fbpx

IFH 107: How to Shoot Super 16mm Film with Egon Stephan Jr.

So you want to be a filmmaker. You want to put the FILM back into FILMmaking. This episode is for you. Film is not dead my friends. It has been quietly working in the background of the industry.

Some of the productions that shooting Super 16mm film these days are:

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Noah
  • The Avengers
  • The Bourne Legacy
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Iron Man 2
  • The Magnificent Seven
  • Westworld
  • The Girl on the Train
  • The Walking Dead
  • Jack Reacher
  • Batman vs Superman
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Star Wars: Rogue One
  • Spectre
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Jurassic World
  • Wonder Woman
  • American Horror Story
  • Star Trek

The knowledge to shoot film is dying. There’s nowhere online where you can take a course on how to shoot Super 16mm film. The “workshops” available are extremely expensive and don’t really give you practical knowledge from someone who has actually shot in the field.

super 16mm film, Kodak, 16mm film, 16 mm film, 35mm film, 35 mm film, filmmaking, film school, filmmaker, indie film, ARRI SR2 ARRI SR3, Bolex, Eclair film camera, film camera, 16mm course, online 16mm film, 16 mm film, super 16 mm film, Cine Video Tech, Egon Stephen Jr

I wanted to put together an online course to preserve that knowledge for future filmmakers. Today’s guest, Director of Photography Egon Stephan Jr from Cine Video Tech, and I got together and shot The Definitive Super 16 mm Film Masterclass.

On today’s show, Egon and I drop some knowledge bombs on shooting film. So if you ever wanted to know if shoot “real” was an option for your indie feature or short film then perk up those ears. Enjoy my conversation with Egon Stephen Jr.

Right-click here to download the MP3
Download on iTunes Direct
Watch on IFH YouTube Channel
(Transcription Below)

super 16mm film, Kodak, 16mm film, 16 mm film, 35mm film, 35 mm film, filmmaking, film school, filmmaker, indie film, ARRI SR2 ARRI SR3, Bolex, Eclair film camera, film camera

Below you’ll see examples of the course and get a full history of Super 16mm film.

History:

16 mm film was introduced in 1923 by Eastman Kodak as an affordable and less costly amateur substitute to a 35mm film. The format was even considered as substandard by the professional industry during the era of the 1920s.

William Beech Cook was hired from his 28mm Pathescope of an American company by Kodak so that a fresh, new 16mm Kodascope Library could come into existence. Apart from the fact that people could make home movies, they could also rent films from the library which turned out to be the major selling factor of the format.

Initially intended for inexpert usage, 16 mm film happens to be one of those formats which bring into use acetate safety film as the film base. Nitrate film was never used by Kodak due to the high flammability of the nitrate base. By 1952, 35mm nitrate was discontinued altogether.

The 16mm film is an economical and historically famous gauge of the film. The number 16mm denotes the width of the film with the other usual film gauges that include 8mm and 35mm. 16mm films are more commonly used for non-theatrical purposes like educational and industrial filmmaking or for motion pictures that happen to have a low budget.

For a number of decades, 16mm film remained a popular format for unskilled home movie making format together with 8mm and then later on Super 8 film. Eastman Kodak released the first 16mm outfit in 1923 which comprised of a camera, a tripod, a projector, tripod, screen and a splicer for $335. A 16mm sound movie projector was introduced in 1932 by RCA-Victor along with that he also developed an optical sound-on-film 16mm camera that was released in 1935.

Evolution:

Initially aimed at the home fanatic the silent 16mm format made its way into the educational sector by the 1930s. The addition of Kodachrome in 1935 with the optical soundtrack was the cause of a major boost in the 16mm market.

16mm professional filmmaking was widely opted for in the post-war years and was used rigorously in WW2. A large network of professional 16mm filmmakers and services related to it came into existence in the 50s and 60s due to the films made for business, medical, government and industrial clients.

With the advent of television production, the usage of 16mm film was enhanced basically for its cost-effective and portability over 35 mm. It was used for television programming as well at first which were shot outside the boundaries of a television studio or production sets. 8mm film and the Super 8mm format were adopted by the home market gradually.

The Format Standards:

Standard 16mm:

The area of exposure of a standard 16mm camera lies between 10.26mm by 7.49mm which happens to be an aspect ratio of 1.37:1, namely the standard pre-widescreen Academy ratio for 35 mm. Double-perf 16mm film which is the original format has both of its sides perforated of each frame line. Single perf, as the name suggests; are perforated at one side only which makes space for magnetic as well as an optical soundtrack along the other side.

Super 16mm:

Swedish cinematographer Rune Ericson developed the variant called Super 16, Super 16mm Film, or 16mm Type W in 1969. Using a single-sprocket film, it makes use of the extra room available for an expanded picture area of 7.41mm by 12.52mm and with a wider aspect ratio of 1.67. Super 16 cameras are commonly 16mm camera that has the film gate along with ground glass placed in the viewfinder modified for a much wider frame.

Films that are shot in this format can be maximized by optical printing to 35mm for projection. In 2009, German lens manufacturer Vantage introduced a set of anamorphic lenses under the brand named, HAWK which provided a 1.3x squeeze factor, especially for Super 16 format.

film-16mm-super16-compare-1500-8370500f269828b1e45f67e4d5350872

Ultra 16mm:

The Ultra-16 tends to be a variation of Super 16. It was invented by cinematographer Frank G. DeMarco in 1996 while the shooting tests of Darren Aronofsky’s PiIt is created by widening both the left and right sides of the gate of a standard 16mm camera by 0.7mm so that the vertical area between the perforations is exposed.

With frame dimensions of 11.66mm by 6.15mm, the Ultra-16 format provides the frame size between the standard 16mm and Super 16 achieving a wider image. The image is readily converted into NTSC/PAL (1.33 ratio), 35mm film (1.85 ratios), and HDTV (1.78 ratios) and tends to make use of either both the full width or full vertical frame depending on its application.

Modern Uses:

Kodak and Agfa happen to be the two major suppliers of 16mm film now as Fuji closed their film manufacturing facility in 2012. The television uses 16mm for Hallmark Hall of Fame anthology, The O.C, Friday Night Lights, HBO’s Westworld and also The Walking Dead in the U.S.

The 16mm format is quite rapidly getting popular for commercials as well as dramas. British Broadcasting Company has played a vital role in the format development.

BBC collaborated extensively with Kodak back in the 50s and 60s era so that 16mm could be taken to a professional level since the BBC required less expensive, more feasible, and portable production solution while keeping a higher quality than what was offered at the time when formats were usually used for theatrical shorts at home, cartoons, newsreel, and documentaries for various purposes including educational videos limiting the high-end unskilled usage.

Whereas today, the 16mm format is often used for student films as its usage for making the documentary has almost vanished from existence.

The super film is still used for some productions that are destined for HD with the invention of HDTV. Some of the low-budget theatrical features tend to be shot on super 16mm and 16mm such as the independent hit Clerks, directed by Kevin Smith.

Owing to the advances in digital technology and film stock especially the digital intermediate DI, the format seems to have improved dramatically in sense of picture quality since the 70s and is a rejuvenating option now.

For instance, Vera Drake was shot on Super 16mm film which was scanned digitally at a high resolution as well as edited and color graded and then was printed out onto the 35mm film with the help of using a laser film recorder. Due to the digital processes involved, the final outcome of 35mm print is so good that you could fool some professionals into thinking that it was actually shot on 35mm.

The most exterior television footage was shot on 16mm from the 60s until the 90s in Britain when the more portable videotape machines and televisions led to the video replacing 16mm in many examples. A number of shows and documentaries were entirely made in 16mm prominently The Jewel in the Crown, The Ascent of Man, Life on Earth, and Brideshead Revisited.

The British Broadcasting Company notes Super 16 a standard definition film format. Especially the show Scrubs has been shot on 16mm since the very beginning and is aired as 4:3 SD or as 16:9 HD. Although, according to a piece of news the BBC has announced that it will not be accepting 16mm as an original format for HD video transfer.

wrestler3

The Wrestler

Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler and Black Swan were shot on Super 16mm. Leaving Las Vegasan Academy Award-winning film was shot on 16mm.

The famous TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was also shot in 16mm and for its later seasons, it switched to 35mm. The popular TV series Sex and the City shot its first two seasons on Super 16mm and later on 35mm.

Aired in HD, all three seasons of Veronica Mars happen to be shot on Super 16mm. Another notable film, The Spinal Tap, and other following mockumentary films by Christopher Guest were shot in Super 16mm.

Stargate SG-1 shot its first three seasons in 16mm which included the season 3 finale as well as the effects shots before switching to 35mm in the later seasons.

black-swan-30872_7

Black Swan

The Best Picture Academy Award Winner, The Hurt Locker was shot suing Fujifilm 16mm film stocks as well as Aaton Super 16mm. The cost savings that were made over the 35mm, enabled the production team to make use of multiple cameras for various shots and also exposing about 1,000,000 feet of film.

The famous TV series of the British Napoleonic era called Sharpe was shot on the famous Super 16mm all through to the film Sharpe’s Challenge (2006). The producers switched to 35mm for the last film of the series Sharpe’s Peril (2008). 16mm was also used in the movie, Moonrise Kingdom.

Digital 16mm:

Numerous digital cameras tend to approximate the look of a Super 16mm format by using Super 16mm sized sensors as well as Super 16mm lenses. These cameras happen to include the Ikonoskop A-Cam DII (2008) and the famous Digital Bolex (2012). The more recent, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera which surfaced in 2013, happens to have a Super 16 sized sensor.

Here’s a bit about today’s guest Egon Stephan Jr.

“Like father, like son” they always say, yet nowhere has this cliché been truer than when you apply it to the love of filmmaking shared between Egon and his father. Egon began his professional career at an early age, eventually running the camera rental department for his father at the ripe young age of sixteen!

After a six-year stint as the camera rental manager of CineVideoTech, he pursued his love for film in the field, running up an impressive list of credits. He worked his way up from technician to second-assistant, second to first, first to operator, operator to second unit Director of Photography, second unit DP to Director of Photography on his first feature film, “Jungle Juice”, starring Christopher Walken, Morgan Fairchild, Robert Wagner, and Rutger Hauer.

Shortly after this achievement, Egon’s father fell ill, and his duty to continue the legacy his father had begun took precedence over his own successful career. He took over the helm at CineVideoTech in 2002 and has since been busy recreating the company that has launched so many successful careers into a vision of what is to come.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 6:08
So today's episode guys is a special one because I have on the show today Egon Stephan Jr. Now Egon is a long is old, old old friend of mine. He's a cinematographer and pretty much a legend down in the South Florida Miami area, grew up in the business. He's a cinematographer and also owns the only now camera rental house down in Miami. And they got started in the 50s back with shows like flipper and Sea Hunt back in the days and and he got an I've shot some stuff together he was my dp on a film called sin that I did. Which of course you guys can go see at indiefilmhustle.com/amazon for free on amazon prime. You know, I'm always promoting guy, sorry. But anyway, so Egon, I wanted to bring him on the show to talk about film. And I know you're going Alex, what the hell are you talking about film like films dead? Usually you just shot a movie. It's not on film. I'm like, Well, yeah, it's true. I did shoot that shot my movie without a film. I shot it on a black magic on a digital. But you know what guys, film is still a format that should be protected. And believe it or not, when I started doing research for not only this, this podcast, but the thing I'm going to talk to you about in a minute, I was shocked at how many movies and television shows are still shot on film. And not only just by like some nostalgic people, but people who really want to shoot film. And there's a lack of knowledge and a lack of information about the actual filmmaking process. Actually, what film is working with film, preparing film, what cameras to use, how to thread a mag, how to open it, you know how to do what to do all that unloading and loading of a mag in a tent in a bag? How to prep it for a film lab? How what lenses to use, what kind of lens to use? What kind of camera do you use? Do you use ASR two, do you need genlock? Do you need crystal sync, all this massive amount of information about shooting actual film is being lost. And it's not information that you can really find anywhere. I have not yet to find an online course anywhere in the world that teaches you about shooting Super 16 millimeter or shooting film in general. It's always very, very expensive workshop somewhere. And I decided like you know what, I'm going to shoot a course on how to shoot Super 16 millimeter properly, how to work with film what film is the basics of film, the fix is of camera real world like production stuff, how to get things ready to go into battle, what to do the whole ball of wax and we created I went down to Miami and shot with Egon, of course called the definitive masterclass on shooting Super 16 millimeter film. Now we chose Super 16 millimeter as opposed to 35 millimeter because Super 16 is where the independent filmmaker will probably go, it's what they can afford. And what makes the most sense. And believe it or not shows like walking dead or shot on Super 16 millimeter. And we go into a lot of detail about why Super 16 is so awesome, as far as looks are concerned and what you can get out of it, and the quality that you can get out of it. Right now you can get film from Kodak and Kodak only to my knowledge, we talked about the different film stocks what you can get all that kind of stuff in this course. But I wanted to bring you gone on to talk about this in some detail and give away some major knowledge bombs on shooting Super 16 and that it is a viable option for a lot of independent filmmakers because I know a lot of times being imposed so long, a lot of filmmakers will come in with their DSLR or, or their digital footage or a red or an Alexa and they're like man, I really want to make it can you give it more of a filmic look, can you go back to a film can you throw a film fat filter on it? Can you throw some grain on it or something like that to emulate film? Well if you shoot Film guys, you get that look already. So it's pretty remarkable that you could just shoot film and get it. And it's a completely different workflow. From digital, obviously, it's a whole other language. And you know, he got and I was sitting down one day, we're like, you know, this is a shame that nobody's talking about this. And he has been in the business for pretty much for almost 40 years since he was a kid. And he has so much knowledge, I'm like, yeah, let me just fly down there. And let's just shoot this. So we can give it out to the world and at least have a place where this information will stay relevant and and give this information to people who want to shoot film, because there's just no information anywhere about it. And it is a viable option. And it will automatically add a tremendous amount of value to your movie because you shot it on film, as opposed to shooting on a DSLR or shooting it on a digital format or something like that. So there's a lot of wonderful things about digital. And it is the future. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that film is going to take over again, digital is the future, but film should not be forgotten. And it should still be allowed to be a viable format in future filmmaking. So JJ Abrams was Star Wars, all of Chris Nolan stuff, Martin Scorsese, Spielberg, and even newer generation filmmakers like Shaun Baker, who won Sundance with tangerine. I was just speaking to him the other day, and his new movie shot on 35 millimeter. And I was like, wow, you You're the one that brought the iPhone into the mainstream about shooting films with the iPhone, is again, I love that iPhone, I think it was great for that movie. But this movie called for a different look. And I want to shoot film. And I think film is something that should not be forgotten and lost. And that is one of the reasons why I not only put this podcast together, but I put this entire course together and at the end of this course, I'm going to give you a special coupon to get a discount on the course. And it is a little bit more pricey than my normal course is because guys, it was a lot of work. And I when you see it, you'll understand and yeah, we are going to be putting up some free samples of the course up on YouTube so you can kind of take a look at it. And it'll be also in the show notes at indie film, hustle, calm, forward slash 107. So I'll put a couple of a couple of the lessons up so you can kind of see the quality of what we shot. And ironically, we shot the whole course on a digital portfolio. But that's just make sense. But anyway, guys, so Egon, is is a jasmonic cyclopedic amount of information about filmmaking, and he's worked with insane directors like Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Michael Bay, Joe Pika, and a ton I mean just amazing amount of people that he's worked with over the years and worked with some amazing DPS, like paul cameron, Who's shooting Westworld right now and shot the matrix movies, among other ones. I mean, there's just the list I was just shocked that his resume when I actually looked at it, it was pretty, pretty insane. So if you guys are even remotely interested in filmmaking, and actually putting the word film back into filmmaking, then enjoy my conversation with Egon Stefan Jr. I would like to welcome to the show Egon Stefan Jr. The legendary Egon Stefan Jr. How you doing sir?

Egon Stephan Jr. 13:14
Alex it's great to see you again. Great Great to be here with you

Alex Ferrari 13:16
Thanks man. Thank you so much. So guys I don't know if you know this mean he can go back better part of a decade now.

Egon Stephan Jr. 13:23
Egons we've gone back Egons

Alex Ferrari 13:25
Egons exactly and if you guys have checked out any of our courses we've done together the red course and the DSLR course you'll already know who Egon is but Egon is a legend down in the Miami area his father started cinna video tech and why am I Why am I explaining this? You should explain a little bit how did you get into this crazy business?

Egon Stephan Jr. 13:49
How did I get into this crazy business? Let's see. Okay, so if I if I think if my father was a police officer, I I followed in his footsteps or a fireman, but he came over from Germany and the and the right when the war broke out and got relocated and stationed down in Miami, and opened up a company at that time called Sydney tech, which is in 1968. And there wasn't really anything happening. It was like swamp land down here is like a really weird place for motion pictures. But then, actually, different horror films came in like the Creature from the Black Lagoon and a TV series called flipper and General Ban and see hunt. And these shows we're featuring Florida and Miami, and my father was at the right place at the right time. And then he would just, we pair cameras and then before you know it, invest into more equipment and then start being the supplier for a little bit of everything. I mean with lights, cameras, lenses, then helicopter mounts. He was a good friend of Nelson Tyler from making the tiler camera system mounts and we became a dealer and then shortly After that many years, then we became a penetration dealer. And for like, 15 years, we were paying division rep down here. And then it seems like at least most of the jobs that would come down to South Florida, my father would have something to do with it, or we'd have something to do with it. We do work on the crew, or we would supply the equipment or do both.

Alex Ferrari 15:22
Now you you've been, you know, because you've been basically on the front lines of every major production that went down to Miami over the last few decades. You, you kind of came up, you know, you worked on vice. You worked on bad boys, you worked with some legendary directors. I know you told me a couple stories of Ridley and Tony Scott, when you worked with them in the commercial world, can you can you share some of those stores?

Egon Stephan Jr. 15:49
Well, when I was in my, my junior year of high school, my fault I was I had the urge I was working at when I get home from school, I would go over to my dad's company and and just kind of you know, wander around and I was wandering around his company since I was a little kid, there's pictures of me, you know, like playing with the, with a drill press and the shavings of the leaf machine. And so it was like my playground, you know, I didn't really understand what I was around at the time, because it just seemed like a lot of stuff in a long time. I thought my dad was a truck driver, because he had a lot of vehicles and you take me everywhere he dropped off these trucks, I didn't really understand fully till when it was happening. So when, when I was younger like that, my father wanted me to get on some of these shows, because you know, to give me a taste of being in the field, not just being in a shop. And I didn't have a union card. And that was a big deal. I mean, at that time, you know, unions and we had the the ATSC at Chicago in that time, it was local 666 the demon but it's, you couldn't go on a union show unless you unless you were union. So they also had a restriction on what age you were to come in the Union, you couldn't just get in there at 16 years old. And that's kind of like what, what my age was. But they pulled some strings and got me to at least be able to take the test. And then that time, it was a written test and the actual hands on test. But since I worked at the rental house, I was the one setting up all the equipment and it was like I already knew the names of everything and how to put it together. But I didn't know the practical application of these tools. I only knew like this is what this goes and the names and the pieces of it but to use it in the field that was all new stuff that had to be learned. So they I was sponsored actually from Steve poster, who is now that he's he's He's a legend himself. And he was doing some jobs down here. And the first jobs I've ever worked on was spring break. And and it was ironic because you know, I'm I'm a kid and I just walked out on the set and it was like from being in a shop. It was like a whole new world. I mean, there was so many people and there was people doing this and that and they all had a routine they were all like the worker bees and I'm like Whoa, I got a lot to learn. So I was like the cam I was doing slate you know, at the time we were doing all film. So it was like I I started doing this slate and running magazine cases back and forth to set on these different little jobs I was doing and then they finally said well once you load mags I was like okay, good. So I got that down and became a second assistant and loaded mags for many many years on many many shows. I mean I did I loaded mags on Parenthood. And with Ron Ron Howard's movie yeah and you know every every day having lunch with Ron and his family is really really great experience because I've learned a lot

Alex Ferrari 18:43
how was your How was Ron to work with a here is just the nicest man in the world.

Egon Stephan Jr. 18:47
He's so nice. There's no stress on the set that you would normally have on on other jobs. I mean, he's very thorough. I mean, the guy's you know hates is he's talking about a mask. He's a legend. I mean, it's like he does it. He does it the right way does it perfect. And he surrounds himself with all the most talented people and they all have the same type of demeanor. So you actually get a lot of things. A lot of good things done a lot of good moments in the actors love it. And it was a really nice experience because what it provided me an opportunity of working in this business is when you never know what the phone call is going to be for. And when you're a camera system, you're always they always need a camera system, you know, whether it's a loader or first assistant on any job. So you know, you'd get a phone call so you are you available for these days. And I'm like, sure, let me make sure I get out of school or my dad will let me go and when when's the when's the call time and they say all night, so it was like, Wow, it was the introduction to you guys gonna shoot until the sun comes up. And that wasn't what I was used to either. It was like this is all it's all a learning curve, but I got to meet fantastic people, and especially at some points in their career that they were just normal people. You know, they were just, they were the they were just born. Assuming that today they're ASC cameraman, they're DGA directors, they're, they're owners of different companies. And you remember when they walked in the door of my dad's company, to just want to learn the business and work is like, I don't know, sweeping the floor or, you know, give me a job, they work in prep tech, or let me let me do something like that, that later on many, many years later, they are somebody that is really big, or that I would get the chance of working with somebody that I admired for many, many years. And it was like, Wow, what an opportunity, I wouldn't, I would I would work it even if I didn't get paid, you know what I mean? It was like that kind of,

Alex Ferrari 20:38
so like, how was the stores working with Ridley and Tony?

Egon Stephan Jr. 20:43
Okay, they're their masters. I mean, we were doing commercials, I mean, we're doing commercials and that kind of thing. And it, it was fashion also along with it. So they were meticulous and they're very creative. I mean, they're, it's some, it's something that I would love to one day be at their level, because they, you know, they they figure everything out, and then have plans and alternate plans and alternate changes. And they know technically, because a lot of times in your camera system, you work with a crew and you work with somebody, they might not know the system very well, but they still know how to be there the job that they they want to be and they want to do, and you rarely find somebody that knows your job, actually can actually can do your job better than you sometimes and you're like, Wow, I didn't even know that because one time I had worked a lot with Burt Reynolds. And because he had a place up here in Jupiter and still doesn't, and he was you know, he was still doing commercials and little movies and things like that and, and we got to be actually, you know, speaking terms and friends and, and one time I was on the top of a 18 Wheeler doing one of his movies and my assistant I was the first and my second assistant wasn't up on the top of the truck to do the slate because we're gonna be doing Film and Sound and all that kind of stuff. And Bert goes to grab my sleep. Because I had to sleep there and I'm like, No, no, no, Bert and he's like, Look, kid, I know what I'm doing. And he gets he says, where's where's the mouse and he even knew the name of it which is a thing we call for writing the the marker on the slate with little puffy thing on the back. And he goes, what's what's the scene number and I give it to him, he does it all there. He puts it up perfectly where it's supposed to be he says it like you were as an assistant saying one on one, take one a camera marker and hit it and hand it back to me and I was like, holy shit, I just like you're an actor.

Alex Ferrari 22:37
What's Burmese, you know, the understand Burt Reynolds was the biggest movie star in the world for many years. So I'm sure he's done a couple things. I'm sure if you give Tom Cruise a slate, he might know what to say to

Egon Stephan Jr. 22:50
well, over the year that develop the relationship with Him that He always recognized and remembered me. So you'd come over and talk to me, he knew my dad, which is cool. And we would just talk about cars and other things or movies or things he's done. And he was always really friendly and very, very open to me. And I had a mistake on the set happen. And you know, because he has a first assistant when you finally get to that level when you're working up the ladder of camera department because I did it the slow way these days people don't do that they don't go and be a trainee, then clapper loader, then a second, then a first and an operator, then a second unit dp and then finally calling yourself a dp, it takes years 20 years to climb up that long ladder and get to that place that you could actually, it's not just you say I'm this position that people around you have to respect and understand that you can do that job. And then they give you a call because I can call myself a director and they will they won't hire me so I don't have anything around.

Alex Ferrari 23:51
But so then you mean you can't just buy a red camera, you're not an automatic dp because you bought a red camera.

Egon Stephan Jr. 23:57
These days, you can Yes. In my day, in my day, when you were a certain part of camera department, you had things you can and can't do some some things was you will not ever load. The second assistant will not put the magazine on the camera and threaten, right? They will hand you the magazine, but they won't, they won't. They won't do that part unless, unless you felt it was you know, a circumstance that you had to and you knew they could do it because when you're putting in that you're threading up a camera with real film, if you get nervous, if you mess up, you can tear that perf and then that delay while everybody's waiting for you to say cameras ready. You could mess it up and then you know be really stupid. So it's a lot of pressure at that little moment of reload. So that heads hence I wanted to say the story was so I've been working with Bert for many jobs and now I'm on one of these jobs and I think it was the maddening or the man from left field. It was one of his movies he was directing and being in it as About a kid and baseball and stuff and there was a scene that required a sort of like a little fight scene and then Burt was he's really good at stunts and he knows the routine he's a tough guy and he's like, how I can do anything you know and he's done everything so he was gonna do this control fall down these bleachers and he you know, he went in, he went into the he went into the you know, wardrobe and got his you know, all he saw his pads that he's used for, like, I don't know 30 years and he put his knee pads on his elbow pads and he and he had a little exoskeleton protection underneath his clothing. So right before all that happened, the camera that I was working on we were using a steady cam and it was a film camera, so it knows to me my second assistant came over and had a magazine to put onto the Steadicam and I said no no just put it off to the side and I'll thread it but instead of putting it on the side he put it on the camera so I'm not going to pitch about that it was like okay, it's on so I assume that it's threaded you know and it's on the camera because you would never put a bag in that thread right? So of course the sun's dropping down and we've got this magic our moment to do this stuff with with Bert doing it himself and falling down these bleachers

Alex Ferrari 26:14
on magic cartoon on us at

Egon Stephan Jr. 26:17
Magic Hour exactly so we got we got three cameras it's all a panda vision job you know so we got the Panda Panda flex I think we had a platinum and we had the foreigner foot mag on the back so of course we go from regular studio mode on sticks that we're doing these shots to okay Cindy Cammy and we're strapping it up I'm I'm putting the the the pressed in and getting the focus mark you know all the all the things and you know lightening it all up in the right filter combination and we're all like rushing rushing rushing okay we do the seated dialogue and he goes down and he has this almost he actually does this emotional scene and even started to like get a little teary eyed because he was you know, acting really well. And then he walks off and we pan off to the sunset. Beautiful cut great check the gate right right. So I go and open up the camera.

Alex Ferrari 27:05
Oh no,

Egon Stephan Jr. 27:06
the film is not threaded in the camera Oh

Alex Ferrari 27:10
my gosh.

Egon Stephan Jr. 27:11
on the panel flex you have contacts on the magazines and it has a windup motor that's always on right and when you turn it on it takes up so the film did go through to the other side but never through the the gate to be exposed. Perfect. So we were looking at it thinking while you were rolling so that that seed was you know 212 feet or something like that and it wasn't exposed to an 12 feet so of course you know when when when Burt did the move he banged himself a little bit so he kind of walked off the field like you another limpy thing and I had to go so I had to run over and tell and tell Nick McLean who was the was the DP I said Nick Nick, Nick Nick they've got a real big big big big big big problem that nobody go away look to film that didn't go through the cameras like what he goes no no it was on it but it didn't go through the and I told him he goes well you better go till birth that

Alex Ferrari 28:03
ah cuz he's like I'm not gonna tell birthday to go there you go tougher

Egon Stephan Jr. 28:07
Oh, but we don't have that scene we don't have it at all right right you guys know you better hurry then so I have no magic because Magic Hour so lights go yes so he's already trying to walk off the field and we're almost like you know they were calling okay we're done you know yeah, great day you're not going to thing and I run over say Mr. Reynolds, Bert Bert, we have a billing major problem and he goes What? And he looks at me and he gave me that 1000 Yard Stare Yeah. And I said we had a technical problem the magazine was put on the camera and it wasn't threaded through so we didn't have anything exposed. What he did he just stared at me for about a couple of moments without even moving his body without breathing without breathing and then since he was also directing this job it had to be I said but right now we don't have that shot at all it's we don't have it right telling you it's not gonna be in dailies it's not there we don't have it I'm telling you right now I don't know what happened but we're losing the light and I'll figure it out later and he turned away and got mad a little bit of course and and then went to go redo the scene and yelled okay right back guy does again like what what what and it's like all my heads down now I'm saying to myself shit okay, it's wide open. We don't even have a lights out the sun's almost gone. My focus and depth of field is now it really really critical and I don't want anything else to happen so I double check even the camera again after it's ready to go is it really filming that please please really filming there and I checked the gate make sure okay, we're good. We're good. Roll this in as fast as I could. Is it take he has to fall down the thing and do the stun again. Jesus any kind of hurt himself the first time a little bit. But I think the second time he kind of hurt himself there again. Yeah. And then he came up to me he ripped off his pads. He goes tell me you got that.

Alex Ferrari 29:58
We'll be right back after word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Egon Stephan Jr. 30:09
Yeah, and I went on my check that I said, Yeah, gates good. And he goes, later on we have to talk. And then he's like, Oh, I got it. I got a major guy hating me

Alex Ferrari 30:22
now you're going to the principal's office, you're going to the first Yeah, I'm gonna

Egon Stephan Jr. 30:25
get my I'm gonna get I'm gonna get paddled. And, you know, we met later on, and he gave me the Father Son, kind of talk about, you know, responsibilities and consequences, and then said, I hope you don't ever have that happen again, especially on my job. And I said, and it goes by do thank you for telling me before I had to find out the next day, it would have been worse.

Alex Ferrari 30:48
Of course, they would have to have done that entire scene.

Egon Stephan Jr. 30:51
shot it was it was actually I think a little prettier because it was more golden at the time, you know? Sure

Alex Ferrari 30:56
it was Egon Sure.

Egon Stephan Jr. 31:00
You have things like that that happened where you have a technical problem. Now the reason why these things happen is in these days and age, you have digital cameras, you have a lot less of a learning curve didn't know how to play with it, you don't have the the experience of the Masters on how to create something with light and shadow and, and have it do it on film. But you can still get good images and people get great stuff. And I think that the the margin of major mistakes is gotten smaller. So it's easier for people to just pick up a camera and shoot with it and not have issues like focus or depth or glass coulombic

Alex Ferrari 31:36
from somebody for somebody who just dp their first feature film, I can guarantee you that's the case, because I would have had to shoot this is Meg on film. I would have never done it. But because there's so much latitude with these cameras. It's it's different. Now, the main reason I brought you on the show, Egon was you talked a lot about mags and perfs. And film, I wanted to talk about film, and specifically like 16 and super 16 millimeter film. And you know why in god's green earth? Are people still shooting on film? In today's digital world? Can you give me an explanation?

Egon Stephan Jr. 32:14
I think that medium is like almost like you're talking about oil painting. I kind of feel where I just saw recently, a film done in film, and I'm looking at the screen and I went what is it that I like about what I'm seeing? I can't place my finger on it. What I know it's not any of the digital camera looks that I've been familiar with. It's not an Alexa. It's not a Sony something. It's not a red It was like, I don't know. And then of course, afterwards is when I look more detailed and said well, it's film. It's film. That's there's something I don't know, I guess, in human nature or the way that your mind captures what you're seeing. Sometimes if you do it correctly, it gives you more of what I think your memories are like and and more like bring you back to an emotion when you can watch something and you get that chill up the back of your spine or that or that little goosebumps on that you get from something that happens in the moment that an actor or a scene happens. I think that it achieved its moment to is it accurate for the audience?

Alex Ferrari 33:20
Is it something it's just because it's an organic thing? Is it because I mean I've shot 35 I've shot film a ton of film in my career and I've also shot a ton of digital in my career. And there is something about film now I'm not sure if that's nostalgia for me and you because it's our generation we grew up with film. Do kids who are in their teens now who really don't know the difference or didn't grow up with the film or didn't grow up with home video home video not video home films that they actually project on a wall and things like

Egon Stephan Jr. 33:52
yeah like super like super eight and super

Alex Ferrari 33:54
eight or 16 like that so is it is it a nostalgic thing with our Generation and beyond? Or is there actually something organic that it touches you on? On a no i

Egon Stephan Jr. 34:07
i do feel something organic because when I take my kids who are like 18 years old and younger people like in their 20s and I'll sit him down and show something and say so what do you see here? What do you what do you go Oh man, this looks great. I love it. I don't know and they and they're with a side by side comparison of something from filmed or from high end digital. They don't know why but they say it has a nicer something that that that it factor that little thing you want to put your finger on it. I don't know if it's a tonal values or the way it falls off or the way it makes you feel like it's more like, like I said in my mind of my memory of something.

Alex Ferrari 34:45
It's just like there is something there is something really magical about film and now and by the way, a lot of people now are shooting more and more film than they ever have in the past probably five to 10 years because a lot of people are going back To shooting or shooting to 16 specifically like walking dead a shot on Super 16 right? The movie that Oscar nominated movie Carol just got shot Westworld. hbos Westworld shot on film. There's so many.

Egon Stephan Jr. 35:12
Okay, so the DP on Westworld. paul cameron now is one of my favorite people.

Alex Ferrari 35:17
I mean, I did debate he did the matrix, if I might.

Egon Stephan Jr. 35:21
Well, he did gone in 60 seconds. swordfish. Deja vu. He works with he's a very big, big, big dp. Okay, when I met Paul, Paul was a camera operator and a music video. And I was a camera system and we kind of hit it off because I was I was working at that time. You know, you do like little, little weird stints of just doing movies and then you do a music video and then and then do like concert after concert because when I was growing up, it became the 80s. And you know, you're doing you're doing a couple of city tours and you're around a lot of different people. You got 15 2030 cameras, super 16 cameras that would be filming concerts. No, I did. I did. I think it was 40 or 50 cameras that at Yankee Stadium for Billy Joel back in the day. And there was all film film 16 Super 16. And Paul was from a group that was the main mentor was Tony Mitchell. Tony Mitchell had Tenzin had crescenzo nada rally and you had Romeo tirone and you had Paul camera and you had Eddie Stephenson and you have Jin Goo Gerardo and these guys were like this little click that really nailed it they were like on that you know giving at least concerts and music video imagery that people were really adapting to and I got to be in the in the flight seat with them I was their wingman I was the camera system pulling focus under them and then if you pull that off they would hire you on a big commercial or movie or something and then when I see Paul from even when I was just back pulling focus days he he was from you know he he has a beautiful eye and he he knows technically I mean like I said every everything about your job he he's known he knows better than you do and he'll and he knows how long something takes and he also knows how to create this imagery that you know when there's very few times I'm on set working with somebody that when I see what they do out of nothing and they make this lighting and the camera and everything in the positions they go tan that's really really good I wish I'm going to remember this so one day if I ever get a chance I'm going to do it kind of like that and they were like my as a as a first you learn under these people that that have all these different experiences that you can learn from I mean and of course if you don't mess up you could do more work with them and that they're at their careers because Tony and Ridley was working with with Paul way back in the beginning I kind of I kind of you know I did if I if I try to remember every every top guy I mean I worked with I worked with various whiskey on his first movie in the United States that I got fired off first like the first time he ever got fired off a job and and it was before he went on to do you know dark city and the Crow and the Pirates of the caribbeans and

Alex Ferrari 38:16
I mean the guy who did dark the guy who did dark city also did the crow

Egon Stephan Jr. 38:20
yeah

Alex Ferrari 38:20
oh my god I didn't know that I didn't know that was the same dp because they both have a very unique The crow is gorgeous. I love the look of the crow.

Egon Stephan Jr. 38:28
Well he shot that in film that was that was using Yeah, of course that was using daylight stock at night as a 50 stock at night so in order to get an exposure you have to light it like insane with big like big guns and anything that didn't have light on it went black, obviously because it had no latitude.

Alex Ferrari 38:48
So that's a perfect segue Can you talk a little bit about the difference of film stocks and what you can get with different films so just a slight kind of overview. On today's Yeah,

Egon Stephan Jr. 38:58
it's like I would say like the film starts with like the idea of lots today. I mean it would be that if you in the day obviously you had to go and process the film that night and then you would see it the next day you wouldn't see it right away you'd see the video assist on low red standard def for 80 lines of black and white video if you and and hope it's gonna be nice, but the the skill of working on set with Kodak film or Fuji film or Aqua at the time and then going into the lab and seeing the processing and seeing the everything where it goes from the moment you put it in the magazine to the time you see it on the screen. The the chemical process it's happening that's another thing that I it's it's unique to when you said what's that thing about it is so it's like cooking, it's like cooking you know you've got you've got you've got to strip the silver or you keep the silver you know beat bleach bypass or skip or or any of these little effects that you would do to create a look was done with how long he stays in the bath. What chemicals you use. What what things would enhance the different layers of the colors in the film, and then it would get stripped off and you'd have this, you know, it's like timing, like how you, you would only know that by a lot of practice with the medium. So a guy can go out there DPN could say, Alright, we're gonna be out in sunny Miami, we're really no clouds and super sunny will use daylight, you know, as a 50. And if you're going to get some type of overcast, you would use aasa 250 daylight and they would still blend well. But there would be certain some stocks that you wouldn't want to mix with it because the characteristics would be so vastly different

Alex Ferrari 40:36
with like in today's world, it's all di and all color grading and things like that, where before you had to do it all in the can, are all in the in the lab. But today's world though, for people listening, you can shoot film, and every every person who shoots film, color grades digitally now, I mean, everything gets transferred digitally, yes, and then you can do all So a lot of you still can do some of the magic in the lab. And you could do some crazy things in the lab to do stuff to the negative, then bring it into color grading and do things in color grading off of that negative that you could not achieve digitally alone. There's some things that you could do like a bleach bypass, you can kind of get close to it, but it's not going to be Saving Private Ryan, or using cross processing, or shooting reversal stock which I used to love shooting reversal stock if anybody's ever seen if anyone ever seen a music video from the 90s that's all they frickin did a shoe crossover reversal stock and and then they jacked up the colors and stuff like that in a way that digital alone can't really achieve as well. It's just a different thing. And I always look at film kind of like slow cooking as a house to show good. So you can get a good meal and fast food you go over to Chipotle a well maybe not triple A but we're drop a cow Come on, for people who don't know what poor throw because it's kind of like, because that's a Miami thing. But it's like a fast food. But it's kind of like casual fast, kind of like the like how to get Chipotle or something like that. But with Cuban food. And so you can have a good meal. And it's tasty, and it's great. And it's more than acceptable. And in many ways, it's really, really, really good. But if I get you fat in them, I get you fat, but depends on what you eat. But if you slow cook the same meal, have grandma make it for you. And she takes her time and all that. That's what shooting film is sometimes. So it's almost like a it's like a craft, you're being a craftsman in a sense. What's the artist and that's the word, you're being almost an artist in with creating images with film, and it is a very magical thing. And it's become much more affordable nowadays. than it used the only

Egon Stephan Jr. 42:51
thing I see is that there is a gap now because back when film was film, somebody would come into my shop and say, Can I intern? Or hey, can you teach me how to load mags or teach me something like that? It would be a common thing. Yeah, here's something go work on, we'll teach you right like that. Now there's nobody around that teaches that. And that's not something that even schools are teaching that and they're rental houses that still have film cameras that still even have all those options of knowing that you have to have 200 foot on 400 foot 1000 foot 1200 foot magazines, whether they're back loaded or handheld mags or lightweight mags or steadycam mags like all that information is only for the people that have done it. And they're getting older. I mean, I'm I'm getting up there in some years. I mean, I'm, I'm not a spring chicken anymore, but I don't see that anybody that's from the younger generation, unless they have some type of an avenue to learn that there's going to be a lost art there's going to be I mean, the more that somebody doesn't keep it in their place or have it available, it's going to be like a rare find. And you have to go up to the mountain and talk to the wizard and know how to do that.

Alex Ferrari 44:04
Well that's I think one of the reasons why you and I sat down and said like, you know, when we started putting the courses together, we both kind of came up with like, Hey, why don't we do a six Super 16 millimeter course because not a lot of people with excuse me, nobody. I can't still I still can't find anything online. There is no online course teaching, really teaching 16 Super 16 millimeter how to actually shoot it the all the knowledge of every every aspect of it from someone who has actually done it. And you're right, not even schools are teaching 16 as much anymore. I mean, you know, maybe New York Film Academy, I think may still teach us some 16 but they kind of just skip right over it and just jump over to the red or the Alexa or the black magic and they don't spend a lot of time on it. But it's something that needs to be taught. And that's why you and I kind of put that whole course together.

Egon Stephan Jr. 44:56
And Kodak if this felt that too. They they have been doing their own little workshops. Introduction to that, and they're there. Their events fill up a lot, because some of the people coming to them are union people and they're saying, Well I get a call saying, Are you available for these jobs? You say yes. And they said, Okay, are you do know that we're shooting this and they're super 16 or anamorphic or ar 35. So you're good with that, right? And no, like, I haven't worked with that. And they say, Oh, thank you, and they hang up and they go the next guy, right? There's thinking like, I need to learn that.

Alex Ferrari 45:29
Well, I'm a perfect example. Wes hbos Westworld at the monster shows

Egon Stephan Jr. 45:33
beautiful. I watch and it was like a maze. I was like, I was stunned. I was looking at that on my 80 inch screen TV go like, Whoa, I love the way this looks.

Alex Ferrari 45:40
Yeah, I mean, you got Westworld. You've got American horror stories still shot on awesome. Steve. got

Egon Stephan Jr. 45:47
super sick. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, but it's a good look, which was good. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 45:53
But but but Walking Dead is shot on 16. There's a ton of television, specifically television, a lot of television. But also, I mean, some major, a lot of major motion picture Star Wars was shot on supersix. All the star wars are being shot now on on a super 16 on a 35 or super 35. And anything Christopher Nolan does a shot on 35 or if not IMAX. So film is not dead. I know a lot of people think it is but it's not. And it's still, you know, is it ever going to be the main thing anymore? No, it won't.

Egon Stephan Jr. 46:22
You know, it's technology is Yeah, you know, but it should

Alex Ferrari 46:25
be not something that dies. I think that's the big thing. I think it should be an option for filmmakers and storytellers and image makers, to have that filmmaking option and actually be a film put the film back in filmmaking, you know, which is something that people have forgotten, you know, we say film where we say, oh, we're gonna, I'm gonna go make that film. I'm like, No, you're gonna go make a digital product, you know, or I'm gonna, I'm a filmmaker, I'm like, No, you're not, you're an image maker, or you're a content creator, you're not a filmmaker, because you're not making things with film. So that's, that's that whole thing. So when you What can you talk about real quick, can you because I know we talked about 16 and super 16. Can you tell the audience what the difference between the two are?

Egon Stephan Jr. 47:04
Well, the day there was there was regular 16. And you had purse on both sides of the frame. And they needed to, they wanted to see if they can with put more image onto that film. And in order to do that, they said, Okay, if we got rid of one set of proofs, we could shift it over to the, to the, to the right, and we could actually make it so that we would have a 16 by nine or a 235 kind of feeling to it on on 16. And they, what they did is they actually figured out on the camera, how to take them out and flip it 180, that would bring you over just a little bit that you needed to take care of that. And then the Super 16 film was only perfect on one side. Same thing happened with the regular 35 and super 35. In order to do that they had to try to squeeze stuff, but they still maintain both first but they were able to do to adapt 180 degree mount on the cameras, that could shift you and also they would also do that on the bottom of the camera for the base plate to line up all the rods and the follow focuses and the matte box, everything had to be shifted over a little bit. But and it would give you it would give you more landscape more real estate to put your imagery on.

Alex Ferrari 48:18
Right and give you more of that 16 by nine look, which everybody is looking for. Because remember, the olden days, obviously was four by three. And that's what 16 was four by three.

Egon Stephan Jr. 48:27
Well, there's the olden, olden days, you even had, you know, to perfect retinoscope. That was all the spaghetti westerns. And a lot of the popular movies of our past was using that format. That was that was more than a 16 by nine you're looking, you're looking at an anamorphic image with spherical lenses, instead of being anamorphic lenses. Gotcha. Gotcha, gotcha. And then you'd optically change it when you project it.

Alex Ferrari 48:55
Now what would be the top three tips you would give somebody going on shooting film for the first time on location,

Egon Stephan Jr. 49:05
have somebody in your pocket that you can call for her if you get in trouble, do a lot of homework test take we would in my day, we would, you know take 100 foot or 200 feet of some film and we would test it we would test it with lights and latitude and in different things just like you would do now that I think the process of testing your tools or preparing them before you go out and use them has really become a relaxed I mean, normally you'd have like two weeks to prep a show and you would be doing you know days of different types of tests and stuff. And now sometimes you get two days and you don't fill all that in because there's not a there's not that that demand to actually put it through those, those riggers and the cameras are different than not film cameras anymore. So I would say that you'd want to have at least some hands on experience with it. Even if it an environment that is very calm and relaxed so that you can just mess up you know I would say also you have to have a light meter that's another thing that people don't don't realize is you know light meters still work today they measure light so and they're the sensors are doing it all automatically and that kind of thing but still if you're going to do that you need to have a concept of of light and how to create a look with shadow and not just you know, people think if I take a light and I put it over the camera and I bang it into something you're lit well if you're doing news footage you're lit yes but if you're trying to create an emotion to feel or something, the type of light the color of light, the unit of light, how you kind of place it and do it is the molding of the scene that you're doing and to to achieve that you need a meter so you would probably want to you know have some people at least that have been done it twice, once or twice to give you a little little a little help.

Alex Ferrari 50:59
Yeah, I was perfect example I was I was working on a project that was shot on Super 16 and the filmmaker found somebody who said that they can do it and they sent it to me and it was literally grain central like the grain was as big as boulders and and it was just shot horribly bad not not because it not because the lighting particularly was it was just the exposure wasn't right. And it was just super super super grainy. So they were like, Hey, you know, what can we do? I'm like, there's not a whole lot we can do, man, you mean these, these grains are literally the size of boulders. And that's the thing that people have to understand when they're shooting film, it is not nearly as forgiving as digital.

Egon Stephan Jr. 51:44
No, if that was why you you went to school and you you learn art, it was an art thing. It wasn't just Hey, I go out and I shoot, you know, concerts or, or you know, weddings and that kind of though we're really doing this as a as an art you're learning you're I mean, the things that I would read is always trade magazines or articles about the people that I admire, and I and I look up to that they're giving explanations on how they did something or calling them up and saying, Hey, I just watched what you did. How did you do this little scene because I'm amazed I can't figure it out and you talk to him about it. And you that's what you kind of did to improve on and people would actually say to you, hey, I want my Pepsi commercial to look like this scene of this movie from this particular team and you'd be like Hmm, okay, now you have to somehow not haven't been been on that last job. Create that look with the experience level that you have

Alex Ferrari 52:40
or try to find it in the American cinematographer. Were the DPS

Egon Stephan Jr. 52:46
issues and say, okay, where is it located? Oh, okay. They use the they use lightning strikes and they use

Alex Ferrari 52:53
Yeah, like I actually I studied the one from Kent Oh God, candy, who did seven and seven was such a kind of revolutionary way it was shot you know, with the whole silver bath and you know, and they just the darks went so dark and this is the time when digital was not around yet. And I just studied it that I just bought. I love collecting Stanley Kubrick's American cinematographers so I got the shining just just for fun just to see cuz I was one of the first times they use steadycam not the first time but one of the first times I use steadycam it was just it's just fun but yeah, that's how you would do it. But it can't film is can be forgiving. If you choose the right stock and light it the proper way. So like the vision stocks, those Kodak vision stocks which are basically what is left. Now is like an all vision stock if I'm not mistaken or is there another other kinds of Kodak stock now as well.

Egon Stephan Jr. 53:48
I believe that that's the the visions that are that are the vision to and stuff that that's where the best of having learned over all those years of working with film and latitudes that they've got to I mean they kind of bleed at that point. But there were the exotic stocks that that's why and stuff when we when when we would do our job we'd get a call. I mean it was especially a film job obviously we they were called because they knew you could pull that off they recall because they knew you had skills that you had skills more than they did and they watched you on the set they knew that you would have it and you're when you say like the the margin of error, it's huge but once you know how to do it, it's a piece of cake. It's actually believe it or not, and I i love the digital cameras these days, but me and a camera and a magazine in the battery. I could go anywhere in the world and do my thing with a very low impact of having to be reliant on cables how and batteries and power. I mean in the in my day a gnm battery a 1224 volt battery 1313 amp hour battery can last you all day,

Alex Ferrari 54:58
right? You're literally almost like running around with a camcorder but yeah but it film yeah

Egon Stephan Jr. 55:04
but so and most if you knew your film in New Year latitudes It was about actually picking the moment of the day if you didn't have lights to shoot I worked with many people from Europe and they do commercials and then when the sun got about new or like 11 almost noon we wouldn't shoot we would shoot for like three hours and we sit around in there drink wine and tell stories and the brand and and we'd be like what are we doing is like no it's a they go It is not good to shoot yet and we just say okay fine you know we'll just and then and then when it would be time to be like they would kick into action and everything would be great but you know, it's kind of like the the the impact or the the footprint should I say that you show up with a digital camera these days when you seen some of these cameras? You know you got a you got a Lexa with

Alex Ferrari 55:51
45,000 cables. Oh my god, people just turn the damn thing on.

Egon Stephan Jr. 55:57
Is there a camera in there somewhere because you just look and say it looks like alien with spaghetti stuff. And of course you've got little cables that go weird and little other bugs electronic bugs, which I know everybody has a computer and you know like to call them

Alex Ferrari 56:12
Gremlins Gremlins, Gremlins, Gremlins bugs. Yeah,

Egon Stephan Jr. 56:16
incompatibilities of things and you go Yeah, what why is that not playing right? I'm supposed to be at this frame rate and it's not listening or it's not why

Alex Ferrari 56:24
I don't have the latest firmware so it's not hooking up oh

Egon Stephan Jr. 56:28
my god it's like did you up this firmware Oh your three your three bills back That's the problem. It's like Ah,

Alex Ferrari 56:33
so this is this is a thing that you that's one of the big pluses you have to worry about when shooting Super 16 or shooting film is that film is film it's been film for the last 120 years in a row there is no firmware update for it

Egon Stephan Jr. 56:45
no no and that's what I mean too is like the conditions of being some were very hot and some were very cold or switching between them. Electronic devices don't like it and also I had different times where explosions or different types of pireaus or different types of percussion of things would from the explosion that electromagnetic whatever field of whatever is happening to up to speed image may the camera glitch and it doesn't stop doing something or it's like one Come on like they put they put film cameras up in space on the rockets and it didn't have a problem. And you know I we were we did the TV show Miami Vice. I was a first time actually I was pulling focus on my device. And I came out on one night and and the camera operator looked at me goes you haven't been doing this very long have you? And I said Look, I I said I work at see you know Sydney video tech and Bob up I go Yeah, you know it all? Well, but have you pulled focus on a Lamborghini coming out of nowhere down? I 95 at night, on 100 miles an hour? I said no. So he got Alright, I'm gonna, and we're on a 300 millimeter and I go, oh, can't be any more hard, wide open on the 300. So he says, Okay, I'm gonna give you a focus mark here, here and here. And the rest of it, it's up to you. And it was like this was now that moment that I felt I could do this, I could do this. And you know, was saying, okay, send the car in the wound, that thing comes my way. Oh, and I looked at my go, Did I get it? He goes, man, I'm not so sure. Okay, Tell, tell them do it again. We do it take two and they didn't want to do take three. And I felt not so good. And take two but you had to rely on your camera operator to say, Did I get it or they buzz it? And he goes, No, I think that when you got and we'd see the next day and dailies if it was right, right. But the way they see people pull focus these days, like, especially people just have their own camera. They're just looking off the monitor and then pulling focus off of that. And that was like a taboo, you never looked at the model. One you never had one until later on. And the other one was the old fashioned way of running a tape measure and then learning distances, and then just floating with it knowing your lenses. So the time that you have to look at a monitor and then react to pulling focus, you're always going to be behind, because you're never going to be right on the timing. That makes a move in a shot. And the whole the dolly grip and the and the operator and everybody that does this little dance to make a move when they all do it correctly. It's magic. When you don't you see things that are anomalies. And these days, you don't know they're not really learning that way. You know, a lot like a lot of operators. You know, I'm sure the new operators, when they see one of my gear heads, they think it's an alien. They don't know what it is, is like how do you do that? I can't tilt and turn and it's like, Yeah, you got to do this with your eyes closed. I mean that you couldn't get as an operator on any show if you can operate the wheels. And it would be like, you know, it'd be like that. That's every a camera, at least in my day. You had a gearhead, right, right, right. And they wouldn't give you the gear to head on second unit. You get an O'Conner hat or something but you you had a No, I mean you had wheels, and then if you did anything that was remote head, crane, something like that. It was wheels. Later on, they came with a joystick and if you've learned with the wheels, the joystick makes you look at step

Alex Ferrari 59:52
look like it's bad. It's step, step and step instead it's like you take steps you don't just jump like you don't just grab a camera and call yourself a dp you like you've got to build up to those things and same things with all aspects of film. Now let me ask you a quick question. What camera would you suggest if you're going to go shoot Super 16 today? We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:00:23
Hmm, well, I the 416 that was the last of the three cameras that they made that was film related, was a beautiful combination of all that is that the ASR three is no, no, no, no, it's the it's, it's after the ASR. They made it they made another camera after the ASR. They made a newer version.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:44
But what's gonna be out there mostly though, yes, oh

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:00:47
no, you'll find more you'll find more 16 s Rs, I mean, the 16 s are they had different models, they had the ASR. 123 and then they had the high speed versions and then also the advanced, which was a brighter optical system with a with a nice, more 6050 5050 or 6040 pellicle split for the color video or integrated video. So that got better to see the video assist kept getting better and better and better. And the camera would be better features like a brighter optical system so you can see it better in low light and you're actually looking through an image that's flickering because you're seeing the shutter.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:28
Right? As far as as far as wood, because I remember shooting star three in college and that's si toos were the workhorses. I mean there's so many srts out there and that's a perfectly fine camera and then the ASR threes as well are a ton of them out there but but you could but those are the kind of the workhorses right like that's kind of

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:01:47
if I was gonna say one camera to use if I had to get rid of all of my film cameras and say, What am I going to keep I probably keep it SCR three advanced high speed, decide have the ability to go high speed, low speed shutter changes, and it's a brighter system, but you know it, I'm nitpicking because that compared to NSR, to you know that over the generations, you learned on the models that were there, their strengths and weaknesses, if you could still get past some of the weaknesses and say, you know, the viewfinder doesn't look as crisp and the edges a little bit soft, but I still know through what I'm getting, it's fine. It's a fine camera. You know what I mean? It's like I've, I have almost every film camera that has been made. I mean,

Alex Ferrari 1:02:32
yes. Oh, which I which brings me which brings me You have to interrupt you, you have to tell the story of the Citizen Kane camera, to really, because it was such an awesome store when you told me real quick, if you don't want to tell I'll tell it really quickly.

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:02:48
Okay, okay. Jimmy Carter had the camera that shot Citizen Kane and was going to donate it to the ASC museum and but not too later and gave it to my father. And for many, many, many years, it said in his office, which was your

Alex Ferrari 1:03:03
office, which is your office and I've been there many times I'm like, hey, that's a pretty cool camera but you never once told me it was the one that shots it isn't freaking game.

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:03:09
And and then there was a there was a there's a poster that had Orson Welles on it that that had him, you know, like in glass frame, big, big picture of Orson on it. So then a later year, my father passes away, and I take over the company, and, you know, time goes on. And Jimmy says, you know, what can you can can we like, set, get that camera? And you know, what, what do you think about donate to the AC museum? I was like, Sure, okay, well, you know, I haven't moved it. Even since the day my father died, it's been in the same position for, I don't know, 20 years, something like that. And so I go to pack it up and try to pack it up. And as I'm there at night by myself, and I was like, Wow, it's really sad to see this go because I kind of got used to it, seeing it every day. And when I was a kid, so I sort of put it back in my case, and as I'm on the floor, like kneeling down, I see stars, something hits me over the head, and I looked down and I'm bleeding. And there's glass everywhere. And I'm like, What the hell and I look up and I go, Orson had come off the wall, and hit me straight on the head, cut my nose, up my face, glass everywhere, cut my hand, and I said, Dude, are you mad that I'm getting rid of this? Or did I just disrupt some little pot of energy that decided to go and spaz out and you know, have that happen that aye? Aye. Aye aye I cleaned up my blood and then of course I told my staff and they say look what happened here? But I think if you wanted to go see it's over the ice right now.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:38
That's That's fine.

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:04:41
And I still have the poster. I never put glass in it again because I don't want him to hit me again.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:45
Okay, fair enough. Fair enough. Maybe

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:04:46
he was bad. I don't know Orson rolled over and got pissed.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:49
So what um, if you had one piece of advice, you can give any filmmaker starting out in the business world, what would it be?

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:04:56
They gotta love what you do and you got to have passion for it. You got to want You want to up your, your game up, you're, I mean, everybody's going to do something, but do it in a unique way that is inherent to you and then make it just grow. As you get more time in the seat in the saddle, your experience will grow. And too many times I see that a lot of the younger generation they want to fast and cheap. But then it mostly isn't good. And it comes off as being arrogant for the Masters that have spent their life trying to learn something and try to do like you. Like, like somebody who doesn't go to college is somebody who does and they want to tell him, you know my ways the best way it's like, Yeah, I don't want to hear that. It's like you that you have to put in your time one way or another and to give a little respect to where it's come to now because it's gotten so easy from the backs of people that had did it way before you and we're always experimenting is pushing the the envelopes, and nobody knows everything. Like I always say, I go out there and a lot of times I work on jobs and nothing really surprises me. And then there's other times it's like, Hey, I learned something even today. And that's that I love because if you keep learning, you don't become a jaded dinosaur. And at least you can you can keep moving forward.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:09
It was funny too because anytime we've worked together I know you've learned a few things from me on posts you're like Oh, so that's what you could do in post. Yeah, and I've learned and I've learned a ton from you on set without question well

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:06:21
if I the things that you could learn in post then even to this day, what you can learn in post gives you that confidence when you're on set is saying Do I need to spend 15 minutes flagging off that light or can I just wipe it away? And if I can wipe it away then I'm not going to worry about it or exactly or if I'm going to say is that going to really be dark or is that going to be oh I have no I'm going to crush it down a stop and a half so and I know it's going to be fine because I did it before with so so you your confidence level is super good with that mode because you you know what you can get away with certain things you can't get it if it's out of focus there's no fix it in post

Alex Ferrari 1:07:00
I hey I'm gonna disagree with you slightly because if it really saw it saw you don't hey thank you soft you can fix it if it's soft because

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:07:14
it'll have to show me that because I well because because because specifically

Alex Ferrari 1:07:17
because I learned this on Meg ago I've learned so much shooting being the photographer make I refuse to call myself a cinematographer, a director of photography but I since I photographed it I learned a ton and you know since there was basically only three people on the crew and I was running one of the cameras there was no assistant camera you were your own assistant camera so sometimes you know things happen you know actors move and things got a little soft. So I actually took it into Vinci and there's a sharpen tool, which I was never a big fan of because it never really looked right but if you throw a sharp in and then you throw another thing on and then you do clean this up here and you do this there all of a sudden you're like holy crap, it's in focus. But it has to be soft it can't be out of focus it can't it has to be slow yeah okay so you mean like if it's completely out of focus you're you're done but if you're slightly soft where you can actually see it soft I look at their eyes and their eyes are a little soft I just go I just tweak okay just a little

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:08:17
tweak but but

Alex Ferrari 1:08:17
what I'm saying out of focus is out of focus I mean there's no let's say

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:08:21
that I was doing a food thing last month and you know you're at 300 frames a second at a five six with a 25 millimeter lens of macro with food falling when it's not sharp no

Alex Ferrari 1:08:38
no no no that's a whole lot it's soft for a long

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:08:40
time as you're watching it at 24 It's like going oh my god

Alex Ferrari 1:08:46
I would still like give it if you gave me that footage I could see what I could do it's believe me I couldn't hear Magic

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:08:52
Man I can I can pull you can pull things that I don't even know if I

Alex Ferrari 1:08:56
need to see I can't wait for you to see me because I want you to see it and just go oh okay cuz I had a couple of my buddies who are ASC cinematographers watch it and they're like, it looks good. He goes I mean hire us next time obviously but it doesn't look I mean it looks fine you know it's no

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:09:10
but if you hire look the way you pulled this off you were what 10 hats and 15 or 20 at least okay 2050 hats. Yeah, you still you still had the the well with all to keep it intimate have to the more the more people that you bring in like I've worked on jobs that are like 500 people it's insane. Like you're breaking intervals of legend 200 people at a time and it's it's an army it's a city and it doesn't have the same intimacy is if it's just you and three people. You can get more more performance out you also can if you're not, if you're not a tyrant, you can actually get people to love you and follow you into that scary place and trust you as a director to release their their their Best soft emotional aside to capture on on frames and you can do that i mean that that not having an army of people sometimes works for you It makes you a little bit tired and you need a week to recover but I wouldn't say do it on every job but I do think that there is something good about doing especially if you're taking like fashion stuff the more people and let's say somebody is half naked they're dancing around and doing something like that you put in a whole army there it makes them feel uncomfortable you have like two people and just say look trust me I'm going to make you look good and you know you have the choice of how to how far to go and you get a better performance I think

Alex Ferrari 1:10:36
oh my my lead actress Jill she's like I'm never shooting anything without you again because you made me look amazing what am i do i did call her the hell out of it. But anyway, we won't get on that. So real quick my friend the last two questions I always ask all of my guests are the toughest one so prepare yourself Oh boy. What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in life or in the film industry

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:11:04
Ah, the lesson I you don't know everything even though you might feel it, you don't know it and some of the choices that you make many years later can come back to reward you or come back to haunt you.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:29
That's so true.

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:11:31
I think that if I tried to keep thinking that look I'm lucky to have a job where we're doing make believe we're really selling mirrors of the land of the blind we're doing we're doing advertising of products that are better looking than the actual product itself. We're getting consumerism to buy things or go and and follow direct is because they emotionally get brought on to to a place that they love their films and you're you're doing it you're giving somebody in the in the way this world can be so ugly and horrible and distressful, you can have a moment of two hours to watch a movie and feel good about yourself so you can touch people, you know, unilaterally whether whatever nationality you are, through this medium, and that it's not brain surgery. So it should be something that you enjoy doing and you should be something that you don't beat into people like you're building a pyramid that you that you do it in a creative way and then you're proud of it. And you might actually feel good that you were there like those magical moments that changes people's careers that you can say and look next to the person and say I was there with you that night. I was I was a part of that. And I I experienced that moment and I knew this was going to be a turning point and that's that's a neat thing because people to do what they love that pays their bills and also fulfills their spirit. It's tough to find that calling and if this is going to be the one which itemize saying it is because a lot of sucky parts about a completely that I I you know, I when I got fired off that job, I didn't leave my my apartment for two weeks thinking I just never want to be in public again, because I was so hurt by it. But you know, it has some terrible lows. And then and then if you can sort of ride that out and remember your place that you don't know everything, and there's somebody that's going to know or do something a little bit better embrace it, and just kind of be open to it and receptive to it and learn I think and learn I think really it's about learning whether I'm 50 or 20 as long as I keep learning it keeps me excited. If it's if it's if I don't want to learn and it becomes boring. I gotta do something else.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:48
Now what are your three favorite films of all time? Blade Runner, excellent.

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:13:55
Dom Domino.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:56
I love Domino. That's it. That's the first time it's been on the show. Good. It's a good Oh, really? Yeah, no one else is called Domino out that's a Tony Scott film. I mean, so brilliantly shot pretty well. The

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:14:07
ending in that is, is you're so committed to that kind of a style that you've got the whole team backing you you get to turn to stumble upon greatness. Isn't that crazy?

Alex Ferrari 1:14:21
It's Tony Scott, Tony Scott. Man, he revolutionized the action movie. It's no question about

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:14:25
well, actually and then of course they said Blade Runner. So that's, that's that's

Alex Ferrari 1:14:30
really who also revolutionized and whoever's listening to this podcast right now has not seen Blade Runner. You need to stop listening right now and go stream it rented by it. Whatever. You won't be sorry. And what's it What's your third one, sir?

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:14:45
And it still holds up. I'm not so sure about Blade Runner two that I heard is I'm gonna I'm gonna keep open. Yeah. I mean, he is going to be one that you probably I mean like I could go on by telling you films like Fellini's eight and a half Seven Samurai and and all these types of things but something like that I could go and grab two wood that I can see over and over again because I don't know it seemed like it's more old school would probably be Excalibur

Alex Ferrari 1:15:20
oh wow yeah I love Excalibur because I

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:15:23
like Mormons I like I like the way it looked I mean he didn't have all the visual and special effects you had to do in practically it had more of a story about King Arthur it had real actors even though they did every scene yelling yeah but I didn't know I could I could watch it over and over again or Dune for instance as another one I love just the way the because I mean there's these days Give me something that happened recently a movie line that you can remember

Alex Ferrari 1:15:52
off top of my head I can't remember anything right now.

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:15:54
Exactly. But you can remember movie lines from Breakfast Club you can remember movie lines from from Arnold's movies you can remember movie lines from from Talladega Nights are certain things that are like you know like they just stick with a stick with you Ghostbusters the original you have you know there's so many whenever line or something in a movie that sticks with you even when like Blade Runner not an easy thing to meet your maker you know it's kind of like you know, this these are I don't find that commonly now with certain things you say a line and I get people looking at me think I'm just talking to myself like a crazy man. But it really has a reference in the homage to a certain film.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:32
Now where can people find you? Online sir?

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:16:37
Let's say you can check me on on Facebook under Sydney video tech or Egon Stephen Jr. Instagram snapchat

Alex Ferrari 1:16:48
your website your websites actually

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:16:52
yeah www cinemedia tech comm we're going to update that it's it needs a new facelift but it's still the same people we're still the we're still the only rental house one of the very very few that are still around from the original family from 1968 so the name and the people on the second generation and hopefully at some point one of my kids wants to do this too and I can I can have them take over my little part but we've been trying to be a stable place in Miami Florida for a very long time and when you look at the whole industry in itself many companies were bought and sold and still kept the same name but not have the same people that are backing behind it and I'm still one of the very few independently owned that still maintained like it was in the old days we have lights that are from 40 years old that still work we would have like interesting cameras from way back even hand crane cameras that some are movie Ola that people don't even know how to thread up or you know some things that by saying this today's technology you can still use older lenses on newer cameras and you can still use older lights on on newer scenes it doesn't light is a light

Alex Ferrari 1:18:06
It just allow the lens and a lens is a lens

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:18:09
Right so you know it's it's one of those things that I I feel more than just that I'm a camera man or that I'm a teacher or a mentor for a lot of people it's like I also feel obligated that I'm I'm like a storehouse of knowledge for you know this medium and I am always wanting to pass it on to anybody else and still try to offer the tools the filmmakers that I was offered

Alex Ferrari 1:18:31
Man thank you so much Egon for being on the show and thank you for being a part of our our little course that we put together for 16 millimeter Super 16 millimeter and then we have a couple other courses coming up. Aimed lens masterclass which literally Egon opened up the vault and we looked at every frickin lens on the planet and shot with it and it's obscene and we also have another one with filters just the magic of what filters can do as well coming up in the next few months. But right now we're gonna we're releasing the Super 16 definitive Super 16 masterclass and I will give you all that information in the show notes guys but Egon brother thank you as

Egon Stephan Jr. 1:19:13
Hey Alex the best man I've always said that you're you're one of a kind and I'm so happy to be your friend and so happy to be a part of this and you've you've helped me over the years and I think this is a fantastic thing you're doing and keep it going buddy.

Alex Ferrari 1:19:27
Thank you brother thanks for being the show. And I hope you guys enjoy that episode with with Egon a little talk and you know again film is not dead guys. It's not as much as people like to say it's completely gone. It's quietly working in the background and things that you thought that are not being shot on film are being shot on film. So don't think that you can't shoot film because it's way way too expensive or way out of your you know price Li You know league or that you need you know insane amounts of people to do it. You know it is more complicated than grabbing your iPhone and Shooting, but the results will be worth the extra time and money that you will need to shoot it. But it's still very affordable considering when you start doing the math. So as promised guys, if you guys want to take this course, which will be growing, I'm going to be adding a few more things to it in the coming months. So just head over to indie film hustle.com forward slash, super 16 that's indie film hustle.com forward slash Super 16. And though not the word, the numbers are the word super, and the number 16. So indie film hustle.com forward slash Super 16. And I'm going to be giving you 50 bucks off the cost of the course this is a really special course guys, it's it's a long course it has a lot of information on it. If you're serious about shooting a super 16 or shooting film or interested in that knowledge. This is definitely the course for you. And also included in the course are a ton of downloadable forms, reports, things like that, that you can't get anywhere else. And that's included in the course so you can download all this stuff and get things ready film report shot lists, all this kind of stuff that you will need to deal with film labs and so on. So that's all included in the course as well. And we'll be adding more stuff to it in the coming weeks. There's a lens masterclass that we're working on that there's we put the Super 16 one in the course and it's one of the free lessons that we put up on YouTube and it'll be in the show notes. But we're also creating a lens masterclass which literally and I'm not joking you takes every single lens known to man and we put it up on a on a on a kit on a red and we shoot it and we show you what the differences are. And we explain it and where they came from and how to use them what kind of mounts there it's an insane course and we're going to be including parts of that in this course, but also be adding that as another full masterclass coming in the next few months as soon as I have a moment to breathe, to put it all together. So thank you again As always guys and please head over to filmmaking podcast calm and leave us an honest review on the show. It really helps us out a lot. And don't forget this is mag COMM And check out the trailer for my latest in first feature film. This is Meg I'd love to hear what you guys have to say about it. drop me a line drop me an email, drop me a message on Facebook or on Twitter and or post it on Facebook and just let me know what you guys think. I'm really really excited about it. I'm so happy that I was able to do it. And there is more stuff coming on indie film syndicate. So don't forget over so guys to head over to indie film syndicate comm and join the gang of learning all the stuff that we have in indie film syndicate, and I will be adding new courses this month to the indie film syndicate are November excuse me we've already added for October but we will be adding new courses in November as well as new lessons in the independent filmmaking masterclass which helps you go through the entire process. I went through creating this is Meg on a, let's say under $25 million budget. So guys, thank you again so much. Keep the hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

YOUTUBE VIDEO

LINKS

SPONSORS

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

IFH 103: How a Camera and Hustle Created a $30 Million Empire with Joel Holland

Get ready to be inspired. I want to bring this week’s guest onto the show for a while now. Joel Holland is the founder and CEO of VideoBlocks, the first subscription-based provider of stock video and audio, with over 100,000 customers in the television and video production industry, from NBC to MTV to prosumers and hobbyists looking to enhance their video projects and productions. There are a lot of indie filmmakers can learn from Joel.

In 2013, VideoBlocks was ranked the 32nd fastest-growing technology company in the US/Canada, and the 2nd fastest growing technology company in the DC region by Deloitte for the Fast500, for achieving 7,000% revenue growth over the past 5 years.

videoblocks, Joel Holland, stock footage, filmmaking, indie film, cinematography

Photo Credit: VideoBlocks.com

In 2012, VideoBlocks was named the #4 Fastest-Growing Media Company by Inc. Magazine and made the prestigious Inc. 500 list.

For his work with VideoBlocks, Joel has been named one of the Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25” by BusinessWeek Magazine, “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” by the United States Small Business Administration, and “Entrepreneur of the Year” for the Greater Washington DC Region by Ernst & Young.

In 2013, Joel was recognized on the Inc. “30 Under 30” list: He is the definition of the word “Hustle.” Sit back and enjoy my conversation with Joel Holland.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 1:26
So guys, really, if you want to be inspired, sit back and relax and get ready to take some notes and enjoy my interview with Joel Holland. Guys. I like to welcome to the show, Joe Holland. How you doing, man?

Joel Holland 3:26
I'm doing well Alex, thanks for having me on.

Alex Ferrari 3:28
Oh, thank you, man. So listen, after doing my research on you, Joel, I found that you are the definition of the word hustle. There's no I mean, I thought I hustled but you You definitely if you are a hustler, and in the best term best use of that term.

Joel Holland 3:46
I've no, I appreciate that. And no, I take that as a definitely as a compliment. I think we've all heard the you know, heard the different axioms, but I think there's just no like an idea only gets you so far. The hustle is is what kind of gets you over the finish line. So I appreciate that.

Alex Ferrari 4:03
Yeah, I mean, honestly, ideas are, are are almost worthless. Sometimes unless you put there they are worthless unless you put also behind it. Totally, because all of us have ideas. I mean, and for me, specifically, we all have I want to be I want to make a movie, or I'm gonna write a song or I'm gonna write a book, but unless you actually start putting that also behind it. It's absolutely useless. Yep. 100% So please, let's first off and tell me Can you please tell me the story about how you interviewed Arnold Schwarzenegger while you were in school?

Joel Holland 4:32
Yeah, definitely. Yeah. So that was so that was years ago when I was in high school. And you know, it basically I was a sophomore in high school, trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. And I was kind of mesmerized by the world of business and journalism and Hollywood. And you know, there's just so many interesting career paths. I couldn't decide what I wanted to do. And when I went to the career office, there descriptions and answers were just really textbook boring. And so I decided, you know, what better way to find out, you know what I want to do than to go ask the people that are top of their career, right top of the path and in any given industry. And so I approached a local nonprofit in the DC area that did video production. And I said, hey, look, I have this idea. I want to go out on an interview very interesting people and get their advice for teens who are preparing for college and internships in life. And, you know, and their answer was, look, you seem super ambitious. But you have no connections, no contacts. So if you can somehow pull together a list of people who are willing to sit down and be interviewed, then we'll be willing to give you a camera crew and a little budget. Wow. And yeah, so Exactly. So that was exciting. But then, you know, so right. So there was the idea, right? The idea was go interview fascinating people. Now the hustle part, was probably the most important. And I think part of the reason I had so much giddy up and go is that I was young and super naive. So to me, like, why wouldn't you be able to reach out to a person like Arnold Schwarzenegger and try to have them sit down with you to talk, right, like, I think most logical people would say, well, because they're super busy. And they're in another world. And like 7 billion other people want to talk to them. But I was just naive. And so I just started reaching out to interesting people and basically, begging, you know, bartering and you know, pleading to get them to sit down and do these interviews, and manage to get a good list of individuals. For our first base, I built like a New York City trip. And it was going to be David neelum, and the founder of JetBlue. A two sir Rubenstein, who started 17 magazine, a couple of guys who were running the American Stock Exchange. So and then the end of the last one, the biggest one was steve forbes. And that was someone who had just literally written to the like, editor at Forbes magazine.com, just over and over again to email address. And after like, months and months, I think wore them down are like, dude, kid, just leave us alone. Fine, like, he will sit down with you. But please, for the love of God, leave us alone. And so and so luckily, you know, the production company, this group called kids online, said, Alright, let's do this. And we went to New York, we shot these interviews, and it became part of an ongoing series that we called streaming futures. And that, over time, we ended up doing 150 interviews with really interesting people. And I the coup de gras was probably Arnold Schwarzenegger. And as a good segue, that interview with Arnold was also the real kind of kick in the pants to start, what is now videoblocks

Alex Ferrari 7:51
Yeah, I want to know how did that one interview kind of change the course of your entire life?

Joel Holland 7:56
Totally. So basically, when like this, you know, we It took months, like probably four or five months to get Arnold Schwarzenegger to actually agree to sit down to do an interview. And we flew out to Los Angeles, we had our crew, we interviewed him, I was like, a 20 minute to person, you know, to camera interview. his advice was fascinating, right? Because here's a guy who came from Austria with nothing, not a penny in his pocket. It became a bodybuilding champion actor, and he's about to become governor, right? Like what a trifecta. So great interview, great advice. We then went back to Virginia, and I'm editing this thing together. And I have this like, unfortunate realization. Oh, no, this is like, this is boring as shit. Not and not because of the advice, but because of the production value. Basically, it was I was I always say this, but it was Charlie Rose, for, you know, intended for a teenage audience, which is not a good connection, or maybe not

Alex Ferrari 8:50
Really, yeah, not the hippest of connections you can make

Joel Holland 8:54
Totally so total mismatch. So Good, good. Good advice, really, like dry, boring to watch, because it's just me and Arnold talking. And so I started looking at Discovery Channel to try to figure out how these guys were taking relatively mundane topics, educational topics, and making them super interesting to watch. And what I learned was, it was all about the way they edited this stuff together. It was fast cuts, right? The camera was changing every two to three seconds. There was music there were there were like interstitials transitions, there were effects. And there was a ton of stock media. So if you know they're talking, if someone's talking, a lot of times, they might give you two seconds to that person's talking head and then cut to you know, an aerial shot from a helicopter of what they're describing. So I saw that and I said, Dude, I need to do this for this Arnold Schwarzenegger interview. I need an aerial shot of the Hollywood sign, right like the Hollywood sign from a helicopter nice and smooth, right as we're opening this thing, I need some music. I need you know, to make this thing pop. And what I came to find out Was stock media at the time. And this is 2003 was not a thing. I mean, there was like there are two companies like seen an image source and maybe you know some other big agencies but you had to pay 1000s and 1000s of dollars. It's obscene.

Alex Ferrari 10:15
I remember I remember looking for that in the 90s looking for stock footage for commercials and stuff. And it was like, Oh my god, it was so freakin cost prohibitive, like one shot. And then there was the rights thing. Yeah, every like, oh, if you're gonna do it for this, it's this much if you can do it for this is this much if you do that, I'm like, Jesus, man. It was so ridiculous, saying well, exactly.

Joel Holland 10:35
And so there it is, like that was I was confronted with the ridiculousness of cost and licensing, you had to pay by the second you had to pay for like different if it was us distribution versus international distribution. So whether you wanted internet rights or television rights, it was it was crazy. And so look, I think this goes back to me being young and naive. But to me, I was like, there's an opportunity here to create stock footage, and sell it at a price point that's inexpensive enough, that hobbyist enthusiast and documentarians can afford it. Basically, people like me, and I'm like, why is nobody doing this? And so the fight instead of like, thinking, oh, maybe nobody's doing it for a reason. I said, Hey, this is looks like an opportunity. And I took a year off between high school and college, bought some equipment and started shooting. And that was kind of how I tested my theory.

Alex Ferrari 11:29
Very, very, Yeah, I was gonna ask you, well, I have a bunch of questions about how you took off, because I know there's a deeper question there. But one thing that came to mind too about, about being ignorant and not being naive, but I was I was watching an interview with Orson Welles. And when he because he was 23, when he made Citizen Kane, and they asked him how were you so brave when you did all these things? and innovative? He's like, No, no, I was I was ignorant.

Joel Holland 11:55
Yes, exactly. ignorance. I didn't know any better. The ignorance

Alex Ferrari 12:00
is the best form of bravery is your best form of, of any of that kind of stuff, because you just don't know any better.

Joel Holland 12:06
So percent, which is why I always think it's like, the younger you can start your entrepreneurial path, right, right. Or any path like the younger you start your path of being a filmmaker, or a documentarian, like young is good, because you haven't had time to become jaded. Time to start overthinking things.

Alex Ferrari 12:24
For me, it's been the opposite. Like I started young, then I got jaded. And then now I'm back to my mentality of being young. Yeah, I love it. Because you have to it's true. It's true. And like, if you would tell me like right now, if you go, Alex, can you get Arnold Schwarzenegger on your podcast? I'd be like, Oh, man, you know, everything. You just said, like, God, everybody wants him, how am I going to get him? all this kind of stuff. But you were, you had youth in ignorance on your side,

Joel Holland 12:52
Using ignorance and hustles, and hustle, and hustle. But you also you know, it's funny, you realize that everything in life is a two way street and kind of everything in life revolves around incentive. And so at first, when I was trying to get someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger, I was thinking too much mee mee mee like, I want him to be on my show, because it'll be good for me. Well, that doesn't work when you reach out, because how does it benefit him? Right? And so what I realized was, Well, a lot of these, you know, people have, you know, these high level individuals have passion projects that they're really passionate about. And for him, it was Arnold's all stars. So he was working with kids. And so I started going through his nonprofit, and saying, hey, like, this is the connection, you're gonna help us, but we're also going to help you because this will be beneficial for our owns all stars, and we'll do you know, and that, you know, that's the the advice that I think is pretty much blanket for anything you do in life is find the incentive for the other person, right? And make sure it's a two way street. And then when those things, you know, when those streets align, boom, yeah, I

Alex Ferrari 14:01
think that's a big mistake. A lot of entrepreneurs, filmmakers, and people in general, they always just like, Oh, I'm going to get this person and I'm going to interview this person, or I want 15 minutes with this person or an hour like, like, well, what is that person? What is it and what's in it for that person other than depth and being very nice. There has to be a two way street, and there has to be a value, you have to provide value to them. 100% without before you even attempt to go after someone of that statute. Now, again, from my research that I've seen, you know, you weren't just a hustler. Early on you were a hustler really early on. When you were making 20 bucks a day selling golf balls at the age of 10. Yeah, yeah, that's right. And then you moved up to selling on ebay at 12. And you were making almost what, $20,000 a year selling on eBay. For a 12 year old that's like a million dollars.

Joel Holland 14:53
Yeah, yeah. It is. It was it was very real money. And I was I was somehow good about saving it. And so I would I would every month, my goal is to send $2,000 to an investment advisor I had and so I tried to save money every month.

Alex Ferrari 15:12
That's my advisor at 12. Yeah, that's Yeah, amazing.

Joel Holland 15:16
So great. But it'd be you know, so I think that where all that comes from is, from a young age, I just love selling like, so the art of the hustle, the art of selling something, is, to me a huge rush. And it's a rush that I still get today. And because we think about a transaction, like if you sell something, it goes back to what we were just talking about, you're finding something that someone needs to, you're finding something that, you know, it's they have an incentive to buy it, and then a reason to give you money. And obviously, you enjoy getting the money. And so I loved selling things because I felt like a I was providing something valuable, because people were willing to pay for it. And then be everybody was better off, like the buyer got our product they wanted and I got money. And so I became obsessed with that. I mean, I think sales, just the art of selling is just a very, very exciting thing. And I can kind of the core of any good business, of course,

Alex Ferrari 16:10
right? And I'll tell you what, when I first sold my first short film when I was, you know, literally packing them myself and labeling them and sending them out. When I first released it and hearing those Pay Pal dings. Oh my goodness, I'll never forget that I did a launch sequence without without me knowing I did a launch sequence. Like I had no idea I was doing. I did a six month launch sequence for this movie. I had no idea what I was doing. It was just instinctual. And when I finally released the DVD, all I hear was thing, thing, thing, thing, thing, thing, thing, thing thing. I'll never forget that sound if it's like the greatest feeling ever. And this

Joel Holland 16:45
validates validation, right? Yes, total validation for the film you created, right? And then

Alex Ferrari 16:49
the then then comes the horrible part, like, oh, man, we got to pack these, we have to ship? How are we going to mail them? We didn't have like, there was no mail printing or anything like that we had to stamp each one. We must have like 150 sales in the first day. And which was huge for a short film. Of course. And and I'm like with handwriting the rats, it's it was just madness. It was madness. But anyway.

Joel Holland 17:13
But there was and those are the good problems, right? Like, yeah, that, you know,

Alex Ferrari 17:16
I guess, too many, too many.

Joel Holland 17:19
I know the feeling that feeling your scribing is just magical.

Alex Ferrari 17:22
Oh, it's absolutely wonderful. And I've been preaching to my listeners, you know that our filmmakers today that they have to become entrepreneurs, in order to make a kind of like in the indie film world, would you agree on that?

Joel Holland 17:35
I would, because I think it goes back to what we opened with which is, you know, a good idea is only as good as the hustle that goes with and so a good film, you can make the greatest documentary. But unless you know how to get out there and get in front of people, which will be the entrepreneurial part, then it's never gonna go anywhere. And I bet you there's so many amazing documentaries that are sitting on shelves, because the hustle part didn't ever got added to the equation. And and by the same token, there are a ton of documentaries that have gone mainstream that are kind of not that great, right? Because it is such a good job selling them.

Alex Ferrari 18:09
Right. And I think that and that's, I think a analogy for not only the bizarre, but you know, the business of filmmaking, but as well as any place because there's some people that you're like, how did that guy get that promotion? How is that guy making, you know, 100 million dollar movies? He's not that good. You know, like, how did he get to where there's so many other talented people I'm like, well, they're they hustled, they sold themselves, they did things that they were willing to do things that you might have not been able to willing to do as far as the hustle part is concerned. And that's such a key component to I think every aspect in life. But I think specifically in in the film business now. Can you tell me a little bit about the whole, the whole journey of how you started, go shoot, go out and shoot and did all that through? I think it was through high school correct when you started shooting your stock footage and trying to create your company.

Joel Holland 18:57
Yes, exactly. Right. So it was basically towards the end of high school where we had this realization or I had this realization that there needs to be an NFL an affordable source of stock media for people like me, documentarians independence, and I graduated in 2003. And and I was accepted to go to college, up in Boston to a school called Babson and I contacted Babson, I said hey, I'd really like to defer for a year take a year off and try to start this business. Is that okay? And luckily it's it's purely an entrepreneurial business school so they were very understanding and they said, Sure, do your thing. We'll see you in a year. And so I took that year and I said this is gonna be one year where I try to validate whether or not there really is a need for this. And I bought a IML my first camera is a Canon GL two. Oh, no, yeah. Beautiful, beautiful three chip camera. cost me like $2,000

Alex Ferrari 19:55
is that before or after the DVS 100 before that was Before the DB x Yeah, because so you were still shooting 30 frames, you weren't shooting 24 frames yet? That's

Joel Holland 20:04
right. It was it was 30 frames. And this was SD. I mean, this is like it was shooting on mini DV tapes. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And like, I think capture it. And I appraise it a bit, too, you know, to look really sharp, distributed photo, JPEG, and no one was the wiser, like it just looked like it was, it looked the same as a Canon XL one. And what I realized was the shots the way you compose a shot and this obviously, you know, this was the film but the way you compose the shot is much more important the equipment you use, and and so I started traveling with this camera, I had, you know, a nice little carbon fiber tripod, a backpack with all my batteries and gear, and I just hit the road. And I took, I took that year and I traveled to like 33 US cities, I decided that they I would start by hitting us cities, and trying to shoot them in a way that would be useful for an editor. So skylines all the different sites, daytime, nighttime, and, and I started Hawking it on eBay, right to start getting the initial sales, try to figure out what to call it.

Alex Ferrari 21:08
So so hold on for a second. So you actually went out and just shot a whole bunch of footage. Very, very organized, obviously structured, you know, like, you know, the the great cities of Boston and New York and all that kind of stuff. I'm assuming you would go on eBay. And then you would just I guess you created a company name at that point, like an eBay store at that point to do that.

Joel Holland 21:28
Yeah, so so I already had, so I had been selling on ebay for a long time, right? Because I it's, you know that when I was doing that $20,000 a year in sales as a 12 year old that was I was selling software. And so my eBay handle was hobby auctions. And I had, you know, I had like 2000 feedback, a shooting star, and all that good stuff. So when I started, I basically I shot washington dc first, because that was my backyard. So I shot Washington DC, I put it on eBay, and I created multiple listings to try to figure out how much to charge and what to call it. And so some of them were like Washington, DC B roll Washington, DC stock footage, Washington, DC stock video is between those three terms, I couldn't figure out what would be best. And sales started coming in from wedding videographers, that was actually the first buyers were wedding videographers. And that was cool. And that was you know, emboldening and all that. So I took the money from those initial sales, and I bought a plane ticket to Seattle, that was the first place I'd never been to Seattle before, flew out to Seattle had enough money to stay in the Best Western right beside the Space Needle for like, two nights. And I'd go out during the day and start the crack of dawn and shoot your walk the whole city, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, go back to my hotel room at night, and start editing, put it up on eBay to start selling. So by time I'd be back home, I could actually ship it. And, and that and that kind of progression, you know, I would basically take sales, buy a ticket, go to the next place. Eventually, I launched a name for it. And I called it footage firm. I liked I liked the Hey, I like I liked the alliteration and describe what we did. And then I built a website. And so once I once I had customers, I started trying to incentivize those customers to buy again. So if I went out and shot another city like Boston, then I go to my customer list. And I knew that number one, nobody probably needed it right then. But if I came up with the right incentive, right, the right price point, then they would buy it and just hold it. And so that kind of became the evolution of shifting from eBay to my own website and my own thing.

Alex Ferrari 23:45
And you never touched by the way during your travels, you never touched that nest egg that you created during all your early years, early years when you were a teenager correct? You always use the proceeds to kind of grow and go to tour the country. correct? That's

Joel Holland 24:01
correct. Yeah, that's correct. So the only time I touched part of the nest egg was to buy the Canon GL two. So I think I took a couple $1,000 out to buy the camera and a tripod that was it. And so it's funny because in my mind and obviously that's very different these days, you know now you start a business is kind of accepted you lose money for a while or you have a burn rate. But as a kid I didn't understand that to me it was there's no such thing as losing money. I was so frugal, I was like I have to always be making money, you can't lose money. That's just crazy. That's just that's a crazy concept. And so I only knew how to use money that was coming in. So cash flow like I I understood cash flow very well from a young age, which I think was very beneficial for bootstrapping the business.

Alex Ferrari 24:50
Now let me ask you if you don't want me asking, How much were you able to generate in that little nest egg as a teenager? If you don't mind me asking that number? Give or take

Joel Holland 24:59
is good question. I think I had up to probably, you know, pry 40 $50,000 Yeah, by time I was meant to do it might have been closer. I think by the time I finished high school, and I said always, but this had been a goal. Actually, this is fine. I had two goals, one was at buy timeshares high school, I wanted to have saved $100,000. And I think I got very close, I think I was I was within striking distance of $100,000 in the bank. The second goal is by time fers college, I wanted to have a million dollars in the bank. And I didn't hit that one by the end of college, but I did within the first year out of college. And so I think that this is another thing that I think is actually very useful. It sounds silly, but like I made dream boards as a

Alex Ferrari 25:45
kid, yeah, this is the secret.

Joel Holland 25:48
I'm telling you, man, like you kind of end up manifesting the reality that you focus on. And it's not through magic, it's just that the subconscious mind is very powerful. And when you say, and when you actually write down and commit to, you know, hey, I'm going to make this film and it's going to get distribution at Sundance. Well, everything you do in life from that point forward, that's in the back of your mind. And so the actions you take the people you meet, the things you think about, are on some level, working towards that goal. So I think there's a lot of power and doing it.

Alex Ferrari 26:20
Oh, no, I mean, I said this, I did the same thing. When I started indie film, hustle. Like I was like, You know what, I'm gonna launch this, I started from scratch. And I'm, like, you know, in a year, I'm gonna have this much, you know, hopefully this kind of revenue coming in. And I have this kind of success as a podcast and things like that. And it happened, like, beyond actually what I originally thought, like, way beyond, you know, what I originally thought. So it does work without question. Yeah. And I actually said, and I said, earlier this year, I'm like, I think at the beginning of the year, I was like, Guys, I'm gonna make I put it out there. I'm like, I'm making a feature film this year, I'm making my first feature film, I'm gonna actually just go out and do it. And I'm not gonna stop waiting around and love it four or five minutes, four or five months later, right? You know, I have a feature film, it's, I'm getting ready for Sundance right now. as we speak.

Joel Holland 27:05
That's amazing. Congratulations. I

Alex Ferrari 27:07
haven't gotten in yet. But I'm saying, I haven't gotten there yet. But at least I've made it. And I'm gonna submit it. But But yeah, I did it. And it was so quick. And it's fascinating when you put your mind to something like that. And you just like, you know, let's just go do it.

Joel Holland 27:21
And well, and then not only that, I think you put your mind to it, but you also publicly committed to doing it. Yeah, that's

Alex Ferrari 27:28
another big that's

Joel Holland 27:30
huge. And I bet if you hadn't, if you had not done that, if you hadn't put it out there to your friends and your listeners, like he the chances of you having accomplished it by now are probably much less because you'd have an excuse to like, I'll do it, you know, next year or next year. It's easy, it's easy to kick the can down the road.

Alex Ferrari 27:45
But and then you and then you wake up to it's 10 years gone by totally. And

Joel Holland 27:48
then and then that's super sad. So no, I think making public commitments, even if it doesn't always work out. That's okay. I mean, it's it's better than the alternative of not making the commitment. And it also not working out, right, like, yeah, I think I think there's something very powerful to that, too.

Alex Ferrari 28:03
There's a website, I forgot the name of it. But there's a website that if you actually do that, like you go in there and you basically, I think the thing is, like you put a goal in, like, let's say you want to lose 30 pounds, all right, and if you and you publicly put it out there, if you don't achieve the goal, you put up a substantial amount of money. Let's say it's 1000 bucks. If that 1000 if you don't do the goal that $1,000 goes to one of three organizations that you absolutely hate.

Joel Holland 28:34
Yes, dude, I love I knew you're gonna say that. Like, she's so brilliant, like in the example is it because it's the exact dude I love. The example is, if you hate guns, right? your money's going to the NRA. Yeah. And so now you've got this, like this incredible incentive to hit your goal. Because if not, you're not only letting yourself down, you're literally going against what you believe. Yes.

Alex Ferrari 29:00
Somebody put that website together, and I'm sure they're doing quite well. Just amazing. So when you launched footage firm, its footage firm was started on eBay. And I'm assuming you put footage on DVDs and shipped them out. Because there was no digital distribution at that time.

Joel Holland 29:17
That's correct. So at first Actually, I was shipping on many dv tape and beta beta tape. I mean, so it was a beta ease Yeah, of course. dv cam so I was actually shit I like I actually was making tapes and shipping them by yourself. By myself, right? Like, in my dorm room. So So after that year off, I went to Babson in my dorm room. I had tape decks. I had Russ rush back from class, I checked my orders. I like start burning a tape. I'd have to get it to FedEx by like 630 at night, right? So every day was I know those days, dude. Every day was like it was that like crazy hustle to like try to get there before deadline because filmmakers need like They need something oh no yeah you know what I mean

Alex Ferrari 30:03
that's what that's all that's why it's so wonderful now you could just literally just download it

Joel Holland 30:06
oh my god yes 100% It's

Alex Ferrari 30:08
so amazing you're like I need that now. Not in three hours not in next day now

Joel Holland 30:13
yes and we were good at staying in front of the trends because you're so we did I moved to do today to DVD as soon as that became kind of a thing. One of my claims to fame I shipped over 1 million data DVDs of footage. He's within like it within a I think was a two year period.

Alex Ferrari 30:37
So you manually burned a million DVDs.

Joel Holland 30:41
So it first again in my dorm room I had one of these robots Yeah, but I think like 12 desks a burnin time and had this like robotic arm would take one put it one up right? And it would run all through the night cranking out DVDs. Yeah. By the time I graduated for Babson that was like that year I had an inflection point where I really started learning how to market this stuff well and and then it was beyond me like I could not have we would you know we do an email blast and have like 1000s of orders come in and I could never burned enough it first though is kind of what you describe with your film when you had like 100 orders you're like oh boy now I gotta get these out. I remember the first time I sent an email campaign to creative cow which is one of our industry you know outlet Oh yeah, sure. And $25,000 worth of orders came in within an hour and I was like, dude, I was like holy shit number one this is the most money I've ever seen at one time. Number two aren't we now have a business this is real this is a real situation here oh yeah get it just got real and number three how in the world am I going to get all these DVDs burned

Alex Ferrari 31:52
so our problem but magnified but magazines

Joel Holland 31:54
so I went on Craigslist I found a couple people on Craigslist locally and we literally just all day and night for like days and days were burning and shipping burning and shipping burning and shipping. Then I found a fulfillment company so I found a place in Colorado that could actually on demand burn and then ship the DVDs. And so by the time we were then doing on the regular you know, orders of the size, it was no longer my problem which was a huge relief.

Alex Ferrari 32:23
Right and that's the thing a lot of a lot of business people forget that that the like you know you you're as an entrepreneur, sometimes you want to do everything and you want to cover and as filmmakers you want to do everything you want to cover every aspect and I'm horrible at that because I do everything I do everything but now I'm starting but if you keep doing that you will bottleneck yourself to a certain point where you can't grow and that's kind of where I'm at now with indie film hustle like I've gotten to this point where I mean I don't know if you know this job everything on the side I do everything from the graphics to the writing to the podcast to the videos to I marketing I do at all so I'm now getting to that point where it's like I am bottlenecking like if I'm in the oh by the way I also did a movie and all this I have a post company I do all this other stuff. So it's like I have to do something to kind of move the needle and now letting go of things.

Joel Holland 33:18
Exactly. And so I think that this is a really interesting point and this is something that all of us learn at a certain point but just because you can do something doesn't mean you should because I made the same mistake I was like hey I can do cost I can answer the phones I can respond to emails I can burn the product and ship it I can do it all I can save a fortune and maintain the quality that I want but what you realize is you only have so much time and really you only have so much mental capacity and so the expense is the growth rays hitting that next phase. And so I mean one of the examples Do you know FroKnowsPhoto

Alex Ferrari 33:58
he got the name sounds familiar?

Joel Holland 34:00
Yes he's a very very popular youtuber around photography Okay, so he's got millions of subscribers and followers and like he's got a huge amazing production and what he realized was like, you know, like you he's got the mind for creating the great content he's an incredible interviewer a great personality and today when you when you meet with him you realize he has a whole staff right is a guy who sets up the interviews who manages and handles all of the advertising that separate actually sells the ads someone who does the sound the video and it was like it was getting that crew around him that opened him up to being able to really blow this thing up. And and I think that that's, you know that that's the next phase but it's hard. It's really hard to let go and and relinquish. You know what I mean? No,

Alex Ferrari 34:55
it's it's so tough because you're like I could do better. I could do it. It's a horrible month. It's wonderful and horrible all at the same time. Because you know, doing like, and I know a lot of filmmakers have the same problem that like, Oh, I want to, I want to be the editor and I want to be the colorist and I want to be the DP. And I want to do this. And I'm horrible, because I just literally did that on my movie, but, but it's also 20 years of experience, and so on. And it works for this kind of movie. If, if all of a sudden I had $100 million movie, I'm not doing all those jobs, you can't, you just can't, you can't do something like that. But again, that's in that growth stage. So I think that's really important for people to understand that you eventually at the beginning, like you like it took you years before you finally started bringing in other people, you know, you doing everything yourself, but then you get to that point in any company, any endeavor, whether it be a creative endeavor, with your films, or building up a company or something like that, that you have to relinquish a little bit. Now, you were the only cinematographer and cameraman when you launched footage firm, correct?

Joel Holland 35:57
That's right. Yeah. And then,

Alex Ferrari 36:00
and then how did you bring other people in?

Joel Holland 36:03
So I had this realization, while in school that I could not do, I really couldn't physically do everything, because I had class and I had social life. So I couldn't actually be traveling and shooting and selling and doing everything else. So I sat down, and I said, Well, what am I best at? Right? If I'm best at shooting, if I if I think I'm best? At the cinematography, then I'll do that. And maybe I should hire someone to do the marketing and e commerce. But what I realized was actually my strength was sales, right? Like what I was really good at was figuring out how to take a product, find a market fit, and then sell it. And, and so the videography though I enjoyed it was actually not my strong suit. And there were plenty of people out there that were much better than me, right? So I started outsourcing it. And so I basically again, what, you know, back in the day, I went to Craigslist, and started finding videographers located in different cities, I would look at their demo reels, find people I liked, and then pay them to shoot a city, and I'd buy the rights, and did that for a while. And then realized to scale, I needed to kind of open it up a bit. And so then I started allowing anybody to shoot and sell through footage firm. And I would then sell them on, you know, when it's so I would then pay them when it's sold. I give them 50 was a 5050 split. And so I had videographers submitting content from all over the world, and from your actual library grew very quickly. And then they would get paid when it sold. And I loved that model. Right. So it's a great,

Alex Ferrari 37:37
it's a great model.

Joel Holland 37:38
It's great model. It's it's you know, it's today's platform model. And it's very scalable. It's very self sufficient. And, and yeah, so that was kind of that was the evolution from doing it myself to realizing this is not my this is not my strong suit. There are other people better than me. Let's let them do that.

Alex Ferrari 37:55
Now, when did did footage for him turn into video blocks? Or did you open a video blog separately? How did videoblocks comm come to life?

Joel Holland 38:03
Yeah, so it was an evolution. And at one point, they were both running. So basically, let's fast forward to 2009. But each firm is doing really well. I mean, I think we did like a couple of million dollars in sales in 2009. We got up to in by 2011 like $4 million in sales, we only had like three or four employees. So it was doing really well. That's That's insane. It was great. It was great. But I saw the writing on the wall, which was we're shipping DVDs. And the future is obviously digital distribution. And I'm like how do I make sure that we like we could keep doing what we're doing and hang on to this for a while. But But not only will it stop growing eventually it'll go into you know obsolescence. So the blog, the block, but the blockbuster phase is exactly within the complication as well. If I launch a product that has digital distribution, I'm literally competing with myself, and I'm gonna cannibalize my sales is that dumb. But I realized that if I didn't do it, someone else was going to, and I prefer to be my own competitor than to have some other guy taking all my business. And so I launched videoblocks in 2010. It's kind of like a, as a test and started promoting it to some of our footage from customers. And it was a hit. And so then we started advertising it to some of the you know, the industry publications like creative cow and DVD maker. And it worked, people started subscribing, and this concept of paying a membership to get unlimited download access to a library of content, basically, you know, there were queues I took from Netflix. Yeah, it started working. And so footage from calm and videoblocks comm they both continued running parallel for probably a year or two Sure enough the footer terms contained as downward spiral as video blocks got stronger and stronger 70 blocks eight footage firm and and so today footage from Inc is still our parent company but but video blocks is our is our signature product and then we obviously launched Graphic Stock to get into vectors and design elements and photos and we launched audio blocks to get into production music. Yeah those three products

Alex Ferrari 40:29
Yeah, I want to talk about the other two in a second but the one thing I find fascinating is that you were able to see the writing on the wall where like a company like blockbuster did not. And you actually you actually were able to instead of like switching footage firm over to digital where it would compete within itself you actually created an entire look other company so it would basically be I don't want to use a term that hopefully everybody listening will understand your Blockbuster Video and then you create Netflix and then slowly as the video parts goes down Netflix starts going up and then all of a sudden to finally where Blockbuster Video is now gone. And Netflix has taken over but you've done it yourself. And that was it's brilliant actually really brilliant and I don't think there was anybody else doing it was there were there other competitors that got into the digital distribution of stock footage as early as you

Joel Holland 41:27
Yes, so actually there were a couple but but nobody had this set. there nobody had the subscription model so we were the first and honestly still the only one really that does subscription based stock video. Some people have subscriptions for credits, which I think is kind of bullshit like you're just prepare

Alex Ferrari 41:46
Oh yeah, yeah, I've seen that. Yeah, I don't like that either. I'd rather just get 10 bucks a month. Yeah, I'm good. You know, it's like insane.

Joel Holland 41:53
Yeah, it's exactly like don't call it a subscription if it's not a subscription but you know, he so there were other groups that they were selling by the clip and you could then purchase and download like one company comes to mind heartbeats.

Alex Ferrari 42:06
Yes. are

Joel Holland 42:09
really good content have amazing, amazing companies. But it's too expensive. Are they still around? You know, I think they're they're, they're, they're I think they're kind of limping around. But they're

Alex Ferrari 42:20
all they were all DVD based. I remember cuz I remember in our world, in the film world, and working in television, artbeat was always around that you just buy these collections of like stock, wonderful stock footage, I mean, really was beautiful stuff.

Joel Holland 42:36
It was gorgeous, sensitive, show price prohibitive.

Alex Ferrari 42:40
And then of course, everybody would then burn the DVDs all around the office.

Joel Holland 42:47
So this was kind of like my thesis back then. And still today was like, sure, there's a high end market. And, you know, good for, you know, tastes like Shutterstock and others go after the high end market. You know, that the big production companies, ad agencies with big deep pockets, but the group, you know, the individuals that we're most interested in are that are the documentarians, the hobbyists, the enthusiasts who are super ambitious about creating great stuff, but don't have a ton of money. And, and again, this is not a pity project. It's not a nonprofit. The reason that I love that group is it is a huge group of people. And it's like, it's a niche, but it's still huge, but it's huge compared compared to the professional. So like, there's like maybe what I so we have 150,000 paying members, maybe a couple 1000 of them are, you know, the NB C's and ABCs of the world, right? Because they're all customers Paramount and they're all customers of ours and they're great, but it's 2000 of the 150,000 and so really the mass creative class that mass market is what I'm most interested interested in and the way that you help that group is by making your products super affordable. You don't

Alex Ferrari 44:03
know absolutely and that's it's the Netflix model it's what they did they finally took all the all the crap out of like renting videos though I do I do have a big soft spot for video stores. But they made it so easy first just mailing DVDs but now like streaming and and then also in this one thing that we're not talking about when you you know during this whole transition from footage firm, to video blocks, there was this thing called HD that shows that kind of screwed a lot of your footage out of out of that because no one no one downloads SD anymore. Right if they can help it, so everything had to be HD so that whole transition of you had 1000s and 1000s of hours in SD and then all of a sudden you're like, well I got it now I gotta go back out in New York and shoot the skyline.

Joel Holland 44:53
100% same same things happening now. 4k. Yeah, while 4k is really still Kind of in its infancy and not a lot of people are downloading it you fast forward a couple years and HD will be SD nobody is gonna want HD

Alex Ferrari 45:10
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor and now back to the show

Joel Holland 45:21
it's gonna be garbage I'm just better

Alex Ferrari 45:24
I'm just curious about that because you know um, and I don't want to sound like the old fart in the room that doesn't see the future I think in the future 4k will be the industry standard. But like there's at a certain point Don't you believe that now we're getting off topic of stock footage but don't you believe that the consumer is just getting tired of like, every year something news coming out, like at a certain point, like you know, I just bought my 65 inch HD monitor now I gotta get to a monitor. Now I gotta get a 4k monitor. Oh, I bought the blu rays. Now I got to buy the 4k blu rays, or, and you know, I'm streaming here. And it's so kind of like, I think at a certain point, I think like what after 4k? What are we going to do 8k? You know, like, I know a lot of these red cameras that the new red camera shoots 8k? I'm like, Well, great. Right? Right. But you know, but mastering on film for a theatrical distribution to K is fine. You know what I mean? Like it's perfectly fine. They've been doing it for over 100 years. I mean, it's completely fine. So at a certain point, like where do we stop because there's also there's going to get a point where our eyes can't tell the difference. And actually, some there was I think there was a an article in Forbes that said that 4k monitors are kind of BS, because you can't tell the difference from from sitting back 10 feet, you really it's really hard to see that difference unless you're like up next to it which nobody watches television like that.

Joel Holland 46:45
So or unless the monitor gets much larger and it's actually a very interesting discussion because I think so your first question was when does it stop? I think the answer is never Yeah, right. So so like just like computers continually get faster and more powerful video technology will continue getting higher resolution and you know better and so that progression will never end does it plateau? So that's an interesting question. Now I think it's I think it's silly when I go to the store and I see a 42 inch 4k television that makes no sense to me. It logical whereas an eight inch HD television makes no sense and so so you know, I think what 4k enables our people are going to be able to start buying 80 and 100 inch television so you're gonna have these massive wall sized televisions that actually look sharp

Alex Ferrari 47:44
unless the walls turn into like in Total Recall. They actually just turned into televisions the walls It was a television only

Joel Holland 47:51
one I bet you I mean look if you're looking into the far future that you know walls would be organic LCDs right like I think that you will just like you paint a wall walls will actually be screens and you're absolutely right. No longer will you have a device you have to like plug in and put on the wall. The wall will be your device. So I think that's absolutely correct. But in the meantime, you're right. I think that 4k I think 4k makes sense because it enables you to jump from 65 inch televisions which a lot of us own to the next thing which is like 70 and 80 inch which are huge.

Alex Ferrari 48:25
Oculus you need you need a bigger house at that point. Yeah, you put it in an apartment and like it's

Joel Holland 48:31
it's it's legitimately a home theater. Now 8k I think 8k I mean, we're talking well i don't think 8k becomes a a like television device for like, at least a decade if that it might just be the resolution and reposition. repositioning totally. So it's like you could now shoot a shot. And now grab four shots out of that shot. So you get to like, shoot it and then in post, you can now change composition. And that's pretty powerful.

Alex Ferrari 49:04
It is. We do it all the time. I mean, well Red Red camera actually was the one that kind of started this whole damn thing with the 4k red one back in 2000 I think it was at eight or 977. Like when they promised that in seven. I don't think it actually showed up until oh eight. Right, right. But they kind of like blew everybody out of the water with that. And that's kind of what started the whole the whole jump I think everybody started cuz I don't think honestly, I don't think if red comes out. I think we were waiting around a few more years for for for for 2k let alone 4k. You know, I think they definitely pushed the envelope now. Now videoblocks is definitely an industry disrupter without question. And I've been I've been before we ever knew each other or, or, or did any business together. We I was I was a member of videoblocks for a lot of my projects that I've been using over the years. But I love audio blocks, audio blocks and graphics. Can you talk a little bit about audio blocks and graphics?

Joel Holland 50:04
Totally. So starting first, here's how he came up with them. Video blocks was growing, it was doing well. And I'm a firm believer that when something's going, right, that's when you need to start getting really worried. Right? Like, you want to be like,

Alex Ferrari 50:21
when there's too much money here, what's going? Well,

Joel Holland 50:24
and that's where people tend to get complacent. Yep. And so it's usually when you're on the top that you fall, because you think I figured it out. I'm the smartest person in the room, blah, blah. And meanwhile, your competitors are scheming to take you down. And so things are going well, videoblocks. And we sat back and said, Alright, what's next? Like, we can't just be happy with this? How do we come up with the next move? And the answer was stupid, simple. It was, well, let's just ask the customers, right? Let's literally pull our customers and ask them. Point blank. What else would you pay money for, that we don't currently offer? And that was a question we asked in a survey. And the answer that came back was music. They're like, we really want music. Music makes all video better. And, and same problem that video was experienced music was hard to find super expensive, and a licensing rights were outrageous. Where's the video? I think we're totally worse than video. And confusing. And just it was horrible. So we said, All right, the customers have spoken, they want music, let's see if we can do this, could we build the same model a subscription based approach to a Production Music Library. But do it in a way that's really you know, better than what's out there. And we realize, yes, we could, we can go find musicians who have great music, pay them a lot of money, like for their stuff. So they're happy, put it in our library, and then create an interface that's very powerful, or at least we think is powerful to to help you discover music. And you'll notice on audio blocks, you can like you go in and you, you start by clicking around to say mood, and genre and instruments and beats per minute. So you can really customize and then boom, it comes up the list of tracks that might work for you. And so we built all this based on customer feedback, and we launched it, even the color scheme, the logo, the name, all of this was from the customers. And and it took off and did really well. And it was the same thing with Graphic Stock. You know, what, you know, in another survey? The answer was we want graphics and photos. And so Graphic Stock was born out of completely out of customer demand. And you know, and that's also a very, you know, that product is also doing really well. So, yeah, I think that listening to the voice of the people, you can never go wrong. Yeah, I

Alex Ferrari 52:52
know, right. And just so everybody listening knows I'm actually using some music from audio blocks in my movie, we're going to be using it as a background, like, you know, coming from a radio in the background, not a score piece, but like just something in the background. Because we were like, Oh, we really need some new agey music here, I'm like, well, we'll go to audio blocks perfect. And, and I don't have to worry about it. And I got the rights to it. I could theatrically released, you know, and it's like, wow, that that freedom is so wonderful just to know, like, oh, if I have a membership, I can download it. And even after my membership is over, I still have the rights to it in perpetuity for projects that I use. Correct. Is that is that correct?

Joel Holland 53:29
Absolutely. Right. And that's Yeah, you know, as, as a filmmaker, you've got so many things to worry about that the last thing you should have to be fretting about is, is my music going to get me in trouble? Am I going to have to pay extra if this goes International, if I get into, you know, the you know, into Sundance, I might have to pay for that. And if I if I distributed on YouTube, and I got to pay but so we just made it simple. It's pay one fee, use the music any way you want forever, unlimited distribution worldwide. There's just never anything else to worry about.

Alex Ferrari 54:01
And it's it's fantastic. Now, when you work, by the way, when you are going out to shoot stuff, did you? What did you know, how did you know what would sell?

Joel Holland 54:10
Well, good question. So it first I decided that the US cities would be a good place to start, because I figured at some point, every editor is going to need a shot of New York City or Los Angeles. So that was my starting point. Now, once footage firm was launched, I was able to start looking at the search data. So I would just literally look at what people were searching for on our website and use that as my shot list. And that's and that's something we do today, right? So on videoblocks we get I think three or 4 million searches a month. And we have a team a data team analyzes those searches, and then actually provides insight to our contributors so you actually get an email says, here's what was searched like we just found email saying that searches for Turkey footage are way up for LGBT footage for diversity footage, all these terms that are kind of disproportionally up compared to what we have in the library, we then make our videographers aware of that. So they can go shoot with insight, and make more money.

Alex Ferrari 55:18
And you or your company and yourself, and you're pretty transparent as far as your revenue and what you make. Do you mind telling us what you what the company made last year and this year, so people understand the scope of what videoblocks has become?

Joel Holland 55:33
Sure, yeah. So last year, we did a little over $20 million in revenue, and this year will do closer to 30. And you're 26 to 30? And you're a private company still? Yes, yep. private company. We have about 80 employees based out of the Washington DC area. And yeah, we've still got you know, we're still very much that startup small business hustle company. And, and we love that and, and it's been really fun to you know, so so a year and a half ago, we launched our marketplace on video blocks, where anybody listening great can go to contribute videoblocks comm sign up for free to start selling footage. And basically when a member, so we're gonna leave 150,000 members, when they search for something on video blocks, they look for first usually look at our unlimited library to try and find something for free included with their membership. But if they can't find it, we then also put marketplace results in there. And those clips are $49 for an HD shot, or 199 for 4k. And if they buy through the Marketplace, 100% of those proceeds go straight to the shooter. No, so yeah, 100% so so like, you know, if you're listening to this, and you have footage you want to sell, unlike our competitors who keep, like Shutterstock keeps 70% of every sale. We We We pay twice as much. So because we pay 100%, you end up making twice as much as you make with our competitors. And so that's become very, you know, that marketplace went from zero clips to it'll be at 3 million clips by the end of this year, of course. And I think we're gonna pay out something like $6 million to contributors this year. That's amazing. Yeah, so so like that. And we don't include By the way, we don't include that in our revenues, I want to talk about the revenue number. That's just our membership fees. Because all these marketplace sales, it goes right back to the Creator, to the creative community. So that's been that's been really fun. So you

Alex Ferrari 57:37
know, for So what advice would you have for filmmakers who might want to get into the stock footage game and generate another stream of income because it could be I mean, if if you live in a certain area that is remote, or you have something unique, or you could just shoot unique footage of certain things, this could be a nice little revenue stream to help to help make your movies in the future.

Joel Holland 58:02
I would say if you're not already selling, you know, your excess footage as stock footage, it's a no brainer, you have to do it. And we have, you know, we have videographer contributors who are making six figures this year, right? Like you're gonna make 100 to $200,000 this year, while sitting back just from us. And by the way, they're also selling through Shutterstock and our other competitors. So while they're focusing on their films and their documentaries, they're making significant money that's just in the background. And it's just every month that you know that the payments are coming in the door, and it supports their it supports their art. Totally and totally. And the thing is, you've already done the hard work, right? Like if you're, if you're doing a film that takes place in you know, whatever, Columbus, Ohio, well take all the cutting room floor stuff, and just turn them into 15 to 32nd clips, you don't have to do anything to them, right, you don't even have to color them right no audio, no colorization needed. Just upload them to video blocks costs you nothing. And if it sells you get a pay day. So it's really the only cost is not actually monetary. But it's you have to keyword you have to put in keywords and a title. And so that takes a little bit of time, but not that much time. And I think it's more than offset by the money you make.

Alex Ferrari 59:22
So what I'm doing what you're telling me is I have to go back to all of my raw footage now over the last 20 years and start looking for stuff to upload to you guys.

Joel Holland 59:30
Totally. But don't get overwhelmed. I would like to set it set a goal of 10 clips a day, right? Every day, pick 10 clips at some point throughout the day while you're having your morning coffee, export them, upload them straight to the website, boom done, you're off to the races.

Alex Ferrari 59:48
It's pretty it's pretty remarkable Actually, that's actually a really it's amazing and and again, when we talk about any full muscle all the time is it's like creating revenue streams to from your business. But also just created so you can can make a living doing your art. And this could be a possibility for a lot of filmmakers out there, especially documentary filmmakers, but even other filmmakers were just in their area and they own their own camera. Like why don't you go out and shoot something and put it up? It doesn't cost you anything. It takes time. That's it. That's it. It's pretty, pretty amazing. Now can you real quick, can you speak a little bit about the technical specs needed to submit the footage, submit footage to a video blocks?

Joel Holland 1:00:28
Sure. So we accept high definition or better. So basically, HD or 4k. You know, as long as the shot we do have a quality review team, but as long as the shots are unique, or just well shot, right, use a tripod, make sure it's not shaky iPhone footage, like that will get rejected. But if it's well shot, you just, you know, you upload it and and that's it. So there's really not a lot of restrictions or requirements. So any camera you're using, like, for example, I always have my five D Mark three with me. And if I come across something interesting, I put it on a tripod, I shoot some HD footage, I upload it, but I also shoot with my my red Scarlet x and we support you can you can upload your art 3d files straight to the website, which is we're the only company lets you do that. And so we'll then take those files, and automatically put them down, resize them into 4k, and HD and make the er 3d file available. But so so basically, we do all the heavy lifting on the back end. So you just have to upload a file will automatically re compress it into the various formats that are needed.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:39
And do support like, like the Blackmagic cinema RAW files or anything like that yet, or just would you do we'd have to do all that the transferring over to HD or 4k first.

Joel Holland 1:01:51
Yeah, so you know, something like Blackmagic I don't, we don't support the native files. But if you just kick it out to an H 264, or a photo JPEG is kind of my preferred and then upload that, you know that so that's the that's usually the workflow is is kick it out to, you know, as long as a.mo. v file, whether it's h 264, or photo jpg, we take it from there.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:20
Now, um, can you explain real quick, in just because I talk about this so much, can you please explain the importance of marketing, to your business and to every venture in your world, even marketing to a girl to get her to go on a date with you. That's called marketing.

Joel Holland 1:02:38
Totally, totally. So here's the easiest analogy that comes to my mind when you ask that. Think back to our like, eighth grade, basic math equations. Multiplication equation, so you have a great idea, multiplied by zero, equals zero. So it doesn't matter how great the idea is, whether it's a billion dollar idea, or a million dollar idea, a billion times zero equals zero. And that, you know, that second holder is the marketing. So you can take a great idea, multiply it by decent marketing, and you'll have decent results, you can take a terrible idea, multiply it by great marketing, you'll have decent results, or you can take a great idea, multiply it by great marketing, and you'll have outrageously great results. And so, you know, I think, you know, when it comes to marketing, a lot of people say and you know, especially for filmmakers, like that's the part I'm uncomfortable with, right? Like, I love making it, I love creating it, but like I just don't want to have to go out there and talk about myself and promote and shamelessly promote, like, I'm the artist, I'm just the I'm Yeah, but you know, when it turns out, like that's part of the game. And if you believe in your film, and you want it to get the proper distribution, you're going to have to whore yourself out a bit. And that's right, like, that's just how it goes. And and the analogy I'd make is to public speaking, a lot of people are very uncomfortable getting up and speaking in front of other people. But it turns out that you can overcome that through practice. So anybody who says I can't speak publicly, it means they just haven't done it right, then you can't get up and do it. And the more you do it, the more comfortable you get doing it. Probably the same with filmmaking, right like you look back to the first film you ever made, you probably think it shipped. The first stuff I shot I'm like that is garbage. But the more you do it, the better you get. It's the same thing with marketing, you know, you just you just you got to start putting the word out there, it's gonna be uncomfortable, but soon, you're gonna love it and realize it's just part of the game and a great film times great marketing equals great distribution.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:39
And can you talk quickly about the power of the email list? Yeah, totally. Because that's another thing we talked about and, and filmmakers like, like what do you would do with an email list? I'm like you did you have no idea. So please explain.

Joel Holland 1:04:53
So first of all, email is not dead. I think emails the most is single handedly the most powerful. marketing platform there is right, it's it because the the return on investment is outrageously high. So, you know, unlike Google AdWords, where you have to spend a fortune to get those clicks, once you've collected an email address your cost of having that email and using that email, it's almost zero, right? If you're hopefully using MailChimp, or some other great outlet like that, you're paying a little bit each month. But you can then send this you can send emails, you know, weekly, bi weekly, and get people to, you know, to engage with your with your product or film. And so number one, email is not dead. Number two, don't be afraid to email more. I think a lot of people are like, oh, everybody hates email, I need to back off on email. But you know what you don't, the reality is, most people send too few emails. And if you're only saying email, once a month, you actually run the risk of your list going cold, and people forgetting who you are, and losing engagement. So if you're emailing weekly, and don't spam them, like send something interesting, useful, but you know, keeping up weekly correspondence is very powerful. So that's number two. And number three, don't be afraid to ask for, you know, for a task for a sale, whether that's actually physically like saying, hey, buy this or saying, hey, go view this, or, you know, or introduce us to somebody, like, having a call to action and email is very important. So, right, it

Alex Ferrari 1:06:27
goes with the whole Gary Vaynerchuk, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, vibe, you know that book, right?

Joel Holland 1:06:33
Yeah, totally. It's a totally, if you don't ask, you're not gonna, you won't receive right, like you must ask to receive. And so there's nothing wrong with having a call to action. And make sure it's clear. And there's only one, like, don't have an email full of a million things to do have an email with a very concise one call to action that you want them to do, whether it's by your film, watch your film, help people, you know, hear about your film. Just one thing. Yeah. It's

Alex Ferrari 1:06:59
kind of like, how'd you get that? How'd you get that interview with our Schwarzenegger? I asked. I asked.

Joel Holland 1:07:06
Over and over again.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:07
So, last two questions I asked this are the questions of all of my guests. What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn, whether in life or in the business?

Joel Holland 1:07:19
It's a great question. I think the lesson goes back to something we discussed earlier, which is I tried to do everything myself for too long. and realized that hiring people or getting other people involved is uncomfortable, which is a reason that I think a lot of us don't do it. It costs money. Right? So that's another reason we don't do it. Trust trust as well. Yeah, exactly. And then relinquishing control is scary. But as soon as I did it, as soon as I like started hiring people, getting other people involved, I immediately saw the light realize, dammit, I wish I'd done this earlier. Because, you know, my first customer service representative, she was wonderful, she was much better than I was with the customers. So the customers were happy. And all of a sudden, I had so many more hours in my week. My first marketing guy, he was so good at marketing, and all of a sudden, I had so many more hours in my week to spend on like building the company. So I think that's the lesson is you need to, you need to get other people involved earlier, right? Like, don't be afraid it's gonna be uncomfortable. It's gonna cost money, but I promise you, it'll pay back, you know, dividends,

Alex Ferrari 1:08:36
big time. And then what are your three favorite films of all time?

Joel Holland 1:08:42
Whoa, that's a tough one. Alright, so let me think about this. Okay, so home alone. I love home.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:54
It's not Christmas unless you watch home alone. And until you watch that hard, but that's just me.

Joel Holland 1:08:59
Yes. So it's like my answers are not going to be deep they're not gonna be like a sci fi 100 like no, no, no, I I'm just thinking about like the films that I will go back to time and time again. And every Christmas it's home alone. You know, for comedies, old school, I think it's just one of the I just love old school. It's just classic Will Ferrell movie.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:23
Probably one of his best.

Joel Holland 1:09:24
I think probably one of his best and all the others are like templates of it but and then you know, third for like an action movie godfather two. I mean, I think it's just that is a classic. So good. So good. So

Alex Ferrari 1:09:37
so good. So um, where can people find you Joel and your companies.

Joel Holland 1:09:43
Totally. So if you go to Joel Kent holland.com it will just redirect you to my LinkedIn profile. But that's the best way to connect with me. And you know, I love it when a lot of people connect with me on there. It's just a great way to stay in touch. You'll Have my up to date contact information, my email addresses on there, it's all it's all there. So connect with me on LinkedIn and then for videoblocks you know she's videoblocks comm if you're a contributor and you want to make money, and it costs nothing, go to contribute dot videoblocks comm sign up is super simple. And then for graphics and photos, it's Graphic Stock comm for music and sound effects. It's audioblocks.com

Alex Ferrari 1:10:26
Sounds good, Joel man, you've been a wonderful guest, man, thank you so much for spending time talking with me today.

Joel Holland 1:10:32
Well, thank you, Alex, this has been a lot of fun.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:35
So guys, I told you it was you know, Joel is definitely that definition of hustle without question. You know, I wish I would have been his age during the times of this technology because I was hustling out at garage sales and doing all sorts of things to make my money at when he was at that same age. 12 1314 years old. I wish I would have had eBay, I wish I would have had Amazon, I wish I would have been able to start my own online business back then. But hey, it's just where the chips fell. That's just the year I was born, unfortunately. But, but I did go through the 80s though. And that was that was a lot of fun. But anyway, guys, I really hope you got a lot out of that Joel is an inspiration to me. And I'm hoping to turn indie film hustle into a $30 million company within the next two or three years. So let's, let's rock and roll guys. But, but no, seriously, I I'm really impressed with Joel and what he's been able to do. And he's an example of seriously what happens when you put your mind to it and just hustle hustle hard man and, and that's hopefully a lesson that all of us can take from Him and His story is that there is no limit to what you can achieve. As long as you hustle, and you do it smart and you learn and you just keep going and going and persistence is one of the keys to success in any area of your life. I'm telling you guys persistence and hustle is gonna get you much farther than just raw talent. All right, or luck for that matter. As always if you want to get the Show Notes for this episode, it's indie film hustle.com forward slash 103 and again, I want to thank everybody who is it decided to jump in on that special one month free of the indie film syndicate man I know you guys I see what you guys are watching you guys are watching a lot talking a lot on the Facebook groups and and really just enjoying the syndicate. So makes me really happy to see you guys inside and joining. So if you guys want to take a look at what all the hoopla is about, head over to indie film syndicate.com. And guys, if you really love the podcast, I would really greatly appreciate you heading over to filmmaking podcast calm and leaving a good review on iTunes. It really helps us out a lot guys and I would personally appreciate it a lot. And guys also don't forget we have a comedy fundraiser on Saturday, October 22 at the ice house in Pasadena, California at 8pm. And it's going to have basically a bunch of the stars from this is Meg are going to go out there and put on a show we're going to paint the barn get dressed up and put on a show and and all proceeds of the of the night. We'll go to this is Meg to help us with Film Festival submissions. Some extra post stuff that we need to get done, and all sorts of stuff like that, but it would really help us out a lot. I'll be there. It's going to be Joe reitman who plays Eric in the movie, Carlos I was rocky who's plays the the amazing Tony Eckhart. We also have Shawn polaski who plays Cheryl in the movie and of course make herself Julie will be there and I will be there as well. Don't worry, I won't be doing stand up. I will just be in the audience. So again, it's at the ice house in Pasadena for tickets call six to 65771894 and it's only 20 bucks guys for a great night. Great night out. All right, so keep that hustle going keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

YOUTUBE VIDEO

LINKS

SPONSORS

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