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IFH 203: How to Shoot & Sell Digital Series (The Bannen Way) with Mark Gantt

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Today’s guest is Mark Gantt. He’s a man of many talents, actor, director, writer, and producer. He’s best known for co-creating, producing and starring in the award-winning [easyazon_link identifier=”B0030M8TVW” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]The Bannen Wa[/easyazon_link]y for Sony Pictures Television.  Financed by Sony’s Crackle distribution arm, this unique web series/feature film had a compelling cast which included Michael Ironside, Academy Award nominees Robert Forster and Michael Lerner, and Emmy winner Vanessa Marcil.

Within the first 10 weeks of release, The Bannen Way garnered over 14 million views and went on to win 4 Streamy Awards including Best Actor (Mark Gantt), Best Drama, Best Director, and Best Editor; as well as being nominated for two Webby Awards and a BANFF Award.  The film is currently distributed internationally on VOD, DVD, iTunes, and Amazon as a feature film.

I wanted to bring Mark on the show to discuss how he got The Bannen Way shot, how he got HUGE sponsors to come on board and how he convinced Sony Pictures to buy a web series…in 2009. Here’s some more info on Mark Gantt.

Mark’s onscreen credits include American Horror Story: Hotel, Ocean’s Eleven, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Dexter, Major Crimes, Bluff, Barely Famous and currently recurring on The Arrangement premiering March 2017 on E!

As a director, Mark feature directorial debut, Murder In Mexico starring Colin Egglesfield premiered on Lifetime in Sept of 2015. He recently directed Intricate Vengeance for Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s New Form Digital with Wilson Cleveland. He’s also won several awards including Best Director at Philadelphia First Glance Film and Best of the Fest at the Cinema Series Festival for the short film Donor. He recently directed the branded series Seamlessly She with Monica Potter for AOL and GMC as well as two episodes of the branded series Suite 7 with Shannen Doherty, Jaime Murray, and Eddie McClintock. Suite 7 episodes were nominated for the 2011 BANFF Rockies and the 2012 Webby Awards. Shannen Doherty was awarded Best Performance by the Webbys for her work in the episode.

As a producer Mark recently completed principal photography on Psychophonia, a thriller that his wife, Brianne Davis, directed. Mark starred opposite Vedette Lim (“True Blood”). He’s also completing post-production on two horror/sci-fi films, The Night Visitor and The Night Visitor 2: Heather’s Story with Blanc-Biehn Productions’ Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, Michael Biehn, Lony Ruhmann and Brianne Davis.

In 2013, Mark began teaching acting at the Beverly Hills Playhouse where he studied with and assisted Milton Katselas on two dozen productions. He and his wife actress/director Brianne Davis started Give & Take Productions, a film and television production company with several projects in development. 

Enjoy my conversation with Mark Gantt.

Alex Ferrari 1:15
So guys today on the show, we've got Mark Gantt, Mark Gantt is a director, and producer. And he did. He was one of the first guys to really do a streaming series or digital series, right? He produced a series and co created a series called the band and way back in 2010. And that's how he came to my attention originally. And what they did is they did this series that was picked up by crackle, which is owned by Sony and they're their digital arm. And they had a big budget for a web series. You know, they had Michael Ironside, Robert Forster, Vanessa Marcel and, and a ton of other people. And it was a very big success. They had sponsorships, they had everything. And I always wanted to know the inside story and how they got this web series, when there really were no web series, or very few of them around how they got it off the ground. And how were they able to get the big budgets and the sponsorships and everything. And Mark opens up completely about that entire process. He also talks a lot about his directing career because now he's become a director since then, and he's been an actor and has over 54 credits in on IMDB as an actor alone. So the man is constantly working. It took us a while to get this interview up and off the ground because we've been chasing each other for about a year. But it was just a wonderful, wonderful conversation about someone who's in the business working in the business. He's doing a lot of television, he was in the ocean, he was in Ocean's 11 has worked with some very big stars, very big directors, and has some amazing stories from inside the Hollywood machine. So I wanted to come on to really share his journey with us and and talk about how he was able to get that, that really kind of Pinnacle series off the ground. So without any further ado, here's my conversation with Mark Gantt like to welcome to the show Mark Gantt man, thank you so much for being on the show and taking the time out to talk to the tribe, man.

Mark Gantt 3:24
Absolutely. I'm very excited about this.Im a huge I'm a huge fan.

Alex Ferrari 3:28
Oh, thank you, man. I thank you. We've been trying to do this now for I think almost. It's been, we've been going back and forth just trying to get our schedules in order. It's so I'm glad that we finally found that little, little moment in time that we can actually do this.

Mark Gantt 3:44
The problem with hustlers is we're always hustling.

Alex Ferrari 3:47
That's the truth. That's You know what, amen, brother. That's the truth. It's not like we're just sitting around waiting, right? We're always gonna do we're always doing something.

Mark Gantt 3:55
I talked to my mom last night, she said, Hey, have you watched the unabomber series yet? I'm binge watching us and I haven't watched it yet. She goes, Yeah, you haven't watched it because you're busy doing stuff. She's like, I'm sitting at home, which is like, you're always doing stuff. I'm like, yeah, I try.

Alex Ferrari 4:09
That's that's what my mom does. Exactly. Have you seen this? Have you been like, No, I know. I didn't even know that was a Yuna bombas show. You're the first time I've heard what was it? I want to see this.

Mark Gantt 4:20
It's on Discovery. Actually, the one of the writers I've been friends with that. It's been the former FBI agent who's working on criminal minds. He's the he created the show, discovery and all real facts about and the real guy that that caught the unabomber is his co writer. So Steve, that must be pretty awesome. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 4:42
So Mark, how did you get into this crazy business man?

Mark Gantt 4:45
Oh, man. It started I would say a nice. Long time ago in San Diego. I moved I lived in Northern California and moved down to San Diego to help. My best friend's sister moved into College and we ended up signing up for a junior college and stayed there. And within like a year and a half, there was a lot of production going on in San Diego. And so there's a friend of mine was doing some go into some party and she's like, Oh, yeah, it's a wrap party for a movie and, and then she came the next day. She's like, yeah, my friends looking for a proper assistant. And I was like, proper system. That sounds cool. And she's like, yeah, if you want to do it, it's like an intern. And I was like, yeah, and because I always wanted to be an actor, I always wanted to be in the movies and be a part of it. And, and so I met the prop master. And he gave me the script and said, Alright, read it three times. First time, just read it. Second time, highlight everything you think is a prop. And then the third time, make a list of all the things that we need to be shopping for for props, and that can get done by tomorrow night. And I said, Sure. So I did that came back the next day, had a notebook, the script highlighted the whole thing. He's like, nobody's ever done that. He's like, you're awesome. You're on. And that like, you know, I started as an intern. And then by the end of the show, I was on set dresser slash prop Master, because everybody had to go on to other shows. And I moved to LA, like a month later to do a little pa job on this universal thing, and I packed up my Nissan Sentra with all my stuff. And I never came back. And I just started doing production to transportation to art department to prop mastering. Then eventually getting into acting, writing, directing, producing and that whole stuff, but yeah, I just sort of like fell into it. And and I just done every single job there is.

Alex Ferrari 6:38
Right. You just took the opportunity when it came to you. And you hustled. Exactly. Yeah, it's Yeah, a lot of people don't take those opportunities. When they come. They're like, Oh, I don't want to do that. I don't want to. I don't I'm not a prop guy. I'm a director. Right! When you're 20. You got to work. You got to start somewhere.

Mark Gantt 6:57
It to me, it informs everything. I mean, I think what I was just had a meeting with these producers the other day, and I was describing what I've done and blah, blah, blah. And she was like, Wow. So like you you're kind of coming from not just creative, but like you understand the budget. And I said oh, I mean, I think that's important, I think Yeah, you have to know everything. So when I'm on set, it's not like I'm like yeah, well, why can't we just do the thing I know it's gonna cost us X amount of dollars to get that location to have everybody had to drive everybody across town to get to the thing. There's shuttle bands, there's parking there's, and the look on her. I was like, I love you. I want you know, and she's like, I love this. I love this. And I think that's I in a time when I was doing it. I always feel like I really want to be directing. And I'm doing this that props. Oh, yeah. Yeah, what do you guys need? But I'm on set and I'm getting this watch people do it. Well, people do it not so well. And then how all these pieces, you know, go together?

Alex Ferrari 7:54
You know. So you mean, we can't have a techno crane all the time? You totally can't No, no, you totally can. I mean, obviously you can have a techno crane. Yeah. To to techno greens. 60 footers all the time. Absolutely. Organic by just like just if you need it. So I'll tell you a quick story. I'm down in Miami. In 90 something probably 92 or something like that when True Lies was being shot. And I was still not in the business obviously still a kid. And I go to the to the set. And I see you know, James Cameron and all these guys shooting, you know, a scene, I think one of the scenes in Miami, like in Miami Beach or something. And literally, I just saw every single camera toy crane helicopter. All of it just sitting there. Right in case James feels like using it. Oh, yeah. But when you're James Cameron, this is okay.

Mark Gantt 8:55
Absolutely. And you know what happens? I think a lot of times people come out of film school or they, you know, sort of come from a place that they think oh, yeah, well, like the we just got this. We had this money we raised you know, this is how it goes right? And then you get on real production, your first job and their first thing they're telling you is like, No, no, basically every job of the producer production manager right now is no, you don't have to like, but I that's what I see the drawing. See.

Alex Ferrari 9:25
They see like, I've got 55 shots in this scene. Why? Why can't I get those 55 shots,?

Mark Gantt 9:31
Like and we have six hours to get that shot. So which 22 shots are you not using for that one? The other 22 for that one is crazy.

Alex Ferrari 9:38
It's no every time I've ever come to a set with it with a shot list. I always come with I literally come with like 60 shots. And I look I literally handed the first ad I'm like, we're not going to do all these. This is my wish list. We're probably going to do about 10 to 15 days, right? Yeah, right. And then we're going to move on but I'm going to put these all in just in case. Yeah. But you know, yeah, but we scare the hell out. loves getting the hell out of production. Especially they don't know who you are as a director. They just kind of like, I don't know who this guy is, and you just show up and you drop down 60 shots for like a scene.

Mark Gantt 10:12
You know what I love? I love when I can do that. And then also get it.

Alex Ferrari 10:16
Yeah, there's, there's those days.

Mark Gantt 10:18
I just like, you know, maybe not 60. But you know, you're just like, Oh, yeah, no, I feel comfortable. I get that they're like, really? Like, what? Trust me is it we're gonna get this piece here, we get this piece here where again, the DP and I are already moving forward, and we're on the next thing. And then you get it. And they're like, holy shit, How'd you do that? Or like, you know?

Alex Ferrari 10:35
Yeah, just yeah. And especially when you feel comfortable with your crew, if you've got a dp that you have a relationship with, and you feel if you two are on same on the same wavelength, then then you can knock it out? No question. So back in when I first found out or like, discovered You, sir, was in 1009. Back in the day when the ban and whey was making all this noise, and you were kind of, you know, at the beginning of this whole streaming series thing with the ban and way because at 2009, it was not Netflix, it was there was nothing like that. So you know, you were on crackle, which was a up and coming, you know, streaming service from Sony. And I just remember, I was like, wow, this guy just came out and did this. And I was shooting a short film with the same actor that you use Robert. Robert, who's one of the most amazing human beings I've ever met guy, right? He's just did it give him all day long? Oh, yeah. He gave him Yeah, he gave me the gift, right? Yeah. So classy, dude. Like, it's so of everybody that has worked with them always get the like, got the get. Did you get the gift? It's like, yeah. And by the way, the gift is awesome. I don't know how I'm hoping it's the same if he gave me but it was a letter opener right. Now he gave me a Ferrari. Nice, nice. Yeah, he gives this awesome letter opener to everybody. It's just awesome. But so I was working with him at the time. And he was telling me He's like, Yeah, I just did the show for the internet. And it was such a new concept back then. So I really want to dig into how, like, you're the executive producer on the band, and you're also a star of it. How the hell did you get this going? How did you get money for it, like, in a time where this just was not being done?

Mark Gantt 12:23
Well, we started, it started out because I was frustrated as an actor, you know, and I was doing great work in acting class. But, you know, I couldn't get any auditions. And I had a great agent. And she's like, I love your reel, I got great luck. There's just you know, it's just top, you know, guys, you raise your virgata series, you've already had this blah, blah, blah, all these excuses. And, and so I decided that I'm just going to like, create my own stuff, I'd already been directing, I'd already, you know, production stuff had already understood that. And I said, we should just go make something. And so I, you know, I made a list of three directors that wanted to work with me. And one of them is my friend, Jesse Warren, who was in class with me, and he had the script, sort of, like Italian Job. Very similar to that, like, he'd written it, then the Italian Job came out. And he was like, Well, what am I gonna do with this? And, and so what we did is hidden because he came up to me in classes that, you know, you're, I'm writing a character, and it's like your hand. And so we got together and I said, maybe we can create something based on that character from your script, and, you know, do a short film and you know, do Sundance blah, blah. And so we got together a couple times to start talking about what that could look like, you know, you know, shooting at a bank, you know, and how much it will cost and, like, there's a lot of money for a short film and that we're not going to you know, get to Sundance 10 people are going to be there in the audience. Yes. So I said, you know, let's at the time I you know, I was webisodes and you know, web series were just started coming. There's a couple things like Sam's seven friends and pink and there's a couple things that came up. I was like, this is kind of cool. We can do as a web series, but fucking kill it, like knock it out of the park. Yeah. And so and so that's what we went after him as we were working on it. And coming up with a story we got together, like every day, you know, as much as we could five days a week, I'd go to his place. And we, you know, when we weren't doing our day gigs and like, write and come up with story ideas. And then we realized there was no structure for web series. Like everything was like, like three minutes, five minutes, you know, one minute, 30 seconds. Yeah. So we said, what are we going to do? And a friend of mine had had his film, a feature at Sundance that got distribution, and they got this big DVD deal and like, all this money, and I was like, Oh, yeah, well, what if we do this as a feature, but we cut it up as a web series. At the end of the day, we can, you know, recoup our money because at the time, we didn't know where we get the money. We didn't know anything with that. We're going to, you know, raise the money through family and friends, shoot the movie and then sell it distributed, blah, blah, blah, is a web series is a movie and so that gave us a structure and we said okay, we'll just do it three. Structure each. Each episode will have a cliffhanger to lead us on to the next episode. And we created, you know, an outline and then wrote the first six episodes. And we're like, yes, this is awesome. And we went and like we had a friend at UTA we pitched it to UTA, we could do some finance years. And everybody was like, This is awesome. Way too expensive. Nobody's gonna give you guys a friend of mine who was ICM at the time said you know, you're not Clooney. And he's not Soderbergh. No one's gonna give you guys the money. So we're like, Alright, so we got the press. And then we're still looking at it and going, why don't we just shoot the first two episodes, and then we can shoot us a proof of concept, maybe raise some money, you know, blah, blah, blah. And so we did we, we spent about, I think it was like eight grand to shoot the first two episodes, we shot it over Valentine's weekend, I got reached out to Jaguar got them to give us a brand new x f Jaguar the heavy and been released in the US, they dropped it off at our house.

Alex Ferrari 15:58
And that's, that's, it's just slow down for them. So you just reached out to Jaguar. And you said, Hey, we're making a short. We'd love to highlight one of your cars in it. Will you? Will you drop it off?

Mark Gantt 16:09
Yeah, let me back up to say that then before that I had created a whole website. All the characters the story as seeing everywhere it's gonna go who our audience was we basically created a pitch deck and a website. We didn't even I didn't even know that existed pitch deck. I was just creating the show. I was like, Alright, so how do we pitch the show to people so we can get money? Let's create something, here's the thing. And we just like literally were just putting images of like the, the BMW shorts were big, big back then with 501. So I had videos of clay vo and, and blah, blah, blah. So I sent that to I got the contact because I used to do props. It's like Jaguar and GMC used to do our Ford and Jaguar used to be together. And so I read this product placement person who put me in branding who put me into marketing. And I thought this guy and he's like, how did you get my number? I did the thing I call the so and so and they did the thing is like, okay, I don't know what I can help you with. He's like, what are you doing? I said, Well, it's like a TV series for the web, and blah, blah, blah. I said, can I send you the link to the to the site and you can take a look. He's like, you know, I'm really busy, but send it to me and you know, so I sent it to him and then I called him back like 10 minutes later Hey, just want to make sure that you got it he's like yeah, I'm looking at now hold on. I'm the wrong guy. Let me just get standby Hold on. So then he puts me on hold another guy picks up and says yeah, he's just hold on I'm just looking at your What? Whoa, you got Clive Owen as like no I don't I have the next best thing I mean me and so we talked on the phone he said well let me talk about with the guys and then he came back and he said Listen, this looks really cool. And I can really see this going and he's like we've got a new x f that's coming out we'd love to get it into something and you're interested we'll You know, this is a color that we have in LA and I can you know when you start shooting and literally that's how it went and so that was that was sort of the the opener for us and that was that using the the website which then also we used it into a pitch deck as well PDF format and all that stuff. God has more connected you know, so when we were pitching it to people even actors are acting we got you know, Sonic Haddock did the original thing went on to do castle, she had done the pilot for castle was doing a double oh seven movie, and she's like, Oh, this sounds interesting. I'd love to do that. And so she shot the pilot and was originally going to be in the whole show. But then castle came and so she couldn't do it. But it was because the the website like she got it, she goes, Oh, I get this series.

Alex Ferrari 18:41
So I want to just stop for a second because I want everyone listening to understand and really grasp this concept because it's something I've been doing since 2005 is creating an insane website. Because that's your marketing tool. That's what gets you everything that gets you actors that get you money that gets you sponsors that gets all that because you create the image of something much bigger and it was just basically YouTube. You know, that was it, but you build but you build a lot of smoke and mirrors to kind of show off like, Hey, we're much bigger than what we what we looked at what we really are.

Mark Gantt 19:17
Exactly, and I mean part of that is it what it and what it did for us besides exactly what you said. It also gave us the confidence because we were like, Oh yeah, we really know this show. Right? So when it came down to like shooting it or, you know, getting things together, we got to set the first day it was like it's been in our bones and we know exactly and you know, and you're striving for perfection. You're trying to get this thing but it was so clear, like oh no, this show this shot, you know, we were both at the same time going slomo. This, you know, lens flare, door open.

Alex Ferrari 19:50
It was a slick show. It was a super slick show, man, very well produced.

Mark Gantt 19:54
Thank you. So basically that was what we did. We shot these two episodes and we created a, you know, a trailer out of it. And while we were still in post on the two episodes, we had the trailer, I mean, again, we wanted it to be done. We did it February 14, we wanted to be done. You know, March 14, nine later, we were finally done when you talk about free, everybody doing it for free. thing and. And when we finished it, we had the trailer and I sent it. You know, we sent out like this email blast to everybody that we known and had the website and the trailer. And the first person to respond was the guy who said I wasn't Clooney. And he wasn't Soderbergh. He said, I'm on my way to Disney. Can I pitch it was like sure. And they came back and said they love it. I'm going to Sony and there's a new new thing called crackle. Can I pitch it to them? We're like, Sure. So he did. They loved it. He goes, can you come to the office tomorrow, we need to talk. And and that was on it. We met a ton of people. We met ABC box, everybody. And it was like we had a proof of concept. We had the site, we had the PDF, we had the trailer then it was like the two episodes came in, we showed the two episodes, it was like, Oh, this is what it could look like. And so it was just a perfect situation where cracco was looking for a feature film, because they already had that distribution in place. And you know, they want to do web series. But then it just came to like, well, what if we broke up a film and made it into a web series. And then then my, you know, our friend was the agent he came in, he's like, I have it, they've created this. And so that was that was the first one that crackle did was on a comic book, but it was a movie that they cut into a web series. So it didn't work as well for them as much as you know, they hadn't even aired it yet. They just they were just shooting it when when we pitched it to, to them. So it was sort of like this Kismet thing of like, they're looking for this thing that we didn't even know they were looking for when we created it, because we write it out of as anything else necessity. Like I don't know how to write a web series, but how to write a movie reacts that way. I know we could break this up. So it's basically six episodes in the first act, you know, eight episodes in the second six again. So that's how we did it.

Alex Ferrari 22:05
Now and then just pop that out there and then and then crackle finance the whole thing.

Mark Gantt 22:09
Yeah, so we, we pitched it around town. And we had a was between universal who wanted to do like a branded thing go out to brands, we'd have to wait like a year until a year where or go to crackle and sell it to them. And so we sold it to them, they own they own the REITs. And then they financed the the actual production so and since it was the first time they'd ever done that, because the other one was sort of a separate thing. We were like we had offices at the Culver studio and Sony television offices, which is the old Culver studios. We have like you know we were in crackles offices, we had like a bigger office than most people because it was like the special offices like they didn't put us away this awesome space we got to create there, we wrote the we, you know, we learned on the job what to do, because basically we had six episodes written? And they said yeah, you know, can you guys do it when we did the deal? They're like, Can you do it for X amount of dollars? We're like, yeah, that's like 10 times what we thought we were gonna get. So yes, and come up with a budget, we're like, came up with a budget just to have like an empty budget, I was filling out and got to the bottom line that they wanted. And then they said, Great, now write the scripts. So we wrote the scripts, they budgeted those scripts, and it became it was double what I what they said they could pay. And so we basically spent four months figuring out how to make spend my story that we created a smaller and smaller and smaller to fit the money that they had. I mean, it's so funny, because by the end of four months, you're like, I understand, we're so good. The story is so good. Why don't you just give us the money, you know, and like I understand, we didn't know how did we know? And they're like, it's not our issue. You said that you guys could do it for this amount of money. And so that was my first thing of understanding. There's a studio there's a networking you say it's that there's nobody going over, you know what I mean? And so we we knocked discrepant, we literally were decided we had you know three by five cards of like seeds that we were you know, going to let go up to the left and to the right one of the things that we just kept like you know, our producer kept coming in I hired a friend of ours to produce it he kept coming in He's like, Guys any 10 of those any 10 scenes and that side by the end of the day, like we got to lose 10 scenes. We just can't there's no way we're like we did you know we finally did it and you know, and it was a learning experience all around you know, and it was tough because there's just so much fear involved because like every day is like it's gonna happen not gonna happen. We're not gonna get greenlit until we get this got to get to the budget. Five budgets later money's being spent people are looking at as a walk bias and these glass windows look bias and go guys comment, how's it comment now and so there's pressure and and literally right before we were going to get greenlit, they said they were totally cool with the cast except for Stannah, we were still not sure if she was gonna be able to do it. And they said we're selling pre selling this I'm totally spacing on the other movie. He did. And it doesn't have big enough names on it. So you guys need some names for the band way, like, okay, and they're like, well, we don't have any more money in the budget. Have you ever like, what? Of course Yeah. So that's where you start scrambling. And, you know, the our producers, mom used to date Robert forester. And so he reached out to him. Another guy was friends with you know, Michael, Vanessa, we got actually through, you know, a casting assistant who was helping us out. And Michael Lerner came through the casting assistant, and it was just like, all this like stuff. And we met with Robert and he was like, I love it. I want to do it. That's our presence. And then start talking about Tarantino and all this. Yeah, I just happen to say yes, yes. Yes. So, um, as I was sitting in this table, this is where I was. This is how it went down. It was amazing. Yeah. And so that was it. Yeah. And we, you know, we had we budgeted we had 18 days shoot, and, like the eight weeks to fully post but then of course, in the middle of post, they said, Oh, yeah, you guys need to turn in a DVD first, and then you need to do the movie first. But then the web series, but then because we got to get it to Netflix. And we're like, what, but no extra money to do that. You know, I mean, it's just like,

Alex Ferrari 26:15
Oh, that's what dude that look when they have you on when they have you under your thumb under their thumb. Dude, they just milk you for everything you're worth. Oh, yeah. It's so Oh, God, I know. I yeah, I know the feeling just like they just keep Oh, yeah. Now you need to get you need to get Will Smith and you still have no more money? Yeah, exactly. It's like It's like stupidities, like soaps. And like, what and that's how this town works, right? Yeah. So crazy. It's it's not it's it's so counter productive in so many ways. And that's why sometimes movies come out. And you're just like, Oh, well, how did that how did that get made? Yeah. Yeah. And then so when you were so good, let's go through the production a little bit. How many days did you shoot? The whole thing? Was 18 days, shoot. Okay, and shot on the red if I remember correctly

Mark Gantt 27:03
Shot on the red. It was actually one of the first red ones. Yeah, yeah. First ones, and also the first, I think, second feature slash digital series that was shot on the red. So we were like, you know, again, early, everything early, early, early.

Alex Ferrari 27:19
We're on the bloody edge of technology. Yeah. How was that? How was that workflow?

Mark Gantt 27:25
Oh, my God.

Alex Ferrari 27:27
2009 read workflow. How is that?

Mark Gantt 27:30
Horrendous. I just remember, I remember our D it was just like, I go over there and just check in you know, like, hey, just we're gonna see some of the stuff that we shot that day, whatever. Yeah. And he was just like, Dude, this just brutal, brutal, like, you know, just just so hard. It's like, I don't know. transcode. Maybe come back and like a half hour.

Alex Ferrari 27:53
Like, the thing was like me, you're live and for everyone listening, you have to understand 2009 your di T's are a new thing. Like that. Like the whole concept of digital filmmaking is still really in its infancy at that level. Like there had been other digital like, you know, the the Panasonic Ah, VX and other other little cameras. But when the red showed up, that was the first kind of cinema, real cinema not the very cam, but like, real Cinema Camera. And that's basically they started everything that we know now with the with the Alexa and black magic and all the other cameras. But But yeah, back then. And I was I was in the I was here, I was in the thick of it. And I was one of the few guys that knew the workflow. So I got a lot of work. It's a beast that I had. I knew I knew feature films that were literally sitting in a hard drive for two years. Oh, yeah. Waiting to figure it out.

Mark Gantt 28:50
I was crazy. It's crazy. So yeah, so we shot on the red 18 day shoot, we shot everything at Lacie studios. Oh, and, and that was like literally the only thing we could afford. And we went there on the first day, and we were and Jesse and I were like, no way. There's no way we can shoot here. Like, we created a highly slick series. Yeah, like, like, you know, like transporter like kick ass like, you know, like smoking a, you know, lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Like that's what we created. What are you talking about? We can't shoot here. And And literally, we were like, then the producers and everybody would just like this is all the money you can't afford anything else. Everything has to be here we had all these great locations. And, you know, we actually got one location, we got to go to Griffith Park to do like the end of the movie. And it was like the 11th hour they let us shoot that the rest all had to be at Lacie studios. And so that was also you know, your na going network changing story in the thing and maybe it's not maybe it's a party, maybe it's not a mansion. How do we get this What is it? What does that mean now, so And

Alex Ferrari 29:58
So again, I want to start So I want to just kind of highlight what you're going through right now for the audience is like, even when you're with a studio like Sony, you have you've been greenlit to do a show, you are still basically an independent film, and you're hustling and kind of maneuvering around the limited resources that you might have. And it's it's fascinating to hear, because what I saw didn't reflect what you're talking about. Oh, thank you. So I mean, honestly, when I saw it, I was like, these guys did something super slick, super, like really high in production value. So that's why this story is so like fat because when you said Lacey, and for everybody who doesn't understand it doesn't know what Lacy studios is lazy studios is a I'm going to say a sounds it's kind of like a studio, but it's not. It's basically like an old abandoned warehouse that they're converted into 55 different sets,

Mark Gantt 30:50
Not in a soundstage. Not like that soundproof? No, literally they just build walls and and created rooms. Yeah, like there's

Alex Ferrari 30:58
The hotel, the hotel floor, the empty. It's just they got everything there. And everyone shoots there, like every every major movie shot. Yeah, you know, TV shows, I see it all the time, like others lazy, others lazy. saw was completely shot there. I totally, totally, it's so.

Mark Gantt 31:16
So we so they had said that, you know, we were in that in that situation where it's like, we created this thing, and we didn't know what we were doing. And you know, every we just thought, Well, you know, three quarters a million is gonna go and go a long ways. And then you start going, Oh, yeah, by the way, because it's Sony. It has to be IATSE artsy, oh, you're gonna have to be Oh, so we're done. So we already have PNA we have like all this stuff. It's WGS DGA, because all that which is great, yet it all costs. And you just siphon money out our money, our budgets, actually 200,000 that's what our budget is, you know what I mean, at the end of the day, we had $200,000, basically to make it because everything else is just going to, you know, not going on the screen, not on the screen. And so it was really, really challenging. And so we got there and you know, when the things that saved us was his I mean, besides Roger gingery and our dp who's amazing, was the our production designer, and we were trying to we had like three production designers that we wanted to work with, including one of my friends, and they were all busy, they couldn't do it for the money. And, and that's where, you know, having Sony Sony's done their daytime television, they said we have a guy who worked on general hospital with us, and you know, he's available, we're like, Yeah, well, we should meet them, you know, and see, and they're like, actually, no, he's available and we offered him the job. Okay, and we were so hessed for like, you just at that point, you know, we're up against it, and they're, they're like, we got to make a decision. So this guy comes in and he was like Bulgarian and he for five bucks made every set look amazing. He literally no matter where we were, what we were doing, he brought in stuff he's like I paint he was coming we prepping he's like painting by himself a whole room and like an hour. It's like I take care of it's no problem. It's no problem. I take care of it. And he killed he killed it for no money and and since I was props, I was able to go to like ISS prop house and they hand prop room and say, Hey, guys, I'm making my first thing this is my thing, blah, blah, blah. And they gave us an insane deal on everything. And so you know, we're like you said we're independent you know filmmakers? Yes, we're at the studio it just handcuffs like golden handcuffs where the studio and still yet we're like, you know, pulling favors getting everything we can for free getting the jag. I mean, all that stuff. The jag Of course, changed they sold the company for is no longer in charge back. I no longer works. They're literally the 11th hour, day and a half before we're shooting. I finally get ahold this woman in New Jersey, who's at home with her kids on her day off and I somehow got her cell phone. Okay. How did you get my number? I said, I looked on a press release for that you did and your name and number was there. I have no idea if you're the right person to talk to. And I told I was doing and she goes, you have some balls. I love this. She's like, give me an hour. an hour. She called me back kids screaming in the background. She's like, I have a black x k in the port in Long Beach right now. I can have it delivered tomorrow. And it did. And it was like incredible. It's like

Alex Ferrari 34:39
That's insane. Because they mean even to rent that cost good. A good chunk.

Mark Gantt 34:44
Oh, so my head for the whole production and a couple of weeks after she's like do you want to drive it for a couple of weeks after the production you can't out need to back until the whatever the day was? And I was like, yeah, so it's just what the thing is like, that's just the hustle. You know what I mean? There's just no there's there. There is no Like there's, I mean, it felt like, you know, it's funny, it's like, you know, when you when I'm thinking about like as an actor or trying to get work as director, you know, it's like you put yourself out there and you get the rejection and a lot of people just give up, you know, you rejection, you know, the nose and I have this, you know, a producer friend of mine who's, you know, he's a successful guy has, he's got like, he's the guy that has like 25 films in development and pre production on IMDB with like everybody from Joel Silver to whoever. And he's like, I'm an independent producer, because every day I get, I get, I'm just collecting the nose, I just collect the nose. And when you're doing a production like that, it's like you collect those, you're gonna know that your dp is gonna like bail out the day before makeup person is not going to show up. Look, you know what I mean? There's gonna be those things that are just going to be no, no, no, no, and you just have to create you just have to you have to be so passionate to like to win that you just don't give up and and I felt like that was there's some I mean, we all we joke Jesse nights that we should call our, you know, our production company, no productions, because literally, we are just hit with, like, how many hoops we have to go through to get this thing made? Like literally they were like, hey, here it is. We got it. Oh, by the way, you need names? Oh, by the way, you have to shoot it in one location. Oh, by the way, you actually don't have any money because it's all going to die. And do you have to have 399? You know, if we go on things, you gotta have teamsters, you know, we're like, What? Why? How can't we, you know, just like, we just roll our eyes and go like, you know, let's do it. It's really a challenge, you know, because

Alex Ferrari 36:32
They were trying to do I think back then they were trying to shove in the legacy way of or the old school way of doing production into the new form, which is web. Yeah. And you can't Yeah, nowadays that doesn't. I mean, no, no, it does. It doesn't happen like that.

Mark Gantt 36:47
Now a lot of times more more with even, you know, stuff with before, even in the beginning of Hulu stuff. And Amazon, it was much more you know, you're you're doing the the indie production, they're not the production company, you know, they do the negative pickup or though you know, say they promise you the money, then you have to fund it yourself and pay for it, then they'll pay you but it's just like even that is yeah, that's pretty. That's pretty. Yeah. Like, wait, so but you guys can always say you don't want it. Oh, great. Yeah, that out. So

Alex Ferrari 37:22
Yeah, that's Yeah. Sorry. So that was so the show is done, you've gone through hell and back. Now it gets released, how is it received?

Mark Gantt 37:33
It was very well received, you know, it was interesting, we released I think it was four episodes at the end of the year of 2009. So that we could qualify for streamy Awards, in other words that were coming out, because we originally wanted to we're supposed to release it in November. And then they pushed it because they wanted to do a DVD release. And so at the last minute we ended up having to change the date. And then so we released it in December and then released at the beginning of first week of January the rest of the episodes like every other day. And you know that that little riff in the beginning was a big thing in the independent world because the independent web series were like this is a studio and network show that's getting you know the special attention of you know, but all we needed was for episodes to be released in the year and that qualified us and you know, we want we worked our our asses off to get to that place we didn't want to miss that window. And and what ended up doing is you know, it sort of bonded us with you know, the other filmmakers because at first I went from them hating us because we were doing that to us defending us and then us seeing them you know add like the to filter events or any of the other webserie events we show up and go like hey, we want to talk about this we're just like independent guided making something that's it we're not like the studio we're not some studio guys that have all this money because this is what happened. And it was just a really interesting thing. So the the show itself got really great reviews, people really dug it. We were like breaking records again, this is early on. So you know, we get you know, we get 10 million views in the first two weeks. And it was like nobody was getting those numbers.

Alex Ferrari 39:15
Yeah. And that was on crackle. Yeah. Was on crackle that people were hard. It was hard to find. Yeah.

Mark Gantt 39:21
And so it was really an awesome experience. And then we went on to you know, be nominated for six streamys you know, tied with the Guild, which was like the big comedy at the time and we end up winning for Best Director, Best Actor, Best editor and best show and I was crazy, just really, really a crazy ride.

Alex Ferrari 39:44
And now after you released it, then you released it on DVD as a feature film.

Mark Gantt 39:49
Yes. As a feature film on DVD, and then also VOD so and and VST. So it was like you literally at the same day you that they released it. DVD, you can get it. Actually, on the last day of shooting. Last day it aired online, you could rent it on, you know, iTunes and Amazon. But in the beginning, you could rent the whole thing. I could buy the whole thing at the beginning. So that way you buy it. And so is already available as a movie on iTunes, and then DVD, Redbox and Netflix and stuff. And then it started to air as movies, you know, worldwide as you know, I get the normal distribution model. That's Sony's home video ads. So

Alex Ferrari 40:36
And then it did. I'm assuming it did fairly well for them.

Mark Gantt 40:38
Yeah, I mean, here's the thing. I love that this is you know, it's the creative accounting. Oh, no, you've

Alex Ferrari 40:44
Never been looking at.

Mark Gantt 40:46
I'm like, Wait a second. What's this? $100,000 you know, TV and distribution fee? Like, where's that coming from? Like, how do you guys you know, but yeah, oh, no, it made money. It made money did good for them. And never,

Alex Ferrari 41:00
You never saw a dime?

Mark Gantt 41:01
No. No. And the last, the last thing I got is like, literally sighs like there's $150,000 TV distribution fee that I don't understand where they threw that in or what that word that even means. And so I'm you know, I'm reaching out and trying to find out if I can even get an audit and I talked to people, they're like, good luck. Good luck with that. Yeah. You know, but

Alex Ferrari 41:26
Yeah, because if you do that, then you'll you'll be blackballed. No one will ever work with you again.

Mark Gantt 41:31
So it's not like, Hey, give me that money. You know, the, there's a small fight, and it's just not worth it. You know,

Alex Ferrari 41:37
Right. I mean, Forrest Gump did make money. So yeah, yeah, exactly. I mean, so there's that to the point where they actually had to talk with Tom Hanks and Tom, it's like, Forrest Gump made money. I don't know what they're talking. Yeah. So and then. So how did Ben in the band and way kind of changed your career trajectory? Like, how did you start getting like what happened as a result of it for you as a director?

Mark Gantt 42:02
Well, so you know, what ended up happening is, because on that I was actor, writer, and producer, and not the director, you know, Jesse went off to, you know, really focus on trying to do features. And so he went his direction is like, I need to do my thing. I was like, get it. And I'm going to try to do my thing. And so I went into, again, developing projects for myself as an actor. And in that process, it was like, I need to, you know, make some stuff, I want to direct some stuff like I really, because our deal was, we were both actor directors. And this one was going to be one that you know, he was going to direct I was going to act and then like the next one, I would direct and he was going to act, but he was like, yeah, about acting, like directing. It was like, Yeah, but I, but I, I was gonna think we were gonna do the thing with that, and you do. And, and so, you know, one of the people I connected with was Wilson, Cleveland, who did a lot of stuff. He's out in New York, and he did a lot of branded series and stuff. And so he and I connected up and I was able to direct an episode for lifetime in the better sleep Council. I got to cast away one like hasn't Jamie Murray from you know, she's on warehouse 13 and Dexter and Eddie McClintock from warehouse 13. And we got to do this and that sort of opened up a whole bunch of doors from in that I got to direct another episode of that, and it really sort of expanding out of what I was capable of doing, you know, so I did a couple more shorts. And and then sort of, in that world of me pitching tons of shows, and you know, like almost almost there shooting sizzle reels, shooting actual pilot presentations, pitching them so close, and just like all those things, and while I'm doing all that stuff, you know, sort of go I still want to direct I still want to do so I put together you know, making sure my director site was, you know, was good. And I was putting my cutter reel together and sending it out to people and a friend of mine on Facebook, reshot, she's like, hey, you're hustling, like to eat you, you know, you're doing great service. Thanks. She's like, Yeah, I'd like to put your name in the hat for a feature that we're gonna do for a lifetime. And then, like, really awesome. And she was our production coordinator on the band. And while she was like, like the person that got stuck doing everything, and she was amazing at the time, and when we work together, and we hadn't really seen each other Facebook friends and so we met and I read the script, and I really dug it and so that really just opened up a whole bunch of doors for me, so I did the movie and and that was called murder Mexico and premiered in September 2015. And it did really well for them. And that has, you know, led to me doing more branded series for GMC and then in doing a lot of commercials, I had a student of mine who said, you know, you should do commercials. I as a as an art director and prom Master, I know there's like 5000 directors in LA Like literally there's like that guy right there.

Alex Ferrari 45:02
There's more than that. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Mark Gantt 45:16
And he said, he said, I Well, I just like your style. You know, I think you have a really good eye and a lot of drama. And like a lot of people do comedy and cars that you know, just like a storytelling, and I was like I am. So like, you know, it's funny. It's like, I would tell him to do something for his career. I would expect him to listen, but I didn't listen to him. And so like a month later, he goes, he's like, did you ever are you doing? You ever think about that some more? And I was like, yeah, the thing is, is letting you know on a given my excuses, just like he would give me his excuses why he couldn't get a job. And he goes, you know, but because I I get it. He's like, you know, but that's what I do. I go, What do you mean, he goes, I grep. Directors. Will you say that? Yeah, exactly. He's like my mom, I work for my mom. And she does this thing. And we read, you know, we read like the Coen brothers and blah, blah, blah. I'm like, What? You did tell me that, you know, and, and he's like, Oh, I didn't, I thought, you know. And so anyway, that sort of started this whole thing. And even though nothing happened with that, like, I met her, and she was great. And she wanted to, you know, try to help me with production companies. And I end up getting a job through people I knew. And so I booked these ESPN and Nissan spots. Because I knew the producer. I told her that she's like, wait, I bid on that job, who got it? I said, me. Right. And so it came this thing. And so I think what what Bannon has done for me, it's given me it's opened the door for a lot of opportunities. And then the acting, you know, it's given me, you know, direct offers and shooting movies in Barcelona, and, you know, Canada, TV shows, and like, that's really just open up a ton of opportunities for me. And, you know, I think what, you know, I would look at is when, as I was talking to me that day, I was like, I think that the only thing that, you know, if I would do something different, you know, it's like after ban and like, I felt like I drank the Kool Aid, like, everybody's, oh, you're gonna get a series out of this, you're gonna be directing stuff, you're gonna be doing this. And then what I end up doing is like just pitching stuff all the time, because people want to take meetings, meetings, is about meetings about meetings, taking things with like machinima when they were doing stuff and like then Hulu, and then, you know, and then amas, I like all these meetings, about meetings about projects. And none of them were like, really, my projects that I was totally excited about. A lot of times, they were like me teaming up with their people, or, you know, oh, they want that. Hey, guys, let's work on something that fits that. And then we go pitch that get really close. And so I feel like the more I'm, you know, passionate about what I want, then stuff starts to happen. And I think that's where a lot of people get lost in like, Okay, what, because I hear so many people go like, yeah, so people want like sci fi. So I'm going to do like a sci fi thing. And like, is that are you? Do you care about sci fi? No, but that's what they want. Or a horror or whatever. And you see, and you're like, you can tell you don't care about what you're doing. Like, that's not the subject you should be shooting. Yeah, right. Anyway, and the guy just went off track there. What your question?

Alex Ferrari 48:11
So good. And you also did a series, or an episode or two for Ron Howard. And Brian Grazer? is digital arm, right? Yes. How did you? Did you work with those guys directly? Did you meet with them? or How was that experience?

Mark Gantt 48:24
I didn't they they did approve all the projects. But they didn't. They weren't involved. They have, you know, a full on, you know, company team and teams and teams team that's, that's doing just that just like imagine has the people imagine and stuff? Sure. But, you know, I really like what new forum is doing. And they they're sort of switching it up. Now. I mean, you know, again, the space is changing, like literally every six months is something different. And you can see they're all trying to figure it out Facebook doing you know, I guess there was a

Alex Ferrari 48:56
Facebook was Facebook video or whatever it's called now.

Mark Gantt 48:59
Yeah. And they just made a huge deal with somebody that is insane.

Alex Ferrari 49:03
Yeah. And they've been bringing out Yeah, I've been pretty close to the whole Facebook video thing they're trying to take over. They're trying to basically cannibalize YouTube. Yeah. And, and take over what they're doing. And which makes perfect sense, because everyone's over on Facebook anyway. Yeah. So it does make sense. Yeah, but you're right. It just changes. I mean, look how much the business has changed since 2009. Yeah, we're talking about what, seven years? No, six, eight years, eight years, basically. And it's like, you know, from 1970 to 1978, the business didn't change that much.

Mark Gantt 49:36
No, and now it's like literally, you know, it's it's such a shift where you know, now, you know, from YouTube read Oh, YouTube read that just made a deal with somebody insane. Somebody, you know, I can't remember who was

Alex Ferrari 49:52
It but they're playing because they got money. Yeah, and apple and apple and Apple just threw their hat in

Mark Gantt 49:56
The ring. Apple's doing that too. So here's all these opportunities. You know, that our, you know, showing up again, everybody wants, you know, those kinds of places what the, the, the House of Cards. So you know, they're looking for the bigger names and bigger stuff, but they're still great opportunities out there.

Alex Ferrari 50:14
Now there's so much opportunity for filmmakers now much more than there ever was. Even five, six years ago. It's insane what's being done right now. But there's this one little thing you got to do. And that's hustle. And that's the thing a lot of people don't want to do. And I'm sure you know those guys.

Mark Gantt 50:30
Oh, no, I was, it's what I was talking to my agent yesterday. And she was like, we're trying to women been taking manager meetings, and she's like, I just am so frustrated. Nobody wants to hustle. Nobody wants to win. This business is like everybody's lazy. She goes, What I don't understand is like, like you're, you're you're giving them your yarn, a silver platter, they don't understand how you're gonna hustle more than any client that they ever have. You will do you're doing all these things. You're basically giving them money. No opportunities. Yeah, yeah. Opportunities to pitch you to get you meetings, because you're doing stuff. You're not just sitting there going, Oh, I got the script. And I'm waiting. And she's like, I don't understand, why don't people you know, and I just booked this, this, this role on a TV show. And like, I knew the writer, and we've been, you know, working together, we've been, you know, trying to do stuff and keeping in touch, and then the casting people and like, it was like, 35 actions for me to get this part that I got offered after I'd been in for them 10 times and my hustle is insane. It just gonna do the one thing and do the stuff. It's like, and most people are not willing to do that. They do a couple actions. And they're like, No, I didn't get anything. All right. You know, and it's like, you've got to out create that stuff. And it's so easy. There's, there's so much there's so much rejection, you know, just in the normal thing. I mean, that you can't even tell your friend a story without them going, Wow. I'm done. You know, I was like, Oh, right, that they did do that, didn't they? You know, or, or whatever? Or like, when are you gonna get that full time job, you know, Johnny,

Alex Ferrari 52:03
But what the but the thing I find fascinating about you know, because we can smell our own the hustlers. So that's why I wanted you on the show. We could smell our own. But the thing I find fascinating is that when you tell people about things you're going to do, and the like I you know, you probably won't be able to do this, you probably won't be able to do and there's always that negativity. You occasionally have champions, but generally speaking, most people, you know, you know, because they don't want to, I don't know why they do it, but they just do. And, and then when you show up with the project done, and you did it in six months, and they're just like, do you just talking about that a little bit ago? I'm like, yeah, it's done now. Yeah. Oh, and by the way, we just sold it to Hulu. And we also just sold it on iTunes. And we're Yeah, we're and we're going and we got three other ones lined up right afterwards. And it's, it's the Mark duplass style of doing? Yeah, you know, it's just kind of go and just do and just stop talking about and stop taking meetings.

Mark Gantt 52:59
It's the depth of it. You know, it's so funny. It's like, and you get a Leeuwarden Like I said, I drank the Kool Aid, you take the meetings, you do the thing. You meet the managers, they're excited they do a thing you do. Oh, you talk to a producer. They're exciting to think and they meet these writers and think, Oh, yeah, and then it's like meetings, about meetings about meetings. And it's like, but nothing's happening. You know,

Alex Ferrari 53:17
Just look,

Mark Gantt 53:18
I you know, I'm right now I'm so guilty of not creating right now I'm jonesing I like I put myself I have basically four weeks to shoot another spec commercial and a short film by the end of the year. And you know, working on that's going to based on this feature, because I got to do it.

Alex Ferrari 53:36
No, just just stop for a second, you're shooting another spec spot after you have a demo reel full of real spots.

Mark Gantt 53:43
Yeah. Because there's like stuff that I want to do that, you know, that I'm you know, I this this production company that's hip pocket. me they're like, yeah, they sent me a Porsche thing. I was like, ah, I love that. Like, yeah, you don't really have anything on your reel. That's, that's not a car stuff spot. It's a car spot, but it's not it's more, you know, lifestyle. And the thing is, like, shit, I need that. So, like, I'm like, Alright, I want to create something, again, what I want, you know, something, you know, create that, that thing that's going to get me the more work that I that I want to be doing.

Alex Ferrari 54:11
It's, you know, that work ethic, I think, in our generation is is is embedded in a lot of ways in our generation. But yeah, but you know, it's so hard to kind of preach to people. Like you've got to do this. You got to keep hustling no matter how old you are. And I always use the example it's like, Look, Spielberg couldn't get money for Lincoln. Right? It's Steven freakin Spielberg mad and he had to hustle to get money. Scorsese couldn't get the money for that last movie. He did. The one that just got released last year silence. That was that was his dream project. Couldn't get money for it took him forever to hustle that money to make that movie. So even the Giants the gods of our business, have to hustle sometimes. Yeah, you know, it's just they don't just Drop buckets of money on you know,

Mark Gantt 55:02
You know, even people, you know, like Clooney, it's like, you know, they're hustling he's a hustler to make stuff happen to, you know, to write stuff to, you know, hire people to you know, like he's not he's not sitting around going, I'm cloning I can do whatever I want to do it's like otherwise he would be doing a ton of crappy move. I mean he's hungry to tell stories that he wants to tell, you know, right, right and he's gonna do this movie. I get that money. They gonna put it in here so I can direct that. And he's

Alex Ferrari 55:29
In the movie, honestly, an amazing director. I think he's a very under, under under underestimated or under, not not taken as seriously as he should as a director. Yeah, Andre. Yeah, underrated. underrated. Yeah. Yeah, he's amazing. Ever since I saw Confessions of a dangerous mind. Oh, what a watch. Like Jesus. That was his first first outing. I was like, Well, yeah, there you go. Yeah, he's got the gift. Now, you've worked on some very big movies, Ocean's 11. And I think Charlie's Angels as well, and a bunch of other big movies. As an actor. What's the one thing you've kind of? What's the biggest thing you took from those things that you put into your own work today?

Mark Gantt 56:12
You know, it's interesting, I feel like every director has their own style, and their own sort of, you know, way of communicating way of telling the story. And I always what I think the takeaway from the most part is, I have to be true to like, what I, what I want, in terms of like, what my vision is. And so I always see, I've seen the saying that today, it's like I, if there's a situation that most of the situations I've been in are how not to do something like that's my learning experience. Like when I'm on a set or doing something, it's like, oh, that's how you don't do that. You know, and so you get to see that, and then there's like, the great times where you're like, Oh, that's actually how you do, you know, whatever it is. And so I think the guys, and the women that I've worked with that are so, so clear about the vision they want, and not backing down on it, but working as a collaborator, I think that's the biggest, that's the biggest takeaway. It's like the guys that succeed the most. I've seen have been collaborating across the board. They're not this sort of, you know, you know, maniacal like it goes like this kind of thing. Yeah. And that, and I think that's important. You know, what I mean? I've worked with David Russell. And, you know, he's sort of like, he's that way I'm saying, but the collaboration, it's like, you know, it goes his way. And he's the king and that's it. And it's like, it works for him. You know, that's not my style. You know, Soderbergh I barely gives direction, you know, and he says, and he's one of those guys that says, You know, I, you know, my, my directing my casting, he's like, I'm casting the people that I know, we're going to do the job I want, you know, that are that are that those are the characters. And then he gets to play with them sort of like props. Go stand over there be here, I'm gonna do this camera here, lighting here. This music here, this cut this way. And those are the storytelling elements. And then other people like Brad silverlink is like he's in it. He wants to get in there talk the actors. moment, it feels good, right? So you're holding yourself, which is there. Then the cameras gonna come around real slow, when reveal you right here. And he's got the like, you know, the lens right in her face. He's like, I'm doing that. Yeah. And so it's like, it's a different thing. So you know, what I've, you know, my takeaway has been on so many levels, just like being able to see what's really, really cool. storytelling and best ways to tell the story and that difference between just like, Oh, yeah, we're just going to shut that set this shot up this way, or this way, compared to, I'm telling the story, the camera has to move this way, you know, or we're not moving the camera at all. Because why, why? Why did we move the camera, it's not being motivated, you know, or whatever, you know, sort of a point of view is, and, but I think that's the biggest thing is like the strong point of view, and to me the collaboration and being able to go like, here's my idea, this is what I'm trying to accomplish. Instead of like pushing that idea to go to dp to the costume designer, production designer, prop guy, everybody to go, how do we get that? You know, and they're like, well, we could try this or do this. You're like, Oh, it's way better than my idea. I like that. Let's go that way. You know, Got it. Got

Alex Ferrari 59:25
Yeah, in Salzburg, and he shoots his own stuff as well. Yeah, it's insane.

Mark Gantt 59:31
Yeah. And that's, and I think that's why it's, it's not something that he can, I mean, again, everybody has their own their own thing. You know, my wife is a director, she's an actress, director, and she directs completely different than me, like, she doesn't think about camera, as much isn't thinking about certain like, sort of like how the framing of it, she cares about the the the emotional, you know, storyline the thing that we're going to like beat drawn into she wants to connect with that. And so everybody has it so Soderbergh I feel like you got the camera on there. He can't pull the camera off. Give it to the assistant. Okay, cool. So I want a little bit more here. Like he's in there going, I'm telling the story in this. Just deliver it, you know, please just deliver I hired you. Because you're amazing, right? Yeah. And, and they do talk beforehand. Their questions me. It's not like he never directs. But sure. He's not like, every time he you know, each tag, he's like, Okay, that was great. So let's, um, I was great. Just one more time, we will have a thing. Just go again. Let's go again. Great. Go again, right now. And so he's creating it in the camera. He's looking at it and going, this is the moment I'm gonna pan over here. I'm gonna stay on him. I'm gonna pan over here. I'm gonna go down to her hands. You know, and he's telling the story for us. And he's also at its most of his own stuff. He has editors, but he edits You know, I've heard him, you know, taking over people's movies. You know, as an editor, people ask him to come take a look at their movie. You know, like, just just recut the movie. They said, Yeah, Soderbergh recut the movie. It's like not my movie anymore. I'm like, What do you mean? Is that your movies? Like, it's not my movie is like, I have to tell them. I don't like what he did. Because it's not my movie. It's his movie. It's now his movie. You know, but that's how genius Yeah, he just Yeah, he just downloaded it. He didn't. I didn't give him anything. He just took what I had cut it up, put anything. And now there was a new movie. It's like he did that. And like an hour. I'm like, I didn't the day. I'm like, holy shit. That's amazing.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:27
Yeah, he's just got his he's that guy.

Mark Gantt 1:01:30
Thank God, he didn't retire when he said he was gonna retire whenever that was like, he keeps

Alex Ferrari 1:01:35
I don't know why he keeps doing that he can't retire. He needs to keep speakeasy working. So listen, man, I'm gonna ask you the last few questions asked all of my all of my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today?

Mark Gantt 1:01:50
Oh, gosh. You know, work for as many people meet as many people get as many sets as possible. That's it. I mean, that's the key for me is because I've been on so many sets and doing so many different, you know, positions. I know how that works. I know. I can I can I can tell you know, how we can fix something sooner than later. And, and all those relationships, and it's all this, the town is about networking and relationships. Like it's, you know, anybody that's been here long enough, you know, everybody, that's just how it goes. And so when I need something, I've got an idea. I can call somebody get some help. And it's it's much easier if I've just worked for free on their short for me to call up and go, Hey, man, can you help me out? I need this thing. Rather than you know, yeah, I heard you did that short. Hey, can you help me out? And and so I think for anybody getting into filmmaking, it's like to get on as many sets as possible, doing every job that you can possibly do, and, and learn, you know, so that you're, you have all those tools when you're going into creating your own stuff, or getting hired to do something that you understand what it means when they're saying, Yeah, the grip trucks gonna have to back in and chop off the dolly and do a thing and they do these runs, you're like, what does that mean? You know, but I know it because I actually was in the van driving to go pick up the stuff and the thing, and I understand it, and so I think that's the biggest thing is to get, you know, get as much experience as possible. So that you, you, you've got, you've got this basically an arsenal tool bag of you know, stuff to do, and then go out and do it and make mistakes. Like, yeah, don't be trying to, like make the perfect short film, I have a friend that has a short film for nine years now that's still not edited. Because, you know, he's living and the thing has got to perfect and then you know, like, and it's just like, No, man, gotta get it out and just done. Just done. Move on to the next thing. And it's so hard. It's hard. I mean, for perfectionist like myself, the only way to to get over that is to continue to hustle and create, just keep doing keep doing keep doing keep doing, keep doing it. fail, fail. It's like, and then you're asking me about the spec. I'm like, Yeah, because, you know, I'm excited about the stuff I've had, but like, I still haven't gotten the chance to do the movie I want to make I got a chance to do the short that. You know what I mean? It says, All right, let me create that. Let me figure out a way, you know, you know, doing a pilot in the, you know, I met with the showrunner and he's like, we're talking and he was like, so you're gonna direct it as like, I wanted to, and that was going out to some peatland people to actually get a big director to and he's like, you're directing the pilot? And like, right, he's like, you're directing the pilot. Let them tell you. No. But you direct the pilot. You say you want it. This is your vision. You come to them strong. This is my thing. I was like, Oh, right. Yeah, I mean, right. So sometimes I forget that because, you know, you just sort of keep doing stuff and everybody keeps, you know, telling you what to do. But I think that's part of his like, you know, like I'm willing also to get it made, you know, whatever it takes to you know, continue on to keep creating, right sort of one off is at the end on that and that last question, but it's all good. It's all good. So much information in my head.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:08
I got to read I got you. Now, can you tell me what book had the biggest impact on your life or career?

Mark Gantt 1:05:17
Wow. I think on the road really changed my life. I think that was one of the first, you know, Kerouac is the first sort of this guy, you know, just taking, you know, just this guy that's like, bigger than life. And this taking this journey in this road trip, and I just, I there was something about it, I just that that then sort of opened the door to for me literature cuz I wasn't a kid. I didn't go to college. I didn't, then you know, hated reading. And I read that and it just opened up like literature to me, and then open the beatniks and open up a koski that turned into you know, other, you know, novocherkassk and all that kind of stuff that was just like, oh, literature, storytelling, rich characters, you know. And so that really inspired me to, you know, to be a writer to tell those kinds of stories.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:11
Now, what lesson took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Mark Gantt 1:06:18
Just because I haven't done it doesn't mean that I'm going to be that I'm not good at it. I think part of me feels like, I feel like I need it all figured out. Before I can go do something shit. So I feel like I that I think the hardest thing, the hardest lesson for me is to trust my own talent. And, and, and to, like, keep putting myself out there. You know, as a hustler. I'm still doing stuff. I'm still, you know, making these happen. But I think there's a part of me that's still still not, you know, 100% you know, believe that I can be the Soderbergh You know, my legacy sort of early if that sort of book. Yeah, of course. You know, but to say that, you know, I'm enough to go do that thing that's been like the the hardest lessons like see, as I'm looking at my, my life, my career, my body of work and going yeah, how can I not think like, you just say, why are you doing that? You've already got real Why are you crazy? It's like, yeah, cuz I still I, you know, like, I forget that I've done this thing, because I'm already like, on to the next thing. So I think that's the biggest thing is to like, be in a place of like, I know what I know. And create from that. That's the biggest challenge for me. And what are three of your favorite films of all time? Ah, let's see. breathless, excellent film. More sparrows? Awesome, Phil. I hate I hate the thing, I would say. A place in the sun.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:55
Oh, yeah. I liked that movie.

Mark Gantt 1:07:57
Just somebody brought up to me recently. And I remembered that movie. And I'd watched it again. It's so good. So so good. I mean, there's a ton out there, but those are, those are

Alex Ferrari 1:08:08
As of right now. That's those are the three. Yeah. And where can people find you digital online, you know, like digitally or Twitter and all that good stuff.

Mark Gantt 1:08:18
[email protected] So that's that's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Yeah. And, and my website's MarkGantt and MarkGantt director as my director site. But at all You go to MarkGantt it's all there.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:30
Very cool. Man. Mark. Man, thank you so much for doing this.

Mark Gantt 1:08:33
Thank you, man. This was fantastic. Thank you so much.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:36
It was great talking to mark and I'm so glad we were able to finally get that interview on and scheduled because I was really wanting to get him on and delve deep into how he was able to get the band and way up and the behind the scenes stories of that as much as everything else we discussed. So Mark, thank you again, so much for doing that. And I hope you guys got something out of it. I did, I learned a bunch. You know, every time I talk to somebody new on this show. I'm learning stuff as much as you guys are. So thank you so much for listening. If you want to get links to anything we talked about in the show, just head over to indiefilmhustle.com/203 for the show notes. And guys, of course, if you have not done so yet, and you guys are fans of the show, please go to iTunes, and leave us a good review. It would mean the world to me it really would. So just head over to filmmakingpodcast.com for that. And I want to thank all of the tribe that went over and took advantage of the insane Black Friday Cyber Monday Udemy deal at $10 a course a really appreciate it. We picked up almost 2000 new students in the tribe. So thank you again, so much. I hope you guys get a lot out of those courses. We've got a ton of new courses coming out in the next month. I've got two right now. And then January is going to be pretty in sane guys as well. I got some one big, big question. That I'm working on right now that I'm going to keep quiet, just until a little bit closer to the new year so that you guys know what's going on with that. But thank you all and as always, keep the hustle going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.

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IFH 167: How to Make $3 Million Selling Your Indie Film on iTunes & Amazon w/ Range 15

Right-click here to download the MP3

We all hear that self-distribution is the future for indie filmmakers. Build an audience and make a film for that audience but finding real-world examples of a “true” indie film breaking $1,000,000+ using that model is tough. Well, I’m happy to introduce you to Range 15, the indie film that not only made $1 million selling on iTunes and Amazon but generated $3 million+ to date, and growing.

Today’s guest is Nick Palmisciano, one of the writers, producers, and actors in Range 15. His story of how this crazy indie film came into the world is truly inspiring.

Nick and Mat Best, his co-producer/writer/lead of Range 15, had a crazy idea to create a feature film for the communities they had built up over the years. They are both military veterans and own the military-themed apparel companies Ranger Rp and Article 15 Clothing, respectively.

They wanted to make a film that the military community would enjoy and they did just that.

They crowdfunded $1.2 million to make the film. Their goal was $350,000 but they made that in the first 30 hours of the campaign. With the extra cash, they were able to get William Shatner, Keith David, Sean Astin, and Danny Trejo to join the cast.

As you can tell from the videos above Nick and the gang don’t take themselves too seriously but what is serious is how much dinero Range 15 has pulled in. For an indie film with no studio and no distributor to break $3 million bucks is a miracle. My hats off to the cast and crew of Range 15.

Nick and the boys also produced a remarkable documentary on the making of Range 15 called Not a War Story. It’s starting to get buzz around Hollywood.

Enjoy my inspirational conversation with Nick Palmisciano.

Alex Ferrari 1:09
Guys, I am so excited to bring you this episode. I've been chasing this guest for almost a year now. And it was just we couldn't get our schedules, right. And it was always always something going on. It was just really tough, tough to just nail down a time that we both could do this. And we finally did it. As promised in Episode 166. Today's guest is Nick Palmisciano, from the indie film miracle called range 15. Now Nick and his compadres put together $1,000,001.2 million film that went on. And by the way, they crowdfunded that $1.2 million. And we're going to discuss how he did that, because he's never made a movie, nor anybody on the team, really, that put this whole thing together. I've never made a movie acted in a movie or written a movie. And they decided just to go out there and do it, raise the money and go, and they crowdfunded that budget. And then not only did they crowdfund the budget, and they self distributed it through distributor, and they went straight to iTunes, and Amazon. And they have, according to Nick have made over $3 million to date and counting. And that's only been around a year old, that is in sane, in sane for a horror comedy zombie flick, as I quote Nick to go on, and not only make that amount of money, they were able to break the top 10 of I have all of iTunes competing with the studios. And they actually got all the way to number two, on iTunes. Only Angry Birds beat them. I mean, come on, seriously, you can beat Angry Birds, but and I know that will drive Nick crazy for the rest of his life. But they got to number two. And the studio's even started taking notice like Who are these guys? How do they get up there? What is this movie, because the top 10 of iTunes is generally, you know, held for the studios 400 $200 million movies. But these guys were beating Batman vs. Superman, and just big monster studio temple films. And I wanted to get him on the show so he could share his story on how the whole project came together, how they crowdfunded it, their journeys through Hollywood, because they're not from Hollywood, in the distribution game and the crazy stories and meetings they had with distributors, and then finally getting to distributor and getting their movies through distributor to iTunes, and Amazon, and what both of those platforms did for the film and continues to do for the film. And also the ancillary products that they've sold, t shirts, blu rays, DVDs, posters, and so on. And guys, I mean, they just an inspiration, Nick and the team that they put together range 15 is an inspiration of understanding Your market and making a product for that market or that community, as opposed to making a movie, then going out and trying to find a community to sell it to, or a customer to sell it to, they knew their customer and built something for their customers. This is business 101. So, without any further ado, I want you to enjoy and please take notes and get ready to be inspired by Nick from range 15. I like to welcome to the show Nick Palmisciano how about Palmisciano?

Nick Palmisciano 5:33
Palmisciano

Alex Ferrari 5:34
Palmisciano. Thank you, brother. Appreciate it. So thanks, man, we've been we've been playing phone tag or email tag for for a long time now probably months, if not almost a year. So I really appreciate us finally connecting and having you on the show, man.

Nick Palmisciano 5:49
Yeah, man. It's my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Alex Ferrari 5:51
So Nick, tell me a little bit about yourself and your background. So the audience kind of gets to know who you are and where you came from.

Nick Palmisciano 5:57
Sure. kind of grew up all over the place. My dad was a Vietnam veteran that ended up working for for the military as a as a do D civilian for a long time. So grew up in Italy, and kind of have been just about everywhere at this point. When went to high school in Massachusetts, so I'm a diehard Patriots fan. So apologize for all of you out there that you know hate us.

Alex Ferrari 6:21
And I'm a very I'm a very sad dolphin fan. So I've been sad for 30 it's been it's been been sad for about 30 odd years.

Nick Palmisciano 6:31
Well, you guys used to kill us when I was a kid. So I refreshing to be on the other side when Marina was around. Yes.

Alex Ferrari 6:39
Okay. Anyway, Marina was around, we'll keep talking.

Nick Palmisciano 6:43
I went to West Point. And after West Point, became an infantry officer, which I, which I did for six years, got out of the military, went to grad school, got the corporate job, and felt very empty, and started a little hobby on the side just to kind of keep my connection to the to the military community. And that was the apparel company that I now run called Ranger up. And it's been 11 years now, believe it or not, since I started that hobby, and we've been able to do incredible things. Since then, most recently, we teamed up with our friends at article 15 and other military clothing company and we launched a movie called range 15.

Alex Ferrari 7:28
And we'll get and we'll get all into range 15 in a little bit.

Nick Palmisciano 7:33
And then after that, a documentary about that film called not a war story. And so that is the 62nd version of my life is a lot lots of travel, joining the military, got a job and then started a hobby that became my real life's work.

Alex Ferrari 7:52
No, No, no Ranger up is is not like a little company anymore. Right? I mean, this is substantial apparel company.

Nick Palmisciano 8:00
Yeah, yeah. It's, you know, we've we've, I think, I think we crossed like, we crossed seven figures, like, seven years ago. Yeah, we're, yeah, we're pretty, you know, we're we saw a lot of T shirts.

Alex Ferrari 8:13
That's awesome.

Nick Palmisciano 8:15
Now, it's weird because people don't realize how many t shirts you have to sell.

Alex Ferrari 8:21
I think it's a seven figure number. No, it's a massive.

Nick Palmisciano 8:24
I wish we were selling like battleships. You know, we sold one battleship we're good for the year would be preferable?

Alex Ferrari 8:31
Exactly. Now, tell me the story of how and why you launched a YouTube channel.

Nick Palmisciano 8:38
Yeah, so, you know, I think people that are starting companies now are growing up in a world where Facebook and social media and Instagram and all those things are just the norm. When when I started Ranger up Facebook existed, but you could only the only reason I had Facebook was because I went to grad school at Duke University.

Alex Ferrari 9:05
Right? It was college only

Nick Palmisciano 9:06
I remember that. It wasn't even college only at that point. It was like a like, you know, quote, unquote, elite colleges. You know, I started with Harvard. And they added a couple more than they added a couple more. So, you know, almost nobody was on Facebook, certainly nobody that, you know, was super interested in what we were doing. So I wrote a lot of articles for blogs and did a lot of stuff that was very popular back in the day, you know, kind of these different networking sites. And then, you know, Facebook started started becoming a thing. And I was like, Oh, it's, you know, kind of makes it easy to share content. And this was like 2007 2008 and I had been making videos like my entire life, you know, I made I made funny videos with you know, two VCRs when I was in the military, you know, when I was a kid I made, you know, highlight videos and joke videos, you know, for, like my wrestling team. So I've always kind of had a passion for film. And, and even when I was at Duke University, we had a, we had a show called fuchal vision that was very similar to like a, like a really bad Saturday Night Live focused on, you know, Duke life. And I spent, like, more time doing that than I did, you know, academics, and I'm not, I'm not saying that as like a joke. I mean, I really spent more time, you know, in the, in the editing room, right, and I did working on class. So, you know, I've always had a passion for film, and all of a sudden, I had this medium where, you know, we could come up with content, and you could easily share it, and you know, and back then, when everyone, all this kind of stuff started, you know, if you if you got a couple 1000 views, that was huge, like, wow, you know, a few 1000 people watching my stuff,

Alex Ferrari 10:57
That's huge. It's like, everyone think looks at like, Oh, I gotta, you have to get a million views, like 2000 people is a lot of

Nick Palmisciano 11:04
A lot, right? when you really think about it. And so, you know, back then it was just like, well, this is a cool way to kind of, you know, do something fun, engage, you know, with, with like minded people, and, and no one else was doing this, like, you know, we were the first military apparel brand, you know, before us, you you could buy like skulls, shirts, and, you know, skulls with snakes wrapped around from above, and that kind of stuff, but nobody had made it cool. And so, you know, we created this whole industry. Now, there's 30 something brands in the industry. And then we were the first to start creating content, you know, and we didn't come out with tough guy content, it was always funny, you know, it was like, I've always felt that the toughest dudes never take themselves too seriously. You know, so like, if you've got a bunch of military guys, and they're just trying to tell you how tough they are. Like, they probably aren't that tough. The dudes that I knew that were truly bad asses. Were never sitting around talking about themselves, they were talking about other things that had nothing to do with the military, or they were talking about training, they were never just sitting around going. I'm the baddest, so I'm so good. And so good. You know. And so, you know, when people do that, I kind of instantly start raising an eyebrow, when somebody's spending a lot of time telling you how tough they are. So we never wanted to do that. We we just created a lot of funny stuff. And like, one of the first videos we did was called the Ranger up workout video where it starts off and you think it's gonna be serious. And then, you know, everybody's in super short shorts. And it's, it's not it's not remotely a workout. And, you know, it became like, a huge success, you know, you know, at the time, big numbers, you know, hundreds of 1000s of people watched it. And

Alex Ferrari 12:57
That's still big numbers, by the way, I would kill for that.

Nick Palmisciano 13:02
Not Not as much anymore. But back then it was huge. Right? But yeah, it was wild. So and so, you know, we kind of started committing to doing this more and more, and we got better at it better at creating content, you know, start investing in equipment. And, you know, fast forward 11 years, you know, we're coming off making two movies with our with our buddies from article 15. So it's been a wild ride.

Alex Ferrari 13:25
So and then how So basically, you It's okay, for the audience to understand you understood who your market was, the niche that you were trying to go after, then you started creating content for that niche and building that audience up. And I'm assuming that was to help you connect with your audience and sell more product.

Nick Palmisciano 13:44
Yes, so I've got a weird I've got a weird outlook on all this stuff. And, you know, I don't want to try to I'm not trying to sound like a holier than thou dude or anything. Sure. I do not. I don't love apparel. Like I have no passion for apparel. I didn't want to sell t shirts, because I just love t shirts. Right? I really like the community. And when I left the military, it was very bittersweet. You know, there's never, I don't know anybody that that is worthwhile that left the military and was like, just 100%. Yes. I'm so glad I'm out. Almost always. It's I'm glad I'm out for these reasons. But I missed the guys. I missed the camaraderie and I missed the mission. And I fell into that category. And so I wanted to connect. And so yeah, I created, I created t shirts, I wrote articles. And I tried to build a community where there wasn't one before. You know, when you get out, you're kind of isolated. You go from having all of these friends around you with shared values to you go back to wherever it is you're from, or you go to some new place and now you're alone. And a lot of people have problems with that. And so I wanted to build a virtual community with Ranger to just keep people connected, like in the back of my head, I was like, Yeah, yeah, I might make a few few 1000 extra bucks doing this. But, you know, I had a big time corporate job. And, you know, there was no real thought to leaving that in order to sell t shirts.

Alex Ferrari 15:17
It doesn't make a lot. It doesn't make a lot of sense.

Nick Palmisciano 15:20
Yeah. And I'll be honest, you know, when I decided to do it, there is nobody. I mean, like, literally no one in my life, it didn't look at me like I was an idiot.

Alex Ferrari 15:29
Right? Right. That's generally the I don't know, I would agree. If you if I, if you were in my life, and you said the same thing. I'm like, maybe. But you know, it's still it's still a pretty big risk, but a pretty big jump.

Nick Palmisciano 15:44
Yeah, it was, it was it was kind of a crazy moment. And I did it. I did it because I found out I was getting promoted. Oh, and the rate, and the raise was going to be about 100k. And, and I was, you know, at that point, barely over 30. Right. And so I'm sitting there going, like, if I take this job, I will never get out, I will never do anything else. Because the money is going to be too good. I will never be able to take the risk. And so I found out on a Friday that, that I was getting promoted and gave my notice on a Monday after thinking about it for the weekend.

Alex Ferrari 16:23
That's that's pretty amazing. And so basically your audience, well, let me ask you, how important is your audience, the building been to your business as a general statement? incredibly important,

Nick Palmisciano 16:35
You know, that? My audience is my business? You know, there's there is nothing else like yeah, there. You know, there are people you know, that buy our stuff that have no idea who we are, you know, don't don't really care about the values we have they just like the shirt like, absolutely, and that you're always gonna have that. But you know, I think the majority of our customers, you know, buy from us not just because we sell a quality product, but because they believe in the ethos,

Alex Ferrari 17:01
Right of what your of your community have, basically, the more the values of your community that you've built up. Yes, absolutely. So then what made you decide to finally go into the crazy world of full blown filmmaking and make a feature film?

Nick Palmisciano 17:17
So really, really, interestingly, you know, I've, in 2009, I did my first real interview with Ranger up. And in that interview, which, which went to a Fort Bragg newspaper, I said, you know, someday I want to, I want this company to be big enough, where we can do feature film and affect policy. And get laughed at a lot for that, like, I actually saved some of the comments, because, you know, people were like, stick to T shirts, you know, like, Are you kidding me? You're gonna do movies, like, how are you going to do that? You know. And so then fast forward, you know, to 2014 and Jared Taylor, from article 15, called me up and was like, Hey, man, like, I'm working on this project, like, I had this idea about doing a movie. And I want you to see the script and tell me what you think. So he sends me the script. And I thought, I thought it was a great concept. I was laughing the whole time. And I made a bunch of notes. Like, I probably sent him, you know, four pages of like, alternative dialogue or ideas or whatever. And so, you know, and he calls me He's like, so you know, so You liked it? I was like, Yeah, man, this is really cool. Like, if, you know, if you make this a little more military here, and that, you know, and, like, this could be really, really funny. And he was like, how about we do this together? I was like, yep, let's do it. Amen. And so at that point, you know, Jared, and I became the, you know, we started formed a company to do this film, and, you know, became the CO managers of, of, you know, creating range. 15. And, man, I, like neither of us really had any idea what we were signing up for. Hardest, the hardest professional accomplishment of my entire life. Oh, yeah. That was dragging this movie across the finish line.

Alex Ferrari 19:22
Oh, yeah.

Nick Palmisciano 19:24
And, you know, we thought the hard part was going to be the script, you know, because, you know, the script took months and months and months to get right. And we were, you know, we argued about it and, you know, knockout drag out fights, and you know, but ultimately, we ended up with a better script as a result. And we were fortunate I didn't realize how many people in Hollywood actually end up kind of, you know, breaking up as friends over Oh, creative.

Alex Ferrari 19:51
Every I mean, I've had it's happened to me it's happened multiple people I know it that's generally the way it goes.

Nick Palmisciano 19:58
Yeah, it's interesting because In the military, we're so used to like the the culture of the military is, you're supposed to fight the fight, like if you believe something, you're supposed to fight it. And then once it's resolved, whether you got your way or not, everybody's supposed to drop it like that is the culture that we have where it makes sense. You know, if if you don't fight the fight, you're not you're doing a disservice to the men, you're doing a disservice to yourself. And you're, you know, and you're, you're being cowardly. But, you know, but once it's decided, you either get on board or you go away. And so that's just so you know, we'd have these fights, and then at the end of the night, you know, we'd be sharing a beer or something like it never, it never stayed. And so that was one of the things our director found really interesting is that we would have these, like, you know, pretty aggressive conversations, like, everybody would be fine. And he just did, he kept waiting for the ball to drop,

Alex Ferrari 20:56
Right here, because that's, that's our training, and our, in our business. That's exactly when you see stuff like that I'm like, this is gonna blow up at any moment. And the whole thing's gonna come crashing to a halt or down, and we're not gonna be able to finish this movie.

Nick Palmisciano 21:08
Yeah, yeah. And, you know, it was just, it's just the way that we were all used to kind of acting that, you know, it worked out. So we thought the script was going to be the challenge. And then we thought, you know, raising money was going to be the challenge. You know, we couldn't get money from Hollywood, for obvious reasons. You know, like, we had, you know, none of us had made a movie, none of us had written a movie was had acted in a film, you know, there were, there was no reason for Hollywood to give us money. So we went to Indiegogo. And, you know, we were just hoping, hey, if we got 350k, then, you know, Ranger up an article 15 could kick in another, you know, a few $100,000. And we could get, we get make a small, you know, half $1,000,000.06 $100,000 movie, and it'd be cool. And then, you know, we ended up raising, you know, just shy of 1.2 million on Indiegogo. And I was able to bring in a bunch of other sponsors.

Alex Ferrari 22:05
Yeah, can you? Let me let me stop you there for a second. All right. So you crowd. So when you start a crowdfunding on Indiegogo, you basically went out to your audience, and then you told your audience, hey, this is what we're doing. And they responded, much better than you can ever have dreamed of.

Nick Palmisciano 22:21
Yeah, I mean, I did think we were going to get the 350 I thought we were going to grind it out and get to 350. But not in my wildest dreams that I think we were gonna cross 350 in 30 hours. That's insane. You know, it was insane.

Alex Ferrari 22:35
That was the power of your audience. That was the power of the connection you made with your audience.

Nick Palmisciano 22:39
Yeah, you know, it's, we, it was very, we planned that, you know, surgically, like how we executed that. You know, we, first of all, you know, we had just watched super troopers to raise 4 million. Right. And we, we modeled a lot of what we did after super troopers, you know, because they had, they had created an effective model for doing that. And then, you know, Jared, and I reached out to lots of different, you know, supportive websites, supportive audiences. So it wasn't just, it wasn't just Ranger up in Article 15. It was also the ancillary characters in both of our companies. So Matt best on his social media, Tim Kennedy on his social media, but then also, we were able to enlist, you know, friends like other other personalities, you know, military supporters, Medal of Honor recipients, and we had it all staggered, so that, you know, every, you know, six hours, somebody new was that had a large audience was posting it, which kept it very fresh on Facebook. And so, you know, and then then it kind of took on a life of its own, you know, it went over, went over 350. And then Marcus Luttrell, you know, I had a, I had a small relationship with Marcus Luttrell, from a previous event, you know, we weren't tight, tight or anything like that. But I had his contact info. I reached out to him, you know, asked if he might be interested. And he did a little video that said, Hey, you know, if I'll be in this movie, if it goes over, you know, a half a million dollars, and he posts that video. And then like, a day later, we're over a half a million dollars and, like, it just it just kept going and going and going. And that was when we started. were like, Oh, we have a real movie now. And our director said, Look, you know, you you guys know have the budget to actually bring in some actors, right? You know, not just not just you know, you guys and you know, in some some You know, working actors and I say that with absolutely no disrespect to shares, a lot of times working actors are truly the best actors.

Alex Ferrari 25:07
Marquee, marquee value actors and other organs.

Nick Palmisciano 25:09
Yeah. And so I started writing letters, in particular, like I really wanted William Shatner to be in the movie. I just, I'm not, it's not like I'm a huge Trekkie, or anything like that, but I really loved him as, as Denny crane in Boston Legal. Yeah. And he quietly does a lot of stuff for the military, he doesn't make a huge deal out of it. And I just thought it would be absolutely epic, if we got William Shatner. So we all had, we all had kind of like our dream list. You know, everybody wanted Arnold Schwarzenegger, everybody wanted Stallone, you know, that would have been amazing. But those guys are, they're a little busy.

Alex Ferrari 25:49
Just a little bit a little bit, you know,

Nick Palmisciano 25:51
But but even Shatner, we didn't think we're gonna get them. And he, you know, he got the letter that I wrote him and he said, you know, no one's ever sent me a letter like this before. And, you know, I might, I might be making a mistake, but I'm going to do it. And he came out and he did it. And once he signed on, it was it was magical. So as soon as everybody else was interested, you know, then it was a real movie. And nobody, nobody wants to be the first of the party. That's the way it works. And the Tao No, because, you know, if you've seen the movie, you know, we really went for it. It's dark. It's very inappropriate. So, you know, people were worried about their careers, you know? And, you know, so I want to say, I want to say we got, let's see, we started with William Shatner, then Randy Couture, who's a friend said he would do it. And then Keith, David signed on love Keith, man. And then Sean Ashton actually called us. So imagine, you know, imagine your art director and a, your phone rings, and it's like, Hey, this is Sean asked, and I was wondering if I could be in your movie. And like, you know, Ross was like, you know, sure, like, call my call. But I'm pretty sure the guys are gonna be thrilled. Let me check with the guys. And so, Jared and I on a conference call, and he's like, hey, Sean asked and just called and he wants to be in the movie. And I was like, samwise gamgee. Don't ask, like, Is there a new like, up and coming? Sean asked? No, no. samwise samwise? gamgee? Like, yeah. And that was that right there is when I became a hero to my children. Yeah. There's a Lord of the Rings generation they're not Star Wars kids or Lord of the Rings kids, that Sam was in the in the movie. So and then then it just got crazy man, like, people couldn't believe the cast we had, we couldn't believe the cast we had.

Alex Ferrari 28:02
Yep. And entities in a decent budget, a very decent budget, I mean, budget for what you guys were trying to do, because you guys that you guys went for it. We went for what but you did a fantastic job for what for the budget you had, it looks awesome.

Nick Palmisciano 28:15
Look, really the budget we had and the time we had, I'm very proud of what we pulled off.

Alex Ferrari 28:21
Now. Can you talk? Can you talk a little bit about how the sponsors worked? And how did you incorporate them in your information.

Nick Palmisciano 28:28
So I went to sponsors exclusively that had ties to the military community, or it supported the military community in the past. So you know, instead of going for, you know, kind of big marquee names, you know, for like, the energy drink, you know, we went we went to kill cliff, which is, which is, you know, they're a sizable company now. But they're, you know, they're, they're a veteran owned navy seal, owned company. You know, that, it makes a really great energy drink. And, you know, it's, it's designed for, like, the CrossFit kind of athletic community, it's not as heavy like, you know, if you drink a Red Bull or something, sometimes that can be on the heavier side, you know, you don't want to drink a Red Bull and then sprint. Right. And I love Red Bull, but, you know, you just, there's certain things you do and don't do with it. Whereas, you know, with kill cliff, it's, you can, you can drink it and then work out. Gotcha. And, and so, you know, ask them if they want it to be involved, and they surprise the hell out of me by coming in big they wanted to. They wanted to come in and, like, be the cure. That was like, that's awesome.

Alex Ferrari 29:39
Okay, so this was product. So this was product placement. Yeah. Nice. Okay. So you created a, you went after your, again, so I'm just trying to break it down for the audience. You have an audience that you know, you're your niche audience. You go after niche companies within that audience or that community. Have those guys proud. placed inside your movie, which helps raise the budget of the movie, obviously and give you a better product. Yes, that's, it's, it's, it's it's so amazing yet, it seems like it's it's genius, but it seems so logical.

Nick Palmisciano 30:13
Yeah, you know, it's just the it's not even, I don't even want to take credit for having some kind of strategic magical vision. It's more like, these are the people we like and trust, you know, North American rescue is, you know, is a veteran owned company that also happens to be, you know, the largest supplier of like emergency metal medical products, you know, in the world, like Gnar saves more lives than any other company. So, like, if you are carrying a tourniquet, you know, odds are, you're carrying a cat tourniquet made by Gnar if you're carrying, you know, if you have like a nice, you know, emergency health kit in your car, or in your house, it's probably made by Gnar gotcha. These these guys came in, you know, and they wanted to, you know, they wanted to get the cat tourniquet placed in a few places. So like when, you know, the Medal of Honor recipient, Leroy Petri, you know, he had actually lost his arm in combat, and was saved by someone applying a cat tourniquet to him. So in the movie as a joke, like we blow off the other arm. Yeah, like, you know, with a terrible pr stetic like it's so over the top. But, and then we, you know, he gets a cat tourniquet applied to it by another Medal of Honor recipient, right. Which is also crazy. We had you know, we this is the most decorated movie ever made. And it's a zombie flick right? There's no movie history itself that has had more military muscle in it than then this film.

Alex Ferrari 31:48
Yeah. Wow. That's, that's insane. Now, so yeah, you get the movies done. you've edited the movie. It's all finished. Now you're like, Okay, we're gonna try to sell this thing. Well, what do you do you go to obviously traditional distributors. But what was your experience talking to traditional experience distributors? I was not good. It was not good. Can you tell me like an example of one conversation?

Nick Palmisciano 32:11
Just Yes. So people my favorite my favorite conversation was that these guys wanted us to reshoot the movie with john Claude Van Damme. Okay. He's like this. This is a this is a funny concept. They wanted to replace Matt best. Right?

Alex Ferrari 32:31
Who's the star? Who's the star of the film? Right? with john Claude Van Damme, but you've already have a movie. It's done have a movie. We have a movie. It's done. But they're like, no, let's reshoot the whole thing. Let's reshoot it with john Claude Van Damme. Did they offer you money for this?

Nick Palmisciano 32:45
Yes. Okay. And it was it was just comical. And then another another one wanted us they wanted to buy the film. I want to say it was like 350k or 500k or something. And and then they wanted to put us into another movie. As like the the they were a small firm so it wasn't like we were going to they sound like they wanted to buy it and put us in Transformers they wanted to buy buy put us in like an even worse be flick right? Oh, that was completely you know uncreative. But behind a known act or not a big actor, but like somebody that you marquee value that you Yeah, that has some marquee value. Yeah. And, you know, we were like, no, like we can, we can sell, we can sell the movie for more than a half a million dollars just by putting it on iTunes and Amazon. And they're like, no, like, everybody thinks that, but it doesn't work that way. And we're like, No, we like we know our community like we want 100% we'll, we'll get that back. And basically, everybody just kind of everybody just acted like we got really lucky. And maybe we did. You know, maybe we did get a little lucky. I mean, I understand that a lot of people that really know what they're doing. have been have failed at this. But I think one of the things that that people do, I think out of order, is they try to create a film and find an audience. Right. Whereas we we had an audience and created a film for that audience. I think I think there's a big difference. That's the future. Now.

Alex Ferrari 34:32
I think that's the future of independent filmmaking in general.

Nick Palmisciano 34:34
100% agree, I think I think we just gave everybody the blueprint for how you should make an independent film. Not that there aren't other ways to do it. I'm definitely not I'm not trying to pretend like we came up with some amazing thing. But hey, again, who are we like we're no one know how, you know? We are not household names. No one, you know, no one knows who we are. If you're not in the military community, but I can tell you that we're the only independent film in history to ever top the charts on Amazon, and that's from Amazon.

Alex Ferrari 35:09
So yeah, so before we get to that, what what made you want to go with distributor? Because distributor was the final company you decide to self distributor film with, right? Yeah,

Nick Palmisciano 35:17
Yeah. Talk to a lot of different people, you know, get a lot of different feedback. And, you know, there's some other Okay, companies out there, but Nick Saurus gave me some, some pretty significant time, he's their president, because he just kind of, he just told me his story. He's like, Look, man, like, I made film, you know, I made film, I made successful film. And somehow, like, I would make a film, and it would make a lot of money. And I would get none of that money. Over and over again, like, he's, like, I ended up upside down on, you know, half my films, and, you know, other films, I made, like, a little bit of money. And but but there was all this money being made. And I was sitting there going, like, what's, you know, what is the motivation to do something only to like, hand it over to other people who are going to, you know, take all of the all of the profit from it, and throw scraps at me, like, that's not how you get independent filmmakers, you know, to thrive, you know, and, you know, and Nick and I have had a lot of, you know, conversations about this, you know, China now pretty much phones, the film industry. And I'm not saying that in a bad way, like, you know, okay, Business is business and they, you know, they are, these multinational companies have bought most of the major production houses in Hollywood now. But the result of that is, they are going to build film that is going to sell on an international scale, not film that is necessarily interesting or good. You know, like, you're gonna make trend transformers and Fast and the Furious movies forever. And there's nothing wrong with those. I'm not sitting here judging like, you know, Fast and the Furious eight, like, you know, watch it. No, and it's entertaining. But I don't want to just watch Fast and the Furious eight. And I feel like that is the direction we're heading. And I think if I think there are going to be very few production company, major production company films that are interesting. In the future, the trend is definitely more towards, you know, very cliche, action packed films.

Alex Ferrari 37:35
Yeah, for every baby driver. There's 45 transformers. Yes, basically. Yes. You know, and I haven't seen baby driver yet. But I hear it's, I can't believe that made in the studio system. You know, it's like, oh, my God, how did that happen? But yeah, atomic blonde is another one. I can't wait to see.

Nick Palmisciano 37:53
Yeah. You know, it was great was a Ex Machina. That was a great film.

Alex Ferrari 37:58
Oh, yeah. Exactly like that.

Nick Palmisciano 38:00
Yeah, that was a great film. And, you know, I don't think that ever saw theaters, or if it did, like, I didn't know about it.

Alex Ferrari 38:06
It did, but it was very small. Very small. Yeah.

Nick Palmisciano 38:09
Yeah, I found that on. I found it on iTunes. It was like I'm flicking through things, like, want to watch a new movie. And it was like, Oh, what's this? And I stared at it for like three weeks. It was like, Man, this thing is not falling off the, you know, the top charts. Like I finally bought it. I was like, Man, this movie is awesome. Yeah. And so you know, but how do you how do you get those films out there? If you're somebody like us, like, you know, you almost couldn't do it before. And so, you know, with the stripper, I felt like I had a guy that actually cared about, you know, he's not going to do the work for me. I mean, at the end of the day, like, doesn't matter what your distribution is, like, if your movie sucks, you're not going to, you're not going to get anywhere. If you don't have an audience, you're not going to get anywhere. But I felt like he gave me a very fair way of putting my film in a situation where it could succeed. And that's the most that you can hope for, you know, from a distributor. Right? So, yeah, so, you know, I had no issues with distributor, they did a great job with everything, you know, they, anytime there was any kind of issue, they addressed it immediately, like they raised issues to me to like, improve the way that our our film was going to be viewed. Like it was a great experience. I'll definitely use them again.

Alex Ferrari 39:23
Now with Can you talk a little bit about the release strategy of interesting like, did you go all through iTunes? First to kind of get the ranking up? How can you can you talk a little bit about that?

Nick Palmisciano 39:34
No, we, we did iTunes and Amazon at the same time, okay. But we, frankly, we just didn't know what we were doing. So we felt we felt like iTunes was going to be bigger. Because, you know, an iTunes also shares more of the profit with you. You know, like, I've had iTunes forever and so you know, at And as has Jared, and so there's a little bit of a bias to what you know. And so we've we thought, you know, iTunes is going to be the bigger one. And Amazon would be like a distant second. And actually, it was quite the opposite. And so I mean, iTunes did very well, don't get me wrong, I think I iTunes the first week beat Amazon. But that was the last time it beat Amazon. And helium, the different. Yeah, the difference there is the platform. So with Apple, we were just in, we were in also ran, like, we were just, we were another product in their system. You know, even even though we went all the way to number two on the charts, and we lost the Angry Birds on iTunes, which they supported big time, because they're, you know, they're film. But even though we, even though we were number two on the charts for 11 days, nobody from Apple ever reached out and said, you know, can we, you know, can we get some graphics? Could we do can, you know, can we pump this hope? Nobody pumped it, nobody pushed it, nobody did anything like it went, it went to number two, sat there for over a week. And then, you know, started coming down. And, you know, it stayed in the top 25 for, you know, I think a month and a half. And, I mean, like it did very well, but like there was no, there was no like movement, you know, we just kind of got ignored, and that's fine. Like, I'm not there's no judgment there. But with with Amazon, actually had I had breakfast with two Amazon executives, when I was out there for not a war story talking about, you know, our, you know, how we're going to launch that with Amazon as well at some point. But they were hilarious. They're like, Look, man, here's the truth. We woke up, we checked the dailies, and we see this movie, range 15 that's, you know, over, you know, Batman versus Superman and over divergence, and we called it because we thought we either got hacked, there was or there was some error in our system that needed to be fixed. And, and then when we realized, you know, oh, this is real, like, people are actually buying this movie. They, you know, they had low man on the totem pole, go and Google it and figure out who the hell we were. Because they had no idea who we were. And then they reached out to us. So this is all within 24 hours of being on their site. And he reached out to us and it was their executive vice president, it wasn't just somebody. And he was like, Look, you know, you've got lightning in a bottle here. Like, we want to push it, here's what we need. And they gave us a bunch of sizes that they needed to explore. And, you know, we made those graphics within an hour had the backs them, the next day, they were up on the site, and you know, and they're still talking to us, like, Oh, you know, hey, we've got Veterans Day coming up, we could do this, that or the other thing, like those guys know how to Amazon knows how to sell better than anybody on the planet. Ever. That's true, that is very true. But everybody else is in distance second. So these guys, you know, they have a product, people want it, they want more people to buy it. And they're they're incredibly easy to work with. So

Alex Ferrari 43:31
So then so a lot of the a lot of the traction you got on Amazon was strictly because at the beginning, you got a big push from your audience, but then they just saw it and they decided to move with move on it and help you. So yeah, by them helping you It definitely kept the revenue coming in high because your profile went up.

Nick Palmisciano 43:48
But But even now, even now, you know, like they were they're laughing they're like, they cannot believe how many people are still buying the film. You know, they said like, like, films, uh, you know, it's a year, it's a year from when we launched right now. And, like, you know, you typically at this point, you know, you've got your, you know, maybe three $400 a month come in, and especially for an indie film, we're still, we're still doing 1000s of dollars, you know, on a monthly basis for the movie. So

Alex Ferrari 44:19
That's insane. Yeah, it's really cool. Now, let me really cool. Let me ask you a question. So to even to get up to the top 10 of iTunes is pretty substantial. You need to do some major numbers. Can you talk about sales as far as sales or rentals or transactions? How many do you think that people need to get, you know, to make any sort of traction whatsoever? Is that something you could talk about? So, I don't I don't know exactly how many you have to sell, you know, to give or take to you know, we did you know and that that first was that first month we Did about a million dollars in revenue? In our, our cut, okay, you're just you're Jesus. Wow. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. So the movie, so this movie definitely has broken seven figures. Yes. Jesus Christ. Yes. So it's a very successful independent film, to say

Nick Palmisciano 45:36
The least successful independent film. Yeah, we're, you know, we're, like I said, we're very proud of, of the community for, for making this thing happen.

Alex Ferrari 45:45
And it's still go and it's still going people are still finding it.

Nick Palmisciano 45:48
People are still buying it. Still still watching it. You know, and yeah, so, you know, like, it's, it's, you know, it's not, it's not a huge film, but, you know, like, you know, we've done, we've done, you know, a few million bucks on this movie at this point. And, you know, we put some of the money towards, you know, towards the documentary and yeah, it's, it's, you know, and, and we're hoping that that does, you know, frankly, better, we're hoping that that's a that's a bigger film, and in a lot of ways, then the film than the actual movie was so

Alex Ferrari 46:21
So just so they could you said, like, it hasn't done a lot. I guarantee you that everybody listening in this podcast right now would kill to make a million or 2 million or $3 million on their independent film. So it's, it's substantial. I mean, being I've been in the indie business for in the film business for over 20 years, getting close to 25, for God's sakes. And I've rarely heard a story like this. This is a, a unicorn style story. So you should be extremely proud of that I appreciate that's why I want to join the show, when I heard this story, I was like, this does not happen every day. It's very rare. And it's and it's still niche. That's the thing that I find so fascinating about range 15. This is not a movie that blew up into the mainstream, because a lot of indie movies go and they they find their audience and they just kind of blow up and everybody hears about them. range. 15 is still within its niche, very, it's kind of broken out a little bit here and there, maybe in the action genre. But generally speaking, it's still niche. It's still underground.

Nick Palmisciano 47:24
Yeah. And so right now, you know, we're gonna, you know, we're hoping we're either going to end up on on amazon prime, or we're going to end up on Netflix, and I want I want to pair the documentary with the film. I don't want I don't just want range 15 to end up in one of these things. I want both because I think people that watch the documentary and then watch the film will get a better love the film forever. Yeah. People that just watch the film like they either love it or they hate it. But like, you know, with the documentary, people have an appreciation for how hard it really was to get this movie done.

Alex Ferrari 48:03
Got it now. Within how well have the the DVDs and blu rays have been selling a branch with Dan? I'm just curious, because oh, yeah, cuz a lot of people say that DVD and blu rays dead.

Nick Palmisciano 48:14
Now we've sold a ton. And it's interesting, because we've we only have sold them on range. 15 calm. Yeah. And the reason for that is, even though Amazon is really easy to work with on a lot of things, you know, they have a lot of rules to protect the customer. And because we've never because we've never actually sold DVDs before, we need to get like a waiver. And what by the time we realized all of this, this, like, you know how you had to do it, and you know how long it took, and we just didn't have time because the movie was releasing, so we definitely ever put it on Amazon. So we're selling all these DVDs and blu rays off of like, a website that it's literally it's only function is to sell blu rays and DVDs. That's it.

Alex Ferrari 49:07
Yeah. Now, how and how, how did you leverage range 15 to sell other products and create other revenue streams.

Nick Palmisciano 49:17
So, you know, we are in the process of of working on a app right now like a phone game associated with rain 15 we created uh, you know, apparel off of off of rain 15 posters off of rain 15 You know, we're in that business already. So, you know, we both own apparel companies infrastructure was easy to put it into your into your product into your into your pipeline. Yep. And, you know, and, you know, when you look at the other guy's, you know, Rocco, Jared and Matt own, you know, led slingers, whiskey, which was the other part of the cure, you know, in the film, and you You know, so now for all time, you know, their whiskey is, is in this, you know, cult military movie, you know, and so everything, you know, we are, you know, we are meatheads, and we are, you know, to some extent, you know, clowns. But you know, we really kind of planned all this out so that, like everybody would win long term all these people that, you know, all these people that came and supported us all of the the sponsors that came in, like I really want these people to all win win for all time, you know, because they supported this film. Wow.

Alex Ferrari 50:39
Now, can you talk a little bit about not in other words, not not a war story, the documentary behind it?

Nick Palmisciano 50:44
Yeah, absolutely. So it started off as a, we were gonna do a short that we just included on a DVD. And I asked is this guy Tim O'Donnell? So earlier, we talked about, you know, the first silly video that we ever made the Ranger up workout video. That was nine years ago. And Tim O'Donnell is the guy that I hired to do that, you know, he and I met at a UFC fight. He was an art teacher. And he had just, he had just made his first documentary on the side about a wrestler that he had coached. And we were there, because I was sponsoring a fighter by the name of Jorge Rivera. And he was doing a short about Jorge. And he didn't have a lot of commercial work at the time. And so he thought to be, you know, I thought it'd be cool to do some funny videos with us. And so, you know, I think, man, I think that first, the first paycheck for like, a whole weekend, I think he, I think we paid him like 1500 bucks, and he paid like seven videos, you know, like nothing. We weren't big, he wasn't big. And we just had a lot of fun. And so he and I, over the years have made, you know, for pretty significant documentaries, that have won some festival awards. They're just passion projects, you know, to tell stories about veterans. And when we were doing this, you know, I asked, I asked him if he was interested in doing and he was like, Yeah, absolutely. And again, the plan was, he was going to come out for the, you know, come out for a couple sessions, and then come out during filming, and, you know, make a 1015 minute short for the DVD. Two days in, you know, he, he took Jared and I aside and he was like, Guys, I don't think this is a short. I think I think this is a feature film, I'm getting gold, you know, the interviews with all the bats that are here, you know, is absolute gold, you know, the crises that you guys are constantly dealing with is gold. Like, I think we need to do this. And I was, you know, Jared and I talked about are like, all right, absolutely. Let's do it. And so he and, you know, the second unit director for the documentary, Alex Miller, proceeded to capture, you know, the next year of, you know, everything that happened, you know, the editing, the selling points, the Sundance, selling, going to Iraq, with the film, you know, everything. And we ended up with a film that we think is, you know, and you have to take all of this with a grain of salt, right? In some ways. It's, it's not in any way disrespectful to like the making of ranch 15. But range 15 as you know, is a funny v flick. Not a war story is a really powerful film. far more powerful than I expected, you know, actually watching it, it gave me anxiety because I was reliving the things that had happened. Sure. And that I had forgotten all about, you know, but and, and audiences thus far have loved it. You know, we've done two screenings, one was like a test screening with, you know, 50 people, and we actually purposefully chose the most liberal people we could find. They're all you know, because we wanted them to have like, literally no affiliation with the military. We almost tried to find people that were almost combatants towards the military, to be honest, because I wanted the worst possible experience. Right. Right. And, and, and they loved it. And so and then we had our, you know, our premiere at the Academy of Motion Pictures, arts and sciences, which frankly, was a surreal moment. And that must

Alex Ferrari 54:41
Be a surreal moment.

Nick Palmisciano 54:44
Yeah, standing there, like between two Oscars giving a speech about a movie. And, and it got, you know, pretty universal acclaim out there. And so, you know, we're now in the process of Submitting our application for an Oscar bid. Which, you know, we, we 100% realize is a long shot. But you know, I can't think of a, I can't think of a better win for the community, then as miraculously pulling this stuff pretty insane, like just coming back and saying, guys, like, you know, you did this?

Alex Ferrari 55:25
Are you self distributing it as well? I

Nick Palmisciano 55:28
I don't know yet. You know, and so we've had some great meetings with a lot of people, and we're gonna, we're gonna see what happens. Gotcha, I would I would love for this film to have broader distribution, because whereas range 15 you know, we delivered it, we, you know, we told we told our constituency, we are going to make this movie for you. And so everybody else wanted to change it, they wanted to remove scenes, they wanted to release it on their timeline. And, you know, we we could not do that, like, the community funded the movie, we made a promise to the community, we had to deliver on that promise, with not a war story. I think it's a bigger film in that I've never seen a film that does a better job of bridging the civilian military divide. You get a window into the military community that I think is needed, because it, it humanizes the military. It's very, it's very easy to, to turn veterans into characters, right. And the caricature that most people, you know, convert you to depends on kind of your worldview and where you grew up and how you grew up, either, you know, you think veterans are broken by war. Maybe alcoholics may be suicidal or you think veterans are, you know, perfect white knights with, you know, the moral fiber of like, you know, Sir Lancelot. Yes, thank you. And so, you know, neither of those things is true, right. And, you know, you see very clearly that, like, we're a cross section of society with different goals, different belief systems. But they were, you know, we're a very tight knit community. And we use gallows humor, you know, a lot to kind of, you know, deal with things when things go wrong. You know, there are more jokes, not less. You know, as things get more intense, we tend to get sillier. And that's because that's the way it is in the military. That's what we're accustomed to. Now, all of that is captured, you know, in this film.

Alex Ferrari 57:42
Well, Man, I wish you the best of luck with that film. I can't wait to see it. I really, really want to see it. Now. Do you have another narrative film on the horizon? Are you going to try to do rain? 16? No, I'm joking. But do you have another show on the horizon?

Nick Palmisciano 57:56
So you know, right now, you know, in terms of another group project, I think we'd all like to work together on another major project to sequel at some point. But, you know, literally right now, Matt is, is deep into finishing his book, where he got he got a huge deal with Penguin Books. Nice. And, you know, that's he's got to focus on that. Tim Kennedy. You know, he's on season three of hunting Hitler, and he's about to launch a new show about just, I can't even talk about it. It's a crazy show, where Tim basically almost dies over and over again. Okay. Vince Vargas is going to be on the Mayans. And also has a show coming out on the History Channel. And so the Mayans is the sons Ban archy spin off. Jerry Taylor is doing a reality show called blood on the deck where he is, he is a ship boat captain who has never fished before trying to compete against Dakota Meyer, who's a Medal of Honor recipient on a different boat. And you know, and, and I am, you know, I'm taking not a war story across the finish line. And also pitching a series right now that we are we have, we have four in the can call 22 for 22 which are 22 documentaries. So 22 veterans a day kill themselves. And people I know, it's crazy. And people focus on that number a lot. And what we want to do is we want to tell 22 inspiring stories, try to reclaim that number a little bit 2222 people that have that have faced adversity, and dealt with it and not always one like not always, like, Oh, yeah, you know, things were tough. And then they got incredible, like, sometimes things were tough. And I worked really hard and they're still tough, but they keep moving Yeah. So we want to tell, we want to tell 22 stories of people that are taking it on the chin, and continuing to drive forward to show people that they're not alone. And so that's my, that's my documentary project. And then I am I'm writing a, I'm writing a super dark, super dark movie right now, going a totally different direction from what I did with range 15. And starting to build a team to do that. So that's awesome. That's awesome. So you know, we'll see what happens. like everybody's doing really cool stuff. And the nice thing about this group of guys is, you know, we all support each other, like, you know, I'm hoping Matt, you know, ends up with the New York Times bestseller, I'm hoping Jared ends up with a top Show. I'm hoping Rocco turns into a big star as a result of doing the Mayans, like, you know, it's a cool group of people. And like, everybody's everybody's pushing forward.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:57
Now, can you give, what advice would you have for a filmmaker just starting out in the business?

Nick Palmisciano 1:01:03
So I give the same advice to aspiring filmmakers that I give to aspiring entrepreneurs, and everybody, everybody wants to win? Right out of the gate, you can argue you can argue, you can argue that we did, right? That argument is false. Yeah. You know, it, it took me a decade to build this audience. Yeah. You know, it took the article 15 guys three years to build their audience. And before that, though, you know, before they built their audience, you know, Jared was making videos for four years, Matt was making videos for three years, you know, so, you know, you start with something like you want to be an aspiring you want to make a film, start making films, start making shorts, post those shorts online, build an audience figure out what the audience likes and what they don't like. Sometimes filmmakers, you know, get a little bit up their own butt and they think that they are these, you know, the greatest creative. And, you know, like, I'll be honest with you, like, I watched things like Project Greenlight. Oh, man, I've got to shoot it on film. Like, can I swear on this app? So fucking literally. Like when I watched that dude, get handed $2 million.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:29
Which, let's see which season which season? This was the latest one was the very last one I haven't seen. Yeah, the last one on HBO.

Nick Palmisciano 1:02:37
Yeah, he gets handed, he gets handed $2 million, which is the most they've ever handed.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:41
Right? Yeah, they've never handed that much out.

Nick Palmisciano 1:02:43
And he's like, I got it. I've got to shoot this whole thing on film. And the producers are like, you know, we really don't think that's a good idea. And like, they go to like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and like, he wants to shoot on film. And they talked to him about the difficulties, but then they're like, well, he wants to do it. So we're gonna let them like, I would have been like, you know what fucker, like, not only know, but like, get the fuck out of here. We're gonna pick someone else. If you're that much of an ass clone, that you don't realize that this project is already going to be so hard. Somebody is handing you $2 million. That isn't your money. Right? And you you're not listening to their advice. Like, you don't need to be in this business. Like, you

Alex Ferrari 1:03:22
Don't need to call my friend My friend. You know, that's, that's the majority of people. I mean, it's, it's Yeah, and by the way, a fun little fact, I was in season two of Project Greenlight. Really, I was in the very opening a very small part. That was in the opening sequence of Episode One as one of my entry tapes. Because I made it to like, almost the top 50 of filmmakers into the top 50 that year. Yeah, that's really cool. It was a lot of fun. But those those those stories, I stopped watching them. I couldn't do it anymore, because they're just so just nying at you like something is Yeah, is that like, Dude, are you kidding me? Yeah,

Nick Palmisciano 1:04:02
I did not know the show existed. So after we finished Ross, our director for range 15 was like, you've never seen Project Greenlight. He's like, he's like go watch it. Oh, dude. Oh, watch it. Oh, he's like those guys have been given every opportunity and they still managed to screw it up. And man, I was furious. Like every single time I can't stop watching it though. Because it's like, like, they're all clowns, you know? Yeah, it's the season the season one guy was probably the best

Alex Ferrari 1:04:31
And he a he was humble a little humble. Just was in a very ignorant and very ignorant to the process ignorant but humble. Yes, you can you you know. Yeah, you can.

Nick Palmisciano 1:04:45
You can understand somebody not knowing what they're doing. And that's fine. Wow, you can allow for that. Yes. When somebody is cocky and they don't know what they're doing. That's dangerous combination, my friend. Yeah, it's really bad. It's completely $2 million.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:59
He knows And only understandable if you don't know what you're doing. And if you're ignorant and my god that kid was thrown into, I mean, a whirlwind. He had never seen anything like that before. And he was just trying to hold on for dear life. And that's fine. But when you're an ass about it, yes. I mean, yeah, come on. I've

Nick Palmisciano 1:05:17
Gotta make my first movie on film. Dude, are you like I still even now thinking about it? Like it pisses me off? Like,

Alex Ferrari 1:05:24
I mean, I had on the show, Shaun Baker who shot tangerines on the iPhone, the one that that that gets old to Magnolia and went on to be doing things. He's like, dude, I wanted and he, by the way, in the next movie, he shot he shot on. That was his fifth movie. And he chose to shoot on the iPhone for the look, because he could have shot on entity and it was with the duplass brothers and all that stuff. Yeah. But he just went out and did it. He just went out and did it. It's, it's fascinating. And I'm gonna ask you three questions I always ask or two questions, I always ask all my all my guess, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn, whether in the film business or in life, life is not fair. Amen, brother.

Nick Palmisciano 1:06:07
On it Honest to God, like, you know, everybody keeps waiting. People have a belief that, oh, if you just work hard, for a little while, you're, you know, there's this meme that that they post for entrepreneurs, where it's like, you know, entrepreneurs, or people that work, you know, that worked five years, harder than anyone else. So they can live the rest of their lives, like no one else, I don't know, a single entrepreneur that isn't still working his ass off. And I don't care if like, you're a multi millionaire, or billionaire, you know, just starting out now, like, everybody's working, you know, that's the that's the way it is like, the challenges only get harder. And sometimes things happen, and you have no control over it, and they suck and they hurt you. And you know, people lose businesses all the time, or things that they didn't even do. And, you know, life is not fair. And so you just, you can't, when bad things happen. And they will, you cannot sit there and go, you know, Woe is me. You know, this isn't right. But don't you guys understand it happened? Because it is reasons like no one cares. And you have to deal with the now if you don't deal with the now it will get out of control, you will lose control and you will lose, you will lose all you have to deal with reality instead of dealing with what should

Alex Ferrari 1:07:19
I know it's not bitching about what should be a wash? Yeah, I shouldn't be this shouldn't be that as does you no. Good. And now would you agree because you work with I'm sure there's a lot of entrepreneurs after you started, basically the the business that you're in with the T shirts and building up that apparel company, that must have been multiple guys who've come along, trying to replicate and go after it? Well, the one thing and some have done it successfully, which is fine, which is fine. I mean, that's part of the business, you want to have a bigger, you want to have 100 guys, so the industry is much larger. But do you find it and I find this I find this quote from Eric Thomas, I don't know if you know who Eric Thomas is. He's a motivational speaker. They call Yeah, I don't, I do not know him, but I'll look them up. They call him the hip hop preacher. Because he works with the he works with the Patriots. He works with a lot of NFL a lot of end goal guys and stuff. He says this is this quote, which I thought was so great. He's like, you can't love the goal. You got to be in love with the grind. The process the grind you've got because if you're in love with the goal, you'll never make it you've got to be in love with that day to day, ball busting got to get the job done. No matter what situation whether being a filmmaker or an entrepreneur, is that it would you be in agreement? That's 100% true. Now, what are three of your favorite films of all time? Oh, that's always that's always obviously interesting. But no.

Nick Palmisciano 1:08:53
So let's let's try to kind of break it down. I'm not going to try to go for anything like super heavy and like, oh, look how many great films I've watched. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:03
Citizen Kane, Casa Blanca. I'm joking.

Nick Palmisciano 1:09:06
I do I do really like Casa Blanca. Who does? That would be that would be disingenuous. Casa Blanca. Oh, amazing. recent film that I really love is a card.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:19
That was a great flick man. Good flick. I

Nick Palmisciano 1:09:21
I love that love that film. I probably watched a Korea 1314 times because I love the way he shoots it. I love the feel of it. And I love the no nonsense like, like, you know no nonsense way that the characters kind of deal with life. So really enjoying that film? I love Rushmore. That's a good am I gonna say it's one of the best three films of all time. I

Alex Ferrari 1:09:48
I don't know. To you. It's not it's not it's not a list for everybody else's lips to you.

Nick Palmisciano 1:09:53
Yeah, I think I think Rushmore is is a great flick. I personally certainly think it's Wes Anderson's best. I know a lot of people disagree with that. But oh, man, you know, and you know what, like, you know, I know it's super typical, but I'm gonna go with Lord of the Rings. And the reason I'm going to source one of the rings, the first Well, yeah, just, you know, the reason for that is because I've always loved fantasy. But before Lord of the Rings, every fantasy movie was cheesy and terrible. And it just made you feel like a nerd. You're like, man, like, I'm watching this movie, because I'm a nerd. You know, because I used to play Dungeons and Dragons, because I, you know, because I read, and I read these books, but like, I know, deep down, this movie's terrible Lord of the Rings comes out and you're like,

Alex Ferrari 1:10:48
What's an Oscar? wins multiple Oscars?

Nick Palmisciano 1:10:51
This movie is amazing. Right? You know? And, and now it's cool to make fantasy movies. And like, you know, without, without Lord of the Rings, there's no Game of Thrones. Oh, absolutely. Peter, because Peter Jackson had to show everybody how to do it. Right. So

Alex Ferrari 1:11:09
Question now I'm gonna go. I want to go back real quick on on fantasy movies. I think you and I are similar ages are close at least. Do you remember a movie called crawl? Yes. One of the greatest movies ever saw as a child? If I look at it today, it's embarrassing. It's Yeah. Liam Neeson first movie. Yeah, really? Liam Neeson first acting role

Nick Palmisciano 1:11:36
Its unwatchable now. Yeah. Like you watch it only because you grew up with the memory.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:42
I don't want to watch it because I want to keep on I want to hold on to that memory. Because it's kind of like, yeah, I'm gonna go watch Willow, you know? Oh. Yes. So Nick, where can people find you and your companies?

Nick Palmisciano 1:11:58
I'm sure you can. You know, we're all over social media. Facebook, you can look up Ranger up. You can look up Nick Paul Machado. Same thing with Instagram Ranger up or Nick Paul Machado and then you know my my compatriots. You can did the films with you can find on article 15. Matt best Jared Taylor, Vince Vargas. Also our side, Tim Kennedy and jack Mandeville, and then the movie itself. Range 15. And we're literally any single anything you go to like whether you're talking Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, like we're on everything. So, you know, Ranger up Nick Paul Machado and all those other guys.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:42
You're everywhere, man, dude. Man, again, I wanted to say thank you for not only being on the show. Thank you for your service, man. I really, I wholeheartedly. Appreciate it. And, and thank you for sharing your story, your inspirational story and how you got Ranger 15 out man, I hope it inspires some people to get off their ass and actually go make some movie because there is there is a blueprint and you can do it. But it's not gonna happen in a day. It might take five years to do. It might take 10 years. Yeah, but it's absolutely, Nick. Thanks again, brother.

Nick Palmisciano 1:13:14
Yes, sir.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:15
If that doesn't inspire you guys to go out and make a movie. I don't know what will. Honestly I just want to thank Nick so much for being on the show and sharing his story. And inspiration for all of us as filmmakers that it is possible, you can do it, it just gonna take a lot of work, and a lot of grind. And you've got to learn how to love that grind that day to day day in day out work to get your movies out there to make your dreams come true. And Nick and the whole team of range 15 is a perfect example of that. And I really hope you guys find some inspiration in Nick's story. And as you heard in Episode 166, my entire distribution, self distribution plan and how we're using distributed do it. I'll put links to all of that stuff in how to get ahold of re arrange 15 and how to get all the neck and everything in the show notes at indie film hustle.com forward slash 167. And don't forget to head over to free film book calm that's free film book.com to download your free filmmaking or screenwriting audio books, guys. It's awesome. I listened to audio books all the time. And audible is awesome. They have a quick quick, great app. And you can try it out for free man get one free audio book, no strings attached. Head over to free film book calm and as always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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IFH 166: Independent Film Distribution & Marketing Blueprint with This is Meg

Right-click here to download the MP3

Over the past 6 months or so I’ve been getting an enormous amount of emails and messages asking me the same question:

What is your distribution and marketing plan for This is Meg?

I hear you IFH Tribe, so I decided to put this podcast together and layout the marketing and distribution blueprint I created to get This is Meg out into the world. You can’t be a Filmtrepreneur without one of those.

In this episode, I break down:

  • Why I didn’t go through a traditional distributor
  • Why I didn’t do a theatrical run through TUGG
  • How I will be self-distributing This is Meg
  • What platforms I’ll be selling on and why
  • What my marketing strategy is

This is Meg has been a giant experiment to see what happens and I wanted to share the ride with you, the IFH Tribe. Thank you for all the support. Take a listen and keep on hustlin’.

Alex Ferrari 1:55
So today guys, we are going to talk about a question I keep getting asked about I keep getting getting emails about it and Facebook messages and tweets about it. How are you going to distribute this as make what is your distribution strategy? And how are you going to break iTunes as you're trying to do and all this kind of stuff? Well, I'm going to talk a little bit about my my decision as to how I was going to distribute, this is why I'm going to distribute it this way and how I'm going to actually do it. And you guys are going to go on the ride with me to see how it all turns out. Now, first and foremost, why did I decide to self distribute as opposed to going through a normal distributor? If you guys have listened at all to this podcast, you know that depending on the kind of movie it is, distributors might make sense, good. There's a lot of good distributors out there gravitas ventures is a really great distributor, a 24. There's multiple good distribution houses out there that can do good stuff for you and are honest and are going to actually give you give you actually pay you some money, which is rare in the distribution game. So certain films make sense for that. This is Meg is not one of those films, it did not make sense for me to go to a traditional distributor because yes, I have some faces. And yes have some amazing, amazing cast that worked on this as Meg. But I lacked the marquee value that distributors are looking for. And that's fine, and it's also a dramedy, so it's not an easy sell, it's also probably not going to travel extremely well, either. So it's pretty much going to be a domestic or English speaking kind of film as far as distribution is concerned. Now a few people also ask me, why didn't I go through tug, or gather or one of these other companies that help help you go through a self distribution? platform theatrically, I said, I feel the same way. Again, this movie didn't call for that. It didn't have the kind of instill instilled market or community that would support something like that. And I didn't also want to go on a year or two year grind to get out there and try to go theatrical with it, it didn't make financial sense for me, or through for the time that I would be spending, trying to market it promoted in different territories and things like that. Also, what it would do is if I did go out through tug, it would suck away some of the money that I would be able to making through customers who are interested in seeing it would probably be interested or audience members would be interested in seeing it would probably be interested in renting it or buying it on on a on a streaming platform or in DVD or something like that. So you'd be kind of like siphoning off some cash by doing so. And it didn't make financial sense for me at this level of film for other films different for documentaries, absolutely different. It's a it's a great way to go but for me in this is Meg didn't make sense to do it. So I decided to go with the stripper. As all you guys know, I'm a big fan of history. I'm big fan of Nix OS who's the CEO who's been on the show before in Episode 128. And I knew of distributed through Jason boo Baker, a buddy of mine, who works there. And also has, you know, runs filmmaking stuff calm and so on. And they, I kind of just made kind of sense to go with them because they allow you to get access to all the digital platforms, you can imagine. Even some cable VOD as well, you could submit to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, all of those platforms at a very affordable price. No, they charge depending on the package you get. But all I do know is like one, I think it's like in between 1000 to $500, to submit to different platforms. And then you could buy a package of three or five or 10 different platforms for X amount of dollars. The great thing about what Nick and the team at distribute does, is that they, they will refund, if you let's say you want to submit to Netflix, and it costs $1,000 to submit to Netflix, you submit to Netflix, and if Netflix doesn't take you they refund everything up to $150 everything besides $150, they keep $150 for just processing and running their company and doing all this stuff. But they refund refund most of everything else back. So there really is 450 bucks, which is in many ways. A lot of film festivals, cost $150 ridiculously enough, or, or a couple of Film Festival submissions, you get a chance to submit to Netflix, which you can't cannot do by yourself. So that's why I decided to go with distributor. So you know what, I feel that I have an audience, I feel that the cast has an audience that we can sell this as Meg to, and it made sense to go through distributor. So the team a distributor, and I've been working feverishly for the last few months, putting everything together getting all of the deliverables distribution, you know, everything I need to submit to iTunes, which by the way, iTunes is one of the most strenuous strenuous QC processes, technical QC processes, there are in the digital platforms. So if you can pass iTunes, you can pretty much pass almost any of the other guys as well. And I've also submitted to Hulu in other places as well. Trust me, iTunes is tough, but very doable. As long as you have certain things in place, you can do it. Also quick tip. And if you guys are listening to this, this can save you hundreds, hundreds of dollars. I have not been paid by this company, nor do they know who I am. But I've used their service. I am a huge fan. And their test was if I can get it through iTunes, and it did the company I use for closed captioning, closed captioning and a big, big issue. If you want to submit to Amazon, you got to have closed captions. You want to submit to iTunes, Netflix, all of them you have to have closed caption is part of your digital deliverables list. It's usually anywhere between five to $8. Depending to close caption a minute to close caption a feature film, it gets really pricey. You can go to a company called rev.com rev.com. I will put it in the show notes. And there you can get your movie closed captioned for $1 a minute. A distributor friend of mine suggested I do it. I looked at like you're using it. He's Yeah, we use it all the time. rev.com It's $1 a minute. I I sent them the specs of iTunes. They gave me gave me back a closed caption file. It went through iTunes, iTunes accepted it. So if iTunes accepted it, it's good for everybody. So rev comm will save you tons go to them again, not been paid, not a sponsor. They don't even know who I am. I just love what they did. And it saved me a ton of cash, getting a closed caption for this as Meg. So now you have a file, you have all your deliverables ready to go. And you choose what platforms you want to go to. So we're submitting to Netflix, we're submitting to Hulu, and Amazon for s VOD. Now there's a difference between s VOD and T VOD. svod is subscription based video on demand. TV to you is transactional video on demand. So when you do a transactional video on demand, which is your iTunes, your Google Play, your Fandango, now your, your Amazon as well as you could do transactional as well, um, Playstation x box, all Roku all of these places. That's transactional video on demand. Now, the one big mistake that so many filmmakers make is that when they put out their movie on these on these platforms, let's say they go through distributor, they put it all they put them out on all the platforms on this at the same time. So what happens is you don't make an impact at any of those platforms. Now, eventually, this is Meg will be on all platforms, and eventually it will be available for svod. But there is going to be a window that it's Gonna be available for tvod only. And that window could last a long time, it will probably last at least six months to a year before you can see it for free on Amazon or something along those lines on amazon prime, or any of these kind of services. But why a lot of people are like Alex, why are you only submitting it to iTunes at first? Well, because I wanted to and this is by Nick. Nick's suggestion is to focus all of the buying power at iTunes, which is by far the largest of all the transactional transactional VOD even larger than, than Amazon, believe it or not for independent film, iTunes, if we can focus all of our audience, and people are interested in this as Meg to iTunes, the more sales and or rentals we get, the higher we get ranked in their ranking system, whether that be hopefully in the top 10, or top 25, of comedy, or drama it to possibly hope God, I mean, it would be amazing to crack the window for the top 10 or top 25 of all of iTunes. So let's just put it this way, a lot of people say oh, a lot of distributors will tell you a lot of people tell you, you know, yeah, you can go through someone like distributor, but they're not gonna help you market it. And it's true, they are not going to help you market the movie, that is not their job, their job is to open the door that is close to you. So you have access to a marketplace, what you do with that marketplace, is completely in total, totally your responsibility, how you market it, how you strategize, to get your film out through these platforms is up to you, it is not distributors job to market your product to market your film, it is your job. So a lot of people will tell you Oh, well, you know, you're not gonna be able to make any money with that, because you're just going to be thrown on their platform is going to be one of many. And that that comment is actually true. But if you're able to market it, push it, push it to your audience, push it to the actors, audiences in the movie, push it, if you're a documentary, push it to the audience that wants to hear about that information, it is your job to do that. So that's what I'm going to do with this is Meg, and I'm focusing all of my buying power on iTunes. So we can crack that five, that top 10, top 25 of either comedy, oh, God forbid, the top, because understand something, if you're thrown into the pool with all the other hundreds of 1000s of movies that are on iTunes, you'll be thrown in the same pool with everybody else. And you don't have the marketing power to move yourself up. So if you're able to kind of game the system, and this is a hack, this is the iTunes hack. And this is what I talked about breaking iTunes, if we can generate enough sales or rentals, they both count the same. Either you buy it for 1520 bucks, or whatever, or you rent it. For 399, it counts as a transaction, it counts towards your total transactions, which helps you get ranked, the more transactions you get, the more you get pushed up the totem pole on iTunes. And that goes for any platform you choose, I could have easily chose Amazon to do the exact same thing. But I wanted to try iTunes first and see what would happen. The distribution of this as mag is, is basically an experiment, this whole project has been an experiment to see what can be done, what can we do? How can we raise money to make the movie? Can we make the movie Can we make a quality product and we get a great cast? Can we distribute the movie and actually make a little bit of money with it. And I wanted to kind of go through this whole process with you so I could show you guys how it is done, and how it can be done. And we'll see if it works or not. So after it runs, maybe 30 days on iTunes, we will open it up to other platforms like Amazon and Google Play. And all the other ones we will try to be submitting it to Dish Network and cable VOD as well. And we are in talks with Netflix and Hulu and see if we can get into any those platforms. And as I do, you guys will know about it. But that is our distribution strategy. On what why and what we're doing with this is Meg now. How am I going to market this thing? How am I going to get it out there? Well, I've spent the last two years building an audience through indie film hustle. And you guys the tribe have been so supportive and so wonderful to me to indie film, hustle. And to this is Meg. I mean, we couldn't have made the movie without you guys. You guys helped finance the movie through crowdfunding. So thank you for that. And now I'm going to hopefully get my audience which is you guys to watch the movie. And I'm also going to be leveraging Jill's audience. Christa Allen's audience Joe Reitmans audience, Deborah Wilson's audience, Carla does Rocky's audience, our entire cast his audience, they're gonna pump it out through all of their channels, and all their social media channels and the audiences. They've been building up over the course of many years. So by leveraging those, we will hopefully get sales and people interested in what we're doing? People, filmmakers are going to be interesting to see what a film that is as low budget as ours is, looks like and how we went through the entire process. And what you're going to be seeing in the coming weeks is clips, I'm going to be using clips of the movie as a promotional content to be pushing out there. So people could see small funny clips from the movie, getting them excited about it, that's a really good technique. A lot of the big studios do that a lot of indies do that. Not as many as I would think, as many as I see as they should. But it really helps because people start getting interested people start seeing it. So if someone sees a really funny clip, I get three, four or 510 1000 views on something like that. Maybe there's a percentage of those will buy it or rent it. And those By the way, keep going on for forever, they just keep going. So they will be out there in the ether on YouTube on Facebook, pushing forever, as long as we just keep going on and there will always be a link to go back to either buy it or rent it. We will also be sending out stills of funny, funny stills from the movie with calls to action, a call to action is you're telling the audience, you're telling your customer what you want them to do, if you don't have a call to action. That is one of the biggest mistakes most filmmakers make. They'll put up a trailer, but they have no link, they put up a funny picture, but they have nowhere to go or what you want them to do. You have to actually tell your audience what you want, you have to ask that ask your audience what you want them to do when they see this funny meme, this funny photo, this funny video or clip or trailer, and you tell them look, here's the movie, you could preorder it now you guys have probably already seen this pumping through Facebook, and through Twitter and Instagram, and all the other social media outlets for indie film hustle. But you know if you notice, the front page of indie film, hustle has a buy it on iTunes button now for this is mag same thing goes for this is mag comm you go to this is mag comm calls to action everywhere. So you can tell people what's happening, what to do, and how to be involved, whichever that whatever that might be, if you want them to sign up for something, you want them to buy it or rent it, you gotta tell them where to go, and so on. That is what we're going to be doing that is the marketing strategy we're doing for this film, we've been planning it for a few months now. And again, because of the size of mag and the kind of movie it is, this is the business strategy I'm doing with this as mag, different movies that I'll be doing in the future will be marketed differently, completely differently. This is not the same way I'm marketed. And you've my shorts, or lipstick and bullets, the compilation of all my shorts, I'll put all links to all that stuff in the show notes. So you guys can take a look at if you haven't seen it yet. But it's marketed differently. So each movie has its own path. This is the path that I've chosen for this as mag, and all of us, including everybody listening here. Well, we'll find out if it works or if it doesn't. And I'm not planning to be super rich off this. I'm not planning to make hundreds of 1000s of dollars though that would be nice. off of this is Meg it's an experiment, an experiment that I did for myself. And an experiment I did for you the tribe I wanted to make a movie that is of quality. That is funny that it took us very little time to put together a little time to edit it and put it in post and get it out there. You know, we premiered at cinequest which was a huge festival for us and we're so grateful for we're going to be also at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival we got accepted to and and we're hoping to get into one or two other festivals this year sometime. So now it is my call to action for everybody listening to the podcast. If we're going to break iTunes, if we're going to try to make a dent in iTunes and make this as make a little movie that came out of nowhere into something that catches the eye of somebody catches the eye of Hollywood catches the can be a story that people can tell of like hey, this is a successful story. Look what Look what Alex at the indie film tribe did together. This is what it's this is what this is the blueprint that we can make. What I need you guys to do is go and preorder iTunes now if you preorder it you get it for 999 it will be 1299 once it gets released August 4, if you go now to this is mag comm forward slash iTunes. It'll take you directly to iTunes and is available in all English speaking territories that iTunes available in like Great Britain, Canada repair the Republic of Ireland, Israel, Taiwan, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, British Virgin Islands, Armenia, Belarus, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, sorry, Australia, your country a lot needs a a rating and it needs a rating of some sort and ours is unrated. Because we do not want to spend the $5,000, the MPAA will charge us to get a rating on this is Meg. So Australia will not be able to purchase it on iTunes, but we'll be able to get it on Amazon or Google Play or the other platforms when it gets released probably 30 days after August for sometime in September. And same thing goes for Canada, unfortunately. So again, guys go preorder it now. This is mag comm forward slash iTunes. If you guys can help us get this as Meg up to a certain amount of sales to get us just a crack the top 10 of even comedy or drama t that would be huge for this as Meg because then it would be finding audiences that have no no idea who I am, who any of our cast is, possibly, and just be interested in watching a good, funny drama. So and then again, I'm going to report back and let you guys know the honest truth of what happened and where we went with this. So I do need your help, guys. So thank you so so so much for the support. And please spread the word. If you're on it. If you're on Facebook or Twitter, you see any of our postings, funny clips, anything like that, please forward it, share it, tell everybody you know about it, it really helped out a lot. And we only have a few weeks left before August 4. So anything you could do to get us on August 4, it's all pre sales count as our first day sales number. So if we can get that number up high, that will hopefully help us crack that top 10 of comedy or drama T. And as always, if you want the show notes, head over to indie film hustle.com forward slash 166. Now, I also have this week, on Thursday, we're going to be releasing the another podcast and epic podcast. And I know a lot of you might be thinking, Alex, this whole method that you're talking about, of releasing it through self distribution and all this stuff. But I don't think it's going to work. You know, there are really no case studies to prove. Without a doubt that is going to work for a narrative film. Well, I've got an insane success story coming up on Thursday, I literally just got off interviewing Nick, and Nick from range 15. And I'm tell you a little bit about the story range 15. And you're going to hear the story on Thursday. And if you guys are interested in self distribution, and how to build an audience, how to make money, distributing your films on iTunes, Amazon, and so on. This is the podcast for you. Nick made a movie. His name is Nick. I don't want to embarrass myself by trying to pronounce his last name. But he owns a company called Ranger up. And he made a movie called range 15 range 15 has made to date over seven figures strictly from self distribution on iTunes. And Amazon alone, haven't even gone out to the other platforms strictly on Amazon and iTunes alone. He's made over seven figures, and not just barely over a million. We're probably talking about. He mentioned about three to three $4 million in a course of Well, the first month he made a million take home after after iTunes got there to cut. So it's substantial. And he tells you the story of how he did the entire process. He's an inspiration to me, and how he was able to do it. And I've been chasing them probably for almost a year to try to get him on the show. And I finally wrangled him, his schedule finally opened up to a point where I could sit down with him for an hour and really beat up how he did it. And his experiences through distribution. And just amazing story. These guys are amazing what they did and is a narrative zombie action be flick as he calls it. So it's not a highbrow movie. It is a silly and again his words, kind of silly zombie action movie with some people you recognize in it, William Shatner, Keith David, Sean Aston, and of course, Danny Trejo because Danny Triana is in every movie. But except maybe I couldn't get him for Meg. But in that story, and in that podcast, you will hear how he was able to raise $1.2 million, crowdfunding that campaign from his audience, and he was only asking for 300,000 or 350,000. And they got that within the first 30 hours. So definitely check out Thursday's episode. If you're interested at all in self distribution and marketing of your independent film. I hope you guys learned something. Please don't forget, this is mac.com for slash iTunes. And as always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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IFH 133: Sydney Freeland: Working with Netflix & Maintaining Creative Freedom

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SPECIAL SUNDANCE EDITION of the Indie Film Hustle Podcast

I ran into many filmmakers while fighting the blizzard at this year’s Sundance Film Festival but one of the most impressive of the bunch was director Sydney Freeland. Sydney has had a challenging journey to become a director and her story is inspiring, to say the least.

Prior to making her first feature-length film, Sundance darling Drunktown’s Finest, Sydney Freeland previously worked as a production assistant, as a writer, and as a camera intern. Freeland worked in a number of areas, including; National Geographic, Walt Disney, The Food Network and Comedy Central. Freeland garnered her first taste of success with the six-minute short filmHoverboard, utilizing Kickstarter to help fund the short. The film was inspired by her love of Back to the Future Part II.

Drunktown’s Finest is her second venture into filmmaking. The 95-minute long film is a coming-of-age story about the complex issues surrounding identity and the struggles faced by Native American people. The film’s name is inspired by a controversial 20/20 segment on ABC News, which branded the town of Gallup, New Mexico as “Drunk Town, USA“, after the increase of instances of alcoholism on the border of the Navajo Nation.

Freeland wrote, directed Drunktown’s Finest as a means to combat the negative stereotype of her home community. Sydney Freeland, who is herself a transgender woman, is also directing a digital series about queer and trans women called Her Story.

Photo by: Netflix

At this year’s Sundance Film Festival Sydney Freeland is premiering her latest film Deidra & Laney Rob a Train, which was financed completely by Netflix. Two teenage sisters start robbing trains to make ends meet after their single mother’s emotional meltdown in an electronics store lands her in jail. Coming to Netflix on March 17. Here’s the trailer.

We sit down and discuss how it was like to work with Netflix, if the rumors of creative freedom are true and what Sundance has done for her career.

All of these Sundance Series episodes will be co-hosted by Sebastian Twardosz from Circus Road Films and a co-production with Media Circus.

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  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 129: 5 Rules to Make Money Selling Indie Films

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I feel that one of the reasons I was put on this earth was to help filmmakers and artists make money selling their films and art. There’s no reason why filmmakers shouldn’t be able to make a steady income from their films. You can here my inspiration rant on this topic here: Why Filmmakers are Always So Damn Broke & What They Can Do to Change It

So I came up with these 5 rules on how to make money selling indie films. I outline what I discuss in the podcast below. If you are going to listen to an episode of the IFH Podcast then this one and #88 (Why Filmmakers are Always So Damn Brokeare two episodes you should listen too. Check out the outline below and then listen to the episode. I also go into other areas and core concepts that are not in the list below.

1. Understand the initial cost of creating the factory that will build your product

2. Understand the cost of creating your product vs the return 

  • Keep the budget low enough where you feel you can make a healthy return on investment
  • Joe Swanberg (watch his SXSW talk here)

3. Understand your customer and how to engage with them 

  • Provide Value to your customer
  • Social Media
  • Email List
  • Where does your customer hang out, go there and engage with them

4. Understand how you will be getting your product to the customer

5. Understand revenue streams

  • DVD/Blu-Ray
  • TVOD
  • SVOD
  • Workshops
  • Merch

Now get to listening and make your film!

Alex Ferrari 1:50
Now one of the biggest questions I always get asked, wherever I go, or through social media, or emails or anything like that is how do I make money? Selling movies? How do I make money making movies, and considering the horrible statistics that I think is 90 or 95% of all independent films, do not make money or break even, which is a scary proposition, why anybody would want to get into this business is beyond me, but as a businessman, but when you get bitten by that bug, it's real hard to let go, I got bitten by it almost 20, over 20 years ago, and I still can't get the vaccine for it. So it's, it's something that's in your soul, it's in your heart, and you got to do it. So I'm here to try to help you guys make money with your movies. I've done it in the past, I'm hopefully going to continue to do it in the future. And try to figure out what that secret sauce is? What is the theory? What is the actual practical things that you can do to make a movie and make money with that movie, and then repeat, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. So you become a filmmaker, a full time filmmaker, a full time artists making money off of your art? And really that's the dream, isn't it? Wouldn't it be amazing just to be able to just do what you love to do every day and get paid to do it in one way, shape, or form? Absolutely. Now, if you've been listening to the podcast for a long time, for a long time, you guys know that I had a moment of weakness. And I actually left the business a few years ago, to open up a gourmet shop here in Los Angeles. And during that hellish time, I learned a lot. I learned a lot about business, and specifically how to run a business, how to create a product, how to make a profit, and repeat and rinse and repeat. So I wanted to talk today a little bit about the blueprint that I'm laying out for, for making money in the film business making money with movies. So I'm going to just go over it and really look at it from a business perspective. I'm not going to look at it as an artist, I'm going to look at it as a business because as I've said before, I'm quoting Suzanne Lyons here, a good friend of mine, she says that the word there's a word show and there's a word business and the bit in the word business has twice as many letters as the word show. And that is a there's a specific reason for that, guys, you have to understand your business. So very first thing you have to understand is understand the initial cost of creating the factory that will build your product. Well what does that mean? The factory is your infrastructure, what you're going to use the tool so buying gear, building a team, post production infrastructures, how you're going to get your deliverables, how you're going to create and create this factory, this movie making factory of yours and now in today's world. It is So affordable. So, so, so affordable to be able to do it on your own, you can start with an iPhone, you can start with some free software like you can get DaVinci Resolve for free, you can edit on it, you can color grade on it and get your stuff out there it for free, you just have to get a computer. So computers fairly inexpensive today comparatively to the olden days. So you can get a nice powerful computer inexpensively, or rent one or buy one or, or borrow one, whatever it takes, do it. But understand, you have to start building this factory. So you have to start creating an infrastructure, what camera you're going to buy, if you're going to need lights are going to borrow lights are going to rent lights, whatever it is, I'm looking at it as a business person. So I want to own my factory, I don't want to rent my factory as much, I want to be able to have the power to go and do what I want when I want. A lot of people out there don't have that option. But if you can, you could do it at a smaller level DSLR I mean for under two grand, you can get a complete filmmaking package, you know, including post, for under two grand buying a buying a Dell, getting a bunch of gear, I won't go into the details of it. But that's your job to figure out, you've got to help yourself, create that factory, go out there and get information about buying gear, and then start putting a good team around you get good collaborators to help you build your product, and your film is your product. So the next thing you have to understand is the cost of creating your product versus the return that you will get from selling your product. This alone is the most infuriating thing I run into in the film business with dealing with independent filmmakers. A lot of times, not a lot of times I want to say 99.9% of the time. filmmakers producers do not think about this simple business core idea. It's a simple idea. How much is your product going to cost? How much can you expect on return. And the reason why a lot of filmmakers don't get into that is because we're artists. And artists don't think about things like that we, we just want to create art. And that's fine. Okay, if you want to go create art, get a pen, pen and paper, write a script, write a book, get some drawing paper and a pencil, draw something, get a get a guitar start singing a song. Unfortunately, for everyone listening to this podcast, our art form is extremely expensive. Probably one of the most expensive art forms next to maybe architecture that exists in the world today, we need a lot of we need a lot of resources to create our art. So with that, because you've chosen this art form, you have a responsibility to yourself to be able to monetize monetize the art that you create. Now, with that said, if you're an artist, and you just want to create videos and create art, and you want to create films for the artistic expression of it, and not worry about making money, fine, more power to you. There is multiple ways you can do that by your camera, by your editing system, and start making your movies and do it. And don't worry about how much you're going to make God bless you all the way. Well, what I'm talking about in this specific podcast is someone who want to make money to sustain themselves as an artist to make a career for themselves, build a career, build a business of them of making their art and selling their art. And that and that means by I say art, I mean your films, your product, your series, your visual content, whatever it might be. So understanding the cost of your product. So understanding the cost of making your film, versus what you feel you can make as a return on your investment. When I made my short film broken all those years ago, I really didn't have a plan. I kinda was lucky enough to do what I did. But once I understood what I did, what I was going to do, I went full force and what I mean by that for again, if you guys have been listening to this podcast for all you know, I did this little short film about a decade ago now called broken. I made the movie for $8,000. And I was able to generate over $90,000 in revenue and continue to make revenue today with it based on understanding these principles that I'm going to lay out for you today. And I'm not I'm not doing something that has not been done before. I mean if you if you studied Joe Swanberg you know he's a very well known director, and he has done probably about 3035 feature films at this point in the game. And now just released the show on Netflix a series on Netflix. He's very legendarily known for shooting six feature films in one year, I'm going to put in the show notes. By the way, the show notes, of course, are at indie film hustle.com, forward slash 129. in the show notes, I'm gonna put a link to his SXSW talk, it's about an hour long about how what the realities of making a living in the business are, he makes art films, he makes small art films with no stars in it, when he was starting out. Now he makes movies with stars in it, of course. But when he was starting out, he did not have stars, he had friends, but he made his movies for $2,000 $3,000. And then he knew that he would be able to sell those movies and make five or 678 $1,000 sometimes. So when he did that, he's like, Okay, I need to make in order to make so much money a year to support my family, I need to sell six of these at $1,000 each, that's going to give me 48 grand minus what it costs to make, that's going to be enough to keep my roof over my head food on the table, and move on as an artist. And that's what he did, he made six movies in one year, because he already had the output deal, he already had a place where he was going to sell it. So he knew exactly what his return was going to be when he started making his product. Now, a lot of us don't know that with Meg, I have really no idea what kind of return I'm going to make on Meg. But I do understand that I will make some money on Mang. And I will be able to get a healthy return on the money that we've invested in making that movie and you guys will get a front row seat. And as I document that process, moving forward, but understand keep the budget of your film low enough where you can feel you can make a healthy return on your investments. Look at the studios. This Do you think of a major one of the major studios is going to spend $200 million, plus another 100 and $50 million dollars in advertising. So a $350 million nut that they've got to cover? Do you think they're going to do that without having a very clear idea of where they feel they're going to make their money back? Sure. There are the bombs, the absolute bombs, like the Alice in Wonderland remake that just came up through the looking glass. That was a complete bomb, Lone Ranger, another huge bomb miscalculation. But as a general statement, or even movies that they don't think they're gonna make that much movie still make enough money to still make a lot Batman versus Superman. They were expecting over a billion they didn't reach that target. But it's still made seven 800 million, something along those lines, that's a lot of money. And they got to return on their investment. plus all the ancillary revenue streams, which we'll talk about in a minute. But keep that in mind. Guys don't, don't go out and make a million dollar first feature, unless you are with a producer who has an understanding of where they're going to make their money back. Because I guarantee you this guy's if you make a movie for a million bucks, that makes no money. The chances of you getting another million dollar movie is very, very rare. Because making a million dollar movie as a first time director or even as a up and coming director is a rarity in itself, let alone try to do it twice. Now you make a movie for 10 grand, and you sell it for 30 make 30 grand on it. Guess what? You're a successful filmmaker. So then a businessman, an investor would go well, if he made a $10,000 movie, and was able to make 30,000. If I gave him 50,000, could he turn that into 150,000? could even double my money? Could he make it into 100,000 I wonder that's the key to growing your, your career in your business, understand the cost of your product versus the return. Now, the next core concept you have to understand is understand your customer and how to engage with them. In other words, marketing, you have to understand who your customer is, when I'm going to use broken again, my when I started to go out selling, selling broken, I knew who my customer was my customer was other independent filmmakers. And I was going to show them how I made my movie back then there was no not many options for this kind of information. Now there's just I can't even explain how much information there is out there. But back then, it was a desert. I was the only one I knew what my market was. And I went after it. And because I went after it without ever spending money on advertising. By the way, I always did this guerilla style, I was able to generate a good return on my investment because I understood who my customer was, because the customer was me. I understood who I was and understood what I wanted. So I translated that to my customer, which were other independent filmmakers. One idea that you guys have to understand is when marketing to Your core audience, once you understand who your audience is, the first thing you have to do is provide value, provide value to that customer. Don't just shout at them, don't just, hey, hey, look at me, look at my movie, read my movie, do my thing, do that you can't do that, guys, there's too much noise in the world, you cannot compete with the studios who have the money to blast that message out into the world in ways that you will never be able to do. So you have to be more strategic about it, you have to be more low cost about it provide value. So what does that mean provide value? It all depends on what kind of movie you have. You can give inspirational quotes, you can do clips of your movie, you can do educational content, you can do funny content that entertains them for free for free, could you give it away a little bit for free first, then if they like it, trust me, if they enjoy the content, and you provide enough value, they will buy the final product. This is the new way of marketing. And you have to understand that this is the olden days of buying an ad in a newspaper, or in a magazine or buying ads somewhere else is not the way to do it short, Facebook and Google are excellent ways. If you are going to spend money to advertise those two ways are excellent. Why? Because they understand their customers so well, that I can pinpoint exactly who I want to see my ad, or my content sent to it is genius. And we'll do a whole other podcast, we have an entire course in the syndicate, about Facebook ads and the power of Facebook ads on how to just strategically target like a scalpel, just strategically target your audience that you want to see your message. So provide value, use social media, build your audience, build an email list, that you can continuously talk to your audience, you know, where does your customer go to hang out, if wherever they go hang out there and engage with them start building that rapport, you need this audience in order to sell your product. Now, you're going to a lot of you out there saying Alex, I don't have an audience. I don't know how to build an audience, you know, like, Well, you know what, make your first product, make your first film. And then start engaging with that, that little audience, whatever that audience is, that you've already identified, start engaging with them. Once you have your product, that'll start building, you're building your brand, building yourself building a future customer based, remind remember guys, you don't need a lot of people to buy a 999 buy on iTunes, or a 399. Rental, you don't need a lot of people to to make a good amount of money, you know, in the grand scope of things 1000 2000 in the grand scope of the world, that's not a lot of people, you can do it, it is possible, but you have to start doing it little by little and that is the other little thing. On a side note here. This is not one of our core principles, though it should be but understand something consistency. In order to be successful, you have to be consistent. You have to show up every day, every day and start building and building. Look what I've been able to do with indie film, hustle, I started it from nothing I had been out of the game. For three years, no one had even heard of me. And I just showed up and started implementing many of the core concepts that I'm telling you right now. It's a lot of work and it takes time, it's not going to happen overnight, it's going to take time. But if you stay with it, and you continue to do it, I guarantee you it will pay off in one way shape or form. By creating that action. By creating work content, something it will pay off in one way shape or form. I guarantee it, I guarantee it will happen. But it will take time. It could be a year, it could be 10 years. But I guarantee you, you show up every day for work. And you start pushing and pushing and pushing and start building that audience and start creating content and start putting it out there. It will work look at the YouTube generation. Look what these guys have been able to do. These vlogs or some of these vloggers show up every day they haven't daily vlog. That means they shoot their show, and edit it all in the same day. And output and output and upload. That's all they do all the time. And I guarantee you when they first started out, they didn't have anything. They didn't have many, many subscribers or audience, but because they kept showing up every day and kept pushing every day that audience built. So at first when you're on YouTube, you're like, Oh, you know, I'm making, you know, $1 a month $2 a month of ad revenue. Sure, at the beginning, that's the way it works out, it worked out like that, for me, when I started uploading these podcast to YouTube, it wasn't a lot of money, you know, it was just a little money. And then now, because I've been all the time kept putting it up, all of a sudden, there's 150 videos. So now I have all those little, those little pieces of content, generating a cent here, a cent there, and all of a sudden starts adding up. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. So imagine in two, three years, you know what will happen if you continue down this path, keep showing up. So you make one movie, let's say you can make two movies in a year, and you put those out there, and then you start selling those movies? Well, while you're making a new movie, that other movies still generating income for you. So you can continue to make new movies, it's what the studio is done, guys, just, it's a blueprint that the studios have put out, since the beginning of the film industry, you make one movie, then you make another movie, then you make another movie, all of a sudden, you have a library, and that library becomes valuable. And that library is generating revenue streams for you. And I'll get to revenue streams in a minute. So the next core concept that you have to understand is, understand how you're going to get your product to your customer. In other words, distribution, understand your distribution outlets, understand how you're going to get it out there. So you're going to get it out there by you know, renting a space somewhere, put a bunch of chairs up, put a bunch of ads out or or put the word out and get charged five bucks ahead at the door. That's one way that's a way to make money. You've got to think about different distribution outlets, you know, look at Tyler Perry, Tyler Perry, who's built this insane Empire. What he did is he just took his plays on the road, before he started making movies, he took his plays on the road, he literally did what I just said, rented a space, put on a show, but the word out and he collected money and every time he would make more money, and he kept going and going and going and going until he now he has the empire that he has, whether you like his movies or not, whether you like him or not, it doesn't matter. It's about what he's been able to do on a business standpoint, he understood his customer. And then he went after that customer and gave them value and gave him something that they weren't, they weren't getting anywhere else. So he was able to build up an empire based on that simple core idea. So understand your distribution options. And I'm gonna talk about revenue streams in a second, but understand your different distribution options, and also the cost of distribution. So a lot of times people don't think about this, especially when they're making their movies. They forget about post production, obviously, because that's where everyone forgets their money. But after the movies done, they like okay, now I need deliverables. Oh, I need to, I need to Alright, so first of all, you need deliverables? Well, deliverables could be very expensive, guys, depending on what deliverables you need, you need a DCP 800 to 1000 bucks, a DCP digital cinema package, that's what's going to be shown in a theater or at any major festival, you're going to need it 800 to 1000 bucks, great. Now you're going to also need an HD cam s r or hdslr. Tape 1080 p Master, that's going to run you for a feature film about 1200 bucks 1200 14 $100 depending on where you go. Okay, so there's that cost. Now all your audio deliverables. There's a ton ton of different costs involved hard drives, just people forget about the cost of hard drives, backing things up archiving your your material where that's all going to go, all these things are cost. So you have to understand your cost of distribution. And then there's other costs of distribution. Like if you're going to self distribute, well, if you're going to go through someone like a distributor, there's going to be a cost involved with inserting your movie into iTunes into Netflix into any of these. There's a cost involved. It's not a huge cost, but it's a cost upfront cost. Okay? So understand those costs and incorporate them in the cost of creating your product. Okay, understand that cost of creating your product, that's all the whole picture. So put that in the math of when you're like well, it's gonna cost me 10,000 bucks to make my movie is it or is it gonna cost you $15,000 including deliverables, you have to think about this stuff. You know, you have to think about all the way through the entire lifecycle, the entire journey of that film creating that product, you have to understand so for me, when I had my olive oil and gourmet shop, I needed to get the cost of of finding the the olive oil, the cost of it. Creating the bottle, the cost of printing the bottle, the cost of the corks, the, the seal that went on top of it, the manpower, that is to create it, the rent to store it, where I'm going to store all of my inventory, all of these things had to be put together in order to get a really clear return on that bottle. So it might my cost to create that bottle was $3.03 5450. Okay, and I sold it for 20. Okay, does that include my rent? That does include my gas? Does it include all the other insurance and taxes and everything else? Or am I deluding myself. So think about those things, when creating your product, understand the cost of distribution, and you understand the multiple different different options you have in distribution, and how you're going to get that product to that customer, you have to also think outside the box, guys, don't go traditional, don't think you're just going to go to a distributor and the distributor is going to handle everything for you. It doesn't work that way. Okay, it doesn't work that way. And I'm gonna teach you I'm going to give you a really quick, really quick little piece of advice here. If you go with a traditional distributor, which I have in the past, and I've dealt with many of them, they're wonderful, there's, there's many there are wonderful. But on a business standpoint, if a distributor picks up your movie, and they feel that they can make so much money with your movie, they'll put energy towards it, they might even put some resources towards it. If that does not start returning money, right away, they will drop it, they will not focus energy on it. Why? Because they're a business, and they have to keep the lights on, keep their overhead going, I understand and sympathize with traditional distributors, they got to do they got their business, they have to run a business. So filmmakers, because they have art, they have their art and their Lego distributor screwed me, they, they felt that they can make some money, they didn't make the money, they're going to move on, they'll just dump it, they'll throw it up on somewhere, not push it or not give anything. But if they feel like they can make some money with it, oh, boy, they're going to put all their resources and energy and money behind it. But they have to feel like they're gonna make money with it. So that's the really scary thing about going with a distributor, you have to trust that they're going to do what they're gonna say they're going to do and not drop bait and run the second, they feel that they're not going to make money with it. That's why I feel so strongly about self distribution. Now, because and again, at a certain point, you know, if you making a movie, that cost a million bucks, self distribution, as your only option and your only distribution strategy, it's gonna be tough unless you have a huge audience. And you really understand a lot of these core concepts that and you've really built it all out, then yeah, you could do it. There's a guy range 15, the movie range 15,

I'll put a link to in the description, they've made over seven figures, doing self distribution completely, but they have a massive audience and understand that audience very well and speak to that audience very well. But they are literally a bunch of nobodies in the film industry. And I am going to try to get the director and producer on the show I'm working hard to get them on because I want them to tell you their story. It's amazing. And they did go through distributor as well. So that's how I learned about them. So the next core idea, the next core concept that you have to understand is understand revenue streams, revenue streams. And that's something that they don't that most filmmakers don't even understand the concept of revenue streams. What's a revenue stream, exactly that a stream of money coming towards you, the filmmaker you the company that created your product, okay, so multiple revenue streams, unlike a single product, like a bottle of olive oil, once I sell that product, that's the end of that revenue stream, I have to look for different distribution outlets for me to get my product sold out there, as opposed to the arts, because the art can be enjoyed by multiple people, not just so one product, meaning a movie can be seen by millions of different I could sell that one product to millions upon millions upon millions of people. Whereas I want to sell a physical product, I only sell one physical product to one person at a time. So that is the main difference. And really the exciting part about being in the film business and creating art that you can actually sell in this manner in the visual arts or in music. So different revenue streams, DVD and blu ray, still very viable, still a good option. Think about how you can do it. There is a cost involved to create it, even though you might go through Amazon and do CreateSpace where they will just you know, print it up as needed. So there'll be no cost to you, but you'll lose a little bit more money on it. But hey, if you don't have the money to do everything you need to do to create blu rays and DVDs that might be an option for you. tvod transactional video On Demand that your iTunes, that's going to be your Xbox, your PlayStation, all of these places where people will buy or rent your movie your Amazon's before it goes into prime or anything like that. These are places where people can buy and rent your movie for a cost. That's the first window that you have transactional video on demand tvod. Next would be s VOD subscription VOD, that's your Netflix, that's your hulu's. That's your Amazon Prime's those kind of places. Those are where you finish off the run of your movie. Those are different revenue streams. Now, what are some other revenue streams, so you've got obviously theatrical, if you want to be able to put on a show, you can do it at a local church, you could do it at an auditorium at a school, or you can actually rent out spaces, you can go through tug. To get out theatrical and actual movie theaters, you can go directly to those movie theaters. And see if you could do a revenue split, there's multiple different ways to get the movie out there. And this is not a distribution talk. But there's going to be multiple of those coming up, and have some big stuff coming up in regards to the self distribution revenue streams that I'm going to be creating for Meg. So you'll get a lot more detail of that in the future. I'm just kind of going over these revenue streams, so you understand the basic concepts. But what are some other things you can do? Well, what did I do on the broken instead of just creating the movie, because the movie wasn't enough, I created a gorilla film school at three and a half hour tutorial, how I was able to make that that's creating another way to sell that movie. So now all of a sudden, the movie became a secondary thing where everybody really wanted was how I did it. So that was, that became a part of my revenue stream strategy. By creating that extra extra content, it became my cot, my product became more valuable. So you have to think of other ways out to create more value from your product than just the product alone. This is the world we live in today, guys. So what is that? So if you're a, let's say, you're a filmmaker, and you make a movie about a vegan chef, I always use the vegan chef, wouldn't it be cool in the DVD or in video, special downloads or something like that, you put out a bunch of different vegan recipes, you have a chef come in, that maybe maybe somebody that helps you on the movie comes in, you film them out, you create content, you start creating that content, whether you give that content away, or you create it as exclusive downloads or something, all of a sudden you're adding more value to your product. Think about how you can add more value to your product. Okay, how about workshops?

How about creating a workshop? You know, Julie and I have been talking about doing maybe a stand up a stand up comedy workshop, for comedians out there who want to learn how to do stand up, or how to do improv. You know, that's our audience for Meg. So maybe we'll do some of those. Here in Los Angeles or around the country. I don't know. It's an idea. I could do workshops about filmmaking, how I was able to do it, and so on nother way of generating revenue for this product. So I'm using the product as an advertising to get people in the door. It's something that can be done, and it's more guerrilla. And it's a little bit more work. But you know what? It's a way of making revenue. And if you want to put the work in, you can make revenue with it. How about merch, merchandise, t shirts, hats, whatever kind of merchandise your audience wants, that spun off look at I mean, Kung Fury is the king of this go? Look, I'll put that in the show notes. Kung Fury, is that short film that this guy made over in Sweden, and they have the most amazing merge for a short film, they were able to do something with that movie that I've never been able, I've never seen another short film do. It's fascinating how they were able to do it. So think about other ways. You can start creating revenue from your product from that one product. There's multiple ways. Again, look at the studios. Look at the studios. What do they do? Look at Disney. That's the best. They're the best example of that. So they just released Star Wars Rogue One A little while ago. And how much money do you think they've made sure they've made about a billion dollars in the theater? Now it's going to go through all the different distributions between tvod s VOD, blu ray, DVD, blu ray, all that kind of stuff. And then let's not mess around with the merge. They're probably going to make another billion dollars or to unmerge alone. They're really maximizing that product. You know, I know for a fact that frozen made over a billion dollars theatrically, not to mention all the millions and billions of dollars they made on DVD, blu ray, all that kind of good stuff VOD ins and so on. They made also and I know this for a fact. They made a billion dollars on the dresses, the Elsa and Anna dresses. Little girls, just off the dress, talk about understanding how to maximize your profits and maximize your different revenue streams per project per product. So, obviously, we would all love to make a billion dollars off addresses. But understand at a smaller scale, this concept is extremely powerful for you, as a filmmaker, understand revenue streams, understand how to think outside the box about your specific product, your specific film, and how you can generate multiple revenue streams from that product. And I'm going to leave you today with the one thing that I've said multiple times on this podcast, but I will say it again, stop with the lottery ticket mentality, I know a lot of you filmmakers out there will go well, I'm just going to make my movie, I'm going to get into Sundance, and I'm going to make millions of dollars, it doesn't work, stop it, stop it, please. What I've just laid out to you is a blueprint on how you can make money with your movie, you make a movie for 1000 bucks, you sell it for 2000, you've doubled your money, that's a good business, you make the next movie you make for 1000 bucks, and maybe all the stuff that you learned off the first movie, you're able to make three to 4000 bucks on your movie, holy crap. Now your ex, you're a super successful business person. Seriously, like most business people would kill for that kind of return. Mine was not large. But on a percentage base. It's amazing. So now on the next movie, you might been able to generate $5,000 to create that product. And off that $5,000 product, you've now learned or had option opportunities that have come to you purely because you're in action and doing things that you were able to generate $15,000 off that $5,000 investment. And all of a sudden, this is starting to get serious. So maybe the next one you take is 10,000 bucks, and you make 30,000. And all of a sudden, you're like holy crap,

I just made 20 grand, you know, if you done everything, right, you might not have to pay anybody else, you might have crowdfunded, you might have to pay anybody, and you just generated a tremendous amount of money. So the next one you might take is 20,000, you can generate 60,000 with that, or more, and so on, it could be taking this, this little idea I just throw down on you could take you three years, four years, but at the end of the two or three, four years, wouldn't it be amazing that you could generate depending on where you live in your in the country or in the world? You know, wouldn't it be amazing to be able to generate a livable wage, a livable income, by making movies by generating your art by creating videos creating content for the world? Wouldn't that be amazing? It's possible, it's doable, but you have to want to do it, you have to be able to put in the time, the effort, the energy, to learn about what I just laid out, go deeper into each of these concepts, and build yourself a career. Because in today's world, you can do it. There's no doubt in my mind, because I'm doing it. I've done it, I did it 10 years ago, when there was no none of the opportunities that there are today. None of them. Okay, I was able to do it 10 years ago, so for God's sakes, you can do it now. Understand your niche, understand your product, and go after it. Okay, you can do it, you have the ability to do it. And if you understand these concepts that I've just laid out for you in this episode, you will be successful. Okay, show up, do the work. And make some movies guys. We want to see them. There's a lot of people out there that want to see good content that will change their lives, or entertain them or take them out of the crazy world that we're in today. You know, maybe escape for an hour and a half. It's your responsibility to do it as Mongo Wilder says it is your responsibility to create your art and get it out there because you have no idea how will affect another human being or how it could change another human beings life. All right. I hope you enjoyed this episode guys. If you want to get any of the things to talk about in this episode, head over to indie film hustle.com forward slash 129. For the show notes, I will have Kung Fury on there. I will have Joe Swanberg on there and and everything else we talked about in this episode. And guys this week, Sundance starts you know, I'm going to be there flying in later this week. So I'll be there for about four to five days. So I'm going to be doing interviews. We're going to be doing a ton of interviews up there. We're going to be doing some live podcasting, not live but you know recorded and get it up in the same day kind of podcasting home Felipe, we're going to be creating a bunch of content for the, for the for the YouTube channel, I got a bunch of surprises for you. And of course, if you want to come and see me speak over at slam dance, I'm doing a workshop for Blackmagic Design discussing my post production process for creating this is Meg, talking about how I edited on DaVinci Resolve how I color graded it, and how I shot it on a Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5. And of course, I'll put a link in description on how I built that rig. That crazy rig that I shot. This is Megan, I'll put that also in the show notes as well. So if you want to come to this free workshop that we're going to be giving over a slam dance. It's on Saturday, January 21, from 230 to 430. At the filmmakers lounge in the treasure mountain in at the top of the hill, get ready, it's a hike if you guys gonna be on Main Street, but it's definitely worth it. I'm going to be joined by Andrew mcphillips, who will discuss his latest movie the doll and how he shot with the Ursa Mini. And of course, I'll be talking about everything I just described. And then afterwards, you can join Blackmagic and myself for a little mixer, little happy hour between five and 7pm at the filmmakers lounge, where you can ask questions, demo gear, and it's just gonna be fun. So if any of the tribe members are at slam dance or Sundance on Saturday, come by, say hi,

I love to talk to you guys. It'd be great, I'm going to be there for a little while. So reach out to me. And by the way, if you guys if you guys are at slam dance or at Sundance during the next, you know, basically from Thursday or from Friday until like mid next week sometime, hit me up on iMessage on Facebook, email me. And if I'm around, we'll see if we can get maybe get a little tribe together for some coffee or some drinks or something like that somewhere on Main Street. Be very, very cool. So many exciting things are afoot at this festival this year. So I cannot wait to share all this cool stuff and new content I'm going to be creating for you guys and hopefully give you an inside look at a lot of stuff going on at Sundance and slam dance this year. So guys also, if you like this episode and really like the podcast, but specifically this episode, share it, send it to your friends, get the word out there you know, share it with people that you really think that needs this information because I want this info to get out there to as many filmmakers as possible. It's super powerful stuff. And if you really understand these concepts, you can make a living you can build a career as a filmmaker, and I wish they would teach you this stuff in film school but they don't. And that's a whole other podcast. So guys, as always keep that hustle going keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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