is LA is murderers,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 12:33
Although funny thing. So we have a scene that takes place in Central Park and and what we learned about Central Park is that you don't have to pay extra for the permit. However, you do have to convince the people in charge to let you shoot in Central Park. And and they've segmented Central Park into a series of tiny little fiefdoms. So even if you're shooting in a really bright area, you have to go convince like five different people to let you shoot on their patch of Central Park.

Alex Ferrari 13:02
That it's just basically like, like Lords Lords of the manor if you will. Like little like fiefdoms like little fiefdoms like you were saying, little Lords that you have to convince us Lord, can we shoot on your grass? It's free, but we just liked you know, yeah, but we need your blessing. So please. Wow, that's, that's super weird. That's hilarious. That's actually hilarious. Um, okay, so you're shooting in New York, you're shooting this movie. Now? Did I have to ask you a question? Did you at ever consider trying to cast a more marketable name, or a more marketable, traditionally marketable name in some sort of parts, which will make it easier to sell them? A film of this budget learned? I'm just curious that

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 13:48
I mean, I think realistically, for half a million dollars, unless you're friends with that person. It's it's virtually impossible to get bigger actors than we got. I think we certainly had ambitions to do that. And I feel like there you always hear these stories of like, people getting so and so for this tiny film. And I feel like underneath those stories, they're almost always related to those people before. Because because the problem, of course, is not the actors, it's the agents. And so like, of course, we put offers out to bigger people, but I'm almost certain that their agents never gave it to them. Because why would they don't want Daniel Radcliffe doing this film when Marvel might call at any moment and pay them 17 times the cost, right?

Alex Ferrari 14:38
If you're, if you're offering him let's say $50,000 for a day, the agents gonna pull in a little bit of money off that they rather pull it off the millions. Right and that's something and that's something that independent filmmakers even listening to this or watching this are not aware of this like, agents you there's so many Guards or gatekeepers to some of these actors. So like with my first film, I had an insane cast, but they were all friends of ours and they were all like they like all come out. I'm in LA Oh, come out for the day. Yeah. And, and these people have been in big huge movies and, and but they were all friends. So it really does help

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 15:19
It makes all the difference. Because as I'll tell you, we're really crazy story. So our cast, as we'll probably talk about in a moment are not like a list actors, but are named actors, in a sense, like they've been on their faces. So one of those actors we were, I had actually written the part in the film specifically for and we reached out to her, we, through our casting director, we submitted an offer to her agent and and I had actually written a personal letter explaining this that with the offer, and we haven't heard anything, and I was like this agent has not, has not given her her this offer. I just had this feeling. And so we had a mutual friend, and I asked the friend if she would just be willing to forward my letter to this actress. Just to make sure she'd gotten it. And within about half an hour, this actress called me and was like, of course, I want to do this movie nobody's ever written apart for me before. And her agent had not given her the offer. And she had to call her agent and be like, Hey, what's what is going on? And they were like, Oh, um, oh, yeah. Sorry. Sorry. And then they were incredibly obstructionist, like, the whole time trying to make a deal with her.

Alex Ferrari 16:40
Oh, absolutely. There's there's there's two quick, quick acting stories. One. The same thing happened when Tarantino when he was doing Pulp Fiction, submitted for James Woods. And James was agent didn't give it to them. And then after the movie came out James Woods, Matt quit and then quits like, yeah, I sent that to you like what? And his agent never gave it to him. And he was pissed. Sure. And there was another story of some filmmakers who this great story, they actually went to a film festival and Ed Harris was speaking. After the talk, they bum rush, the stage jumped on the stage. And they had a DVD player portable details A while ago, DVD player and showed them showed him the trailer for his for their film that they they would like like, you know, like a sizzle reel that they'd shot. And they literally went into the back. He's like, Come follow me. And he went into the back alley to smoke. And they tell him his whole story that I want you to play the par because you're you will be playing our alcoholic father, father and all this. And, and Harris said, Yeah, I'll do it. And I mean, and that Harris, if you remember, has doesn't do independent films. Like he's, he's one of those actors. He never did. But he said he was going to do it. Everyone at CIA was just trying to torpedo that left and right. And it was Ed that said, Sure. I'm doing this guy's so make it happen. So unless you're able to get direct access to some of these actors, it's it's extremely difficult. It's impossible.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 18:14
Well, because the agents are directly disincentivized from allowing that to happen. Did you know if you heard about Bill Murray's hotline? No. Okay. He's talking about please. Oh, please, Oh, please. Oh, Bill Murray does not have an agent, and refuses to have an agent for this reason. So Bill Murray has a hotline number that you can call that anybody can call and leave a message pitching their project. No. And then then from there, so so I read this story once written by a filmmaker who had eventually gotten Bill Murray to be in his movie this way. And he said, so he called the hotline and he left a message with a pitch. And then, like, three months later, it gets a call from Bill Murray being like, can you meet me in LA for lunch tomorrow? And the guy was like, like, No, I can't I'm so sorry. Like, I'm in New York. And Bill Murray hangs up the phone, click and the guy is like, and then. And then three months after that, Phil Murray calls him again. And he says, Can you be in? Can I pick you up at Li x in like, 12 hours? And the guy was like, Sure, yes. Yes. So he gets in an airplane goes to LA x. Bill Murray picks them up in the back of a limousine. They drive around for like, three hours or the driver dies or after three hours, they talk about the movie, Bill Murray says that he'll do the movie. And then they drive him back to LA x to drop him off. And the guy is like, like, Can you just like write on a napkin or something that you agreed to do? no proof that nobody's ever gonna believe that this happened. Right and what it will do? I don't think he wrote it down. But he did do the movie eventually.

Alex Ferrari 19:56
Wow. That's amazing. But you have to buy How'd you get this number? I'm not gonna promote it. But I just curious how do you know I think you can google it like I think it's I think it's a it's just a thing. Yeah. I love Bill Murray. I just absolutely love Bill Maher. He's like the coolest human being coolest. I mean, amazing. Okay, so did you call Bill Murray, you should have called the business. There wasn't a role for him. He could have played the female vampire he would have so love it. Alright, so you you've raised half a million dollars to make this romantic comedy about vampires. Now, when you were doing this, did you have a niche audience in mind? Did you figure out like, okay, we're going to target this group of people, because I'm assuming the the vampire community itself is a the people who identify as vampires is fairly small comparatively to the general public. But people who like vampires is a fairly large, yeah, niche audience. And then there's four and there's horror fans and people that actually it could spill over to was that was that a thought process?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 21:04
Oh, very much and actually circling back to the casting conversation that we were very intentional about how we cast based on the audience, even though we we weren't able to get bigger actors. So our our working hypothesis was that our our audience was going to break down into two groups. One, we lovingly term the mega nerds. So like people who at which I would like.

Alex Ferrari 21:31
I have a life size yoda behind me. So

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 21:34
I just I just clocked that

Alex Ferrari 21:38
this is a safe space this is a safe space.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 21:41
For people who play d&d people who are larpers people who are mega, sci fi comic,

Alex Ferrari 21:46
Comic Con, Comic Con,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 21:47
Comic Con, that sort of thing with the Vampire angle, and then secondarily, people who love romantic comedies. But we figured that that we needed to be a little bit more specific with that groups, we we figured people who love romantic comedies, and also Harry Potter, because the the the film is very much about sort of the feeling of being an outsider, and wanting to be seen and accepted. And so we felt like the people who were at the convergence of that were going to be the right people.

Alex Ferrari 22:22
Interesting. So that was just a demographic, I'm assuming in like direct ads and things like that is what you're talking about. target those people

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 22:29
We right, so we didn't test that. At the time we tested it before we released the film, and it did prove to be correct. But I am a person who likes romantic comedies and Harry Potter quite strongly both and so we figured that that was a pretty good cipher, mega nerd got it met. Yep. So and also the film has an almost entirely female creative team at the lead character is a is a super badass, edgy female character. And so we figured also, we wanted to grab people who liked that kind of edgy, feminine feminist content

Alex Ferrari 23:02
And know how did you target them through like Facebook ads and things like that?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 23:06
Through Facebook? Yeah. So when we eventually released the film, we had a number of marketing tactics. So so we did do the Facebook ads direct, okay. And then, and we, we had slightly different messaging that we marketed the film as to those two groups. So like, for the mega nerds, we pushed the vampire angle more strongly. And for the rom com people,we push the love stories angle more strongly.

Alex Ferrari 23:32
Interesting. And that actually, because I mean, I always preach in you know, as a filmtrepreneur like you have to niche down niche down niche down and understand who your audience is. So I find it interesting like because if you can try to, if you're going to try to reach romantic comedy lovers, that's too large of an audience. You don't have the resources to to do that. But when you combine the Harry Potter romantic comedy area, it niches a down, but it's not a niche that you would conceive normally it's like, and that's an interesting concept. I've really never thought of it that way. We're like, Okay, well, people who like romantic comedies, and also like Harry Potter's are probably gonna like this, let's do a test. Let's do a test ad, which you could do for 20 Yeah, 35 bucks, 50 bucks, right, and just kind of just test out your hypothesis.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 24:18
And it was interesting. So we we tested way at the beginning of the putting together the marketing materials, we we did a B test those two different demographic groups with our trailer. And we had exactly the same click through rate from both groups, which was really interesting because we thought maybe we've learned that one was stronger than the other and then target the phone that way and it actually came out totally evenly.

Alex Ferrari 24:42
Real. That's interesting. So that's a good way for people listening is well, you did market research prior to like you was trying to figure out how to do this by by doing these kind of like little test Facebook ads and stuff like that. You're basically doing a lot of the stuff that I preach, which is fantastic. And Hi, you're on the show. All right. So obviously, you had a very show you had a good,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 25:03
though just to close the loop on the casting thing quickly. So because we had the feeling that that was who our audiences, we then decided that it was important to get actors that that had fan following specifically in those groups of people

Alex Ferrari 25:18
so smart,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 25:19
that aren't necessarily household names, but we've been known to those people. So we really wanted a Harry Potter actor very much. And we ended up getting Christian Colson, who played Tom Riddle and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. And then we got Naomi Grossman from American Horror Story. Perfect. And then Annie golden from Orange is the New Black, which we figured she's fabulous content. I mean, she's incredible. So we tried to think about casting.

Alex Ferrari 25:45
So it's so that is, again, what we preach. And it is, it is so wonderful to see this because, you know, look, if you made this movie for 50, grand, you have less to risk, but you have half a million dollars, which is a substantial amount of money for an independent film. And you're being very smart. So far, in this journey, I'm seeing it, you're being very smart and strategic on how you're doing this. Because again, I've always said like, if you're gonna make a horror movie, you might not be able to afford Brad Pitt. But you might be able to afford Robert England to come out for a day or two, who has a huge horror following. And if you're doing something that's aimed at 80s Horror, I mean, he's a dude that you would probably want to cast and probably affordable, comparatively, you know, to, you know, obviously, you can't get Brad Pitt or Meryl Streep or something like that. Right. But they actually are larger in the niche that you're trying

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 26:34
zactly it's who were. So we had, we had two young women. We premiered at cinequest in San Jose, California. So to

Alex Ferrari 26:44
get my foot my first film was it was awesome.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 26:48
I left in the quest. So we had the premiere. We had two young women drive 30 hours from Michigan, to San Jose for that premiere, because Christian Colson tweeted about it. And then later, they moved to North Carolina before we had a Brooklyn screening where Christian clothes was going to be there. And they drove another 20 hours from North Carolina to be at that screening and meet Christian Colson. Like that is the kind of fan that you want.

Alex Ferrari 27:18
Yeah, yeah, that's the kind of fans you want. And you in, in all honesty, you can't do a film like this without that kind of strategy. Like it's like, if you just like, grab, you know, grab a whole bunch of friends, or no name actors or non recognizable non marketable actors and try to do half a million out, which I've seen multiple times, it'll die on the vine, it just won't go there. So you have to this is like, you need something. You need some angle,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 27:45
that's going to turn out the people.

Alex Ferrari 27:47
That's awesome. That's awesome. Alright, so you finish making this movie. Now I'm assuming during this process, even during the making of this movie, or prior to it, you're already thinking how you're going to distribute this thing? Correct?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 27:59
Yeah, we were, although to be perfectly honest. So my first feature film, as I said, had gotten a distribution deal, which at the time, felt like oh, my God, it was a theatrical It was 10 cities.

Alex Ferrari 28:13
And you're still counting the money that they keep sending you, right? I mean, it must be tiring to to swim in the gold coins like Scrooge McDuck, and let's be real,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 28:24
I will tell you exactly what happened with that movie. So we got to do and I and we actually, I believe our distributor work wasn't we're honest people, which I think in and of itself is incredibly rare. And but we we have made to date came out in 2014, slightly less than $5,000. We have received from that,

Alex Ferrari 28:45
from the, from everything

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 28:47
from everything, Jesus, and to And to make matters worse, a year ago, that company folded and got their their titles got bought by another distribution company, which happens all the time because these distribution companies are turning over like that. And that company has had our film since last August, so a full year, and we have not received a single report or check from them. Despite the fact that we have emailed and called them multiple, multiple times, we had a lawyer contact them like they just won't,

Alex Ferrari 29:22
unless they're like if you want it to us. Yeah. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Basically, when is the original contract up in one year? Okay, and then it'll come back to you. And then you can do whatever you want with it.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 29:45
Right? So thank God it was a short I mean, it was a six year contract, which is relatively,

Alex Ferrari 29:50
it's relatively short, anywhere between five to seven is what I recommend, which is not recommend, but it's just generally you know, I literally just got a call from a filmmakers like yeah, this Distribution numbers they will not be named. But they offered a 15. Year. Yeah. Your deal with no money upfront with no money upfront. So my call you're dominating the film that your donation it's a donation. Right off, it's a write off because you're never going to see a dime. Oh and 100,000 PNA locked off at 100,000 psi. So I talked Are you kidding? Are you kidding me I'm never see a dime. Yeah. It's predatory these guys are.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 30:34
It's just we made it. We made a docu series about the tour, which we'll talk about in a while but but in the course of part of that docu series was that we wanted to be radically transparent about our data, and numbers and revenue and everything, because we feel like a huge problem in this space is that nobody has any information. So we're essentially all making dumb decisions, because we don't know what have any information. So because we've done that a number of other filmmakers began reaching out to us who had gotten to traditional distribution deals. And were, were willing to disclose to us what had happened. Numbers wise. So we had a pair of filmmakers Come on our on our series and talk about what happened. And it was

Alex Ferrari 31:23
the abuse for beating the beating Yes,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 31:26
well, and like the thievery. Oh, straight up. And so then we had a lawyer contact us who, who spends a lot of time fighting this stuff. And he said, I mean, hit the whole phone calls in the episode it and I'm and I'm crying by the end of the phone call, because it's so horrifying, what he told us. Wow,

Alex Ferrari 31:46
I would like to talk to him. Oh, totally talk to him, I will put you in touch. And we will talk after afterwards because I I really need to talk to him. Yeah, you know, I've talked about distribution. And you know, the whole film to printer model in general, is about giving power to thinking about film as an entrepreneurial endeavor, thinking of your movie as a product and audiences and selling it and all that stuff. And to use traditional distribution as a partnership or as a hybrid part of part of the hybrid distribution model, where you still retain some sort of control. And you don't get lost, you know, I know Sundance winners, with their movies that that got lost in bankruptcies of distribution companies. And yeah, their rights are locked up for years. And by the time six years rolls around, no one cares about their Sundance winner right anymore,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 32:36
right. It's so one of the filmmakers who came on our series to talk was that they didn't win Sundance, but they were at Sundance, which is, you know, like,

Alex Ferrari 32:44
know, when it's a witness winning, that's winning.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 32:46
Yeah. And they have received $0 back from their distribution company. So far.

Alex Ferrari 32:52
I mean, yeah. That's insane. Okay, so so you, you, were going to get about the docu series in a little bit. So your distribution plan, what was the idea? Like, when you started going down this because I'm assuming you feel responsible to pay back these people, and and even possibly make a little money on on this deal. So you as a responsible filmmaker, we're like, Okay, guys, we've got half a million, how are we going to make this back? What was the what was the thought process there?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 33:26
Yeah. So initially, we started going down the same old path of applying to film festivals and wanting to be picked, like Cinderella out of the masses and sort of like

Alex Ferrari 33:39
in lottery ticket, the lottery ticket mentality,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 33:40
a lottery ticket. And it's really two lottery tickets, right? You have to win the lottery of the film festivals to get into a major Film Festival, where you can even be looked at by seriously by distributor, if there's any left to win the lottery again, to actually get a distribution deal.

Alex Ferrari 33:55
Yeah, so basically, and there's only what 567 in the US five, there's five that matter. Yeah. And even then, even Sundance,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 34:06
though I had, I had a distributor, somebody who's worked deeply in distribution, tell me the other day off the record that she said, you know, all these distribution companies tell filmmakers Don't worry, if you don't get into one of the top film festivals, we still look at other festivals, whatever she's like, that is bullshit. She's like, the reality is, if you don't get into a top Film Festival, you are screwed. If you got into a top Film Festival, you are still probably screwed. But there is a tiny percentage of chance that you're not totally screwed,

Alex Ferrari 34:35
unless you go at it from a different point of view like you are and what we talked about. Okay, so alright, so So what was the RCW went down the normal traditional path at Sundance, you submitted to Sundance

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 34:48
Sundance, we were not accepted to not really a Sundance kind of movie.

Alex Ferrari 34:53
I mean, but also, you you did crowdfund with seed and spark, right? We did, yeah. Okay. So can you talk to us about quickly about you know, cuz I crowdfunded my first film on scene. And I love Emily and I love what they're doing their fan rates. They're fantastic. And you know, did you so you crowdfunded this. How much did you raise when you crowdfunded, crowdfunded? 35,000? So that's that's a good amount. Yeah, that's a yeah without question and then you and then you get the investments for the rest. But you started to build an audience with them. Yeah, with with seed and spark and then see the spark has their own kind of, you know, distribution output deal like their service and they have to deal with, with quiver and all that kind of stuff. Right, then you don't have to deal with quiver anymore. You got to quiver. Liz manna shell at Sundance source, Liz. Yes. A friend of the show.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 35:45
We had, we had gotten to the final rounds of being selected for their creative distribution lab. And they have a deal with quiver that if you're a finalist, you get a discount.

Alex Ferrari 35:54
Awesome. They were on the show. They were on the show. Did you get the funding a quick funny story about Liz. She called me and she's like, Alex, we have this distribution grant. We want to give people filmmakers way. But we have like 15 people who've signed up, I need help. Can you get the word out? I'm like, like, Are you kidding? Are you kidding me? Give me a minute. And then and then I put her on the show. And I go, be careful what you wish for. And they were in the data that shut it down. And I said it and they were foolish enough to leave their emails on the show. I'm like, don't. She's like, No, no, we don't mind. We want to help. I'm like, okay, and you're like, Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. It was it was brutal. Yeah. That's awesome. Alright, so you went down that road, say so. So go ahead, continue.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 36:43
Okay, so we, I would say we spent about from like September to, to know, to like Thanksgiving sort of going down that path, having initial conversations with distributors and sales agents. And simultaneously sort of feeling our own souls dying by the by the just like sort of soul less horrible now horribleness of that process. And also. So I had had that experience with my my first feature film and my producing partner Sarah Wharton's past feature films, I had very similar experiences with traditional distributors. And, like, we were just kind of getting like, it just began to feel like, we were gonna hand our film to a person who is going to throw it off a cliff, again, in exchange for a large percentage of our revenues, like just

Alex Ferrari 37:37
throw it up against the wall and see what sticks.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 37:39
Right. And also, I think what was different this time, too, is is at this current moment in film distribution, you can feel the despondency wafting off of the distributors themselves, like you're in these conversations, and they're just like, well, we don't know what works. I love your movie, and I have absolutely no idea how to sell it. You can just feel the despair. But I feel

Alex Ferrari 38:03
it. But I think also distributors have the same problem as independent filmmakers is like they, they can't get above the noise like No, no. There's certain bigger distributors. I mean, I'm not even talking about Lionsgate or the studios or anything like that. I'm talking about just like even bigger indie distributors names. These guys. They just basically pump it out through their outlets. So they'll put it on iTunes, Amazon, they might make a red box deal if you're lucky, that maybe they'll do a limited theatrical if it has some sort of maybe if it maybe they'll get Netflix or Hulu to buy it, they'll just submit it, but they just basically shotgun it, they don't really have a plan. And it's almost impossible for a distributor without major money to distribute it to to get any sort of awareness for a film, even if you dump five or 10 million bucks into PNA. I still mean that's nothing

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 38:56
totally and and yet, there is no doubt that we are in a profound distribution crisis right now across the board. Like it's not it's not it's not like it's the distributors that not that piece of it is not the distributors fault. But But in that landscape. I feel like it makes the prospect of going with a distributor even worse. Like they're just like flinging stuff out. And nothing's working.

Alex Ferrari 39:25
Because it's it's to it they they've caught that they're basically I hate to use the term blockbuster but then don't be blockbuster. That's what that is they got into they got fat. This is the way it's always been. And then when Netflix and when Netflix showed up and offered blockbuster to buy them for 50 million and blockbuster said no kid, we're fine. We're good on this video store thing. We don't need your DVD home sale thing, whatever you're doing. And but that's what that's where these old school distribution distribution companies are coming from. They're just they have no idea how to handle the new landscape and It's changing. daily, daily, daily.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 40:03
It's insane. Yeah, insane. Right. So I'm so in the middle of that mess there. There came a moment around Thanksgiving where we were just like, we just looked at each other. And we were like, we're not doing this again. This is horrible, and not gonna work. And his movie is too good. We have too much money on the line. We're just not Nope, we're not doing it. So we started. I had a dream actually, literally is what happened?

Alex Ferrari 40:28
Yes, MLK Yes.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 40:30
That we were driving around the country in an RV on something called the joyful vampire tour of America releasing the movie,

Alex Ferrari 40:38
you had a dream? You literally physically

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 40:41
dream that that was happening. And I called and I called Sarah the next morning and I was like, this might be crazy. But what if we just rented an RV and did the drive vampire to America? And God bless her she was like, Yes, and we should put things on it.

Alex Ferrari 40:59
This is the audacity I was talking about this is what I love about the story.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 41:04
So in just last December, we I had the stream and we basically started calling everybody that we knew within the industry and and sounding out this idea.

Alex Ferrari 41:15
Oh, and oh, that didn't go well. I'm sure

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 41:18
you know, the nothing will signal how giant a crisis the industry isn't as basically everybody's was Francoise. Well, nothing else is working. You may as

Alex Ferrari 41:27
well try. Oh, wow. That's that says volumes.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 41:31
Right? One, one woman read us the riot act about how we were throwing our careers off the cliff but truly wild for that phone call. And when it finally happened, I was like, Oh, this is finally happening.

Alex Ferrari 41:43
Okay, good. We we are crazy. I mean, can't everyone can agree with this.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 41:47
This is insane. Everybody else was just like, we don't know, probably try it. Um, so I guess we decided around Christmas that we were going to do this. And then we had from January to May to put together the tour. And and the basic thinking behind the tour was okay, if the hurdle is that it's really hard to get people to leave their houses. Now to watch a movie because you have infinite content from your sofa, then you have to offer people an extra reason to do it. Yes. So we thought a piece of that is certainly having the filmmaker be there being able to do a q&a after people meet the filmmaker got to talk about the movie. But we felt like there needed to be another element that that wasn't quite enough. So we came up with the idea that we would throw a joyful vampire ball after every screening. And that we would invite the audience to come dressed in costume, to the screening and the bar and the party.

Alex Ferrari 42:47
And if I may stop you for a second. And if you understand your niche, which you guys definitely do understand your niche, that audience would love to dress up and go.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 42:58
Oh, yes. Right. And, and funnily enough, the the desire to dress in costume, and wound up expanding way beyond our niche audience. Like it turns out that most adults are just looking for an excuse to wear a costume.

Alex Ferrari 43:15
Fun fact, fun fact, for everyone listening out there. People just want to dress up.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 43:20
Yeah. Um, so that was that was the concept. And then we we ran some back of the napkin math and quickly understood that we could not physically make back anything close to the budget, from the tour itself, because I had three months that I could do physically go on this tour. So we had, we had to do a three month tour and and Okay, you can't do a screening every night or you'll die. So maybe like, initially, we thought we'd do like 20 to 30 screenings over that time. Count the seats, them most you can make is like $40,000.

Alex Ferrari 43:59
So just from but that's just from ticket sales, that doesn't include other streams of revenue.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 44:05
Right? So we so we decided quickly that the model that we were going to test was to use the tour to drive online sales. So we got the film transactionally on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play. And and then we did a partnership with seed and spark so that they would help us market the tour. And so the film was available for subscription on demand through seed and spark. Which was worth it to us. Because if you're if they're your only subscription platform, they pay 40 cents per minute watched of your movie, that's amazing, which is bananas, which means that you make more money if somebody watches on seed and sparkling even if they buy a ticket.

Alex Ferrari 44:51
Wow, I wonder how that is. I have to call Emily, what's that business model working like? I

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 44:55
mean, I think the the only explanation I can come up with Is that they're artificially inflating it at the beginning of their model to try to attract filmmakers. And then eventually that will go down. But

Alex Ferrari 45:07
like Amazon did, yeah. But I'm happy to reap the benefits in the meantime. Fair enough. Fair enough. Okay, so so and then what are the other revenue streams that you were able to create on this tour.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 45:22
So, merchandise, merchandise, the major ones. So we, and because of the nature of the film, we've, we felt like, we just had a merchandise sort of extravaganza course waiting for

Alex Ferrari 45:36
it. But also don't forget, and I hate to interrupt you again. But that this audience is known for purchasing stuff, like Comic Con geeks, mega nerds, this is what they'd love to do. So they'd love to dress up, and they'd love to buy stuff. Thanks, great audience, great audience to go to Target. So I'm just trying, I'm stopping you every once in a while. So everyone hears and understands what the mentality and the process is because you guys are doing, you're basically hitting every note so far as the film intrapreneur you're hitting every note so far, so far, you're hitting every note.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 46:08
Okay. Um, so we had DVDs and blu rays print made up, we had posters we had very nice and that enamel pins, we had two kinds of T shirts. One that was the film's and one we had a very funny love sex.

Alex Ferrari 46:26
Design,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 46:28
Design.

Alex Ferrari 46:29
So okay, and I'll stop. I'll stop. I'll stop there. One more time is that now you understand your niche audience and you're creating not only merchandise off your movie, but you're also creating merchandise that that audience would like that is kind of related to your movie, but not directly related. So like the love socks, t shirt is just something that people who like vampires would probably buy,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 46:49
Right? Yes. And that design, one of the characters wears that T shirt in the movie, but

Alex Ferrari 46:54
Oh, that's so but that's but then you see again, now your product placing? Yeah, your movie. Oh my god. You're so hitting all the thoughts. Oh my god, I love this. I'm so glad I have you on the show. Alright, so continue.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 47:08
Um, okay, as we add hoodies, we had mugs, we had three different designs of mugs. And

Alex Ferrari 47:18
I think that's it. And then you sold every at every event you would sell merch ended, how much revenue Did you generate from all the merge through the whole tour? Give or take? I believe? Nine $9,000. Okay, so that's a nice, Hey, I'll take it if it's on the floor. You know, it's a nice, it's a nice, it's a nice chunk of change. Why not? Okay, great. So now, and then what other revenue sources? Did you create the ball? How does that process work?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 47:44
So the balls, we ended up deciding. Okay, so So the way it ended up working with venues and the balls is some venues, the screening and the ball would be at the same venue. So the whole evening would take place. And, and generally there, there was only one ticket price, and it was for the whole thing. And those tickets tended to be more expensive, right. And some theaters were or some venues were more traditional theaters, and they, they either didn't have the space or wouldn't let us do the ball at that venue. So in those cases, we would have the screening and then move everybody to addict who wanted to come to a separate venue, usually like a local bar or something for the ball. Okay. And in those places, generally, we didn't charge extra for the ball, we ended up deciding that it was more worth it to have the people come and meet us and be engaged and buy merchandise that like the longer they hang out the drunker they get, the more merchandise they're going to buy. So that's a plus, we just didn't feel and particularly because in those situations, we would be doing them often at bars where other people were present, it became kind of complicated to be able to it didn't feel like something we could really charge for. If I did this again, when I do this again. I would I would always do it in venues where I could do the whole evening in one place. It didn't really work very well when you had to move people. And then I would charge more for the whole experience. So so quite often at these events. My so my husband was always working the merchants my very, very nice husband who moved into an RV for three months to test a distribution model. What always work the merge table. And quite often people would come up to him and give him cash donations towards the film as they left the theater. Which was really interesting. I mean, totally unsolicited. Obviously we weren't asking for donations. But what that signaled to us is that people consistently felt like they had gotten more value than they had paid for. So that they would have paid more money for the experience that they got was a cost what was the cost for the for the ball and the ticket So a lot of a lot of places we were hamstrung by, by what the movie theater normally charged for movies. So some places that was like seven or $8. Whenever we could control it, we charged usually 20 for the movie plus the ball.

Alex Ferrari 50:17
Cheap, though, I mean, Ukraine, that's so cheap, you could have easily charged 5070 bucks easily.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 50:23
Yeah, we wanted to test it. And see, I think, I think in the future, I would, I would charge more.

Alex Ferrari 50:30
Yeah, because you're creating an experience, you're creating an event, like even a even if you go to a bar, sometimes the cover is going to be 20 bucks. Like, you know, there's, there's ways that you could have,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 50:41
we definitely lowball that with, with the feeling that we were really testing a model and we needed to, like, it was something that people weren't going to be used to attending, it wasn't really a concept that audiences were going to understand. So we had to kind of like, make the bar for entry. pretty low.

Alex Ferrari 50:59
Got it. Got it. Alright, so so when when it's all said and done, what were the the rough numbers coming in from the tour?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 51:07
So from ticket sales? I think it came in at about 17,000. Okay.

Alex Ferrari 51:15
Okay. And then close it, and then close balls.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 51:18
Yeah. Okay. About 17,000 from ticket sales, which we could have, I think, had we sold out every venue. We would have made about 40,000, I think. But we were marketing 51 screenings in two days with a very small team.

Alex Ferrari 51:41
So yeah, that was my next question. How did you actually put asses in seats? Like, what what? Because that's a lot

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 51:46
of money. A lot of right. Yes. So we, we tried everything. So we did, we did a lot of paid Facebook ads, both to drive online sales, and then also to drive people to screenings. So we would target people in a specific geographic area. I've been to screening, and the geographic targeting ads worked. Shockingly, well. I thought those wouldn't work at all. But consistently, at screenings, people came because they saw an ad on Facebook. One lady drove four hours to see it in costume because she's on ad on Facebook, which I find shocking. Whoa, because there's not a lot of places you

Alex Ferrari 52:30
can dress up as a vampire. And without being scanned at a scarf that and go there. So you, you really I think you you you left some money on the table. If I made it. Yeah,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 52:42
he did. But But the other thing is, we went, we went in blind, like we had no information, because there's no information. So there are 100 things I would do differently next time. And part of the reason we were doing the docu series is so that now other people can have our information and do better with next time. So we did paid for Facebook ads in almost every place, we had a local host, whose job was to help hustle their friends helping posters around town. A street team, that's great team. Yes. So they they were crucial. Like I would say that was probably the most effective means of getting people into seats. And oh, actually, so we with seed and spark, we ran surveys about this. So we we would have people sign up via text for our email list in the theater. After the screening, which everybody should do this is this worked incredibly well. And then the first email they would get would have a survey, asking them to tell us like why they had come to the film and where they'd heard about it on all this stuff. And so the top the top reason by far was hearing about it from a friend who was not involved in the film. So either word of mouth or local host. And then the next three tied reasons were paid Facebook ads, hearing about somebody it from a friend who was involved in the film, and hearing about it from the venue. Interesting. And then everything else like there was there was hardly anything else that even rate ranked on that scale. I mean, we did a lot of other stuff. So we we did have physical posters hung most all around town, not just at the theaters, but like around the communities. We we did we had a lot of very active social media life even outside of the paid ads which was effective we we did Facebook event pages which I do think were quite effective. We we targeted local grassroots organic we grassroots methods to target local organizations. So anything involving Women in Film, we would reach out to them anything and any really any local film groups, we would reach out to any local vampire clubs, any local d&d clubs, any LARPing groups, any Harry Potter clubs, they're a shocking number of Harry Potter clubs around the country, we'd reached out to them.

Alex Ferrari 55:22
Did you think Did you do any conventions? Like to show up at any conventions? You

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 55:26
did? We were invited to play at spike con in Utah, which we did, which was awesome. I think, do it playing more cons is going to be part of the next leg of our strategy. But we only played one on the tour itself.

Alex Ferrari 55:40
Okay. So Alright, so and then when so you obviously were thinking about developing ancillary products during the movie, obviously, cuz you had people wearing t shirts and you already thinking about ancillary products. So that was part of your strategy as well. Like, we're gonna self merge. We're gonna sell some merch on this like this. Before the tour, you were thinking of selling March?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 55:59
Yeah, I think that was always in our minds. Okay. Although, again, we we thought we would go down a more traditional path. Like, I think we were thinking we were helping set up a distributor to do a good job. And then, right.

Alex Ferrari 56:09
I'm sorry, I come. For people who are listening, you just see my face, like a distributor did like I my face said everything I was like, Yeah, right. You know, like setting. That's such a, that's such an indie filmmaker thing. This is a we all do is I'm gonna set them up properly to do a good job like they don't care. So now that you've done this, this, this tour, yeah, that you were trying to drive digital sales? Did it drive digital sales? And do you have any sort of numbers with that?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 56:38
Well, so here is the giant problem with these digital platforms is they don't tell you for three to six months. They don't give you any numbers for three to six months. So unlike any other normal marketing thing, I mean, like with with selling tickets on the road, we were able to, to very much adjust our tactics as we went, as we learned and saw was happening every night, and you just don't know. So that is a huge problem. So we will definitely make those numbers public once we have them, but we don't have them yet.

Alex Ferrari 57:11
And then what's the you were talking a little earlier about the next leg? What are you doing? How are you continuing this audacity of a journey?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 57:21
Well, so the tour ended two weeks ago, and we've all been in a bit of a coma, we all gave ourselves permission to be in a coma more or less since then. So we don't have an exact plan yet. We're going to start putting that together next month. But some things that we're definitely going to do start getting on the con circuit more aggressively. We have somebody who's helping us with foreign sales, we've we've had a lot of interest from international territories for the film.

Alex Ferrari 57:55
So So how are you processing that? Are you doing that to a sales agent? Or are you going to an international distributor?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 58:00
Well, I don't know yet. So we have, we have an Australian sales agent who I met through a friend. And his is like, actually trustworthy human, unlike most sales agents, and so she has very generously offered to help us sort of like suss out what the best way to go is q1 to wait till the end of the tour so that we had our materials. So one of one of the big advantages to the tour outside just the revenue we earned from the tour is that we now have video testimonials of people in costumes all over the country talking about how much they love the film, how their favorite film, you know, it's like so we have our documentary filmmaker who was with us making the docu series is putting together a sizzle reel for us that we can now send with our trailer to distributors. We're gonna go Holy shit, they ended up getting like they got people to come out in costume to watch this movie.

Alex Ferrari 59:01
But you're in the distributors with international. I'm assuming you're not going to get rid of you're not going to give them domestic. No, no, not domestic, internationally, internationally. Okay, and then you're just going to try to go territory or you're going to go to AFM or anything like that to see if you can do anything. I think we might try to go to AFM. Yeah. Okay. If you're there, we'll have coffee. I'll be there. No. Have you ever been Yeah. I've never been no. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Oh, prepare yourself. It's a it is it's an interesting place. Let's just get that way. I went one year and the biggest movie of the year was Steven Seagal versus mike tyson in a movie and of course you need to watch that movie because I want to know who wins. But that's the kind of place yeah, it's Yeah. Did you It's a Unix Unix place.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:00:02
Yeah. Speaking of soul crushing. And then I think eventually, we will try to just to make a deal with one of the streaming platforms. I think the feedback we've been getting is that the good thing about the streaming platforms at this particular moment is that they're all these new ones coming to market in the next six months. And they're all looking and they're all they're all looking. So it's, it is actually a little bit more of of a seller's marketplace right now than it has been with streaming platforms.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:36
Okay, and I'm assuming you try this. Did you submit to Netflix and Hulu yet or not yet? I am not yet. Okay. All right. I mean, it's you guys have I mean, you're you are hustlers. You are indie film, hustlers, your, your films, your printers, you are hustling that you're keeping going, you see most filmmakers would have just said, Well, that was the end of the tour. We're done. But you're like no, no, no, as we continue this journey,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:01:00
and this money back yet, and I think, like, part of this experiment to me, is to try to figure out like, Is there a market? Like, is it possible to make back half a million dollar money on indie films right now? And the answer may be no. And if the answer is no, because so to speak about digital sales for a second I, we don't have the final numbers, but I have a niggling feeling that we may have reached a moment where people are simply unwilling to pay even 299 for Oh, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:37
I know the the future is is a VOD, is it's that's the future. I mean, I know filmmakers making a ton more than a VOD than they are an S VOD, or T VOD.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:01:49
Right. Without question. So that Oh, right. Also airlines, we're gonna try to make some airline deals, airlines,

Alex Ferrari 1:01:56
cruise lines, the churches not so much with the vampire movie, but they're vampire churches.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:02:07
Yeah, so I, I, I now suspect that our revenue model was wrong. I bet that that the tour will not have driven transactional sales in the way that we needed it to. so and so. But I think we have to look really into the abyss here as filmmakers and say, like, is it possible at any budget level? If it isn't? What does that mean? And and maybe the answer is that, like, you just have to make very micro budget films? Or the answer is that, like a lot of the arts, that the goal isn't actually to make money, it's to make impact. And that that ceases to be the goal.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:55
As long as the budget justify you justify the budget, then?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:02:58
Well, as long as you are completely upfront about that with your

Alex Ferrari 1:03:02
investors, if everyone understands that, like, Look, we're making art here. And this is an art exhibition. And we're gonna put it out there. And this is the way it is. Yeah, I mean, to answer your question, I'm, I'm in I'm in the, in the trenches here every day in the indie film trenches. So the answer is, yes, you can make your money back. But you and that's what the whole film shoprunner model is about. It's about rethinking how you do it. Could this movie if you would have made this movie for $100,000? Which is, it's still a decent budget $100,000 if you would be very close to making your money back more unlikely, you know, so it's about always about the budget and keeping that overhead low, or, or whatever, there's always that balance, like, you know, if I spent a million bucks, well, what do I need to do to get that million bucks? And vice versa? So if this for argue argument's sake, if this movie would have cost $50,000, the tour would have been great. Right? The tour would have been great. Well, except, yeah, give or take, I mean, you're not gonna make all the money back on the tour. But you would be really close, you know, and even on just merge sales, you would have done pretty well, I mean, obviously costs and stuff like that, but yeah,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:04:15
right. So I but I have to say that and obviously, the money is important. Obviously. However, there, there is another bottom line here, which is impact. And I have never felt as an artist, like my work was having greater impact than on this tour ever. It was astonishing. To travel the country and go to Vicksburg, Mississippi and Wichita, Kansas, and like these places that I have never been and show my movie and talk to people afterwards. Many of whom had never met a filmmaker before. Like, I feel like in New York and Los Angeles, we forget actually what a big deal that is. Because if you can find a screening without a filmmaker in attendance, it's like amazing. But like in Vicksburg, they had never met a filmmaker before. Like for them. For them, it was like, I may as well have been Steven Spielberg, you know, and, and I had this one really fascinating dialogue with a woman in Columbus, Ohio, who the my film, lovingly pokes fun at Christians. But this woman, what, what took a great affront to that, and came barreling up to me afterwards. And was was very hurt about the fact that I've made fun of Christians and I and I said, you know, I'm so sorry, you feel that way, we had this whole really extended conversation about the concept of comedy and punching up versus punching down and sort of like, at the end of it, she was like, well, it felt really great to be able to say that to a filmmaker, because normally nobody, here's my responses to movies, and I was like, That is awesome. You know, and, and, and the idea, my hope, my dream now is that if we could get like an Oregon Trail of filmmakers, doing these tours, and bringing film independent from some parts of the country that do not see independent film that have no access to anything, in an in person setting other than the Avengers, and and they could meet and have these dialogues with filmmakers of all different backgrounds and perspectives, that would change the country, it would,

Alex Ferrari 1:06:29
it would, and I would, I would agree with you on that. And I think that the future of independent film, there's going to be, you're going to need to do a lot more work. So I think that's gonna, that's going to thin out the herd, if you will, because there's not many filmmakers that I know. Who wants to get into an RV for three years on it. And in travel the country, there just isn't. And it's going to that's what it's going to take it's going to take thinking about movies differently, it's going to think about how can it create other revenue streams from this film? Is the film a loss leader, where I made the film for 100 grand, but I'm really making money on these online courses or books or, you know, depending on the subject matter, you know, yeah, all this all this kind of stuff. It's about thinking about it differently. I do believe there's a space for us. But I think we're gonna turn into more carnies, where I think that you've got to provide a service that the studios can't exactly period, right, and what your you were able to do the studio, there's no Avengers ball. Now. Now, they also made $2.7 billion, so they don't care. Because that's not what that's not what their business model is. But for us, the scrappy, independent filmmaker, the film shoprunner, we got to figure out other ways to make it happen. And I, I always look at this whole process as the creative process. The movie is just one part of this entire, from casting to creating product lines do doing this tour. This is all creative. Yeah, absolutely. And has to become a part of the dialogue and has to become part of this process. Because you can't just drop off to a distributor, like as very, very, very much of city clearly have said in this in this episode.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:08:15
Right. And so many filmmakers, both before the tour, and during the tour was like, Well, I think it's really awesome what you're doing, but like I would never want to do all that work. And like, then but but to me, and which I have sympathy for on the one hand, but on the other hand, a Why are we making movies if no one's gonna see them and be I with you, like I found I loved being on the tour like getting I'm a filmmaker getting to show my film to people 51 times and listen to them laugh and have them come in caught like it was the greatest? I mean, I put I it's one of the greatest periods of my life.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:50
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, are, you know, you're not the first film to ever go on a roadshow, there's many have done it before. But and there's many that will do it after. It's creating a business model that consists state of the art because, you know, as I say, the word show, and there's the word business, and the word business has twice as many letters as the word show. And there's a reason for that. Because without the business, there is no show and as much impact as you want to make, when it would be better to make a film that you can not only make your money back, but everyone gets paid, you get a little bit of profit. And you could do it again and again and again and again. And if you control everything, you create your own portfolio, where you have actual revenue streams in that, like, maybe you'll get a report. Right. That's the future. That's the future.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:09:37
Absolutely. And I think the key pathway to that future is more films being willing to offer themselves as case study as radically transparent case studies. Because a filmmaker within their lifetime is not going to make enough films to crack the model based on their own experimentation. And so we have to be honest with each other even when we fail. You Like, we just have to, because then we will figure it out. Because there I believe I'm with you, I believe there is a model out there. But we don't know what it is right now. that's for damn sure.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:08
I mean, the model that has worked for me is doing ultra micro budget movies that have good production value that are aimed at a niche audience. And then in your control everything. And, you know, my first film cost me five grand to make. And I sold it to Hulu, and I sold it internationally. And I drove sales, but I have a platform. And I was able to build off that and there's audience building, and there's that whole conversation we never even got into. But that that is a possibility. If I would have made that movie for 50, or 100, grand, I don't know, probably probably would have been another statistic. So it's, it's a weird balance. This is a weird, it's a wonderful and an extremely dangerous time from being an independent filmmaker, because there's more access than ever before. But the competition is just, it's crushing it,

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:11:01
I would say I would say the noise more than the competition gets it. I feel like it would feel differently if if you were if it was just like, eat, like such great work was being made. And you were like, up against like, anywhere, and you were losing out to films that like blew your mind. And that doesn't feel but sometimes you see those films, but I it's just it's sort of the noise.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:21
But but also with that said, The competition is not just films, it's amazing television. I mean, the television that's coming out right now it's where all a lot of independent filmmakers are going. Right? Cuz I mean, and you're competing for that hour? Oh, yeah, no, you know, your go. phones and video games, social media. In America, there's a million other things. So there's just a lot of competition for eyeballs. It's

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:11:45
what's interesting, again, about that, so so my hypothesis going into the tour was that you could maybe salvage the in person experience as long as you relied on, on online viewing for money. And I actually think it's the reverse, because the number of people that came up to me and said, like, this is the first meaningful human interaction I've had with strangers in months. And like the hunger of people to it is harder to get them out of their houses, for sure. But once they're there, you can give them like borderline religious experiences, with very little effort, you know, just but in the simple act of putting them in a room and giving them context to interact with other people.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:33
Yeah, it's it is the future is the future. I think this is a this is a model that can work. I think at a certain budget range. It could work without question, I think at this budget range, it will work but it's going to take longer, it's going to be hard hustling, and, and it's an experiment. You guys are really in your investors must be really cool. People

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:12:54
are really cool people. They're extremely cool. And we did ask them like we we explain, but But the other thing is like, okay, so I think you're right, I think there's money that we probably left on the table. How are we hold? No, but are we better off than if we had gotten a distribution deal? Yes, that we are you have money, we have some money, you actually got some money. We made more in the first week of ticket sales from the tour than I made for my entire first feature film from a distributor.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:27
Correct. So yeah, right. I mean, that pretty much says everything you need to say. So as a as a business person is you have to look at like, Okay, well, what cost does that potential revenue justify? And that's, that's, it's like, it's like, you got to look at it as developing any widget, keep the cost as low as possible by still maintaining as high quality as possible to be able to create a marketable product. You know, and then also, art, you know, it, there's that it's a weird, we're very unique, strange business. You know, we're the only we're the only business that says, We're gonna invest a million dollars into something that we kind of maybe figured maybe there'll be some way we'll make our money back

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:14:15
like this and has no inherent value. That's value will be decided upon financially upon completion,

Alex Ferrari 1:14:24
right? Because this is about random people, right? This This has a value. Yes, this phone has a value, and it costs X amount and it has this X amount of value attached to it. A movie. I mean, the room, you know, the movie, the room, which is considered one of the worst movies of all time, has a specific value attached to it, right. Is it better than producing your film? No. Is it better produce than most films? No, but is it more profitable? Yes, absolutely. Tommy was so is a millionaire off of this movie because of the perceived value of that. film. So it's such a crazy thing.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:15:04
What right, which is crazy as a business, and it's also the only art form that is expected to make money like no other art form is it really right is expected to make money.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:12
Right, exactly. But because the value the cost is so high, the cost is so high to create our art, you know, and there's so many and it's a collaborative art. So it's not even one person. It's a collaborative art. So now you've got to deal with all of that and the politics and the person doing well. I actually I came up with I came up with a basically an idea of what why we are is insane as we are, and you are literally a carny. I mean, you literally went on the road and put up a tent and put a shell on and packed it up and moved to the next step. So I mean, I was considered as of carnies. But I think we have to get ourselves checked out for Sally Lloyd, because we might have a bad case of filmmaking. And I think, and I think once we get bitten, there's no vaccine. Like, you're done. You're done. You're, it's over and, and to be a little bit more crass. It's kind of like herpes, because it's dormant A lot of times, but it flares up, and it's with you for life.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:16:08
Like, even even in the worst day, on tour, I would go into that theater and listen to an audience full of people laughing at the jokes I had written and I was like, I'm good, I'm done. My life, there's nothing else I can do. I don't even need money, I'm

Alex Ferrari 1:16:21
fine. It's, we're insane. We're insane. But if we understand our insanity, and we if we, if we are self aware enough of what we're doing, because a lot of filmmakers or not a lot of filmmakers are delusional. Trust me, I know, I was very delusional for many, many years of my career, I'm sure you might have had a few years of delusion, as well. But if we're self aware enough, and then we actually become smart about how we can actually create our art, and make a business out of art, and then create other revenues he streams to, to support us while we're making our art to the point where we're able to eventually do this full time. That's the dream. And I think also a lot of filmmakers have this whole, I need to make a million dollars, and I have to work in the studio system. And I have to do what like that dream that Hollywood's been selling us since the 90s. If I'm able to make money that pays my rent, and puts food on my table for my family, and I'm able to provide a service, which is entertainment, or some other service that I'm providing my audience. Isn't that the dream? Like man is Yeah, right. It's like, I don't need billions of dollars. You know, I don't, I'm happy.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:17:28
They do need to be able to pay my rent. And I think that's the people we're still not quite there yet.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:33
Right? pay your rent, pay your people that work with you on this crazy people that you conned into doing, going on these crazy journeys with us as filmmakers.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:17:43
But I mean, I do I do think there's something to the duplass Yes, model for sure of of very low, keeping the cost low up front by giving everybody a piece of the back end with the Touring model, because one thing. So I will say that, that having the name actors did help to a certain extent. But Naomi Grossman, who is one of them, hustled her took us off for us. And and like, got every cousin she has to come out to a screening and got every person she knows in every city. And she put more butts in seats, not because she's famous, but because she like hounded people to come. And for that reason, she was the most valuable actor. And I think, actually, if you if you had a whole team of filmmakers, actively hounding people in cities, because they were gonna get a piece of the back end, we would have sold more tickets than we sold because we had famous actors.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:45
Yeah, there's, there's, there's multiple different business models, and I think the duplass brothers have been able to they cracked the code. I mean, the duplass has cracked the code A while ago. And if you remember their first films, they were made for nothing. Right? And

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:18:58
You're also friends with famous people, which again, like what now but now right now?

Alex Ferrari 1:19:03
Yeah, not when they were starting out when they were start when they did puffy chair. You know, they had they had Sundance because they got the short film The year before, but it took them a minute before those famous people friends. And now they can leverage everything that they have. But you know, the whole Marvel story with them. Right? Have you heard that story? Marvel called the doop losses. And they offered them a movie. And they turned it down. Because they said it's just not us. And that is self awareness. And that is a clear understanding of what is important to you as a filmmaker that said, Look, we would be locked up for three years. And it would have been fun maybe but it's that it's kind of like that. We don't want to do that. Like we want to make other films we want to employ our friends. We want to go out and do this to tell the stories we want to tell like why would we lock ourselves up for write this kind of film like we're good. You know, we're making Netflix movies. We're making Netflix shows we're doing HBO shows like I don't need that. That every filmmaker that hears the story, many of them are like, You're crazy. I'm like I said, No, he knows. And they both know exactly what's important to them. Right? And I think that's where we all have to be. Now I'm gonna ask you a few questions. I asked all of my entrepreneur guests. What advice would you give a filmtrepreneur starting a project today?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:20:26
Liberate yourself from the system.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:29
The matrix

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:20:31
Unplugged from the matrix,Take the red pill, because from the beginning, because the other thing that I like, if we had known from day one of making bite me that this is what we're going to do. A we would have done things differently, and we would have been able to set ourselves up so much more successfully.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:52
Very good. Now, what is the biggest lesson you've learned? Going through this audacity? of this this tour of this project? where you are, what's the biggest lesson you've learned so far?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:21:06
The system is a lie.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:09
The Matrix is a lie.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:21:11
Right? It's true. Like, I mean, I just can't tell you how many things people said to us like, well, you're never going to get theaters to agree to this Really? Well. So many theaters said yes, that we had to cap the tour at 51 screenings like that was not that like they're just the idea that film festivals are the be all end all know, when, when in reality, they're eating up your profits? Realistically?

Alex Ferrari 1:21:34
Of course.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:21:36
It's a lie. So like, think differently,

Alex Ferrari 1:21:39
Think differently. Okay, perfect. Yes. like Apple says, think different. Back in the day. Now, what is? What did you learn? What have you learned from your biggest filmmaking or business failure? Like that first movie, besides selling the traditional distributor?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:22:00
Yeah. I mean, I feel like it's the same.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:10
Just don't just just

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:22:11
It's that, that the decision to set to give your film to a distributor, is the last decision you get to make with that film, basically. Whereas that's great. Whereas whatever mistakes or successes we had with this tour, we now get to make an infinite number of decisions. Next.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:34
Do you see Do you see yourselves partnering strategically, with a traditional distributor? Like carving out certain rights, like actually doing a real partnership if you found good distributors? Because I have, and I have.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:22:49
Sure it's so hard to know, I mean, this is the problem? Like they all sound great up front? And then. But yeah, I mean, of course, like, if the right opportunity came along, I think particularly internationally, it makes a lot of sense. And

Alex Ferrari 1:23:05
It just all depends, it all depends. Because there are there are models out there, there are distribution companies that I work with, that can do good stuff. But I would agree, like if you just sign everything over, if you can try to, you know, like, I'm going to keep the DVD rights, I have the rights to sell it on my website, something that's a huge thing. Like, if all hell breaks loose, I can still sell it on my I might, I could sell it on my website. I could put it on Vimeo plus and sell it Right, right, if worse comes to worse. Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:23:46
The system is a lie? Okay, so basically, you grow up watching the Oscars and you like, and then everybody talks about Sundance, and it's like, there's it's so it's feels magical. So true, and it just isn't and it and like, and it's so I feel like I've had to learn that lesson over and over and over again.

Alex Ferrari 1:24:08
Okay. Now, in your opinion, what is the definition of a filmtrepreneur?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:24:15
Think a filmmaker who understands that their job does not end when the picture is locked.

Alex Ferrari 1:24:23
That's great definition. Great definition. I love that. Now, where can people find out more about you about bite me about everything you're doing?

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:24:33
Well, I have a website. What 2019 NaomiMcDougalJones.com

Alex Ferrari 1:24:42
It's not Geocities. Sorry. Isn't on is it on AOL no joke.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:24:49
Maybe How Does that ever work? Exactly. Um, bite me. thefilm.com is our films website. And I would very much encourage people to watch our doctors series which is on YouTube, you just search for the joyful vampire tour of America. It's 12 episodes. It's that was made by Kiwi Callahan. It's incredibly funny and fun just as like an adventure story of us living in an RV for three months traveling around the country, but also does, we pull our pants all the way down and everything. So if, if I had had that tool as a filmmaker six months ago, my life would be different.

Alex Ferrari 1:25:28
Wow, that's awesome. Naomi, it has been an absolute pleasure talking to you, I'm so glad we were able to finally get together. And I hope and I do hope that this episode really educates some people out there and really inspire some people to do something and also terrify some people. Because it ain't easy out here. It isn't easy. And like you said, the filmmaker understands that their job is not done at cut. Final Cut is a really great definition of a film entrepreneur, because you've got to think about other things, you got to look at things differently, as you so wonderfully put. So thank you, again, so much for being so candid, and dropping some knowledge bombs, and inspirational bombs on the tribe today.

Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:26:12
Thank you so much for having me.

Alex Ferrari 1:26:15
That was an epic interview. Naomi, thank you, again, so much for not only being on the show, but for everything you're doing for filmmakers with that amazing series, which by the way, the series is available on indie film hustle TV. So anybody who has membership to indie film hustle TV, you can watch the entire series there as part of your membership. It's also available on YouTube as well. But I will put links to all of that in the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/342. I'll also put links to the movie where to buy it rented, see it and support this amazing group of filmmakers who are trying to make it happen for not only themselves, but to help the community as well. And I'm always behind anybody, any filmmaker, who is willing to be so open minded and completely transparent about their process of trying to make money in this in sane business. So thanks again, Naomi for coming on the show. Now, if you haven't already. And if you really liked the show, it really mean a lot to me, if you head over to filmmakingpodcast.com it'll take you straight to Apple podcasts, subscribe, leave a review, it really helps the show out a lot. It really, really, really appreciate it. And I have a little bit of update on that book, The rise of the filmtrepreneur, it is about a week away from me delivering it to my editor and getting everything ready for our October release. So I will keep you up to date on that. All I'm going to tell you guys is this, this book is going to blow the lid off this piston. I mean, I go buckwild on the business in this book, I really really do it is a eye opening book that tells a lot of truth bombs and a lot of hard realities about this business, but also gives you a blueprint on how you can actually make a business out of your filmmaking out of your films and to be able to build an actual business around what you love to do. So if you want to, again, preorder that book, head over to filmbizbook.com that's filmbizbook.com which will take you straight to Amazon where you can preorder the book to be the first to get it. Thank you again so much. This has been a cross over addition with the filmtrepreneur podcast of course if you haven't gone to the filmtrepreneur podcast please head over to filmbizpodcast.com. That's filmbizpodcast.com that takes you to the filmtrepreneur podcast. It is growing very, very fast. And it's getting a lot of great reviews. A lot of tribe members are heading over there. It's a lot of great, great information, new episode every single week. So thanks again for listening guys. And as always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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