fbpx

IFH 591: How NOT to Get Screwed Over by a Distributor with John Kim

If you are a filmmaker that want to sell your movie to the marketplace then this is MUST listen to conversation. Today on the show we have John Kim, Founder and CEO of Deep C Digital Distribution.

With 25+ years of sales and marketing experience, John has sold over 3,000 independent and major studio movies and TV shows to all the major digital, cable, and retail platforms. As Vice President of Digital Distribution at Paramount, he managed the Digital Sales Team and digital account relationships.

Prior to this experience, he spent 10 years at Paramount and Disney managing over $1 Billion dollars of DVD/Blu-ray catalog business. Before entering the home entertainment industry, he served as a Brand Manager at Nabisco and a Marketing Director at Mattel.

Recently, John co-founded with Tyler Maddox, Voices Film Foundation (VFF), a nonprofit corporation uniting all people of color in the entertainment industry. John is a graduate of Yale University and has an MBA from the Kellogg Management School of Business at Northwestern University.

This is, by far, one of the most important conversations I have ever had on the show. Get ready to take notes. Enjoy my conversation with John Kim.

Right-click here to download the MP3

John Kim 0:00
As we flip from from riches to rags, and and a lot of people just can't deal with it.

Alex Ferrari 0:06
Today's show is sponsored by Enigma Elements. As filmmakers, we're always looking for ways to level up production value of our projects, and speed up our workflow. This is why I created Enigma Elements. Your one stop shop for film grains, color grading lots vintage analog textures like VHS and CRT images, smoke fog, textures, DaVinci Resolve presets, and much more. After working as an editor, colorist post and VFX supervisor for almost 30 years I know what film creatives need to level up their projects, check out enigmaelements.com and use the coupon code IFH10. To get 10% off your order. I'll be adding new elements all the time. Again, that's enigmaelements.com. I'd like to welcome to the show. John Kim. How're you doing, John?

John Kim 0:59
Good. Thanks, Alex. How you doing?

Alex Ferrari 1:01
Good. Thank you so much for coming on the show my friend. I I appreciate you reaching out to me. I get I get hit up by a lot of you know, distributors sometimes I think distributors are scared to come on the show now. But many, many of them are. I've had producers reps on the shows. I've had sales agents on the show. And I've had a few distributors on the show as well who are brave enough to come on the show to just have honest conversations no other reason. And after doing research on you and looking you up, you've done you've done a few things in the business. You've been around for a while. This isn't your first barbecue sir.

John Kim 1:36
You know i i got nothing to hide. That's my whole shtick is because you know, I have been around I would have been selling for 20 years, I was at Paramount. I was at Disney did the independent distributor thing. And then I set up my own shop five years ago, and it's been a 30 year answered prayer. So you know, I I'm thankful. I'm very thankful.

Alex Ferrari 2:02
And you've seen this business changed so dramatically from the moment you started in it to where we are right now. I mean, I always love telling people ohh the 90s

John Kim 2:13
I was just trying to think back 90s Yeah, I was still alive. I was still doing this.

Alex Ferrari 2:17
Oh, the 90s in the early 2000s Where DVD was King and you could put out sniper seven.

John Kim 2:24
Yeah, I was putting I was converting VHS to DVD for Disney catalog stuff. So that was an amazing thing. I mean, you just you just pack a DVD and it could be riddled crap. And you know, you sell two main units. I mean, it's crazy.

Alex Ferrari 2:42
It was a different it was a different world. And I know a lot of times, filmmakers still think that we're in a different world. So I know a lot of filmmakers think that we're still in the 90s for like the Sundance scenario, where you gotta get to a film festival, and then someone's gonna discover you and someone's gonna give you billions of dollars and then you're gonna become rich and famous. And because in the 90s that happened almost every month, there was a there was El Mariachi, a clerks of Brothers McMullen. She's gotta have it all these kinds of filmmakers and directors a slacker. And if since then I've had a lot of those filmmakers on the show. And I asked them, I'm like, what is it like having that lottery ticket? And would you make it today? If that movie came out? And every one of them like, it? Probably wouldn't. It wouldn't. If slacker showed up today, if slacker showed up on your doorstep, and it showed up on John Pearson store your doorstep? Could you do anything with slacker today?

John Kim 3:40
Yeah, I mean, it's, it's, it's amazing. What I tell people is, you know, it's a lot easier to go from rags to riches versus riches to rags. And basically the whole industry started from riches. And, and when you start from the riches and all sudden, you don't want to hustle and you don't want to kill for your own food, and right now you gotta shoot for squirrels. But if you've been feasting on, you know, five class meals, it's hard to like get down and dirty in a bit. You know, in any other industry. In progressions starting from that way gives you that discipline gives you the understanding versus the flip. And it's hard to deal with and I think that is the best kind of analogy right now where we're at is as an industry is we flipped from from riches to rags, and, and a lot of people just can't deal with it.

Alex Ferrari 4:32
And you're absolutely right. Oh my God, that's a great analogy, because, you know, we're shooting for squirrels, where before used to be eating, you know, big game, and it was easy. And they do just bring it like it. We were just saying, you know, you put out a crap movie on DVD and you'd make two you sell 2 million units. I would tell people back in the 80s because I worked in a video store back in the 80s when I was coming up as a kid. I used to see VHS show up and I'm like, oh, so if you just finished a movie In the 80s, it got distributed. Right? If you just finished a movie on 35, you had a minimal theatrical release somewhere. And it would go straight to video. And, you know, the Puppet Master series and full moon and all of those things and trauma and, you know, Toxic Avenger got a theatrical release, you know, things, things like that. So, the world is so, so different now. And so many filmmakers still live in the, in the, in the magical times where those those times don't exist. And even five years ago, I mean, I've been doing this show now seven years, from when I launched in 2015. To where we are now. I mean, it's so dramatically different.

John Kim 5:43
Yeah, I mean, it's it's a, it's unbelievable. I mean, if people really knew how hard it is, and if they really looked at the realities of the situation, as far as you know, how many people actually make money on on a movie, you know, and if they had a, you know, a total total right brain, you know, strategic brain and checking off all the risk scenarios that they wouldn't do it. So, but at the same time, innovation only happens with with those people that you know, that can dream and go beyond, you know, the realities of the situation. And then you get a Slumdog Millionaire, but people don't realize that's a one in a millionaire once in a month.

Alex Ferrari 6:26
But that's an anomaly. Yeah, there's that's apparently there's apparently and then let's let's let's dish them out paranormal activity, Blair Witch, you know, then all the movies from the 90s, you know, clerks, El Mariachi, all anomalies they are not there.

John Kim 6:43
I mean, as long as you know that, I mean, you know, you're, you're going for a lottery ticket is a good analogy as a lottery ticket, because people don't realize it is that hard. And for some reason. They think that, oh, this is my movies just as good as that. And this is a greatest thing. They don't realize that the marketplace doesn't care if you if you mortgage your house, or if you you know, you gave your left arm for something. It's just like, show me what you got. Because I could care less. You know?

Alex Ferrari 7:13
That's, that's the reality. Let's I want to give you an example. I want I want this to be laid out because I want people listening to understand. I'm going to give you an example of a film. And you tell me what you professionally think the film could do in the marketplace, if anything at all?

John Kim 7:29
Oh, don't give me don't put me on the line for estimates. No, no, I'm just giving you a thumbs up, I can give you a thumbs down.

Alex Ferrari 7:35
Give me just give me just give me a rough just give me a rough. Alright, well just give me a rough no name that No, I'm not gonna throw any. There's no particulars. This is just off the top of my head. We're going to make a kind of like a low budget film that has a respectable production value. So let's say it's $250,000. Okay, quarter million dollar and indie film, we're going to throw it in the genre of I'm gonna say, if it's a drama, I know no one's gonna buy it. So let's say it's a horror movie, a horror movie, okay, a $250,000 horror movie, with no stars in it. But respectable performances, the production quality is solid, the effects are solid, they got one of the effects guys from Nightmare on Elm Street or something. It looks good, quality trailer, not bad, very solid trailer poster, not bad has a nice little gimmick to it as a horror project. Now, I have no audience. Meaning that I personally as a filmmaker, don't have an audience, the actors in the film don't have an audience that we can we can kind of attach on to. So we're basically coming in cold. So if a movie like the N festival is on a horror movie doesn't really matter that much anyway. But let's say one scream fest, or one fan Gaura or something like that. So let's say wins a big horror festival or an audience award or something. What is the value of that product? in the marketplace today? And what kind of return? Can that filmmaker expect to make? If, if any at all?

John Kim 9:14
Well, first of all, like I said, I don't give estimates because one, you know, I don't I don't. I mean, it's just out the window at this point. There's no transactional value. No one's paying for anything because consumers have 50,000 titles at their American consumers. 50,000 consumer titles at their, at their fingertips with Netflix, Disney, and then Amazon alone. Right. And so, you know, even with Star Power stuff people aren't renting because they're looking at 499 Is that's too much because I already am paying 100 bucks per month, whatever between these services. I mean, I think the best, the best indication of like how much value inherently If your property I wouldn't touch this with a 10 foot ball. I wouldn't touch it with I would not take on this business because one. I don't feel good about you spending 250 And you come in not even close to making your money back. I don't want to hear you know, and I feel I feel bad for I would, I wouldn't, I'd much rather just not participate at all, and deal with your disappointment, because it's not even close. Not even close to coming back. This is again, this is what you just said, I would be like two seconds. Sorry, go go see someone else that is gonna tell you what you want to hear, which is oh, this is a greatest moment. Oh, we're gonna do this everything.

Alex Ferrari 10:43
So there's so there's no emoji for this?

John Kim 10:47
I don't do emojis myself.

Alex Ferrari 10:48
No, no, but you but you know, you get thinking that you as a sales agent connecting it to a distributor?

John Kim 10:55
Don't count with all the platforms.

Alex Ferrari 10:58
Right! Okay. So you wouldn't give it?

John Kim 11:01
I don't know, I don't want to, I wouldn't want to make me make a commission off of 20,000 bucks, right? It's just, it's just not worth the headache of all of that, you know, I thankfully, I'm not in a position where I need to chase you know, where your commission, you know, 10,000 and I will make money off 20% Off 10,025% Off 10,000? You know, 20,000 bucks. So what would that cost of like, a gigantic. What? That that causes way too much on me. So it's much easier just for me to say forget about it. Because,

Alex Ferrari 11:37
And so and then with a minimum guarantee. So a minimum guarantee is basically a number that a distributor will pay upfront for a

John Kim 11:43
No one given out MGS because it's hard, there's no guarantee in this business.

Alex Ferrari 11:48
Right! Unless, unless you're at a different level of of product. 100% Yeah, so So like, if you had you know, we just had Thomas Jane on the show a couple of weeks ago. If a Thomas Jane project comes across with, you know, Wesley Snipes, or some other, you know, starpower at a certain budget range, they are getting in Geez. But, but a different level of there's a different level,

John Kim 12:13
You know what that's like saying, Well, you know, the NBA is thriving. And I got I got LeBron on my side. You know, I got to LeBron movie. I mean, yeah, I like I like reading about this stuff. But I have no business like being in the same court. And, you know, I could play some good street ball, I you know, I shut the winning basket at the YMCA. But I have no business even dreaming or competing. But in the movie business is completely different. Because there's no score. There's no size, there's no like, objective, like, time or anything. Everyone just projects and thinks, Oh, my movie is 100 times better than this crappy movie. You know? What, how come I can't get a $21 billion of Netflix etc. And it's just but that analogy in comparison of what I just said with the NBA is really like how can you compete your case? If we're saying 250,000? That's a lot of money for a small person. It is. But it ain't nothing compared to million dollar per episode. So or 10 million per episode $100 million Doctor Strange million dollar movie. You know how, you know, how can you even you wouldn't do that with LeBron. I can play one on one with LeBron. No, but it's the same kind of comparison.

Alex Ferrari 13:27
And so there's a delusion which I talk about constantly on the show. There's a delusion in the sense that filmmakers come in thinking like I love movies, this is all I need to make it in the business. And that's what you need as a fuel to keep you going. 100% Without question, but like I was telling you earlier, before we got on the show is like my job here in the show is to let people know what they're going to need to do to go on this journey. And what what the reality of the road that they're about to walk is from people like yourself who've been down this road, and up this road and down this road and up this road and down this road. And we've seen so many heartbroken filmmakers along the way that we're trying to warn people, or I mean, I'm trying to warn people about the whole not horse. Sometimes there's horrors, but the obstacles that they're about to face, and there's nothing saying that you can't do it, but just be aware of what you're about to do and try to do it smartly. That's, that's all I tried to say.

John Kim 14:27
Yeah, so I'm a little bit different from your stamp from from where you're sitting. Because, you know, time is money for you. Yeah, yeah, time is money. And it's like, I'm not in the business of educating. You know, why of going through that speech, you know, and I'm not, you know, don't call me Doctor No, you know, I, if you don't want to hear what I don't want to what I'm about to say, you know, please, you know, move on and, and and speak to someone that that that that will tell you what you want to hear. You know, I'm not in a business again. I If this is more than, it's more than a business, like I said, it's like, yeah, I could make money doing that, but it's not worth it to me. It's like, you know, I just want to live the last chapter my stress free and where everybody's happy, right? And I don't feel good about knowing that someone's put in 250. And they're looking at 20,000 Odd return. And like me being a part of that, if you're lucky, if you're lucky for crying out loud, right? And so that's, so I, as a general rule, I mean, as a real rule, because I don't want to do this up and down. Like you were talking, like, I don't take on first time filmmakers, because it's like, it's just, it's just too hard. As far as they don't know what they don't know. You know, God bless you for not knowing it. And because you maybe didn't know, that's why Yeah, push forward. But that's not my that's not my, my, my dream of just, you know, killing a dream. You know, I'm Dr. Kill dream killer. That's not my I don't get any joy from and you can pay me 10,000 20,000 or $100,000. To, to be a part of that, you know, process of seeing your dream just not happen. That can't happen. But that's just not my but

Alex Ferrari 16:11
That's the dangerous and that last sentence is the dangerous part of our business is, there's always a maybe it's like going to Vegas, maybe I'm gonna hit it big this week. But But how many people hit the jackpot in Vegas every week. You know how many people win the lottery every week? Why win, but millions and millions and 10s of millions of people who try. So if your game plan is the lottery win, you will fail. If you're looking and I use baseball analogies all the time, if you're looking for a grand slam home run, every time you will fail. If you're looking for a bunt, or a single and constantly looking for singles, you might have a chance at the business because that means you're you're looking at small increments to get you to an update. So you make one movie for $50,000, you make $60,000 on it, holy crap, you are in the top one, one 1% of a 1% of all filmmakers. next movie, you get 100,000, you make 150,000 on return on that, holy crap, now someone gives you 300,000 Now you'd get some star power involved. And all of a sudden, now you've got a career. And I've seen filmmakers, friends of mine, who literally have done that start off with a $10,000 movie. But even in a $10,000 movie, they were smart enough to get Danny Trejo for for 15 minutes. And like I don't know how much he paid, they paid him back. That gold right there, gold. And now he was able to get $50,000 for his next movie. And then they brought Danny back and brought somebody else in there. And then all of a sudden, after you've done four or five of them, you look around town, you're like, well, there's not a lot of these guys around. Let's give him a little bit of money. And now we could put energy behind them. And now you've built a career up. But that's the mistake that so many filmmakers make the thing that the one movie that they're making is the one that's going to blow them up. You can't look at that like that.

John Kim 18:05
You're just going back to the sports analogy. It's like, you know, LeBron wasn't LeBron on day one. He went to high school, he progressed there, and he did it in college, and he didn't do anything in college and the other pros need college, you know, then it is a progression. And it's a skill, and it just isn't they didn't become, you know, a multimillionaire, you know, superstar overnight. And you're right with films, people just want that one magic bullet. And so the lottery scenario is what what they're chasing. But that progressive thing is, is exactly. I endorse that because I mean, it's a skill and you can't win overnight, just can't. And that's in any business, you know, outside of the movie business. You can't you can't or any sports team, you can't win on grand slam home runs every time at bat, you're just gonna fail. Right? You do have to regress. And so you know, back to our earlier conversation in the early studio days. Yeah, it was like a Grand Slam hit every time.

Alex Ferrari 19:05
You could literally be you could literally have the worst era and show up and hit a homerun. Exactly. You didn't even it was so easy to make money back in the 90s and the early 2000s. Because that was just a marketplace that we were in at that moment. 100% It was just the market and then now it's not it's actually the toughest time to make money as a filmmaker ever in history with the same caveat now, it's easier than ever to distribute your movie Get your movie out in front of an audience and make a movie is cheaper than ever. Because before the the barrier to entry was the cost to make the movie. My first commercial real was I'm 35 I had to pay 50 Grand i should force for commercial spots. You know back in the day to do it properly. To be a real commercial director. You had to shoot 35 Because there was no other option. And then now I can make an attitude for commercials for like five grand if I'm lucky.

John Kim 20:03
And by the way you can you can you can get worldwide distribution. But you're worldwide, I mean, easy. I mean, you can just take a couple 1000 bucks, and you can be in the world, which is amazing to your one little pebble across a 50,000 rock universe. So how you gonna stand? So, I mean, most people, they can't even make their delivery cost, but at the same time, you're right, what kind of access it was never there before worldwide access to 12 year old kid, you know, something?

Alex Ferrari 20:38
Oh, even putting it up on YouTube, which we'll talk about YouTube in a little bit. But even you could put something up on YouTube, you have worldwide distribution for your product. And and then also, you're not just competing against other filmmakers, you're competing against cat videos, you're, you're competing against kids, unwrapping toys. Those are eyeballs, that's time for people's lives.

John Kim 20:59
People, people, even when it's free, if you think about it, free is it's not a cost. It's a this. This is a consumers time. I mean, you bring it to me, I and even for 99. Again, everyone just thinks oh, all I got to do is you know, it's fine. And that was nothing. But it is something even when there's no time, it was on time. Right. So it's there's a lot of like fallacies and just theoretical hypothetical thinking. But it's like, you know what, I have my lemonade stand. And you know, why can't I make a billion dollar business? Right?

Alex Ferrari 21:38
Because everybody could put up a lemonade stand.

John Kim 21:40
Everybody can put up a lemonade stand.

Alex Ferrari 21:41
And it's a commodity as well. There's nothing special about it. Unless you're putting CBD oil or something like that.

John Kim 21:48
I mean, that's the thing. I mean, every story has been done, except one of those few exceptional ones, right? And everything is I mean, when you have to describe something and say, Oh, it's it's like this movie, but you know, like that. It's like, it's already been done that.

Alex Ferrari 22:02
Oh, no, it's just it's it's about it's about execution. It's about the combining of stars that align at the right moment with the right director, the right script, the right actors to become something that's bigger than ever. Look, there's I was looking at waiting, because I haven't seen James Bond, the new James Bond yet. I haven't seen it yet. And I'm waiting for it to come on Amazon. It's James Bond. It's the last Daniel Craig. And I'm like, I got too many other things to watch. I don't wanna spend five bucks right now. It's not about the five bucks. It's not it's not for me. It's not about I'm not like hurting for five bucks. But that mentality. I'm like, do I really need to watch it right now? Or can I watch the 50 other things that are in my queue right now? That are pumping out on Netflix on HBO? Max on this? Oh, the Batman just showed up? Okay, I gotta go watch the Batman. Oh, this new series just came in the full series, the full season came out. Just gotta go watch that. Do you see? So it's not just independent films. It's like, even even, even unless you're really a big huge giant James Bond fan. You're you can wait.

John Kim 23:04
That's obviously there's 50,000 movies out there. There's only 24 hours in a day. And as you said there's other forms of entertainment that was never there. There's cat videos and you know what the funny thing that the the finally kind of like hits home when you know I'm talking with you know, some some some filmmakers who just think it's easy. We don't know. Is it okay? And all sudden there's like, oh, you might be right about the sports analogy. Right? Then the other analogy is, is is what do you do? When's the last time you pay for movie? The independent filmmaker is like totally incentivized that you know, for the industry for himself, you know, to just make it good for everybody. But he's watching it for free. He's watching a pirate he's not paying for anything. Right. So, so think about it, like, you know, Joe, Joe consumer, your consumer could care less. They just want to make I want to be entertained now, right? I'm not in the mood for you know, some independent I want to help him out, you know, you know, stick figure animation. I want to watch a Pixar movie. There it is. So like, there's no incentive really.

Alex Ferrari 24:12
Exactly now. And we're I was going to ask you about TVOD. And I know the answer already. Which, you know, the answer is, is there any money in TVOD for independent filmmakers today?

John Kim 24:50
There are some some genres that that survived. There's always exceptions to the rule. Okay, so it in general I tell my clients without any star power, you know, without any, any, any any star that has, you know, millions of followers without any, you know, don't even bother going to your blog, which is crazy, right?

Alex Ferrari 25:12
And by the way, everybody who doesn't know tiebout has transactional Video on Demand,

John Kim 25:16
Which is straight to AVOD, which, you know, which puts all of this windowing over, you know, your original scope theatrical, and then you're supposed to go in a theoretical world, right? But you don't have any other ingredients. So you're gonna make more money on the AVOD straight up, you know, then doing all that wasting of time and money, you know, again, you need to do your objectives you think number one objective is to make money then then that would be the way if you're trying to brag to your your aunt that you're going to a movie worldwide, then you Okay, put it on iTunes, you're not gonna make any money. It's like, same thing with it's all changed so much. You know, it's like I used to be, it used to be a real like, honor, whatever a bragging point rather, if you were in, in Walmart,

Alex Ferrari 26:01
Right, yeah.

John Kim 26:04
And then on the back end, no one tells a story about a year later, where everything has been returned, and you're actually upside down losing money, right? Again, there's a lot of like, facts and details that people you know, choose to, to ignore or not tell. So it's always somebody who's always like, oh, yeah, I know, somebody did. This isn't like Yeah, right. And then those were putting in the frickin statements.

Alex Ferrari 26:25
And then those those return DVDs are then sold pennies on the dollar to Big Lots to Marshalls to all these outlets, all these outlet places that sell it for that's why you see the blu rays for $2 or $3. And that starts with tape.

John Kim 26:39
Yeah, Blu Ray was supposed to be the save of you know, did it you know, 3d was supposed to be a save, it's just like one it's like a bunch of 10 year old soccer, you know, soccer team, they're all just chasing for one thing and everyone's grabbing and you know, it was nothing is replaced to replicate the conversion from VHS to DVD. And since that, you know, everything is mission and all I wish we could just do that.

Alex Ferrari 27:04
The physical media and the physical media space, HD, you know, 3d, by the way, okay. It's like really, I need to see I need to see the extra pimple on that surface for the for some of these some of these older movies and 4k, do not do it. Because you can see the makeup you can see the cracking. It's like you don't it's old movies from the 70s. You've got to go in and clean it up digitally. If not, it just looks horrible. Some of the stuff again,

John Kim 27:31
I am I'm a widget salesperson. I just saw widgets. So you telling me that I really need the fifth version of a 1970 movies that I already have in DVD that I can't even tell you.

Alex Ferrari 27:43
How many godfathers how many Star Wars? How many Star Wars? Do we have 40 versions of the Star Wars films? How many? How many versions of The Godfather? Can we buy?

John Kim 27:51
Why I worked on like two different iterations of the Godfather boxing, right? It's how many times can you like come up with a 2030 agenda and a 25th and a 50th. And just like enough Hudson River

Alex Ferrari 28:03
Lease or Director's Cut,

John Kim 28:05
That was my, that's what I had to do is just make something spin on on the catalog of titles. But you know, at the end of the day, when am I going to feed my family? Am I going to you know, or am I going to get the 33rd version of something I already have? It's it will splitting hairs and you know, unfortunately, you know, so that's the reality of the situation. You know, when and if you're on the studio side, it's like if you if you you got to drink the Kool Aid otherwise just just don't show up for work.

Alex Ferrari 28:33
There's no question. There was one filmmaker that had on the show and he's actually gonna, we're trying to schedule him to come back on he's an anomaly. He's one of these anomalies I was telling you about. He reached out to me he had a million spent a million dollars. No stars except for Neil. God, I forgot his last name. He's a face. He's not a name. He's a face that everybody recognizes. Okay. Well, killer robots in the jungle. ex military have gone wrong, all this stuff. On paper. It sounds horrible. The pitch, right? It is easily one of the most insanely executed films I've ever seen in my life. He's been a commercial director for 30 years. He's a visual effects master. He did everything. It looks as good of quality as any studio movie ever made. That's how good the robots are. Because you know how hard it is to make robots look good in real life. In three months in T VOD, he made his money back.

John Kim 29:31
Okay. There's, like I said, there's always exceptions to the rule. But

Alex Ferrari 29:35
I'm saying that because the execution of that was so massive, and by the way, he has a marketing agency as well. So he understands how to do marketing. He understood how to do Facebook ads and targeted ads. And he had explosions and robots and he sold it for 399. And he pushed it to Amazon, and he was making money off of Amazon. He was making money off of T VOD. And he's still making money to this day, he's done very, very well with it. But he told me he's like I had a deal on the table. From big eight big Netflix wanted to buy it, but they were gonna give him nothing. Big studio, a big distributor wanted to buy it, who will remain nameless, was gonna give him a million something, mg. That's how good the movie was like a million to mg. He turned it down because of the contract. He's like, I'm never gonna see it, it's gonna take me forever to get this money. So so he's like, Screw it, I'll just do it myself. And he paid for everything out of his own pocket. So he didn't care. It was it was like, whatever. But that isn't in that, but that I'm using that as an analogy that has to be that is as perfect of an execution on all avenues, as I've ever seen in my life, because when he reached out to me sent me the trailer, I'm like, Who the hell are you? Like, I get some trailers for movies all the time, you get sent trailers for movies. If I sent you that trailer, you would go, I want to rip that movie. I'm sure I promise you and I'll send it to you afterwards. It's so good. But that's an example of perfectly executed, and even then he had less than a 20% chance of actually making any money. He was he he was just really good. Really good at what he was doing. Right.

John Kim 31:17
So I mean, again, if you aren't sure. I mean, how many? So what's that one and

Alex Ferrari 31:22
One, one in 30 years I've never seen a movie. So one in 30 years. I've never seen a movie like that in the way.

John Kim 31:29
Is that? Is that a good business model of? Like, I'm gonna compare myself to that, you know,

Alex Ferrari 31:35
Right. Well, yeah, and don't you love i love it in the it when people are trying to raise money, they always put Blair Witch and paranormal activity in their business plans. I'm like, Are you? It's it's come on. It's kind of like, Oh, if Tom if Tom Brady was my quarterback many years ago?

John Kim 31:54
Well, yeah, sure. If I had that defensive line. Yeah, sure. Like, yeah, it's like more power to him. I'm not gonna wait gonna, you know, get in the way of anyone's dreams.

Alex Ferrari 32:05
I don't view. But so. So let me ask you, my friend, you we talked about star power, how important is star power now and what kind of star power is needed to really make a dent in the business because I always tell people like, it's all based on budget. So if you get a certain kind of star, but the budget is so high, you need a, you need a star or group of stars to justify the budget to make sense financially. So if you get a Danny Trejo and you put him in a $10 million movie by himself, the chances of you making your money back are gonna be probably very, very difficult. That's right. But if you put in a Bruce Willis, in a $10 million movie, the chances of you're making money back is higher, because Bruce has a much bigger market value than Danny Trejo does for that budget range. Does that make that is that fair statement?

John Kim 32:58
I think so. I mean, let's be clear. Because there, I'll talk from a business because we're in the b2b to see game, right. So I sell to a platform that then sells to consumers, right? So there's a perspective of the buyer and there's your perspective of a consumer. So when you're flooded with this is a greatest movie ever. Now watch this. Watch this. Uh, yeah, right. I'm talking as a buyer, let's just say as a buyer of Netflix, okay. So it's like, yeah, yeah, I've heard this many times. Okay. So the easiest way to just kind of filter, you know, the aisle, maybe even think about it for just forget it. So I can just kind of have my own day is like, you know, used to be like, Okay, what's the theatrical but there's no theatrical. So, okay, so who's in it? So right away? It's like, no stars. Okay, there. Okay. So who, you know, that is of just a quick swath? It's a filtering filtering process. Right. And we know that, you know, just because you have Brad Pitt in a movie doesn't mean it's going to succeed.

Alex Ferrari 33:58
It depends, it depends on the genre of the movie.

John Kim 34:01
Exactly. So you know, but you also know that rapid isn't going to be an opponent. Right? So you've kind of gotten that's a kind of a surrogate filter for just that, as far as and also kind of a pseudo for production value. Okay, so he's not going to do some schlock.

Alex Ferrari 34:15
He's right. He's not going to do $100,000 movie.

John Kim 34:18
Yeah, exactly. Right. And so, so that is a first like, kind of suas then from a consumer standpoint, when you're just scrolling and you see 30 You know, movie after movie in your computer screen, it's like, you're gonna have you're gonna go into shock of all this stuff. So you have one second to like filter. If you see something that is familiar to the eye, subconsciously, it's gonna be a star. So from that standpoint, it's like helps you right and so, you know, the Super Bowl of advertising for any independent filmmaker, and you've probably done a lot of second is the package, right? If you're gonna if anything is going to spend, it should be on your packaging, because that is it. I mean, it's not looking at a poster The sideboard that you see when you're reviewing a creative is a thumbnail stret sketch. So if you're trying to put a tree at, you know, a montage of this, and that and mini movie, you know, it's like, it looks like a black box, forget it, right, but having one profile of the star boom, that catches your attention. So, you know, there are a number of stars that, you know, Danny Trejo is, is, is valuable, you know, he's valuable. I mean, if he just showed up, you know, for two seconds, and maybe in the end credits, you know, in the AVOD. Well, I put him on the cover, let's just put it that way.

Alex Ferrari 35:34
I know. That's, that's the yeah, that's that you're in a gray area there.

John Kim 35:39
But yeah, again, I'm selling widgets. It's what do you want me to sell for you? That's what you do. I'm not talking about like, all the rules, and, you know, MPa and Omni. That's not my thing. My thing is, I will sell you more units. He's in the credit, put them on the package. But to your point of like, you know, I mean, again, when you're talking even under $200,000 movie, I mean, that is just a drop in the bucket of your competition for Crayola, which is, you know, major studio millions of dollars. Right. So, yeah, there's definitely like Danny Trejo is, is very, very strong and AVOD. Very, oh, huge enabled.

Alex Ferrari 36:20
Right, and Thomas Jane, those kinds of guys, those kind of caliber of guys have value, major value.

John Kim 36:29
I mean, you know, again, if you can just make him show up for, you know, 15 minutes, or whatever, you he'll pay that back easy. That's a number of stars like that. But it's not, I mean, to be surprising how limited and by the way, depending on what platform you're at, you know, there are there are some stars on some of these platforms where the general public has no idea who they are. But they they meant gold. Right? They mean gold. And again, it's like, no one would know them except, like, if they're on a certain platform, and, and, and it's crazy. And, you know, again, the whole gamut of, of, of AVOD versus t VOD, and people paying you know, a BA, it is free. So, the cost of entry really is you know, I'll click on this I yeah, I like I hate my boy, Trent, Danny Trejo. I'm gonna watch what he's got, you know, if he's watching the grass, greener, you know, just watching the grass, cutting the grass. It didn't cost me anything. But I like my boy, Danny trail,

Alex Ferrari 37:30
Right, or Snoop or Snoop Dogg? Snoop Dogg. Snoop Dogg?

John Kim 37:33
His goal? His goal?

Alex Ferrari 37:37
Right. So So and I won't tell you how I know, you probably know this number, but I won't say it publicly. But I know how it costs a day to show up,

John Kim 37:48
Just to make them show up for 10 minutes.

Alex Ferrari 37:50
So the question is, and that's another thing. So, you know, I worked on a project years ago, years ago, where I was doing the post on it. And they were smart enough to had a million dollar budget and about 600,000 went above the line. But that was the only thing that sold that movie. Because they had an Oscar winner. They had some name actors in it, they had like it peppered like with a bunch of faces, and people they knew and some name power in it. And they were able to sell that movie. And I was and that was the first time I saw that the power of star power because the movie was okay. So, but the star power is the only thing that sold that movie. And when people to understand that, you know, it's like, oh, how can I get someone like Danny Trejo, like, if Danny's available and you're shooting in LA, and you're willing to pay his day rate for two or three days, it's more affordable than you might think in a scope of a grand scope of things that like I don't have a million dollars. I'm like, well, Danny's not a million dollars. You know, Sylvester Stallone is for a day. But you know, there are some like Nick Nick Cage for a while he was a million bucks a day, just straight up. But you put in a cage in a movie that you're sold internationally like that, because Nick Cage was in the movie. So there was moments of time though he was pumping out movies because he needed to get make money. So the want people to understand that you can have name talent in your movie. If you bring them up for a day. Some people I've seen I've seen some of these name actors. Five grand 10 grand a day 15 grand a day, right? Am I wrong?

John Kim 39:34
No, no, no, you're absolutely right. And that is that is much better money spent then you know trying to get it just right the whatever, you know, scene of of a car crash or whatever I mean, it's again it's that is well money, good money spent. There's there's actors that that will more than pay for themselves on those little small daily rates. And I would tell them, I Would I advise people just to do that? Because, again, you know, how, how can you compete against against projects that are spending millions of dollars? It's like, you can't put a name a name like that is crazy. It's a lot more affordable than you think. I agree with you. 100%.

Alex Ferrari 40:17
Yeah, and you were saying that, like, you know, you're scanning through and you see that little thumbnail of the actor. There's a reason why Adam Sandler, is Netflix is one of Netflix's biggest stars. And, and everyone thinks, oh, Adam Sandler, he's a silly guy silly movies. But the it this is a lesson for everyone listening. When you're scanning through and you see Adam Sandler, or you see, Kevin James or Rob Schneider, any of the group in the in the Adam Sandler universe. This is not for independent filmmakers, but just in general. You know, if it's a Friday night, and you're at home with your wife, you know what you're gonna get with one of those movies, there's no surprises, you know, you'll get a silly comedy, it's going to be somewhat enjoyable, and you'll have a decent time. There's no what's what you know exactly what you're going to get with an Adam Sandler movie generally, unless he's doing his drama stuff, like he has the new movie hustle out that he's goes off or, or gems. But generally speaking, if it's a comedy, you know what you're getting. And that's why he keeps getting these 100 million dollar deals from Netflix, because everybody just watch them again and again. And it's just one of those things like I just know what I'm going to get with Adam Sandler. So that's kind of the concept of my boy, Danny Trejo, my boy snoop. If snoops in the movie, I just want to see snoop. If, if Danny's in the movie, I just want to sit down and kick some ass for 510 minutes. And I'm solid, I'm good. But you know what you're gonna get when you get you see that cover. And that's what the audience is looking for. Whereas in that movie that I gave you the example of $250,000 horror movie, you know, that has no stars in it, I have to try to sell you on what my story plot is, I have to try to sell you on like, hey, take a look at my trailer. If you've lost, it's so difficult in that space. In the in the I need your money space, it's just so so difficult to do.

John Kim 42:18
Well, in the I need your money space in our consumer space. I mean, you got two seconds, because they have again, people don't realize it until they actually live it. I mean, they realize it until they see in their own household. Even at that level. It's like we got 1000s and 1000s of choice, you got your two seconds to catch your jet. No one wants to hear a whole buildup and storyplot when someone comes in with you as like, forget, I don't even need to just let me see your cover. And I can know right away whether it's gonna sell it and are saying your IMDB page, IMDB page that is, you know, for your audience, I am assuming is your is is a major, major selling vehicle for you. Because that is a Bible for people like me and buyers who just just want to know what the guy is not a consumer angle. Consumers don't know about it. I mean, look, Amazon even changed his name, you know, from IMDb to the freebie. Because of that, right? Even though it's all we got 10 million users and all that stuff. But yeah, it's not a consumer thing. But you know, having for a simple tool for so many users, if you're trying to get some, you know, someone to buy it or take a look, make sure your IMDB page things, you got the good cover, and you've got all the people in it. It's like okay, so that's the first power, we're talking about filtering and streaming, right? That's just an immediate filter.

Alex Ferrari 43:32
Right! And then you'll look at star power. So like, where's the ranking on the star power of the task? And even if you haven't heard about them, maybe they're the new hot guy that's coming out on top and Top Gun who's blowing up right now, but he doesn't keep up in about six months, his value is going to go massive, because our gun is going international. Right?

John Kim 43:51
Oh, yeah, I tell. Again, my arena is way way downstream. But when you know, my my clients are looking at some new movies, whatever they hate, you know, what do you see? Why should I care? I look at that star meter. The relative ranking is important, not the, you know, the rank in 5600, whatever, that doesn't mean anything. But if you have an act, all things being equal an actor with a 3000 score, so our meter versus a 10,000 you go with the higher the lower rank you want, which is higher the 3000.

Alex Ferrari 44:20
But again, when right, but there's a reference, there's a there's a caveat to that, because let's say there is a Danny Trejo and Danny Trejo happens to be in 10,000 that week, for whatever reason, and there's other kids who just showed up, it's 3000 because he's the new, young hot thing, but Danny has more value in general. So there's a balance you have to kind of look at as well.

John Kim 44:39
Yeah, I mean, it's a complex algorithm, but I don't, I don't know how it calculates, but it's, you know, internet mentions and press and all of this stuff. But it's, it's a nice tool. It can you know, you gotta look at all of the different points, but it's a very valuable tool just to say, Hey, this is, you know, again, all things being equal, you know, abilities and know that that is better to go with someone who's just more well known, even if, again, it's for people like when, like you, we don't know about them, but at least it's theirs. That's as as an objective measurement as there is out there. In the absence of anything, really. I mean, there's no like ding ding, ding. I mean, you got rotten tomatoes. But even that, it's like, who cares?

Alex Ferrari 45:20
Right, so so do you remember a time because you and I both have similar vintage? Do you remember a time where you could literally watch everything that came out that week?

John Kim 45:30
I mean, it's, it's changed. It's just yeah, like,

Alex Ferrari 45:34
I remember I remember working. I worked out and I remember working a video store. And I would literally watch every movie that got released that week, every week, because we had everything. There was like seven movies.

John Kim 45:44
What were we what would what

Alex Ferrari 45:47
Was a mom and pop was a mom and pop shop. That's the best time the mom and pop shops. So I just everything that came out. I would watch. And I tell people that like really? I'm like, Yeah, because it just it would cost too much money to make movies back then you just cost too much you would you wouldn't even begin to have a conversation with less than a couple million like that was and there used to be $20 million movies, real $20 million dollar movies. They used to be $50 million dollar movie $30 million movie studios would put out What About Bob? That cost them 30 million bucks. Right? It cost them that was tentpoles didn't show up until in the 90s is when it really started to really blow up like the 100 million dollars. And I mean $200 million. That was insane money back in the 90s. Remember Titanic those $200 million and if it was losing their mind now. That's the starting point for that tentpole you can't even have a conversation about a temple without a couple 100 million 150 170 5 million to start the conversation. Right. It's, it's insane. Now I want to I want you to demystify something for the audience, my friend, Netflix, everyone thinks that Netflix is this amazing Holy Grail. They have so much money they're spending and you see all these 21 billion 18 billion 15 billion? Obviously, everyone's like, well, I all I need is 100 grand? Obviously, Netflix didn't give that to me. Can you demystify the Netflix deal currently, because not the Netflix deal from five or 10 years ago, which is very different than the Netflix deal of today, for the audience.

John Kim 47:24
So in so the headlines of this 21 billion and all that stuff, that the world has changed, because there is just so much competition, right, and there is a there is now as you're seeing in the headlines, there's a finite audience, not a finite, but there's a there's a there's a cap to the number of people that are going to subscribe, and they're moving, they're moving from, and then they're moving in the new term that was never really talked about. Other than just subscriber growth is churn, you know, and that turned into like, Hey, thank you very much, I got the free month promotion, I saw my whole series, I binge watched it, thanks for giving it all available. I'm watching it, you know, and then I'm moving, I cut it off, and then go and then just kind of moving from service to service. So all of that million, all of those millions or billions they're spent on if you really look at it, they're spent on original programming TV shows, you know, the water cooler, you know, again, it originally was house of games, because and there's because they wanted people to subscribe to change services, and then stay there to watch you know, the whole episodes, the whole series, and the whole seasons, you know, a movie if you unless it's a Disney movie, a family movie, it's like, you know, you watch it one and done. Okay, feed me more. Right? So all those money, all that money acquisition is really spent towards that across the board. So you know, for them buying a little indie movie, you know, one, no one's gonna write about it. Number two, you're not going to get you know, you know, millions of people wanting to subscribe to Netflix for this little indie 100,000 movie you're talking about, right? So it ain't 100,000 I mean, it's like 10 15,000. And it's just, you know, a nice to have kind of thing, maybe 1% chance to get like a six month deal for 10,000 bucks. Let's just say, I'm not saying you know, but it's just change all that money is going to original programming TV, or you know, big name.

Alex Ferrari 49:19
You know, movies read notice I read

John Kim 49:21
Again, so the indie player, like, how can you compete again, it's just a different world, you know, to you three and a two to a small, independent first time filmmaker, whatever. 300,000 is a lot but that's like the lunch budget for what we're talking about on these $21 billion spent at Netflix. So it's just it is when people actually really understand I mean, all they read the headlines and they realize like, what is the actuality it is a demystification. Oh my gosh, like you gotta be kidding me kind of situation. Right, right. I mean, it's an even get that is like a miracle. Miracle. Yeah, it's a miracle. I mean, you're it's one in 100 but At the same time, again, it's a different objective, if you need to prove, you know that you got the street cred, you have instant credibility, if you have a net, if you're a Netflix producer, right? Oh my gosh, you're able to screen that out, you didn't make a lot of money on it. But that means you're good. And in fact, you are thing about progression as a, as a as a, as a filmmaker, that is a definite feather in the cap. You know, again, if you want to make money, that's not necessarily but all sudden, you're gonna get investors interested, you're gonna, you know, invest buyers, and she's like, Oh, look, and this guy's got some some skills. But it's not like, you know, it's not like this, you know, he got a seven figure deal that was, you know, Netflix is just like a little piddly thing. But, you know, you got some credibility. Good, great job. You know, I'm gonna I'm gonna talk I want to talk to you.

Alex Ferrari 50:46
So as a distributor, when you do with the Netflix deals, I mean, I'm hearing is telling me if this is true, or not, Netflix deals start paying at the end of the deal. Quarterly, they pay quarterly upfront, or they pay at the end, because I've heard different chord.

John Kim 51:01
I mean, yeah, every deal is different. Everything is different, everything is different. But again, congrats, but congrats to the person that gets a Netflix CEO, because that is a major, major accomplishment. You know, you know, then then the mate then the next big thing is, like, if you were able to get some actual money from,

Alex Ferrari 51:20
Right, like, if you got a Netflix deal, and you made money, holy cow, here's my here, they'll just start throwing money at you at that point. Yeah.

John Kim 51:27
I mean, it's all relative. But, you know, in the absence of, of any known figures, and all that, and everyone making things up, you know, that is definitely a feather in the cap is right. Okay. You're a player.

Alex Ferrari 51:44
Is Amazon a thing anymore for us as filmmakers?

John Kim 51:47
Well, everyone was I gotta like, make sure I don't say anything that

Alex Ferrari 52:00
I don't want to get you in trouble, sir.

John Kim 52:01
So the facts are, the facts are back in the day. People were, were very happy with with Netflix, I mean, with Amazon, then it's been cut, cut, cut cut of the, you know, down to a penny per hour. Again, this is all public information. speaking slowly. So everything was down on, on on Amazon again. Why? Why is because everybody in their city, a 10 year old kid could upload stuff. It's like that just the whole quality control is just not there. Right? It's back to your thing about, you know, back in the day, there were only 20 movies, but now anyone can make a movie, right? And so then you've got a glut of stuff. And I think how do you differentiate yourself between all sudden the 1000s of movies, right? But now that a VOD is becoming a thing. It's always been a thing. By the way, when we were watching cheers and friends. It was a VOD on network TV. It's just been an artificial we don't want to do that from a from a studio content provider. Because it the eyeballs weren't weren't wasn't there and you can train $100 bill for $1 Bill and make money.

Alex Ferrari 53:18
Right. And also and also the other thing was that before in the windowing schedule,

John Kim 53:24
AVOD was like way late it wasn't even contemplating a lot of contracts it was just so beyond right but now that it's like off now that we're looking for every nook and cranny money that we can get because theatrical was done you know, DVD theatrical, you know, and, you know, big checks so we're looking for every little thing AVOD is is is is starting to really become something where it's where it's worthy of being at launch right and not just you know, bottom of the barrel 20 years from now kind of thing and that's

Alex Ferrari 54:00
Hard but that's hard for filmmakers egos to handle.

John Kim 54:04
That's a thing is it an ego? It's a thing. It's you got to leave your I mean, do whatever it takes to make the movie, but I'm just telling you the realities of how you're going to make money right? So if you don't want to hear what anyone have to say, then then Okay, goodbye, fine. But you know, if you want to make money then you know and then and I think you can make money then then I'll talk to you but your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness when it comes to you know, your your right you're saying it's a just Yeah, great. You did that. But just you know, you want to make money. Listen, if say, otherwise, I don't want to waste my time. So what I'm saying is just just a reality, and you can choose to ignore reality fine, but just because you put your head in the sand doesn't mean reality isn't happening. Okay? And there's always exceptions. Okay. So again, there's always exceptions, right? I'm not an exceptions business. I can't I can't feed my family. If I'm just like, Wait Paying for exception to happen every 30 years,

Alex Ferrari 55:03
I just I just had a filmmaker who made a documentary about Michael Bidston, the MMA fighter, the the legendary MMA fighter. He fought with one eye. He literally lost his sight. And everyone's like, Oh, you can't fight and he won a championship with one eye. Is that saying now that all fighters with one eye can win the championship? No, it's an anomaly. There's, there's always an exception to the rule, always. But you can't look at the exception as the that's the way No, that is the exception. And they have to look at it that way. And I try. I tried to yell that at filmmakers so much. I'm like paranormal activity is not going to happen again. That was that movie at that time. At that moment? It just, you know, it was just a specific moment, El Mariachi will never happen again. It was that moment in time with that filmmaker with that film. At that in that's right product, right time. And right time period in history to make it by the way, it also by the way.

John Kim 56:05
I mean, it's a major accomplishment to one get funding and the greenlit get greenlit a movie for crying a lot, Major, because everybody you know, and by the way, everything looks good on paper. Until you know, then, how many? How many failed? How many failed? Movies are there that look great on paper? You know, I mean, right?

Alex Ferrari 56:28
Even the studios aren't going to read all the time.

John Kim 56:31
That's why they survive it is because they're in the numbers game to make 20 movies and hope that two of them succeed, the pay for the sins of all of the rest.

Alex Ferrari 56:39
Basically, the sins, I love that the sins of all. That's a great term.

John Kim 56:43
I mean, everyone's gets married, you know, but what is the divorce rate? 60%. But we're still getting married.

Alex Ferrari 56:49
Right? Because someone's making it work. There you go.

John Kim 56:53
But the stakes are even higher, or harder in the film business, you know, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 57:00
So let me ask you this, during the your time in the business, before you became a distributor? I'm assuming you've might have run into some nefarious people along the way. Some distributors who might have not been upfront with you on a lot of things. How and why, in your opinion, do you think that filmmakers gets almost always, almost always not always? So always exceptions, but the and I would I would fare that would be a fair statement to say that the majority of them either get the short end of the stick on purpose because there's something nefarious going on? Or because of lack of just it's nothing nefarious, it's just the business the way it is. And they're like, oh, they screwed me like, no, everything we've just been talking about. They took the movie, they did the best they could they couldn't make your money back. Life goes on. Why do you believe that there's so much monkey business with that with the Hollywood accounting and all of this kind of stuff. And it's from every, every place every bit in their studio. I mean, Hollywood accounting is a thing. Just like the cat. Just that's a that's a term you could look up that you could look it up, it's called it's there's an actual term in the dictionary, Hollywood accounting, is that they just like the casting couch was the thing prior to the metoo movement. Right? It was a joke. It was a running joke in movies like, oh, that he got it, she got the part because he was on the casting couch. So in the filmmaking side of things, oh, the distributor screwed me. That's just, it's just oh, that's just the way the business is. Why do you believe it is? And is it sustainable at this point, to continue moving forward, for filmmakers and for distributors?

John Kim 58:46
So I have 150 clients, and I would say 90% have been screwed over? More than more than twice. I mean, it's crazy out there. So they're, it's a crazy business. There are there are crooks, and then there are, you know, people that are making people that are legitimately making money. Yet the filmmakers aren't seeing a dime of it, but legitimate, contractually, they're making that money. Right. So, so as far as the crooks I'm not gonna name names. However. However, it's I always scratch my head. It's like, why did they keep on notorious? Everyone knows.

Alex Ferrari 59:30
Oh, yeah. Hey, Dave, unless you start I could start listing off names. And you'd be like, yep. And they just and they've been around forever, right?

John Kim 59:36
Like, how do they continue to do this? You know, and, and the reason why I believe they just continue is because there's a sucker born every minute. And these suckers because they gave their soul and their, you know, their house and a mortgage. They need to believe that what they're being told is going to is true. So they want Have to be they want to be misled fear wanted to say, hey, I don't even want your business I'm sorry. Sorry. And they're like, Oh, you don't see it, whatever. Okay, I'm dealing with the generalities. But you know, they just like, hey, this is great. And I can do this, I can do that. Oh, yeah. They want to be, that's how these the crooks continue to last for years and just find a new, there's a new filmmaker born every minute, right? So, you know, shame on you for not listening and doing your due diligence and all that stuff. You know, you had to call me and actually, I've had scenarios where I warned some people, you know, because it was my fiduciary setup, you know, this human right thing. Like I see an accident, do not go pull the key out of the way, right. I'll say that they just don't. And they're like, no, no, they believe me, John, I can do it. I've seen the projections. The projections, you know, I seen the contract. I see it, you know, and then two years, two years later, John, you're right. And out. 100,000? Yes, seriously, it's like, are you? I told you,

Alex Ferrari 1:01:05
I literally, I literally just consulted on a project. And I kept telling the producers and telling the producers don't do this, don't do this, this is what's gonna happen. Don't do this. This is what's going to happen. Don't and what happened. Six months later, a year later, they come back to me into like, we're never going to see a dime.

John Kim 1:01:23
Oh, my God, I'm like, a human thing. You told them and they didn't want to hear it.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:29
They didn't they didn't want to hear it. They didn't want to hear it. It was it was just fat. It never ceases to amaze me. It never ceases to amaze me. It really never does. But because

John Kim 1:01:41
That's a it's a greatest strength is their greatest weakness. They were congratulations, you got investors, you've made a movie, you know, you did. And then then on the other side is like you want to hear you want to hear reality. So the reality is, I mean, again, that's perfect example. People don't want and so you know what, these people the crooks just continue to survive, because they say what they want to hear. Right. And then the other thing is, there are some contracts, real things that I'm like, just scratching my head, like, Are you Are you kidding me? Right. And so the things that I've seen, you know, from like, a lot of my, a lot of my clients that were there, it's like, you know, run, if you ever see a, you know, $30,000 marketing cap, you know, and then pay for expenses, you know, and, you know, social media campaign, you know, our delivery, you know, 30,000 is a lot of money. And that is is an excuse to never get paid. Right? And then the other trick is like, oh, yeah, we're gonna we're gonna have this a 15 year contract, 15 year contract. I mean, we're babysitters, right? And we're paid on an hour, we should be paid on an hourly basis. And this is your baby, and you don't give your babysitter a 15 year you can do whatever and come back to me in 15 years, don't buy we'll get back to you when they're grown and done, whatever. So those are like two like, easy, like, legal ways of just getting screwed. Right.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:11
I was at AFM walking around. And I get recognized when I walk around AFM, and filmmakers come up to me and they're like, Alex, I have this deal. Can you can you? I want you to can you look at it for me. I'm like, I just told me that the bullet points. I'm not a lawyer, but it was always go to always go to a lawyer, entertainment attorney. But give me the bullet points. And I'll tell you and the bullet points. And I've never seen anything like this. John. This was so blatant. 25 year. Wait a minute. 100,000. Marketing cap. There you go. Wait a minute, yearly. Yearly. So it'd be a $2.5 million. Wait, because the little there's a little word that says yearly on and I'm like, are you 2.5 Like so. And they had the they own the IP, as well. So they had IP and they get executive producer credit. And they get their logo up front. All of this and I told him like, you need to run away as fast as possible. So I go listen to it. She was like, Okay, I'm not gonna do this deal. I'm like, No, this is what you should do go back and counter it. I want to see what they say. So we countered, and they get back and they go, all right. 10 years, and $50,000 total. And I'm like so you were literally just trying to see you throughout the worst deal possible to see if you would bite and if you bite, it's on you. That's immoral.

John Kim 1:04:41
I mean, and people sign you know, because they've heard the company because they've heard of a company. Okay. You know, it's like, it must be okay. Um, I heard of them. But I Yes, it was that's just it's right there and straight up like legally stealing from somebody.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:56
It's legally stealing from somebody and I love what you just said because you've heard of them, or they've represented another movie in the past. That gives them the credibility, you're like, I want to be on the same company that released that movie. 10 years ago, when the owners might have been different, the world was different their, their business practices might have been different. All of that. And I hear that so much like, Oh, I just want to be on this, this big companies name or this company's name, because I've heard of them before, or because of they have this, this this, or they have this Oscar nominated movie at one point or another. I'm like, from when 97 late.

John Kim 1:05:36
Again, it's just a different reality. I mean, think about how much due diligence people do on on allows the, you know, $25, Amazon purchase, you know, let alone level, look at your reviews, go look at, look at this comparison shop, you know, selling your, you know, selling your house, having a real estate agent, sell your house, you know, you're gonna die, I want to see your references, and I want to watch them, you know, selling movies like, Oh, they got a great website. And look, they saw this one like 10 years ago, let's do it. This is gone.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:06
And it's and you're talking about the same amount of money of buying a house, right? You know, like, you know, buying a house, depending on where you live in the world. But you know, $300,000 buys a house 400,000, half a million, that's a lot of money net, for an individual for I mean, look, if I saw half a million on the floor, I'm picking it up, I don't know about you. I know. It's a lot of money. And they don't do the due diligence. They don't do the education. Look, when when I was buying my very first house, I educated myself on the process of buying a house back in the day when I did it. So and then understanding the ins and outs and who's this and that and, and think that's a more regulated industry.

John Kim 1:06:45
This is an unregulated industry.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:48
That's why there's it's such a wild wild west of all the time and it and you go to AFM, I mean, and you just see it, you see walking around, you see the same players doing the same games, and you see the movies, and I'm like, I know that filmmaker, I know he's got screwed. And I know that filmmaker, Nick, I know that movie, that guy behind that movie in it. So I hear the stories on both ends, I hear from the front and the back, you know, from the filmmaker and from the distributor, and look not to just shit on distributors, because there are good distributors out there. There are good there are people who trying to help and but a lot of times too, it's just the nature of the marketplace. You do the best you can sometimes as a distributor. And it's just like you were handicapped the moment you took the film on like that, if you would take on the movie that I gave you the example of when you're smart enough, you're smart enough not to take it. But there are distributors who will take that movie on, promise things that they truly believe possibly could possibly happen. And when they don't happen, then the filmmakers like the distributor screwed me now unlock the true. Very true. There is there are those those are rare, by the way, that doesn't happen all the time. I think it still leans more towards the the other angle of things. But it's just the business is so crazy and changing. Look in the 80s and 90s. In the VHS times in the DVD times. Everything pretty much stayed the same. For years, right? Like you made a movie. This was the output. This was the windowing, BPPV that stood like that for years. And prior to VHS it stood like that for 60 years. Like and

John Kim 1:08:27
There was limited and the projections were were spot were very good. Because there was a limited number of comps that you could then project and there's no variables work today is just like, there's no just throw out the concert COVID There's 1000s It's just there's no comps, right. And so, yeah, that's why I don't want to provide estimates because it's going to be wrong, they're going to be wrong. The question is, is do you? The main thing is do you trust that you're going to get paid? Do you trust that he's going to do what he says he's going to do? Do you trust that? You know, that it's trust? Essentially, that is it? Because everything else? I don't know variable, right? It's just, you know, it's like I can lead the decision maker is gonna see the movie, right? It's gonna be placed here, you know, you're gonna get placement, you're gonna get paid. And that is a lot unfortunately, in this business. Like in any other business, that's just the cost of entry, you expect that, but because there's so many bad apples just that is like, Wow, I can't tell you how many of my clients like why I'm not getting paid. I haven't been paid, you know, in year kind of check. To check. You know, I'm saying I mean, it's, it's sad, but, you know, I've been able to benefit just by doing that by doing what I'm going to say I don't go to the bathroom without your approval. You know, and that's why I want to be working only with people that I want to ask for approval. Otherwise, I don't I don't want to work with you.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:07
Because I've seen a couple of filmmakers with some egos. Just a couple, just a couple of a couple, a couple of delusional filmmakers along the way. By the way, I was one of them. When I was starting out, we all go through that we all go through the process. If you're smart, you go through quickly, and then you move on, and you grow up pretty quickly. But when you come into this business, you come in with stars in your eyes, and I love movies, and Scorsese, and Cor, Salwa and Spielberg and Lucas and and you see all these stories and you want to like I'm going to make the Godfather I'm going to make you know, Inception, I'm going to make Nolan film or Fincher. So that is what you need to get this. It's so difficult to get. Yeah, you need that kind of energy to make it. But once you're done making it, then you really know it's another step that they don't tell you at film school. They don't Hollywood doesn't sell that story. They don't tell it. They sell you the oh, look, this guy went to Sundance and sold the movie for $17.5 million. Oh, great. And now the Dow that's everyone's like, Oh, well, you know, Palm Springs sold for $17.5 million. I go. And I spoke I had that guy on the show. And we went through the whole process. And Hulu paid $17.5 million for that. Amazing. And you know why they paid 17 point 5 million won. I had Adam Sandler and Adam and Adam Sandburg in it. So that was JK Simmons. And they knew that based on their algorithm that Adam Sandberg is going to do very well on their platform. But more than that, the free press that they got for being the highest paid movie ever at Sundance, they estimated it to be like $100 million worth of free advertising for Hulu. So that was a strategic move. was the movie that valuable? At the end of the day, they probably not. But was it valuable for marketing to get more eyeballs on Hulu to get? You see, but that's no,

John Kim 1:12:06
That's the stuff that no one knows. That's my point to is like, no one really knows why. And just to say my movies better than movies, like according to you. But they don't know all these other things out and back to the you know, the waiting days. They don't know, like what actually made them might have happened. And that Cassius or to make it happen. Not that is still happening, right? It's like to just put your head in the sand and say, Yeah, I saw something. I see a Beverly Hills house. So what I'm incompetent in my house is incompetent. It's irrelevant.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:35
Right! Like, yeah, exactly. Like, I'm in Bakersfield. And I have a house, you know, but I saw a house sell for 4.5 million in the hills of Hollywood.

John Kim 1:12:46
And with that exact scenario of what we're talking about,

Alex Ferrari 1:12:51
You're absolutely I never thought I'd never thought about that. But filmmakers think but my house is good that they have a bathroom. I have a bedroom, they have a bedroom. I don't understand. I don't understand why mine is not worth the 4.5 million. And then you're like, oh, you know who lives in that house. Danny Trejo, Danny Trejo, Thomas Jane, Michael Madsen, Eric Roberts, and a few other guys live in that. And they were able to sell on Bruce Willis also lives in there as well. So now, that movie that that house is sold for point five 1.5 million, but your house you live in it. So it's not worth as much.

John Kim 1:13:31
We laugh at this scenario, but it is exactly what's happening to a lot of filmmakers.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:36
Wow, I've never I'm going to use that constantly. It is so brilliant of analogy, because there's there's two houses, but the two houses are not built on the same playing field. They're both houses. Yes. They're both films. Yes, exactly. But they're not equal. They're not equal in the market place in the marketplace. And the marketplace, you can live in it. You can live in that you can watch this movie, you can watch that movie. That's where the similarities end.

John Kim 1:14:10
But there's no such thing. There's no like, objective measurement. Right? You can say it's just like, Well, I think it's a great book. Well, I think it's a great. It's like, look at that. It's just chasing when, you know, unless it's like someone reads like, you know what, I don't I gotta make money. I'm only gonna sell I and I always want to work with people I want to work with. Right. So there you go.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:35
I mean, listen, John, what advice Listen, what advice would you give a filmmaker? What's that? What's that one piece of advice? What would the filmmaker that has a movie that wants to make a movie and wants to get into the marketplace right now. And once the makeup just wants to make it they haven't made the movie yet. So we're catching them before they make their movie. And let's say they could find a couple 100 grand $1,000 to $300,000 they can raise that one is the advice you give a filmmaker at that stage right now? And then what advice would you give a filmmaker who has that $300,000 movie with no stars in it? If there's any advice you could get?

John Kim 1:15:12
It's really hard to speak in generalities.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:14
Right, you really, it is case by case.

John Kim 1:15:16
You're right, whatever it is case by case, but I mean, a central tenet is make the cheapest possible movie you possibly can. Right? And because the return down downstream is just not it's just not their exception. Unless you're an exception. I'm talking you know, generalities, but you know, it just make it for the cheap. Get the best stars that you possibly can for your money. That's more important, any special effect anything whatever, because then you can put it on your your ad spend money on your, your, your your key art, that that's much more important than any little you know, then and that's your Superbowl advertising right there. That's more that's a big line item in your $300,000 movie. Get the best Star get the get the best art possible. And trailer trailer I mean, you know, there's some there's the trailers important because an o on a trailer, don't make your trailer a mini movie. It's called a teaser. Right? It's the T. Everyone wants to like little mini movies. Like you know what? I just saw the whole movie in two minutes. Thank you very much. I'm not gonna buy it. I'm not gonna see it because I saw it from beginning to end. All the best parts, too. I know. Those are your best parts. All the explosions are in a 32nd teaser, like, Oh, that looks interesting. I'm gonna do it. Right. It's just it's like, I mean, again, I want to say get in trouble with the, you know, it's a striptease, you don't show everything right. You just do a little bit that get him interested.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:58
You tease him? Exactly. You tease them.

John Kim 1:17:01
Right. So that's another thing again, I've seen that's the number one thing. Mistake is everyone makes a little mini movie a two and a half minute trailer, you're done in 10 minutes, 10 seconds. You know, it's just get someone they take another look. Right. So that's number one. Number two on the art piece, everyone thinks they gotta do this montage thing when they realize it's a two by two inch thing. And it's just like a black box. Everything on

Alex Ferrari 1:17:22
That's not the one that's standing on your wall. That's different. Like, you know, the poster, the poster you want to build for your wall so you can show people. That's a different poster than what you're dealing with your demanded thing.

John Kim 1:17:34
And by the way, on your thing, you could take a picture of me and you can say that the Jackie Chan is in your movie, because no one's gonna tell the difference.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:43
Why Wow. No, but you write so small, it's so small.

John Kim 1:17:49
And no one's gonna like fact check you but you take a picture. Actually, maybe it's Bruce Lee, not Jackie Chan. Because everyone puts you know, and then they put a whole like list of all the faces and it's like, it really is indecipherable. It could I'm joking, but it looks like that.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:04
So look at Netflix, if you if you just study Netflix right now, I was just watching this the other day, studying Netflix. And there was a movie that I watched and had like two or three stars in it. They choose a star. Like if you seeing red notice flashed by they either put the rock or they put Ryan rentals or put they'll put Galka got on it. They won't put all three generally speaking once the movie is because then because you just Oh, is that the rock up because you don't want to confuse them?

John Kim 1:18:34
Because it's a two thing and it's a squirrel so fast. You've got to catch up. And by the way, they know the analytics of exactly what's who sells what sells. Again, this is all stuff that behind that no one knows. Right? But I mean for the indie people for the end, here's another advice that you back to your thing. Don't do that. Don't do that. Because it is a pipe dream to get on Netflix, go to to VT go to most popular and look who who like look at all the stars that are selling on most popular and to beat those people. That's the chance where you can see stars like, you know, Joe Blow that you had no idea about, there's actually a star because he's selling more than Brad Pitt on the a VA channels. Right, that's more reachable because on a on a VA channel, you're competing. The love the playing field is a little bit less than it's not like iTunes, where you're competing against and vendors forget about you're competing not only to the production by 10 million of advertising, etc, etc. You can't compete. However, on the AI channels. There is a point of theories. It's a little bit late into it because you feel like you're competing against 10 year old 20 year old studio movies. Alright, so I've already seen that, right? So if you look at all the most popular, they're not the Titanic's because everyone's already seen them for. But you look at the most popular look at those stars all sudden you're seeing stars that you've never heard about. Right, and they're next to, you know, they're majorly bracket. Like this is the only playing field We're an independent indie benefit maker can actually compete, right where your your, so that's what I'm saying. Just know, know your limits, you know, again, it says you can dream. But if you want to get that first base, you want to get that bump start here and then go higher and AVOD is the place again, I'm, I'm talking sacrilege to every, you know, filmmaker and you know, all the windowing, and I've said it before you that is, is looking at what's selling and by the way that computers are in line, this is a straight up, like, what are the best sellers, right? And then also, you're gonna see stars in there that you don't know who they are, but you might want to hire them, because you know what algorithms pick them up, they're in your movie, they're gonna pop up in the two V's of the world. And by the movie, you know, I have 600 movies on TV, right? I was with two people and they were 40 I got three kids. You know, if I had another kid, I'm naming them to movie boy or girl. Till we can, boy or girl if to be and I've told them that you know, my friends that to be I've told everyone this because to be is going, I mean free. My number six might be freebie and number seven. Number seven is going to be YouTube. Okay? And that's gonna be you or two or whatever boy or girl because no one's gonna stop that YouTube engine. You got 5 billion people out there, right versus whatever. But, you know, these are little insights. Again, it's you can live in dreamland. But if you want to like really get some some some some some some points on the board. You got to play in this area because a $300,000 movie can't compete against $100 million movie period and no matter what we're except by these AR platforms, because the

Alex Ferrari 1:21:43
100 million because Dr. Strange. Multiverse is not on duty right now.

John Kim 1:21:48
There you go. You're not competing. That's why I'm saying don't even bother with iTunes because you're competing against Dr. Strange for crying out loud. How can you do that?

Alex Ferrari 1:21:55
James Bond?

John Kim 1:21:57
Dr. Strange 10 years from now. Okay, so I've already seen that. So I'm hoping it's free. So I'm open up for you know, watch something for Kerala different?

Alex Ferrari 1:22:05
What is it? What is the return? Give or take? Because I know like Amazon's like a penny. What do we is there is that public knowledge as far as what you get paid on to be but it's decent enough that you're happy?

John Kim 1:22:16
It's a it's a CPM

Alex Ferrari 1:22:19
Can you explain what a CPM is real quick

John Kim 1:22:20
CPM is is is what you're paid per 1000 views. Right, so. So when you think about it, it's like, per 1000 views, you know, you got it, you're gonna need millions of people to watch something, to vert to me of significant value. Right. So the big, the big, big fallacy, there's just the train wreck is happening now. And I just laugh right now is the buzzword is fast, channel faster, and all Avon, I'm gonna, I'm gonna direct consumer, I'm gonna fast channel, everybody and their sisters approaching me. They see me on LinkedIn, whatever. And they say, Hey, I want your movies, you know, you know, we can share the money. And we can have this direct channel and I'm going to be on the Roku box, and we're going to be on fire stick and all this. I'm like, Yeah, you will find people. So why would I use my clients movies to fund your business, that then we share five cents? You know, I'm saying because you can't get 5000 people, you can't get 5000 people to walk

Alex Ferrari 1:23:22
I have a million if I have a million or 2 million or 3 million subscribers, that's a different conversation, even

John Kim 1:23:26
Then WooCommerce even then, I mean, we're not talking subscribers. I mean, even we're even seeing the, you know, the big boys, Disney Netflix saying they gotta go to this AVOD market, because its number of subscribers is not even close to the number of people that want to watch free. by Amy.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:42
So you mean like television, television,

John Kim 1:23:46
That's what I'm talking about before. It's just I tell people, it's just back to the future. We're just going back to TV where it was free for ad supported. But people just you know, as content providers, it's hard to get millions and millions of people to watch something for those numbers to pay out. But they're not even close to what it was before on theatrical DVD. It's subscription, you know, money, which is all going away now. I mean, it's a matter of time. You know? So it really is just knowing your strengths. Thank you for me. I don't do theatrical. No, that's not my thing. I stick to my lane. This is what I do. Again, I'm squirrel hunting. And then, you know, then a elephant gets in the way and I sell it, you know, to, you know, a Sigourney Weaver, you know, a movie that just came out of nowhere, right, but I'm not like just waiting all day for that elephant to come in. I'm shooting squirrels, you know, and eating squirrels or eating and like I said, it's significant, but it's not I don't have my own lot. I don't have you know, 1000 people working for me, I don't have the DP of the bathroom do the payoff. You know where you know, the squirrels ain't gonna feed anything. But you put enough squirrels together and you got a major league meal. And then again, you know, an elephant comes in the way and, you know, that feeds the village. But this business model doesn't work for any studio, it doesn't work for even, you know, a lot of these distributors with lots of staff, whatever, right? It just doesn't. Right. 10,000 $20,000 You know, we can add up a lot. I mean, you were talking about I would, I would pick up $5,000 You know, if it was just there, you know, all day and night, but a lot of people because their costume, they can't even afford it, and they won't do

Alex Ferrari 1:25:29
It cost them more money to pick up that 5000 that it does. That's exactly it, make it exactly it. Yeah, just to have them run there. It's a different world. And I think and filmmakers really need to understand that that, you know, a giant distributor won't pick you up, if you're a small movie, unless they feel that they can make money with it, because it's going to cost more just to put you in the workflow, the funnel of getting everything ready into the assembly line of what they normally do to put movie out, it's going to cost them X amount of dollars, just to release your movie legit, why they have a marketing cap 33

John Kim 1:26:05
I'll take your 30,000 you know, that's my insurance, if that doesn't happen,

Alex Ferrari 1:26:09
Right. And they really cost them about three to four or 5000 to do what they're gonna do. But it's not even

John Kim 1:26:15
It's making you cry in my little portfolio folder. So I can have my you know, my office in one of the film festivals that didn't cost me 30,000 of marketing. And by the way, 30,000 mark up, you might as well just spit in the ocean. I mean, really? What can you do for $30,000?

Alex Ferrari 1:26:31
Not it's gonna be Yeah, it's gonna it's gonna be tough. It's gonna be tough. It's gonna be very tough

John Kim 1:26:36
Talk in general, I don't want to talk in studio. So I'm talking about you know, more, you know, independent filmmakers, where 200,000 is a lot of money. Let's just put it that way.

Alex Ferrari 1:26:44
Right. And can you really quickly? Well, how valuable is a film festival to you? Are you a laurel at Sundance, or at South Bay?

John Kim 1:26:53
Okay, so what? No stars outside outside of the, you know, outside of the name brand ones? Yeah, no stars, no stars didn't book to film festival. It might as well be, you know, junkie in my underwear. Having a screening. It doesn't matter. The only people that are making money on those film festivals are the film festival makers, because they're charging five to $10,000. For for your event, you know, so that thank you very much. And then I mean, it's almost a joke. I'm talking, I'm not I'm talking about non con, you know, non.

Alex Ferrari 1:27:27
So the Alright, so let's say everybody else everybody else is like other than the top 10 film festivals.

John Kim 1:27:37
As a salesperson, it's the last thing I talked about. Because you know what, most people could care less. They're not going to watch a movie of like, oh, this was the film The Audience Choice winner in the set in Timbuktu Film Festival. Who cares? It's hard enough to get someone to watch a movie, when you know, on on much bigger measurements, it's elastic. I mean, I don't even visit film festivals, because it's a joke. I mean, I almost wanted to have a test where I just put those little film morals, you know, you know, on the screen and just call it like, you know, festival just because you know what it's like Jackie Chan is gonna be gone. Who knows all his laurels look the same. People are not buying because it wants some awards. Those film festivals exist for these filmmakers to want to feel good about, about themselves that at least hear one on award. But it's not leading to a darn sale. Again, I'm talking general, I'm not talking generalities. Right. But even the top one is a con this that they can't sell me even Academy Award. Some of those movies can't sell more than 5000 bucks, you know, the crappy Academy Award? Okay. No, you're right. You're absolutely the names. It's just absolutely, you know, they make 10,000 points. You know, no one's talking about the actual money. But again, that's serious credibility, like I was talking with St. Do you want? Do you want an Oscar? Here you go. But a lot of those movies, they're making nothing. So if you've got the creme de la creme, that's nothing. What do you say about Timbuktu Film Festival and you know, Wisconsin or this and that. And

Alex Ferrari 1:29:07
I just wanted you to say it out loud, man. Because I talked about that constantly. And look at film festivals are great, and they have their place and it's fun, and it's great. But if you're thinking that that's going to bring dollars to the bottom line, there's there's probably three or four festivals in the world that might bring a little bit of money to the table. And that's still dependent on the movie still dependent on the genre. So dependent on a bunch of because I know films have won Sundance couldn't get sold and that was 10 years ago. When and that's still I think that's a holdover from the 90s though because in the 90s you put up a Sundance Laurel it was sold

John Kim 1:29:46
You also the DVDs to write so again, right different world it's a different world but you know, so if someone comes to me and says, Hey, man, I want these all I was like, Okay, who's in it? Nobody. Oh, what is the greatest I was like, oh, Okay, sorry. Go go go to someone who is going to tell you they're gonna make a lot of money on that movie, but I ain't taking it. Right. I know, because I I've tested this crap myself, you know, to the point of where I am joking, like putting a Jackie Chan it's calling a car, you know, Jackie Chan's Film Festival for grandma. So all the morals, and I've had, you know what I thought were like, Okay, this sounds pretty good winner of this, you know, in a big market film festival like major market, you know, and I couldn't, I couldn't give it away. Right? Because all those films and no one's buying and I'm in the mood tonight to watch a winner of this. The Timbuktu felt so good to watch this video, I made a movie based on that no consumer does.

Alex Ferrari 1:30:41
Right. Now it's a small, it's a small market of film of film lovers. That might care. But that markets so small, little, track them down

John Kim 1:30:52
And just call them up and say watch my movie, because I know you'd like these kind of

Alex Ferrari 1:30:55
Criterion Collection couldn't make their streaming service work. They go. And they are Criterion Collection. Like they switched it over they they joined another service, because they just couldn't make it work financially. And that says everything you need, because criteria collection means something to a very small group of film lovers. You know, you and I both know who Criterion Collection is. But if you walk down the street 9.9 out of 10 people are not going to give a crap about a Criterion Collection release. They don't care. So not that there's anything wrong with that, but they understand their lane and they do it very well. As far as the distributor is concerned Criterion Collection like they, you know, and that's another feather in the cap. If you got a movie, one of your movies and Criterion Collection you go. I'm there with Richard Linklater, I'm there with Kurosawa. I'm there with Coppola there with all this kind of stuff. So it's, listen, it's been a fantastic conversation. I have a couple questions I asked all my guests I want to I want to ask you before we go. This is these are fun, though. These are fun. What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life?

John Kim 1:32:06
Man, that's that's, that's, that's deep. That's what we all go personal on that I'll just go. I'll just go film. Sure. I'll just go film and every every movie has a price. And just because, you know, you you think that it's worth something doesn't mean it's what the majority thinks. Right. And I think that that's the arrogance of major studios, you know, that make decision making based on on you know, the head saying I know this and you know, that's how quickies happen. Right? Yeah, they're not very worrying. They're ignoring, you know, what reality what the heartland what people want. I mean, they could care less about Steven Spielberg. You know, he's, he's a legend of filmmaking. But you know what, today's to the younger consumers today. It's like, who's Grandpa is this? I don't care. I ain't gonna pay more we care.

Alex Ferrari 1:33:04
We care about like, Oh, my God, let's go see West Side Story. And nobody loves the West Side Story

John Kim 1:33:08
And what happened right?

Alex Ferrari 1:33:10
And it was an Oscar nominee. And it was an Oscar nominated film. And everyone says it was like an amazing piece of cinematic. And it didn't do well.

John Kim 1:33:19
Exactly. And Steven Spielberg is, is the father of filmmaking. That is a perfect sample. So again, just you have to divorce yourself, you know, and just because what you think doesn't mean that's what everybody else in the world thinks, right? So every film has, at the same time, like I said, I have movies where I'm embarrassed to be selling them. They're not on my website. But they're selling millions. Okay? So it goes both ways. And you just have to be able to, like, try to divorce your own emotions and your own involvement. I mean, Spielberg Yeah, that's great. And then look at the marketplace, no reaction whatsoever, right or Academy Award back to the film festival. Okay, so how did that translate? So back to like, if the greatest filmmaker in the history of mankind is having that how are you stack up to that, you know, in your budget in your filmmaking abilities, and they can't work? And it can't work? Right. I mean, it's a hard, hard lesson to learn to accept that fact. Right, okay. You're telling me you really are like you're better than Spielberg? No, I'm not. Well, you're asking me to make more money than Spielberg. That's just your deep silence. Crickets. Again, I'm not in the business of Doctor No, I don't want to kill anyone's dreams. I don't even want to have this conversation with anybody that just even thinks this.

Alex Ferrari 1:34:42
Hopefully. So hopefully, this interview, you could just send this to people. This is you. Here's, here's me. Here's everything I'm gonna say to you. Watch it, don't watch it. It's up to you.

John Kim 1:34:56
Whole length is short to have these

Alex Ferrari 1:35:00
That's why you do it with someone

John Kim 1:35:02
That doesn't want to hear it. Oh, but my Aunt Millie likes this. Oh, but this this is different than

Alex Ferrari 1:35:07
That Millie have 10 million she wants to throw out your way because last question three of your favorite films of all time.

John Kim 1:35:18
Oh my goodness!

Alex Ferrari 1:35:19
Come on three of your three that come to your mind today.

John Kim 1:35:23
Today. I can't you know what it's become such a widget to me that

Alex Ferrari 1:35:29
I'll go back to the young, the young man who love for this business before you got jaded.

John Kim 1:35:37
Jaws. So jaws. Right? Yeah. So yeah, so again, it's all that baggage of all that and then, you know, now it's like, I'm going back to the last one to use that. But but he Okay, back in when I didn't even know about, you know, Hollywood and all that. Okay, very good. But yeah, it's just one painful to like. Because there's just, there's just so many like, you know, I saw so many movies now. It's just I, I am not the film critic, and I am not a film producer. And I could care less about the storyline are, you know, the beautiful special? That's not me. I just, that's why I can't even like answer your question other than Jaws, which was when I was like, you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:36:22
Look John, it sounds to me that you you're journeyman, you've gone through this business a while you've seen a lot of carcasses along the way. And you've seen dreams get shattered, you've seen egos get destroyed, you've seen, you've seen successes as well, you've seen people do well and grow in this business as well. But you've seen too much, to not look at things differently. And it's similar to me where I just been through so much in my career, that when when young filmmakers or new filmmakers that could be 65. And show up by the way, I talked to many of those who show up and have no understanding, they might have been a doctor that had money and I want to be a really what I really want to do is direct, and they show up and they just get destroyed. Because it don't understand what they're walking into. And I always use the analogy of a fight. Whereas most people, most filmmakers walk into this business not knowing that they're walking into a ring. And you're walking in with Mike Tyson in 1987. And most people don't even know that they're in a ring, let alone an arena, let alone in a fight. And all of a sudden, while they're walking around going look at the pretty lights. Mike Tyson comes in and knocks them out. And they're like, and they're like, what happened? Where did this come from? And that's what I'm here to do is to let you know you are entering your inner ring with Mike Tyson and 1987 is to prepare prepare yourself for the punch. Because and I always say this too. I don't care who you are. You always get punched. We just talking about Steven Spielberg. He got punched, he got an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, and multiple other nominations. And he still got punched, everybody gets hit. But if I make but if I may quote the great Rocky Balboa, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. There you go. I gotta get him on the show. One day. I really because I know sly wood. Because you want to talk about a journeyman Holy crap. Can you imagine what slides gone through in his career? Oh my god.

John Kim 1:38:31
No, but let me just since you're talking about about about Sly Stallone, I want to just just say this story because it's also illustrative what we're just talking about going up. I watch rocky every day. I wasn't I wasn't. I was drinking the eggs. I was like doing. I was good. I was you know, in the tiger.

Alex Ferrari 1:38:53
Why the tiger? I have the tiger.

John Kim 1:38:55
Right. So then dial it back 30 years and then I have my own son who was also playing tennis, you know, at a high level nationally ranked, you know, top 100 in the country and like okay, maybe you could kind of watch rocky mint got right. And he's like, No, I don't want you for three years. I was telling you to watch Rocky. You gotta watch the car. Watch. This is a greatest movie. So finally I think is my birthday is I'm fine. I'll watch Rocky. Okay. We pop it in. We're watching it. And you know, we he's in the pet store and he's talking about you know, they will start fighting until like, an hour later. He goes, this is boring. And I'm watching it. I'm like one. This is boring. You know, things have changed. And you know, so things have changed. And then my point is it took me three years and I had my son to like, I'm not giving the car to make him watch it. He only watched it because it's my birthday. Right? It is hard to get To someone to watch a movie, right? That it's hard and then even when I got him to watch it because this is boring

Alex Ferrari 1:40:09
Because you needed to start with Rocky for much faster, much faster, much faster rocky three much fat and then Rocky Balboa even. Yeah, yeah, there you go. So Rocky was a drama Rocky's a drama.

John Kim 1:40:25
So it's like today's consumers don't have three years and a father like hammering him to watch a movie.

Alex Ferrari 1:40:33
Did he like it? Right? Did they enjoy the rest of the movie? Did you watch the rest of the movie?

John Kim 1:40:39
We turned it off. Oh my god, I died.

Alex Ferrari 1:40:43
I was eating raw eggs. Okay, you died a little bit that day.

John Kim 1:40:47
And then I watched and he goes, this sucks. I'm like, Oh my gosh. And I just kind of see where his point was. Right. That's how much things have changed from when we're just talking about the D days today. To today's consumer, if they're in a killing in like the opening credits, you lost the consumer. That's why dramas don't work in general, because these today's kids, and they could care less if it's on a big screen or a two inch screen. It's not like our days when we needed to be on the big screen.

Alex Ferrari 1:41:18
It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter a lot. So now the world is AVOD. It could be watched on an iPhone. It doesn't have to be in the theater. Film Festivals don't really have that much in the market anymore. All these kinds of things. That world has changed so much. And I hope this conversation has shaken people to the core a little bit and really opened people's eyes about what this market place is right now. Because in six months, something else might come out and then a year.

John Kim 1:41:48
And that's not an exaggeration, because

Alex Ferrari 1:41:52
I remember when I went to AFM like three or four years ago, and everybody was talking about Ott, oh, everyone's OTT Oh TTL TTL. TT, and then afterwards like oh, it's that's my that's my that's my that's fine. And then Avod, Avod, Avod, Avod. Everyone's just trying to figure it out. Even the professionals don't know what the hell's going on.

John Kim 1:42:09
YouTube is the next thing.

Alex Ferrari 1:42:13
I've been hearing I've been hearing about YouTube, from my friends in the distribution space for a while. I'm going to do an episode about YouTube in the future. And that's the ultimate like if you think AVOD is like the end of the road. YouTube is an insult to a filmmaker, or it's an it's an insult to throw. Because that's where cat videos go.

John Kim 1:42:32
No, that's I was there. But now I am not. I am a proponent I saw in my own checkbook. Bam. It is the future when you think about it to make money. You got to zig when everyone is zagging. You got to be there before but I was there five years before we were in the Avon thing I had all those contacts because everyone's making fun of it. Myself included when I was at Paramount. Now everyone's going apparently Avon now that's getting now that's gonna get crowded. We never too busy everybody comes in YouTube is the next big when everyone's laughing and wait

Alex Ferrari 1:43:03
Until the studio's finally jump onto YouTube. And then it's again

John Kim 1:43:09
With what's the next thing

Alex Ferrari 1:43:11
What's the what's the next thing? Oh videos on Snapchat? I don't know. Like I have no idea. I have no idea it's it's so amazing. But I really John, I want to thank you so much for your time my friend thank you so much for your so your CAD being so candid and your rawness about the conversation and I hope this helps some filmmakers and please send this this interview to all the filmmakers that you talk to you guys if you want the truth just I'm not gonna do this watch the video just watch the video. This is not my business. This is Alex teaches. I don't teach just go there. Thank you so much.

John Kim 1:43:50
Thank you. Thank you

LINKS

SPONSORS

  1. Jambox.io – Royalty Free Music for Indie Films
  2. Bulletproof Script Coverage– Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
  3. Enigma Elements – Cinematic Tools & Assets for Serious Filmmakers
  4. Audible – Get a Free Filmmaking or Screenwriting Audiobook

IFH 396: Confessions of an Ex-Distributor Turned Filmmaker with Jeff Deverett

Right-click here to download the MP3

I’m so excited to bring this episode to the IFH Tribe I can barely contain myself. Today on the show we have ex-distributor turned filmmaker Jeff Deverett. Jeff reached out to me after reading my book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business. He wanted to tell me that the book hit the nail on the head and that my film distribution chapter was right on.

I came to find out that he was an ex-distributor and had was on that side of the business for 20 years.  We got to talking and I asked if he would come on the show and spill the beans on:

  • How a bad distribution deal is structured
  • Why the entire film distribution business is systemically designed to screw the filmmaker
  • How a distributor negotiates a deal from his point of view
  • How to follow the money
  • What a filmmaker needs to do NOT to get taken advantage of

After this episode, you will know “where the bodies are buried.”  As Jeff said on the show

“It’s not the film distributors want to screw over filmmakers is it just happens organically.”

We also go into his Filmtrepreneurial business model. He has directed seven feature films, three of which are currently playing on Netflix. He self-distributes all his films. Jeff is a producer, director, writer, and actor known for Full Out 2: You Got This! (2020), ism (2019), The Samuel Project (2018), Kiss & Cry (2017), Full Out (2015), King of the Camp (2008), and My Brother’s Keeper (2004). Jeff’s successful film and TV career began with distribution with New World Entertainment, Astral Communications, Anchor Bay Entertainment, and his own company, Deverett Media Group.

 

We go into:

  • How and why he chooses his niches
  • How he leverages “the niche” in his filmmaking and marketing
  • Why Netflix has one of the fairest distribution deals in the business
  • and much more…

This episode is going to be EPIC. Sit back and get ready to have your mind blown. Enjoy my conversation with Jeff Deverett.


IFH Academy’s Film Distribution: Confidential Course

I’m also announcing the BETA Launch of IFH Academy’s Film Distribution: Confidential Course.

As part of the BETA team you will get:

  • Massive discount for early adopters
  • Be the first to see new lessons as I create them
  • Access to me during the creation of the course
  • Give feedback on the lessons and request new lessons

I want this course to be the most comprehensive course on film distribution anywhere in the world and having you be part of the BETA Team will help me do that.

Alex Ferrari 0:32
Today's guest is Jeff Deverett. And Jeff is an ex distributor who has turned into a filmmaker. Jeff had been in the distribution side of the business for almost 20 years and has been making films as a filmmaker for the past 15 years. He has directed seven feature films, three of which are on Netflix. Currently, he self distributes all his films and only after he switched from The distribution side to the filmmaker side, did he realize what the hell was going on? And how filmmakers have everything stacked against them when walking into a negotiation for a film distribution deal? Now, Jeff reached out to me after reading my book, Rise of the filmtrepreneur, and really want to just talk about the book and the concepts in the book, and congratulated me on the distribution chapter in that book, because it was really right on. So as I was talking to Jeff, I found that he was obviously an ex distributor, and I asked them, would you be interested in coming on the show? And kind of talking about distribution? And how distributors do those kind of tricks that they do, to kind of screw over filmmakers in many ways? And he said, Absolutely, I know where the bodies are buried, I'll be more than happy to share everything. And when I finally recorded this episode, Jeff did not disappoint. He laid out so many golden nuggets on the mindset of a distributor on how how the industry has just been built this way, how the deals are structured, how you follow the money, how you can negotiate certain aspects, what kind of clauses you might need to protect yourself, when to walk away from a distribution deal, when to you know, maybe not get everything you want, but move forward with a distribution deal. It is it was just mind blowing. It was just an insane conversation. And we also talk about how he's using the film intrapreneur method has been using the film entrepreneur method for years in regards to how he is using niche filmmaking, and how he's been able to really build a business around his filmmaking passion. This is an epic conversation. It lasts over two hours long, so I need you to strap in, get ready to take notes. And prepare yourselves to have your mind blown. Without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Jeff Deverett. I like to welcome the show, Jeff Deverett. Man, how are you my friend?

Jeff Deverett 7:24
I'm great. Thanks for having me.

Alex Ferrari 7:25
Oh, man, thank you for doing this. I appreciate it. You know, you and I have been talking for a couple weeks now going back and forth on some stuff and and the idea was like we you know what you think it was yesterday? Would you like me to come on your show to talk about all things distribution, because I know where that bought, if I may, quote, I know where the bodies are buried. So I was like, Well, yes, sir. Yeah. Do you want us to blur out your face? You're like, No, No, I'm fine. So um, before we get into it, tell the audience how'd you get into the business?

Jeff Deverett 7:59
Okay, so you're gonna hear from my accent that I'm formally from Canada. I now live in San Diego, California with beautiful San Diego. So, but I lived in Toronto, Canada for most of my life. And my wife and I decided because we want to make a lifestyle change, mostly because of the winters in Canada. As you and I agree, Toronto is a great city. And it's a great film city, by the way, too. But it is nasty in the winter. And we were eat, she's American. So we were able to make that change. So that's why we ended up in the United States. And I'm now a citizen, very proud. And actually, a couple days of july fourth, I take that very seriously. So I celebrate like fourth. Okay, anyways, how to get in the business. So I got what you call the bug, the virus, you know, for lack of I got that virus, which is the filmmaking virus at about 16 years old, I recall. I don't know why I got it. I just, I just got the virus that I needed to be a filmmaker. And so when I was going to college, in an 18 is in in Canada. My dad said, so what do you think you want to do? And I said, I want to be a filmmaker. He said for Really? And I go Yeah, I think I do. Yeah, he goes, do you want to be a producer or director? And I said, I don't know. What's the difference? No, no, he didn't even know this crazy conversation. But this is what literally went on. And he said, Well, if you want to be a producer, I think you should like either go to law school or business school should either get an MBA or to law a law degree because I think there's going to be a lot of business involved. But if you want to be a filmmaker, like a director, go to film school, because you know, it's all artistic. So I said, I think I want to be a producer. And anyways, I went and got an undergrad degree, a business degree in economics and finance. And then I went to law school and got a law degree. And then I went right into like, a practice in Canada. You have to practice law for one year. It's you know, to do it. Because sort of an apprenticeship. And then right after that, I only own companies, I wanted to be in their legal department. So and I ended up at first as a small indie company, but then in a big sort of, you know, quasi studio as big as they are in Canada, a public company, a media company. So when I was being hired into that job, I thought I was being interviewed for the legal department, but they ended up putting me in distribution, and I went into sales. And I said, this is unusual. They said, well, you have the right personality for sales. So and we'd like your background, and we know you can talk business and negotiate contracts. So we're going to put you into the sales department. And I had no clue. I mean, I literally thought I was going into the legal department into business affairs. So I said, Yeah, this is fun. Because I got to go to all the markets, you know, I got to literally travel the world go to all the markets. So my job was to basically acquire indie films, and programming TV, both TV and movies. And to set it up for distribution. Ultimately, I phased into the selling side, as opposed to the acquisition side. And then I started running the domestic sales operations internally in the studio. And then we branched out into lots of different things. As you say, you know, you got to be like your film trippin Earth book, which I read, by the way, and enjoyed. Thank you. So we branched out into lots and lots of different merchandise. And it wasn't just about the programming, it became a full business in terms of how we can monetize lots of other things.

Alex Ferrari 11:39
So how do so what are the two? That's just curious what other products or what other things that you were what other revenue streams are coming in from the films?

Jeff Deverett 11:46
Well, I don't know if you totally reviewed my my bio that I sent you.

Alex Ferrari 11:50
Oh, there was I do remember? Yes. Yes. Please tell the audience. There was this one, there was this one, this one small IP that you guys

Jeff Deverett 11:57
One small little item? And I hopefully we're talking about the same thing, because we didn't talk about it. But so my biggest acquisition by far for the Canadian market? Was this purple dinosaur called Barney Yep. Yeah. So for those of you who remember, Barney, you know, was gigantic, gigantic, you know, children's property. And if for those of you smiling, because you probably your kids were probably hooked on it. Anyways, I met this woman named Cheryl Leach, at one of the conferences in Las Vegas. At that time, Barney, she had just made three videos, Barney was actually blue wasn't purple was a different voice was a different thing. And I had at the time, and I was very, you know, programming for kids. And I meet this school teacher Cheryl Leach. And she tells me that this property and that she's a school teacher, and she knows what kids resonates with them. And I, I brought it back to, and I said, Guys, we should acquire this. I don't know why there's something about it. This woman kind of just is she's connected. She's hooked into what the audience really wants. So we acquired it. And sure enough, Barney, like, within a year, got onto PBS and became like, what it was, she changed the color, you know, and it grew and grew and grew, and it became this fantastic property. Anyways, originally, we just acquired, I just did the routes for, you know, basically the programming, which was television and home video, at the time, and home video was monsterous, with VHS at the time. And then we transitioned to DVD. And we, you know, over the first couple of years, we developed a really good relationship. And she said, You know, we're doing all this other stuff, like we're doing all these, you know, all these licensed brands, like plush dolls, and books, publishing, music, toiletries, clothing, and, you know, like, there's a lot of opportunity for that in Canada, because, you know, a lot of it's not license and I said, Okay, where do I sign up? And we've got everything we got, we became the music publisher, the book publisher. I mean, it was just the biggest was the

Alex Ferrari 13:59
Money just printing money, printing money.

Jeff Deverett 14:02
Plush dolls was the biggest and then we realized that the the show is just a TV commercial, really to sell, to get people interested to sell merchandise. And we did concerts, and we did so much stuff. And it was first of all was a lot of fun. Secondly, I learned so much about Merchandising, and, and until rewrites that type of thing. Um, there was tons and tons of piracy dealt with, of course, everything was being pirated at that time. I mean, you know, you'd make a plush doll A week later, some ripoff doll would appear in Walmart from nine and up from some other distributor and yeah, I mean, it's spent a lot of time dealing with that. But it was it was monstrous Now, the only thing is I didn't own that company. I was working for a public company. They were great guys, and I enjoyed it. But they made a ton of money. And the people like the back then when we started was called the lions group became lyric studios and ultimately hit entertainment, bought it and great, great property. And you know,

Alex Ferrari 15:01
so that is, okay, so the Barney the Barney lady Cheryl. She actually made money with this deal. Oh, she made tons of money. So okay, and we're gonna get into why that deal made money and a lot of others didn't. But you did this during the 90s. And I'm mistaken, right. 90s, early 2000s

Jeff Deverett 15:23
Yep, that was mid mid 90s. And yeah, mid 90s 96 I like property. Yep.

Alex Ferrari 15:28
Okay, so cuz I remember when I was, I was still like, 93 I was working 92 I think 9293 I was still working at a video store. And, and Barney, just so much, Barney. Yeah, it

Jeff Deverett 15:42
might have been 9095. Maybe I started there. 94 Yeah. And it was early on. So yeah,

Alex Ferrari 15:47
it was around there. But I remember we had plush dolls. And like you couldn't keep anything, Barney. And it was it was insane. So can you tell the audience a little bit about what it was like in the 90s with distribution in the sense that, you know, VHS was obviously King. Basically, you could almost put almost anything out on VHS, and you would make money with it. Is that a fair statement?

Jeff Deverett 16:13
Okay, well, let's just finish the Barney thing first. Okay. Barney was that I wouldn't even call that independent filmmaking. It started off as a TV show. But it became an entire, you know, licensing and merchandising business. That's what that is. So in that it's not really independent filmmaking. So let's switch gears. And I'll tell you about the 90s. So I started off primarily in television, because video was just starting. And you know, I mean, you can figure out my age, if you will, I'll tell you, I'm 59 years old. And I started right out of law school at 26. So I've been doing it for a few years. And so VHS had just launched. And basically, you know, we were all like trying to figure out, like, how do we make money with this? You know, because some of the, you know, the big block, like, you know, the big video chains, Atlantic blockbuster and stuff like that. And so we originally were selling there was no sell through it was just rental. So we were selling VHS tapes for about $110 correct. We were selling it to video stores, they would do the rentals and that's how it went out. But and then I remembered the first movie that they attempted to sell ETS No, no, that was no there was one I think was Top Gun. It might have been I thought it was Top Gun.

Alex Ferrari 17:34
It might have been an Indiana Jones or might have been a Top Gun. It was one of those Yeah, it was one of those I remember et was the thing that blew me

Jeff Deverett 17:42
out of the water. Yeah, so and the studios were taken they were going to take a chance with that because that was kind of breaking the mold going and selling directly to consumers through like stores like Walmart as opposed to blockbuster you know, and back then it was $30 you know to buy a VHS tape it wasn't you know $10.12 so that was a whole new business model we were all thinking oh no, there's no way anybody's gonna buy that because they can rent it for you know, 399 or 499 and a blockbuster store and sure enough, you know, took a probably a year to develop that market and that became the business you know, now the rental business was still pretty strong but you know, the sell through business became everything and then of course DVDs came along so we just changing format but the sales process was all still the same. And you know, those were I mean semi I'm going to call it glory years I mean the

Alex Ferrari 18:34
The money was flowing the mean money was flowing like crazy.

Jeff Deverett 18:38
Well people and people were enjoying it like people want it to own you got it you got like a piece of merchandise you got like a nice box you got a you know, item so and you had people were collecting like libraries were developing so and you know, you could watch it over and over again we had special special features was a gigantic element to put on to the you know, all the DVDs and but you said something earlier you said you could sell anything. The truth was you pretty well could sell anything. As long

Alex Ferrari 19:06
as I had to listen. Listen, I I had I had an my film in my mind because I know this because when I was working in the video store in the late 80s, early 90s the stuff that would come in there was the Slimer Rama bowl Rama. There was assault of the killer bimbos, which was literally two three girls flying like that with book popping bubblegum. The exterminator which is obviously a ripoff of the Terminator, and then anything that Roger Corman put out like it's it was insane. You could literally put out and I remember the guy driving up to the front of my mom and pop it was in my shirt about the mom and pop shop that I work that he would drive up with a van It was like so city he would open up the back of the van and he would have just VHS is lined on the walls like you could walk into the van and pick out titles to buy and they were like unit they weren't like the dick studio stuff. It was all the indie stuff. And we would buy a boat like, oh, that that cover looks good, right? Let's put it on the shelf. And that's what we'd rent. And you could, it was just a, it was a gold rush. It was a gold rush and DVD. And I think that's the whole, I think Hollywood basically leaned on that DVD market so much and VHS market, it was their entire business model. Yeah,

Jeff Deverett 20:20
we came the primary revenue source for sure. For many, many years. And, and for good reason, you know, people had fun, like, it was an event to go to a blockbuster store, you know, you go there, and you'd walk around and look at all the different titles. And you never heard of any of this stuff, like you said, but but it was fun to do it. I enjoyed doing that.

Alex Ferrari 20:36
Yeah, it was a lot. It was a it was a different time, it was a different time. So Alright, so you're now in distribution, and you obviously are handing out deals left and right. And you're talking to independent filmmakers, you're talking to content creators. And when you were in the sales side of things, you know, when we spoke earlier, you know, you just like well, Alex, you know, I didn't knowingly try to screw over filmmakers. That was just the way the system is kind of set up. Can you elaborate on that? A little bit? Yeah, for sure. Yeah.

Jeff Deverett 21:08
I mean, here I am. I, you know, I'm 26 I get hired by a big large media company to go into their entertainment department. And, you know, what do I know, I'm, you know, I'm fresh out of law school and new to the whole industry and every like that, and they said, Here's how it works. You know, I'm not taking, you know, like, I'm not trying to make excuses or anything, but like, you got to learn, right? Here's how it works. Here's how the distribution business works. Here's how the deals are done. Here's how. And I was a sponge. I just absorbed it all. And I went with the flow because I was working for them. And this is what you do. And this is how, you know you're learning. Right?

Alex Ferrari 21:43
And by the way, to your defense. That's this just as the system back then and the 80s in the night like that. There was no options. And everybody did business this way. There wasn't like there was no self distribution was no, there was no there's nothing. There's no such thing.

Jeff Deverett 21:58
Yeah. Yeah. So this, this is how it was done. Yeah. So. So I said, Okay, I can do this. I mean, I'm learning and you know, I'm trying my best and being diligent and going with the flow and everything like that. So it wasn't literally until 2004 when I decided to make my first feature film, that I really understood what was going on. So I'm not an evil guy didn't want to screw anybody or give bad deals aren't like that. That was the business. And then when I realized that I'm on going to be on the other side of this equation, right? All of a sudden, the light turned on and said, Hey, wait a second. This kind of doesn't make sense. You know, and for all the people, you know, who are maybe listening who did a deal with me in the early years, I'm sorry, if I gave you this episode, your penance? I didn't know any better Honest to God, I didn't

Alex Ferrari 22:50
know and look and to be and to be fair, to you, Jeff, like again, in that time period, it that's all there was, there was just no, there was just there was no other options. And everybody was given the same deals, which were horrible deals, or many times, because if you didn't like it, you just go like, Don't take it and go somewhere else. But the other person that they'll give you the same deal. So there weren't a lot of options for filmmakers. But there were obviously some makers, some filmmakers, were making money. Obviously, somebody was making money somewhere, because it's not all one and one and done. So was it because they structured deals differently? Maybe they had, how does that work?

Jeff Deverett 23:26
That's exactly it. Here's the thing is the distributors aren't evil. They're just business people, they're business people in a business that's designed to be skewed in their favor. That's all that's all it is. But they're not bad people. Some of them are bad people, but they're not bad people. You know, the deals are bad. That that's the problem. You know, think about like, a film is a major major thing in somebody's life in a filmmakers life. It's it's as big as and I shouldn't compare it to this, but it's almost as big as having a child. You put your heart and soul into this, you put all your financial wherewithal into it. You spend months and years I mean, it's a big big deal. And you know, it can change your life or it could you could go broke, you can make a you know, do well. I mean, it's a big, big deal to make a movie. All right. So if you like that other it's a major asset also. Now think about that biggest asset in most people's lives is if they buy a home. Now think about this. Okay, I was I was thinking about our discussion we're going to have today and I want to compare it to home buying, like when you buy your first home, you're a little naive, your little green around the ears and everything like that, but but you're still smart enough to know that they put a list price up and you can negotiate it. You don't necessarily have to pay the list price. They say this is what we're asking. But you know, make us an offer. And you know, so you it's negotiable. Right? Now when you go to that's buying on the selling side, when you go to sell your House, like, you know, the agent says, Okay, I want a 6% commission and you say, Well, wait a second, why can't we do it at a 4%? commission? You know, it's it's fair game to ask those questions. Because there's a lot of money at stake. And this is your major acid in your life. And you know, like, you get one shot to do it. And hey, like, he had a lowball offer, you say, you know, thanks a lot. But I want you right back at a higher price. This is regular standard operating procedure in real estate for a major asset like a house. Why isn't that the case? With indie films? Why does a filmmaker basically walk into a distributor and they put a deal in front of them, and they kind of think, Oh, this is what I have to live with. And the and and here's the reason is, because they don't know any better, they don't know that they can actually negotiate it, they don't know that they can push it, they don't know, they sort of don't know, the right questions to ask and know where the give the give and take points are. And you know, like, it doesn't hurt to ask, I'm not saying you're necessarily going to get it. But the reason the deals are primarily bad in, in the film business is because one side, one party to the deal doesn't know as much as the other party. ie the filmmaker just does not come armed with enough knowledge and experience as the distributor does. So they're always going to, I'm not gonna use the word bully, but they're going to negotiate a better deal for themselves, because the other party doesn't really know how to negotiate that deal. And that's why that's why a lot of indie filmmakers get screwed not because a distributor they're in business to make money. They're business people, right. And if they can do a better deal for themselves, then you know, fair's fair, that's, that's their business. Now, they know darn well, that the other guy on the other side of the table is really not suited to negotiate that deal. And, by the way, a lot of the lawyers that that in, right, don't make bring in, they also don't know what they're doing. I've seen so many lawyers screw this up, because, you know, they're there. They're a real estate lawyer, or their family law lawyers, something like that, you know, they're not specialists in this area. So it's not like, like, you know, something you talk about in your book, and on some of your podcasts, he's talked about, like the 15 year term, like that is ludicrous, 15 year terms, but if you're a distributor, hey, why not ask for 25 year terms, like, hey, they're long, you can get your distributor, take what you can get, right. But, you know, on the filmmaker side of the piton, like, it's giving a 15 year term without, you know, outs like performance, you know, guarantees and stuff like that. But for a lawyer to not question that. I mean, like, Saturday? Well, the reason they wouldn't is because they don't know, they think okay, maybe you know, these guys have been in business a long time. They're big, legitimate company, maybe that's the standard procedure.

Alex Ferrari 27:51
So that's also, I want to stop you there for a second so that the big distributor, okay, so there's, and again, we're not talking Warner Brothers universal, we're not talking. We're not talking to majors, we're talking, talking, not talking about studios, we're not talking, that's a different conversation. All right. Independent, independent companies, there are a handful out there who have a lot of perceived value based on their name, that they're big, that they're kind of everywhere, that they're releasing movies all the time. And they've positioned themselves in the in the filmmaking space, and the independent filmmaking space, as a, as a player in the end as far as getting films out there. And there's this kind of almost honor associated with being a part of their library, to say, Hey, I got released by these guys. I'm not going to get paid. But I could say that I got released by these guys. And like, what are their business? Does that make sense?

Jeff Deverett 28:51
Hold on, hold on, let me defend them for a second. Let me defend them. First of all, they know what they're doing. I mean, most distributors, they're in the business, they know how to sell, they know where that they know, they know how to do the deals in the international marketplace. That's what they do day in, day out. So you know, and they, a lot of them are good at doing it. Right? The problem is the deal. It's not necessarily okay. There are some times when a distributor will take on your movie and not do anything with it. You know, but that's not there. But they're not interested in that they don't want to waste their own time and money. They generally want to take on stuff that they believe they can do stuff with which we'll get into in a second. Okay. But the problem is the deal that just the deal skewed more in their favor. But like if you you know, the distributor generally wants to do a good job because the, the better the job they do, the more money they make, like the more revenue they can generate, because they're generally working on a percentage, the more money they can make, so they're not in the business to screw filmmakers. That just happens organically because the deals are set up the wrong way. I will do

Alex Ferrari 30:00
a second I can't we just stop there for a second. I just we have to, we have to rewind that I need to, I need to focus on this a little bit. It's not that distributor screw for this. I'm gonna put this on a T shirt. And then I start the film distributors wanted screw filmmakers it just happens organically that should be a T shirt, I want you to put it in my store and sell it. That is brilliant. Can you imagine walking? Can you imagine walking AFM with that shirt? Everybody would say Where can I get one of those? Awesome? Well, nowadays, absolutely. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Jeff Deverett 30:47
Okay, but the reason is, is because the filmmaker has not done a good deal for themselves. That's the reason it's not that the distributor did their job, they did a good deal for themselves. The filmmaker just didn't know better.

Alex Ferrari 30:58
It's okay. So So you were saying that they they are in the business to make money? And that's no question. And they are in the business to acquire films that can generate them revenue, no question. But a lot of times, it's you know, there's certain distributors out there that release 40 5060 movies a month, they're obviously not spending marketing money on all those films, they're obviously not spending, they don't have the manpower to, to focus their energy on on per film situations. Like there's like look a 24, which is you know, basically the Sundance of independence and distribution. Like, they pick 1112 movies a year. That's it. And, and neon, another one, like these kind of, you know, vertical, there's a handful these guys that just pick, they're, they're very selective with the kind of films that they pick out and base and they actually give it love and they actually push it and they actually like put the whole company behind it. But some of these shops they're just spitting out movies so off so much as a volume play, which is like acquire as many films as I can, it's and put them all into my library, and then try to sell them off to a streaming platform as a package deal. Were so there they just acquire acquire, acquire acquire for as long as I can keep them on the books, which makes me look better because my library is bigger and I look more attractive to to the new streaming platforms or or cable stations or whatever areas, but that necessarily means that they're going to do anything for them. So the value a lot of times and please correct me if I'm wrong. A lot of times the value is in the number of films that are halfway decent because there's a there's distributions that the distributors that will take anything, anything yeah, anything adjust to fill up their their library and sell sell like 20 crappy horror movies as a package deal to, you know, South Korea, and and they make three grand off that and that in the filmmakers will never make any, any money. So that, but if they try to sell that one film out of that 20 they'll never make it. Does that make sense? Am I wrong? All

Jeff Deverett 33:00
right. You're partially right person, right? I'm going to defend their honor. Okay. But that's fine. Okay, so here's the thing. They Yeah, there are there are companies that do that, and that's their business model. But you're the filmmaker, you own the movie, it's your responsibility to make the right deal for you. It's they're not forcing you into anything. You're walking in their front door, you're saying, hey, let me interview you. Let's see if you're the right fit for this movie. And now let's see if we can make the right deal. The problem is the deals are bad. That's the problem. So I'd like to talk spend a little bit of time talking about that, if you don't mind, please. So these are not evil distributors, because what you just described, the all you have to do is ask all you have to do if you need to know the asset. Like if you don't want to be put in a package with 20 other films for that month, you need to say, Hey, guys, how many films you you know, do you acquire a month or release a month? And, you know, do you package these things? But you got to ask those questions like you would in any business. So fears fear, if you ask the questions. Now, if they lie to you, they're bad people. Okay. But chances are, nobody's asked the question. So they're not even lying. They're not offering that information up there. That, you know, they might be omitting it. But But you didn't ask. So you got to ask the right questions. Alright, let me give you let me tell you what happens is, this is what I I've taken some filmmakers to these kind of meetings. I mean, I generally do it from my own meetings. But this is my favorite kind of distribution meeting. And some of it is me messing around and just having fun. So I go to a distributor. And for those distributors who are listening to this, some of you actually may have been in these meetings with me where I've done this Okay, so the first thing I say is guys, the reason I'm here is because this is a third party independent distributor if I want to if I'm looking for a deal for one of my movies, right, okay. I generally self distribute now, but did you know sometimes you know, there are situations where I'll still do that for foreign or something like that. So, first thing is guys, are you guys good at what you do? The answer is I'm going to paraphrase I get I'm just going to go quickly. You know? Hey, how you doing? Are you guys good at what you do? Jeff? We are the best in the business. Okay, we are the the one thing that you can be sure that it will be consistent with every single Film Company distribution company go to they were all tell you were the best in the business. Sure if they say they're the best, but we are the best, obviously, obviously. Okay, that's wonderful. I want to be dealing with the best. So I'm at the best. That's fantastic. Okay. Now, you've watched my movie, hopefully or the trailer or something like that, at least maybe. Is this a good fit for? You know, Jeff, we wouldn't be talking you wouldn't be sitting there right now if this wasn't the right fit for us. Okay. So you're the best and my movie can fit into your plan into your, you know, offerings. Yeah. Okay. All right. Okay, so we're through that. Let's, let's get to the next thing. Alright. Guys, give me just sort of an idea, an estimate as to what you'll sell, what's the gross revenue? And this is obviously way more detailed conversation because we're talking you know, different windows and television, you know, Home Entertainment, you know, digital, obviously, all this kind of stuff. Just over the next say, year when you release this movie. What give me a ballpark figure. And this is, you know, this is what distribution companies do and projections. Yeah, give me projections. What do you think it'll do? This is always the first answer. Well, Jeff, you know, it's hard to it's hard to say for sure. We it's we don't know for sure. It's

Alex Ferrari 36:34
the marketplace is changing.

Jeff Deverett 36:36
Yeah, the marketplace. Exactly. All that stuff. I say okay, guys. You just told me you're the best at the business. Oh, by the way, the other thing is, like, you've really how long you've been in business? Oh, 1215 years? How many films are released? 500. And how many of you made money with 490? Oh, so you guys really know what you're doing? You really, really know what you're doing? Okay. Give me a forecast. Well, we can't really give you a forecast. Because we're not sure what's going to happen. Why didn't you just say you, you released 500 films and you made money with 490? You must kind of know that you're the best in the business, you must be able to give me a forecast. Otherwise, how would you be in business? And how would you be so successful? Okay, you're right. Here's the forecast. We're gonna do, and I'm just gonna make up a number here. We're gonna do $2 million in sales in the first year after release this and here's how it works. ba ba, ba, ba Ba, it's a ballpark. They always say, you know, what you have, we're actually probably going to do 4 million, but we need to be conservative. Always say that. Yeah. You know, because we were probably going to double what we say but

Alex Ferrari 37:37
at least at least, but let's say we're going to do two, and occasional. And occasionally they'll go and there was another film that we had that was just like yours that did 5 million, but I don't want to get you excited. I don't want to get too hyped up. I

Jeff Deverett 37:48
don't want to get too excited. I don't want to get too excited. Okay. Okay. So I say, okay, so you're pretty confident about that. And you kind of just whispered in my ear that you're going to do 4 million, so 2 million is pretty conservative. Right? Can I like, can we use that as the number? Yep. Okay, now you're gonna and now we're going to just talk about which we can get into details about this later, Alex, but the terms and the conditions, but ultimately, how much of that money am I going to see? Well, you know, Jeff, we're not sure. Okay, till I get, let's get through here that you're the best. Okay, you're between your costs, your fees sub distribution, this that, that it added up? Do you think it's fair to say I'm going to get 50% of that money? Yeah, 50%, you should get a lot more, you should probably get to 60 65%. But let's go with 50 just to be on the safe side, just so we don't set your expectation. Okay, so let's just do some simple math. So you said you're going to do conservatively $2 million in sales, and I'm going to get 50% that would be a million dollars. Correct? Right. Okay. Guys, I have an idea. How about a minimum guarantee? Because you guys, you know, you're really you're the best in the business. You've had all this experience. You've just given me a conservative estimate. What about a minimum guarantee? What about giving me a minimum guarantee? Well, you know, Jeff, we don't do that. We don't give minimum guarantees. I say like, Well, why wouldn't you like you just lowball me and your sales figures. You lowball me and my percentage. You have You're the best in the business and everything and you and you're you've released all these films that are similar, like you must be pretty confident. They said Well, what I mean you know, what would you want? And I said, I got an idea. How about this? You told me 2 million in sales, which is really 4 million. You told me 50% which is really 60% so we're down to a million. I got this like great, crazy idea just just to be super conservative like you guys. Give me half just half of what you think you are going to give me so you are going to return a million dollars to me, give me 500,000 upfront guarantee, which is half Jeff, are you what are your mind half of what We guys, why would I be out of my mind? Aren't you the guys who just told me that it should be a walk in the park slam dunk to do that? I'm looking for half of it. If I was my mind, I'd ask you for all of it. But I just want half of it. Well, you know, we can't do that. And I say, Why can't you do that? Well, what if we don't sell it? If you don't sell it, you know, then then you're not so good. Well, what if our numbers are wrong? Well, you but you do that the best. Your numbers are right. So okay, so that's the game that gets played

Alex Ferrari 40:30
now. Oh, my God, this is I've heard that I've been in those meetings. I've been in those meetings. It's fantastic. I was gonna say, hey, just give me 10% give me 100 grand. They're asked what a puckered either way, it doesn't matter if, if you want to say give me 10 grand, they're asking to puckered.

Jeff Deverett 40:44
Okay, so now Now I'm going to tell you Okay, so that's from the filmmakers point of view, right. So there's a reasonable ask, but you know, it's a little bit irritating for for distributors to go through. But now I'm going to put myself on the distributor side of that equation, okay. And I'm going to tell you what's going through their heads, okay. Their heads are, as that conversation is going on. This is what's going processing through a smart, sophisticated distributor knows the business. They're saying, Do we really need this guy's film? Like, that's number one? Do we need this bullshit? Do we need to talk to this guy? Like, is he wasting our time? We're gonna have 19 other films this month? Do we need to go through this with this guy? Like, how important is this movie? So let's say if it's not important, it's over. At that point, they don't need the hassle. They don't need to negotiate. It's over. But let's say, hey, the guy's got a pretty good movie, we could probably make some serious money off of it. Let's keep this conversation going. So so let's get past that. Okay. So then the second thing they're thinking is okay, the guy's asking some of the right questions, and he's being a bit cocky. And he's, you know, trying to move the needle here and there. But how much does he really no, like, we could put this guy into play, and we'll, we'll screw him royally, like I will. And I gotta tell you how that works afterwards. Okay. Do we really want to put them into play? If we do, we'll take his film. We'll give him we're not giving him half a million dollar guarantee, even though we love the film, and we really gonna make a lot of money with it. You know, we'll be able to I can read in his eyes will lowball this guy. It's a poker game, Alex. That's all it is. It's just a poker game. Sure. I'm going to call the guy's bluff. I'm going to I'm going to call not going to go all in. But so you know, we'll put 200,000 on the table. And he'll bite because he's anxious. And we'll get him back. At the end of the day, it's all going to come you'll

Alex Ferrari 42:30
never see that he'll never see another dime. Other Penny anyway. So what the heck, right? Let's just do that. And we know for sure. And we have a really, as a distributor, I'm like, we know this is already pre sold, we can go to this guy for 50,000. We can go that guy for 150,000 and go to that guy for another 2x. So we'll cover our will cover are not automatically so there's no good. There's no way a distributor is going to put money down unless they have an absolute 99.9% guarantee that they're going to get that money recouped. Is that fair?

Jeff Deverett 42:59
No, that's not fair. I mean, they'll they'll take a little bit of risk, but no, maybe 25% risk. Next up 99.9. Okay, all right.

Alex Ferrari 43:08
And most these days, it has to be a really it these days, they don't generally anyway, because it's just

Jeff Deverett 43:16
if they're if they're in love with your movie, and they think they can hit you know, make some serious money with it, you know, a little bit of it not not a ton. Not a ton. Maybe 20% at the most I don't know, you know, it's hard to pick that number. Everybody's different. Okay, but yeah, but they're not taking 100% risk, obviously, they know already, that they have some output deals that they have some you know, like, like you say preset, you know, revenue stream revenue. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 43:39
they have relationships that they could call a bob over in Germany and Bob's gonna buy. Pretty cool.

Jeff Deverett 43:45
Yeah, yeah. So after you leave that meeting, they're going to make some phone calls, make sure that they're good to go. And, and then they're going to give you your money. But the other thing they know is that they're in first position on everything. So even if disaster strikes, it's gonna be pretty difficult for them to lose that money, because they've been so conservative with you. And I can do the math with you like,

Alex Ferrari 44:06
so. Can you stop one second, I just want to I want everyone to listen to this really quickly. You said something I want to just focus on for a second, you said that they're not going to take 100% of the risk. But the filmmaker is taking 100% risk signing with them, because they're not in control. Is that a fair statement?

Jeff Deverett 44:25
Oh, that that. Okay. That's the bottom line right there. Here's the thing. Here's how this works. Okay? a filmmaker, if you don't do pre sales, which we'll talk about afterwards, okay. You are by making a movie you're taking 100% risk was the entire budget because you don't know for sure you're gonna make any sales, you assume you are, you assume there's going to be an audience and you assume you're gonna get some revenue. But because you don't have anything pre sold, like, you know, pre negotiated, it's not a sure thing. So it's 100% risk that a filmmaker takes. Alright, we'll talk like I say we'll talk about how to mitigate that risk. I mean, there's obviously tax credits, and there's increased pre sales and revenue, okay? But without any of that stuff, you're taking 100% of the risk. Now you walk in the door of a distributor, and they say, we love this. Or let's say they see what I'm at a film festival, they watch it, and they say, we need this movie. Some of them will say, Hey, you know, let's just buy this movie outright and cover the guy like filmmaker, this happens still. tremely rarely,

Alex Ferrari 45:29
but it does happen.

Jeff Deverett 45:30
Yeah, they say, you know, what, we know darn well, because like everything we went through, we're the best we've experienced, we've done this Saturday, let's, let's pick up this movie. And we're going to need to take some risk, because if we don't, the next person is going to pick up this movie, because it's so good. And, you know, if we take some risk, we can hopefully make a lot of money with it. So they will take some risk, you know, for something that they're in love with, and they really believe in. It's generally not 100% a risk is not as much risk as the filmmaker took for using for indie films. But it could be, it could be more than that. You could make a film for you know, $2 million, they could pay it up for $4 million. And that, you know, that's obviously the anomaly and the filmmakers dream doesn't happen too often. Right. But you know, it could, alright, so that for the most part, they might be taking maximum 50% of the risk, you know, like picking up a $2 million film for for 1 million me, but

Alex Ferrari 46:24
and again, we're talking anomalies. We're talking about outliers.

Jeff Deverett 46:28
Yeah, outliers, I would say on average, you know, it's 10 1010. No,

Alex Ferrari 46:33
like, no 10 films a year 15. a year out of the out of like, you know, I don't know, maybe more than that. But at Sundance, and which is where something like that would happen or at South by or Toronto. That's rare. It's still rare, especially in today's world.

Jeff Deverett 46:47
Yes, it is. It is rare, it's gotten getting more rare. And there's, there's reasons for that, which, which I'd like to talk about also afterwards. So there's believe that's happening. Okay, but Okay, so you're right, so so they're not in the business of taking a lot of risk, unless they're really, really, really in love with the movie. And it's something about is super special, and they think they can make a ton of money with it. And now, it's not even that risky, because they kind of can make those phone calls quickly and say, Hey, or they have output deals, or they have something where they know that they can recoup some of that investment.

Alex Ferrari 47:20
Alright, so you were saying Okay, so now, so let's go back to where you were talking about as far as the deal was concerned. So from the distributors point of view. So now let's say we got the filmmaker on the hook. Okay, we got their film. Let's say that they barely covered the MG. And again, the MG is a rarity anyway, but let's say that they cover the MG. And that that's topped out, there's there's very little bit money, or they make maybe a little bit more money off the MG. How does the distributor in their mindset? Well, let's just ask the question, how are they going to get screwed? How are the filmmaker is going to get screwed in the deal? Like, what are those kind of little things? Now? I

Jeff Deverett 47:57
don't know if I've listened to quite a few of your podcasts. But I haven't heard this one yet. And I don't know if this is gonna be super boring. Do you mind if we little do a little bit of mathematics? Because

Alex Ferrari 48:07
I think everyone listening would like to do some mathematics.

Jeff Deverett 48:11
Explain how the math works. All right. Yeah. Here's our words. So, so let's just use Let's lose them a million dollar film. Let's do let's do a half a million dollar film. Okay. All right, just so we have round numbers, all right. And then of course, you know, we could extrapolate higher, lower or higher, okay, but let's just just so that we can throw some numbers around. All right. Okay, so you make a movie for a half a million dollars, that's your final cost everything in everything. All right. That's what you're on the hook for. Okay. Now, let's say that a, you give it to a distributor, and they go out and they generate a half a million dollars worth of revenue for the movie, okay? Now, that's what we call gross revenue. It's its raw, basic revenue that comes from the the customers that they're dealing with the the original customers, the people, the consumers. Alright, so in the case of, say, a theatrical release a consumer is, you know, a box, a person who goes and buys a ticket at the box office, that's a consumer. So when somebody spends, you know, $12 to go to a movie, or $15 that's considered gross revenue. $15 All right. Now, how much of that flows back to the filmmaker? So here's how the math works. All right. So put all that gross revenue into the so that would be like, let me give you some examples of gross revenue going to like what I just said go into the box office spending $15 on a movie ticket. Okay, going on to a streaming service renting for 499 That's great. That's $5 gross rental. Okay. In on the on the that's that's consumer on the buying a DVD 1099 or whatever. Okay? on the business side would be, you know, selling to a broad broadcast sale, you know, $50,000 or $100,000. For so this is all goes into the gross revenue pool. This is how much money was spent to buy consumers who are consuming that film. In the case of a television station, they're putting it up, obviously, on their station, and there's paying a license fee. Okay, so it's $500,000. So you, so a naive filmmaker will say, Well, I made my film for 500, and people spent 500. So therefore, it should be breakeven. Ah, there's obviously, yeah. Okay, so let's get down to the next level. All right, most of the distribution deals that you're going to do with a third party distributor, do not happen directly. So they'll go even the good, the really good companies will have half their, let's say, I'm going to give them you know, probably more benefit than I should have for their deals, they'll do directly, let's say, say on television, half of this TV licence deals, they'll sell directly to that TV broadcaster, the other half, they'll sell through sub distributors, whether it could be like foreign sales where they don't talk the language, or you have to do by law, you have to deal with a local company like in Italy, or something like that, where they encourage you or France, if you want to do a deal. And again, I'm just making up territories, but there are sales where it's makes more sense, or it's more viable to put it through a local sub distributor or agent. So those people are going to take a part of the pie. Alright, I'll go through the pie in a second. Okay, then, let's say you go through an aggregator which you have to do to go on to Apple TV, let's say or even,

Alex Ferrari 51:42
and distributors still have to pay, just like a filmmaker would have to pay.

Jeff Deverett 51:47
That is correct. There's only so many access points. So so they have to pay that too. So that's like using a third party distributor. So there's going to be a fee there. Okay. So ultimately, what we have to get down to is what we call net revenue, which is let's take all those third party sub distribution aggregator fees and take the end and look at the box office. I mean, I don't do a lot of theatrical I did one year in the theatrical distribution business. And you know, they have these film settlements, obviously, for gigantic studio films are different. But for indie films, the the theater, basically, that theater slash distributor is going to take 50% of the box offices, if you're lucky, if that's all they take, plus, you know, all your costs that are coming up to, but you know, like the film receipts from theatrical distribution, you're only going to see maximum 50% of them, you know, for an indie film, a studio, like I say, has the clout, they'll they'll get better deals. All right. So at the end of the day, basically, that $500,000 is going to get diluted down to about 275,000, you're going to see about 55% of it, on average, because there's going to be 30% distribution fees in sub distributors and 25%, platform fees and aggregator fees, and net, this net that Nick came

Alex Ferrari 53:08
up, but you never even talked about marketing, or or, or delivery costs.

Jeff Deverett 53:13
I'm getting there at a time. One thing, I get all the math figured out. I did this for 20 years. Let's not rush.

Alex Ferrari 53:23
Forgive me, sir. Forgive me continue.

Jeff Deverett 53:25
Okay, so you're that gross revenue that consumers spent like that the initial $500,000 of money that was collected in the sales of your movie will get netted down to about $275,000. All right, which will be what the pool is that you're going to share from alright. And and it could be you know, 300,003 25 like I'm netting it down. 45%. You know, that might be maybe high.

Alex Ferrari 53:55
Might be low. It could be low, actually.

Jeff Deverett 53:57
Oh, it could be low. Okay. I think it's, it's in the ballpark. Okay, so now now the pool is what we call net revenue is 275,000. net receipts. 275,000. All right. So now the distributor is going to take your third party distributor is going to generally take a 30% fee. I mean, you know, you can maybe negotiate a better deal, but let's just go with that. All right. So they're going to go 30% Now, here's, here's the first screw point. All right. This is where you can get royally royally, royally screwed. If you don't make the right deal and make sure the wording is correct. That 30% is that 30% off of the gross revenue that was originally you know, sold, or is it 30% off the net revenue. Now, as basic as that sounds like it should be off the net revenue because the receipts coming back to the distributor are is the 275,000 but they might say no, no No, we're taking 30% off the gross of the 500,000. I mean, that's a gigantic difference, right? It's $150,000, you know, 30% of 50. So that so that that is in a torturous way that sometimes this happens. Okay, it shouldn't. And that that I would say is immoral. Okay, it should off the 275. Right.

Alex Ferrari 55:23
But again, it's not that they mean to screw you. It just happens organically?

Jeff Deverett 55:27
Well, it's a good deal. Of course, of course, you know, and if you don't ask for it, like, you know, if you say, Hey, guys, where's this coming? Where's your feet coming off of, then? You know,

Alex Ferrari 55:39
it's Look, it's as if it will continue after this. It's the same thing if you go buy a car at a car dealership, and don't ask the right questions. If they're gonna, they're gonna charge you, they're gonna charge you for upkeep, they're gonna charge you for a maintenance fees, and like, you know, upgrade packages and all that stuff. Unless you say, ask the right questions. Same thing with the house, like your example, if you don't ask the right things, if you don't get an inspection of the house. And if you don't know the know, to get an inspection on the house, you could be buying a lemon, you could be buy something with a cracked Foundation, and you could lose your entire investment, you need to ask the right questions. It's not just like a realtor, just like a car dealer. They're not going to offer it up. That's unfortunately, business.

Jeff Deverett 56:21
Okay. But hopefully, that's the major, the first the major hurdle is make sure that the distribution fee is coming off the net revenue, not the gross revenue. Now, they might say, hey, some of it has to come off gross, because we did the sale, you know, as opposed to a third part, like, third party fees coming who's covering them and all that kind of stuff. So yeah, I could go into a lot of detail. This is a whole obviously a whole area. Right? Okay. So the next thing is the marketing costs, which, you know, you just asked me about. So let's say, Now, here's the thing about marketing costs. Alex, this is the interesting thing, we're filmmakers, you have to really think about this, okay? You want your distributor to spend money, because you want them to market your film, you actually want to encourage them to spend money so that people, they can create awareness for your film, so that you can actually they can increase the sales, you don't want them to not spend a lot there. Now, but what you do want them to spend is it, you want it to spend it wisely on the right things, and you don't want them to mark it up too much. So here's a perfect example. Okay, if you, you know, they'll they'll want to cut a trailer for you, you make, they're gonna want to cut a trailer, they're gonna charge you, you know, 30 to $40,000 to cut a trailer that you probably could have either cut yourself or negotiated, you know, three to $5,000 to cut the trailer because you know, comfortable. Yeah, but that, you know, fair's fair, you want them to do it for you, they're gonna they're gonna spend a lot more money doing it, because that's what,

Alex Ferrari 57:50
by the way, but their cost is about $3,000 to hire the editor in that area, their in house editor. Look, I've been I was imposed for 25 years. So I know what I did many trailers. I know what the cost of a trailer is from I you know, and I know what high end trailer editors make. Even on the low end trailer editor, there's no way to 30 $40,000 it's

Jeff Deverett 58:10
just not it's just, it could be that they say we hired it out to a, you know, high end trailer company or, you know, they charge 20. And we're taking another 10 for managing it and blah, blah, blah. That's good management. Okay, but but that's how it works. Sure, sure. Okay. But you know, all you got to do to prevent that is say, you know, how much you're spending? Where's the money going? You got it, you got to ask those questions here. It's fair to ask those questions. If you don't, you might not catch any of that stuff. All right. Then there's delivery costs, which are, you know, used to be there was physical delivery, there's mostly digital delivery now, you know, like, so. But there's still there's costs Pete there's processing, there's queue, seeing, there's all this kind of stuff that it's real. These costs are very real. They, but they also can get very marked up. Well, you gotta you got to be paying attention to the costs. All right. Okay. And then there is, you know, stuff that I call miscellaneous and sillery stuff

Alex Ferrari 59:08
there. Forget the poster to the posters, always a nice little place to mark up things as well.

Jeff Deverett 59:12
Yeah, for sure. Okay, then there's, you know, festival fees and, and market fees and all this kind of stuff, which so this is a new thing that has happened in the last say, decade with distributors, I've noticed that they're charging a flat fee. Like, I'm going to take you to Cannes or AFM or something and I'm going to charge you 70 $500 flat. That's your your fee to, you know, be part of my offering at the market place. It's questionable to you know, I mean, look at look, there's no question. It's super expensive to attend these markets. In Defense of the distributors. The booths are ridiculously costly. You got all these people traveling and all this kind of stuff. But, you know, like you say, some people have 20 films, some have 10, whatever, and, you know, they make money that way. That's a very good source of revenue to cut. Their costs and potentially market up also. And again, they're not necessarily evil, it's a business model. That's who they are and what they do. So by the time you're all said and done, and you take away those distribution fees that are coming off of hopefully, the net revenues and not the gross revenues, and the marketing costs are, let's call them 10%, let's call the delivery costs like three and a half percent, the festival fees two and a half percent, blah, blah, blah, you are down to 46%, the net revenue, which is 9% of the gross revenue that was generated, you're down to the $500,000 that was generated for your movie, you're gonna get 45,000, when all said and done, and again, I'd be happy to send you the math and show you how that I mean, I'm looking at a spreadsheet as I'm talking. Sure, you're gonna get $45,000 if the movie generates a $500,000 movie to get generates 500,000, and receipts, gross receipts. Now, if the $500,000 budget generates a million dollars in gross receipts, I can do the numbers a little differently. But in order to break even probably on a $500,000, you have to the gross receipts have to be about 1.1 or 1.2 million to get back the entire 500,000.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:23
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. So and, and my I love the numbers, I think the math is great. I think that you're being very optimistic in your projections in that there's not more costs involved as far as the

Jeff Deverett 1:01:49
revenue, but I'm talking about monitoring your costs. I mean, you look at you can say to a distributor, I want you to spend an extra $20,000, you know, on this market and buy some art, you know, some posters and some billboards and stuff, he's been billboards and all that kind of stuff, they may or may not do it, because that's a risk because they're putting that money up. But if, you know, if you're guaranteeing it, or they believe there's enough revenue or whatever, then they'll do it, but they'll deduct it, they'll charge you a little bit of a premium because you know, there's servicing and there is labor involved in doing all this kind of stuff. So you're right, they can spend a lot more I'm talking about monitoring it like saying, you know, reasonably speaking 10% you know, should should do it. But reasonably speaking,

Alex Ferrari 1:02:30
yeah, yeah. I mean, because I've seen I've seen breakdowns before on on some of these deals, and it just just like, it's it's abusive, it's abusive, it can it can get if you're not looking. It's like anything, man, if you're not watching the babysitter, with your baby. That's correct. Thanks. You know, all of a sudden, the baby's out in the street and get hit by a car. Like it there's, it happens if you're not keeping an eye on it all the time. Alright, so continue, continue,

Jeff Deverett 1:02:56
you got to pay attention. I mean, and, you know, like a lot of filmmakers, number one, don't know how to pay attention because they don't know what to ask. So fair, fair. And number two, it's kind of a pain in the neck to pay attention. Like it's it's a lot of attention. You know, I'm

Alex Ferrari 1:03:12
an artist, I don't want to think about

Jeff Deverett 1:03:14
exactly. You don't want to have to babysit this, like you're hiring a distributor to do a job, you want to trust them, they, you know, they're going to do a good job because they know what they're doing. You just want it to be fair, and honest. That's where you're this whole predatory distributor thing. Alex, you're talking about honesty, that's what you're really talking about, oh,

Alex Ferrari 1:03:32
it's a trust. It's absolute trust. But that's trust in any business deal, that when you sign an agreement with any kind of business across all industries, you're trusting the other person's going to do what they

Jeff Deverett 1:03:44
say. That's correct. Okay. And and and reported properly at the end. Now, this is assuming with the numbers I ran through that they all get reported properly. Oh, yeah. Some holes in the reporting to, obviously, thing so

Alex Ferrari 1:03:58
yeah. So so things can get a little gray in the sense of reporting, so they could, they could say, Oh, we got 500,000. And but we really only report back a little bit. And that's what's predatory. I'm not saying all distributors, and I've always been very clear about that saying, not all distributors are predatory. I just say most,

Jeff Deverett 1:04:16
but not all. But I think example I just gave you was like full reporting. Like, here's what really happened. This is how it all flowed blah, blah, blah. Okay. Yeah. You know, if somebody generated 500 in revenue, and only you know, showed 400 reports, you know, that that's a problem. That's illegal. Yeah. So that's very predatory. But I wasn't going there yet. Yeah, I mean, it happens. There's no question it happens. And you have to, you know, you also have to have recourse clauses in your contract, ie audit, yes, an arbitration. And I've gone down that route before and I found things and I could tell you stories. I don't want to implicate anybody, but it happens.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:56
So in my book, I actually learned my distribution book and residency entrepreneur. The distribution chapter. I used to have this the other day when we when we first start speaking here like Alex, you're you're absolutely right. Where you you get screwed by a distributor, you know that they're doing you try to audit them and they're like, no, then you sue them, you take them to court. And then at the end of this whole experience, they go, Oh are bad. Here's the money. Yeah, I made a mistake, I made a mistake.

Jeff Deverett 1:05:22
Sorry, you have a $50,000 legal fee that ate up your entire extra money that you found

Alex Ferrari 1:05:28
if and they know that and they know that and they know that. So they're like, Okay, well, let's like, let's, let's mitigate our risk here. So like, if we take 50 grand from this filmmaker, it's going to cost them 50 grand to fight us in court for it. So they're probably just gonna just not deal with us at that point, right? It's kind of like the olden days with the old car manufacturers. They're like, Oh, well, you know that one part is killing? How many people are going to die because of that part? And how much are we going to have to pay out and it's like, they didn't care about life. They were looking at it strictly as a business transaction. Like, well, if they kill only 1000 people, if those 1000 people sue us, how much can we have to spend? Oh, we'll have to spend 100 million. Well, how much will it cost to pull the things back off? What's going on? So 200 million? Oh, no. It just leave it out there. Okay. all due respect. You are a bit jaded. Oh, I'm absolutely jaded. Yeah, you're a bit jaded. And for good reason, for good reason. You've made me more jaded.

Jeff Deverett 1:06:23
Yeah. Fair enough. I'm not as jaded even though I deal with this. I'm, you know, in the weeds in the jungle every single day on this kind of stuff. I just feel comfortable knowing what to ask for know what to look for. So some of them in the sausage, but you know how to make a sauce Tell me, at least they're gonna say, Okay, this is where you're gonna get screwed. If you don't like it, don't sign the deal too bad. And you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:06:44
you're coming from it, you're coming from a perspective of knowledge, you're coming from the perspective of of experience, so you understand how the sausage is made? On the other side, the other side of the table. So it's a completely different perspective than 99.9% filmmakers have.

Jeff Deverett 1:07:04
I feel like I have a fair seat at the table. And I get to have a fair discussion. Right now. I don't necessarily, you know, get everything I asked for or, you know, and people say, if you don't like it too bad. That's that's the best we're offering it. But at least I feel like we've had a reasonable, fair discussion. And I have there's nothing that I haven't really thought up

Alex Ferrari 1:07:23
and have. And have you been sitting in those meetings with these distributors? And they just go? Yeah, yeah, we can't we can't work with you.

Jeff Deverett 1:07:29
Yeah, of course, absolutely. No, absent Listen, those, I just did the math, the major thing, the here's the major thing that like I would say, the highest priority in a film distribution agreement that you have to get, it would be what I call a performance clause. Like, you talk about these 15 year deals, I think that's not right. But a 15 year deals, not nuts, if they're performing. So what you really need is you need to say, you know, as long as you guys keep hitting these thresholds, these targets, and you're making this much money and returning it to me, then we can keep going. Or we can do auto renewals, like they know, let's do a three year deal with five auto renewals. Assuming you hit a target every year that we pre negotiate like here, you hit a million dollars this year, you know, 18, you know, 1.8 million next year that added and if you're hitting the targets, you want them? Absolutely, absolutely, that's the major, the major cause you want to put in is performance. Because if it's not working, primarily is not working for both sides. But if you don't put that you can't pull it. And it's an optional, like, I call these performance clauses, there are options that the filmmaker has. So you do this deal, let's say you do, say a three year deal, as opposed to a 15 year deal. And you say, okay, at the end of three years, or the end of two and a half years, if you have this much revenue generated and reported to me, and the check in hand, correct, then we you know, then the deal can automatically renew, if not, I have the option of pulling the D terminating the deal. Because, you know, you might want to get pretty close and you think they're doing good and you know, COVID heads and something changes and you know, you don't want it to automatically terminate. You give yourself an option. It's a reasonable thing to ask for.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:17
Do reasonable distributors generally say okay for that? I mean, why wouldn't a dish like if a distributor says no to that situation, to that op that that ask, shouldn't you just run away? Because obviously, you know,

Jeff Deverett 1:09:31
I'll tell you what, here's the thing. At the end of the day, the film business is a business like everything else. Alright. But let's just Can I just get down to sort of the core basic thing before I go to here when I go, okay, there's two reasons why an indie filmmaker should be an indie filmmaker. There are two reasons All right. Reason number one is because, well, there's actually three reasons one is, as you call it, you get the disease. You just get this the bug. bug is virus that you just need to do this in your life, you're not sure why but it's it's sexy, it's appealing, it's fun, it's a great industry, by the way, it's a lot of fun, enjoyed a lot project based, completely different changing all the time, very interactive, social, all there's so many elements of the film business that make it so attractive, right? So you get the bug, right. But the major reason you want to become an indie filmmaker and put yourself out there, and and kill yourself and put yourself at financial risk and do all this kind of stuff, is because you got a story to tell, like you generally want to tell the world a story, or you know, or case of a documentary send a very strong message that could potentially change the world, or become your legacy and you're making a contribution to the world. And you're doing it in a very fun art form that people can, can absorb and consume across the world. I mean, that's a very compelling reason to be a filmmaker is as it is to be an author, you know, or a musician. I mean, it's an artistic statement of a message. And so that's the main reason you should be a filmmaker. Alright? The second reason is, hopefully, you can make some money, like you can have a good life and making a good living from it. Alright, that's becoming you know, less and less as we know, it's more of a struggle to do that in the in the arts, all the arts, not just, you know, as you know, music, all this kind of stuff. So, but if you're going into the movie business, primarily, and only because you want to tell a story, and you're not worried about the money, then this is a whole different conversation. All right, that's an artistic conversation, and all we are going to talk about is how to best tell your story, at the most cost effective price. But if you're going in, because you actually want to hopefully, at least recoup your budget, or at least maybe make some money and make a living, you know, hopefully become rich, but but at least you know, have enough to make a living, then that's the discussion that I'm having here. All right, this is about, about making a lit becoming a career filmmaker and making a living at become at being a filmmaker, as opposed to just making a film and having your fun. And you know, whether it's a midlife crisis, something like that, and making this artistic statement for the world that you want to do, I'm talking about being a career filmmaker, where you make a living at it. So you have to be very smart. So you have to be in addition to a good artist who makes you know, good quality films, you have to be a savvy business person. Because it's the film business, the film is the art, the business is the business. So, so I'm talking about the whole business side. All right. So assuming that you want to monetize your movies and get your money back, you got to be pre thinking about a lot of this kind of stuff. All right, before you make your movies, as we know, as you talk about it a lot. And you know, you so when you said to me, you know, if a distributor says, Hey, I'm not interested in your movie or something like that, or I'm not going to give you the right deal. Do you walk away? It's a business decision. I mean, most people think that's an artistic decision. It's not artistic, the artistic decisions already been done, you've already made your movie. This is strictly a business decision. Right? Like I said, it's a poker game. Do you think you got a better hand? Do you think you're going to get a better card on the next you want to fold? Do you want to play, make the bed and try to get the next card? I mean, it's a business decision. So here's the thing about the business decision. I mean, you got it. Hopefully, hopefully, you're armed with all the right things in order to make a good decision. That's what I've been talking about. This whole podcast so far, is getting you up to the filmmakers, understanding the tools they need are the elements they have to understand in order to make the good decision. But sometimes it's a business decision is a risky decision, right? Like, show me a business where you make a decision, and it's not 100% Sure thing, there's always going to be an out like anything like, you know, I talk about real estate, like, you buy a house and you say, Hey, I'm buying the house for lifestyle, because I want to live there. But hopefully it's gonna appreciate in value. You don't know that, you know, you go through all the motions say, well, it's good neighborhood and good schools and good this and good that, in their opinion on the cost of living is going up. So therefore, in 10 years, my house will be worth this much. You don't know that for sure. You take a chance with that. You do know that you're buying a house that you can like to live in a that's the artistic there's,

Alex Ferrari 1:14:20
and there's value in there.

Jeff Deverett 1:14:21
Yeah, the emotional side. Absolutely. But the financial side, you taken a bit of a risk. So should you walk from a distribution to you should only walk if you believe that you're, you don't trust the person. It's a trust thing if you don't trust the other guy, walk, but if you believe that you're getting a little bit screwed on the deal. If you if it's still you've asked the right questions, and it's still within the range of reasonable might be the far end range, the very far end range. It might be worth taking that deal because remember, on their side, it's like okay, if the guy doesn't Take the deal. You know what, we got 50 other filmmakers lined up at the door? And do we really need this film is it going to really change our lives? Probably not. Because they're going to let you walk.

Alex Ferrari 1:15:11
So the with the analogy of the house, the big differences of taking a risk of the house is you do have an asset that can be sold regardless, there, that asset will be sold, maybe a little less before then you sold it maybe a little bit more, but you will make money back with a film. It could literally have zero value, like literally lose everything, like nobody will buy it. And there are films that are made like that all the time that are done, spent a million bucks on, and they make very, very little money with because of obvious reasons, artistic reasons, business decisions, and things like that. But I feel that if this is my just my personal opinion, if you let a performance clause out for a distributor, and it's a reasonable performance clause, whatever that performance causes, yes, it's reasonable. Yeah. And they say not we don't do that. That's a red flag to me. Now, mind you, if you have a three year deal, that's different. If it's a three year deal, it's a three year deal. I mean, performance clauses generally going to be a three year deal. It's not going to be a 12 month deal. Generally speaking with a performance Oh, no, no, not necessarily, nonetheless, sometimes. Alright, so Tommy?

Jeff Deverett 1:16:15
Well, first of all, let's just go to your first point. Not all houses appreciate in value. I mean, if you had a house and you know, that you bought in 2004 and tried to sell in 2008, you probably lost a lot of money

Alex Ferrari 1:16:25
a little bit, but there's still value, there's inherent value in the property,

Jeff Deverett 1:16:29
there's an asset value, there's no question. Okay? So if you're going to make a film that has no inherent asset value, maybe you only think twice before you make that film, just like you said, Okay, fair enough. Now, secondly, you're sitting in that meeting, and you got to know what the inherent value of that film is. That's why I say it's a business deal. It shouldn't be emotional, you got to think, okay, they're, they're talking, I believe in my heart of hearts, after all the discussions and negotiations, that they're going to return 80% of my budget to me, so I'm still probably going to be 20%. But is that better than the next deal I can get? Or can I even get another deal, that's where the business decision comes in. And that's where you have to take, be realistic and be a business person, and step up and act, step away from being that emotional filmmaker, and become just a business negotiator, this and that's why a lot of film makers use agents. That's why a lot of people in real estate use agents. I'm not that kind of guy, you see, like, I don't even like to use real estate, and I like to negotiate my own deals. I'm just my personality is like that. But I mean, a lot of people don't want it's emotional. So you don't want to have to go and fight that fight and, and maybe compromise more than you want to. And sometimes you walk away from what seems to be not a great deal, but it might be the only deal you can get. So even though you know, like I say you might lose 20% going into it and end up losing 40% that might be better than walking away from a deal not getting any other deal. But that's a business decision. Fair enough. And it's it's a tough decision. Yeah. All right.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:00
It's all relative. If there are other options, if you have other options, then and you want the deal doesn't make sense to you could walk, but if not, you're right, like if this is it, and you're not gonna be able to self distribute, and you don't have the knowledge or the experience or the movie or any of that stuff to do it. This might be it. And this is where I see that distributors take advantage of filmmakers, because they know that they don't have another option. And the filmmaker would just go well, alright, I just take this take it at least they'll get released. And that's, that's the big, that's the big default.

Jeff Deverett 1:18:34
Why do you say take advantage? I mean, look at it from the distributor point of view, like, you know, the film's good, but it's not great. You know, there's 10 other films that they can get, or that are equally as good. They don't need it. You know, in some ways, they're saying to themselves, hey, we'll do the guy a favor. He's a nice guy killed himself making the film, you know, and we could give this deal to somebody else, but we'll give it to him because he's so eager and anxious. And yeah, as you're going to make his money back, no, but you know, what, he should have done it before we made the film. Because, you know, we're, they're

Alex Ferrari 1:19:05
gonna make but the difference is, though, Jeff, they're gonna make money off that. So yeah, but and they're not going to share it with the filmmaker, that I promise you,

Jeff Deverett 1:19:14
I'm not going to totally screw the filmmaker, but based on their time and effort, and their opportunity cost, this is what it's all about, let's say, like you say, they, they're gonna release 10 films a month. So to get into their slate, like, you got to make sure they got to choose the best 10 that they're gonna make the most amount of money with. And if they're gonna stick this one in, its means that the other one didn't get in. So, so, you know, fair's fair, like they're trying to pick the best mix for their, you know, for their business that they can do. And that's in that scenario. I mean, it depends. It's all its own console relative because it all depends on the scenario that could be that distributed, releasing 50 or 60 movies, or it could be the distributors releasing two or three movies. So it's all relative to it's all good. You know, the thing that You you are dealing with and most of your materials, which is, you know, when you're talking about the predatory film distributor, by the way, which I don't disagree with, it all boils down to one word, but all of business boils down to one world word pretty well all relationships boil down to one word, it's called trust, that's all it is, is trust, really, when you're interviewing a film distributor, or anybody else, even the people on your crew, they're going to make your movies and stuff like that?

Alex Ferrari 1:20:24
Oh, absolutely, you're trusting the DP knows what they're talking about.

Jeff Deverett 1:20:27
That's literally and you're gonna pay them and you but you're trusting that you're going to get what you pay for. And you're trusting in a film distributor that you're going to get the relationship and the honesty that you're hoping for. And, you know, there's a lot of stuff that you can build into a contract to make them accountable, to be trustworthy. And that's what I'm talking about just accountability. Okay. Your once in a while, you're going to come across, you know, a bad apple, that's just the way it is. You know,

Alex Ferrari 1:20:54
but so when you say bad apple, I want to ask you this question, do you believe that there is a systemic problem ingrained in the model? Because there's a lot of kind of like, pump and dump kind of methods here, like, oh, we're gonna get the best deal possible, we really don't truly care about the other filmmaker on the other side of this table, because he's not asking the right questions. And by doing that, you basically, if you know, if you do if you as you're a distributor, you're doing that you've pretty much taken that filmmaker out of the equation for future product. So slow, but as an industry, shouldn't we try? I'm not saying to be Mother Teresa here. But to try to structure deals in a way that is somewhat reasonable, even if the filmmaker is not as wise as you are? Because I mean, there are companies out there that do that I know of them personally, that they kind of like, Look, you're not you're you don't know what's going on. But we're going to structure this deal. So you can make some money off of this. So you can come back to us in three or four years and keep bringing product to us. Is that Do you believe that there's an issue just as a general statement, with the distribution model since chaplains day for God's sake?

Jeff Deverett 1:22:08
Yeah. So here's you're making an assumption that I don't make. Okay. You can't assumption that the film business is production and distribution. And I say those are not one business. Those are two businesses. Correct. production is one business, film distribution is another business. So those two aren't necessarily woven together. So it's not like we get together as an industry because the producers are different than the distributors. So the distributors are going to have their ways and the producers will have their ways. So but you know, you want to talk about systemic problem. I'll tell you the systemic problem. You're gonna love hearing this, because it's true. And you darn well, no, this, this systemic problem is that filmmakers don't ever learn anything about business. They go to film school, and they all they learn about is, is production, camera, and lighting, and all this kind of stuff. Like where's the courses that teach all the stuff we're talking about? You know, why? And by the way, the filmmakers, as you know, they don't even want to talk about it. They're artists. And they're not, they're not business people, they just want to do their art, they want to make their movies and all this kind of stuff. And unfortunately, you don't have the luxury in this business of being the unless you have, like, should get yourself if you want to be the artist, get yourself a producing partner, who just wants to be the business person. You know, I liken it to I don't know, if you've watched, you know, used to watch the show with Silicon Valley.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:31
Oh, I saw that. I just, I just finished the season like, yes, literally last last night,

Jeff Deverett 1:23:34
I watched the last episode. Okay, so silicon is fantastic. You know, Richard is the, he's the Creator. And he surrounds himself with the business people. And you know, that's the way it works. And if you want to move forward, because you can't be everything you can try to be, but you're going to feel compromised. And most filmmakers just want to be the artists, which is fine. They got, they got to bring somebody close to them who can navigate the business side, or they got to navigate the business side. That's the systemic problem is that they're going to take be taken advantage of not only in that component, but maybe other components of their life, too. If they don't educate themselves take charge. Yeah. So I'm not blaming the distributors, I get it. You know, can they be a little less predatory and evil? Yeah, probably, they can probably, they could put

Alex Ferrari 1:24:23
up a ton, they could tone it back a bit, is what you're saying. They could tone it back a bit.

Jeff Deverett 1:24:26
They could put more on the table, they could be more honest. They could they can help people through it. Like I often say to people, you know, like I told you this, Alex, so I take a lot of interns on my SATs, right? Yeah. And I often say you can ask me anything you like and then they start asking me and I say no, no, so hold on a second. You're not asking me the right question guys. Don't ask me you know what lens to use on this you know, shot. That's easy. asked me how you going to do a distribution deal asked me what the rate should be what you present asked me those questions you have like you're sitting here with the You know, like the guy who knows that stuff, spend the time to ask me those questions like, but you know what they're not interested. Which leads me I told you a story the other day and you said you want me to tell? Yes, please tell it. Okay. So this is a perfect example of this whole systemic problem. And you know, for you filmmakers out there listening to this. So I decide I go to a lot of the markets because I self distribute.

So I was going to MIPCOM a couple years ago, which is the big sort of television broadcast market in Cannes, France. That happens twice. Yours is mythtv and MIPCOM. mipymes. Usually in the fall of obviously, this year is all messed up, because a COVID. But okay, so I'm going to MIPCOM and I say, I had done a film a couple years ago with this other guy, and he's a great guy, great filmmaker, director of the movie, blah, blah, blah. And I kept saying, you need to know about distribution, I don't, I'm not saying you need to do it, you need to know about it, you need, you need to just experience it, in order to become sort of a well rounded filmmaker. So at least when it's talked about, you have an awareness, I'm not asking you to switch gears and leave filmmaking and become a distributor, I'm just asking you to be exposed to it so that you can see it. I got this idea. Come with me to Cannes, France, we're going to the south of France, it's going to be a beautiful trip and everything like that. We're going to go to the market. I'm going to walk you through and I'm going to expose you to what really goes on in that side of the business. Well, what filmmaker wouldn't say yes to that. So you know, I mean, we're going to can, right? So we get there. And cannas MIPCOM is is from Monday to Thursday, every year, it's a four day market. So we get there Sunday night, we go to the opening party, all is good. He likes it now, lots of filmmakers running around lots of champagne and finding everything right. The next morning, we walk up to the palay. Some of you may have seen it's where the Cannes Film Festival takes place. The stairs, the whole conference center is decked out in billboards and graphics and everything. It's It's It's It's a heyday. It's a circus. It's amazing, right? And his draw drops, he looks at this, like we walk up to the front stairs of the palay. And he looks at up and he sees all these films and this and that. And it's like, oh my gosh, this is crazy. I had no idea that this actually happens, right? We walk into the Pele and for those of you who've been there, like the first floor, they call it the dungeon. It is just like booth after booth after booth there's no lights there. That's why there's no natural light, you're actually go downstairs. So I wanted to walk them through the entire market. And let them see experienced it literally floor by floor is like seven floors in the main bill, you know, like and, and all over the place. So So we start downstairs, so and you go literally, Alex, there's hundreds and booths on every floor, different countries, different styles of you know, you know, animation and live action and documentary and all this kind of stuff. And it's sort of organized, but it's sort of not. It's primarily usually by country, but, but it's all over the place. Anyways, you walk through and I'm explaining to you, okay, take a look like you know, you think that the movie you made was unique, you're gonna see 50 similar movies. You know, in the next 20 minutes, as you walk by, you know, you're gonna see 100 different styles of this and different languages now anyways, suffice it to say the first day, you know, we get there like 9am, when it opens, and we leave at six. And for the most part on the first day, all I did was we didn't do very few, very few meetings that day, it was primarily orientation, walking through explaining how the whole, you know, market works and showing them different stuff. So it was observation, and it's overwhelming. It's overwhelming, because there's so much product, and so many countries and so many cultures and people and everything. And it's it's like a bee's nest in there. It's just, you know, it's more so back then than it is now. But anyways, like we get we, at the end of the day, we go to have a beer, and I said what do you think he goes, I'm mentally exhausted. Like I there's so there was so much. You know, I saw so much going on. I'm literally I'm mentally exhausted. And I said, this is nothing wait till tomorrow. Anyway. Have a nice dinner. Okay, the next morning we get because the next morning Tuesday was all meetings, like back to I just because I missed Monday for the meetings, I just put everything back to back. And I do half hour meetings. And I did like I don't I had I'm probably 2022 meetings set up all back to back with a you know, one hour break for lunch so that you can take and literally like we're just going one after the other after the other different languages, different cultures, different people. But these are buyers more or less that I've either dealt with before or you know, or other distributors from different countries where I want to sell my stuff to them. You know any of you when you've done enough markets, you get to know some of the people and but you only have half an hour and sometimes it takes 10 minutes just to walk between a meeting so Do you really only have 20 minutes and everybody's always late. So that's five minutes of being lazy of 15 minutes, five minutes of pleasantries, you get down to business, you got 10 minutes to talk about what you really want to talk about if that. So you get into it, and it's like, just one after the other after the other. So at the end of day two, he says to me, Oh, my God, like, I thought I was exhausted yesterday. This is not like, not only am I mentally and physically exhausted, now, you know, the pace at which we did that. But, you know, I got to tell you something, Jeff, like, it's not what I expected. Like, I thought it was gonna be a lot more fun. Like, this is not fun at all. This is not like filmmaking.

Alex Ferrari 1:30:44
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Jeff Deverett 1:30:54
Anyways, by day three, this is a four day trip. By day three, we go back to the meeting to the market, and Wednesday, by lunchtime at one o'clock. He says, he says to me, I can't take it anymore. I'm done. I can't do this anymore. I'm done. Not only am I exhausted, but I hate the distribution business. I hate it. I hate the meetings. I hate the people. I hate talking about business. I hate negotiating deals. Everything about it is just not what the film business should be. And I said, this is the film business. This is the business part of the film business. This is it. Welcome to the real world. Welcome to what it's really all about.

Alex Ferrari 1:31:35
Your Morpheus. Basically, you just gave him the red pill.

Jeff Deverett 1:31:39
So I hate to disappoint you. But this is it. This is where when guys like you make movies, this is where they get bought and sold and paid for. Anyways, by the he didn't even make it through the the third day. And he went home a day early from Cannes, France, like who leaves Can I said just go walk around the city enjoy, go to the beach, just enjoy. He said I can't, I'm so turned off by this whole thing. I just want to get away from it. You probably went to nice for the day and whatever and flew home. So anyways, it's interesting that that is that's the business side of the business. And this is where filmmakers like they're just not interested in it. And I totally understand why remember, I came from the business side. So I'm so I'm just so comfortable in that. But it is a big turnoff. And if you if you're an artist, and you just want to make movies, it's a bit of a turnoff to have to deal with all the all the you know, innuendos of doing all these deals and all the details and it's exhausting. And it's it's not fun. It is really fun. And that's why filmmakers you know, rely on distributors to do that part of the business. But without that part there wouldn't be a film business. I mean that that's the business part. You know, I always say to young filmmakers, I always say hey, you know when you go to Universal Studios, so you pull up on Lankershim Boulevard, and everybody's so anxious, and their tongue is hanging out. Let's go to the backlog. Let's see where the movies you know, the tour the background and everything that I say, Do you guys ever stop and look like you pass by as you're driving into literally as you're driving into the parking lot of university students? This is big black building.

Alex Ferrari 1:33:13
Yes.

Jeff Deverett 1:33:15
NBC Universal, I said, Do you guys ever wonder what actually happened? Why there's that big office tower there? You ever wonder what happens in there? Oh, no, we don't pay attention to that. I said, that's, that's the heartbeat of what goes on. Were you going to see, that's where all the business decisions are made. That's where all the money is generated. That's all the distribution, and the finance and all those guys. I mean, I never make it past there. All my meetings are in that building, I never really get, you know, as a treat, you go on the lot. But that's the business. So anyways, I just maybe long, too long a story. No,

Alex Ferrari 1:33:46
no, but you make a very good point. And look, I've had I've had filmmakers fight me on the concept of being a film trip earner on the whole concept of my book, like, I don't want to know about how to create ancillary product lines, I don't want to create a business around my movie, I don't want to do any of that. I just want to be an artist. And I always tell them, I'm like, Look, you don't have to do what I'm talking about. It's not for everybody. But if you're an independent filmmaker, and you rely 110% on the only way you're going to generate revenue is through a distributor that you don't have a relationship with that you're just dating, basically, you're not married, you're dating, to see if they're going to do right by you. If you don't have something to mitigate the risk in in the way things are going your foolish purse, that's just my feeling as an independent filmmaker, as a if you're if you're a filmmaker who wants to kind of go out and you know, go down the studio path. Well, that's a different conversation, a completely different conversation. But as an independent filmmaker trying to sell a movie, you better understand how to make money with your movie. If not, you're not going to survive. Or at least surround yourself with the people or surround yourself.

Jeff Deverett 1:34:56
Yeah, yeah, you don't have to. I know that most filmmakers don't don't enjoy it and don't want to be part of that I get that I totally understand and, you know, not actually makes sense. I mean, you can't be you know, jack of all trades, you want to specialize in one thing. It just understand the landscape. That's all I'm saying. Just so you know what's going on in those conversations in those office towers while you're shooting on your set?

Alex Ferrari 1:35:19
Yeah, I mean, I think everybody if you live in LA, you should definitely go to AFM once in your life, just to walk the halls for a day a day pass.

Jeff Deverett 1:35:26
But, but can I warn everybody about that I want to go. Yes. AFM could be the most depressing thing you ever do in your life. It's true. Yeah. I mean, you need to understand how the FM is how it works, how it you know, operates. Because if you go there, number one, if you go there without a pass, just trying to navigate to getting into it is a difficult thing. And you know that you're going to get charged $300 for a day pass or whatever they charge 270 or maybe get a deal because you're where you can find something but just getting in is is a tricky thing. Because it's a business the it's a market, it cost them a lot of money to rent the Loews hotel and do all that kind of stuff. So, you know, fair's fair, right? But if you don't know how to walk the market properly, I mean, you can't walk in and say, Hey, guys, I'm a filmmaker, and I got a movie, they're not gonna even talk to you. That's, you know, don't waste my time we're selling movies, come back tomorrow, or actually, you know, just don't come at all. keepers who just their job is to keep guys like you out of their booths out of their hotel rooms. So it can be super super depressing if you've done it. And even just standing in the lobby, which they don't even let you do anymore. It used to be the lobby was open everybody now you need a pass to get in there. That can also be depressing because everybody excuse my expression is bullshitting each other and saying oh, I just got this deal. I got this deal but they didn't know we got the odd person got a deal but they're not standing in the library to I'm in the lobby talking about it. They did their you know, out at some fancy restaurant celebrating it or sitting in somebody's booth or something. So

Alex Ferrari 1:37:01
yeah, I've spoken to about the FM ad nauseum on this podcast. So I'll put links to the AFM episodes that really go deep into how to actually work at work that market but I think it is important that they should go to a market. If you're in Europe, absolutely. You should go to the Cannes Film market, or MIPCOM or something like that, just to at least walk it so you understand how things are done. Like I brought filmmakers with me at AFM and they just walk around like, it's like eyes, like they just don't understand. It's like this overwhelming thing.

Jeff Deverett 1:37:33
It's just like I explained to you with MIPCOM. Anyway, assuming everybody knows AFM stands for American film market. I see.

Alex Ferrari 1:37:40
I'm assuming they do. But it will be in the show notes. Now I wanted to touch upon one of the main reasons you reached out to me as you read my book, Rise of the film shoprunner. And was talking to me about niche filmmaking and how you build ancillary product lines and how you all the stuff that I talked about. And it basically, as you turned into a filmmaker once you left the dark side, sorry. Once you left the dark side, and you came over to be a Jedi, or at least a Padawan. At least you came over. You started to I am your father. Exactly. So once you left the distribution side and you came over to be a filmmaker, you brought a lot of that business savvy with you. And you said, Well, if I'm going to be a filmmaker, I'm going to be a successful filmmaker, and you had business ingrained in the system that you were going to build for yourself as a a career filmmaker, as you call it, someone who's actually making a living, being a filmmaker. And in my book, you start talking, you start talking about Yeah, I do that I do that I do that I do that. I'm like, Well, basically, you're kind of like the definition of a film entrepreneur. He's like you said, Absolutely. So I want you to discuss the kinds of films you make. And specifically the power of the niche, which is something I yell and scream from the top of my, my platform. To understand that you have to understand a niche you have to understand an audience and how to build product for that audience or tell a story that's going to work with that audience or reach that audience.

Jeff Deverett 1:39:14
Can you talk a little bit about that? Yes, absolutely. Okay, first of all, if you don't mind having grown up in Canada and being bilingual for the first part of my life and speaking French we use that word the way niches we call it niche.

Alex Ferrari 1:39:29
Yeah, no, but it does. The niches are in the riches are in the niches sounds so much better than niche. So it's nation niche Potato Potato, it's up to you.

Jeff Deverett 1:39:38
It is a French derivation. I hit it you know, it is coming from I come from that that's the word we get anyways, whatever. Okay, so I have decided, as a filmmaker, that for two reasons I I'm going to specialize in family feature films, and primarily within that little like the family market which is like I do defined family now as all audience viewing meaning you can any age can watch it and enjoy it. That to me is what a family film is. So you know, people use different terminology, but it means all audiences can watch it, whether you're, you know, five years old or 80 years old, you can watch it with your grandmother and enjoy it. So within that I primarily focus on sports dramas, because I like inspirational sports stories. And within that I like to do true stories. So

Alex Ferrari 1:40:30
you're like niche of a niche of a niche or a niche of a niche of a niche.

Jeff Deverett 1:40:35
So now there's two reasons I'm a niche of a niche of a niche. One is I very much personally like those kind of stories. Like I love that like my one of my favorite movies is Rudy the

Alex Ferrari 1:40:46
read my mind, I was about to say, Rudy, when you started that sentence, it says, like,

Jeff Deverett 1:40:49
I consider that one of the best movies period, if not sports movies, for sure, but movies. It's, it's based on a true story. It's got so much heart, it's done. So well. The filmmaker captured everything. I really loved that movie. I said, I just like those. I'm a sucker for sports dramas, true stories that are super inspirational about people who just had so much heart and just wanted to follow it don't even have to win or lose. I don't care about whether they win or not. I just I love stories that I've heard of them.

Alex Ferrari 1:41:19
Like, like miracle miracle will be one of those films. Yeah,

Jeff Deverett 1:41:22
yeah, miracle. But you know, yeah, miracles are a little bit different than Rudy. I mean,

Alex Ferrari 1:41:26
a little No, no, Rudy, I'm bawling at the end of Rudy, I'm like, I'm just, I'm just, I'm a mess. I was, you know,

Jeff Deverett 1:41:33
he doesn't even get a chance to it gets one plate. Yeah, okay. So anyways, that's the main reason is because I personally like those kind of movies, I love those kind of stories. That's the main reason I do that. The second main reason very close very close. Second reason is, I know how to sell them. Like, I know there's a market for them. And I believe there always will be a market for them. Because there's families out there who always want to co view and sit down as a family and have family viewing night. So I believe that it's a good bet, that if I didn't believe that, by the way, I wouldn't make those movies because I wouldn't be able to, because if I don't sell them, I can't make more. So I think that that niche, I'm glad I enjoy that niche, because it's also a very marketable niche. And it's still a niche, you still got to find your audience. But you know, for the most part, you can be pretty sure that that families will watch movies together, or you know, their Cove you entertainment, you know, not all the time, obviously. But it's primarily when there's younger kids involved. So that's why I like it. Because when I go to markets, and I speak to my customers and stuff like that, they know that I'm going to deliver quality family films, and they know that's, there's not always a place for them always. But people generally will content as long as human beings, and families exist, they will watch movies together. That's my theory. And so far, it's been proven true. So I chose that niche to summarize for two reasons. I like that niche. I enjoy those kind of movies, and they're marketable. So that works for on both levels.

Alex Ferrari 1:43:10
Now, how do you reach the marketplace? And how do you sell these films?

Jeff Deverett 1:43:16
Okay, so this is an ever changing process. The film business, what did you say to them, the term you use the other day with me, it's, it's like, it's it changes like, weekly now home,

Alex Ferrari 1:43:30
just know when now it's almost literally daily, because of COVID. But it's changing so rapidly, the foundation underneath. I was saying I was saying that Rome is burning, I feel that Rome is burning, and the walls are going to come crumbling down around the whole industry, because there's going to have to be a change. Because just the same way, it wasn't the music industry, the music industry had mp3. And that burned down the walls. I mean, that burned down Rome, in the music industry and the chain of streaming and all that. So I feel that the same thing is happening here. But yes, it's changing rapidly. Okay, so

Jeff Deverett 1:44:01
here's the thing I try not to as a person, like focus on what was I spent tend to focus on what is or what's going to be now you got to focus on what was sometimes you know, historically, so you have a point of reference, but just because it's something happened before, it doesn't mean it has to happen again the same way or is going to happen the same way. So all the stuff like I'm telling it 90% of what I did in my careers is not relevant anymore. I mean, it's relevant in that we hope that people are still going to watch TV and movies and you know, there's going to be entertainment but even that even that I'm going to make a bold statement you know, and maybe this is too bold to people even have the attention span to watch movies anymore. Like for us like going to the theater like my generation, like the I love long form viewing. But look at my kids and and the younger generations. They're more used to short form viewing like they're looking at like Tick Tock What is that? 15 second clips. I mean, and that's like, gigantic, you know, YouTube, like, you know, this is all short form format. And that's so it's could be that generations going forward are not interested in kind of the formats that we were interested in, you know, everybody assumes a movies a movie, everybody loves sitting down and watching a movie. And I'm thinking maybe not, maybe they like 10 minute segments, better, you know, now, episodic stuff or, you know, shorter form stuff, just because it's, it's a different world now, with technology. So even I'm questioned even that, which is interesting, because I still say, Okay, I'm going to make movies, but maybe I'm going to present them episodically as opposed to in one sitting. And, like, so that's one of the things I started exploring.

Alex Ferrari 1:45:51
Oh, it's much more. It's much more lucrative if you have like, you know, a documentaries and a documentary series, but a series based on one of your ideas for a film like like an inspirational sports movie, breaking that up into four episodes, or five or six episode miniseries. That's more valuable in the marketplace nowadays, then, yeah, then I mean, I mean, generally speaking, generally speaking, there's still always gonna I think there'll always be a place for features I think they'll be something like that. But right now series is like, the more content you could purchase as a streaming services, what they want and people love watching miniseries now are seasonal things that keep coming out every season. You know, people accuse me of something like, because I came from the business side of the film, just you know, from the dark side, the dark side, yes, yes. It's not the dark side. This is your, this is your penance, I'm sorry, I have to I have to beat you up.

Jeff Deverett 1:46:52
It's decided that generates the revenue to enable you know, filmmakers to hopefully make their movies. Alright, so I don't think it has to be dark. Here's what I get accused of. I get accused of being too focused on the monetization of the movie. Like I'm talking about monetizing before I'm even making 70. I'm thinking like, why would I bother like, okay, in my career, I've made seven movies. And I made one of them as a personal project, it was a personal passion project where it didn't really matter whether I can monetize or not, I wanted to make it because to me, that was my what I call my legacy film. It was my statement to the world, it was what I wanted. If I had to send a message, it would be that that would be no, it's been the hardest film to sell to. So it's been tricky. But I was happy to make it, it was my most enjoyable movie for sure. The other movies, I basically, I'm looking at audience, and I'm basically saying, okay, what's going to sell, because I want to make money with them. Because I want to be able to make other films afterwards. So, you know, I'm trying to figure out what you know what to make in order to be able to monetize it. And then within that, then I say, okay, you know, there could be 10 choices, okay, what would I enjoy making, but I don't get hung up on a story necessarily. I get hung up on a marketing plan. And I say, like, like, I just finished making the gymnastics movies, you know, and I know that the gymnastics is big and an Olympic year. I mean, I've made two of them. So and I know that there's a big audience for it. And a lot of young girls do gymnastics, I know that there's a market there for it. And I probably wouldn't necessarily, like I'm not in love with the idea of making jeunesses movie unless there's a market for it. So it was a fun movie to make. I enjoyed making it. And I would definitely do other gymnastics movies. But if I discovered that they weren't going to sell, not sure it would do that, you know, then I might want to make a football movie where I think it could sell or a baseball movie or something like that.

Alex Ferrari 1:48:52
There's not a lot of gymnastic movies is a general statement. It's not like a it's not like there's 1000 there's not a lot of competition for that, that

Jeff Deverett 1:49:00
suddenly not as much as you know, as for other football or baseball, but you know, there's also you know, because there's more fan base, obviously. So yeah, it's kind of supply and demand. But so but I don't say hey, like, I'm a gymnast, and I need to make gymnastics movies. I say like, there's a market for it. I found a story I like to do. I think it would be you know, very suitable for that audience and and attractive. And that's a big component of it. And let's make the best movie. We can have fun doing it.

Alex Ferrari 1:49:31
So okay, so then, one thing that I found really interesting, you showed me an example of it is that you did exactly what I talked about in the book, which is how to leverage the niche in marketing. So you're actually so you have obviously a gymnastic film. So you also have a relationship with us gymnastics right?

Jeff Deverett 1:49:51
USA Gymnastics USA. Yeah, I have I mean, I relationships these days. That's tricky. I mean, USA. Gymnastics is a bit of mess.

Alex Ferrari 1:50:01
But you had a cup before this, but you had you were able to tap into that audience, if you will.

Jeff Deverett 1:50:08
Absolutely. Well, I mean, not only through USA Gymnastics, but through, you know, various gymnastics. There's lots of gymnastics organizations. Yeah, I mean, I mean, there's magazines, there's, you know, there's all kinds of groups and state by state and, you know, competitions and stuff like that. So there's lots of ways to tap into, say that marketplace, like, you know, we're dealing let's, let's talk about that. Okay. It's so gymnastics is, you know, a bit of a niche sport relative to other sports. It's, a lot of people do it, but not obviously, as many as do say baseball, or say soccer, soccer is, you know, for both sexes, so. So you can find your ways to market that. And I, I mean, Alex, I think I told you this. I mean, people look at me, and they say, Oh, you've gotten made seven features, and you know what you're doing, and you have fun and everything like that. I say, Yeah, but that's not my day job. My day job is marketing these movies. 90% of what I do is marketing, like finance and marketing these movies, that's what it is, making them as the holiday is the fun part. And I really enjoy that. Marketing is everything. I spend lots and lots of time. And that's the job that's my job is, is figuring out how to market and sell the movie. So. So yes, I definitely look for all the niches. And we could spend hours on this. I mean, I showed you a couple of things. I mean, I didn't really get into the weeds on all the stuff that I do. But I mean, this is that would be this would become a class in marketing, not in

Alex Ferrari 1:51:37
show, of course. And that's it. And that's another discipline that you really do need to understand is branding and marketing as a filmmaker, I mean, even for yourself, you shouldn't understand how to brand yourself as a filmmaker, would you agree?

Jeff Deverett 1:51:49
I would say so. But you know, like, I look at it differently. I like I say, I'm trying to figure out before I make the movie, what I'm going to do, like I do the marketing plan before I do the production plan. Like I want to make sure that what I'm going to make, listen, I believe studios do that, too. I've never worked at a big studio. But I do believe that they all sit down like years before they actually go into production and figure out like, Who's it for? how they're going to market it, you know, what's the look going to be like, and you know, what characters they need and this kind of thing in order to successfully market the movies? And, you know, how's that gonna look what that plan is gonna look like? Because that makes for good business.

Alex Ferrari 1:52:29
Now, you also sold you sell to Netflix a lot as well with your films, correct? I yeah, I tend to try to sell to Netflix. Yep. So what's your experience, like with Netflix?

Jeff Deverett 1:52:42
So Netflix is my experience is really good. I mean, it's interesting, right? Like, they're the, they're the big player in the industry, you control a lot of the eyeballs, as you know. And it's, it's a great place, you know, to connect with audiences, because they have such a big audience. So, I do I deal on the licensing side with Netflix, ie, I'm a third, like an independent filmmaker who sells them a finished film, as opposed to most of what they do now is Netflix branded product where they make it themselves. And they'll hire you know, third party companies like me to sometimes do service production to make their movies, which is a whole other business plan. But they own it. So my movies I make I own and I license them to Netflix, if you know if they like the movie. So I gotta say dealing with Netflix says, and I'm not saying this, because I mean, I think some Netflix executive is going to be listening to this, it's the truth. They have the ability to totally screw filmmakers, because it's Netflix, and they get offered every single movie that's ever made on the planet. Like, what filmmaker is not gonna offer their movie to Netflix, right? Like, that's a dream come true. So they're in the position to basically just dictate any terms they want. And it's like, take it or leave it type of thing. But I gotta say they they are super fair. They have given me a very fair deals, and they then their contract, you know, it's funny when I first got their distribution contract, and I read my own contracts, because I have a legal background and everything I read, and I'm thinking, Oh, this is just gonna be a complete joke, and it's gonna be so lopsided. It wasn't, it was actually a very fair deal. And when I spoke to the lawyer on the Netflix side, you know, she said to me, is there anything you'd like to you know, talk about or negotiate? And I said, is that even on the table? Like, is it even offered your Netflix and I'm some like, small indie producer, like, Why? She said, Well, it's kind of not really because we think our contracts already fair. But you know, if you do have some comments, we'd be willing to hear them. And you know what, it's a super fair deal. Like you want to talk about like, not like these distribution deals you've seen like it is a very, very fair deal that Netflix puts on the table for filmmakers, because I believe that Netflix totally understands that they need to keep going maker's in business in order to keep getting good content, like I believe they're very supportive of the creative process so that they can support filmmakers so that they can continue to have a good stream of very good product. I think that's their philosophy. And I can tell you from literally, like doing business directly with them and getting their contracts and dealing with them. It is not at all like we talked about with the distribution landscape, it's actually a breath of fresh air, it's up Now, obviously, getting to them and and having them express interest in your product. And you get to step standing on very long line behind lots and lots of filmmakers. But once you get there, it's very pleasurable and fair, extremely fair.

Alex Ferrari 1:55:41
Now, that's a good accent. So you have a direct relationship with them. So you've obviously built those relationships over time. So you don't use aggregators. Do you actually use aggregators for other elements of your distribution model?

Jeff Deverett 1:55:53
The only aggregator I uses for is for Apple TV right now. And I'm about to probably not do that anymore. And that's because Apple TV forces you to do that until you've had you have to have a certain number of films. So you have to have I think, the numbers four or five theatrical films, and I'm just getting there. So I'm hopefully going to qualify my next movie, and then I can go direct. So there's criteria. Listen, these companies don't want to deal with hundreds of 1000s of filmmakers that they have aggregators, I understand that. I think that they can get way more of my marketing dollars. And we can work directly and do much better by allowing me to work together because I just don't like the dilution of going through a third party, but I understand why it exists in terms of supporting and managing lots of different vendors. But yeah, for the most part, that's the only aggregator I use, everything else is direct. Like so you can direct on amazon prime, you know, like, not the svod side, but the the transactional side.

Alex Ferrari 1:56:50
And do you do? Do you have any of your films up on a VOD or not yet?

Jeff Deverett 1:56:55
I'm toying with it. So, I mean, I'm toying with YouTube Now. Now. The YouTube model, you know, it's been super disruptive and changed everything. I mean, I've definitely explored to be and Pluto and all the big a VOD platforms. I mean, I've sat in all their presentations. I know exactly how they work. I understand it. And so I'm definitely I'm definitely looking at it. I don't know how much money is there is can be made. You see, this is one of those things where like, you really got to do the math. And you got to do lots of extrapolation, because even with a lot of volume on some, that's a volume game, obviously, you got to be doing, you know, showing, then YouTube and these are volume distribution models. So even one sort of crappy TV deal. That seems like you know, a low lowball offer could be more than a big volume deal on a on an event VOD platform, but it's changing. So I, I'm very open minded, and I'm looking at everything. And I'm paying close attention because it's these models are changing the way people are consuming product changes every day. And you know, you can't, you can't say, Oh, that's how they did it. So they're going to do it that way. I mean, kids, listen, the younger generation kids generation, they don't believe they have to pay for anything. They grew up like thinking everything's free. Like all these apps are free and all these things and, and, you know, it's terrible for songwriters, and filmmakers and everything who don't, you know, people don't appreciate how much goes into that how much time and effort and labor and then people want to consume it for free. Like the art my generation, we never thought about that. Like we were happy to pay for stuff. I mean, that you were happy to pay for an album or CD or something like that, or movie, that new generation, they don't want to pay for anything. So you know, it's kind of come full circle, where with the Avon ads, it's kind of like broadcast TV again, right? You're back at him. But you got to watch the commercials, you know. So

Alex Ferrari 1:59:00
it's just changing so rapidly. It's just changing so, so rapidly, and God knows, you know, we're all being a holodeck in 20 years. Who knows?

Jeff Deverett 1:59:11
Alex, can I just can I there's one thing in your book that I wanted to. It's not necessary. But distribution. There's one thing that and we haven't talked about this, but I do want to say, yeah, this is also math. It's a mathematical equation. So you, I get the fact that making an independent film is like a crazy, crazy, difficult process and super financially risky. I totally get it right. But I learned something in my business affairs, like early on primarily through the legal department, like through my law training, that if you're going to spend your time and effort and like making a movie, I mean, you're gonna spend I did the calculation. I mean, if you do it the way you did, Alex, where you were, you know, cinematographer, director, editor, you know, you put you know your heart and soul into it. Yeah, I did some math on it. I'm gonna say that you spent somewhere between 2020 500 hours on that movie. And you could be even more in your case.

Alex Ferrari 2:00:10
Yeah, like I made my first film my very first film. Yeah, I mean, that's a feature. I'm talking a feature not sorry. Not a short. No, no, no, my first my first feature, my first feature. Yeah, I mean, that's a fair, that's a pretty fair statement. I mean, it depends on it, it could be a little less could be a little bit more. Who knows? I mean, if you're including crowdfunding, including that marketing equally, yeah,

Jeff Deverett 2:00:31
I'm including everything I'm including the idea of saying, Okay, I'm gonna make a movie to actually getting it finished.

Alex Ferrari 2:00:39
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Jeff Deverett 2:00:50
I mean, it's, here's how, here's how the math works. I think it's about nine months, kind of like having a baby 910 months, four weeks per month, six days per week, 10 hours per day, that's 20 160 hours. Sorry, I already did the math on it. Sure. Now, now, here's, here's what I wanted to say to you. So you say I'm going to make a 5000 or $10,000 feature film so that, so don't take too much financial risk. And let's say let's say you make the $5,000 feature film, and you put in 20 160 hours,

Alex Ferrari 2:01:23
doesn't make it doesn't make sense, the ROI is not there, or the RFP is not there,

Jeff Deverett 2:01:27
there's no aro t there, because for the same, so let's do the math, let's say you make and you get really lucky, you make four times your budget back, let's say you make $25,000 on a $5,000 film. So that's a success, you have sorry, you've made five times your budget. Sure. So that's a success. I mean, what filmmakers are gonna say, Hey, I just made $20,000, on a film that cost me five, I mean, 25, so I netted $20,000, that's a lot. But when you realize that you put in 2200 hours to make $20,000, it's not good math?

Alex Ferrari 2:02:05
Well, you you, you are making an assumption. So on a on my second film, I did that I shot the film in 36 hours, so I haven't shot in four days. So it was four days, we did about 36 hours of actual production time. But let's say we did the full 40 hours, 45 hours, whatever it is. And then you know, all All in all, when that movie was done on the corner of ego and desire, I might have spent a few 100 hours on it. And for me it let's say even if I spent 500 hours on it, which I don't think I did it, there's the assumption of 2100 hours or 2500 hours, that's on a $5,000 film, if you're spending nine months to make a $5,000 film, you have not done a good job, that does not make sense, when you're making a budget of film of that budget range of 3000 to 15,000, you should be in and out within a couple months. And with in all honesty, shoot it to three months tops, and then you're into the marketing phase of it. But I still generated a good amount of money off of my first film, and off of my second film. And it made sense for me, because I also was building a, I was part of my entire ecosystem of what I do. So I wasn't just making money on my film, I was making money from ancillary products, and other things like that. So the book that you purchased, the, the book that you purchased, Rise of the entrepreneur has multiple mentions, if not a full chapter a case study on on the corner of ego and desire, I was already selling the book before the book, The movie was even released, making money off of that. So I my mindsets a little bit different than yours. And you know, you're, you're always like, you shouldn't make a movie for less than 700,000 or, or, you know, five 700 $900,000. But you're coming from that point of view, I'm coming from a different point of view, where I'm building an entire ecosystem, I'm building a lot of other revenue streams, I mean, not only making money from the exploitation of the film itself, I'm making it from the entire film intrapreneurial ecosystem. And that's why that makes sense for me. And that's what I've tried to teach in the book is for filmmakers to make that ecosystem. So if you do make a five or $10,000 movie, you even if you make four times your money on the movie, it's nothing compared to the 50 or $60,000, you made selling all these other ancillary product lines, and other services and other things like that. And I made the argument in the very first, the very first movie I made, which was an $8,000 short film back in 2005, that I generated over a million dollars with that project. And the reason I did that is because that film, launched my post production, my post production company, and every year I put food on my table for the next 10 to 12 years. And I was making money in and day in day out and I had filmmakers coming in all the time from that film. So it's not only About an addition to that, I also made $100,000 on the short as selling the actual short, and I still make money off that short to this day. So it's all about frame of mind how you're looking at it, I understand your point of view and with your math, you're absolutely right. But from my point of view with my math, it makes sense for me. Does that declar that fair? You know, you're right.

Jeff Deverett 2:05:20
I think that, you know, you're you can't be spending more than two or three months, if you're making a low budget film, absolutely. Your your return on time is not going to be valuable. So yeah, I my business model is different. I like to shoot the million dollar range. And, you know, and I, if, if I haven't made 100, at least 100,000, or more than I feel like it's not worthwhile because of all the time, effort money, of course. Oh,

Alex Ferrari 2:05:45
yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And your business model makes sense for you. Because you're also every filmmaker has a very unique set of skills. We're all we're all little Liam Neeson from taken, we all have little sets of specific skills that we bring in, you have a plethora of knowledge and tools from the distribution set. So you're very clear on how you're gonna be able to make that money. So you know, you can play at the 700,900 $1,000 budget range, because you also understand niche, niche films and being able to sell it and marketing, you understand all that stuff. So at that budget range, you need to be on a set, you have to be an assassin, you have to be a ninja at that budget range to be able to crack off 100 $200,000 profit on a film like that, and hopefully much more than that. But you have to be really strategic about it, where filmmakers who are starting off in a $15,000 budget film, they don't need to be as strategic. And that's why I always say you start small and you build from there, because you got to kind of learn the craft and learned the business side as well. So that's just again, it's just two different point of views. But both are both are correct, in their own way. Because if I try to if I try to shoehorn my situation, do yours, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. And vice versa. So it's all about perspective.

Jeff Deverett 2:07:04
Yeah, I just I guess, yeah, the difference is that you just said, you know, don't spend more than two or three months Oh, yeah, I'm saying spend, you know, nine to 10 months and make it like, put your heart and soul into it. But it's a different time.

Alex Ferrari 2:07:17
It's a different time of us. There's also different investment. So you're talking about, let's say nine or 10 months on a movie, and you generate $100,000 off that film, well, that's a year, that's a really decent yearly salary, depending on where you live in the world. Correct. And that makes sense. But if you make, but if you make a $5,000 movie, or a $500,000 movie and break even, or lose money, and you spent the year, that's not, that's not what you can't survive. So you know, it's been, it's all it's all relative. Now, I can talk to you for at least another two hours. But I want to ask you, I want to ask you a few questions, ask all my all my guests, what advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?

Jeff Deverett 2:08:03
Again, I'm gonna, I'm going to go back to what I said earlier about what's your intention, if your intention is is artistic, and you just want to be on the art side, I would suggest choose one project that you're really, really passionate about. And if you want to make it independently, go to your circle of people and be honest with them and say, This is something that I really want to do, I believe that it will, you know, resonate, and hopefully find an audience but if it doesn't, you know, consider this helping me achieve my personal goal. And keep it very low budget so that you don't blow anybody's brains out, you know, financially and don't take anybody's money that you can't afford to lose it. So don't put anybody in a financially uncomfortable position. But if you want to be a career filmmaker, then you got to really educate yourself on the business side or, or go try to get go down the studio route to or you know, the the streaming route where you're working on a on for somebody else, you're not really an independent filmmaker anymore. If you're really really passionate about the industry, but that you know, as you know, Alex, those jobs are far and few between, it's an anomaly you get one of those jobs, and you're basically going to, you know, kill yourself for the first five to 10 years and not really do what you want to do in the hopes that you ultimately will do it and you might not do it. So I'm, I like the whole film sharpener thing. I'm an entrepreneur. And you know, the good news about that is you get to call the shots and do what you want to do. The bad news is there's a little bit more risk involved, obviously. But if you're really passionate, then like I say, either make your passion project and be happy that you got something done and you left the world, your mark. And don't worry about the financial side. But if you're going to worry about the financial side, then get educated like really get involved.

Alex Ferrari 2:09:53
Would you agree though, that I find it's riskier to take that job in the studio and only run On those kinds of jobs, because you have given the power to you of your livelihood, to somebody else to another company where I'd rather have a little bit more risk and control my own destiny, in a sense, is that is that fair? I know you but I both have the same kind of mentality when it comes to that, because we're both entrepreneurs.

Jeff Deverett 2:10:16
They're different risks, you know, like, Yeah, exactly. Yeah, like, losing a job is a huge problem in one's life, when you're dependent on a salary, you lose your job. But as an entrepreneur, when you lose your job, you also lose your investment with it. Correct. So you're losing two things, you're losing your livelihood, and you're losing the investment that you put into making a livelihood. That's why in some ways, it's a little riskier as an entrepreneur. But you know, more on like, more upside, there's way more risk and return, obviously.

Alex Ferrari 2:10:46
Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Jeff Deverett 2:10:52
The lesson, the most important lesson I learned, and it probably took, yeah, 15 to 20 years, and the single most important thing is that, that, like I said, before, it's just about trust, like, really businesses is about life is about relationships, you know, I mean, probably the biggest relationship you're gonna have is, you know, with your spouse, if you're gonna get married, and, or have children, that type of thing. But business is all about relationships. And you want to be in business with people who you trust. And so learning two things, one, how to choose somebody to trust is important. And then learning how to actually trust them. And, and people you don't people earn trust, like you don't trust is not something you talk about. And then you give it it's got to be earned both ways. You got to earn somebody's trust, and they got to earn your trust. And trust is such a powerful tool if and when you have it. And if you don't have it, like, there's what people call this gut thing I filmmaker called me last week, and he said, You know, there's just doing this distribution deal, but there's just something wrong with it, I can tell you what's wrong with it before even telling me the deal. You don't trust the people on the other side, you feel like you're gonna get screwed, if this is just a trust thing. That's why it's bothering you. Like, we can talk about all the terms of the deal. And I really like that, but you don't trust that they're going to keep the terms anyways. So my, I guess the lesson is, life's too short, don't get into bed with people you don't trust. I mean, sometimes you have to, you're forced into it, but know who they are, and only give so much trust and and and try to find those people who you really trust. And

Alex Ferrari 2:12:30
Now what is the biggest fear you had to overcome when you made your first film?

Jeff Deverett 2:12:36
You said something I can't remember if it was on your book, or one of your podcasts or something like that. You've probably said it many times. And this, this is also something I learned and is become a super fear of mine. It's not a fear, but you know that it's way, way, way more taxing on you find on life, to lose somebody else's money than it is to lose your own. That that is a fear of losing other people's money. Like I take it so seriously, that winner it might festers, because my investors remember not investing in a movie, they're investing in my ability to make and sell a movie, because they don't know anything about the movie. Like my investors. I mean, you know, I have a nice group of investors are primarily real estate guys. And so they don't know anything about the movie business, but they invest in my truck, they trust that I know what I'm doing. And that's why now, when somebody gives you money based on trust, which I've done to them also in the real estate side, you don't want to lose it. They've trusted you like you'll lose your own money, you feel bad. But you can still sleep at night, you just feel bad sometime you know it has an impact, you lose their money, you feel terrible. You feel like you've betrayed their trust. Right? So that that's probably my greatest fear is losing my investors money more so than Listen, my wife might argue with that. She put us like we're an investor also. And I say yeah, but we're different kind of investor. I'm the lead guy and I everybody's banking on my ability. So there's a lot of pressure when you take other people's money and got to be straight up front with people and you got to say like, there's gigantic risk involved, you're gonna do your best here's the plan. But you know, like every other business investment it might not pan out and and don't invest if you can't afford to lose it.

Alex Ferrari 2:14:23
And three of your favorite films of all time.

Jeff Deverett 2:14:27
Definitely, Rudy is one of them. For sure. Because I love the heart in that movie. Like I said, I primarily like sports dramas, so most of them I mean, yeah, Rudy would be up there. Like I was a big fan of the Star Wars The original Star Wars movies, just how creative they were, at the time and how innovative and and I love the fact that Lucas had to work the streets for years and years and years like just what makes the star the original Star Wars movies so attractive to me is Just how persistent and and and like motivated Lucas was in just believing in himself and, and so passionate, you know there's a good chance those films would never gotten made if not for his persistence and passion and getting like I've never met the guy and I don't know for sure you know what's real and what isn't just I've read, you know, a lot of his materials and listened to him on stuff and so not to MIT the films are, were great at the time. You know, I love watching them now because they're not so great anymore. I mean, it just some of this stuff is so data. But at the time, it was like, I remember going to that first Star Wars movie lining up at the theater. And it was magic, it was total magic. So I would put those up there, too. There's so many other movies that me, I can't necessarily that, you know, it's funny, I should have been prepared for that question. But now I can't really say like, yeah, Rudy definitely is his top top top shelf.

Alex Ferrari 2:15:57
And one of my favorite parts of the whole Star Wars story is, is the whole the deal, how he how he constructed the deal. He's like, yeah, just give me the sequel rights. And and I just want merchandising. And I don't you guys don't want that to you.

Jeff Deverett 2:16:13
He had such belief in himself, and the vision. And you know, then that could it maybe not worked out? Well. But you know what, like, in hindsight, 2020, it's it worked out really well. But you know, there's probably lots of those kind of deals, that didn't work out.

Alex Ferrari 2:16:26
Right. But he was able to build a fairly nice Empire off of that. Not he didn't do that he didn't do that. Now, where can people find you and watch your films and the work you're doing?

Jeff Deverett 2:16:38
You can definitely find some of my films on Netflix, follow and cry, and the new Fallout two is coming out soon. And I have a website, obviously, which is my company's called Deverett media. So it's www.deverettmedia.com. And IMDb, I mean, you know, Google, whatever. But you know, my websites the quickest way. And I'm not one of those guys who hides like, I mean, if you want to, I mean, listen, I don't know how many people are going to call me or whatever, afterwards, but I'm always happy to talk to Phil, make

Alex Ferrari 2:17:11
Careful, careful, careful, careful, Jeff. Fair enough. Careful, but don't put out Don't put your email out there. I'm telling you don't get don't put the phone number out there right now. Trust me. I've had other guests do that. And they're just like, Alex, I had no idea.

Jeff Deverett 2:17:30
Here's the thing, you know, I genuinely I genuinely like to help other filmmakers navigate this process. I obviously don't want to be inundated with millions and millions of calls and projects. But I generally look, if I told you this, you know, I'm thinking of doing this sort of mentoring course, where, and I don't want to go to hundreds of you know, 1000s of filmmakers, I want to go to like, you know, a dozen or so every year and just really hold their hand and mentor them through this process if they really want to try to navigate it. And I think that would be fun and exciting. And I and very fulfilling to do that. To be able to kind of help them avoid this and everybody you learn when you fall, and you get back up. But it's sometimes better if you don't have to, if if I can show you where the bumps in the road is going to be before you have to go over it and and fall. It would be Hey, we'll learn as much No, but at least you'll get past it and get down that road a little quicker.

Alex Ferrari 2:18:29
Fair enough. Jeff, it has been an epic conversation as I knew it would be I am so grateful to you that you came on. And I've been so candid about everything from from the other time in your life, we won't call the dark side the other time in your life. But I hope I hope it It helps filmmakers get a better understanding of the other side of the table, which is something that, you know, I can talk all I want about the other side of the table. But to talk to someone who's been on the other side of the table and go, this is what their thinking was, I think invaluable. So thank you so much for being on the show and dropping the knowledge bombs on the tribe, man. Thank you.

Jeff Deverett 2:19:10
Well, thank you for having me. I really appreciate it and good luck with all your stuff.

Alex Ferrari 2:19:15
I mean, did I tell you or did I tell you this was an insane episode. I cannot thank Jeff enough for coming on the show being so transparent, so raw, about the process and really, really just dropping some insane mega atomic knowledge bombs on the tribe today. Thank you again, Jeff so much. If you want to get links to anything we spoke about in this episode, head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/396. And again, if you want to become part of the beta launch team for film distribution confidential, the course that predatory film distributors do not want you to take head over to indiefilmhustle.com/letmein. Thank you guys so so, so much. I really do hope that this episode has opened your minds has really planted some seeds and made you think differently about how you can make money with your film. How should you approach it? How you need to understand the business, or at least partner with someone who understands the business but you as a filmmaker needs to understand the basics. Just like you need to understand the basics of camera, the basics of acting, the basics of art department, the basics of sound, just the basics of every part of the filmmaking process. Film distribution is a huge, huge, huge part. If not, it's probably about 50% of the entire filmmaking process. Like we said in the interview. The first half is the fun part, making the movie. The second half can be the fun part. But you also need to have knowledge about that process because without the second part, you will not be able to make another first part without understanding the business. You will not be able to do the show. As ifH Academy instructor Suzanne Lyons says there's the word show and there's the word business and the word business has twice as many letters as the word show. take that to heart, my friends. take that to heart. Thank you for listening, guys. Please share this episode with as many filmmakers as you can. This information needs to get out to as many filmmakers as possible. Thanks again for listening guys, as always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. Stay safe out there. And I'll talk to you soon.

YOUTUBE VIDEO

LINKS

SPONSORS

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