IFH 520: Making El Mariachi and Troublemaker Studios with Elizabeth Avellán

Elizabeth Avellán, Robert Rodriguez, Troublemaker Studios, El Rey, El Mariachi

Get ready to have you mind blown. If you ever wanted to know the TRUE STORY on how the mythical El Mariachi, written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, then this is the conversation you want to listen to.

Today on the show we have producer Elizabeth Avellán.

Elizabeth Avellan was born in Caracas, Venezuela, where her grandfather, Gonzalo Veloz, pioneered commercial television. At thirteen, she moved to Houston with her family and later graduated from Rice University, where she had her first behind-the-scenes experience working as stage manager and prop master for several student productions.

She moved to Austin in 1986 to work in the Office of the Executive Vice-President and Provost of the University of Texas, continuing her studies in film production, art, and architecture. There she meet Robert Rodriguez – cult filmmaker and her husband to be.

Avellan worked as an animator on Rodriguez’s award-winning 16mm film, Bedhead, which aired on PBS after gathering acclaim on the festival circuit. She and Robert co-founded Los Hooligans Productions when the two began work on El Mariachi (1992) in 1991. Since then, Avellan has co-produced Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Desperado (1995), The Faculty (1998), and upcoming Spy Kids (2001).

Besides she developed several scripts and produced with Pamela Cederquist and Rana Joy Glickman, Real Stories of the Donut Men, a dark comedy written and directed by Beeaje Quick, which premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March, 1997. Additionally, Avellan served as producers’ rep. with Rana Joy Glickman for Love You Don’t Touch Me, a romantic comedy premiered at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival.

She co-founder Troublemaker Studios with Robert and have been causing “trouble” in Hollywood ever since. Elizabeth and I have an epic two-hour conversation spanning decades in the history of her, Robert and Troublemaker Studios.

We did a bit of myth busting on the now legendary indie film El Mariachi. Elizabeth also discussed what it was like working inside the Hollywood machine, the moment she introduced Robert to Quentin Tarantino, the uphill battles she faced becoming a producer and so much more.

Get ready for one heck of a ride. Enjoy my conversation with Elizabeth Avellán.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 0:00
I like to welcome to the show Elizabeth Avellán. How are you doing, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth Avellán 0:16
I'm doing great. Alex, thank you for having me come and share some fun stories with you.

Alex Ferrari 0:23
Yes, absolutely, it is. I'm a great fan of the work that you've done over the years. And I mean, you know, as a Latino filmmaker, you know, you and Robert and what you guys did together with El Mariachi and Desperado. And everything that your your giant filmography? Is, is remarkable. And I mean, I can only imagine the the struggle that you had not only being a female producer, in the studio system, but being a Latina, female, you were like, the one right, there weren't many in the 90s. I can't remember. But one of the few, one of the few. So I mean, it is an inspiration to see what you've, you've done, specifically as a producer. But before we go down this road, what was the thing that made you want to be in this insane business?

Elizabeth Avellán 1:16
Same, you know, I try to be go back to a little bit to the beginning. Because that encourages people, they themselves go back to that moment, when you're a kid. And you're starting to see what what your talents are. Little things inform that. You know, even when you're seven, even that was a huge film lover, as a kid, my parents loved going to movies, it's been a lot of time in theaters. And I, you know, I recognized good writing, I could tell that I recognize why isn't good, movie Good? And why some of it is kind of like bad, you know, because they will take us to all kinds of movies. And some of them, Are they fun, you know, like some sort of pulpy kind of your Lawrence of Arabia at six years old, that you're like, Okay, this is amazing, you know, like, you realize, you can't handle the contact, but you see the shots, and you're like, Whoa, and they don't my siblings didn't really in this early, you know, especially my, you know, just in general, at least I didn't realize they were noticing anything. And but I did, I noticed I noticed Peter tool, I noticed every nuance moment of you know, his blue eyes. And you know, when to close David Lee, I mean, just all those shots. And then the next week we went to see, I think it was A Fistful of Dollars, you know, part of the trilogy so it just kind of like game to the Yang, you know, very fun that way. My father loved all movies. So when they played on TV, you have watch this, you know, and he was not at all my mom's side of the family in Venezuela, are the ones that were in the film business. Well, in the TV business, my grandfather was panning of commercial television on Salloway lozman. Sara, the pioneer of commercial television in Venezuela, and but by the time I was born, he had sold what is now when we assume and moved on, you know, he was getting older. He had done he had been a groundbreaking guy. And he was ready to move on and had grandkids and his, you know, his, his daughters and sons. And so I didn't really grow up in it. But my father was very much against showbiz, and never allowed us. I mean, we were set, we were seven kids, my parents had seven kids, I was a second of seven. And we were asked to be in commercial because we have a few kids, you know, and my cousins were all in commercials. And we were not allowed, I mean, not allowed. And that so but I always had this yearning. And when I turn 40 We moved to the States when I was 13. And I started watching TV, I love seeing the pilot to things, because from there, I could see there was a seed of something or not, you know, I could tell, but I was like, how do you make money doing that? You know? And, you know, I was very, very studio so I went to rise, my father wanted to be an architect. And yet, you know, I there was the seed inside me that I got my car, it wasn't to go hang out with my friends. It was to go to River Oaks theater in Houston without anybody knowing to go watch all the, you know, high end film, it was the art house theater, and all in Houston, Texas. And that's what I wanted my car for. I just kind of plot it out and go see a movie there. And so I grew up doing that. I you know, my sister went to see Saturday Night Fever, it's 10 times I never saw it. You know, I was not that girl, you know, like whatever,

Alex Ferrari 4:40
John Travolta

Elizabeth Avellán 4:42
What I've chosen not to watch whatever, right? But as well as what I've chosen to watch. And so you see that and you don't know what it is, you know, and it's not until you piece it together. I freshman week I went to Rice University as a 16 year old, because I studied so much to learn English and I didn't want to go backwards by not taking summer school that I ended up graduating early and ended up at Rice University. And this senior girl said to me, you know, come on be come down to with me to the rice players, you know, I'm part of the rice players, it was the theatre group. I was like, I never had a chance in high school to do any of that I was studying, studying studying. So I mean, I just focused on learning the language really getting it down. And so I was like, okay, so I went. And of course, I mean, I knew that if I ever got involved in theater, because I love going to theater, I would be hooked. And it was always behind the scenes and never auditioned, it was always for me behind the scenes. So that's when you start kind of putting things together while you're going to architecture school. And you see a perfect marriage of Gosh, you could be designing sets for theater or, well, and rice at that moment, I think it was like one of the top five architecture schools in the country. And you got accepted into Rice University, and then you get accepted into the architecture school, they didn't see it that way. They were like you're wasting your time you you're the slot we've given you is precious, and you're not appreciating it very down, grading me. And at the same time, I thought I was working for an architect and I hated it. And I love working. So it wasn't the work part of it. So I'm like, this is definitely where I need to be. But my father's like, if you don't study architecture, I'm not paying for it. I got to be a little sneaky. Because so many athletes, so many art classes and the film classes, and the theater classes were all under under art, because it was such a small Rice's a very small school. And so I just knocked them in there without him, I need to take this for this, and I'm doing this for that, you know, so I kind of got them in there. And, and then, you know, it was the decision of, I really don't want to be an architect. And it's very painful to have to, you know, I was daddy's girl. And yet I knew that I needed to work. So I worked in medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, then I moved to Austin. And that's where things kind of shifted for me because I started working with executive vice president Provost at the University of Texas, and about three, four months in and my new my film, you know, reading all of that stuff is still in full growing mode, you know, and yet, I know I have to have a day job, you know. And in comes this young man, he wasn't even a sophomore in college had he just finished his freshman year thing, Robert Rodriguez, he was going to be our file clerk. And I was the youngest in the office. So and Latina Latino, you know, I was the only end of the night. Yeah. And, and he so we hit it off, you know, and he had done like, 20 short films, 20 Something short films. And he showed me one of them. That was a you know, we all got together and and, and I was so blown away. I was like, Whoa, shoot, he's He's like, he's really bugging me. He's like real, this is real. And and he hadn't even turned it into a film festival. You want to contest with it or something. And, and I and I thought, so I started talking when we started talking about all this. And I started telling him pointing out Film Festival. So that's how it started. He couldn't get into the film school because he didn't have the grades. I'm very academic. So I would we took some classes together so he would get his grades up. You know, even though I didn't need to take any classes I did. They wouldn't allow me one to take the hardest biology or things like that to get him through the gauntlet. You know, I think I got him through all his science.

Alex Ferrari 8:43
Science and Math right science and math. Yeah.

Elizabeth Avellán 8:47
And so but by the way, he became an all a student thing. And and he got into the film school because he also knew the new chairman of the film's called Tom shots because I worked for the second vice president problems and he was young and hip and cool. And he let Robert in because Robert one, the film festival that was a precursor to South by Southwest, the student films that were there with just Billy you know, and this little he grabbed three of his short films he's already he already made and put them together. And that's how it all really began to take off. And then mariachi you know and then he did bedhead first year his his production class so I was like whatever he needed, you know making a dummy so you could drag his brother to the ground you know just ways to do things without need because I need a dummy so you don't need a dummy. So we went to Walgreens grabbed a bunch of legs panty hoses and some stuffing from Michaels and I made him a dummy you know ever dressed it up and it set itself you know

Alex Ferrari 9:46
I remember I remember that dummy very well I remember that dummy very well i

Elizabeth Avellán 9:51
Im sure you've used that dummy

Alex Ferrari 9:54
I'm sure No,look

Elizabeth Avellán 9:54
Legs pantyhose

Alex Ferrari 9:56
Legs pantyhose and a wheelchair for a dolly. I mean, that's that's pretty much That's a that's a precursor.

Elizabeth Avellán 10:02
So So you know, it was really a beautiful thing because I also loved working at the university. So there was always an a plan that I would go get my Master's become a, you know, Vice Prez executive, but not exactly but never an executive, because professors do that, but at least an assistant vice president and had wonderful relationships there and, and Robert, they loved him. And he was working on mariachi, you know, just, you know, writing it there, you know, the computers there because nobody had computers at home

Alex Ferrari 10:31
89 - 90

Elizabeth Avellán 10:33
The rice at home, you know, I mean, I was a sugar mama the most cheap sugar mama you could ever have, you know. But, you know, I paid the bills, and I paid the rent, and I was really good with money, I had been able to be that person in my life always. And, and I, you know, so so as a result, we got all of that off the ground and things took off from there. So all of that. So the big question was, are you coming with me? Or are you not, you know, and it was a very Crossroads moment. For me. It's a very, like, and I thought that business is so hard, you know, we all know, and, you know, what context Do I go in? You know, how do I do this? I need to be thoughtful about because I'm a very, since I was very young, very thoughtful about when I saw broadcast news, I knew that too. I was, I mean, I was Holly Hunter. I was either going to go into news or I was going to go into into film, you know, or TV. I it was like, clear, crystal clear. For me. It's like that up. There it is. That's what I am a producer. Okay, got it. I understand now what I am. And I had been doing that with Robert all throughout. And so I really, really thoughtfully Alex, I didn't want to just do it because I want fame. I didn't want to do it because I wanted anything I wanted to do it because it's where I was supposed to be a my real destiny of life admission, you know? And I thought, you know, how do you guess who figured that? Well, you sit still. So I had already quit my other job. We had insurance. And I sat still for about a month in my in Houston, Austin, Robert was gone a lot of the time. And, and I was really, really, for the first time in my life, I think I was able to sit still. And try to listen to where I was supposed to be if I was supposed to do it. And it was. And, you know, it became very clear to me that I was supposed to. I didn't know why though. You know,

Alex Ferrari 12:47
That's the way the universe works. The universe. Yeah, the universe doesn't do that. Oh, yeah, no, no, no, no, no, that's not the way it works.

Elizabeth Avellán 12:56
You know, like, you know, because, because if somebody tells you the why, or the universe, God, whatever you want to call it, it may not make sense, you know, or it may, you know, it may not make sense until you are practicing in it, you know, so I did I, you know, I started began to work. And it's an interesting thing, because, to me, the reason I am in this is for the crew, and the cast, to be there as a person that tries to be and by the way, I haven't necessarily been this person every time because you know, life goes like cyclical, but consistently, I try, you know, to be that person, including in this last movie, where the needs what are this? Because once you prep the movie, the producer is just what is it that my other person does, I'm just going to spare change on the set, you know, if you've done it, right,

Alex Ferrari 13:52
Sure, if you, if you built them, if you bought the machine, the machine runs,

Elizabeth Avellán 13:56
You build the machine. And by the way, you just keep adjusting you make sure it has oil, you make sure that it has what it needs, you do all that. But really truly at that point is where are the potholes that you need to be fluid to fill so that people have a smooth ride? We all give up our lives, you know, for a moment of we're making a movie, or we're shooting a movie especially everybody puts their lives on hold or so they think but things happen every time you know, it never ceases to amaze me the how something to a crew member or cast member. And then do you have the wherewithal and the compassion to be sure that that person if they if they can continue the film great if not, I mean I've had, for example, you talked about John Sayles, Felipe Fernandez, El Paso was our set decorator industrial Don, he went to do a movie with John Sayles after that as a production designer, the one he did down in Chiapas.

Alex Ferrari 14:57
Oh, not that long star. No Was it was in Lonestar

Elizabeth Avellán 15:01
It's down in Mexico

Alex Ferrari 15:03
Yeah, yes. Yes, yes, yes. Yes. I remember that movie. Yes.

Elizabeth Avellán 15:07
And my brain is going to come to me. But anyway, but Philippe's mother passed away, but we're in the middle of shooting Dusk Till Dawn in Mexico and and he had been my my set decorator also on Desperado that was the movie after Desperado. And he was like, No, I'll stay. I'm here, you know, we're in the middle of a dry lake bed in Barstow in the middle of August. And I had to sit with him and say, No, you have to go see your mom, we will do all the work. And if you want to come back, open the door for that, you know, if you need to stay, you stay, if you want to come back, your your step decorate, right. So thank God for those moments, because everybody was going so fast, it was a really rough shoot in that dry lake bed. And to be able to, to do that, for Felipe. And throughout I mean, Felipe is just one example. So life continues, you know, and you were laughing about how people are like, oh, you know, movie, the film business. So exciting, you know, and kids are like, I don't want to work. Why do you want to be in the service, I don't want to be in a job eight to five. And I'm like, so you want to be in one from 7am to 7pm, or from like noon to like midnight or more? You know, like,

Alex Ferrari 16:21
I was about to say those were very slow days,

Elizabeth Avellán 16:24
In the cold in the past in the whatever, you know, in the whatever. With the movie, you know, that's where you really, and that's, you know, there are some that that is their passion.

Alex Ferrari 16:37
It's I call it I once you get no, yeah, no, absolutely. And I've I mean, I've obviously I've talked to him a million filmmakers throughout my career, and worked with tons throughout my career as well. And I've just realized that there's an insanity. There is an insanity to being a filmmaker, I literally was having a conversation with with a guest yesterday filmmaker, who lost everything lost their home with six kids moved in with their parents, because the movie failed, because they didn't know what they were doing. And their ego was out of control. Because when you're young filmmaker, your egos out of control. And his only thought was not that I can't eat not that have no roof. Not that I've had to move back in with my parents for eight months while they come back out of this. Oh my god, I might not remember the movie again. And that was the only thought in his head. And I'm like, do you understand? And I stopped him. And I said, everyone, I want you to listen, we're insane. We're insane creatures. As artists, we're probably one of the more insane artists, because it's the most expensive. It's one of the most expensive art forms on the planet. And you can't do it by yourself. You need a lot of people.

Elizabeth Avellán 17:47
You need I mean, you need a good crew. I mean, you need crews to sign it with about 40 something. And let me tell you, that means the producer is Lord have mercy. Everything No, absolutely not being fluid. Yeah, but it's true. It is insane. And you know, it's always interesting to me when you have new people that are PhDs or you see which ones haven't mean they're, they're innate, you know, they have the innate passion, that they're so good that you're like, This guy's never really been on a real movie set. That's amazing. Because, I mean, we had one pa in our group, this last movie that was this kid, you know, that came to we're in a tiny town in Oklahoma. And he came because his parents were moving. So he came to help them. He did you know, he's doing a little theater, but he's doing visual effects mainly. And this kid the woman? I'm talking about town the most Oklahomans don't know. And this kid named Johnny Juanito. One that that I call him, Johnny, because, you know, he spoke English and Spanish. Sure. And he was our intern. His mom was, you know, because they're in that town. She was a dishwasher in the, and she told me, Nancy, what's her name? She told me about him. And then I met him and I was like, great. Oh, you can be standing as an intern, whatever, right? Oh, my God, that kid was like, a rock star. Everybody wanted to take him to the next thing with them. I mean, incredible. And it's an intern, you know? And then you have others and you're like, Okay, do you not understand that? People walk through, like hot coals to do have the job you have? Do you understand that? How many people would like do anything to replace you? And here you are, like, 111? You know, it's it's hard because at the moment, I'm like, and what I always try to get across is like, this is a very short intense time. The shooting part of it is very short and intense time and you if you're not loving it, don't be in it.

Alex Ferrari 19:54
Oh, no, no, no, it's just and I've told people that so many times if you don't absolutely love what you're doing in this business, You need to leave because it will eat you alive. It you it will eat you alive. And I've seen a few bitter Oh. So this is

Elizabeth Avellán 20:08
It because you're like, Yeah, you know, the best situations, you know,you're, you know,

Alex Ferrari 20:16
If you're angry and the one thing I always tell people when I speak when I speak sometimes to film students and stuff, I'll go How many of you guys here know one angry and bitter filmmaker, and then handful of people who raised their hands on like, Whoever didn't raise your hand, you're the angry and bitter filmmaker that everybody else knows. And because it's true, because we all know an angry, bitter filmmaker, an angry, bitter screenwriter. And if you don't know them, it's you. It's you know, a lot. So I wanted to go back a little bit to mariachi because mariachi is it? Well, first of all, for me, it was again, an integral part of my growing up. I mean, I was working at a video store in 91. When that was released. I was in high school still,

Elizabeth Avellán 20:59

Alex Ferrari 21:00
Yeah, very Quintin. Very Quintin, very Quintines yes. Yes. That was my film school as well.

Elizabeth Avellán 21:07
I love it.

Alex Ferrari 21:07
Yes, I was working at a video store. I still have my El Mariachi video. So poster by the way. I've never I've got two copies of I stole two from the video store. I've never gotten rid of them. And my wife's like, what are you gonna do with those? I'm like, don't worry. One day, I'll put them up. And I have the but I always have them always, always ask them. And I remember when it came out, and it blew my mind because it was the first time to be honest, there was the first time I ever saw a Latino filmmaker. It was at a at any at any level in Hollywood, really. And there obviously had been Latino filmmakers before. But no one that really took the stage like Robert, and what you and Robert did. And obviously and I talk about Robert, I talk about El Mariachi constantly throughout the years of the show purely because I go look man, you guys are people still talk about mariachis, it's an urban myth at this point. It's an urban myth. They still talk about mariachi like, oh, you remember like mariachi, if he could do it for 7000. I could do my it was 1991. It was a very special time. It was the birth of the independent film movement, the Sundance independent film movement, you know, with Rick and, and Edward Burns and Kevin Smith and Quinton and Stuart, a Bergen, that that those that decade? Very specific time is a very specific time. And I always tell I had I had Edward Edward Burns on the show. And I asked him Oh, wow, yeah, I had Eddie on the show. And I asked, Ed, if if Brothers McMullen came out today, would you what do you think it would do anything? He goes? Probably not. And I'd argue that if mariachi showed up today, it'd be difficult to cut through the noise. Because originally from what I heard, and that's nothing against the movie, because there's a lot of no I agree with it's, it was just that time and then of course, all the blocks that hit you know, Robert Newman and, and that whole thing, but it was it because you can come on, of course, the story of mariachi, he was just going to do something for the Mexican video market. It was never actually supposed to ever be released in English. It was just as like his practice, film, all this kind of stuff. I have to ask you, what was it like being in the center of that hurricane? Because that was like, that must have been a world when? Because I mean, I read the book, obviously have it back there. It's it's it's a Bible for any filmmaker to listen to, to watch. And but what was it like being in the center of that? Because Oh, my God.

Elizabeth Avellán 23:34
No, it truly, I'll tell you, and let me begin with the fact that the seed for it. You know, one of the things that Robert was always confounded by was that people he would hear people say, Oh, well, if you go to film school, your short film and film school will cost $100,000 150 to $200,000. And, you know, it comes from a family of 10. We had, I mean, I barely we bet you know, we were it's not like my job paid a lot of money. But we we were able to stay out of debt, you know, which is a big one. That's a big one. Tell people out of college debt. And I talked to young kids about this, you know, it was a Tovar. But to say we can't be in debt, because you won't be able to be free, you know, to go do and take what you need to take. So my most important thing for Robert was that he continued to go to school and to get a camera. So when he did Bedhead, his first semester of film, was to get a hold of film cam, as he thought without a film camera. You know, I can't go to festivals, it's kind of thing, you know, without it being on film, really true to the bigger festivals, and so when he was able and everybody else was spending 1000s of dollars, you know, 2000 and he's, we don't have that kind of money. So because of his abilities, you know, and his siblings, he wrote Something that he already was just like my it, why do I have my kid my little siblings? I can do something interesting with them. And, and he had the film camera, which was an MLS film camera. You know, it was just a 16 tank tiny one of those crank up once

Alex Ferrari 25:18
Oh, well it was oh, so it wasn't even it wasn't even crystals. It was just a crank. So your production was probably was a ball either Bolex or an airy one of those. It was a fireball is one of those old ones. Yeah.

Elizabeth Avellán 25:31
So he ended up spending, including transferring the film editing the film and everything. 800 bucks, which he had gone to paramiko to get lab tested. So he had a little money to do that way. And you know, you know, in the meantime, I was helping with whatever pay per semester or whatever needed to happen. And he was doing a comic strip that he got eight bucks a day whenever he did that comic strip. So he made a little, a couple 100 bucks a month. And so that started sort of like his ability to go, okay. $800.08 minutes, $1,000.80 minutes, that was the see. Wow, from there is when he thought I can make a feature for like, I don't know, 8000 10,000. So he talked to Carlos Guyardo. And this is he and I got married in January 1990 got married. And so this is a now a year later, when he's already that the film started going to festivals and started winning things. So he was like, okay, okay, this is possible, you know? Oh, and he also did the animation. And interestingly, that his professor at the time was like, Robert, you already have an A. And Robert looked at him. And he was like, Dude, this is not about getting an A, you know, this is? So anyway, and I, you know, I help them with I helped with whatever I filled in the little cockroach wings on the animation like, oh, so great. Yeah, one of those, you know, very, it was a very sweet time, you know, for us. And then, you know, so he had some friends that borrowed a 60 NES. He had been writing, and they've been talking about it. So some guys he'd met at the access channel, you know, in Austin. And so those guys said, yeah, we can let you borrow it. So you can go shoot my edge, but he'd been writing it. He'd been doing, you know, taking sophomore year semester, but he was kind of like, and let somebody else write that movie, and I'll be a part of it and blah, blah, blah. So then a, he was writing in, in the computers at the office, so he would stay there longer. And we work together that worked in that office still and, you know, with everybody was so kind because he loved these people to just like me. So it was a wonderful group of folks that loved him and loved us, you know, and what he was doing, you know, they saw the passion, they saw that and how much he gave to the office. Anytime there's a birthday, he do a beautiful put, he's an amazing artist. So do a beautiful little poster in full Prisma color. You know, like really funny stuff, caricature but funny. Most people in the office were part of his comic strip, they started getting in there as characters, including the executive, Dr. Funk. So, you know, so for him, if it hadn't been that we worked in that place, it would have been harder, because no computer, you know, no free time in between classes to sit there and answer phones while we were doing other things. So he could continue to write a script. And then it was ready, he was ready to go, you know, and then he went to farmaco for a month. And that's where he finished reading, writing the script. So it all kind of converged together, the right combination of having the right people around you that are supportive. And so and then Carlos, and he already had done so many short films. And Carlos was dialed in that shoot that shot there before many short films. So everybody knew them as his kids, I'd love to do this stuff. So Carlos had a lot. So they wrote everything around. Robert wrote everything around what he knew he had, that is really what he did. So went down there. And then he gets a phone call about 10 days in and the guys need the camera back. So they're under the gun. There's like we got and he didn't answer the phone, you know, it was a no cell phones back then. So you could pretend it in here that like they're calling me and they're asking for the camera and he goes okay until the weekend. So the 14 days of shooting. Thank God he was able to kind of stretch it so that he could do that and then drove back with all the film, transferred it to three quarter inch, and you know, and then edited out the Austin axis. So all of that together is what leads to if I tell people if Robert got $1 paid for every hour, he's mariachi, forget me forget Carlos forget anybody. It would have cost

Alex Ferrari 29:58

Elizabeth Avellán 29:58

Alex Ferrari 30:00

Elizabeth Avellán 30:01
Easily I mean easily the budget would not be what it is. Plus he also did not make a film print. So that's why it's not 30 some $1,000 people he didn't make it for me stills, you know, urban mess. Oh no, he didn't make a film print. Hello me pictures made a film print for him. You know what the sound is? The sound guys in this plasma. So I heard the Columbia spent $200,000 in sound, because it sound Oh my gosh, is it? True? Not true.

Alex Ferrari 30:27
So what's what's the Okay, so this is the this is the urban myth that I've heard about this, like, okay, everyone's like, because I have I've had to defend Roberts honor many times at at film festivals, film festivals and things like that. They're like, that's all BS. That's all pressed at Columbia. He never made a movie for 7000. And I'm like, Look, he made the movie for 7000 He transferred the movie onto three quarter inch tape because I remember because I used to

Elizabeth Avellán 30:54
That only the film and then development of the film will release what cost 7000. and transferring right to 7000. restaurant was his own time.

Alex Ferrari 31:04
Right, exactly. So then he from what I understand he transferred it to three quarter ranch. He cut it, he cut it at the access at the access. You know, tape the tape? No, I did. That was my first job. I was cutting reels for a commercial house in Miami. And I know the Sony I know the Sony very well. So I edited on the exact same machine he edited on on three quarter inch, three quarters because you couldn't afford beta that was really expensive. So you couldn't do beta, you had to beta stuff dispelling the you know it's not true because it is true. So it's all so all of that. And I mean, and of course in the book, like he stayed overnight, and he couldn't leave because the alarms he had to he had to pee and in a jug of water, like all these stories, so you hear all this, but then they go so and then. And so they always talk about well, how about the audio and I go from my understanding, and this is this is what I understand. And I've done. I've read all the books and I've done that I've done all the research. I've I've studied Robert in depth, especially during that period of time. It was of course, he's wonderful. Yeah. To to so to my understanding. When Columbia got it. They obviously remastered the they went back to the print or to the not the print, do the negative remastered it all that stuff. But the sound is what cost them a good amount of money to redo cuz you have to be done everything.

Elizabeth Avellán 32:22
I'll tell you why. So he had him. It was as 16 escenarios 16 S No sound, right. So he had a Moran's tape recorder and a $50 mic and a box of TDK tapes. Same as that. Hey, the other kind that

Alex Ferrari 32:40
No, no, no, no old school with a pencil the pencil Pencil. Pencil. You're good.

Elizabeth Avellán 32:45
Those very much. Yes. And he since these guys were not actors, they kind of set things up the same rhythm so he could match the mouth, you know pretty well. So he would go through the paces all the Foley like they put the glass down. Like they think about the scene in the in the, in the bar, those three guys, you know, the beer, the thing, all the sounds is sound so he would go up and redo the whole scene for sound after after we shot so it's that so after you're done, and by the way, and he would grab when the beer was being poured. So he grabbed that kind of stuff, that glass hitting that same table. So he was kind of doing Foley slash down and they would go through say all the words again, you know, because he didn't have a sound guy with them.You know? None of that.

Alex Ferrari 33:33
And it wasn't it wasn't as cheap as it is today because now you now all this equipment is super super cheap, though Yeah, it's super affordable.

Elizabeth Avellán 33:40
So so that's why I was flipping through my sound guys this past movie. Let's it so what happened is so Jimmy Andre from Columbia Pictures that post production guy comes all the way to Texas to pick up the elements quote unquote Yeah, so he goes away with like, he brings us big bag. I mean the the film didn't even the TDK tape, just like you know the little box here it is. And Jimmy is sitting there in our apartment going Hello CUDA, by the way really good sound because he took the time to get so much stuff clean. Now, mind you, you're never going to be able to project this movie with that sound necessarily, necessarily. Unless you transfer it. And they didn't. They only sweeten things you can talk to Sergio antennae. They can tell you there were mixers at Columbia. And yes, they spent money in order to put something on the big screen like they were planning on it. You know? You can't show something that's in cassette tapes, of course not sleep, right. So, but they used all that sound. There was no ADR man There was none of that.

Alex Ferrari 35:01
When so there was no way so there's no so there's no ADR for sound but how about but for how about dialogue?

Elizabeth Avellán 35:07
No idea for sound. There was some Foley I saw that Foley happen. But Robert had gotten so many of the sounds in place they used whatever they could use it just wow. Oh, by the way, I mean, we're talking Columbia Pictures. Sergio antennae their biggest. Oh, no, no, no, no, they're just Latino. You know, antennae is a cool guy. They're like, we'll do this is we fun? You know,

Alex Ferrari 35:28
Nobody would nobody wanted to do this

Elizabeth Avellán 35:31
Sergio just passed away. He has been our mixer. All of these years. Oh, pretty much every single movie. He even moved to Austin. So he has mixed everything Sergio has So okay, so so he can tell he's passed away with all the you know, the truth which is this is the truth. I know it because we've talked about it so much.

Alex Ferrari 35:51
So So still think it's bullshit, you know? So, so then so then basically it was all sweetening there was there ADR that that all the talent have to come back in? And so all the all the dialogue

Elizabeth Avellán 36:01
All from the TDK cassette tapes,

Alex Ferrari 36:03
No hold up no hold up

Elizabeth Avellán 36:05
All of it

Alex Ferrari 36:05
So the dialogue the dialogue as well

Elizabeth Avellán 36:08
The dialogue all there was never ADR man. Never. Never no

Alex Ferrari 36:15
So they just so they just basically put it in their system sweetened it up, made it professional surround sound and did did as best as they could.

Elizabeth Avellán 36:21
Everything they needed to do. Yeah, exactly. And then then Robert himself and cut the film and a film print from his cut three quarter inch, they sat there with a camera looking at it.

Alex Ferrari 36:34
So they read Okay, there was no EDL there was there was no

Elizabeth Avellán 36:38
Self literally did this. And

Alex Ferrari 36:41
He did a frame he did like an old

Elizabeth Avellán 36:45
We created. That's what I'm talking about for every dollar. Mike. Yeah, if the amount of time Robert gave to this is pretty incredible. So then, so anyway, when I saw the film, because I'm I'm a critic, you know. Normally I said Why put as a film person, you know, I love I love film, you know? And I said to him, when I saw Moriarty in the three quarter inch version before he went to LA with it. I said, You know what? I give it three out of five. For the movie, I saw this movie is that three out of five? I saw it knowing rough, rough audience, but knowing the story of how you made this and how much it cost. This is a five out of five, you go out there and tell that story. You know, I mean, we agreed that that was really the thing. By the way, what he wanted to do also was, you know, he was a kid that never thought he could do it, because he heard there was so much cloak, you know, like these huge cloak curtains that you just did not touch as a Latino as a kid from a family of 10 or a family of seven. Sure. I know. You you financially know, you know, and to go to a family. We are in awe of like Rick Linkletter and your cantina who dared? You know, who dared? You know, but Robert decided to go open the curtain. And the wizard behind that is who exactly let's let's look at the wizard please. Okay. No, okay. There's no wizard is just keeping people up. So that's what he felt he had to do, which is why he convinced Columbia Pictures. It was laser discs. But back then.

Alex Ferrari 38:31
Oh, I know. I I had a laser disc

Elizabeth Avellán 38:34
That for the first time a movie like Omar Yeah, because it was all criterion. You didn't get to have

Alex Ferrari 38:39
Audio commentaries. You know, your your right, your right nobody

Elizabeth Avellán 38:46
It was criteria. And it was like

Alex Ferrari 38:48
$125. And it was $125. Yeah.

Elizabeth Avellán 38:52
Absolutely. Or Exactly. Or Robert convincing, this amazing guy named Clint Culpeper, who was so full of joy and, and enthusiasm for what was going on, you know, and he's still a dear friend. And Clint, and Robert. He was like, we're doing this and he convinced Clint Culpeper. And Robert convinced Columbia Pictures to do a laserdisc with the commentary. So to dispel the myths, but you know, people still think that is not true. And it is, it's, it's so beautiful, because it is all really true. So I'm so sad. You know, people were really angry some of them at Sundance that he had been. He had been a what do they call it media trained? No. By the way, Robert is one of the most shy humans in a lot of ways is very quiet. Very shy. You give him a microphone is the opposite of the of the states right? Yeah, the frog from Warner Brothers you know, hello, my baby. That's Robert backwards. You give that man a microphone, because he got so much sited about taking all that cloak and dagger stuff of filmmaking you know? And that's been his life you know?

Alex Ferrari 40:08
Oh he's been he is a troublemaker troublemaker Studios was and that was the thing that I and that's one of the things that I mean obviously found an immense inspiration for mariachi and Desperado and Robert and years career moving forward. But I've never seen the amount of hate bitterness of people that like when all he got him because of this or that and I got it because when you see when you see someone who has Oh, he got lucky Mita lucky and lucky no okay, look at the look look Lucky is lucky buddy man. Listen, Lucky will get you in the door, but it doesn't keep you there. And, and, you know and and yet there are certain certain things that the universe put in place, you know, that got mariachi? There's no question. The timing was right. I always tell people Robert was there with the right product at the right time. And and it just so happened that it went got to Robert Newman, Robert Newman said hey, let's do this. And and then it kind of took off from there. By the way,

Elizabeth Avellán 41:14
Robert Newman had no clients, right? He wasn't this big one was in ICM, right? I don't want a new one had that other people didn't have Robert Newman, Robert was given that name by a guy named dunk dominant. Robert Newman was coming down for a party for the film commission here in Texas. And Robert Newman, was the foreign sales guy at ICM he had no, he didn't represent anyone. He represented films that needed to have foreign sales. Sure that they had filmmakers that they were represent.

Alex Ferrari 41:46
Oh, by the way, just real quick, everybody. Robert Newman is Robert

Elizabeth Avellán 41:50
Robert's agent. Yeah. Yeah, he's that William Morris Endeavor, Robert Newman. And he has been from the beginning. But Robert was his first client, just so that you people know that, you know, but Robert Newman had been trained, he was the fourth person at a place called Miramax. And he worked for the Weinstein Brothers. Basically, when before they were an actual studio, or any kind of any kind, they were just, they would buy foreign films. So they went to festivals, and they physically take them to the Angelika theater to the laemmli in LA, all that stuff. They, you know, they, they, and they worked on campaigns for those little films to get them foreign, you know, Oscars if possible, you know, that kind of thing. But lots of Robert Newman was very used to foreign films, he was trained by the, you know, I hate to say not everyone's gonna is a genius of sorts in that realm, you know, and, and so that's who he, he was the fourth person, it was Bob Harvey, a British guy, I can't remember his name, and then Robert Newman. So he came from a training that he was really, really ready to see mariachi, with a different pair of eyes, timing agents would imagine, there could even if we just did the serendipity that the blessed sort of path, and by the way, and then it takes an assistant to an agent that is willing to open that door. So when Robert made that phone call, that assistant truly opened that door, so it is you know, I mean, I'm always very that person, you know, I try to be that person. So and I knew I knew who Robert was, and and I knew the purity of what he was trying to do too. Because it was it was pretty rough for people you know, you could not get it even if you were passionate and love the business you couldn't be in the business you know, you would never dream of assuming you're gonna be in the business

Alex Ferrari 43:53
Let alone Latino, let alone a Latina, let alone a Latino. Latino,

Elizabeth Avellán 43:57
Yeah, exactly. So so it was. It's a very opening of a world. So many people, you know, that. But it was also funny because Vietnam toto had done a lot of films Cronos you know, and we all were in festivals together with a mariachi, you know, and we went around the world with them. And lucked out to be as Quinton was finishing Reservoir Dogs. Last place that showed was Toronto and we were there. That was the second festival we were in. And when I met Robert not a person with a lot of friends. You know, he's shy. So he just works on his thing very obsessive and he has 10 siblings, you know, I mean, I understand it on my you know, you become friends with your loved ones in your house, you know? So, you know, you don't have time to go party. You don't have money like that. So, so a when I met Quinton, I was like, like I felt this immediately. I found a friend. I swear to you in the lobby of the Toronto hotel, we were staying. And I looked at him, because somebody introduced him to me. I may have been Robert Newman. And I said, it was oh my gosh, oh, wow. You know, and I was like, I want you to meet Robert, I want you to meet my husband. And he was like, Let's go immediately, like, let's go. And I was like, okay, so I took him up to our room, and I opened the door. I said, Robert, I have somebody for you to meet. It was like, magic. It was magic to find this.

Alex Ferrari 45:39
Brothers, brothers brothers.

Elizabeth Avellán 45:41
They've been that since you know, yeah, it found each other and they could understand each other. So well, you know, the same thing with em. There's just been certain people that Robert has done this with, you know, like, very, you know, I clicked into it. Yeah. And it's beautiful. Bizarre, you know, it's, it's not easy. This business bunch of fancy ones. You know? We're live in LA, we've never wanted to live in LA, you know? So it's been a beautiful, I mean, Jim Cameron. And Robert always hit it off, like, boom, you know, like, very close knit. So people are like, how did I leave that happened? It's like, they've been friends for a long time. Robert had been friends for a while, just like the emulator and Jim Cameron, you know? Yeah, he's his own person, you know, very close, tight knit people. They don't really hang out with a bunch of, you know, Hollywood types. Right now. So, so yeah, so it's beautiful. You know,

Alex Ferrari 46:33
It's kind of, it's kind of like, you know, we can smell our own. When you meet someone like that. It's like, oh, okay, I find it looks growing up you, it's hard to find other filmmakers that you can can or other people that you can connect with at that level. And that's why a lot of times when I'm when I say my passion, the, the that level of passion, the level of skill, and like all of that kind of because there's a lot of people who might be passionate, but that can actually pull off what you're doing. That's a very small group.

Elizabeth Avellán 47:04
That passion, though, leads to everything. I'm doing it because for example, in film school, it was hard for Robert because the other people that he was working with to make bedhead. You know, okay, get a party, I gotta go to you know, I gotta hurry up. We're gonna happen then to get tivity is a very interesting thing. It was hard for him, you know, and he just kind of went, you know what, it's okay. And he did all those films by himself. He didn't really need people to, to do that. You know? So so, you know, it was like that,

Alex Ferrari 47:35
I'm glad. I'm glad that we were able to put in the public record the story of mariachi, because it's been such an urban myth about so many things about mariachi through the and and yeah, and it's, it's beautiful.

Elizabeth Avellán 47:48
And the way that with my heart full, I can tell you and the writing of the book, I mean, that's his diary. Right? Look, his diary. He entrusted it to me to edit it a little bit. I was the pre editor before the editor got it. You know, just I just, you know, made sure that it made sense, you know, because it's just his stream of consciousness. And I admire that I don't write a diary. I don't. I'm not I'm not that person. You know,

Alex Ferrari 48:14
I've I've tried, I can't journal. I'm not. I've tried. I've sat down. I'm like, do we

Elizabeth Avellán 48:21
Yeah, it can do a greatfull list. That's about it.

Alex Ferrari 48:26
No, I'm a and that book. And that book, Rebel Without a crew is still to this day. It's a seminal book in independent film. I've, I remember. I was I remember when it came out. I was in I was in film school in Orlando. I picked up the book and I read it in one sitting. I just sat there just in awe. Because you again and for people listening you have to understand and 9192 I was in film school. I was 9494 95. I picked up a first edition. I still have my first edition of Rebel Without a crew. And wow. Oh, yeah. Yeah, no, no, no. So I said you said you. And I remember reading it. And for me, you people have to understand in the 90s there wasn't this. It wasn't cool to be the filmmaker just yet. The Rock and Roll filmmaker, the Rock and Roll director, which I think Quinton and Robert kind of created that kind of persona, because Spielberg had been around and Scorsese and Coppola, but there wasn't a rock and roll kind of like, present this kind of person. And so but there was no information there was no YouTube there was barely any making offs. There was like you had LaserDisc with commentaries. If you were lucky. There was nothing tense in that book for me when I was reading it. It was like a portal into Hollywood, which seemed like a world away. And I was being taken on a journey with a with a filmmaker, a Latino filmmaker, like so you have to understand the power of that for Latino reading. It was so influential and so powerful for me and I such reverence for that book that I always tell people, I wrote a book called shooting for the mob, about how I almost made him was made a movie for $20 million movie for the mafia. And I always tell people, oh, yeah, and then I was and then in many ways, so. So that what happened was, I made this book. And then, in many ways, because of the mariachi story, a lot of the stuff that happens to me in that book, I got flown out to LA, I met the biggest movie stars, I bet I met big power players. And I'm like, Oh, my God, this is my mariachi, but I got this psychotic gangster behind me threatening my life on a daily basis. So I always tell people, if you want to read two books in the film business, you read Rebel Without a crew. And that's the way that's the positive side of how a career could go and that you read my book is the opposite side of the coin, where I went into complete depression and almost got myself. So it's like the complete opposite.

Elizabeth Avellán 50:59
Yeah. I would say that.

Alex Ferrari 51:03
Like that book says, like, you could go off and have Roberts career, or you can go off and like, oh, you almost got killed. Almost this almost did that. It was it was a remarkable story. But anyway, but yeah, but

Elizabeth Avellán 51:16
He loved that. It was love that it must have been hard.

Alex Ferrari 51:20
No, hold on. No. I mean, it was it was

Elizabeth Avellán 51:22
No, but you know what I mean, I think that the negativity that came from it was harsh. I will be really honest, there was a lot of you either hate or hate, oh, God, a lot of hurtful things said. And Robert was really clear, he would even say it at the same Sundance where the other guys were, they're the ones that had a $38,000 movie. Howard said they did the same thing I did. It just made a film print. I didn't realize that's what a $30,000 is, you know, so that's the difference. I you know, I ended up going and shopping it around and somebody else made a film point for me. Because he was trying to encourage people that, yeah, you could do don't necessarily have to make the thumbprint. You know, so think about that, you know, he was already helping people think of it a little different, because it was like, I'm no different than a $30,000 movie. He was very clear in the panels. That probably wasn't even filmed at that time, you know, and saved. Because it, it really, but I just love that people like Kevin Smith saw that. And it. I mean, he was like, Okay, I gotta I gotta store that I work at a convenience store. I got some friends that are hilarious. You know, there it is. clerks. You know, I love that. I love that. And it keeps, you know, repeating itself. And, and by the way, I don't know if you know this, Robert, with some of our kids made a film called Read 11.

Alex Ferrari 52:47
Yeah, I'm dying to see it. When is it coming out?

Elizabeth Avellán 52:50
I don't know. I have to find out. But it is. It is a visual of how to do a $7,000 movie today with what you have. And exactly the mariachi styled but somebody, he had an actual crew film with him doing it.

Alex Ferrari 53:08
Oh, God, please, please release this

Elizabeth Avellán 53:10
So Luca fesi. resists. Latino also is the guy that filmed him doing it, but they were doing it, you know, exactly. The actors themselves. Were the ones. You know, my son rebel, is in it. And he also is the composer of the movie, I pay no money. But now he's composed to other movies. He hadn't paid for it. You know, he made the sacrifice for Cena, because he's a really good composed. You did we can be heroes for Robert. And you know, he's just a 22 year old kid. But man, he really is good. So you. And by the way, and he was buoyed by people like Don Dabney who, you know, wanted help to help them succeed, because we have had other people like that. Their kids have wanted to be filmmakers, and we've had them come and be interns with us or working on movies. You know. I mean, James Spader son, Sebastian worked with us for a whole year and a half, as you know, behind the scenes, because he loved and he had been working since he was amazing. You know, what I mean? We try to help mothers, you know, to for their kids to come in. It's and, and that they want something they want to learn from someone else.

Alex Ferrari 54:20
What I what I found amazing about what about what we've talked about so far, and just from what I've studied over the years about what you and Robert have done, is that you really did pull that curtain back for a generation of filmmakers, because they're, I mean, everyone on everyone listen, you have to understand before before mariachi before what Robert and, and honestly a lot of that generation, you know, Eddie and and Rick and all those guys. It was closed. There was the door was closed. There was no opportunity to do anything. And Robert was

Elizabeth Avellán 54:56
That glimmer of light it was one of those like thick blackout curtain. Yeah, you couldn't see. Yeah, it wasn't curtain but you thought it was a wall. You know it really wasn't curtain, but not one ounce of light came through it to help you nothing might nothing.

Alex Ferrari 55:12
Yeah, it was all you would see is I always say like there's there's gods and there's Demi gods of film industry and you would look at Spielberg and you would look at Coppola and Scorsese and and then Hitchcock and Lucas and Lucas and all these all these guys and and they would they just seem so far away the stories you heard that they were almost like you know, Stephen had his his mythical urban myth of him jumping off the trade off the off the tram and all that stuff. One day when I get him on the show, that's the first question I'm asking him. I'm like that Steven, please. Is this true? I just need to know. But, but it was so far away and when the story of mariachi showed up, and that's what I love about about one of the many things I love about mariachi is it was the first time the making of the film was in the marketing. Prior to that, no one ever led with I made a $7,000 movie. By the way, everyone listening don't do that anymore. You don't that's it's gone, because everybody can do that. Now. Stop Don't lead that you like I shot my movie with an iPhone don't care. Is it a good story, but back then, it was extremely impressive for him for Kevin, for even Rick and all those guys. It was extremely impressive.

Elizabeth Avellán 56:32
Nicholas Lopez, Lopez from LA you know, he He came with his little first film and and I love that he said he came all the way from Chile wrote me letters letter, you know, inspired. There's a character in Brasilia Rocco called Roberto Rodriguez. They lead characters named Robert Rodriguez, and he loves to draw and all this stuff. And, and he looked around at all Maker Studios and said, and I love this. He said, I'm going back to chillin to do this. And he has, you know, and that's beautiful. You know, when somebody gets inspired like that. I just heard while I was doing this movie about a, another filmmaker. That literally said, you told me to go home and create this at home. Sterling Sterling Harjo the Native American filmmaker, he, you know, he was like, I'm gonna move to Austin. I was like, and he told somebody that said to me, that I was the inspiration because I said, No Sterling go do and for your farm. That's what it's about in with your people with everything. And now he's working with Taika Waititi in reservation dogs. That's amazing. You know, and I love hearing stories of you said a little something that planted a seed and now it's giving, you know, it's growing and really going out there. And so sterling is doing it in Oklahoma man, and now they have 35% tax rebates. That's amazing. Amazing. That's amazing. Amazing. You know, so in Oklahoma,

Alex Ferrari 58:14
In Oklahoma, no less.

Elizabeth Avellán 58:17
So very cool. You know,

Alex Ferrari 58:19
So as so as a producer. Alright, so you go through the mariachi and and the whole world when and they go okay, Robert, we want you to make another movie and it's Desperado. And they give him more money. Then I kind of well no, no, no, actually it was road racers are road racers first

Elizabeth Avellán 58:37
I know about the road racers, but it was like, once they won the Audience Award, they were so confused as to what they wanted. They didn't know if they wanted a sequel. Or if they wanted to remake it reshoot redoing of it. They it was so confusing, because it won the Audience Award. That's what you're getting at Sundance. Yes. Before it was cool, just remake, you know,

Alex Ferrari 58:59
But then be like, wait a minute, people actually, like, reward people like this people like this movie. So it was Oh my god. So I good man, right. Originally, it was a blessing of a mess. Because originally it was not supposed to be released widely. It was like, okay, so obviously, we'll do this. We'll do that. But then Cool. Interesting. Cool. All right. He's got talent. Let's see what we can do. But now like, wait a minute one. Oh, my God, we're gonna have to put this out there. Like what do we want?

Elizabeth Avellán 59:26
By the way I mean, people are like, Oh, he just was media train and he was able media trinken media training tell you but let me tell you that that's not true. Because I'm gonna tell you right now, I'll tell you, right. It's not a competitive Film Festival. That was our first film festival. And, you know, we had the blessing of somebody like Chuck Jones, you know, from bunts money fame. Yeah. You know, John Wiley Coyote, who has a house intelli, right, and he had come to UT When lava was a cartoonist, and we love chuck a monkey. So he signed the book for us and everything. Robert always said the mariachi was kind of like a cartoon movie, you could turn off the volume and you knew exactly what was going on. And that his hero was Chuck Jones. And this man showed up. At a screening, we ended up with five screenings in, in Telluride, which is pretty unheard of. Yeah, like, huge films get by Sure. Sure, sure. Um, you know, movies that have done extremely well, but everybody wants to see it, because Robert got out there, and could explain what he did. And so it's really interesting. It's not, you know, Oh, he got a media train between, you know, but for Sundance, no, he went to Toronto, he did the same thing. He already been doing it, but he already knew what was important. Robert always knows how to, when you give them a microphone, he knows when you interview him. He knows how to get it's just natural with it really is.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:58
Yeah, and the thing, any interview. And I want I want everybody listening to understand that there was so many people and I was there. I wasn't there with you guys. But I saw it from a distance. How many people tried to tear him down? How many people try to break them down? Whether for whatever reason, there was so much jealousy? Oh, my God, I can imagine the amount of jealousy, even jealousy from like,

Elizabeth Avellán 1:01:22
If a lot of it from him, because me being people didn't know my face. Right? Here. These, you know, for example, somebody said, How dare they give him you know, go from the 7000 to $30 million talking another filmmaker that had been at Sundance $30 million for Desperado after tonight 30 million I went, No, it's not. I mean, it sounds like a lot. 7 million, but we had full actors full every day.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:46
And oh, no, no, no, it wasn't a lot. It wasn't no,

Elizabeth Avellán 1:01:49
It wasn't a lot. So and by the way, he'd done a $1 million movie called road racers. In the meantime, he did as Roger Ebert always said, the best room out of four rooms, they all have the same amount of budget. They all had Iraq, right. Yeah. And by the way, and that poor rooms is the seat of small kids. Yeah. When he says people, you know, it was like one of these people. Hmm. And then he thought, keep your mouth shut. Don't even say that word. Say it to no one, keep that seed, start writing it, start doing it. So when Bob needed somebody to do the faculty, which was a Kevin Williamson script, he had overpaid a lot of money for Robert it was like, okay, but you can't tell anyone this name until we got a deal where we could do spike ins and we could do other things. So, but we know it's like, okay, you do this for me. I'll give you five picture deals, you know, because already, you know, we had done though still done, you know? Okay, so now you want us to the faculty, okay, we'll do that. You know, you paid a lot of money for that. And nobody really wants to direct this thing. And we had fun with it. We had a blast. Yeah. And it but it helped us. That's when we began to work in Austin with our crew. You know,

Alex Ferrari 1:02:54
In the family. We're building. Yeah, the family

Elizabeth Avellán 1:02:56
It's literally with the people that we've created as a film family here. So all of that the faculty was a really important thing for us to do to come home. We always kept our apartment here in Austin. It was just that, you know, just they didn't let us edit Desperado. Here. So in Austin, I'm in Austin. And it but so he had to go to LA to edit it in the meantime, does still don't happen. So while we're there, we would come home and we had our stuff here. So and but yeah, so that's how that happened. That's a progression of things.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:30
So we

Elizabeth Avellán 1:03:31
Were like, how did he get all that? And how did he you know

Alex Ferrari 1:03:35
Again Oh, my God, it was so much hate so much. Eight. I just remember so many filmmakers

Elizabeth Avellán 1:03:40
In hate it's sad. It was suddenly we quietly and by the way, we also had it from the Latinos, man.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:46
Oh, no, I know. Everybody

Elizabeth Avellán 1:03:48
Knows it was pretty. It was pretty astounding. You know, when your own people, you know, crabs in a bucket, man.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:53
No, it's crabs. It's crap. It was because

Elizabeth Avellán 1:03:56
By the way our leaving, leaving, being at home is part of the reason that we just got really out of the way of everybody and just made our thing happen here, including the studios little by little, you know, they were close. I love it to get for a short time to film spike, it's one you know, and then lobby for keep it for longer than lobby to get the big deal that we got to be able to keep it and put money into it. So we've invested a lot in ourselves and just quietly got people to shut up. So and then whenever anybody of those people that were so negative wanted to glom on to anything, we just kind of went, we're okay here. Maybe I don't want to bring that.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:41
I don't think you guys would have been able to do what you did in LA. There's just no way. There's just no way. There's no no way.

Elizabeth Avellán 1:04:48
They amount. Yeah, because when you when you're in a place where people are. We just kept doing that thing. We just kept doing our thing and Bob was not in LA Bob Weinstein and who we worked for Bob, you know, that's what we have. They're up doing the rest of the movies for a long time for. And it was wonderful because I love Bob, I love what Bob Weinstein is, you know, hobbies, you know, whatever, you know, but Bob Weinstein was always a fair. And very, I just call Bob, I never had to call anybody else. It was just right. And so I got to the, you know, the buck stops here, kind of So, and, yeah,

Alex Ferrari 1:05:23
So as a producer, when you were working on Desperado, this is your first big, you know, you got 7 million obviously, you're not the only producer obviously on that project, but

Elizabeth Avellán 1:05:31
Oh, no, by the way, I was just starting, like, nobody, I took no money. I was the wife, you know, like people are like the wife of

Alex Ferrari 1:05:39
I guess, if we get robbery I think that yeah,

Elizabeth Avellán 1:05:42
By the way, no. So I looked at them. I said, I'll tell you what, I'll be the producer intern that takes no money and I will work from beginning to end because I do want to learn so you know, people like Tony Mark who was our UPM really admired that because that person maybe that busted a move the people my the other line producer from Mexico, you know, they're still dear, dear friends, you know, cuz I passed the move. And I worked all through post production, nothing and learned so much. And I'm a studious human being you give me something to learn, I want to learn whatever it takes, you know, and, and you know what, so it didn't take anything from the movie. And I just was, you know, I was able to really navigate those things. Because nobody could say that I was being paid in right out of my art, you know, so, and I'm glad that would make it's not global was making a ton of money at that point, either. You know, that was the first film that was his first look film for Columbia Pictures. So it wasn't like, you know, oh, yeah, like, you gotta have a match check. Apparently, I'm going to put it all on the screen. I mean, we and by the way, and it was beautiful to be able to go back to that Konya where we shot a mariachi, yeah, actually pay people. You know, that's what we chose to shoot it there to go back and really pay people, because mariachi, there was no money. $7,000 What can you pay? So it's a beautiful way to bless a place that had been a blessing already to us, you know. And you had that back, you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:07:08
And you had that in your head that young, young to two unknowns, here in the States, Mr. Antonio Banderas and Miss Salma Hayek and Mr. Danny Trejo, for that matter,

Elizabeth Avellán 1:07:19
Which, by the way, everybody wanted Antonio Salma, it was hard. Oh, no, it

Alex Ferrari 1:07:25
Oh, no, it was a first it was a female, first female lead Latino

Elizabeth Avellán 1:07:28
Road racers with her to give her one screen title on a movie in the United States. That was for Showtime. And that was strategic, you know? And he put her in there was actually that movie is David Arquette. Yeah. And it's tama, and it's John Hawkes. Yeah, on hawks, burst. I mean, he's such an incredible actor jaw. And David, it was really his first real lead, you know, like three of them leading and a million bucks. And the thing is interesting. So this is what sold Columbia Pictures. Finally, because Robert wrote 13 versions of the script. They can rewrites and more rewrites and more rewrites while he's doing road racers. Well, when he came in, it was 10 films for rebel highway series. Yeah, for sure. Right. It was me John Melius was one of the directors I mean, big time directors were doing this. And so many fell out. And they needed Wes Craven was doing one. I mean, people like that, you know, be and Robert was like, Oh, my God was Craven. And the reason why Robert did is because Deborah Hill was producing John Carpenter's. Sure. So by the way, she became one of my big mentors. Even before I did Desperado, I was able to take classes at UCLA Extension, because she called in favors for me to go into the higher level classes. And she let me sit not in Roberts part of the film, but in the other films, because I had nothing to do with those. And I was able to sit in budget meetings. So you know, I got a lot out of that, you know. And so it was a real blessing just to be humble. And somebody say, what are you when another woman says to you, what do you want to do? Me, Pascal pulled me into the office one day, I was just Roberts, white, you know, I can write and she pulled me into her office. She was not President. Back then. She was one of the executives. What did you I want to I want to get to know you. Tell me what you want it. I mean, how beautiful that is women, unreal. And so I've been blessed with having really amazing mentors that took me seriously, but also lovingly, you know, and so so that's the reason and Salman was able to get in because of that movie, but also because Robert really, really leaned in to get her to be the actress that he because that's what he wanted. He wanted some there was no option and I think it was that. There wasn't even a screen test, you know, and Robert just literally he coached some Yeah, he goes yeah. He would get it, you know, because he was like, hell no, that's what I want. You're not gonna give me some non Latina because there was some in the bunch that were non Latinas? Sure, that would have been testing, you know? So, you know, I was like, No, you know, this is who I want. This is the star that I'm going to put in my movie. This is the person, she has everything that I need for this movie. And she's going to be a huge star.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:25
And the chemistry and history. Yeah, and as we're speaking right now, Marvel Studios, the Eternals is opening. And she's, and she's one of the stars. She looks amazing and so proud of her. She done okay, she's done okay.

Elizabeth Avellán 1:10:45
Now, when she's such a dear, dear, dear sister, you know, I always, you know, just, we, we've had a great relationship throughout and I read act in love.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:55
I read somewhere I read somewhere that Salma called you like the best kept secret of troublemaker. Like, it was a very, like, like a really best kept secret of troublemaker

Elizabeth Avellán 1:11:05
She knows me because it's so weird what I do, you know, as a producer,

Alex Ferrari 1:11:10
so what is? So what is a producer? What is the definition of a producer for you,

Elizabeth Avellán 1:11:13
A producer is a person that, you know, in general, you know, gets the story of his book, or, you know, an article and puts together the development to create that script. And the filmmaker as a typical producer, the money sure brings in whoever the studio, you bring in, you start creating the creative group that will decide what the actors are you trusting who but the the director that you choose, or if it's a writer director that wrote the script and all that stuff, that's what I produce. And then you start, you know, in my case, I worked very closely with my line producer, UPM, and a man named Bill Scott to create the budget and to create, you know, we literally, that's what we did here, starting with a faculty and we did it for 17 films. So A, you just create all the synergy that has to happen, then you begin to choose the crew members, you know, and the teams that are going to come in. And like I said, All that happens in pre production, you're making it all work so that it is you have a schedule that matches what your budget that you know, that you know, that you're going to shoot, where are the locations that you you create all of those things along with the director. And, you know, with your, you know, with your first ad and you know, you you work in teams, you know, that's what a producer does. And then you you know, make sure that the everyday running of the movie as is going and you fix on and by the way, you make the deals with the actors, you so you're dealing with the agents, and then making sure the actors arrive and everything that's contractually theirs is there. And, you know, and happens and all of the the fun stuff. And you know, and you also, if you're a good producer, in my opinion, you make sure that they all feel, you know, safe and warm and cozy, you know, in a way.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:04
Like mother like a mother, like almost a mother hen in many ways, in a way.

Elizabeth Avellán 1:13:08
Yeah. And in some ways, you're also the principal. Yeah. Very much. And he comes in and it's when he has the gas here, so he's like, all bloody. So is this the principal's office? Am I Am I in trouble? Yes, it is. But it depends if you've been naughty behaved or not. What how you how we deal with you. It was so great. I love and he's always so funny. Oh my god. Hilarious. So i By the way, what a gentle way he was raised by his mama. Right? Let me tell you that guys like bad manners out the wazoo for women. But just in general, you know, like people just like, you know, very attentive, you know, very Latino that way people are nice, you know? Yes, he's and I'm like, noticing, look at that guy. Nobody else got up on him. When an actress came in, we were all at the pool. He noticed when she came in not because he didn't have any other reason than a gentleman you know. And he found a chair had a chair for that person made sure that he didn't just sit around and keep chatting, you know? So for that actress because she was just arriving into the fall. We were having a little party here at the house and I was like, man watching you and he's Yeah, I'm watching Yeah, that's good. Brownie points. So anyway, so So at the same time for me, like I told you from the beginning, there was a way bigger way bigger call for me. And it has to do with building something. It has to be with do with building. Even if I've never worked with a crew, how do you to help everything work? How do you become fluid or have the assistance so that you you foresee situations, you know, yeah. gonna happen or you see it. You know, most actors are in, you know, like, incredibly and very few that didn't feel the love that we create with it with a family we created in Austin with our crew. And, and it's a joy for anyone to come into that group and, and be received and then become part of the family if you had never worked with us and, and enjoy that it's a really beautiful way of working, you know, and I couldn't again, couldn't have done that in LA. No way we wouldn't have never had our own stages, you know, they're just angers nothing magical, just dumb boxes, that's all stages are. But to create a real place that you know, you're gonna be something happens, somebody cares, in your family in your life in, you know, in real life, you know, like real life always intersects a world of madness, you know, yeah. And I've had situations, somebody whose daughter, all of a sudden, I'm a big crew member, the higher up echelons overnight, all of a sudden has is in a in a coma because type one diabetic and didn't nobody knew a nine year old, you know, things like that have happened during my movies, and to not be able to cover for that person, so that their real life can be truly dealt with. And we create a bridge for that person. You know, it happens on everybody. We all are going through things, you know, oh, and then somehow, and if you don't have those eyes, and that heart, yeah, you can make movies. But you also don't. You know, I just I just finished a movie on Friday. Right? I told you, friend, it's not Saturday, Saturday, actually Sunday at midnight, one o'clock in the morning. And I never worked with this crew. In Oklahoma. They're mostly Oklahomans. And but it's a director I've been working with for a long time, who is a dear Lance Larson, writer, director, and a couple of other people that I've known for 20 years. Two of them were my breaking grips and the the faculty and inspire kids. And now all three were producers with me, and another produce for an entire period. But three, the three of them, one of them had been a first ad in a few movies for me, but he was a rigging grip 23 years ago. Another one is a big time DP he just finished crater. But he had been a rigging grip back then and went to UT. And the other one lands that writer director, and that the DP had gone to UT together. So it's these three beautiful humans that I have been around for many years. And then to be able to produce this with them, and then to, to let them do their job to you know, of being but Bobby bass thrash was, but he's Bob basta Raj producer, Bobby is the first ad guy back then. But now he was able to really be on set. And I knew that this set was taking care of, you know, we could you know, we had planned everything, so that he could be the producer there with his two buddies, it was their dream to do this together. But you know, the interesting thing is, you know, it's hard. It's hard. 99 degrees, but it was really cold one day, it was Yeah, you were in West Texas, and you know, a lot of stuff. And to be able to be so fluid as to make sure that you could take care of their wants. And it was only a 40 Something people crew and cast. And for me a movie making a movie. It's like going to summer camp and going to war.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:50
Oh, God. That's that whole lot. stop after stop there a second. That is the most perfect definition of going to a movie ever because it is a summer camp. But it is war at the exact same time. What a wonderful quote. Oh,

Elizabeth Avellán 1:19:04
It's war. Oh, and, and my job. I see my mission. My job as a producer is to make it more summer camp than more. And that's, that's why that whatever it takes, whatever it takes the fluidity of that. I mean, for example, we lost our caters. When we were going down to West Texas for reasons you know. They were they were great, but they couldn't come down to wisdom. So the Terra Pyrenean I decided, you know, we had to feed people a second meal. We're in the middle of nowhere in Westchester. I mean, like no cell reception, nothing. So we decided, You know what, we'll take care of the breakfast part of it get tacos and whatever from the businesses there. And you and I do the second meal because we have to provide a second meal for everyone before they go to bed, you know, and came all the way to us and we plotted it out so for six days She and I cooked a second meal a proper second meal for crew that was delicious, nutritious, yet nutritious. And you know what they felt so loved by what we did. So we would do everything we needed to do producer wise. And then we jumped in the afternoon to create a second meal and said, serve something, you know, that was that was that that helped them you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:20:27
And they would and when you as a producer, and as a filmmaker in general, when when the crew sees that, they will go down the alley of hell for you, they will walk right into it with you. Because you don't I've look, I've been on 1000 sets. That doesn't happen often. Unfortunately, unfortunately, it does not you don't you don't get to work with people like that often. And that's why when people do work with people like that, they're like, oh, no, no, no, I'm not gonna let you go, Oh, we're gonna work. That's why Clint Eastwood has the same team for the last 40 years. Like, and Ron Howard doesn't do a movie without his first ad. Like, and he waits for his first ad to be available and things like that. Because when you grab on, yeah, when you grab onto it,

Elizabeth Avellán 1:21:09
Emily is a family you begin to create. And by the way, just because I had never worked with them doesn't mean that I'm not gonna be the same person, you know, and be present for them. And by the way, it was not an easy shoot. But even though it was the first time these guys are just on a huge Martin Scorsese movie there in Oklahoma, the flower Moon something

Alex Ferrari 1:21:33
Yeah, they're posting that now. Yeah.

Elizabeth Avellán 1:21:35
Yeah, exactly. And that he, so you know, it so big. Lots of crafty, lots of them?

Alex Ferrari 1:21:43
Of course. Yeah.

Elizabeth Avellán 1:21:45
And this was a little movie. And so the ones that did decide to come play with us. I wanted to make sure that it was as good in other ways. Sure. The Independent to set a standard for what an independent film should be. Yeah. For them. And the Choose carefully in their life. You know, they want to continue in movies to find a way it's hard. It's not it's, it's hard making movies is art. It's not easy to never is lovely. And it was beautiful. Because Tyra Pyrenean, the other producer that she had interviewed me in spike, it's one. And that's what inspired her to want to be a producer, she was a journalist. And this was kind of beautiful, you know, because I got to take her by the arm, and she's a badass producer. She's worked for BBC, she lived in London, and you know, did all those royal, you know, documentaries, and that and I was like, Okay, in this one, we're going to be, this is what we're doing. And she goes, Okay, so we can't have any ego said no, actually, it's the opposite. It's very healthy ego, because nothing we do. Even if it's picking up trash, doing whatever we do, doesn't take away from us, and who we are, as producers, it's actually seen as a higher calling, in some ways, because most producers won't do. So all of a sudden, you are creating a situation in which people go, you know, what, if someday, I'm a producer, I want to be like that producer, versus that producer.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:19
And I hope everyone listening takes this everything that you're saying Elizabeth to heart, because these are the kind of words that I this is one of the reasons why I do the show, is to get this kind of information out into the world. That is not something you hear often, the things that you're saying are things we want to happen on a set I want people to act like, but often is never really, like I said, you've been around. I've been around, you don't see it often. You've created your own world. And you've had the privilege of being able to do that. And I think you you and Robert both understand the privilege that you've have in the youth that the universe is giving you and you've taken that and really done something pretty magical with it. I'll tell you one of the things I just recently moved to Austin, and I I'm Yes, living here. I live here. I live in Austin You're kiddingme. I live in Austin. Yes, I

Elizabeth Avellán 1:24:09
Do we get to hang out. We get we should definitely hang out to me, your wife and your daughter.

Alex Ferrari 1:24:13
Absolutely. Absolutely. But the reason the reason I brought that up is because I moved from Miami to LA because it was LA like you do you have to do. I was there I was there. 13 years, I met our common friends draw there to a month after I got there. And I haven't been able to get rid of him since I've tried many times. I can't get rid of him. He's like a dirty Penny. He's like a dirty Penny just keeps it all

Elizabeth Avellán 1:24:37
Wiseman is he's a patron saint of filmmakers he really is

Alex Ferrari 1:24:41
No no, no, no, he's it's one of those candles. Oh my god, that would be amazing. I should get that for his birthday. Oh my god, that would be amazing. No straw straw has been on the show. I had him on the show years ago to talk about what it's like to to what he does. Straw is a whole other conversation. But But I was there for 13 years. And I finally got to the point where people were like, Why did you move to Austin? Why did you leave la like the dream is to be in LA and, and to do all that stuff and I said to I said to everybody, I go I, I reached the limits of what I could do in LA, not in the business, but what I wanted to do for my family, or what I wanted to do for my company. Just like you guys couldn't have build troublemaker in LA. I can't build what I'm building with indie film, hustle and everything. I couldn't take it to the next level there. So here there's there's nothing but land. I just realize there's like

Elizabeth Avellán 1:25:38
A frickin

Alex Ferrari 1:25:39
There's nothing but land out here. Like I'm driving around like oh my god, like I cuz I live in bro. I lived in Burbank, so I lived in Burbank. And Burbank was awesome. I agree. I mean, it was just like, we're houses were on top of each other. And don't get me wrong. I love LA I love what I did. I love. I love going to LA I love LA I love LA not crapple that I love there. It's amazing. It's amazing. But But like, you know, I was right down the street from Warner Brothers. And I found out that my house actually was originally on the Warner Brothers ranch studio set. And they picked it up in the 30s and moved it to where it sat. I was like, What is going on? But you drive around a lake there's just there's no there's nothing there's no land. I mean, you got to go far out before you start seeing real land. And here the second I got here I was just like, oh my god, there's nothing even I mean obviously in the city it's the city but like it

Elizabeth Avellán 1:26:35
Yeah, the city is the city.

Alex Ferrari 1:26:38
The the smoke from Willie's 28 years does this smoke from Willie's house come over, you get a contact high or not?

Elizabeth Avellán 1:26:50
I can go visit him.

Alex Ferrari 1:26:54
But anyway, but that was one of the reasons I moved here in a lot of people have to understand that as you get older, you realize that there's things that what's important to you in life? You know, and where do you want to go? And it's a lesson for filmmakers to do as well. Because a lot of filmmakers think that you can only make it in LA and that's not true. I do do I think that filmmakers should go to LA for a short amount of time, you if you can get the experience that you get in LA I learned more in one year in LA working with straw. Then I did five years in Miami. And there's because it's just so much stuff going on there. But at a certain point you just go where do I go? What do I got to do?

Elizabeth Avellán 1:27:37
Where are they? Where are they openings to to? To grow to? To to expand to to allow the next set stage? Because you go in stages you know?

Alex Ferrari 1:27:49

Elizabeth Avellán 1:27:49
Let me tell you a I'm at a place right now. Where I am extremely picky what I do and how I do it with Yeah, I know the feeling it's especially things that I've been working on for a while this particular movie and it's called dead land I Lance and I have known each other like I said I've known these guys so long loved them they're good people they've developed their talents to a point that man they can ask for money whatever money Lance has been an editor for a long time for Disney for people like that, you know like big studios and but they're all from around here you know that when T T and and I've known them so long and they've always proven to be these incredible hard working talented humans that love film that love movies love storytelling, great writers, Lance and jazz Shelton that up wrote the script with a couple other people David Elliot of people like that so so you know so to be able to now work and by the way the movie is 75% Latinos because it was written as a beautiful story of not about it by the way when Lance said it was a movie as a border movie I was like I don't do border

Alex Ferrari 1:29:20
Yeah, I'm good I'm good

Elizabeth Avellán 1:29:21
You know me it's not really a border movie takes place in the border. I said I said it wrong. Okay, Lance because I love Lance Larson

Alex Ferrari 1:29:29

Elizabeth Avellán 1:29:32
Spiritual open human that I loved working with just the crew just adore he and jazz. I mean, they just spirit in that set was so cool, you know, and I, but it's just how, you know, you think your personal history is a certain you have on pathology. We're talking about mythology about your family and what it is and What do you think it is, and the thing you've written into it yourself from things you heard as a kid, you know, and then there's the mystery part of it, you know, there's certain things that nobody talks about in your life trying to figure it out, or things like that. So, and it's a movie kind of like that, you know, that has to do with a, a guy that thinks his father never showed up for him is a border patrol guy. And yet the story's not that simple. And, and so the beautiful in development of what goes about because he's about to have a baby, you know, so that he can be more of a complete man is the story of this movie, but we had a productive Vina and Juliet Restrepo. Both of them are Colombians. We had Manuel Luisa, who is Mexican and Mexican American, but he's amazing. And then we had Julio Sileo, who has been a ton of stuff really was amazing. And also Luis Chavis. That is this wonderful. Young man. I don't know if you remember in in Ocean's 13 He's the guy in the truck with Casey Affleck. He's the Mexican guy. That's that's Luis. Oh, Elise is this incredible? He comes from from Michoacan indigenous comes from a little, basically Adobe. And just to hear, we drove together from West Texas, and I said, I want you to tell me just like your first question. I want you to tell me, what's your house? What was the seed? Oh, my God, what a trip that we took across the Texas landscape, you know, hearing this amazing story of how he got to where he was, you know, and so much of it, you know, the steps sometimes of what we made happen, or if somebody like the Capitol Montalban Foundation, to create a space for Latinos to train in, you know, acting and film and things. That's incredible. You know, it's all in values, you know, little little stepping stones, and that's

Alex Ferrari 1:32:10
Yeah, and that's the thing that people also listen, they have to understand, if you guys didn't do what you did, like in a year, like it, it's step by step, step by step, piece by piece patient by patients. And when opportunities present themselves, you take advantage of the opportunities and you keep moving forward, and you just, and you keep going, and you don't let the haters in. And that was one of the things I admired from a distance about what you and Robert, were doing, because you just kept doing you and you're like, you know what, the hell with everybody we're going to set up in Austin, you know, we're going to build up our own thing here. We're going to keep our doing our thinking, and we're just going to keep going forward. And I don't care what anybody else says. And that is something that because I mean, the amount of pressure that that you guys have been under. And that just with mariachi, it's continued and still probably continues to this day. Yes, it always is.

Elizabeth Avellán 1:33:02
By the way, sometimes Robert doesn't choose to do Latino centered films, you know, he's done. I mean, yeah, lead was a Latina girl.

Alex Ferrari 1:33:12
Of course it was. And there was a couple other Latinos in there. Of course, of course, it was a couple of

Elizabeth Avellán 1:33:16
Michelle Rodrigues plays a huge part. But people are like me and believe me, it's a term drives bad but I didn't produce Alita of a John Landau came and just loved working with our family. Yeah. Brew. You know, that was beautiful for me. Because I know that John understands. That wasn't built overnight, either, you know, Oh, no. And that love he found in a tiny state because by the way, our green Queen strange, it's like 9000 square feet. It's not big, yet, we were able to shoot everything and create that backlog. On it's insane. We're in this, you know, I used to be airport hangers, you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:33:51
Right. It know. And working in. I've heard stories of Jim and Robert working together and, you know, just talking together about stuff. And when I heard that this movie was gonna come out. I was like, That makes all the sense in the world. Because if not, Jim is never going to make it because he's an avatar world.

Elizabeth Avellán 1:34:07
He's busy. He's so my job. We know. Well, he has avatar 2 3 4 and he has Titanic 2

Alex Ferrari 1:34:15
And there we go. Is that an insight is that a scoop? No. It's called Titanic 2 Jack's back

Elizabeth Avellán 1:34:26
Somehow found something amazing but yeah, so So you know there's been that friendship for a long time you know between those two and and a beautiful one you know between Robert and Jim took him under his wing in some ways you know, and then and encouraged him go

Alex Ferrari 1:34:43
When did they meet when they meet when did they meet

Elizabeth Avellán 1:34:45
Long I mean long like this Mariachi time Desperado times. A we probably met him blabbered got to spend time with him. What was the name of that movie when Robert really got To hang out a little bit back in so excited was way back. I mean, oh, it was a after Desperado, I would say also,

Alex Ferrari 1:35:07
So it's around there.

Elizabeth Avellán 1:35:08
We're living in LA. Yeah. What was the it was? It was with Arnold Schwarzenegger the one with that. Jody Curtis. What's

Alex Ferrari 1:35:16
True Lies True Lies 94 True Lies

Elizabeth Avellán 1:35:19
Around there. Exactly. When we were living in LA to live in LA, so he got to hang out. We went to the premiere. And,

Alex Ferrari 1:35:28
And he was just, he was even in it for Jim was Jim like,

Elizabeth Avellán 1:35:34
Anyway, you know, this is one of the things people blah, blah, blah with Jim Cameron. And, you know, my oldest son is someone that pointed this out to me a while back and this continues. He goes Mom, what other filmmaker Do you know, that has never in his life made a flop ever.

Alex Ferrari 1:35:49
Like, amen. amen,

Elizabeth Avellán 1:35:52
Like never had a movie that didn't perform and made money. And it's like Jim Cameron's.

And at a high level No, and I always tell people I always I loved and I also defend Jim not that he needs my defense. But anytime. I'm always out there. I know. Jim. Jim is Jim is one of one of the on the Mount Rushmore of filmmakers for me, Jim, so Jim and Pete because he's such an underrated writer. And he's such an underrated, you know, a lot of times people like because everyone's like, Oh, he's direct. He's very direct. Like you read aliens. Are you kidding me

What he'd already done. Character, by the way, the character was the one that told me is Elizabeth, the character. But I've learned so much just receiving this treasure to direct. Because it taught me the character break. I mean, he knows who these people are. Each one of them is fresh and fully out, you know? And he said, It is such an incredible joy. And trust me that He has given me to do this, you know, and I hope we get to you know that the studio gets to make a second one. Oh, no. Has to because it's definitely part. Yeah, I'm praying hoping for that. Because they're incredible stories, you know, that? Truly, I mean, the father daughter story is just

Alex Ferrari 1:37:17
No, no, it's it's, it was beautifully shot. And what Robert did was amazing with it. But what I always also say with Jim ago, who else what other filmmaker on the planet today, can walk into Fox Studios and goes, Listen, I've got an idea. It's about a bunch of blue people, it's based no IP, there's a new technology that I'm going to develop, I'm going to need 200 million to develop the technology. It's gonna take me justice, just to see if we can make it happen, then there's going to be three years to three years of me, you know, messing around with that twiddling around with that, then I'll probably need to probably a couple 100 million more to finish it all up. And and we're going to do all that and it's going to be probably about good five, six years. Before you see anything. I challenge anyone who who will not any of the other gods that we've talked about filmmaking gods like that Scorsese and that Spielberg no one else has that. There's nobody else on the planet that can do that.

Elizabeth Avellán 1:38:13
It my, every day, I take my hat off to it can't really do it. sounding. So I'm going to ask him love the relationship with his brother to find Yeah, synergy of, you know, creating, I mean, we were able to do a 3d movie because of what they had done. Yeah. When we did track reliable girl 3d I love that movie came from, you know, on a spike. It's 3d. It came from the rig. They had an event, you know, and they have created so it's such an insanity. So much. I mean, imagine I mean, he's creating equipment, you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:38:49
He's like, he's like, creating equipment. It's like, it's, it's an insane,

Elizabeth Avellán 1:38:53
Unbelievable, designing a little submarine that can go down to the friggin Titanic. I mean, that's a shoe. That's some high level stuff. But that's high level, that people from another planet know. And that's how I, you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:39:08
And you start looking and you see, like, people like people, aliens. They're literally I think they're from the abyss. No, and people always talk to me, like, you know, a lot of people I know have worked with Jim. And they go, Jim gets frustrated on set when you can't do things the way he wants to do it. But the thing is that he can do your job better than you and everybody else is better because he's, he's not. He's, he's not. He's a completely different level.

Elizabeth Avellán 1:39:35
No, no, he's a tough guy, by the way, but John Landau was so yeah, he's moved things over. He reminds me, you know, he's a great example of being that person, you know, that can help smooth things out. You know, you know, Robert can get frustrated at times. Because, by the way, everything nobody else in that set. If Robert doesn't wake up and get that thing moving and tells them where to go. Nothing. Nothing goes. That's the director. And that's what I try to impart into directors. It's like so you and I also even tell them it's like you need once you're finished, I told Lance, I said, we was finished shooting, and I said, I need you to take the week off and cool your brain down. Feed your brain. Relax your brain. Because you have been on a daily calm, let for months now. You know? Yeah, and you have to, and I'm glad that Jim takes time in between things. That helps him

Alex Ferrari 1:40:35
Too many too many too many years, though. I mean, I mean, he's, he's, he's bordering Kubrick now at this point in the game. I mean, it's like, yeah, Jim. It's enough, Jim. Let's Can we just get them out, please?

Elizabeth Avellán 1:40:49
That's one of the things I love about filmmaking. And by the way, one of the most generous human beings is Quentin Tarantino, who I adore and winner and Desperado. He said to me that somebody asked him, you know, again, people throw in trash, you know, oh, God,

Alex Ferrari 1:41:01
I'll talk about hate

Elizabeth Avellán 1:41:03
And Quinton said, you know, they asked him so what are you gonna do next? He just finished Pulp Fiction won the Palme d'Or, the thing was going on in theaters. And and he was acting in Desperado. And they were sitting around, he goes, Do you have no idea? People ask me, What are you doing next? And I tell them, I'm gonna take a couple of years off. And this person goes, you can you can afford take a couple years off. And Quinton looked at them and said, because you're a filmmaker that was actively making films. Yeah. And he says, You can't Quinton lives. So simply, and it still does, you know. So simply, you know, he still was renting the apartments where he would have been living forever and present it you know, at that point, and driving in the little Geo Metro that he got from the money he got for Natural Born Killers, you know, 30,000 He got for that. And so when he said those words to me, he goes, Nick, people go, you know, oh, they've throwing trash with people. And he goes, I want my friends to make great films, because I can only make one every two or three years. So and I love going to the movies. So why wouldn't I want my friends want to support my friends in making good movies? You know? Yeah. That was, that was back in the day. And he still has the same ethos. He's still that person. And I love that, you know, he still loves going to the movies. I mean, seen him stop for a moment with a bunch of kids, when he's coming out with the, you know, the Arclight or whatever, you know, and talk to them. They're just standing around, and he just came out of a movie. And they're like, we'd known to just talk to us like, yeah, that sorry, did some, you know, awesome, that see that person still great. Clink laters the same way?

Alex Ferrari 1:42:49
Oh, Rick is Rick is. I love loving.

Elizabeth Avellán 1:42:53
I would i By the way, that's whether it's funny because I don't get to choose. I didn't get to choose with Robert, what themes? Movies I would make. I would dream to have been the producer of the before trilogy.

Alex Ferrari 1:43:07
Oh. boyhood or Yeah, no, no.

Elizabeth Avellán 1:43:11
I think those that by the way. He gave me original posters and sign them and everything because he knows how I feel about his movies in general, but also about that trilogy. To me. It's just

Alex Ferrari 1:43:22
Oh, it's Oh, it's beautiful. Oh, it's beautiful. And talking to Rick when I'm boyhood. Yeah. No, when I had Rick on the show, and I had the pleasure of talking to him for a couple hours. He was so generous with his time. He's such an artist. He is just such a. He is like, he's a consummate artist. And the one thing he said best advice I ever heard one of the best pieces of advice. I always ask people, what's your advice? And he's like, however long it's gonna take, you think it's gonna take it's gonna be twice as long and twice as hard. And it was like, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

Elizabeth Avellán 1:43:59
And even for him, you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:44:00
And it's still it's still struggle. He says I was talking to him the other day.

Elizabeth Avellán 1:44:03
And the movie is I tell people don't think that because you've made all those movies and you now have a studio do whatever the hell you think you have. No, it's still going to be hard. Still hustle? It Right? It's still hustle. Exactly. Right? Nation of, and by the way, and with me, I'm one of those people that I'm always bringing the ones I'm supposed to be here and take the ones out that are not supposed to be I'm in that process the whole time. So I'm never like, sad when an actor can't or decides not to or whatever says not for me. I'm always like, that's not the person that is supposed to be here, you know? And so they come in and out and then it begins to shape up. You know, Lance, we've been working on dead land for a couple years cuz you know, they got jobs. I got job. I mean, I got stuff to do too. You know, and so, someday we all had our jobs, you know, being the peas and things and editors and stop First Ladies, and you know, and I was always kind of the one there making sure that we were trying to get the right cast, you know, as the cast had to be just right. And and then Lance said to me, back in April, he said, Elizabeth, so, because he said, Oh, we're gonna start such a tilted date, and it never felt right for me. And I was like, okay, okay, perfect. Sure. And then he said in April, he said, So Jim is going to go off and do crater, jazz Shelton as it and then after that, he's going to free himself up, and we're going to go do the movie. So we're gonna start September 27. And I can't tell you how it was almost like, oh, just hit me. Just hit me like, This is it? We're moving? In? And it's been a couple years, you know, COVID kind of stopped the flow of Sure. You know, when it's September 27. That's what we're doing. That is exactly what that's what we're, we got to pull toward the scope, you know, and then, at one point, you know, we're running a little behind and some stuff happened. And I, you know, they were like, well, maybe we'll push and I said, if we don't start September 27. It's gonna fall apart. You gotta go. And we started September 27. And I'm so glad we did. Because none, by the way, is the first day of Mercury Retrograde, which is hilarious. By the way, the wireless thing is Robert, with hypnotic, which had fallen apart because of COVID. Last year, started September 27. Also, there was something about that date. Really important. Good, if not extend that day to, you know, at the studio. I was up in Oklahoma doing it. But But yeah, so there was something about that, you know, how you know, that, you know, you have this have the wish, that that's going to happen, and you have to have the faith that's going to happen that day, moments gonna come when it all coalesces. And man, when it does is like lightning in a bottle.

Alex Ferrari 1:47:06
When can I have to ask you, you I mean, you seem like a person who really listens to their instincts, listens to their gut a lot. And it and as I've gotten older in life, I've realized how important listening to my inner voice is. And and those feelings and especially like what you just said, like not September 27, like hot? And when other people don't understand what's going on. You're like, no, no, no, no. That's when this happened. The importance of understand listening to your inner voice as a creative and as a producer is so so important. Would you agree?

Elizabeth Avellán 1:47:39
Yes, by the way, it's truly what has guided me. And it's a thing that is elusive. Because it's you know, because sometimes you question it. Sometimes you like throughout the process with LANSON and COVID happens, and then No, no, this happened. You're like, that moment? You have to know that that moment, unless we like, okay. You know, because as a filmmaker, he's trying to lift it up as hard, you know, as he could. And it's funny, because we talked about it. And he goes, Elizabeth, when you said it's September 27, back in April. That's when I knew. I know. Because I knew that you knew, you know, and so you're like, No, yes. It's a it's some moment of like, the synergy of it. Yeah. I don't know why I thought September 27. Would be the moment. But we had no way we would go into a whole new wave of COVID. I mean, Jesus, I mean, it just got thick, man. And so you're like, No, no, we're gonna I did a movie during COVID with no vaccines the year before. And totally, but we really really became like a bubble. Yeah, camp, a real bubble. Nobody left. You know, it was a very simple movie with six actors total that four of them were the adults and that was it. And so the blazing world and I so a and that one was filmmakers that I didn't know I met them along the way but Carlson Young is just a beautiful writer and a beautiful young woman and a really great director that is sure she's gonna have a beautiful career. And so anyway, I but with Lance's we've been together for 10 years and the couple of scripts that you know, several things that he's written, and just a friendship and that's a real real connection, and his wife from Panama, and she's hilarious and they used to live in Santa Clarita, you know, until about about nine months ago, Ted no beginning of year, so about a year ago, and he decided he was coming home and she's from Austin. She grew up in Austin, her mom's Panamanian Rose, Rose Larson, and she She was like, I'm not coming back to LA, done. I'm not. And, you know, talk about the gut, you know. And she, and he's still working at Fox, and then everything shuts down. So he's working out of his house. He's like, What am I doing here? My family's back there. I'm here, you know. And so, so he moved this way. And by the way, but before that, Rose had said, No more brighter kids. They were in Texas, and the school that their son was going to start freshman year in. There was a shootout, puncher shooter, an active shooter. first week of school, oh, my God, so many of their little friends. And that's when Lance realized his wife had a gut, too. And was like, she knew something I didn't know. You know. And so I have to start listening to God, you know, really listen, so he moved. The funny thing is, I called her from Austin, I won't tell them what to do you know what I mean? And then, so he finished, he moved in. And I was like, so what did you move to? And he goes, Oh, and we ended up in Lake clay rough house, and like, You're seven miles from my house. Down the street. And so the house is pretty funny, you know, that people you just let them be. And so it's been fun, you know, because we could deal with things, you know, from here from this side of the town. No more cars, you know, and his kids are doing amazing, like, Travis and you know, cuz they have programs that they don't have in Los Angeles. So

Alex Ferrari 1:51:25
I know, I know. I know, I know, the so I'm gonna ask you a few questions, because I know we can keep talking and I please, I want to invite you back in a future time to keep talking to I absolutely adore talking to you. I'm gonna ask you a few questions, I ask all of my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?

Elizabeth Avellán 1:51:45
Start with a great story script, don't tell me you have a half written script. And I have an idea,

Alex Ferrari 1:51:53
I have an idea, an idea

Elizabeth Avellán 1:51:56
Everybody has, we all have stories, we all have ideas, we're storytellers by nature. And so put it down on paper, even if the then you write write a memoir, write something, put it together have an IP that you can leverage as a filmmaker, because that's the best way, you know, or, you know, that story has to be something that you can make for very little money. You know, if possible, and let's say 7000, but something that you understand and can carry out to get that first movie out there, you're going to learn a lot, in the process, make a lot of short films, maybe even make a short film about that particular subject matter. That's what Carlson Young was able to show me that she was a filmmaker, you know, she had his short, based on the movie, a little piece of it, that then when I read the script, it made sense. And it had gone to Sundance, so she already had made some. And that's how you start. And that's, I really believe that if you don't really learn those lessons, by making shorts, getting in there, knowing how to tell stories, in in moving pictures, no matter what format it is, it's animation, if it's whatever, then you're going in a little green, you have to have that as a filmmaker, if you want to be a filmmaker, and director, you know, even a producer, you have to understand how to do that. So that's my biggest advice.

Alex Ferrari 1:53:32
Great advice. What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life?

Elizabeth Avellán 1:53:43
To trust that something above you will guide you and really truly be able to give that over. And in Spanish we say something, don't put a coupon you know, I'm preoccupied. I'm used to always say not apropos pay the pay the preoccupied, don't do that. That let let go let thing let the universe move it let let have the the knowledge and confidence that if your heart you're in your passion you're in you're in you're you're you're developing those talents that are only you were like snowflakes when it comes to the combination of talents and what we love we that's how we are snowflakes. So if you are a person that is following that with their heart, I really believe that the universe God whatever you want to call it won't say no. It'll either happen or it will be not yet. Or it will be I have a better plan. Oh so Be open to that.

Alex Ferrari 1:55:02

Elizabeth Avellán 1:55:05
That's a hard lesson, man.

Alex Ferrari 1:55:06
Oh, tell me about it. You know how many of us listening? How many of us listening are always thinking like, I want this to happen this to happen to this to happen. And from from my experience, and I'm sure yours as well, first of all never happens how you want it to happen. Most of the times it happens in a different way that's better. And it might not be it might not be apparent when it happens. But in hindsight, you're like, Oh, I didn't get that job. I'm just I'm devastated. Like I got I was in. I was in Project Greenlight. In season two, I made it to the top 25. But I didn't get onto the show. And I was devastated that I got to very like right there. And I didn't get in I was devastated. And then after I saw what happened on the show was like, Man, I dodged the bullet. I'm so glad I didn't become that director because I didn't want I didn't want to be that person. So there's things that happen at a moment in time that you think that oh, God, it's the end of the world. But really, it you know, it happens. So plan, there's always a but there's a better plan. And that's what you have to kind of trust

Elizabeth Avellán 1:56:11
To trust that, you know, to trust that I think, you know, I always say I both my parents went away and each one taught me a huge lesson on their way. My mom, just she was 58 years old. 96. And she it was the process of the last seven weeks of her life. Were so hard and so beautiful. That she gave me the gift of not being afraid to die. Like be able to just go, Oh, it's just okay. And then that year, a movie, again, a movie, called Antonia's line gave me the language of what I had been at won the Academy Award that year for best foreign films and Dutch film. And this woman called it the miracle of death. And that's what I had seen a month before. Wow. So you know, so to to experience that and know that it's just a change of status. Because my mom's been in my life. Unbelievable. I mean, people can tell you the stories from this past movie, my mom shows up as a skunk. In this movie, the past three or four days she transmogrified herself. I literally go around. I'll show you one second. That's amazing. I carry around every movie every time I travel. Yeah, I got in Paris a long time ago. I have two of them. One travels, one stays on my desk, just in case you're my kids. Yes. And I'll tell you, it was insane. The last the last year, so the last two days, it was insane. And then my father passed away in 2018. And I took care of him the last seven months. Very interesting. My mom was seven weeks. And so now seven months were seven kids. And the last seven months, my father had a very, you know, difficult time it was it wasn't it was a heart failure, but just odd and all that stuff. But I was a person that handled in meditation, you know, yoga meditation as I do it, you know, but because of my dad, and I was the only person at that point, taking care of him a lot of the time by myself. I woke up early every morning to be able to be present for him. Whatever was going on with him, I had to be ready. And so amazing training for seven months, anything you do for seven months and consistently is going to, you're going to see a difference and feel the difference within you when you don't have that when you haven't done that. So I do that no matter what's going on, no matter what's happening. I wake up a couple of when it's called time, I wake up a couple hours before, so that I can do that and then be present, you know, and that's a huge gift. So those are the lessons that I learned lessons there. But it's, um, from that place, you know, you have to be present for a whole crew, no matter what happens because some stuff goes south man sometimes. And that's producer if you don't have the wherewithal to, to to be center right there. You know, like just and be able to handle in the comment. It's it can be hectic

Alex Ferrari 1:59:18
I've been I've been I've been telling my audience for years that I've been meditating heavily to two hours a day, at least every day, and it changed my life. It changed my life when I start meditating. It's

Elizabeth Avellán 1:59:30
I recommended everyone

Alex Ferrari 1:59:31
If you have if you have a problem, if you have a question, meditate and a lot of times the answer comes to you in the meditation. It's pretty remarkable. It's really, really remarkable. And last and last question, three of your favorite films of all time.

Elizabeth Avellán 1:59:47
Oh, gosh. He loves so many of them gosh.

Alex Ferrari 1:59:50
Three that come to mind right now.

Elizabeth Avellán 1:59:52
Three that come to mind immediately, you know Lawrence of Arabia Definitely because I got to see a couple of years ago presented to my kids. And it was a brand new 70 millimeter

Alex Ferrari 2:00:07
I saw it. I saw it in LA. I saw it in LA I saw that print the 70 millimeter print in LA at the end. Oh my god was gorgeous

Elizabeth Avellán 2:00:14
Here at the Paramount on believable marches. It was him again, transporting yourself back to the child in and then another seminal seminal moment was a movie that could kept me standing as a little girl. This is when I really fell in love with movies. Oliver. Oh, yeah. All over you from based on the Oliver Twist. I remember. So I mean, being a little girl and seeing this kid go through this journey. And being so moving Rex Reed and it was so heavy. It was a heavy film. Yeah. If you think about it as a kid, and I hope I mean, the image is still Oh, yeah. And I think I think I'm gonna mention Well, the trilogy from Rick, those were given already mentioned those. But I think one that I just thought Chase man has something else. Waking Life.

Alex Ferrari 2:01:10
Oh, Rick. Yeah.

Elizabeth Avellán 2:01:14
That movie. It's one of those you know? Yeah. Watch it again. You're like, wow, what I thought your facts, I think different, you know, such a weird dream, like, and I just thought what the guts to do that?

Alex Ferrari 2:01:31
Oh, no, it's the guts that he has to do anything. All the films that he does like

Elizabeth Avellán 2:01:36
Boyhood, oh, my god, like have the foresight to do something like that.

Alex Ferrari 2:01:40
I mean, and that there was there was a

Elizabeth Avellán 2:01:43
He's one of my favorite human beings. Let's just begin. He's a sweet, you know, like, he's humans. And she's such as one of my favorite filmmakers and to for it to be in, in this person that I mean, I love Bernie. It depends on the person we recommend. Rick's over to the sheriff in the little town in Oklahoma. You gotta see Bernie man. Bernie's great, you know, so. So yeah, so you know, there are filmmakers out there that are just transcendent and I thought I think I have to say Django have to kind of go by and filmmakers Django is one of my it's my favorite. Winton's. Is it my it used to be my dogs believe it. Yeah, Django Django for me. So like, crazy. Like wow, what a yarn for me. yarn

Alex Ferrari 2:02:31
For me. For me. And for me for Quinton, I have to say it's once upon a time in Hollywood, but it's just because it's it is it's everything as a filmmaker, it's everything. It's just like he's it's his love letter to La it's his love letter to Hollywood. It's totally and it was just so great. It was just this and that and it was those two probably. Yeah, and Django is not too far behind. Yeah, and then Inglourious.

Elizabeth Avellán 2:02:55
Inglourious was great anyway, there's so many but I mean, I love so many films and so many filmmakers I just admire the form and I'm part of the academy so should have signed up and I signed up again this year to to judge the to be the one that takes on like the task of the foreign films you know, to to nominate I'm proud of the producers brands and that's just something extra you can do as and let me tell you the best thing of all was knowing that filmmaking and storytelling was alive and well. I still films and most incredible if you haven't seen this film neon bought it. It's called the night of the kings by Wow from Ivory Coast. And instead of a prison movie, like again, like border movie, so not a prison movie.

Alex Ferrari 2:03:48
Yeah, watch. Okay, watch. It's like Shawshank looks like Shawshank Prison movie.

Elizabeth Avellán 2:03:58
Exactly. So you know, I just I love I love. I'm one of those people that the thing I miss the most from COVID From the whole period of this situation has been I go to the movies, lunch in a movie by myself at least once a week if not twice. Yeah. Alamo Drafthouse violet crown, I just literally make it. I'm going to a meeting so I schedule what's what's playing, and then I kind of make afternoon I miss I miss doing that, you know, and I love that, you know, by myself by myself. Yeah. And Tuesday afternoon, one o'clock, whatever, you know, and, and that's been the thing I missed the most. And I also think, wow, but I saw those foreign films. Each one was magical My God, like your honor from Guatemala.

Alex Ferrari 2:04:47
Oh my god. I can't

Elizabeth Avellán 2:04:49
By the way from Chile. That documentary. How the hell did she do that? And oh my god, I can't wait to see these things. Trade in this manner. I mean, it's just amazing. I mean, I saw incredible movies that I was in awe. I mean, like, Oh my god. So anyway, so filmmaking is alive and well,

Alex Ferrari 2:05:13
Thank God for that because we need stories now more than ever forever. Honestly, it has been an absolute pleasure and honor talking to you today. It has been so wonderful, the energy and the words of wisdom that you've you've dropped on on the audience. And I really hope that this helps a lot of people out there listening to it and gives people hope. And everyone and of course, we set the record straight into mariachi, which was very important. But really the inspiration that that you and Robert have given generations of filmmakers over the years has been it has been remarkable. So thank you so much for everything you do. And you will have to come back because I know we could talk for another five hours. But thank you so much for being

Elizabeth Avellán 2:05:59
We'll talk some people that you should interview that I really like my one of them is Jeff Fahey he's one of us, my brother. Oh, no, he was just here in Austin doing doing hypnotic. He's the I love Jeff. Jeff. I love adore him. He's such an amazing he's his brain is just, it's so interesting. You know, we brought him out of Afghanistan when we were doing Planet Terror. Yeah. Rebel Without a crew. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 2:06:28
Thank you. Thank you, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Avellán 2:06:31
Thank you so much.


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Watch: Robert Rodriguez’s The Director’s Chair (Film School)

Robert Rodriguez is an indie filmmaking legend. His book Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player is required reading for any filmmaker. From the mythical El Marachi to Sin City to Alita: Battle Angel Robert has done it all. He even owns his own network, El Rey.

If you are a filmmaker and watch El Rey you need to be watching Robert Rodriguez’s amazing show The Director’s Chair. The Director’s Chair is an hour-long series by Robert Rodriguez featuring the industry’s most notable directors as they engage in a revealing and unexpected exchange about the world of filmmaking. The series provides a forum for two directors to go one on one, offering viewers access inside the minds of some of Hollywood’s most iconic filmmakers.

I’ve gathered most of the episodes available on-line. Each episode is like a semester of film school. Robert interviews directors like Quentin Tarantino, John Carpenter, Sly Stallone, Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo Del Toro, Robert Zemeckis. George Miller and Michael Mann.

Get ready to have your mind blown! Enjoy.

The Director’s Chair – Episode 01 – John Carpenter

The Director’s Chair – Episode 02 – Guillermo Del Toro

The Director’s Chair – Episode 03 – Quentin Tarantino


The Director’s Chair – Episode 05 – Francis Ford Coppola

The Director’s Chair – Episode 06 – Luis Valdez

The Director’s Chair – Episode 07 – Robert Zemeckis

The Director’s Chair – Episode 08 – Michael Mann

The Director’s Chair – Episode 09 – George Miller

The Director’s Chair – Episode 10 – Sylvester Stallone

Robert Rodriguez Interview: Building an Indie Filmmaking Empire

You can’t say indie film without saying, Robert Rodriguez. I’ve been a HUGE fan of how Robert Rodriguez makes his films for a long time. His legendary film “El Mariachi” was released when I was in high school and changed my life.

Since then he has gone on to make some amazing films like

He also wrote an amazing book documenting the making of El Mariachi and his rollercoaster ride in Hollywood called “Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player,” a must-read for any independent filmmaker. Whether you love Robert Rodriguez films or hate them, you have to respect how he makes them.

Famously nicknamed as the “the one-man film crewRobert Rodriguez is not only a talented producer, director, and film writer but also happens to serve as an editor, director of photography, Steadicam operator, camera operator, composer, production designer, sound editor and a visual effects supervisor making him a jack of all trades of the film making.

From the famous Spy Kids to Sin City renowned filmmaker Robert Rodriguez is acclaimed for his all-around method of production and appealing flamboyant style, these are the traits that only a few seasoned directors hope to achieve someday after spending decades of work but Robert Rodriguez proved with his first Bedhead a short film that he happens to possess the flair since day one.

Born in San Antonio, Texas, Rodriguez was born to Mexican-American parents Rebecca and Cecilio G. Rodriguez who were a nurse and a salesman respectively. Robert grew up in a big family of 10 siblings. Robert was interested in film from the young age of 11 when his father bought one of the first VCRs which came with a camera along with it.

While studying in St. Anthony High School Seminary in San Antonio, Robert was commissioned to videotape the football games of his school. His sister recalls that he was fired from the work because he had shot the game in a cinematic style and instead of shooting the whole game, he shot the ball sailing through the air and capturing the reactions of the parents. Robert met Carlos Gallardo in high school and together they shot both films and videos throughout their time at the high school and college too.

Robert Rodriguez attended the College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin where his love for cartooning blossomed. Not having high grades he could not get into the school’s film program. Robert created a daily comic strip which was titled Los Hooligans and most of the characters were based on his siblings especially one of his sisters, Maricarmen.

It ran for three years in the student newspaper The Daily Texan. As he was initially rejected from the film school, he taught himself basic directing and editing skills before taking a film program. He continued to make short films. Later on, he won numerous awards for his efforts and gradually was accepted into the film program at the university.

Robert Rodriguez shot action and horror short films on video and edited them on two VCRs. The fall of 1990 earned him a spot in a local film contest of the university’s film program.

There Robert Rodriguez made the award-winning 16 mm short Bedhead (1991). Bedhead starred his younger siblings. The film accounts for the amusing misadventures of a young girl named Rebecca and her quarrels with her rowdy older brother who sports incredibly tangled hair which she simply hates.

After getting telekinetic powers as aftereffects of a slight head injury, Rebecca vows to end David’s unruly bedhead. Another bump to the head makes her a straight-headed kid again she promises to never abuse her powers again though David remains dazed.

The traces of Robert Rodriguez’s signature style are eminent at this early stage with quick cuts, intense zooms, cartoonish sound effects and fast camera movements sprinkled with a sense of humor gave the short an air of cinematic skill and expertise. Bedhead was addressed for excellence in the Black Maria Film Festival. It was selected by Sally Berger who is a Film/Video Curator for the 20th anniversary of reviewing MoMA in 2006. With its success at numerous film festivals, Robert was able to fund his debut feature El Mariachi which was his first feature and portrayed his expertise as a filmmaker assisting him in landing a deal with Columbia Pictures.

El Mariachi (1993) was made on a very tight budget of only $ 7,000. Some of the money was raised by his friend Carlos Gallardo and some from his own participation in medical testing studies. Playing both on Spanish and American western themes, the movie is focused on a lone wandering musician who gets caught up in a mess with the bad guys after switching guitar cases with a hitman who happened to have a similar case to carry around his tools.

Rodriquez won the Audience Award for El Mariachi at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. He has described his experiences of making this film in his book Rebel Without a Crew.

Robert’s second feature film was Desperado which was a sequel to El Mariachi. It starred Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek was introduced to the American audiences. Rodriquez teamed up with Quentin Tarantino of the vampire thriller From Dusk till Dawn (and also both co-producing the two sequels of it) and currently writes, directs, and produces the TV series for his very own cable network El Rey. Rodriquez has also worked with Kevin Williamson on the horror film, The Faculty.

The year 2001 brought Robert Rodriquez his first Hollywood hit Spy Kids, which went on to flourish into a movie franchise. A third mariachi film also surfaced in late 2003 named Once Upon a Time in Mexico which completed the Mexican Trilogy which is also called the Mariachi Trilogy. Formerly known as Los Hooligans, Robert also operates a production company which is named Troublemaker Studios.

In the year 2005, Rodriquez co-directed Sin City which was an adaptation of the Frank Miller comic books of the same name. A scene was guest directed by Quentin Tarantino. In 2004 while production, Rodriquez insisted upon Miller to be credited as the co-director because for him the visual style and technique of Miller’s comic art were as important to him as his own.

However, the Directors Guild of America did not permit it stating that only the legitimate teams could share the credit. This was a big deal to Robert Rodriguez and he chose to resign from the Directors Guild stating I did not want to be forced into making a compromise which he was not willing to make or set such an example that might hurt the guild later.

Rodriquez was forced to let go of his director’s seat in the John Carter of Mars for Paramount Pictures by resigning from the guild. He had already signed and had been announced as the director and planned to start on it soon after being done with Sin City.

Sin City was not only a box office success but also a critical hit especially for the hyperviolent adaptation of the comic book which did not have much name recognition like the Spiderman or X-men. Robert has shown interest in the adaptation of all the Miller’s Sin City comic books.

In 2005, Robert Rodriquez released The Adventure of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D which was a superhero movie for the kids pretty much the same young audience for the Spy Kid series. Based on a story which was conceived by Robert’s 7-year-old son Racer, this film was liked but did not gain that much success grossing only $ 39 million at the box office.

Planet Terror was written and directed by Rodriquez as being part of the double bill release Grindhouse. Quentin Tarantino directed the other film of Grindhouse.

Apart from films, Robert Rodriquez also has a series of Ten Minute Film School segments on numerous of his DVD release which show aspiring filmmakers how to make good and profitable movies using affordable and feasible tactics.

Along with these, Robert Rodriguez created a series called The Ten Minute Cooking School where he revealed he told his recipe for Puerco Pibil, the same food which was eaten by Johnny Depp in the film.

The popularity of this got him started on another Cooking School on the two-disc version of Sin City DVD where Robert Rodriguez taught the viewers to make Sin City Breakfast Tacos which was a dish he made for his crew and cast during the late-night shoots and editing sessions with the help of his grandmother’s tortilla recipe and various egg mixes for the fillings.

A strong supporter of digital filmmaking, he was introduced to this by George Lucas who personally invited him to use the digital cameras at Lucas’ headquarters.

At the 2010 Austin Film Festival, Robert Rodriquez was awarded his Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking Award.

A new sequel to Predator was announced which was to be produced by Rodriquez on April 23, 2009, which was based on the early drafts he had penned down after watching the original.

Robert had ideas for a planet-sized game preserve and different creatures that were used by the Predators to hunt down a group of abducted humans who are incredibly skilled. Acquiring quite positive reviews, the film did really well at the box office.

Robert also planned to produce the famous Fire and Ice, a 1983 film collaboration between Frank Frazetta a painter, and Ralph Bakshi, an animator. But the deal closed shortly after the death of Frazetta.

It was reported in the October of 2015 that Rodriquez is going to direct Battle Angel Alita with James Cameron. It was also announced in November that he is directing the film 100 Years which will be releasing in 2017.

Hollywood in Austin

Robert Rodriguez has built himself a remarkable filmmaking paradise in Austin, TX. Don’t believe me watch the two videos in this post where he gives you a tour of Troublemaker Studios. He has since purchased an old airport and built sound stages, more post-production, office space, and everything you would need to make a film.

He has also done something that no other filmmaker has ever done before, he launched his own television network called “El Rey.”

In the over two-hour interview that Tim Ferriss had with Robert Rodriguez, he discusses not only his journey as a filmmaker but how he lives a creative life. This is why I wanted to share the interview with you.

Living a Creative Life

So many of us independent filmmakers forget why we got into the business and it’s to live a creative life. Make money yes, but do so by living a creative life. I found the interview fascinating and wanted to share it with the Indie Film Hustle Tribe. Take a listen at the top of the post.

Hope you enjoy it!



Robert Rodriguez: 10 Minute Film Schools

I’ve been a huge fan of the way writer/director Robert Rodriguez makes his films. The almost total creative control within the studio system is remarkable. Before Youtube film schools there was the 10-minute film schools on every DVD release of any Robert Rodriguez film.

These 10 minute film schools, produced by the man himself Robert Rodriguez, was an inside look at his tips and tricks on how he created the movie magic in his films. It was the inspiration to my DVD set for my short film BROKEN. They are a treasure trove of filmmaking knowledge. I learn a ton from each one and now you can as well. Get ready to have your mind blown.

“Too many creative people don’t wanna learn how to be technical, so what happens? They become dependent on technical people.  Become technical.  You can learn that. If you’re creative and technical, you’re unstoppable.” – Robert Rodriguez

The Robert Rodriguez: 10 Minute Film School (The First and Original)

The Making of “El Mariachi” – The Robert Rodriguez Ten Minute Film School

A behind the scenes look at the making of the Robert Rodriguez ultra low budget film “El Mariachi”. Rodriguez explains the tricks filmmakers can use when working with extremely limited budgets.

Desperado – Ten More Minutes: The Anatomy of a Shoot Out

This is the second installment of Robert Rodriguez’s 10 Minute Film School. Here he shows how he was able to storyboard his film Desperado using a video camera. He uses a simple mini-DV camera to figure out which angles he will use for the film.

From Dusk Till Dawn – 10 Minute Film School

Planet Terror – 10 Minute Film School

Once Upon the Time in Mexico – 10 Minute Film School

This is an episode of a long series of 10 minute film school segments that Robert Rodriguez does for all of his films. These tutorials are on advanced digital film-making and go into detail on how to write, produce and direct your own indie film. This is very interesting if you are a DIY type of person or just a movie buff.


IFH 252: Rebel without a Crew – $7000 Feature Film Robert Rodriguez Style with Alejandro Montoya Marin

Right-click here to download the MP3

Today on the show we have writer/director Alejandro Montoya Marin. He had the pleasure of being selected to be a director on Robert Rodriguez’s Rebel without a Crew Television Show. If you’ve been following me at all over the past three years you’ll know how much of a fan I am of Robert Rodriguez (check out How to Make Rodriguez’s Guacamole Gun). Here’s some info on the show.

Armed with a ridiculously low budget and just 14 days to shoot his movie, Robert Rodriguez created El Mariachi an award-winning film that changed independent filmmaking. The 12-part “Rebel Without a Crew: The Series” follows Scarlet Moreno, Alejandro Montoya Marin, Bola Ogun, Josh Stifter, and Bonnie-Kathleen “BK” Ryan as they shoot their own feature-length film in 2 weeks with a budget of only $7,000.

I had a ball talking with Alejandro Montoya Marin about filmmaking, working with Robert Rodriguez, his experience being on a reality show and making his film MONDAY for $7000 and in 14 days.



Rebel without a Crew, Alejandro Montoya Marin, El Rey, Robert Rodriguez

Enjoy my conversation with Alejandro Montoya Marin.

Alex Ferrari 1:54
We have Alejandro Montoya Marin who is a writer, director of the movie Monday, and he made the movie for $7,000, which we've had many other filmmakers on. On the show. They've done low budget movies for five grand and I've done really low budget movies. But what makes out 100 special is he was part of the Rebel Without a crew TV series, which is based on Robert Rodriguez book of the same name. And Alejandro went through the entire process of being mentored by the legendary Robert Rodriguez while he was making his movie, as well as having cameras on him 24 seven, almost while he made his movie in just 14 days and have a budget of $7,000. So of course I asked like is it really $7,000 as a TV shows are like, you know, do they give you a little this give you that? He's like, no, they were pretty brutal. And they just gave them what they said they were gonna give them and there was no wiggle room at all. Now if you guys have been listening to me over the course of the last three years, you know, what a big influence. And what a fan I am of Robert Rodriguez. So I really had such a ball talking to him about doing something I always wanted to have done being mentored by Robert Rodriguez during the production of your first feature film. It is insane. But Alejandro was very humble, really cool guy. We sat down and just talk shop, and it was a ball. So please enjoy my conversation with Alejandro Montoya Marin. I like to welcome to the show Alejandro Montoya Marin. How are you sir?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 3:29
Hey, I'm good, man. Thank you for having me.

Alex Ferrari 3:31
No, man. Thank you for reaching out, man. You know, I'm glad that you told me you were a fan of the show. So that Oh, that's always a good way to start the conversation.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 3:40
Exactly. I listen to you until I heard those words and then like Hey! What's up?!

Alex Ferrari 3:46
But no, no, but seriously, man, and I wanted you on the show because of what you've gone through with your movie and working with Robert Rodriguez and all this kind of stuff. So we'll get into all of that. But first, first, I always ask this of all my guests. How did you get into this ridiculous crazy business?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 4:04
Into film? I've always been a fan of movies like I've always collected VHS tapes. I used to do mixtapes kind of like how you do like cassette with music, but I would do them with VHS

Alex Ferrari 4:18
I don't know what I don't know what a VHS is or cassettes or I'm sorry. I'm messing with you.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 4:25
I used to do like an episode of something that a commercial and a music video that a movie that

Alex Ferrari 4:31
Oh, so you were like making mixtapes but with movies. Yeah, that's awesome.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 4:36
I've always been a fan man. And then like, I even though I was born in the States, I was raised in Mexico and back then it wasn't very prominent to people to study film or like to make a living out of the arts.

Alex Ferrari 4:51
That's crazy talk.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 4:53
Yeah, it's crazy talk. But now look at this.

Alex Ferrari 4:55
I know and for Latinos even more crazy talk because it's so not even remotely in the culture?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 5:02
I agree. Exactly. You're pushed aside as the crazy one of the family. Counter doctors.

Alex Ferrari 5:08
No, you're you're the loco, you know, like I told my dad and my dad was like, how do you make money with that? And my only answer at the time was like, Well, I can PA. I can I can bet you what pa was, I didn't know that. I, I can make 50 bucks a day. And that was the big selling points. That I don't need to budge just 50 bucks a day. Yeah, that should hold me for my life. I'm good. That should work out.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 5:34
It's like a dog dog. Remember when he gets run over is like, Oh, I got $20,000.10 years ago, and I still have $900. So that will hold me off for two years.

Alex Ferrari 5:44
Exactly. So then how did you? How did the experience of making a lot of short films because you've I've seen and your IMDb you've made a ton of short films, your music, videos, commercials? How did all of that prepare you to make your first feature film?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 6:00
That's a great question. I think every time you do something different with whether it be a commercial or a short film, or a music video, you're kind of prepping. And you're kind of like absorbing all this. How do I approach this talent? Or how do I approach this shot? How long will it set me helped me to set up this kind of wide shot or this portion? It just kind of preps you. So when you have multiple experiences, you can reach the new one. And you're like, Okay, I got to do this, this and this. It'll be 90 minutes. So it gives you It gives you that familiar essence and situation that makes you kind of ease through things a little bit easier. Just excuse my redundance. But it just, it helps you understand what it will take to accomplish something that's more elaborate or similar to what you already do.

Alex Ferrari 6:53
So as opposed to the first short film you ever did where you had a shot list. That was about 150 shots in for an eight hour day. Yeah. And three people on your crew, you become more realistic of what can be accomplished within the timeframe.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 7:08
Exactly. You you. I always like to do storyboards and shot list. Just because I want to like I've never done anything past 10 grand so far.

Alex Ferrari 7:19
I where I feel you, brother, I feel you.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 7:22
So I kind of don't want to waste anybody's time. So I always go to the bare necessities of what will What do we need to sell the scene? Especially. And it helped me for this experience of Rebel Without a crew because I didn't storyboard my movie.

Alex Ferrari 7:38
Right! Wow. Well, let's well let's let's talk about it before we get into Rebel Without a crew. When was the first time you heard about the mythical story of Robert Rodriguez and how did it affect you as a Latino filmmaker? Well, I think I was about 11 years old. You're making You're making me feel old. But go ahead. How old are you? I'm older than user. Six. I'm still older than you. I swear to god if you say you're 37 or 38 No, no, I'm not and I'm not in my 30s let's just put it that way. Okay, hey 30s Amen, brother. Amen.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 8:17
So I was obviously I'm from Laredo, Texas. I'm from Laredo, Texas, which is two hours away from from San Antonio. And he's from San Antonio. He's first generation I'm first generation. So me loving film. And seeing what he did with so little and what he was climbing. It's, it was inspiring, man. Like I told him in person, and I think it's on the show. I would watch my dad's card and get an allowance, which was $5 and pay to watch his movies which were 495

Alex Ferrari 8:55
Wow, that's insane. That's actually that's a pretty big compliment.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 9:01
It's inspire me like him. Um, Robert, Kevin Smith. That hold that hold 90s group. Yeah, Tarantino PT Anderson.

Alex Ferrari 9:11
I mean, Linkletter all those guys

Alejandro Montoya Marin 9:13
Yeah. Like all of those guys inspired me to do to do film or, or to be like, look, I think if you are smart, and you give a creative script, it could happen me.

Alex Ferrari 9:26
Right? I mean, I think you know, for me man with Robert when I first I was in, I was in high school when when Robert without mariachi came out, and I read that book Rebel Without a crew cover to cover, in college, in college in college, I still have a first printing of it. And it I just, it just blew my mind because it was this kind of mythical story. I always say it's a this mythical story of a kid whose 20s 23 man 23 and he was making studio movies, you know, in a town. When there was no, like Latino's making movies, like not, not really not in the studio system. I mean, they had to beg. They had to beg to get Antonio Banderas as the star of Desperado. And he murdered it. Oh, God, I love that movies. Well, it's actually still one of my favorite robber movies of all time. I love Love, love, love this brought up. My favorite is Sin City. And sorry, no, of course. Gotcha. Gotcha. I'm getting a lot of those movies. But you know, so that's and for Robin, a lot of times you do as a filmmaker, you do need some inspiration. And there's there's no shortage of stories to inspire you. But Robert story was just so magical. Were a $7,000 movie, which was the first time anyone had ever done that got picked up by a studio. And then he went off and built up his career, and now he's working with James Cameron on his latest movie. You know, and they're buddies. I don't know if you knew this or not. I'm gonna give you a quick Robert. Robert. trivia bet. Do you know that the reason why James Cameron actually edited Titanic or co edited Titanic was because Robert did it. Yeah, because he was he was watching Robert edit movie. He's like, well, dammit, I should do that on my next movie and robbers like you absolutely should. And he won the Oscar for Titanic. They've been friends. They've been friends for they've been friends for ever, from what I understand. Alright, so So

Alejandro Montoya Marin 11:33
I just want I just wanted to like I'm really excited for alita Battle Angel.

Alex Ferrari 11:36
I like zoom. And I'm really I'm really curious to see the combination of James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez what comes out? I think that's gonna be a very interesting, interesting porridge. Gonna put out there

Alejandro Montoya Marin 11:50
At South by Southwest when they had the alita party. It's in their backyard or in the lot of troublemakers. And it's like this. half a mile radius of a fake city that they made that looks bad. It is I heard lowing dude.

Alex Ferrari 12:08
No, I heard that they basically built out a backlog on trial. It's it's there. It's not going anywhere.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 12:15
So no. And they had the party there. They had functioning electricity, and like sewers, and like one wheeled motorcycles that are like from the future. No, no, no, dude, like, it made me want to see the movie so much better. So much more, because they put a lot of effort in making this world, like authentic. I mean, obviously, there's gonna be CGI for some stuff. But I'm telling you, dude, I was on the set. It was it was pretty magic.

Alex Ferrari 12:41
So can you talk a little bit about what troublemaker studios is and what Robert built out there. Because I've never been, I would love to go one day. I've talked to a lot of people who have and who've worked with Robert, but it's basically a filmmakers playground, if I'm not mistaken.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 12:55
It's basically his playground where he develops a bunch of stuff and projects and edits and works on stuff. So it's very, very guarded. They have security. They're super nice. It's just it's like, it's like the independent filmmakers dream like everyone that works there. Top to bottom are just super supportive. They love film. They're all movie geeks. It's like the ideal job. Wow, that must be amazing.

Alex Ferrari 13:22
So then tell me about your process your experience, submitting to Rebel Without a crew and what was the Rebel Without a pro series?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 13:30
So Rebel Without a crew is a TV show that people can go watch on go 90 right now all the whole seasons on right now you can binge it. And in the fall it'll be on El Rey network, which is Roberts channel.

Alex Ferrari 13:44
Why wouldn't Why wouldn't he have his own network?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 13:46
Yeah, right. Because, because it cuz it when he gets bored, he's just like, what else can I do? Okay, I'll try a network or fit.

Alex Ferrari 13:55
Exactly. Yeah, just an outlet for him to just mess around.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 13:58
Well, he cooks he writes, he edits he plays music like Dude, like, come on, up individually.

Alex Ferrari 14:05
Exactly. Alright, so the show so shows based around the book that he wrote years ago.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 14:11
Yeah, it's basically it's it's like a TV adaptation of what the book is. Only this time Robert chose five filmmakers across the country and he gives you $7,000.03 days to prep 14, nine hour days, and you shoot your first feature film.

Alex Ferrari 14:27
That's it. Now, how did you submit what was the submitting process like

Alejandro Montoya Marin 14:31
The submitting process? I did? Like I think I saw I've been a fan of the channel for a while like show the director's chairs. Love that show. Love, love. Love that. I love from dusk till dawn even though I haven't seen the third season. Right? And just because I you know, like they have like marathons of like Highlander Terminator two, like I watched the channel. Yeah. Yeah. And they boast Excuse me. They posted Something about a we're rolling we need filmmakers and Rebel Without a crew and blah, blah, blah. So I did and I, it was various stages where, excuse me, just a universe grows where you would submit projects, short films. And then from there it's it was several stages you submit shortfills, then of you they like that, that you submit a pitch and then as you met the pitch, then the script and then as you submitted script, you have like four Skype interviews and a psychological exam. And then how would you maximize? It was a big process, really psychological exam?

Alex Ferrari 15:36
That's all yeah, that's awesome.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 15:40
And, you know, like, What? Give me some storyboards show me a short film Show me.

Alex Ferrari 15:46
It's beat you up. They beat you up. Yeah. Now once you so you get the news, you got accepted, you lose your mind. Now, what is the next step? How what what was it like and how did it go? Once you got accepted?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 16:03
Well, I got accepted, and it was okay, you're gonna come in Austin and do your movie. And I don't even though when I'm independent, like I always have my dp a sound guy. And they do give you a plus one. So I immediately was like, Okay, I'm bringing the DP so it looks good. Like iMovie will look passable if I did about myself, right? I'm not a director photography. I know, sec three point lighting, you know, like basics, right? And, you know, getting there and the way they were treating us like, like, you know, like they you would turn around from the block and then there's like 10 cameras. And I can guarantee you I'm telling you this honestly, none of it. None of it was was planned. None of it was like oh, let's do this. So it creates drama, right? Like none of that shit. I mean, doing a movie for 7k has drama in itself.

Alex Ferrari 17:00
Right even more so you're right because you didn't know the layout of the whole place.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 17:04
Yeah, we would have done it here in Albuquerque no problem. I know. I know people with grip trucks I know my plus one manages a grip company.

Alex Ferrari 17:13
But so but did they basically just go here seven grand they gave me no other resources.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 17:18
No man made for the show. But when you see Episode One, at the end of the show, they're like by the way it's time to pick up locations and you're like alright, they put a binder in front of us and then go you got 15 minutes to pick locations

Alex Ferrari 17:31
Wow, that was an A but you but those locations were were set up that that you could use them not for free? Not for free.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 17:42
Due to the camera equipment and the sound like yeah wouldn't break. Oh, they didn't give it to you for free half my budget went on camera and sound and grip.

Alex Ferrari 17:50
Really? What kind of camera do you use?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 17:53
We use it was a it was the C 300. Okay. Okay, yeah. Pretty decent camera respectable camera. Absolutely. Yeah, you can definitely get some like good depth of field that crushes the black background really nice.

Alex Ferrari 18:08
So they really kind of put you through the through the wringer like you had to really make a movie for seven grand. Yeah, no. Yeah, dude, it was it was how about post did you do all the posts yourself?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 18:19
That you are able to bring people to help you like I've learned I brought a colorist and I edit and my day job. So it wasn't as difficult as I know that for other people, but Sure, I can have someone that's a really close friend of mine to give me tips and stuff like that. But yeah, like we did music like the soundtrack came out of those seven grand and I think I saved about 17 $100 by the end of the shoot because I knew my soundcheck was gonna was gonna be pivotal. But we were able to get music by like sleigh bells Harlem. Yeah, right? Yeah, like my goal was we got to make the soundtrack. One of the best independent film soundtracks,

Alex Ferrari 19:01
Right and it sounds amazing. I saw I saw the list of music guys. You guys amazing.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 19:08
Yeah, thanks, man. All the bands were amazing. Just to mother West helped us out he's a friend and a record label in New York City that, uh, that you know, we've been working together. We're actually going to New York this Friday to screen the movie at Soho Film Festival and we're going to go to a magnetic fields concert next day.

Alex Ferrari 19:28
So then I know for my understanding Robert Rodriguez didn't mentor you a little bit.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 19:34
Yeah, Robert was very hands on man. Like he would come up and give us tips about like, Look, locations. Do this. Why don't you do that? Then you have set we have to one on one. Now we're anywhere from like 15 to 20 minutes doing 1000 elite, a short film and three commercials, right? Sure. Sure. Why not? Yeah, right. Because why not?

Alex Ferrari 19:59
We'll be Right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. But he didn't help you. And he didn't mentor you a bit.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 20:13
Yeah, he would give us tips. And a lot of the tips that I grabbed from him was about editing. So it was really cool that he went to every set and visited every set. And when he went to my set, he stopped for a bit. He looked at me, I did one take, and then he goes into your editing in your head, aren't you? Like, yeah, he's like, perfect. I do that too. It'll help you. Like he starts giving you tips of like, you should do this. But maybe not worry about this unless you have time. Just how to maximize time because we only had nine hour days.

Alex Ferrari 20:49
So you couldn't go over? You couldn't go over?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 20:51
There was just no way because you have a crew following you. And the house that we were at is usually an hour away from all downtown Austin. Right? So that would that would like, I want to fuck up our times.

Alex Ferrari 21:06
So then, basically, and I've said this many times before is time is your your biggest enemy when making a movie is that that clock keeps ticking no matter what that sun's going down. Yep, no matter what. And no matter what kind of gear and crew and all that stuff, time is something you cannot control and they cannot stop.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 21:26
Well, yeah. And especially under this like budget, because if you had manpower, yeah, I mean, it won't look the same. But you can you can kind of mimic that something with a 10k. You know, but then you don't have that like?

Alex Ferrari 21:41
Exactly, exactly.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 21:43
My short film or the movie I basted a lot at night, because that way, we could utilize the depth of the city of Austin, which has a lot of light. And then with like maybe a panel on the fail, you can you know, you can cheat.

Alex Ferrari 21:56
Now, as far as the show is concerned, the five filmmakers, is there a competition within the five film thing? Or it was just getting on the show was that's that's the goal, and you're making your movies the goal?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 22:07
Yes, let's attack an option. It's not a competition. It's basically just the journey of how we handled the stress and how we did our first feature film and you know the result of it. You can see them you'll see the movie very soon. On go 99 right, because right now they're letting us tour film festivals.

Alex Ferrari 22:24
Now, so I'm assuming there was some drama on the show. You don't wanna I'm assuming there was some drama on the show? Yeah, I'm sure there was. But was there any on yours on your episode?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 22:41
I mean, they kind of like do like a montage of of what everyone's going through and yeah, like Dude, we had a bond just stuff happen in mind. So it's like what's the worst thing that happened to you during the shooting your first feature? There was several my man our one of our actors had to couldn't take the job. And it was like the day we had to choose actors. So if you want to see what happened check it out. It rained on us after unloading all the equipment setting up it started raining. And then we got pulled it like cops came in and tried to shut down the set. Really? Oh, bro, you dude, you're gonna have a blast.

Alex Ferrari 23:21
Oh my god, I can't wait to watch the show. I'm dying to watch the show. that a lot of a lot of craziness. Now what is the biggest lesson you learn from this entire experience?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 23:33
Our patients have learned to practice patience. That it's okay to over prepare over prepare, but there always has to be an element of spontaneity onset. There always has to be and every time I do a project, I become more allured and more in love with actors.

Alex Ferrari 24:00
Hmm absolutely man but

Alejandro Montoya Marin 24:02
Actors that really want to work met divas that are trying to you know, to get attention. Right,

Alex Ferrari 24:08
Right. Right. Yeah. People who are in the craft. Exactly.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 24:11
Professionals not like I can't talk to you in my I have to like I saw the documentary where Jim Carrey played great time. It's a great documentary, but I don't think I would have had the patience to deal with him. Yeah, man, I would have been like, Jim, I'm gonna fucking beat the shit out of you wasn't a child.

Alex Ferrari 24:31
But the thing is that he was doing that to Milos Forman. And Milos like is an Oscar winning director. I know and he couldn't handle them. But when when you when you hire someone of that caliber doing that kind of work, you just strap on and hold on tight. And you just roll with it because you've got to because at that point, Jim was Jim. Like, he was the one of the biggest stars in the world at that moment. Oh, yeah. You just

Alejandro Montoya Marin 25:01
I say no, because I've never gone to have that opportunity. But like, let's say, Oh, I made I wrote a script that Daniel Day Lewis came out of retirement, I'll be like, dude, do whatever you want. He could like fling crap at me like a monkey. I will, I'll be fine with it.

Alex Ferrari 25:18
Exactly. If that's what gets you gets you to the point that you need to get to Daniel. Fine. I get you. One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was from how to work with actors like of that caliber, is because I always asked, you know, directors when they come on the show, like how do you work with these big stars? You know, if you if you have the opportunity to work with a legend or big star, and this director Zack forgot his. I can't say I can't pronounce his last name, but he directed a movie with john malkovich. And as john was john malkovich, you know, like, how do you direct john Malcolm and it's your first movie? Yes. So how did he do? He did he was wonderful. He walked up the jet to john on the first day and goes, how do you want to be directed? And I was like, That's amazing. And he was like, thank you for asking. And, and he gave him that because it's john Malka, but you're not going to treat john malkovich like you're going to treat a first year actor.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 26:13
Well, you can treat actors the same like I've noticed that some actors respond to overcome flirting and you're doing a fantastic job let me respond that way. And I know actors that I'd be like Hey, stop fucking around let's do this and they boom they just fucking get on it.

Alex Ferrari 26:29
They go they go some more actors are some are more needy, some are more off and they like just let me be. Yeah, everyone's different. Everyone's different but if you but with a with a star of that caliber on set if you don't get that code well within the first half day. Yeah, the rest of the shoot you it's gone. If they want to start pushing you around. I had this one director I knew they had a did a movie with with like, some big let's just call them big action stars. Got it? That if I tell you you name you know who they are at? 80s and 90s action stars. Okay. Yeah, I'm pretty sure. All right, within the first 15 minutes, they tested them. And that was over. And they beat him up and pushed him around the entire show. The entire show because he did not know how to handle those kind of personalities. So it's it directly is not only about cameras and lenses, and micromanaging a whole set. Dude, it's insane, man. It's insane. Now talk talk a little bit about the movie we've been talking about the making of it. What's the movie The name is Monday. The movies called Monday. Tell us how you came up with what's it about all that good stuff.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 27:42
So Monday is an action comedy. very inspired by after hours and Scorsese. Yeah, right I love I love right all those like really fast paced PT Anderson kind of movement. Yeah. And it's a it's about a stoner who gets fired and dumped. So when he tries to get his life back together, he gets caught in the middle of a cartel war,

Alex Ferrari 28:05
Of course. why it happens every day.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 28:11
So it's him kind of like escaping the inevitable because when he gets caught in a cartel war, he gets a you know, he's like, basically like, you have to kill this person or we kill you in your family.

Alex Ferrari 28:24
Nice. Nice. So you're really pushing the the obstacles on this poor character?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 28:31
Oh, yeah, no, we tried. And we tried to make it like a roller coaster ride. And my movies only 16 minutes. But I think what we set out to do we did. I went into this to the Rebel Without a crew show. Not trying to Oh, make the next reservoir make the next holiday make the next year? No, just make a movie that has no plot holes. You're really under a lot of stress and cameras pointed at you. 24 seven. Okay.

Alex Ferrari 28:58
Okay. I couldn't imagine being sane. It was it was pretty insane. Yeah, because it's it's difficult enough to direct a feature up but then to have the pressure of A documentary crew following you every second of every day. You can't lose your shit. You can't say something stupid because now it's on tape. Yep. Oh, God. Yeah, it's been an experience.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 29:23
So that's what the whole goal was. It's just like look, just make make sure you have no plot holes and have a good time make a bundle

Alex Ferrari 29:31
Survive basically survive.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 29:33
Yeah, it also be I also every time I do a movie I always think of the spectator like I don't know if I said that right. Sorry. English is my second line. The the audience member expect that or expect our audience Yes, of course. I do movies that I would love to sit down and like I would watch Sure. Like if someone told me that page, you know what I mean? Yes, of course it will be I'm like I watched the shit out of you.

Alex Ferrari 30:00
That's awesome, man. That's awesome. Now you also just, you got to another milestone if not making your first feature, if not having Robert Rodriguez, mentor you, if not shooting all around Austin and having a good old time and being on a show. You just screened your movie at South by Southwest this year. What is the hell was that like?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 30:22
That it was amazing. I mean, I remember for people that are not in the film industry, like I was telling my cousin's right, like, Hey, we screened I don't know, March. It was March 12. Actually, I remember the exact date. And they still hadn't had they're from Mexico City, and they hadn't had taken spot a week before. And I'm like, Hey, I just want to let you know, this isn't a rinky dink Film Festival. It's one of the top in the world. If you think you're gonna just like waltz in get tickets. It's like, bro, it doesn't happen that way.

Alex Ferrari 30:57
They're like, Oh, this is a little film festival. Okay. No, yeah. Exactly. He didn't even give us tickets. Okay, well, that. Sorry, man. I can't. Oh, God, I could only imagine the craziness. I mean, yeah, I mean, look as filmmakers you want. You want Sundance you want south by you want Tribeca. Toronto can, you know, the top five, like, you know, and there's and there's been a handful of other ones there as well. But there's only really five to 10 big festivals in the world that mean anything anymore, in a lot of ways, and South by Southwest as climbed up that ladder to be arguably one of the top two or three festivals in the country.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 31:46
Oh, yeah, dude, no, it was an experience like the whole city of Austin like

Alex Ferrari 31:52
I've never been I've never been but they shut down. I hear

Alejandro Montoya Marin 31:55
Dude. You're gonna have a blast. There's, there's always parties. There's always people. There's craziness. No, no, it was so much fun. You got to you get to meet. Like my star. Jamie got to meet Ethan Hawke. Like it's just, I got no, it's so much fun, man. It was it was overwhelming. And you know how you when you have one of the best moments in your life or days in your life? It goes by really quick. Yep. That's how it was man. And there was the show. Yeah, it's over. But thanks to the show, I could always relive it because it was just ear to ear smile and just you know, enjoying just going for the ride.

Alex Ferrari 32:34
That was a lot of fun. That's so awesome. And so what's the net? What's next for you, man?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 32:38
Well, we're already in talks of doing another feature we got financed to do another one that we're figuring out of it's doing one full movie or partially financed to do another one

Alex Ferrari 32:49
Are we talking another seven grand or are we a little bit higher? I mean, it's in your anytime it's eating? You're an artist. It's above the art.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 33:00
No, Kenji. I'm a fan art. Now we, um, we were actually thinking, am I doing a sequel? For for Monday? Yeah, it will be called Tuesday.

Alex Ferrari 33:15
Of course. And then you got five more five more sequels make a whole series out of it?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 33:19
Yeah. Right, if they like and if people watch the first one or the second one.

Alex Ferrari 33:23
Now, as far as distribution is concerned, how does that work? And who owns it? Do you own it as a troublemaker on it?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 33:30
Yeah, it's gonna be screening on go 90 and l right. So they have they have the rights. And I'm perfectly fine with that. Because I got it. I said, I'm a fan of El Rey network

Alex Ferrari 33:40
So that it's on El Rey, you'll be like happy as all hell.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 33:44
Oh, heck yeah, dude. I mean, obviously, we can sell distribution for like, International. That could be awesome. Just other languages. Check the movie out.

Alex Ferrari 33:52
Sure. Of course, of course. Now, listen, so I'm going to give you a lightning round of a bunch of questions to ask all of my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 34:04
It's gonna be hard. You're gonna get no, every day, multiple times a day. But if you really love it, and you and this is the only thing you want to do, do it. Because it's a beautiful feeling when you accomplish or you take a step up. So do what you love. But make sure you're going to suffer. It's going to take a lot of work and you're gonna have to learn and work a lot. If anything is is like those eight years of pain are all worth for that one minute of, Hey, I

Alex Ferrari 34:33
Just screamed at South by Southwest. I agree. But isn't isn't Isn't that like that moment you'd like? I've been busting my ass for a decade. But I just got here and it's all worth it.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 34:44
It's weird. When rubber I'm not gonna lie, dude, Robert. Shared we got our first review from a game of Geek No, yeah. or

Alex Ferrari 34:58
Kind of Geek than a geek or something like that. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 35:01
Damn it I'm so I feel so embarrassed that I can't remember. I gotta say, I gotta plug the police

Alex Ferrari 35:09
Doors but what did they buy? You're looking What did they say?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 35:12
They gave me such an amazing review on the movie like they saw it and they loved it that Robert shared on all his social media, our movie poster nice yeah man and I was just like Jesus Christ. You know what I mean? Like Of course of course of course. I was like I cried a little.

Alex Ferrari 35:38
You should cry a lot, sir. That's a hell of an accomplishment, man. No questions. Now, can you tell me the book that had the biggest impact on your life or career?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 35:48
I mean, obviously Rebel was a one

Alex Ferrari 35:49
Rebel Without a crew. Of course,

Alejandro Montoya Marin 35:51
Rebel Without a crew was one of them. But I love the Godfather. Like I loved the Godfather I that way I love the movie already. When I was a kid, like I saw that movie way too young

Alex Ferrari 36:05
I my my six year olds already seen it. It's amazing.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 36:08
That's a fantastic movie. And then reading the book was just pretty mind blowing. Like, I was like, oh my god. This is amazing.

Alex Ferrari 36:17

Alejandro Montoya Marin 36:17
It's an amazing movie. There's a lot of stuff that that's not in the movie. So it just makes everything seem better, or not better. But like, we discovered little layers of it's,

Alex Ferrari 36:27
It's more flavor. It's just different layers of flavor to something that you thought was delicious in the first place. Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 36:39
And by the way, it's game of nerds?

Alex Ferrari 36:40
There it is good game of nerds?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 36:43
I think it is game of nerds. Jeez, that's a that's a tough one. Man. I think one big one that I've been discussing a lot is you can't really compare yourself to everyone because everyone has a different trajectory that you're going that they're taking to get to the top or to get to one of the top spots or you know,

Alex Ferrari 37:13
Wherever they're going wherever they go.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 37:14
Exactly. So when you see someone that didn't struggle, maybe as much as you or

Alex Ferrari 37:22
Like Robert like, like Robert like 23 he gets a frickin studio deal. Yeah, man, but he sold his blood. He was married. He had kids he married enough. Fair enough. But a lot of people, a lot of people would still bust his balls like you were 23 you got it handed to you. But they don't know that story of all the other stuff they had to go through to get to that point. But still, I get a I see your point.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 37:41
Yeah, no, it's you just can't compare yourself. If it happens, it happens. I think that I never wanted. First of all I can I don't think I'll ever be as talented as Spielberg or Rodriguez or Tarantino. But if I those guys are just like they're just so good at what they do. And I think the fact that if I can make a living and live comfortably doing art and making films, I it feels like I accomplished what I set out to do in life.

Alex Ferrari 38:12
No, absolutely. I mean, if you can make a living doing your art My God, you've won, right? You've won dude. And like, and you don't have to be the major league, you know, star that hits 100 home runs in a season. Like exactly you could be the guy with a 250 average and that's just working and getting people on base and doing your job and making a living doing what you love. You don't you know, there are those look, there's there's only one LeBron there's there's only one Michael Jordan and you know, there's a whole a whole League of guys who wanted to be Michael Jordan.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 38:46
Exactly. It's, you know, it's I don't know, man. I feel like that's the that's the ultimate goal. You're doing what you love. It's like the RED LETTER MEDIA guys on YouTube. You know what I mean? They look like they're having a blast.

Alex Ferrari 39:01
Yeah, absolutely. Look rocketjump those guys. I mean, yeah, it wasn't the teeth, chicken teeth or roosterteeth. roosterteeth. Yeah, Rooster Teeth, chicken T. Rooster. Rooster Teeth. Those guys are they're having a ball. You know? Are they making Avengers? No, but they're having a ball and that's okay. That's perfectly fine.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 39:25
Right time. They're paying their bills. They're hanging out with people that love art and they're having fun. Like, dude, you're good.

Alex Ferrari 39:32
You're good at that point. Now, what are three of your favorite films of all time? Star Wars The Godfather of pulp fiction. Good, good trio. Good. Good. Good. Now and where can people find you online?

Alejandro Montoya Marin 39:45
They can go to Instagram and look up Alejandro Montoya Marino, one word, or on Facebook and it kinda Mongolia marine and also on YouTube. I have a YouTube page that I don't really do a lot on but it has music videos, short films, and I usually document on my iPhone when we go to another film five minute videos of just what we're doing on a montage of music and nice to do

Alex Ferrari 40:11
Nice that and of course you have your website.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 40:14
I do www.AlejandroMontoyaMarin.com.

Alex Ferrari 40:17
Very cool, man. Alejandro, man, thank you for sharing your journey with us, man. And congratulations, man. I mean, you've definitely you're one of five people who had a very unique experience. So that's why I wanted to have you on the show. And thank you again, for the inspiration, sir.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 40:32
No, thank you so much for having me, man. And hopefully, people can go check out the show because it definitely has a feel of inspiration and a feeling that you shouldn't you shouldn't give up if you really want it. Because I mean, come on, man. I never I never thought in my mind. Yeah, I'm gonna shake Robert Rodriguez and and we're gonna talk about credit or in his office.

Alex Ferrari 40:56
Right! That's generally not in the cards for most people.

Alejandro Montoya Marin 41:00
Exactly. I never thought it would like we would say that, like, You're crazy, man. Thank you so much for having me. This was fun. I was looking forward to this.

Alex Ferrari 41:08
Thanks, man. I gotta admit, I'm a little jealous, I gotta admit. No, but seriously, I want to thank all 100 for coming on and sharing his journey. But I mean, who wouldn't want this opportunity who wouldn't have wanted to be mentored by Robert Rodriguez and go through this process, and I'm so glad it's worked out for him. And Monday is an awesome action movie. And if you guys get a chance to watch it, definitely see it on the El Rey network, which I'll put links in the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/252. And if you guys have not read Robert Rodriguez, his legendary book called Rebel Without a crew, about his experience making, and mariachi and his Hollywood experience, which I think is even more interesting of what he went through, and how he kind of rose the ranks with that movie. It is a an eye opening book. So I will have a link for it in the show notes as well. Please check it out. And also check out the show it is going to be airing on the El Rey network. I'd also like to thank our new sponsor streamlet.com. Now if you're selling your film on amazon prime, and noticing that you're not getting a whole lot of cash for nowadays, think about also putting it on streamlet. It is a SVOD platform, a subscription based platform where your movie will not be buried, it's free to submit and has a royalty rate three times as much as Amazon. So you get to keep all the rights. So if you want to submit your film today, go to streamlette.com that's s t r e a m l e t t e.com. And I'll leave a link to it in the show notes. And that's it another one in the can number 252 Thanks for all the support guys. And again, if you have not gone to filmmakingpodcast.com and leave me a good review a good five star review. Stop what you're doing right now and go do that. If you liked the show, it helps me out helps to show out so so much. So thanks for your support, guys. And as always keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.



  • Rebel without a Crew – The Series
  • Alejandro Montoya Marin – Official Site
  • Alejandro Montoya Marin – Facebook
  • Alejandro Montoya Marin – Instagram
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”0452271878″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Rebel without a Cre[/easyazon_link]w
  • Robert Rodriguez – 10 Minute Film Schools


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  3. Rev.com – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)

IFH 100: Aaron Kaufman – Producing Robert Rodriguez & Directing James Bond

I can’t believe we’re here: Episode 100! This is incredible!

Well, the first IFH Podcast episode went live in September 2015. That’s a short time to be able to produce 100 podcast episodes, but what can I say I’m a hustler.

I’m so glad I finally got around to launch Indie Film Hustle because the podcast has done wonders for my brand, my career, and my life. The results were far beyond what I had ever imagined.

It allows me to reach more people than I could ever do with just my blog alone, and at the same time create a much deeper connection with them too. Beyond that, it has opened up doors to my filmmaking career, keynote speaking opportunities, potential book deals and more.


Without you, the Indie Film Hustle Tribe, the IFH Podcast would have never reached episode 100 or become the #1 filmmaking podcast on iTunes! I owe you guys so much, and that’s why I’m extremely excited for the next 100 episodes of this podcast.

If you enjoyed this episode or any of the other of the 99 episodes of the podcast, and you have not left a rating or review yet on iTunes, I would really appreciate an honest review and rating from you. It’s one of the most important parts of the ranking in the iTunes algorithm, but more than that, it’ll show future indie filmmakers that this is (or is not) worth their time.

To quickly leave a review, open up iTunes and search for Indie Film Hustle Podcast and then leave a rating and review as shown below. You can do this on your mobile device as well, and even if you’re not subscribed, and even if you listen on another platform – this is where I’d love your review.


This Weeks Special Guest – Aaron Kaufman & Brian Levin

In this special episode of the show, I have a chat with Aaron Kaufman. Not only was he Robert Rodriguez’s producer on films like Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Machete and Machete Kills but he also directed a film called Urge starring James Bond Legend Pierce Bronson.

aaron kaufman, Urge, Robert Rodriguez, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Machete, Machete Kills, film producer, film producing, producing, indie film, filmmaking, indie film hustle

via Urge, 2015

I grilled poor Aaron on all things, Robert Rodriguez, working with big stars, dealing with studios with $50 Million+ budgets in the balance and much more.

We also invite later on the show one of Aaron Kaufman’s producing partners, Brian Levin, from their new film Flock of Dudes starring Chris D’Elia, Hilary Duff, Jamie Chung, and Ray Liotta. I had a ball speaking with these guys. 

Here’s to the Next 100 Episodes!

Thank you all so much for your support! Here’s to the next 100 episodes! If you have any guest suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments!

Keep that hustle going, keep that dream alive and I’ll talk to you soon.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 0:00
I like to welcome to the show Aaron Kaufman man thank you so much for reaching out to me man I'm excited to have you on the show.

Aaron Kaufman 19:42
Yeah, it's I really like your show. Thanks so much for having me.

Alex Ferrari 19:43
Thanks, man. How'd you find but just out of morbid curiosity, how did you find out about me or like

Aaron Kaufman 19:50
No, I mean I actually really love that there's this sort of podcast community building. You know, I like like john Auguste show great mazes. Great. You know, obviously MPR does the business. But if you look up if you google like that, you know the good film, podcast, you come up on those all the time. So once once I started getting into those, I was like, what else is out there? And that's kind of how I came across it.

Alex Ferrari 20:13
Yeah, there's a lot of great filmmaking podcasts out there, and they're building more getting more and more, there's a bunch more and more coming up every day. So it's just such a wealth of information. I mean, such a wealth of information,

Aaron Kaufman 20:23
which is great, because when I was when I started, there was not there was nothing Oh, yeah, you would, you would like look, you would have to go to like the the dove. Whatever that guy's name is stuff. Simmons. Simmons. Simmons, weekend course.

Alex Ferrari 20:36
Today, uh, today film school? Yep. And I actually had Doug was number in my eighth guest. He was on show number eight, and he's still exactly the way you remember him.

Aaron Kaufman 20:47
I only only remembered a couple things. One, I remember I only went because I was told and I don't know that this is true, because I haven't been able to confirm it. That Quentin Tarantino in blonde to his Yes, yeah, Will Smith. But I know quintard you know, and I asked him about it. And he really did get me. I don't know that it's true. Like he's sort of looked at me confused. It's I don't actually know that he that that's true. I don't know for breaking the story here. But Wow,

Alex Ferrari 21:09
It's so so that's been this big. That has been his big calling card for the last two decades.

Aaron Kaufman 21:14
It's possible, but I wasn't able to confirm it. And then to I'm trying to think about the the advice at the time. And the biggest piece of advice I remember Doug giving was that you got to treat your actors. Well, you should cut the bagels beforehand, for the actors don't have to cut the whole mix.

Alex Ferrari 21:33
That's actually quite great advice.

Aaron Kaufman 21:36
I've gotten in the position I'm in today.

Alex Ferrari 21:39
And the other great I had a great piece of advice from an old dp when I was on set once and you know, I was on an indie It was like a small budget, you know, music video or something. And the producer came I ever was what's for lunch? And the DP just turned to me and said, Oh my god, they're spinning wheels of death. Do you know what spinning wheels of death are?

Aaron Kaufman 21:59
Is that vaguely that would bagels? No, those are pizzas. Oh God, because there's no protein. And it's all it's all bread.

Alex Ferrari 22:04
It's just all bread. And it just slows the crew down. And it's it's just cheap food, you know, generally speaking, so you'd never want to feed your crew. Now, if you can help it maybe once in a blue moon, but if you can

Aaron Kaufman 22:16
Grab services, my specialty.

Alex Ferrari 22:20
So how did you get into the crazy world of filmmaking? Man? Wow, I

Aaron Kaufman 22:23
Always wanted to I mean, since I can remember, I don't really I don't really have other interests or other talents or, or anything like that. When I was young, no, it was I guess, 1314. And I wanted to, I think I saw do the right thing when I was 14. And, and that was and I was like, blown away. Because I didn't before that I really know what a director really did or was and I think Steven Spielberg was probably the only other director I was aware of. And then what was cool was Spike Lee actually wrote these books. I don't know if you ever I don't know if you ever saw them or not. Yeah, they they're great. In fact, I think they still are great. But what was cool about it is he kept these journals. And he published them. So like, Robert did it like Robert did? Yeah. But it was before Robert. And actually, I was surprised when I met Robert, initially that he was a big fan of those books. Because I didn't know anybody else would love them. But like she's got to have it. School Days and do the right thing. And then I think he did them. He did them for a while. I think he did them all the way up to Mach max. Oh, wow. But yeah, but what was cool about him was he really kept a journal. And a lot of the questions I had like, what the fuck does a director he answered those himself, you know, we're like, what is this? Or how do you do this? Or when do you do that? Or how much should this cost, and he literally has an image, if you read the one for her, she's got to have it, he literally moved, he like, rented a editing, you know, flatbed and moved it into his studio apartment. And he's writing about trying to figure out how to how to work, you know, so he, he really started from that point. And because there's when you read film books, normally from like, we read the books of great directors, it's always like, I was born. And then when I directed my first feature, yada, yada, yada. They're like, Whoa, what happened in between? Like, you know, how did you how did you make this movie? You know, how did this happen? And so his was the first I'd read where he really got into the nitty gritty. And then from there, I was really off, but um, it took me a while I was I spent a lot of my 20s doing other things. But when I was, I guess about 27 or so, I had my first job in entertainment, which was, um, I may be a little older. I was 28 maybe. But I started working for Chris Blackwell, at Palm Pictures, which was the company started after after Island Records, and that was my first exposure. And that was great because I got to touch, you know, everything from music to film. He was even doing some really early online stuff at the time, and so it was is a great place to sort of start learning a lot about the business and then from there it's been step by step you know trying to produce and then eventually producing films and then eventually working with Robert Rodriguez and then directing and then talking to you

Alex Ferrari 25:15
so since you bring Robert up on by the way, but I'm just gonna step back for a second for all the kids in the audience a flatbed is how you used to edit film and that there's this thing called film that that you shoot movies on and if you guys haven't seen it she's got to have it if I'm not if I'm not mistaken that's his first feature right? That's his first one yeah, so she's gotta have it was kind of like some kind of great no it's an amazing I remember seeing it in film school and then during that time because it was she's got to have it is one of the he's like he was at that he was at that moment of time where all the independent the big independent movement started right before Quentin and mariachi and clerks and and sex lies and videotape. It was all during those like late 80s, early 90s and the the independent explosion and spike was right there, which he's got to have and he's one of the first guys to come out the gate.

Aaron Kaufman 26:09
Yeah, I saw that in high school. And then because I saw I think I saw do I think first and then went back and sorted out the mood. Yeah. But But then, I remember like hearing about the Sundance Film Festival for the first time when I was in maybe 11th grade. And Steven Soderbergh. And then, you know, the whole Quentin Roberts thing happened after that, and that was when I mean there was such a vitality now. That's fine that it's it's almost a bummer now. Because you know, that's the it just, it's it's that time I you just not gonna have another time like that. I think in the foreseeable future.

Alex Ferrari 26:45
It was like it's basically like the 70s like, you'll never see a run of movies and directors explode like they did in the 70s. It was just a different time. You know, having Scorsese to taxi driver and EZ rider and the godfathers and jaws and all these kinds of guys just blow up. Same thing happened for the 90s that that little early part of the 90s, late 80s, early 90s of that independent explosion came out. Yeah, it's and it's something that I don't I think there's gonna be something like that again. But it'll be different like now, but I just there's just so much now.

Aaron Kaufman 27:18
I thought in the early mid 2000s, I thought you would see it because there was that like Michel Gondry? Yeah. Oh, God.

Alex Ferrari 27:27
Yeah, the commercial guys. Yeah. And Mark Womack, and

Aaron Kaufman 27:29
those guys ensure and all those guys, yeah, Chris Cunningham, who actually never has still not made a feature.

Alex Ferrari 27:35
But did Chris cut did Chris Cunningham do inspector get? No, that's David Kellogg.

Aaron Kaufman 27:40
Yeah, I think I think Chris is still not made it but he's crazy. He's amazing. Those big short videos.

Alex Ferrari 27:46
Oh, God, amazing stuff. Amazing.

Aaron Kaufman 27:48
And so that was sort of I thought, you know, obviously, we got some, you know, Mark Romanek, and we got out of out of that time, but that's like the last sort of movement of any kind. I think you can probably add Sophia Roman Coppola tonight as well. But but there hasn't been and I was always thought even back then, because Palm Pictures owned a magazine called rez magazine, which was started by a couple guys in a friend of mine named john schoolies. And they were really early to the digital world, you know, this was like back to, you know, be really, in 2000 2001. And I really thought that that, that the digital would bring in sort of a new wave because now there's all these people that have a voice that can now make a film. I mean, I I'm old enough to remember taking film courses that we had to we because we're dealing with film short answer millimeter, well, not only doing short ends, but where you would direct a shot, and then you would move over and the next person because you're because you're dealing with the you know how expensive film is now it's like, people can do stuff on their, on their phones. I'm waiting for that crest and that wave of sort of new filmmakers and and I'm sure they're, they're here, they're, you know, you're in, in spots. But there hasn't been like a movement of brand new filmmakers that come out

Alex Ferrari 29:10
of that. And I feel and I feel that and now we're, again off a little bit off the subject, but I'll say this one thing, and then we'll move on, because I feel that that there is a lot of talent now and you can see it and there's these kids who like that, like oh, I already made my first feature 14 I'm like, you know, go screw yourself. Now. You and me are like john sonova, you know, and I love it. I know I love it, too. I love it. But I'm like, I wish I just haven't.

Aaron Kaufman 29:34
It just hasn't. There's a lot of stuff being created. But I don't know that there's a lot of you know, there isn't the voices per se. Right to to support

Alex Ferrari 29:45
right. And also, I think the other big aspect is even if there is some good work out there, trying to break through the noise. You have to have a marketing degree. You have to have an audience you have to have so many different things just to get noticed. Sometimes it's your time It's really, really tough to, to break through as opposed to the early 90s. Like clerk like Kevin Smith said, He's like, if I show up with clerks today, I would never get no one would even look at me.

Aaron Kaufman 30:11
And I said, Is anything about the movie that that is integral to me? is Larry Clark kids? Oh, I think about that, because that was at that moment, especially in New York. Oh, every everybody of my generation. Yeah, that's their, you know, that's their American Graffiti. I remember he says, about our generation, but that movie today, I don't, you know, it would be tough to get that movie, a digital release. You know, like it getting any kind of real support around a digital release for it would be difficult. It was it was difficult. Again, you have something like, like Shaun Baker, who did tangerine, you know that that pops out. And that's interesting. I just, I'd like to, I'd love to see more stuff like that, where, you know, you're, you're seeing people use new technology in different ways.

Alex Ferrari 30:59
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So let's get into the the question you brought up or you brought him up earlier today, you work with the legendary Robert Rodriguez, how did you get involved working with Robert,

Aaron Kaufman 31:11
I've worked, I worked I worked with Robert from, I guess 2009, up until about 2015. And was left to direct my first feature, but I, I had talked to Robert a few times. And I guess I had tried to pitch him projects, which when I got to work with him, I realized how futile those times was like, cool. I'm, you know, I'm trying to pitch Robert Rodriguez. And maybe we'll do it and then I realized work with him like, Oh, I'd never never really had a chance to mostly because he he really generates so much of his of his work by by themselves, which is what makes them super special. But um, but eventually I kind of asked, you know, what was it that you if he wanted to do, you know, and he was in a bit of a transitional period after Grindhouse, and but he's still he still wanted to sort of explore that, you know, Ryan house and met with sort of, not the response that they were they were looking for, I think, I think he still felt like, man, there's something there. And he just didn't want to, you know, kind of move on and admit defeat. And so we talked about machete, he said, You know, I have this sort of 40 page outline of what I want to do. And I'd like to make it into a feature. And I immediately was like, great. Yeah, I mean, he I knew machete I remember that was the first image that comes up on the on Grindhouse, and the just like, like I was, I was in love immediately, because it was just everything I had grown up with, and it was all distilled into this, this, this trailer, and it's kind of masterful, and so I was I was in, you know, like a, like a cold number. Right? You drank the Kool Aid. So I was like, whatever. Yeah, it was like, I will kill I'll do whatever I have to do to get this done. And it was, um, it had an interesting path where, you know, I went down to Austin, and I got to see troublemaker which he had built, which was his own studio, which he had had from Spy Kids on. From like, 2000, I think are on he had this studio, which was like a decommissioned airport that they used to use for the governor. And he now had his own green screen his own soundstages upon everything. Yeah, yeah. And it was it for me. I was once I saw that it was it was oh, you know, I was I was I was like, I'll figure out how to how to move down here and work here because there was just nothing. There's no there's no equivalent You know, there's really I mean, maybe maybe Peter Jackson and maybe George Lucas right. You know, as far as having your own fiefdom but but he is was it was just outrageous, you know, and then also, I'm, I'm a real fan of old. I really love anything that's kind of old showbiz. And there was kind of even though we're in Texas and it was 115 degrees or whatever, it was down there. It had kind of an old showbusiness feel to it because you had you know you had your costume department and you had your you know, this department and you had makeup inherent and everything was set up and he had a staff on board and all of his staff were like really film nerds you know they really were focused on the craft and so it was just amazing and I we initially were going to put machete together as a small sort of direct video product and his remember Robert really was like look the only thing that you know has to stay constant is getting trailer has to play we should of course Yeah, well you say of course but you know, there were other people that would have made this movie with him and there's other people that would have financed this movie with him but they were like great get Antonio Banderas to play machete and we're you know, we'll give you $25 million right and and he really stuck to his guns It was like no machete is Danny Trejo Dini trail is machete there's just you know, there's just no two ways about it. And I said yeah, to me, I thought the same way course. So I remember, it was funny. When we first sat down and we were in Austin. I remember two things distinctly one was we called Danny Trejo and he was like, I'm gonna call him and let him know, you know, because this is the first time Danny was ever the star of a movie.

Alex Ferrari 35:16
Right? He's always been he's always been the he's the character actor.

Aaron Kaufman 35:19
Oh yeah, it's really interesting. I know people catch it. But if you go and look at machete, what's interesting is we we went through other movies that that Danny had done, where he got killed by the main star, and he had been killed by Steven Seagal a number of times. You know, he gets killed and he, which he did with Robin. Yeah, so we started going and populating the movie with people who he who had been killed him in the past, and now puts

Alex Ferrari 35:46
it on the screen. That's brilliant. That's actually quite brilliant. It's

Aaron Kaufman 35:48
actually it's actually the only time Steven Seagal little trivia. One time Steven Seagal ever dies on screen is in Michigan. And I remember that was a big deal on set that day, but it was just cool. You know, he was top of the call sheet and it was great. But Robert calls him Clinton down. And I guess he was in Louisiana shooting something. And, you know, we're like, great, we're gonna do it. He was so excited. He was so great, which he is he's actually just a really lovely guy. And, and he says, He, I asked them, I said, Well, what, you know, what are you shooting now? And all of a sudden, he pauses. And you hear him open the door to his to his trailer and yell out to somebody, what's the name of his movie? And the person tells you back whatever it was, I forget actually what it was. But he comes back and tells me and Robert and I were laughing zone like, with Danny, you don't know the name of the movie that you're starring in? And he goes, man, I work

Alex Ferrari 36:46
Oh, Does he ever

Aaron Kaufman 36:48
stuff but but he's a great guy. And so that that was sort of the beginning but but what ended up happening was he had such a good vibe about it, the project and people were so supportive of it, that all of a sudden, we're starting to get inbound calls from from people saying, you know, I would do something on this movie, or I would, you know, come down or I would do this and, and Robert, really, to his credit created such an environment down there, where it was really fun for people, you know, so it wasn't like, Hey, we're, you know, we're shooting this in Bulgaria, we're shooting this, whatever it was, like, come down to Austin, the way Robert shoots and get you shot out in three, four or five days. Yeah, I

Alex Ferrari 37:22
was gonna ask you, I was gonna ask. And I know a lot of people always wonder about this, I know the answer. But I want you to kind of tell the audience is how he's able to get this amazing cast, like he gets these these amazing, like a listers to come in and do big parts in his movies. And you look at SimCity, or even my chapter, how does he do it? So please explain it to the audience. We can?

Aaron Kaufman 37:42
Well, yeah, I mean, I think the real the first answer is that, you know, they're fans of his work. And, and I think that, you know, people look at his movies, and they think, you know, there's, you know, john No, the Johnny Depp has ever looked as cool as he has in movies ever looked as amazing and she's looked in his movie. So, you know, for people, it's not that it's, you know, if I were an actor, I would want you know, I would want him to do my posting like, it's true, great sees, he creates these iconic images, you know, but I think that's one level. And then I think the other thing is that he has created an environment down there where, you know, you're going down to Austin, which, you know, for a couple days is a is, is really a great fun place to be, he has this environment where you're not really being, you know, you're not being hassled in the way that you are, but he also creates this thing where, you know, it's and I've tried to keep this with me, it's pretty down to earth, you know, he doesn't really like the whole hierarchy, you know, he likes when people hang out on set, he doesn't really love when people are just in their trailers the whole time. And he fosters that kind of environment where, you know, he's, he's got easel set up with paints and stuff and an artist, so that actors can be, you know, painting portraits and stuff while they're while you know, while they're waiting, instead of being back in their, in their trailer, it just creates like a really artistic and, and really creative environment. And that's when I really started to, I mean, of course, I always knew the importance of the creative, but he really drilled into everybody that it was kind of the only thing that was important. You know, like, it doesn't like, like being creative, being able to express yourself, even if you're not an expert. If you're not an expert painter, you're not expert musician, but just the fact that you're taking your expression and putting it out there is going to make it interesting. That's a really interesting thing. I think for creative people like actors, that's very attractive. And so looking for that opportunity there, they'll come down and then also organizationally, he really knows production very well. And so and he knows editing very well which I found was was very interesting in the sense of he knew that you know, he would know exactly what he needed from someone so he didn't really need to shoot a whole lot outside of what he needed. You know, he'll stop somebody in the middle of something that's okay look, I'm cutting here, so just take it to here. And he so he knows in his head exactly where the cuts are, as he's shooting and it makes it a lot easier and more efficient. So He can shoot somebody out in three or four days. And that's something I've seen him do quite a bit. So the it's, you know, it's him, it's often and it's also that, you know, they're not coming down for 10 weeks, they're coming down for, you know, four days

Alex Ferrari 40:14
right now. And that's like producing a movie like machete and Machete Kills is it as crazy as it is looks like on screen,

Aaron Kaufman 40:23
it's, I would say no, in the sense of we, I mean, I walked into an environment down there, which was pretty, they were pretty well oiled team to begin with. And then my philosophy on things, you know, I'm not a yeller screamer kind of drama person, you know, I like when things are pretty easy going. So you would actually be surprised on the set on our set, how quiet and how sort of efficient it is. I mean, we have a lot of fun. And a lot of the, you know, the stuff that we're doing is, you know, like I would get to go to so there were days where like, I would come to work on Monday, and we were blowing something up. And then the next day, you know, machete is we're trying to figure out how to how to rig a scene where he's pulling someone's intestines out. Yes. So you know, your, your job is definitely not dull. But there's there really wasn't a lot of like, you know, the set itself ran ran like a pretty well oiled machine. And even actors. And even actors that were, you know, known to be difficult on other sets, they tended to be in a different mindset when they came down to work with us. Because they, they, they kind of knew that there wasn't room for the shenanigans. So people were generally on their best behavior when they when they came down, and they enjoyed the

Alex Ferrari 41:40
process. Now, let me let me ask you a question, how this is just a side tip. And of course, you can't name names, but I'm sure you've worked with difficult actors in your, in the past? Yes. What are some tips that you would give a director who happens to be dealing with a big personality who's just acting up or just being a brat? or things like that on a set, especially when the personalities are big? Well,

Aaron Kaufman 42:05
it's a good question. It's not a it's not a easy question to answer. But, but I'll answer it this way, for first and foremost, if you're a first time director, and you're getting a chance to work with talent, even if they're the greatest people ever, but there are big talent. It's it's intimidating, you know, so there's a lot of that that's going on, I would say the first thing to do with people that are difficult is to really take a beat before you react, write a don't initially take it personally, because that's what everybody does, you know, when it's like, Okay, well, I'm going to be offended, and I hate him. And now he hates me, and now, and then this just develops into, you know, terrible this. So I wouldn't, I would say, you know, take a beat, and ask yourself, why is this happening? Right? Because there are a lot of times where you have an actor who doesn't feel comfortable, right, you have an actor who doesn't feel like he's getting enough direction, you have an actor who's self conscious, who doesn't really feel confident about the scene. And I would say, a good half of the time, that's where the sort of bad behavior is coming from, is that and if you can address those things, you'll see that change and, and that's something you have to learn the other 50% of times, you might just be dealing with people that are terrible. People,

Alex Ferrari 43:15
and why in Hollywood know

Aaron Kaufman 43:17
it, but it happens, right? And so if you, if you take a beat, and that's your deduction, you know, the one thing you need to be able to do is you do have to maintain control, a lot of a lot of ways, that's your job as a director is, you know, just being at the helm. And, and, and being able to say, okay, you know, this is, this is my set. And this is how we're going to, we're going to do this. And so you can do have to do that, my suggestion is that you wait for those moments, and then you bring it out when you have to bring it out. Because it happens, you know, you have an actress who woke it out of her trailer or takes too long and she's eating into your time, you know, there are the times where you have to go to their trailer yourself and handle it. And that's, that's something I would recommend is you know, there are a lot of ways to kind of avoid confrontation because you can have your your ad do better, you'd have your somebody else to one of the best things to do is to try to handle it yourself at times, because there's stuff that they'll pull with. If you have somebody who's a problem person. There's stuff that they'll pull with, you know, with other people on the set that they won't necessarily pull with the director,

Alex Ferrari 44:21
or the producer for that

Aaron Kaufman 44:22
matter. Yeah. With that being being the director has a lot more weight than being a producer.

Alex Ferrari 44:30
Now, did you ever hear the story of Frank Oz and Marlon Brando?

Aaron Kaufman 44:34
I have it's actually one of my favorite where he where he said, I'm not one of your Muppets,

Alex Ferrari 44:39
right? Yeah. You can't wait for the audience. This Frank Oz who's a really great director, and also the voice of Yoda. And also a voice of I think the Muppets he was he was a puppeteer.

Aaron Kaufman 44:52
He's a Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which

Alex Ferrari 44:54
is, oh my God. He did yeah, I mean, he's He's really good. He's a really good director. And he was Directly movie called the score if I if I remember correctly. I also think that we're Norton, Edward Norton, Robert De Niro and the late Marlon Brando and Marlon would not allow him on set. He had to direct from his trailer and the only way he would talk to him as if Robert De Niro was it would would be the middle person yeah and I guess because he was Marlon Brando he got away with it like because yeah,

Aaron Kaufman 45:23
I mean I you know, it's interesting I always heard those stories and then obviously the Island of Dr. Moreau stories oh that's hilarious where he had like a ice bucket and he insisted on wearing in his head yeah during the scenes and and all this other stuff but what's interesting is if you that documentary that that that guy Steven Riley did this movie Marlon if you watch that and it's it's interesting because you you get a real feel for Brando that he a lot of that the torture a lot of the bad behavior quote unquote that he was that he was guilty of a lot of it a came from the fact that he was bored you know that a lot of times just the the Act was he just wasn't finding enough to get him that excited. And to that he was trying to bring something interesting. If you go back and watch the Island of Dr. Moreau like if you watch the documentary about a couple that was called, but it just makes Marlon Brando look like a monster. Then you go back and watch Don Island Dr. Moreau and you go hey, this is not a great movie. But But what's great about it is everything weird that mark Brando is doing

Alex Ferrari 46:29
he's trying to do something basically so

Aaron Kaufman 46:31
I don't exactly I've forgotten exactly what the where the rift started between him and Frank Oz but obviously he got to a point where he was just like, you know, I don't trust this person and he's gonna be a monster and he was of a mindset that it he wasn't worried about getting work in the future. He wasn't worried about anything. He's Marlon Brando. Yeah. So so that's that but but yeah, the Muppets story is is is is hysterical, but Frank Oz to me he's actually done a bunch of cool movies. And and I I've never met him, but I've heard he's a really nice guy.

Alex Ferrari 47:02
Yeah, man. And he's for god sakes. He's the voice of Yoda. I mean, seriously, I mean, that'll that alone gets you drinks wherever you go for the rest of your life, I think so you also worked on another little film called Sin City the sequel to Sin City with with Robert What was it like jumping into that that seat? Because I mean, Sin City was a game changing movie it was like you know is iconic what Robert did with the first one. So to come back and do the second one How did that feel? And how what are some stories you could tell me

Aaron Kaufman 47:34
super scary. Really scary. I mean, I when I started working with him, obviously I was a big fan of really all of his work. Really everything Robert had done including the Spy Kids movies, and but obviously since it was just such a landmark movie and the idea of getting back into that world and you know, continuing the stories because I was a big fan of the comics. In fact, that was one of our first conversations that kind of hit it off with Robert and I were not about Frank Miller but about Frank frazetta. And you know, the those conversations where I told him what a big fan I was and we started talking about that I think he cared way more about that than any knowledge that I may have had about about film or filmmaking. And so the I was a huge Frank Miller fan and the idea of going back and some of the other stories that I knew had been written and not published to bring those into you know make those a movie out of those was just so interesting. And you know, so I wanted to make it I won't get into the whole the vagaries of it all but the just the rights and getting it to just the point where we could make that movie really so I mean, there's a probably a book in there because they had done it originally with Miramax, right REMAX was owned by Disney at the time. Yep. And then the Weinstein's had left as well, The Weinstein Company and then Disney, Disney didn't hadn't hadn't renewed the rights and and so at some point, and then Frank Miller had, you know, claims on the right so that's one point there was like five different entities from the the new Miramax the new Weinstein Company, Disney, Frank Miller, a couple other guys that that were that essentially all challenged the rights and said, you know, we own that. So just cleaning that up, took about a year. Okay. And it was Yeah, it was it was to the point where every once in a while Rob would say maybe it's not meant to be, you know, and so, between the two of us that was like, No, we, we have to do this right to get it made. And then so that we did that, and ultimately, what people don't necessarily realize is since 82, we made that independently. It was released by the Weinstein's but we actually put that together as a pretty large independent movie.

Alex Ferrari 49:55
You mean so you guys you mean Robert finances himself? No, he didn't.

Aaron Kaufman 50:00
But he helped to finance it he helped to put it together Robert Roberts actually outside of the filmmaker credit credit that I gave him he he actually picked up the film finance and in sort of the business side of things and he picked a lot of that up very quickly and he would get involved so he and I can I actually put it together piece by piece from you know equity and foreign sales to debt etc There were a lot of people that ended up working on getting that made but it was it was pretty much it was a pretty crazy achievement even before cameras roll on on the movie then as far as the creative goes you know getting that script to a point where you know it was going to make fans you know there was such a the the the fan involvement was something I was not really familiar with you know I did Comic Con for the first time with machete

Alex Ferrari 50:52
that's a circus that a half isn't it?

Aaron Kaufman 50:55
Oh man in some ways it's great and in some ways it's super scary because you're we did a haulage presentation that's like 7000 people yeah, that was the that was where Robert announced that that if we ever did a third machete it would be machete in space

Alex Ferrari 51:12

Aaron Kaufman 51:12
that was like I remember just like 5000 phones in Twitter accounts you know like lighting up immediately but but anyway so I was not aware of of that prior Robert was Robert really knows the fans and he himself is really kind of like a super fan when it comes to that world. I was I have that background and that's interesting to me but I'm not as sort of into the vitality of what a comic comic book fan today is really looking for. Robert knows because he is that guy and so he would tell me like oh they're not gonna like this or they're not gonna like it or they're gonna go crazy over this and and he It was good that he had that kind of feel for it cuz I didn't but yeah no the the you know there were times because you're trying to put this cast together and there were times where the producer side of me was like alright, well we can't get this person or this person not available What do you think about this person? And he looked at me like now it's not gonna work you can't replace you know this character or that character because the fans are going nuts

Alex Ferrari 52:13
yeah he's right now

Aaron Kaufman 52:15
yeah so he was totally right and and so it was it was a lot of pressure from all sides to to get that done and but the actual making of that movie went pretty flawlessly you know, we did a lot basically all of a green screen down in Austin and the The production was was actually that was a fun shoot to shoot

Alex Ferrari 52:33
that yeah and yeah is and the one of the things I said least from the behind the scenes and all the things I've read about Sin City is that the reason was able to get people in and out is because he shot everything green screen. So sometimes, you know, Marv would be having a conversation with with Jessica Alba and neither of them were in the room. Like one of them went there and the other one wasn't, and so on and so forth. He would just composite them later.

Aaron Kaufman 52:54
It happens. I mean, if you look at for the first movie, there's the bar scene which I think there's like a d&d extra. I don't watch TV the extras anymore, but

Alex Ferrari 53:03
honestly, this DVD you speak of

Aaron Kaufman 53:04
Yeah, exactly. There's TV extra will show that the bar scene was basically has everybody I mean, it's Mickey Rourke. climo. And Bruce was just God. And they're all in that in that one long bar scene. And I don't think any of them were in the room with each other at the same time.

Alex Ferrari 53:19
Yeah, I know. It's It was pretty like I still remember when I saw Sin City and my mouth just dropped because it was it was at the time when I was making my first film. And it inspired me so much. I was just like, well, Robert, in general, it's been one of my big inspirations. But that movie when I was just like, no one has ever seen anything like that. And how amazing is it that in today's day and age and what SimCity one I think was only about 1011 years ago that came out that you can create something that no one has ever seen before. He literally created a real black and white movie. Like Natalie, I

Aaron Kaufman 53:55
mean, like there's a way to think about it. There's a lot of stuff in that movie where if you were pitching it, there are a lot of objections to why that would be would not work right it's it's it's a it's an anthology film. Yeah, yeah, it's no it's a noir you know, it's super violent. Super violent. Yeah. So so there's a lot of reasons why that didn't work. But why it did work was it people just never experienced anything like that before? And I think that I mean, that could be I'm definitely partial but when I look at a lot of these sort of green screen movies that have made sense, I don't know that any have really been able to go back and and, and replicate the just a pure joy that it was the movie for the first time.

Alex Ferrari 54:35
Well, I know Frank Miller was very vocal in saying that Zack Snyder had a lot to Oh, Robert for 300

Aaron Kaufman 54:45
I think Zack Snyder probably said as well, because it's

Alex Ferrari 54:47
just like I mean serious. I mean, 300 I mean, we can get I don't want to get off on that tangent on Zack but 300 was also one of those movies that you Jesus. I've never seen anything like that. But I think the thing that broke that door open was in-city and Robert Robert broke that door open

Aaron Kaufman 55:01
for sure. In fact, I think I believe Warner Brothers came down and actually checked out kick the tires to sort of get get a feel for how he did it because there was there was actually a certain amount I don't think people understand this part is there was a certain amount of r&d that Robert did prior before he even went to go see Frank Miller there was a r&d that he did he did just to see could could couldn't do this.

Alex Ferrari 55:24
Right. He actually had a pitch video that he put together for to convince Frank because Frank said absolutely not. a million

Aaron Kaufman 55:31
things right. Frankie had a bad experience with was Robocop to Robocop and he was like

Alex Ferrari 55:37
I'm out of here. I don't want to deal with Hollywood. And yeah, and I was actually in the I was actually in the hall h when Grindhouse was being announced. Oh, wow, that was that was that was because Grindhouse I we got it. I love Grindhouse. But I was like when I saw it in the theater, I was one of the few people that

Aaron Kaufman 55:56
I went to a midnight showing of it when the Thursday before the Friday came out. I mean, I was I could not have been more excited for a movie then.

Alex Ferrari 56:04
And you and you were around when he was producing predators as well. Right?

Aaron Kaufman 56:08
Yeah, well, that was kind of cool. Because we when I'm saying like, as far as the old, old showbiz kind of quality of troublemaker was, um, you know, when we were doing machete, predators was getting produced at the same time. And so we had almost like a backlog going in troublemaker where we'd walk. You know, we'd be walking one way and you'd see a brother. Yeah, Danny dress up as machete with like, a severed head. And then the other way, you would see, you know, guys dressed up as predators walking the other way,

Alex Ferrari 56:36
having having coffee and smoking a cigarette, right?

Aaron Kaufman 56:40
Like Roger performing days, I was I was in hog heaven. Like, I was like, it doesn't get any better than this.

Alex Ferrari 56:45
Yeah, that was. So that was a fun film as well, that was such a fun film, to watch predators. So then, so after you've, you've got this, you know, you you, obviously, you learned a heck of a lot working with Robert. And

Aaron Kaufman 56:59
I think the period that that was before my work with Robert, I learned a lot coming from New York world, you earn a lot, you learn a lot on how to kind of be scrappy, and where to find money, and how to put projects together. And those things, and I'm happy that I had that first. Because it really taught me to just sort of not take no for an answer and how to get something, get something made. The next phase working with Robert really taught me the value of the creative and sort of how movies can get made on a broader, bigger scale, but also using that same kind of mentality, you know, because we would try to always make a movie for less than what, you know, we had available to us, you know, we'd always try to, if we could get, you know, 40 million, we'd make it for 30, just because it gave us the flexibility to make what we what we wanted. And so that was, you know, sort of what I learned in that phase, and then just pure production because we were making a movie every nine months when I was there. And so you're just constantly in in production and your that is really the better than any kind of school I could have. Like I could have gone to

Alex Ferrari 58:07
Yeah, I remember when Spy Kids was I mean Spy Kids kind of like launched Robert, I think financially it's his biggest thing right? Still to this day. I think the Spy Kids trilogy.

Aaron Kaufman 58:17
I mean, they're juggling huge. Yeah, we're all pretty huge.

Alex Ferrari 58:20
They were huge successes. I remember on the first one, I think the Weinstein's gave him like 20 million or something like that to make the first one. And then

Aaron Kaufman 58:28
when any of them though, if you look at them the amount of visual effects.

Alex Ferrari 58:32
Oh, no, no, it's it's insane. But my point was, like, on the second one, they were like, Hey, we won't give you more money. Robert was like, nope, no, I'll do it for the same. And, and that was his unit

Aaron Kaufman 58:41
of value. And it's something that I try to remember, I don't always remember. But it's true. But he knew the value of Leave me alone. And I will make something good. And you know, and if you look at SimCity, you know, something that different that weird, you know, that original, if he had made that movie for $120 million, forget, there's no way because you just without much to lose, you'd have people just pulling all over you second guessing, you know, shouldn't really be in black and white. That's the whole thing that's been black one, can we do this? Can we do that? You know, could could these YouTube influencers be the star, you know, whatever.

Alex Ferrari 59:19
So with that said, with that said, because you bring up a very good point, what is your whole take on this whole YouTube influencers or social media stars, going into traditional media, where many times they might be a hit in their medium, which is making funny YouTube videos, or doing things like that, but when they try to translate that into another platform, that they're just, you know, they're not actors? They're not. They don't have those skill sets. They don't have those kinds of things. I see a lot of that happening lately. I think Hollywood starting to get burned a lot from it. What do you What's your opinion on it?

Aaron Kaufman 59:52
You can't You can't fault them for trying, right? If you're looking, they're looking and saying, Okay, this person's able to do You know, people to watch whatever they're doing 40 million times that, you know, just logically that should probably translate, you know, to to the theater. I personally think that all of this could be good. It's fine. It but it's not. It's not predictive because it doesn't really have anything to do with the quality of a film. You know, you you can have somebody who's super fake, you know, Kim Kardashian is super famous. But if you put her in a starring role in a movie, that doesn't mean you have

Alex Ferrari 1:00:32
a successful movie, it would be glitter,

Aaron Kaufman 1:00:34
or never was Pamela Anderson's movie barbed wire, you know, I mean, I

Alex Ferrari 1:00:39
think barbed wire was actually a little bit better than glitter. I'm gonna say, I'm gonna go out on a limb here.

Aaron Kaufman 1:00:44
Let's just spend the rest of this time just debating the barbed wire verse glitter,

Alex Ferrari 1:00:49
versus Gillette.

Aaron Kaufman 1:00:53
But but you know what I'm saying. So that's the, that's the the issues, whenever you've seen that, where you're basically just exploitative of someone's fame, it doesn't, it doesn't really translate because they're different things, you know what I want to, if I'm somebody who will watch a reality show, that doesn't mean I'm going to spend you know, my money on a Friday to go see that person in the movie, I still want to know him to get a good story. And to get a good movie, someone like Tom Cruise people go, Oh, I know, that, you know, that's going to be this kind of movie that I enjoy, I'm gonna go see it. And that's why he's able to draw people to to a theater. So I think that all of this stuff, potentially could be good, you know, technology could potentially be great. But at the end of the day, it they have to have the goods, you know, it's a matter of, you know, them being able to do it if you look at the 70s and, you know, Coppola and fried chicken. And, you know, those guys were, they were taking advantage of certain technology as well at the time, but they were translating it into into, you know, masterpieces. Um, I think that's what you need to see now. I would look more at a movie like Bellflower. I don't remember that. Yeah, no, yeah. So everyone else, like, those are guys who they took not a lot of money. And they, you know, it took a long time to make that movie. And it's, by no means a masterpiece. But it is, it was interesting, and it was different. And I think that's what people have an opportunity to, to do now is, you know, you've got a studio in with your computer and your phone. And you know, if you have a camera, you have your own studio. So don't try to do what a studio already does. Because you're never going to do it as good as I've said that dude. So that's why Bellflower was cool to me, because it was like, oh, they're not trying to replicate a I realize that kind of an old came up five or six years ago, but but that was one one of the few movies where I saw it, I think tangerine is example of it as well, where I was like, okay, they're actually using new technology, they're actually using the the lack of resources to create their own aesthetic. And, and that's interesting, and that will get people's attention and I think that adds to your that that creates something worthwhile. What I see a lot of times is people that use technology to sort of just make shoddy your versions of what you are, you're used to seeing who wants to see that

Alex Ferrari 1:03:08
right and I think that's what a lot of people make mistakes and independent film is they try to and I and I was one of them I was trying to compete with a $200 million movie and you just not it's just it's it's you can't you can't get the star power you can't get the technical stuff and it's just like you said a shot of your version of what they're doing better in that story wise, but just technically, and I think that's where a lot of independent filmmakers kind of fall fall flat and the ones that do break out like Napoleon Dynamite like a tangerine they they just do them very well they do what they're trying to do very well and they stay within the world that they're capable of doing like bottle rocket or you know any of those kind of movies they didn't try to be something else so they're not they tried to be who they were.

Aaron Kaufman 1:03:52
Yeah, and if you go back to whatever the 90s before you go look at Richard Linklater Yeah, yeah, slacker. slacker. Right? It's like that's that's good. And that was its own movie and he almost used the rawness of it to to to to do it but at the end of the day, he had a lot to say and there was there was really interesting stuff there mariachi you know again super rudimentary and it wasn't about the the quality per se but he had a style he had a something to to put out there so so i think that's that's where I'm I look at I look at the world and I think to myself that it's almost a shame that we don't have you know, where are our next five Scorsese's? You know, I'm sure they're out there somewhere and they have the ability now to get our attention in a way that that's what he did.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:41
Exactly. Now, real quick, I want to ask you on a side note, what do you think about like this summer's blockbuster movie performances, and and the state of where we are with with the studios and the tentpoles and all that kind of stuff because this summer was pretty man

Aaron Kaufman 1:05:00
It was I have to say though in full disclosure I I do find myself within my 40s now and I do find myself a little I sound like an old dude these days because all I do is complain about all I do is complain about the fact that you know they don't make them that way anymore and I'm living in New York now. And again, they just opened up a theater called the metrograph in Lower East Side and they only project film and it's this kind of glorious place I mean, it's like it was like a bookstore and restaurant. theaters are great yeah, it's super cool. But why bring it up as they did the Palmer retrospective awesome. Oh, and so I kept going back like a junkie I mean, I was like I couldn't

Alex Ferrari 1:05:51
Can you imagine just going and doing a retrospective of the Palmer's work in the film in the theater?

Aaron Kaufman 1:05:56
Get every film they did every film and I'll see just see you know even Phantom of the paradise and and and just to kill and just seeing that you know fluttering in beautiful 35 millimeter Yeah, I was I was just literally could not like anytime I had some time and I can do it i was i was going back to it's all I wanted to do and then I went to see right around the time I was seeing all these movies again. I went to see Warcraft with my

Alex Ferrari 1:06:23
sorry yeah

Aaron Kaufman 1:06:26
The truth is you know Warcraft it's not terrible You know, there's some good performances in it you know, barbed wire it's not powerful but at the same time I was like, you know, this is what it's become it's almost it's almost become something like what I think of film and what film is are almost two different things right now. Because if this does not resemble like this is not why I got into this business it's just not you know, it's loud it's noisy, it's it's somewhat predictable. They are trying to top each other they're trying to make almost like rollercoaster rides more than they're trying to make films it has more than it really has more to do with with that kind of experience than it has anything to do with the Brian Apollo movies that I was going to see. So some people would say that television is really sucking up the the the need that people have and that's why sort of indie film is not not doing what it was. And you know what, there's, there's probably some truth to that. But I will say I'm on grumpy old man. And I definitely missed the the just just that that feeling of excitement of sitting in the theater and and having something blow your mind.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:36
So So after you work with Robert, you decided to to venture off into uncharted territory and direct your first job. What's your first film was called ERJ starring James Bond himself, Pierce was the greatest The greatest Yeah, how did you he arguably he's one of the I he's on my top two or three? top two, I would say top two. What was it like working with with peers and working with a legend like that? Well, I

Aaron Kaufman 1:08:03
had I produced a movie I worked with Linda Howe on a movie called The greatest Pryor a few years prior that he did with students randon. And it was it was really kind of special movie and he gave just an amazing performance guide always remembered that he was in addition to being great that he was just like, super nice and humble and approachable. And he was working with a first time filmmaker on that movie. And I remember Yeah, I remember that being on set and he was just super just really great with her and really was trying to get good performance and really thoughtful and so when I went to make my first feature and I had built this role you know sort of this shadowy character similar to like dinero in Angel Heart you know and i but i wanted someone who can kind of bring a textured performance to it you know, I needed somebody who wasn't just gonna like chewing the scenery but he's gonna because there was some there was a lot of sort of texture to that character that was just called the band in the movie that I needed someone who that and also we were playing with you know, is this with this person was a shadowy character that you know, could be somebody you know, is this devil is this God is this you know, there was there was an element of that there and so I needed someone who had sort of like a otherworldly aspect and so he just came to mind and and it was that plus the fact of I knew that, you know, he would he be great to work with, call them up and send them the script. And, you know, it's always nerve racking, you know, nerve wracking, but he can read the script, and he had a lot of notes and a lot of thoughts. And we talked for a while we met to talk about it as well. And then he came did I was surprised it was it was a little bit of a departure for him. And I think the first day on set because movies, kind of Crazy movie and we had albinos and we had little people and we had, you know, all this little stuff happening in this one scene. And I think he walked in it was like, Whoa, what is this book?

Alex Ferrari 1:10:09
What did I sign up for?

Aaron Kaufman 1:10:11
What is the spoofy by the second day, he was like, okay, we need you know, we need some do we need this we need that. And by the third day, he was just in hog heaven and had like a lot of a lot of fun. So he was really great to work with and then you know, it's just by itself it's it's intimidating to, to try to give direction to somebody like that, because they are there, you know, there's so you've seen them before, they're so great. You know, they know they've been on set longer than you have. But when I gave direction, he was super supportive and collaborative. He had a lot of ideas, the lot, a lot of the smoking stuff, and the sunglasses and a lot of the the characters gear, he had a lot to input for that. And then after that, you kind of sit back and let him do his thing. Which if I wrote the screenplay with Jerry, Jason's on Walt and Jerry Saul, and to hear someone like him, read your or do perform your dial dial. You sound like such a much better writer. My recommendation is have somebody awesome to your movie, because you sound like a much better writer once once they get going.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:21
Is that is that the secret to Quinn's success? No, I'm joking. I think anybody I think anybody

Aaron Kaufman 1:11:28
claiming I had, obviously, way more interaction with Robert, but the interactions I've had with Quentin, he always has good advice. He always has, like a great kind of point of view, you you will you know, within five minutes, I'm going to quit why Clintons quit. You know, like, for instance, even writing he'll tell you like, you know, you know, those scenes that like when the guy's got to get the key to go get in the car without you don't like that. See? Like, if it can't be great, don't write it. So like, put the guy in the car. people figure out, you know that how he got there. And little tidbits like that. It's a great piece of advice. Actually. It's, it's great. You know, it's like, as we're writing like, well, he's just seeing connective tissue. Do we really need it? You know, is it is it seem awesome. And a lot of how I right now, I kind of always had that voice in the back of my head. And I actually also when I worked with Sidney Lumet before he died, oh, yeah, I spent a good amount of time with him working on a project that sadly never never was able to be made. Because he passed away but, but he was he was kind of awesome at giving you little, little crumbs of advice, that at the time, I don't know that I appreciate it. But when I was directing, it all came back to me. I was like, Oh, right. He told me this.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:41
What was the name? What was his name of that book that he wrote? Is it is it was making movies? Yeah, that's a great I mean, anybody who has not if you're being a director, you've got to read that book. I read that book years ago. It's such an amazing, amazing book on directing and, and filmmaking. And the thing is that when you were reading it, he was nervous. He was insecure, you know, he's Sydney frickin limit.

Aaron Kaufman 1:13:06
But what's great about making movies is like I was saying before, but Spike Lee is, and there's actually a lot of sort of analogs between the two of them. But he that book, he actually gives you functional information. He doesn't say like, yeah, so you know, get a great actor to do your movie, and then blah, blah, blah, he gives you like, literally, you know, you should eat lunch later in the day. So you have energy to finish out your day, you know, he he gives you the kind of cute little little anecdotes in addition to his other, you know, writings to really, you know, help you to direct but but yeah, he was he was amazing. And he would tell you, things like that background kills can kill a seat. So always make sure that your that your background looks natural. So he used to back in the day, he would walk up to a crowd and seeing like, 30 people walking by in the background, he would walk up to each one and give them a what he would call a little bit of business. So he'd walk up and be like, hey, so you just got the worst today. And you just found out you have herpes, and you are on your way to lunch and you're super hungry. And he would do this. So they all had some kind of motivation. And if you go back and watch his movies, the backgrounds always flawless.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:15
That's a great piece of advice actually. Can you imagine as an extra having said they love that come over to you and give you some business? Yeah, awesome. So what was the biggest biggest lesson you learned directing urge?

Aaron Kaufman 1:14:28
Well, directing was really enjoyed directing. And I kind of had that my first my first day on set, I had this kind of exhilarating and also scary feeling all at once, which was you know, I was like, wow, this is what I want to do. Like this is it you know, and you don't really know that until you do it your first day. And so that was the first and then second with from that was, you know that you you can't go back you know, so it's like you you get almost there. I was like, Okay, I gotta keep this going, because this is this is this is the greatest time there there is. But directing, you know, really is I learned a lot of listening, listening to your crew, you know, I had good crew, I had people that told me things that, that really were, you know, if you listen to them, there are people that that want to help you. And we also realize that you're dealing with a cult of personality. And so trying to, you know, trying to work with a crew, you can get the best out of them, by really including them. And if you include them, and they and they feel part of the process, they'll give you your best, but you could also work the other way where you're kind of shutting them out, and they stopped caring about the movie as well. So you kind of you almost have to be a little bit of a cult leader to get everybody. And everybody focused in the same direction. And then And then from there, to, to really listen to them. I mean, I had to an ad on on urge in Sherry, who was great. And she told me, you know, look, there are going to be days when you get to said, where everything you've asked for is not going to be the way you want. And you have to be able to roll with that. And at the time, I was like, Wow, she's being super negative, because, you know, I've told everybody what I want. So why would they bring these in, they don't want and then the first day on set where I had asked for something and got something completely different. I wasn't shocked, because I had been prepared for that. And that the little little lot of things are a little thing, but those little things add up and and and that's that's it you're playing you're you're like the conductor and you're playing the crew in in in many ways.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:37
Now what do you like better directing or producing?

Aaron Kaufman 1:16:39
I there's no, I mean, for me, there's no comparison I will always produce because it's what I know how to do. But at the same time directing you realize, like, I realized myself that as a producer, you're doing all the hard stuff, you know, you're doing all the stuff that nobody wants to do. And then the and then you're handing off all the cool things to a director. So that's, that's sort of my feeling on it. But, but I also like producing and producing sort of a different muscle. And I love to work with, you know, people that I think are great, you know, Director wise, and I think I've done it long enough now where I like to be able to take all my battle scars and help somebody not have to necessarily, you know, experiences Hey,

Alex Ferrari 1:17:28
so we're back guys and I want to welcome to the show Brian Levine Levine Levine.

Aaron Kaufman 1:17:33
Levin Levin. Live.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:36
Okay. Just call your Bri nangia Raya, welcome Brian to the show. And Aaron is still here, and we're going to talk about their new, very funny looking movie called flocka. dude's So Brian. I mean, Aaron First tell me how you met Brian. And how'd you get involved with this crazy group?

Aaron Kaufman 1:17:56
Well to name drop a little bit, I was introduced to him by Danny Masterson was a mutual friend of ours. Danny was an urge as well. And we loved it. And he had done a pilot with these guys and said, you know, you got to meet them. They're super funny. And he had had a good experience with them. And he introduced us and Brian and I started to talk. And eventually when they had a rough cut of their the pilot they'd done together for Comedy Central. They asked me to see it, they took a look at it. And I liked a lot. It's very funny. And we were we continued to talk and later on when Robert was working on Spy Kids for we needed some help script wise just doing some punch up and adding some jokes. We have offline scene calling you know, almost daily saying you know, Honey, come on, man, any more jokes. And so

Alex Ferrari 1:18:48
is that that's a great impression of Hey, by the way, it's very good.

Aaron Kaufman 1:18:52
But, but I brought up I was like, you know, I know these guys called the post show that I met and I saw their pilot and they're really funny guys. What about bringing them down? And so Robert brought him down to Austin. And in like two days they wrote like 1000 jokes and Robert immediately life them which was not not something I was expecting. Not that I don't want to take a license immediately and actually gave them small small bit parts in the in the movie. And that that went well and Brian and I had been friends for a while at that point in them. And they had a movie that they had sold to Lionsgate which I'm sure he's going to talk about that they've had an added turnaround that they wanted to make and we ultimately started working together.

Alex Ferrari 1:19:36
So Brian, real quick how the hell was that phone call when he goes hey, do you want to come down to Austin and work with Robert rectory is on something to your waiting for him? How was that? How did you handle that?

Aaron Kaufman 1:19:50
Well, it was kind of from what I remember. It was kind of quick. It was kind of like hey, we need you. We need you like tomorrow. Can you get on a plane so it was Kinda wasn't really that much time to process it, it was just like okay. Yeah. Obviously we'll, we'll be down there as soon as possible.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:09
And how was it working on Spike it for and that whole experience

Aaron Kaufman 1:20:14
it's great. I mean, you know, they have such a, such an interesting setup, they have gone there with the studio and so many resources that they have and obviously, you know, watching Robert operate everything was was really interesting.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:29
Very cool. Now we're in we're in Bryan, where did you get your start? Aaron, tell me a little bit. You You have a show on YouTube? I think you started.

Aaron Kaufman 1:20:36
Yes. So we started in I it was about 10 years ago. We mean, Bob and Jason, the other guys comedians from New York, we started putting up videos online and this was actually before YouTube, oddly enough. And

Alex Ferrari 1:20:55
when were you putting him up? What were you putting up on then?

Aaron Kaufman 1:20:57
We were just we, we put up a website and we just kind of said we're just gonna put up two videos a week. Okay. And we're gonna have a TV show on the internet, which is a new concept. Okay. 1000 or five? Yes, it was and, and that's basically what we did. And, and then YouTube came along, about kind of, like, while we were doing that, and, and that kind of shifted the dynamics. But at that point, were to kind of gotten out to certain people in New York about our show, and we ended up doing a deal with Super Deluxe, which was an online comedy website that was part of Adult Swim.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:40
Oh, very cool. And then and then you met Aaron and and then you guys got deal with Lionsgate? What was the deal with Lionsgate? That you did?

Aaron Kaufman 1:21:49
Yeah. And so then, Bob and Jason and I moved out to Los Angeles. And we did written scripts, lack of dues, and teamed up with we, we signed with United talent agency. And through them, they introduced us to imagine entertainment. And we develop flock of dudes the script that we had with them. And then eventually, we went out to the town with it, and Lionsgate ended up buying it. And that began a process of developing it with with Lionsgate for for about a year or so.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:22
And how is the development process?

Aaron Kaufman 1:22:26
Well, uh, you know, I, yeah, I've only got in through it in that way with a studio. Just that one time, so I can't say what it's like always, you know, it's kind of what you would expect I think and what you've heard which is there you know, there are a lot of other people involved, there's a lot of other opinions and it's not just three guys writing in a cafe anymore. It's, you know, people who are looking at this through the lens of at the studio level 30 $50 million investment and that kind of changes the creative process.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:08
So then, so you obviously, I'm assuming that the block of dues that has been produced was not produced at a 30 to $50 million budget? No. Okay. For 1530 or 50

Aaron Kaufman 1:23:23
What's funny was it was we're kind of putting it together with Ryan from Austin while I was still doing SimCity and so there I had, you know, this kind of $70 million behemoth and then I'm trying to put this this small movie together in in LA but but actually it was kind of fun to do it you know, it's like after working on something so big and so so much of an octopus doing something that we kind of had total control over was was was a lot of fun. And even the problem solving of like, okay, we just, you know, we want to push this we want to make it look as close to a studio comedy as possible, but we just don't have those kind of funds. The problem solving or figuring out how to do it really was was kind of interesting and I think the movie benefited from from that we also had some other good people that that really liked the project a lot and got involved. And so I think what you what you see there is really not reflective of what the actual hard dollar cost of the movie was.

Alex Ferrari 1:24:21
So then, so then you were at the studio with locka doods. And obviously the studio didn't do the movie. So what happened how did that translate to where you are today with the movie?

Aaron Kaufman 1:24:32
Yeah, so the you know, the rights came back to me and Aaron and I started discussing the script because I think I still felt like it was a good a good movie that had a lot of appeal and Aaron read it and he, he liked it. And that began kind of the process of us trying to figure out how to put it together outside of a studio financing.

Alex Ferrari 1:24:57
Okay, and then you did it,

Aaron Kaufman 1:24:59
Aaron, but I never Made a comedy. I mean, I've never made a comedy intentionally before. to shame to say, yeah, and so it's actually that was interesting as well, because it was I was I was coming at it from my perspective which was like, you know, hey there's you know, without we don't have any machetes in this movie and there's nobody getting their head cut off so so like, we have to really make these things we don't have the same the same stuff that are our go to, you know, our go to stuff we don't have. And so just grinding and grinding and grinding with with with Brian and his partners really was was kind of was kind of fun. And then shooting it was a lot different because you had these guys that were just ad libbing so much that it became like, you know, part of the producing job was just trying to get them to shut up every once in a while because they were coming up with great stuff. But it was just you know, we had we had a indie movie schedule and had to just get we had to get in and move on. So So coming up without a workflow that would allow them to still you know, ad lib and come up with stuff. At the same time, you know, getting a good shot. That was that would be able to learn that on the onset.

Alex Ferrari 1:26:07
And how long was the production schedule on it?

Aaron Kaufman 1:26:11
They were 21 days that's all right. There's something like that

Alex Ferrari 1:26:15
21 days and I'm gonna geek out a little bit what did you guys shoot the cat? What what camera did you shoot with?

Aaron Kaufman 1:26:20
We showed already Arri Alexa? Yeah, it

Alex Ferrari 1:26:24
looks really good. It looks really great.

Aaron Kaufman 1:26:26
I've used the red as well. But But I liked Ari Ari good. A more of a cinematic feel. I feel

Alex Ferrari 1:26:35
Yeah, I know that that's a whole other conversation. It's like Mac versus PC i mean it's it's it's a very big conversation. So how did you guys get such a cool cast? I mean, I mean, I was as I was watching the trailer, I was like Jesus he's in it and he's in it. She's in it is like, how did you get this such it's such a great guest that we put together on on I'm assuming under $30 million budget.

Aaron Kaufman 1:26:56
Yeah, I mean, a lot of a lot of the cast was kind of through relationships that all of us had just been in kind of the comedy world for a while or being kind of in the film world for a while. And, you know, you get kind of momentum going. And other people kind of see that a lot of cool people are doing it and they want to join and then also UTA was very helpful with us in terms of getting the ball rolling with some really cool cast. And, and yeah, I think everybody just kind of tried to pull a couple people in and before you knew it, we had you know about 15 or 20 people who are really some of the most talented guys in comedy

Alex Ferrari 1:27:37
now, as well. Now how is it like Aaron, you kind of touched upon this when you have a group of comics and comedic actors who are doing a lot of ad libbing especially in these larger scenes How the hell do you corral them How the hell did you direct them? Like

Aaron Kaufman 1:27:53
you know we're at a first time filmmaker as well so it was it was i didn't i didn't i didn't envy him because he would have to sort of you know become the lion tamer because you have these some of these guys like Brett Gelman and Eric Andre are just love monster add you know add livers and improv guys and so it was I think it was tough for for him but we had to sort of explain to people what our you know what our situation was and also create a space for them where they felt comfortable to to you know Express creativity but in kind of a guideline to to still get them moving in but um I'm really happy with with the movie i mean i think too when we make we made a little while ago and that now we look like geniuses because most of the cast and went on to become huge you know you have commandment Johnny and animal burrows who's you know obviously has has just really blown up crystal Leah you know had on dateable and his stand up specials are have become huge and you know and as well as Hilary Duff and Ray Liotta and people like that who had done the movie with with so it was it's it's been interesting to see that happen and now the movie looks a lot bigger because it's got this it's called the screen huge cast.

Alex Ferrari 1:29:04
How was it working with Henry Hill

Aaron Kaufman 1:29:08
he was in SimCity two as well yeah. And I actually I really like him a lot he's you know he's obviously a great actor but but he's somebody who will like on SimCity Hill hanging out on set and tell funny stories and and you know really be kind of a good dude he's intense but he's but he's a he's that kind of guy you know where it'll he'll even a flock actually he he hung out when he wasn't shooting a little bit we were just you know, chatting it up. So he's he's always been a good guy and he was great to do a day on on on flock, which he didn't

Alex Ferrari 1:29:41
do. Now. What advice would you give someone trying to produce a film in the indie world in today's in today's world run. Brian, would you agree?

Aaron Kaufman 1:29:57
Well, it's you know, it's It's interesting, it's, uh, where to start with that question. I think I think we touched on it before, you know, in the sense of, I think that you have to really get a feel for what the world looks like, you know, and I think that if you want to make something that's really different, and really, you know, really out of the ordinary, that is what I think will get people's attention, and maybe that you have to really be smart about it, and lower your budget and, and try to be as clever as you can to get something out there. I would say in general, don't try to make something that he that the studios are making, really look at, like what you can do, and you can do with the resources you have. A lot of it, like I said, goes back to El Mariachi, you know, like, he had these things, he's gonna make his movie around those things. I think it's still good advice. And making something smaller that you can control that you can make great is probably better than, you know, just trying to make a yet another have that same kind of Sundance movie that doesn't really have an audience in the way that it used to.

Alex Ferrari 1:31:08
And And where's it Where can people see the film?

Aaron Kaufman 1:31:11
So the film comes out September 30, the guys that stars, our partners on it, and they've been, they've been fantastic. So you can check online for the the theaters will come out this month, but they're doing nice theatrical release for the film. And then it'll be available on all digital platforms.

Alex Ferrari 1:31:30
So and who's the distributor under stars? Its stars digital. Yeah,

Aaron Kaufman 1:31:33
we did a great job with family Fang. And we're for Jason Bateman. And they've been really great to work with so far.

Alex Ferrari 1:31:39
Very cool. Now, I'm gonna ask you both. The question I always ask all my guests, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life in general,

Aaron Kaufman 1:31:55
and you want to

Alex Ferrari 1:31:57
well, he's like, Well, I think of something,

Aaron Kaufman 1:32:01
I honestly think that it's taken me a long time to, to really be myself, you know, to have the confidence that what you're going to say you're going to try to put out in the world is, is interesting and important. You know, once you once you come to that kind of level of confidence, it really frees you up to, to, to do great steps, but you have to have that, that kind of confidence, looking at what other people are doing and trying to catch up to that is it nothing, I don't know that anything great comes out of that, it's really, when you dig down and try to do something that's personal and something that's that really only you could do, that's when you have an opportunity to do something great.

Alex Ferrari 1:32:43

Brian 1:32:43
I would say I would say just not forcing issues not forcing things, you know, it's just you can spend a you can waste a lot of time and energy, whether in your personal life or in trying to make a movie, trying to kind of force issues. And better I think what I've learned is better to, you know, obviously push as much as you can, but at a certain point if it feels like you're pushing just take your foot off the gas and assess the situation and kind of try a different route and, and kind of be practical in that way. And I think that keeps you aligned with the reality of the situation better and allows you to operate more efficiently.

Alex Ferrari 1:33:25
Very cool. And then the last question is what are your three favorite films of all time? Aaron Brian's gonna throw it together and so

Aaron Kaufman 1:33:37
Exactly I like I like the fact that Rob Brian and I have this conversation pretty regularly. My my, I think my all time favorite movie is night, the city, the original film, which is it's just a movie that I can watch. I never watch right now. And I've seen it 100 times. And I love that the noir period. I love that that time, that's probably my, my favorite. And I would say maybe miljan Pearson seconds that which that both of them kind of have some, some similarities. But but that that noir period is, is probably my favorite.

Brian 1:34:16
I would say and these are not off the wall answers by any means but a long goodbye network and eight and a half or you know kind of flawless those are

Alex Ferrari 1:34:26
all very good. Very, very good. Very, very good. answers, guys. So um, where where can people find you guys and also find the movie when it's out? And they're all digital platforms? Basically.

Aaron Kaufman 1:34:37
Yeah, it was in the 30s. It comes out theatrically. And then I think shortly after that, it it comes out on on digital digital platforms. And then I think it comes to Hulu next year. And then that's it. The theater count should be out soon. So I don't know exactly what that is. And then I'm on Twitter at a underscore Kaufmann And I don't know what else I think that's that's Do you have a website Aaron or No, I don't. Gotcha.

Alex Ferrari 1:35:07
And how about you Brian?

Aaron Kaufman 1:35:08
And yeah, I mean, Bob and Jason have a just a website that we've had for a while the post show calm and yeah, you can find some some of our old sketches from from our New York days there and everything so

Alex Ferrari 1:35:22
very cool guys man it's been an absolute pleasure guys having you on the show. Thank you so much for spending the time and dropping some knowledge bombs on the on the indie film hustle tribe.

Aaron Kaufman 1:35:32
Alright, we'll speak soon. All right.

Alex Ferrari 1:35:36
Well, guys, I hope you'd like that interview, I had a ball talking to Aaron and Brian. And I, you know, I grilled poor Aaron about everything about Robert and his experiences with them. And I basically asked every question, and any question I've ever wanted to know about Robert, I pretty much asked in this interview. So for me, it was a huge, a huge thrill and joy, to talk to Aaron. And also to talk to Brian in regards to a flock of dudes, it sounds like a fun movie. And again, it's about that hustle guys, you just got to keep hustling. And when the door doesn't open the way you want it to you got to make your own door. And that's the truth, man, it is the absolute truth. And flock of dudes is a perfect example of that philosophy. So guys, again, if you want to get any of the show notes, anything that we talked about any links, head over to any film hustle comm forward slash 100. And what I'm going to be doing, hopefully moving forward is guys, I'm going to start transcribing all of our podcasts. Since we have 100, it's going to take a while. But I'm going to be transcoding them, trying to change transcribing them, and adding them to the show notes. So if you can't listen to the podcast, you'll be able to read the podcast, because I've had a lot of requests for that. So that those will begin to come slowly. They're not going to be coming up in the new ones anytime soon. But some of the older more popular ones are going to get those first and then slowly, I'm going to be taking the entire library on and transcribing them little by little and then we'll catch up and start with the new ones. Probably I'll figure out the schedule probably won't be the day of the release of the podcast, but probably a few days later or something like that once we get a schedule in place. But that's just another thing I'm going to be adding to the indie film hustle podcast. So guys, I again, I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to get to the 100/100 episode. It's a huge mile marker for me. And I plan to get to 200 very soon. And, and keep growing, keep growing the brand of indie film, hustle, keep growing, what we're doing and getting the word out and please, and again, I hear this from a lot of a lot of the tribe members when I talk to them. They're recommending indie film hustle to other people. They're telling like you gotta listen to this podcast, especially a podcast number 88. Guys, if you guys have not listened any of you guys listening have not listened to podcast number 88. That's at indie film hustle.com Ford slash 088. It is by far the most talked about the most popular podcast I've ever done. And trust me if you have not listened to it, everyone who has listened to it will understand what I mean. It's intense. And if you need to, if you need a bucket of cold water thrown on you, you need to you need to listen to episodes, Episode 88. But, but please spread the word, guys. I mean, seriously, please spread the word. tell any of your filmmaking friends about us. If you find that this information is helpful to you, it'll be helpful to other people. And don't think of it as a competitive thing. There is no competition when it comes to art guys, all right, just try to help as many people as you can. And that's how, that's how you you make it in life and in this definitely in this business. Because I wouldn't have been able to do as much as I've done without friends. You need friends. And if you can help other people along the way, on your journey, do it and hopefully this podcast and the website has information that can do that. So spread the word guys please. You know retweet, post stuff that you see that we post and so on and oh just just tell them like Hey, you got it. Got it. Subscribe to this, because I hopefully it'll help more people you know, I really want to I want I want this work to get out to as many people as humanly possible and help as many filmmakers as humanly possible. And I found this online, which is the Farley brothers. Wonderful. A theory of life life explained in 27 seconds, and basically says, life is like going the wrong way on a moving sidewalk. If you walk, you stay put. If you stand still, you'll go backwards. And to get ahead. You have to hustle, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you guys soon.