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IFH 402: Debunking Myths & the Future of Indie Film with Emily Best

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Today on the show we have returning champion Emily Best. Emily is the founder and CEO of the crowdfunding platform Seed&Spark, which she started with a group of independent creators after the challenges and lessons of producing my first feature film, Like the Water

“Storytelling can change the world – when everyone can see themselves reflected in the stories we share, we empower all people to take part in shaping how we see our past, our present and our future.” – Emily Best

I wanted to have her back on the show to talk about the state of indie film and how filmmakers can survive and thrive in the future. I recorded this interview before COVID-19, just around the time TUGG went under (you can read about that here).

We have a spirited conversation about the future and how the mindset of filmmakers needs to change to make it in the future. Enjoy my conversation with Emily Best. 

Alex Ferrari 0:27
Well guys, today on the show, we have returning champion Emily Best from seed and spark. And I want to have Emily back to kind of talk about the state of indie film, how to debunk a bunch of myths that filmmakers have about not only the filmmaking process, the distribution process, how to raise money, all those kinds of things. And I couldn't have a better guest to do that. And I do want to let you know that we recorded this pre COVID so there will be no mention of Coronavirus or anything like that. In this episode. I recorded around the time that the film The film, theatrical film aggregator, I guess you would call it tugg went under. And we kind of talked a little bit about that and future film aggregators and all that kind of stuff as well. But there is some amazing, amazing content in this episode. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Emily Best. I'd like to welcome back to the show returning champion, Emily Best. How are you sweetie?

Emily Best 3:20
Thank you so much for having me? I'm doing all right. It's a Friday.

Alex Ferrari 3:23
It is a Friday. It is a Friday. I'm so glad to have you back. You were one of my original guests. I think you were like in the 20s if I'm not mistaken of the podcast, and now we're getting close to 400. So it's been four years over four years since we've spoken. I mean we spoken but we haven't been on the on the show. So it's it's crazy. It's a lot has happened in your world that in mind thing. I remember you were a great interviewer back then. So I'm super excited to experience x plus 400 hours of practice I am I have the pressure, the pressure. I don't know if I could take the pressure this is this is way too much. So for people who don't know who you are Emily, can you talk a little bit about who you are, and tell us a little bit about yourself?

Emily Best 4:12
Yep. I am the founder and CEO of a company called seed and spark. Think of seed and spark like a Digital Studio. We are built to increase equity and inclusion and entertainment and optimize for the cultural impact of the work our creators make. Fundamentally I believe Equity and Inclusion happens when creators can make a sustainable living from their work wherever they are. Diversity has to be both demographic and geographic and along a lot of dimensions. And building equity is really about building pathways that everyone has a fair chance of using. So our company is sort of divided up into three pieces that all work together to form our version of this Digital Studio and unlike studios that profit off creators our hope eventually is just to profit with creators. We have a national education program, we teach about 120 live workshops a year in more than 50 cities. And we have some online education as well. On our website, we teach creators the tools for creative sustainability, we teach them how to understand connect with audiences learn to monetize them. We teach pitching, we teach distribution, then we have a crowdfunding platform that has the highest campaign success rate in the world. And until this year, we have been entirely focused on motion pictures. We've helped more than 2000 projects raised over $25 million with the highest campaign success rate in the world, which is about 80%. And this year, as I said to you, before we started recording, we're rolling out across other storytelling verticals. So the highest campaign success rate in the world is now not limited just to filmmakers. If you make, you know, podcast, books, games, software, music, theater dance, what am I missing, there's so many ways to tell stories. If you're a storyteller in any medium, you can now take advantage of our suite of tools. And then we work on on distribution with creators. So we do have an online streaming platform. It is highly curated right now because it's it's actually not our core focus, we really see the streaming platform as a tool in the toolkit of creators who are building creative distribution strategies. And that's really where we have focused our attention. So we work with creators on building event ties distribution, sort of rolling their, their content, I have to say content now, because we're not just talking movies and shows anymore, rolling your stories out for live audiences in different places, through various event tie strategies. And then our newest addition is we have found a pathway for right now just film, although we have figured out that it won't be just for film in the future. But our pathway are to bring films into workplaces to help companies build more inclusive workplaces. And so if you think of that education is sort of the pipeline and the creator cultivation. Our online platform is where you can build audiences and make your work. And then we have these distribution strategies. So that's a studio it just built really differently for the things that we care about.

Alex Ferrari 7:32
That's that's man, you're busy lady. We're busy. I mean, I thought I hustled My God, you guys are Stephens bark hustle. tmcs. Exactly. So you, you, you lot how old is seems Mark's been around for how many years now?

Emily Best 7:52
Seven, and a pinch, Sherif. We launched in December of 2012. Okay, and we relaunched the website and what is time, Alex 20. The Fall of 2015, we relaunched the website. And that I would say was really when we kind of started to get off the ground because the first version of the website as any, anybody out there who used us pre 2015, sorry about the technology. We were doing our level best.

Alex Ferrari 8:22
You actually you actually talked to me around that time it was around the fall of 2015 is when I launched the podcast in the summer, so we would have probably been around that time when I interviewed you. Well, I can't I can only tell you from my experience, everyone listening, I crowdfunded my first film, this is Meg, with seed and spark in 2017. I think it was 2017 if I'm not mistaken, and I had a wonderful, wonderful time. And I first of all, I can't stand crowdfunding personally, it's just too brutal. It's, it's really hard. It's hard. It's brutal. It's emotional. It's just it's rough. But the experience with you guys and working with the platform was wonderful. And, and we were able to fund the film completely. And I was able to shoot the movie pretty much in in black and like I was in the black when I was shooting. So that was amazing. Case Study, and we're gonna follow up with you after Yeah, I mean, I was literally I was because I already started shooting because it was such a small budget before we launched the campaign because it was just me a camera and my main actress, I'm like, Okay, before we bring in all the other cast, let's just shoot all the stuff we're gonna shoot at you in your house. And we did that. So as we were shooting, like in my crowdfunding video, there was there was scenes from the movie already, because I was already shooting so I was already shooting the movie. So when I was all said and done, we looked at the numbers. I'm like, I think we can literally be free because we didn't have to worry about money. Yeah, so I looked at the entire experiment and the entire experience is an experiment for me. as a filmmaker is like, you know what, I'm just gonna try this. And if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. It's, you know, it is what it is. But it worked, it did very well. And also got it It also got accepted to. So we sold it to Hulu. So it was great.

Emily Best 10:15
So when when you're already in the black, we like you're not worried about sales price as much. And you're just like, that's the cherry on top. That's awesome.

Alex Ferrari 10:22
No for that film and went to Hulu, I got sold internationally to different territories. And I and I, you know, I sell it on my own streaming platform, and I still make money with it all the time as well. And my partner who's the star of it, Jill, we're very, we were extremely happy and see the spark was just wonderful part of it. So that's why I always promote you guys. Because you're, like I say you personally are kind of like a shining light in the mud. In darkness that is destroying this industry in so many ways.

Emily Best 10:51
We're in it, we're in a weirdly dark time for as much money as there is going into the business. We are in a weirdly dark time. I mean, you and I talked about this. I don't know a couple weeks ago, I came out of this sort of January festival scene. I'm feeling really distressed. Because you know, I go there. And I talked to festivals, and I talked to indie distributors and I talked to platforms and I talked to theaters and I talked to creators, I talked to producers. And none of them are like I'm rolling in cash. They're like, Where the fuck is the money? Money, I'm not making money, he's not making money. They're not making money. She's not making money, like, Where is the money. And I'm scared when when distribuir closes, when tug shuts down. There is an indication that the ecosystem is not super healthy right now. And it doesn't surprise me. So over the last seven years, we've seen the great pivot to streaming, right Netflix 1010 years ago decides we're going to go all streaming, they have this big vision, they're not wrong about it, except that nobody's talking about the fact that they're not a profitable business. Right, they have a ton of income. But it doesn't seem to be coming from a model that nets profit. In fact, they're $26 billion in debt 20 to 26 like that.

Alex Ferrari 12:23
They're using the Amazon, they're using the Amazon model that they're just gonna go into debt and debt and debt. But the main difference between the Amazon model and them is Amazon is extremely diversified where Netflix is not.

Emily Best 12:33
Yeah, that's right. And so we see that happening. And there are a couple of things that that really bothered me about this model. Number one is, as everyone else in the industry has gone, the way of subscription streaming, there are three things that are happening that I think are challenging, and I'm gonna name them up front. So you can remind me because by the time I get to number two, I will already forgotten. That's what small having small children did to my brain, I understand. Number One has to do with personalized recommendation algorithms. Number two, is what it does for creators long term sustainability. And there was a number three, look, I've already forgotten what the third one was, maybe I'll get there. So number one is, if all of these major companies are competing around subscription streaming, what they're competing for is the most of subscriber time they can so that you don't have time to like go to another platform, right? They want to be your sort of soul space. It's by competing for subscriber time, it means they're optimizing for keeping you on the platform. And they're all doing this through personalized recommendation algorithms, personalized recommendation algorithms, those are like math functions that are trying to figure out what you would want to watch. If they are programmed to keep you on the platform. They're programmed to keep you comfortable. They are not programmed to challenge your worldview, or change your mind or make you think differently, or build empathy for your neighbor. Now from the place that I sit in the universe talking to creators all across the country who are trying to tell untold stories, and raise up voices that have not been listened to, for the last century of Motion Picture entertainment. They are trying to build bridges, build empathy, change minds change perspectives. And yet the mechanism for delivering entertainment is literally programmed to thwart its cultural impact. So that's challenge number one. Now, I think that leaves a lane wide open for creators who want to build real community for platforms that want to bridge the online and offline experience and for theatres and festivals to become this meeting place. Because if the platform is programmed to keep you there, and to isolate you inside your own bubble, there's always research now that shows that personalized recommendation algorithms create the same kind of content bubbles on your streaming platforms, you get in opinion bubbles on social media, right? So so that's one challenge that has to do with like audiences are getting isolated. Good and insulated with the way that entertainment has gone even as we have the rise of equity and inclusion in entertainment, and these creators want to do exactly the fucking opposite of that. Since you haven't scolded me, I'm gonna assume I can continue to drop that.

Alex Ferrari 15:15
I mean, I was just gonna let you go, and it's okay, I've dropped an occasional f bomb on the show as well. So you can, you can go, thank you. You're passionate, and I appreciate, you're passionate about it. And listen, I have some episodes that make a sailor blush. So

Emily Best 15:32
I probably won't do that. But I did. I did finally read something that said people who swear more trustworthy. And I was like, that's why I do it. Sure, sure. But that works. The second thing is that we're starting to see these Digital Studios, operating like the pre trust bust studios. So they're signing all these first look deal where they own all your material upfront. And there, they are spending a shit ton of money on a few creators who have no long term upside against the content. So it used to be, you know, you could you could sell off. I mean, what your experience is, is there's like a really long tail monetization strategy. And if you build something that's really good, and it has presence and

Alex Ferrari 16:22
Seinfeld, friends or

Emily Best 16:24
Anything like that, like you could make money on it for the rest of your life. That is going away. Yep, it is right. And creators across the board are beat or being turned into work for hire against their own IP.

Alex Ferrari 16:39
See, even down, it's an emergency, they're coming.

Emily Best 16:45
But this part is crazy to me. And I see creators like lining up to give away their IP into 99 year contracts with Netflix, who could cancel you after two seasons, because it's financially beneficial for them to do so. And then they own your content forever. Yep, your baby your stuff. Right, they can decide where you go, somebody who is not talking to you is writing a recommendation algorithm that may never surface your content to the appropriate audience because they, you know, the math function hasn't really figured it out. So that's the second piece that I think is, is a huge challenge and is is really disrupting the marketplace. And the final piece is that with the exception of Disney, Apple and Amazon, Disney makes content to drive to their live events. And Apple drives you to buy devices, and Amazon is selling you content. So you buy toilet paper from them, right? But the other the at&t, right, which is now Time Warner, right? They own the pipes, they own the devices, they own your internet into your house, and they own the content on those pipes. Like these are massively consolidated conglomerates. These are not ethical business models. And they are driving the price of creativity down as they're competing for one another. It's sort of like Uber and Lyft. Like in order to compete, they have to drive the price that they are paying drivers down, down, down, down, down. So you're commoditizing creative labor, yes. You're not giving people an opportunity to build long term equity. And they're sucking up a ton of capital. But these are not profitable business.

Alex Ferrari 18:30
It's not sustainable. It's not sustainable at all. But I wanted to ask you, because I've wrote I've written about this a lot as well. I believe that there is a devaluation of media in general of visual media because it happened with books in the book. And in the in the publishing industry. First, it happened then in the music industry. And now it's happening to us. So if you want to see a model of what we're going to be just look at the music industry, there used to be 10, student 10 labels. Now there's like four. And before you used to have to pay $18 for a song now it's essentially free. Beyonce is making Beyonce, one of the biggest stars in the world is making a 10th of a cent every time it's played on Spotify. And that's considered good. So there's no sustainability into and that's where we're all going in the in the in the film industry. Would you agree?

Emily Best 19:18
Yes. And the way that musicians get around it is they tour and they build a direct relationship with their audience. And that's what creators across industries have to learn to do. Yep. So that's what that's really what we're building on the distribution side. I'm seeing spark is like the infrastructure for creators to be able to tour things like movies. And there are lots of examples of it in in is, you know, 10 years ago was 10 years ago or eight years ago with a film called good Dick was one of the first sort of, you know, widely lauded self theatrical releases, but people had been doing events is releasing I mean, don't sis dolomite? Yeah, exactly dolomite you have Tyler Perry, Cheryl Bedford did this with dark girls. I mean, there are people who have been doing versions of this because they've been left out of the mainstream in the first place. Um, I actually think dolomite is one of the best examples or a creator of any kind to follow. Most especially because like he wasn't discouraged while he was bad at it.

Alex Ferrari 20:28
He was he was like, he was like a successful ad would.

Emily Best 20:32
But yeah, but he was, but he was basically like, while I'm bad at it, I'm just going to work until I get better at it

Alex Ferrari 20:38
Exactly.

Emily Best 20:40
Perfect, and therefore I quit. It was such an incredible story in that way.

Alex Ferrari 20:44
And he also what he also understood his audience, he understood his niche audience, and he made a product for that niche audience. And I watched that movie. And as I'm watching that movie, I was just like, this is amazing, like roadmap. It's a roadmap on how to do it. And he liked he took risks. He put all his royalties up from his music, his comedy albums, to the and he did like 10 movies or something like that. And he owned them.

Emily Best 21:07
It's also a lesson to make stuff that's important to your audience, right, like, seen at the end, where his co star stops him and says, Nobody puts people like me, I've still been like, Nobody puts people like me on the screen, like, it does. It does matter, right. And so I think all of this is an opportunity. What it means is, filmmakers have to stop subscribing to the myth of getting picked. They really have to stop stop subscribing to the like, I'll just go away and make the perfect thing. And then I will get noticed. Like, it just doesn't work like that anymore. Not if you want to build long term career equity, like, could you maybe write a really great script and get it picked up by netflix? Sure. It's a lottery ticket. Is that but is that also not only is it a lottery ticket? Like is it the best way to build long term career equity? I mean, I don't know like go ask people who've had their shows that they worked on for years and that they loved and nurtured, canceled after a season or two with no information or data about how that decision was made. And see what they say.

Alex Ferrari 22:15
Exactly, it's because I feel that not only screenwriters but I think filmmakers are living in the past and they're making movies like it was 1990 and then all of a sudden, you know, for lack of a better term Miramax who was the the company I know, but that was the company in the 90s who did what they did they you know, if it's not Miramax, Fox Searchlight or Sony classics those guys, they came in and and and built up, you know, built up these careers area, you know, remember in the 90s in every every month, mariachi clerks reservoir, you know, Linkletter like there was so many, and so many filmmakers are still living in that amazing stretch of launching white male filmmakers careers. Exactly. There was the occasional john Singleton and Spike Lee, but that's, you know, a rarity, and none and then Robert, the only Latino in the bunch. I think, being a Latino myself. So that's why I love Robert so much. But yeah, but that's basically what it was. And people are still thinking that and I think now this is the first time I've actually even thought about this. But you're absolutely right, is screenwriters are still living in the world that you're going to write a spec script or either get a job on on a show or sell it or something like that. But that's not sustainable anymore, because you're not going to get the back end and the residuals that the industry has, has lived on. I was talking to an actor the other day, who was a very, he was a very successful character actor. He's been in 1000 things. And he was telling me He's like, Alex, that the residuals are gone. Like I used to do one or two national spots a year commercial spots, and he was good. He was good, those are all going away. And now 80% of films are being done with non union. So the unions are starting to lose their their power. You know, it's it's a very scary time. And I keep telling people, this is a good economic time. We're not in we're not in a downturn, we're not in a crash per se. It right 2008 happens again, or worse. What do you think's gonna happen to the tugs and distributors of the world, even Netflix's of the world for that matter? Yeah, I mean, I

Emily Best 24:21
think I think that's a really interesting question to ask because there are some companies like seed and spark like gum road, who we built ourselves to be around for a while.

Alex Ferrari 24:34
You have a solid foundation.

Emily Best 24:36
Yeah. And a business model that I mean, crowdfunding emerged from the ashes of the 2008 financial crisis, right? That's, that's what crowdfunding was built to overcome. At the time, it was like people who had rich uncle's, their rich uncle's weren't investing and so they had to turn to a thing and now crowdfunding has gotten A lot more sophisticated. And also we don't have like, there was also built on the like Facebook, open social graph, which doesn't exist anymore. A lot more sophisticated, but it's also available to a lot more people. And, you know, we've certainly spent all of our time making it a tool that anybody from any kind of background can actually use successfully. But it means, you know, it means coming to work differently. In terms of the the financial time, I think there are more tools available to creators to monetize their work than ever before. But it's not. You don't make your work the same way that you would, if you were aiming for a Netflix and you don't, you know, you don't raise two and a half million dollars for a movie and make it and then figure out who's going to buy it Oh, like, I just don't think you should do that anymore.

Alex Ferrari 26:00
You can do that with $100,000, let alone two and a half million new lessons 100,000 you can lose.

Emily Best 26:06
I was gonna say it's actually more important not to do it with $100,000 movie. And that's, that's why we started teaching workshops on distribution is to really give creators the tools, they needed one like, Okay, so we've been teaching these crowdfunding workshops for half a decade now. And we started teaching them in Atlanta, and we did a creative marketplace survey there and a few other cities where we were teaching where there's like big, solid, creator communities, and like a lot of talk about like creating a sustainable, independent ecosystem. And so we surveyed creators on what what are your challenges and funding and team building and distribution? And in funding? everybody's like, Where are the investors? Right? Which is like, just a question you have for the rest of your life.

Alex Ferrari 26:50
Where's the money? Where's the money? Yeah.

Emily Best 26:51
The second question is like, what are the challenges of building team and those are like, you know, finding the core team, making sure it's diverse enough, being able to pay them like these sorts of things. By the way, what we have seen from economic surveys of our crowdfunders is that 80% of money raised in crowdfunding goes to pay cast and crew, which I find really exciting. That's awesome. Because it's a job creator. And the final section we asked about was distribution. And we laugh, we have a laugh in the office, because most of the answers to the questions that we asked about distribution, were just literally question marks.

Alex Ferrari 27:30
Nobody knows. Nobody knows.

Emily Best 27:31
People didn't know what they didn't know. And we're like, Okay, let's do this. So we created sort of a distribution one to one about like, what what is it really, really to distribute in this marketplace? Like, what are the steps? What are the capabilities, what are the possibilities, we interviewed a bunch of like key players in independent distribution and TV, etc. And then we built we, we pulled together a bunch of case studies of creators who took the time to really get to know their audience, built up the important organizational partnerships and influencer partnerships and festival partnerships, and, and really always had their larger career in mind. And similar to your story, managed to really well monetize their films, and make sure those films reached the audiences that they really cared to reach with them, which we have myriad examples of where distributors fail to do it. And something I often do in the room. Because, you know, we're in cities across the country. And so some cities who are like, you know, basically never featured in movies that we all see on the big screen, right, like cities that are kind of absent from our national imagination. So I go in, and we're in a, we're in a room of 200 people. And I'll be like, okay, Who here is working on a project, that's like, really not like anything that's been made before. And like, half the hands might go up. And I'm like, cool. I just want you to know that that means no sales agent has ever sold a movie like yours before. And no distributor has ever distributed a movie like yours before. They are not the experts. They know things based on their past experience. But you've just told me they've never had an experience like working with a creator like you on a movie like this. So if you don't show up, being able to talk to them about who your audience is, how they like to be reached, how they like to be talked to everything that dolomite knew about his audience that got the the record label to call him and the studio to call him. It wasn't until he knew all those things, that distributors were literally lining up to work with him. Right? And because he knew all that the popular critical opinion didn't mean shit doesn't matter. Right. So I feel like there's just this mentality that like, I'm just the creator and I all I'm supposed to know is the creative thing. If you don't know at least enough to be dangerous. You're done. Yeah, and there's so many examples. movies. Like there was there's some really terrible statistics actually of like movies made by black directors, who would go to Sundance and get a nice looking distribution deal. And the distributors really didn't know what to do with black films Besides, like, put them out on DVD during Black History Month. I'm not joking. It's just ridiculous. I have specific examples to point to, and they don't make their money back. And then that is a mark on the Creator, not the distributor. Correct. And that is a mark on an entire quote, unquote, niche audience, even though it's like 13% of our population, plus everybody else who doesn't need to look like the protagonist in the movie to enjoy it. There's a lot of us, by the way, right, exactly.

Alex Ferrari 30:46
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Emily Best 30:57
So it's, I think it's, it's just a time for us to deeply reevaluate the myths of success, our system and start elevating different stories about what's successful.

Alex Ferrari 31:10
So I, you know, I went to, I wanted to ask you this, because, I mean, I've been I've been neck deep in the distribution side of stuff now for a while. And then once I got involved with the distributor, you know, debacle and became kind of like the spearhead of that situation, which by the way has not finished, we're still going through stuff with that that scenario. I was invited to go speak at AFM, and I know your feelings about AFM. But I've read your feelings on AFM. And that's fine. I completely understand. By the way, AFM dropped two days off their schedule for this year, because na went from a place anymore because it went if we went from 800 distributors down to 351, this year, and then next year is probably going to be less. And but the one thing I did notice, because I went this year and I went last year was the that I just realized that nobody understands what's going on. None of the distributors are really at this at that level, the mid and low level distributors, which are where a lot of these indie movies would get picked up by you know that the big, not the big studios, not the Fox Searchlight, or even God forbid any of the major studios, there's only a handful up there that will even look at them. So we're talking about mid level and below. They were clueless, like I literally was in meetings with with distributors, and they were trying to pitch themselves to the distributor, you know, people, filmmakers, like hey, we want to help this, you know, we want to pick up all those distributor movies. I'm like, haha, okay, so I would do the meetings. And I would just sit there and I would listen to them. And I just asked them about their business model. And they would just lay out this old rehash crap kind of system. Yep. And then I just turned to one of them. I said, you, you guys really don't know what, what's going on? Do you have no idea how to make any money with these? Do you? There's no guarantee.

Emily Best 32:56
It's every time I talk to somebody who's launching a new new streaming platform. And I asked them what their customer acquisition strategy is. And they're like, Oh, you know, like Facebook ads, whatever. I'm like, cool. You're gonna compete with Netflix and Apple, and like they're buying all the keywords that might matter to you. And and frankly, if your differentiator is like diverse content, for example,

Alex Ferrari 33:17
Or indie groups that Oh, yeah. And there's a lot of indie distributors, like indie streaming, no one cares. No, this is not 2019. India is a budget level, it is not a genre. Not anymore. Like in the 90s. That's when indie kind of started, that was the whole indie genre, which there were and there were a lot less films and all that kind of stuff. But when you launched your streaming service you had an audience built in from your email was perfect, was really smart.

Emily Best 33:42
And even then we fundamentally don't believe that that's the right path forward. Like, it is a tool in the toolkit of creators who are building these larger connective strategies. I'm like, for me, if you're going around and doing amazing events around your movie, let's say or your podcast launch, or you're doing like live book tour, or whatever, that stuff should be available online, so that after the event when all those people had a great time, go home to their friends and are like, I just watched this amazing movie and their friends, like where Can I see it? The answer can't be nowhere. Which is often the case, right? So to us, there are some versions of what was formerly known as day and date that we think when built around events can we've actually seen can really work Naomi mcdougald Jones's shuffle vampire tour is an incredible example.

Alex Ferrari 34:34
Friend of the show, friend of the show.

Emily Best 34:36
Yes. out everybody go by the wrong kind of women.

Alex Ferrari 34:41
Yes. She's great. She's what she was, well, she was wonderful. And I had her when I heard about her story. I had her on the show and, and she's very frank about the whole situation. She's, how depressing it is. And you know, like, you know, when she went to like her day in and day and she's like, but iTunes, the numbers weren't there. I'm like, Well, that was the one thing I was gonna say about FM. I realized that See VOD is essentially almost gone for independent film. It's dead unless you can personally give a very rabid audience. And you could drive that for maybe a week or two. But the days of what the Polish brothers did with four lovers only half a million dollars on TV that's gone.

Emily Best 35:15
You drive it to your own website at this point, or you drive it to like what Naomi did is drive it to seed and spark. We're getting paid between 20 and 50 cents a minute stream, then it's valuable,

Alex Ferrari 35:25
Right? So then, so it's a TiVo has gone. s VOD is kind of like if you if you're lucky enough to even get an S VOD deal, meaning like a Netflix or Hulu deal, which those deals are very far, few far between now because they're just focusing on their own content. Yeah. Then you got amazon prime, which now rakes from a penny to an hour to 12 cents an hour, depending if your algorithm likes you. So that's not really the greatest thing. So now the big keyword is Avon. So Avon is where a lot of money is being made. And I saw it, I saw I see the numbers from A to B, I see the numbers from Pluto. Now, peacock is gonna come out as an A VOD platform as well. So a VOD is that we're all going back to television is hilarious. But that's where the that's where the money is for independent films next year, it could be something else with the landscape changing so rapidly, because you and I both basically win since 2015, you know, basically been coming up together. And we've been, you know, we're in different sides of the battlefield. I feel like you see us you're at some point, I'm over here. I'm in this trench, you're in that trench. But we're both seeing what's happening. And as it's just insane, that the whole landscape is changing so rapidly, that these quote unquote, professionals have no idea what's going on. And I think the the, the casualties are the creators and the filmmakers.

Emily Best 36:41
Yeah, I would argue that it's not necessarily they don't know what's going on, as it doesn't behoove them to pay attention to it. There's not too scary, right?

Alex Ferrari 36:51
To have ostrich syndrome,they have an ostrich,

Emily Best 36:53
They're disappearing really rapidly. There's some of them who have, you know, one of the indie distributors out there who I won't name, still occasionally picks up movies out of the festival circuit does kind of mostly service deals, they do like 30 movies a month,

Alex Ferrari 37:12
Will not be named but we all know who it is actually backed up by a softcore porn business. When it's like, you know, you know, like, skinemax?

Emily Best 37:26
Like zombie sluts to or whatever. Yeah, like, yeah, that's, um, and that's fine. They're not upfront about it. But like, that's fine, like, do that business.

Alex Ferrari 37:37
But that's not what they said. That's not that's Oh, my God, it's so.

Emily Best 37:47
So I feel like, um, you know, nobody is going to solve the problem of distribution for creators. And something that we just keep saying over and over again, is distribution is not something you get distribution is something you do great part of your job to build your career. I don't as the CEO of my company get to be like, Yeah, but actually selling shit to customers is not my problem. Like that's insane. Only problem is business, that business. There is like, there is no content without a consumer, unless you are super rich, and are just making things for fun. It's a hobby, like a hobby. Yeah, if you if you want to make a sustainable business, you have to care about your unit economics, and you have to care about your customer. And you have to know about your customer, and you have to know how to find your customer. And like creators. I've seen creators sort of shudder at all this stuff. And I'm like, sorry, but like, What makes you so special, that you shouldn't have to think about the person who's going to spend their hard earned dollar on the thing that you made, when in fact, your audience is probably just as smart as you think you are. Preach, preach and preach. And the reason that I love and invest in crowdfunding so much is like, you cannot find a person who has run a successful crowdfunding campaign who doesn't have five at least audible stories of this person found out about my crowdfunding campaign. Who either you know, knew me from way back then or I've never met them before in my life. And they were so inspired. They did XYZ for my film, and it changed the game. Like everybody has that story. Like we have a I shot my first movie in Maine. And so if you're going to shoot a movie in Maine, like there has to be a lobster vaccine or what are you doing?

Alex Ferrari 39:44
I mean, seriously, why why would you not?

Emily Best 39:46
And this guy showed up on time in the morning with a giant baki bought us 25 lobsters which was 5x the number we actually needed and dropped them off and was like you kids, have fun. left.And that happened because of our funding campaign.

Alex Ferrari 40:07
That's amazing.

Emily Best 40:08
I don't honestly know, we would have kept the lobster vaccines specifically, if somebody hadn't been like, y'all bring your lobster because like, it's expensive. So so I feel like the thing that you discover when you start to really meaningfully engage with your audience or your customer, if I'm allowed to call them that, is they will love you and support you and do things for you. You haven't imagined, like we three of the filmmakers who have used our website throughout the years just became investors in seed and spark. That's awesome, right? thumb at very, very small amounts who were just like I just you what you did on the platform, change things for me, I want to get involved in your next. So your audience may be the next group of people who support your film. And cultivating that audience is about making everything that happens after this film easier for the next one, and the one after that.

Alex Ferrari 41:00
So Emily, what you're telling me, let me get this straight here. You're telling me that as a filmmaker, you have to think about your audience, you've got to think about the business, you also have to create your art, and you're not just going to get picked out of the crowd or someone from out Hollywood's gonna come down and tap you on the shoulder and say you will now have a career for the rest of your life. Is that what you're saying? What is that? You want to hear it clearly, please?

Emily Best 41:23
Yeah, finding a river if you don't like it. I didn't pick capitalism. Not my like, favorite version of economics. Okay, but like, this is the one we live in. And the landscape we live in is there is a ton of opportunity. Finally, we the chip, you can literally go online and with free tools, you can make your movie available behind the paywall tomorrow, right? That was not true. 50 years ago, right, or what I don't know what his time anyway,

Alex Ferrari 41:51
10 years ago was very difficult.

Emily Best 41:53
Um, so there is tremendous opportunity. But we live in an incredibly fragmented marketplace, across independent creators, that is incredibly consolidated at the top. And the reason that we go out and educate filmmakers is because the more consolidated it gets the top, the steeper that mount Hollywood becomes, and the harder it is to ever get picked at all.

Alex Ferrari 42:22
If that's what your goal is,

Emily Best 42:24
Well, the thing is, if you super invest it, look at dolomit. He's super invested in building a direct audience relationship, no matter after he got told no. And then they called him. And that's what happens. You build a really great audience, they come fucking calling you.

Alex Ferrari 42:41
I can only tell you that since you started you were one of my first guests from the moment that I interviewed you to the moment I have now. I've been trying to get into the Hollywood I look, I drank that kool aid that mariachi Kool Aid A long time ago. And it took me until I was 40 to make my first feature film, because I was waiting to get picked or playing the game. And I changed the rules. Because I said, You know what, I'm not gonna wait any more that tools are here, I'm gonna go out and do my own thing. And the second I changed the rules, and I said, You know what, I'm not gonna play by your rules. I'm gonna play by my own rules. I'm gonna create my own little sandbox. Yeah, and I'm gonna do my own thing. And the second I did that, in these last four and a half, almost five years, you I can't even tell you how much how many people have come. You've contacted me purely because I'm doing my thing. I'm doing it my way. And I don't need them. It's kind of like a bank loan.

Emily Best 43:28
Here is like a credit doing more than that, though. Well, you are you are amplifying the voices in the community who are making more opportunities available for creators, you're sharing your experience incredibly openly. You're making it easier for somebody else to make that switch that you made earlier on in their career, and you're providing them the tools and information to do that. And that's some that's the superpower I think we have. The challenge with the notion of independent film is independent sounds like it means a lone wolf, doesn't it? No. We will not create an infrastructure for ourselves that can compete with any individual Hollywood studio unless we are unified. And it's what people like Naomi did when she went on the road for the joyful vampire tour. They were literally filming and cutting episodes at like Kiwi is a genius like I don't know how she did it on camera, cutting the thing putting the story together. And it was amazing. It was amazing. You know, and and probably driving the van sometimes. Anyway, like I think there's the, the sharing it back and building the expertise and kicking the door open and pulling the people up behind you. That's actually the most powerful tool we have for manifesting a really healthy ecosystem. And I do think it's on the businesses to be super transparent about their own unit economics and their own, you know, capacity to stick around because There are some platforms that that creators are relying on that are super, super leveraged. You know, and it makes it hard for them to stick around that makes them really vulnerable. So I just think it's like, you know, it's a time where we do have to be, we do have to be experts in our industry, because it's on us to remake it in the, you know, in the, with the values that we really actually want to, we care about

Alex Ferrari 45:30
No, no question and and it's, it's tough enough. Everything we're talking about is tough enough as independent films like this is, like, remember before the tough part was to make the movie now that that's not the toughest part anymore, the technology has made it so affordable, now that you can make an affordable, good looking independent film, the problem now is getting it sold, getting it out there doing all that stuff. And then it's tough enough without companies like distributor going under and and you know, doing what they did. And and the situation with tug is another scenario, which is still developing story. But

Emily Best 46:04
Yeah, we don't know what we don't we don't we don't know. But with with, with companies like distributor, I think it's so important for filmmakers to ask really key questions about how they make money and how they distribute money. Now, look, there's not a lot you can do if a company is like literally not being forthcoming about what's actually happening,

Alex Ferrari 46:23
or mismanaged or just look, companies don't wonder all the time.

Emily Best 46:26
Totally. It's an especially in our business, it's like it's distribution companies have been going out of business since the dawn of time. It's not anything new. I think that we talked about this with distributor, the aggregation platform is not a distributor, those are two very different,

Alex Ferrari 46:46
They should be just a pass through, they should just be a service, their post house, essentially,

Emily Best 46:50
it's it's very often that some of these technology solutions are sold as sort of distribution, you know, deals or solutions. And they're not. They're just technology solutions. And I think it's important to be forthcoming about what it takes on behalf of filmmakers to really leverage the tools. So like, we weren't just going to build a crowdfunding platform and be like, this is the best one why cuz it is a crowdfunding platform is what the fuck you make of it. But that's not also fair to say to people, like, here's a great tool, get good at using it Good luck. Like, the reason that we invest so much in education is like if we want to be the quote unquote best in the world, it's only because our creators are the most prepared, they're the most prepared to succeed. That like our secret sauce really isn't more than that, is that we we prepare creators probably better than anyone else. And we're, we're sticklers about it a little bit

Alex Ferrari 47:54
As you should look, come on. This is a such a brutal business. I mean, I'd rather you be a stickler than, you know, getting your hand your ass handed to you

Emily Best 48:03
Be a stickler and have you have a good first successful crowdfunding experience, then, you know, burn you on credit, like, these are the platforms that have like 10 11% success rate, like people come to us all the time. from other platforms being like I had a terrible experience, I never thought I was going to crowdfund again. And they come to one of our workshops, and they start to feel like a glimmer of hope and possibility or on crowdfunding, we've converted a lot of people who've had unsuccessful campaigns into successful ones, by simply preparing them, and we can't do it all for all facets of the business, we're not here to prepare you to produce like for production, we're not here to prepare you for every single element. And we certainly can't conceivably prepare everyone, because you know, every film, in this case, every film is, could have a totally unique distribution plan that's actually appropriate for it. So what we can do is equip creators with enough knowledge to prepare themselves. But like, that's as far as we can take it, and you're doing a lot. Sure, but I just think like, you know, there is a big personal responsibility piece here. And I totally, I get the like, why should I have to do at all and I'm like, because capitalism, frankly, and like, I don't like it either. But, but I would rather do it all. And I say this to people all the time. Probably 70 to 80% of my job is shit I don't particularly love to do. Right. And I do it because the 20 to 30% is so rewarding. I wouldn't have it any other way. And PS, I get to choose who I work with. And I don't have to work with assholes and that I will choose to sleep over for the rest of my life. Like if I have to lose sleep over other parts of the business so that I never have to work with an asshole happy as a clam. But that's I mean, I think that's part of it is like, you know, there we also sell creators this myth that like When you're really successful, all you have to do is the is the cool part. No. And that's just never true. There's always like, I'm pretty sure that a lot of those really successful actors don't love going on 20 City press junkets Oh,

Alex Ferrari 50:17
yeah. But they know the business. They understand the business.

Emily Best 50:20
You know, and we all have a version like it's what is it? Like everybody has to eat a shit sandwich. It's what ships in to tolerate eating?

Alex Ferrari 50:27
No, it's no it's a gamble though. Tourists I heard him speak once. And he said, being in Hollywood, like eating a shit sandwich, you could change the bread, you could put some lettuce on it, you can put a little nice vegan mayo on it whatever you want. But at the end of the day, you're still eating shit. That's exactly it. Now, the one thing I've been pushing a lot in, in the last year or so. And I've been talking about it loosely over the course of all the time I've been doing this, but is the concept of being a film intrapreneur being an entrepreneurial filmmaker. And I do truly believe that the only six The only way for moving forward is to become an entrepreneurial understanding every business creating multiple revenue streams, that includes touring, that includes ancillary product lines include services, you could build all these things around films and or companies and or filmmakers and creators. And you're not just handing it over to a third party company and praying that they're going to give you a check. That could be one revenue stream, but not all of them. Is that is that Do you agree with that concept?

Emily Best 51:34
Yeah, you know, there's a, there's a term that a friend of mine introduced to me recently, which is that of a portfolio career. Yes. And I think when you talk about creative entrepreneurship, it's often not built around a single vertical of storytelling, or a single monetization stream, right? Like, I don't think anybody is really just making money making even the big directors are all directing commercials on. Like, Scorsese directed a lineup like yeah, cuz they probably were like,

Alex Ferrari 52:08
He was making a commercial the hiring an actor.

Emily Best 52:11
Yeah, exactly. Like whatever it is, like, like there are you have to diversify your revenue stream over time. And I think for freelancers, it can feel super hectic to think about, well, I have to do a little of this, and a little of that, and some brand work and some whatever. And then I do my own stuff. But the concept of a portfolio career is like, you know, my experiences that some of the most multi talented, multi capable people I've ever met, happened to end up an independent filmmaking for whatever reason that is. And so these are people who it's not just that they have multiple talents, but they have multiple interests. And I do think there is a way to synthesize that if you think about all of these interests, laddering up to a portfolio career, it's a career that actually is built up out of all the things I'm interested in and talented at. And I don't have to feel like I'm just a jack of all trades, master of none. like to be a CEO. It's a portfolio job. Oh, God. Yeah. Right. Like you have to have leadership and management skills and some HR skills and some like, a little bit of technical understanding and a little bit of it. It's a it's a portfolio job. Being a film director is a portfolio job, you have to know so many things about so many things, just to make a set really go the way that you want it to go beyond the

Alex Ferrari 53:31
Politics and all of that stuff.

Emily Best 53:33
Yeah, being a producer, one of the most portfolio jobs in the universe, like you have to be able to, like organize all the coffees and entice and dazzle investors like it's a crazy fucking job. So I think like it's in line with the full skill set. And if I think about the creators who have built incredible long term IP value, the duplass brothers work with a lot among them, like Mark talks all the time about going up the Hollywood Hill, like coming out of their first like big Sundance premiere studio thing. And realizing that was not what they wanted to do, then making everything for super cheap, owning all of the IP and now having a giant library to license long term wealth that they have built, right?

Alex Ferrari 54:23
Yeah, exactly. Like what Tyler what Tyler Perry did, he's built an entire Empire. Dude,

Emily Best 54:28
and has anybody made a more baller move than Tyler Perry recently, teaching a former Confederate army base and converting it into a big deal.

Alex Ferrari 54:39
One of the biggest studios in the world, honestly, and yeah, and Hollywood still adores them. And Hollywood still ignores him. He's kind of like the the most ignored mogul ever. Like you don't need them. He doesn't know he doesn't and he knows it. You know, he used them for what he was good for. But now he easily now he's got what a Netflix deal going on. And also have other stuff that he's got going on. It's it's, it's insane. And I love that, like the duplass brothers are amazing. There's, they're, they're one of the they one of the inspirations for me making this as mag, because I did it with a scriptment and, and I did all that stuff. And I was lucky enough to, to meet not meet. But I saw mark and Jay speak one on one of their book tours for that great book that they wrote like brothers. And I had one of the winners of the of your of your thing. The heroes. Yeah, yeah. Oh God, to their two young girls, that Megan and Hannah. Yes, they were out filmmakers. They were on the show. And they were just so excited to be filmmakers. It was just like, so happy.

Emily Best 55:45
I wish I could bottle their energy and distribute it to everybody because I just, they're having a like, you know, it's hard. But like, they managed to have fun in ways that I just really admire. They said, the silliest, most wonderful birthday message I've ever received in my entire life came from those two. And actually, Megan has become an instructor for seed and spark. So she's teaching our workshops. I'm just about to go to Winston Salem, and do a creative sustainability summit with her. Yeah, so they're, yeah, they're remarkable.

Alex Ferrari 56:18
I mean, what you guys what you're doing Emily, and what you've done for me, you are honestly one of the few good people doing what? I don't think that's true. I really appreciate No, no, no, listen, listen. Before you before you stop me, I'm gonna say something. Okay, cuz I know you're gonna do that. No, no, no, no, no, look, there are many good people. And there are many good people, you know, taking the taking up arms, and there are many. But you're one of those shining lights and have been since I started, I've started 20 years ago, 25 years ago in the business, but during this time, though, you know, we've been coming up coming up there, I've seen people come and go, I've been I've seen people, companies come and go, people rip people off all this kind of stuff, you've been very constant. And only you've only had the, the the best intentions in mind, at least from what I can see from what I have known of you is you're truly trying to help creators, you're truly trying to help filmmakers with your platform and the way you're doing it, and doing it on your own. And by the way, by dancing to your own song, you know, there's no question about it, you definitely are dancing to your own song. And you created a platform that you're like, you know what, screw the big boys, I'm going to do it my way. And I'm going to help filmmakers, and I'm gonna help great now you're helping all creators with your platform. And, you know, that's what I try to promote with indie film, hustle, and with my other companies as well, is to try to help educate and push filmmakers forward. And also give them a nice nice spoonful of reality. Because I'd rather them get a spoonful than a punch in the face from somebody else. And and I think you do the exact same thing. So I do appreciate you doing what you do.

Emily Best 57:55
That's so kind of you. I does. On our door, the door between our conference room in our kitchen and the office.

Alex Ferrari 58:04
Yeah. Can you see what that says? This is we are truth tellers. That's awesome.

Emily Best 58:09
That's a really important key thing. So when you talk about the dose of reality, yes. I think the most important thing we can do in this business to help ourselves and our peers is to tell the truth. Yes. To be honest about the experience of good, bad and indifferent to, it seems inspark we feel like it's our responsibility to like really research things and understand the real dynamics of what's going on and like make whatever phone calls we can make behind the scenes to like, find out what's really going on to talk to creators who've had distribution deals that like look favorable and like, unpack, well, how did it actually go, you know? We are truth tellers, I feel like really defines what we're trying to do. Because I think we're in the business of telling fantastic stories. We can't do that about the business of telling the stories. Because we've really shot ourselves in the foot buying a myth that doesn't exist. Oh, yeah. dispelling those myths in favor of giving people something they can do every day that they own, that they control. That's so much more exciting to me than like, I mean, I love making it like that. filmmakers like Meghan, Hannah got to work with the duplass brothers. Like, that's so delightful. It's so wonderful. But like, Mark and I joke like the the whole point of a crowdfunding rally is when you get to the end of it, you've already raised money and built your audience like you don't need us anymore. You know what I mean? getting picked would be the icing on the cake, but you've proven to yourself You don't need to get picked. You can pick yourself

Alex Ferrari 59:59
that's Amazing, absolutely true. Now I'm going to ask you a few questions I ask all of my guests. Okay, what advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today?

Emily Best 1:00:10
Sorry, to break into the business today. Start talking to your audience, get to know them, get to love them get to understand them. What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life, I think my actual, it's not a lesson. It's like constant maintenance is how to be responsive and not reactive. So in leadership in team building and decision making, when you're working with lots of people collaboratively in this age of like instant digital communication, text messages, text message, and emails and all of that, it can be very tempting to just react and, you know, right back right away. And I think being responsive and building a little thoughtfulness into how you react when people say things to you that you have strong reactions to where people write things to you that you have strong reactions to. And that is a that is a forever challenge. And so I have to be in it like a good space in order to be there. So whatever care it takes me to maintain this sense of responsiveness and not reactiveness I think is really important.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:24
Emily, I can't thank you enough for being a champion of filmmakers and creators out there and in for doing fighting the good battle that you are fighting every day. So thank you so much for everything you guys do at Seton Spark.

Emily Best 1:01:35
Thank you. Thanks for this great podcast and great interview Alex.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:40
I want to thank Emily for coming on the show and dropping those knowledge bombs on the tribe. If you want to get links to anything we talked about in this episode, please head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/402 and I'll also have links to the first episode Episode 23 that we do with Emily which is really an masterclass in crowdfunding for filmmakers. Thank you guys for listening. I hope this episode was of value to you on your journey. As always, keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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IFH 231: How to Engage an Audience Before & After You Make Your Indie Film with Kia Kiso

Right-click here to download the MP3

Today’s guest is Kia Kiso, co=producer of the hugely successful indie film Mile… Mile & A Half. Kia and her team were case studies in last week’s guest RB Botto’s book [easyazon_link identifier=”1138849898″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Crowdsourcing for Filmmakers: Indie Film and the Power of the Crowd.[/easyazon_link] because of the amazing job they did crowdsourcing.

In an epic snow year, five friends leave their daily lives behind to hike California’s historic John Muir Trail, a 211-mile stretch from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney (the highest peak in the contiguous U.S.).  Their goal — complete the journey in 25 days while capturing the amazing sights & sounds they encounter along the way.  Inspired by their bond, humor, artistry & dedication, the group continues to grow: to include other artists, musicians & adventure seekers.  Before they all reach the summit, hikers and viewers alike affirm the old adage — it’s about the journey, not the destination. Mile… Mile & A Half is the feature-length documentary of that journey…

Kia Kiso discusses how they identify, reached out and engage your audience before and after the production of her film. This episode is a PERFECT companion to lasts weeks (listen to that episode here). Get ready to be inspired and take notes! Enjoy my conversation with Kia Kiso.

Alex Ferrari 2:55
Now today's guest is Kia Kiso she is a producer of a wildly successful documentary called a mile, mile and a half. And what I found so amazing about her success is how she was able to use crowdsourcing to be able to generate not only revenue, but interest and sponsorships and money coming in from all over the place attention coming from all over the place. So her and the team behind the movie really did an amazing job. And the more and more I studied about it, the more more impressed I was. So I wanted to bring Kiya onto the show, to just give us all of her secrets on how she was able to engage and identify this audience. And if you listen to last week's episode with RB Bartow about the crowdsourcing for filmmakers. This is a perfect companion episode and if you've not heard that episode, definitely go check that out now that one's an epic episode RBI go at it as we usually do with so much great information but that's a perfect companion to this episode. So get ready to take some notes and get inspired. Enjoy my conversation with Kia Kiso I like to welcome to the show Kia Kiso how you doing my dear?

Kia Kiso 4:11
I'm doing great, Alex. Thanks for having me.

Alex Ferrari 4:13
Oh, thank you for doing the show. I we bumped into each other at AFM. And I heard your story of all the amazing things you're doing on the world. And I thought you would be an amazing guest to have on the show. So I really appreciate you taking the time out to talk to the tribe.

Kia Kiso 4:30
I appreciate it. I'm a huge fan of the show. So I'm glad to share what I've learned. Hopefully people can take it and run with it and improve on it and then we can hear their stories.

Alex Ferrari 4:40
Absolutely. So how first of all how did you get into the business?

Kia Kiso 4:45
I actually took a gifted and talented summer course when I was 12 years old at a local community college and it was a three camera TV production class.

Alex Ferrari 4:55
I hate you I hate you already.

Kia Kiso 4:56
I know and I You know the bug, I get bit by the bug. And I immediately realized that because like, Oh my gosh, I can tell stories I can help, you know, entertain the world. I never really realized it was a job before then. So that was the focus went to a really cool film school in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We're just actually where I met Rick Sorento from mile, mile and a half. And because we were good college buddies, and then I moved out here after graduation, well, after a brief stint on a on a movie in Colorado, and been out in LA ever since. And I've had an interesting career trajectory. I've changed jobs a couple times and

Alex Ferrari 5:40
You've done everything you've done everything you were you've. You you've your hyphens, a lot of hyphens in your biography. So you were a colorist at one point as well, right?

Kia Kiso 5:51
I was a colorist I was also a camera assistant and the loader for 12 years as well, a loading loading thing called film I hear. I know, I know. It's actually funny. I was pulled out of retirement maybe seven years ago because a friend of mine called and he was like, I know you don't do this anymore. But I can't find anybody to load film for this Carl Jr. Commercial. And will you please come load film? And I was like, Okay, I don't mind. And actually, that's where I met my husband. So it was a good.

Alex Ferrari 6:14
It worked out. Well then. Yeah. So let's talk about mile mile and a half. It's an amazing documentary that you did and the the story and how it came to be, how you funded it, how you market it, how you sold it, how you got it on different platforms, to fascinating story, and is actually a case study in our mutual friend Arby's book. How is it Africa, it's a crowdsource crowdsourcing, what's the exact title of his book? I forgot

Kia Kiso 6:47
Crowdsourcing power the people I'm not it's a it's a long title. It's amazing.

Alex Ferrari 6:51
It is a very amazing book. And we're gonna have him on the show to talk about

Kia Kiso 6:54
I have it right here. Richard Botto crowdsourcing for filmmakers, indie film and the power of the crowd.

Alex Ferrari 6:59
There you go. So you are in that book as well. So tell us a little bit about mile and a half. How did you start? From the beginning to you know, how did you get this crowd? How did you get some fun funding for it in the first place?

Kia Kiso 7:12
Exactly. So it was never funded in the beginning, because you know, the film itself to explain for people that haven't seen it before, it's a feature documentary. It's about a group of filmmaker friends that decided to hike the john Muir Trail and California

Alex Ferrari 7:27
Short trail.

Kia Kiso 7:29
It's over 200 at what, like 219 miles 211 Yeah. And they decided to take their film gear with them along the way there, you know, even Rick carry the slider with him. So they had originally asked if I wanted to be on the trail, I said, Oh, hell no. And I actually went diving in the Great Barrier Reef instead, they had a great time, and I dropped them off on the trail, and how long

Alex Ferrari 7:55
How long was the actual trip?

Kia Kiso 7:58
20 something days for them. Cheese store. And then and then I say I dropped them off at the trail and I picked them up during distribution. So after they came back, then they realized that they had some fun footage and they put together a short music video. The filmmakers were Rick sarena jen serrana, Jason Fitzpatrick grande trench, NZ Hatley, those were the main hikers. Sometimes people would drop in and hike with them for a little bit. And the musicians, for example, would also went into So what they did is they said, Let's take some of this footage, put it together with one of the songs from PB pullback at best and baugher. And, and let's make a video. So they made a video, put it up on Facebook, share it with friends and family, and it kind of had this viral moment people really love the especially the hiking community. It was a fun song. And while they, of course, everybody was surprised how much interest there was, the filmmakers were surprised how much interest there was in the music, video. And very smartly, they took note of all the bloggers and the individuals and the companies that were sharing it, and we use that information later. And so they sent out the music video, really smart way to do it. And to talk about funding briefly. They just paid for the hike out of their own pockets, and they had their own gear anyway. And they were like if something can come out of this great and they looked at the footage and they realize that there's a cool story, almost the story of them doing the hike was the fun story. And they decided to do the feature Doc, but they said if and we put together a budget $78,100 to do the feature and we're like, Okay, if we don't raise the money in that with a crowdfunding campaign that we weren't don't do the film. So it was it was a very compelling call to action to put out in a crowdfunding campaign saying, If you loved the music, music video, then you want to see a film of this support and make it happen. Because if you don't support it, it's not going to happen. That's like a pretty good, pretty good call to action. Like, if you liked the appetizer and you want the meal, then you better pay for it, got it right, and support it and really be behind it. So they spent, the team spent a lot of time putting together a really detailed crowdfunding campaign, I liken it to almost being in pre production. And they scheduled out this is what we're, you know, the campaign's going to be X amount of days long, based on statistics of winning campaigns, you need to do a new post a new video every three days, you need to have regular posts, and whatever. And they built the content ahead of time. Because once a campaign is going, you're going to be nonstop, just running managing the campaign, you don't have time to create new content, make a new blog, make a new video. So do it all ahead of time. And they divided up, they divided up all the tasks amongst them. It's easy to do if you have a team. Sure, it's hard to do. Just you. So then they launched the campaign. And that's when our crowdsourcing really began.

Alex Ferrari 11:16
And now Can you define crowdsourcing for everybody listening?

Kia Kiso 11:19
Yeah, everybody knows the word crowdfunding, right? That's sort of in something from a crowd. And people think the word crowdsourcing is synonymous, and it's not. It's leveraging your crowd leveraging your fan base in order to create more success behind whatever your endeavor is, are they used for stage 32, he crowdsource stage 32, we used it for my mind half. So and that's where I really jumped in. And we, we first of all, identified who our crowd was, because you have to know you can't serve everybody. And I think we gave we came up with a list of over 30 people that could potentially be interested in this film as an audience, and then we selected three, maybe you can't do more than three, you know, we didn't go for like the the active senior.

Alex Ferrari 12:12
Right. Okay, so let's just, let's take it back for a second, the 30 people that you said you like basically creating 30 avatars of people, that would be profiles. Gotcha. That's what Yeah, so everybody in the audience understands what that means. And out of those 30 people that like these people could possibly like the movie, but these are the three that we're going to focus all our energy on.

Kia Kiso 12:32
Yeah, exactly. Like, you know, the cubicle rat, somebody that's, you know, stuck at a desk job, the majority of time they just need to escape, or like I said, the active senior, they could potentially be interested. And we have found that they are, but we went over sort of what we thought was the largest market and one that we understood the most. Right? So we went for people that like documentaries, people that like the arts, people that love high gain.

Alex Ferrari 12:55
Pretty, pretty straightforward. Exactly. The hiking community is is a niche, but it's a fairly large and lucrative niche.

Kia Kiso 13:04
Yes, exactly. And that's what I really love about this kind of filmmaking, a marketing distribution is, instead of going wide for chodron, go down drill deep, right? narrow and deep is could also be extremely lucrative. I wonder if the future of the film business is just gonna be like, I make content for women that love chocolate and have poodles, right? And they pay me, right?

Alex Ferrari 13:27
That's basically YouTube at this point, like, you've got people opening up toys, and they've gotten 10 million followers. Like,

Kia Kiso 13:35
Right! That's right, right? That's right. They're not doing toys for all four quadrants, right? They're doing people that like this.

Alex Ferrari 13:41
Disney Toys exactly in Pokemon, and my little pony and you're sitting there going, when I saw that I was like, is the world coming to an end, or we

Kia Kiso 13:55
No is people identifying their audience and really leveraging them and serving x. And so that's what we wanted to do. And that's part of what crowdsourcing is, right? You find where the apex is the combination of what you're creating, and the people that want to serve it, because you only need a certain sort of number of evangelists, so to speak, that are then going to open you up to their worlds as well. You know, people were hungry for a hiking documentary. Right? So you're providing that need, you're not, you know, some salesmen out there saying buy my stuff, you know, you're providing something that people want, and they just need to know where to find it. And then boom, you show up. So

Alex Ferrari 14:33
I do think, by the way, I do think the future of independent film is going to be much more compartment compartmentalized and more niche. And the riches will be in the niches because we can't as independent filmmakers, just go broad. We can't afford it. We cannot. We can't I think it is going to be the future of but I think in many ways, it's already here. I mean, look at all this what 450 500 scripted shows Sure, now and before there was like, you know, 40

Kia Kiso 15:04
Well, maybe that's the answer to peak TV too is you don't create a TV show for everybody, you create a TV show for your your niche, right? You know, I hear it. And it's it's an urban legend. And I've heard bits and pieces of it being true. But I love to continue to support like and spread the myth is that there's a filmmaker, and he makes films for firefighters. And he goes around the content is about firefighting. They're usually dramatic narrative feature films, excuse me. And he goes around, he travels around, and he shows them at fire houses. Like, you know, he should, because these firemen are just sitting around anyway, right on their long shifts, he sells tickets for them. And he nets a million a year. I want somebody just prove it or prove it. But what I love is that idea of like, you can be very lucrative with going niche and my on my own half, you know, where we're going to hit profits early. That's protection,

Alex Ferrari 15:57
Which is insane, which is insane. But by the way, I am now going to, to spread that myth as well. And just kind of firefighter filmmaker, firefighter filmmaker is such an All right. It's such an amazing idea. And he did, but it's a word, it's work. But this is a full time job. He just goes well.

Kia Kiso 16:17
Yeah. And you know, we can bet in our myth that this guy loves firefighting,

Alex Ferrari 16:22
I would imagine, or he was a firefighter or something.

Kia Kiso 16:25
Right? Exactly. Just like with my hat. These are hikers we love hikers. That's why we pick the psychographic of hikers is because there are people we know where they shop, we know what Insta or what social media platform they are. They're on we know how much money they spend, we know what they like, you know, what swag Do they like? Like we understand them? Because you have to know all of that when you come up with these are my this is my target audience, you have to imagine Who are these people? Where are they shopping? Who do I want to align with? What blogs are they reading? Right? All this matters?

Alex Ferrari 16:59
So then how did you so how did the Kickstarter campaign go off? When you when you actually how much did you raise? Your that's story?

Kia Kiso 17:08
Sure, yeah. So it was it was a longer campaign, I believe it was 60 days, because we want to really give ourselves a lot of time to go and reach out. And we had created a list, we had an intern come up with a list of the top bloggers for hiking. And then we reached out created those relationships with those bloggers and continued to serve that relationship over time, we would give them maybe exclusives, hey, do you want to have an exclusive dinner with you with one of our hikers? Or do you want some of this content, we will create a we've created a special, you know, second version of the trailer. And we are going to only release it with this particular blogger. Right. So smart. So trying to be super smart, because we were just trying to build the audience trying to build that and we ended up raising 85,500. That's right. So we definitely got over our goal and it felt touch and go. And you know, I could talk just about crowdfunding. And I know that we don't want to a lot on there. But you know, we had a strategy based on these are the numbers we hit need to hit on this particular day. And we knew that we needed to show movement. So we had people standing by that said, I want to donate but I want to donate at the right time. And so we'd say Okay, can you wait till day 15 if there's not movement, then you can jump in there. And but then if there was movement, then we'd say okay, we want to push you to day 20. You know, so we all smart?

Alex Ferrari 18:27
I'm sorry. It's just so rare to hear smart.

Kia Kiso 18:32
Yeah, I'm sorry. It's not you don't just put it up there and cross your fingers. It's, it's marketing. It's you've got to think as a filmmaker, you've got to think of what is my audience want. Another thing that's important, too, that I want to mention is that in our social media campaign, we did what I called I don't know if the team would call it deposit deposit deposit withdrawal. So we would do three posts that were for the fans, right? Like, what's your favorite meal on the trail, send us your favorite photo of your last hike. Here's an article about the latest hiking boot that's out there. And then the fourth post would be like, hey, something about the film something about the campaign. So our social media feeds felt like they were sponsored by the movie, so to speak. But really, it we want it to be sort of the hub of conversation about hiking. So people felt like it was a place to go, they kept wanting to return and every once in a while, I would say hey, don't forget about the campaign. Okay, or would say hey, can you do something? Right? Can you do something? So we started that conversation really early. So the way I was able to snowball getting my own half on Netflix, because of our crowd started really then after the crowdfunding campaign. reoccurs Yes. So because my goal was to get us destroyed. Bhushan right to start to get us some money back. And I was able then to say, look, we've raised over our goal, and we had 800. backers, we're something for you to pay attention to. So I began sending out the trailer, and just some stats about our fans to potential sales agents and distributors. So we started getting interest in it that way people like yeah, show me the trailer, I would be interested in knowing more. Or I'd simply say, Hey, we're still in the editing phase. What would you recommend here? I love to bring in my distributors and my marketers, even in pre production if I can, because they know what the market wants. And so we had a distributor, say, we see you have something in here, just a little bit about a Japanese hiker, can you make that bigger, because we'll probably be able to engage an Asian audience then. So we, we bumped up that role a little bit in the film. So I was able then to take this interest from distributors, and reach out to other sales agents and distributors and say, hey, look at the people that are looking at the film. Plus, look at how many fans we have. And look, we now have 4000 people on Facebook. Are you interested in watching the trailer? Are you interested on coming aboard? So before we even did our premiere, we already had people sniffing around. We had distributors and sales agents sniffing around. And then we had to think of the premiere. I'm just giving you a snowball, right? I'm showing you how we became Netflix and eventually became profits. So then we knew we wanted to do a premiere, we had started a relationship with the American hiking society, they were our fiscal sponsor. And also they had like a million members. So they were starting to put information about the film in their newsletter. And we knew that we wanted to premiere on June 1, because that's national hiking day. And it would also give the American hiking society, you know, a fun way to also engage with the film. And you know, just instead of saying, Hey, watch this film, say, hey, on American hiking Day, National hiking day, go on a hike them watch the movie. And we because we knew we wanted to premiere that day. And we were going to keep like a tight knit screening, that wouldn't impact our ability to go to film festivals. We just started looking at where can we for Wallace space to just do our own premiere. And we were looking at Golden road brewery here in LA. And because they were a part sponsor as well. But because I had reached out to a couple film festivals in LA, we had submitted there early, I got back to them. And I said, Look, it was dances with films that I really crushed. contacted me, they're like that was brilliant. We really loved it. Well, you teach this to other people. So I said, Look, we're going to premiere on June 1, would love it to do it with you guys. And as a matter of fact, we've had a Kickstarter campaign that we did a year ago, it had been pretty much a year took us a year to get through all of the post for the film. And we were continuing to engage with our fan base. So they were eager to see the movie. And I told him, Look, we know we have X amount of fans in LA, they're going to come to our premiere. We know we're going to have full room, we'd love to premiere with you. But we're happy to do a for wallet gold route brewery. And they were like, but we don't make decisions until you know later on a date. I was like, well, but I need to know now. And so they were able to squeeze things a little bit and let us know that they approved us being in the film festival, I was able to sort of tip their hand in my favor because I already had a audience that I could write. So the minute tickets went on sale, we sold out in four days.

Alex Ferrari 23:56
Right!

Kia Kiso 23:56
Our screening and dances with films is like what's going on? I can't believe it. You were not joking. I was like, No, I wasn't joking, because our poor fans, they were so eager to see the film. And they added a second screening. And exactly. I said can we add a second theater and the exact same time so audiences are watching simultaneously and we can bring more people because the Lando a lot of people didn't get tickets, they agreed. So now all of a sudden we have a venue and we have a film festival. So we have some laurels. We had the screening at the film festival of course because our audience was so big guess what we got the Audience Award. Of course and and also as a side note, people loved the film so much they were willing to wait for 45 minutes in the lobby to buy the DVDs that we had made. So then we were able to actually generate that into some income and swag right? We had buffs we had t shirts, we had stickers and stuff like that merge so but at the at the award show where we got the Audience Award Guess who's in the audience gravitas, of course. The VP of acquisitions was there. Hey, I love to film Oh my god, you just got this award. I'm like, Yeah, all of our fans are gonna be so excited. We have so many fans. thick and they were like, We want to see the movie. At least that the movie and guess what they sent over a proposal. They wanted to work with us.

Alex Ferrari 25:17
So you got distribution through them?

Kia Kiso 25:19
We did. And I did my due diligence I asked around I talked to other filmmakers who had worked with them too. And I've heard that they weren't like a sweaty guy with the gold chain that was getting hit hard and be like, Hey, baby, I love Yeah, and the medic gone so hard.

Alex Ferrari 25:32
So now Harvey Weinstein Got it?

Kia Kiso 25:36
Oh my god. Yeah, him in his lot. So um, so then we were able to get distribution and the because I was able to get they want to domestic VOD. And then I was able to use that as leverage to then get international VOD with somebody else.

Alex Ferrari 25:50
Who did you go with international VOD with?

Kia Kiso 25:53
We had a sales agent. Oh my god, of course her name just totally point she's gonna kill me. Oh, film option. Okay. Um, and so she handled all the international rights. And then we borrow, we buy for cated our rights. We didn't give everything to one person. So we did DVD through passion river and we gave them sort of a Special Edition DVD. But we kept more. No, we gave them the bare bones DVD. We keep this special edition one so we could sell in person as week we began to for wall around the country. And as we began to do our theatrical on demand through tog,

Alex Ferrari 26:33
Okay, so let's so let's take it back a little bit, because there's a lot of stuff going on. So you got you had your Dances with Wolves dances? Well, if that's the film's premiere, you're selling t shirts and DVDs in the in the lobby? Yes. After that you got a distribution deal through gravatar. So you did not do any self distribution at all?

Kia Kiso 26:54
We did we fought hard to keep the right to sell the film from our website

Alex Ferrari 27:01
Just fine with just fine. So that's

Kia Kiso 27:03
And and that was a hard, hard to do. And I don't know if they would do it anymore. So we use the THX to put it on our website, how

Alex Ferrari 27:11
Was how was your VHS experience?

Kia Kiso 27:13
I love them. I've used them for I also use them for inspired to ride and their gems, they actually were able to rewrite some code for us. So it was able to do what we needed it to do

Alex Ferrari 27:25
With with VHS is what I found is they're a great platform. I've been talking about them since I started the podcast. The problem with the objects I find is that if you don't have an audience, it's useless. Because they don't have a web yet, no one's gonna find you on VHS unless you drive the traffic to them is that fair statement?

Kia Kiso 27:46
Being quite honestly, and I'm gonna be a hard ass about it. It's your job to drive audience to yours. It's like, it's like you build, you build your business and you put it out near Lancaster. Like, okay, you might have a great business, but nobody's gonna know it's there, you have to let people know they have to drive out to Lancaster to see your you know, to come buy something there. Right? Nobody, nobody is going to drive traffic, even if it's on gravitas. Even if it's on Netflix, even if it's in the movie theater down the road, nobody's gonna give a nobody's gonna care driving traffic to you. And and we can talk about that when I talk about the release on iTunes and how I was able to leverage the audience to be on iTunes like, its gravitas was like so surprised that we actually had as big of a launch as we did, they didn't bring anything to the table. So I think filmmakers just be super clear. nobody's doing anything for you. And

Alex Ferrari 28:42
So then again, I'm gonna ask you, I'm going to be the devil's advocate here. Why go with a gravitas when you could have easily self distributed gun on the source platforms yourself? Or something like that, like a distributor or go yet go through it yourself? Because you have the audience. So basically, your you could have made more money because you're driving all the traffic, so to these platforms, so unless they're not really bringing anything table? What was the benefit of using a traditional distributor?

Kia Kiso 29:07
What I'm saying is you should have the mindset that you're supposed to do everything you're supposed to do. Sure. The reason we went with gravatars is because they have a good relationship with iTunes and Netflix, and they will make calls on your behalf. So we would as we continue to get awards or have some great successes, we would call up our rabbit gravitas. We always answered on the second ring. I love it. And we would say look, we've had this wonderful thing happen. And they would call iTunes, they would say, Hey, you know, this has happened, can we get a better placement? Can we get into the Cover Flow? Can we you know, it's the New Years can we maybe do a new year's resolution package and have mile mile and a half being that like, and they were also willing to give us you know, some diagnostics and some you know, sort of dashboard stuff

Alex Ferrari 29:56
That you won't get you wouldn't get anywhere else.

Kia Kiso 29:59
Yeah. I mean, I don't know where things are things change every day. But at that time, no.

Alex Ferrari 30:05
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. So then they basically had a little bit more inside help than you would get with just putting it on the platform. Yes, I felt so. Okay. And that's also sometimes for and to be fair, a lot of times with distributors, they'll do that with certain films that they feel that they're going to be able to make more money with. And they won't do that for all films because they can't, they can't call iTunes with 20 Films go Okay, today's film, I need you to do this. So they are kind of picky and choosey so it is kind of a almost, you know, they have to feel that they're going to be able to get a good ROI for pulling that favor. Does that make sense?

Kia Kiso 30:48
Sure. But also it's a relationship and they you know, issue, I am building a relationship I'm keeping in touch, how are things going just saw you released a latest film, I really loved it I just saw on on Netflix, it was really amazing. By the way, this is what we're up to how things go, you know, like it's a relationship, I get them invested. Right? You have to have a huge why like, why is this important? And I share that why with everybody? You know, this is a really great movie. It's serving a community. It's hungry for hiking documentaries. Look, they're out there, because we're proving we have 1000s and 1000s of fans, you know, so got them excited.

Alex Ferrari 31:22
So can you talk a bit about sponsors? You said you had a couple sponsors? How did you reach out to those sponsors? And how did you leverage that audience again,

Kia Kiso 31:29
Once I get like sponsors wasn't totally my world that was much more on like Rick and Jen and those guys. But I think, you know, golden road, they must have seen the document. I can't really answer that what I can say is, so when we released when we released the video for Kickstarter, the Kickstarter campaign, I think somebody knew it was her first day at Rei. And she is she was doing social media. And I think she put it on the Rei Facebook page, she said, if we can get 5000 likes, in 24 hours, we'll donate $5,000 to this campaign. I don't think she ever thought she'd reach the goal. Well, they got 5000 likes in six hours, like Rei is on board. And then then later on, they let us have some sort of screenings. And we'd have the band play at local Rei locations here in LA, where we would show the trailer and then we would ask for money and support. Usually we would do it in like their parking lot or something or by the front door.

Alex Ferrari 32:38
So what I'm hearing again, a lot of want to reiterate this to the audience is that you're building relationships, the through the entire process. Every day, every week, you're reaching out to people and not just reaching out and asking for something you're building.

Kia Kiso 32:54
You're giving something? Yes, you're giving, you're giving and you know, even to think of like, bloggers, right? They need content, right? You're the podcaster you're like, what I gotta feed the hungry monster feed the beast. Yes, exactly. So we're providing them like, hey, we'll write an article for you, we'll write it. If you want to write a blog for us, we'll put it on ours, vice versa, you know, here's an exclusive for you, or gravitas. They need good films, and they need good films, that's easy for them to sell. So I just show them, it's going to be easy for you to sell this, or Rei, they always do no need to be part of something. So how about us?

Alex Ferrari 33:31
It's just like you make yourself shiny, shiny object.

Kia Kiso 33:33
Exactly. And that's how the snowball continued to go as I wanted to get to the point where like, I wanted to make ourselves so attractive that people would not say no, there would be, there would be no reason for anybody to say no to get behind it, right? Because I could say, look, first of all, the film's beautiful the film is fun. Also, we have a huge audience. Plus, we have all this, like, we have this press kit, anything you possibly need. It's right here for you like we needed as easy as possible for people to get on board. So

Alex Ferrari 34:03
So that so you so you got sponsors, you've building relationships, and then you said you did a theatrical run your own theatrical kind of tour. How did you get?

Kia Kiso 34:14
We did. So we were able to identify where our fans were based on zip code. I think even when people signed up for newsletter, we asked for their zip code. And so that was extremely important, what you need to know where people are. So we were able to identify locations, you know, sort of hot spots in the country where people would want to see the film. So one we helped people do tag if they wanted to sort of sponsor a screening in their area. Plus we also for Wald, we did a four wall tour, where we just rented out the theater, and as long as we knew we would be able to cover our costs by selling mirch we would do it if we had The time You know, it had to be breakeven, if it wasn't going to be breakeven it was going to cost us we wouldn't do it.

Alex Ferrari 35:05
So well. So on a business standpoint, again, being devil's advocate, what's the point of breaking even on a on a on a theatrical experience? Other than just kind of like feeding that fan base, but if you're breaking even, what's the point on a business?

Kia Kiso 35:23
Okay. So, you know, something that I didn't talk about, and that I talked with team was very early on, when I first came on the project, I'm like, What is the goal of this movie? Is it money? Is it prestige? Or is it exposure, like pretty much feel like those are the two, you know, the main reasons, we decided it was exposure, because they wanted to make other movies like this. And they have. So it wasn't necessarily they didn't want to go out of pocket, because they were already out of pocket for the hike, and the work that they were putting in. And it wasn't necessarily the procedure, we weren't going to go for, like, you know, an Oscar, or anything like that. You know, so it was it was, it was really, just so people got to know us, as filmmakers, them as filmmakers really supporting that vision. So it was just continuing to engage, get exposure. So as long as it was breakeven, then it was fine.

Alex Ferrari 36:19
That's a very great question that filmmakers need to ask themselves is, what do you want out of this movie? Right? What's your end goal? And that's a question that they don't ask. Of course, if you know that answer, you can plot and market and set up and blueprint your way to that goal, as opposed to just like, I'm just gonna put it out like, well,

Kia Kiso 36:41
Well, and also we would find that once we would, once we would go to a town or a city and do a screening, then people would buy DVDs for their friends, or then they would go on the website and they would you know, they would get it again there or they would be on iTunes, whatever and the theatrical to I'd love to get to the point where how we I want to share the iTunes.

Alex Ferrari 37:05
Yeah, that was my next question was iTunes, how so how did you were in there were there were connecting.

Kia Kiso 37:11
So how was so then at a certain point, gravatar said, Here's your release date for iTunes. Right? At the subscription, VOD is always first, right. It's the people that pay per viewing versus a Netflix, which is another subscription. I'm calling transactional, transactional. And so that was first and they said, Here's your date. We're going to you always are on let that time. I haven't looked at it recently. But at that time, you got to be on iTunes in a pre sale mode for several weeks before you went into sale mode.

Alex Ferrari 37:43
So listen, sure.

Kia Kiso 37:45
Okay. So once we we knew we were on the platform, we asked everybody, this is when we really snowball that we asked everybody that had ever come to a screening, bought a DVD, like the music video, donated to the campaign, go on iTunes, and we're not telling you what to say. But will you just give us a star rating and a review. So by the time the movie launched, we had over 105 star reviews from the gate. Right, so the minute it went live, we immediately shot up to I think our high watermark was number four.

Alex Ferrari 38:27
But did you have you had a lot of pre sales as well?

Kia Kiso 38:31
Um, I'm sure there were some pre sales there as well. But what? It's not sales that shoots you up the ranking? It's the reviews, it's the star reviews at that time it was. Okay, so from day one, it's people's love of the film that made it more popular. Got it makes sense. And gravatars called me up immediately. They're like, you've got to tell us what you did prestigious marketing and PR firm you've hired to do this campaign because it's brilliant. And I laughed, I'm like, it's just us. There's five of us, there's six of us doing this, like we just leveraged our fan base, and they couldn't get their head around it.

Alex Ferrari 39:12
Like I don't think destroy traditional distributors don't they're just they just don't understand it.

Kia Kiso 39:17
No, no, no, no. So then, of course, they were very excited to get us on Netflix. Right? And they were very excited to end You know, they call them Netflix, look at how great this film is doing. Make sure you definitely give us you know, what really good placement when it goes live there. And you know, and what we had to do to as filmmakers, for our fans were like, Look, there's many places you can get this film, if you get it on our website. Great. That helps us but we also want to offer it on iTunes as well for you too. So we tried to give people access to the film how in whatever way works for them.

Alex Ferrari 39:51
And then also you have other revenue streams that you created from the film like merge and other areas. So it's not just one revenue stream like, I'm just gonna do this, you've you've really branched out to a bunch of different things coming in for the film.

Kia Kiso 40:07
Exactly, exactly. So March, you know, of course, from our distribution through gravitas film option. Passion river, who we used for DVD, we got a little bit from them sort of the bricks and mortars and the educational content, how you

Alex Ferrari 40:26
How much did you do? Was it a good? Was it worth doing the DVD sales? The brick and mortar? General DVD sales as far as in the pie of all the revenue coming in? I'm not asking specifics, but just like it was it was it worth it?

Kia Kiso 40:43
For us to sell our DVDs. Yeah, yes, yes. To sign with a distributor, you know, there are people that are still going out there to the bricks and mortar places and getting DVDs, you'd be surprised there's still our sales. But it's hard to find a DVD distributor that's willing to do DVD only they want all rights, everybody's so eager about all rights, right? And I get it because they want to minimize their risk. And, but yet, not everybody's good at everything. So you can't do that as a filmmaker. No, I'm not going to put all my eggs in one basket, unless there's

Alex Ferrari 41:16
A nice big fat check up front.

Kia Kiso 41:19
Yeah, but then you know what, they might just put it on a shelf and do nothing. And you don't have any control over that.

Alex Ferrari 41:24
Right. So there's, there's Yeah, there's a lot of pluses and minuses.

Kia Kiso 41:28
Yeah, I mean, I, I have a hard time with sort of the distribution sales agents model, especially for filmmakers that are just like, I'm done, I'm tired, I'm bored, I want to move on to my next project. You know, because nobody's going to live your baby like your baby. And nobody's going to be able to speak to your audience that way. You can, you know, and while they might have good intentions, is never gonna match up to what your vision is. That's why you have to stay engaged, they'll make you all the way through distribution,

Alex Ferrari 41:58
Or when I wish they would teach that and film schools. I wish they would just stop at post production, the marketing, the social media, the crowdfunding, the crowdsourcing, everything, all of itself, distribution, Facebook, social media, all of that is as important as the lenses that you're using.

Kia Kiso 42:16
And you've got to be thinking about all that day one and pre production. You really do.

Alex Ferrari 42:20
Yeah, if you absolutely,

Kia Kiso 42:22
Yeah. Yeah. And I think some filmmakers, they're just in it for the art, right? Or they don't know. Or they feel like sellings kind of dirty.

Alex Ferrari 42:31
Well, the thing is, if you're in for it for the art, then go make your $500 movies, or make $1,000 movies, or make a movie that you can personally afford for the for the paint brushes to make you exactly. But when you're playing with 50 100 $200,000, that's an expensive paint brush. And you have to you have to have some responsibilities to recoup that money unless you're independently wealthy. And you can do that, of course, which we've met these people.

Kia Kiso 42:58
But even then you're doing a disservice because you're not working your damnedest to try and get it out to the people that would love to know about it.

Alex Ferrari 43:03
Right? Exactly.

Kia Kiso 43:05
Like you're expecting people to drive to Lancaster and just stumble across something that they love.

Alex Ferrari 43:10
And especially when they're so it's not 1985 anymore. So it's so much content and so many options out there. I mean, I remember working in the video store in high school, and I literally watched everything that came out because every week there was like, three to five movies that would come out every week. That was it. And I would just watch those. Are you kidding me? How many are coming out daily? There's Yeah, not enough time. And I watched all the TV shows. And you know, it's like and that is you just can't keep up now.

Kia Kiso 43:43
Oh, I heard poor. He Lori's TV show on Hulu. Hulu just got cancelled because nobody knew it was there.

Alex Ferrari 43:49
I know. I saw some I saw some posters for around LA. I was like, that looks interesting. But I'm like I just don't have the time. There's just too much other stuff to do. And it's it's it's absolutely crazy. So can you tell me what the biggest mistake you see documentarians and for end filmmakers make when they when they do their first film from a crowdsourcing perspective, from any perspective?

Kia Kiso 44:14
Oh, don't get me on that soapbox. That's what we're here for content perspective as I think we really need to get out of the talking hair. Talking Heads. model. You know, I think talking head documentaries are just too. We need to come up with something new. I'm getting tired of seeing and I'm sure I'm not the only one we just need

Alex Ferrari 44:35
Al gore up there with a PowerPoint. We're good. PowerPoint, I know. At least we have al gore who is easily one of the most charismatic people on earth.

Kia Kiso 44:47
So you know, of course you're always gonna have somebody sitting in your chair and talking about something but we have to get sort of better about that. And I think you know, we've hit on a lot of them right now is like you have to think of your game, the end game. At the very beginning, you have to be thinking long term, you have to think of it as a business. What I suggest for most filmmakers to do is do a crowdfunding campaign, even if you don't need the money for two reasons. One, most filmmakers don't do business plans. So doing a crowdfunding campaign makes you think of your project in a business plan mode. Who is my audience? Where do I find them? What do they want? How can I prove to them I'm serving them what they want? How is my content, you know, the quality that they're looking for whatever, so that crowdfunding campaign forces filmmakers to think that way. And secondly, I think it's great marketing. It's really great marketing, because you have a call to action, you have a ticking clock, and you have something fun to talk about, versus my movies out now, versus my movie is going to be out if you you know, give me 50 bucks. Right.

Alex Ferrari 46:02
20 bucks.

Kia Kiso 46:04
Exactly. And that's really what we use for inspired to write. I don't know if you want to talk about that at all. But we use crowdfunding in a really unique way.

Alex Ferrari 46:12
You're talking about little bit about inspired to write, which is kind of like taking the model from mile mile and a half a little bit, and put it into a similar kind of story, but different because it's a different, you know, you're riding bikes as opposed to hiking. But you could I could see where the the parallels are.

Kia Kiso 46:30
Sure, yeah, of course, the Inspire derived feature documentary. It's still on Netflix, I believe you can check it out. It's the third in a trilogy of films about bike packing, which is a sport. It's a crazy sport. It's kind of like a Tour de France, but without doctors, without nutritionists, without hotel rooms. without, you know, chefs, and these writers ride across the country inspired to write it was across the United States from Oregon to Virginia. They don't, they're by themselves. And they are basically, they have a tent on their bike, and they're stopping at 711 and McDonald's on the way. And the whole idea is like, How fast can you get there completely unsupported. There's no prize money.

Alex Ferrari 47:23
There's just got it there. Say,

Kia Kiso 47:26
Say like, we are crazy. We're bad ass. And it's for the bragging rights.

Alex Ferrari 47:30
So I want to go off topic for a second. I've talked about Did you ever see a series of television series called the long way around? No. the long way around is follows the documentary series, it was a limited series, following Ewan McGregor and oh, and his best friend. Around, they get on motorbikes. And drive Just the two of them. And the DP, which is a third camera, you know, documenting this insane trip from Europe, all the way to Los Angeles. Wow, I drove Oh, fun through end of the day. It's so amazing. I'll leave a link for it in the description for everyone want to watch it? I saw it. And I just sat there watching it in awe. Because these guys were crazy. They just got a couple bikes from BMW. They got a sponsor, of course, because no one's in it. And they just drove and then did that stuff got stolen. They're in like Mongolia, they ran out of road. That's awesome. Like, once you get back to Mongolia. There's no roads, like do you like a little bit of paved road, and then you're out. And you're like the country. So like, and they're going through Russia and they go all the way up to the top? They they fly over to Alaska, and then they drive that. So they're dealing with snow? I mean, it was out saying but it just reminded me of that right away. For sure. Awesome. Very cool. So how you doing? So now was inspired right? You're doing the same thing with VHX?

Kia Kiso 49:00
Yes, exactly. So what's interesting is to come up with a game plan for my ama and a half. I actually copied the prior campaign for Dr. The divide, which is Mike Dion's first movie of this trilogy. And you know, while I was doing mile and a half, I called him up. I'm like, would you talk to me and we did we chatted, I basically took what he did for ride the divide, because I had found out about him in a book called selling your film without selling your soul by john Reese, and Sherry handler. And I was like, Mike, I'm gonna put steroids on what you did. He was like, go for it. And then he kept contacting me. He's like, I'm really impressed. I'm really impressed. Do you want to jump on spire to ride, which I did. And he's just he's a he's a documentary filmmaker. He but he's also got this marketing brain. That's genius. And I think he's actually coming up with a service right now to help filmmakers. Which is is amazing. Yeah, you should probably talk to him as a matter of fact, but he came up with this really great plan. He was like, he goes As my projects are turnkey now I have my audience I know all their email addresses By the way, you want email addresses for everyone. That's why you go through tog and not gather Sorry, I love gather, they're really great people, their email addresses are gold, and they're your audience, you need to keep them anyway. Yes, side rant over. So my car, he was like, I know what my audience is. But let's come up with a fun way to sell tickets for the premiere. Because I just don't want to sell tickets. Let's make it look like it's a crowdfunding campaign. So we did a Kickstarter campaign, we knew we only wanted to raise $10,000. But if you have a ticking clock and a call to action, people get a lot more engaged. So that's what he did. It was

Alex Ferrari 50:40
So intimate. He had the movies done already. The movie was done. The movie had been finished, and it was ready to be released. So then he opened up a Kickstarter campaign to sell the movie to sell the tickets to the premiere. That's ridiculous, right? That's ridiculous.

Kia Kiso 50:56
I know. That's why I love him. He's like a god. So but but what made it fun is, hey, we It was kind of the call to action was like, we have an idea to do a fun premiere. Wouldn't it be great if it looks like this. And if you like that idea, then support this. And the idea was like, we're going to do panel discussions all day long about bike packing, we're going to show you the bikes, we're going to show you the gear, we're going to do interviews with all of the bike Packers, the guys that actually did the race guys and gals that did the race, we are going to stream it live or you can come in person, if you get a ticket, buy your ticket. Now, do you just want a ticket? Do you want a ticket in a T shirt? Do you want a ticket a T shirt? A DVD? Do you want to take it into t shirt and poster? Do you want to take it into your T shirt and a poster and all the prior movies helped make us make this the coolest premiere all, you know of all time. But if you don't believe in this kind of Premier, don't worry, we'll just offer it eventually. People like so it's like a badass. And so we actually I think we raised over 10 grand for sure.

Alex Ferrari 52:02
Sure. And that's actually brilliant. Now, the one thing I've noticed, and I've spoken to a lot of filmmakers about this is documentaries are a little bit of an easier sell because their audience is so specific. Something to identify, it's so easy to identify well, narrative is a lot more difficult. A couple of guys that have done it right was Kung Fury. I don't know if you ever heard of that. That's short. No, it was like a like the most imagined the most ridiculous 80s action, all the ad stuff thrown into one movie, like the most ridiculous stuff. And in the 80s. And they throw it all with some Swedish filmmaker, they raised $125,000 or something like that. Wow. Because they had dinosaurs and for and you know, they were trying to kill Hitler. And they went back in time. And it was it was just brilliant. It was a short film. It's 30 minutes, 30 minutes. They sold the kitchen sink, and they sold albums like old school albums. You know, LPs, they sold VHS, special edition versions, like, because it was so like slick and cool. They've got like,

Kia Kiso 53:14
I mean, you still you're able to identify who the audience is. That's when you can go. I know the people that would watch that. I know where to find them. I know what they like, I know what blogs they're listening to. or reading I know where they are. I know who they are. So that's where it's like if you did a feature about like Thanksgiving dinner with your family. Who's Who's your nonprofit you're partnering with that's gonna put you in their newsletter. Who's the sponsors? What like that's,

Alex Ferrari 53:40
I don't know. That's my butterball? Yeah. So that's my that's my point where as that the young furious as a as a case study makes perfect sense, because that's a very small niche audience. And they can identify him. But when when filmmakers go, I'm like, I'm gonna make a movie about, you know, you know, friends getting together at college, like, how do you identify an audience for that so difficult. So then that's when you get into more analytics with Facebook. And you can go after similar movies and people who like those similar movies, but it's not nearly as powerful.

Kia Kiso 54:14
It's not the same. It's like Deanna, and I have conversations about this. We're like, how can we translate this to narrative? How can we take this really great system and make it work to the narrative story structure, and we haven't cracked the code, I'd love for somebody to figure it out. But once again, I think it's that it's what content are you creating for your niche market? Like, are you gonna do your narrative feature about a woman, a woman that loves poodles and chocolate, right, like and then you just go after those people? Right? Is

Alex Ferrari 54:47
It also a lot of times that the product is not a feature, maybe is a series maybe is a YouTube channel that you can monetize somehow, and there's many different ways to hit that market, but you never know what If the audience wants,

Kia Kiso 55:01
Right, maybe you put the story inside a wrapper of chocolate, and I have to keep buying more chocolate to get more story.

Alex Ferrari 55:07
That's a genius idea. And you see, but they don't know.

Kia Kiso 55:09
Or maybe it's an augmented reality. And when you take your dog for a walk, you get Lego. You figure out what is your Where's your audience? What are they liking? How do I serve them there and how they like to engage, you know, what are their stories? So

Alex Ferrari 55:21
No, do you have any new projects coming up?

Kia Kiso 55:24
I do have some fun projects coming up. One big one is, it's actually an event that's focused around the entertainment industry. And it's the conscious media Think Tank. I believe that as filmmakers, we have a responsibility to make the world a better place while entertaining it. And to me, that's conscious media, which is entertainment and media that creates awareness, but also has a positive impact. And there's a whole bunch of media psychology around why it's important how our bodies and minds and emotions are affected by what we watch. And so I'm bringing together 64 of the top thinkers in the industry for a three day summit to figure out how do we increase the quality quantity and accessibility of conscious media? That's awesome.

Alex Ferrari 56:07
That's awesome. I can't I can't wait. I'll put any information about that on the post as well. When is, when is it?

Kia Kiso 56:14
It's slated for March 2018. Funding raised dependent. We're currently in our fundraising

Alex Ferrari 56:22
I have no doubt that you'll be I'll be you'll be fine.

Kia Kiso 56:24
Thank you. We met an AFM because I was actually selling a sci fi project. It's either a trilogy or a TV show, depending on what buyers want. We're still figuring that out now. So really excited about that. Awesome. I have a TV show about the frontier. So

Alex Ferrari 56:40
You're just a busy busy gal. Mm hmm. Gotcha. got many plates spinning. gotta hustle. You gotta hustle. So I'm going to ask you a few questions. Ask all of my my guests. Can you tell? Can you tell me what book had the biggest impact on your life or career?

Kia Kiso 57:01
Oh my gosh, it doesn't have to be a filmmaking book.

Alex Ferrari 57:04
No, of course not any book.

Kia Kiso 57:06
Oh my gosh, the power of decision by Raymond Charles berker. It was about getting your brain in the right place to put you to empower yourself.

Alex Ferrari 57:15
Very cool.

Kia Kiso 57:16
All right. It's a it's a bit more on the spiritual bent for you know, I, we don't we're not doing video here. But I have a huge library of every kind of, you know, book about film management or negotiating or, you know, law. So I encourage people to continue to educate themselves. But I guess people that listen to podcasts already know that.

Alex Ferrari 57:38
Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Kia Kiso 57:46
Probably still learning it? It's probably this blind a blind spot. It's just, it's where to focus your energy, because there's a million great things to be interested in. And you have to figure out what's your thing? Almost like what is your niche? Right, and just make sure that you're putting a little bit towards that every day. Great, you know, nice. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 58:07
Now what are three of your favorite films of all time?

Kia Kiso 58:10
Ooh, Judo by Johnny Mo.

Alex Ferrari 58:13
Okay.

Kia Kiso 58:14
What are my favorites? Steel Magnolias when you need a good ugly cry?

Alex Ferrari 58:18
Oh my god is an ugly cry with that movie. I haven't seen that movie since I was in the video store. But I remember it that and that and beaches came out the same time.

Kia Kiso 58:25
Oh, sure. You know, I have so many favorites. I think always sort of a go to be like maybe Moulin Rouge.

Alex Ferrari 58:35
I love Moulin Rouge. I'm a big fan of Moulin Rouge and and Romeo and Juliet.

Kia Kiso 58:41
I meant to say inspired to ride mile mile and a half. Liberation's are my favorite.

Alex Ferrari 58:47
Of course. It's just that besides your own obvious, yeah, besides your own, and then where can people find you online?

Kia Kiso 58:55
Oh my gosh. Well, my production company website is Zazaproductions.com. That's zaza, the conscious media visionaries about the think tank, excuse me as consciousmediavisionaries.com. And I'm mainly in Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes I'm too busy. How do we how do we do all these social media platforms? I don't even know. So

Alex Ferrari 59:17
It's not easy. Trust me. to it every day. It's a job. It's a job like everything else. It's like you got to clone ourselves of what the clone Can you take over the world? If there's like three or four of me, my God, what I would do? Awesome. I can't thank you so much for this very inspiring conversation. And I hope it inspires filmmakers listening to it, because it's, it's proof. It's a blueprint to say, look, it's been done. It's been done multiple times. And you took somebody else's blueprint and just weld on it. And that's what art is, and honestly what you do in the marketing and distribution of a film and creating a film is an art as much as the film is itself

Kia Kiso 1:00:00
Don't reinvent the wheel, use somebody else's wheel and make it better. So and and like you had mentioned too, and I just want to let people know that the case study for my line has and all the details of what we did is an Arby's book.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:12
Yes, absolutely. I'll put a link to all that in the show notes. Thanks again, I appreciate it.

Kia Kiso 1:00:16
Thanks, Alex, I had a best time.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:19
I want to thank her for coming on. And just literally giving us the secret sauce on how she was able to be so successful with her film, mile mile and a half, I learned a ton as I always do, by doing these episodes, you know, I do these guys, these this show so much for you guys and get the information out for you. But I learned a ton from these episodes, interviewing these amazing people that come on the show. So I'm very humbled and blessed that I have that opportunity. And also that I can share all of this knowledge with you guys. If you want to go to the show notes and get all the links to everything we discussed in the episode, head over to indiefilmhustle.com/231. And by the way, guys, if any of you are going to be out of na be tomorrow, or the next day, I will be there I'm going to be there. From the 10th to 11th. I'm going to be speaking at 1145. On Wednesday at the black magic booth, we're going to be discussing all the things that I've done with black magic with the da Vinci shooting with the Ursa Mini, and also to talk a little bit about on the corner of ego and desire and how I shot that with the pocket camera as well. So if you guys are out there, please come out I love to talk to the tribe. I always like you know actually talking to the tribe in real life and not a virtual conversation. So it's always great to meet you guys. So and if you see me walking around, just stop me because I love to talk to you guys. Now I got to get ready for my flight tomorrow. So as always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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IFH 230: CrowdSourcing and Building an Audience for Yourself with RB Botto

Right-click here to download the MP3

So today on the show we have to return champion RB Botto from Stage32.com. RB has been on the show six times. Between film festival panels, interviews, and  Sundance. He’s always a favorite of the IFH Tribe so I thought it was time to bring him back. He finally finished writing his remarkable new book Crowdsourcing for Filmmakers: Indie Film and the Power of the Crowd.

Here’s some info on the book.

Whether you’re a producer, screenwriter, filmmaker, or other creative, you probably have a project that needs constant exposure, or a product to promote. But how do you rise above the noise?

In Crowdsourcing for Filmmakers: Indie Film and the Power of the Crowd, Richard Botto explains how to put crowdsourcing to use for your creative project, using social media, networking, branding, crowdfunding, and an understanding of your audience to build effective crowdsourcing campaigns, sourcing everything from film equipment to shooting locations.

Botto covers all aspects of crowdsourcing: how to create the message of your brand, project, or initiative; how to mold, shape, and adjust it based on mass response; how to broadcast a message to a targeted group and engage those with similar likes, beliefs, or interests; and finally, how to cultivate those relationships to the point where the message is no longer put forth solely by you, but carried and broadcasted by those who have responded to it. Using a wealth of case studies and practical know-how based on his years of experience in the industry and as the founder of Stage 32―the largest crowdsourced platform for film creatives―Richard Botto presents a comprehensive and hands-on guide to crowdsourcing creatively and expertly putting your audience to work on your behalf.

This is an EPIC interview. Over two hours but it is FULL of knowledge bombs. We also discuss how I pulled RB out of acting retirement to play a big part in my new feature film “On the Corner of Ego and Desire.” I promise you this is a fun episode!

Enjoy my conversation with RB Botto.

Alex Ferrari 0:18
And today we're going to be talking about crowdsourcing for filmmakers, how to actually build an audience how to, you know, really use the power of the crowd. And his new book is called crowdsourcing for filmmakers indie film and the power of the crowd, which is presented by the American Film market, which is a pretty big deal. They don't pick many books a year to put their name on. So I've read the book, it's amazing, he really gets into the details, and the weeds of how to really understand building that tribe building that audience up, how to work with them, how to provide value to them, and how to have that crowd support you support your projects, and what you're trying to do as an artist and as a creative. And this is such an invaluable topic to talk about. Because so many filmmakers I talked to have no understanding about social media, have no understanding about how to create an audience or how to interact with an audience. Even once you've created one. It's just, it's just such a kind of black magic art form, if you will. And me and RB really sit down and of course, epic conversation, you know, every time we and RB sit down talk, it runs. So we're close to two hours on this episode. Because that's just the way we roll out. But there's so much information in there, there is a ton of knowledge bombs in there. So please take a listen to the whole thing. I think you're really going to like it a lot. Oh, and there's also a little treat, we also discuss our bs part in my new feature film on the corner of ego and desire. I pulled him out of retirement for acting. And he does have a part in the movie a very significant part. And we will talk about that as well. So without any further ado, here is my conversation with RB Botto from stage 32. I like to welcome back to the show returning champion RB Botto from stage 32. Brother, thank you so much for coming back on.

RB Botto 4:09
Thank you for having me back. What five times now?

Alex Ferrari 4:12
This is our fifth time I think at least the fifth one you are the record holder on the podcast for most recurring guest between our Holly shorts. conferences, our Sundance interview and the original interview that launched our relationship back in 20. Number 29 and we're now at 220 as of as of this recording 228

RB Botto 4:40
While in you know i in post I want the ringside bell to ring for the champ and of course you know it's like sort of like the saying it like five time host club right I get to be the first one right?

Alex Ferrari 4:52
The what you call it the the bathrobe is on its way. The bathroom, right yes, the bath Yeah. I may be wearing one right now. But for some strange reason, I think you are sorry. I just don't know why. Smoking or smoking a cigar. There's a Manhattan in your hand I just said. Yes. Yes. So we're here today to talk about your book that took you 75 years to write.

RB Botto 5:18
Yeah. and a half 75 and a half.

Alex Ferrari 5:21
I think we were talking about this when I first interviewed you, too. It's called crowdsourcing for filmmakers, indie film and the power of the crowd. Yeah. And it apparently is a runaway success right now. It's doing very well. You said, Your publishers very happy.

RB Botto 5:38
Yeah. So I've been told by focal it's one of the best selling titles that they've had. And they've been around for 20 something years. You know, it's under the the American Film market presents banner, which I think they all you know, AFM picks, maybe two or three titles a year for that. So I don't think that that's hurt me at all. And I'm very pleased with that. And, you know, the reviews have been off the charts that he was always 5055 star reviews on Amazon already, which I'm very, very pleased with. I'm always pleased when people leave these reviews, I actually got one one star review where I have a complaint was that I gave examples. That was that was the that was the problem that you got, which is that was the review. If you like examples, this is a book for you. I was like, I feel like that should be fine.

Alex Ferrari 6:25
If you want information about crowdsourcing for filmmakers, this effin book is for you.

RB Botto 6:32
Oh, no, don't buy it. I was like, I was like, maybe they were dyslexic or something. Maybe they thought a dyslexic with the stars. Maybe they thought maybe one than five. I don't know.

Alex Ferrari 6:42
Everybody has an opinion. There's always a hater out there. Trust me, you know it as well as I do. I'm sure you've had your, your taste of haterade in your in your day?

RB Botto 6:52
In my day? Yes, yes. But um, you know, but 55 star reviews. So I'll take those over the the one, you know, I gave too much information.

Alex Ferrari 7:02
But the funny thing is, Isn't it crazy how we artists are that you could have 1000 positive reviews, but the one negative one is the one that sticks in your, in your head.

RB Botto 7:12
Now, well, sometimes, sometimes sometimes I will say this and you know, because I don't want this to be a negative thing. There have been so many people that have written so many beautiful things on Amazon have written me about this book and talked about how it's changed their entire perspective, in some cases, changed their lives. Because you know, with the life changing part of it not to sound dramatic, or you know, like, like, Oh, my God, I'm, you know, curing cancer, you know, curing cancer here or whatever, but it but where it's the life changing ones have come in the context of, you know, I was ready to give off, because, you know, I didn't understand how to build an audience, I couldn't get any traction, you know, I had some things that failed, I didn't understand how to do it. And that's extremely rewarding. And, and, you know, some of these people have written just beautiful, beautiful reviews, and send me photos with the book and things like that, because that's part of my ask at the end of the book. So I can't say enough. And if you're listening, and you are one of the people that left one of those unbelievable reviews, I can't tell you how grateful I am because you can't leave a note on Amazon, they don't allow you to do that. So I'm saying, you know,

Alex Ferrari 8:16
Yeah, it's, it's wonderful. When you get good reviews, it's it's, it makes you feel like you can keep going, hmm, you know, because it what we do is not easy.

RB Botto 8:24
No. And it's like we were talking about welfare. Look, nobody's getting rich off this book. And I never went into this thinking that, you know, thinking that I was going to break the bank or you know, that I was going to be you know, trading publishing notes with Stephen King anytime soon, or with you know, any any other bestseller author that you personally know that you can think of, but but you know, I wrote it because, you know, when I was asked, and to because I felt like I had something to offer and I could bring some value to people and for people to creatives to recognize that. That is well worth it. And as made the whole journey. very rewarding.

Alex Ferrari 8:58
Yeah. Unless your name is king rolling or Patterson, you're really making a whole lot of money on book sales. No. Not really. So let's get into so what is the difference between crowdsourcing and crowdfunding? Because I know there's a lot of misconceptions this understanding of in regards to both

RB Botto 9:15
Yeah, it misunderstandings, misconceptions, and I want to settle one other one before we jump into that, and that is, you know, the book is called crowdsourcing for filmmakers. You know, we talked about this a little bit and I was talking about over the weekend at film con, the conference that we hosted that, you know, it's not I went I kind of went to the mattresses with my publishers about this because I wanted it to be called don't crowd source of film creatives, because really, the reality of the situation is the strategies and all the information within is applicable to actors, screenwriters, filmmakers, cinematographers crew people, and then beyond the I mean, folco publishes film books. So that's why this is, you know, a filmmaking book, but realistically, it's for entrepreneurs and business people, the tenants and the strategies and the rules of If you will, are applicable to everyone looking to build an audience for the brand of them the brand that their projects, you know, the back the brand of their products, it doesn't matter. It's really for everybody. So I just want to clear that up because a lot of people just say, oh man, filmmakers wants to do one for screenwriters. And I'm like, No, no, no, no, it's the same. It's the same thing. It's fulfilling, creative. And and again, even if you're an entrepreneur, and I consider all creatives to be entrepreneurs, because really, you are the CEO as the CFO. Yeah, you're the CEO of you. But crowdsourcing and crowdfunding us, yes. People will always say to me, thank you for writing this book, I'm looking to raise money and hold on. Crowd funding, I'm gonna give you the good news and the bad news. It's not a crowdfunding book. But that's, that's just kind of bad news. The good news, there's a lot of good news. The good news is, is that well, let me define it first, crowdfunding is raising funds, either to equity based or reward based crowdfunding, you know, you go to the audience, you raise funds, that you they either get a piece of an equity based crowdfunding to get a piece of the film in rewards base, they usually get some sort of either tchotchke, or reward or you know, an EP, depending on what you know, the person that's running the project wants to give away. And then crowdsourcing is all about identifying, engaging and moving an audience on behalf of you, the brand of you the brand of your projects, the brand of your products. And it's all about how do you go about finding who that audience is, engaging them in a proper way, giving them ownership of what you're doing, getting them involved in what you're doing to the point where they're so passionate about you, or the project, or in some cases bold, and you can talk about that a little bit as long that they want to move on your behalf, to spread the word for you and to go out there and build an army of support you or this you have an army of supporters like you know, as I like to say boots on the ground, that are going out and spreading like wildfire. The word of you, your your projects or your brand, the brand of you the brand, the projects or the brand that your products.

Alex Ferrari 12:14
Now, you touched on something a little earlier, right before the that all creatives should be entrepreneurs, I really want to focus a little bit on that quote on that statement, because it's something that I preach constantly and so many filmmakers, so many screenwriters, so many creatives don't think of themselves as entrepreneurs, they just like, Oh, I'm just a work for hire, or I'm just an artist, I don't want to think about that kind of stuff. I think in today's world, if you do not think yourself as an entrepreneur, you're you the chances of you making it. Even if you're in the studio system even or going after the studio system kind of work. You still have to think of yourself as an entrepreneur, do you agree?

RB Botto 12:53
Not only do I agree, but I think it's the reason why the subject of crowdsourcing at this moment is legitimately and seriously the most important thing that we could be discussing, because we're living in a DIY world, all right, we're living in. And what I mean by DIY world is that there is more content being created than ever, there are more people trying to take control of their material than ever before. There are more creatives that have worked in one space, let's say as an actor, or as a screenwriter, who now wants to become filmmakers or producers so that he can control their own content that are going out there trying to find their own financing. It is more important than ever, to understand the concepts and the tenants of crowdsourcing, because the idea is you are an entrepreneur, and you do have a brand. And you may even have brands that have sort of sub brands, if you will. So everybody is trying to fight for that same little piece of ground, right? Everybody is on social media trying to rise above the noise, I mean, get into some best practices and everything like that. The question becomes how do you separate yourself from the pack? How do you identify how do you identify an audience for what you're looking to do? What your projects are about who you know what you're about in general, and then engage them in such a way that they become champions of you in this business? You are nothing without champions, you are nothing without relationships. And the problem is that there's so many people in this business that all they concern themselves with his the craft, but the reality of the situation is you have to understand the business and you have to understand the brand of you and where it fits in, and how you're going to attract an army of people that are going to go to war for you and in support of you. That is really what separates out the people that have major success and the people who don't I always say if you look at two equally talented people, if you will. The one that has the most success isn't the lucky You want to hear when people say, they're so lucky. It's not luck. They are putting themselves in the best position to win. They're building the right relationships. They've fought there. They're nurturing those relationships. They're asking their audience and the people that they, you know, they the the army that they built to go out on their behalf because they built that audience in a selfless giving way in a given way that that presented value the whole way through. Those are the people that are winning every day. They just are

Alex Ferrari 15:31
Who is the director of Jurassic World? It was also the safety not included. Jesus, you know, I'm talking about right I do know you're talking about God after looking up. But that director, he went from safety not guaranteed, which was a small indie movie, which was like under 3 million $4 million, who starred Mark duplass to Jurassic World. And people were like, How the hell did that happen, and from what I heard on the street, was that he had champions. No doubt he had been writing for a while, but he always was in the conversation for these big movies for these big tentpole movies to the point where his name finally came up. I think from what I heard that he had made a relationship with Brad Pitt. And I think at the last point, Steven Spielberg even said, He's okay, he's good. And that's the way he walked in. Because you don't get a map a map a major franchise relaunching a major franchise like that, without some champions,

RB Botto 16:31
There's no question and I'll tell you what I mean, I'm kind of in a unique position where, you know, I've worked as a, you know, an actor or Writer Producer, throughout my career, or an actor, or let's say, just on the front end as an actor and a writer. And then I've been on the other side, where I've worked as a producer, where talent is sort of coming to me or where you know, the money, we're going to get the money and everything like that, I've seen it for both ends. And the reality of the situation is, is that more often than not, and especially more often, in this day and age, if it comes down to, you know, making a decision on a couple of different people are in the direction you're going more often than not, and I would say, I mean, I would literally say like 99.9 times out of 100, the person that comes with that army of support behind them, the person that comes with those champions, the champions, speaking loudly for that person to either get that role or be involved in the project, or get that gig, whatever the hell it is. That's the person that usually gets it. Okay. And it least always gets them in the room. And I actually saw this recently on a screenplay that I wrote, that is a cover medium, we were attaching our director, the director, you know, it can't get too far into this story, because it's still evolving and everything like that. But but it was a situation where some of the people on the team said, okay, there's some accomplishments there. But you know, there's some other there's some other directors in play. And you know, they have, you know, maybe their accomplishments are a little bit more, the credits are a little bit stronger. There may be, you know, they had a hit more, you know, more recently, and things like that. But there were a few of us that said, No, you know, what, get in the room, let him in the room, you have to see the way this guy handles room you got to see. And we went down that road. And sure enough that you know, because there were these voices that were trusted voices in the room, which we were they said, Okay, let's let's hear it. I don't hear him out. And he went any one over the room twice,

Alex Ferrari 18:32
But without but without those voices, you'd never get in the room,

RB Botto 18:34
He wouldn't have been on the list, he would have been off the list because we were going down the list one by one going at Nah, man, maybe at Yeah, he's on yet. We'll talk to him yet. And that's what we were doing now. So the whole meeting was about, and it was one of these things were like, Nah, I don't know, I don't know. And that was like, Alright, if you guys really believe that, we trust what you're saying. And we believe you guys. And we know you guys, we never want to hurt the project. And, you know, let's Let's have him in, and it mattered. And this is a guy that networks all the time. This is a guy that is out there. And he networks in a very selfless way, anytime you're in this guy's company. And he knows people around him. He's making introductions, it's not always about him. It's it's that selflessness thing that we always talk about that rule of three, you know, that we always talk about, you know, give three times before you ask for anything, he has a lot of that in him. And that's it, you know, the most successful people who crowdsource and the most successful people that build relationships really have that image to kind of embrace or they learned that, you know, people can learn it. But you know, it's adapting that sort of mindset. You know what I mean? And most people don't have that most people don't

Alex Ferrari 19:42
And it's also like, I know of a guy, a friend of mine, who works for a company that does stuff, you know, for film, film industry. And he's constantly connecting me with people. Like he's like introducing constant introducing it, and then I always try to do that as much as possible. And then I've introduced people to you, you've introduced me To me, it's just something that we do like, Oh, these guys will get along great, boom, here you go. And I do it selfishly like no reason I'm not asking anything of it. I'm like, I just wanted to put two people who I think will do good together, or it shouldn't meet each other, meet them. And if something happens one day in the future about a great, but it's not even my thought process. It's just about helping those people selflessly at that moment.

RB Botto 20:23
Yeah, I mean, kindness generosity pays. I mean, I you know, it sounds so cliche, but it really isn't. I mean, it this is a business of, it's a small business, and people really do want to help each other. And it's, you know, that the people in this industry, a lot of them get a bad rap. And that's not to say that there aren't selfish people and egotistical people in this business, they certainly are they usually at the highest level, and you know, they then probably not in a position where they feel like they need to give but there are so many people in this industry who do want to give I mean, it I'm at meetings all the time where people are, how can I help you? What can I do for you? And I love that. And I mean, I there isn't one meeting that I don't go into without it's not a question that I asked. And usually, it's the first question I asked, What are you up to? Well, one of the first like, What are you up to? Anyway, I can help you. Anyway, I can help you get what you're looking to do right now or help you get where you're looking to go right now. That's, that's not a game. You know what I mean? That's, that's inbred in me. I know, it's important. Okay. And I know, it's part of relationship building. And I, you know, it's not like you said, it's not like I'm looking for something in return. It's just that look, this is the way that you build long lasting and fruitful relationships. And it's weird, because you know, you and I've had this conversation a lot. For some people that are listening to this right now they're gonna go like, Well, you know, Isn't that obvious? You may think so No, I'll tell you what, if you really think it's that obvious, here's what I challenge you to do. Go on Twitter, and click on your home screen and start scrolling through scrolling through to start looking through your stream. And you'll see how many people have the wrong approach. It's insane. And I always talk about having a competitive advantage in this business and trying to find every competitive advantage, you can get the people that actually handle themselves well on social media, and understand how to manage their brand on social media have a competitive advantage over probably 90% of the people out there. And that's not something that you could put into practice today. You know what I mean? So it does matter. And it does have an impact. And then I can tell you stories where it's had an impact where people haven't gotten jobs, just simply because of the way that they handle themselves, either in a room or on online.

Alex Ferrari 22:29
Yeah, absolutely. And just to go back to what we were talking about earlier, the director's name is Collin, tremolo. Calm traveler. So now everybody's like, Oh, thank God. It was, it was by driving people listen to crazy, like, Who is that? Or the opposite? Like, it's called an Alex? I call it? I mean, seriously? Yeah.

RB Botto 22:47
Somebody, somebody screamed his name out while running on the treadmill. And I am just looking at them. Right,

Alex Ferrari 22:54
Exactly. Now, what are some common mistakes when crowdsourcing or just doing social media in general?

RB Botto 23:01
Well, you know, when you get on social media, when you sign up for any account, you know, for any platform, you're really basically being handed a microphone, right? So that microphone, you know, now you have direct access to people and you have an amplified voice. That's fantastic. But that doesn't mean that you go into the middle of a crowd. Now think about this, if you were on a city street, you wouldn't run into the middle of a crowd and go me, you know, like me, look at me, me. But that's really what you're doing on social media. And a lot of people do that. And nothing makes me to now faster than somebody that their first point of contact with me is, look at my checkout my help me with, you know, that kind of thing that bothers the hell out of me, okay. I always say like, you know, treat your online persona and treat your online behavior the same way that you would offline. So, you know, if you're going I think that people get so freakin crazy behind their screens, that they don't realize that this is a human interaction, because all they see is a you know, an icon or an avatar or whatever, right? They don't, they don't realize that it's, it's a, it's a human thing. And it really is, it's a relationship thing. So for me, you know, if I'm looking to go connect with somebody, and everybody is accessible pretty much on social media, and there's been plenty of times that I have gone, searching for, or, you know, trying to connect with somebody who has achieved a very high level of success and you know, may not want to respond to me, what I always try to do is, first of all, I do my research, because that's another huge mistake that people make, they have no idea who they're talking to, or they have, they know the name, but they know nothing about them, or they think about what and you know, and they approach them in a way that, again, is not only selfish, but maybe it's coming from a place that's not very knowledgeable, those people get ignored to me if I'm approaching somebody for the first time. Not only am I going to make it about them, but I'm going to make it personal in a way that makes them realize it and that you know, I'm Like I talk to them about the biggest success or the most obvious thing, I'm going to talk to them about something that, you know, a video that I saw that where they talked about a specific thing five years ago Why, you know, do you still think like, that is times, you know, times change, like, you know, you make it something that makes them go, Wow, this guy really, you know, knows a little bit about me and made it personal. That's another mistake that people make, they don't know who their target is, you know, they don't understand who they're going after and who they're talking to. So those are two, you know, two obvious ones, I guess a little bit in a way, again, to some people, but not very obvious. I mean, again, even on stage 32, you know, I'll get hit up every day, even on like Instagram or Twitter, where people will send me direct messages and say, What is stage? 32? Calm? Right? And I'll say, well, the time it took you to write that you could have typed that into a browser. And you could have figured out what stage 32 comm is like, you don't I mean, it's, it's an awareness thing. It's again, what would you do in a real life? I hate saying real life and online life. But you know, some people relate to that in, you know, a real life confrontation or in a real life. Engagement. What would you do do the same thing online? You know, be again, just be selfless. I mean, that's, that's a good way in, you know, the other mistake that people make is that they did that they post again, I feel like I'm saying, material that they post is, you know, again, like, here's a clip from my film, here's a clip. And it's like, No, no, no, share content, ask questions, be personal. Be a communicator, don't be a broadcast to be a communicator. And I think that's probably the biggest mistake on social media is that people a broadcast is not communicators.

Alex Ferrari 26:45
Yeah, without question. And I think one of the stories that you have in your in your little bag of tricks that you always bring out, which I love is the Austin Film Festival story. Can you tell us the Can you tell that story? Because it's, it's so it's such an allegory. It is and it's in the book. So, you know, I'm gonna tell us, does she still buy the book? No, I thought it was a few other things in the book

RB Botto 27:08
On his stuff in the book, but yeah, the Austin Film Festival story is is just an unbelievable one. And it's alright, so there, there is a director the Austin Film Festival, if you're not familiar with it is a screenwriting centric. It's a film festival, but the conference that's attached to it is a screenwriter centric conference. So everything revolves around screenwriting. They got some very, very good panelists down there and speakers down there. They're usually pretty accomplished screenwriters, or at least some of them are one of them that is down there kind of often is somebody you would all know, I'm not going to name a somebody you would all know, he has a couple of Oscars to his name,

Alex Ferrari 27:45
You've got it. You gotta tell me that his name off off air.

RB Botto 27:47
Yeah. And he's, you know, he's a writer, director. And, you know, he's written some of the biggest blockbusters of all time, you also wrote some really great independent films and directed some of those. And then he kind of fell out of favor. And now he's kind of back in vogue again, as these things happen in Hollywood, especially in the studio system. But anyway, he was down at the Austin Film Festival and I got to you know, he's, he's, he suffers no fools this guy, and it's just an interesting gap, man. And I had seen him like sort of eviscerate somebody the year before and on a panel asking a stupid question and him and I kind of became friends, we would we would sit down in between panels sometimes because it at the Austin Film Festival, there was a lot, it is a hotel bar that everybody goes to after the panels are over. And that's one of the beautiful things about it is that the writers can mingle with the panelists and the panelists hang out and everything like that. So he said to me, let's go grab a drink before the last panel glitched out because then you know, it's gonna be madness. And I said, Okay, fantastic. And we were sitting on the couch in the bar, having a cocktail, and all of a sudden the panels, the last panel comes out, and now they come rushing in. And there's a line of people that are starting to e4 is Weinstein to form sort of in front of them. And he goes, Okay, here we go, here we go. And he says, Alright, here's what we're gonna do. He goes, one at a time, he goes in, and the rest of you line up at least 10 feet behind, because he didn't want anyone behind, overhearing his conversation with anyone who was speaking to us. So the first guy comes up, and he's all swagger. And I wish I could, you know, wish this wasn't all audio, because I would act it out. And it's, it's great. I mean, it really is great. He's all swagger. And I mean, it was one of these things where I mean, I think the guy took two steps. And I was like, Man, this is gonna end badly. This is the I didn't open his mouth yet. But I'm like, this is the energy was just flowing. And like, this is just gonna end badly. You could just see it, the body language, the swagger. And he walks up and he says, How you doing? He goes, my name is Joe. And he's like, he starts going into this whole thing because I have this screenplay. And in the end, he just launches. I mean, he just wants us into this thing. And this writer director who is being pitched now Just starts looking around the room starts sipping his drink, he checks out the TV where ESPN is playing. He's doing everything he gleaned back to me. And he said, You want another when the waitress came by, and this guy, the the guy pitching didn't skip a beat just kept going. Sure. And didn't I mean, didn't make eye contact with this guy wants.

Alex Ferrari 30:21
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

RB Botto 30:32
So finally, he hits the end, Joe hits the end. And he says, so when you think you want to read my script, and this guy says to him, he goes, I'm sorry. He goes, were you talking to me this entire time? And he took the stupid, he put his hand out and he goes, I'm any set name. There's an AI says name. And he said, What was your name? And the guy was like, the kids like, you know, Joe. He goes, Joe, he goes, so this entire time, because I'm assuming because I guess you were just pitching me your screenplay. And he said, Well, yeah. And he goes, Well, Joey goes, let me tell you something. He goes, if I was stranded on a desert island, he goes in all my favorite books washed out to see I wouldn't read the fucking screenplay. Whose next?Show Next comes up.

Alex Ferrari 31:27
So he just walked away with his tail between his legs. He Yeah, he was just like, completely devastated that

RB Botto 31:33
Well, yeah. And, and deservedly so. And deservedly so I think this was this was, this was a guy that should have known better. You know what I mean, you know, and he wasn't 15 years old. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. So he walks away, and up comes this woman. And, you know, probably I would say, you know, maybe 24,25. And she says, you know, she introduces herself, she shakes his hand. And she says to him, and this is her opening. She says, You know, I wanted to ask you a question about, and she names a film that was his biggest bomb, by far, okay, and indie film that just completely bombed. And she said, there's a scene in the film, where this actress says this line, and she said the line, she goes, and I couldn't help but feel that maybe the actress improv that line that maybe you know that it might not have been written that way. And I'm just curious, did you decide to write it that way? Or was that an actor choice or hard choice? And he just looked at her like, he was dumbfounded. And he did our and he said, okay, two things. He goes, first of all, he goes outside of my wife, he goes to the only person that seen this movie. Because I think it opened at nine o'clock, and he goes at the landmark in LA, and I think it was out of theaters by 903. Second of all, he goes, I can't believe not only that, you recognize this in the scene. He goes, but that this is what you wanted to ask me about. He goes, You are 100%, right? He goes, I wrote that scene. 10 times he goes, we could not get it. Right. I guess we just was not working. And the actress said to me, let me take a shot at it. And I said, Okay, and she nailed it. And we were like, Holy hell, let's move on. So he said to her, he goes the tummy every Tell me about you. Okay, because it's not going to be the neck the natural next question, right. And she went into all about her writing and everything she did, and you know, and and what she was working on right now. And he reaches into his back pocket, and he pulls out a business card. And he says to her, I come down here every year with three of these cards. Most years, I go home with all three, you should when you go home, you send me the script that you think is the best that you would like me to read, I will read it, I will call you and we will go over it. And I will see if I can help. Okay, not only did he do that, and then you follow through on his promise, but he he ended up helping her get her Rep. Her manager, he ended up helping her get her eight that led to her getting her agent. And today they are still very, very close friends to the point where He sends her draft is great. And again, if you knew who this was,

Alex Ferrari 34:35
I can't wait to find

RB Botto 34:38
The fact that this woman is getting drafts of these scripts in complete confidence you will be completed some people on this listening to this podcast would be jealous enough to run into traffic. So but that just goes to show you it's all about approach. It he made it she made it about him and what a lot of people in this business don't realize is that you know So many people are so anxious to come. I mean, they even have film calm. But you know, we just did this conference. Like I said, they got like at the LA Convention Center, it was 14 hours. And I was being pulled in a million directions. three panels you saw

Alex Ferrari 35:12
Yeah. So you were beat up left and right, man,

RB Botto 35:15
Even at the end of what, 13 hour day, I had somebody come up to me and say, you can can I take five minutes to pitch you my script? And I was like, You got to be kidding me. I don't know you.

Alex Ferrari 35:25
Well, let me ask you a question. But I want to ask you like you What if they pitch you your script? What are they expecting you to do with that?

RB Botto 35:30
Well, because they know I produce, right, you know, and so they're thinking, like, if you're looking for something or whatever.

Alex Ferrari 35:36
Nobody knows what you produce. But you I mean, but you're a busy Dude, I don't, I don't see like you producing 20 movies this year. No question. But the other part of it too, is that, you know, it's the point, the point is that, like, Come on

RB Botto 35:48
14 hours a night, why not come up to me and say, Hey, this mine, I'm so and so and, and, you know, thank you so much for today. Thank you for putting this on. I learned so much, you know, maybe some way down the road, you know, or even like, ask me, like, what are you working on right now, like outside of doing this? So you get my point? It's Yeah, it's appropriate approach. It's approach approach. I know it's funny, I will, I will end this story by saying, I you know, at the following year, I sat down with this, this Writer Director again, and we I drank and I reminded him of I told him I was putting this into the into the book and and wasn't gonna name and everything and I, but I leaned over and I was stalling into the first part of the story, and he just paused. And then he just leaned over to me and he went to off.

Alex Ferrari 36:35
Awesome. The timing. The timing was unbelievable. And I went to her and I actually said, I go Honestly, I go, I don't think she goes, me neither, because I didn't lose any sleep. It sounds it's almost sounds like it's Don Rickles. delivery. too hard. too harsh. haven't gone too far. Oh, I miss Rick, you're dating yourself? I know. I'm Miss rickles, though. I'm circles. Alright, so how do you identify the crowd that you're trying to reach? In? General?

RB Botto 37:07
Great question. And this is the problem that a lot of people this is one of the biggest mistakes people make. And you know, I started earlier, we were talking about the difference between crowdfunding, crowdfunding and crowdsourcing. And I said that there is good news. And the good news is because I guess this is going to play into this because if you're looking to crowd fund something, we're going to talk this is going to everything we're about to talk about is going to play into this as well. First of all, in the book, there are two chapters on crowdfunding. And I'll get to the reason why those are in there. And then there are three case studies that involve supply at least partially the funds being raised through crowdfunding. Now, why are they in there? And why, you know, why would in a crowdsourcing book when I'm saying that not to say there has never been a successful crowdfunding campaign in the history of crowdfunding that did not involve an element of crowdsourcing, right? It's the truth. Okay. The reason why most crowdfunding campaigns fail. In fact, I would say probably nine out of 10 that the primary reason why they fail is because the people behind the campaign did not crowdsource First they just put the damn thing up, said if you build it, they will come. And, you know, work. Doesn't feel the dreams, but not not it.

Alex Ferrari 38:23
It's a great movie. It's a great movie. Why would they lie? Yeah, that's what but that's what it was no sequel because it only works once. Honestly, I would kill to see a sequel to feel the just like, where do you go from there? It's time to go pitch it because you know, the studios have run out of the bank to mix with.

RB Botto 38:43
Or we could just pitch it like, we could pitch it as a TV show and make it like last style where every single player gets their own episode.

Alex Ferrari 38:52
Oddly enough, I could see that on Netflix. Alright, so so identifying your crowd.

RB Botto 38:59
So identifying the crowd, you know, think about the mistake you talked about you asked me earlier like what are the mistakes and you know, I went on this long winded thing about you know, social media but it really it's it's there's so many different mistakes and this is really one of the biggest ones is that people think the audience for their film or even the audience for their own personal brand is everyone and that's just not true. It's never been true it's never been true of any film I you know, you can name the most the highest rated on IMDB films of all time, you know, because that's an audience based rating. You know, films that have won Oscars you will find detractors of those films. Oh

Alex Ferrari 39:42
No. Just Shawshank Redemption, which is arguably i think i think it's number one if it's not number one, it's godfather one of those two. Yeah, but anytime I feel bad about anyone saying anything negative about me. I just go and type up and Google bad review Shawshank Redemption. Yeah. I go read these bad reviews. Because there were bad reviews of Shawshank Redemption. It's just like, What the hell are these people thinking?

RB Botto 40:05
No. And I mean, listen, I'm a huge Godfather, godfather to fan. But I mean, you'll get people that are like, you know, I don't like mob movies or I like, you know, I mean, look, it's just it's just the way it is, right? You're not there is, you're not everybody. There's not, there's not one film, one book, one piece of art that has ever been universally loved. And the same goes, the same is true for people. So and the same is true for every brand. And for every product. And for every film, especially if you're looking to film like a product, which you should in a lot of ways. It's you know, people think like, man, I need to carpet bomb the hillside and canvass everybody. That's a huge mistake. And it's a very big waste of time, energy resources.

Alex Ferrari 40:43
But you know, that's the studio plan. And they can have they have the pockets to do that.

RB Botto 40:47
Right? I mean, and they can cough it Right, exactly. Because they can carpet bomb the hillside. And, you know, let's face it, at the end of the day, the film really, really is a product that's a small piece of a small part of a bigger Corporation, you know, that is publicly traded on Wall Street. So what the hell did they care? But for an independent film,

Alex Ferrari 41:07
It didn't have Justice League.

RB Botto 41:09
It didn't have that. I would hope we would I you know, it shouldn't help a lot of the freakin things they're releasing, but, you know, one day they publicly speak with their wallets instead of bitching, or calls that was instead of bitching. But, um, but I digress.

Alex Ferrari 41:23
Yes, yes. But I think I think as I always say, the riches are in the niches. And I think that's true.

RB Botto 41:29
That's true. I think that's very true. I think that's very true. But you know, for people who are going out making that first film, you know, you have to understand, right? It's not about you. This is the idea of identifying your audience, okay, if you can remove yourself for a second from the equation. And you You and I, it's very, very hard for people to do by the way. And if you can just look at it. I'm saying this for people who are starting out and people who are going to try to build an audience for the first time for a film, and we could talk about personal brands in a second too. But for the film, you have to know who is the audience for this film? Who is going to watch this film or who is going to be interested in the subject matter of this film. The three case studies have in the book are very specific about this from the standpoint of this, these producers and the people that were behind the campaigns. The crowdsourcing campaigns understood who their audience was, for this film. An example of this. There's a case study called mile mile and a half in the book. It's a documentary that did extremely well. It ended up being like the number two documentary after Jiro dreams of sushi for a couple of months, it's sold out the LA Film Festival to the point where they had to up to two screenings, two screens, which had never happened before. And that was because they crowd sourced for so long that the audience came out in droves. But what they did early on, was they said, Okay, here's the basis of this documentary. six to seven, I forget the number Exactly. film, cinematography, cinematographers photographers, directors of photography, cinematographers and one sound engineer are going to hike the john Muir Trail, which is a 26 mile trail in the Pacific Northwest, they're going to do it in its entirety. For the purposes of not only being you know, a select few, they get to do this every year, they get to do get the permit to do it all the way across. But they were going to film all these different ecosystems in the beauty along this trail. They were going to be the first film crew, they're really, really film what they were going to bring state of the art equipment. And they were going to go out and film it and record it in a way that never been seen before. Okay, does it sound like the sexiest thing and they wanted to go out and raise like 85 grand, and they were going to do a lot of it through crowdsource crowdfunding. So again, I mean, that's a pretty hefty raise for something that seems like very niche and very sort of, but what they did was they said, okay, who is the audience for this film, and who would support what we're trying to do? Well, we have the gearheads because we're going to bring all this latest equipment, we're going to we're going to have the film enthusiasts that really appreciate seeing this type of film, we're gonna documentary fans, but also, we're gonna go to the fitness enthusiast, the hikers, the campers, the outdoors, people, the outdoors, men and women, okay. And what they do is they started targeting all these organizations, both online and offline, to say, this is what we're looking to do. You know, can we get your input on this? They started building a crowd, they identified who that crowd was. And then they started engaging them in a way to give them ownership for example, that like we're going to be gone for a long time. Can you guys give us the 10 best recipes that you could fit in a little travel cop so that we don't have to cap because we'll be carrying all this equipment man, like how do we travel right? And people started saying, well, you got to do this. Got it. And you know, people that call with the 10 best ideas are going You get a free DVD when this thing comes out, are they gonna get free access or they're going to get free, you know, a free trip to the premiere at the LA Film Festival where they made it. They gave everybody ownership, they made them a part of it. And then what ended up happening some of their fans, a couple of fans went to Rei and said, Hey, you gotta check out what these guys are doing. And guess what happened? Rei said, Don't spend money on equipment, we'll give you all the equipment, all we want is it just, you know, put our name in the credits. That's all we care about, and do well and make it cool. And we'll even blog about it on our blog on the Rei. So all of a sudden, they're sourcing this crowd to the point where by the time I played at the LA Film Festival, like I said the line was around the corner. By the time it came out on iTunes, they were still communicating with the crowd and they had delivered on every promise that they said, Look, it's coming out tomorrow, please stream it please tell everybody you know how hard it is to debut at number two on iTunes.

Alex Ferrari 45:57
Insane, right? Difficult, okay. sanely difficult,

RB Botto 46:00
But it was because they knew their audience, they knew how to engage them, and they knew how to move them. And that's what I'm saying. So this this, you know, everybody wants to put the brand in themselves out out there first, okay, as opposed the brand of their projects. And and here's the way I'll explain it to explain it to the audience in a way that to me, it makes the most sense. And I think even you'll appreciate this outside. I know a fan of this guy. But think about your favorite filmmaker. Think about your favorite director, one of them, right. One of my favorite directors is Kiki Anderson. Yeah. Okay. When hardy came out, somebody said to me, first of all, I love independent films. I love gambling movies. I like crime movies. I like well, you know, right in my wheelhouse, right. And somebody said to me like, dude, you got to go check out this movie. It's right you know, it's an indie it's got you know, this crime element. It's got that really heavy character driven shit that you like, you got to go check this thing out and I went to go see heart eight I didn't know PT Anderson from you know, it was a guy. Who was the guy a nightclub? What was that Anderson on?

Alex Ferrari 47:03
Oh, God did a photo of Annie Anderson, your game right? Now you got me, I got to look him up now.

RB Botto 47:11
So anyway, I went to go see Hardy, and I'm like, Holy hell, not only is this movie great, but this director is unbelievable. So now I went from being a fan of the film, to a fan of PT Anderson. And I said, Okay, whatever this guy does next, which ended up being Boogie Nights. But at that point, we didn't know what he was going to do next. But I was like, whatever this guy does. Next, I'm going to go see. And since then, of course, anything PT Anderson does, I'm there. So it's the same thing with you. It's the same thing with your brand. It's, you know, if you're looking to put your projects out there, you're writing out there, even the brand of your reels in a lot of ways you're acting brands so to speak, it's it's got to precede sort of the brand, the work has to proceed you, okay? Because then if you deliver on everything you're doing, then the people who you've engaged and moved, and you know, that you've, you've delivered every promise to now they're fans of you. Now, all of a sudden, your brand takes hold the brand of you takes hold. And that's the thing that a lot of people kind of miss is that, you know, everybody wants to go out there and shout out what they're all about. But again, if you have champions, talking about what you're about, that carries a lot of weight. If you're standing in the middle of the street screaming, go and look at me. I'm fantastic. Nobody cares. You don't have any, until you prove that you're fantastic. Then you can stand out in the middle of the street and let them rip your clothes off. Like you know, I don't know, The Beatles, like the Beatles, right?

Alex Ferrari 48:40
Oh, by the way, it was Harry Anderson, Harry and I went on PTs and from Maryann. Wow, I certainly do. Now we are extremely dated a nikecourt. Reference. Well, I was trying to think of Anderson's and that was the first one. Yeah, we're all folks. Guys. Sorry. Go ahead. Continue, sir. Well Speak for yourself. I mean, obviously, you're at but but you watch a lot of reruns. On TV, when you know, I come across it every once in a while. Now, let me ask you something. What is the difference between advertising, marketing and crowdsourcing?

RB Botto 49:15
Well, I mean, again, I think we, you know, marketing is sort of the cousin of crowdsourcing, but advertising I won't even get into because I mean, it's I mean, it's that that's also in the book, right? Go through a whole long thing of that, because I have seen people that try to explain crowdsourcing as a form of advertising is certainly isn't you know, advertising is is at its, you know, at its core, you're paying for promotion, awareness, and awareness. And you know, what marketing it is a sort of a cousin to marketing it, but even with marketing, it's not. Again, marketing is more of a broadcasting kind of thing. Marketing isn't really an inclusive thing. Marketing is a one sided thing, and I think if we're going to drive any point home here today, it's that building Audience is not, it's a two way street. But really, it should be a one way street out for a very, very long period of time, before the traffic could come back into you. And I that's, that's the really huge difference between the two. crowdsourcing is really, really, really all about knowing who you're talking to, and then shutting the hell up and listening, you know, asking the right questions, and then listening and then giving the people what they asked for. And that's how you really build that audience. You know? I mean, look, if you look at the one thing that when I say it's a cousin, when a film company that has money and marketing dollars, knows their audience, they will of course, you know, do some demographic research and go out and advertise in those places. I love baseball, I'll go to a baseball stadium, if there's a baseball movie out the big baseball movie everywhere they know that they know to advertise their show freakin geniuses. Right? Right. Okay. But that's still a one way thing. Okay? The crowdsourcing part of this is knowing your audience in a way that, you know, again, you're engaging them and giving them the feeling of being involved to the point where that ownership becomes a sense of pride. And then when you ask them to move, they go, and they do it. But you got to deliver them value, everything comes down to value. You know, in this book, for example, I talk a lot about your ask. The ask is really when you go to move your audience, you have to earn your ask. The last chapter I have in the book is my ask. My ask is basically to spread the word about the book, let people know about leave a great Amazon review, take a photo with the book and send it in so I can post it. Because what I'm saying to you is if I've delivered on everything that I promised, I start the book this way, I say, here's what I am going to give to you in this book, this is my goal is to give you this information, this knowledge that you will be able to go out and do ABCD and E, okay? If I deliver on this, I'm going to have an ask at the end, right? This process of going from identifying and making those promises to being in a position to actually ask for the Ask takes a long time. It's relationship building. If you think about the best friends you have, and your best friendships that you've cultivated, those friendships surely took some time. You didn't just walk up to somebody and go, Hey, you want to be my best friend. You know what I'm saying? But that's what people do. Like, you know, it's like going up to somebody going, Hey, you wanna give me money for my project? Hey, I'm crowdfunding today. Yeah, you and everybody else. You know what I mean? Hey, I got a, I got a movie. Yeah, you and everybody else.

Alex Ferrari 52:46
How many daily hits? Do you get a request on your for social media, for crowdfunding campaigns to promote their crowdfunding campaign crowdfunding

RB Botto 52:53
Campaigns, I probably get upwards of 25 a week, I would say, people I don't know. And request to read scripts, look at reels, you know, you name it, anything having to do with material, probably another 40 to 50 a week. So you're talking about, you know, 60 7080 people a week who I don't know, who have never had any prior engagement with me whatsoever. That only know that I have this this big network or, you know, have seen me talk somewhere or whatever, that feel compelled to just that I'm going to go Yeah, of course, you, you know, the 25 people that sent the crowdfunding campaign this week to me and said, you know, give me money or promoted, I'm gonna promote you. You know, you're the lucky winner.

Alex Ferrari 53:40
I get three of these cards out a week. Right? I go home with all three every week. too hard.

RB Botto 53:48
I won't even too hard on it. Is that too harsh? I will tell you this. Okay. It's got me I may sound like such a dick. But I mean, I'm not I'm really not. I hope everybody realized that. Honesty is a pure honesty, you know, hope you realize that that's not the case. But there are times there has never been a time sometimes I will get curious. And it's a morbid curiosity in a way. Sure. I will get the ones that people will say I have three days left, you have to help me hit my goal. And I actually have one of these in the book and I don't remember the exact number but I think it was close up mistaken. Somebody said to me, I got like three days left, or I have 12 hours left, like what can you do to help me push this thing and I clicked the link to see the project and what the goal was and where they were at. And it was a 75,000 goal that had like $380 in and I was like, check with 74 and change. No worries. Let me get that. Let me get that right out.

Alex Ferrari 54:46
I get that. But I get the executive producer credit though don't know.

RB Botto 54:53
But it really is. It's true if there is never been one time and this is God's honest truth. There is no Ever been one time where I have, click through where the goal at that point, like if somebody says only have a few days left with the goal has been anywhere over like 20 to 25%. And, you know, here's let me and let me take it in a positive direction to a lot of people just don't know. I mean, it's not you know, like I'm wishing you sane people late and there are there are people that are inherently lazy and people who do not want to put the work in. And you know, a lot of people who quit this business because they don't want to have they don't have the patience for relationship building and for cultivating those relationships and everything like that. But there are genuinely some genuinely some people that, you know, maybe they don't know where to go for the research, and they don't know what to do. And I wrote an article for medium like four years ago, because it was, you know, it was exactly what we're talking about. And it was called, you know, five mistakes you making on or I forget the exact name, it was something like five mistakes you're making on Twitter, as it relates to your crowdfunding campaign or something like that. And the thing got, like 8000 reads, it was crazy, it still gets a ton of reads. And but if you want to check it out, you just go to medium and it's RB walks into a bar, which is my Twitter handle on my Instagram, and you'll see the article there, it's still up there. But when people send me in this just just you know, you still try to be generous to people. And what will happen is when people do send me those crowdfunding campaigns, as long as they're not coming across as complete assholes, which some of them do, okay, if they're coming across me, like, Hey, you know, you think you could help me or whatever. And it's like, through a Twitter dm, or it's through social media, what I'll normally do is I'll say, No, I can't help you. I don't know you. We haven't built a relationship and and you know, that you're probably going about this the wrong way. Here is a you know, give this give this article read Nazi sentiment. But, but but here's the thing, right?

Alex Ferrari 56:49
You're doing them a favor, but they're like, you know what, fuck this guy

RB Botto 56:53
Was gonna say this is the surprising part. And this is what I'm saying. This is why not all people are bad. Sometimes they'll get radio silence. But I will tell you, more often than not, more often than not, people will write back and say thank you, though, sadly, you know what, I didn't realize that I didn't know that. Because they don't know. They just

Alex Ferrari 57:11
No, it's not taught. It's not taught. And it's not

RB Botto 57:13
You know, but here's the other part of it, you know, they go to Indiegogo, or they go to Kickstarter, and they see all these things up there, where they read the latest article about the latest success of the latest movie that played at schonbrunn. You know, crowds, the crowdfunded everything, and they think, Oh, I could do that, too. I know, 10 people that will give money to this thing, and I'm sure I can drum up another 50 that will do it. And it just doesn't work that way. It's you know, the people that have these usually successful crowdfunding campaigns. And this was actually a story of I was on on stage with a director at the Directors Guild, we were giving a talk at the Directors Guild a couple of weeks ago, and he told this great story about how, you know, they raised I forget what the number was, was, you know, but it was in the 10s of 1000s, high 10s. I think it was like 80, or something like that. And he said, Man, he goes, what I did, he goes, I went to like everybody else that you know, they talk about the friends and family week he goes, I went to the friends and family and I asked him straight out, like, What are you thinking about putting towards the project and not because I'm asking you, because I think you're gonna be cheap, or you're going to be overly generous or anything like that, I just want to have an idea of what I'm going to be dealing with afterward. And what he said was, okay, I know that I have this number coming in, I'm not going to launch this thing for another six months, because I still need about 80% more. So I'm going to spend six months, building my relationships, telling people what I'm doing shooting small clips of this showing people what I'm looking to do, explaining it, asking people to get involved, giving away, like, you know, spots on set, like who wants to be on set to come see it, you know, I'm gonna take some students that are interested if you know any, but things that made it look like hey, I'm a generous guy, which he is. And, you know, I want to give back, which he does, but I also need your help. And he blew by his total, because he's spent the six months doing that people don't want to spend those six months

Alex Ferrari 58:58
Imagine, but the thing that they only see is like that that film got into Sundance, and he crowdfunded it, they don't see all the work that goes behind the scenes and like, and that's a lot of dedication. I got to give it to him. That's a lot of dedication for one project.

RB Botto 59:12
But think about the flip side, Alex, I mean, right? What's the flip side, the flip side is is that you spend, you know, two months, you know, putting this in, you know, 45 days, let's say 40 days running a campaign. miserable because every day you're waking up going like this, no, money's coming in, no money's coming in, then you spend the next two to three months depressed, or three because it didn't work. What was the spending, and by the way, you spend those two to three months being depressed and angry, that didn't work and you walk away with less than what you came in with because you don't have the money. You don't have the relationships and you've lost all that time. As opposed to spending those six months building these unbelievable relationships. This is in bam, you know, the second crowdfunding campaign is always easier than the first because of this one. Fact. Everything that we just talked about.

Alex Ferrari 59:59
Will Right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

RB Botto 1:00:10
If you have a successful first campaign and you deliver on all your promises, when you go back that second time, people are going to be like, I don't give a shit, what movie you're making. I'm going in, I'm in with you. And that's the PT innocent thing I was talking about, you know, if PT Anderson had crowdfunded back in the day, if it was around, you know, Hard Eight, he said, Look, now I'm doing this, this Boogie Nights thing, and that extra would win, like, I'm all in. Are you kidding me? How can I help you know what I'm saying? Because I'm such a fan of you. And I'm so jazzed about what you're doing, and you got some serious chops, I want to be a part of that. So that's the thing is that you know, this relationship building and knowing your audience and how you engage them, and how you give them that ownership matters so much. And that's why, you know, it's where we came in. crowdsourcing to me right now is the most important topic for anyone looking to control their own content and build their brand or build a branded films. It just is, it just is it gives you a competitive advantage that other people don't have.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:06
Now, can you talk a little bit about the actual social media platforms? Which ones are the best for filmmakers or not? Obviously, besides stage 32? Well, if United States 32 you just you know, you're I mean, seriously? Come on, guys. It's free. It's free, guys. Come on

RB Botto 1:01:21
Yeah. Take your insulting word for that. I'm only kidding. I'm just kidding. I'm too harsh, too harsh, harsh. I, you know, oh, yeah, I absolutely should be on stage three to calm. And if you're not familiar with it, please put it into a browser, and please look at it. And I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. But But for me, look, everybody is different. Okay? I was never a Facebook guy. And it's one of the reasons why I started stage 32, I just didn't see any way to get traction on Facebook for my creative. And you know, the people that the connections that I knew that were on Facebook that were in the industry, they were still sharing pictures of their dogs and their salads and the babies and not really talk about the business. So that really had no appeal to me. And to me, look, to me, my time is my most valuable commodity. And if I'm going to spend time on social media networking, which I do every day, and which I treat, like a job, and you should too, and that's another thing that people make a mistake on. I want to be on networks that and platforms that get me the most bang for my buck for my time and give me the most access and the ability to you know, do all the things that we talked about earlier, you know, identify and engage in in a sort of a, you know, concise and quick manner, I guess, for lack of a better way of putting it to me, I mean, for me, personally, I'm on Twitter, and I've been on there for a while. And I like the fact that on Twitter, you it's very, very easy to share content, it's very, very easy to let people know that you're appreciative of the content that you're sharing, which by the way, is giving them value, and we can talk for a second. I'm also on Instagram. And the reason I like Instagram is because it is very easy with the hashtags on Instagram to be able to look at the various crafts and various aspects of the business and see who's posting on those things and connect with them. I think it's very easy to get to people. So those are the two that I really like the look of my suggestion would be you know, to find the ones that work for you just because I don't like Facebook. And because I think that they have majorly problems.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:29
Yes. Now definitely no, excuse me. They're just you know, and I go on a side note on Facebook, I personally don't like Facebook, I hate Facebook, when it's the largest. It's my largest social media platform. And I do get a tremendous amount of attention and traffic and I connect with a lot of people on Facebook, but their business model is so just pisses me off. I've got over 100 and I think 120,000 or as close to 120,000 followers on my my Facebook page, I could barely get to any of them without having to

RB Botto 1:04:05
I said I mean your same thing with the stage three toolkit. It's a joke. And I'm not going to say that, you know this, I'm not gonna say who said this Fallout was coming, but his initials are are be right now. I mean, seriously, I just, it's it's just a joke. Back to

Alex Ferrari 1:04:21
Back to MySpace, back to MySpace.

RB Botto 1:04:23
It is it is and it's why I'm you know, but again, I mean, I also you know, the content is being shared. You know, one of the things when when we were selling stationery too, and I told you I made a list of 100 people, one of the things I said to them is, you know, before I even told them what I was doing, I said I actually pulled them and I said what platforms are you on? And of course a lot of people at that time were saying Facebook and I said to them, okay, be honest with me for as long as you've been on Facebook and keep in mind these are all industry executives and you know, working creatives and I said you know what, have you gotten any jobs or anything that is giving you traction towards anything progressive for your career or for Facebook and to a man and a woman? They said no. And that's when I knew that I, you know, I needed to move forward with this thing and have sort of concentrated networking. And again, even though Twitter and Instagram are broad based social media sites, you can tailor it to become a niche social media site, which I do, that people I follow the hashtags that I get involved in. You know, all of it are, it's all film, and or business entrepreneurial related. And that's it, I don't worry about everything else, you know, I'm not on the hashtag, Mr. Trump sucks hashtag and I'm not, you know, it's, I'm doing the work, I'm doing the film stuff, you know what I mean? And that's what matters. So that's the other reason why I like those two platforms. But again, no matter what platform you're on, at the end of the day, it's really, really, really about what is the value that you bring what you know, part of my brand, and I know it's part of yours, Alex, is that part of my brand is to motivate and to inspire, and to educate. And to keep people that are serious about doing what they're doing in the game. To give them the support, I think as creatives, we're nothing without support, and you know, I preach that a lot. So, you know, a lot of what I post on social media is educational. It's it's inspirational, it's aspirational, I try to keep, you know, to those themes, and to those to that thought, those thoughts, because I think, you know, that's what I'm about, you know what I mean? And I think that people again, you need to know, what your brand is, I told this story again at film con this week. And it's it's it's just a, it's a state of the right now story. And I'll tell it really quick. But I mean, I got asked by a friend of mine, that Well, first, let me say I mean, again, not to lose his train of thought, the brand matters and what you put out there matters and how you put things out there matters. And this is a story about how it matters. We in this day and age, you know, a friend of mine was casting a film and said to me, Look, we have these two actresses that we love, they both have incredibly different takes on the part but they're both brilliant. We The room is split, we don't know what to do. We've had in Bolton three times, would you come down? And I said, Yeah, I'll come down. I said, you know, I'm not gonna be, I'll try to help. I said, You know, I don't want to be the one that you know, splits the room up. But I said, I'll come down. So I came down. And sure enough, they both were just brilliant. And for the next half hour, I watched the connection to this film, just struggle, and just you know, who liked this. And finally, one of the casting directors said, You know what, let's, let's see if there aren't, let's see what their online presence is, like, let's see what their online personas are like. And they went on to their Twitter accounts. And one of the actresses was posting a lot about the craft and helping people which is really, really cool. And posting some unbelievably unbelievably great content having to do with acting in the business and great videos and stuff like that. The other person, the other actress had, you know, almost every single post was political. Oh, no. Political, political, political and and, you know, getting into Twitter flame wars with people about politics. And this casting director turned around and said, Look, you know, done if this is you know, she, she she was very nice, but she may be very difficult to work with. And this one seems like a saint I think we should give it to her and everybody in the room when done. So this girl lost out on a job for better for worse or for right or wrong because of what her online brand was a brand wasn't a creative a brand was this firebrand Now look, you want to be a political activist, go be an activist, you you know, we all have very strong opinions on what's going on in the world right now. I think we all do, okay, I don't need to rage about them online, I can go to happy hour or to the dinner or, you know, and sit down with people and talk about it, you know, what I mean? I don't need to be raging to, you know, Billy 12345. And getting into a flame war with them, you know, about what's happening, you know, with with Trump or something, it's, you know, it's just not, it's, it's not smart. It's certainly not worth my time. If I want to be an activist about this, and I do do a lot of stuff behind the scenes that people don't know about. That's the point. I go, and I do it on my time when I feel like you know, it's the right time. But I don't need to be spending eight hours a day, doing it on social media I need to be on if I'm gonna have if I have eight hours a day and I'm gonna be on social media, you bet your ass and I'm going to be going out there making as many connections as I can, and helping as many people as I can and building those relationships because that's really what matters at the end of the day.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:49
Now, can you you were you said this earlier today that you treat social media like a job? Can you kind of elaborate a little bit on that because I think it's some very important to people here.

RB Botto 1:09:57
Absolutely. I spend at least an hour a day networking and on on relationship building. And that means that I'm usually a big majority that is usually on stage 32 connecting with people looking at, you know, who's joined recently, who's posting in the lounge, which is our version of the forums, like who's really contributing. You know, a lot of people don't understand we have Oscar winners Emmy winners, Tony winner, Tony Award winners, you know, influencers we have people that are on this site are amazing, they don't all they're not all out there every minute of every day. And some of them, you know, kind of stay behind the scenes a little bit, but they're not hard to find, if you put the work in, and it's not hard to put the work in, I spend, you know, I put a least a couple of posts on Twitter every day. And it's usually sharing content, I make sure to engage and respond to people who write to me, you know, and keep, you know, make them understand that if they're coming from a place of selflessness that is appreciated. And that I am going to, you know, engage with them. Same thing on Instagram, but I try to spend at least an hour every single day now, is it realistic with me running stage? 32, and writing and producing and all this other crap? Sometimes No, but you know what, I'll make it up on a weekend, I'll say, you know, the reality of situation is that I could be in line at Starbucks, and you know, be 10 deep, and it's gonna take me 20 minutes to get to the front. I could be doing 20 minutes and networking, as opposed to watching YouTube videos, cat videos,you know what I mean?

Alex Ferrari 1:11:25
But those cat videos with the cucumbers are funny, though. Yeah. person, I know I'm a dog. That's why I like when the cats get scared, because I'm a dog person. We're gonna add some cucumbers, and I had 7000 jokes, and none of them are perfect. None of them are appropriate. Anyone, anybody who has two seconds, just type in cat and cucumber and YouTuber, you find out what I'm talking about. But anyway, you're absolutely right. Not me hashtag Not me. But you're right, you're right. You could be doing work while waiting in line at the bank or at Starbucks or wherever you are.

RB Botto 1:12:03
While and it's just, you know, people make excuses all the time. I'm too busy. I'm too this. I'm too that low. There are plenty of times where I get out. I mean, you and I are exchanging emails this morning, I think at 545 in the morning. I mean, it's it's, I mean, it's just the truth. I mean, it's there are days where a short, I'd love to lay in bed, you know, until seven or whatever. But it's like, you know, there's a million other things that need to get done. And I'm not saying that you should work to the point of exhaustion. And what I'm saying to you is, is that if it matters, that, you know, sacrifices have to be made. I mean, the thing that changed my entire screenwriting path, for example, was when I sat and said, okay, for the next six months, you know, I had written a few good scripts, I felt pretty good. Anyway, let me let me rephrase that three scripts that I felt were ready to be seen and be out in the marketplace and be out in front of people that could make a difference, and, you know, the gatekeepers and all that. And so I'm gonna spend the next six months, you know, I'm going to cut down on the amount of nights about going to dinner, the amount of nights I'm out, you know, going to happy hour going to, you know, drink with the guys or whatever the amount of, you know, this Starbucks, I'm going to get and whatever, and I'm going to make, you know, a little bit of a war chest for myself, I'm going to invest in myself. And that means I'm going to really put in the time, you know, with the relationship building and the networking and making those connections. And I really did for six months, and you know, I sacrifice a little sleep here and there and, you know, got up a little earlier, went to bed a little late and whatever. And it made all the difference in the world. You know, I ended up landing, my manager ended up getting the option of the film, that's a COVID that you referenced earlier. I mean, all these things happened during that time period. But it was it was a absolute commitment to putting in that time. So when I hear people say, Oh, man, you know, who has the time to build relationships? I just sit there and I go, I gotta make it.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:52
But you watch three hours of Netflix tonight? Wow. That's the other thing too. It's like, you know, people. I mean, yeah, you watch three hours of Netflix a night you. You're chilling out, there's always time. Oh,

RB Botto 1:14:03
And here's the thing you so right, man. And here's the thing we talked about earlier about your brand on social media and your brand and your brand and your brand. Just understand something you can't hide on social media. So what'll end up happening is I'll get people that will write me like we'll do a podcast like this and or I'll do like an on stage or video on stage 32 and people writing privately and they'll be like, you know, I heard you talk about like, you know, the sacrifices and I heard you saying that you got to do this. Man. I gotta tell you it's just so difficult because I have this dad. The other thing is, and the first thing that I will do when I hear people bitching, moan like that is I will go to Twitter or Instagram usually Twitter and because Twitter is more of the microblogging, kind of Sure. And I will go look at that account. And more often than not, it'll be somebody being like just yeah, just took in 10 episodes a house.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:56
Like what a great season of Stranger Things

RB Botto 1:15:00
Season Five was much better. It's a good jump to season eight now whatever, like, you know, it's like, and you sit there and go, Oh, really? No. Oh, yeah, you don't have time.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:12
Right? So, so RB tell us where we can find this book.

RB Botto 1:15:17
Ah, you can find it on Amazon. anywhere, anywhere where Amazon delivers books, I think if you're listening to this in the UK, I think they have their own special link. But you can if you're in a place where you can't get it delivered through Amazon, you could go to focal press. They have the book as well, and they deliver anywhere on the world.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:36
And I'll put the links in the show notes.

RB Botto 1:15:38
Yeah, but you know, it's definitely obviously available on Amazon, for kindle and in paperback. And as a textbook, because as these things go, and I'm very, very pleased about this, apparently, there's quite a few schools interested in teaching it. The one thing that I will say about this book, and you know, focal, you know, they kind of come from an academic angle. And my agreement with them was that I did not want this to be sort of a stuffy book. So you know, if you've enjoyed listening to this podcast and the banter I have with Alex, that's exactly where you're gonna get the book, I guess, I called him I said, Listen, you're gonna get my voice. There's not going to be any End of Chapter homework assignments and checklists, and all this happy horseshit, I said, it's going to be me talking and making it fun. And I and I do think it's a very, very fun book. And

Alex Ferrari 1:16:29
I mean, your, your first chapter alone is called allow myself to introduce myself, I so that already tells you the attitude of the book.

RB Botto 1:16:38
A tone is set early on. Yeah, yeah. So you know, much of my editors, Har, when I had that, and then at first and then then they were like, all right, this is really, really freakin funny. And it should do well, and it has. So I mean, so I'm pleased with that. But that's, that's what you'll get, you'll get, you know, it's a very, very fun read. And, and just, I mean, a ton of information. So, and, and all the case studies as well, which I was very, very grateful. And it really was one of the reasons why it took so long to write the book. You know, part of it was being tied up with other projects and everything like that. But part of it also was, I had so many great people that contributed and, you know, when you have as many people, as you know, added their two cents to this book, and, you know, help helped out with case studies and everything like that, you know, it takes a lot of time to collect all that information and get it all in. And that's one of the reasons it took so long, but I think it was well worth it. Because I think the case studies alone are worth their weight in gold.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:33
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Now you not only are you an author, not only you are the CEO of running states 32. And I'm a screenwriter and all sorts of other things you do. You actually did a little bit of acting this year, for the first time in a long time. Is that true? Why? Yes, it is Alex. So are. So the story is guys that are B is actually in on the corner of ego and desire. He plays a pivotal character in the movie that I just shot at Sundance. And, you know, I remember I texted you. And I said, Well, I told you a few months earlier than I was gonna do it. And you looked at me like you're fucking nuts. No. I always I always look at me like a fucking duck.

RB Botto 1:18:23
That's true. Yeah. But I would I you know, I always, again, I, you talked about crowdsourcing, and you talked about relationship building, but the minute I met you, the kindred spirit, which is really interesting, because again, you don't have everything in common with somebody either. But you know, Alice doesn't drink. You know, I've been known to, you know, maybe once every few months have a cocktail. I'm vegan. He's vegan. And you know, he's not I hunt for my own food. You know, I you know, Alex, if I asked him to go to a baseball game, he would be like, is that the big orange ball?

Alex Ferrari 1:18:57
The first of all, that's true. If you don't know I played baseball, I play football played basketball. I know that I know, that actually did tell me that I have played so yes, I don't do it often now. But I you know,

RB Botto 1:19:12
And it also but we bonded over not only love to film but but that we're I think we're kindred spirits and that missions are very, very much the same. And that we, you know, we do like to give and we do like, you know, the everything that surrounds what we do on a day to day basis is very, very, very similar. It's almost exactly the same. So I consider you a brother, so when you said that to me. I was like, of course you're going to do and and the other thing too, is you

Alex Ferrari 1:19:35
Actually did say that.

RB Botto 1:19:36
Yeah, your work ethic is insane. I mean, they you know, other than that, which I also love and and, you know, he's like, yeah, you know, I just pumped out like 40 podcasts. I got like, 20 blogs going off. And I always shoot a movie at Sundance. I'm like, Yeah, of course. Yeah. Why wouldn't you? Why not?

Alex Ferrari 1:19:52
Exactly. Well, I was tempted but there was only four days. But so what so what I just I texted him. A few I think it was like a week or so before. And I said, Hey, I wrote this part for you, you know, will you be in it? And he's like, of course, of course, I'll be edit. Let me know what you need me to do. And he shows up to the scene, which we won't break down too much as I don't want to ruin the scene. But he shows up to the scene. It's late. There's there might be a couple of drinks in you. Well, it was a party. It was a chatter party is at a party, and then you just do like, so what am I doing? Like literally had to tell you that, like we broke down the whole thing, because there was no script that was based on a script. So we kind of work the scene out. I mean, we had the scene structured there. But it was all just kind of done in the moment. Yeah, while we're batting off drunks trying to get out into the balcony.

RB Botto 1:20:47
Right. Yeah, it was it was an interesting. Yeah. So yeah, I'll tell you my version. Yeah. Tell me.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:53
I want to hear from your side of the fence by side of the bed cuz I'm on my side of the fence. I'm literally in the party holding the light up at the ceiling, bouncing it at you while I'm going. Action. Action.

RB Botto 1:21:04
Exactly. Right. So yes, it is true that Alex asked me Actually, you actually asked me a while ago, but then you texted me and said, so we're definitely doing this. And I'm like, Oh, yes, yes. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So yeah, whatever, whenever you need me, and whenever I'm gonna be up there for you know, like, seven days or however many days we're gonna be up there. And, you know, every day available at this time you bet like not, you know, gonna do this night. I can't do it tonight. And you know, on both ends, and then finally, I'm like, dude, we he say, Alex says, I'm leaving tomorrow. He goes, like, we got to do it tonight. And I'm like, Well, what time tonight? And he's like, well, we'll figure it out. I'm like, we'll figure it out. I mean, because you're here at Sundance, if you know anything about it, there is 6 million events going on at once you're being pushed and pulled in everything. It's like you got to be here. You got to be there, like your show face for five seconds, five seconds just running around the freakin town. Not that I'm complaining. I'm just saying that's just the fact. And but this party that Alice is going to film that does go on every year. And it's one of the you know, well known parties and it's in like a double condo kind of thing. And it's, you know, it's probably why a couple 100 people there you'd think, Oh,

Alex Ferrari 1:22:07
God, it was packed this year.

RB Botto 1:22:09
Yeah. I mean, it was crazy. At least a couple 100 people they released. An artist goes, we're gonna film at the freaking party. I'm like, How the hell is he going to film at the party now? I'm thinking like, okay, maybe before the party starts, we'll have a couple of people that don't act as like extras. Whatever. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. As the night going on, I'm getting the texts. And I'm like, now? No, not yet. Not yet. So no, you

Alex Ferrari 1:22:31
Showed up before the party. Don't forget, you showed up before the party. Just just kind of say hi. Hi, there. That's right. You came by you're like, Okay, so what's going on? I'm like, yeah, it's gonna be later tonight. We're shooting other stuff right now. Yeah. Fantastic. Great. Yeah, I'll see. I'll see you around 12 1230.

RB Botto 1:22:44
And I sit down, especially, you know, okay, that you know, that the the sort of meetings and the parties and everything started at like noon. So I can't promise you that I'm going to be completely coherent at this point.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:56
And, you know, I was I was I was, I was actually counting on it, sir.

RB Botto 1:22:59
Okay, not to be right. So a couple more card cocktails. And now I walk in, and I just want to emphasize that Alex stated earlier, and I want you guys heard if you want to rewind a deal, you'll hear him say it again, that he wrote apart for me. Yeah, I did. And I walked in and I said, Okay, so where's the script? And he goes, Oh, no, no, it's no script. Sample there. That's what I wrote it. There wasn't script meant,

Alex Ferrari 1:23:26
But I just give you the script. And I could just explain it to you

RB Botto 1:23:29
Go stand over a script. He goes stand over there. And I'm like, stand over here. He goes, and I go, and he's like, okay, and all of a sudden, they're setting up lights, and I meet the other actors and all this stuff. They're like, hey, it's so great to be working with you. I'm like, that's fantastic. I go Do You Do any of you know what the hell this movie is about? What's going on? I go, I go, you know, Alex told me like, they know that, like, months ago what the idea was, but so the idea was right, and remember the idea so I got that. And then they're like, okay, so you notice, so then finally I pull out this? He's like, Okay, I think we're getting set up. I think we're gonna just be a couple months away from shooting and I'm like, Alright, I guess he seriously like, you know, just,you know.

Alex Ferrari 1:24:06
Two minutes. I just need two minutes.

RB Botto 1:24:08
Yeah, give me a nugget. Give me you know, I mean, like word association. And it sounds like you're already paying whatever you want. I'm like even Brando was able to I'm not I'm comparing myself to Brandon with each brand that he could pin the lines to Jimmy Khan's chest and the Godfather. I'm like do something hold up a cube hold this something What do you need me to do?

Alex Ferrari 1:24:27
I'm very Cassavetes that way.

RB Botto 1:24:30
And but then, you know, it was explained to me and I totally got it and it was awesome. And then we It was hilarious because we filmed part of the scene inside the room. And then Alex says, Okay, now we got to take it outside. And it was about six degrees out

Alex Ferrari 1:24:49
Exaggerate. It was like

RB Botto 1:24:51
It was at like eight degrees. And you know, of course none of us wearing jackets or anything and he was always just to be outside for like two minutes and we were outside for about 30

Alex Ferrari 1:24:59
Warm because you had You drink in your hand

RB Botto 1:25:01
Drinking my hand and and it was, it was truly truly an awesome experience. Basically everybody who's somebody in Hollywood has seen this movie. Alice, let me see it. Until we have our date together. I have to go. I have to go somewhere with him to watch it with him even though ever to

Alex Ferrari 1:25:19
Watch it anyway,

RB Botto 1:25:20
I haven't seen it. You know, I have not seen it. I you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:25:23
Not everybody in Hollywood to see. Let's just exaggerate just just a few Academy Award winners. But that's it just emailed me and they're like, dude, congratulations on your greatness. I'm like, How? Like, what is happening? RV? Actually, I was I filmed God. And he like first words out of his mouth when he sees me a film con. He's like, I've got a bone to pick with you. How the hell is this guy? See it before? I got it? Oh, yeah, we got it. I can't believe he told you.

RB Botto 1:25:53
Unbelievable, man. Unbelievable. No, it was an amazing experience. And I gotta say, I mean, you know, all in all seriousness, I mean, kudos. I mean, it's, it's amazing what you pulled off and how you did it. And also, I gotta say, the actors that I got to work with, you know, it's, it's interesting for me, because I, you know, I started as an actor in theater, I haven't done a lot of acting in a long time. And, you know, it's interesting how it, a lot of it comes back to you from the standpoint of being in front of other actors and you had and you know, and just that listening and just, you know, that that thing where you just kind of relax because acting is reacting kind of thing. And in, that's all I kept saying to myself is just, you know, react to whatever is being thrown at you. And these three actors that you put me in the scene with, were just so good. And so giving, and it just reminded me of, you know, the best people I work with in theater back in the day back in New York, that you know, that the best ones were always the ones that gave so much in these three actors are just amazing, and you will grade and just all that it was just such a, it was an awesome experience. And it was you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:27:01
It was it was a little It was such a wonderful, you know, when you came in, because there were still bets out there. We're like Arby's not kind of come on, like our base comment. are really they don't know my brand. I go Arby's gonna be here. I promise you he would not he would never do that to me. He's gonna be I promise you. And they're like, I don't know. I don't know it's getting late. It's on 1230 or anything like that. Don't worry, RP will be or promise and then show up. And exactly what I expected you to have you had the exact amount of alcohol in you that I want. So you were exactly he was very you were being very Daniel Day, because you would literally method because you were the producer at the party at the time that we were filming was pretty much the time they would have found you at the party. It was like 1231. And we're shooting this seat. And I was like, This is perfect. So Arby's just, you have enough alcohol on you. So you're not too subconscious about your performance. So you're just rolling with it. And it just kind of flowed. And the one thing I loved that you did was I wanted you to be a bigger dick in the scene. And you couldn't be you're like Alex, I care. I can't because I actually busted out some lines for you on my paper that I wrote for you. And I said, read this and you're like I can't I can't do that. Like I can't I can't I can't say this. So because you're unwilling this to be a dick is seen work so much better. Because on top of it, it was authentic to who you were as a human being. And because of that came straight off onto the screen. And the other actress felt it as well. So the whole scene, I cried when I edited that scene for the for I called you when I was editing it I'm like I'm bawling on the scene because I've been in that scene too many times in my life to to count, so it was just a wonderfully emotional scene. It's a great scene. And and you killed it and you killed it. It was it was really, really wonderful to watch you go through all that I know you had a ball because you're you some outtakes that you had the stuff that I can't wait to see that stuff that was coming out of her mouth was it's

RB Botto 1:29:18
Oh, man, you know, and that's the thing too. It's so funny. It's interesting that you brought up the part about because you did say that to me from the beginning. You were like you're going to be you know, you got to be a deck and you got to be you know, you're the producer and you know they're coming to you and and it was what was interesting was again, that's that that instinct that I was talking about that it was so bizarre to me almost like out of body in a weird way that it came back in that way and like almost like flashbacks to being doing stage plays and stuff was that this like, it's not that I couldn't play that but because what they would giving me I didn't feel like I wanted to do that and and that was so interesting to me in the aftermath and but it's really, really cool. You know, I just like I said, and that that's just speaks to how awesome those actors who are.

Alex Ferrari 1:30:06
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

RB Botto 1:30:16
But it was just just going back a notch. You know, the funny thing, the funny side to this whole entire thing that you were talking about them saying, I'm not gonna show up, not gonna show up. Where I was prior to coming there was I was at the COVID Media party show philia, which played at Sundance and again, COVID is the company that bought my screenplay that's in development on my screenplay with a yada, and so I'm not despite having really good time. And I know a lot of people there, and I'm like, I gotta go. And they're like, What do you mean, you got to go because this party is going to like two in the morning? And I'm like, No, no, I gotta go. And they're like, what do you gotta go? I'm like, I gotta go to the movie. And they're like, What do you mean, you're? Like, every, like every single person. I said, it's because every single person that was like, when you go in, I'm like, I gotta go do a scene for a movie, though. Like, you're going to watch a movie that we catch in a midnight screening? Like, no, no, I have to go act in a movie. And then like, What do you mean, your act? It was just our Go man was

Alex Ferrari 1:31:09
Actually, actually your director was at that party. Yeah. And your director, when I met him at film con, he's like, wait a minute, you're the movie he went to go do? Cuz he tells telling everybody who's gonna go into a movie. I thought he was just biessing. It's like, no, it's really, no, but that was the funny part about the whole thing is like, anytime I mentioned it to anybody, I'm like, Oh, I'm shooting a movie. no one understood what I was talking about. Because it's just something that's never been done. And you really don't do. Now, you know, and shoot a full feature film at Sundance, it's just not something that's done, or ever has been done. So when you say you're doing it, you sound like a crazy person. So I'm sure the looks that you were getting, you're like, I'm sorry, what? You're shooting a movie.

RB Botto 1:31:53
What? Oh, it's hilarious. You're filming a scene? My god, no. And I mean, it just the way you guys went about it, like I said, and the efficiency, they you know, again, and that's the other part of it, too. And, you know, we've gone through this whole, this whole podcast, you know, talking about the things you need to do, and not making excuses and everything like that, like your what you did up there. And you know, even what you do what you did with this mag and you know, it's so impressive. And it's leading by example, on a lot of ways you mean, you're practicing what you preach, which is, you know, no excuses. And you can go do it. And you don't necessarily need to raise a ridiculous amount of money and you don't get, you know, there's ways around everything. And there's ways to tackle it. And it's just the people that you know, the people that really, really want to do it and the creatives that really, really want to do it find a way and that was the thing that was so impressive about that. That's why when you I mean you, I did get to see the trailer. Yeah, when you send me the trailer, you know, I was blessed with the, you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:32:50
I should have held back with the viewing of the trailer. I you know, I felt like when I said to the trailer, you Your reaction was priceless.

RB Botto 1:33:00
Yeah, I was like, Yeah, I was, I was, first of all, I was stunned. I'm like, well, I've been graced with the trailer. But I watched it. I was like, you know, because, you know, this scenes on the shadow. And there's scenes in the street. And this, he and I sat there, and I just said to myself, like, you know, this is a perfect example of, you know, where there's a will there's a way and where, you know, if you really, really want to go do it, you're going to find a way to do it. And, you know, I was reading an article recently, it was funny, I forget which Hitchcock movie it was, but they were talking about one of the stars was talking about him, you know, him stealing shots on the New York Street. And you know, that, yeah, they were talking about the fact that they just didn't even want to wait for the goddamn permits or something like that, or the cops to move them from one street to the next or whatever. And Hitchcock was like, screw it, like, you know, I mean, when I was just gonna do it, I you know, and the point of the matter that what they were trying to get across was Hitchcock's mentality in that moment was Audible, and our and our mission Above all, and I think that's what everybody has to embrace, not saying go out there and break the law. Although I, you know, I'm saying, you know, it's

Alex Ferrari 1:34:12
In your, in your early days, you might have fractured if you have a you know,

RB Botto 1:34:17
Less than less than maybe my brand indicates but you know, but you get my point where there's a will there's a way and that was what was so much that was so impressive what you get what you did, I mean, and you know, hopefully I'll get to see it before you know, its actual major festival or something like that. Or if I don't get to see it until it said a major festival, maybe I'll get an invite or, you know, maybe somebody will, you know, record a couple of scenes on their iPhone and

Alex Ferrari 1:34:41
I don't know if I said it or you said it, but I know what I think when you saw the trailer you're like, Wow, it looks like a real movie. I think I said I knew it would look like a real movie. I knew I did not say that. But I will not be I will not My bread will not be tarnished, sir on your pod

RB Botto 1:35:04
Bag comment hung on me. I can see I can see that on the post there. Wow, let's take a study

Alex Ferrari 1:35:15
That is so going on the poster now. Exactly. Alright, so a few last questions cuz you know as I expected this This interview is gonna go long and we could probably keep talking for a few hours I record by the way i think is like two hours and 40 minutes on that. Oh forgot I forgot that that the Oscar special we did. So this is number six. Oh my God, that's another one. Wow, people got a really I'm gonna I'm laughing the field right now. Okay, so, um, what advice would you give a filmmaker screenwriter wanting to break into the business today in today's world?

RB Botto 1:35:52
First and foremost, control as much as you can control. I think that people are so anxious to give stuff away these days. Like, you know, for example, writers were just having this conversation yesterday with a development executive at a very, very big production company that I was having lunch with who, you know, she said, you know, writers are and filmmakers are so anxious to get representation and to, you know, just kind of give away everything. And they think that by doing it by relinquishing that control, things are going to move forward. But at the end of the day, really, you are your own best advocate. And you always will be to me in this day and age controlling it, you know, where we're living in such a content rich and sort of a renaissance really of content. Creation, I think that if you can control as much as you can control for as long as you can control it, you're going to win more days than you lose. And, and the other point about breaking in is to just realize, again, not to beat a dead horse, but it's the truth. That the way you get a competitive advantage in this business is is treating that relationship building which you could start doing today as job and recognizing the fact that this is a marathon and not a sprint. It is a freakin win. If you can embrace that philosophy, by the way, yep, you can embrace that philosophy that this is a long game. Like when people say I'm going to give myself two years, like I get this MAC there's I get this from writers I get this from filmmakers, like I moved out to La Liga, myself two years, it's been done because you're not you're gonna be you're setting a ticking clock on yourself, which is never a good thing. Like me saying earlier, I decided I was gonna take six months to be serious about that's a totally different, that's a strategy. Okay. I wasn't saying that. If I didn't get traction, I was saying that I knew I would get some traction because I was gonna put in the time and the effort and I was confident and but the people that you know, kind of step in and it's their first day or if they even been around for a year and they say, oh, man, it's nothing's happening. You have to instead of looking at the business and saying it's so tough, okay, you have to look at the things that make it easier. You have to give yourself the competitive advantage. That you know, Cato, I know we've gone kind of long, but I thought it was from a screenwriting perspective, for example, okay, I'll just use screenwriting. When I first started screenwriting. And again, I produce for years, so I it's not like I didn't know how many screenwriters out there and a lot of stuff, but it's different when you're doing it. And when I was doing it, I remember going to a panel where somebody said, you know, let me tell you, man, it's tough out there, there are 50,000 scripts that get registered with the W ga every year. And those are just the ones that get registered. There are hundreds of 1000s being written every year and being submitted around time. And everybody got deflated, right. But I started thinking about that. And I started talking to people in the business, right? And here's what I learned after talking to a lot of people. Sure. There are 50,000 scripts that are submitted to the web every year, probably 45,000 of them are complete garbage. And that's not a lie. Okay. Sure. And people who are in the know, and people who read these things, and people who read for contests will tell you this, okay? Then you sit there and you go, okay, out of those 5000. And by the way, it's probably more than 40.

Alex Ferrari 1:39:01
I was gonna say it's probably more than 40.

RB Botto 1:39:02
Let's, let's see, let's say let's say it's 49,000. Because I don't even think that that's algebra. I don't mean shit, but not good enough, because it needs to be good. Okay, so at least 1000 scripts, right? Out of those 1000. Some people are going to have connections that are going to allow them to get reads, and a lot of people aren't. If you're one of those people that are going to get read, you know, maybe you're cutting it down to 500. Maybe you're cutting it down to 250. And I'm talking about a great script that gets reads. Okay. So what I'm saying is, I could keep going down the list because there's my five other things I could name but the point of the matter is, is that once I started thinking about it in those terms, the first thing I said to myself was, I have got to write a script that is undeniably the best I can do. Okay, and then second thing I need to do is make sure that I am doing everything in my power to win champions that want to go out there and tell other people that they know you need to read this script and I need to be making those Relationships directly with people that can move the needle on my career. And that's all I set out to do. And within two years, I had a manager. Okay. And within, you know, six months after that, I had, you know, the paid option a covert and it's it you know, so because it shorten the game, because that's what I focused on. So, control what you can control. Don't listen to all the noise. Don't listen to all the naysayers. If you hear the statistics, and then negative, understand that for every negative statistic, there's a positive side to it be the positive side of it.

Alex Ferrari 1:40:32
Now, can you tell me what book had the biggest impact on your life or career?

RB Botto 1:40:38
Man? That's a tough question. I know. You said he sent me a question like two minutes before we went on. So you give me a lot of time

Alex Ferrari 1:40:42
So I can get so I could at least I sent it to you

RB Botto 1:40:44
Spontaneously, as you did send it to me. Best Yeah. It's tough to say one book. I mean, business wise, there's been quite a few. And I think sometimes business, you know, it translates again, because we're all entrepreneurs onto the creative side. So I did like zero to one by Peter Thiel. Recently, I'm talking about things that more recent, this year one, creativity, Inc, I think is an amazing book. It's such

Alex Ferrari 1:41:09
A great book, that's it's such a ggeat book

RB Botto 1:41:10
And I mean, it gives you and it gives you have a look into the philosophy of all this stuff. And the philosophy of being creative and the philosophy of sort of, you know, creating sometimes in isolation, but then having to collaborate. It's very, very interesting stuff. I highly recommend that book. You know, this was so many and that, you know, for the business side of things, I mean, I mean, from the industry side, you know, the William Goldman books, which Why did I, oh, are great, because, you know, again, the reason I love the golden books, I mean, the timeless and a lot of ways, even though, you know, he wrote some of the biggest movies of the 60s and 70s. And he still continued into the 80s 90s. You know, he's such a, he's such a straight shooter. And he's, you know, he, there's no bullshit with them, which I love. He's unvarnished. And the great thing about it is that you realize when you read a book like that, that even the biggest and the best on the grind, always, never get off the freakin grind. People I say this to people all the time, okay? airways has all gotten, you know, become a star, it's so much easier you get a manager. And I'm like, Listen, man, here's the two examples I'll give you Spielberg had to go to India to get the money for Lincoln. Scorsese had the rights to silence for 30 something years or 20 something years, and nobody would make it with them. Okay. You know, he had to find a champion, he had to find somebody that was willing to go to war and go to bat and that understood what he was looking to do. And it didn't end up working out great as far financially maybe. But the point of the matter is, is that even as big as you want, as he is, you know, that he, you know, he was on the grind with that with that property for over 20 something years. So, you know, that's the reason I like which lie. Did I tell when or Oh, I'm sorry. No, it's I'm sorry. Yes, I wish I told you. It's adventures in the screen trade, the golden books. She's in the screen trade, and more adventures in the screen trade. Which line Did I tell?

Alex Ferrari 1:43:10
Oh, I forgot.

RB Botto 1:43:12
Linson Linton I think, I think IBM that's a good book too. But uh, but but the the golden books are better. Rebels on the black backlog is another good one. It's all about the indie renaissance in the late 90s. And follows the careers of Tarantino and PT Anderson. And as you

Alex Ferrari 1:43:29
Rise, et rise, Rachel's,

RB Botto 1:43:32
The reason I like, well, is that instead of life changing, or they changed my life, what they did was they gave me enormous perspective into the inner workings of this business. And the more you understand the inner workings of this business, and the more you understand that, nobody does anybody, nobody's going to greenlight a project as a favor. Okay. You don't I'm saying like, people are like, Wow, it must be easy, like, wow, you know, like, you could just write something. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, you everything has to be excellent. You may open a door, you may get a door open because of a favor and because your relationships in fact, you will, okay. But that's the thing, your craft, your your ability to build relationships get you in the room, and your craft wins the room.

Alex Ferrari 1:44:14
Amen. Amen. And what's the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

RB Botto 1:44:20
I think I'm still learning I think the film business you always are, but I think the film business one. I think that, you know, when I was there was a piece of advice that I got when I was acting that changed everything. For me perspective wise, when I was going on auditions, and that was, you know, I can't you know, and especially in the man that theater actors in New York are a breed unto themselves. I mean, you know, everybody, you know, goes on all these auditions and then they, you know, everybody goes drinks and you know, they go they go me down by Broadway and all the places that the Broadway actors go who are By the way, even though once a Broadway a bitching just as much as the ones that can't get jobs, anywhere. You know, I went in and I'm like, Ah, you know, this casting director, table this and that. And with this experienced actor who was a friend of mine just turned to me at one point, and just he pulled me to the side. And he just said, you know, they want to like you, right? You know, they want to hire you, right? They don't want to think you bad. They don't want to think you're not right. They want to think you, right? Their job is to find you. You know, what I mean? Is that it put me on my heels, because I looked at everything as being sort of adversarial, right? Because this is such a business of No. And that's the thing. I mean, we hear no, every freaking day, and it is a business and no, that made me sit there and say, Okay, alright, everybody has a job to do in this business. Everybody has somebody to answer to in this business, everybody, if you're a producer, you got to answer to the financier as if you're a filmmaker, you got to answer the producers, and so on and so forth. Okay. Nobody wants to work with people who make their jobs more difficult. So that life lesson of sort of, you know, look, if you get criticism, you know, like, especially for people who get notes, if you're a filmmaker, if you're a screenwriter, and you get notes, to not be defensive, even if you think the notes sucks, you got to fucking digest it, you got to parse it, and you got to apply it either in the script or in the film, or apply it to a lesson, apply it to something, apply it in a way that you say, you know what, I reject that, but that's fine. You know, everything, you need to absorb everything. And you can't be what you can't be worried about deflecting everything at all times. Because at the end of the day, you're going to run into people that know what the hell they're talking about, you're going to run into people that don't know what the hell they're talking about, you're going to run into two people that know exactly what they're doing, who have completely different opinions about your art or your talent. It doesn't matter. It's how you navigate it. And if you navigate it, with an openness, and with class, and with charm, but inside, just understanding that everything that everything that comes out of somebody's mouth is a piece of information to be digested, parsed, and then applied in some way. That's how you're going to win. And that was the lesson that I kind of took away from that conversation. And that helped me enormously when I went out for my first piece of screenwriting feedback, and was like, No, for five minutes. I was like, these assholes don't realize what a great frickin script that was I sat there and I thought about my friend, my acting friend and I went, well, maybe they do know a little bit more than I do. And maybe I should listen to this and be and once I did that, I had a totally different perspective on things. And so that's the biggest lesson I think as it relates to the business.

Alex Ferrari 1:47:45
Now, where can people find you? My home address, yes, a home address, if you could please address and

RB Botto 1:47:54
They can find me. Obviously, you can find me on stage 32 if you're on stage 32 and you just put literally states that youtube.com\RB will go right to my account. But if you if you haven't signed up to stage 32 when you do, the first thing you'll see on your wall is me. That's an automated message but every other every other posts that you see from me on that site and I think it's over 300,000 now I've been told by my tech team is me as me responding so you can feel free to write me and send me a DM I am on Twitter and Instagram like I said earlier at RB walks into a bar exactly what it sounds like our B bar and as one of my friends says and nobody walks out and also on medium RB walks into a bar for some of my content. And obviously the book crowdsourcing for filmmakers indie film to color the crowd is on Amazon.

Alex Ferrari 1:48:45
RB This is as has been an epic interview as always, sir. Epic conversation as always my friend.

RB Botto 1:48:53
Absolutely always my favorite, bro.

Alex Ferrari 1:48:57
You drop some major knowledge bombs today to the tribe. And I think I think this is this this should be included. This little in this conversation should be included in every copy of crowd crowd sourcing for filmmakers, but a little USB and I'm just saying,

RB Botto 1:49:11
Hey, listen, I'd be down with if I can get my publisher to answer my emails. I don't know.

Alex Ferrari 1:49:17
Thank you my friend as always.

RB Botto 1:49:18
Thank you Alex. I appreciate it brother.

Alex Ferrari 1:49:21
As promised there were some major knowledge bombs dropped in this episode. RB thank you so much for coming on spending the time with the tribe and hopefully educating everybody a bit about crowdsourcing and the importance of of crowdsourcing when trying to create a sustainable, independent film career. Now if you want to get RB's book, you can head over to indiefilmhustle.com/230 for the link to his book and everything else we discussed in this episode. And before I go, I got two announcements if you have not signed up yet for the bulletproof screenplay podcast My new podcast dedicated to just this craft and business of screenwriting, head over to screenwritingpodcast.com and sign up on iTunes. Or you could just go to bulletproofscreenplay.com And it'll take you to the website where you can sign up through any of your favorite providers. And announcement number two, don't forget April 9, we are releasing Susan Lyons, indie film producing master class, it's over six hours of a workshop that she usually charges 20 $500 to attend, and I convinced her to let me record it so I can bring it to you guys. The indie film hustle tribe it is invaluable in it'll teach you everything you need to know about how to raise money contracts, sag deals, everything you need, on how to produce an indie film. And if you want to get in early and get early access plus a small discount is well email me at [email protected] I'll put you on the list. And you will get the course a little earlier than everybody else. And you're going to get a discount from the normal $90 price tag. And that is the end of this episode. Guys. Don't forget Wednesday we'll be releasing a new episode of The bulletproof screenplay podcast as well. And then we'll have another brand new episode at the end of the week that you guys for all the support and please make sure to tell as many people as you can if you if you could tell five friends about the podcast about what we're doing at indie film hustle to get the word out for everybody to help as many filmmakers as we can. I greatly greatly appreciate it. And as always, keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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