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How to Make $250K Indie Film Look Like $25 Million Blockbuster with Gaelan Connell
Every once in awhile I come across a filmmaker who is just a bit crazier than I am. This is true for writer/director Gaelan Connell who’s film Blood Sand and Gold is a true indie film miracle. This mad man decided to raise $250,000 (much of which was out of pocket) and go off and make a big-budget action film, just one problem he didn’t have a big budget.
Yes, I know $250K is a lot of money but it’s not enough for what Gaelan Connell was attempting to do. Check this out, Blood Sand and Gold was shot over the course of 58 days across 5 countries and 4 continents! It has Jason Bourne/James Bond-style action. I mean it’s nuts. Check out the trailer below:
I had to have him on the show to reveal his secret sauce on how he was able to accomplish this crazy mission. Not only did he jump on the podcast and drops some MAJOR knowledge bombs, but he also wrote up an article laying out his top 5 filmmaking tips. Take a listen to the podcast, then read Gaelan Connell ‘s article. Enjoy and get ready to be inspired!
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Here’s a behind the scenes look at the indie marvel Gaelan Connell ‘s Blood Sand and Gold.
Blood Sand and Gold is a modern-day treasure hunt action-adventure film. Shot over the course of 58 days across 5 countries (and 4 continents!), the story follows ex-criminal Jack Riordan (Aaron Costa Ganis) and Mave Adams (Monica West) as they hunt down Sir Francis Drake’s stolen treasure.
So far, everything feels pretty standard, right? Action movie, check. International settings, check. Explosions, desert landscapes, helicopters, and a tiger…check. But wait: We made this whole movie with a budget of less than $250k.
Why? We intentionally made Blood Sand and Gold outside of the Hollywood system to prove, firstly, that it can be done, and secondly, that nowadays there’s a way to stretch budgets further than indie films ever thought possible. In addition to the (comparatively) minuscule budget, we gave ourselves a challenge: no agents, no managers, no money people, no casting directors. And wouldn’t you know it, every insider we approached in Hollywood said,
“Sounds cool! Never going to happen.”
Blood Sand and Gold premieres March 10, 2017, in select theaters, online and OnDemand. As we discuss in the Podcast, here are some tricks on how we made it happen.
Trick 1: Film outside the country.
We intentionally shot Blood Sand and Gold in countries outside of the US. Shooting outside of the US is a magical experience. Unlike LA or NY, where seeing a production is as commonplace as grabbing coffee at Starbucks, people in areas where filming is more novel, approach filmmaking as a once in a lifetime experience, which means everyone is willing to pitch in and lend a hand.
For example, starting production in Guadalajara Mexico allowed us to garner some early media attention by leading Mexican press, the awesome film commission of Guadalajara helped supply us resources for free (locations, police for action scenes, etc) which allowed us to do huge stunts on a fraction of the budget. It also led to more grassroots cooperation to help with production.
People all over the world came out of the woodwork to support our project, whether it was the 200k Mercedes SLS that a friend of a friend in Mexico let us use, or the epic treasure chest prop that a villager in Merzouga, Morocco lent us for the opening sequence of the film.
Trick 2: Use Airbnb.
Never before have filmmakers had the opportunity to film in literal palaces and house their crew in said palaces for as little as $200 a night in some of the most remote, beautiful places in the world. While filming in Chefchaouen, Morocco we stayed in a 4-story blue house with an expansive, regal courtyard. From that single location, we were able to shoot multiple critical scenes (a police station, a rooftop sequence, and more). In Switzerland, we stayed in a breathtaking chalet literally from right out of the Sound of Music. $250 bucks a night for access to a priceless setting.
Trick 3: Go practical.
Stunts and special effects are critical to elevating the production value of a film. Unfortunately, they also have a reputation for being non-negotiable expensive, which we proved false. In Blood, Sand, Gold our explosions cost $50 bucks. 50 dollars each. Really! (When we learned that, we tried to have something blow up in almost every scene.)
In one part of the movie a car crashes and flips in the middle of a desert. We quickly realized that there was no need to spend big bucks on a fancy looking car that would ultimately be totaled. Instead, we bought a used car in for $1500—and were free to pull off the shot of our dreams with no strings attached.
Trick 4: Structure like a startup.
We shook up the traditional Hollywood pricing model by giving our crew, in addition to our actors, a percentage of the film’s revenue. (Typically actors have this negotiated as part of their pay, but applying this model to the crew is something new.) What emerged was a production that felt very much like a startup—in the best of ways.
Everyone on the team has an investment in the movie and were happy to open their networks and expertise to help in any way they could. On top of that, filmmaking is extremely collaborative. Making sure everyone is paid for their contribution just makes sense.
Trick 5: Be prepared to improvise.
You know the saying: there are three films you make: the one you write, the one you shoot, and the one you edit. When shooting a small-budget film, you have to be at peace with improvisation. Here’s an example: During a particularly high-stress scene wherein we fired a rocket launcher and set off a large explosion, the set literally caught on fire. By thinking on our feet, we were able to (safely!) turn that unexpected event into an additional scene, with fire raging in the background, which made the edit.
Like documentary filmmaking, the film you shoot on a tight budget may be quite a departure from the film you wrote; roll with the punches and you may be surprised to find you like it better than what you had originally imagined.
The article was written by Gaelan Connell
Alex Ferrari 1:58
And that is today's guest. He is Writer Director, Gaelan Connell. And he has done something that is remarkable. And I'm going to take you back to how I found this young man and what he's been able to do. I get I get contacted all the time by distributors and filmmakers and producers who want to be on the show. And when we invite people or projects, or guests that have some sort of educational value to you guys, something that I either want to know about, or I know you guys want to know about and that's the only time I really bring people on. So I was originally sent this trailer for a film called blood sand and gold. And when I saw the trailer, I was like, Oh, this is just another big action movie. You know, you know, probably some somewhere made somewhere in Europe. And you know, and I was like, you know, I really I don't have any there's nothing educational about this guys. I'm sorry. I just don't think it's a good fit for the show. Then they told me the story of how they made it. And they said, Hey, you know, Galan made this movie for $250,000. And I said what? So I went back and looked at that trailer again with those those glasses on. And I'm like, holy crap, this guy was able to put together a movie that looked had action sequences that were in par almost with James Bond. You know, things out of Casino Royale and things out of Jason Bourne movie, and I'm not bullshitting you guys, I'm being straight up with you. You know, I was extremely impressed with, uh, with the production value. And then I found out that he shot in five countries over four continents on a $250,000 budget. So I said, I have to have Galen on the show, I need to find out selfishly, How the hell did he do this, because he's basically taking what Robert Rodriguez did with $7,000 and just amped it up to a level that is remarkable because at the end of the day, it does look really high end and it has a it just feels huge for a budget of $250,000. Now I know what you guys are gonna say, Alex $250,000 is a lot of money. It is but not when you're traveling around the world. And shooting an action movie with no real kind of there was kind of a plan on how he did it. You know, he just likes to land somewhere, and then start looking for actors. I mean, it was insane. So I really wanted to kind of dig in deep about how he was able to do this. And Gaelen is also an actor, he was in one of my favorite movies of the 90s called choco lot, which was his first movie The Johnny Depp. And we talked a little bit about that as well, but he's been an actor and he decided to jump into directing. And you know, everything if you if you put this all on paper, and you go Alex, there's this, you know, this kid actor who now is in his late 20s, and he wants to direct now and he's gonna go off around the world with 20 $50,000 and make an action movie. And I and I said the exact same thing everybody else said, Well good luck with that. I wish you the best with that let me know how it comes out. You know it'd be it'll be fun to watch when you're done with it if it ever gets finished. And that's the kind of attitude he did. He just grabbed the camera and ran and it's again and I say this in the interview it's it's basically kind of what I did with this is Meg, but I think much, much, much, much bigger scale. And, you know, I was so impressed with Gaelen did. And I again, I wanted to have him on the show because I wanted to just interrogate him for you guys on how the hell he was able to do what he did. Now, in the show notes at indie film hustle.com forward slash 145. You'll have a small behind the scenes video so you can see a little bit about that he Gaelen also wrote a small article on his top five filmmaking tips on what how he was able to get blood, sand and gold made with the kind of production value that he was able to get. So definitely check that out after you hear the interview. So enjoy my conversation with Gaelan Connell. Thank you so much for being on the show, bro.
Gaelan Connell 6:09
Thank you. I'm a huge fan. You have some awesome advice that I could have followed making blood sand and gold actually, if I'd listen to your podcast earlier.
Alex Ferrari 6:17
Oh worries, man. Listen, it's never too late. I've Dude, I learned stuff on my last movie. And I'm like, shit, dude, I've been doing this 20 years. I didn't know that. It just it's just the way it is bad. So first, and for first and foremost, man, one of my favorite films of the late 90s, early 2000s. Chuck a lot.
Gaelan Connell 6:35
And you're going way back.
Alex Ferrari 6:36
I'm going way back.
Gaelan Connell 6:37
This is the peak of my career. It's all been downhill. It might be the peak in
Alex Ferrari 6:41
your opinion, sir. Can you talk a little bit about working on that set and also working with like, kinda like that legendary director, Lacey hallstrom. Man, he's who just came out last night. Last night. Yeah, I mean, talk. So how was that experience? And then of course, we need a Johnny Depp story, but go ahead.
Gaelan Connell 6:57
Yes. Okay. Well, first of all, I was 10 years old, then. Yes. So it was the first acting job I ever had. It was incredible to be. Yeah, it was the peak of my career. It's been downhill since then. I'm just trying to regain that status, no working. I mean, it was that's what I thought moviemaking was, you know, we were with Carrie Anne moss. Peter stormare. Just like legendary actors, Johnny. Yeah, I think my parents were more impressed at the time. I couldn't watch most of their movies right? At age 10. Yeah. Like Who's
Alex Ferrari 7:29
this? I don't care about duty Judi Dench.
Gaelan Connell 7:33
Exactly. Dame Judi Dench. So it was incredible experience incredible cast. We filmed in France and in England. It was it was a total dream. I mean, when I woke up at age 11 I thought I couldn't believe it. It happened. And it set me really on the career path that I that I took today. And I went to film school after that. But yeah, you just looking back you just realize how fortunate it was to have that at such a young age and be around such talented, unbelievable filmmakers. So yeah, it was just incredible experience.
Alex Ferrari 8:06
It gave us a quick Johnny Depp story.
Gaelan Connell 8:09
Johnny Depp at the premiere, which was in New York City and it was sponsored by Godiva chocolate was What a shock enormous chocolate bunnies and rabbits and all sorts of stuff all over the place people were just stealing them at the end or taking him home or putting them in their jacket you know Johnny Depp was was a big big name then he still is now he's
Alex Ferrari 8:31
he's doing okay now for himself.
Gaelan Connell 8:33
I've heard of him I've heard of him. No, it was like you had access to all those people as a 10 year old because he didn't want to deal with the pop rats he didn't want to deal with the adults but at the premiere you know he sees the 10 year old kids from the movie says come on over Let's hang out get to hang out with them. Not not a Johnny Depp but Carrie and Moss of matrix fame. She would we were getting tutored on set because we still had to go to school. Right We had a tutor and there was a there was a trailer the same way you have other trailers for actors on set and she would just come in and tell the teacher like we're done with class for the day. I'm gonna just do painting with the kids now. Like all time badass move, right? Well, she is Trinity so I mean there's that exactly there is that is that so yeah, just being around those people is just incredible looking back. And knowing that I had that opportunity was was was really beautiful. So you
Alex Ferrari 9:25
started off obviously as an actor and now what made you want to jump into directing and producing?
Gaelan Connell 9:30
I just I started working behind the camera. I started making films right after Shukla, you know, on a Sony dX 2000 I think was one of the first cameras I had. Right. And I was they had premieres like early premiere.
Alex Ferrari 9:46
Oh, that's that. I'm sorry to hear that. That's that's, that's a rough statement, man. It's like editing on Final Cut one. It's like oh, no, that's actually better. A Steinbeck would have been better.
Gaelan Connell 10:00
So no I edited that and then and then I went to film school at NYU. But you know, I feel like with this movie that we made bloodstain and gold It was really something that I'd always dreamed to do I always wanted to make an action movie I always wanted to make an adventure movie that's what inspired me. And you know, it was it was a total challenge to get to that point because nobody thought we could make a movie in five countries around the world with no budget with no sign off from people in Hollywood. Like right one of the things yeah one of the one of the big things I wanted to share was just like some of the tricks that we we did on that film on blood sand gold, that if you're listening to the podcast right now that you could do right now if you wanted to go out and make a movie to make your movie look like it's a 200,000 $200 million movie when when it really wasn't because we had to employ these throughout the whole film to make it look badass.
Alex Ferrari 10:58
Well, we will we will definitely get into all of that. But first and foremost for people who don't are just listening and just tuning in Bloods and gold is is a galas first directorial debut correct as far as a feature film is correct. Is that correct? Right, right. And a hell of a debut. It was I was approached, I was approached for a gala to come on the show. And when they asked me that, like, Hey, you know, would you like to have this this director on the show? And I looked at the trailer, and I just said, Oh, just another big action movie, you know, international action movie I, I'm like, good and bad thing. I am like, no, but you know what I mean? Like, I'm like, Oh, just another beautiful big action movie. I'm like, I like look, I really, you know, my listeners need like, kind of like gritty in the, in the, in the, in the, in the back alley of Hollywood, as I say, kind of information. And I'm like, I don't know what this and then they told me the budget and I'm like, Wait, what? And then and then I went dug a little deeper and and just the production value of the film is insane. It's absolutely insane. So let's talk a little bit about of your journey from script to actually giving someone giving a first time director quote, unquote, a quarter of a million dollars. To the point do you get to the first day on set?
Gaelan Connell 12:10
Okay, so yeah, so blood, Santa's gold action adventure film. It's in the vein of Indiana Jones. It's a treasure hunt modern day treasure hunter. We filmed it in five countries all across the world, in Mexico, in Hong Kong, in Switzerland, in Dubai, and in Morocco. That's sick. And we've and we filmed it over something like 57 production days, which was totally insane. I think. Yeah, bird shot Lincoln. In 53.
Alex Ferrari 12:42
Like 57 production days,
Gaelan Connell 12:45
it was in the high 50s. That's ridiculous.
Alex Ferrari 12:49
I can't Okay, please continue. totally
Gaelan Connell 12:51
insane. Please continue, sir. Yes, and no, no. And so. And we did it with no help from basically anybody in Hollywood. I mean, people were like, okay, go go live the dream, buddy. You know,
Alex Ferrari 13:06
look, if you call me and you told me this, dude, I'll be like, Yo, I'm like, You're out of your fucking mind. I'm sorry. You're out of your mind. There's no possible
Gaelan Connell 13:12
way. actly Exactly. Right. And, and it's like, I'm touched that people think that we had more money. That's great. I mean, but I wish we did have more money. But no, and the movie has explosions, helicopters, action sequences. I mean, we tried to do our Ode to a big budget, you know, action adventure film, that I've grown up loving. And that that I, you know, through film school, I was like, this is the kind of movie I want to make. And that's what I wanted to do. But I, I could not have done that without a lot of the technological advances that we have now. And then a lot of kind of tricks that we had planned the movie around to make the most of a tiny budget. And that was really before we as we were making the script. We had to keep that in mind because we knew we were going to make the movie. And so we had to write the script around what we had, it was a little bit like the Robert Rodriguez sure style of filmmaking, where he's like, figure out all the props you have, and then write the movie,
Alex Ferrari 14:11
but instead of a turtle, you had a helicopter. Right?
Gaelan Connell 14:13
Right. Exactly. But But there was one thing when that when I set out to do this movie that I knew that would help us. And this is kind of like the first the first, the first tip I would say is I knew filming and traveling outside the country is a lot cheaper than you think. So our cast and crew the core crew members are we took a plane ticket that went from New York to Mexico, Mexico to China, China to Dubai, Dubai to Morocco, Morocco, to Switzerland and Switzerland back to New York, we went around the globe once we circumnavigated it once and
Alex Ferrari 14:54
that's that and I've actually done a little travel hacking so that is that you get a much better deal when you do a worldwide ticket like that, because you have layovers riding on,
Gaelan Connell 15:03
you just keep adding on into one ticket and you make the layovers be the, you know, last week or last six days. So the actual ticket for each of us was something like 1700 bucks each two months, which was like
Alex Ferrari 15:20
that's it, but that's a huge no that but that's a huge travel hack. And that's a huge travel track. A lot of people don't know that. But I actually doing research on travel hacking, found that that's, that's one of the big keys, like you can travel the world on 22,000 bucks,
Gaelan Connell 15:34
because they want to get you on the leg that you're paying for and then they'll show they'll put you on a leg. That's that's cheaper. I don't know the whole details, podcast about that. But sure, I'm saying it was like 1700 bucks each person
Alex Ferrari 15:46
and how many, and how many people did you have?
Gaelan Connell 15:48
And the second thing we did when we designed this, as we said, what do we really need, we're going to the middle of the Sahara Desert, we need a camera. We need some beautiful lenses. It's not like we're gonna have a lot of rental equipment outside of that, you know, we can do this if the location speak for themselves and the practical effects speak for themselves. We can do this with a documentary style crew. And so we just had a producer, a director, myself, and
Alex Ferrari 16:20
we You are the You are the director you mean
Gaelan Connell 16:23
sorry. A producer, producer, director, a camera person a dp director photography and and one other person who is doing kind of pulling focus
Alex Ferrari 16:37
and he's our whole crew. How about a sound guy? How did you pick up sound guys?
Gaelan Connell 16:40
I don't know what producer did the sound guy. Oh,
Alex Ferrari 16:42
but produce Okay, so that sound so you had you basically had a four man crew.
Gaelan Connell 16:47
We had a four man crew outside of Mexico.
Alex Ferrari 16:50
Okay, and that and that was and then and your talent, your two pieces? Your two main talent?
Gaelan Connell 16:54
Yep. And then we brought and then we brought our to the lead actor in the lead actress, Monica West and Aaron Casa ganus. And then we flew whoever needed to be for certain scenes out just for that part.
Alex Ferrari 17:10
Okay, if you give me an actor's You mean, yep,
Gaelan Connell 17:13
whoever, whatever kind of actors we needed, so but we're basically a bare bones crew. And, and the reason I say kind of like something that you can do immediately. And this may be controversial, but we filmed everything outside of the country. And there was something. And you could do this definitely in different parts of the US. But there was something incredibly magical about going to places where people don't often see film production. Mm hmm. Because they were so helpful. In a way you know, if I bust out a camera right now in New York City, people be like, you have a permit? Yes. Same here in LA, of course, of course. Right? Exactly. And it's just people see this so much. It's not it's not as exciting. But for example, when we were filming in Mexico, we needed a big scene with a bunch of people to show up and you know, we got we got our friends, we got people on Facebook to come show up for this big party scene. And it's the scene in the movie where the bad guy shows up in like a badass car. And so we had rented a car, and the car never showed up. And, you know, we were like 200 people were there. 200 extras we're filming everything in the scene. We're giving them free alcohol so they're all getting drunk. So there's kind of a time limit on
Alex Ferrari 18:29
what you could shoot because of just basically alcohol poisoning got it.
Gaelan Connell 18:35
And a friend were freaking out because the rental car the nice rental car we had didn't show up and a friend of a friend of a friend was like oh, they're shooting a movie. I'll bring my $200,000 $200,000 Mercedes SLS to the set which has that which has the doors that rise up on the side
Alex Ferrari 18:54
Back to the Future style right.
Gaelan Connell 18:56
And it just was like a dude who he wanted a Facebook photo you know he wanted to like he wanted to be part of a film production and get a Facebook photo with him in front of the you know, with his car there and everything. And the same thing happened on the other side of the world and Morocco is we were filming the opening scene of the movie which they're finding this treasure chest and we're in the middle of the Sahara Desert we don't have a treasure chest right right right of course we could but couldn't pick it on the plane All right. And there's a guy like a local guy who was like totally down with helping out with the movie said dude by my dad. He's got a bunch of like old chest that he sells at the market you can totally just rent one for the day
Alex Ferrari 19:37
but I mean okay, so you're you're now traveling your your your world globe Trotter at this point, right game. You've got four basically four main cast, I mean four main people with you. There has to be logistics when you land like who's you know who's booking the hotels who's getting like who's jumping to these locations, like Who did who did all this research? Because it can't be you guys. I gotta believe unless your producer is a super producer, which at that point, I want his name, but
Gaelan Connell 20:08
he is a super producer. Okay, he is a super producer. Okay. His name is Francisco arias florists. Okay. And I, if you ever want to make an action movie like we did, okay. But it brings to the second kind of, kind of tip that I'd say for filmmakers, which is, use Airbnb. And I say this because Airbnb or it doesn't have to be specifically Airbnb, B, but but use an online platform where you can rent someone's house, or rent someone's place. And this was in valuable, because what we did is we would pick out the scenery we wanted, so we wanted to go to the Sahara Desert, we wanted to film the dunes. So the closest city there is the city tiny city called merzouga. In Morocco, and there was this one German lady who's got her house on Airbnb there. And it's something like $65 a night, and it it sleeps like eight people. And you literally walk outside, and it's like the most beautiful sand dunes, you know, it's like Lawrence of Arabia, right? So we would, we picked these airbnbs and each of the countries near the areas that we want it to, we would stay there as a crew. And then we'd also have a location to film. Let me give you another example. Another place in Morocco is called chef Shaolin where we went and we picked it literally based on a Google search, because it's the entire city is dyed blue, all the walls the entire Yeah, yeah, gorgeous. It's beautiful. And it's like world famous. So there's a there's an Airbnb. There's a woman, a Spanish lady, very nice. Who, who rents her like four storey apartment building that's in the historic downtown. It's all blue. It's like it's a it's a castle. Yeah. And so he showed up there two three days before we knew we're gonna film in the city. And we use the roof top of the building to film a scene. We used a really beautiful beautiful room inside of it to film a police station scene. And and it was our home base, all the actors, the crew, we had we all stayed there.
Alex Ferrari 22:16
Are you right? Are you writing a little bit as you go along? Like basically rewriting certain things just based on on the locations you have, or the things that come up?
Gaelan Connell 22:25
We definitely had to improvise. Okay, definitely had to improvise. And that's another thing I would say to anybody is you have to prepare to improvise. And we did that not just not just to make something work, but to make something look better. So I know these stories sound outrageous, but
Alex Ferrari 22:42
I swear No, no, no, no, no, but I'm Yeah, go ahead.
Gaelan Connell 22:45
So So an example of how we improvise to make the movie look better is we were filming some explosion sequences in Mexico. And we were filming this like
Alex Ferrari 22:56
Okay, so, so stop right there. Stop right there. How did you get the explosions? How did you get the pyrotechnic guy because I can't believe you just grabbed a bunch of fireworks and blew it up. So how did I want to take it step by step how did you get that day
Gaelan Connell 23:09
we're going step by step we're going step by step right?
Alex Ferrari 23:11
How did you get that deal?
Gaelan Connell 23:12
I know there's a lot I know there's a big push right now you know, everyone has the ability on their computer to make special effects to do all of that. I think that's great. But for us for our budget, going practical was extremely cheap. For example, having someone you know render out build all the composite stuff. I don't have that skill set. No one on our crew had that skill set or explosions. But we purchased a pirate we got a pyrotechnic guy and the bombs that we set off in our movie, they're only $50 I'm not making that up. Okay, but you're 50
Alex Ferrari 23:50
and you were doing it in a non populated area. And you had you did have a pirate guy there. We
Gaelan Connell 23:55
had a pirate guy. He was in Mexico, he's done a bunch of films. He was he was relatively inexpensive as well. But he was like Galen look, each of these things cost me $50
Alex Ferrari 24:05
you're like, give me 10 but everything can be done.
Gaelan Connell 24:09
Let's add more explosions. So we're doing one sequence so you're talking we're talking about improvisation we're doing one sequence where in Mexico where we've blown up stuff we were in a rural area and and part of the scene after the explosion there were all these like oil cans, and they were all burning on fire. And and we said like look this is like a sick sick backdrop. And of course I'm telling it like it's like it was totally rogue there were safety people there etc. Right? I
Alex Ferrari 24:41
was gonna I was gonna ask safety people also, I mean, generally speaking, when you have explosions happening on the countryside, aren't people gonna call the cops or the or the police or local authorities aware of what you're doing? I'm assuming there are no permits, but like, these are
Gaelan Connell 24:55
people in the neighborhood nearby didn't call the cops okay. And they just came And kind of like hung out with us of course because there's nothing else to do and we did we beg forgiveness after the fact oh it was like it was like a ruin we were way out in the countryside there was not there was no like so you
Alex Ferrari 25:13
okay so let me just because I got it I got to break this down for everybody I got a break because you're going to get about a mile a minute I got it I got to break it down. So you went out into the world countryside of Mexico with a Pyro guy and a bunch of explosions. You basically asked no permission from anybody. Okay, okay, okay, so then there was permission Okay, most
Gaelan Connell 25:36
of that is correct. Okay. Did have permission to use the site we were filming. Okay, like an abandoned castle.
Alex Ferrari 25:42
Okay, so that the owner of that property knew what was going on. Yep. Yeah, good. Exactly.
Gaelan Connell 25:46
So you're making a movie? Okay, great.
Alex Ferrari 25:48
So you had permission from the landowner but no authorities were asked about anything as far as police or god forbid a film commission or anything like that. Right Am I am I'm on point so far.
Gaelan Connell 26:04
I want to say you're 90% there okay. But but this one of the other great things about filming the film is is Guadalajara for example. Sure have people that work for the government that are a part of the Film Commission Okay, and they had no movies that they're making at the time these two people who work for the government literally were full time working on our film God we would get calls like hey do you want to you know we have like a jail you guys had asked for jail we have like a real jail that you guys can film that today. And you know we'd say okay, let's let's go right now let's get this shot of the main character walking out of prison for the opening of the movie. So
Alex Ferrari 26:45
I love this man. I really do i'm sorry i just i just love this improv. Like you know screw it attitude just okay we're just gonna go down to Mexico we have a bunch of stuff we're going to shoot and things will just happen things are just gonna pop up
Gaelan Connell 27:00
I think that goes back to what I was saying which is like if you film in an area one if you're really cool with people and you film and you're nice people help you out but if you film in an area that that doesn't often see films they're totally it's it's like it's exciting. Yeah, and it's films as a magical thing not a nuisance not something crazy No, not like here. Yeah, I mean I shoot a bunch of commercials too and it's like you know, everything's permanent everything whatever you know you have a dog dog walking around on set you have like 17 different people from different organizations they're just for the dog. Yeah, and that's great but I think when you're making a film that's art you know and you want to have complete freedom and you don't want to be it's not about being dangerous or reckless but it's about just like being able to you know have that freedom to go create I feel the moment
Alex Ferrari 27:53
I look I did exactly what you did but on a much much smaller scale with this is Meg with my little movie and is exactly but there's exactly the same plan I was like I want my freedom I want to go out I just want to you know it's just me and two other guys what do I actually need them to go make the movie you just amped everything up to 1000 you know so instead of a small character piece you've made a huge action movie which is and I hope more people are gonna start talking about this because I'm gonna I'm gonna I'm gonna scream it from the top of the hills on this because it's it's inspiring man and you don't this hasn't honestly I haven't I haven't seen anything like this before. I haven't heard of anything like this before it might have happened I just don't know about it. But if we have more stuff to talk about what we'll get into the gushing later go ahead continue
Gaelan Connell 28:40
Yeah, so no no so it's just kind of forget where were
Alex Ferrari 28:45
we I think we were there was explosions that you're working with people yeah you were working yet people just call it the Mexican the Mexican government officials yes
Gaelan Connell 28:54
that's the recap right there
Alex Ferrari 28:56
pretty much Yeah,
Gaelan Connell 28:57
yeah there's explosions and we're in Mexico and in dreams are happening
Alex Ferrari 29:00
Gaelan Connell 29:01
So no and just preparing to improvise so we were doing this explosion sequence and and and the the set was actually like kind of catching on fire we had you know, we could have put it out it was ready to be put out but it was like this is this unbelievable backdrop that we hadn't set up for of these flames burning in front of the castle. You know, Chris, our main main guy, our main bad guy said like, let's go let's go let's go film here. Let's get you like in front of all of this again, not not in a dangerous way. But he was like, he was like, heck yeah, you know, everyone on the movie would recognize kind of how absurd it was that we were doing. And this is something it looks like, you know, the final sequence that wasn't planned was supposed to be explosions, and then some other shots and instead we have like the bad guy crawling through, you know, burning rebels, but it's like a Michael Bay film. And that's kind of just like, we tried to steal those moments whenever we had. The idea was really like, if you put it in one thing, it was like how awesome will it be? You have one great camera, some beautiful lenses, a couple of fake guns, and you land in the middle of the Sahara Desert. I mean, no matter what you make, it's gonna look badass. You know, fair
Alex Ferrari 30:10
enough, fair enough that you could point
Gaelan Connell 30:13
the camera in any direction. And you're like, Alright, and it's lit. And we're lit yet. This is a mind blowing stuff.
Alex Ferrari 30:19
Yeah, we're lit. Let's go. So I want to back up real quick. Because I know a lot of my audience is gonna want to know this. How did you get the budget? Who is the maniac who gave you a quarter million dollars to do this? Right? So you don't have to say names, but just tell me no, no,
Gaelan Connell 30:38
no. So there's, there's three parts of this and, and I don't want to lose anyone here I was on before I did this, I was on a cartoon network TV show for a while, and I made some money during that doing doing that. And when I wanted to make this movie, it's it's tough. I wanted to have like complete freedom. So I took the amount whatever money that I had saved up from acting, and I just put it all into this, my bank account had like 600 bucks after after the end of this movie. So you financed a chunk of this, I financed a chunk of it. And then what I did, and it's this, I think is the only way to operate is I told to other people in Hollywood that had known me that were connected loosely with films, and wanted to invest in some type of movies that I had just known through my network. And I said, Listen, we're going to start filming this. I'm putting up the budget. Right now we're going to film this, I believe in this, I don't have sign off from anybody else. But if you believe in this to see what we're doing and and, and help us out, and no one knew this at the time on the set. But the budget that I had, would not have gotten us through the whole film.
Alex Ferrari 31:50
Oh my god, you're a maniac. I know you already are insane, man. Go ahead.
Gaelan Connell 31:54
But when we were when we were there, you know. And in week one, we filmed and we'll talk about this because I know you're a big gear guy. Yeah, talked about, we filmed some drone stuff, we filmed some explosion stuff. And I sent this footage back to Los Angeles. And you know, these people are like, Alright, this is nuts. You know, here we go. But it was the it was the attitude, the attitude where you're, you're basically just saying, look, the train is leaving the station. And you can either get on it or get off. But but it's going,
Alex Ferrari 32:27
man, I mean, how do you mind me asking how old you are?
Gaelan Connell 32:31
I'm 27. Okay, because you
Alex Ferrari 32:33
you, you have basically the same attitude I had when I was 27. Which is which is which is what you're a maniac. Because as a general state, it's and I say this in a good and bad way, as a general statement. And I've been on those projects where the train left the station. I've been close to projects. So the train left the station, and then the train derails. And more and more often than not the train derails. So you were really rolling the dice hard. And not only on your idea, your dream, your vision, but on your pocketbook, your wallet, in your pocket, but but your wallet,
Gaelan Connell 33:11
years from now, when I try and buy a house and can't, I'll blame this, but for the most. I would never, I don't regret any. No. And you should it was like, Dude, this was the thing I would wake up every night. Literally wake up every night, wake my girlfriend up and say, you know, I have to make this action movie. I have to make it like, that's what I want to do. And she's like, Alright, let's go for it. Oh, no, no, you don't want to show up 15 years down the line and be like, well, everything's pretty cool now, but but I didn't get to do that one thing.
Alex Ferrari 33:43
Right. And that's and that's I think a lesson that we that everyone listening should take in is just like, you know, man, sometimes you just got to put your balls on the on the table, and they might get slapped. They might, they might get cut off.
Gaelan Connell 33:57
And I'm happy to share like, I know we're going to talk about this later, but I'm happy to chat about like five things that I did wrong. Oh, yeah. What will I guarantee other people should not do and I'd hope would help them in terms of not doing
Alex Ferrari 34:10
gotcha. We'll get to that. I said, Yeah, we'll get into that. Now. I wanted to also ask you, because when I did see the movie, I saw one thing that was not there generally in a action movie in today's world, which is big name actors or marketable name actors that could sell territories. That is a general I
Gaelan Connell 34:28
just got there. You just got to you just got to tip number one. What I could have done better. Okay, we could have done better.
Alex Ferrari 34:35
So tell me why you didn't. Because I mean on this budget lit range, you could have easily gotten a face or a name for a day shoot him out of Mexico should amount in Dubai shoot. And then that guy's on the poster in the general idea of what distributors are looking for. And with these kind of movies, which are action adventure movies, right? I've never seen an action adventure movie at this scale. Knowing that I know what your budget But at least at this perceived scale, without any faces or names in it, that, that bring money to the table as far as distribution is concerned. So please enlighten us.
Gaelan Connell 35:10
Yes. Well, I mean, that's, that's something that I, I learned the hard way. Okay, thank him kind of the reckless, I don't wanna say reckless,
Alex Ferrari 35:19
reckless to this reckless, it's wonderfully, wonderfully together.
Gaelan Connell 35:23
You know, I was also under the impression that one of the reasons was what you said that the plus side of what you said, which is that in the action film, the crime genre, the horror genre, tend to have legs in a lot of international film markets, you know, but I figured that they may have legs just based on the effects and the story, not necessarily with the name. So that's, that's wrong. If you're out there, and you're listening right now, do what Alex says. Make your movie, find a name, any name, put them up, kill them off in the first scene, I don't care rotoscope them in in the title sequence, you know, you just have to be there on the poster so that some guy that you've never met who's asking about the film years later is like, well, it's so and so in it great. And it checks his box, you know, and that's the hard truth. All right, Aaron and Monica are unbelievable actors, both of them and Christopher Redman and everybody else we had. And they and they have awesome performances in the film, truly, but but they don't have that name that right now that that some guy like I said, that I've never met who's who's buying the rights for China or buying the rights for the airlines or buying the rights for Morocco or whatever needs and he has this little list and he says, Okay, I need this person in it to get x price. So that's something definitely going back. I would I would have changed.
Alex Ferrari 36:49
And I think also there's, there's there was a double edged sword there.
Gaelan Connell 36:52
Because I love the actors that are in the film, but I would have included someone,
Alex Ferrari 36:55
right? You would have Yeah, exactly. But there and there's something to be said, though. I mean, what you've done. Is is great, but you in when you were starting out, let's say you basically had no street cred, you had not done a feature. So it would have been really difficult for you to get somebody on board as well, to go on this crazy adventure.
Gaelan Connell 37:15
You're speaking my mind, I think there was a real catch 22 that I fought against. And I think we all we all can as filmmakers. And this is why I love your show so much. Because it's like a voice of reason amongst, you know, insanity. But how it really is, right? And I think we all struggle, there's a real catch 22 in Hollywood, oh, no other way to say, which is that you can't get it unless you you've done it, and you can't do it unless you've done it.
Alex Ferrari 37:41
Right. Right. And so looking at it from my perspective, if a first time director who's in their 20s, no offense, but in their 20s have not directed a lot other than some short films and someone's like, Hey, we're gonna go around the world and make a movie tradition or logic states that, as an actor, you have to be a little nutty to jump on that to jump on that bandwagon. So a name actor, even a face that's worked a lot in television or anything like that, it's a risk for them to do something like this. Now, if you do this exact same model today, you have Bloods and gold as a reference, you will be able to generate, you will be able to get other actors to jump on that journey with you. Because now you've got that street cred. But you couldn't, it would have been a little bit difficult. And, or you would have had to have paid a lot for that. That one that one actor to come out for the day.
Gaelan Connell 38:34
And there's there's two good stories lighten this point. Good. So one is, one is what we tried to do here. I know you've talked about this, I think you just had a podcast like a few days ago about this, which is that I always say when you're making a movie, it's so much of it is teamwork. But you have to be nice. And there's two parts about this one is you have to be nice, because being nice to people, you're going to already have a built in network when you're going out to promote it. Right, right. But number two, is what we tried to do with this movie, when you recognize that filmmaking is a huge team sport. We tried to do something that I haven't seen yet. And I think we should start to see more as as people start making more films at different lower budget points, is structure the movie like you structure startups, which is that every single person, not just the actors, every single person, I'm talking about the casting director, assistant directors, every single person who's working those 16 hour days should have some percentage back end. In our movie, we made sure of that. So every single person who is part of this film, whether it's sound mixing, whatever it is, they all get a percentage back end on the sales of Bloods and gold. That's awesome. that's hugely important. That's and that's how businesses are set up nowadays, you know, especially hiring film To me so much like a startup because you're basically building a prototype product, you're getting an investment for it, and you won't find out for two years, whether it's going to sell on the market risk involved, right, and, and so for me setting up the movie, like that just made sense. And it also made sense in terms of, and I'm sure most of your audience already knows this. But actors do get this, you know, actors deals typically have this producers may have this, but you don't get it in a lot of the other integral parts of filmmaking. They don't you know, that the, the gaffer for the day is not going to get a not going to get back in percentage. But if that gaffer is there for 16 hour days, flying around the world, not making a lot of money, you got definitely deserve it, you
Alex Ferrari 40:45
got to toss them a bone, no question about it. Absolutely. If you're, if I mean, the kind of, I mean, the kind of schedule and what you were trying to do, this makes perfect sense. But generally speaking, as a producer, what you do is, normally you just pay out their day, and so on, but if you're not able to pay out their day, depending on especially with the kind of stress that you were putting these poor people under, it makes perfect sense. Which also puts you brings me to another question I had about because I read this in another article about this movie. You made a deal with sag about premiering your film online first to get what was that? What was that deal you made with sag
Gaelan Connell 41:21
yet? Well, actually, I don't believe this contract is around anymore. Okay. But it was the, for four years, it was around with the new new media contract.
Alex Ferrari 41:31
Oh, okay. So that's okay.
Gaelan Connell 41:33
Which is, which is I don't know how familiar you are with it. But it is, basically as long as your film is going to be premiered on video on demand or online on an online platform platform First, there's just separate rates and separate rules about doing it. And so that was that was something we did for this movie. And it was the only way we could do do it for the movie. Because typically, typically a SAG rate for filming overseas is like $1,000 a day or something, if not more, on the contrary, and sure if not more, but and this wasn't an issue of money. I mean, the issue was the rules are there. Look, I'm in sag, I respect sag. I love what they do. But But Aaron Monica the crew, they all wanted to do this. So we just had to work out what, what made sense for financially for the film, and then for them to make sure they were comfortable. Got it. But that but that's I think another I wanted to share one other story about about getting actors is when you have nothing to lose, you know, you can ask for stuff. So for example, we have one actor in the film that this happened a few times, but I was also emailing with agents and everything. And we were gonna bring them down for two days for one scene, you know, and it was like an easy scene, they get to hang out with a bunch of like, Cool animals and whatever. And I think their their agent was like, okay, that's fine. Their their rate is the rate is $4,000 for the day. Of course, the agent would say that, and I was like, I have the email. Yeah, I said, that's great. I'm gonna give you $200 and a plane ticket to Mexico, let me know if they're in. And the next day, they said, they're not busy this weekend. That's fine. We'll do it. And it turned out the guy was like, you know, he thought it was the most amazing experience ever. Of course, you know what I mean? Of course and I'm not saying that's for everybody. That's not that's not like a you know, something that could work all the time, but there's no harm in asking. You know, because you never know Yeah, I
Alex Ferrari 43:40
mean yeah, you're not saying look, I'm gonna look I need $200 and we're gonna go up into the winter of Wyoming you'd like it's not it's like no, we're like, we're going to Dubai. We're going to Mexico we're going to Hong
Gaelan Connell 43:51
right and they recognize the fact that on this film it was such an experience for the whole crew is such an experience. I mean, this was something that you say stressful there was definitely stress but I think you could ask anyone on the crew Yeah, this was like a once in a lifetime course memorable trip and we had a hell of a lot of fun
Alex Ferrari 44:10
Of course it sounds it sounds like it Yeah, well when you have such a small crew you've got to have this you
Gaelan Connell 44:17
know friends you know they're all the DP Chloe the you know the assistant camera coming alone. All of these people were like friends and now now we're tied together for life because I mean, we've seen some stuff
Alex Ferrari 44:30
which we could discuss off air. So um, so by the way, you whoever did your drone operation on this Yes, insane. I've seen a lot of man I work on movies all the time. And I've seen a lot of drone and it's just garbage. It's just always with a GoPro or some thing shooting like mp3 an mp4 like with like, standard depth. I mean, it's just horrendous. It really really is and when I started seeing when I looked at your movie I was like wow this oh we put a real camera on a drone which I don't know I don't know why filmmakers don't do it as much as I mean you can get a like I think you shot this on a black magic because I kind of recognized the style We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor and now back to the show
Gaelan Connell 45:28
we shot we shot so we put a black magic on the drone we shot on it just a scarlet just just a red Scarlet and then we put we had cook s for lenses which are beautiful you rent them for like two months random and that was another thing when you rent something past like a month yeah the price never goes up it's like rent they peek out they're like all right you just just take them Yeah exactly. The rental house so yeah, there were two brothers who did the did the drone operating there were fantastic one of them controlled the camera one of them control the the helicopter they had it they had built an octocopter themselves that they that they used pretty insane yeah and they just I mean it was like it was it was our prototype was there's there's a few sequences one of my favorites where Aaron is walking through you know doing this huge mountain track or lead after and in a prototype was just Lord of the Rings you know every travel sequence and Lord of the Rings and that's what they did this insane kind of 360 degree swoops you see the whole landscape you know i mean these guys were these guys were such pros, but I want to bring this to a point controversial point here Alex I love controversy you know you're ready yes okay. You're gonna fight me on this go for it oh I even like it better goes in this film. I feel like as a filmmaker right now year does not matter absolutely as people argue
Alex Ferrari 46:50
about oh, that's not that I'm not gonna fight you on that I actually did an entire podcast I'm like no one gives a crap about them camera you shoot on thank you as long as it looks good I mean there is that there was a level of quality but I mean I had Shaun Baker on who who was like sold sold tangerine he shot it on an iPhone you know and it looks ugly it look great you know but he also and I always I always preface them like he knows what he's doing. This was his fifth feature. He had a real nice dp and they did everything right on how to shoot an iPhone they didn't just grab the phone out of their pocket and start shooting a movie they planned it they shot with special software but you have to understand but yeah but like in today's world no one cares.
Gaelan Connell 47:29
I think it's I think it's like definitely it matters in the sense that we've gotten to the point where we can do stuff for so much cheaper That's unbelievable you know i think that the Scarlet to purchase it is like six grand or something
Alex Ferrari 47:43
I oh I oh I owned it and to own it with like actually make it work with all the with like like no not even you could probably get a nice Scarlet like bare bone no lens is probably about 10 to 12 is it's about about the world with like with the monitor and the cards and basics just to make it work about 10 to 12 but did you can go buy a Blackmagic Ursa mini for five and it's yes same
Gaelan Connell 48:08
and and it's like so so it's gotten to that point and the fact that you can do drone shots now that that's a that's a easel easily easily used tool that everybody has now in their toolbox you
Alex Ferrari 48:20
know before which before was like it completely cost prohibitive trying to get a helicopter pilot and oh my god and trying to get help with a gimbal at the front and the end gyro Yeah,
Gaelan Connell 48:31
crazy. Awesome. So definitely, that's helped so much time. Like, what camera we're gonna shoot on and what whatever. And it's like, like you said, it's just, they're all you know, no one, no one's going to the theater, looking at the pixel count. No one was going, you know, looking at what what kind of color color thing you put on in the backend. They want to know if the story is there, and they want to be entertained at the asset. If, if that's an iPhone, then shoot it on iPhone, that shouldn't that should not prohibit you from going out to make your movie. Right. And
Alex Ferrari 49:07
that's the thing and I'll make this one quick statement. And it's it's absolutely true. It's like Look, guys, at the end of the day, you could shoot I shot mag on a basically a 15 $100 camera, which was black and a Blackmagic 2.5k Yeah, yeah. Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5 you know, I gotta use for 1500 bucks. Okay, so seriously, and it looks You know, it looks as good as a lot of stuff out there. I'm not gonna say it's the best thing ever shot but it's definitely acceptable. And people who've seen it No one's ever that have watched it I've ever said wow, you know, it doesn't look as good as the Alexa or it doesn't look as good as the Redneck No, they're into the store as long as there's a basic base level production value in the way it's shot, which is now brought pretty much 1000 cameras where we're past the point of the dv x 100 day. We're past the point of like, Oh, it's because it's shot. out on this camp, we're past that point, guys, technology wise, like we we left that world about almost 10 years
Gaelan Connell 50:05
ago, at this point. And for the kid for the kid who writes in about the pixel size, just send them $5 anybody who takes the time to watch the movie and tell you that, just just send them $5 they'll be happy. But that's not a bad idea. But good point, sir. You're right, you when
Alex Ferrari 50:25
you write that, you know, yeah, I did shoot 8k this time, because I'm because I'm not, gosh, cuz I'm not Guardians of the Galaxy. I'm sorry. I can't afford the new the new x, you know, the new whatever? 820 5k whatever it is that they're going at now. So good, no good.
Gaelan Connell 50:46
I was gonna say while we're talking about budget, I wanted to share one other one other thing that we did, I talked a little bit about the explosions and how cheap they were. But something that adds a huge amount of production value that was extremely cheap for us was doing all of the effects practical. No, yeah. And let me give you an example. We bought a car, we to blow up a car. And so we bought a used truck. For something like 1500, maybe it was like 1700 bucks. And I'm pretty sure the guy who sold it to us thought we were gonna spend the summer driving around Mexico, and we blew it up the next day, right? But it was like that was, that's a tiny fraction of the price that you'd expect to do that anywhere else, you know, or I guess people don't, don't recognize that you can just buy the thing and break it. And that's your price as a producer, that's your price. And so there were a lot of things like that, that we just, you know, we we were able to just purchase the thing and break it or whatnot, there's a scene in the movie, a fight sequence that takes place in a bathroom, we just bought bought a few of the appliances like used appliances that you'd have in a bathroom, and they and they built a small set, some art students helped us build a small set, and everybody thinks it takes place in a real bathroom. But the actual cost of the set was like 1000 bucks, you know, and you made that set. Yeah, and it was just it was a set. We just bought some used mirrors for like 30 bucks. We bought, you know, there were some art students who helped us help design it. But it was like, you know, the actual cost of these things is not that crazy? If you have, you know, a couple $1,000 in your budget for your film, and you want to do something like that.
Alex Ferrari 52:22
That's, that's insane. Now, how many actual days were you out from home? Like a full full? I know, it's 57 production days. But how many months?
Gaelan Connell 52:33
When I say production days? I think that's I think that's the full including travel, including childhood? Yeah, because what we would do back to one of your earlier points, how do we logistically do this, so what we would do is, we would pick the place we wanted to go, we purchased the plane tickets, everything about a week or two before we started filming. And we laid out a schedule that had kind of buffer days when we landed in new places, because we didn't know anybody there. Right? That's my point. We didn't know I mean, I'd never been to Shaolin. Alright, we rolled up there at the Airbnb, and we needed
Alex Ferrari 53:08
I'm sorry, it's, it's, it's not I love it. But we
Gaelan Connell 53:11
rolled up at the Airbnb, and we needed two people to get in a fight with us to play police officers. And, and so, so I just went down, it's a small, like tourist village in Morocco. And I went down to the local square and asked if there were any theatre groups, and a guy like the next day, it was like, Yeah, come back here. There's like a Shakespeare Theatre group that that practices here that's local. And I met two of the guys and I said, Look, we're trying to make a film here, we just would need you for two scenes. And who's gonna say no to that, you know, and they're right. And the thing that also mitigated it is I was I'm afraid of having people speak local languages, which, on a basic side, if they weren't the greatest actors that we could find, having them speaking a different language would help mask that to, to English audiences. So and it helped, they were more comfortable doing that. So we had we filmed the scene in Arabic and French and Spanish with these two Shakespeare actors and in Morocco that we'd met the day before. And we did a fight sequence on the side of a hill. And they're like, I still have their email addresses. They were super cool.
Alex Ferrari 54:23
That's, that's amazing. It's your boy, you blowing my mind, Dude, seriously, it's, it's something that you know, I'm, I'm a little bit older than you. And when I say a little bit, I mean a lot. But, and I remember being 27 and being like, when you when you get to 37 you'll go back and you'll go, Oh, my God. What the hell was I thinking? You so I always say this anyone who's listening out there anyone who's young and they're 20 He's, this is the time to do this kind of stuff. Because once the 30s come into play, you might get married, you might have kids, the life starts coming in, all of that stuff starts coming down. And you can't take as many risks as you used to. Because you have, you know, you have people counting on you as a as a male as a male director. But as a female director as well, there's other other things that happen as well. So the 20s are the time to do this. Now, you took things to a completely different level than I ever did in my time. It's so it's so to Shay, sir. So what is also what are some of the lessons that you did learn on this process? And that you would you would warn us all about? Yeah, so
Gaelan Connell 55:45
I think we chatted about a few. So one is find a name early on, find a name, any name that you can, for the film, you know, whether you bring them in for a day or not, that's something that that definitely now on this side of the process and the distributor and selling it internationally side of the process, we could have done better. And then I know this is probably cheesy, but and it will mean different things to each person. But I really find myself telling this to people a lot when they ask about making films and whatnot is like, the number one thing you should do is make something that you love first, you know, and and I talked about this in the context of like, when we were in pre production for this film, you know, there was like, an element of me that was checking in with people in LA and trying to chat to Hollywood contacts about doing this, and maybe I should have listened more. But the way that they would have done this film, and the story that they would have told was not the story that I wanted to tell. Because they have different motives. They want to market it, they want to do this, they want to do that, you know, and I love I love what I know, he's often quoted. So maybe it's controversial, Casey Neistat, but he had something Oh, I love, I love case A while back, and you probably read this. And he said, People email him all the time and say, Hey, Casey, how do I get JetBlue to pay pay for me to film a vlog in Thailand or around the world. And he's like, you were totally missing the point. Because 14 years ago, I just started making movies that I liked, that I thought were entertaining that made me happy. And 14 years later, JetBlue is like, Whoa, we will pay you to do that. But he didn't set out to be like I want JetBlue to pay for my movies. And I think that's so important. That's a
Alex Ferrari 57:32
great, you know, that's a really great piece of advice, man. A lot of people think about that they always think about like the end game, but they're not thinking about the journey. They always think about like I want, I want to studio to give me money to make my movie, you know, I'm sure I'm sure you would rather have $20 million to go make your next movie, you know, or 50 or 100 million to go make your next movie. And but a lot of people a lot of filmmakers is too much. Yeah, that is a little too much. Yeah, I'm gonna agree with you on that. But you know what I'm saying. But a lot of filmmakers go to that end game and they don't enjoy the journey and don't like that you just have to enjoy the process. And that took me 20 years to learn.
Gaelan Connell 58:10
And the thing about blood stain and gold love it or hate it, maybe you'll get well reviewed. Maybe it won't but because it's something that I wanted to make. And it's because it's a story that I wanted to tell and do it in the way that I wanted to do it. I will love it no matter what and I will never regret it. You know?
Alex Ferrari 58:26
Yeah, it's it's your baby and you loved it. And that's and that's all that matters.
Gaelan Connell 58:30
Yeah. And that's that's more important, you know, than being like, oh well someone in Studio City right now. It's like, Oh, it's good, but it doesn't have a name. You know, it's like whatever this is the movie that I wanted to make. I made it here it is. take it for what it is. And I think Casey Neistat is that kind of storytellers. It's just great. It's just like set out set out to make that first and you know what? If someone then gives you $50 million along the way, great.
Alex Ferrari 58:56
Exactly. Look, it's the same process I've been going through with indie film hustle. You know, I just popped it up a year and a half ago, and was
Gaelan Connell 59:04
a super smart move. I mean, I popped it up a year and a half ago is this this is Episode What like one six? I
Alex Ferrari 59:09
don't know. About by the time this my hair is 100 and my two No, we're not that we're not there yet. But you'll be you'll be in between the 140s and 150s. Probably so which is insane, which is insane. But I love what I'm doing and I love and I enjoy helping other filmmakers. I've been doing it for a better part of a decade. I did it back in 2005 when I first started out, so it's something that's in my blood and I've always wanted to do that and then because I'm doing what I'm enjoying all these other opportunities have opened up so Casey's completely right you know I get to I get to meet filmmakers like you that I would have never met if I was just sitting around bitching about not making a movie or not, or or like all the Hollywood's not doing it for me or they're not seeing my genius. Like a lot of filmmakers say they're their own heads. um you know or you could go out and do stuff and you start making connections you start meeting people and opportunities present themselves that would have never been there just because you make you do you create action you actually do something
Gaelan Connell 1:00:11
it's like you're reading my list right here that was the last point I was gonna bring up about tips is that is that I know it sucks this side of it but you have to network and go and promote yourself you know in some way because there's not there's just not a hidden contingent of people on the other side of the internet who are like going to just jump on the bandwagon bandwagon without there being some connection and this is why I go back to be awesome be nice when you're making your movie there's no there's no point of being a diva because everybody you touch during the film is going to be interested in seeing it everybody you work with the guy that you know we that lent us his treasure chest each one of those people is already going to be your built in network when the movie comes out to help tell the word and help purchase it and share it with people no I mean it seems obvious but you know it's just like there's there's not there's not this hidden group of people who are like Whoa, I wonder what you're doing right now you know you have to really go out and like meet people and stuff and tell your story
Alex Ferrari 1:01:13
and do podcast no worries um, now I'm your distributors. gravitas right?
Gaelan Connell 1:01:22
Alex Ferrari 1:01:23
Can you tell us great yeah they're awesome we've that Friends of the show and and what is how is that process because obviously you don't have a star in it so they obviously saw some value in it to to to pick it up so how did that process go round?
Gaelan Connell 1:01:38
Yes, so it was it's that's that's been a tough process as well so when when the film when we finally finished the film we were looking around for you know what to do next. And we had a lot of issues with exactly show with which is people looked at it and we're like Ah, it's just like another action movie and in this marketplace just another action movie doesn't cut it as long especially without a name attached. So I think what really kind of raises the The difference is when you hear about the story of how it was made and you see this as an independent film and kind of hear about you know, that really puts it in context I think as a story and film so gravity I saw that and they they picked up on that immediately and they were like this is really cool as we market this let's make sure we market you know just about how ridiculous it is that you guys made this for so little money and then the other thing they saw too which I was hoping banking on a little bit was they said you know this is a genre that does really well for us I mean there's look listen Alex there's a reason that it's called blood sand and gold it is because the first of all the first letters be the first letters B be very high up on your Netflix queue I kid you not no no. It's all Bloods and gold is because it's Friday night. Those are the three elements that I want to see in a movie it's as simple as that right? I want to watch an adventure movie I want some blood I want some sand you know and I love that it's like just down to the heart of like what what we're trying to show and what if you you know if you embark on this adventure with us what what we show off in 90 minutes
Alex Ferrari 1:03:19
that's awesome Are you gonna be doing a lot of like behind the scenes special features and that stuff
Gaelan Connell 1:03:23
you're slowly rolling out a few kind of ridiculous behind the scenes videos which you can find on our Facebook page facebook.com slash Bloods and gold and then our website is blood sand, gold, calm and then we also have sold there's we also have sold the film. We have multi Visionaire pictures whose great is an international kind of seller distributor and so they sold the film it's been picked up in China in Germany and then for theatrical in the in Thailand was just like that's awesome. I kind of want to get the whole cast on a plane and show
Alex Ferrari 1:04:01
it only cost you it only cost a few 100 bucks so might as well
Gaelan Connell 1:04:05
just bring it together to all the territories I don't know what that means the utricle in Thailand but I'm down I'm gonna figure it out
Alex Ferrari 1:04:12
so in your I know you haven't done this before but do you do you think you're gonna make some money on this?
Gaelan Connell 1:04:19
I hope that I look I know that my mom and dad are gonna buy it you know there's that there's that I'm always struggling with the iTunes link. I love her to death google play store but wow, I'm banking on at least that. I mean you can purchase it now and iTunes is the price of there's a pre sale to the price of two coffees. And that would greatly help us but it is going to come out March 10 in select theaters in the US, okay. And also online on video on demand at the same time on March 10.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:51
So it's it's doing a small theatrical here in the US.
Gaelan Connell 1:04:55
gravitas is doing three, three What do you call it? three areas three cities? Yes territory. Yeah three territories There we go. So we we don't know what those are we find out in the next couple days. But certainly I'm planning to go with with our co stars and make some surprise appearances or whatever those theaters are.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:17
Nice. That's That's awesome,
Gaelan Connell 1:05:19
man. Why not at least will be us.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:22
At least at least at least there's at least five six people at least. So what advice would you give a filmmaker just starting out in the business?
Gaelan Connell 1:05:31
I would say you have tools right now go out and film something. I mean, if this podcast if this episode if all of these podcasts that you made teach you anything it's that you can do this right now. You know, there's really not a point to wait you can upload to YouTube, you already have the opportunity of an audience of worldwide immediately, you know, and you can film with your your freakin phone if you want. I mean, just for me, when I went to film school, I think the thing, so many people were into the technical aspects, which is the whole beautiful side of it. But the most important thing that they taught us at NYU at Tisch was storytelling, and I stand by that is like, at the end of the day, it's like, are you going to entertain people? And you can do that right now with your phone? You can do that on any medium that that that works for you. So that's where you start. I would start right there. If you want to break into the business. You should also listen this podcast
Alex Ferrari 1:06:29
it's a free advice. I appreciate it. Well, if they're listening to it, then they've already obviously now what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life,
Gaelan Connell 1:06:43
you're asking just so many tough lessons I mean, look, I'm I'm a young guy, I'm always making a lot of mistakes and I'm still trying to learn a lot I really think it's the I really think it's the Casey nice that story that he said, is just make something you love first. That's that's the only thing that matters, and you can't I don't have a good metaphor, but you can't jump the gun on this, you know, you can't design you can not my understanding now of how the film business works from my perspective, yes, you need networking, but you can't jump the gun in terms of being like I'm going to come up with an elaborate scheme to like scheme my way into getting a $50 million film without having put in the time you know, it doesn't work out having doesn't work. It just it's not it's not gonna work. You need to just make stuff that's entertaining or that you love first and and you will get noticed, you will get noticed that that happens. There's a whole contingent of people. They're called agents, right? managers, trying to find people who are who are talented
Alex Ferrari 1:07:47
that so they can make money off of them. Yeah,
Gaelan Connell 1:07:49
that's my bottom line. But there is a whole group of people that combing stuff looking at viral videos looking at those people, because they want to find people who are talented. Absolutely. I think in this day and age the other thing I'd say is again, it sucks if you're an introvert out there listening I hear you I am that person too. I try to be more private is is now there is a real currency online to having some kind of following you know, and look it sucks to say that but but people are making decisions from my understanding of what I know people are making decisions on that based on if there is a built in following per product if you have Instagram followers, if you have Facebook followers of people like your you know are watching your your video that you're putting out on YouTube.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:37
It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous. But true.
Gaelan Connell 1:08:39
Yeah, no, no, no, it's not something that you know, I'm still trying to figure out that I'm sure we're all everyone's trying to figure out that but that is that is an element. Now the networking promoting that, that people that unfortunately, if you're, if you're an introvert, like me out there that you have to pay attention
Alex Ferrari 1:08:55
to. It's something that you have to vary. I've done multiple podcasts about building your audience. And it's just imperative now, especially if you're on the low budget world, like you're going to try to sell something yourself through self distribution and without an audience. It's your mom and your friends are not going to be able to pay for that movie. Right? Exactly. So um, what are your three of your favorite films of all time?
Gaelan Connell 1:09:17
Oh, three of my favorite films of all time, I'll tell you my favorite. My favorite is The English Patient.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:24
That makes perfect sense.
Gaelan Connell 1:09:27
Movies just great. And the top three, I used to have a No, I mean yeah, I'd say that was the that was the top one I love I mean, I love every I just have a different perspective. I mean, I think everyone does when they when they work in the film industry about movies. There's so many movies that that I it's harder to find movies that you get thoroughly immersed into, because you pay so much attention to how it was made and what's happening. Behind the scenes, it's kind of the curse of being a filmmaker.
Alex Ferrari 1:10:04
Gaelan Connell 1:10:07
When you see a movie, like I would say, when I see a movie like The English Patient, something that I love about it is it's just, I just get totally immersed in it. I don't even think about how they're making stuff
Alex Ferrari 1:10:15
was like Shawshank like I watched Shawshank and I just I'm never I'm not even talking about like how Frank Frank Darabont moved the camera, or how he lived the scene. I'm just in it. I'm there with Andy. I'm there with red and it's just magical every time.
Gaelan Connell 1:10:31
Yeah. Yeah, I mean, that's like that, that that's the best.
Alex Ferrari 1:10:35
Now where can people find you?
Gaelan Connell 1:10:38
So right now you can follow along with the film facebook.com slash bloods in gold, or blood single calm, and then you can also pre order our film on iTunes right now if you just search under the under movies, or just put in the iTunes blood santigold it will be available on other platforms. And then I also have a Twitter handle just Galen underscore canal on Twitter. Perfect. And
Alex Ferrari 1:10:59
I'll put all that in the show notes guy so gala man, I can't express how much it was such a great such a pleasure. Yeah, it was so much fun having you on this is I had so much fun on the show. And you You're a real inspiration to a lot of filmmakers.
Gaelan Connell 1:11:13
That's why I always do as well as well. I'll be listening.
Alex Ferrari 1:11:15
You've got a few to go through then my friend if you just started. Thanks again for being on the show. Well, guys, if that doesn't inspire you to go make a movie. I don't know what the hell is going to. I mean seriously, what Galen was able to do with blood, sand and gold is remarkable. And I have gotten a chance to see the movie early. And I tell you it was it was a hell of a ride a hell of a ride. And I wish him nothing but the best. I can't wait to see what he does next. And if you guys want to watch the movie, it is going to be released on iTunes, March 10. So definitely go and preorder and support indie film. Absolutely. Just out of morbid curiosity, if you want to see how he was able to do what he did, I definitely suggest you go out and either rent it or buy it on iTunes. And I'll leave a link for that in the show notes at indie film hustle.com forward slash 145. And again, there's no excuses, guys, if you want to make something happen, you can make something happen. There is no excuses, you can grab a camera, go out, make a movie, sell it, rinse and repeat. Now you can go at the level that I did with this as Meg which was much more humble level to get the ball rolling or you can go balls to the wall blood sand and gold style and and do a big time. So there's a lot of different places in between there that you can land as well. Just go out and tell your story. There are no more excuses guys. All right. Now don't forget to head over to free film book. com that's free film book calm to download your free filmmaking and screenwriting audio books from audible. And guys, also, don't forget that this weekend, Saturday, March 4, is the world premiere of this is Meg at cinequest. So if you guys are up in the Bay Area, please come down. Visit us we're going to be there Saturday and Sunday for our two screenings. One at 330 on Saturday, one at 8:30pm on Sunday. And me Jill and the whole cast is going to be theirs for Q and A's and meetings and all that kind of cool stuff. So definitely come by and check it out. And I'm really you know, I'm really kind of excited about this. This this world premiere man because you guys have been with me on this as Meg. Since I boldly Babe Ruth, Babe Ruth, called my shot at the beginning of last year saying I'm going to make a movie no matter what. And I did and I got it into cinequest. And we're hopefully going to be getting into some other festivals as well. But to world premiere at a festival like cinequest is it's kind of like a dream come true. And you guys have been with me this entire time and I cannot wait to continue the journey, showing you how I distribute this, how I market this and see if we can actually make some money with this as Meg. And so I can show you that template. And hopefully you guys can replicate it as well. So stay tuned for that. If you want tickets, head over to the show notes and I'll leave a link in the description. As always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.
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- Blood, Sand, and Gold – iTunes (Releases March 10, 2017)
- Blood, Sand, and Gold – Official Site
- Blood, Sand, and Gold – Facebook
- Blood, Sand, and Gold – IMDB
- Gaelan Connell – IMDB
- This is Meg
- Bulletproof Script Coverage – Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
- Audible – Get a Free Filmmaking or Screenwriting Audiobook
- Rev.com – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)