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

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

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

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

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

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

Right-click here to download the MP3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alex Ferrari 26:01
Right, yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Kim 37:33
His goal? His goal?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Kim 45:44
What were we what would what

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alex Ferrari 1:21:55
James Bond?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Kim 1:35:18
Oh my goodness!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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IFH 357: The True “Horrors” of Independent Filmmaking with Todd Jenkins

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Today on the show we have Todd Jenkins, the filmmaker behind the new horror film Cherokee Creek. Todd went through hell making his film but when he finally finished it and put it out in the world then the fit hit the shan.

Todd decided to self distribute his film using, the now bankrupt, film aggregator Distribber/Go Digital. As many of you know the Distribber debacle has caused many filmmakers horrific pain and stress. After the hard journey to bring his film to life only to have his first check taken from him by a company that goes bankrupt is BRUTAL.

At this point, he hasn’t even gotten his film back from Distribber/Go Digital and is losing money every day. We talk about how this company is hurting so many filmmakers but I wanted to put a face to the pain. I wanted to bring Todd on the show to share his story with the tribe. Making indie films is tough enough with companies like Distribber/Go, Digital hurting filmmakers.

Cherokee Creek is an 80’s style raunchy horror-comedy about a bachelor party in the woods that turns deadly when the ultimate party animal Bigfoot shows up and crashes it. Equal parts vulgar, gore and dark comedy Cherokee Creek is a can’t miss tale of debauchery and sasquatchian horror.

Enjoy my conversation with Todd Jenkins.

Alex Ferrari 0:02
I'd like to welcome the show filmmaker Todd Jenkins. Man, thank you so much for being on the show, brother.

Todd Jenkins 3:19
Thanks, man for having me. I appreciate it.

Alex Ferrari 3:21
I appreciate it. Man. We have we I we've been introduced. I mean, I think you've been listening to me for a little while, right?

Todd Jenkins 3:27
Yeah, I think I listened to you a whole lot more once the distributor thing happened. And I learned that you were you were full of knowledge of a lot of valuable information that I needed to know. So okay, good. So without having people you know, driving to LA and checking things out myself, because I wasn't getting my first quarter payments from distributed I was in a panic. Well, we didn't know. I didn't know how many other people were going through the same shit I was. So it was great to hear there was other people, but I know it fucking sucks, you know?

Alex Ferrari 3:56
And without without question. And we're going to get all into distributor in a little bit. But I wanted to kind of talk a little bit about your story about how you made your independent film, Cherokee Crete. So tell me about the film and how it came into into life. As far as conception all the way back to that conception, but just let's say you know, like, starting the production of it.

Todd Jenkins 4:17
Right, right, right. Okay. Well, I've been in the industry working in front and behind the camera for about 20 years now. And you know, I kept hearing a horror story after horror story of every movie that would go through the the normal distribution map, you know, there's just people whenever making money, and I was always like a producer on these projects, but a lot of times I didn't get you know, all the information or they wouldn't tell me for whatever reason. So I decided if I wanted to know everything and be in control is going to do it myself. And plus, as an actor I wanted to I was getting really pissed off that these roles weren't happening. You know, you get up you get up for these parts of these huge studio films and then they could just pull the carpet out from underneath you at the last second. So you're kind of like, dude, I got to do something. So, if you look at a lot of the great actors today, a lot of them just did their own thing to get known. So I was like, Man, I'm going to do that path, you know, I'm going to do my own movie. I'll control everything. And if it is anybody's fault, it'd be mine. And I'll know 100% of what goes right or goes wrong. So I had the bright idea that I would do charity Creek. Okay, fair enough. Um, you know, and then I started hearing about distributed all these things. And I thought that might be a way to go, but we'll get to that later. But as I started wanting to make a movie, I had to figure out like, you know, I wanted to do something I knew that would generate a lot of buzz and hit a niche audience, which I hear you talk about a lot. And I was I've been to a ton of research on Bigfoot movies, and every Bigfoot movie I saw, I 98% or more god awful. I mean, they were terrible. So other than exists at that time, there was no other Bigfoot movie I like, of course, except for Harry and the Hendersons. But

Alex Ferrari 5:53
Obviously, that goes without saying, sir.

Todd Jenkins 5:57
So I was like, Man, this is something I could do. And I was even in a horrible Bigfoot movie myself. So I was like, I've got to do this great Bigfoot movie, but how can I do that and make it different? So I thought, maybe take the whole raunchy horror comedy at style by going into it. So I wanted to do that. And little did I know that when people read the script, at least in Texas, they were gonna freak out about it and say, Man, this is just way too raunchy. It's got nudity. It's got too much language. You know, I can't be a part of this. So people just started pulling out of the project right away, or they didn't show any interest. And even my the guys that were promising me my first money to shoot my very first scene, to kind of help get the Indiegogo campaign going. They pulled out at the 11th hour and just ghosted me like a week before. So then it was all about Okay, what do we do now? It was like, okay, talk to the why I'm talking to my business partner, we're gonna just put, I'm gonna put a lot of shit on the credit card to get us going. So that's how it started. Then we tried the Indiegogo thing, and I didn't know what the hell I was doing with that. I think we only raised about four grand on Indiegogo, which wasn't friends from friends and family basically. I man friends and family don't have me.

Alex Ferrari 7:08
Okay, so Okay, good. So you got you got people from like Bigfoot, apparently.

Todd Jenkins 7:13
Right? I guess I got people. Well, I mean, there's probably more friends than family, you know, fair enough for your fans of my work. But yeah, we got some people there. So we decided to push forward with the with the project. And then after I shot the the opening sequence to the movie, I thought we had a real winner there. So I just kept investing more and more of my own money, because at that point, I was just tired of getting screwed over meeting with investors who were full of shit most of the time. You know, a lot of times and even some of them had such egos.

Alex Ferrari 7:44
Shocking, shocking. Shocking. Yeah,

Todd Jenkins 7:46
I was like, dude, I just can't handle this. I just can't handle any more of these meetings. So I was like, all just put in my money as we go. And we were usually shooting you know, maybe a day or two a week, so it wasn't too awful. I think I ended up because I already own a lot of production gear anyway, because I'm on production company. I think overall as far as budget it for the movie itself. By the time it was over six months, I think I spent maybe 2025 grand that's still a lot of money.

Alex Ferrari 8:15
No, no, it's it's a lot of money. But in the scope of making a movie. It's a lot of money for me to like have you ever had if someone just told me like you need to drop 35k right now be like, I've got I've got family. I got I got after I've got after school care. Do they want summer camp? I don't know.

Todd Jenkins 8:36
Well, that's the weird thing about the money thing too, as investors who you knew were like millionaires. They were such tightwads man, by their millionaire circle.

Alex Ferrari 8:47
Or that's why that is why they're millionaire sir.

Todd Jenkins 8:51
Well, we'll get into that. Be like distributed, you know, funding from people. Yes. It was seemed like people who were fans, you know, or it had some money, they would be willing to write you a check for two or 3000. So I was like, This is so weird friends and family that I know don't want to give any money. But these people I don't freaking know, are giving money. It's really weird. But we just kept making just enough to keep going. And I was blessed enough that the cast was willing to work for deferment, which we know is always a bad idea. But in my case, in my experience, I felt like hey, I'm an honest guy. I'm going to take care of these guys. I know from the numbers this movie should generate 50 to 100 ran at worst. That's what I felt knowing what I knew. But of course, that's a whole different story to now. So that's kind of how I got it done. A lot of favors and then I had to do everything. One of the things I didn't mention was the cast that a lot of the cast I had to you know fire or just had to start over with because they were freaking out that there was nudity in the movie and they didn't you know, there was language, everyone just freaking out about the script all of a sudden, and I grew up watching movies like, you know, Porky's and hot dog and American Pie and the hangover and all that stuff. So I was like, What the hell are these people talking about? You know, and the funny thing was a lot of these people were fans of like Games of Thrones Game of Thrones. So I was like, how is this movie that bad for you? Like, why are you so freaked out by it? But anyway, we finally got the right people together. But I had to be the DP, I had to do the gaffing, I had to do the sound mixing, I had to do everything. And luckily along the way, I ran into a relative that my cousin had just married this guy, he was my gonna be my relative by marriage. And he's like, man, I want to be a filmmaker. And I had remembered that conversation. And I remember telling him like yet right, you know, sure. Everybody says that. So I called him and said, Man, you said, you want to be a filmmaker. So if you want to be a filmmaker, and you want to make no money, and you want to come be an intern, film me, whenever I'm doing my acting in the movie, come on out, and you can help. So that happened, and that's how we got the movie made. It was like no crew. I mean, I was literally doing wardrobe, craft services unique. I was having to do everything, and I was a lead in the movie. So it was a lot to keep all that shit. In your mind. It was a 24 seven thing. That was all I could focus on. There was no, there was no outside stuff coming in. Like, even if my wife wanted to talk to me. I was like, Hey, I can't talk to you, right? It's all about the movie today. So sorry.

Alex Ferrari 11:22
Fair enough. Fair enough. So then, alright, so you see you finish your movie that which was an odyssey in itself, and you dropped out about 25k out of your own pocket to make this thing happen? What was your distribution strategy? What What made you like, Okay, so how am I because I'm assuming you were thinking, how am I going to make money with this movie from the very beginning. But don't say, of course, because a lot of filmmakers are like, I'm an artist, I'm just gonna make a movie, just because I'm an artist. You I'm assuming you knew about the business side of things. So you try not

Todd Jenkins 11:50
Years of getting screwed over and watching and talking to people for years that have gotten screwed over I was like, not doing the regular distribution, Batman, I'm not gonna do that, that business model, I'm gonna do my self distribution. And then I started kind of submitting to film festivals, and I wasn't getting any luck. There. They were, I'm sure they thought the movie at the time. And I think the me tube movement had just started battling. With all this nudity in my movie and all this I was like, dude, I'm not gonna get in anything. But that actually ended up being a blessing that the the local Film Festival here in Dallas didn't want to screen it. So I was I, when I was putting my own screening on. So I did. I did two screenings of it. I brought in, stand up comics to open the movie. I did the red carpet, some people came out to the documentary of the two screenings. It was awesome. I mean, we had tons of people, I think, I think we ended up grossing between 14 $15,000 off that said, I was like, Wow, that was the best thing that ever do. It was so much better. Because if I would have been in that local Film Festival,

Alex Ferrari 12:52
I wanted and I want to just say something so many filmmakers don't understand that part of it is like, Oh, I just want to put it into film festival. You're not getting any money from that exam, especially if you're in a local Film Festival in Dallas, that really no one cares about No offense to that festival. But there's only three four or five festivals in the world that anyone even gives two craps about for really that mean anything to the bottom line, at least, you know, that mean? Anything to the bottom line? Maybe Fantastic Fest would probably do well for you or, or screamfest or something like that.

Todd Jenkins 13:20
No, I know, I know the movie did but you know, but that's the point. I didn't want the right people.

Alex Ferrari 13:26
Right. Exactly. And don't get me wrong. My my last movie did the same thing. I you know, I got into one big festival and after that, like nobody else accepted it for whatever, stick up their butts. But anyway. But that's the thing is filmmakers don't understand if they put their own screening on they can actually make money. And you know, why not? Yeah, I mean, I have another guy who did a movie that he made, I think, like, upwards of the mids mid five figures off of his screening of one night. One night plus merchandising plan. He built an event. But the

Todd Jenkins 14:00
T shirts there I bought a great hold off. Wait 20 $500 on the T shirts because we sold all 100 t shirts.

Alex Ferrari 14:06
And there and there you go. I mean, look at that. And then you're like dammit, why didn't I have 200 t shirts?

Todd Jenkins 14:13
Yeah, and then you're like, well, as soon as I did that my dumb ass was thinking hey, man, I can't wait to get this thing out on digital. Big mistake.

Alex Ferrari 14:23
I would if I if I if I would have you If I would have been consulting you at this point. I would have gone Dude, you got to go to horror conventions, set up a booth and and sell DVDs, sell blu rays, and sell even VHS copies if you can make some VHS copies of it. Because your niche your horror niche loves physical media and you can make a ton of cash touring. Just horror conventions. And you're an actor, so you have fans so you could be doing autograph sessions. That's where I would have told you to go. And you can still do this by the way.

Todd Jenkins 14:51
We are doing that now. Good. Did it late. But looking back I'm thinking you know, why didn't we just hold on? What was this rush to get it on digital When we could have, we could have built this buzz and did more of a limited theatrical release. And did it more cities you know, because of all the buzz we generated from the first two screenings. But once we put it out on digital, and also made another mistake at the beginning of our movie, we put the ski mask on and we told pirate people who pirate movies what we think about them, you know, we tell them that they're pieces of shit, they should fucking die. You know, we did all this plus, it's meant to be funny, shit, serious message. And a lot of people loved it. So we just kept doing this, we would do this at the screenings, and we would do videos, you know, these things. We call them the kidnappers, and everybody fucking loved it. But Amazon did not love that. So what happened was when the movie came out on December 25, as you know, your movie gets pirated pretty much within the two hours that comes out on iTunes or any digital platform. They didn't like that overseas too much. So our movie went from having like a 7.58 rating on IMDB to almost like a two because all the people who stole the movie gave us a one because they didn't like that we're making fun of them for pirating movies.

Alex Ferrari 16:05
so ironic, ironic, isn't it?

Todd Jenkins 16:07
So once within so when I woke up Christmas morning, my movie went from like seven eight on IMDB. They almost like to it was like, What the hell? I mean, I knew piracy was bad, but I didn't know it was that bad?

Alex Ferrari 16:20
Oh, it's really. And especially for your genre, your genre being horror is pretty, it's very pirated genre without question. Alright, so you decide to go digital. And now you're doing self distribution. And I think honestly, again, if I would have been consulting you, I'm like, this is a good candidate for self distribution. To really cook as a smart number, you made the movie for a smart number. It's a good genre, even though you don't have any stars, but horror films, you don't need stars, you have a great book. It all makes sense. So you decided though, with this little company called distributor. Now, for everyone listening, at this point, you should know about distributor and the debacle that has gone on with the stripper, and I was the first one that came out and broke the story about the stripper. And Todd, I met Todd on our Facebook group, protect yourself from distributor, which I launched shortly after my first podcast. And, and we've I've seen him on, I've seen you posting stuff. And then of course, you posted that very restraint restrained YouTube video that was very kind and very, you know, eloquent, and how you perceive the situation I felt and hopefully get with him. I mean, I'm not gonna get. So I'm being facetious guys, he tore up everybody who ever talked to him at disturber. And so and with complete, I completely understand I completely support that feeling because I'm in the same boat, not in the same exact cell phone again. Let's not do this. Now, listen to this. We're recording as we speak. So there's no need. But when I saw that video, I was like, You know what, man, that guy? And I said, do a little bit more research about you? And I was like, You know what, man, I think you're a great story to have on the show because I've talked about the stripper on the show now for four weeks now. But this is a unique situation because now we're I wanted to put a face. And also a story behind what the pain that is happening to filmmakers like a You are a representation of 1000s of filmmakers who are going through this this horror story, this devastating nuclear bomb that went off in their lives. And I wanted to bring you on. That's why I wanted to talk about how you made the movie, your struggles, everything that you've gone through. And now so you go to self distribution, you go through distributor, explain what happens. And then we'll we'll figure it and then we'll talk about the wheels coming off.

Todd Jenkins 18:37
Okay, um, well, I started having some issues with distributor early on. And I did you know, I wasn't thinking it was going to be as big a deal as it ended up being but in December, we were supposed to have our movie come out December 25. And I already paid for Fandango now. And Amazon. They were two of the other platforms. I was supposed to be approved to be released on December 25. So we start I mean, I'm all in on this movie. This is like this is like my last hurrah in the film industry since I've been doing it so long. And I I'd made a deal with my wife and everything because I'm sure she's tired of me being in the industry. So like, when's the fucking money gonna come in? I'm like, it's coming in on this movie. I swear to God, it's coming in. Just Just wait. You know, I'm putting my whole life on it. Betting my marriage betting her money, betting some friends money, but everybody, including my own money on

Alex Ferrari 19:25
Can I stop you here for a second? I've had that conversation with my wife. We've, if any, any filmmaker who's married has had that conversation with their wife. It is not a fun conversation to have. It is especially when you're you you're doing your own money. And you're working with family money, because it's not your money. It's not like you're living on ramen. With four roommates somewhere. You got a family. It's a whole lot of conversation. Dude. I'm gonna right now. I am sorry, sir. But I hope looking ramen, Bro, I hope I hope it's organic ramen. At least. Let's move on. Jesus organic Bro, I got to get the Walmart special fine. Alright, so go ahead, man. Go ahead.

Todd Jenkins 20:06
Yeah, yeah, it's speaking of that. Yeah, I actually had our loan somewhat because we did some stuff on Best Buy, I bought the Sony A seven s Mar two. And I had her get that through Best Buy. I think at the time, I must have spent four grand on the damn things, I got the warranty, you know all the batteries, I went all out on this fucking camera back then. And now you can probably buy the thing for 1500 bucks. So I owe more today on the camera than it's worth. And that payment through Best Buy is due before November 1. So I wasn't worried about this though, because I'm like looking at my reports from distributor and I'm like, hey, I've got a check for 10,000 check for 5000 and I got all these checks coming in. I'm not worried about it. You know? Until this debacle happens now I'm like, holy shit, how am I gonna pay my wife, my friends and survive, you know, so the end of the year? That's what I'm freaking out now. That's why I'm so exhausted. I'm taking every freaking job I can take no matter what it is, you know, and I'm working 24 seven to just stay afloat at the moment because I literally, I literally went from as an actor working in a Bella Thorne movie, if you know, to Bella Thorne Yeah, just did a movie a couple of Bella Thorne. It's called Southland it's gonna be an awesome movie, you can look that up cuz I can't talk about it. And having my movie in the top three position on iTunes under poor comedy. So I was just pumping in like $500 a pop in the marketing on all the social media platforms and everything. And I thought, Man, I'm gonna, this movie's gonna go great. And I would, and my ego was trying to beat out the studio movies he knows. So when I got the third, it wasn't good enough for me No, first because that I can put that, you know, I can do a story on that. And we can build more publicity make even more sales. So I just kept spending more money on the marketing. So next thing you know, I'm probably in three or $4,000 hole in this marketing campaign. But the movie is generating money and I can see that it is so it doesn't bother me. I'm like, I'm least doubling whatever I'm spending on marketing. So I'm not really I'm not really worried about it. Cuz I know the checks coming in from distributor, obviously. But, of course, it did not come in. So that's why I'm right now I'm in this book in huge hole, man. And, you know, I haven't seen $1 from distributor, from any the quarters of 2019. No money. So

Alex Ferrari 22:12
all. So basically, you've never seen a dime off of the digital release of your film yet, even though you're owed anywhere between 15 to $40,000. Let's say somewhere around there. Is that fair to say?

Todd Jenkins 22:24
I have no idea what I'm owed to be honest with you. I think the reports are false. I think they last thing they said I did total on iTunes was like 700 something units, which I don't believe.

Alex Ferrari 22:34
But you but you but you were making? Long, you know, we did 700 units, and it's been out for nine months. But the report but but you had reports saying 5000 10,005 that you saw things that were coming in? Yeah,

Todd Jenkins 22:45
I saw a report saying that. And I and I and I'm going by what? The gross of the movie is not what they're paying me if that makes sense? Sure. Sure. Sure. like Amazon takes 50%. So even if 40 Amazon pays me 20. You know

Alex Ferrari 22:58
what? Yeah, whatever it is? Sure. Sure.

Todd Jenkins 22:59
It's still it's still $20,000 or still shit ton of money to me. Yeah, of course, of course. So I wasn't worried about the $500 a month on marketing or anything like that I was, I was feeling good about it. I was feeling great that we were in third place on iTunes. And I knew you know, in the charts just kept going up until this debacle happened. And the second I heard, I felt it was happening. And then I heard what you guys were going through, I pulled all my marketing, and then my movie just completely disappeared is still on the digital platforms. But I mean, it's, it's nowhere to be found it's so far down, are so

Alex Ferrari 23:33
you So not only did you make, you know, take $25,000 out of your own pocket to go make this movie, then you started taking a loan out to actually do the marketing on this as well as well. So all together how much you think you've spent on this film? Oh, God, at least 50,000 at this point. So you spent about 50 grand on this film at this point. And you would have been, you know, that was a good investment to a certain extent, because you were making money with it, like you had a good ROI with your marketing campaign. You You were seeing, you know, you put five bucks in you were seeing either five bucks come out or more, you know, and you're just like, Well, wait a minute, I'm gonna feed this beast, I'm gonna just keep feeding the beast. You were feeding the beast, right? Because, you know, the money's gonna come in. Why wouldn't it? It doesn't make any sense. Why wouldn't get a check? You'd never that that thought never crossed your mind. Right? Never. It's like,

Todd Jenkins 24:24
I thought that the dashboard is kind of like, you know, and I would tell my business partners, I was like, Look, this is basically our bank account. And when we put money in it, it's just like, it's going into savings. We're going to get it back. Yeah, that's how I pitched it to him. Cuz I would be like, Look, you can see right here, it says 15 or 16,000. So, you know, whatever the number was on that platform, I'm like, and iTunes would would update probably every three days or something like that. And I say, Hey, you know, if we put in, you know, we put in $50 for that day on that ad and it generated 150 in revenue. So let's just keep putting, let's keep feeding this monster. So they were all for it. You know, but that wasn't that wasn't an investment from them. That was actually a personal loan I was doing from so they were getting that paid back immediately from the first check wasn't like, so you

Alex Ferrari 25:08
actually leveraged leverage the distributed dashboard as proof that you were going to get paid.

Todd Jenkins 25:17
And that I could pay the loan back easily. Yeah, easily

Alex Ferrari 25:20
because the money was there. And in all honesty, everything that you were doing, made perfect sense. And you weren't scamming anybody. Because I would have said the exact same thing. If I was in your situation. I'm like, Look, I got $20 $20,000 sitting in my distributor account. That's proof that checks and then they just got to cut the check next month. And I get that money. It's my money. Why would I get that money? And

Todd Jenkins 25:45
I was starting yet. I finally after begging, I got the first report for the first quarter. It just came in, probably like six for this whole debacle happened. Probably like six weeks ago. It took forever to get a fucking report from him, of course, but I did get paid. I did get that first report. They finally give me the check for those five days or whatever I was on from December 21 to December 31. I got like a $2,000 check or something. Because my my movie was live only for a few days of the fourth quarter.

Alex Ferrari 26:16
And that was the last check. You got?

Todd Jenkins 26:18
Yeah, six months after it was do you know, whatever the hell.

Alex Ferrari 26:21
So thank you. So things. So things were already there were some fishy stuff going on. year, a year ago, a year and a half ago, even that though, you could just tell that people were just taking forever to get paid. things were happening, because I've heard all these stories. And I'm like, Yeah, man, it's taking me forever to get reports. I remember that I I you know, with my movie. This is Meg. I just kind of at a certain point, I just I just stopped even asking about it. Because I'm like, Ah, it's been out forever. If I make you know, 100 bucks. 200 bucks. Great. It's not I'm not concerned with that. got other things to worry about. Yeah, I'm taking a long time to pay people. Yeah, I'm like it's taking them a minute. And by the way, I knew people who work there. I knew the CEO. I knew. Jason. I knew Neil. I knew all these guys. Michael. Right. Michael Sorensen I didn't know my I met I think I might have met him at a party at Sundance. I think that might have happened once. But I didn't know him. I know, Nick, I've had on the show. Nick, I had on the show. Jason I had on the show. I had Nick twice on the show. I had Jason has been on the show twice. And I think Neil I had him on once. So I was I mean, I was all in with the stripper or in the early days, because they took good care of me. Like, I got a Hulu deal. I got paid off that Hulu deal right off of a $5,000 movie. I interviewed multiple case studies of people making millions off a distributor like so to me in like what like just like you were like, Oh, is that that's what it's gonna be. That's what

Todd Jenkins 27:46
I was hearing too. I was hearing that from people. But then you would get these people who would do a video kind of like a video I found recently, they would say almost distribute suck. But it was basically because they weren't making any sales because they didn't know how to market their movie. So I wouldn't. I didn't I just kind of like, ignored those kinds.

Alex Ferrari 28:01
And I heard those two, I heard those kind of rumblings as well. I'm like, but I, I mean, I'm getting paid. I see other people that I know are getting paid. I just I kind of didn't put any, any, any merit in it as well. Because you know, you're angry, you're pissed off, I get it. And that's fine. But there was no reason. There were no real big giant saw signs that the ship was going down. And it was gonna take the rest of us with it. Nobody knew

Todd Jenkins 28:27
that. I mean, it was just people complaining that their movie wasn't, you know, in the top 10 on iTunes or Amazon, stuff like that. And that's

Alex Ferrari 28:35
just ridiculous. Yeah. Yeah,

Todd Jenkins 28:36
that's up to you. That's what you signed up for. It's like, if you made a movie, they can make any money. That's your fault. I mean, you can't blame that on the stripper. Exactly. They're just

Alex Ferrari 28:45
they're just, they're just a middleman just trying to get your film out there. Now, what point did you realize that there was a problem with the stripper and you're like, wait a minute, there's something fishy here?

Todd Jenkins 28:55
Well, when we started talking, and that I had, I kept I wasn't hearing any responses from them back, I guess at the end of May. It might have been even in June, July, something like that. The responses were taking longer, but I was still getting responses. Still got my report. But then I was uh, I was emailing the project manager through the dashboard, whatever the hell saying, hey, I need an ETA on this check. I need this money because we were planning on taking a vacation as well over the summer with the check. The first check that was, yeah, that never came in. So knowing that I am not paying the white back. I didn't take her on the vacation. I promised her for the summer. So I'm just digging a hole deeper and deeper with my wife constantly with this damn distributed debacle. But I said, Hey, I did the same thing. Hey, here's the dashboard. You see the checks coming in, I would have done the exact same thing. Good report. When the check comes in. We'll you know we'll go to Hawaii, we'll go do our thing. I'm going to pay for this great vacation, I'm going to pay you all the money back that you will mean, everything's fine. You know, I never thought

Alex Ferrari 29:55
I would have done the same thing. Anybody in your position would have done the exact same thing because there was no reason to Think that a company would not pay you money that you're

Todd Jenkins 30:02
out right? Or that they can legally get away with this. I never end fans on them ever that they could just close up shop disappear, you know, into thin air. Because that's what I was telling you. I had somebody in one of my producers said she was in LA. And I gave her the address to distributor said, Hey, could you go by there and she went by and she's like, there's nobody there. And according to the people with this building, they're saying never see anybody there in like a month or even longer. And I think I told you that information as well. And you can you were doing your stuff as well. And that's when I started thinking there. Oh, shit, we're in trouble. But we didn't you didn't we didn't really have any real answers at that point. But check this out Friday the 13th of all fucking days. That's when they sent me this email from last Radnor saying, Hey, we don't we understand we owe you money. But our everything's being handled by class right now. And I'm like, Well, what the hell does that mean?

Alex Ferrari 30:52
Yeah, so I got, I was wondering, I was probably one of the first to get that email. And when I got that, and when I got that email, I made a few phone calls. And then I and then I was sitting on a lot of information that nobody else knew about. And I said, I can't I can't sit on this. I just can't I have to I have to get this out there because I was already hearing people. I remember getting tweets, like people were tagging me on tweets and posts saying, Alex, I haven't been paid from distribute. This is horrible. What's and I just kept hearing a few. And I was like, and it was in the middle of my own thing with my my projects that I had going on with them. And I said, there's something here. So that's when I started getting a little bit more rough with my emails. And I reached out and Michael emailed me back and he said, Sorry, we're reorganizing. And when I heard the word reorganizing, I said, Oh, crap, they're going bankrupt. And that's when I dug in a little deeper and I found out a lot of the information that I was able to release in that first podcast. And and then I just and then after that I just came out guns blaring because I was like, No, no, you have an agnostic they're gonna go bankrupt that they know and that's the thing that really pissed Well, there's many things that really pissed me off about this whole situation but the way glass Ratner has handled this the way distribute go digital as handled, this is atrocious, atrocious, because all they have to do man, look, look, all they had to do there was gonna be pissed, you're gonna get pissed off people regardless. because no one's gonna be happy. Nobody wants to hear that you're not going to pay them. Or there's a problem with your money. Nobody wants to hear that. But the way they handled it, which is this kind of very sneaky behind closed doors, no information, just kind of this wall of like nothing. The only reason anybody knows about any of this is because I'm the one that came out originally and just started blowing up blowing everybody up about I'm like, Dude, this No. And then they even reached out to me, like, dude, you need to stop that. I'm like, No, man, I'm not going to stop that what you guys doing is immoral and horrible. Just Just an I even offered to them. I'm like, dude, if you want to use that, just let I'll talk. I'll be your mouthpiece to just send us information. So I could just get information out to filmmakers who are struggling and hurting. And we're still at the very early stages of this because I didn't, I didn't know stories like yours. I didn't know the scope of this yet. I was just like, I'm like, oh, there's a handful of filmmakers are being affected by this. Let me let me get this information out. But then as I started to really dig into this, I was like, holy crap, we're talking about millions of dollars. We're talking about 1000s of filmmakers. And it's not like these, you know, guys who live in the Hollywood Hills, like, Oh, I'm not gonna able to buy my Tesla this month. Not those guys. It's guys like you and me, who are struggling, just to make money with our films. And you know, and in your case, you're like, like, I'm in real and you're in dire straits because of this.

Todd Jenkins 33:37
Well, I think I think you know, another thing we were talking about, really, when I was when I went ahead and decided to go with go forward with making the film. I was watching a lot of these motivational videos, things that motivated me to keep me to push forward. And the things that would do that would be like watching Kevin Smith talk about dude, when you want to make your first movie, your parents aren't gonna believe in you, your friends are in no fucking person is gonna believe in you. And that's why he had to put it you know, everything on the credit cards. It's an NSL is common, of course, but he made Rocky's like, man, people were offered me 330 grand and I fucking had nothing and I still wouldn't take it because I knew if I didn't take this role, that I would never I would never be anything I had to take this role and I had to hold out. So I mean, in that story, and then of course, you know, Robert Rodriguez making El Mariachi so every every one of these stories and even going back as far as swingers, you know, like it events bond and Jon Favreau didn't power through and make swingers that was like their first independent movie to do together. There'll be no Marvel Universe right now people don't even realize that they did that movie to help launch their careers even more. And then he was able to do Iron Man because of that, you know, it all LED is all stepping stone. So we wouldn't be where we are today. If it wasn't for all these guys who started out like where we are in the indie world. There wouldn't be no James Cameron there wouldn't be any of these guys. I love doing all this load. legit shit. I think Matter of fact, James Cameron was fired from

Alex Ferrari 35:04
the spawning. Yes, sir. Yes. And then where he would and then when he would, he would they were doing it in Italy. And then when he was fired, he would sneak into the Edit room at night literally, like break into the editing facility, re edit the scenes that the editor had edited a day before and leave. Wow. And that I've studied this scenario a lot, sir. And then one night, he got a deep flu of like, 104 degree temperature. And he was and he had delusional, like nightmares and dreams. And that is where he came up with the image of the exoskeleton from Terminator. And that's where the Terminator came from. From the Parana to firing is why we have the Terminator and James Cameron everything else he did. Sorry, aside that.

Todd Jenkins 35:50
Yeah, so me being like, you know, those those videos and those stories definitely were motivating me to keep me pushing through this hellacious time which I could go into stories about that, too. Now. We went through so much hell on this movie so much hell. I mean, we've lost we lost people like lost like they died. The one guy that did come on this guy. I was in a movie with this guy didn't even know if it was a movie called knucklebones. And he played some bomb or something in the movie. And come to find out later that guy was a producer on that movie. Well, he was watching me from afar, like on social media, and I didn't even know who he was. And he called me up and said, Hey, come meet me at this Chili's, I got something for you. And I was like, Oh, Jesus Christ. What's this guy won, you know,

Alex Ferrari 36:31
cuz all big. All big movie deals are done at Chili's, obviously,

Todd Jenkins 36:35
Chili's man. But the devil, he writes me a nice check, sends it over goes, I got nothing to say, man. This is not me. This is not a meeting. This is me offering this to you. Because I appreciate you and what you're doing. That's all it was as hell. And then one other dude. They gave us a chat kind of like that. There's this funny stories. I could go on. We could spend hours talking about him. But he did, I was on the way to the airport to pick somebody up and he's like, where are you at? And I was like, I'm going to the airport as I pull over. I'm like, 10 minutes from you. I got a check for you. So it was just stories like that these these angels just coming out of nowhere. But uh, that guy he the guy who gave me that ticket Chili's, he ended up dying December 23. A couple years back, and a house fire. Oh my god. And then the the guy who played the original song, the song for our movie. He played the drums and he's in the music video on the blu ray that we have out. His girlfriend murdered him. So it was just like, fucking cursed. I mean, it was just like, death after death. My freaking my, my cat was was my best friend that helped me get to this movie. He had to be put down because he was dying. It was just like, everybody was dying. My dad died. My aunt died. My uncle's died. I mean, like, it was just like death. Everybody was losing family members. And people would literally be on set getting phone calls that people were dying or died. And I was like, Dude, this is jet. And then my mom when I was shooting, one of the biggest scenes in the movie went into ICU. Oh, Jesus, man. I am on set trying to finish the scene. And I'm arguing with actors and I'm like, dude, I don't want to argue with I'm trying to get to the hospital. See my mom, let's just finish the fucking scene. You know, but I had so much money invested that day like 10 or something. I was like, dude, I gotta finish this. Everybody just shut up. And let's just get the scene done. You know? Right. But yeah, I mean, every day was a hardship man. It was always a hardship. Something just not going right. As you know with film. Murphy's

Alex Ferrari 38:38
Law always comes into play. Now did you? Did you discover how did you discover distributor?

Todd Jenkins 38:43
I did they do? They? Obviously they were spending money on ads, because it was popping up everywhere. You couldn't go on Instagram, Facebook, or? I don't I don't think you could go on Twitter without something about distribute coming up saying 100% rights you keep them 100% revenue in your pocket. I mean, that was

Alex Ferrari 39:02
that was what I heard in profit in profit faster. As they said,

Todd Jenkins 39:05
Yeah, yeah. And the guy that died in the fire, he had put that movie, that movie out. And he saw his first check in he goes, whatever you do with your movie, man, do not do the normal distribution thing you get, we got to come up with something different to do with your film. And that's what I thought, Man, this distributor thing sounds like the right avenue to go. And I kept talking to people they said, If you think you can handle the marketing, which most people can't, they go for it. So I literally spent 24. Seven on social media looking for fans. That would be a fan of my movie, and I'd send them the poster and information about and everything. And I think now I'm up to like almost 11,000 on Facebook, almost 12,000 on Instagram. So those were my two that I focused on the most. And that's the only reason the movie did as well as it did because I was on it. 24 seven marketing to those fans, that people don't get that they don't understand. It's like dude It's not gonna be fun. I mean, I, I tell him if you're, if you're good used car salesman, and you can sell the worst piece of shit on a lot. That's what you got to be able to do with your movie. Because when you say you made an independent film, there's so many bad ones out there. Most people aren't gonna give them the time of day and they sure as hell I can pay for it.

Alex Ferrari 40:18
Right. Exactly. Exactly. And was there anybody specifically at distribute that you worked with a lot that you've anything like that? They I mean, I know, you've mentioned a few names.

Todd Jenkins 40:29
Jason Brubaker with, you know, he, he called me a lot at the get go, when he saw that I was interested, you know, to kind of sell me and push me over the hill to why I should go with them.

Alex Ferrari 40:40
So, yeah, and,

Todd Jenkins 40:43
and he and I seemed like we were on the same page. He's very friendly guy. You know, it seemed like it was the perfect fit for what I wanted to do, because I wanted to show filmmakers a new way. Because every single person, like I said, he said, Man, I lost my ass. But this movie, okay, it's been out a year with this distribution company. And I've only made like, you know, 1000 bucks, or I made no money, or I made 5000. I was like, dude, there's got to be a better way. I'm gonna find a better way. And I'm gonna, I'll let you guys in on the loop when I figured out. But this this was not the better way, unfortunately. But yeah, I really thought it was. But you know, Jason was one of those guys I can reach out to I could text him. I actually texted him the day after Christmas. You know, I actually texted him on Christmas day, when our movie didn't appear on Amazon. And he responded the next day. He said, we're 26. So that was good that we were least able to figure out why it wasn't on Amazon. And at that time, they were saying it was too offensive to carry or something but they could never get in touch with a real person. You know, they can never give me any real answers. So I just had to go in, cut the cut the kidnappers out and then have the project manager resubmit the movie to him when he got on? Wait. Apparently they didn't like the guys in the ski masks.

Alex Ferrari 41:53
Fair enough. Fair enough. Sensitive time.

Todd Jenkins 41:59
Everybody was coming out against our movie, like every horror website, every podcasts are like, dude, they can't make movies with nudity like that anymore. And you can't have these sex scenes and you can't have all those languages. I was like, What are you talking about? every movie has this every movie? No, no, it doesn't. And then I'd have to go down a list of like, everything. I was like, come on. I'm like, dude, even the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall has like three penis shots. And it Come on. every movie has to be in it.

Alex Ferrari 42:24
There's again, your your film is going after a specific niche audience like you're going you're going after me. This is not a broad audience kind of film. You know, this is not going to find millions and millions and millions of people who are going to probably want to watch this. But for the budget that you saw shot on, it makes sense. It just made like if you would have spent a half a million on this. Or a million on this. That's that probably a smart idea. No, no, no bigger names that would have bigger names. Huge names. Yeah.

Todd Jenkins 42:52
But if you understand at the time we were doing this, I was up for some very big, I'll just say they did kind of have a little ties with Marvel's I was up for one of those of us huge roles, that was going to be life changing for me. And then I had brought in Billy Blair, who was from the machete series. Yeah. And he had a bunch of movies, too. So both of our careers at the time we made this movie a few years back, we were kind of you know, we were on the up and up and he had just gotten cast, James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez had just cast him in the lead a Battle Angel. So we didn't know what that meant. We didn't know what his role was going to be in the movie. We didn't know how big it was gonna be. They did cut out quite a bit of it out, thank for the release. But at the time, we were just like, dude, we're things are going on the up and up for us. We're gonna get this movie out. Our acting careers are going great. So with that, by the time this comes out, you know, people will know who we are. And now what's the status of the film now?

Alex Ferrari 43:42
Have you been able to pull your movie off of these platforms? What's going on?

Todd Jenkins 43:46
Well, you know, I think she said several movies, Linda had said several movies disappeared on Amazon. Ours was one of the ones that disappeared off of Amazon, the digital part version of it. The blu ray is still up there because it's through screen team releasing. But the digital one version is not up there. Somehow it got pulled off. I don't know who pulled it off. I'm almost thinking Amazon did not did that. Yeah, it wasn't it was not. I think she thought it was distributed who did it? Or somebody But no, it's Amazon. Got it. Because they didn't take me down from anything. I'm still up on every single platform and I'm sending them emails every couple days. And I think one of the guys other day gave us out gave us the email to contact glass Ratner. Not just at two I've sent emails to Seth saying Hey, man, get the tan movie off the platforms, man. I'm gonna move on, you know, with a new distribution deal or you know, do something else with the movie.

Alex Ferrari 44:36
So So what is the plans for your freedom movie now in the future?

Todd Jenkins 44:41
Well, I'm wanting to talk to Linda over at indie writes, that are gonna happen soon. I did send her an email with all my stuff. Hopefully she'll get to that or she may want me to go through the, you know, the submission process.

Alex Ferrari 44:53
Almost likely you're going to go through submission process because she's just she has so much she's been inundated with films after this whole debacle. Everybody, I went, I went through I went through the submission process, so you're going to get the submission process. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Todd Jenkins 45:19
Don't mind going to the submission process. I just want to have a call with her first. Sure. Sure. Sure. Call first and I'll go through the submission process.

Alex Ferrari 45:26
Sure. It's a little crazy right now with AFM to they're going nuts trying to get everything ready for the American lender, you need your degree, obviously, obviously, obviously, it's a moneymaker. You've made money.

Todd Jenkins 45:38
I can tell you I'm a I didn't know what the fuck I was doing. And I made 65 gross 65 grand doing the things I was doing so right which sale

Alex Ferrari 45:46
we can even better. So without without question, and and now you but you still have the DVDs and blu rays. Is that generating any money for you?

Todd Jenkins 45:54
I think last check. Was it gross about 13 grand so far? That's me. You know, man, that's

Alex Ferrari 46:00
great. That's great in a dB. Yeah. Because again, that genre really does like physical media. So DVD and blu ray works really well. You really should if you have a chance if you're able to do it. Do you know that? I don't know if you've ever heard that episode of mine. Drew marvic, who did Pool Party massacre, which is kind of right, right?

Todd Jenkins 46:18
He he actually I didn't know it was him. He bought our movie at one of the horror conventions and he was hanging out in a different booth. And I didn't know it was him. And then later on, I got a copy of his movie and I was watching us like Dude, that was the guy that bought a copy of our movie. Yep. And hit me ahead as well. So he's a cool guy

Alex Ferrari 46:36
he drew is awesome. He's been on the show, you should listen to his podcast episode cuz I, I actually even use him as a case study in my new book, the film the rights of the film entrepreneur, because he was able to do something in the horror genre I just thought was so brilliant, cuz it's similar. And you're the new because you guys are both low budget horror films that are very niche. He's doing an ad slasher flick. You're doing like an ad slasher raunchy flick. And, but what I love the did it was one of the reasons why I called them when I saw when he pitched me about being on the show. He was selling VHS copies of his movie, and they looked amazing. I'm like, they were clamshell. Right. And we did that for a little while we did that. Did you and did it work? I'm sure you sold.

Todd Jenkins 47:17
Yeah, I think I've been trying to get with screen team to sell more of those. But you know, I don't know. I think the sales are kind of slowing down with the blu ray at this point. I don't know.

Alex Ferrari 47:26
What do you have the VHS right to the scream team had their they have the

Todd Jenkins 47:31
VHS and the blu ray for at the moment? You know,

Alex Ferrari 47:35
I think if you have a conversation like do Just give me the VHS rights plaque please. What you do is this, you go to all your thrift shops around the around your neighborhood and around the cities around you. And by every Disney VHS copy that you see in the clam case that you take it back home, get two VHS tapes and record that is that what drew did, he recorded over Pinocchio? Wow. And he labeled it and he wanted the he had a green series, a yellow series or red series. And then he just puts slips in. And that's how we sold them. And he would sell them for 2530 bucks a pop because they're unique. And it was so good that people would buy his movie, thinking that it was an 80s movie that they just missed. Right?

Todd Jenkins 48:17
That's what I thought when I saw I was like, This must be some old movie I missed. You know,

Alex Ferrari 48:22
you know why? Because he got the poster art guy who was an artist, a cover artist from the 80s. To doing because when I saw that cover, I'm like this looks. I mean, I could have seen this in the VHS.

Todd Jenkins 48:32
I think he's making the second one right now. Anyway, he's about so I need to call him and say dude, cast me in your movie. He

Alex Ferrari 48:38
does have to be careful what you wish for because it'll do it. No, he's really smart. Sure. $5,000 Come on. He'll pay. Yeah, I charged all my actors only $5,000 to

Todd Jenkins 48:48
all my actors to be in my movies. I'm guilty if we had to do that for hours. I mean, there were people who made those donations, you know? And then of course, everybody's like, Hey, you should cut this person out of the movie. And you're like, Oh, I can't do that. Sorry. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 49:03
it's it. Sorry. It's called filmmaking, politics, indie film politics, as we like to call it. The role of somebody the kid stays in. Amen, brother. Amen. I understand completely cut somebody out that paid and help us make the movie that that's not smart politics as far as trying to get your movie made and getting it out there.

Todd Jenkins 49:24
The one decision I made that was probably the best decision on casting. I brought in the guy from tactical response to train. Jeremy Renner from The Hurt Locker. Okay. If you ever see the movie, he's in a really funny scene. But that dude has sold more copies of the movie probably than any of us. He's got like hundreds of 1000s of fans and he runs a tactical training school.

Alex Ferrari 49:44
Oh, yeah. I saw that. I saw that. They posted it on his YouTube.

Todd Jenkins 49:49
Yeah, he posted it on his YouTube and it probably I don't know where we're at now, but he's got

Alex Ferrari 49:53
five 6000 10,000 people

Todd Jenkins 49:56
about how much distributed there there are people over at distributed Well, geez, that's great. My cat decided to lock some shit over. Sorry. It's

Alex Ferrari 50:04
all good. It's all good. We're a lot. We're live show. I don't get it. It's fine. But So listen, dude,

Todd Jenkins 50:09
It wasn't me. Come here. This is the guilty one. This little girl right here.

Alex Ferrari 50:16
Look at that. There you go. She looks she looks at me. Yo. So um, Well, listen, brother, I do appreciate you coming on the show, I really wanted to have you on the show because I wanted to kind of really put a face and a story behind this, this this horrible situation that the shivers put us all through, you know, a lot of filmmakers. Some filmmakers are hurting a lot worse than others, you are hurting. You're one of the probably one of the hardest stories I've heard. I know filmmakers who are owed two $300,000 dude, like literally two $300,000. Like they're getting attorneys involved, and they're trying to, you know, reaching out to the FBI, they're really doing as much as we can. I mean, so when you think you're bad, there's always someone who is owed more or worse situation. And I'm not saying that, but you're in a pretty bad situation. And I wanted to kind of put you up there and want to put a spotlight on your story, because I think it's important for people that are listening to understand the pain that filmmakers are going through because of this ridiculous, horrible situation. And by the people behind it a distributor, everybody involved anybody that was complicit in this information, knowing about this information and left the company or was, you know, or whatever, because they're like, you know, this is not for me, I'm out of here and didn't do anything to inform any of us about what was going on even on a you know, like a simple Well, a simple crime. I say no matter what, it is a crime, Sir, it is a crazy crime

Todd Jenkins 51:40
I mean, it has nothing to it is it when you try to explain it to people in even talking to attorneys now that I've tried to talk to about this situation? And almost everybody, they still think that distributor because of their name, or distribution company? You know, they don't understand that, like, This happens all the time. And I'm like, No, this is this is an aggregator that did this. This is not a distribution company. We paid for the services which they were just basically encoding our movie. And it still really bothers me is like how many freaking me fucking people did did they hire over there? Like Where did all this money go? Us? I know as well as I do. It doesn't take that many people to it was taken on what 90 plus days to QC a movie. And the encoded.

Alex Ferrari 52:21
Yeah, I mean, look, it's not lattes. I can tell you that. I don't I don't think they'd lost millions of dollars in lattes. You know, I know lattes are expensive, but I don't think that's where it went. And I don't know where the money is. I you know, I originally said mismanagement, but I don't know what happened. Spanish but this this had to be diapers I you know, I don't know what's going on. I don't know the details inside. But with that said, there's so much fishy stuff that's going on so much information that's that's come out since we started this whole journey, which has only been around three weeks now been three, four weeks or something like that, that I launched that first podcast. And, and every day, it's it's more informations coming out that group that I started, protect yourself from, from distributor, there's so much valuable information. And there's so many people telling a story. So many people updating us about Hey, I just got this email, hey, like just today I posted that rev calm glass Ratner or the the assignee, or whatever that company is, that's taking care of the payments, actually sent an email, a statement to rev to say, anybody who was a distributor client can get their can get their closed captioning subtitles back for free, if they can prove that they are the owners of the movie. So that's huge for us. Because now you don't have to go out and redo it, and spend another $100. Because my cuts different. So well. That's what that's what that's on. But, but generally speaking, if your film hasn't changed, you can get that in front man, I know guys who did a series, they're gonna have to spend $1,000 to get all of the closed captioning back for all of this, this whole series that they went through distribute with. So that's, I mean, like, I don't want to say like, it's like it's salt in the wound at this point. So that information just came out. I got Linda did a lot of a lot of legwork on that. And we posted that out. And we've got a big article coming out with the LA Times hopefully soon.

Todd Jenkins 54:11
And I don't know how these guys are walking around. Not feeling scared. I would be so

Alex Ferrari 54:17
Oh, no, no, I promise you, I promise you. All of them are scared shitless. And the reason why they're scared shitless is because people like me, like Joe, like you, like everybody in the group are not letting this die. And all of us listening cannot allow this to die. Because if we just let it go, like I'm just, I just don't want to deal with this. I just want to move on. If you do that, they win. They win. So we have to make it that's what

Todd Jenkins 54:44
I'm trying to explain my wife too, because when you're married, this is drama in your life every day. You got to take a call, even from the LA Times or anybody or the FBI ever who were doing but you got to do it. You got to do this every single day but you You know, the family life doesn't understand that, you know, they're just like, they want you to wash your hands and just go on, you know, my wife wants me to put this behind us and just get out of the film altogether at this point, you know, because she, she just seems she just sees the whole thing is just, it's an evil business. And there's no way to recover from it. And I, and I'm trying to say, No, there's a way to recover. You know, when I go with indie rights, or somebody like indie writes, I can prove to her there is some good people out there. And that this, this is, this doesn't happen every day. And I it happened to 1000s of people, we're not the only ones it wasn't because I was a dumb ass and made some stupid fucking mistake

Alex Ferrari 55:37
And signed a horrible NDA signed a horrible predatory distribution deal with some company that just stole everything

Todd Jenkins 55:42
They stole from us, and they stole from 1000s of people, right. And, you know, we're gonna hold on to the fire fart, we're gonna make sure they pay the price for all the shit that they've done.

Alex Ferrari 55:50
And that's, and that's, and that's what we're trying to do. And I think everyone listening, if you are involved with this, or even if you're not involved with distributor, if you can spread the word, if you could keep at it, and keep pushing on it and keep the noise up. That's why I'm so excited about the la times because they're there the LA Times, you know, that is a huge noise.

Todd Jenkins 56:11
Everything man, I gave him my dashboard and my anything that they could use, you know, for right now, to help this case. Yeah. And please do not minimize it the way that variety did, you know, and anyway, I was like, you gotta make sure you're putting in the article, it's 1000s of people effect and

Alex Ferrari 56:27
Millions of dollars, dollars, millions of dollars,

Todd Jenkins 56:30
Somebody 2000, you know, 500, whatever, that just minimizes the story. Like, it's not a big deal, like you lost a bet, a fight or something.

Alex Ferrari 56:38
Yeah, I'm just, I'm just hoping that this does go a little deeper. And it sounds like they are going to go a little deeper. And I'm very appreciative of indiewire. I'm very appreciative of variety to even cover this. Because I mean, I'm even appreciative of no film school, all these guys that came out after I did. And I've just put a little bit of shine on it, even if it's small, or even if it's a little bit bigger, it's something but I truly hope that it's something or I do hope that the LA Times really does blow it out of the water. And I do feel it is, by the way, anyone listening, the FBI is aware of the situation, because this is this is copyright issues. This is fraudulent actions. There is there is talks with the FBI, there is talks with the LA district attorney. This is a serious thing, man, this is no joke. And we have to leave the rest of all too, because going on it. Guess what, don't worry about taxes, don't worry. Well, IRS is always around it. Don't worry, they that's the one audit, so we can find out how much we got screwed. Don't you worry, my friend. They got Al Capone on taxes, brother. So they always get you no matter what. And I really, I really hope that some sort of justice happens. I and I've said this a bit publicly before and I know it's something that you've said before I lost hope that we're ever going to get a dime back. I don't I don't truly believe that we're going to get any money back. If there's no money there. And these guys are what if there's no money there? The money has been taken mismanaged. Whatever. I don't know if it's going to come back. I hope it does. Maybe we'll get something but I'm not. I'm not waiting for a magical cheque to show up with all my money.

Todd Jenkins 58:17
Well, what we need is one of those angels in Hollywood that's got billions of dollars, or even the digital platforms who've made all this money off of us, they go Hey, guys, we understand that we were partners with pieces of shit. Yes, yes. Why don't we give you some of that money back? Because it seems like and I can't get iTunes or anybody to comment about what's going on? Why can't iTunes or any of these people help us? You know, why can't they Oh, well participate in this? \

Alex Ferrari 58:43
There's one company that I know of that is which is Netflix. Netflix is anybody want a Netflix deal? They're taking care of the situation in one way, shape, or form. So if you're owed money, I think Netflix is gonna pay you well, if it's Netflix, but it's Netflix, and that's a special deal. That was a contractual deal. It's an S VOD deal. It's not transactional, it's a different story. But all of these other companies need to come to the plate. Because if not, if I'm hoping that the LA story goes national, the only time story goes national and a lot of shade gets thrown on these platforms, because it's their responsibility to take care of us the independent filmmakers because they forced us to go through to go through these aggregators, without any sort of responsibility financially, or any fiduciary responsibility, any requirements by the platform's by these companies to handle their money in the way they handle their money other than self regulating, and we see how well that worked with the stripper. So they're on the hook in my eyes, those companies are all liable. Those companies are all responsible for this situation because they forced us unlike dealing with distribution

Todd Jenkins 58:44
I agree, if you force someone to go with an aggregator that you approve, and you've got 1000s of movies, on your platform underneath that aggregator which you're making money on or going to do their research. gonna look it up, like I looked up distributed, you saw 1000s of movies and movies that you saw and had watched before and you're like, that makes them seem more legitimate. You know, we're This is you guys are betting this company. Basically, they bet a distributor saying, Hey, we work with these guys. They're good guys.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:15
If I call if I tell my buddy Bob, and go, Bob, look, I'm gonna send, Todd's gonna do the work for me. Right, Todd's gonna, he's gonna, he's going to remodel your house, and then all the money is going to go through Taj, I'm going to just send a check to Todd and then Todd is going to send the money to you, Bob. Now, if you leave town, and don't give the money to Bob, who's on the hook for that, it's not you, you're gone. Because I told you to go through you. I'm on the hook. They're gonna come after me. Now, mind you, I'm not as big as these billion dollar conglomerate conglomerates, but they are responsible. And the one thing that someone told me, which was great, it's like, they might not care about the money. But they do not want a public hanging. They don't want a public hanging. And that is what's going to happen if these guys do not step up. If these guys don't step up. And let's not even talk about the go digital board, which is full of very well to do people. And I want to know what they knew when they knew it. And why the hell has nobody come out and said anything about it. None of the board members, not one board member has made a comment, not one ex employee has made a comment about what's going on with the stripper. And they know what's going on. Even glass Ratner has not made a public announcement that wasn't for us doing what we're doing. No one would know anything. So all these other guys are all hiding. They're all scared and they don't want, they want this to go away. But I promise you, this will not go away. Because it's not going away. It's not going to go away. Because people like you, like me, like Joe, like Linda, everybody else is going to stay on this until something happens for us filmmakers. And we get down to the bottom of this. Because if we

Todd Jenkins 1:01:57
Try to explain to the other filmmakers in the industry, and to egos, because as you hear it was like you see these messages constantly, well, you're an idiot, why did you go with distributor? I told you they were bad. You know all this, no matter because if they're allowed to get away with this, then it means another aggregator could do it, the deputy can even happen. Should Have you scared that it could happen to you. Because if your movie goes through one of these aggregators, you're not going to get paid. If your actors are sag actors, they're not going to get paid. It affects everybody in the industry, every single person, and they should all be concerned about it. They're just like, you know, I totally get this all the time. Well, we didn't go with a stripper. So we're not worried about it. That's all they say. But I might I've heard that too, you got to worry about it, you got to worry about it.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:42
Because if it happens to us, it could happen to you.

Todd Jenkins 1:02:45
It could happen to you. Exactly. It needs to be regulated. Something has to change with the digital platforms and their business model and the way they're going to handle business going forward after this debacle. because no one's protected right now. It just say it right now is saying, Hey, I can just sit up as an aggregator still all this money for one year and leave and not a fucking thing happens to me.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:08
And they're and they're taking advantage of the weakest of our industry, which are independent filmmakers in many ways. As a small independent filmmakers,

Todd Jenkins 1:03:16
There's 1000s of us and it ended up being costing all of us millions of dollars when you add it up. So somebody is getting away with millions of dollars. From all of us.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:27
Someone's living on a farm right now. Someone's living on a farm right now living the life with with with, you know, with situ, you know, with money that possibly could have gone to us. I know blessing.

Todd Jenkins 1:03:40
Justified, people keep saying, Hey, you know what, maybe they spent it on this or that might do. There's no way to justify it. Trying to justify what they did would be like I film auditions for the studios. And I do it by myself, right? Like people come in and they audition for all the big Marvel movies or whatever. I have a nondisclosure agreement with the film for these different TV shows and movies. I filmed these auditions. I can't fucking go out and just say, Oh, well, I hired fucking 50 fucking people to do that. And that's what they did. They had they have all these people there. And when it literally all they were doing was queue seeing our movie, which was probably done with software. It didn't really take it. No one was physically sitting there watching the movie without blinking looking for our mistake.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:22
No, it sounds when it's done with software.

Todd Jenkins 1:04:25
Yeah, everything was done with software. The cue scene was done with software the encoder was done was

Alex Ferrari 1:04:29
Oh, and there's one little lovely note that I looked at, I'd like to bring out there. They were charging 14 $100 to do subtitling and captioning sometimes, or part of their, their $2,000 package or whatever it was. And then I would say when I did my movie, I'm like, Hey, I'm just gonna use rev.com to do it. And they're like, Oh, no, we've heard a lot of bad things about Rev. It's not it's not it's not you know, we've had a lot of things got kicked back and this and that and I'm like, Oh, alright, well some of this is included in the past. I could find, but you know what they did, they just sent it to rev. Oh, that's why they that's why they sent it to the company that they were using. They were bad mouthing, that's the company that we're using. Why? Because then they could triple the fee. So if it cost them, if it cost them 150 bucks, which is $1 a minute, so that whatever, if it's a two hour movie, it's 120 bucks, it's 90 bucks, if it's a 90 minute movie, they would charge you for 50 $500. Because in the olden days, it used to be 678. dollars a minute to close caption for quite a while, know that that was part of their business model, because they needed to make some money somewhere. So they were just trying to rip off filmmakers every which way they could, like we

Todd Jenkins 1:05:41
And we paid them, we gladly paid him for it. So they made the they made their fucking money, charging us upfront and steal our money.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:49
But that but even with that it wasn't enough. It wasn't enough to keep the model going. It wasn't enough to keep the company going. And that's that's where we're talking about this mismanagement or some Hanky Panky going on behind closed doors. But it's bs man. And and I'm really, you know, very cautious, obviously now with any film aggregator out there. But it's a it's a broken model, even the biggest aggregators out there. And a lot of people I won't name names, but everybody knows the other aggregators out there. They're all self regulated man. They're all the same thing. It's the exact same things that distributor was doing. They they do they have their money in a separate account for everybody. Maybe, maybe not, that you know, who has access to that account, who has

Todd Jenkins 1:06:30
Everybody has to change, no matter what it has to change, it has to happen again.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:36
And if we don't do if we don't continue to make noise about this, I feel real passionate about this, obviously, you know, I do, if we don't continue to make noise about this, this sends the sign to another idiot or another thief or another scam artists out there to open up shop and take advantage of people and I'm including distribution companies as well in this conversation with predatory distribution companies, which is so long overdue for a smack in the face, because I'm sick and tired of hearing stories, like you told me like, don't go with distributors, man because they're just going to rip you off. I'm tired of that normal everyday bs story. that's inherent. It's a it's a virus that's inside of our business for independent filmmaking. And it needs to go away. There are good distributors out there. There's indie rights. There's, there's Tara films with Jo Jo days, guys, these guys are honest people, to my knowledge, at least I can again, always do your research. I'm never, I'm never ever going to advocate for a company. I always say look, in my opinion, I think they're good people. It's super duper careful what you say, because people listen to people listen, but it's your responsibility as a producer and as a filmmaker, to do your due diligence. And to follow up on anything to any recommendation that anyone gives you, let alone me. So there are good people out there that are good people trying to help filmmakers out there that have been around for a long time. But the majority of everybody out there, for lack of a better term are crooks. They're crooks. They're shady. And I'm talking about the big distribution companies in the indie film space as well. I won't name names, there's some good ones, there's some horrible ones, there's some of them that put out 40 or 50 movies a month, a month, and you actually think you're gonna put any information any kind of marketing budget behind your movie. No, it's called the shotgun approach.

Todd Jenkins 1:08:19
If they just make $2,000 off that movie, they're gonna, they're gonna line their pockets because of volume.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:25
But don't forget that they but they're also going to charge you for encoding, they're also going to charge you for closed captioning. And they're going to just start up charging you all this stuff. And don't let Simon get into charge backs for going to that would take another couple hours to just chargebacks and fill market payments and all that kind of crap with their model that they have now. Anyway, that's a whole other conversation. I did a whole conference I did a whole podcast on predatory distributors. But I will continue this this battle with this because I think this is the biggest problem we have.

So much man and everybody in the group. You guys are all awesome. If it wasn't for this group. There's no telling what stupid thing I would have done. You know, who knows? You guys are out there helping with the good fight. That's good. You know, I

Todd Jenkins 1:09:08
I was contemplating on driving over to LA myself. You know, I'm

Alex Ferrari 1:09:11
Finding some. Yeah, well, let's not do that. Let's not do that. Please.

Todd Jenkins 1:09:16
I'm not gonna shoot anybody. I might punch him in the face.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:20
Just for your own your own feeling. I get it. I don't. I don't. I don't advise anybody to punch him in the face. I think it's worth it. I advise nobody listening to go punch anybody in the face. Let's But listen, there's 1000s of us.

Todd Jenkins 1:09:35
There's 1000s of us. If every single person affected by this barkos

Alex Ferrari 1:09:40
and punches somebody in the face, don't do that. Don't just punch them. Don't do that. Sir. I cannot I cannot I cannot propagate or promote this. This kind of this kind of action, sir. I cannot but see. But I understand your feelings. I truly do. But I cannot I cannot promote this.

Todd Jenkins 1:10:01
You know, when I was growing up, we just punch people in the face and it worked. Everything got itself worked out. Yeah Dave remember this this this could probably require a few punches to the face.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:11
And it might be a nutshell but anyway.

Todd Jenkins 1:10:14
Oh yeah, a couple of those for sure. I gotta I gotta run cuz I got an appointment I'm late for but, uh, thank you so much for your time. Everybody's doing

Alex Ferrari 1:10:23
Thank you again so much brother I really do appreciate it and keep up the good fight man. Again, I want to thank Todd for coming on man and being so open and raw and honest with us and transparent about what he's going through, took a lot of bravery to, for him to put himself out there like that. So thank you, again, so much, Todd, for coming on, man. And we're gonna keep fighting. We're gonna keep doing what we can to help as many filmmakers as humanly possible with this whole distributor thing. And if you want to get the latest information about distributor, just go to Facebook, and you could look up the word distributor or find the Facebook group, protect yourself from distributor. And that's where all the latest information updates on everything that's going on in the distributor, the buckle is there. I will put it in the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/357 also have links to to Cherokee Creek information about Todd and then also links to the episodes and podcast in regards to this whole distributor distribution debacle that we're going through man. So thank you guys for listening. If you haven't already, please head over to filmmakingpodcast.com subscribe and leave a good review for the show. It really helps us out a lot. I really appreciate it guys. Thank you so much. As always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

LINKS

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What to Do When a Distributor Goes Bankrupt

What to Do When a Distributor Goes Bankrupt

Read this if you:

  • have been using Distribber
  • need to know what to do if your distributor collapses
  • want to reduce the chance this will happen to you

DISTRIBBER OVERVIEW

When Distribber was launched in 2007, it provided a new way for filmmakers to get their films on iTunes and other digital platforms. Instead of having to find a traditional distributor and split the revenues from digital platforms, filmmakers paid Distribber a one-time fee and received 100% of the revenues from digital platforms. For many years Distribber provided this service to independents, guaranteeing they would get on iTunes, and passing on all of the revenues from TVOD platforms.

It was shocking to hear that Distribber and its parent company GODIGITAL have collapsed financially. While much is still unclear, here’s a breakdown of what I’ve learned so far.

NOTE: The following is not legal advice. I recommend you speak to an attorney for legal guidance.

1. Distribber is in dire financial straits. It has not paid many filmmakers for many months the money it owes them from the revenues received from platforms. Some other filmmakers have paid Distribber to place their films on platforms but Distribber has not done so.

2. Rather than entering into a bankruptcy process, Distribber is utilizing an ABC (Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors) process.

3. Distribber is using GlassRatner to manage the ABC process. Senior Managing Directors Seth Freeman (San Francisco Office: 425 California Street Suite 900 San Francisco, CA 94104 – 415.839-.9280 x 700) and George Demos (Orange County Office: 19800 MacArthur Blvd Suite 820, Irvine, CA 92612 – 949.429.4288) will be leading the process. (see #8 below)

4. The best way to contact Distribber is to email: [email protected]

When filmmakers contact Distribber, they can:

  • terminate their agreement with them (see termination language below)
  • request that Distribber take down their film from each platform
  • request that Distribber release all rights back to them
  • request that Distribber pay all monies owed to them and provide a full accounting of all revenues Distribber received on their behalf
  • request that Distribber ask the platforms to pay all future revenues directly to the filmmakers
  • request that Distribber refund any fees paid to them for services not provided

5. Here is the termination language in many Distribber agreements:

Termination

Either Party may terminate this Agreement by written notice to the other:
1   in the event of a material uncured breach or default by the other Party of any of its obligations under this Agreement, such to a thirty (30) day cure period (if the breach is curable); and/or

2   in the event that the other Party (i) institutes or otherwise becomes a party, voluntarily or involuntarily, to a proceeding alleging or pertaining to the insolvency or bankruptcy of that Party; (ii) is dissolved or liquidated; (iii) makes an assignment of its material assets for the benefit of creditors; and/or (iv) initiates or is subject to the reorganization proceedings.

Upon any such termination, GoDigital shall be relieved of all obligations to Licensor hereunder, provided Licensor shall remain obligated to pay the Delivery Fee.

Under this language, filmmakers can terminate their agreement immediately. They do not have to allow a 30-day cure period since Distribber has already made “an assignment of its material assets for the benefit of creditors.”
 
6. Filmmakers can also contact the platforms where their films are available:

  • alerting them to the fact that they have terminated their relationship with Distribber
  • requesting that all future payments be paid directly to them (rather than Distribber)

Platforms never want to interact directly with filmmakers and make it very difficult for filmmakers to contact them. However, this is a critical situation affecting many filmmakers that the platforms are well aware of. Netflix is already transferring titles from Distribber to individual filmmakers, enabling them to receive payments directly.

Filmmakers should request that all other platforms do the same. Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, and other platforms should follow Netflix’s example and help filmmakers through this crisis.

While it is possible for platforms to simply change the payee as Netflix has done, some may require that each title be first taken down (by Distribber or the platform itself) before the film can be put back on that platform via another aggregator. This will require the filmmaker to find and pay another aggregator. I don’t know how much this will cost or how long it will take.

7. Filmmakers should be very careful about selecting a new aggregator. They should do due diligence to make sure that the aggregator:

  • has direct deals with each platform Distribber put their film on
  • can efficiently place their film on these platforms and possibly others
  • has competitive rates
  • has good customer service, enabling filmmakers to speak with someone when needed
  • is financially stable, ideally part of a larger business that generates income from other services

8. Filmmakers can also contact GlassRatner directly to:

  • request the payment of all monies owed to them and a full accounting of all revenues Distribber received on their behalf
  • request the refund of all fees paid to Distribber for services not provided
  • request that all platforms be instructed to pay all future revenues directly to them

9. Filmmakers whose films Distribber failed to put on platforms even though it was paid to do so, are in a special position. They don’t have to get their films removed from platforms; no revenues are owed them by Distribber.

It’s possible that they may get their initial fees refunded via their credit card companies. See the following post from Protect Yourself From Distribber

laura_somers_post

Here is a copy of the letter that Laura sent to her credit card company:

Dear ____,
I am writing to dispute a charge on my Credit Card on November 14, 2018, to the company GoDigital in the amount of $1,520.00.   This was supposed to be for aggregator services to place my digital content on iTunes and Amazon.  I had sent them all the needed materials and they never completed the work.  My last day of communication with them was in March 2019 and I never heard from them again.  I just discovered that the company has recently closed down and is filing for bankruptcy and is currently working with bankruptcy specialist GlassRatner. GoDigital will be owing to its clients’ hundreds of thousands of dollars and they have not been communicating with their clients. I would like this charge to be reversed.  Thank you!

Kind regards,

10. Filmmakers must be determined, persistent, and loud to maximize their chances of succeeding. When contacting Distribber, the platforms, and GlassRatner, filmmakers must be clear about what they want and unwilling to take no, or silence, for an answer. The squeakier the wheel, the better. Filmmakers can have an attorney write a letter discussing possible litigation or make it clear they will hire an attorney if they don’t get a satisfactory response. Either way, they need to let the decision-makers understand that they are serious and committed to achieving a fair outcome. They fought hard to make their film and bring it into the world and they must stay as tenacious as necessary.

———————————————————–

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR DISTRIBUTOR GOES UNDER

The Distribber situation is a cautionary tale. Here are the key takeaways.

1) If your distributor becomes insolvent, files a petition for bankruptcy, or makes an assignment for the benefit of creditors, act immediately. Speak with an attorney and other filmmakers to learn as much as you can.

2) You may be able to easily terminate your agreement with your distributor.

3) You can request that the distributor immediately provide letters of direction to all sublicenses exploiting your film directing the payment of all future advances, fees, royalties and commissions to you.

4) You can request that your distributor pay all the monies owed to you and provide a full accounting of all revenues received.

5) You can contact digital platforms, alert them to the fact that you have terminated your relationship with the distributor, and request that all future revenues be paid directly to you.

6) If the distributor is using an assignment for the benefit of creditors process, you can contact the firm managing the ABC to request: the payment of all monies owed to you and a full accounting, the refund of any fees paid to the distributor for services not provided, and that all platforms be instructed to pay all future revenues directly to you.

7) You may be able to get a full refund from your credit card company for any services paid for but not provided by your distributor.

8) You must be determined, persistent, and loud to succeed.
_____________________________________________________________

HOW TO REDUCE THE CHANCE THIS WILL HAPPEN TO YOU

1) Before you sign any agreement:

  • do due diligence about the company with 5 filmmakers currently working with them (in addition to any references the company provides)
  • make sure the agreement includes fair bankruptcy, termination, and dispute resolution language
  • have an experienced attorney or producer review your agreement before signing
  • negotiate for a shorter term
  • avoid automatic renewal clauses

2) After you have signed your agreement:

  • make sure you receive revenue reports and payments on time and review them carefully. If they are delayed significantly, determine whether the delay is a sign of underlying financial instability. If so, take steps to protect yourself from an impending financial meltdown.
  • pay attention to reports and articles in various publications and online that may give you a sense of the distributor’s financial health

For more information on distribution sign up for Peter’s Distribution Bulletin.
For the latest updates on Distribber join the Protect Yourself From Distribber Facebook Group.


Peter Broderick is President of Paradigm Consulting, which helps filmmakers and media companies develop strategies to maximize distribution, audience, and revenues. His seminal article, “Maximizing Distribution,” has been reprinted in publications around the world. His reports, “Welcome to the New World of Distribution” and “Declaration of Independence” are concise guides to the latest distribution strategies.


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