IFH 303: How to Hire a Producer’s Rep or Sales Agent with Glen Reynolds

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Today on the show we have a good friend of mine, producer’s rep Glen Reynolds of Circus Road Films. With 21 years in the indie film biz, he has produced 20 films and sold over 500 films. He founded Circus Road Film in 2006. Glen is also a producer, known for Blood and Bone (2009), Becoming and Conversations with Other Women (2005)

Glen has been around the block and has seen a lot in the indie film space. We met because of my scathing commentary on producer’s reps in one of my very first podcast episode (listen to that episode here).

We get into the weeds on how to hire a producer’s rep and/or sales agent, film festival strategies what to look out for and how to choose the right one for your project. Enjoy my conversation with Glen Reynolds.

Alex Ferrari 2:48
Now, today on the show, we have Glen Reynolds. He is a producer's rep and sales agent. And Glen I've been friends for a while now he's I got I got connected to him by another guest of ours Sebatian Tordas. They're both with circus Road Films. And Glen is one of the good producers reps. If you guys remember, my scathing review of producers reps back when I first started, I think it's episode three or four. Glen and I actually became friends because of that scathing podcast I did against producers reps, because there are a lot of producers reps out there and sales agents that will just steal from you straight up and smile while they take your money. But Glen is definitely not one of those guys. He is one of the good guys he really cares about as filmmakers. He really goes the extra mile. And I wanted to bring them on to kind of get an idea of how you do pick a good sales agent. How did you pick a good producers rep and what they do, how they do it and how it's changed a lot in the last three and a half years since my last producers rep podcast. So this is going to be really eye opening for any anybody out there thinking of using a producer's rep or sales agent to get their movie out there into the marketplace. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Glen Reynolds. I like to welcome the show Glen Reynolds. Man, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to the tribe today.

Glen Reynolds 4:14
Absolutely very happy to be here.

Alex Ferrari 4:15
Now of course Glen is a an amazing producer's rep with Circus Road Films. But he also moonlights as an actor on the side, because he was in my film on the corner of ego desire as a maniacal bartender at the world famous Sundance party that they throw every year. So thank you for your performance sir.

Glen Reynolds 4:36
Yeah I'm very particular I only worked with one director. And that's Alex Ferrari.

Alex Ferrari 4:40
I appreciate that tremendously. Thank you so much. You were fantastic and the parts Sir and and if we do get sold for millions of dollars, it will be strictly on your shoulders.

Glen Reynolds 4:51
No doubt.

Alex Ferrari 4:53
So before we get into a man at first, how did you get into this film business in the first place?

Glen Reynolds 4:59
Well, I I've always been a film freak from, you know, five, six years old, watching Disney movies and whatnot. And that parlayed a little bit into wanting to be an actor in my, in high school and then actually moving to New York to study acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse. I always had an interest in, in theater and movies as an art. And then I kind of did the math, I didn't, I just didn't feel like I was probably good enough to bust ever, you know, bust out to being a waiter. So I decided to go to law school. And I went back to Texas, got my law degree, bout halfway through decided didn't want to be a lawyer, but decided a better finish. And once I got out, I headed out here to interview with various people just try to get in the film business because I was still just, that was, you know, I think I spent more time in law school law school watching movies than actually cracking books. And, and so I fell into a job with an international sales agency. I'm just sitting at a desk, answering phone calls with my law degree in the door. And one thing after another, they didn't really have any buddy, like spearheading acquisition. So I kind of organized that. And then a business affairs person laughed, and I said, Hey, I got a law degree, I can do that. And I started doing that. And they were starting, they were producing a movie here and there. And so I, you know, I started reading scripts and trying to help with production. And so by the end of it, I was kind of do a little bit of everything, then was there for about eight years and worked for another company for two years. And then I decided I wanted to work for myself. And I kind of accumulated these various, you know, skills in terms of legal and aesthetic, and understand understanding the ways of independent film. And that's when I hit hung up my shingle to you know, say, Hey, I'm gonna start trying to help filmmakers get distribution. That's that's the, the long short story of it.

Alex Ferrari 7:22
So you're like Liam Neeson taken you have a certain set of skills?

Glen Reynolds 7:26
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I, precisely, precisely. Yeah. I yeah, I've always been kind of, you know, interested in doing lots of different things more than being, you know, specifically interested in, in, in producing or, or, or selling or acquiring or so I've always kind of been entrepreneurial, even when I worked for other people. And I've always, even when I worked for international sales agencies, I always felt like, I had more of a filmmaker perspective on things than a sales agent perspective on things always felt for them, when they weren't making the money. They didn't, they didn't make and always felt like I was going to bat for them internally in terms of what they were hoping for, in terms of marketing and publicity and, and transparency and things like that. So yeah, it just was kind of, I just kind of was a natural fit to, to, to lead me to something that, you know, kind of incorporate different parts of my, my personality.

Alex Ferrari 8:38
Yeah, you have you do you you have a lot of hats, you wear a lot of hats. It's not just one thing. You've produced features, you work in distributions, you work with festivals, you, you do a lot of and you act, of course, on the side just for me. You do? You are you're a hybrid without question.

Glen Reynolds 8:56
Yeah, it's, um, you know, I think it's what's kept me kind of in the business and doing, you know, surviving through, you know, what's been, you know, at one point, when I first got in the business, independent film business was, was gangbusters. And there was, you know, cable channels around the world that want to indie films and, and, and, and DVD and blockbuster type stores around the world that wanted films and since all that's kind of declined, I think it's, it's helped that I kind of can do a few different things to you know, keep the keep the chum rolling, as they say.

Alex Ferrari 9:35
So then you are arguably a producer's rep, not arguably You are a producer's rep

Glen Reynolds 9:40
Yeah, it's um it's kind of a you know, it's a bit of a misnomer, I think because you know, you don't not really representing a producer per se as you are trying to help place the film, in distribution. You're trying to help sell it per se or license it and but what goes along with that kind of you know, they're, they're, they're different kinds of so called producer route. There are some people who just purely have got a sense of the business and learn who buys films and, and looks for films and tries to sell them, I have a little bit of an advantage in that I've got a legal background. So I, you know, arguably can look at a contract a little bit more closely than then some other producer reps. But then I also compete with people who are sales agents, who, who do the same thing?

Alex Ferrari 10:33
Yeah, what is the difference? What's the difference between a producer's rep and the sales agent?

Glen Reynolds 10:36
Well, most, you know, the way I the way I would look at as most sales agents, when they represent themselves as sales agents, are really take taking over a film per se, and probably do an international, right, go into the markets, the Mercedes element can and the AFM and the European film market and the MIPCOM of TVs, and they have a booth and they meet with distributors from around the world every 30 minutes, and show the movies and sell to them. And to do that they really have to kind of take over. So they're kind of a quasi distributor in that you deliver as the filmmaker, you deliver the film to them, they then go and make the contracts directly between themselves and the distributors overseas. Those distributors pay and are delivered by the producer, I Sorry, sorry, with the international sales agent. And then that sells agent reports to the producer on a quarterly basis, just like a distributor says and pays them.

Alex Ferrari 11:47
So it seems like it's almost like a another middleman in between you. And a distributor

Glen Reynolds 11:52
It's definitely a different kind of middleman. And it's in a way, if you have a film that's worth it, that's a that has an international sales agent, you almost need one, unless you really want to be one yourself, right? Because as an international sales agent, you have to stay on top of who are all the different distributors in the various territories where the contracts look like you have to there's, you know, there's different ways films are delivered to those, those countries and those those platforms around the world. So it's a bit of a I mean, things are changing a lot because there's less opportunity in an international world for true indie films. And a lot of people are taking worldwide deals and just doing digital that that goes across different territories. But if you, but if you just if you just go buy what they do for films that have value in that market, it's just that you need someone that does it, that gets their teeth, you know, sunk in a little bit deeper than what I have to do at the end of the day. I'm just as a producer Rep. I think producer rep is somebody who specializes in selling films to the US market. And in order to do that, I don't have to be the middleman that actually collects the money, and then reports to a filmmaker, I can just set up that deal directly. And then the filmmaker can pay me my share, as they get it. You just don't need someone to think that you don't need someone to to deliver you don't need someone to do all the things you have to do to sell till the international sell territories. Now sometimes those international sales agents also sell the US. So they they do the same thing we do, but they go about it a bit differently. In terms of how I handle it

Alex Ferrari 13:39
Now I early on, which is a funny story because we You and I have met through a mutual friend of ours Sebastian Torres, who has been on the show and I've co hosted things with at Sundance. And originally when I first launched indie film, hustle, I did a scathing podcast, scathing podcast on producers reps, because I was screwed by someone who she will remain nameless. But you know she is. And everybody in the business does. And so I'm in good company, where I was basically taken for a lot of money. And a lot of promises were made and all this kind of stuff. So there was there are a lot of those kind of shysters out there. The reason I brought you on the show is because I know you I've known you for a while. And I know what you guys do at circus road, and you're one of the good ones, without question. So that's why I brought you on the show. But what should we look out for with some of these? Let's call les reparable. Producers reps.

Glen Reynolds 14:43
Well, there's, there's your story is not a solo one. Right. There's there. Definitely lots of people that have had really bad experiences with producer reps and sales agents that are just Not honorable. And the main way to find out whether or not someone is is good at what they do and does what they're going to set it does, what they say they're going to do is to go through IMDb and look up the films that they've sold. And where where they've placed them. If they've actually had films that fox or Sony or Warner Brothers or Magnolia or whatever, and to call and if they can email or call those filmmakers and find out what their experience was. Now, everybody has people that don't like them. I've been pleased 100% of my filmmakers by far, and at the end of the day, if a film doesn't do as well as they expect, you know, it's it's a lot easier to blame the distributor and the sales agent and to look at your own film and think, well, it just didn't quite work. But you at least can, if you do enough of them. I wouldn't stop with one. You know, if you can look at how long they've been in the film business. Look at the film, do you like the films that they've sold? Do you know they're eight to 10? people that say, Yeah, they're, you know, they do what they say they're gonna do. That's the, you know, that's the mean, good. Always just call me and I can tell you. It's good. But I I'm a little bit biased. So it's definitely good for people to do their own homework.

Alex Ferrari 16:29
Yeah, without question. I've actually have gotten phone calls about that other producers rap over the years. people asking me about her and I would be, I would be honest. I would say Run,run, run.

Glen Reynolds 16:40
Oh, yeah. Yeah, no, there's there and they're still, um, I don't know if she's still in the biz, because I've heard her name in a while. So

Alex Ferrari 16:49
I'll tell you a quick story about her. And and then we will move on. I saw her at AFM. Last year, I went into my international distributors office and the the other distributor that was being shared, sharing that office with she was sitting right there. I'm like, Oh, my goodness. She wasn't the distributor, but she was meeting with the distributor. And I'm like, I can't build I can no effing way. Do you just tell I didn't say I didn't say I didn't say a word. I didn't want there to be a scene. Yeah. But it was I could not believe that she was still bumping around after all the damage she's done over the years. But anyway, enough about her.

Glen Reynolds 17:34
There are you know, the thing, here's the thing there are there besides me. And I'm biased about me. There are good options. Sure. There are people that do it properly. You know, it's just a matter of just finding the right fit at the end of the day. And there's also other you know, either you've had other podcasts about all the different options, there are these days, too. So it's not that every film is right for a producer rep too

Alex Ferrari 18:00
Yeah, that's another thing I wanted to ask you. So like, Yeah, because this specific kind of films because that go to a producer's Rep. There are films that just don't need it. So like someone like someone like me, who's been around the business, I've sold a few films I've known I know a lot. I might not need my handheld nearly as much by someone like you right away. I mean, I could consult you and talk to you, of course, I don't know everything. But I'm a little bit more savvy than your general filmmaker. But as opposed to someone who's like living in Kansas, has never sold a movie they just finished doing their first feature, it probably would benefit them to hire someone like you.

Glen Reynolds 18:38
Yeah, I think you know, I think definitely In the latter case. The other case, I'll say is I do have producers, I've worked with three to four times that come back to me to do what I do. Sure. And they have learned a thing or two over time, but it's more of a personality thing. Like you're just not that curious about it. You're You're a curious bird.

Alex Ferrari 18:59
Strange bird sir.

Glen Reynolds 19:01
Exploring all the different angles of this business, right? So, you know, it kind of goes to sell the whole self distribution thing to like people who, if you're going to self distribute, it shouldn't be in your bones. You know, I mean, it should be something that you're like, wow, I really want to do this. I have the right kind of film for it. And I know I can accomplish it. You know, you really have to have that. You know, I've had some filmmakers who, you know, when they when they're poking around producer reps or sales agents, they asked me, you know, well, should I do you think I should just self distribute? Like, you know, if you have to ask me, you probably shouldn't you should know you have to, in order to self distribute, because it's, it's time consuming. You have to have a passion for it, you know, and you have to have the right kind of thing. I mean, there's a lot of things we see that most of the films we see are right for self distribution, because they're not. There's no niche for it.

Alex Ferrari 19:57
And you would agree that I always tell people the same thing. Like if you Going to self distribute a has to be really niche, like so niche that you can target that audience abroad comedy self distribution, you're dead, you just not

Glen Reynolds 20:09
Yeah, pretty much I mean, if you don't have, you know, broad comedy without an alias name and without, you know, a million dollars in the bank to do your own PNA fund or something, and even then, even then, you know, the, you know, betting on one film is a is not a great investment idea. You know, distributors, pay play a, you know, winners pay for losers game in terms of the takeout 20 films and three or four work to pay for all the other stuff. And so better, you know, even betting on one film as a filmmaker, you know, even if you have the money is, is, you know, borderline crazy.

Alex Ferrari 20:55
But we all are a little bit. That's why we're here. Exactly. Another. I mean, that's a very good point. I mean, I mean, I could I do self distributor, my first film, this is Meg. But then I still went with international distributor for international sales. And I did wrap around REITs, and write all that kind of stuff afterwards. But it made sense. Because I had an audience, I was bringing them along for the process, all that stuff, it was a very low budget, I crowdfunded it, it all made sense. And it's something that I do I know, marketing, I know this, I can hit my audience, all that stuff. But you know, I had somebody come up to me the other day was like, Hey, I have I have a 250 $200,000 movie, and I'm thinking of self distributing, we're really savvy marketing, I'm like, but you kind of broad comedy man. Like, I don't care how good you are, it's gonna be tough to penetrate the audience and to get an ROI back, even if you throw 60 grand at it, and marketing to get an ROI. That's, I mean, that's gonna be

Glen Reynolds 21:55
Yeah, it's, it's really kind of good, you know, bad money after bad point, you know, it's, you know, if you have that kind of film, um, either you've, you've struck the right chord, and you're going to get the great festival in be one of 10 to 20% of the movies at that festival that sells, and there's three or four of those in terms of festivals, or your party, probably, you know, you're most likely you're ending up with a good distributor that maybe has the, you know, might do a little theatrical, just prop it up, and you see, you know, one to 10 City type things out there, trying to help, you know, push the value, or it's gonna be a company that is purely going to give it the digital treatment, and try to get it on cable, you know, and I mean, any making on iTunes, so that's, you know, they would do that, but those kind of companies also tried to, you know, brought it out to cable VOD, and then try to package to Netflix and Showtime and companies like that later. Which gives, you know, a bit of a shot. But the revenues is most of the time pretty new. You know, it's, it's, it's, it's distribution. And so you can say here I've been distributed and Lottie da but mostly you're having to use it for pitching your next movie, you know, right and not if you're sitting around waiting for the money to come in. So you can finance your next movie,

Alex Ferrari 23:31
You'll be waiting for a while.

Glen Reynolds 23:32
You'll be waiting.

Alex Ferrari 23:33
It's not the 9 it's not 90s it's not the 90s anymore.

Glen Reynolds 23:36
Yeah, exactly exactly.

Alex Ferrari 23:39
In the 90s I mean, there was so much money flowing around it for independent film and for via DVDs. I mean, not as not as bad because I remember in the 80s literally if you just made a movie in the 80s it got distributed you could get a 35 millimeter film made even there was a dish you made money with it. Almost

Glen Reynolds 23:58
Yeah, no it was crazy you know, Walmart Walmart bought movies and in massive amounts and and sold them it was you know, you know, South Korea paid $100,000 if you just ran around your backyard with your with your you know, 16 millimeter camera.

Alex Ferrari 24:17
Oh my god, can you imagine catchup? That's nice. That's insane. So now you also are an advocate for filmmakers at film festivals. Can you tell me what avocation for film festivals is and what you the truth about because a lot of people have a lot of people think they'd like look I if anyone ever tells you and I think you might agree with me. I can definitely get you into Sundance. Oh, I can definitely get you to slam

Glen Reynolds 24:44
used to be an agent at the remain nameless at an agency that will remain nameless used to tell people I have three slots at Sundance. Yeah, that was just letting them have three slots. He just walked in and put whatever movies he Want it? Can you imagine? Yeah. Know what all what it mostly is, is helping put a film on our radar? Over the years by selling movies and being at festivals, we've gotten to know a lot of the programmers at the big ones and medium sized ones and not so much the smaller ones. But you know, the ones that have some kind of value for a film niche or something like

Alex Ferrari 25:28
that. Yeah.

Glen Reynolds 25:28
And yeah, and. And so since we've gotten to know them, we're chummy and can get them on the phone to say, Hey, you know, you should take a look at this movie. And all that really does is get a film it stay in court at the end of the day. Because the reality is that they say they watch all 10,000 movies that were submitted, but there's absolutely no way they can. And that doesn't mean that maybe some intern watched, you know, maybe an army of interns and junior programmers watched it, but didn't have the bump, you know, then it has to, they have to like it has to bubble up to someone else who likes it. And what we can do is just make sure that someone who has a true voice at the festival watches the movie is I you know, it's not so much that we we certainly pitch it a little bit and tried to say why we think it's great. What's so unique about it, or why it's good for their festival. But truly the you know, it's going to be their experience watching the movie that determines whether they take it or not. It's not what is the same with selling movies, right? Like I can't, I can't convince my wife that a movie I just liked and she hates is good as a good movie. Right? It's It's, it's, it's really 95% plus them, watching it and liking it. And then it being likable enough that it rises to the top, and whatever internal politics that that festival has, in terms of them fighting over, like what films get accept,

Alex Ferrari 27:10
Can you talk a little bit about those internal politics because I mean, I would love to get a little bit more of an insight from your point of view, at least an inside look at some of these festivals, because as we talked about, right before we got on the phone, before we got on the call was that, you know, of course on the corner of ego and desire was rejected from Sundance as 14,000 other films this year, got rejected from Sundance. And, and, and I still argue as like, as, as perfectly as a film could be set up to be at the Sundance Film Festival, a love letter to the Sundance Film Festival, right. filmmakers I you know, I don't know what else I could have. I could I don't know what else give me a midnight slot, just give me something. But it didn't it didn't happen for me. And that's fine. But there's a lot of things that go on behind the scenes. And can you talk a little bit about that? So people who are listening? Don't feel so bad, the 14,000 of us didn't make?

Glen Reynolds 28:04
Well, the one thing you hear people say is like, Oh, well, it's political. Yeah, right. Right. You know, the big guys get their films in and, you know, I, I don't know that that's really true. I've known some pretty big wigs that got pissed off because their film didn't get in. And maybe some other film that they is part of their library got in and they're pissed off, it was about filming another song. I think that, you know, programmers are human beings that have their own subjective take on things and are watch a lot of movies, and then have to discuss them with their, the other people in there. And they're going to debate and go round and round. In some places. It's it's different. Like there are some festivals where it's, it's truly a gala, terian. And there's 10 people that kind of get in a room, and they all vote on movies, or give us give scores on movies, and then ones with the best scores rise to the top and then they vote. There's some where it's kind of top down, right? Where there's a grand Pooh bah. And that person is really going to kind of get presented to him or her. The the, you know, the best of the best of the films, and then they're going to kind of say yes or no to what's been selected. So kind of depends on the film festival a little bit. And the reality is just like it's 14,000 movies, right?

Alex Ferrari 29:35
It was 14,200 movies this year.

Glen Reynolds 29:37
My God is that so many movies, I mean, you could wind it down a bit that it's, you know, a narrative feature film because some there's some shorts or some docks or some international still, but still it's been a while. Okay, we've whittled it down to maybe three or 4000 movies. Right? And that's just a lot of movies, and there's ended up being maybe 10 slots for your kind of movie right? So a lot of us and say it again,

Alex Ferrari 30:03
It's a lottery ticket.

Glen Reynolds 30:04
It is a lottery. It's totally a lottery ticket. But the problem is that everybody's like, well, what's the other? what's the alternative? If you're talking about just traditional distribution and not self distribution, you know, that's the only place where you really grab the brass ring as a true nd. Right? Now, I'm not talking about films that have names in them, that they're financed by international sales companies, and they kind of, you know, there's a different game being played there. But just talking about true indie films made with your money, or your family's money, or dentist money or whatever. You know, that's, that's the only place where you're going to get that, especially if you made a real indie film. No, the massive caveat to that is, you know, I do you know, indie filmmakers that put together you know, if it's a horror film, and it has a great art rd angle to it, and you get some neat, you know, maybe it's on a marquee name, but it's a meaningful name to the community. You know, there's, there's a market there for that, if you make a family movie with a dog, and, and you have the right kind of music, and in a certain level of cast, there's a market for it. Without that human, both of those kind of movies are not made for Sundance or south by right, there's a market for those still, it's a small market. So you still, you know, you have to make the move those kind of movies for under 200 grand to hopefully, you know, recoup and you in there, and you still can in those genres, but you still have to do everything pretty right, and be with the right distributor and get the right kind of deal, etc, etc. But, you know, for for, for your film that goes to this really met, like, you know, that's a drama, or a dramatic thriller, or, or comedy or rom com, or, or some kind of other artistic genre. Um, you know, you're not going to get a big deal. Unless you're in a situation where, you know, distributors sometimes make mistakes, which are the major festivals, because the reality too is, you know, at Sundance, I don't know what the percentage is. But let's say, you know, 20% of the narrative features get a great deal, or they have a big advance, and a PMA commitment. You know, not all those movies are going to even do well.

Alex Ferrari 32:41
Oh, Rahman. What was it a slate was a slave of a nation or what was that movie? Yeah. 1212 years? No, no, that's what he was like the other night? Yeah, you're talking about? Yeah, it was about the slaver. Yeah, God, they'd sold for like $12 million, or $15 million.

Glen Reynolds 32:55
And then they had a controversy and it's died, you know, they died. It died. Yeah. And but for even that, like that, and you know, like, so there's whiplash, right, which has the great story of making the short and when they sold the feature, and then it did great. And now he has a career. But that's just one movie of the movies that were acquired out of that crop of films. In Sundance, there are probably 10 others that got similar kind of deals that we don't remember, you know, and where the filmmakers because the film doesn't work, like whiplash don't really have careers. Even with Sundance success, oh,

Alex Ferrari 33:41
I mean, I was involved with the movie, in 2010, that won two awards at Sundance. And she couldn't get it sold. I mean, and she made it for about 100,000, no caste, drama, quirky drama, that she was able to eventually make her money back selling, you know, airline rights and Sundance put it on the Sundance Channel, and she got some money there. And Sundance kind of helped her. But overall, though, it was not a it was it was just, it was regardless if with Sundance or not. It just couldn't make money. It just wasn't. that's a that's a years ago.

Glen Reynolds 34:16
Yeah. Which is a lot more rosy than today. Yes, that kind of movie. Yep, too. So it's, you know, try not, maybe I should get off of being debbie downer. But

Alex Ferrari 34:33
It's just a reality. This is the reality of what we deal with. I mean, there are rah rah rah times and there's other times that we need to hear the truth and that's why I bring guests like you on and we will talk about happy stuff in a minute, but but unfortunately, this is the truth of the matter. I mean, in PDF, don't you love people who I've had I've had filmmakers talk to Ed literally had this conversation with the filmmaker. The other day, I'm like, what's your distribution plan for your $150,000 feature film Oh, I'm submitting it to Sundance. That is the whole that was the end all be all that was the end of the conversation. I'm like, What do you mean? Like, what we're gonna get into Sundance, and then we'll get a deal? And then, you know, I'm like, Are you kidding me?

Glen Reynolds 35:16
Yeah, I mean, and that's, you know, that's okay. If you went to your investor and said, Hey, we're probably throwing all your money away. Yes, exactly. Right. I mean, and certainly there are people that don't mind that, that that's they just want to support you, as a filmmaker, they love the idea, or they, there's a cause behind it, or something that they've Okay, this is represents less than 1% of my my income a year, you know, I've got it, so why not spend it and I want to be in the film business, you know, shorter that almost every representation of making money off of film should be the look, we're probably pissing it away. And the hard part too, though, also about like, you know, the, I've had people even that, that know that they should probably try to raise some money, along with their production budget, to help distribute it right to market it in case it doesn't get Sundance or south by or something like that. The problem is, is that this that's the first thing to go when they don't raise enough money, all the money. Right? Right. And, and that's almost always happens, because you never raise everything that you hope you could for a movie. And so a lot of times, it's like, okay, we're just going to go ahead and make the movie regardless. So even I've had lots of people that knew that they should do that, but they just don't, you know, it's just hard to raise every dollar you you think you need. And, and then things happened in production to like, you know, like, you know, oh, well, that's gonna cost a lot more than we thought. You know,

Alex Ferrari 36:52
What do you what do you mean? The I have to, I'm creating an entire hobbit village. In post? What do you mean? $5,000 is it's usually marketing money, then the next thing that gets cut off his color grading sound, almost all the posts are getting dwindled down to like, well, I'll just edit it on my laptop and a guitar in the back. I'll show my guitar in the background. And, and I need a 4k DCP with that. Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. Right. It's just the it's just, it's, it's sad. It's sad. But that's what that's what I'm trying to help with. With indie film, hustle. I'm trying to get the information out there. So people don't make these mistakes, the mistakes that I've made and mistakes that my guests have heard, or made themselves in, yeah,

Glen Reynolds 37:42
No, it's Um, no, I've watched a lot of your videos. It's, it's, I wish everybody knew about it. You know, that was it's almost that like, once they graduate from film school, they should all have to sit down and watch hours and hours of indie film. Because that's the real education at the end of the day beyond knowing, you know, where the, you know,

Alex Ferrari 38:05
What the 180 degree with the 180 degree is, and that rule of thirds is, yeah, exactly. Once they know that, and they know how to wrap a cable and make a good cup of coffee, they actually need to know how the business

Glen Reynolds 38:16
That's right. You know, you know, the history of the French New Wave cinema,

Alex Ferrari 38:22
Which is fantastic. And I loved it. I loved watching it, but that does not help me with distribution today. Totally. Now, speaking of distribution, what is hybrid and theatrical distribution? Because I know you guys help with that as well.

Glen Reynolds 38:36
Yes, so um, what hybrid usually is the hybrid just means you're doing traditional and self distribution together in some way. And that can mean a lot of different things. So sometimes, I've had a few filmmakers who got traditional distribution in terms of a distributor taking the film out to the various digital platforms, try you know, running with the blu ray trying to sell Showtime and other other platforms downstream. And then the filmmaker will go off and do their own theatrical to try to support that that's one version of hybrid distribution. Another version that I used to see more often was and I see less often today is selling your own blu ray or DVDs in at the same time that your your distributors doing it their way. I think that's just dropped off because less people watch films that way. So I have less filmmakers wanting to try that. At and that is hybrid could also just mean though, that your ghost you have a distributor and maybe they're they've got an in house person assist, who's working that angle, but they're not really spending anything on Facebook ads, or something that you feel like would help the cause. And so you can coordinate with them in that way, or it could be the reverse. They're going to spend some money on some ads in some way, but they don't really have any publicist. So you hire someone, or try to do some publicity yourself at the same time. So those are the different kinds of hybrid distribution deals that we've, you know, helped contractually, pull off for people if that was there, if that was their inclination.

Alex Ferrari 40:34
Now, you've mentioned a lot about the digital platforms like s VOD t VOD, a VOD, what do you feeling? What is your feeling today for independent filmmakers actually being able to recoup money? through those platforms, whether as self distribution or even in traditional distribution? What are the differences between the two? Because at the end of the day, you know, we can get our film up on iTunes tomorrow. And if you go with a distributor, they can get their their film on iTunes tomorrow. What is the big difference between the two? Like, why would I give 20% or 3040 50%, depending on the deal is to a distributor, if I'm going to do this marketing, I'm going to push it what's the point with it? Tell me what your feeling is?

Glen Reynolds 41:15
Totally, totally. Yeah, I mean, there are definitely scenarios where you shouldn't give it to a traditional distributor, if if all they're going to do is put it on iTunes. That makes no sense. And there are some distributors out there that say, Hey, we're gonna do all this stuff. And they just don't, they purely just put it on iTunes. And they're taking 20 or 30%, just for doing that. And recouping ridiculous costs,

Alex Ferrari 41:42
And then holding it for seven holding it hostage for seven years. Yeah.

Glen Reynolds 41:45
So there's all sorts of scenarios that you should avoid and not do. And that self distribution would be a better than than doing, you know, it traditionally with somebody else. The reason to go with the traditional distributor, there's, there's several reasons that can be combined together, any one of which might make someone do it. So one is, if you are completely out of money, and a distributor will at least do the encoding. I mean, I mean, you have $0, and they will do the encoding, and perhaps they'll pay for the insurance. And maybe there's a couple other costs that you just don't have, then, you know, giving away 20% for what can be five to 10 grand and costs might be valuable to you, because that's where you are. And at the end of the day, if you're thinking of, well, I'll just put on my credit card, and I'll just get up on platforms don't have any more money left didn't support it, or the time and effort to support it, you're just throwing away more money. So you might as well have them throw away the money. The other the Secondly, there are some distributors, that you have the muscle to get better placement in the digital hemisphere than others. That doesn't mean that if you self distribute, you won't get good placement, because that has happened. But it's also possible that you don't. And what's hard about it, it's also possible to be with a big studio, and the placement not end up being great, either. It's not a guarantee. But over time and looking at this stuff. We see that in general, there are some companies that just get better placement over time, even further indie films than others. And so when we're going out to distributors, and we're getting the offers that part of the Intel that we're able to share with our filmmakers, hey, here's, you know, how they have positioned their films in the past and how they made more money than you probably would with this other distributor. In addition, there are some distributors that that do marketing. Now, for films that are just a digital release, that could be as limited as having an in house publicist and or paying for some Facebook ads. And so, you know, again, if you don't have the money for a publicist, and you don't have the money for buying Facebook ads, and you don't think that the company making the offer to you can get better position that you can through an aggregator then and you don't and you don't have any money, it's probably best to go with the distributor. And then up from there. The The hard thing too though, is it's always You know, you always have to be, whenever we're advising about this, it always gets more granular and specific, because we're talking about particular companies and what they do. And none of these companies are the same in their strategies in their relationships, sure, in their practices and their ethics in their contracts. So it's not, it's just not that cookie cutter. And, and so and they're always changing over time. So we're constantly having to, like, re look at them every month. What are they doing now? You know, and what did they do last month for that film?

Alex Ferrari 45:37
Well, we'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Glen Reynolds 45:48
So, and certainly, you can't just go off of what they tell you they're going to do. You have to look at their past practices to see what they did. And find out from filmmakers what they did, to see if they actually did these things. Like, you know, because some people say like, Oh, yeah, we're gonna do a whole social media thing. Okay. What that ends up meaning is that they put it on their Facebook page, right? The movie? And they did. That's it,

Alex Ferrari 46:17
Which has, which has 500, which has 500 followers?

Glen Reynolds 46:20
Yeah. And when did they even see it? No, of course not. Because unless them up in their thing. So you have to, you know, you have to know how to talk to these people and see what they've actually done. Did they actually buy Facebook ads? I mean, did they actually do a targeted campaign to the demographic for that film? Now, the jump up from there now, for that digital type play. You know, if someone's saying they're gonna spend $100,000 to market your, your digital only movie, right? Then they're lying. Right? No one spends that amount of money to market a digital only movie. Correct? If that's what your statement looks like, it's, it's incorrect. So the jump from someone spending, you know, 1000s, not hundreds of 1000s. But 1000s of dollars on publicity and marketing to a bigger level is if it's theatrical, not that every theatrical is big, but, or even going for box office. But that's the only time you ever see a truly robust marketing spend, is if they're trying to support a theatrical of a certain size. And then that, of course, is where it's kind of obvious that, to me, at least, that you know, if you have someone wanting your film at that level, you just got to you got it hope get the best terms you can and hope that they can do it properly. And then beats all the other films because you doing that is not going to be even close to the same. So yeah, in a nutshell, that's that's the difference.

Alex Ferrari 48:14
That's the difference. That is a nutshell. There's a very large nutshell. Without question no, without what I mean, it's it's true. A lot of the stuff you just said, you know, is such inside information that only like you and I sitting down at Sundance silver drink my talk about, and it's generally stuff that people talk about outside. So thank you for, for sharing that. Oh, yeah, no, absolutely. It there's, I mean, there's so much, there's so many shady deals, there's so many, you know, there's much more shady than are reputable, and all parts of our business. I think, from my experience, at least, there are really good companies out there really good distribution companies out there who have really good ethics. But I think you might agree with me that there's probably a lot more that don't. And we have to be careful.

Glen Reynolds 49:04
Yeah, it's, you know, it's, um, you know, it's, it's, I don't know if I know if I can quantify it, though, because I don't, I don't run into it very much, you know, when we, most of the films we take on are referred to us. And and so we're don't find yourselves like competing per se, like, Oh, well, are we going to get it? Or is, you know, this other company going to get it? Sometimes we find that after the fact that someone went with a criminal, and we just shake our heads, but we're just moving on to another film and trying to, you know, work with other filmmakers. So, it's actually kind of hard for me to, to gauge like how much how much is criminal and how much is, is real. And Part two is like, you know, truly, it's hard for even the people who do it legitimately And quite often, even legitimate companies get blamed for what happens. And

Alex Ferrari 50:07
Yeah, like you said,

Glen Reynolds 50:08
Early days is the hard business. It's just a really hard business to make to turn a film into, you know, something that makes money. It's just very, very hard.

Alex Ferrari 50:18
Why do we do it, man? Why are we here? I mean, I don't understand what like, I mean, you're, you're I mean, you've also produced a lot of films over the years as well. So you, you are not just a producer's rap, you also do many other things. But at the end of the day, like, why, why do we do this to ourselves?

Glen Reynolds 50:35
Well, I think if we hadn't grown up when we grew up when we grew up, right? I mean, I say that, but then there are people coming out of college now want to be filmmakers. And maybe it's a smaller slice of the population than it was when we were young. But it still happens.

Alex Ferrari 50:54
Oh, I think it's a larger thing. It's a much larger size.

Glen Reynolds 50:57
I think. I think there's more people because there's more people. But I think there are more like more people are like, there weren't people wanting to get in and make games when we were when at least when I was young.

Alex Ferrari 51:07
No, of course,

Glen Reynolds 51:08
You don't need there weren't people wanting to be games, you know, developing games, there's, there's a lot, you know, or other kinds of media and media, right? So I don't have any numbers. I just my instinct is that the his percentage is smaller. It's like in the 50s. The big thing was to be an author. You know what I mean? Right? Like, and the authors were kind of rock stars. And then in the 70s, and 80s, and maybe 90s, his makers were were rock stars. And I don't know who I mean, now YouTube stars. Yes. The rock stars. So it's just a different. It's a different worlds, I think we're a smaller slice of the population. But it's still a heavy number. There's still a lot of people who grew up loving movies and wanting to be a part of it in some way. And oh, look, that film, you know, whiplash, or whatever, they made a movie, I can make a movie, you know,We all have that feeling

Alex Ferrari 52:01
Isn't it? Do it. Isn't it amazing, though, that that one of the few people have art forms. I mean, I would assume books as well as being an author, but it's like you watch a movie. And you say, Hey, I can do that. Or you read a book and you're like, Hey, I could write a book. But you never see, like, I heard a Mozart, I can write a symphony. Like, did you stop there is like, yeah, like, I've walked into a building, I think I can build one. Like, there's not those conversations, but for whatever for reason. Our art form, specifically anyone who watches a movie, because we've seen it so many times. Like, I've seen so many movies, I'm sure I can make a bit I can make a movie, that's good.

Glen Reynolds 52:43
Absolutely. And the means to get there has gotten easier to write, we can make it on our phone now and edit it on our computer. So the access is it is a lot simpler just to do you know, just do that. So, you know, I get movies all the time. You know, we can people refer to as the movies that just literally they made on the, with their phone or something. And they, you know, the acting is terrible. And the lighting is terrible. No stories, like whatever. And, and so, you know, that's that's definitely the bottom of the barrel. There's all different levels of bad. There's an ocean of awful out there, but it's you know, the thing is, it's all subjective the day and, you know, when I made shorts with my brother, when I was 13, I thought they were amazing.

Alex Ferrari 53:39
Oh, listen, when I was when I was growing up at the video store, I thought john Claude Van Damme was the greatest actor of all time. So, you know, times change.

Glen Reynolds 53:49
And, and, and yeah, so I think I partly that is, like, if you can accomplish at least something, and that makes you feel like it's possible. Whereas like, you know, programming a game, I you know, I can't even know the first thing about programming anything,

Alex Ferrari 54:07
I can't even think about

Glen Reynolds 54:09
It's not there unless you go and really study it and learn it.

Alex Ferrari 54:12
Absolutely. Now, what when you guys are taking on films, what do you look for in a film to actually take it on as a client?

Glen Reynolds 54:20
I, you know, it's it's different things. It's certainly like the bottom line, we have to feel like there's a place for it. Right? We have to feel like there's a you know, what we that were the appropriate company for the movie and that there's a whether it's a, you know, a whether it's theatrical, or it's a company that does a little bit more than just place it on a platform, we have to feel like we add value that way. So that's number one. Number two, um, I got to like the movie to certain degree. I don't have to think it's, you know, Gone with the Wind. But I have to pitch it, you know, to distributors, and and share with distributors. And they have to I have to hope that they'll call me back over time,

Alex Ferrari 55:10
Right! Because if you take a crappy film, you say this is fantastic didn't never take your call.

Glen Reynolds 55:14
And certainly I've also had films that we thought, well, this is, this is not for the top tier theatrical distributors. But it could go to a good digital distributor. And as long as the filmmaker understands that, that's what we're going to try. And that's where we think you can go, then we can help them. But we certainly have turned down films where we turn on lots of films, because they're not very good. And we turn out we have also turned out films because they think that they're going to get, you know, Fox Searchlight, put it on 400 screens? Sure, you know, and they're just totally delusional. They may even have a good movie, but that's just not going to happen for them.

Alex Ferrari 55:57
Let's see, we could do a whole episode on delusional filmmakers. Yes. Good. Oh, my God, that the stories, I've heard the things I've seen. And listen, I was a delusional filmmaker when I was coming up, but but we all have, you have to be a certain level of delusion, and crazy to do what we do. Absolutely. But there is that the reality wall that sets in and like, you know, I just spent a million dollars on a film with no star shot and black and white. That is shape of water meets et with Transformers drizzled on top. Which is the movie that by the way, that is the movie that my actors, or my cast was trying to pitch in the movie ego and desire. That's the exact pitch for it. I don't think you've ever heard that pitch. No, I don't think so. Mostly in black and white, mostly a little bit in slow mo. And it's like a mixture between like a Truffaut and a Criterion Collection.

Glen Reynolds 56:52
Yes. Sounds delicious. I, you know, it was hard. What's hard, though, to what's what's harder than that, though? Is the film that you like, okay, yeah, this could get a little distributor to do something little for them. And they don't want to self distribute. And maybe they'll put it on one screen. Or maybe it's just a really good release, and they'll sell it to Showtime or Netflix or somebody later, it's got a chance, but they just don't they just think it's more than that. They think it's a little bit more than that. And it's in what's hard is I want the film. But you can't, you know, just can't go there in terms of like saying, like, you know, yeah, you've got, you've got a chance. And that's, and I think that you know, going back to are you talking about cheesy producer reps that are out there, that are some little just blow the smoke up the butt. Because at the end of the day, when it does not work, there's still going to be on the film as the producer wrap, and get to make the deal regardless. And we've lost films over being honest with people about what the chances are. And that's what makes it you know, even more hard to you know, when, to your question of like, what we what we see in the movie, it's, it's, it's thinking there's a place, it's digging it. And it's also like, feeling out the filmmaker to make sure they're just in the right frame of mind. You know, you have to you have to check their expectations,

Alex Ferrari 58:26
Because it

Glen Reynolds 58:27
Absolutely, you know, because if they, if they think that it's definitely gonna be on Netflix, for you know, his original content,

Alex Ferrari 58:37
And at least a 250,000 what they bought, yeah, $250,000 buy? Yeah,

Glen Reynolds 58:42
It's just, you know, it's not, it's just not, they're not doing that anymore. And so it's funny, I, you know, we sometimes spend, you know, two hours talking to people, you know, maybe in two different conversations, to educate them about the business only not to get the business because we've talked them, you know, we've kind of like spoiled the whole world for them, you know that now? They're just like, well, I can't they don't believe my films for Fox Searchlight. So I'm gonna go do it elsewhere.

Alex Ferrari 59:15
Well, now all you have to do is just send them a link to this episode. so helpful. Exactly. Because like, Listen, just listen to this. When you're done listening to this, if you still want to talk to us, we can talk to you a little bit more. But this is the reality of what's going on true. Play. So, tell me about your company, circus road and what you guys do.

Glen Reynolds 59:43
So where 95% of what we do is help filmmakers get distribution. And sometimes it's helping them advocate to film festivals to prop it up. Sometimes it's doing just going straight to distributors, sometimes it's trying to push distributors into a screening room itself by. So there's all different strategies for different films, it just kind of depends on how we feel about and how the filmmaker feels about it. But yeah, so we, you know, we, we generally represent three or four films at a time. We don't really have like a minimum or a maximum for number films, it just kind of happens to be what we're usually working on. And, and, and then, you know, I also have the legal background, so I helped them with the contract, and I negotiate it and redline it and, and do the back and forth to try to get the best deal. And then downstream, we also help filmmakers understand their royalty reports and get the distributor on the phone if they haven't.You know, they won't call them back.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:02
What that's what that does it,

Glen Reynolds 1:01:04
Believe it or not, there are lots of great distributors that call people back out there, but there are some No, no, no distributors perfect. They've all Everyone has their kinks. And so I was just eating, they need to kick in the butt to call somebody sometimes. And you're the boot. So it's a little bit of that. So we, we kind of feel like when we're on a film, we're kind of in the long term, with people depending on you know, how it goes. And, and quite often clients have turned into, you know, I do a little bit of producing, but I'm not a nuts and bolts guy, I'm not on the set, you know, doing that gig. It's more that I've either had a property and a friend of mine had a found some room with some money for it, or a friend of mine has a property and I found some someone with some money for it. And we helped cobbled together, maybe maybe there's a pre sale or someone who does a pre sale involved to help put it together. But mostly it's been, every film has been just a little bit different in terms of how we put it together. But fortunately, you know, my role, if I were to be an onset guy, I can do the sales part of this whole thing too. So it doesn't occupy a lot of my time I read a script here and there trying to find something interesting to work on. But it's a pretty small part of what we what we do.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:27
Well, Glenn, I'm going to ask you a few questions asked all of my guests. Yes, what advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today?

Glen Reynolds 1:02:37
Wanting to bring in business today, I would say filmmaker. So I would say try to get a job in the industry doesn't have to be related to exactly what you want to do. But to learn another angle, maybe as you know, maybe you're you know, if you're if you're if you want to direct write and direct movies, it's hard like just having a great script and trying to get a manager an agent that's a hard road rough and I think getting into the business in some way and the networking within the business while you're pursuing all that just increases your odds a little bit of being able to do something and try to go to the bigger festivals try to go to some of the markets if you can afford it just to see how how things work and to try to meet people in network that's um that's how a lot of the people that I've seen become successful do it but who didn't you know, start off me I've seen some people had money to make the first movie and it was great and off to the races but that's not the that's not you know, most people don't have that so I would say just try to try to network try to meet people try to be a part of the action in some way while you're trying to pursue your dream

Alex Ferrari 1:04:13
Very good advice. Very good advice. Now can you tell me what book had the biggest impact on your life or career?

Glen Reynolds 1:04:20
Holy crap,

Alex Ferrari 1:04:21
This is like these are some deep questions to prepare

Glen Reynolds 1:04:24
Yeah, yeah. I can't say the Bible probably just lost a few clients there

Alex Ferrari 1:04:41
And seen

Glen Reynolds 1:04:46
I'm gonna say you know what was if I could maybe a category books, the works of Henry James was a big no yeah. me when I was in getting my English degree at NYU, I had a course just on Henry James. And just, it prompted me to read all his stuff. And I think it just, it made me a better reader of everything. And I think it also probably propelled me to law school a little bit. Because, and, and increase my ability to read in general. I'm not sure what I think partly I grew up in England as a kid, and mostly from Texas, though, and Henry James had this English and American kind of hybrid life. So I connected that, but just those great writer and, and it gets influenced me in several several ways.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:47
Okay. Now, what lesson took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life? I'm telling you. My goal, my goal here is to bring down circus road by you not being able to answer this questions.

Glen Reynolds 1:06:06
Lessons that I learned, took me the longest to learn. Well, I think I probably got there in my 30s, which is so many years ago. But it was probably just to, um, let's some arguments lie. and not have to win every battle. No, yeah. And I think that that, that has served me well, it certainly is doing what I do requires a lot of patience. Both with filmmakers who don't understand maybe every detail of the business, and with distributors who struggle and are having a hard time getting great getting films out. And I think taking them taking them being able to understand other people's situations and being able to the only way I got there, I think was over time being through those situations myself. And so I think, if I can, if I can sum that up, it's it's, it's, it's, it's taking the time to hear someone else's side of things, and trying to understand it that I think has served me the best.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:33
Very cool. Now of course, this is the last question that must be the toughest one of the three of your favorite films of all time?

Glen Reynolds 1:07:41
Londa Lundy ,This is spinal tap.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:47

Glen Reynolds 1:07:48
Rob Reiner.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:49

Glen Reynolds 1:07:50
And I'm gonna say got a tie.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:00
Go for it. Okay.

Glen Reynolds 1:08:02
The Earies of Madame dia.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:04
Okay, I haven't heard that.

Glen Reynolds 1:08:06
And I won't pick up Martin Scorsese one because I love Martin Scorsese. I'll say main streets.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:17
Main Street over Goodfellas.

Glen Reynolds 1:08:20
Yeah, I just love how rod is

Alex Ferrari 1:08:21
it is pretty damn Rod in it. That wa indie movies. When? When indie movies were being made?

Glen Reynolds 1:08:29
Oh, yeah. Absolutely.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:32
It is a great film. Great film. And now where can people find you, Glen?

Glen Reynolds 1:08:36
So my website is circusroadfilms.com. My email is Glen.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:44
Don't Don't. Don't do it. Glen, don't do it. I promise you they're going to Okay, go ahead. I'm joking. No, no, you put your email out you will get email so prepare yourself.

Glen Reynolds 1:08:56
I'm all i'm open for business. prepare, prepare yourself. Glen Glen, which is the proper way to spell glen.circusroadfilms.com. That's the best way to get me.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:07
Alright. Glen man. It's been an absolute pleasure talking shop with you and and thank you for dropping these knowledge bombs on the tribe today. I really appreciate you taking the time,

Glen Reynolds 1:09:17
Thank you, Alex is a great, really appreciate it.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:20
I want to thank Glen again for coming by and dropping some major major knowledge bombs on the indie film hustle tribe today. Thank you, Glen. So so much. And as I warn you, Glen, you put out your email, you will get emails from the tribe? No question. So guys, be kind but you know, if you're interested in you need his services, please be my guest. And an email. I'll put the links to everything we talked about Linda how to get ahold of them. That email and everything on the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/303. Now there has been a little bit of confusion in regards to my book release date right now on Amazon. It says it's been released but it has not yet been released. It will Release March 8, as of right now my publisher is trying to deal with the demand, believe it or not. So, if you have have you, if you've ordered it, it will be coming out in the next few weeks. So please be patient. Thank you again, so, so much. If you're part of my launch team, and you have read the book, you can now go to amazon.com. And leave a good review for the book. And it means so so, so, so much to me that you do that. So please just head over to indiefilmhustle.com/mob, and they'll take you directly to the Amazon page. And there you can leave a review and please share it with as many people as you possibly can. And again, thank you guys so so much for all the support. And that's the end of another episode of the indie film hustle podcast. Thank you guys again. So so much as always keep that also going. Keep that dream alive, and I'll talk to you soon.




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IFH 213: How to Find an Audience for Your Indie Film with Media Circus

Right-click here to download the MP3

Today on the show we have Adam Bowman and Paul Koshlap from Media Circus PR. These guys specialize in marketing for indie films and filmmakers. They handle digital marketing, public relations, digital advertising and much more.

We discuss the state of indie film marketing, how to find an audience for your film and tips and tricks to get you film and yourself out there.

media circus, adam bowman, Paul Koshlap, Media Circus PR, Glen Reynolds, Circus Road Films

Enjoy my interview with Adam and Paul from Media Circus.

Alex Ferrari 2:58
Now today on the show. We have Adam Bowman and Paul Koshlap from media circus. These guys are going to be my partners this year. at Sundance, we're going to be doing all our interviews and stuff together. But the guy these guys are insane marketing geniuses, that that use that I used on this as mag to get the word out on this is Meg. And what they do is help independent filmmakers get the word out on their films by using social media and all sorts of other marketing strategies. And I wanted to have them on the show to see if they can kind of shine a light on how to really find an audience for your independent film. And these guys have been doing this for a while. And they've seen the good, the bad and the ugly in this space. So this episode is full of amazing knowledge bombs in regards to how to find an audience, how to market your film, how to use social media properly, what to do, what not to do on Facebook, and on Twitter and on YouTube and all the other social media platforms, and how that is not the only thing you can do to get the word out on your film. So sit back, relax and enjoy my conversation with media circus. I'd like to welcome to the show, Adam Bowman and Paul Koshlap How you doing brother?

Adam Bowman 4:14
We're doing well. How are you doing Alex?

Alex Ferrari 4:15
Good, good. You guys are from media circus, who we're going to be doing a whole lot of insane stuff over at Sundance this year. So always, always, always. And I wanted to bring you guys on to talk about the state of film marketing. Yeah. Yes, because indie film or indie film marketing no less. And I think it's something that our audience, my audience, specifically the tribe, you know, loves to hear about because it's one of those mystery things that it's kind of something they don't teach at school, and they don't know what to do. And it's a it's such an important part of the process. So he talked a little bit first of all, what is the difference between a PR firm and marketing or do they overlap? What can we talk like, how does that work?

Adam Bowman 4:59
Well, it's so interesting. In film, people often just talk about PR. But you know, I have a master's in Mass Communications and Marketing. And marketing actually includes all of it, like PR is a piece of marketing advertising is a piece of marketing. In a really good way to think about it is, you know, advertising is you're telling other people how good your product is, but PR is getting somebody else to tell other people how good your product is. And realistically, in a perfect marketing ecosystem, you want both of those things to be happening. And that, that's the biggest difference for PR is getting other people to advocate for you. And marketing is sort of talking directly to

Alex Ferrari 5:43
So let's talk about when a filmmaker needs PR versus marketing, depending on the size of their project and things like that, because a lot of filmmakers will just make their movie and there's like, I got to get a PR person, I got to get promote, I got to get the word out on this. And they just have no idea. It's like this shotgun approach to getting the word out on it. So when is PR appropriate as far as actually hiring a public relations company? Or when is it just like trying to do more either targeted social media ads? Or, you know, depending on the project, you talk a little about that?

Adam Bowman 6:16
Yes, the the reality is scale. I mean, how big your project is, is that sort of determined, when you want a PR person to come on. There's debate depending on what your movies about, if there's some great hook in your movie, or something that's happening in the production part of the movie, it might make sense to have a publicist, come in and do some stuff. I mean, honestly, you should probably have somebody managing the unit publicity of every level of film, even if you're doing $1,000 small budget thing, because when you come out for distribution, you're going to need stills, you're going to need those in like all the marketing pieces. If you didn't have somebody managing that and get get collecting those through production, then you have very little besides taking screen grabs of the movie itself. To put out into the world,

Alex Ferrari 7:13
I think that is a big mistake a lot of filmmakers make is they don't understand that you need behind scene footage you need behind the scene. stills Yeah, stills that are actually not just screen grabs. Even if you have a nice 4k image, it'd be nice to have an actual professional photographer or someone, even with a, you know, a gh four or a Canon or DSLR to shoot some absolute behind the scenes stuff.

Paul Koshlap 7:35
Yeah, and the quality of the images on social media. Over the course of a multitude of images that you're posting out over a long period of time, a high rez a series of high res images versus a series of lower rez screenshots will make some difference merely in terms of the reach you get, and the the, you know, sort of value of those individual pieces.

Alex Ferrari 7:55
I think also, it's something that a lot of filmmakers don't realize is that you're building up kind of like an arsenal of elements. Yeah, to be able to use to market your project. Yeah. And that's something that they just don't think about. They don't think about behind the scenes footage, they don't think about interviews with the cast, they don't think about, you know, Stills, all this kind of stuff that when they go to someone like you guys, the first question you're gonna ask like, what do you have? And like, Well, we've got a movie. Yeah, you know, and if they're lucky, you get a trailer. If you're lucky Raven, then we could talk about trailers in a minute, because that's a whole other conversation. But those those are elements that you guys need to work, right.

Paul Koshlap 8:35
Yeah, exactly. It's not gonna hurt you. And like you said, having a good Arsenal ready to go of marketing assets will only serve you down the road. Now, real quick. And just as a side note,

Alex Ferrari 8:46
do you think that every film should have its own website?

Paul Koshlap 8:53
I think that again, it depends on the size of the film. Yeah. And the amount of resources, but I think that there are many other platforms, social media sites, what have you that for a lot of films can serve that purpose without going through the effort of putting together your own entire separate site. Okay. If you have the resources, large enough film, I think there's value.

Adam Bowman 9:16
But well, in most cases, they're not really selling anything on a web.

Alex Ferrari 9:19
Well, that's the thing. If you're just selling your movie, I get you. But like, if you like I did for this as Meg I created, obviously, a full website, which had behind the scenes footage, and all this kind of right, and it has links to all the places where people can buy it or rent it or see it. Sure. And it was a place to find out about the cast and about that. So it was a little bit more shirttail than just a Facebook total fan page. Yeah. But it's also very easy for me to go Oh, just go to this as mag calm. Yeah. So even if you don't do a film, would it be smart to like, let's say your Facebook page is going to be your homepage of this movie, to buy a URL and afford it over to the Facebook page. So you at least that's an easier, sell easier thing to market like you know, whatever. Blah, blah, blah, .com.

Adam Bowman 10:01
Yeah. Plus, I mean, again, it, I don't know that there's a hard and fast way. Okay and scale right again. So in the in the if you're trying to make a micro budget indie film, either money or time is what it's going to take to get that off the ground and whether that you're going to see that return on investment from whether it was time or money to build a website for that movie. The one thing I would say that might make more sense, is building a website for your your production. Yes. Where all of your movies can sort of live Oh, that's a given. Yes, you know that that makes more sense. Because then you can send people to you know, these are these are my movies XYZ production company.com. Now, but but to specifically set up a whole website infrastructure for an individual movie, I don't know how valuable that is,

Alex Ferrari 10:50
Unless you're selling if you if you are selling other products, other merchandise and things like that and building an audience. Absolutely. It makes.

Adam Bowman 10:56
Totally, you need a place then for the people on Yeah, but if you don't have that, if it really all it is, is the trailer of synopsis, and you know, pictures of the cast, you know, that kind of lives on IMDB, right? Like why do you need to, and people aren't going to be much rather go to IMDb, because that's something that websites are familiar with

Alex Ferrari 11:14
You and it's also you gotta if you're going to create a website, you've got to create value, right? You have to create something for them to be seeing something. Yeah, that's going to if you're just going for a synopsis your actors and yeah, yeah, it's not so much. But like with Meg, I'll use Megan as an example. I had a lot of behind the scenes footage. I had videos, I had images. And then I also had a place a hub, where I can send everybody like, okay, it's on iTunes on here. Here's all the links, here's all this stuff. It just made sense. For our our own and it's never wrong. It's about it's about budge. I could I could whip it up myself. And it didn't cost me anything. Right. Yeah, you know, but but you could also go to Squarespace or something like that. And I'm not got a website in 30 minutes. Yeah, right. You know, that looks pretty bad. Yeah.

Paul Koshlap 11:58
And I think another just to echo part of what Adam is saying here. And another really important point i with the indie film world, using any given project you're working on to parallel, you know, to also promote your own filmmaker brand and yourself at the same time, is, you're not only doing two birds with one stone, but a very effective way to do that. And that sort of for the website, as opposed to having a website for each individual film you make, or even in some cases of social media, separate social media presence for each individual film you make for many filmmakers, what makes more sense. And again, it's just a question of size scale, is to kind of put all that together into one online presence. And it's but it's also a question of forethought, and playing the long game.

Alex Ferrari 12:44
Yeah, there's a lot of filmmakers, right, if they get their movie made, they're just like, a kind of movie made. That's it. They're not thinking about the next two or three movies or even thinking about a production company thinking about a long term career. They're just like, I got this movie, I gotta promote this thing. And I think filmmakers should think about long term playing the long game, totally building up a production company or entity or website like a brand.

Adam Bowman 13:07
If you are just looking at one movie, you're setting yourself up to fail, because their movie business is a winners pay for losers business, you know, can you elaborate on that? So that's why in a production company, even the big studios, or small ones, they try to put out a slate of films, knowing full well that some of them are not going to work, whether it was the marketing, whether it was the content, whatever it is

Alex Ferrari 13:30
some Justice League Justice League, obviously. Sorry.

Adam Bowman 13:37
We don't know that Justice League isn't working. Look, people can critically say it's not working. But financially, it's probably going to be fine.

Alex Ferrari 13:47
But to pay for the week, we go back we go we go back and forth on the whole Marvel DC and I love and I love I love messing with that.

Adam Bowman 13:54
But anyway. Yeah. So you know, winners have to pay for losers. And that's the way distribution companies are able to function and stay alive and all that so. And from a filmmaker perspective, you cannot put all your eggs in one basket and expect it to financially work out, you might have a whole bunch of other goals for making the movie, whether it's sort of springboarding a career or creating notoriety, or maybe there's a certain message that you really want to get out there. Those are all valuable reasons to make a movie as well. But there was ones aren't necessarily sustainable ones.

Alex Ferrari 14:35
Right. And I think that diversification is a huge word that filmmakers should understand. Like you can't just focus only on one project and one thing which is hard because getting a movie off the ground is tough. You know, but the Think about it in the long game that the keep budgets low to do two or three smaller movies and throw those out into the marketplace. One might pop one might not and keep the budget slow enough that you can kind of recoup. But you're right from New distributors in general, like, not everyone's a hit No, not at all.

Adam Bowman 15:07
And I mean, if it was, everybody would have figured out right? Like it wouldn't. It wouldn't be a reason for a podcast about how to market movies or how to make movies or how to sell because everyone's making money formula would have been worked out. And everybody wouldn't say, Oh, this is how you do it.

Alex Ferrari 15:19
Well look at Disney. I mean, look, Disney's makes, you know, the arguably probably the most successful studio going on right now what they're doing are not bar none. But the thing is, like, you know, they put out I remember a year or two ago, the Alice Wonderland scene boom, Through the Looking Glass, it bombed, like, and that's $150 million movie, you know, or Lone Ranger, john Carter, john Carter, these are massive bombs. But out of those massive bombs, they've got like another five or six that made billions of dollars that that help, you know, support the losses. So that's just the way it is. But it is, and now we're getting into another conversation. But they're getting into bigger, these bigger budgets are risking more and more and more and making fewer and fewer movies. And that model of different diversification is not working because they're rolling the dice on a Justice League or on a DC universe that is not paying off the way they want it to. You know, and you know, imagine if Harry Potter they threw in, or Lord of the Rings, they spent $450 million in Lord of the Rings back in the day, right? They were rolling the dice. Oh, yeah. Big time. And it paid off, but it could have very easily not itself. Sure. So should when should filmmakers start working with, you know, marketing, thinking about marketing and things like that? You should be thinking about marketing when you think of the idea for the script a member as soon as poss. Amen.

Adam Bowman 16:38

Alex Ferrari 16:38

Adam Bowman 16:39
Yeah. Ideally, and, you know, really what you should do is go see what's trending in social media and write a script based on that. You know, there's a, there's a built in audience and niche audience.

Alex Ferrari 16:52
But let's No, no, that's a very good point. And I'm gonna, I'm gonna bring I'm gonna stop you there. Because it's something that filmmakers don't get, they just, they sit in their bubble, and they'll come up with an idea. And they'll go, I'm gonna make this movie, not thinking about who it's gone, or how they're going to get it out there. And if you write something that's based on an existing, and we're talking about the micro budget, but even in the macro budget world, we're talking the studio world, that's what they're doing. When they put out Justice League, they hope that the fan base for those characters are there. And they they're making a movie for that fan base, as well as as broad of an audience as humanly possible. Yeah. But for micro budgets, if you can come up with an idea that that you can, and I'll use the same thing, the vegan chef movie, the vegan chef movie, I mean, if I came to you guys with a movie, so it's a romantic comedy about a vegan chef who falls in love with a meat eater. And that's the story. And then, and I go, oh, by the way, I also have 15 courses on how to make vegan, you know, pastries, so whatever. And I'm bringing this to you guys. You'd be like, yes, you'd be like salivating. Yeah, cuz you could market that easily. Right, Paul?

Paul Koshlap 18:02
Yes. Yeah. I mean, that's perfect. Because it's like you said, I mean, that it's a movie that appeals to known existing fan bases of people or demographics of people who have a certain kind of interest that are relatively easy to target, especially on social media, right? So you can connect those two dots very easily. And there you go. You have an audience right there built in.

Alex Ferrari 18:22
Yeah. Now there was the there was a success story that you guys were talking about the dog fighting movie. Can you talk a little bit about what happened with that project? And because it just goes along with what we're talking about? Sure. Absolutely.

Adam Bowman 18:32
Yeah. So we're working with his movie chance. And what's great about it is these people had what they felt was a calling to tell a story about sort of the, the darkness the negative thing that is dogfighting and we all know, it's horrible. It's horrible. But it still happens, nope, everything. And you know, they also recognize that, like, they didn't want to do, you know, a real real dog movie with dog fighting. So they decided to make a CG movie about dog fighting from the dogs perspective. And, you know, it's really powerful, really emotional. But I think what would the success part was we started the social media management. And a lot of there's content without, you know, doing the big boosting budgets and stuff like that, that everybody else is saying you have to do now went viral. I mean, everybody talks about the word viral, like they want their stuff to go viral. That's viral is not really something you can create, per se. But this literally did go viral. I mean, it went, Paul, you by the numbers. Yeah. Off the top your head. They're 90 right now.

Paul Koshlap 19:44
Yeah. So I mean, it's the trailer. The trailer has been viewed over a million times on Facebook. And the full reaches something like 3.5 million for an indie movie for a tiny indie movie and this is with zero paid, boosting apply. To that, and you your listeners may from the previous episode know all about Facebook shortlisting and stuff, this is completely organic. So in which in the modern day of Facebook is unheard of even more insane. So and that didn't happen right away, essentially, you know, so this is a great example of film that has and the filmmakers, by the way, ironically, I mean, they made the film for the same reason out of passion for this subject of genuine passion. They really care very much about this. So they made this movie actually, for the same reason, probably, most filmmakers make their movie. And I think, if any, yeah, not with any forethought about marketing or anything, but it turned into sort of a happy accident that this film and its content found, relatively quickly, a very passionate fan base on social media. So we first started releasing content. So I mean, for us when they brought us the project, the strategy was, was pretty obvious. You know, we want to create content, obviously, that represents the film. But that also talks about the subject and hopefully educates people about this horrendous practice, right? What they might be able to do to help put a stop to this or to rescue dogs in need of rescue or to support organizations that help you know, rescue adopt animals and all of that

Adam Bowman 21:18
This strategy really was built around the idea that social medias, social people talk, and it's conversation and movie had his topic that they could be part of the conversation wasn't just watch our movie, watch your movie watching the movie, right? Yes. You know, this is a topic that people are talking about, you know, dog rescue dog euthanasia. euthanizing that euthanasia, euthanizing. And,

Paul Koshlap 21:44
Yeah, and also, on the flip side, all the organizations that are there to be supported, that are working so hard to rescue these animals. And to combat this, this practice in the stem. Did that turn into all those views turn into sales or rentals?

Alex Ferrari 21:58
Well, not even out yet. So you're just still building the audience? Yeah. So the audience is just rapidly waiting. Yes, or no pun intended, rather than waiting for, for the film to come out? Yeah, well, just one bad thing. The big point up there, a lot of filmmakers think that they only should start building an audience when they have a product to sell. Hmm, what do you what's your point of that?

Adam Bowman 22:20
Well, and we've talked about this before, but the building an audience and creating awareness is like anything else you're going to do in life. And in particular, with filmmaking, there's the adage that, you know, you there's three things your movie can be, it can be good, it can be fast, it can be cheap, it can only be two of those things, building an audience is the exact same thing. You can build a really good engaged audience, and you can do it fast, but it's not going to be cheap. You if you want to do it, build a good engaged audience and do it cheap, you've got to do it over time. And the other thing, you know, you look at, you know, really big movies, Justice League, for example. You know, they, they create a lot of awareness, this because they put a ton of money into making sure it's everywhere. I mean, we're here in LA, you could not know breathe without seeing a poster somewhere. Now, for a small indie film, to reach market saturation of everybody being aware of their movie. They either need to start that very early, or they're just going to keep doing it forever. In fact, they probably should do it forever. Yeah, cuz they're never going to reach that point. I'd like everybody knowing about it. The reality. Yeah, yeah. Without either spending a whole bunch of money or just taking that time.

Alex Ferrari 23:32
Right? And again, and how do you? So when you're building that audience, though, how do you keep them engaged all this time? while they're waiting for the final product? Are you putting out behind the scenes? Are you doing interviews? Are you talking to your audience? You know,

Adam Bowman 23:48
Depends on the movie? Okay, you know, for for chance, like I was saying it, it's a perfect topic to be inserted into a conversation that's already happening in social media, which is why I went back to that, like if you really want to make a movie that sells find conversations in social media niche audiences that your movie can be inserted into and be part of that, that world.

Paul Koshlap 24:10
Yeah. One thing that also will do to you to your question about how do you keep all that going? Where's the content? How do you keep this momentum going, sometimes over a prolonged period of time, depending on what the needs are in terms of release and time to finish the project. When you do if you attach yourself to a larger conversation, then you open yourself up to all this content you can share, right? That isn't directly about your film, but maybe it's articles about this subject or other content from other people who are also talking about from

Alex Ferrari 24:42
An account that is about the movie.

Paul Koshlap 24:44
No. Oh, well, yes. You're hosting it from from Yeah, yeah. So this is all content for your account,

Alex Ferrari 24:50
Right. So all of a sudden, people start subscribing or following your account because they are interested in what your content you're providing, whether it's your own content or rewrite or repurpose In other people's content, you're you're making a connection with an audience. Yes.

Paul Koshlap 25:03
And at the very least, you're you're sustaining the interest of whatever audience you have captured.

Alex Ferrari 25:08
And, and I'll use a perfect example with what I do with indie film hustle. When I first started with any of them, I was I didn't have a lot of copyright. So I just repurposed other people's YouTube videos, or memes or inspiration or whatever. I did that for months before I started. And then of course, inserting my my content, but then slowly to a point where now I have more than enough content to go around. Yeah, then now I just use that. But that's how I was able to use and I still repurpose other people's stuff, as well, because it's part of providing value to my audience. Yeah, whether that be talking about a very passionate subject that they want. Yeah, or finding more information about?

Adam Bowman 25:45
Yeah, and that's a perfect way to start your page to begin with, like, if you got to film and you want to start your social media at this inception of the idea before we even read the script. You know, you know, the genre is you'll know what the, hopefully, you know, what the genre is, you know, what the hook is, you know what the theme of the movie is? And you know, you can find those conversations online and be be part of those than the beginning.

Alex Ferrari 26:06
There's a buddy of mine who just for fun, opened up a Facebook page, he has Wiener dogs, and he opened up a wiener dog page. And he's just started putting up funny because there's a lot of funny there's, there's a lot of funny wiener dog stuff out there. And he just start posting and he's got like 100,000 followers now. And now what he does is he posts like products for leisure dogs and yeah, he makes a living. Yep, pulling all that kind of stuff out. But I was very interesting because there's a movie called wiener dog. You remember that one from Noah Bachman? I remember that. But it was a movie called wiener dog. And I was like, how perfect of a marketing situation is a movie called wiener dog you got a built in audience that might be small but actually I would

Adam Bowman 26:47
That that breed in particular dog since would not be a small audience anytime I go somewhere. So my, my in laws, own toxins and they love toxins. And so anytime we go somewhere, I guarantee whether it's a department store Oh no. You can always find some sort of kitsch with toxins on it. Not every there's another

Alex Ferrari 27:11
Another breed that's coming up as the corgis you know I have I used to have a Corgi and it was before it was invoked. Yeah. Now everywhere. Yeah, sorry, we're going off a tangent.

Paul Koshlap 27:21
That however, I mean, that we might have opened up a whole new category of ways of thinking about moving. Pick the breed of dog and make a movie about it. Yeah. Find the breed of dog that has not yet been represented on film.

Alex Ferrari 27:33
And then generally speaking dog movies do well, yes, there's a fat they're generally family. Sure. You're gonna you put a dog on a cover? Yeah, that's why there's 45 air buds. Yeah, yeah. Yep. Air buds saves Christmas.

Adam Bowman 27:47
I mean, they make like to Paul's point that I might disagree with a little bit if you pick a breed that nobody's heard of like you pick up a borzoi. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. You know that. Nobody knows what that is. That's why Air Bud is a golden retriever. Yeah, one of the most popular dogs are right, for sure.

Paul Koshlap 28:03
But has a doxon been more of a moving wiener dog? Okay. The movie called wiener dog man. Remember the conversation we just had.

Alex Ferrari 28:13
Children? Do not do drugs. It's not good.

Paul Koshlap 28:16
But there might be there might be more room for more than one wiener dog movie. 45 air there's not there's not a winner dog is the soul doxon film. There might be room for another film.

Alex Ferrari 28:30
Oh, absolutely. Yeah, I don't think there's a saturation of dots and movies out there you go. I there's probably exaggeration of Air Bud movies yet either. That might also be true. No, they literally got like I was I was clicking through Netflix and I saw like Air Bud saves Christmas. I was like, You gotta be kidding me. But But is there an Air Bud says Kwanzaa. There you go. I mean, I think there's room. I think there's room for everything. Now, Paul, can we talk a little bit about some marketing concepts and ideas that are outdated? Sure. There's so many people that think five years ago, what worked five years ago is working right now or it's going to work in a year when your movie comes out? Right!

Paul Koshlap 29:10
Yeah, I mean, the biggest thing that I encounter with people with clients and people who are trying to market any product service or films in particular on social media, is that they have the sense that social media has a little bit of magic. You put something out there and it's gonna kind of and they have these notions about firewall Enos and and how this stuff works, right. Yeah. And, and trend, putting something out there in on social media, literally just posting something on social media will allow that give it that it's this opportunity for it to sort of magically find its way to some sort of audience and potentially money. reach a ton of people. Sure. And while that's not possible, it's become harder and harder and harder and harder and harder over the years, merely because of saturation. saturation of the social media landscape, there's just way more content out there than there was 510 years ago. And what you need to do now is it's, you essentially, you can no longer just put something out there. And it will have a good chance of reaching the people who are likely to be interested in the content you're putting out there, you have to work for their attention.

Alex Ferrari 30:26
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now, back to the show.

Paul Koshlap 30:36
Job number one before anything, that people this is the step that people skip, in my opinion, or at least in terms of their understanding of what they're trying to accomplish, is they think that they'll be able to they know the audience they want to reach, they may have identified it, they know what how they want to represent the brand they're moving, I would go so far as to say I don't know that even they figured that in many cases, they haven't. But let's say best case scenario, yes, they have they and they, they think that they'll be able to put it out there and that by some sort of social media osmosis, that that content will start to reach those people without any additional work. And and that I think has changed dramatically, you need to work for those people's attention. And

Alex Ferrari 31:20
When you say work, at the end of the day, it's providing value to them in one way, shape, or form entertainment, information or passion. But that's what you mean by work like you're you're you're connecting with them in one way, shape, or form. And

Paul Koshlap 31:31
That's definitely a part of it. But even that, I think, is no longer enough. right in and of itself, you definitely want to provide value, you must provide value, if you're not it, nobody's gonna pay attention, you're just wasting your time. So for sure, like and that would fall into the sort of, you know, category of content strategy, what are we putting out? Why is it a value to our target demographic, maybe it's content from the film that we just think is going to be entertained to that, it's as simple as that. And that can work great. Or maybe it's attaching yourself to a larger conversation and providing information about that subject, that conversation, etc, like we just talked about with the dog movement. But essentially, beyond that, you have to play the social media game, and get ahead of it, you know, rise above sort of the giant, you know, saturation of all these different voices, all these different pieces of content, trying and competing for everyone's attention. And there are various ways to do that. And essentially, it's, you know, different tactics for how you actually approach posting, where you're putting your content when you're posting hashtags, using the paid boosting options, all of these little details of how to properly use social media, or how to properly target a very specific audience beyond just the type of content you're putting out. All of those things matter and make a difference and can put you ahead of the other people competing for the same eyeballs. And that's much become much more important.

Alex Ferrari 33:10
I feel now, would you agree that video is the number one piece of content that you can use?

Paul Koshlap 33:15
Not necessarily okay. Not necessarily depends on the platform. Okay, videos very strong on Facebook, right, right now,

Alex Ferrari 33:23
Not so much.

Paul Koshlap 33:24
Twitter, it is I would say more notably, Instagram is where in my experience image can still outperform video dramatically. I would agree. Which isn't to say you shouldn't be putting video on Instagram, and that video can't do very well on Instagram. But Instagram is still the home of the static image, I

Alex Ferrari 33:43
Guess. In my opinion, it's the basis of the entire point. Yes, right. Yeah. But Facebook, I mean, as I scroll, I rarely stop for an image unless it's something really interesting. short video is all I see now. Sure, it's like video video video.

Paul Koshlap 33:57
A couple important things to note about that. This is how, obviously, it's very natural to develop an opinion about how Facebook is working based on your own personal experience of face, right, because it's but a couple things about that. First of all, a small sample size, obviously, second of all, Facebook is tailoring your personal Facebook feed based on your personal behavior. So what's showing up in your Facebook feed may be dramatically different than what is showing up on someone else's Facebook feed, even if, for example, you and some other person followed all of the same people,

Alex Ferrari 34:33
My habits are different,

Paul Koshlap 34:34
Your habits are different, right? And so the algorithm is going to serve you a different kind of content. So that's not to say that video isn't the leader on Facebook right now. It's very strong on Facebook. But if you and as a filmmaker, it may be the case that you are gravitate towards video you're interacting more with video, Facebook is going to serve you personally more video, but it doesn't necessarily mean that that's the experience anyone else is having. So that's just an important thing to bear in mind. When it comes to social media, it's with the algorithms and the way content is served to people. It's so personalized now that I think it's very important to avoid the trap of Yeah, generalizations based on your very, very specific feed.

Alex Ferrari 35:17
If you guys had money right now, where are you going to spend it on? Which social media platform is the number one for a movie right now, in your opinion,

Adam Bowman 35:25
if you're gonna spend money, and what's the budget of the film, because that because again, it's all scaled, right? But

Alex Ferrari 35:31
If it's all scale, regardless, though, even if you had a million dollars or $1,000, there is a platform that you would probably focus on more than you would on others. And you're talking about like a paid ad spam paid ads. Yeah, yes, Facebook ads. Facebook, I would not question is the most powerful without question. Yeah, absolutely. Twitter. Don't waste your time. YouTube ads

Adam Bowman 35:52
With ad spend part of it. I would agree with that on Twitter. But I also I wouldn't write Twitter off as a as a as a platform that you shouldn't be using. Oh, no, no,

Alex Ferrari 36:00
No. But for spending money. Yeah, for spending money. I've never spent a dime on Twitter. And I get a lot of from Twitter. It's one of my biggest, you know, social media platforms and connect with a lot of filmmakers, a lot of my audience there. But it's like, I've never I never hear of anyone going. I did this boost on Twitter. And I know it doesn't work.

Paul Koshlap 36:20
I have spent money on Twitter flatline. So you're the one. Yeah, exactly. And that's why Twitter reported. Last quarter. Earnings? Yes. Because of all my but my experience is consistent with that, which is the Facebook, the opportunities on Facebook are much stronger. For pick a target. Yeah, it's a target. But yeah, and here's but here's the thing about Facebook, I stress Facebook, because it only if you know how to use it?

Alex Ferrari 36:49
Oh, absolutely. If you don't know how

Paul Koshlap 36:51
To use it, don't be a giant waste of money. Okay. So you, you know, you have to you have to understand the process of matching the content you're creating and putting out to the proper available targets that Facebook gives you and have amazing targets. But you can't assume First of all, you can't necessarily target anything. And you also have to be mindful of what you're targeting. When you're targeting by interests on Facebook. Obviously, you can also do age and all this other stuff. Sure. But for example, you know, say you want to target say you're selling soccer balls using a while I want to target people who play soccer, when you can't target people who play soccer on Facebook. That's not an available target soccer's and interest. Soccer is an interest, you can target people who follow you know, christianna Ronaldo, sure, or who but how many of

Alex Ferrari 37:43
You guys are going to buy a soccer ball

Paul Koshlap 37:44
Right! Yeah. Well, that's and that's those the questions need to start to ask. So so the targeting is vast and amazing. But you also want to understand the nuances of what you're actually targeting.

Alex Ferrari 37:54
Right! specific products are interesting, like something like that shirt like a Star Wars cop, very easy. Anybody get into Star Wars, you can go out the doors, right? Again, vegan chef people who are interested in vegans in that kind of food, you know, whatever. Easy to easy to target. Yeah. But like a soccer ball, which is a very broad spectrum product, right? It's hard to pinpoint that. Yeah. football or baseball? Sure. a water bottle is perfect. So a water bottle keeps your water cold for three days. You can hit hikers. You can hit jerk out, but you're not going to go. who's interested in buying a water bottle right now? Yeah, because water bottle is not an interest on. Yeah, yeah. But hiking is Yoga is the places that people would do extra shirts.

Paul Koshlap 38:38
And to take it out to film. I mean, the same can be true for certain kinds of films. Sure, take the opposite example of a film that has a really specific great hook. Say it's just, you know, again, it's just kind of general but just a broad an Action, Comedy or ambition. Sure, much harder to target a specific audience super, it's not that you can't find and that's where you got to rely more heavily on on good content, or you know, and also

Alex Ferrari 38:58
Like, if you have an action movie that has certain star in it, you can you can target other movies Exactly. Have that star

Adam Bowman 39:04
be a form of a hook and even a star might even be an interest. Of course, that's right.

Alex Ferrari 39:09
But even if you have a broad spectrum, action movie that has no stars in it, but it's kind of like lethal weapon, you can target people who like with weapons or Okay, or Russia or or those kinds of things. But again, you're shooting pretty much throwing stuff up on the on the wall, that's still a big target. It's extremely, you're just kind of like it's not super pinpoint. Exactly. So and that's what filmmakers need to understand. Like if you're going to go after marketing on Facebook, something like that. Yes. You know, you have to have a hook. Something that connects with that perfect example is like if you know if you like lethal weapon, you'll like my movie

Paul Koshlap 39:45
That's so broad, but targeted but broad. Sure. And that can that can work. We have a client we're working with right now. Where, again, it's pretty broad comedy. It does have some specific hooks, but Essentially, we are targeting audiences very similar to what you're describing related broad comedies, similar types of films and the audience's like those, right. And, and we're creating some fun, funny content that represents the content of the film. But we also think is shareable and funny and getting hopefully getting laughs at people. And that's performing really well. Really strong. So it's not not to discourage people from using Facebook to market a film that is, is less, you know, less, less specific hook. But if that's the case, you better have some some funny content. So

Alex Ferrari 40:38
You got to have you have a content strategy. Yeah, with that you're not just throwing up a trailer or you know, a poster and exactly for the best, you've got a content strategy aiming, these kind of be

Adam Bowman 40:48
Exactly, and it's a long term game, you can't expect, you know, like, you have three really good posts, and you just put them up there. And the expected that's what's going to drive sales, let's say the movies out and, you know, you have those triggered posts, the chances of somebody, you know, seeing that post the first time and clicking on it, and going to iTunes or Amazon or, or wherever to buy the movie is so so small. I mean, typically, in in marketing, you need, like 11 touch points before somebody like plan, a touch point, some sort of interaction. So like for a film perspective, what are the reasons Justice League and all the big studios do the like, great big mass marketing, where you're seeing billboards, you're seeing bus ads, you're seeing Facebook posts, you're seeing trailers on television, you're seeing, you know, the action toy in your McDonald's Happy Meal,

Alex Ferrari 41:41
You're seeing all those things, because you the people, people need to, like experience that content 11 times at least before they're like, you know what? I've heard of this. I know what this is. And now I'm going to buy it. You know, it's funny that and I watched my daughter's now because we were in LA. So LA is I mean, when I have friends coming in from out of town, they're like, you've got movie posters everywhere. Like there's all his his movie. Mark, right. So now, recently, Paddington two is coming out. And they stuck. It's funny because we drive around and they'll see the bus ads, or they'll see a billboard. And now they started to bring up Paddington like, hey, Daddy, when is padding thing coming out? So I found it so interesting. Like, even on a six year olds mind, they're seeing it because it's something directed at them. They want it. And and it's so powerful is such a powerful thing that a six year old totally can be, you know, like cocoa, God forbid, cocoa is like the biggest thing since sliced bread with my girls. Yeah. Which is arguably my favorite film of the year. And it's amazing. But when cocoa was out, like at Thanksgiving, you couldn't walk anywhere in Burbank, let alone anywhere else that you could not see a cocoa poster. Yeah. And they were on us like when is cocoa we want to see cocoa we do. And we show a trail or something like that. So it's really interesting that you write those, those touch points and not that just one poster, they see it again and again and again till they finally say something. Had

Adam Bowman 43:17
They seen one poster they would not have been asking when is Coco come out? Right? You know, right takes it takes. It's like you're subconsciously your brain needs to process it over and over. And then it's like, oh, this is a thing. It's, it's like you've you built this item in your head of like, I know what this is? Oh, now I want to buy it.

Alex Ferrari 43:35
Well, perfect example. Star Wars last Jedi. I mean, my girls because they they watched like Disney Channel. And of course, there's a couple ads. So there were the ones bringing up like, oh, when are you gonna go see last Jedi Dad? I'm like, oh, like I haven't shown you anything? Well, it is a new high five and a high five, obviously, high five. Like, when can we see it? Like you're not seeing it anytime soon. It's a little too much for you just yet. But anyway, so I'm out there. So can also I wanted to ask you guys in the scope of marketing, as a general statement, what are the the categories or sections of things that we should think about? So there's PR, there is social media marketing, which is a whole beast on its own. And those are really two different I mean, within social media, I

Adam Bowman 44:19
Think there's two things, right, because there's the organic audience building sure part of it. And then there's the sort of paid advertising boosting part of it. And those are the even though the content is similar, the strategies are slightly different. Because a lot of social media is almost like PR because what you want to do is insert yourself in those conversations and get other people to talk about. So it's you know, when people share where people like that's really a PR move, right? That's other than letting other people know that they like or sharing your stuff. So it's it's a really interesting blend of those two sort of advertising and PR Now we already can And then,

Alex Ferrari 45:00
Right. So there's the social media, there's PR meaning, and I would say PR is public relations, publicists public. Yeah, publicist, publicist, things like that reviews and reviews, inner editorial editorials and things like that, like,

Adam Bowman 45:14
You know, we're gonna show up in regular media that people think of as media, right, I

Alex Ferrari 45:18
Get I get hit up all the time by PR people and publicists about trying to get people on the show. And now we're going to Sundance and we're getting hit up by the Sundance filmmakers who want to be on the show and do all that kind of stuff as well. So there is a value there. And if that that's a really specific thing. So like, if you have a film, and Sundance should probably hire a publicist, or someone who handled that kind of to get you into because Yeah, you've got heat on you, right? If you got into sand, iron is hot, you need iron is hot, you should spend money you get in South by Southwest, you get into Tribeca, you get in one of these major festivals, you should probably hire a publicist, or someone who can get you when I say someone, someone like you guys, who can make those calls, reach out to their contacts and get them on into print into interview shows into podcasts, stuff like that.

Adam Bowman 46:09
Totally. But the I think the other part of it is, it used to be you could just have publicists, right. And I'm not this is not to not publish this at all, I think it's a very key element of the marketing equation. But again, if you're not if you don't have control of your own social media, and you're not able to start sharing that content that you're collecting from publicists, so if you have an interview with somebody, if you get an editorial and The Hollywood Reporter, you know, it's That's awesome. But it doesn't mean a whole lot. Because it unless you're also pushing it out to people to let them know that that exists for them to read. And that it's a big deal. Right? Right. You're

Alex Ferrari 46:48
Trying to extend the audience that's reading or enjoying the content,

Adam Bowman 46:52
Because, again, The Hollywood Reporter, and you know, we were just another client whose film is coming out, and they got this review in The Hollywood Reporter and was, you know, for a very small micro budget indie film, getting an article in The Hollywood Reporter is huge, a huge deal. And then when the movie came out, there were like, zero sales right out right off the bat, right behind this Hollywood Reporter thing. So it's not like people are just reading The Hollywood Reporter. Like it's a newspaper?

Alex Ferrari 47:22
Who's reading it, though, who's reading the report? Are

Adam Bowman 47:24
You talking about industry industry, people reading Hollywood report and industry doesn't buy movies. But Hollywood Reporter is is a publication that other people were just movie audiences have heard of, but they don't. It's not there. But right. But for you, but it's about creating the, the world of your movie in terms of, you know, you don't just have a Facebook page, but you also have these reviews out in the world. And excuse me, so when somebody is thinking about what movie to buy, and they're like, oh, I've heard of this again, it's touchpoints. Right? There's you have these places where information about your movie lives, and your you could then need to share it even farther, so that there's more people know that this is a thing, like this movie is a thing. It's not just one of 1000s of movies that got put online yesterday, this movie has some heat behind it, or this movie. Oh, I've heard about that.

Alex Ferrari 48:20
You know, it's credible, another its credibility, but it's also a way that they've at least heard about it. So it's not like they're just seeing it for the first time on their iTunes, while they're scrolling through, and, and having to choose between all those movies that are there. Like I've actually heard about this one. Well, it's also the chat, the challenge of channeling all of these other pieces of content and exposures and touchpoints through an audience that you're hopefully creating, which is what like we did with this is back when we got to review, we pump it through all of our social media outlets. And so it's a way to people go, Hey, this is what's going on over there. We got to review an audit report or a variety, something like that. But if you just sit on the holiday board, like oh, that's the it that might have been in 86 that's not the way it is now. No, right. Oh,

Paul Koshlap 49:05
Yeah. And again, to speak to speaking of things that are somewhat outdated, or at least in this, you know, time period, print magazines. I mean, I think that there is and and not to point anything specific because again, it can it can vary depending on individual project and who you're trying to reach. But I think there are a lot of more traditional concepts that filmmakers have about what is promotional prestige? Yeah, that the premier or a billboard or being in a certain certain theaters, whatever it may be, which traditionally like you said back in 86 back whenever it was, that was 100% the way to do it. Sure. It was the only way to go and that's the only really avenue for getting in front of people. ideas they have about where the prestige we're creating prestige and credibility and awareness of their film happens versus where that's happening in this day and age. And to what extent some of those previous practices may have eroded in their in their value. And whether that's something like, again, it depends on the film. So it's not necessarily the case for each film, but Hollywood Reporter article and Hollywood Reporter what does that mean, in this day and age? Who's reading the film sales? Yeah, to film sales? You know, what it has that it has? It has certain cachet.

Alex Ferrari 50:30
Oh, absolutely. It has. But again, it

Adam Bowman 50:32
Depends on the goals of the filmmaker. Yeah. And you know, about what it was in making that film, again, springboard the career. Those are good places to have your name show up?

Alex Ferrari 50:41
Absolutely. Look at 2005. I was lucky enough to get Roger Ebert to review my short film, right. That turned into sales. Yeah, that turned into sales photos. It was such an obscene obscure thing, a short film, they have a review. Yeah. From Roger Ebert, that it caused, you know, phenomenon within the indie film world, because like, Who the hell are these guys? Yeah, right. You know, what the hell is this? And then just, and then I had a product to sell, and it just all worked out. So there was a tremendous amount of prestige, which I still carry around like, Yeah, I got rolling. It's something I'll always have, like, Hey, I had Roger Ebert review, and I'm absolutely short film. So it's amazing. Now, the one thing I want to talk about, as well is ROI, with marketing, and with PR and all of that stuff. Because a lot of times filmmakers will, you know, let's say we got 10,000 bucks, and we'd dump in 10,000 bucks into marketing? Well, the point of marketing is to make sales. Hopefully, if that's what the then if it's just to get audience or whatever, that's another company, let's say for the sake of argument, it's about turning it into sales. filmmakers really need to understand about ROI, what do you feel is, you know, and it's so hard. That's what that's been the struggle with marketing in general, since the beginning of time, right? Like, how much money am I putting in? How can I register sales? And nowadays, you can actually see real time data of people clicking who's buying who's not buying if it's a digital up product? Yeah.

Adam Bowman 52:12
And the tough thing with the with that, streamline, though, is that, you know, you can drive people to click on your iTunes link, sure. Which you can't tell because iTunes doesn't give you that information is did they buy? Did they buy from that? row you can do is track that track how many people clicked on the link? And then compare that with how many people actually bought the movie, right? And you don't know where those sales are coming from. But, I mean, again, you don't have that quantifiable data. But on some level, you have to recognize that if nobody knew about your movie, nobody's gonna buy it.

Alex Ferrari 52:52
Right? No, absolutely. And there's also there's another thing too, like, let's say perfect example, a my film get into Sundance. Yeah. And I go, you know what, guys, I'm gonna give you guys 10 grand, I want you to blow my name. And this movie's name, everywhere. I don't, it's not about making money. It's about exposure, and everyone's hearing about who I am as a filmmaker, and my brand, and also about this movie that got into Sundance. And that's the end goal. That I think is extremely valuable, because that will turns into money in the long Oh, yeah. Because what's a perfect example? Something like that? I've been blessed. I don't sell any money. You know, my movies. Yeah. Little indie. Sure, you know, really obscure movie. But all that press gets me an agent that hires me to rewrite a script, or all of a sudden, it turns out, you have to look at it on that standpoint, totally.

Adam Bowman 53:41
And return doesn't always necessarily mean straight up dollar value correctly. I mean, it's there's there's a lot of things that return on investment can mean. Yeah. And what are the other things so people like you were just saying, you know, there's trying to grow your career awareness, awareness about yourself and your brand. Again, it could be if you're if the subject matter of the movie you made is something that you care about people talking about, like the chance movie, right? If you want to help stop dog fighting and create awareness about it, that the return could be more people talking about that subject matter, and a voice for change. So the return could be any number of things that has intrinsic value, not specifically dollar value.

Paul Koshlap 54:28
Oh, and yeah, and also just the long term development of your filmmaker brand, your production company brand, which can translate down the line into into more money and more sales for future projects. So yeah,

Alex Ferrari 54:40
Now one thing I wanted to talk to you guys about, which is press releases, it is a In my opinion, it's there's still value there to a certain extent, but before like you were saying in 86, that was it. Press Release billboards, that was how you got out. Press releases are actually ffensive if done right, even if you use PR web, which a lot of people use PR web and you can boost it up to is fucking whatever. But I personally in today's world don't find a lot of value in PR, excuse me in press releases, if they are, if they're done for like low budget movies and stuff like that I find it's a waste of money. But on a bigger budget, well, bigger movies, maybe, but I want to get your opinion.

Adam Bowman 55:25
I agree, I think doing like creating a press release, and just going out to PR web is probably not a very valuable prospect. Sitting at this marketing podcast this morning. And they were talking about, you know, they do email marketing, and of course, email. You know, there's some value in email, but it's not the end all be all. In fact, just like direct mail, your open rates are much lower, but they started reaching out through Twitter and Twitter messaging people. And they were getting almost 100% response rate when they did that. So just going through a a, like cold call, PR web press release Avenue, I agree is probably not a very violent, there's a hook, even then I still think the value of a publicist in working on it, something like that is they're going to send that press release to the right places and their relationship with the people. Because they know that that person is going to respond to this content and know that the hook is the right thing. Yeah, rather than just the cold call, blast of your press release going to all these media outlets up our web. I mean, that's you're playing a numbers game at that point. But

Alex Ferrari 56:43
It's, you're not really getting it to the right. There's no analytics to know that you're getting into the right places. That's the thing is like, you're just basically just throwing money out there. And hoping for the best, which is like when you buy a print ad, you know, nowadays, as opposed to, you know, why would anyone spend $5,000 on a full page ad in, you know, variety, versus for a film versus spending that $5,000 on targeted ads? Yeah, of people who work in the industry in the same exact way. But you can actually quantify and see the stats. Yeah.

Paul Koshlap 57:16
And I do think that in terms of press releases, you should it should be taken into consideration. To what extent does your film have a story that can be bold about it? And what kind of legs does that story have? Right? And if the answer is some big legs? Well, Ben, you might want to consider that. Well, like finding big legs is also tough within filmmaking. Sure.

Alex Ferrari 57:37
Well, like that was how we were talking before the show started of that Jake the Snake. Yeah, so that Jake, the snake documentary. I forgot I was I think it was called the Jake, the snake documentary. I forget what it is. For people who don't who Jake, the snake was Jake, the snake was a very famous wrestler in the 80s and early 90s, who has a massive fan base, he was a very unique individual. But this documentary filmmaker made a movie about how he is now and he was really bad. He was, you know, he was on drugs. He was living in a trailer like he was destitute. That's a PR story. That is That makes sense to me to send out on on on a press release, because that story will get picked up like former WWF star, you know, on the rocks, you know what happens in the trades another conversation? That to me Makes sense. And even then I would still be hesitant about it. But what do you guys think of something like that?

Adam Bowman 58:32
Again, I think you're still going to get much more mileage, if you hire a good publicist who has those relationships, as opposed to just going through PR? Well, yeah, yeah. I mean, and again, a press release the way you're talking about where you're just going through PR web, I just do not think that that's a very valid, valuable. I mean, if you're doing everything else, why not? Why not? But that shouldn't be step one.

Paul Koshlap 58:57
No, it should. Yeah, I agree with you. 100%. I think one more one more thing to maybe consider for filmmakers, when they're trying to think about advertising and social media versus press release, Where should I put my efforts? Social media starts with a visual, whether it's video, image, whatever. If you have strong visuals, and strong, strong visual content, you're going to have a leg up on social media. In the exact hypothetical example of a film that maybe is not as strong on on visuals, but has a story to tell about the production, then you might want to lean more on that kind of publicity, I would think, and again, that's a very general kind of dynamic, but one way to think about where to be to be putting your effort.

Adam Bowman 59:52
Well, and, you know, when you're trying to figure that out, you're talking to people, right? Don't Don't, don't again, make those decisions in a bubble. Talk to other filmmakers talk to even talk to some publicists and say, Hey, you know, what, what do you think we should do and doesn't mean, you necessarily have to have a contract with them, they're good, they're most likely they're going to come up with some ideas of what to do. But But talking to people who understand that space, and then fade coming up with an idea.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:23
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now, back to the show. Do you do you feel that a lot of old school publicists nowadays have no understanding of social media and can't really, really use it? Well, because I've run into that I run into publicist who are straight up 1985. And they're still doing all the old ways. And it does work to a certain extent, because they have those relationships at a certain annual get press. But is it good or not, is another story. But the point is that a lot of them are just not caught up with Oh, I don't use facebook, facebook doesn't work, because they don't understand it,

Adam Bowman 1:01:05
Possibly, but I mean, the other thing is, you're not hiring them to be your social media, your

Alex Ferrari 1:01:09
You should not hire a publicist. Unless they offered as a package deal. Even they have another service, right.

Adam Bowman 1:01:17
Again, you know, you spread yourself too thin, if you're trying to be do a good job at being a publicist and getting that those articles in those interviews in the right places. And, you know, making sure those relationships you have with reviewers, critics, and journalists, are still strong, and trying to manage somebody's social media at the same time. It's too much for one person. It almost takes a team of people that does really well to do that. And even if it's you're trying to do it yourself, you know, if you're doing the do yourself film distribution Avenue, you know, it's it's hard to be doing those things, and still working on your next project, and everything like that. It's possible, but it's very, very difficult. I did it. It's very difficult. Yeah, totally. difficult, but but I would, again, I I agree with you that you some really old school publicists probably don't know social media as well as they could. But I do think that they do. There's a lot of the industry and the journalism that still relies on that way of doing business, and there's still a value in what they bring to the table. Got it?

Alex Ferrari 1:02:34
Now, um, can you guys talk a little bit about the reality versus the myth of marketing, for filmmakers in general? Because I think there's a lot of myths out there, like if you do certain things that will happen, and what the reality of the situations are?

Adam Bowman 1:02:48
Yeah, I mean, again, the the myths of how it works, you know, like when, when a filmmaker gets done with a movie, and they're the first thing they think about is like, Oh, I need a publicist to get people aware of what's going on. I think that's sort of a fallacy. I don't I, again, a publicist is a piece of the bigger puzzle, but it's not the one thing they need. And part of it's also, you know, thinking that a publicist also means advertising. It's sort of a muddy area within the film industry. And they're not, you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:03:18
They are not cheap. I'm talking about five grand, you know, a month, if you're lucky,

Adam Bowman 1:03:24
Right, for LA, that's the thing, also, you know, in the indie film space, everybody keeps talking about how much more economical it is to do things today, right? Whether it's the filmmaking itself, or whatever, and it's true, it's cheaper to make a film now than it ever has been. But it still costs money. Right? If you're going to shoot on a digital camera, then you're going to edit on a computer. All you notice. It's not free. No, no, at no point has it ever been free? That's true for marketing as well. Right? Like, the marketing you can do through social media, and digitally, is cheaper than it's ever been. But it's not free. And, again, you know, when you when you're making a movie, and you want, you know, a good look, and you're hiring a cinematographer who has a track record, he's not free, you know, he or she is not free, not to be specific, he, but that person is not, it's, you're, you're paying for expertise, you know, they know exactly what they're getting. They're going to give you a quality product. And the same thing happens in marketing. You know, you want to have people on your team who know that space and it's your right, maybe $5,000 a month for a good publicist. But that might be totally worth it and actually a steal. Depending on you know what your movie is and what it what it could do. Well, perfect example. We're going to talk about Sundance and another thing in a little while, but

Alex Ferrari 1:05:01
Hiring a publicist will get you on every party list. Yeah, we'll get you into all the gifting lounges. It gets you into all the places where there's the guard with a list. And you could spend three grand on that. But all of a sudden, your Sundance experience becomes much different. Oh, yeah. And you have access to people and things that you did not have before. So there's a great ROI. If you're going to spend money in a publicist, yeah, just to get you into certain places, but at a Sunday,

Adam Bowman 1:05:30
And you know, at Sundance in particular, that's one of the returns on investment. Oh, you know, you like like we were saying, the iron taught you must strike and publicists is a huge part of that equation at a festival like Sundance. Equally, social marketing is a huge part of that equation at a festival, like Sundance or any festival, really. Because you have a lot of this stuff that happens at a at a festival, like Sundance is still talking to the industry. It's not your general audience isn't aware of all that stuff, especially when your movie is actually available for viewing somewhere. And being able to take all that great content and that energy in that buzz and getting it out to a general movie audience. He's like, oh, wow, I've heard of this. So like, when your movie does come out, it's there's some awareness. Again, it's a touch points along the way.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:25
I'm sorry. So I want to ask you guys the same questions. I asked all of my guests. Kind of rapid fire questions I asked. What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in life or in the business?

Adam Bowman 1:06:40
I don't know if I've learned it yet. You're still learning? I'm still learning?

Paul Koshlap 1:06:45
That's a good question. I, you know, one, one of the things I would say, and I guess it's both business and life is and there's a really good Seth Godin quote course I like about it, that I'm probably gonna butcher it right now. But I'll give you the gist. The cost of doing nothing is greater than the cost of doing the wrong thing. Rogers to say don't wait. make mistakes. Yeah, yeah, just, you know, more is more is lost by indecision and wrong decision, you know, go ahead and try things and move forward with whether it be today's project, whatever it is, trying out a new platform, trying out a new social media platform, whatever. That took me a while to learn. And I but I, and I'm not confident that I've now correct in a new approach, but but that I as I think has been a valuable thing for me, before I can keep going with these questions. There was one thing we forgot to talk about, oh,

Alex Ferrari 1:07:50
My space, ah, my space so that everyone listening is going Oh, what the hell are they going to talk about my space? Right? Let's talk a little bit about what opportunities there might be in a place like a MySpace and or platforms like it? I mean, we're not going to geo cities, and we're not going to start searching on Lycos. But,

Paul Koshlap 1:08:12
I mean, the number one opportunity is I mean, if you're really into obscurity, then you can find it in spades. On my space, I got to have you know, your own little social media Island. Number one was well, here. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 1:08:24
No, but good point we were talking about earlier about like, there, I'm not saying anyone go to my space and start marketing the movies. But

Paul Koshlap 1:08:31
You might want to, I mean, to talk Yeah, so here's what we're talking about really is I mean, so I obviously was sort of half joking when I said that. But the I mean, when you're looking for where you should be marketing your film on social media, I mean, what you really want to have in mind is the equation or the ratio of how many people in my target demographic are here to be reached by me potentially, versus how many other people are also trying to reach those people? And what's the competition? Right? What's the competition for that? It's great if there's a ton of your target demographic on Facebook, and they're there. But if you know, everyone else is also trying to reach that same target demographic? Well, it's going to be very hard to reach them. Right. So in the end resort to using my space, it's kind of a hypothetical. It's a good hypothetical, because people know it. And people also know that it had a very steep decline somewhere around, let's say, millions of people, there's used as a thing. There's still millions of people there. And the question is, have enough of the other you're competing marketers forgotten about a platform like MySpace, that the ratio of people to be reached, versus competition for reaching those people is now a favorable ratio, right? And you can go and reach a bunch of people.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:50
So the point is, is not we're not saying the market in some ways, yes. But what we're saying is that don't rule it out. But don't rule it out. I mean, you should and you should also look at multiple other platforms, not just Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Adam Bowman 1:10:03
Yeah, yeah, you know, just because everybody's in one space doesn't mean that's what you should be doing. I actually think that plays back to the conversation about what the sort of old guard of movie marketing sort of thought like, just because everybody's doing it one way doesn't mean that that's how you need to be doing it in to market your film. The big studios can do things in a certain way that a small indie film just can't and shouldn't even try to play.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:28
And I always use blue, which is the amazing example of how to market independent film they made they created a complete mystery and aura about they're moving by creating a fake documentary to fake all this stuff. And it worked out in spades. Right?

Adam Bowman 1:10:44
Yeah, cool. Opportunity. So the my space conversation is, you know, right now everybody's talking facebook, facebook, facebook. But you know, the podcast I was new this morning was talking about, there might be a renaissance of Twitter coming up pretty soon.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:58
Snapchat, if you haven't yet, depending on who your audience is. You're looking for millennials or people younger? Totally. That's where you're gonna go. That's what they're using.

Adam Bowman 1:11:07
But again, if that's if that's what everybody's thinking, this is how you target millennials go to Snapchat. Really, then you should be also thinking like, Alright, where else are millennials hanging out? Or, you know, whatever. That's not what everybody else is doing. So I'm not trying to compete

Alex Ferrari 1:11:23
Tinder, Tinder, totally. Tinder. Why does your movie not have it's in your documentary about Tinder? Yeah. Yeah, right. You know, I've never actually even seen the app. I've never, I've been married for over 10 years. I've never I've never actually seen an app on the screen. I've heard of it. I heard there's a swiping thing. But that's all.

Adam Bowman 1:11:47
I mean, thinks he does protest too. I don't I don't know anything about I know. We're not what what? Tinder? What? Tinder?

Alex Ferrari 1:11:58
I've never even heard of that. grinders. So, alright, so back to our other question. I just thought that was a good point that we forgot to write it is something that a lot of people like, oh, Facebook is the only really place to go. It's the most powerful. Yeah, and there's opportunities everywhere.

Paul Koshlap 1:12:15
Totally. And also, like one thing I'd like to add on since we're talking about this subject, and also talking about Facebook, a lot of one thing that is happening with Facebook is facebook has become more or less a pay to play marketing. Unfortunately, what has happened in the past couple years with the new algorithms is, has left a lot of whether you're filmmaker trend or whatever you're trying to sell whatever you're trying to market, it has left a lot of those people with the impression that Facebook is essentially dead. Because they've been using it the way you used it four or five years ago, right? It doesn't work anymore, and they're not reaching anyone. And even worse than that people will have very commonly these understandable emotional reactions to Facebook, they're not I spent this time building this audience and they're not serving my content. And they saw a lot of people are actually turning away from Facebook, because of the the what they're failing to recognize is that what Facebook is giving you in exchange for that is one of the greatest advertising tools ever created. And if you learn how to use that, it'll be extraordinarily valid.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:16
Look, it's extremely rare that you post something and you have you have 100,000 followers and 300 people see it like that's

Paul Koshlap 1:13:23
Yes, that's ridiculous. Yeah, yeah, exactly. But But much like my space, I feel like there is an opportunity right now in that Facebook has created this advertising tool, some people are using it, but I think there's still a lot of people that need to learn to use it properly and not assume this industry. Yeah. And not all people are using it properly. So there's an opportunity there as well. To to go reach your target demographic and use Facebook ads. Well, that has a similar sort of desirable ratio that we described right now at least, that we described when we were using the MySpace example.

Adam Bowman 1:13:57
Right, exactly. What's crazy to me, like, I'll even look at, you know, sort of bigger Indian movies, movies that are getting, you know, 300 600 Theater plus release, that are still in the movies. And, you know, I go to their social media, and they might have 20 followers on Facebook, right? Oh,

Alex Ferrari 1:14:13
I see that all the time.

Adam Bowman 1:14:15
Not using it. And yet, and then they wonder why, you know, the movie doesn't do well, at the box office, you know, because they didn't have the budget, that Justice League had to be everywhere. And all boards and buses or even

Alex Ferrari 1:14:29
Disaster artists, right? 24 like, you know, if a 24 picks up a movie, they usually pump a hell of a lot. And

Adam Bowman 1:14:35
They do but they let us know Justice League, they also do creative, very marketing. And they do a lot with social media in their films, a 2014. And I think that's one of the big reasons why they've been have the track record they do and have been as successful as they've been is because they are sort of looking at the marketing of their movies in a much different way than a lot of the other distributors are saying,

Alex Ferrari 1:14:56
Oh, they're a new generation distributor without question.

Adam Bowman 1:15:01
And so it's but it goes to show that like, you just need to not always stick with like, this is the way it's done. You need to look at how else can we be doing? Where's the world change? And how do I be part of that and and be part of the change of the future?

Alex Ferrari 1:15:18
You got to look at what's coming. Yeah, you can't look at. And we talked about this before, like, I do believe that Facebook will eventually run its course I think it will, I think I don't know when it's hard to say that. If you want to talk back in 2005, that may space wouldn't be around the way it was.

Adam Bowman 1:15:37
Possibly. Well, Facebook is more than MySpace. It's much more about like, even they diversify. Right. Like, are they own anything? What like? Yeah, they own a lot of Instagram. And yeah, but but even beyond just the social media stuff. Facebook is involved in a lot of other initiatives.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:52
Yeah, there's like the Google like Google started with how they have phones. Now. They've got computers coming out total. And Facebook is going to start going down that respect. I don't know that Facebook will ever go away like MySpace because MySpace didn't diversify. Like, yeah, Facebook and grow. It will the same with Apple.

Paul Koshlap 1:16:08
You know what, I'm just computer now. They're everything. Yeah. And some of the other things that Facebook is doing as well. Like, for example, I mean, competing now for like sports broadcasting, right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if, you know, they have to get their video player to, you know, a certain level where they can broadcast in HD broadcast. And, but that's coming.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:27
This is, this is a side note, because you just brought this up. And I just wanted this has nothing to do with marketing. I just want to ask your opinion. Do you think Netflix is going to be around in 10 years? Yes. I do. If baizen? Well, yeah, we'll have Applebee's. And then yes, so yeah, but if they stay if they stay independent agents, you know, with Disney, basically coming up with a competitor and Disney has big pockets. Sure. And they've got a lot of content. Sure. For people and now they do they

Adam Bowman 1:16:56
Bought Disney doesn't have everything right. So they do. That's even right now. Like, I like Netflix. I love it. I'm frustrated with Netflix. I empathize. I it's not the one stop shop.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:09
Absolutely. Right. there never will be. Well, blockbuster was the closest sure you could watch it was this blockbuster you speak of.

Adam Bowman 1:17:19
You could walk in and you could you could browse, you could find stuff and it had TV shows that had movies. Anything from any distribution company

Alex Ferrari 1:17:29
From that stopped work. That was not

Adam Bowman 1:17:31
True. True. But Netflix, you know, they get these deals. And it's like, there's a bigger version of what HBO was right? Like, you know, they have their,

Alex Ferrari 1:17:42
Their the window of a year of movies. Because things don't live there forever. So which is annoying? Totally.

Adam Bowman 1:17:48
But that's why until somebody comes up with that one stop shop for digital viewing. You're gonna have to have your Netflix big, and you're gonna have to have Disney. Because not you

Paul Koshlap 1:17:59
Won't have everything. I think we're the model is shifting. I think Netflix gets this. Oh, that's

Alex Ferrari 1:18:05
What the original content.

Paul Koshlap 1:18:06
Exactly. Yeah, it's stuff. Oh, you Oh, you don't need the middleman anymore. No. If you have a streaming platform, and you have a developed brand, where people are aware of you and better than that, in their case, an existing a giant, existing customer base that are already just signed up. Look,

Alex Ferrari 1:18:22
I have a perfect example. I have a friend of mine who runs a yoga, a yoga site on YouTube. They're like the number one yoga. he typed in the word yoga. I think I told you guys yeah, they have a membership site. Yeah, it's a streaming site, and they put out new content for their customers. Yeah, every and I can't even tell you. Yeah, how well they're doing um, yeah, it's insane based on their customer base. So they're gonna I think there's also going to be a lot of these little Netflix's which they're already out now. Totally.

Paul Koshlap 1:18:53
I think it's actually going to go in that direction where you're going to have more outlets from from an audience perspective.

Adam Bowman 1:18:59
I don't like that. I don't hate I hate it too. Because I don't want to have 10 different bills a month.

Alex Ferrari 1:19:06
Oh, God, I know with like five bucks here. Seven Bucks there. nine bucks there. One.

Adam Bowman 1:19:10
It's hard to track. Exactly. I mean, memberships are horrible. Yeah. But it's like, I don't know what my monthly media spend is, right? Because you got signed up. And sometimes you sign up for things and then you never go back to it, then you forget to even have it and

Alex Ferrari 1:19:22
Six months later, you're like sick of like logs on this damn thing, total number.

Adam Bowman 1:19:27
But I think you're absolutely right. That's where it's going to be until somebody figures out the other side of it and says, you know, really, what really will replace cable will be that one subscription that gets you everything.

Paul Koshlap 1:19:40
I think what will probably replace all this stuff is something like an Amazon eventually, where it's just like they find and maybe the thing is like they will we're just going to give everyone a free Amazon TV now. And the only way you can access Netflix or anything else is to have Amazon

Adam Bowman 1:19:59
And you're buying your subscriptions through Amazon. Yeah. So your your bills, Amazon. Exactly. So it'll kind of fold back into something like that. Yeah, I think

Alex Ferrari 1:20:07
Yeah, but not a bad idea. Yeah. This is good.

Paul Koshlap 1:20:09
Especially like, Yeah, well, it will have your TV delivered by a drone within the hour and installed by robots. And but it's not Oh, yeah. I mean, it's not gonna happen. I'm laughing because I'm terrified. It definitely is going to happen. But the one thing that I did the one positive, though I do see in like the having more outlets like this is I do think it lends itself to better content. Oh, no, that's very true. You know, we're getting better to even have you getting better with each other. Yeah, for the subscription. And it also gets to diversify a little bit obviously, betters are subjective thing. What I think is a good movie is on the same as someone else. But you have more options and tailored and designed for different tastes. And so I think that's a big plus for content right

Adam Bowman 1:20:53
Now. It's a great time to be an audience.

Paul Koshlap 1:20:55
Yeah. And also great time to be a great time to be a content creator. Or it's great on both ends. Yes, sir. No, like it's Yeah, I saw I think largely, it's great. Yes. Oh, no, no, no,

Adam Bowman 1:21:03
I yeah. Just Yeah, just the annoyance like, Oh, yeah, we know what's on that other platform. I don't have that platform.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:09
Yeah, this is, this is what we like to call first world problems. Okay, so descriptions for my media. Don't watch it on my 85 inch screen. We are talking about this on a filmmaking podcast. This is true. Exactly. No question. Alright, so um, what advice would you give a filmmaker? Starting on their marketing? journey? What's the one piece of advice?

Paul Koshlap 1:21:35
Start right now? Right, right. Focus on alongside promoting any of your individual products, promote your filmmaker brand. Yeah, whether that's your name, or your production company, put at least as much effort into that as you are putting into any individual project. And there'll be a lot of overlap. So it's not like it's just going to be double the work. But have that in mind as as the long term goal from a social media, and certainly from a social media perspective,

Alex Ferrari 1:22:08
God, um, and then each of you three of your favorite films of all time. fightclub. Jeremiah Johnson, and Blade Runner. You know what that really encompasses you? 100% doesn't mean when you guys see, one day, you'll understand. You know, it's really, really, three movies are perfect representations of atoms for as a human being. Anyway,

Paul Koshlap 1:22:42
It's, uh, I would go, man, it's tough to pick a three but I mean, I would, I would say, American Beauty is up there, old boy. Oh, yeah, the original the original now. I have seen them. I've never seen a spike. I love Spike Lee, but I have no intention of seeing a remake of that amazing film. Yeah, everyone should just watch the original. There's no need to remake that movie.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:05
And I'm going to drop real quick. I'm going to drop some Sundance names there. I was at the Sundance premiere of all Wow, with midnight screening with a director who just flew in Yeah, from from Asia as demos. And it was and I sat there talking to him through his translator Yeah. Outside at like 230 in the morning and we froze our asses off Yeah, to get tickets to go see that movie. It was it was mind blowing.

Paul Koshlap 1:23:29
Yeah. Mind blowing. See that? Yeah. And just so hard to pick like a top three or top two or whatever. But here's the movie I've been telling people to see that is definitely high on my list. A small independent film by Shaun Baker called starlet yeah also made tangerine and more recently made which Flora project Florida project but starlet great, great movie.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:52
Sean Sean's on the show. He's He's awesome. Yeah, sounds fun on the show. We're gonna try we're trying to get him back from Florida project. Want to talk to ya? Well, I was making that

Paul Koshlap 1:24:00
More probably more people are hearing about him now obviously. Right? And tangerines big. Go back and watch starlet. Yeah, I thought I loved that movie.

Alex Ferrari 1:24:08
He's really, really easy. He's one of those guys. You got to keep an eye out. Yeah, absolutely. Guys, thank you so much for dropping some knowledge bombs on the audience. But first of all, tell us a little bit before we go about what you guys do and who media services. So media circus, essentially, what we what

Adam Bowman 1:24:25
We want to be a couple years ago, there was a book out by john rice talking about producer of marketing and distribution. Sure, right. Essentially, we were a services oriented company to help with those things. We were a sister company was circus Road Films, which is a film rep, producer rep and film sales agents. And the idea is that, you know, your film needs marketing, and it needs distribution. And we're trying to provide those things for filmmakers. Because we see that, you know, most films in the indie space, they get put on two platforms and then nobody ever knows that they exist even though a lot of them are really good films and be things that people audiences would really like to know about. So that's what we want to do is to help that process

Alex Ferrari 1:25:17
And where do you guys where can people get a hold of your PR?

Adam Bowman 1:25:20
Yes. mediacircus.com

Paul Koshlap 1:25:21

Adam Bowman 1:25:23
Media circus website. mediacircus.film is also ours. It sells same. Okay? Yeah. But really find us on Facebook, Twitter, media, circus film. Media short film marketing. Funny I don't even have like your own phone number. Nobody knows your own phone.

Paul Koshlap 1:25:39
Yeah, Instagram, put them in, put it in a circus film on Instagram. I'm just there for sure. And media circus on Facebook.

Alex Ferrari 1:25:47
Got it. Cool, guys. Thank you again, so much for taking time to drop some knowledge bombs on the on the drive, man. I appreciate it.

Adam Bowman 1:25:55
Always a pleasure.

Paul Koshlap 1:25:55
Pleasure. Yeah.

Adam Bowman 1:25:56
And we'll we'll see you guys all at Sundance.

Alex Ferrari 1:25:58
Absolutely. You're gonna be seeing a lot of as a Sundance. Yeah, I can't wait to tell you guys all the cool stuff or show you guys. all the cool stuff we have planned for you. This year. Sundance is going to kind of I think it's going to kind of blow away what we did last year. Oh, yeah. Which last year was pretty intense. But we didn't know what we were just like, hey, let's go shoot some stuff. And we got some amazing guests. And it was great. But this year, it's gonna be pretty intense. So if you guys are out at Sundance, look us up. We'll be around. And we'll see you soon. Thanks, guys.

Adam Bowman 1:26:28

Paul Koshlap 1:26:29

Alex Ferrari 1:26:30
As promised, this was a knowledge bomb packed episode. I hope you guys took some notes. And after the episode, I sat down with Adam and I said, Hey, you know, is there something you can give the the tribe especial because they're part of the tribe? And they said, he goes, absolutely, he decided to offer all of the indie film hustle tribe, a free consultation on their film. So if you've got a feature film out there and you want to get it out into the world, give these guys a call and they will give you that free consultation. If you want to get links to everything we talked about. In this episode, just head over to indiefilmhustle.com/213. So hope you guys enjoyed this episode. And as always, keep that also going keep the dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.


IFH 137: Jason Michael Berman – Producing 5 Sundance Films & Making it in Hollywood

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SPECIAL SUNDANCE EDITION of the Indie Film Hustle Podcast

I had the honor of speaking to Jason Michael Berman at Sundance this year. He’s a Sundance vet. He has premiered 5 features at Sundance over the years and has the record for the highest-selling film at Sundance ever, The Birth of a Nation which sold for $17.5 million. Crazy! This year he premiered the remarkable film Burning Sands at the festival. The film is about the intensifying violence of underground hazing on a college campus.

Jason dropped some great knowledge bombs in our interview with my co-host Sebastian TwardoszHere’s a bit on Jason Michael Berman:

Jason Michael Berman is the Vice President of Mandalay Pictures, where he is responsible for developing and structuring financing for Mandalay’s slate of independent films, in addition to packaging projects.

Berman has produced feature films that have debuted at premiere film festivals around the globe, including the Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, SXSW, Tribeca, Berlinale, and Edinburgh. Berman was named by Variety in 2011 as one of the Top Ten Producers to Watch, and by Deadline Hollywood in 2012 as one of the Top Ten Producers to Watch at Sundance.

Berman produced Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation, starring Parker, Armie Hammer, Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union, and Penelope Ann Miller, about the true-life story of Nat Turner’s slave rebellion. The Birth of a Nation premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. – Wikipedia

All of these Sundance Series episodes are co-produced by Sebastian Twardosz from Circus Road Films and Media Circus.




  1. Bulletproof Script Coverage – Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
  2. AudibleGet a Free Filmmaking or Screenwriting Audiobook
  3. Rev.com – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)

IFH 136: How to Break into the Film Industry with Stage 32’s RB Botto

Right-click here to download the MP3

SPECIAL SUNDANCE EDITION of the Indie Film Hustle Podcast

One of my most downloaded episodes ever was my interview with Film Industry vet and CEO of Stage32.com, RB Botto (Click here to listen to that interview). Ever since then I’ve been wanting to bring him back on to the show. The stars aligned at Sundance and I didn’t just get him on the podcast but I also recorded the interview for the IFH YouTube Channel.

Here’s a bit on our guest:

Stage 32 is a US-based social network and educational site for creative professionals who work in film industry, television and theater. Stage 32 links professionals in the entertainment industry including directors, writersactors and entertainment staff.

It caters to film industry professionals with featured bloggers, online education taught by industry professionals, news from Hollywood and filming locations around the world, Stage 32 meetups page, an online lounge and a film business jobs page that allows members to connect with others on film ventures, along with standard social media functions.

CEO and founder, Richard “RB” Botto, an Orson Welles fan, drew his inspiration for the name “Stage 32” from the old RKO Soundstage 17 where Citizen Kane was filmed. That sound stage is now Paramount’s Stage 32.

We had a ball talking and partying at Sundance this year. A lot has happened since our last interview. I’ve done over 100 more episodes of the podcast and Stage32 has grown into a juggernaut. Add the hangovers, snowstorms and my co-host Sebastian Twardosz to the mix and you get a hell of an interview.

Curl up to a warm fire and enjoy our conversation with RB Botto.

All of these Sundance Series episodes are co-produced by Sebastian Twardosz from Circus Road Films and Media Circus.




  1. Bulletproof Script Coverage – Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
  2. AudibleGet a Free Filmmaking or Screenwriting Audiobook
  3. Rev.com – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)

IFH 004: What’s a Producer’s Rep and Can They Help You?

A good producer’s rep is an advocate for your film. They can get you indoors that you wouldn’t be able to get into by yourself. They can be an amazing part of a marketing and distribution team for your independent film if you got into some of the major festivals.

Like in every part of the film business there are good and bad people. I was burned by a producer’s rep many years ago, early in my journey as an indie filmmaker and producer.

This producer’s rep, which will remain nameless, took me for over $10,000, the standard upfront free for the bottom dwellers of the profession, though it can range from $5000 – $15,000. She promised me and the director I was producing for that the HBO deal was all but a lock and that she could definitely sell it overseas.

The rep has since left the industry after being sued multiple times. Her actions have left a bad taste in many filmmakers mouths, including me but this should not sour you on producer’s rep.

I suggest you do a ton of research on the producer’s rep you plan to work with. Call other filmmakers that they have represented. Do your research. As I said before

“A good and respectable producer’s rep can do magic for you and your film.”

Good luck out there!

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 0:00
Today we're going to talk about producers reps, I've had different experiences with producer reps. So I'll give you a little bit example what a producer rep is. a producer's rep is basically an agent for your film. So let's say you're going to a film festival that's going to Sundance and you have a movie, a producer's rep would actually represent your movie to different bidders and things like that that would come across to you. So I have a film at Sundance, Harvey Weinstein wants it. A Paramount wants it, Disney wants it. Warner Brothers wants it and there become a bidding war. Well, your producers rep will act as the middleman, negotiating deals talking to you and basically being your agent. And it's a wonderful job, and they do a great job when you find a good one. Unfortunately, like agents, they're good ones, and they're bad ones. And then they're scum buckets. And I unfortunately had to deal with some scum buckets in my day. If an agent ever comes to you, this is not a producer's rep or an agent, an agent ever comes to you and says, I'll be your agent, but I need your retainer. I need you to pay me up front. You would say go to hell, that's not the way it works. And that would be illegal. Well, for a producer's Rep. most reputable producers reps, do not ask for any money up front. They do the work like an agent, and they get paid on commission. Many producers reps will ask for a retainer upfront. Whether they sell your movie or not, you lose your money. So let me tell you my story. I was a producer on a film a few years back a documentary. And I was approached by a producer's rep, apparently a well, a well respected one. I was still kind of wet behind the ears. And I had no idea what really what I was doing. She told me I sold I just sold this movie to to HBO had Mark Wahlberg in it, we got you know, $60,000 $100,000 and then I sold it overseas, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Well, fast forward to when she's like, Okay, well, I'll be more happy to represent your movie. I think I could do really great things with it. My retainers. 10,000. So I talked to the director of the film, and I decided because I wanted to be the producer and really wanted to give this movie the best shot I could. I paid the $10,000 and as a retainer fee. And needless to say, I did not get my money's worth. I lost money. I did get some money here and there. I think the deal that we did get the director actually finally got us I'm not sure. I don't remember exactly. But it was a couple grand if that. It wasn't anything big. So when I told her this, she was like, well, that's just the way it is, you know, we did our best. I'm like, well, that's great. But now I'm out eight grand or 10 grand. And you didn't do me you didn't you didn't do anything that you promised me do. And I was pretty much out of luck. So I lost that money. So I've been I've been actually approached by other filmmakers who saw that I dealt with this specific company on this specific person and asked me if what happened and I tell them the truth exactly what happens. So my advice to anybody in the in the in the indie film world, if you're going to get a film a producer's rep, make sure that they you do not pay a dime upfront. most reputable producers reps will not ask for money up front. If they believe in your movie truly, then it's it's you know, it's them worry about they will make their money back. So it's the ones that go well I'll just do it and you know, whatever. It he'll make a few phone calls. And if nothing comes up, nothing comes up and they got 10 Grand 15 Grand 20 grand in their pocket. And you as an indie filmmaker, that's a lot of frickin money. It still hurts even talking about losing that kind of money on a movie that I didn't even direct I was just a producer on it. Which was really, really frustrating. And to this day still bothers me. But you live and you learn its lessons that you you learn during the journey. So hopefully this podcast I can help you a little bit not to make this mistake. So please stay away from any producers rep that tells you I need money up front. They're generally scammers, or they don't believe in your movie and they're just going to take your money and just kind of throw things away and see what happens, throw some, some something at the wall and see what sticks. Now with that said, though, there are places for good producers reps. So if your movie is going to Sundance Toronto, Cannes or Tribeca, you need to put together a team, a PR person or company, your agent and possibly a high level producers Rep. They will put together there will be putting together a whole premiere for you. They're doing a lot of preparatory work. And this is where producers rep is invaluable. They can be trimmed out tremendously helpful. And if you have to pay a little bit upfront at that point, it's a different ballgame. You have a team around you. And you're not just dealing with a predatory producers rep who's just trying to steal your money. Because basically again, once they once they do take your money, they're just gonna shotgun it into a with a stack of 30 or 40 other movies that they're representing to Miramax or Lionsgate or any of these places, and your movie will be one of many movies on that pile. So buyer beware when dealing with producers reps, sometimes they're awesome. Sometimes they're just just there to take a suckers money. So I hope this helped you a little bit. It's a short episode this week, guys. As always, if you want to know the six secrets to getting into film festivals for free, I'll head over to film festival tips.com that's Film Festival tips calm. I'll show you how I got into over 500 film festivals, international film festivals for cheaper free over the course of a few years. And please if you love the show, please go to iTunes Subscribe, leave us a review and give us a five star rating You have no idea how much that helps us in the rankings of iTunes and helps more people get access to the show. So thanks again guys so much for your time. And as always keep on filming. Keep the hustle on and I'll see you guys next time.



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