Every once in a while I have a conversation on this show that blows my mind, this episode did just that. Today on the show we have Oscar® Nominated producer Chris Moore. He produced films like Good Will Hunting, American Pie, Waiting, The Adjustment Bureau, and Manchester by the Sea. Chris’ profile grew from his appearance as the producer on the early 2000’s filmmaker reality show Project: Greenlight.
I have a short, and I mean short, history with Project: Greenlight. You can see below.
After graduating from college, Chris Moore moved to Los Angeles after sometime working in the mailroom of a major agency he got promoted to literary agent. He championed projects like: The Stoned Age, PCU, Airheads, Last Action Hero, and My Girl.
When Chris’ agency was acquired by ICM, he left and became an indie film producer. With some friends, he raised the budget to produce the indie film Glory Daze, which starred an unknown Matt Damon. Damon turned down the leading role in favor of paid work on another paid project but introduced him to his friend Ben Affleck, who ultimately starred in Glory Daze.
Afterward, Affleck and Damon wrote the screenplay for what would become the Oscar® winning Good Will Hunting, and they asked Chris help them produce the film that was directed by Gus Van Sant.
Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is twenty years old, and already stands out in his rough, working-class neighborhood in South Boston. He’s never been to college, except to scrub floors as a janitor at MIT. Yet he can summon obscure historical references from a photographic memory, and almost instantly solve math problems that frustrate Nobel Prize winning professors. The one thing this remarkably bright, impossibly angry young man can’t do – after his latest bar fight – is talk his way out of a pending jail sentence.
His only hope is Sean McGuire (Robin Williams), a college professor-turned-therapist with an admiration for Will’s emotional struggles, and a keen understanding of what it’s like to fight your way through life.
Chris and I had a remarkable conversation about how to produce films in today eco-system. We also discuss what it’s like working in the studio system, some of the issues he has with the system, how filmmakers are treated, and so much more. This an EPIC 2-hour conversation full of knowledge and truth bombs so prepare to take some notes.
Enjoy my conversation with Chris Moore.
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Alex Ferrari 0:00
I'd like to welcome to the show Chris Moore, man. How you doing, Chris?
Chris Moore 0:15
I'm good. How are you Alex?
Alex Ferrari 0:18
I'm doing great, man. I'm doing really great. I I've been a fan of yours from back in the day. Not even during good. You know, obviously Good Will Hunting and all that. But specifically, this little show you did called Project Greenlight, and I have to ask you, man, season two. Why don't I make the top 10 man I made the top 25 man, why did I make the top 10 I'm just.
Chris Moore 0:39
I wish I could remember. I'm sure there was a reason though.
Alex Ferrari 0:44
I'm sure there. I'm sure there was.
Chris Moore 0:46
But the other thing to remember is that we didn't I guess I was in charge of the top 10 So I'll take that hit.
Alex Ferrari 0:55
But not busting your balls and bust your balls. I always people always like cuz on my IMDb I'm on Project Greenlight. Season two in the like, Did you were you on Project Greenlight? I go. Yes for three seconds in the opening montage. Project Greenlight two because I had to send it I was one I got to the level of least sending in a director of video. So and we'll talk about Project Greenlight in a little bit, but I just wanted to push it a bit.
Chris Moore 1:20
Fair enough. I mean, I'm so old Alex that I'm sure there's a story for almost anyone who runs into me at this point. But uh, you know, those are the hardest is because the the fact that no one became a big star coming out of Project Greenlight people had careers, and it definitely helped people and that kind of stuff. I can't speak to the fourth season that was involved, but the a lot of people are like, well, if this guy wasn't such a genius, you know, one of the winners, why don't you're like, Dude, that was like, 15 years ago, I can't remember. I just know, we made our decisions. I had somebody stopped me in an airport this Thanksgiving. No, 15 days ago.
Alex Ferrari 2:03
Chris Moore 2:04
Are you Chris Moore from Project Greenlight? And I felt like saying no, but I was like, I think that's a dick move to be like, No, it's like, yes, long time ago. He's like, you know, I never got over not making the top three. And I was like, Oh, my God. Like, I don't know what to say. Like, I'm so sorry. It's like those people at once soft fair enough that the film business is tough. Because everybody judges everybody.
Alex Ferrari 2:30
Oh, my God, that's hilarious. Alright, so let's go back a bit. How did you get started? And why did you want to be in this insane business?
Chris Moore 2:40
Well, the hard part about that question is the first answer. I'll answer the second question first, which is I never set out to be in the business I, I am the worst sort of how did they get their stories because she just kept happening to me. And I just wrote along with it. As I said, people, I'm not trying to be falsely modest. I clearly had an okay ability to identify talent or good scripts or whatever it might be. But I actually think that was just because I grew up in small town in Maryland, and love movies. So like, I came with a predisposed, like sort of saying, you know, how did you get into basketball or whatever you're doing? It's like, Well, I happen to be seven foot two. And you're like, you don't have any control over that like, and you decide it's good, you liked it. Because if you decide you want to be a jockey being seven foot two is not a good idea. But so I would say I got lucky I came out here. The quick story is, when I was in college, at Harvard, and Boston to get all that out of the way, I worked as a PA. And then I sort of graduated up to other jobs in live television, sports, and I thought I was going to work in television, sports. And over time, by the time I had graduated, I decided to move out here to my best friends are coming out here and had a sweep place, they were working on Wall Street, but for for here, and they had a sweet place in Manhattan Beach. And I knew that the entertainment business was sort of startup kind of money, you're not going to be paying for a sweet place in Manhattan Beach. So I was like, sounds good to get away from everyone and warm weather. So I ended up in California living with them. And a friend of mine, who I had met through, you know, I've worked as a PA on a television show for USA Network and was sort of checking it out. So he was gone, said, You know, this little agency that I work for, is expanding. They've just recruited four agents from the other big agencies, and we don't have enough people. You want to come just work, check out an agency and I thought, you know, that might be interesting to see how you sell stuff through whatever. I was actually only going to be in LA for six months because I owed a semester to college. So I was gonna go back in the spring. So I was like, I'll go work for five, six months at this agency. So it's like, you know, and it really was for the old people. They can remember the Saturday Night Live skit, it really was making copies and kit and coffee deliver and packages and shit all which is digital now except the coffee. But I, I liked it, I really love reading scripts, you know, we had to read like 1015 scripts a week, and give him my thoughts. And I, it was kind of fun to be at that beginning phase where you say this could be a great movie, and then, you know, it sells and then you know, I wasn't there long enough to see anything get made. But I, I had a lot of fun. So they then I guess, like me and said, Look, when you come back from college, we'd love you to come back, keep working here. So, so I really sort of was like, Okay, that's a good job, my parents are gonna want me to have a job and get paid. And I'll work in the mailroom. And then, when I got back after my, you know, that last semester, to LA, the, the agency had expanded again, and brought in some more people. And so they didn't even put me back in the mailroom, I became an assistant to an agent. And then I moved up to one of the, the sort of founding agents desk after about three or four months. And then they expanded again and needed, like young agents at the time, one of your big jobs as a young agent was to go out and sort of just gather information, you weren't experienced enough to, you know, have clients of your own, but you go out and you you know, and so you got territories, and you'd be in charge of territories. And so myself and another assistant got promoted, and we were sort of these, you know, Junior guys would just drive around all day to studios and networks and other places and, you know, sort of learn what they need, you know, do they need writers on this project? Do they need actors on that project? Do they need, you know, we want a horror movie for Halloween shit like that. And I was primarily in the movie business. And so anyway, I was doing that. And then I ended up finding some scripts that sold and some movies that got made, I ended up signing some young talents early, you know, from Sundance and from you know, film festivals, and, you know, had a had an okay run as a producer as an agent. And, you know, and, and I realized this gonna make me sound like the dumbest person on earth. But I, I got frustrated with, I would fall in love with these visions of the scripts, and I would sell using the vision. And then by the time they got made, they were not good. And I was always like, the fuck out, excuse me what happened? Like, like, maybe there's a job I could have, or at least I had more of a chance to be part of the whole process. So I, the agency, the small agency I was working for it was called inter talent. And it sold it basically the some of the founding partners got in a fight. A group went to UTA and a group went to ICM, and I went to ICM for a year, but the big agency business is very different than the small agency business. And so after a year, I raised a million dollars, you know, 1992, and made a little movie that's out there called glory days, that happened to star guy named Ben Affleck. And, you know, Ben came in and audition, and I was paying the casting director out of my pocket. He was great. And I liked him a lot. So we gave him the lead in the movie and, and then as we made that movie, and I learned a ton about it, it's a great way to learn is to be the financier and the producer, of you know of a little movie, because you get to see everything. And it's it's a huge nightmare. And I'm sure I you know, I'm gonna die earlier than I would have having done that. But the, but I learned a ton and I became friends with Ben and Ben. And I know Matt a little bit in college, but we weren't friends. And then I knew him through Ben and, and but my reputation as a young literary agent was pretty good. I've been profiled in some magazine so much. So Ben just said, Look, my buddy, and I wrote the script. Would you read this script and tell me what you think? And I was petrified? Because, you know, actors, writers, actors, directors can go one way or the other. They there can be super, you know, sort of stuck on themselves. And it's hard, or they can actually be really talented. That's probably true of other people, but actors in particular. Anyway, I didn't read it for a while because we were still shooting a little movie. And I didn't want to have to tell them I hated a script while he was shooting. The movie we were making. And but I read it and I thought it was awesome. Like a little I was like, Look, dude, you don't? You don't want to give this to me. I'm a little producer trying to start out you just sell this for a million dollars. Like there's no I can just tell you that right now. This is a great script. And he got one that no then we regret shooting and we sat down we thought that and they told me they wanted to start it and they want to do it. I said well, that's gonna be a little harder because no one's heard of any of you but I was like, you still could probably sell it you will probably get faced with the question of started less money. More money don't start. So anyway, Be The rest was sort of history and that's why I say I'm, that's a bad story of a came out before I graduated college, worked in the mailroom got a job became an agent, all happened within a three year period of time I had produced good wine. And so the point is that you can't say to anybody in the hustle, you know, copy that, because right, that was pure luck and a little bit of taste, right. I mean, there were other people that read that first draft of Google hunting were like, I'm not sure this is very good. So all I can say is I was smart enough to know, you know, some of the guys I worked with very early in the career like Night Shyamalan rituals. Richville Zak, Penn, some of these guys are being writers now and, and directors and whatever. And then Matt and Ben, obviously. And so the point is that the best The only thing I can say, I was okay, at being able to read or look at watch something and be like, I really like that. Maybe if I'm lucky enough if I really like other people like it. And I'm sure if your favorite movie is, you know, some obscure Japanese film. That's harder, because your natural taste isn't, you know, my favorite movies are like diehard,I think diehard is close. Great, perfect movie,
Alex Ferrari 11:13
And, and the greatest Christmas in the grid, it's just Christmas movie of all time.
Chris Moore 11:16
Exactly. Get ready to watch it over the next six weeks. But like so that's what I try to say to people who might be listening or thinking about it is you got to lean into your talents, you have to think about what it is. And you some of it is luck in this business.
Alex Ferrari 11:33
I think I think I agree with you 100% So many people and trust me from from when I was coming up, you know, I try to study everybody else's path. So you know, you try to go down Robert Rodriguez's path or Kevin Smith's path or been in Matt's path. I mean, how many actors after Goodwill Hunting sec. We're gonna write a movie and we're gonna get it one first. I mean, Sylvester Stallone, oh, gosh, face. Oh, of course. I mean, yeah. Yeah. You dropped the mic.
Chris Moore 12:00
That's, that's awesome.
Alex Ferrari 12:02
Exactly. But for that generation, you know, they were big, big, big inspiration. And the funny thing is, and I've just in this is just, you know, a couple of all old farts talking with age, you really realize that there is no path you can take from somebody else. You might be inspired by somebody else's path. But it's truly your own path. That is weird, because every single one of those people I just mentioned, from from Ed burns for from Spike Lee, all of those 90s directors that we all idolize, they all had different paths. He all went down different paths. None of them were like, Well, Kevin went down the rabbit Rodriguez path No, nope, no, he didn't he he did his own thing. He was inspired by lit by Rick. Linkletter slacker and so many people were in so so it's just I just wanted to put that out there for people, as much as you want to kind of emulate somebody else's path. I promise you will never work. But you could be inspired by it and move forward going forward. Now, you know, obviously, your your history with finding talent. And you know, especially with Project Greenlight and the chair and things like that, that you were you're always looking for directing talent, is there something you look for specifically in a director?
Chris Moore 13:17
Well, it's a good question. I mean, what I would say is, I still love sort of professional storytelling. And my view is, I take this larger, historic view that humans need storytelling. I don't know why I'm not a psych guy. I didn't study any of that shit. But I know that it's valuable. And I know that it's valuable on the escape entertainment side. And I know it's valuable on the just learn about stuff or having catharsis or whatever. And I've been very fortunate to be part of all of those kinds of projects. The thing that I would say about a director and specific is, I believe, and I think we're actually in the heyday of it right now, which is, there's the right medium for all kinds of stories. And the point is that, you know, yes, when the Brothers Grimm were out there just walking around the forest telling stories to people, that's the only choice they had. But the truth of the matter is, not every Grimms fairy tale should be filmed with a camera and a crew, right? And so what I look for in a director is, why did they pick this story, to film and tell as a movie or a television show, right? Because if you don't make it better than it was right on paper, or better than it was when somebody told you the story in a podcast, or better than it was as a graphic novel. There's no reason to direct it. So as a director, you have to prove to me that you're gonna take this and make it better, right and use the skills of what I call, you know, audio visual effects, you know, music, you get to use all of those tools. To really knock me down with how great the story is. So like to me it you use all those 90 directors, I think a few of them. Kevin Smith being one and I think it's actually happened is, he could have done Clark's as a podcast. And it would have been super funny, and it wouldn't work. And he's got the whole smodcast network, and he's got a bunch of podcasts. And he, he under his dialogue is unbelievable. His characters are unbelievable. What he does with the camera was the genre or the medium that was available for him then, right? What he would do now he still makes movies every now and then. And he's still, and those are different, they have effects and they do whatever. But I, Kevin's a guy who would say to you, I just want to tell these great stories about these people and these characters and situations. And however is best to tell them I'll tell them, right. Robert loves effects loves us. And again, I don't know these guys, well, I've met them. But the point is that you look at Robert, he's got troublemaker he loves, you know, turn it. So Robert needs to be in this genre. You're not the podcast of Spy Kids isn't fun.
Alex Ferrari 16:05
Chris Moore 16:08
Yeah, I'm gonna go listen to Spy Kids. Right? That's, that isn't how it's gonna work. So I think that, for me, what it is, is a director or a icon, sort of professional storyteller, saying, I decided this is the best way to tell this story, right. And I'm going to come in and show you that you want to give your story if I'm the producer, if I'm the writer, if I'm the rights holder of the story, you want to give it to me, because I'm going to take the tools of writing, directing, working with actors working with composer, and I'm going to make this story badass. Right? And, and that's what I look for in a director is, well, what will this benify Just read it as a novel? Right? What are what would I have liked this story just as much? Right? What would it be? And that's, you know, I think New because now there's way more professional ways to be a storyteller than there used to be, or you can make a living. And that's the kind of thing I did when I was an agent, I'd say, Look, this thing, maybe you should do this as a graphic novel. Or maybe this would be really cool as a play. Right? Or, or, you know, maybe this is a is an animated piece, because you can do really funny stuff with animation that you can't really get away with in live action, right. So. So I think part of it when you look at a director because I still look at as a director or a sort of episodic showrunner, also as sort of the leader of the whole thing, right? This sort of vision, the the NI, not a believer in committee, I think you want one or two people who are really the creative center of any project, but the, but I think you really want them to see and have a vision for why it's better this way or that way. Not they did it that way. Because somebody would pay him to do it, or they did whatever. And you see a lot of what I would call, you know, sort of people who are really good at one off storytelling have moved into limited series, right? six episodes, five episodes. That's to me a movie, that's anything else. It's you're telling one story over a period of time. In that case, you have more episodes, so you can get more into it. Right? You know, but the point is, that's also because the buyers seem to be interested in that. Right, right. So I always when I do these, I say to people think about what Good Will Hunting would be today? How would we have made Good Will Hunting today? I'm not sure it would have been a $25 million movie. Right? Right. It could have been a bunch of episode hell, it could have been a podcast, it's just that and that's characters talking to each other about how the hell to get out of Southie? Which, which then, which will then lead to other stuff. But like, how does how does a story get out into the world? And so for a director, that's a big part. And then the other thing for a writer is is not that you asked, but just to answer is, are they? Did they capture a story and I was read things twice? Because there's the first time where it's all new. Right? And then it's the second time when you know everything that's about to happen. Do you still like it? You know? And that's it just did I like it. I look at myself more as a consumer who was buying early than
Alex Ferrari 19:19
Your early investor,
Chris Moore 19:22
Expert anything right? I still see 20 movies a week. You know, I watch it shows all the time.
Alex Ferrari 19:28
It's all about this is the one thing that that filmmakers and screenwriters don't understand is that you can't teach taste, taste. It's something you are programmed with at the factory and developed over the course of your life. There's nothing you can do. And that's, that's why when I work with with collaborators, as a director, I'm looking for taste because you can teach craft. You can teach craft, you can teach technique, but taste man is just like, Oh, it's so tough.
Chris Moore 19:56
You're 100% right and the thing that makes taste so hard to quantify is I think tastes weirdly can be muted or, or affected by mood. So like, I think that the mood is something that none of us have any real control over, right? So like you can, you know, the mood of the world today is different because of COVID. Because of the economy because of partisanship, if you're in America, because of whatever right mood as you said, We're two older guys, right? So our mood and what we might respond to is gonna be different than potentially what we responded to when we were 25. Right. So part of it is also looking at yourself and saying, what, what am I looking at? Or who am I speaking for? What, what who else is in the same sort of move or frame of mind that I'm in? Because I think there's other ones like, today there are, I just need to get away and I want to go somewhere fantastical, like, I've been watching Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings with my 14 year old recently, and it's fun. I'm always like, Yeah, dude, let's go back. Okay, let's get in there. Let's go to Middle Earth, right. And that works, you know, and I loved it when it came out. It's not like I've watched it 10 times between when it came out on my 14 year old just got interested. So I'm watching it again. You know, that's different than, you know, watching something that's more serious or more interesting, or more about grownups, you know, actually really like this Spencer, movie about Princess die will say a little too much Princess die in the last, you know, two years. But that one was weird, because it's basically a study of how you just fall into craziness, like your life. And so I was fascinated as an older person who had people I've known for 4050 years of my life, who go crazy, sort of watching somebody do that. Is it weird that they did it really well. And now I couldn't recommend I would go on out and say everybody should watch this movie. You gotta be in the frame of mind that you're gonna watch somebody go crazy, right? I think that's the, and I certainly would never want to marry into the royal family. I'll tell you that.
Alex Ferrari 22:02
Oh, no, no, no, no no No, yes.
Chris Moore 22:04
But anyway, that's what I think's interesting about, you know, professional storytelling right now is there's a lot of options. There's a lot of ways to do it. Some are more lucrative than others. But
Alex Ferrari 22:14
Now, now, there's, there's I heard you once talk about three leverage points in producing, which I found fascinating, and I never heard it clarified so beautifully. Can you please, can you please talk about the three leverage points of being a producer? Because Because producing is such a nebulous thing, and you actually quoted a couple things they can help you
Chris Moore 22:37
The embarrassing part of this moment is you got to Malia which three I talked about on that one? I mean, I have, I have the three, what I always go is so this may be the three you're talking about is that there's the material, there's sort of the money and distribution, you know, that can be divided into two or can be one. And then there's the talent. And in my my view, for a producer, you're really only value. Yes, there is a skill set to producing sort of like what you said about craft, there are things you've learned as a producer about how to make deals, how to sell stuff, how to budget stuff, how to manage people on set, but somebody could, you know, throw me into a construction project. And I could probably figure out how to manage it relatively quickly. There's a skill set, but producers don't really have a craft as it were, we're salespeople were taste, right? Makers, man, where then we're management of the humans that you need to make it right. So your power or your leverage comes from the three areas that you have to have. And so at certain periods, like when the internet was less prevalent, I had four which was there's eyeballs, people who can get you to eyeballs and distribute distributors were a lot bigger. Now with YouTube and the internet and all this other stuff. You have a lot more power yourself to reach eyeballs, right? You You may not know how to monetize it, you may not be doing paid advertising, but you can put stuff out there. And over time, some stuff does get just discovered because people liked it. Right? But money is still important, you know, particularly audio visual, perfect professional storytelling is expensive. It's not, it's not you know, even if you're doing a $250,000 movie, that's still a shitload more expensive than many other things you could do. Right? Right. So it's like, so there's money and so a lot of producers come from the money set, they come from the you know, I'm gonna get your money or I'm gonna put the money in or I am rich and then I'm gonna bring other people right. So those two areas you can either work for a distributor, you know, a 24 trusts you and you can get a 24 to pick you up. So that gives you some power or rich guide number two loves you and whatever you bring them they'll give you half the budget. You So that's one version of power. I personally came the other way, which is talent and story or like the project itself, right material that I never really was a rights guy. I bought some life rights, but I've never really bought books or anything like that, which is put me in a bad spot right now as a producer, because right now we're in a weird moment in the business where some sort of past life for the material seems to be necessary. Yeah, it seems to, you know, the IP. And I've always been a believer that movies and television could create value. And most of the successes on my resume Greenlight, you've talked about Goodwill Hunting, we've talked about American Pie, that, you know, we those were original ideas that were made in either film or TV, right? Today, they probably say go do it somewhere else first, let us know people like it, and then we'll make a movie out of it. Or then, you know, very rarely today, do you see original material coming through movies and television.
Alex Ferrari 26:00
Let me ask you, let me ask you this question. Why is it that because right now Hollywood is mining, the 70s 80s and 90s. For material and IP that's basically we're just getting rehashes remakes read everything in a time period were they allowed creativity to come up with original ideas? Like Gremlins in goo? Do you think Goonies would be made in today's world? Or even Gremlins would be or even Good Will Hunting would have never been made by Studio? And today's out of 25 million? That's like a dead zone. 25 million bucks. You know what? It just doesn't make any sense. So what is it? Why do you think from your point of view? Is the studio so just resistant to new ideas? Or you've got to be James Cameron to come in with $500 million to make an original IP, which is Avatar.
Chris Moore 26:48
Well, the irony is the answer to that question is both is the same answer, actually, which is the entertainment industry, if I can go back just a tiny bit, has had basically 100 years where they own the audience. They had complete control over the audience. And it was basically four or five companies in America, right? They would tell the movie theaters, what movies they were coming out with, they would put on what they thought was necessary on the television channels. If you were at home, like I grew up in a small town of Maryland, you you're just waiting around to see what's going to be available Friday night, right? You have no control. And there's not a lot of choices, right? This is there's no video games competing against it. There's no social media that can't just go on YouTube and go down a rabbit hole for three hours. There's no tick tock. That. I mean, it's literally they own you, right. And the two things that they own are the scarcity of product. So you have no other movies, like when home video came, they all got nervous. Well, maybe now we're not gonna own people, because you might be home and decide, you know, I'd rather watch diehard again this Christmas and go see whatever the new Christmas movie is, right. But what they found was people still like the experience of seeing the new thing. And they actually just watched double, they still watch diehard. And so I would say we hit a heyday in the big DVDs, big cable channels, big foreign markets, that people just making money all over the place. We analysis late 80s into early 2000s. Right? It was just a machine for money. And the reason was because of marketing, right? The reason was they could aim people at stuff, and 100 million people worldwide would do it. You're right. That isn't possible anymore. Right? It's just not possible because that 100 million people today has way more choices. Oh, yeah, they they have video games, they have tick tock. They also have all these older movies that are now available on their screen that because they have these subscriptions. Right? Secondly, the economics of the business, again, because of marketing are not really driven by opening weekend anymore. They talk about it, they push it, but it's not a condensed period of time. Right? So doesn't matter. You can be Netflix that comes out next week. And then people find it like Queen's gambit was like two months after it came out. People started finding squid game was seven months after it first was available on Netflix. That became big, right? Like the point is they don't care. They just want people to keep coming back to Netflix. So every time it you find it right? Yeah. So what that did is it made marketing to make something matter, become, in my opinion, way over important. And so to your example it's either IP people have heard of which they think they're going to want to see in this new medium, which is only 50% At best, actually reliable to get people to come. Right. And then it was talent and talent has become way more I saw Jim Cameron and Avatar is possible because people want to see what Jim Cameron does. And there's one avatar people really like. So dropping $500 million on that makes a lot more sense, right? Because you can, Jim Jim cameras do movie, and it's an avatar, right?
Alex Ferrari 30:19
And it's a technology and everything he was doing.
Chris Moore 30:22
Right. So if you're, you know, and also I bet it's gonna be one, you're gonna have a better experience watching it on in a theater, no matter how big your home screening room is. Right. And, and so the point is that those things get a lot of attention. And then anything else that can spark a article a, you know, interview people's want to see. Now over time, that has been diminishing, there's very few stars now that are guaranteed big successes, there's very few, but they still are bigger success, you know, read notice, is still going to be bigger for Netflix, you know, then a movie that doesn't have the rock Galco and Ryan Reynolds, right. But my example when I use that example, when I'm speaking in colleges and stuff, what I say to them is think about it for a second. That should be seen as the example of the end, right? Like to some extent that movie should be recognized in our business as the jumping of the shark. And some older people don't know what that means. It's an analogy to a show called Happy Days that was wildly popular and had a character the Fonz wrote a motorcycle wore leather jacket, and they got into their fifth I think, or seventh season. And they had nothing to do. And people still love the characters. And they literally had an episode where Fonzie this, you know, goes waterskiing and jumps a shark and you're sort of like their that is literally net became this word in the business this phrase of you have now gone so far off the this sort of creative drive, right? That you're literally having Fonzie jump a shark, like you got nothing else in your mind. And so what I'd say is read notice is, look, they had to have three of the biggest stars in the world in the movie to get any attention. Right? You're right, you're absolutely right. And and so you look at it and you're like, it's basically look, I think those are three of the most charismatic performer out there. Right? I did a movie years ago with Ron lentils called waiting. Yeah, and he is super entertaining. Like, just unsung. I think the rock is so charismatic, and galgos proven to be very charismatic. She can be funny acts like I saw. I was like, Yeah, I'm definitely watching a movie, right? But when I watched it, I was like, it's sort of this phrase of all sizzle, and no steak, right? Like, I was like, it's fine. It has all the stuff there. But if you're gonna sit down and bring the rock, Ryan Reynolds and galgut out again, you should fucking blow me out of the water. You should be like, holy shit. That was awesome.
Alex Ferrari 33:01
It should be. It should be diehard meets, Lethal Weapon meets, the predator.
Chris Moore 33:05
Spider Man is coming out what two days and it's like, some reviews have been all the best spider man ever and other reviews as well, whatever. It's, you know, you got Dr. Strange and you got the multiverse. He goes, I'm worried I'm just gonna be totally confused. But we bought nine tickets to the first show, because they're desperate to go see it. But the point is that we might be at the moment of volume right now. We're all the streamers and everybody wants so many product that everyone is jumping the shark that like the whole business is jumping the shark right now?
Alex Ferrari 33:39
No, it's it's it's a great analogy. You're absolutely right. Because I've been saying for a long time ago, people are like, oh, I need to get a movie star. And they're like, Look, if you can get a movie star and the term movie star is not what it used to be. Because before Tom Cruise Kurita, a telephone book and it would open to 20 million. I mean, it just it Will Smith could do the same thing back in the day. Remember Arnold and you know, it just just showed up and it was $20 million $30 million opening? Those days are gone, because it's just it's just so much dilution. But as an independent filmmaker, if you can get a star or a recognizable face in your film, it's always better than not having that like, I'm not sure. I'm not sure Google hunting would have gone without Robin. Like
Chris Moore 34:18
I can tell you right now. That's 100% True. I mean, Matt was on his way. He had done Rainmaker and some other stuff. So maybe two years later, sure would have been tough for you know, Ben and Ben and Chasing Amy and other stuff. So they might but the reason it got made when it got me was solely Robin Williams
Alex Ferrari 34:39
And that budget to that's it that wasn't a small budget.
Chris Moore 34:42
No, I mean, today $25 million. Like that. They'd look at you like you've lost your mind.
Alex Ferrari 34:46
That's, that's in today's world. That's a 3 million 5 million tops, depending on the star.
Chris Moore 34:51
Absolutely. Yeah, there's no way and if Robin was in it, it still would have been that but he would own 50%
Alex Ferrari 34:58
On the backend. Absolutely.
Chris Moore 35:00
So, yeah, God rest his soul.
Alex Ferrari 35:03
He is He was I had the pleasure of meeting him once and it was just ah, I just God rest his soul man. So sorry. So you got so you got Good Will Hunting off the ground is your second feature film, which is not a bad not a bad thing Oscar nominations and you know Ben and Matt and all this kind of stuff, man, what was it? Like just being in the center of that that hurricane? Because I remember that it was it? No, everybody was talking about that movie that
Chris Moore 35:28
You're, you're being generous to say I was in the center of it. I was more, you know, Toto in the basket. You know, the widths flying around the hurricane, I would say they were in the center. They were very loyal and nice guys to keep me around. You know, that doesn't happen as much anymore. For producers were the talent that helped you get your first movie made? Don't, you know, the producers don't get carried nearly like they did. But we it was intense. I mean, it was, you know, and I think the having it be the three of us and to some extent, their agent, Patrick Weitzel, who I had also worked with as an agent. When I was an agent, the four of us and then they they have a, you know, a lawyer that's been with them a long time. And Sam Fisher, you know, the five, there was a lot, there was a lot of calming of, you know, let's figure out the best way to take advantage and, and to some extent Matt and Ben made different choices as actors as they went forward, you know, and, but they're still together, they still produce together, they did the last door they wrote together and they did other stuff. So they're, you know, I think what it was was, it was also the hay day for Miramax. You know, I know, Harvey's bad person talking about and he is a bad person I'm not trying to make but that that version of Miramax at that time now owned by Disney and they were doing whatever they were on fire. You know, and I'm sure Robert, we talked about that Quentin or Lawrence Bender does I mean, we were we were in there every moment. Yeah. Yeah. Kevin Smith, you know, it would be gone. You know. So there was a lot that that were part of it. And what they always said, which I respected about them was okay, we got here, like, what are we going to do with it, you know, like, and so they, they have always tried to get some projects a little bit harder made, they've always tried to help people move forward and use their star power or whatever to, to advance other stuff. But they also want to become John stars, you know, and they did very well. You know, and I, I respect them immensely, as I and I got to produce with them and be partners with them. And then we started this internet thing called Live planet together. And, you know, we saw a lot that celebrity, their celebrity, let me have access to that I never would have had as a producer. And then I had this great luxury where I also was doing their American Pie movies that had nothing to do with them. Right. So I was very lucky that I could sort of make the argument that I was doing all right, as a producer. And I was working with Matt and Ben. Right. And, you know, and it's, it's one of those things where it was crazy. I mean, we were making stuff, but like Project Greenlight, his example was where the celebrity and the sort of well known pneus got an idea that nobody really liked off the ground. And it was surprised success. Because the three of us could be on camera and could do stuff and sort of became likable enough that HBO was like, Okay, let's keep doing this. Right. And, you know, and that that's an exempt, but then you have you know, all the Bruckheimer movies that Ben, did you have the other stuff, you know, when that got brought into the Bourne movies, like, all that stuff, had nothing to do with me. And I'm really happy for them. And they, they knew what they wanted from the beginning. And these are guys who've been, you know, you asked me when we first started, you know, did you know, I had no idea, you know, I was kicking around doing whatever. And this worked out, these two guys were driving down to New York to audition for stuff when they were in high school, whenever, you know, they wanted to be movie stars and wanted to be players and wanted to be creators, since they can remember, I could have say that I happen to be the dude who recognized it got lucky and wrote it as long as we possibly could. Right. Yeah, but but the point is that they so what I'd say is that whirlwind was really weird. And there were some bad decisions got made, there was some overwhelming stuff that happened. There's a lot of projects we set up that are never going to get made that, you know, we probably overused our, you know, our position within Miramax and the universe. But ultimately, it it was just like, sort of going through the whole process. I think a lot of people go through in overdrive. It just happened a shitload faster. Right. And so it was just like, all of a sudden, we're like 2830 and we've been they'd won Oscars. We'd had 100 million dollar hits. We had an office with some six employees developing stuff, we had TV shows, we had documentaries, we were doing all this stuff. And it, it was just going so fast that it also I don't think had a chance to survive over time. Because, you know, you were going too fast. Like,
Alex Ferrari 40:17
You can't sustain that.
Chris Moore 40:20
You all had our ways of dealing with it. And and you know that that's always Shawn Bailey, who joined later in the process is now the president of the Walt Disney Pictures, same thing, we just went buck wild up until sort of the late the mid 2000s. And then it was sort of like, okay, what are we really doing, and that's the weird thing. Like, it's a little better than we ever expected to be. But it's also different. So now is this what we really want to do is we want to have a company want to do whatever. And I think that ultimately, they are just awesome talent, and really smart and really talented. And Shawn has an unbelievable executive. And I'm sort of this flaky dude on the outside who likes to push stuff. And, you know, I'm not really built for corporate Hollywood, and I'm not really a talent. And I, you know, I really love, you know, sort of working on projects, I really care about the success of American Pie and the success of, you know, some of the other stuff allows me the freedom to sort of work on projects I really care about and study the business and do podcasts like this and teach some classes and stuff like that, because it's, it isn't, you know, for Harvard kids, since I went to Harvard, I do stuff. There's no ladder, there's no process, like use
Alex Ferrari 41:32
Not doctor or a lawyer. It's not doctor,
Chris Moore 41:34
Right. So you, that's what I like about it. And some days were on fire, like the fact that, you know, my last big movie was Manchester by the Sea. Like if anybody said, a movie about three kids died in a fire and their father never being able to deal with it. And you know, whatever, like, and then the brother dies, and the nephew is homeless, like you're like, if you pitch that, like I just pitched it to you, not a soul on earth would ever make that movie, right? More joy out of the fact that people liked that movie. And that it actually, we made it and we made it honorably. And I think Kenny Loggins have been big talent. So does Matt. That's how I met him was through Matt. But the point is that those are not if you're trying to manage a career, you would not say, after all the success I've had, let's go make Manchester by the Sea, right. But I just loved it. I love Kenny and Matt loved it. And I think Casey's a real star. And it was like, Yeah, let's go try to get it made. And that's what I think happens as you become a little bit more successful. You can take a little bit more risks, like I say to young producers, or bring me projects. Now I do mostly consulting stuff where I try to help people move their project along and it bums me out that more successful producers are always trying to get into other people's projects always feel like you know, don't, don't do that. Let them go out and and see what it's like. But it's it. I'm just so fortunate had so much fun making these things. But that that sort of tornado, I'm also afraid. I would argue that I'm probably here partly because not really sure I want to get all the way back into the tornado.
Alex Ferrari 43:05
Well, I mean, listen, I mean, you also put yourself out there in a way that most producers don't by being on camera and a character on on a huge show on HBO, which is why so many people want me I promise you not as many people walk up to Jerry Bruckheimer in the middle of an airport, but they go, Hey, man, why don't I get on season three of Project Greenlight? Like why did I make it? So if everyone listening who's not as old as us, when Project Greenlight came out, it was the first time that I can remember that a doorway was opened to the unknown, because I lived in Florida at the time. So for me, it was just like, oh my god, some somebody from Mount Hollywood is opening up a doorway for us to try to come through. And that was the that was the idea. And for people don't understand the part of the project is extremely popular first season was extremely popular. And then I promise when I when I appeared for three seconds. On the opening, opening montage of season two, I got 20 phone calls. Was that you on HBO? Where you had you just a project? Really? It was it was insane. It was insane. So how did I mean? And I have to give you guys credit, you guys decided to do something that at the time? Nope. I'm sure everyone said this is a horrible idea.
Chris Moore 44:26
Well, that's why I said that's where their celebrity became really valuable is because you know, a lot of this business is about risk reward. Right? And you know, if you're running HBO and Chris Albrecht was running at the time and I think Chris is actually an example of an adventurous Head of Programming outlet right? He could run a studio he could run a network he he'll here and he knows he's got to do programming. Right like you don't have the luxury of just be like yeah, I don't need to do shit this year. They're gonna put some on so but he could hide behind Matt and Ben, right? He could. No one was gonna say you're an idiot for Putting Matt and Ben on HBO, right? Sure. They might say, couldn't you have come up with a better idea for Matt and Ben, like, but the point was that we walked in and he said, we walked in, we're just look, what we're really trying to do is do a reality. We were a little early in the sort of Docu reality show stuff to Project Greenlight was one of the first ones that sort of was a series of watching people do shit, you know, and what we said to them was that there was this fun, we're saying if we could put down the experience of what we went through on Goodwill Hunting, right, yeah, people would people would have been amazed, right? And I said, I can add, what happened. I mean, American Pie was that way for Sean William Scott for Jason Biggs for a lot of these people like they, when you go through that process of not really being that person, and then you are that person. Now we never in my personal opinion, we never really captured it because we got stuck. And all the when do you release the movie? And does the show keep on past when the movie comes out? And what's think, but you're right, it was the first time insiders actually said, Okay, we're gonna let you see it. And the great thing about Matt and Ben as human beings is, they're incredibly confident in who they are. Right? So like, you can hate them, you can like them, you can be mad at them. They can say something stupid, there. They are, who they are, there's not a sort of weird, you know, thing. And so and I am, as you can probably tell, and as hopefully I've shown since project are nice. I'm really that guy like that wasn't me playing a character. Yeah. So it was like, it's sort of so the point is that we were sort of like, we felt like we were given back to a community that had really helped us and that what we had gone through was crazy. And people should see it. But it was also awesome. Anytime you can watch people fulfilling their dreams, anytime you can be part of helping somebody get a shot to you know, not no, this for everyone is working in an Amazon, you know, fulfillment center right now, I'm so happy. And I'm glad you have a job. And I'm not trying to belittle it, but I'm saying getting to be Matt and Ben or even me is probably better than that. Right? And so when you're part of that, just like the shows that exist now, like hard knocks for the NFL, yeah, baseball does it or, you know, there's a ton of music stuff, because it's a lot cheaper to watch people seeing than it is to make a movie. But the point is that people love being around watching people trying to get their dream watching people struggle. And when it's honest, and it's true, it's great. And I think that that was where we came from. So it actually that somehow came through in the show that these are people who actually are humbled by all the success they had, they thought they deserve it, and they are super talented. But people need this opportunity. It's not. And ironically, I like prizes gonna be more valuable today, in some ways, because there's so many people struggling to get their thing done that to go do a show about how do you start now, because as we said earlier, it's so different now. Oh, my God back, back then it was pretty straightforward to get Miramax to make your movie, your Kevin Smith, your head burns you whoever, Robert Rodriguez, I mean, all three of those guys went through at different stages, the Harvey machine and the Harvey bar. But my point is that the that today, it's even harder to tell somebody what they should do. You know, we I taught a class for AFI last semester. And it was really hard because by the end of it, people got comfortable with me, and they're willing to ask me about their own personal careers. And for some of them, I was like, Look, I can't tell you. And this is, by the way, why I'm not been invited back to teach another class for EFI. I said that people listen, if you're here for career advancement, which all education is not purely career advancement, but like I read on your website, you guys have classes, you do stuff, you're trying to help people be better at it. And that, to me makes a lot of sense, right? But when you're paying all that money, and you're coming to f5, particularly as a producer, so it's not like you're mastering your skill, right, you're trying to contact you're trying to learn about it's one thing to be an editor and get to edit six things during your two years.
Alex Ferrari 49:08
Cinematographer even directing, even directing.
Chris Moore 49:12
Directing, writing, your the production designing program, the cinematography program, they're great, right? But where I got in trouble just said, Look, if you really got whatever it cost to go to AFI, you might be better off going to make a film. It might be better off going out and saying to those same people, look, you know, it's not and when you ask AFI graduates, well, what did you think about the producers? They don't graduate from AFI wanting to work with the producer they worked with in film school, they want to work with me. They need to graduate up to the person that's going to help them right. And so I said, Look, I can't 100% Get behind. If you're trying to decide whether you want to be a producer or not. Sure, take couple classes learn about what it's like. Watch Project Greenlight. Come to indie hustle, right, like the point There's a bunch of ways to make that decision whether you want to dedicate some of your life to being a producer, right? I still know that anyway, you can see how they were unhappy with that
Alex Ferrari 50:11
It's shocking. It's shocking. I don't understand why.
Chris Moore 50:13
And I said to them, Look, I think you should take what I'm saying, and let's revamp the class is that you're acknowledging that you're helping them in what you need to do? And they said, No, we're gonna keep doing what we're doing. I said, Okay, that's fine. It's not like, the very small amount of money you're paying me is gonna make me lose my house, if I lose it. And I love AFI, they've been around a long time supporting a lot of people. So it's not, it's the producing programs in particular, it's very hard to justify what wasting That's unfair. spending two years of your life, studying it, versus two years of your life doing it. Oh, great, I think is way more,
Alex Ferrari 50:54
I couldn't, I couldn't agree with you more. I mean, I went to I went to full sail in Orlando. And it's a great technical school, and I walked out with all a good amount of technical skill, and you had to wrap cable and you had to make a good cup of coffee, you know, the core things that you need to learn. Yeah. But at the end of the day, and also, when I went, I was 9596. It wasn't where we are now, it was still expensive as hell to go make a movie. You know, we're still all film, all that kind of stuff. But in today's world, you're gonna learn a lot more by making a $10,000 feature than you will by spending $10,000 going to film school, in my opinion.
Chris Moore 51:34
Yeah. So yeah, that's why I said when we first came out, I think we're gonna agree on because I saw that one of your sections, and I was like, This guy just didn't. But the thing you also gotta remember about film schools, they started because the equipment was so expensive, right? The average person couldn't buy a camera that was a film camera, like Spike Lee talks about his first movie was like, I had to go to NYU. It wasn't like somebody's gonna say, here's a film camera. Here's, here's an edit rack system. Here's all this stuff. That's how you got the stuff, right? Today, that stuff's The Best Buy. I had,
Alex Ferrari 52:07
I had I had this poor, I had this poor filmmaker, come on, he had a $300,000 plus debt, student debt, going to film school $300,000. And I told him, and he's done. And he's like, I'm like, He's working. He's trying to make it up. But he'll never ever get out of that hole. It's just gonna take him for his entire life. And I was just like, Oh, my God, man. I mean, can you imagine if you would have taken that money and just made 20 movies?
Chris Moore 52:34
Yeah, and that's the thing. And look, I went through it on a bigger level, I raised about $5 million for what is currently my production company called the media farm. And our whole concept, the reason was called The farm was we're gonna grow stories basically, from the beginning, right? Like, I'm not a genius. So that's a pretty straightforward analogy. And we had about $5 million. And I was so arrogant and stuck up about, well, I can't go into podcasts. I can't. That's just like below me. I'm a feature film, guys. So let's see, how do we take this five minute done? If I had taken that $5 million, and spread it across the 10 Awesome podcasts or the 10? Awesome, like you said, $10,000 movies or pilots or web series that came through my office, right? I literally have a library of content right now. Right? That I'd be selling up the chain, and just be basking in the glory of my genius. I'm here talking about how arrogant and stupid I was. And then I couldn't see that this is the same storytelling that's going on. And these people are Matt and Ben, now that they were then, you know, I had people become wildly successful walking up to Sam Esmail does all these fucking shows. AFI grant walks in, he had a great show, we could have figured out how to do you know, there's a guy who's getting right now, Rob, was Rob's last name. He was like the number one comedian on Twitter. And he created this show called catastrophe with Sharon, Oregon. I can't believe I'm forgetting Rob's I think, but he walked in one day. I was like, I have this idea. And I was like, Well, you know, I'm not sure how that is a TV show. But it was a catastrophe. But the point is that I was so arrogant about the medium. And also with my investors. I had promised this sort of scale, that spending $10,000 on a podcast wasn't exactly what they thought they thought I'd be spending $250,000 on Manchester by the Sea, which we did. But that the $5 million is gonna go a shitload faster if you're everything is costing you 250 to a million than if you had done things for 25 $50,000. And I was more like, and that's part of the insider part about why I joke about present Greenlight and it's great what they do with an ISA Ray took it over, and it's gonna, you know, it's it's gonna be a whole new thing with her and I think that's awesome. But the point is that that the storytelling is what you love, which is what I've realized I love his storytelling and getting stories out there. There's a way to do it. And if you're thinking about being a producer, where you find stories you love and you want to be part of the machine that gets them out into the world, whether it's a piece of talent, whether it's a specific story, whatever, you you're better off getting into it, then you are, you know, not getting into No, I guess
Alex Ferrari 55:22
Which brings me to a question. If you had to, if you have Goodwill Hunting, and American Pie today, you were the producer on it? How would you do it differently? Would you try to own it more? Would you try to hold the rights to it more? Would you self distributed? How would you approach both those projects differently? Or would you still try to go down the studio path?
Chris Moore 55:44
Well, I think what I tell people now when I'm doing some of my consulting stuff is look, the more it can exist in the world, somehow, the more leverage, you'll have to control it later. So if your goal is to try to control it, that or at least you have a vision for it, you don't really want that vision, which as I said earlier, was Why stop being an agent is because the vision is only a sales vision, and then you're done as an agent. But the thing is that there are all of these other ways right to get something done, like even Rob's project catastrophe he tried to sell in America, but it's sold in England. And we I met him right at the time when he was deciding whether he was gonna move England or not. Right. And I remember very clearly his agent, he's having this whole conversation and meant that our show we weren't gonna be able to shoot cuz he was gonna be put into right. And but I was like, yeah, man, if somebody wants to make your show do it. Right. And but and so what I'd say is, I think American Pie think about a lot, because I actually think there's an update to that. Where, because I think teenagers today, and this may not be appropriate, I apologize. But I think their sex lives and their way they're losing their virginity, and the way they're doing stuff is different. on a macro level, like I don't think it's just different technology, or we have different morals, I think, is gone to a whole other thing. And just having a 20 year old daughter, a 17 year old son and a 14 year old son, I just sit here watching, I think what would be the American Pie. And the truth of the matter is, I think there's a direct camera YouTube, Tik Tok kind of version, where you could have started that story with four friends trying to help each other lose their virginity before they go to college, and how they help each other and you film it with, you know, your, you know, your phones, and you you sort of start cutting it together. But then you, you see a way to then summarize it up into a 90 minute experience of whether it happened or not, or what happened. And you you play the line? Are these real characters? Are these are these just written? Are these fictional or this could have been a podcast? I think it's funnier, because there's physical comedy, that was really great. And that, so I think visual, but tick tock in bite sized stuff, you could interest a lot of people, and then you could go to them and say, Okay, we want to turn this into something most likely, it would have been a limited series, or, you know, like, there's one that just came out called the sex lies of college kids, another one sex, and I think and then, you know, and so I think it would probably not been a one off movie, it would have been, let's follow these guys for six episodes or six, whatever. And then, and but it would still have been the one story of that end of senior year. Then if it was successful, you'd come back like we did, you'd come up with reasons they all get back together. They've just, they wouldn't be coming of age as much as just sex comedies. Right, right. There used to be a lot of I mean, in my opinion, the best one is sleeper by Woody Allen. It wasn't like people were doing sex comedies before. I mean, you know, and I quirky generation work marquees fast times. And that's yeah. And so I think some of those things, particularly because the younger audience is there, I would be recommending to people, let's put out some of this funny stuff. Let's introduce Stiffler. And Jim, and, you know, Jessica, which is the Natasha young character, they would have been featured, they would have been great. Tik Tok YouTube sort of web series. Imagine, yeah, and you could have had so much fun and and then you could put it together into a bigger thing. Right. And, and I think that's for something like that. I think Good Will Hunting because of the nature of what it is, you would have had to try to make it as a drama right away. Like I don't think that the best you could have done and you know, we joked about this was take the screenplay and turn it into some sort of coming of age novel that was actually written by Will Hunting. And you try to sell the book and you try to get somebody think it's there and then people realize it's fake and then they let's make the movie. But the truth of the matter is, I would there still some things get made now most likely again, it might have ended up as a limited series. As I said, I think the the limited series has created, in my opinion, just longer movies. I don't think they're in so the way I talk about it now I try to convince people to so many use your platform to continue my evangelical preach, I think the what the new term should be is one off stories versus episodic meaning it a one off story can still have episodes, but it's one story, the last episode will be who is the murderer? Does the couple get together? Do people so you know, it's one story now you may fall in love with those characters and decide to make more one off stories with them. You know, we've talked about how much we're both like diehard I mean, whether we're up to six of them, right. And I think that they have jumped the shark in the sense of this one cop can't be in all these stories, but I do love John McClane as a character. Right? Like, I think it's great. I actually think the new process of having a series that works and then having a movie that sort of wraps it all up like they did with Breaking Bad like they don't, where I think that's actually not a bad way to go where you where you sort of then have the the wrap up thing of it. But my point is on goodwill, it's sort of, it's either super intimate. So it could have been like, if Matt was not as well known. And he could have started a YouTube channel where he's talking directly to the camera and doing Hey, I'm whale hunting, and I live in Southie. And, you know, I'm a math genius, but it's not really what YouTube's about. Right? And it's not, you know, so then you could have done something like there's some other character, maybe it's Chucky who's trying to have or Iowa's joke, the better one would have been Casey's character's name was Morgan, trying to have a YouTube channel. And he's like, Dude, you're genius. You gotta come on my YouTube channel. Come on, you guys. What am I it's always like, I don't fucking know, talk about math, talk about whatever, just come on the channel I need can't just be me, you know? How much you jerk off upstairs. Like, you know that that kind of thing would have been funny to get to know these guys. But it doesn't really fit who they are, that any of them would even have a laptop. Yeah. So so that's why I'd say that's why I say producer's job is to know a little bit about the business to say when they find stories that they find talent that they believe in to say, look, this, we should do like, I have a friend who had a great action movie idea. And he's pretty well known writer. He's written a bunch of shinies, read the Marvel movies done all this stuff. And he was one of my clients early on, he's and well known and he went around, he pitched it to all the people, and nobody would buy it, because it was brand new, big action franchise female lead, and I'm not producing it at all. But we had lunch one day, and I was like, dude, just find somebody who'll do it as a graphic novel. It's a great idea as a graphic novel, you could get a cool artist to draw her and to draw the thing to create this visual. And you know, I always use kick ass as an example. Everybody talks about oh, yeah, they were they were out there and they adapted this graphic novel kick ass then you go and you actually look up the numbers kick ass never sold more than 5000 copies. Right. I mean, I could get a Facebook post have 5000 reads right now. Right. But somehow in the mind of Lionsgate and and Matthew Vaughn's a genius salesman that he goes, like he created the Kingsmen. I don't know where the hell that came from. But he went out and said, We can do this. And the point is that they just had this graphic novel. Like I said, the people loved it. They could show on a blog somewhere that somebody loved it. But it wasn't like, there were so many fans of kick ass, the graphic novel that you could do the math of, we should definitely turn this into a big movie with Nicolas Cage, right? Like, they just sort of got Lionsgate to do it. Right. And so my point was, and I'm just not saying names, because it hasn't been made yet. Whatever. But what I what I was saying was, look, try to get somebody to do it. So it turns out he has a guy went to college whose friend has has a tiny, tiny little graphic novel label, right? So he calls him up. He's like, What do you think I'll write it. He introduces them to this cool young female artists, she starts Johnson pictures. And one of these like graphic novel blogs, probably has, you know, a quarter of the listeners you have, right? says, Oh, I hear that this company is about to do this with this writer. Here's a picture of the girl, right? Done. Seven people bid on it. He sells it for $2 million to somebody who already heard the pitch, who passed on it, who literally now is buying it in a bidding war because some 20 year old, literally, he's got 200 people listening to all about graphic novels, but some young executive inside that production come he's like, holy shit, this thing's about to be a graphic novel. We should get into it now. Right? And so it was like, okay, but then of course, because the money was so high. They said you can't publish the graphic novel until we're making the movie and of course the movie hasn't got made. So the graphic novel hasn't come out and ended up in the exact same development hell he was in before, except he has probably a million dollars. Okay. So what I said was you shouldn't have sold on the rights, you should have said, Look, I'll give you a year. But if you don't figure it out, we're putting out the graphic novel, and you know, whatever. But the point to potentially screenwriters and producers people might be listening to this is literally, they never even made the graphic novel. They just got lucky that some, you know, junior executive at some production company was validating his job by saying, Hey, I'm on the pulse of graphic novels. I listened to these blogs that nobody else knows about this blog. And you're like, you heard the pitch four weeks ago? Like, what do you mean, you're on the pulse? Right? Like, they should have realized they could have bought the rights from him for a lot less than that. And then said to him, we're gonna go publish a graphic novel, right? Like, but movie people are so stuck up, that they want to wait for somebody else to say, Oh, this is a good idea. You know, and it didn't used to be that way. There was a lot of heads of studios alive. Yes. Was you know, Joe silver, again, not the greatest guy on Earth. But he's, he read Lethal Weapon, totally unknown writer, totally unknown thing. And was like, this is an awesome movie. We can make it great. And now lethal weapons, Lethal Weapon.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:18
I was I was talking to Richard Donner's ahead of his studio a while ago, and he was telling me he's like, I go, what was it, like, rolling with Dick back in the 80s. And he's like, Alex, all I needed to do all it all. It says like, oh, Dick's wants to do it. He would just call up Warner Brothers. And they said, Sure. And I go, Well, what were the budgets is like, we never had a budget. We just, they just, they just gave us what we needed to make the movie. Like, it was never even a question. Because we were very responsible with it. We didn't go crazy. But I never, I never saw a budget for Lethal Weapon. We just kept like, this is what we need guys. It was a different world. But there was Guys, guys, it specifically they were all pretty much man at that point. That would say, Hey, this is what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna make, I'm gonna make good. Well, I'm gonna make good wanting.
Chris Moore 1:07:11
And the thing, but that goes back to what I said not to pretend that I'm a genius. But I will just bring it back to my comment, which is, that was because they believe they control the audience,
Alex Ferrari 1:07:22
Right! That's a really good point, man. That's
Chris Moore 1:07:24
Meaning the Warner Brothers guys could look at that and say, we know we can make a new hit this year. Right? Which one of these projects is going to be our new hit? Well, we like this Lethal Weapon thing. So let's go try that.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:39
Right. It's got dick. It's got Joel
Chris Moore 1:07:41
Right, and we'll see what happens. You know, I mean, Keannu Reeves couldn't get arrested when they made the matrix. He'd been in Bill and Ted.He's been a, you know, a teenage star, and he still was doing some movies, but point break it, you know, and it was sort of like, okay, let's put you on a reason that makes a big, cool, awesome idea. This Warshawski. They, they have a real vision. Let's make the matrix.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:06
But that thing but but the matrix was if I'm if I know my history correctly, Joel is the one who pushed that through. And you needed a champion.
Chris Moore 1:08:16
Yeah, but that that's what I'm saying. Guys like Joel, right. Larry Gordon. You know, Jerry Bruckheimer deserves a lot of credit. But the point is that these guys were like, we can make hits, right? We can, we can make it happen. Right? And every now and then something would sneak up on them. Right. But most of the time, you had a pretty good idea, you know, and some of it was based purely on marketing budget, if you spent $50 million, you're gonna make $100 million? Sure. No, that's a great business to be in. If I could be in that business in Vegas, and just be like, every time I've read on 13 Read on roulette, I'm gonna win. Yeah, I just been there right now dropping money on 13. Right, right. And then they lost the ability to control that machine. Right.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:02
And that's why it took them almost a decade to come up with their first streaming service. And Netflix had a huge head start because they were terrified of Netflix, you know, and they and they still, I don't think there is terrified now, but I mean, it literally was like 12 years for Disney plus to show up, and then everybody showed up, and then everybody has one now,but it took forever.
Chris Moore 1:09:19
Well, after they believed that it was gonna be the new version of DVD. Yeah, and for like, a year, or maybe four years, it was I mean, that was the big problem with Disney is Netflix was playing them so much money to have the Disney product on Netflix. Yeah, that they were like, why would we ever start our own that's just gonna cost us money. And we're gonna lose all this money we're getting from Netflix, right? But then when Netflix started premiering stuff, right, when they started coming up with new stuff, when they started competing with Disney on original intellectual property, right, then all of a sudden they're like Wait a minute, they're getting all this money by showing our content. And then they're out bidding us, right. And we can't, we can't. And that's the big thing. I'll say, another one of my, you know, to your point about my three leverage points. The other thing is that the industry has changed now to where there's, there used to be these windows. And sometimes people read these articles about windowing. And they think this is over my head, I can't figure this out what the hell are they talking about windowing? But what it really comes down to is you had three to six moments to make money off your product, right? If you have ever made a product and tried to sell it, the holy grails failed to make it once and sell it five times. Right? Like, you know, that's, that's the holy grail of manufacturing is you never have to spend any more money which you get to sell it again. And in that late 90s, early 2000s. That's what it was, you had foreign, you had premium cable, you had regular cable, you had broadcast TV, you had DVD, right, and you had the box office. So what happened is, the big companies were only focused on that first window, right? They do the big theatrical thing, the launch was what I call it into the world. So you have a piece up made something, you're gonna launch it, you want to control that, right. But once you're done launching it, the rest of it is just gravy, right? So you have these other windows. And so they looked at all those people on the other windows as sort of the second tier, the JV, this sort of extra money all the way to the point is something like red box, where I bet if you went to the head of Paramount Pictures in 2010, and said, Do you even know which one of your movies are in the red box right now? You'd be like, No, I have no idea. I don't care. I love that we get money out of it. It's totally irrelevant. Right? And that's what they all thought Netflix was gonna be Redbox. Right? They were like, Okay, for the geeks who want to have streaming, when the Internet is big enough that they can have, you know, big files, and people can watch HD, but they're never going to be in the business, we're in of launching content. Right? Yeah. And the second they were in it, Disney realized, we can't have Netflix doing that we can't, we gotta have get those people to our side. And that that's why I think it's changed dramatically, because now there's just launch. And then there's the whole life after launch, there are these other windows where you can make money. So all the people that are green lighting material are green lighting it based on whether they think they can make money in launch, or whether they think like they think it's just gonna be good to have in their library. You know, and and that's why I think the producers, the writers, people got to think through where is your project in this, right. So like, read notice back to the movie talked about for Netflix, that's super important at launch to make people think they're still a big studio to make people want to be part of it, to have new big stuff. So when you see your 1399 every month, you're like, I get it, this is why I do it. Right? Stranger Things for will come out
Alex Ferrari 1:13:05
And don't look up, Jessica is coming out.
Chris Moore 1:13:08
Exactly. And the Sandra Bullock movie just came out. But but the point is that, that that's where it's changed a lot as a producer, because you really don't have any of that back end part anymore. None of that is for you. So you're either selling into the launch machine and saying this will be valuable for you. Over time, Netflix, you'll just want to have this in your library. Or you're saying this is one of your launch projects. And all the big producers and the big writers and the big directors are trying to make sure they only work in the launch area. Right. But a lot of us are going to get relegated to the you know what, in the old days would be called the straight to DVD. Right? Nobody wants to be called that. But I mean, a joke amongst producers today is if you make a movie and it premieres on Netflix, did you really make a movie? Because of No, but if nobody's heard of it, right? Did you do it? Yeah, you got paid. But, you know, no one's stopping me in an airport, you know, for things that get made on Netflix, right, unless it breaks out as one of their things. And so that's, that's what I think the whole industry is trying to figure out right now. That's why I think podcasts like this, and whole communities, like what you're building on your website, and what you're doing with your classes, and your interviews are super important because it's wiggling itself down to where as a producer, as a writer, as a director, as a creator, performer, comedian, whoever, you have to understand where you fit into the new marketplace, to make reasonable expectations for what you're trying to get out of it. You know, and that's why I say like, if I were starting American Pie, I'd say let's go do this stuff. You're not gonna get paid for the first two years of this. Alright, maybe we can pay, you know, 100 bucks or we can pay you scale minimum for a podcast. I don't know what that is, but I'm sure there is one. But the point is, you're doing it so that we promised You get to be part of it as it grows.
Alex Ferrari 1:15:02
Well, that's I mean, that's Jason plums entire model. I mean, when I had Jason on the show, I, it was just so fascinating. He was just so like, these are the rules. I don't break my rules. That's why I'm successful. And like, and that's why every single thing has to fall within these parameters. I don't care if you're JLo. I don't care for anything. You're working scaling, you're going to get the backend, and we do pay everybody. And that's the way it works. And it's just like, that's brilliant. And he's done fairly well for himself.
Chris Moore 1:15:30
He's done. Great. He's done. And I think he's also he's actually a pretty good judge of talent. Yes, yes. I mean, like he he sees somebody Jordan peels example. I mean, that's an easy example. Because now he's become Jordan Peele, but like,
Alex Ferrari 1:15:44
James De Monaco,with the purge.
Chris Moore 1:15:46
Yeah. I mean, the point is, it wasn't like those guys weren't out here already. That it just fall off the turnip truck. In some ways, Jason is example. And there's not a lot of Jason's now, of the Joel Silver, the Jerry Bruckheimer from we were just talking about in the 90s, right, where they looked at and said, we can make this a hit. Right. So he paranormal activity and the purge, and you know, these things, and that, that's why I think it's a, it's a fascinating time, it can be a little bit wild, wild west, the problem is back to the conversation of the three points of leverage, as a producer, or a writer, where you're sort of traditionally low person, you know, on the pecking order, right, you, you need to find leverage, because it is a business right now, because of the Wild Wild West, that will try to, you know, diminish you down as the process moves forward. You know, I've been working with a group producers to start this sort of producers union. And part of the reason we're trying to just collectively bargain is that in certain situations, producers are literally the person getting paid the least on set, and have no health care, and are actually legally responsible for everything that happens, but legally have no control over everything. So, you know, it, it's, it's sort of like, again, what, what people say, you know, when they, you know, sell somebody, a six pack, and that person has a drunk driving accident, you know, that they didn't know what they were going to do. Right? With the six pack, you know, you set up, make a movie and do whatever, and then somebody, you know, gets COVID, or somebody in the worst case, scenario shot or somebody, whatever, you're, you're on the hook. And it's like you, you want to really think some of this stuff through because if you jump in using the past as the way to do stuff, you could find yourself in a really bad spot. Inadvertently,
Alex Ferrari 1:17:42
Do you feel that filmmakers in today's world need to start building audience or understand them? First of all, they have to understand marketing, before filmmakers need to understand marketing, they have to absolutely in today's world, especially in the indie world, need to understand marketing, and audience building. Because when I, you know, when I release a feature that I've shot, you know, I targeted towards my audience and I, I've built product to feed my audience, because I know, the kind of audience, I'm not gonna make Manchester by the Sea, and sell it to, to my audience, because that's not the audience, but I will make them the last Jason globe. Right, exactly. But I will make a movie about filmmakers going to Sundance trying to sell their movie, and giving and getting out to the artist because like, oh, that's what that's what my audience wants to see. So do you feel that that is where the future is for independent filmmakers? I know a lot of filmmakers don't want to so many filmmakers, I'm sure you've met these met filmmakers like this. I just want to be an artist. I don't want to think about the business. I don't want to think about the marketing. I just want to just go be an artist and I'm done. Yeah, if you're certain director, you might be able to do that. But I argue that even all those directors we've mentioned in this entire show, all understand marketing, all understand the business of it, they James Cameron, you know, David Fincher, all these guys understand every aspect of the business. So do you agree that audience is something that filmmakers need to understand marketing and maybe gathering an audience to be able to sell product?
Chris Moore 1:19:05
I do in the same way that I said, you know, pretend it's gonna be a graphic novel, and you might, you know, sell it? Or if you have 2 million people, you know, who are following you? Right? You know, but you had to be careful. You know, in the chair we did, we used a big YouTube celebrity at 9 million people, quote, unquote, subscribe. But it turned out a lot of those people are young, and they don't have credit cards, and they can't go see all rated movies. And so it didn't really translate to his movie becoming, you know, a box office success. So you got to be careful what the followers mean. But I think the other thing, what, I guess the answer, I'd say so yes, for a human being, who is sales, marketing promotion, I use the term promotion because a lot of times you don't have the money for paid marketing, right. And so you're, you're trying to promote your stuff in a way where you get an audience and one way is to build your own Audience I agree with that completely. I think there's also going to be a lot of room for partners for filmmakers. And, and that people like me in today's world, and that's part of what my consulting thing is, and is to try to say, look. And then I think companies like, you know, the A 20, fours or neon, or they're basically the promoters of the music business from five or 10 years ago, right. We're like, you know, and they might merge and become Live Nation and they become a bigger, you know, district. But I, a lot of times tell people look at the music business five years ago is always where the film businesses and it's mostly the lag is the fact that it takes longer to make movies than it does record songs. And it's a shitload more expensive. So people have to be worried about but ultimately now, because it's no longer theatrically driven, right? We are creating digital files, just like songwriters, and song. And so the point is that in so what I try to say to people is, look, if you're not going to be that person, and you should listen to podcasts, go to one of your classes, and say to yourself, can I be a promoter of my own work? Because some people, they need to take a shower after their promoter, right? Like, hey, they think trying to talk somebody into doing something or buy something or do whatever, is somehow a dirty thing, right? And yeah, if you lie to people, and you cheat it is, but promoting something you believe in is a totally fair, and I think great way to spend your time. And so my point is, there can also be these partnerships, like one of the things I recommended years ago to YouTube, you may remember, they came out and said, We're gonna come to Hollywood and spend $100 million to get all these original, you know, content. This is even before YouTube TV is just YouTube. And I said, You're crazy. Don't do it that way. I said, what you should do is you know the numbers. Pick your people because I would say of every YouTube influencer YouTube influencer, I've met. They're either our promoter, meaning they're great at getting audience, but their contents average, right? Or they're great at creating content. And they're horrible. I've promoted and they've risen, because on one side of the content, push them up on the other side that I said, Pick those people and merge them. Just go ahead and say, here's $3 million X, Y, you're now a company, you figure out how to promote this stuff, you figure out how to make their content better, and go. And they're like, Well, I can't, that's all inside the YouTube ecosystem, we're trying to bring people in. And that really hasn't worked. There hasn't been a ton of crossover between the YouTube ecosystem, and sort of big Hollywood. But the point is that I do think promotion is super, super important. But I do accept that there are some people that just can't promote. And what I'd say is, if you're not that kind of person, you know, sit, it's sort of like taste, it's know yourself, right? And if you realize I'm never going to be a good promoter, go find one, right? out on YouTube, go out on whatever say, I love the way this person sells. I love the way this person talks about stuff I love. Hey, would you ever helped me promote this stuff? Yeah, you might have to share a little money. Yeah, every now and then they might come up with some gimmick that you're like, This is the dumbest thing ever. And you're and you may battle but it's gonna be a lot better than us sending out really boring emails that are gonna make me say, I don't want to watch this guy's movie. Right. Meanwhile, you might have made a great movie. You know? And, and I think that that's the, you know, which is why to some extent, comedians have built the biggest audience the fastest, because they're already funny. So you're like, I'll sign up for Louie CK or Dave Chappelle or whatever it is. And they can sell me stuff directly, just because I'm probably gonna laugh. Right? Yeah. And, and I think if you talk to big musicians, big bands, there, a lot of them are doing it directly now to okay might have hired people to run their business, but they're not, you know, they're taking a small piece of what the record label has to offer, not given them 80% To do all of it. Right. And so again, using the music business, I would say, I think there's going to be a lot of companies a lot of places that become, you know, promoters for talent, and that that the new talent company will be the promoter and the the talent together, figuring out what to do, right, like, and what's the best way and that might include somebody who understands the business, right? Like we're about to find out whether Reese Witherspoon selling her company to a private equity firm actually makes her any more money than just be at risk Reese Witherspoon, right like, she obviously thinks it will. Right. It looks good in a press release. But haven't been a guy for a lot of money and had a production company that had a lot of money. I'm not 100% Sure for somebody like Reese whether having money really benefits her, you know, and if If it were to fall apart or times change, do whatever it can also be negative in the sense of like, you know what happened I like Reese live I believe in her and I love the mission of hello sunshine. But the whole thing is like, the world is still trying to figure out where best to put the money. And I would say again, if you go all the way back to the brothers Graham or Shakespeare, sure never, you know, fuck Homer walking around telling us poems. You go back, somebody had to tell everybody Homer was showing up to tell a story. Right? There's a Harold aerobill up and tell story. Right? And I don't think it was Homer Shakespeare all the time. Right. There were other people in that mix. And I think that's the traditionally best partnership in any creative endeavor is the promoter and the talent,
Alex Ferrari 1:25:46
The Grazer and the Howard. Yes, those are the that's that's the perfect analogy. Brian Grazer, Ron Howard. And because Ron's not a promoter, Brian definitely. Yeah, absolutely. And they've done they've done okay for themselves over the years. Um, Chris, man, I could keep talking you for at least three or four more hours, man. And you're always welcome back anytime you want to keep talk, because I have literally 1000 Other questions I can ask you. But I'm gonna ask you a few questions. Ask all my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into this business today?
Chris Moore 1:26:20
Well, by filmmaker do you mean like somebody who's not a producer?
Alex Ferrari 1:26:25
Yeah, Director, like the director of filmmakers trying to trying to get their movies made,
Chris Moore 1:26:29
Make stuff and put it out. Like, like, it's just constantly be putting out and making stuff, whether it's, you know, smaller pieces, longer pieces, trying to get it and then, you know, find this promotional person, whether it's internally or inside yourself, or, you know, look, there's a famous story out there of a director who just basically changed his voice and created this character, that was his agent. And he would call around as the agent and got himself jobs. And, and then finally got a real agent and had to go through the whole thing of firing his agent, who was him just doing a voice. But you know, Hollywood is,
Alex Ferrari 1:27:08
Who is that guy, I want to get him on show.
Chris Moore 1:27:13
Okay, but I'm sure there's other people who've done it, but But your point is that there is a unwritten thing in Hollywood about, it's easier to talk to a third party about somebody than it is to talk to the person directly. Right. So, you know, sometimes, so that's why I say if you find this other person, manager, promoter, producer, agent, all those are the same thing. Right? And, and, and the point at the launching of your career, but then it's put out work, try to get something that some audience has liked, right? And make sure it's in the space where you'd like to be a director, right? Like, don't, don't go make some romantic comedy short thing, and then come out and say, All I want to do is the next Jason Bourne. Because people you know, it's sort of like, don't go play basketball, and then say, what I want to do is be a pro football player, like, like the point is, put yourself in a space where you're showing this stuff, and you're doing this stuff, and just keep putting stuff out. You know, and I think, as a writer, try to find a director or somebody to help you make, right because for writers, it's even worse, because it's so hard right now, for script for people, they just not wrapping their head around the page to the screen. And so normally, I would have said, write stuff, sell some scripts. But at this point, I think you, you still need to potentially take it one step further and make sure it's I mean, your story starts at a short, right? Like the, the at least on your website. And so the point is that make stuff and if you're a writer, find a director you like and it doesn't mean you have to be partners forever, it doesn't mean you have to do it. But the point is, the more stuff gets made, the more people look at you and say, Wow, that's a voice or that's a skill set, or that's a thing. But like I said, we're so either stuck up or insecure, whichever way you want to look at it, or I think a shrink would say those two things are somehow melded together. But the point is outside validation somehow carries, in my opinion, an inordinate amount of weight right now. So if you're trying to get in, do everything you can to have outside validation, when you try to get in, as I said, even to the point of faking it, right? Like here's where the they might go to jail because called Ozzy media where the guys pretended they had all this, you know, viewership, and they had a big meeting with an investor and one of their executives pretended he was an executive from YouTube. And the executive figured it out.
Alex Ferrari 1:29:39
There's a point there's a point of where you fake it till you make it
Chris Moore 1:29:42
I'm saying hi and do that, but what I'm saying is, if if people you know if you are having success, let people know. Yes, no,
Alex Ferrari 1:29:53
Yeah, no, no question. Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life?
Chris Moore 1:29:59
You know, this is more personal or, you know, it's larger than just the film industry, but it applies directly, which is, I think the hardest thing that I learned is I don't function well, in situations that are primarily driven by financial success. Meaning that as I got deeper into the studio system, as I started making movies that really were getting made, because they filled a pipeline, or because they, you know, were big enough budgets that everybody was getting paid, that that didn't, I wasn't my best, I didn't enjoy it that much. But also, I wasn't that good at it. Like I didn't, I need to love the story and want the story to get made to be good. And that has limitations. So part of it is is for everybody out there. You know, this is the dumbest. Even if I were at the lesson, we're like, fuck that guy. Like, excuse my language. But the but the point is that what I'd say is spend a little time with a pad of paper, the voice recording on your phone and say what it is you really love to do. You have actually a great paragraph on your website, where you say, people ask me, Why do I do this? And you say, I love doing it. And to me, that's the number one thing and somebody may have said to you, you're gonna make less money doing this than you are directing episodes of some show on The CW. But But, But your point is, I'd rather spend this two hours with me doing this thing and sharing it with your audience than doing it that episode, right. And so the point is, you learned that at some point how you want to spend your time. And my point is it took me the longest because you get in this thing of oh my god, I could be president of production at a studio, I make all this money, I do this. And then you realize the movies you'd be making, you don't like and you wouldn't watch, but the corporate politics of it. That's what they should make, right. And so I have the great luxury to to allow myself to function primarily outside the need for a certain level of money, I have to make some money every year. And I do that. But it's not. It's not what drives every decision. And it took me a long time to accept that it took me a long time to turn down. Like, as an independent producer, turning down projects, turning down paychecks, is really counterintuitive. You're like, I spent the first 10 years trying to get to the point where somebody offered me this job. And now I'm like, yeah, there's no way I'm doing that job, right, like, but it's so true. And so that would be the lesson I would say is if you're in the place where you're literally not homeless, so any job you need to take, right, you're not living in your car. But you're at a place where you have to be like, This is what really gets me going, this is what I love to do. This is where I think my craft again, we're talking about people have a real craft, which in my opinion, I don't think salesmanship and understanding the business, and sort of giving creative notes isn't necessarily a craft, it's just, it is a skill set as a producer, but ultimately producing is more learning how to sell learning about the business, networking, doing all that kind of stuff, the so that's why I say for those people, it's getting out and putting the work out there and doing but it's also sitting home and saying, you know, I like doing this better, right? Or I need to have this outlet. So I can support my life, like I was talking about Gus Malzahn, who I made two movies with. And I think Gus is a real artist. And he's, he's, he's really great director when he wants to be. But he also occasionally goes off and makes his own movies that I don't understand at all. But I'm just sort of like, why why would you make this movie or in the case of Jerry, which I know a little bit about because Casey and Matt started, there's a whole second half of that story, because it's based on sort of a real life thing. That's awesome. And I'm always like, how could you tell the story of that without going into the second story because I don't care about that story, right. But guess also somewhat, will be honest about he also will go make a big studio, whatever movie for a paycheck not not just for the money, but for this is also what I use my skill set and my craft for so he's figured out a balance in his life. And you can go look at his his resume or his biography and you can see it. So my point is, I You really got to spend time on figuring out your lifestyle and its relation to your career. Because if you're constantly struggling, if you constantly feel like you're failing, if you constantly get frustrated, you won't be good at your job. And so you have to set your bar on your lifestyle. And I don't think this is unusual thing. I think every kid in college every kid is thinking about like, if I'm going to go be a public school teacher, you know, right away what your financial upside unless you happen to invent some shit in your garage in your free time. You're, you know, this is where I'm capping out. Right, right. And you've decided I get more out of being a Teacher, then I would be on Wall Street where the cap is a lot higher. Right? And so what I'd say the answer that question is what? It took me a long time, partly because it went fast. And so I never really had a chance to stop and think about it. But partly because I wasn't aware enough, and I wasn't, you know, whatever, smart enough human being, and nobody was saying this in public have better figure out what it is I really like, because this is what I'm actually good at. And, you know, fighting and sticking out a project like Manchester by the Sea, you know, is a lot more fun and interesting for me than it would be going and making, you know, read notice for Netflix, not that I don't like that movie. But it's not, it would be hard to leave my family. And it partly, that's where it gave me the was leaving my kids for a period of time became much, much harder to do. And so then your bar is like, what, why am I leaving my kids for this? Like, you know, and that is a luxury. And I say that openly to all of your listeners and all the people there. It's a luxury I have that I'm not going to lose my house. And what I would have done is sort of what I just said about Gus is like, I wouldn't have doing one thing a year where I got paid, and then I'd have this other stuff and I'd figure it out for the last four or five years. I haven't had to do that.
Alex Ferrari 1:36:21
Yeah, and it's so I always found you to be a very scrappy, scrappy producer, you just like you'd like that. Like I'm gonna get material about Manchester by the bay done. Alright, so bad to see done like that. That's, I don't see you as like working for Marvel or, you know, big franchise, this is just not your flavor. And there's nothing wrong with that. And a lot of people look at me, they're like, oh, man, why aren't you pumping out more features? Or why aren't you doing more stuff? I'm like, Guys, I'm happy. You took me a long time to get here. Man. I was a bitter and angry motherfucker, for a long, long time. Because I was like, oh, I want that. I want that. I want that. And when that thing never came, or I got so close to it so many times that I just decided, I'm just gonna do me. And now I'm like, hey, I want to put a movie out. I'll go make a small little movie with myself. If some opportunity presents itself, it presents itself. But I'm not chasing anymore. And man, am I so much happier. And that only comes with age, man, you can't get that. It's hard to experience, right age and experience.
Chris Moore 1:37:21
And a bunch of that stuff had happened to you in a way where all of a sudden you are out there doing it. You might say, well, this is what I ended up doing. Right. But you know, Jason, I don't know if he talked about the drum movie. I always forget the title of it. That someone? No, no, he did the one where the JK Simmons is the guy Oh, yeah. Whiplash, you know, his name is on that he was part of getting that maybe he was a big part of getting me but it's not a Blumhouse movie. Nobody had to do it outside of his company and stuff. And that happens. You know, I remember talking to Thomas toll, you know, runs legendary. And he did that documentary with Jack White. And the guy from Led Zeppelin and the other guitar guys is like, I couldn't do that through legendary. That's not what legendary set up to do. Right. And so I'm the guy wants to make whiplash and the guitar documentary. So like, where's the company that set up to do that? And there isn't one, because they're risky. There's no margin in any of them. Maybe you make money? Maybe you don't. So it's people have been successful in some other place, pick their passion project, and they go do it. Right. And I think that that's what people have to look at is, you know, and that's part of that, again, not to keep coming back to this, but just to talk about this union is that part of the reason producers need I think a little bit of a collective experiences, passion project shouldn't become only for the rich, right? You should be able to be passionate about something and have a process where you can make a living, like I said, you may only get paid what a third grade teacher in, you know, the Omaha, Nebraska public schools get paid, right? But that's a choice, you may have to make that your passion project isn't going to be American Pie, right. But the point is, I'd rather have somebody tell me that going into it. And I can, as you said, I can make my lifestyle to fit what I like to do. But I can actually make a living again, it may not be this living, but it's this living, but I can be happy, because I set the expectations correctly. Right. And that's the part that is being missed right now is people are looking at someone who should make $50 million a year. And it's like, very few people are gonna be making $50 million a year as streamers take over, because it's gonna be much more, you get paid for fees up front, you're doing programming for these big multinational machines. And they'll hopefully there'll be a small, independent business just like, again, the music business, right, you know,
Alex Ferrari 1:39:44
And it's, I agree with you 100% And I've told that I've been yelling at that from the top of the mountain. Guys, it's we're all not going to be millionaires. We're all not going to make studio movies. You know, Spielberg Nolan Fincher that there's a handful of directors who get to play on that sandbox, you've got to build out something that echo if you made $100,000 a year, if you made $50,000 a year, and you live in Kansas, in the middle of Kansas somewhere, is that enough to put food on the table to support your family? And and be happy? And can you do that while making movies? Holy cow, you have one, you have one 110% You don't need to make a million dollars a year or $2 million to $5 million a year. And that's where people are so upset and depressed and angry. And I was that way for years, over probably 1020 years of my career. I was always angry because I wasn't that guy. But when I finally figured out like, wait a minute, how much do I actually need to make to be happy? Oh, man, that changed the whole that changed the whole game for me. And now I'm super happy. And then now I get to talk to people like yourself, and, and make make relationships connections. And, and, you know, look, if I would have told my self in 2005 Hey, man, you're gonna sit down and talk for a couple hours to Chris Moore on a podcast. And I was like, What the hell's a podcast? But I would if I would have been pinching myself. Or if I talked to any of the amazing guests that I have on my show. That's, that's because I found my happy place. I found my happy place if you will. And that's fine for themselves.
Chris Moore 1:41:19
Right. And I that's why I think it's a tiny bit bigger than just the film is but it's very true for the film business because finding your happy place. In a business that is a little bit more like the wild wild west is hard because it redefines itself. You know, every time a new gunslinger comes to town, we're whereas, you know, if you're in the public school system in Omaha or Kansas, you're, you can see a little bit more of what the process is and what's going to happen if you decide to get into academia. I mean, I flew with that I taught I taught at NYU I taught at UCLA. I was like, maybe this is the future for me because I do love share me Project Greenlight came out of me and this young guy, Alex collegian talking about how can we capture what can we do? Could we fake it? Like, I still believe in this? Why would come do a podcast with you? Right is because I'd like to share my experience for one macro reason, which is, I don't think every producer needs to go through all the shit I went through a man I don't think they need to go through everything you went through. And I think that if as an industry, we didn't think that there was some secret shit. That's why I like RV I think originally introduced us, you know, stage stage. 32 always takes this
Alex Ferrari 1:42:27
Friend, a friend of my friend of the show.
Chris Moore 1:42:30
And I love them. And he's like, look, I'm struggling. I go out, I learned all this stuff. But like, why should every next guy who's a writer, actor, whatever, coming out in New Jersey, you have to learn everything I learned from scratch. Right? And I think that's the industry should do more of that where we help people. And that's what one of the parts of Project Greenlight was about when it originally happened was Why Why should everybody go through completely blind as you said, no one's gonna have the same experience. Matt and Ben had go on, right. And we never recreated it. In Project Greenlight. I didn't recreate it in the chair. There was no you can't recreate it. But you give people an insight. Like one of our favorite things we used to get in the first couple seasons, Project Greenlight is people write to us. And they say, I'm so grateful to your show, we'd expect like, and then I wrote my screenplay, and now I'm going to USC film, school, whatever. But what they would say is, you completely convinced me I don't ever want to work in Hollywood. And we say, yes, that
Alex Ferrari 1:43:30
We saved the game. We saved another one.
Chris Moore 1:43:34
You know, that's another doctor. That's another guy. Sound Engineer somebody, right? It's like that's, but they feel happy in that job. Because in the back of their mind, they're not constantly I should have gone to Hollywood.
Alex Ferrari 1:43:46
It's like,look man, this business is not for the faint of heart. It's not for everybody. I call it a sickness, a beautiful sickness that we have. Because it is it. And once you're bitten, you can't get rid of it. And it's it's really hard, but it is an absolute insanity. I had a guy on the show who lost his house six kids, because his first movie died at the box office, he mortgaged his house at the move back into his to his parents house with five or six, five or six kids. And he said to me, the only thing I was thinking was, oh my god, I'm never gonna get the direct again. I'm like, is that what you were thinking?
Chris Moore 1:44:25
And if you have ever been part of the 12 step program, which I will admit, I have been, that's exactly what happens when you sit in those rooms, right? I'm, I'm in jail. I've wrecked my car. My wife left me. And all I'm thinking about is how soon can I have another drink? Right? Yeah, that is fucking what happens in this business. It's like, I lost my house. My wife is pissed. My kids are homeless. And all I can think about is how do I get to direct my next move? And that's part of why I think what You're doing what I would like to do. And what other people do is, it's part of why it's so important. Because again, you want to at least give them a resource to make an educated decision before they end up living in their day house, because they, they thought the business was reliable. I mean, and they, they made decisions and and worse, a lot of times, I don't know where he got his money, but I'm sure he had more money besides the mortgaging of his house, that he probably owes people money to, or like the person you talked about owes 300 grand from film school, like, that's the other thing, you go on this debt, it lives with you forever. It doesn't. And that and that's why I feel so fortunate that I'm not sitting here, you know, I was able to pretty much pay everybody back. And in the cases of where I wasn't, I was at least we made one or two things that people were proud of helping me get made. And that's it. That's why I'm not out raising money right now. Because I couldn't say to somebody, what's the best way to use money right now? And I just don't think there's a way that money makes you more money. That's why I made the comment about Hello, Sunshine was like, I don't know what they do. And I think annapurnas For example, She got all the money she needs, and you can't figure out what to do with the money. Yes, you can Greenlight and do stuff. But then you end up losing that money. And so then, you know, so then you might as well make it a charity, you know, you might just say, this is pro bono film, finance, right? Just like a lawyer says, I'll go take this case for free. Okay, I'll produce this movie for free.
Alex Ferrari 1:46:27
And I know it's, and then you know what, it's so awesome that you said that, because it's not about just the money. Because you're right, you could have if someone gave a filmmaker $100 million, one that you could give it to 10 Different filmmakers and 10 different filmmakers will make all you're gonna make $100 million movie. And just or you go with Jason Blum does is like, Oh, I'm gonna make like 50 to 75 movies. With that, and I'm gonna make money with it. Because this is my, this is my system. But it's no camera, but there's no guarantee. This is the only business in the world you could spend $100 million and gamble worthless product.
Chris Moore 1:47:01
Yeah, and I have zero. I mean, when I say zero, I have friends at this age, um, as some of them are wealthy, like they've done real well. Yeah. And they're starting to fade out of their jobs and thinking, What should I do? And of course, there's always some friend who's a movie producer, or some friend who wrote a movie and calls them to say, yeah, why don't you finance my movie? And luckily, they know me. Well, the cops would say, that's the last thing you should do. Right? Like, like, unless, unless you're just want to give this person money, right? Or unless, like, I had one situation where person was going through a divorce, and they were like, Look, I need to have less money, so that I don't have to give it to my wife because I hate her. Right? Fair enough. Okay, I can find the movie for that. Oh, but the point is that, that's not that often. And, and but I think that that's, that's the thing is, the more podcasts like yours are out there, the more there's honesty, people will be able to make smarter decisions about what it is, and the industry will start to defy out that thing of, okay, if you go in this part of the business, this is what your life's gonna be like. Just like if you decide you want to go in academia, but you decide I want to teach at a private school, or I decide I want to teach it public school, you decided you want to be a college professor, right? Like, you know, college professor can be a great job, if you get tenure, they can't hire you, you get paid 100 300,000 bucks a year. You know, and people think you're a genius, right? So if that's what you want to do, do it, you know, but I think that that's the that's the funny part is, and again, I'm the worst person to giving us advice, because I got so successful so fast, that I never sat down, had to think about it until I was somewhat, you know, 20 years in and was like, now it's getting a little bit harder. Do I really want to do this Matt and Ben are big stars. Am I gonna go out and find the next Matt and Ben? Or am I going to keep going down the road I didn't want to keep going down the road with them because the producer for movie stars and this is no offense to anybody who's doing that as a living right now. But the point is, you're you're really there to facilitate whatever it is they want to go do to your point about taste. You're giving up your taste to that person shoots the bad if you agree with their tastes, but my experience is you never agree with everybody all the time. Sure on shit you like, you know, um, but the point is that the that the more people can listen to some of this and say, Okay, let's take 20 minutes after this podcast is over. Let's just think about what have I liked over the last 10 years? What have I been really good at? What has the world told me? I'm good at what is the you know what, and what lifestyle do I want? Right? Do I really do I only want to make 50 grand a year and live with my dad. That guy, whoever it was sounds like yeah, he's okay with that. I'd be willing to bet that he didn't explain that to his wife when he got married and had six kids, that all I want to do is direct and lose money.
Alex Ferrari 1:49:58
He did. By the way, happy ending took him seven years he built other businesses up, he got back out he made another movie. But he was a lot smarter about it the next time around. Yeah, but it took him but it took him a minute. It took him a minute to go back out. It took him a minute.
Chris Moore 1:50:11
And that's, but that's the point is he probably had that moment. I, you know, I'm not a religious person. But I spend a lot of time in churches. So I was called to come to Jesus moment. Yes, is what they used to call and anywhere you whether it's you had a failure, whether there's too many options in front of you, whether somebody offers you something you're not quite sure whatever it is, everyone ends up in that come to Jesus moment of, Is this really what I should be doing? And there's a lot of factors lifestyle, family, time health, all that plus what I like doing, and what are people going to let me do, right. And I think the more you can sit down in any version of a life, but certainly in Hollywood, because it is wildly unpredictable. And the thing that's funny about high was even unpredictable, if you take the more predictable route, like if you become an executive, you still could get fired anytime. And pretty much if you're a lawyer or an agent. If you work at one of the big management companies, you can have a relatively predictable way. But you're also trapped in that situation. And a lot of people who are interested in Hollywood are not people who are interested in being trapped. So
Alex Ferrari 1:51:17
Right, exactly. And I'll ask you one last question, sir. three of your favorite films of all time.
Chris Moore 1:51:23
Well, we talked about diehard. I also love Clockwork Orange, which some people's think is crazy, amazing. Um, oh, yes. I just think that movie is a perfect example of how to be about something but also be a really fucking good, scary, sort of interesting
Alex Ferrari 1:51:46
How in God's green earth did the first 20 minutes of that thing past any sort of censorship in the 70s? Can you imagine if the first 20 minutes of Clockwork Orange would show up today?
Chris Moore 1:51:56
It will be nc 17. And, you know, but it's also so clearly one guy's view of violence, which I'm interested in, I'm afraid of random violence. And I think that whole study, so that to me, I like that, like, the third or the next three or four are always hard, because, again, back to what we said earlier, sort of mood related, like, I do really love Peter Jackson's Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, like I can go back there and I get sucked in. You know, there's, I think Chris Nolan's pretty much most of what he's done. I'll be honest, I was a little confused by Tennant and inception. But I, there's a filmmaking skill. I don't know if I like this next one. You know, sometimes directors go, they stretch their muscles in a way that the average spurt, but there's a chunk there, particularly the Batman movies, but even, you know, the movies before that, that were really, really well done. And he's dark, like, you know, some of that stuff, but it's sort of then becomes more popcorn, you know, sort of fun movies I've seen, you know, some smaller movies. I mean, I always joke that I tell my kids all the time, one of my favorite younger movies was baby, the first baby horse. Road Warrior series that George Miller did, were awesome, even his most recent one with Tom Hardy. And, you know, I, I grew up, you know, as I said, in a small town, my parents got divorced, blah, blah, blah, but I sort of escaped a lot of that by going to the movies. And you know, literally the year they got divorced was 1977 when Star Wars came out, and I watched that movie 11 times in a row in over four days in theaters. And just wanted to believe I was out there fighting the Empire, you know, and I believe movies still have that power to take you away or give you a chance or do whatever, and it's a saint, you know, it's close, not the same year, but in that it's close to another horrible, you know, another much rougher movie that would have trouble getting made but it was one we talked about a little bit with Manchester by the Sea was ordinary people, you know, you know, that's just a horrifying said, traumatic now, as a parent, I can't watch. But I, in my younger days, I was always like, you know, they're brave to go out and talk about this. And it's easier to experience what's happening here in the movie than it is in you know, real life. So, I'm a real believer in that. And, and I think that that's the That, to me, is the biggest sort of use for these stories. You know, recently I've loved these limited series. I've loved a lot of the stuff that has come out on a tender right now like the British ones in the sort of Scandinavian ones more than I like the American ones. But you know, my wife is producing the Luthor movie. They're making a movie now. Yes. At the end of the Luther show, and I love the Luther show and I'm sure so happy they're making another Luther because I think that's a great character to see. So there's an exam
Alex Ferrari 1:54:51
And and I agree with you, man, like with Nolan and Fincher and these kind of guys. They're taking swings at the bat that just they just there's not many people given that opportunity. There is only one Nolan no one no one's getting to do the Oppenheimer 100 million dollar movie
Chris Moore 1:55:05
Right! And that's why I'm so look, Spielberg has taken a little bit of hit for his West Side Story. But he did an unbelievable job. And like, and he he's taken swings, and it's literally one of the best many movies I've ever seen. And the story is the start, like, like, for anyone to be somehow shocked in the sense that things been around forever. Like they change it completely. And I like I just, to me watching an expert who also brings in experts, I like Tony Kushner's, a bad writer and these that like, and the performers are great, and whatever, and you're like, that's what you want to see. You want these people? Well, I'm psyched for Jim Cameron's Avatar. I always thought a no, no, Sadie. It's just waiting for COVID to go away and waiting for like to finish, but it's like, I want to see great filmmakers do stuff, you know.
Alex Ferrari 1:55:55
Exactly. Chris, man, I am so grateful for this conversation, man. I mean, I argue this is probably one of the most important conversations that filmmakers should listen to. I swear to God, man, it's there's so much there's so much gold in this in the up in these hills, sir, I do truly appreciate my friend.
Chris Moore 1:56:14
Given the list on your website, I would say it's sort of, um, third tier, but I hope people listen to it. And I really appreciate what you do for the business as a whole and for talking about it. And, you know, I'm gonna listen to a bunch of them, because I think that group of people that you've had are also experiencing a change in the business that that they've been in. I'd recommend trying to get Kevin, I'm willing to write to Kevin Smith if you want if you've tried.
Alex Ferrari 1:56:41
Amen, sir. I've been trying to get through to Kevin for the longest time
Chris Moore 1:56:45
He may not do it because he has other podcasts or whatever. But Kevin fits in with the story.
Alex Ferrari 1:56:49
He does podcast. I think when clerks three comes out, hopefully he'll want to promote it.
Chris Moore 1:56:56
Because I think he'd have a lot based on what we're talking about. And I know him enough to write him and just say
Alex Ferrari 1:57:03
I had Scott on. Oh, Scott Scott is
Chris Moore 1:57:07
He's the best.
Alex Ferrari 1:57:08
Brother, I appreciate your time. Man. Thank you so much for being on the show.
Chris Moore 1:57:10
Thank you so much.
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