IFH 385: The Film Industry and COVID-19 (The RAW Truth) with Richard Botto

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He’s back! The all-time returning champion and my brother from another mother Richard Botto from Stage 32 returns to the show to discuss the raw truth about what is happening and will happen to our industry post COVID-19.

The world is obviously upside down and the film industry is being affected in ways that many do not even see yet. From changing customer habits to giant companies folding under the pressure of change. Both RB and I have been keeping our ear to the grindstone and what we are hearing is a bit disturbing but yet hopeful, especially for the indie filmmaker/producer.

When there is uncertainty and chaos in an industry, there is opportunity. Doors that were slammed shut before not are wide open. You just need to be ready for the shot when it comes. Like every other time, RB is on the show this to is an EPIC over 2-hour conversation but trust me it is worth listening to all of it.

We cover the future of film festivals, film markets, Quibi, what film production will look like moving forward, film distribution, predators to look out for, and yes Tiger King as well. Things do look bleak but there is a ton of hope for the indie filmmaker in the new film industry that will be forming in the next six months.

Get ready for my conversation with Richard Botto.

Alex Ferrari 0:17
Well, guys, today I have another special episode for you. We are going to be talking to all time returning champion on the show, RB Botto. He has been on I think now 10 times on the show. So he is by far the most requested and returned guest of all time on indie film hustle. And RB and I wanted to get together to talk about COVID-19 how it's affecting our industry now. how it's going to affect it in the future, how to prepare for it, how to kind of see what's in the tea leaves and see what's coming around the corner, we make some sort of predictions we talk about where we think things are gonna go and where things are going right now in the next month or two. There's still a lot of unknowns, and nobody knows what's going to happen. But this is a very eye opening conversation. And if you have any questions in regards to how you can position yourself better for what's coming in our industry, then this is an episode you need to listen to. There is a lot of chaos, and a lot of uncertainty in our industry right now. But when other people see uncertainty and chaos, I see opportunity. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that were doors that were onced absolutely slammed shut on you are opening up to you because things are changing, the foundation of our industry is shifting underneath our feet. And if you are ready, and you have and you're smart, there's major opportunities to be taken advantage of where they might not come windows of opportunity will open doors will open that work close to you before and we talked about that. We talked about the future of film festivals of film markets of kwibi and what they're doing, what production will look like moving forward. Of course, we talked about predatory film distribution where film distribution is going forward in general and of course we talked a little bit about Tiger King, because what COVID COVID episode would be complete without just a little just a little talk about the impact of Tiger cake on our society as well. But all joking aside guys, this is a must listen to episode and as all episodes that I have with RB it is epic, it is over two hours and close to two hours in 15 minutes or so. So there is a lot to chew on. We we really do get into the weeds and I hope this is of value to you guys. And the one thing I wanted one of the reasons why I wanted to be on the show as well was that he hears things from his side of the fence and I've been hearing things on my side of the fence and we kind of got together to share it To share what we've been hearing, and the people we've been talking to in the industry, and see kind of the shifts and see what's in those tea leaves. So please sit down and get ready for the epic conversation I have with my brother from another mother, RB Botto. I like to welcome back to the show all time returning champion of the show. RB Botto from stage 32, how you doing, brother?

RB Botto 5:28
I'm doing excellent, my friend How you doing?

Alex Ferrari 5:31
You know, just live in the quarantine life man. Just live in the quarantine life.

RB Botto 5:38
House arrest. This is house arrest man.

Alex Ferrari 5:40
House arrest with children, which is always fun.

RB Botto 5:43
God bless you, man. God bless you.

Alex Ferrari 5:46
No, God bless my wife. God bless my wife. Because if I couldn't be doing this right now, because I would have Rugrats running around all around me, and I wouldn't be able to do this. But I wanted to bring you on the show. Cuz we talked about this a couple weeks ago, like, you know, we need to we need to talk about what's happening in our industry right now. And, and you have some you know, you got information about stuff from your side of the fence. I've got stuff from my side of the fence that you know, we hear rumblings from friends and things and seeing things are happening. And I wanted to kind of just put together this conversation about where we are right now. What's happening right now and where we're going and what the future what lies in the future for our industry in general. So first and foremost, how are you handling the quarantine? Sir?

RB Botto 6:34
I'm handled First of all, it's great to be back on indie film hustle show. I mean, I mean, how many times we've done this at least.

Alex Ferrari 6:42
We're getting close to a baker's dozen soon, sir. I think we're like 10. I think we're like this. So we got a few more between a baker's dozen.

RB Botto 6:52
Yeah. Now you sent me the silk robe when I got to five. And now now I'm thinking maybe like a kimono or something? Something like that.

Alex Ferrari 7:00
I send you a mask. I send you a diamond encrusted mask

RB Botto 7:04
Mask. That's nice.

Alex Ferrari 7:06
Very Bane. Very Bane style Bane style, though.

RB Botto 7:09
Oh, hang out on the wall. And this is all over.

Alex Ferrari 7:12
And have you seen? Have you seen those masks that are the face huggers? From alien?

RB Botto 7:17
Yeah, I did,really great. It's the mother of all invention, right?

Alex Ferrari 7:23
I mean, it is the world that we live in right now. It is a crazy world. So how are you holding up, man?

RB Botto 7:28
I'm holding up good man. I you know, it's interesting. I had obviously, as you have I've had a conflict, you know, conversations with dozens now, if not hundreds of people that are you know, dealing with this. And it's interesting to see that, you know, there's there's two different types of, I think people in a lot of ways, I think there are some people that are just saying like, fuck it. And you know, I'm going to relax and I can't get motivated, I can't get into it. You know, I have some friends that I know are getting up at eight in the morning and binge watching till midnight. And then you have others who are really legitimately digging in. And especially within the industry, I think there's a lot of people in the know, especially the executives, we work with the professionals we work with recognize the fact that even though maybe, you know, shooting isn't happening per se, except in small pockets. Now, I think I believe in like Denmark, which is brilliant, you know, the shooting isn't happening, that business is definitely happening. And you know, the need for content is there, there is going to be a gold rush when this is over. So I think that what I'm seeing is, you know, a little bit of both. And for me personally, I mean, you know, I can only control what I can control. We talked about this, we've talked about this in a million other podcasts and a million times you and I privately but it's like, you know, you, there's only so much you can control, right? I mean, I love to believe that I could go downstairs into my garage and create a vaccine for this thing. But obviously, there are people that are much smarter than I am. So I have to control what I can control. And it's been, for me it's been, especially with some of the initiatives we have going on, it's really legitimately been 10 to 18 hour days, seven days a week of working on stage 32. And on those days where it's maybe on the lower end where it's like 10 then it's been my creative pursuits, it's been, you know, the writing and the producing and all that. So I'm trying to have fun with it. You know, obviously, I'm recognizing that when I say that I don't want to be dismissive of what's happening around the world and all the tragedies and everything that are happening and obviously all the people that are suffering with this and I personally know some people that are suffering with it and but I'm saying in my day to day, staying safe doing the best I can trying to encourage others trying to encourage myself and inspire myself and stay motivated and doing a shitload of cooking is also carbon also creative pursuit. I love cooking.

Alex Ferrari 9:40
So carbs, carbs, carbs, our enemy,

RB Botto 9:43
Not a lot of carbs. But But I am cooking a ton and a lot of working out exercising and everything like that just trying to stay again healthy mentally and spiritually and all that.

Alex Ferrari 9:53
So we're basically the scene from Goodfellas in the prison where they're actually in prison but they're cooking their cook And there's a right and you can work out if you want to.

RB Botto 10:02
So the only I don't have I don't have 80 people you know, I don't have Johnny Do you know cutting the cut the garlic with the onions, you know doing too many onions, too many onions, I don't have that going. So, you know, when I have to kind of counter that I haven't cooking a lot of Italian food in mass quantities to give to my neighbors and stuff like that, which is fun. You know, it's fun to be able to sit there and say like, you feel like you're cooking for 20. And meanwhile, you're kind of sitting there by yourself with a bottle of wine. Oh, and I was like, you know, if you get done you like Who the hell am I feeding I 16 lasagna is.

Alex Ferrari 10:37
So it is, um, it is it is an unprecedented time in our life. And in our lifetime. I think this has never happened in human history, and let alone to our industry. But just in general, like in our industry, it's obviously like every industry, it's hit, it's been hit like a ton of bricks. I want the people I've been talking to, there's people who who honestly believe like, Oh, this will just fall over and we'll be back to normal. And back is doing business as usual. And I keep telling them like, if you think we're gonna go back to way things were in every aspect of our business, you're absolutely pulling an ostrich and in your heads in the sand. And in my opinion, I can't I can't see our industry going back to where it was. I'm not saying it won't get back to a place, but things will change. The world's gonna change. So we're going to change whether Do we agree?

RB Botto 11:33
I completely agree. I think it's changing already. And I think that the longer this goes on, the more change they'll be. I think that, you know, obviously, I said a little earlier, like, you know, vinci's mother will necessity or whatever the hell that line is, but it's the, that is the truth. And I think that as time goes on, and people realize that, look, I need to make money, or I need to find content, or I need to whatever the case is, but whatever you do in the business, you're gonna have to find a new way. And there are a lot of new ways that are popping up already. But I think you're entrepreneurs, them, right. I think that, you know, first of all, let me just talk about, if you want to just talk about the virus itself, I mean, from hour to hour, the news, everything changes, right, we hear, you know, it's airborne, it's it's, you know, eight times in the air for five hours in the air for an hour. You know, if you get it, you're you're immune to it. You're not I mean, so right now, I don't think anybody knows I, I really don't i don't think i don't was so early in this thing. And that's why I think people don't realize, because we're home for you, I've been home for a little while. So everything's, it's been happening for a really long time. But, you know, this is only four or five, six months, since the first case was, you know, seen or identified, let's say, and even then nobody, you know, everybody took it lightly. So here we are in a situation where the idea to me based on everything that I'm reading, and I'm seeing, the idea that we're going to be a film festivals are sitting in theaters, or getting on planes to go to film festival. You know, I mean, God bless Venice and everything. And they, you know, I understand that, but again, they have a business to run, they're part of the Oscar cycle, I get it. So they're sitting there saying, we're going to do it somehow. But they're going to, they're going to do it, somehow, they're going to do it with locals, and they're going to do it. People sitting 15 miles from one another, and, and, and the rest of its going to have to go online or something's gonna have to go on. So it's just the idea of, you know, what you're hearing what I'm hearing from people that are like, Oh, it's just gonna go back to normal, I think is absurd. And I think it's already changing. And I think you are seeing that online movement. And I think even before this started, and you and I had this conversation a couple weeks ago, but even before this started, what I was noticing was a lot of the the executives in the business had started doing more Skype meetings and more zoom meetings, simply because they didn't want to lose half their day in their car.

Alex Ferrari 13:44
Oh, yeah. It's more efficient. It's more efficient. Yeah.

RB Botto 13:47
So now what I'm hearing is man, you know, for the people that the people that didn't buy into that now, when I have meetings with them over zoom, or over Skype, it's like, man, I got, like, I'm never going back. I'm never getting my car again, even when this is over. Like, you know, I'm gonna be doing all my meetings like this, like, why not?

Alex Ferrari 14:01
Well, why wouldn't you? Like, why wouldn't you? It makes it look, I've been like, I've been as you know, I've been Skyping and zooming for five years doing this podcast. So you know, I already drank that Kool Aid A long time ago. I rarely go out to take meetings if I if unless I have to. And generally they come to me because of Porto's, but but but seriously, though, you know, the way the way the world? I think this is what I think is happening right now. We are we're being forced into scenarios that many people are uncomfortable trying to do. So. Scenario one, doing meetings and Skype. No, no, you need that personal touch. You need to be in the room with them. You need to do that. Yes. Okay. But but the Skype meeting Secondly, you know, having a theatrical run, skip the theaters and go straight to home that has been talked about for over a decade, as you know soon as streaming was a thing. People were already going, you know, we want that window that the utricle window cut that they've been trying to get that done. So now the excuses what we have to. So now we're truly testing that film festivals. Is it a thing? You know, how are we going to, you know, like, How important are they in the grand scheme of things other than a cultural event, like Jonathan Wolfe says, These are a lot of things that were being are now being tested that people wouldn't have come wouldn't have gone into them. It's kind of like going do you want the electric car do you want to stay with a gas guzzler, and it took a long time for the electric car to become a thing where it could have easily become a thing a decade earlier, you know, but it just took a long time for things to come around. So I feel that this is just a complete, just put the gas on the pedal kind of thing for all these things that we would have never never, it would have taken us another decade to do this. Because the system is the status quo. Nobody wants to go against the system.

RB Botto 15:58
Well, and and this is the this is the industry of all industries, that is resistant to change. And if they're, I mean, it's fascinating, and you know, being at the front of stage three to nine years, we knew when we launched that we were going to be hit with Who the hell, why did why do we need do? Like why the hell do we need that? We knew that going in. I mean, I was in the business. So I knew that, okay, but we also knew that there was a spot for this and there was going to be a need for it. And we There was also a vision, there was also Okay, this is where it's going to go. But it took four or five years for us to start gaining those partnerships, like with AFM and can and everything like that, because this is an industry that's just resistant to change troopers now. Now, they're being forced, I mean, now we're seeing like the whole thing with the online markets, okay. There were companies that were looking to do online markets five years ago, I remember taking a meeting, I won't name the company about five or six years ago, that actually had set up an online market. And I thought it was brilliant at the time. And I said to this CEO is nobody will buy it, nobody is going to It's great. It's brilliant. It's the future. Nobody's gonna buy into it, the people you need to buy into it are, you know, the markets, the producers, the sales agents, the distributors, you need the mall to buy in. And obviously, you need the filmmakers to trust and the producers to trust, they can put their product on your platform, and they will see a result. Okay. Nobody wanted to dive in with them. Nobody wanted to all of a sudden this year, can says, Well, you know, we're still gonna have our first and they kept pushing the date button, push the date back. And I love those guys. I mean, I mean, again, they're partners of us. But they would look into trying to figure out what they're going to do the market. But finally, the agency said, well screw it, we're not going to sit around, we're going to put it online again said, don't worry about it.

Alex Ferrari 17:46
We'll do another one. We were just, we were just joking. We're just joking. We were just figuring it out.

RB Botto 17:51
Now, I mean, I've known those guys for years. And I'm telling you that they had always thought about an online component, but at the same time, they didn't want to dilute and I understand this what can is and I mean, it is a you know, a festival in a market unlike any other you know, I mean, it's in the setting and everything in the history. And you know, it's undeniable, okay, but what's also undeniable is, was a lot of money to get there. A cost a lot of know how you need to have relationships. And a lot of people go and they don't know a lot of people any market, they go and they don't walk away with a deal. So if you don't walk away with a deal, or if you don't have you're not in the position to do this, what do you do the other, you know, 1515 and a half weeks a year? Well, this is what's going to start happening now there's going to be that online component, and it does exist and it has existed in different places, rights, trade, different things like this. But now I think it's going to become more than norm. And again, the further we go out, the more it's going to become the wall.

Alex Ferrari 18:46
Yes. It's kind of like when electricity showed up. There was a conversation like no, no, no kerosene, kerosene. That's, that's the future this This is dangerous is because the status quo didn't want to deal with it. And and that happened with blockbuster that happened with the studio system with streaming in general, it took forever to finally look Disney plus just showed up. What this year last now this year, this year, this year, or late last year for when it came out, but it just showed up and now now everyone's like, oh, wait a minute, this is a real thing that took forever. It's

RB Botto 19:20
Look, you know, we had this conversation as well. But if if you know somebody, somebody would have said to you 10 years ago, or even five years ago, that the majority of original television and smaller independents are going to be funded by netflix and and or other streaming platforms. Everybody would want What are you smoking? What do you got? Give me some of that. Okay. And now here we are, right? So look at that and that genies out of the bottle. He is not going back. Now. Everybody's saying How the hell do I get to Netflix? How the hell do I get in the studio? So how do we compete with it now? Everybody's going into the streaming game, as you just said, with Disney and everything like that. So look, this is just going to force a lot of people's hands. You know, at the end of the day, this is a business and a lot of people's businesses are being disrupted that, you know, within the ecosystem, and to make those businesses survive, it's going to be, you know, an adapt or die sort of business mentality. And I think that that's what's going to happen, it's going to continue to happen. And I mean, every day, every day, what you're seeing, if you look at, you know, The Hollywood Reporter, you look at deadline, were you seeing is innovation, consolidation, acquisitions, you're seeing all day, every day, people were scooping up companies on the cheap that are in trouble. People, you know, they're combining companies that merging with companies that you know, where it seems like a fit where they could be a juggernaut coming out of this thing, or there's this innovation happening, you know, sort of what, you know, Canada now will can continue that market online. So who knows? You don't? I mean, who knows? We'll see how it goes. Of course, I think they will go back to what they do best and what they are known for. But again, you know, how long is it going to be before people are really comfortable getting on planes of being in a market, you know, with 1000 people around them at any given time? I don't know.

Alex Ferrari 21:11
Yeah, I was telling, I was talking to somebody the other day about it, I go, Look, guys, I don't foresee myself going to a movie theater this year. As a frank, I'm like, I don't care what the movie is, there's no movie that's gonna make me go to the theater this year, probably. I don't foresee myself jumping on a plane this year. I don't see it. I you know, especially not to go to a festival or market or an event. Because I don't foresee those being around this year, either. And even if tomorrow, Dr. Fauci shows up at the briefing and says, guys, we've got the vaccine, we've got this rock solid treatment, it's now as easy to deal with as a common goal is over the counter, it's all of this stuff, you're free to go, there's still going to be a hangover, that people the second that information does get out, there's still going to be probably a six month to a year hangover of this extreme situation that we're in, which is going to obviously affect consumers behaviors. Obviously, you're gonna affect people who are are watching consuming the content that we're creating. And I think we're in this for at least two years, in one witness, like at home for two years. Right. Right. But also, four months ago, if I would have told you that she would have said it, but what are you smoking? You're crazy to be? Right, you're not gonna close down the entire planet? Like that's, like the economy? What? Hollywood's gonna shut down? What No, all the theaters are shut. Like, if I would have told you this in January, you would have said, Alex, there's absolutely no way this could happen. So I'm now saying, I don't think we're going to be locked up for two years. Who knows? I don't think so. I think it's, you know, without the information that we have today, I don't think that's gonna happen. But we are our lives will be affected for at least a couple of years. And I don't even want to start talking about the economical hits, that not only our industry is going to get hit get hit with, but the world is going to get hit with still because we're still with the water. I feel this is what's happening right now the water is being pulled back from the shore, you know, just just before that tidal wave comes in, it's just slowly being pulled back. Okay, well, the water go, that's where we're at right now, that wave is starting to build out there. And when it comes, it's going to come hard in that's my feeling economically. Within this year, probably or next year, it's gonna hit harder than were even being hit right now. So I have no idea where where we're going to be that way. But those are saying, we are going to have that hangover. It's in and we have to start thinking that way. We have to start thinking that way. It's two years, we're two years in, that's best case scenario is two years, let's say 2022, things might start getting back to whatever new normal is, at that point, hopefully, vaccine, whatever you've been coming out, treatments already been coming out, it's already starting to come down there. You know, everything is starting to slow down a bit. And we could get a handle on this. But as creatives, as creatives and creators, we need to start thinking about how we're going to place ourselves in that marketplace, whatever that marketplace might be. You got to start thinking about that. What do you think?

RB Botto 24:24
I think if you haven't been thinking about it already, you're behind the curve. I mean, that's that's just the God's honest truth. I mean, again, we work with nearly 1000 executives, right? We put out a call when this happened to almost all of them, and you know, pretty much the entire list. And we said, What do you want, tell us what you're working on. Tell us what you're doing. Tell us what you want to be doing. You know, all that. I can't tell you how many responses we got hundreds of people saying, send me material, give give us stuff that we have time to read or just imagine? Well, they just they like our app. actors have time to read, they're looking for the next thing. If they lit managers, we're looking lit agents will look development executives were looking. So it has been fascinating to witness this and to you know, see how many people are coming to us looking for material. Jason Murcia runs directly as the director of scripts services is like, I thought I was busy before my email is overrun with people looking for material like I need this, I need that what do you got? Who's your Who's your best writer here? Who's your best writer there. So that's fascinating to me. I mean, I can tell you, you know, on my side on the creative, I'm writing a script right now that i was i was brought into right by the head zero gravity. And I talked to them all the time. And they're like, we don't have enough hours in the day, we don't have enough manpower to handle all the requests, all this stuff, all the things we're developing, okay? Because what everybody gets in the know, realizes right now is that this will come to an end, right. And when it does, the need for content and desire for content, especially fresh content, is going to be off the charts. So my advice to creators right now is, is you know, if you are in a position to actually create something if you're a writer, or even if you're at work on monologues and table reads, get people together to stay fresh and stay active or whatever. If you're a producer, and you're trying to develop a project or whatever you have, there are so many people looking to do these things right now. And for a lot of people The other thing that we're seeing on stage 32, which I think is awesome. And I just think it's a it's inspiring to me to watch it is our education, people taking our education, webinars, everything is through the roof, because you're seeing a lot of people that are working in one discipline, looking to learn another discipline or looking to further the craft they're already working in, what a discipline they're already working in. And it's been awesome to see, like, I know a lot of writers, for example, who are taking filmmaking classes on stage, I do think in producing classes on stage, because this is the other part of it, too. It is a great opportunity now for creatives to put themselves in a position to learn the business, to be in a position where you can reduce your own material or understand how to go about attaching talent to a project and everything like that, like one of the other things I'm doing right now is right I have a TV pilot that we have attached a producer from boilers and and we'll look at buyer, we've attached an actor to it that I can't name right now for obvious reasons, because contracts and everything like that. We are out to actors and showrunners who have actively said now's the time. You don't I mean, so you would think like, shit, nothing's happening. And now you know, this is the worst time to be by this is the best time to be trying to package something. So if you don't understand how to package something you don't understand anything you don't know that you ever said to yourself, like, man, I love to learn how to do that, or that's a black hole than the I don't understand how to do that. I don't understand how financing works. I don't understand how producing works. Now's the time to go learn it. Now's the time to go take those classes, you know, dig deep into it dive deep into it. I think those are the two things I'm seeing right now people are, you know, the executives and the professionals are looking for the material. And the people that are creating the material either got the head down and doing it a lot of play. Another thing a lot of writers are doing, which I think is great. A lot of writers are taking old scripts out of their drawers and modifying them for today's mark for today's market. Like they're saying, Okay, how do I how do I make this? It's still a great story. But how do I make it relevant for what's going on right now for the needs right now. But I mean, I'll tell you, last night, I was on the phone with a producer friend of mine. And when we got done, he said, I'm going to send you over the mandates for every studio and for every streamer and tell what they're looking for right now. It's fascinating. I mean, everybody is looking for and they're looking for existing content to like, you know, like, this is also a good time if you're a filmmaker that maybe just got done with the festival circuit. Whether a film, yeah, if it's a feature, you know, now's a really good time to maybe be banging up against, you know, banging up sales agents and distributors again, or if you can if you're still eligible for certain things, or maybe seeing if there's a way that you can get it onto a platform if you're a short filmmaker, you know, to try to be getting in front of managers and agents everybody's looking at the talent right now looking for talent and they're looking for content.

Alex Ferrari 29:23
But so back to your question though, right now the the economics everyone seems to be playing this as business as usual like everything you just said like everyone's looking for content, there's gonna be this or that, but the financials you know, right now everyone's still probably, you know, buying and using off of whatever stored because there is no money arguably coming in, depending on who you're talking to. Yeah, Netflix has their monthly you know, but Netflix just had to pull a billion dollars in, in finances to start buying new content because they're netflix they have they have to be in debt. That's part of their rules. But but like Disney just laid off 100,000 or four low 200,000 employees and stuff, the studios are hurting, maybe some of the streaming platforms are doing a bit better. But they're still there, you know, whatever is happening right now could be off of whatever they have saved, or what they believe is going to happen in the next few weeks. But if this doesn't, if this, if this goes through the path of where we all were, a lot of people are saying, which is, it's going to loosen up in the summer a little bit, and that's going to come back with a vengeance in the fall. That pretty much kills the theatrical release schedule for the rest of this year. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. You know, can Sony handle not releasing bond this year? Like can date financially handle it as a company? Can Disney handle not releasing two Marvel movies? A Pixar? Like, can they, you know, I feel Disney could because they're diverse enough. But even then their parks are shut down their major revenue streams are shut down. So how is this financially and economically going to make sense? I know everyone's getting we need content, we need content, got it. But money has to come from somewhere.

RB Botto 31:19
Yeah, and I think it's gonna be different for everybody. You know, Netflix took that billion, I don't know, if it's gonna be all content related. Or if they're positioning themselves that you know, acquire some things, I wouldn't be shocked, I wouldn't be shocked if you know, some of these people that are a little cash rich or have access to cash, don't start snatching up companies and the world, the streaming world, or you know, the studio world or whatever looks a lot different. The landscape looks a lot different, you know, six to 12 months from now, what we're seeing is on the television side, for example, almost every single premium station that work is booking for 2021. There, they're booking as if this is going to happen, even if it's going to happen even if they have that content as new content in the second half of 2021. And it's being filmed in the first half of 2021. They are going forward so I can tell you that to a network that is happening. I've seen the mandates. I've seen it all. What we're also seeing happening is a lot of the streamers. Oh, and again, a lot of the networks are looking for low budget, reality, unscripted, filming and filming at home since that's crazy. Comedy Central one of their mandates right now is is the to do more comedy sort of reality from people's homes with

Alex Ferrari 32:38
Quarantine, quarantine, comedy, quarantine, quarantine comedy,

RB Botto 32:41
Okay. So, you know, it's cheap, obviously to produce doesn't take a lot of people can edit it, you know, the post production people can do it in their homes and everything like that. So there, they will find a way to content Do you know to get content, I think and fresh content, they'll find a way I think the bigger question is, you know, when you bring up Sony and you know, things, you know, bond and everything like that, that is sort of a different kind of thing. You still have Sony television, you know, you still have it, you know,

Alex Ferrari 33:08
it's been holding somebody up, it's been holding up Sony for the last decade.

RB Botto 33:11
Yeah, I mean, so I mean, you know, but again, how this is where I think the creativity is going to come in. And again, I think this is what where we kind of came in on this conversation is sort of, the longer it goes, the more innovative they're going to have to be. But I do think that you are going to have some casualties of this, that are going to either gonna have to make really, really, you know, sweetheart kind of deals to save themselves or are going to find themselves being acquired for you know, how many pennies on the dollar, but certainly not $1 on the dollar. You know what I mean?

Alex Ferrari 33:43
Well, there's I mean, the three big boys that are sitting on the sidelines just waiting at any moment to come in and just buy somebody or acquire Google, Facebook, Apple Watch. And they have so much cash that they could easily come in by Sony by Lionsgate by an MGM by a paramount all day. I mean, there was rumors that Disney was thinking of Apple is thinking of buying Disney I don't think that would ever happen not purely because it's just too big. There's just that would be just too large of a company. I don't think it would pass pass the you know, whatever that the FCC to do it. But could they buy Sony? Absolutely. in their sleep and could they buy Lionsgate and that library if they really want to go because right now like I I checked out Apple Apple TV plus, and because they had an amazing story, so I wanted to go back to my my childhood. So I watched a couple of amazing service, I got their free thing. And I looked around I'm like, nothing. I got nothing. They got like five shows seven shows. I was like they have nothing. So they seem to be dipping their toe into it and they're very nicely produced shows Don't get me wrong, but they seem to be dipping their toe because if Apple really wanted to come out they could come out They could they could put 20 billion down in content next year and not even blink.

RB Botto 35:05
Yeah, I think the other one, the other one you got to keep an eye on obviously, is Amazon. Oh, yeah. You know, I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if, you know, they start making some moves. You know, if you have some movie theater casualties, I wouldn't be shocked to see that the move that they might make, or Amazon snatches up some theaters. I mean, there's, there's so many different ways this can go. Yeah, I mean, for the for the people that are listening right now who are working more in the indie level and trying, you know, maybe working in TV and everything like that. I do think that now is the time to really be you know, if you're not motivated right now, and I understand Listen, well, you know, we have this conversation on stage 32. All the time, when we do a lot of our free webinars and stuff like that, we'll do Q and A's, and we get asked often, you know, like, how do you keep yourself motivated? How do you keep yourself, like, it's very tough for me and everything like that, and I get it, I get it, that it is tough for some people. But what I would, what I would say to you is if you could dig deep and understand that right now, again, you know, so many you have a captive audience, and you know, they want to read and they want to look at films, I mean, what we're doing with Stage Three, two screenings to response to that, from executives, we launched these 32 screens. And look, I know, we're talking about the secret of we've launched this initiative. I mean, obviously was predicated on and it was built on the entire idea of the fact that the swipe screen is being cancelled. But if we had put this out three months ago, and went to our executive list and and even vintages, which will, you know, we could talk about the partner, you know, one of our education marks and went to their list of 1000s people are at work, they don't have time, and they're like, yeah, we'll check it when we can check it. And yeah, that's cool. And yeah. Oh, you got some features? Oh, yeah. Great. Okay. Now, it's like, we're like, we can't approve these people quick enough. It's like, they're like I sent an application two hours ago, can I get on Can I get on, it's like, holy shit, I mean, and that's it, they just, they're home, and they have nothing to do. But they have a job to do to keep in mind that this still even for the layoffs and everything like that. There are still development execs and managers and agents and everything like that, that work for agencies or work for management companies or work for production companies will work with the studios, that their job is still to find content. And their job is still to get out there and take meetings and zoom meetings and, and find people so even before, for example, we put screenings online before we launched the goddamn thing. We like probably 50 sales, sales, agents and distributors came to us and said, can we can we get a private screening first? And can we look at it? We were like, Fuck, no, no, no level playing field. But I mean, it was amazing. Because now like, you know, like, we need we need we need it's just crazy.

Alex Ferrari 37:39
So So let's talk a little bit about the whole South by Southwest thing, you know, South by Southwest was one of the first big casualties of Corona because of the timing. And the festival went down to a bunch of filmmakers that were going to be on and you know and you work all your life to be a part of a Sundance or south by a Tribeca or when a can Toronto one of these big festivals and then it's it's canceled so now all you have is the Laurel have officially selected and yeah, maybe they're gonna run the the awards and stuff so you still but but it doesn't, it doesn't, it doesn't have the same umph to it because you don't have the screening you get the experience and also the eyeballs that normally would see it at a festival like that, that possibly could either buy the film or give you opportunities are now gone. I don't foresee any major festival happening anywhere in the world. And that includes Sundance next year. I you know I don't think by then we're going to be you know impaired if they do pull Sundays off would probably be the best year to go because be nobody there. You might be able to get tickets to anything and everything you want at Park City. But you guys decided to jump on board to help these filmmakers out and and and south by connected with Amazon to try to do like a virtual Film Festival, which seems to have completely blown up in everyone's face because I heard of what Amazon was trying to pay filmmakers to put their thing up on Amazon. So for everyone listening to my understanding and please correct me, Amazon and south by said hey, if you got accepted us out by will, we'll buy the rights for the screening on on our platform, and we'll call it the South by Southwest screening Amazon screening series. And and we'll put it up online and people can watch it and things like that. And Amazon offered everybody for $1,000 for the screening rights for the festival, which then basically kills major distribution. It's going to get bootlegged, there's just absolutely no reason. Absolutely. Second, it goes online streaming it's going to get take picked up. So you've basically are throwing your movie away. If you do that. Basically you're you're shooting you're shooting yourself in the foot. So I think how many people like that they like to I think was two three sign though.

RB Botto 39:59
I think But I think over 30 did it but I mean, can I let me? Can I back up and get it? Yeah. Because it's really interesting. And it's, it's fascinating to be in the middle of what, you know, this like kind of Hurricane of what's going on. So okay, so just to give you sort of the timeline, so south by cancels the live screenings and at that point had no, there was no plans to put it online, everything was the day it happened the day it happened. One of our employees, her name is Taylor Baker, she's a head of content, she lives in Austin, but she was in our offices in LA. And she came in and she's like, God, this is gonna be so devastating for the economy, it's gonna be devastating for the filmmakers. And again it out at night, I'm at dinner with a buddy of mine. And I said, you know, it'd be really interesting if, you know, we could bring those films on to stage 32. Because we have executives, you know, we have almost 1000 of them. And a lot of them are sales, sales agents and distributors, right. But also for short filmmakers, I was like I that that's something that's near and dear to my heart is the short filmmaker. For the short filmmaker, I'm like, we have all the managers and the agents still looking to get to, you know, if they're looking for representation, or if they're looking to do this as proof of concept or something bigger, we have access to the finances and producers that they would need to get on, you know, to help them back this back division. So that's how stage three two screenings was kind of born. We said, All right, let's put this online. Let's do this. We went to our executives said this be something interesting, like hell yeah. And we started building the platform. While this was going on. A lot of these other festivals were being canceled. And we were getting hit up by a ton of festival directors because we got some we got press, we launched this the UI, we announced it, and we got some presses deadline and variety in The Hollywood Reporter. So we started getting a ton of inquiries from again, sales agents distributors, saying how do we get on board, and then a ton of festival directors saying, you know, either we're gonna have to cancel our live screenings to or we have a festival coming up that we haven't made selections for. And we'd like to be involved even though we're probably because we're probably gonna have to cancel. But if we don't make selections, how can we be involved? So we had two different things to deal with. We were like, okay, let's let's talk to the festivals that had screenings, see which ones we want to bring in, because we wanted to do this in stages. And since then, now we bought in Tribeca, the telluride mountain film Film Festival, which is the biggest stock Well, one of the oldest documentary film festivals in the country. It's been 44 years. And we bought in BSI London flair, which is an LGBTQ festival in London. And we brought in Vale. So now we have five festivals, bringing in films, we're up over 100. And I think it's 120 films that have submitted which is fantastic. And we launched officially launched like two days ago. And sure the film's already off the board in two features from South buyer in off the board and conversations for distribution and two others have serious heat on him right now, and probably gonna come off the board later today. But also for a short filmmakers, there's already been like 30 meetings set up with managers and agents and producers. So all good, that was our intention, our intention wasn't so much. We weren't saying we want to put an online festival. And this is all going to tie up everything you're asking because I think it's very, very important for the filmmaker. And I know you're a huge advocate of all this and protecting the filmmakers rights and everything. Well, we were saying is, okay, we're going to give you two options. You can either screen publicly, to our network of 600,000 members, which is our entire member base, right? And all these executives that we talked about, and anybody else that you'd like to invite in anybody else that comes in from the press, or you can choose to screen privately. And if you choose the private option, you are only screening to those executives. So we're worried about eligibility and all this other stuff and gone, you know, gone right, it's so in that particular instance, it's like, why would I want to get and my way of looking at it. And I want to kind of shift just a little bit is that I am a producer and a writer but let's talk about producing I have taken films that have gone I've been involved with films have gone to Sundance been involved those films can, I was involved with a film they went to Sundance that how to three o'clock spot at the Eccles and it was packed and got a standing ovation and 10 months later, was playing in a theater in New York and a theater in LA and all the money was lost on even after the standing ovation because a lot of people got in the way and a lot of middlemen, and it was a lot of shit. And it was hard. And to be honest with you going to a prestigious festival like that with that kind of film, and having that kind of euphoria, and then having that euphoria kind of completely taken away and realizing that we just played to that audience. But now we're kind of done. Now. It's in the hands of whoever it's out in the ether and whoever comes to us, right. So my whole thing was when we talk about the festival experience, like as you mentioned earlier, what really is that festival experience for a lot of people I mean, 99.9% of the films that go to festivals have no afterlife, really, if you think about it, because they go to festivals that don't have sales agents and distributors and people, you know, decision makers there, right? So they get the laurels. They're all excited. And it's all but then what do they end up with? They end up with a lot of bills. They ended up with, you know, a lot of travel costs and everything like that. And now, and now they're scrambling because they don't have the connection. So the other reason why I thought this was important to tent this up, was not only to save for these filmmakers that spent years on this thing, for all the connections, these films, all the people that acted on it, were on the crew and not investing their time in it. Let's give them the platform. But more importantly, I don't care about you know, it doesn't matter. It's not about playing it to the masses, it's about playing it to people that can make a difference in their careers. So that's where screenings came from. Now make sense? Yeah. So now after screenings was launched, then the Amazon thing was now so that was only south by? And so the other festivals that we're dealing with, had no other home, really.

And my understanding is, I think it's the four grand, and I think it's a 10 day window, or a 14 day window, I'm not even sure I can tell you up, like, I think it's only up like 10 to 14 days. But again, like, I don't know who this you know, and I'm not gonna speak to them. And I'm not gonna, you know,

Alex Ferrari 46:15
But they are screening publicly, but they're screening publicly for private screening,

RB Botto 46:18
They asked me publicly to prime so as you said, that kind of,

Alex Ferrari 46:22
You're done, you know, just like so. You know, and I don't want to be the bearer of bad news here. But if you do that, you are going to get like my movie was bootleg, our movie was bootleg within four hours of its release. Yeah, it was already bootleg. It was it was it was in the in the it was gone. It was gone out of our control. And that was our little film, let alone a South by Southwest film on Amazon, no less. So all those films are going to get bootleg and I feel really bad about it. Because then that pretty much kills their distribution. options. Yeah. It completely self or traditional.

RB Botto 47:02
And I don't know if they like, again, I don't know if people understand. I don't know if all the filmmakers understand that. I don't know. But I mean, we make it very clear with what we're doing that this is, you know, if you want to choose privately, you going in front of these. Tech, you're eligible. Absolutely. And, you know, so what we've heard, I mean, we've we've, I would say it's probably three or four filmmakers that came to us and said, We want to scream with you over amazon for the exact reasons that we're talking about. They didn't want to expose you. But you know, quite a few films, I believe did and you know, that's that's choice that they made?

Alex Ferrari 47:34
That's fine. I wish you the best

RB Botto 47:37
So be it. But I but again, I don't know. I don't know if that helps them. Or I mean, I don't.

Alex Ferrari 47:40
I mean, nobody knows. But nobody knows. Because nobody knows what the EFF is going on. Like this is completely uncharted territory. No one's ever a major film festival has never cancelled all their physical screenings, and partnered with Amazon to put it up. Nobody knows what that means. Nobody knows how that's gonna affect it.

RB Botto 47:59
But for the filmmakers, I was saying that, you know, you just said it. I mean, you know, I mean, if you'll lose it, I know that if you had that option where you have film, and you were in, you know, that was the first festival you had made or whatever, I think that you would have kept your powder dry. And you would look to, you know, figure out, you know, I know you would have, and I think a lot of I think a lot of filmmakers would it's, you know, look, we're in a very, very unique position. But given the fact that we have all these exacts. Now the other thing that we did was we partnered with vintage shops. And if you're not familiar with vintage, I know you are. But you know, vintage is is the global leader in accounts management for films. So they are the people that basically make sure your books are right, that everybody is getting paid, who's supposed to get paid that there's no shady shit going on that if you're a screenwriter, you're supposed to get back end points. And the movie makes 10 gajillion dollars that they don't come in with fuzzy math, that they're those people so they

Alex Ferrari 48:53
I don't understand. I don't understand any of that stuff that that happens. Does that happen in our business? No,

RB Botto 48:58
Very, very rarely rarely, right? Very early. So anyway, didn't lead is in that and they have we've been education quarters with them for a long time. They teach exclusively for stage 32 and they came to us and said, Hey, we want to be involved in this. So they're invading their entire roster of all these people. I was saying the sales agents distributors managed to get the team of lawyers to finance ears, the producers, the development executives, and it's it's literally 1000s it's going to be so we've already sent out probably 3000 a little over 3000 invites we're expecting to send out at least 5000 more by the time we're done. And if I get if I sit here, even if half of them except if I said to you, you know what, you know, would you like to play in front of 4000 you know, exactly one time you know and not by the way not at one time that's the other thing that drives me nuts is you know, a lot of these you know, I'm probably gonna get shot for a lot of this but a lot of these festivals are quitting their films, the film Good films online, but they're doing it in a festival style to basically say at six o'clock 10 o'clock. You know, it's the world

Alex Ferrari 50:06
That's not the world we live in guys, that's not the world we live in the world we live in. So make sure to be kind rewind behind rewind,

RB Botto 50:12
I always say it's all these phones are out there online. Yeah, make sure they're private, privately, you log in, you get to watch and we're not taking them down. We're not saying you got to watch it between eight and 10. And then we're taking them that, you know, it's there. And until. And the way it works, by the way, is if, if one of the executives wants to get in touch with the filmmaker, or the producers, they just hit a button. And that sends a message to us. We go to the filmmaker and say, This is the interest you're getting, do you want us to facilitate a meeting? If they say yes, we connect them. And like I said, but now it's about 48 hours, we already have four films that have major, major interest. So it's, it's cool, it's very rewarding. And by the way, it's free to do. So. I will just say really quickly, you know, if you know anybody that had a film in Vail, try back up by the bfsi, London LGBTQ or mountain film telluride mountain film, please do send them our way. If you have a festival that wants to be involved in this, go to support. I'm sorry, screenings at stage 30 two.com, you can send us an email, if you want to look at all this. It's just states 32, comm backslash screenings, plural. And the other thing that we're doing, Alex, which I think is cool is for the people that the festivals that have come to us that, again, did not choose their films, okay, but are going to have to cancel their festival. We have been providing them to their alumni and the filmmakers who submitted free education. So we're trying to do whatever we can fabri everybody, but it's, you know, it's a troubling time. We know I can tell you this, I'm not gonna name the festival. But there is a film festival that has been around for over 30 years. Actually, it's long, it's probably 40 years, that has a staff of 35 people. And I've known three of them personally, for a very, very long period of time. they've laid off just about everybody. And who knows if it's an exam, that's the other part of this too. Who knows how many of these festivals are going to survive? I mean, if you're a filmmaker right now, are you allotting? I don't know, you tell me. Let me ask you this question. If you had on the corner of you going desire ready right now, like it just you just got done? Would you be? Would you be outlaying? No need?

Alex Ferrari 52:33
Absolutely not? Absolutely not. If I had to, if I had my film right now, and I literally just finished the Edit. And you've seen it and and everyone's watched it. We're all like we had a little private screening. I don't know if we can have that right now. But let's say we let's say for argument's sake, we had our private screening, I would be focusing on itself distribution digital release myself. But mind you again, the budget of our film was much more humble than to $300,000. So now when you're talking about a quarter million dollars, half million dollars, million dollar film, and all of the all the infrastructure and all the blueprints that we've been working out, like the way the path that has been laid out, since the beginning of time in our industry, is now shut down. And an alternate ways I'd normally go like, Okay, I'm not gonna go directly to distribute, I'm gonna go down the film festival route. Well, the film festival was shut down pretty much. So now you don't have an option to go down that route. And then the distributors are becoming much more predatory. We could talk about all the stuff I've been hearing about distributors and aggregators. Yeah, as well. So that that situated is weird. And now, your, your, your challenge to try to self distribute, without all the stuff that I've been preaching with film shoprunner, about building that audience, creating those product lines, creating an ecosystem, providing value, that all takes time. And if you just have a fresh movie, and you're like, Oh, I better start finding an audience, you're way too late. Unless you're gonna wait a year to release this thing. It's way too late for that. So in many ways, unfortunately, the only option left is a predatory distribution deal. Or if you're lucky enough, depending on the size of your film, you can go with a couple of the good predator, good predatory good distributors. There's good predatory there's bad predatory. There's like grits. Gray, no, you know, if you're if you're lucky enough to find, you know, one of the you know, one of the few really honest distributors and there are some out there, or you get picked up by one of the big boys and get a nice mg. That's another route to go but those are that's a lottery ticket. And then another one honestly is a lottery ticket. So then basically all the like, well, I'll put it up on Amazon, myself, like that's the options. So it's, it's depressing. And I've been yelling about this, you know this for a long time, trying to figure out A new system. But this scenario, it was tough. It was, it was nearly impossible to to be a profitable independent film. Prior to Corona, it was like the percentage, you know, it percentage is very, very nil, that you can make your money back break even or be profitable in that in that current marketplace. And now we're talking about fractions of a fraction. Because nobody knows what's happening. Nobody knows where we're going.

RB Botto 55:30
And it's interesting because again, I'd love to get your opinion on this being a filmmaker and a producer yourself. It's me I you know, I agree with you. I think that right now, if you're putting money into Film Fest knows that that may be playing a few that maybe, you know, I just tried. Two years, two years? Yeah, I don't get it. I don't get but the so I'm in this plays into your two years. And you can add, I think you can answer I think I know now you gonna answer now. But the thing I'm we're hearing from producers, okay. And from filmmakers, because we've talked about the expansion of screenings, we've talked to a lot of people. And what we will hear occasionally is, Well, you know what, this is going to be over in a few months. So I'm going to just keep my film in pocket in the can on the zoom I net, yeah, do undershelf to my networking, do you know, build up some hype for it and all this other stuff. And then when it comes back, whenever it comes back, I'm going to start streaming the festivals. Now my argument with that is twofold. One is I you know, I'm a strike while the iron is high kind of guy. And I'm also you know, the type of guy that I don't like anything passive, okay, that's the first thing. I think you adapt to your environment, right? you adapt to your environment, you find the opportunities, and you find what people aren't going and you go, Okay, that's the first thing But the second thing is, is that okay, I was gonna lose your my computer. My court wasn't plugged in. But the second thing is the a lot. I think the other part of this is, is that people don't realize that even though we're not filming right now, post production on completed films are still good. It's, it's absolutely happening. So when you go to release that shell, or when you do put that thing into the marketplace, might be a little stale in comparison to other stuff that's out there already, or it might have gone, especially if it's gotten into another festival or whatever. So I mean, so the thing about like, you know, festival saying like, Well, you know, you still you're still eligible, and you're still like, this is the thing that's going on right now.

Alex Ferrari 57:31
Who cares? With the eligible? Oh, it's

RB Botto 57:33
The thing I say to you is, wait, how how do they have the power? The power is in the hands of the filmmaker. Your hands actually think I think you would agree, man. I think that filmmakers, I think, look, it's the same thing with screenwriters. Right? What does every screenwriter want, they want a manager, they want a manager, they want a manager, they don't realize to get a manager and it might be the wrong manager, or it might be a manager, it's not gonna go to war for you. And then you realize that, well, shit, I'm worse off than I was before, right? You're a filmmaker, you're like, Oh, I just want to play in a festival. I'm playing a festival. I want to play a festival, you play in a festival. And you know, things don't quite happen. And you know, you're not getting your investors back. You're not getting everybody else back. Nobody wants to go into battle with you again, right? The thing is, is that as creatives a lot of creatives, and I know you'll agree with this, I know we've had this conversation before a lot of creatives, surrender their power. sit there and I hear certain festivals going like, you know, you can screen and you'll still be like, Wait a second. You don't have a festival without the filmmakers. Okay, the filmmakers have the power. And that's you want to talk about things that are changing right now or you want to talk about things that I think a change is gonna change right now is I think a lot of filmmakers and a lot of producers are going to realize, recognize that the power is not only in their hands, but with the options that they thought they had are much more plentiful than they were before.

Alex Ferrari 59:01
Can I can I can I be honest, I want to I want to give a little bit of raw honesty out here right now. This is going to be brutal honesty. Was this not wrong? No, no, no, no, no. With this was pG 13. I'm gonna get I'm gonna get a little harder now. The real The reality is that most independent filmmakers and or producers have no clue how to recoup their money, no clue how to generate revenue with the film that they just hustled to get made. All they ever focus on is trying to get the budget, package the deal, get the cast, get the director get the screenplay, that is what is taught. But nobody ever wants to know about the back end and how to make money with their films. And that was and they all they had these the idea of like, well, we'll go down a festival circuit. Oh, like before we make a joke about this. We have to make a joke about this and the movie was like oh yeah, well You know some of submit to Sundance and that's my that's my distribution plan. That plan is now gone. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. So even that ridiculous plan is completely out the window. So now I feel that the desperation is going to just get ramped up with all these films that are in the can right now they're, they're waiting and they're going to do any so any any schlock any any snake oil salesman that comes along goes, Oh, here, go here, this the film festival gone this route, or no, no, go over here. I'll distribute your film for you or this. So I feel that that's going to get even more ramped up. It was at a it was at a frenzy rate before Corona. Now I can't even comprehend what's going to happen instead of like a pit of Parana it's like a pit of sugar white shot of great whites in the same numbers as before, it's going to be absolutely brutal. And that's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to give as much information as I can out there to help filmmakers and I'm getting emails dude daily, daily like what do I do? Where do I go? How do I do this? And I honestly sometimes I literally send the emoji like I don't I you know what? Tell me what your situation is. Oh, it's a million dollar it's a $1.5 million movies got this star this star in it. I'm like okay. Try this maybe go down this distribution route. Oh, we're thinking of self distribute. I'm like don't do that. You can't You can't you you like oh, we need to get an iTunes. No, you don't because nobody's making money on iTunes. Because transactional is pretty much a dead door especially for independent from Do you think anyone's renting the next off long run movie? Like it like seriously? I love golf. Oh, no footnote but no offense, but like our Do you? Do you see people other than maybe guys in your my age range that are still super fans of Dolf renting on iTunes, paying 599 for his latest movie or john clods or Steven Seagal latest movie? No, there you if you watch them to watch it on streaming for free, so you don't need to go to TV. you where you need to go is a VOD, because that's the only place there's any money right now. Anyway, that's a whole other conversation. But that But back to what we were talking about that is where

RB Botto 1:02:31
Can I can I comment on that? First of all, there is no there was there was nothing R rated about that. So I'm very disappointed.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:35
I mean, I you know, I

RB Botto 1:02:37
Very disappointed. I was all amped up. But I know it's very rare that

Alex Ferrari 1:02:42
You want me to do you want to throw some some curse words out. So I can if you like,

RB Botto 1:02:45
I would like to combine some creative curse words. A couple of things about that. One, it's very, very true. If you're if you're new to the show, if you're new to Alex and everything like that, first of all, you need to be listening to his body, you need to go through bad episodes, because he covers the gamut, okay, and there's so much great information there. So many good things that you can learn. And it ties back to what we were talking about earlier. There are three things if you are not motivated. Right now, there are three things that you could be doing that I guarantee you will make you get to that. The third one is the most important, which is the creating we talked about earlier, but here are the two things that you could be doing that will get you to the third one. The first one is network, relationship building and networking. The cool thing, one of the things that we've seen, I mean, I think it's a great I mean, for us, I mean, in a tragic time, I guess it's a great time to be on tour on a social network platform because our traffic is through the roof. So if you're not on stage, sorry to cut if nonstimulated calm right now you're just wasting time, the amount of interactions, the amount of requests the amount of touch. So it's great. So now you have no excuse not to be out there meeting if this is your interest, or your need sales agents or distributors, or if you're a short filmmaker, getting in front of managers, nation or viewer you know, feature filmmaker. Okay. The second thing is exactly what you just talked about education, if you're not listening to this podcast, if you're not taking education, if you're not learning, like for example, if you're actually a filmmaker right now, now had a film one of these camps with professors you're like, I don't know what to do, and you're not taking and I'm going to pick my own stuff. So it's 32 classes on on distribution on sales each how to find a sales agent how to vet a sales agent, all these different things. If you're not doing it, it's on you. And it's the old since this is Michael Jordan thing that's this template Michael Jordan thing I'll use Dr. Jordan you know, but but if you're not doing it somebody else's like we talked about this, I think the last time we talked to me, we talked about off the air but it's when people say to me like how do you get motivated every day and you're the same way man, like you get up every day in your attic right? I'm up every day I'm at Why? Well quite a bit. Yeah, that's in our blood. We love We love getting you know, we love you know, being involved in hustle, the hustle, we love the hustle we've loved. Right? But the second thing is, is that, you know, they asked Michael Jordan when he was at peak of his powers, why are you in the gym every day at 630 in the morning, shooting 1000 free throws. And he said if I'm not somebody else's, and by the way that walk gunning for me, live your life that way a little bit. Live your life knowing that your film is one of 1000s that got canceled, you know, Film Festival, you know, live your life that your short film is one of out even know how many that got produced last year or whatever, and that those looking for representation, and then put yourself in the best position, goal, need, make a meet, okay, and you will get to part three, which is the idea that you really should be creating right now. And putting yourself in the best position for one, this is all over.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:48
Yeah, and I'll pick my own stuff out as well. And also TV indie film, hustle TV is I've seen a big surge of people watching and I've seen how many people in the back end have been watching members and stuff. People are starting to figure it out. They they need to educate themselves, you know, our book sales have gone up, you know, because people are starting to buy our books and buy our audio books and things like that, because people are like, Oh, wait a minute, I'm sitting around. Yes, I do. You need to watch Tiger King. And by the way you do, by the way you do. But when I'm done with Tiger King, that's only seven hours of your life, including the new Act, including the new bonus episode. You should be educating yourself in preparing. And I've been saying that for weeks now. Like, you know, binge a bit, but you've got to educate yourself, you got it, you should be right now in the pit. And that training pit with Rocky and rocky three, when Apollo takes them back down to train to go beat up Mr. T. That's where you need to be. You need your own trading montage and whatever craft part of this industry you're trying to learn about. That's what you should be doing right now. I am I'm doing it right now with myself with all the stuff that I've been doing with with my company and what I'm doing, you're out there hustling, trying to provide value to filmmakers and create new opportunities that didn't exist. Because you know, you know, as as weird as it sounds like I don't know who it was, I think it was JP Morgan, which was like, you know, you buy when there's blood in the water. And I'm not saying that in a morbid sense. But right now there's so much confusion. And so much just nobody knows what's going on. This is an opportunity to come up with a new solution to figure out a new way of doing things and I i've been saying Rome is burning now for a while our industry, I feel that the walls are starting to crack down around us. And this is just just really put it into hyperdrive. And when this all comes crashing down in one way, shape or form, whatever comes out of those ashes will be the new way of doing it. And it's happened multiple times in our industry. But I you know, like I was saying I think I said this on a podcast. But like, I feel personally I'd love to hear your thoughts about this. But I feel our whole entire industry has been held up by a bubble. And that bubble happens to be international sales and international theatrical sales. And, and just international war because before if you remember, it was 7030 US market versus 30% foreign market. I remember those days, when the US was everything. And now it's completely turned on its head, we're now we're 30% of the box office and the rest of the world 70. But what happens when the rest of the world shuts down? What happens when this whole world starts changing? How is our industry going to be able to handle that so and then the bubble of the streaming bubble? I feel there's a streaming bubble, I do think there's still somewhat of a gold rush, but people are buying a lot of content on debt. It's debt based buying, like Netflix is the king of that. So they're buying based on future earning potential. But at a certain point, you're going to you're going to run out of subscribers, like there's gonna you're gonna hit a threshold of like, you know, like, there's only so many people in the US, let's say, who are going to subscribe to to Netflix. And I think Netflix is starting to fit. That's why Netflix has been so aggressive going after the world because I like we kind of are hitting the top market here in the US we need to go to India, we need to go to you know, try to get China. So at a certain point, and I'm going a little bit on a tangent here, but bear with me. Disney plus right now has plenty. I got plenty of coffee. If Disney plus just hit 50 million subscribers, which is insane how fast they were able to do that. But how many more subscribers do they have to really pick up in the US? arguably 150 total, maybe 175 total, maybe maybe a little bit more, maybe less at the you know, at a certain point they're going to hit? They're going to hit a crucial threshold. Then, if there's no theatrical which I wanted to talk to you about theatrical where you theatrical is going to go but let's say the theatrical component has has gone away or it's just dropped. You know, instead of a billion dollars, you're making half a billion dollars. Economically, can the studio's make tentpole 200,000,200 $50 million plus tentpole films? Doesn't make sense economically anymore? Is it enough to make a $200 million movie for a streaming service? Because the only reason Marty got 200 million for Irishman is because they want subscribers not to maintain the subscribers that they got. Because Tiger King did that just fine. It was a lot cheaper than Irishman. So I threw a lot of questions out at you. I just love to hear what you think.

RB Botto 1:10:39
Yeah, it's all over the place. I like the fact that I'm a little insulted as an Italian by the Rome is burning, it could have been had in any other place by

Alex Ferrari 1:10:57
Name another name another saying that's equivalent

RB Botto 1:11:03
It's 2020, we're offended by everything.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:07
I'm offended that you're offended.

RB Botto 1:11:10
That's normally that's like, that's usually my default position. I think there's a there is a lot to unpack there. I think that you know, the big thing about what the theatrical theatrical experience looks like. I think that is definitely one of those situations where the longer it goes, the more I think it's going to change. Because I do think that, you know, you said earlier, you know, what happens to Sony, if they don't if they're unable to release bond this year? If we're not able to go back to theaters? Well, then I think that Sony, I'm sure within the walls of Sony, they have discussed that they've discussed Okay, what do we do? How to recoup what how do we do it? Okay. There has to be contingency plans, it just has to be because there are way too many unknowns with the virus, like we said earlier that we really, we don't know if there's gonna be a second way we have no idea. We have no idea. I mean, it could put, we could all be back out. And you know, with whatever social distancing, we're going to be doing a movie theaters, and then we could have this second wave and they could shut everything down three days after the bond opens. So then what do they do? You don't? I mean, nobody knows. Right? So I don't know how that shakes out. I think that one of the things I said earlier, I think will happen is, you know, AMC filing for bankruptcy and and, you know, a lot of these other theaters that probably weren't even in as good a position as they were financially are going to go out. And does that mean, again that Amazon comes in and swipes them up? Or somebody else comes in and swipes them up? And then what did they do with it? How does that ecosystem change? Right now, as we know, the studio's own 90% of the screens in America? So is that change in any way? I think the idea, you know, you talk about things that accelerate, you know, obviously, we had the screening room thing last year, where was going to be I think it was the name of the Lord is gonna be 50 bucks to watch, like, you know, first run, you know, day in day cost. 20 bucks. 20 bucks, whatever.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:05
Oh, no, no, no, now it's 20 bucks. Yeah.

RB Botto 1:13:09
So now, you know what, you know, where does that land? I mean, where does that what does that look like? You know, what does that look like for the studios? As far as how do we recoup this money? And is that tied into something else? Like, is there something for example, where if you are a Disney plus member, that you get x, y, and z as well. And that's how they bring more revenue in to offset the theatrical, you don't know. But again, the first this goes out, I mean, those are two ideas that come at the top of my head. And I'm not sitting in you know, boardroom, you know, virtual boardrooms, zoom boardrooms and talking about this shit. But you could see, you could see that there is going to be one leader, and it probably will be you know, a Disney, you know, that's going to come out and just say, this is what the new normal looks like, for us, the article one

Alex Ferrari 1:13:57
And everybody will follow, and everybody will follow

RB Botto 1:13:59
up. Now look, you know, you and I are different in from the perspective of even even the films that that we would like a lot of the same films, but you do like the superhero stuff, and you like, you know, the,

Alex Ferrari 1:14:10
But that's, that's Hollywood, basically right now,

RB Botto 1:14:13
Totally fine. But I'm saying like, reach so far, you go into a theater to see that that's an experience for me, I just don't go right. But the me, I'm sort of an old school guy. Like, I like to see the awards type movies, like I want to see pericyte the theater, like I do, I don't want to see it on my screen. It's fine if I have to, but even when I get screeners, you know, at the holiday, towards the holidays, like I'll have the screener at home and I'll be like, Oh, you know, oh, yeah. I got to grab a few people and go, you know, go watch, you know, so. And I know there are some people but I know I'm in the minority that way. Now you have a lot of people that are being trained to say, no, it's okay to be home. You know why it's okay to order from our favorite restaurant as opposed to taking a shower, getting dressed, you know, you know It's not so bad, right? So, again, the longer it goes, the more that becomes as we like to stay tuned. All right. And so I don't know, I don't know how that shakes out. I do think that you're 100%. Right. I mean, obviously, there are billions upon billions of dollars on the line here. And how they're going out that border between she got, I think what's gonna be more interesting, in a lot of ways is how the independent film world is going to shake out because again, if these festivals are not happening, and these buyers are not, you know, and keeping in mind, okay, and I know, this is another thing that drives me nuts. I know, it drives you nuts, keeping in mind that a lot of these festivals, I mean, and I won't, you know, but a lot of the big ones have become, you know, from a business standpoint, a little bit kind of comical anyway, because a lot of the films that were screaming at them were had deals in place before they get their

Alex Ferrari 1:15:52
Marketing push. It's a marketing pull,

RB Botto 1:15:54
Marketing, right? So, you know, that alone makes you say, Okay, if these thing if these films are getting deals before they scream, do we really even need the screen? Do we really even need I mean, obviously, if you're a sales agent, or distributor, do I need to get on a plane to go to a festival with 65 or 70% of the films have already been scooped up and the other 30% are probably going to, you know, if I put a $2 million bid in Amazon's gonna come in and put 15 million on the table. And why the hell am I you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:16:23
So. So I want to I want to I want to just back up real quick on the the movie theater experience real quick. You know, you and I were raised with movie theaters. There's a whole generation that was raised on their iPhones. So they don't really understand that they've been to movies, but it's not the same emotional that we have. I love movie theaters, I think they'll always be a place for the community getting together. People want to get out of the house people want to do I get it and there will always be some version of that, like drive ins are becoming a thing. Now again, all of a sudden, so which is great, which is Yeah, IMAX is you can't compete with IMAX, you can't you can't compete watching dark night, or watching you know, in inception. in IMAX like that's something you can't do at home with the best situation you have. There's two things I want to say one, you know, for me, I'm a family man. So I've got my wife and I got my kids. So going to movie theater on a Friday or Saturday night, which I never do. I would if I go at all, it'd be early morning. But let's say I want to go out on a date with my wife. That means that I got to get a babysitter. I need to we need to you know go when we go out there tickets plus food when the whole night said and done. It's about 100 bones 125 bones when it's all said and done for a movie. So we've gotten less and less I don't even remember the last time my wife and I both just went we generally just go see kids movies Now if we go if we ever go at all. And even then we're still spending 5060 bucks. And I'm an I'm a popcorn sneaker inner kind of guy. I can't I can no, it's not because I don't want to pay for it is because have I worked in a movie theater. Do you know what kind of butter they use? Oh my god, it's horrible. It's horrible. Anyway, we know we know you got to go for the real butter. Yeah, yeah, you want to you want to know I remember pulling out the real butter from this tub that I had to pour in at the beginning of the day. And then at the end of the day, once it melted, you would pour back in and it just gets recycled again and again. So ever since that day, I'm like, you know what? I'm gonna bring my organic air puffed popcorn in sir. But anyway, they tried using that stuff to try to kill COVID Do you know what it's it's not that far that in Hennessy that with Hennessy. I think you'll be fine. Um, but I feel that the the experiment of the 1999 I'm calling it premium t VOD. It's premium. It's called pre I'm calling a premium t VOD, because it's a higher than normal t bot. So it's your show, whatever you want. I'm gonna call it a premium TV. I've been calling a deaf for a while. So premium TV, the 9099 to rent a first run movie. Why? First of all, there's no numbers, so nobody knows what's going on. So there's no box office returns on that on those numbers. So we really don't know what's happening. But I can tell you what happened with onward, which was the new Pixar movie, it came out on premium. A week later, it was in it was on normal TV for 699 and then a week later after that was on Disney plus. So I don't know if that was just a marketing ploy. Like look, we'll just let's just throw it out on DVD so we can get some more subscribers. And that might be been that play. But I don't know. I feel personally that we have been trained as as a society that what's on the TV is not worth 9095 we if we rent at all five like for me five 699 is ridiculous to rent a movie it I just like I'll just wait a week or two or a month or two and it'll be on Netflix or Amazon or wherever. We have as as a society as a country. Sooner base are used to spending so much money on our television on our on the way we consume things at home. Now you're telling us that you have to spend $20, to see the latest Black Widow, which I could really wait a month or two to see. I don't think it's going to be I don't think it's an it is going to be the revenue generator that Hollywood is hoping for? Would I spend money like on the next Fast and Furious, maybe, depending on what else is going on in my life at that time. But this is me. But for other people, maybe these big giant temples are what will drive but we're talking about 1015 movies a year that will drive that kind of purchase. I don't think the end up but no one, no one's going to spend $20 for an independent,

RB Botto 1:20:43
Opera independent. But I also think that that makes again, that's for a lot of people that are listening to this show. I mean, I think it ties back into what you were saying earlier about not having a strategy and not having a plan is this landscape is literally changing by the day. I mean, sometimes by the hour, I the the amount of moves that are happening, and the amount of options and the amount of changes within the sort of distribution ecosystem. It's just fascinating. And it's gonna it's going to increase before it decreases, especially right now. So for a lot of filmmakers, for a lot of people who are making independent films, you got to ask yourself, right, what is the goal? What is the ultimate goal? Like, what do you want? Like, you know, I talked to a lot of people that you know, when they go to Sundance, I'm like, well, you want of course they want the honeymoon purchase and they want, you know, the 500?

Alex Ferrari 1:21:39
Since 1992, circa 1992.

RB Botto 1:21:42
100% Right, so, but what if you don't get it? Or what if you're not in Sundance? Or what if you decide like I think a lot of people are going to moving forward to skip the independent, the film festival circuit altogether, right? I mean, and say, Okay, so how do you set yourself up? And what do you want, I think that's something that is going to become more important now. And I think, again, that's why you need to have that knowledge base ahead of time and not put all your your sort of trust, even if you hire the most, even if you hire the most competent and there are plenty of them, sales agents or distributors, what I mean, or work with a distributor, and there are plenty of them. You still have to know what you want. And you still got to set yourself up for success. Right? Right, what that looks like as far as how we're going to consume it, that I think, you know, if anybody thinks they know what the hell is going on there, I you know, no one knows it. foolish, foolish shit.

Alex Ferrari 1:22:37
So dude, so let me ask you a question. I was talking to a cinematographer friend of mine, and the bunch of the ASE guys are getting together. And they were just talking about how what the future of production is going to be like, and you know, what the studios are looking at, and things like that, because they feel as everyone feels like production is going to change. For for the foreseeable future, not only production at all being shot, but how it shot, whereas, you know, you know, we've been on sets a lot in our lifetimes, and sets are very closely touchy, touchy. And people are, you know, it's not a six feet scenario. Generally speaking, you know, there's no social distancing on a set. So how do you open back up for business with actors and crew on a big set that has 100 150? People see 50 people, 70 people on it? How do you do that? And it's like, on a TV show like that? There's the part. I mean, how do you do that? If you open up at all? How do you do that? So they were talking about what you know, like, it's going to be minimal crew, it's going to be less crew, it's going to be shooting things on green screens, the coverage is going to be different. It's going to radically change how things are done. Because now the studio and the production companies have are liable if anything happens if they don't set these precedents isn't. So onset production is going to change. Yeah, moving forward, at least for the next couple years. I don't. And even then I don't think it's going to go back to exactly the way it was before. So what do you think?

RB Botto 1:24:14
I agree, I think you're going to see smaller crews, I think you're going to see people doubling up on jobs. I think, you know, what I what I also anticipate, though, is I think this is gonna be an interesting time for for producers to end filmmakers and directors, because I mean, listen, there's always a give and take or what a director needs to make a film and what a producer wants to pay. I can't

Alex Ferrari 1:24:36
I can't get out of bed for less than 5

RB Botto 1:24:38
million, sir. I can't I mean, you know, I mean, so there is definitely you know, I want this guy, I want that guy or no, we need we need this. We need that. I think that I think that it might affect budgets in a positive way. I think budgets might come down a little bit, I think, you know, maybe some, I don't want to call them non essential jobs, but maybe some jobs that where you again, maybe combine forces Or where, you know, there could be some sort of creative way of going about it, where you're now paying, you know, where you're paying X amount of people instead of y. I think that is a definite possibility as well, I, you know, there's gonna be a lot of creativity, as we keep saying, I think there's going to be a lot of innovation of how these things are going to be done. I also think that, you know, you're going to have non essential set people probably back behind, you know, I don't know if you'd be partition. I mean, I don't know what the hell it'll be, but it'll be behind something. Okay, it's too. Yeah, it's crazy. I mean, it is crazy. But I mean, you know, this, I mean, I have never been on a set. Never. Where, if the production more than 10 days where, you know, some sort of crud, you know, whip didn't rip through that set,

Alex Ferrari 1:25:48
you know, yeah. Some sort of illness, of course. Yeah. You know,

RB Botto 1:25:51
I mean, so I mean, it's, it's a petri dish to begin with, especially when you're fighting and go into shoot fighting, and you're shooting in close quarters. I'm writing a boxing movie right now. So there you go. But when you're shooting in close corners, that is a you know, that's that's an issue. I don't know how that comes back. I definitely see the skeleton crew kind of thing. You know, you got your sound and you got your camera, and you got to

Alex Ferrari 1:26:13
kind of like what we did. So kind of like what we did. On the on a live Hollywood is finally came to my level, sir, finally. You're, you're a pioneer? You didn't? No, no, I do. I do think that there's there is going to be that indispensability where it's going to start stripping down to the bare what what do we actually need to make this go? And there's going to be a lot of people who have no clue like when you've been, you know, you'll enjoy this analogy. When you've been eating Philemon young all your life, you have no understanding how to eat a burger. You know, you're like, what is this? Like? You only that's the only thing you know, especially, especially television, there's a lot of crews. And so they've been doing their wit things. 10 1520 years, asking a grip from a television grip who has been gripping for 20 years to change. Anything that they do on a daily basis is nearly impossible. So am I wrong? Like and by the way, that goes for every crew member? Like, you know, it sound guy has been doing it for 20 years, the production is that like they all have their way. And now you're gonna say no, now we're all gonna have to wear bubbles. We're all going to be a plastic bubbles. Now. It's going to be outbreak onset. And that's how we have to move forward. It's since well,

RB Botto 1:27:30
but sadly, it's also you know, do you want to work? Or do you not want to work? Like, you know what I mean? And that's I think that's, that is the overarching question not just for our industry, but for almost every industry is how do you adapt to a point where the economics of the business still make sense. And where we can function at a rate that not only is something that can make us money, like if you're if you own a restaurant, for example, but gonna keeps people safe, and it keeps people productive and keeps people working. And I think that really legitimately is going to be the challenge. Now, you're already seeing a lot of the agencies, you know, even CNN reported yesterday that they are not allowing any non camera basically, or non, you know, production people in until September, I assume that's going to go way later. And you're seeing that with a lot of the agencies, they're saying, like, so again, through that, like, even with us, like, you know, we had everybody in our offices. My concern, when we all had, we said, okay, we're shutting it down, or Vega home was okay, you know, everything's gonna go down, you know, we're gonna, the, everything that the productivity is going to just plummet. And it's been, really, it's been the opposite, because everybody is just relaxed. And like I said, we are busier than ever, because we're busier than ever there is this need to be more involved. And this is need to be, you know, deeper in it. So we're fortunate that way, okay. But I also hear from a lot of, again, managers, agents, all these people that are working from home people that you know, that work at CAA or Wi Fi that, uh, like, I gotta tell you, man, like there's been, I'm working more because I'm not the weekend doesn't matter to me anymore. It's not like, like, I'm going to, like, Oh, I'm gonna go to the beach from home, right? So it's like, what am I going to do? I'll read some scripts, I'll watch a film that you know, from one of my clients

Alex Ferrari 1:29:19
perspective, it's going to fundamentally change the way everything is done. I mean, I'll look, I'll tell you what I've been. I've been working. I've been running indie film hustle out of my home for since the beginning. And I know of I know, like, there's one buddy of mine who runs a very large company that is completely remote. All his staff. He's got a 1015 minutes, Ban woman staff around the world. He runs it, and it's a multimillion dollar company. And I go, why don't you get an office? It's like, why do I need an office if he goes I get an up work every once in a while if I need to go pick a meeting, but generally speaking, I don't need to We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. So I think it's going to fundamentally change the way people do business, especially how we do business in town, because now they got a taste, they got a taste of that no traffic thing they got, once you get that taste of not having to get up like I've lived here for quite some time. I'm glad everyone's trying to join me. I've been, even when I was freelancing as a when I had my own post house, it was in my house. So I was like, Yeah, I don't have to have the commute. It's all that stuff. Now everyone's starting to feel that that freedom to like, Hey, I don't know, do I need to go to an office every day? and deal with the traffic and the cost involved with the trade, you know, driving? And, you know, getting food out every day? It's gonna affect so many different industries. But do I mean, how do you like so now, now, knowing what you know, now, and how your team is running? Do you see things going back? Or would you like, you know, I think it just might be more affordable, you know, to do work from home as remote and maybe have a place to go to? I don't know, what do you think?

RB Botto 1:31:12
Yeah, I think that it's a great question. Because we've, you know, we've talked about it already. I didn't have those conversations. And, you know, it's, I think that they'll I think I would keep the office and you know, I see no reason not to when we have a really nice layout and everything. Tonight, it's a nice escape and everything, right? But maybe the amount of times that some people need to be in the office would be a little less, because again, like even for me, I sit there and go, sure there's the expense connected with all that too. But there's also do i do i need them in the car an hour, both ways, you doesn't mean

Alex Ferrari 1:31:46
you're wasting two hours you're wasting,

RB Botto 1:31:49
extends, it's also the mental, you know, the drain of being in the car for two hours, or, you know, for a person and everything like that. So, you know, it makes you think about it makes you think about like, What? How do you keep everybody happy? How do you keep so of course, you know, of course, when you're running a company, like these are the things you think about all the time, I do believe I really do that. I think a lot of these agencies, and even some of the bigger management companies that were I know, the owners, they have said to me already, they'll like, it really is changing our perspective on things, because in the case of one management company that I will name, but it's big, I mean, they they have I think 50 employees, you know, 50 managers on on, on the left side and on the talent side. And they're like, you know, they're working their asses off. Like, we see the productivity, and we see who they're working with, who they're signing with deals to try to make everything like that. So we're like, you know, what do we need them in the office for all the time, like, let them be comfortable and let them do what they got to do. So I do think it'll change things dramatically. I also think the way that movies come together, I mean, look, we were headed this way. Anyway, you talked earlier about foreign sales and everything like that. The fascinating thing of running stage three to about nine years, one of the things that we thought from the very beginning was look where filmmaking is going is global, you know, I mean, you can shoot one place to post in another and all of those that obviously that, you know, and that's been borne out over the years, but what we've been seeing more of over the last few years, which I think is really, really interesting, this plays into the economics too, you know, you have co country production, you know, productions and incentives, I think those are going to rise dramatically, you know, and that's we're getting a lot of people asking us that I feel like you have scripts that we could shoot like in Europe, and these are, you know, American producers as not, because we know we can get money out of here. If we do it this way, Canada, we hear from them all the time, this Canada has deals freaking everywhere. They're like, you know, cocoa country production deals, and they're like, you know, do you have any scripts set in Hungary, you know what I mean, because we can get money out of it. It's crazy. That I think is going to become more common, I think the way that people do business in that way is going to become more common, that plays into everything we talked about earlier about the markets that people don't really necessarily have to come together for that, that if there is a place online where they could find that material with ease, people can connect, where there's a bridge, that will be calm, I think the new normal, I don't need to get on a plane to go over to hungry to try to find that material and sit down with producers and see what they you know, had gestating or that they're building. I could just get on that I could just get on a Skype and say, This is what we need to back into this deal. Like, you know, we need can you get cast there? Can you get this step? We're seeing that all the time. So I think you know, all this again, I mean, all of it is to me. And I hope that this is a takeaway for everybody listening again, that might feel down about right now or feel like To me, it's really fucking exciting. Like it really is exciting to me. Yeah, every call that I get on when an executive and even Jason like I said, you know, Jason, who runs through the director script services, Jason will call me three times a day and go listen to this. Listen to this and what follows to the listen to this is so and so. Doing blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, don't look into that. So and so just sign that. And it's, it's fascinating to me, because it makes you feel like, wow, you know, they're thinking outside the box, they're coming up with ideas, this isn't going to be the Azul and all the world's not ending, like, you know, I mean, there will be some sort of, you know, production, that things will happen. But everybody that I know, that does development for a living, or that makes their living in the 10% world, the managers, they are setting themselves up to like, they like taking all those tools, all that shit all that gold in that friggin island in the corner, you don't I mean, And to me, that's very exciting. And you know, you either appointed it or not. And that's what we were saying earlier. So, you know, by the way, if you are, I just want to throw this out to like throw a case in a couple of times, I don't give a shit if you're a writer, a producer with some sort of package attached. So you're putting together a deal, or you're a producer that is looking for other attachments. If you don't reach out to Jason, it's really easy. J dot merge j dot m, er ch at Steve's 30 two.com. If you don't reach out to him, I mean, this guy, literally the entire day is on the bottom with with just finding out what everybody that's just drop is just on the phone all day. And then what he does is he takes people in our arsenal and site states 32 and the material that's been curated through sticks to his visit to the top and says you need to read this, you need to look at this, you need to look for, I know a producer that has or a filmmaker that has this actor and this amount of money that they need this amount of money. And they need a showrunner at this amount of money and they need, you know, whatever, and tries to piece it all together. And he's been doing that for a long time. We've all been doing it for a long time. But I mean, that's the exciting thing now like when he calls me and tells me that somebody who like won one of our contests couple years ago, somebody got double recommend coverage and somebody like farmhouse or whatever, is now in discussions. Because this company needs a fucking contained horror script. That's really cool to me. Because it's it just goes to show it It motivates me and excites me because things are happening, you know, so be out there, man be out there,

Alex Ferrari 1:37:06
The the world of distribution. And we can we can touch a little bit upon this the world of distribution, as you know, as so it's a rough, it's a rough go to rough go of it, especially for the independent. And I feel that because I you know, I preach so much about distribution. I've talked so much about distribution, and obviously being in the middle of the whole distributor thing and the tug thing and all that other stuff that we've done. You could just start seeing and I'm already hearing rumblings of other companies. I'm already hearing rumblings of other companies from from aggregators, aggregator aggregators and distribution companies. What are you hearing? Oh, I can't say names. But aggregators are starting to fall behind on payments. There are certain aggregators are already starting to fall behind on payments. There is no aggregator to my knowledge there might be that had the distributor business model, meaning that that's all they did. Most of these aggregators are part of a giant post house, they're just a services based business. So their main money's not coming in from that. But as everything else starts getting affected, the pressure, they start grinding, the pressure starts being applied, you start seeing what these companies are really made of, which is what happens with like an AMC perfect examples like the second the pressure hit, we're out bankrupt, like we can't, they don't even there's no reserves, there's no found there's nothing they can't so you that's starting to happen. There are certain larger distribution companies who shall remain nameless. But they're starting to I'm starting to hear rumblings about them as well. And, and how that's happening. I've been saying for a while now that things are going to become more predatory. And it's going to be tougher and tougher for filmmakers to get anything, let alone a deal. You look you can get a deal. almost almost almost. I can't say all but a lot of films can get a distribution deal. Will you ever make any money from that distribution deals another story altogether? But you call up 20? distributors right now, one of them is going to take it for free? Why wouldn't they? They just put it in their library and they'll package it out with something else. You'll never see a dime. But that's what happens. So I've always been curious about and I've spoken to some other people at certain tiers. So like, the tier that I talked about to most is the independent tier, the filmmakers that are not connected who don't understand the business who don't know how the game is played, which by the way the game and the rules are changing daily, and now literally daily because nobody knows what the game we're playing anymore. At this, let alone the rules of that game. So I always wonder like, Okay, well, someone's making money and certain movies are being bought and certain movies are getting empty. And, you know, I talked to some some bigger acquisition companies and bigger distribution companies and producers, I'm like, how are you? Like, how is it and it comes to, from what I understand. It's always it's relationships. It's it is built on relationships, that that's how they're getting these deals. So it's not like the olden days, like in the 90s, where you like you, you played something at Sundance, and then, you know, that dude, who shall remain nameless shows up for Miramax and buys your movie, and then you're set for life. Those days are kind of gone. There happen rarely, but they happen. It's more about who you're either who's repping the movie and who they have a relationship with. Or if the producer has an existing relationship with a studio or distribution company that they kind of talk about a priority of and being like, that's how these deals are being made. Because I asked him like, how are you getting like, I know your budgets 3 million, and I know like, how are you actually getting paid? And are you getting an agenda? Like Yeah, what was your MGM? Like, we got a million and a half on a three mil. I'm like, Okay, did you see any money on the back end to like, Yeah, we got paid. So I'm like, how, why are they getting paid, and the rest of the 98% of films made are not. So I came to the conclusion that it is relationships, it's absolutely relationships, pre built relationships, and connections in that way. And if you're outside of that world, that's why you want a distributor because they have those connections to make sales, or you want a sales agents, what they say quote, unquote, you want a sales agent, because they're going to get they have the relationship that's going to get you the deal. And then that's where you, that's where you open yourself up to all sorts of fun stuff that they do to filmmakers, and the predators start coming out. So I'd love to hear your thoughts on the on the matter, sir.

RB Botto 1:41:49
You're 100%, right. It's a relationship business. That's the one thing that will not change. A pri it wasn't it's the same thing pre COVID, post COVID. It's it's relationship business, what I said earlier, the three things that you could be doing myself, one of them is building your relationships right now. It matters it is, I don't care if you're an actor or a writer, producer, you know, a cinematographer a grip, I don't care. The point of the matter is, is the way you get jobs. And the way you get things done in this business is by building relationships and winning champions. And we've talked about this so many times, on probably every episode that we've done on here, and it still amazes me when people come to me and they'll like, literally had this morning literally had to swing. This is somebody that's been on stage 32. And I hope he's listening. This is somebody that's been on stage 32 for seven freaking years,

Alex Ferrari 1:42:34
it does nothing for me does nothing for me.

RB Botto 1:42:35
Yes, no, no, no. I always get I got one of those last few queries like I've been on the spot for five years. I got nothing out of it. I looked at them yet. He had made two postings or two connections, which were me and Amanda, Tony, our Managing Director, which you get when you sign up. So I mean, I was like, Well, yeah, obviously, this guy wrote me and said, and again, seven years active on the site, everything that he if you've been active on the site for seven years, you're certainly seeing some of our interviews. I certainly have had the opportunity, you have certainly seen the insane amount of content that we put all over the platform and the insane amount of content that I put on Instagram, Twitter, on stage, everything like that, that speaks to these kinds of things. And he wrote me this morning and said, You need to get me an ENT now. I've never had any comments. I know he's been a member for seven years. I see him post everyone's like, always posts about himself. Always never contributing in a video. It's never his network. Network group never goes higher. Never. It's always what he's doing right. And he says me those you need to get me to Steven Spielberg and amblin because because, okay, I have a film that's only seven and a half million dollars. And it falls right in line to what they make. And when in 1973. So today go to one is that he has no knowledge bases now following the industry has no knowledge base. Okay. Second thing is, is that he's got no money, you only need something a half million and three. I have no relationship with him. I'm gonna bring him to Spielberg. Like I have him on speed dial. Hey, see?

Alex Ferrari 1:44:08
Yeah, by the way, I was gonna say can you can I would love to have a conversation with Stevie. Stevie a call for me.

RB Botto 1:44:13
Yeah, that's right. I see. I got this guy. You know, he's got only needs a seven and a half. Blige. That's all I mean, you know, I mean, this is what I'm saying. So, why illustrate that and why, you know, because the point of the matter is, is that there are a ton of people that are like that. And that is one of those things where we talk about controlling what you could control. The one thing that you can control. Every single freaking day is dedicating part of your day, to building relationships. I like to say to people, if you're on stage 32 and you're not using it an hour every day, it's on you, because I do I use it in our everyday to build relationships, everything that's good to tap into be as comfortable relationships that I built through the years they didn't happen. The second I sent that network request, they happened over time, even the people that are calling us right now. About stage three two screenings, there are two different types of people. There are people that I have never heard from before in my life that are like, you need to give me the exclusive. And let me at first because I do this that the other thing I'm like, stand in line. And then the second group is the people, the distributors, eyes, distributors and sales agents that I know and that I've worked with in the past, and even that might say, look, you know, are basically on a level playing field. But at least I know that if that person isn't, and this has happened already, we've gotten interest in certain films, right? So what am I going to do? I'm going to go to that filmmaker and say, Look, it's been four inquiries, okay. Two of them are from people that I really, really know well, and that are genuine and get the job done and can pick up the phone and call anybody Netflix. And this is what they do. Talk to those two, first, these other two, I will you could talk to anyone you want, you can talk any of the four names, what do you want, I'm just telling you, I'm going to champion these two, because I have a relationship with them. It's everything. And in the distribution world, this is the other thing else it has to be said. Because I think it's lost on people, you can make the greatest you can make the next whatever pick your favorite film of all time, you can make the next one, okay? If people don't, if you don't have connections, and you just go to somebody and say I've made the next whatever, okay, they're gonna go. How do I know, by the way, I have 50 films I need to watch right here that were recommended by 50 other people, and I trust them, because their taste matters. And their taste is, you know, is exceptional. And if they're telling me to watch is probably pretty good. You want to be in that group. You want to be in that group, you want to be in that group of people. So you are 1,000%. Right? The point of the matter is, is that everything from landing representation to getting a role, sometimes you know what I mean to being cold out of the blue to say, you don't even have to audition, you know, come down. Well, you know, to getting deals that matters, comes to relationships,

Alex Ferrari 1:46:57
like I did with you, I just called you and said you don't have to audition for my movie. rb. So your system your system works is I had that relationship with you, you call me and I said, Where do you need me to be mad? What time? What time? What time? And how much liquor do you need? in me, sir? At the time?

RB Botto 1:47:20
What liquor what liquor you're gonna have? And what is the food? What do you got? That's pretty much it's pretty much my advice. Oh, no, it's true. I mean, it's just relationships, man, it's the most under appreciated. It fascinates me that a lot of people don't get this because I always say that you should treat your business life like you treat the personal life and a lot of ways that you strip things down and make it as uncomplicated as possible. And you strip it down. And you think about like I always say, the relationships you have, from, you know, five o'clock on the people, you go to dinner with people that you know, that are non business related. And you think about how long you you cultivated those relationships and how long it took for you to get that trust and everything like that. It is no different in business. Like the I know, you get these all the time, let's just take it out of the film realm. Okay, and let's just put it into the business realm. The other thing I get all the time, especially now Oh, oh, God, we want screenings because we got so much media. It's, I can't tell you how many businesses you know how many people that run businesses have hit me up going, like we should partner we should partner we should put and I look at it. And they you know, they just launched and they have nothing and they or they you know, and it's like, you know, I don't know you. And I don't even know what you don't make me like, of course, the 15 to 20 people that come to me like vintage. Of course they're going to get first. I mean, I have a relationship with them. I know them. I love them. They're friends of mine. You know what I mean? We built this before five years, dude, five years, we've been trying to figure out a way to work together. That's how much we love each other just couldn't have haven't found that right fit. They call me to data screen. He's got wanted. They said this is the fit. And I went done. Let's do it. Okay, I don't have to sit there and go, what do you think? And what do you know, I know what they think and I know what they can do. So of course, they're gonna go to the front. That's the way you have to see everything you do when you reach out to somebody blindly ask yourself, why you why now, if they don't know you, you it's not enough to say I got the greatest thing ever. Because the idea is you got to get them to watch. You got to get them to read and they're not going to watch and they're not going to read if they don't have a relationship with you, or somebody doesn't champion you to them. It's just the truth.

Alex Ferrari 1:49:30
So let me ask you this then because I know it's been this last part this section of the interview has been kind of dire for certain people watching so I want I want to see if there is any hope what would be the advice for you if you have a film right now finished? In today's world in the in the COVID world that we live in right now? What do you do? Do you shelve it and wait six months? Do you try to self distribute? Do you try to go after distribution to try like what what's your What's your opinion? What's your They do,

RB Botto 1:50:01
I would find somebody that I respect in, you know, producers, I expect respect people who work in that side of the industry, you know, sales agents, distributors, I would and if I don't know those people, I would ask people that I do know, that have made films, and I've done things to give me an end to that person, the introduction into that person or those people. And I would ask them their advice, I would say, right now in this situation, what would you be doing with this type of Because? Because the answer really is different for every type. Here, there are certain genres right now that everybody wants the lbg LGBTQ market right now everybody wants that kind of because it was exploding to begin with. But now there's also a lot of online platforms that are streaming this kind of thing, there are a lot being picked up, there's mandates, I can tell you, there's a lot of mandates for otsego LGBTQ material, and you got it, you got to know who's who's playing there. And you got to know, you know, I mean, so the one thing I would say is, I wouldn't sit on anything like kinkos. To me, you know, you could sit on your hands, thinking that it's going to be done in a couple of months. And it could be like you said two years, and you're still sitting on the hands of them right now, about now your loss. I mean, now you're done, like all that work, and all the time and all the effort, and all the money you raise, and all the things you have, you know, everything you got to deal with, with your investors and all your goals are now going to be double, triple hard, or you know, it's going to be that much harder to win that back or, you know, make good on anything at that point. So to me, it's a great time to be aggressive. But it comes down again, to having a knowledge base, having connections to and if you don't have those connections, man, this is what I'm saying you should be working on them every day come from a place of selflessness. If you're an introvert, never a better time to step out of your comfort zone and just go at it be selfless bring value share content, to all the things that make you engage, that make people want to engage with you, because people will people will engage with you, you know what I mean? But you got to be aggressive right now.

Alex Ferrari 1:52:08
In your, from your side of the fence D Are you seeing? Are you hearing streaming services and content creators and producers and stuff? Are they looking for independent films for their streaming services? Are they like, are they actively looking for that? Or are they looking more for series? If they have series like what is there a market right now for like the real, independent infant genre? If it's a certain kind of genre, obviously, but like just a normal independent film that you would you would see play at a top tier festival? Is there a market for those? And I believe there is absolutely right now is their money, but there's their money for those as well.

RB Botto 1:52:50
It's certainly a Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and stuff like that. Certainly there is I think it's a lot of the premium networks there are, you know, there's money, there is money there. They're looking for it. I think now's the time to be outfitted to be perfectly honest with you. I think the longer this goes, the higher the need for content is but I also would say that or is going to be I would also say you have to be aware of like somebody asked me the other day, like, you know, I talked to you about this TV pilot that had the role of guy and that the ball is producer and everything that we're we're literally out there actively packaging, right. And somebody said to me with your connections, why not just walk the script into Netflix and Amazon and everything like that? And I can I can there are people like a cool that apps either actually that work that work in development approach streamers or know somebody that does, okay, but here's the problem. All right. There is so much content out there right now, there is so many projects and so many scripts and so much material and everything like that, on the script and the things are on the development and the things they want the layup. Okay. So for example, what we were hearing, we add three to one streamer and two networks that are interested in this show right now, all three of them have said get the actor get the show or not. We'll go get the iPad, we'll go get the show, right? Go get an actor, go get a show runner, bring it back. Or if you can get one of the two, bring it back. Okay. And we probably will be you know, we'll likely be in business, okay. They want there's so much of it, that the less heavy lifting they have to do. Right? And that's it. And that's again, why I implore you right now, if you are creative and don't understand the business, one that you're reading the trades to that you're listening to this podcast, 3d you're taking education and educating yourself and everything like that, that you're understanding that you're taking the time to understand how the business operate, it's not enough in this day and age to be a creative anymore. But it really isn't. You need to at least even if you don't want to be a producer, okay, you at least need to know how things operate, and how things move, because it'll put you in a much better position to succeed. And you won't be the guy that says, I have a script that Spielberg love, and I need seven and a half million. Now, by the way, if that guy had written me, even if I didn't know him and said, I have three and a half of the seven, seven and a half, and I have actor x, I would have been like, oh, let me see who I could call.

Alex Ferrari 1:55:36
But it's not gonna be Steven,

RB Botto 1:55:38
cuz I'm not gonna be Steven know what I mean. But let's see what we can do with that, you know, there's always, you know, things like that, that come across, or, you know, of course, save 32 loads. But the more value you can bring, the better the package, the more likely that something's gonna get done.

Alex Ferrari 1:55:55
Well, that's the thing is that even even with filmmakers, that's why that's why distributors and, and buyers are always looking like well, what else do you have? Besides the movies? Not enough anymore? Like, Oh, do you have an audience already built in? Okay, who your actors? What's their Instagram followings and all that kind of that ridiculousness, but it's it is a thing. I was talking to a an actor the other day, who's a buddy of mine, who is a very seasoned character actor, he's been in a million things. And he used to do a lot of work. He told me, he's like, I did two national commercials a year and I'd be good, I'd be good for the year. But now the game has changed, where they're not doing residual payments as much anymore. They're doing just fine. They're doing buyouts and all this stuff. So he had a casting agent, frankly, can you come in and just sit for the day and read against all these other ones we're doing casting, and he's like, I'll pay you. All right, I need the money. I'll do it. So show up. And right before every time and before the actor would walk in, there was a lady in the corner that will yell out 7230 450 10. And it went on all morning. And he's like, but no one would refer to them. And he would just say out this, they would say this number out. And then, like at lunch, he pulled up pulled her aside, listen, um, what's up with the numbers? What are those numbers? Oh, that's the Instagram followers. Oh, yeah, man, and casting and casting. And I was like, wow. And that's, that is like, why would you cast somebody? If you have two equal actors who could do the job and have the same fame or whatever, but one has 100,000 followers and one has none? Why wouldn't you just give it to the 100. That's, that's an extra, like, if another 1000 people watch your movie, or rent your movie or whatever, that's more than the other could offer. So it's not even enough about being the best of the best. And being super good. It's about what else you can package it and what else you can bring it in, what other ancillary, you know, value you can provide in every aspect. So you can't just be a director, you have to be a writer, director, or you got to be a writer, director, producer, with some credits behind you. Or I can also bring post to the table. Oh, I also have a relationship with this actor. And I already have a distribution company that's already pre bought this, like, you need to eat the days of just being the one trick pony. And that works for some people. Like if you're Chris Nolan, or David Fincher, and those kind of guys, that's a different time and a different caliber. But that's a small wind. That's a small group of guys and girls, that could do that. The rest of us have to bring other things to it. Like,

RB Botto 1:58:30
you know, what the well, and they did it when they started, they bought the value, too. I mean, that's the thing. They brought a game like this they brought yet that's how they got there. You know, I think that he everything he's saying is absolutely correct. And I think that when you bring you you have to be you don't want everybody to get like, you know, crazy about the idea of why don't have 100,000 Instagram followers, but not one of the matter is, is that there's a there is different types of ways you can bring value. One of the films that's on stage stage two screenings, I love this story. It's called Best summer ever. Yeah. And the people that made the film The whole idea behind film, it's an hour and 15 minute musical now. Okay, so let's just start there. And our 15 minute musical, the idea of getting theatrical and the idea of you know, it's kind of in a little bit nomads, that right plus some years ago, but the whole idea behind it was most of the actors and everyone down even down to the producing team, part of the producing team, or people with special needs. Okay. So they went and raised some money, okay. And then they went to Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, and Benjamin Bratt and said, We're not asking you to star in it, we're not asking you to carry the movie we're just asking you to, could we would you be willing to play a part in this and they got them to use the money they raised and they you know, and do what they need to do to get them. Okay. That's extreme value. Now, if they took that, even though even though it's got that Totally uplifting aspect to it. If they take that script, and I know music, unknown songwriters, musicians, and they take it out, people are gonna go, it's really nice. But this is show business. It's not real friends, right? Like we get it, but we just can't throw the money into it. But now they bring the value of the actors. So now there's both of these things, okay? They know there's an audience for it. They know they have these actors, there's more value. Now all of a sudden, boom, this thing gets elevated right now everybody wants to be a part of it.

Alex Ferrari 2:00:30
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

RB Botto 2:00:41
We put this this was one of the first phones we took live on screenings. And this is one of the ones that they've already had for that, I think this morning. That was one of the one requests for meetings for distribution. And it's because again, if I put together to put together the package, so that's just a way to illustrate what we're talking about your there's always way. It's like I said, with our pilot, it's like, you know what we here we go. Great producer, man. Oh, yeah, that gets the job done. Oh, that actor that gets the job done. Who's the showrunner? And we're like, Really? That's not enough with those who show right. Okay. All right. So now we got work to do. Now we got to go. Now we have show runners reading. And oh, you know, if you can get one more active, so Okay. So we have some actors reading because right now act as a home doing nothing except making, you know, videos singing imagine. So, you know, we, you know, we're in? We're in a golden time. It's just how do you take advantage of it? How do you position yourself? And that's the question you should ask yourself every day, what do I want to accomplish today? What do I want to do today, that puts me in a better position to get to my goal. You know, our goal is to get this show made. To get that show made. These are the two bridges, you have to cross we need to find that valuable showrunner we got to find at least one of the to find out about so okay.

Alex Ferrari 2:02:01
If you remember, of course, back in the day with with a movie like the player, it used to be based the way Hollywood used to work was was all based on a pitch, you didn't have to bring other value than an idea, not the script, not a Polish script, not a package deal. None of that is based off of a pitch. And pitches now are rare if they ever get picked up anymore, but now you've got to bring it they don't want to do any heavy lifting at all. They want everything to just be handed them on a silver platter. Why? Because there's a million other projects. So I says, Man, there's too much choices. So you've got to prevent, provide as much value as you can. So as an independent filmmaker, bring in an audience, bringing, bringing a system or having actors or cast that has an audience. What other value can you provide? Do you have some sort of distribution? Do you have some sort of deal? Do you have some sort of sponsorship that you can leverage? Is there something else that you can bring to the table other than the amazing film? Because the amazing film, arguably is not enough? In most cases?

RB Botto 2:03:05
And in you know, look, this is what goes back to the idea of the right Rep. It's kind of this is kind of interesting segue because, you know, I was repped by the guy that rep Shane Black. And if you talk about selling a pitch, I mean, he literally sold the last boy scout for 3 million off a napkin, an idea on a napkin, literally, he invited the studio heads down to his office, they got to spend a half hour with the napkin. And by the end of the day, they just remote. So, you know, that's changed dramatically. He was my manager for a while we decided to, you know, still applicable, everything is fine. But I wanted to move in a different direction I have not secure even though I'm writing the the the feature that I'm writing right now with the guys at zero gravity, I am not repped, I don't want to be wrapped, I'm doing it on my own. So putting this pilot together, putting my producer side on working with other producers, and I'm doing it now, if I had a rep that was of a certain stature, there is the chance that that rep might have been able to walk a pilot in or walk us the feature in or whatever, and say, we don't have any assets. But this is the deal. And they might say because this is a trusted source. And maybe they've done something before with that network, or they've done something extreme that they say, we'll take it on. Okay, we'll figure out a way to put it together or whatever we'll bring in our producers, you guys will co produce and we'll put it you know, it could be it could be anything like that, right? So I don't want to say there's only one avenue, we all know is a million avenues. But what I will say is, the best way to put this is, the more you can control, the better you're going to be and the longer you can control it better if you're going to be so for example, if you add a feature strip and you gave it to your manager and your manager goes and sells it or whatever, and then they say okay, now we want to rewrite the entire thing. You're off the film, okay, you're gone, but But if you have that same feature script, and you're helping to put it all together, and you're working with people to put it all together, and you bring it as a package, because now you have an actor or director or whatever, who loves the script for lunches script, your odds are, you're getting fired off that script, or much less. So again, it's everything is controlling, my whole thing is control things for as long as you can control them for as far as you can control them. And to be able to do that. You have to educate yourself on the way that things work. And you have to know what's going on in the business stuff. You're not reading the trades every day, it's another thing.

Alex Ferrari 2:05:37
I mean, but now more so than ever, because literally, the world is changing on a daily basis, our industry is changing on a daily basis, companies are going down. New new blueprints, and new paths are being created to generate revenue. Like there's there's thing kwibi all of a sudden showed up. And and now I've heard mixed things on kwibi as far as the backend is concerned, like it's they're spending obscene amounts of money. And they're not getting what they want. And they're not getting the numbers that they wanted. You know, I think the first and they quit, don't quote me on this was like 700,000 users or something like that when they were expecting. Yeah, a lot more. And I was talking about my dp friend, he's like, yeah, there were also talking about how they shoot, like, their productions are completely different. So they shoot it vertically and horizontally at the same time, and their deal to my knowledge goobies deal is they own for two years. And then after that, it's yours to do with as as you wish. And one of my actors from this is mag. He's Oh, he's from Reno, 911. And Reno 911 was one of the companies one of the shows that kwibi picked up. He told me that they paid me physically. Amazingly, they did really like and they only have an hour and a half of content. So it was basically what it nine shows. Yeah, yeah, no. They're paying. Good. Yeah, we

RB Botto 2:07:00
have a we're doing a we're actually doing a webinar. It's this week to this weekend. The beginning of next week, we triple Clancy tripper, it's about writing for quippy tripperz sold, trip has been in the business for a long time, tripper has sold shows to everyone, he sold two shows the quiddity. And so he's going to teach every it's not just the writing thing, it's producing to like how to negotiate with kwibi, and how to position yourself according, and he was like, I gotta tell you, this was, like, out of everything I'd done. These were like two of the easiest sort of deals to put together. And, you know, from the content to making the deal. He said, You know, it was it was amazing. So again, do you have that tool in your arsenal? If you're a writer or producer, don't you want to know, where you know, these people have spent a bajillion dollars buying content? Wouldn't you like to know how to get to them? Or how to write something that that's what I'm talking about, though, if you're either doing it? Well, you're not? You know what I mean? You're either doing it or somebody else? And if you did, I didn't know.

Alex Ferrari 2:07:59
Yeah. And if you didn't know what kwibi was, like, if you're listening to this right now, and you're like, What's quibi? I'm like, you're already you're already behind the curve. You're already behind the curve, if you don't know what quibi is. And I'm not saying that that's the future. It might crash and burn in a year. Who might it totally? It's not off to a great start. But there's real big money behind it. There's real power players behind it. I don't, I don't think personally, it's the future of content. I think it's an addition to where we're at. I think it's just another thing, another way to consume content, but I don't think it's the future like everything's going to be 10 minute episodes. I don't think that's going to be a thing I said, famously was talking to see what happens. But I don't think that's good. It's just another thing.

RB Botto 2:08:44
Yeah, I think there's a place to show up on content. I think that they had a blessing. They had a blessing and a curse thing happened, which I really I'll be honest with you, I thought it was gonna be a blessing, you know that I didn't think it all the way through. But I was like, oh, wow, they're launching? How lucky are they that they are launching what everybody's home? Because people are going to be you know, looking at Goodwill. I think the problem is, the thing I didn't think through was people, you only watch it on your phone. And people are now home with their 70 inch TVs and they're saying, Why the hell do I want to watch this on my

Alex Ferrari 2:09:16
kwibi needs. They need to set up they need to set something up for an app like a television app to have to, to survive. They have to survive the evil it's still 10 minute sentiment episodes. That's fine, but it's a weird, it's a weird education. A weird, a weird challenge to educate the public on what they're trying to do. Because it's a learning curve for people. It's a new way of doing things. So I'm interested to see where it goes. We'll see. We'll see. It's just such an it's just a weird. It's a weird, weird time and it is such a weird time to be around and to be what we do and what we do. I've never experienced anything like this. I've never even heard If anything like this in the history of our industry is there the unknown is so incredible, that scary and yet very exciting at the same time, because literally in a month or two from this conversation, the world could be completely upside down in another way our world in the industry could be completely in a different way. And all of a sudden now, okay, all markets are closed, everything's now digital. And this is the company who's doing it. And all festivals are, are shut down for the next three years. And Sundance is going to be on stage 32. Like, there's a million different ways of things happening. And I'm just, I'm glad that you were able to come on. So we could talk about this, I want to bring you back in the fall to kind of do to do a post mortem in the last, like, let's make the next four or five months and see what happens. And to see if all the predictions we might have had or talked about what actually laid out. Let's see what happens in the fall. Because, man, this is just so freakin unheard of. Man, I you know, and and i and i hope everyone listening takes what we've we've said to heart and goes out and educates themselves and gets prepared and be beast alone in Rocky three in that in that underground basement gym ready to go fight Mr. T, because this is the time like you were saying to smart managers and agents are just stockpiling, stockpiling. So when the doors do open, they can just come in and go Look what I've got. And that's where all all of us listening should be doing in one way, shape, or form. I'm doing it on my end. I know Arby's definitely doing it on his end. And that's what we got to do. Without question. Any any final word, sir?

RB Botto 2:11:48
Well, yeah, I would say that the doors are going to swing open, I think a lot of doors are open right now i would i would highly recommend. Look, again, I know, for a lot of people, this isn't easy. They're not feeling motivated, and everything like that. Shut the news off, do yourself a favor. Don't look at your Twitter stream. Because you know, not only is there a lot of gloom and doom and a lot of anger and a lot of hate out there. And right now, I don't think any of us need anger or hate and all that. So shut that out, shut out the noise. The other thing I highly recommend when we talk about educating yourself is don't educate yourself through Twitter as well. There's a lot of, there's a lot of bad information out there. There's a lot of bad information I spent a half hour looking through one day and I'm like, this is so damaging and detrimental, that you have to know who you're listening to. You have to do researches on the voices before you believe them. know who these people are, know who you're taking education from, or you know, you know, if you read the trades, you say, You know what's going on, but quit yourself in positions, if you're not feeling really motivated to to cut out the negativity and get yourself there. And if you are feeling motivated, there really has not been a better time. I can't stress it enough. Whether you're using stage 32, or whether using something else, make sure you're networking. Make sure you're building those relationships. Make sure you're educating yourself, make sure you're putting in the work and the time, and you're understanding what's going on in the business in the day to day. And if I could just throw out some follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

Alex Ferrari 2:13:15
Oh, obviously. Don't worry. It'll be in the show notes. Don't worry. Okay, yeah. rb walks into a bar, which ident which is not anymore. Actually. You gonna have to change your handle now because you can't walk into a bar anymore.

RB Botto 2:13:27
You can walk into my own boy now. But RV walks into a bar on Instagram and Twitter but also on stage 32 if you are new member, you will see my mug on your wall. The second sign up, do drop me a line I answer everything. And if you are on stage 32 like I said, get any questions or even Instagram or whatever doing questions, shoot me a DM and happy to answer them. And if you have any questions, like I said earlier about where your material fits, or where your finished film fits or anything like that, J dot merge, it's the date j dot m er ch at stage 30 two.com. And the final thing I'll just throw out again, it's great because we need we need everybody's help on this. We really do. Everything we've done with stage 32 screenings has been grassroots Vale has gotten a quite a few of the film festivals have gotten behind this but some of them haven't. So if you had a film when no submitted had to film at South by Tribeca mountain film, they'll or BMI, flat BMI London flair, LGBTQ, please send them our way. And if you're a film festival director or you want your if you were in another film festival, and it was cancelled, and you want to be involved with screenings just write us at screenings at stage 30 two.com.

Alex Ferrari 2:14:46
And before we finish there, we can't have a conversation about COVID-19 and in the entertainment business without speaking about Tiger King, did you see it sir?

RB Botto 2:15:01
I did kitty cat. You cool cats and kittens out there. cats and kittens. Did you happen to see today? that apparently nine big cats are eight or nine yet have COVID COVID it was just crazy. I did see I did see it. I didn't see I haven't seen the bonus

Alex Ferrari 2:15:19
at the booth. It's just it's just it's just interviews. It's just interviews. I watched half of it.

RB Botto 2:15:23
I was like, I saw it. It was I showered. Heavenly. Yeah. Yeah, very heavy. It's fast.

Alex Ferrari 2:15:33
It's fascinating to watch that show because and for everybody who has not heard of Tiger King is a docu series on Netflix. And I think the timing couldn't have been more perfect for that show. I'm not sure if it has if it comes out before Corona. I don't know if this if it has the same. Well, it does. It doesn't have the same cultural impact that it did. But because everybody was home and they said, Hey, what's this? This is exactly what happened. Like, I turned on Netflix. I like Tiger King and I just like watch the trailer. I'm like, Oh, that looks interesting. Let me see. You know, I'll pop it and so I watched the first episode. I just like, this can't be No, this can't be real. And like, it's just an every every episode just gets more ridiculous. And more ridiculous. And more and like and you're like, Oh, and there's a drug dealer. Oh, she killed her husband and fed him to tigers. Oh, and he has music videos now. Oh, and there's like, oh, there's merchandise. It's like a really bad Christopher Guest Phil. Like, you know, when he's walking around showing the merge. He's just like, and here the towels I really said like, and his mugs on it. And then I saw the best the best Facebook and Twitter remarks and like, I just thought Tiger King. Is it me? Or is Joe exotic? Not sound too bad as a singer. Like, is it I'm not in the country. But it's like, he's he's not bad, right? It's in me like he's not. I don't like I mean, I like some country, but like, I'm not a big country fan. His voice isn't bad. Like the music videos are hilarious. I mean, they're brilliant. It's just a level of genius. It's it's almost to the room level of genius. And how good you know, I saw cat I saw Tiger into me, like the pseudo erotic thing he had going on with the Tigers. Like, I can't but like, Is it me? It was he's not that bad of a singer.

RB Botto 2:17:22
I actually thought he was a very good singer, too. But then I found out that he didn't. He didn't say Oh, no. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Really?

Alex Ferrari 2:17:33
I was gonna say, Mike, so he was he Milli Vanilli did.

RB Botto 2:17:38
Yeah. He really even noted it. And besides watching it, I'm like, how does that voice come out of that? voice like you don't mean? Like, how does he get a damn for the singing when he sounds like when he speaks? He sounds like you know, it's been ripped Of course grab. It's, it's really interesting.

Alex Ferrari 2:17:54
So now you see I've learned something new today. Today. This whole interview was knot not for knot because now I know that Joe did not sink. But the music videos are?

RB Botto 2:18:04
Oh, yeah, I think I mean, those are epic. There's a lot of frickin epic things about that thing. I mean, it's just,

Alex Ferrari 2:18:11
it's the biggest it's I just, it's hard to explain in words, like the experience watching it because you watch it and you're just like, this can't This can't be real. Like it was just so many. Like, if you would have written that script. Yeah, you've jumped the shark. It's just you've just gone too far. Pull back a little bit. And no one's gonna believe this. Yeah, but then the the suit like the two gay guys who are the two husbands who are supposed to be gay, but they're not really gay. And they because he just has them on meth. And then the guy with no teeth, and the guy and then the guy, the guy or girl who got her arm ripped off by the tiger who went back to work a week. Like it's just, there's so much if there's it's hard to put into words how to explain it to me. It's hard to put into words why I watched my wife my wife looked at me She's like, I can't believe you wasted seven hours, six, seven hours of your life with this. I can't believe you did this. I'm like, you just don't understand. You just she's like this. And she saw it in the background. That was a funny thing. She'd be doing something else and she was just here going and then like, and then I would hear every once in a while. She killed her husband. Like is that is that did the arm come off?

RB Botto 2:19:27
It's like well we get on the air it's like if you work in Santa Ana right now you completely fuck I mean you just don't how do you come up with anything like how you go to the absurdity of what we're seeing right now and then stuff like that. It's like like you said if you wrote it you have to pull it back. It's like it's so absurd that it's you know, it's almost unbelievable but it's watching what do you think would be good to some recommend?

Alex Ferrari 2:19:49
I am I will Bosh I just finished Bosh, season five Season Five of Bosh. I'm very excited that there is going to be one last season. I wish it would be more but Bosh is arguably one of the Best detective shows on air. It's so good. The first five seasons were excellent, well written. The cinematography is amazing. The cast is great. It's just a hard boil la detective and it's just so well, well executed. So I finished that. I finished shameless. Finish the last season, the shameless that we finished off Ray Donovan, as well that's over, as well. And right now I'm in the blacklist, I'm in the middle of the blacklist. Okay, I hadn't come catching up and I'm catching up on all these shows that were supposedly really great. And I'm on season and almost at the end of Season Four of blacklist. So we're just like Vin bingeing that right now. Finishing that off and yeah, we that's it basically. I mean, we just when I was just TV, occasional news once in a while, but that's basic. And then of course, Shark Tank in song land. I Those are my Those are my two reality show. pleasures, guilty. Pleasure. Song. Song land. I love song. Like just because I love the fat fascinated watch how they fucking write songs. It's like they just, they're like, Oh, yeah, here's the beat and they'll just start at the end. Like, how did you How is what? So brother man, it has been a pleasure as always having you on the show. I you know, we could we have had epic conference. I think our longest record still is three hours and a half of that Oscar, that Oscar show that we did years ago. That was Yeah, that was a long epic one. But, but thank you for coming on, man. Thank you for everything you're doing for the for the community and for filmmakers in general. And, you know, we got to take it one day at a time. But thank you so much for for all your insight, man. I appreciate it, brother.

RB Botto 2:21:46
Nah, dude, thank you for having me on. You know, I love you. And you know, I love coming on here. And I love talking to this amazing audience that you've built and this brand you built. And like I said earlier, if this is one of the first ones, you're listening to the first one to listen to, you need to listen to the other ones. But Alex and I are dear friends, we built this relationship over a very long period of time. And, and I love what you're doing for the community. And I love you and you know that so look, we'll we'll get through this. It's going to be what was the movie? It's going to be a bumpy ride bumpy night. What was that?

Alex Ferrari 2:22:16
It's gonna be a bumpy, it's gonna be a bumpy ride. But, but but the industry is resilient. It's it's a very resilient industry, and it's never gonna go away.

RB Botto 2:22:24
Well, the most important thing, I'm glad you said that the most important thing and we can kind of end on this note is the industry is resilient. But right now is the time for if you're somebody that really desires or you're in the business, or you have a desire to have a career in this business, now's the time for you to be resilient, and to really, and to really dig in if you can. And I think when you're on the other side of it, I think the opposite, I really do think the opportunities are plentiful. Now, I think they're going to be off the charts, you know, because the need for content is never going to go away.

Alex Ferrari 2:22:55
Thank you, brother. I appreciate it. Man, talk to you soon. Stay safe.

RB Botto 2:22:58
Thank you!

Alex Ferrari 2:22:58
I want to thank RB for coming on the show and sharing his thoughts about what is going on with COVID-19 in our industry. And I hope you got something out of it guys. Like we said before, there is a lot of opportunity, there's a lot of hope for the independent filmmaker, moving forward in this new film industry that is being created day by day, nobody really knows where this is all gonna land where it's all going to settle where we're going to be in a year or two. But I do promise you that things will change and things will not repeat, not go back to exactly the way things were. There's just no way that Genie has been let out of the bottle. Thanks. Again, if you want to get links to anything we spoke about in this episode, or want to reach rb, head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle/385. And on a side note, guys, I've been working on something fairly large for the tribe. Over the last couple of weeks, I hopefully will be announcing in the next week or two. I think you guys are going to be very excited. A few of you have already gotten a couple of sneak peeks at what I'm doing. And the reviews have been very positive. So I'm very excited about it. But this is a this is a fairly big deal that the thing that I'm doing as far as the amount of work I'm putting into it, but it is a big thing that I'm putting together for you guys. So hopefully it will provide more and more value to the tribe. So keep an eye out for that. Thank you guys again. As always, keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. Stay home and safe. And I'll talk to you soon.



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IFH 382: Filmmaking Side Hustles to Survive the Pandemic

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Many filmmakers thinking is based on two months ago. They believe that the world will go back to exactly how it was before on this pandemic blows over. That might be true and I truly hope it does but hope alone will not pay the rent. Our industry is going through an unprecedented shift. If I may quote the Ghostbusters,

Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath-of-God type stuff.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling.
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes…
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together – mass hysteria.

We as filmmakers need to start thinking about how we can pivot your business, skills, knowledge into the new reality that we are living in and very well might be in for some time to come. 

Things that already are pivoting in the film industry:

  • No theatrical screenings, release on TVOD Premium
  • SXSW teamed with Amazon for a Virtual Film Festival (this could do more harm than good)
  • Drive-ins are making a comeback
  • Can’t screen your film in theaters, set up a virtual screening
  • AMC Theater’s stock has been downgraded and isn’t expected to recover

You have to think about what your customer needs are right now and address them. The companies that are sitting on the sidelines fearful of making any moves will be left behind. You as filmmakers need to change your mindsets. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Entire new industries will rise from this turmoil and if you are smart you will be ready to be a part of the new world.

WATCH the COVID-19 Film Production Webinar Masterclass

In this episode, I breakdown some side hustles that will help filmmakers and screenwriters not only survive the pandemic but thrive in the new world we will be walking into.

Filmmaker Side Hustles

  • Shoot Stock footage
    • Drone Stock Footage
    • Every day around the housing stock footage (cast your family)
    • Go to locations to shoot (Social Distancing) where people aren’t
  • Online gig economy 
  • Offer Virtual Post Production Services
  • Offer Virtual VFX, Motion GFX Services
  • Create GFX Templates
  • Create Color Grading LUTS
  • Offer Consulting

Screenwriter Side Hustles

  • Write commercially: handbooks, corporate brochures and the like
  • Researchers
  • Blog Writing
  • Write for a website
  • Advertising copywriting
  • Editing copy
  • Write grant applications
  • Offer Gigs on Fiverr 
  • Create an Upwork Profile to sell your writing services
  • Create a comic book (partner with an artist) – Could turn this into a short or feature once the air clears

Online Moneymaking Side Hustles

  • Swaybacks.com (Get paid to watch videos)
  • Become a virtual assistant
  • Virtual Tutor (VIP Kid – $14-$22 per hour) Chegg.com
  • Transcribe Audio or video (Rev, Scribe, TigerFish)
  • Review Software (SoftwareJungle)

I go into more detail in the episode. Think outside the box because the box you knew is not coming back. It will be a new box. Don’t be Blockbuster Video and fight to keep what you know while you reject the reality of what is.

Stay safe out there.

Alex Ferrari 0:33
Well, guys, I hope you are all hanging in there in this insane time in human history. I am quarantined here at home with my family have been for now going on three weeks. It is an interesting time to say the least. And being quarantined gives me a lot of time to think to work on stuff. But I've been watching and seeing what is happening in our industry and how filmmakers are thinking how screenwriters are thinking and people in our industry are approaching this unprecedented time in our history. Now before I get to all the side hustles that filmmakers can do in us to help them get through the pandemic and even thrive during this time. I wanted to put together this podcast to hopefully shine a light on an issue I see happening in the mindsets of a lot of filmmakers and screenwriters out there right now. And it is something that is completely in 100% natural, but it's something that I want to bring to your attention to maybe if you can think about it, you can change it. But right now, so many filmmakers and screenwriters in our industry, our thinking, or their mindset is based on what was two months ago, what this industry was two months ago. They believe that when this is all over, that the film industry, and all the businesses associated with it will go back to normal, just like it was before. But I have a really rude awakening for everybody listening. Our industry will never be the same again. What was two months ago, it is not what is going to be two months from now. Or two years from now. It will change. And I'm not trying to do doom and gloom here. I'm not saying it's going to crash and burn and everything is going to be gone. No. But many of the things and ways of doing business that we were used to, will change irrevocably, for ever. This is a once in a generation kind of event. And to be honest, this is a once in the history of all cinema kind of event. And for the for that matter the world but we're talking about our little industry right now. Now it is completely in 100% natural to want to hold on to what you know, because and to believe in hope that that will be what will happen in the future. Because that is your mindset that is your brain trying to protect you From the unknown, it's trying to protect you from that Tiger that's hiding around the corner. It's trying to keep you alive. But if you fall into this trap, it's going to be a much harder road ahead. In my humble opinion, many of the things that we're used to will go back to the way it was streaming, I don't think is going to change. I think it's actually it's kind of it's in its highlight right now. It's it's at its peak of its history at the moment is it's showtime for streaming in many ways, but so many other parts of our industry are changing so rapidly. Things that have been bedrocks are now gone. movie theaters are shut down. AMC theaters, was just downgraded, their stock was downgraded, and they don't expect it to recover. I don't know what the theatrical business is going to look like when this is all said and done. I don't know what the windowing distribution windowing is going to look like when this is all said and done. I don't know how long we're going to be doing. Being in this kind of quarantine. I don't know what kind of effect it's going to have in our economy. I don't know what kind of effect is going to have on our industry. Nobody really knows what's going on. But one thing is for sure that change is here and change is coming in you need to prepare yourselves for that change. Here are some things that are already happening in our industry pivots that are happening. There are no more theatrical screenings. The big studios are choosing to release their big blockbuster films on T VOD premium as what I'm calling it a T VOD premium, a transactional video on demand premium, or they're charging 1999. to rent a movie that would normally go theatrically, I have no idea how that works. And if it's working, I got to see the numbers. And we'll see what the reporting is on that eventually, something else South by Southwest, which obviously shut down and canceled this year is teaming up with Amazon to create a virtual Film Festival. The only problem is that Amazon is only offering like $5,000 to stream a film that was accepted into the festival. And another problem is that if you do screen digitally with Amazon, and that's your first time screening, that pretty much is going to kill a lot of distribution prospects for you as a filmmaker, the system is not set up for this guy's our entire workflow is not set up for this. And everyone's just trying to figure out what the hell to do. Another surprising thing is drive ins are making a comeback. People are going to drive ins again, because of social distancing. I've heard of filmmakers who are setting up virtual screenings of their films, because they can't film their screen their films in the theater. These are some of the pivots some of the things that are already changing. The thing is guys, that if you don't change your mindset, and you don't start thinking outside the box, with how to get your movie to get your movies out into the world, get them to your customers, to your to people who want to watch your film, generate revenue with them. If you don't start thinking outside the box, you will be left behind. And unfortunately, I feel that you might be decimated, because the studios are getting decimated. So what chances are those little independent filmmaker have nobody understands what's going on. Now, this is a very scary time. But also can be a very exciting time because this is when new innovation happens. This is when you know the Netflix's of the world come up. You remember that Netflix started this online streaming thing back in? Oh 809. And people were like, Oh, what is this and all of a sudden, it is what it is and changed the industry completely. That was something that came out of the 2008 financial crisis. And there will be other innovations that come out of this crisis as well. I just want you to be prepared for it. You have to think about what your customer needs right now and how to address that that need the companies that are sitting on the sidelines, fearful of making any move at all. I promise you will be left behind. You need to prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. Entire new industries will rise from this turmoil and I want you to be prepared for it. to hopefully take advantage of these rare opportunities. Now I'm going to talk about a couple of side hustles that we can do as filmmakers, and screenwriters and filmstrip runners that you can do to generate revenue from home and create new revenue streams that you might have not even been able to know about before. And hopefully that will hold you through or at least help you through this pandemic. Because I know there's a lot of suffering out there. And we haven't even begun to see that suffering yet. It is going to be fairly brutal out there, I'm not going to lie to you. We have 10 million unemployed, unemployed so far, in the United States, and those numbers are growing exponentially. So here are some side hustles that you can do right now at home. For filmmakers. You can shoot stock footage, if you've got a camera, a good camera, maybe some lighting, some cheap lighting. Or even if you could do it on your backyard, whatever, shoot some stock footage. stock footage is an amazing side hustle, amazing passive revenue stream, you could if you have a drone, go out there and shoot some drone stuff, you don't have to do it only in your neighborhood, you can get in a car and go out to places where there aren't a lot of people, or if they you know, just try to of course, be safe, and be social and have a social distancing. But I wouldn't get into a car, unless I haven't go somewhere unless there's going to be barely barely any people there. But that's another option. But you can shoot it in your house every day things around your house, you can cast your family in this stock footage, make sure you're not having them sign a release, because you know, hey, things happen. But have them sign a release. And then you can submit it to black box, black box global, which once you sign up with them is free to sign up, they will submit your stock footage to all of the major stock footage houses, and you don't have to worry about anything and money just comes in, I've been able to create a nice little side revenue, that money comes in all the time, from just a few shots that I put up there from old shoots that I had old footage that I had shot or left behind from other things, and I put them in there. And it's amazing. So you can do to shoot new stock footage, or go into your hard drives and see if there's anything from some old projects, you know, a close up of a hand some establishing shots, whatever things that you might have not used in those projects, and now put them to work for you in the stock footage world. So that is something that you could definitely do online gig economy, which is things like Upwork, and Fiverr. You can offer your services, whatever they might be, there's 1000 different things you can do if you're good at programming, if you're good at computer graphics is all that kind of stuff, there's a million ways that you can become a freelancer using both of those websites. If you happen to have editing equipment at home, or post production equipment at home, a computer and so on. You can offer virtual post production services, editing, color grading, online editorial, deliverables, all that kind of stuff you can do at home, if you have a big enough system at home, you can also create virtual VFX. So if you're a VFX artists, obviously, this is something you can be doing right now, motion graphics and things like that. on more of a film entrepreneurial side, you can create graphic templates. So you can create Photoshop templates of design, graphic design and stuff like that, that you can upload to multiple websites and create passive incomes, you can create color grading lots, if that's something in your wheelhouse, you can an offer to sell those as well. motion graphic templates, you can set up as well. So like titles, lower thirds, all that stuff, you can create them in After Effects and upload them to those platforms as well to sell as passive income. You can also offer consulting, if you have an expertise in filmmaking and cinematography and everything. There's people out there who will pay for your services and for your consulting, just to give them a leg up. So look into that. Now, screenwriting side hustles. If you're a writer, you have a very powerful tool at your disposal. And writing is a much more cost effective way of making a side hustle here you don't need a lot of gear. You don't need a lot of other technical skills. There's a plethora of ways that screenwriters can create side hustles or create income and revenue during this pandemic. You can write commercially handbooks, corporate brochures, things like that. You can be written researcher doing research online, you can be blog writing, there's an absolute insane amount of need for content creation. And if you can write really well constructed blog post articles about certain topics, that's a way to make money. You can write for a website, specifically, you can write advertising copy, you can edit copy, you can be an editor and proofreader for articles for books for short form for anything. And all of these side hustles, you can post on Fiverr, and on Upwork, and create a profile and start selling your writing services, you could also create a comic book, you can partner with an artist and start working on a side project. And if it turns out well, you can actually turn it into a short or feature film by teaming up with a filmmaker once the air clears. Once this storm, this pandemic passes. Now, some online money making side hustles that are general not specific to us. And that's just a couple of different ways. But there is a ton of stuff out there, you can get paid to watch videos and do a bunch of other online stuff by going to swag bucks.com, they actually pay you to watch videos and do other things online, you can become a virtual assistant, again, going through Fiverr or Upwork, you can also become a virtual tutor through VIP kid. And they pay anywhere between 14 to $22 per hour. You could also transcribe audio and video for rev or strieby. And those kind of websites where you can, it's just a way to make some extra cash. You know, there's so many different ways to start looking to make money online. But this is the time guys. This is the time that you have to start thinking outside the box, because the world is upside down. And as Dr. Peter venkman says, dogs and cats living together mass hysteria, it is a very strange time to be alive and a very crazy time to be in our industry. And I want you all listening to not only survive, but thrive today and moving forward. Regardless if this is this last another month, or this last another 18 months. Now if you want links to anything I talked about in this episode, please head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/382. And this episode is also going to be on the bulletproof screenwriting podcast and the film shoprunner podcast because I felt that it's something that needed to be a special crossover event with all of my podcast because I want every part of my tribe to hear this and hopefully have it helped them on their path moving forward in our industry. Thank you guys for listening. I really do hope that this helps you a bit during this crazy, insane time that we're living in. Please stay home, wherever you are, stay home shelter in place. You know, do social distancing six feet. Be careful this thing is not a joke. This thing is not to be taken lightly. You know, I'm in California, we're, I think the third largest hub right now, in the United States and growing. The numbers are starting to get really crazy and really scary here in the United States. So please, be careful. Stay at home. It's the only defense we have against this thing. At this moment in time. I wish you and your families nothing but good things. And Safe travels in this crazy upside down world. Thanks for listening again, guys. As always, keep on hustling at home. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.



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IFH 379: Coronavirus Indie Film Q&A – IFH Tribe Questions Answered

Right-click here to download the MP3

It has been a crazy few days in the world, my friends. With film productions being shut down around the world, movie theaters sitting empty, and film festivals/events canceling because of the Coronavirus pandemic it might feel like the end of days. Hell, there’s even a locust outbreak in Africa, no seriously!

I even canceled my Make Your Movie Bootcamp out of concern for my students. I wanted to do a follow-up episode updating the tribe on what is going on, how it will affect them and what they can do during these insane times. I also answer questions I’ve been getting from the IFH Tribe. I go over:

  • Should I submit to film festivals now?
  • If I had a screening for my film what do I do?
  • Can I get my money back from SXSW and other film festivals for canceling?
  • Can movie theater chains take this hit?
  • Will some studios and distribution companies be able to weather this storm?
  • Tips on what to do while staying home

There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty out there. Stay informed and stay safe. Sit back, pull up another stiff drink and take a listen.

Alex Ferrari 1:33
Hey, guys, I wanted to do a follow up episode to what I did on Monday about the Coronavirus and a lot of questions I've been getting from the tribe in regards to how it's affecting our industry. And a lot has changed in just a day. Actually, yesterday was a massive day of just bad news just coming at us at 1000 miles a minute. And I was emailed and damned a ton of different questions. And I've been seeing different questions on the Facebook groups and boards and stuff. So I wanted to kind of come on and talk a little bit about what's going on how it's affecting our business, answer some questions that a lot of the tribe have. And hopefully this will help you guys through this a little bit more. Now the one thing I wanted to say right off the bat is I cancelled my making your movie boot camp that was going to be scheduled for next weekend, I decided to cancel it because I'm a responsible human being. And I don't want to put anybody in harm's way. And there were people flying in from out of town. And I just, I just didn't want to put anyone at risk. Regardless of what financial damage it might do to me, I decided against it. So I refunded everybody's money immediately. And we will postpone it don't know when it will happen. because not many people know what's going to happen in the next handful of months. But what I will be doing is doing a online version of that course or that boot camp. And I'll let you guys know about it later on. Because I know a lot of people who were coming to the boot camp or were upset but completely understood. And were asking me about the online version. And I know a lot of the tribe around the world who did couldn't fly in for the boot camp. Were really asking about it as well. So just everybody know I will eventually make the make your movie bootcamp available online. So now if you haven't heard and I'm sure you have but I'm going to review a couple of things that happened yesterday. Not only have all of every sporting event here in the US been canceled basically or postponed. Broadway got shut down. productions have been shut down throughout LA and in British Columbia I did a news guest spot talking about I'll Riverdale I think was being shut down and the productions going up there are being shut down out of a precautionary measure as they should. But unfortunately, when these productions shut down, it is going to affect not only the cast and crew of those shows, but the hundreds if not 1000s of people around those productions who are support companies support services that these people rely on just like when you know a major sporting event happens is not just the players and the owners and this the stadium that makes the money but it's also all of those employees all of those support services all support businesses around it even the bars local bars around and restaurants who depend on that revenue to keep their doors open. So it is pretty devastating is a very devastating time. And generally speaking, and I'm just going to clarify this. It's a devastating, devastating time in general, this whole Coronavirus, and how it's affected the world and the deaths and people being being affected by is horrible. This podcast is talking about specifically about our little corner of the world, which is the film industry and how it's affecting us. This is an unprecedented time in history, the film industry has never gone through something like this, only time will tell how many of these major studios will be able to weather the storm. I mean, they're taking a massive hit. And a lot of these companies and specifically distribution companies were flimsy or being held together by a house of cards essentially. And one brisk wind could knock some of these down. So Only time will tell to see how these companies do weather the storm. And I want to say something really clearly here, our industry is extremely resilient. It kept going through major wars, major economic downturns, recessions, depressions, our industry continues, because people out there depend on us, to entertain them, to have them have a way to escape the horrors that they might be going through in life, the issues that they're going through in life, the reality that they're going through in life. And that is our job as, as members of this industry, is to keep that going. And our industry is extremely resilient. I don't think this will ever end. I think this industry will continue to go and go because humans need stories, it is built into our DNA. And that's why I think our, our, our system, our industry will never completely break down. But it will change and it will change multiple times. Now unfortunately, the box office is taking a major hit and movie theaters around the US and around the world are taking massive, massive hits and losses, because people don't want to go or they're shut down in general like they were in China. And you know, billions of dollars are being lost. the studio's are pushing back their releases. And it you know, I just heard Fast and Furious got pushed back up into entire year. And many of the other productions going on are stopping or being suspended until further notice. You know, the movie theaters were already taking a hit before this, you know, the box office numbers were down, but this could really devastate them. I saw many filmmakers had independent film screenings in the coming weeks that they were really depending on for some revenue. And of course, those those revenue streams have now been shut off, they're not going to happen. And even if they did have the screening, how many people would actually show up. So it's devastating not only to the big studios, but even to the independent filmmaker. I mean, I even canceled a screening that I had scheduled for the next couple of weeks. And in two weeks, I was going to have a screening of on the corner of ego and desire in Hollywood. But again, I cancelled that screening because I didn't think anyone was show up. And I also didn't want anyone to be in harm's way. And I cancelled it a little while ago. So that was revenue that I wasn't going to be able to make as well. I know this is tough, it is extremely tough for not only the world, but in our little corner for filmmakers. Because it's tough enough being a filmmaker and trying to generate revenue for your films without having to deal with a pandemic. I mean, no one saw this coming. No one, no one was prepared for this. There is no playbook for this in our industry. There isn't like oh, well this, you know, this happened. So we can do this. And this. There's just no no one. No one saw this coming. Another big area that's been hit in our business is film festivals. As many of you know, South by Southwest has canceled their event, which has been devastating to the Austin market, where I read it was like about $350 million that was going to be generated by that event for the local economy is now gone. And not only that, but unfortunately because there really is no insurance on an act of God which is what this is. Then South by Southwest has no way to refund all of those ticket holders because they've already been spending it that machine has already that that train left the station already months. When they started selling tickets, and those, that revenue was helping them run the machine. But if all of a sudden that machine has runs out of track, which is exactly what happens, there's no way to put to pull back, there's no way to refund everybody that there's just no resources. And south by is going to take an immense hit on this. And, and you know what will happen next year, we have no idea. You know, I wish south by nothing but the best. And I hope that they are able to recover from this, I hope they can figure out a way to refund people, or give them some sort of deal or something. But again, nobody saw this coming. It's insane. It is massively complicated. To cancel an event once it's in motion, even my small event, which was the making movie boot camp, when I cancelled it, it caused a lot of havoc for a lot of people that were involved with the event. But and now I'm so much smaller than a big monster Festival on event like South by. So I could only imagine what they had to go through. But they from what we I've heard, they are going to still give out awards to the filmmakers. But I can only imagine how those filmmakers are feeling. If you are one of those filmmakers listening to this right now, guys, I My heart goes out to you. It is a dream of most filmmakers to get into a major festival and get their film screened at a major festival to see if they can find a home for it through the traditional route. Or leverage that screening into self distributing or something along those lines. And to have your whole life work up to that. And then it be cancelled, is absolutely devastating. So my heart goes out to all of the filmmakers that unfortunately had their films canceled. And my brother from another mother RB bato, from stage two is trying to help all the South by Southwest filmmakers screen their films here in LA, when those screenings will happen, I don't know. Because things have gotten a little bit more serious since I think they launched that. But you can I'll put a link in the show notes that you can go and sign up. If you're a filmmaker, they're a film at South by Southwest filmmaker and go down the path with with stage 32 to see if you will be able to screen those films here in LA at least, to see if we can get some people to some people in the industry to take a look at and possibly sell your film. Or find a home for your film, or leverage it to self distribute it as well. Another question I've been getting a lot is should I submit to film festivals currently because you know, if I'm going to spend 50 to $80 for a submission, and then three months from now, it's canceled? Well, the chances of you getting that money back are going to be nil to none. So should I submit to film festivals at this point? And I know a lot of you out there have a film locked and loaded ready to set out to all the film festivals. The question the main answer I have is nobody really knows how this is going to play out. Nobody knows. So if you're going to submit to a festival, you are taking a risk because right now, as of this recording, who knows where this virus is going to go? How how much of an impact is going to have on the US population or the world population. Nobody really knows there's estimates but nobody really knows what will happen. Nobody knows if it's gonna go down in the summer, which is generally what happens and then it might come back out in the winter. Nobody really knows. But the only things I could say as far as tips on that is look at when those film festivals are taking place. If they're taking place in the summer, odds are that it might continue to go on. It's taking place in the winter. It's a 5050 if it's taking place in the next couple months. Who knows. The next question you have to ask yourself is where is it taking place? Is it a place that is being affected heavily by the Coronavirus right now, if it is and probably not a good idea to submit to a festival that's going to play there because more than likely it's not going to play. So these are the only things I could say I do know of a few festivals that are happening in the next few weeks that are still going on. I think it's absolutely irresponsible of those festivals to do that. And I think that the states that those festivals are in already forcing everybody that has more than 500 or even 100 people gatherings to be canceled. So they might be forced to cancel because again, you know, if you're two weeks away from a film festival, you've spent a lot of your sponsorship money. You've spent a lot of ticket money that's already come in. And now there is no other option. There's no other way to keep that thing going. Just like the studios guys. This might hit film festivals, very well known Film Fest. devils in ways that they might not be able to recover from Only time will tell. Now, I know a lot of you, especially here in the States and around the world, depending on where you are, and what country you're in, are going to be either self quarantine in yourselves, or being forced to be in quarantine, meaning that you're just not going to go out for safety reasons you're going to stay in, you're going to hunker down, and hopefully this thing will pass over may pass by you. So what to do when you're at home for possibly a week or two, you know, I know a lot of schools are being canceled. So there's going to be kids at home. And, you know, the guys the world is upside down right now. It's a very weird time to be alive. So one of the things I wanted to talk to you guys about is like what to do when you're home. I know the first instinct is to stay watching CNN, or Fox News, or MSNBC, or whatever, wherever you get your news from watching it. 24 seven, probably not the best idea. Stay informed as much as you can, through sources that you feel that are reputable, and stay as informed as you can online about what's happening in your area. But when you're not doing that, take this time, because it's an opportunity for you to take the time to do stuff that you might have never been able to do. Whether it because you were working, or you had a commute or you had other responsibilities. Now, you might be stuck at home for a week or two or longer. So take advantage of this time and make it as productive as you can for yourself. You know, take this time to educate yourself as much as possible. You know, take an online course, listen to an audio book, listen to a podcast. Educate yourself as much as you can about what's going on in our industry right now. And and educate yourself about what you want to do if you want to learn how to make a movie. My god, there's hundreds and hundreds of 1000s of videos on YouTube that can maybe walk you through that process. Or take an online course that's a little bit more structured, and maybe will cut your hunting and pecking time online. Do that if you're if you're a screenwriter, right? write a screenplay, start writing your story. Start working on that script, start doing that rewrite that you've been waiting, waiting to do take time take advantage of this time. One thing that happens to me a lot is when I get ill, I get a flu or normal flu or a cold, or I twist my ankle or something like that where I'm stuck in bed where I normally wouldn't be. I use that time as much as possible, because those are opportunities to do things that I normally wouldn't. And yeah, sure you can binge Netflix, you can binge prime, or Hulu or HBO or wherever you watch your stuff. Watch your latest shows and movies. And sure there's time for that. But if you take this time to move yourself forward in your career, that's a positive thing that can happen from all this craziness that's happening in the world. You know if you can Skype with other filmmakers in your area or around the world, discuss projects, ideas, maybe create a writer a writing group through Skype, create a filmmaking group, through Skype with all your other friends from around the country to talk about, not only about what's going on, but about maybe movie ideas about things are happening in something new, create a support group around your friends, your filmmaking, friends, your screenwriting friends, these are things that might have not been able to happen if you were only focused on the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Make this time that you might be in quarantine or self quarantine or locked up in your house as productive as humanly possible. If all your other needs are met, then this might be you have free time on your hands. So use it as productively as possible. You know, there's a lot of fear and uncertainty out there right now. And it's a scary time. It is a very, very scary time right now to be alive. But I know the media has kind of really Hakan this to a hyper level in regards to the fear and creating a little bit of hysteria. Hence why people are buying toilet paper like it's gold Boolean. I don't know. I mean, that's just me. I value a clean but as much as anybody else, but I think canned goods might be better. I don't know. But you can tell that there is a hysteria there is something you know, obviously people are going a little a little nuts. So once everyone gets hunkered down and you know you're in your house, you've got your toilet paper castle that you've built for yourself and your hoarding. Spam. You know, once all that's done, you've got time to, to hopefully focus on yourself, maybe do some, some deep thinking about where you want to go. And hopefully educate yourself as much as possible. You know, when I've had these kind of times in my life where I was stuck in bed or locked up in a house or something where I didn't have access to where I normally would have access to, that's where some of my greatest ideas have come from that as one some of my greatest thoughts have come from regarding my business, my career, everything, it's it's a time that should not be wasted. If you can all help it. You know, it is it's good to crazy out there. And again, stay informed as much as you can. But don't don't go nuts, guys, you know, it's, it's scary. Yes. Be safe. Do you know wash your hands, stay inside, do things that are smart. This is all basic stuff here, guys. Just do all of that. And when all that's done, you have a lot of time on your hands that hopefully, you can turn it into something positive for you, and your career and your path in the filmmaking or screenwriting space. So guys, thank you for listening. I hope this helped hope I answered a couple questions for you guys. Next week, I will be releasing a pretty epic interview I did with film financing expert Franco sama. And we do talk a little bit about the what's going on in the world. But we also talk about the industry. We also talk about how to raise money in today's crazy world, like right now, not a year ago, not 20 years ago, but right now. And it's it was just an amazing interview and I cannot wait to share it with you guys. So that's going to come out next week. someday I'm not sure which day I'm gonna release it yet, but it will be coming out very very soon and I cannot wait for you guys to hear it. If you want to get links to anything I spoke about in this episode, please head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/379 Please stay safe out there guys. I wish you and your family nothing but Safe travels during this crazy time in human history. So thank you again for listening guys. And as always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.



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IFH 378: Coronavirus and the Effect on the Indie Film Business

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We are living in a crazy world, my friends. I wanted to do an episode on the effect the Coronavirus is having, not only on the film industry at large but also on how it will affect the indie filmmaker. With major events canceled like SXSWMIPTVCinemaCon and, Cinequest, indie filmmakers are already feeling the effect. Twenty four of the largest theater owners in China have pulled out of CinemaCon, the largest convention of international theatrical exhibitors. Is the Cannes Film Festival and Market next?

Production has stopped on Mission Impossible 7, which was shooting in Italy and the extremely popular The Amazing Race reality show has been suspended. The new James Bond film No Time to Die has been pushed until Nov 2020. Disney’s Mulan, which is a love letter to the Chinese market has canceled it’s China premiere and the release date in the US is up in the air.

The Chinese box office has been at a standstill. 70,000 screens have been closed since January with no word when they will open. This has cost $2 billion in lost revenue to the Chinese and world film industry. The worldwide box office has lost $4 billion to date and growing each day. The theatrical box office was down 26.6% vs 2018 and this could be a MAJOR nail in the coffin of an already vulnerable theatrical business. We are in crazy times, my tribe.

In this episode, I go over how this event is affecting indie filmmakers, what they can do to prepare, adjust and/or pivot in the coming weeks and months. It has never been more important for filmmakers to adopt the Filmtrepreneurial Method. Diversification of revenue streams is the only way filmmakers can hedge their bets in the uncertain times ahead.

Sit back, pull up a stiff drink, and take a listen.

Alex Ferrari 2:53
Welcome guys. I wanted to give everybody an update on what's going on in the world today and how it's affecting not only the film industry, but how it's affecting independent filmmakers. And I'm assuming at this point, and you guys know about the Coronavirus and the effect that it's having on the world, which is pretty massive if as of this recording today, the stock market has now dropped nearly 20% in the last 11 days. And that's pretty scary today alone, it got almost to 2000 points below dropping 2000 points. As of this recording, I think it's at around 17 1800 still. And it's getting, it's getting kind of crazy, it's getting kind of insane out there. So I know that the last thing a lot of filmmakers are thinking about is like, Oh, this How is this gonna? This is not gonna affect the film industry? Well, it is. And I want her to kind of talk to you all about it. And also, now let's talk about how it's gonna affect the film industry, but how it's gonna affect us independent filmmakers, and how we can prepare for it, how we can deal with it, and hopefully thrive in this new world that we're kind of walking into. I've said many times before that our industry is was being held together with, you know, just holding on, we were just kind of putting tapes and patches on the dam before it broke. And that we were still in fairly good economic times. I don't know if this is going to be where this is going to take us as far as the stock market and how it's going to affect the economy and how it's going to affect us as filmmakers. But I hope it pops back up. I hope it stabilizes and I'm sure it will. I think people are still very uneasy, and there's a lot of confusion out there a lot of unknowns. And when people don't have any security of what's going to happen. People get a little crazy as I saw some videos of people fighting at a supermarket for toilet paper. So I don't think this is the end days, by any stretch. It is something serious. It is something definitely affecting the world. not making any light of it. But let's talk about how it's affecting us and our industry. First thing I want to talk about is the major events that are being canceled. And this is something I've never been, you know, I've been in this business 25 years. I have not heard of this happening because of a virus or pandemic or something along those lines, but South by Southwest has been cancelled. cinequest has been postponed. MIPCOM film market has been canceled. Cinema con, which is a big convention for all the theatrical exhibitors around the world is still going it's still scheduled to go on but 24 Chinese film exhibitors have pulled out, which is insane, because they are one of the biggest markets in the world. It's essentially saying, oh, AFM is open and Cannes is open but no American distribution companies or studios are going to be they're scary. Right now the Cannes Film Festival is still scheduled to go that is still up in the air just like South by Southwest was up in the air. I called it last week, I'm like, I don't know it might get canceled. Can might be the exact same thing. As far as film production is concerned, Mission Impossible seven has stopped production in Italy because of the virus. The very popular show The Amazing Race has been suspended completely, which is a massive, massive hit as far as financial to those companies. Also the Olympics are still going on are still planning to go on the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, but who knows. And that's a tremendous amount of production and then tremendous amount of money for the network's for the studios that own the networks, as well as production and things like that. So it's pretty, pretty insane. Film releases. I know at this point, most of you know that the new James Bond no time to die has been pushed back from November and was supposed to come out this month. And Milan might get pushed as well. Milan is a $200 million Disney film. It's the remake of the animated film. And it is basically a love letter to China. So they have canceled the release of it in China, as well as a list of every basically every major release has been canceled in China, which I'll talk to you about a little bit more in a minute. And in May all the major blockbusters are scheduled to go the New Black Widow from Marvel Studios and all these other big movies are supposed to come out and they might be impacted. So this could really, really hit the industry where it hurts. Now, the Chinese market is basically the box office is at a standstill. 70,000 movie theaters in the Chinese market have been closed since January and there is no word until when they will reopen. They have lost $2 billion in revenue so far. And across the world because of this virus $4 billion and worldwide box office has been lost. And major major releases throughout all major releases from the studios have been cancelled in the Chinese and Korean markets, which are both monster markets for us. Talk a little bit more about that in a minute. sag AFTRA also created a statement of made a statement publicly to not only to the studios but to everybody that they are monitoring the situation and their main concern is to protect the health and well being of their members, which are the actors. Well, if for whatever reason, in the coming weeks, things started to get a little insane more than today. sag actors might have to be pulled back and not allowed to work until this thing blows over. I can't I can't even imagine what kind of impact that would have on the studios on television on the streaming services. Now the theatrical box office has been taking a hit lately, from 2018 to 2019. theatrical box office lost 26.6% of its revenue. And that's with the monster movies that Marvel and Disney have been putting out because by By the way, Disney owns the top seven of the top 10 biggest box offices of last year. So if Disney was not around, and Marvel was not doing what it's doing, the entire film industry would be in a much, much worse place than it is now. This, this virus might be a major nail in the coffin of a very, already very vulnerable, theatrical business. You know, I don't think theatrical releases will ever go away, I think it's still going to be a major box office is a major revenue stream for studios. Around the world, people still want to go out but right now, this is people don't want to go out into public places where there's, you know, a lot of people you know, it's it's hurting, it's hurting the box office numbers a lot. And people are already starting to trend away from theatrical releases in the way it used to be. So just like the DVD market, and the blu ray market, and the foreign sales markets, all those market started to trend differently, while the theatrical business is starting to trend differently as well. And the studio system is trying to deal with it as best we can. And I'm gonna keep talking about the big the macro, the macro view of this whole thing. First, before I get into how it's going to affect us, and where the potentials are for us as independent filmmakers. Streaming is up and will continue to grow with Disney plus Netflix, Hulu. And now coming on to the on the playing field, HBO, Max and peacock are both going to be coming on in the coming months. And numbers will continue to go up. So people are staying home, people want to stay home because they're afraid because of this virus. You know, I don't know how long the virus will be I think during the summer, it will, it will more than likely calm down. Historically, that's what happens with with these kind of infections. But in the in the winter, it could go back up again. That is another thing after I started studying a little bit about pandemics in the past, that is kind of the way it goes. Mind you in the past, we didn't have the technology we had, we didn't have the advancements in medical, in the medical field that we have now. So it's not as big of a deal as it was in 1918. With the Spanish flu, let's say we're now there's so much more available worldwide to help with this. And it has been. So I don't know how long this will last. But I know it is going to have a major effect on the studio system, it's going to have a major effect on the entertainment business. in general. It's also affecting the gaming industry, it's affecting so many different industries, I can't even start to list. This is something that nobody saw coming. This is not something that the studio system has prepared for. It's not definitely not something that the rest of the world was prepared for. But let's talk about the studio system. And the entertainment business in general. They, they never they never saw this coming. And I don't think many of them have a plan to deal with it, obviously. So studios that have not diversified their revenue streams are extremely vulnerable. This is what I've been saying for a while now. That the major studio systems, there's only a handful of them that will survive if we get hit with a really big economic hit. And not only is that happening right now, the economy is still you know, getting a little bit shaken up. But just the revenue than the cash flow going to our to the studio systems is getting hurt right now because of lack of box office. You know, what if the so if Sony's film division, all of a sudden, was deprived of most of its box office this year, what do you think will happen to Sony? What do you think happens? If bond doesn't do well, because people aren't able to go see it in the theater? Do you think they're gonna change stuff? Do you think that this might be the thing that drives the studio system to start moving away from box office and moving more towards, you know, a day in day release? I don't know. Now, the question is, how is this going to affect independent filmmaking? Well, I promise you something. And I've said this before, and I'll say it again. I promise that predatory film distributors will become even more predatory. As their cash flow starts to tighten around their necks, if you will, is that cash flow starts to tighten down, they're going to start getting more and more desperate and, you know, it's going to get harder and harder for filmmakers to get any money out of them. If ever fewer depending on what type of deal you signed, it's never been more important for you to have the to use the film to pretorio model to diversify your revenue streams for your film and or films and or production companies. If streaming or theatrical revenues dry up for you as independent filmmakers, which to be honest with you, it's kind of already has, I think we're in good shape in that sense, because not a lot of people are making a tremendous amount of money on streaming, or theatrical. There are some, but generally speaking, that's not been a cash cow. For us as independent filmmakers. There are exceptions and there's a lot of people who are making money, don't get me wrong. But generally speaking, it's not been a it's not the glory days of the 90s or even the early 2000s. So if all of that revenue dries up, and that's the only way you're generating revenue for your film and or films, you're screwed, you're done. But you're not gonna be able to make make money with your films anymore. But if you had other ancillary product lines, if you had other services that you are selling that are outside of this business, meaning online education, merch, mirch services, other you know, other other events, situations, maybe not the events so much anymore. But other revenue streams as I laid out in my book Rise of the film entrepreneur, then you're going to be in a lot better shape, as money will continue to roll in. And you can kind of hunker down while this storm passes. Now the bottom the other thing is, though, this might be a tremendous, tremendous opportunity for independent filmmakers, because now people are streaming more people will want to go to stay home, they want to see more content. And if production slows down, new production slows down. And all the production for these new platforms starts to slow down or stops because of sag or because of worries like they did in Italy, because of Mission Impossible, they just shut down production shut down Mission Impossible seven. I mean, millions and millions of dollars are being lost every day that that movie is not on, and won't be anytime soon. If production starts to slow down, or halt, these streaming services are going to need more content, existing content. And that's where we might fall back in in favor, people will be like, oh, all of a sudden Netflix is like I need new stuff. Let's go out and look what films are available. Let's see what shows are available. Let's see what's out there. And let's start buying stuff up because we need content. And if you're in a good place and have that content for them, and if it's what they need, it might be an opportunity. So keep an eye out for that opportunity. Present yourself in a way that those opportunities might be good for you. And might be attractive for streaming services and new streaming services and new Avon services to to look at if you are working out if you are working with a distributor, and you have a distribution partner, reach out to them and find out Hey, what do you guys do and how is this affecting you? You know, are you going to go to can Are you know what? What do you see happening in the next year? How are they? How are you? How are you planning to deal with this? See what they say? You know, hopefully if the distributor is proactive, they're going to release some sort of statement or email to all of their partners and say Hey guys, this is what's going on. We're gonna keep you updated on everything you know, hopefully distributors would do that. I'm not holding my breath and all of them I know handful will but start to have that communication guys, especially if you're expecting payment expect especially if you're expecting some sort of sales to come in. You really need to start communicating and start figuring things out with your distribution partners. And see how this is affecting people because if it's affecting the giant if is expecting the giant studio system, this gargantuan Goliath it will be affecting your mission. level or low level distribution companies. I promise you, it's gonna hit everybody. You know, the box office is still a major revenue stream for a lot of a lot of studios and theatrical. So when that money starts to dry up, you know, the feds gonna hit the Shan guys. And let's not even start to discuss the foreign sales and international sales. That's going to be really difficult and interesting to see how that pans out over the quarter and the next quarter next 3456 months, especially if the Cannes Film market is canceled. It's gonna be really interesting. You know, I hope by the time AFM rolls around in November, we'll be able to have that I really do hope so. And in all likelihood, it will. You know, I don't want to be you know, a tinfoil conspiracy theorist, you know, tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists like the world come to the end, Walking Dead's coming, I don't believe that I want to as part of being part of my tribe to understand what's going on. And to adjust, pivot, and prepare, if you're in production, to understand where your what what kind of marketplace you're walking into, if you're done with a movie, and you're trying to get it out into the marketplace to understand what kind of marketplace you're working into. If you've been in the marketplace, for a while, understand what kind of marketplace you're you're in, and maybe new opportunities for your film that I've been sitting on the shelf for 234 years, there might be new fresh opportunities for your film, or series, or to dust off some old stuff and see if it hasn't hasn't some new value to it. The world is changing guys. I've been saying this so often over the course of the last year that this was possibly going to happen not this way. But this Something is happening. And again, I hope it bounces back. I hope the stock market tomorrow bounces back another 2000 points, and we start to stabilize and more likely that will happen in the course of the next three or four months, I think we will start to stabilize? I don't know, I really don't know, nobody knows. But I hope that once the virus starts getting weaker, people get a little bit more, you know, wrap their heads around it or under control contained, if you will, once people feel that, then things will start to level off again. But the problem guys, one of the major problems I think the film industry has specifically with the China market is that the Chinese box office market or the film market in China in general has been propping up the the numbers for the entire studio system. You know that this is a new phenomenon. China was not a box office power 15 years ago. This is a recent phenomenon that they were able to build out such a massive infrastructure where they turned into the number one, I think they're number one, or still close to number two, I'm not sure I think they might be number one at this point, as far as how much money they generate in their box office. So the studio system obviously has been able to profit from that all these huge monster international numbers. A lot of times China has major chunks where films are making 234 100 million dollars in their markets. So that is propping up that's that's generating a lot of cash for the studio system. And in turn for us as independent filmmakers until the embargo happened a few years ago. independent films China is buying independent film like crazy, you know, my film was sold. This is mega sold to China, for God's sakes back in 2015. So it was a market and now if you rely too much on one revenue stream, like the studio system might have I mean substantial percentage of their of their box office of their money will hurt when it gets pulled off. This is what's happening throughout the world right now. All of a sudden, everybody woke up one morning and said, Oh crap, we make everything in China. And if China shuts down, which they did, and all their factories shut down, which they did, all our supply chains are shopping, iPhones, every everything gets shut down. So then all by God, we were dependent on this car on this country. It's any country by the way you are any kind of revenue stream if you're dependent on one thing, if that one thing goes you're done, you've got to diversify. You've got to diversify your revenue streams. This is business 101. So I feel that the studio system has has been very vulnerable over the last few years. You know, there have been a couple of companies, Disney specifically who have thrived in this market because of what diversification in their revenue streams. And I've talked in length about that in other episodes. But I want you to understand that that is the model for the future. And if the studio system, the studios, the other studios do not follow suit quickly enough, they will fail. And they will be bought up for their libraries, by Apple, Facebook, Google, or another gun gadget when Goliath out there who wants to get into this space? Someone was cash flush. Okay. So independent filmmakers have a potential to be able to thrive in this business and thrive in this new marketplace. But if you do not diversify your revenue streams, and you live by the old model, you will not make it I'm promising you that. Ask ask around, ask around, go go to our go to our protect yourself from film predatory film distributors and aggregators Facebook page, and sign up a Facebook group and sign up, you can ask see how it is as the front line of what's going on right now. In the business, you got filmmakers right on the front line seeing if they're selling their movies or not selling the movies, they're making money, they're not making money, it is a just a treasure trove of information about what's going on right now up to date, to the minute. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the filmstrip neural model, being a film intrapreneur an entrepreneurial filmmaker, diversifying your revenue streams for your film, regardless of size, is the only way you will be able to survive in the coming years. This is the first blip of what I've been talking about. I hope it stabilizes. But this is the trend, guys. I want you to really hear me on this. This is where things are going. So you really need to prepare yourselves and not dilute yourselves. Or not to fool yourselves. In delusions of grandeur or delusions of well, this is not that doesn't count for me, it does. So prepare yourselves for where you're where your industry is going, and how you can take advantage for your film at a certain window of opportunity. Just like Scorsese Spielberg Coppola did in the 70s. Just like Rodriguez Tarantino, Kevin Smith did in the 90s. And now we have our window, what that window is how long that window will last. Who knows. But the windows of opportunity that happen in in life in general. And there is a window opening here. Because when there is such upheaval, when there is a crash, if there is a major shift in the way business is done in any industry, there's potential for other filmmakers and other projects and other producers to have an opportunity that might not have been there before. Just look at history. So I hope this I hope this episode and this video helped you guys out a little bit to understand where we are right now, where we're going, I felt it was really important for me to come out and talk to you as a tribe. Because I have been getting a lot of messages about this have been talking to a lot of filmmakers about this. And I just felt it was important for you guys to get this information. So I will keep you up to date on as much as anything else I hear. If it's major, I will do another one of these. But if you want the latest updates on what's going on, go to that Facebook group. Just go to indiefilmhustle.com/protect yourself. And they'll take you straight to the Facebook group page, sign up there, answer some questions, and then see if we approve you or not, depending on if you're a distributor or not, you're probably not going to get in. But just answer those questions. And we look at everybody who puts tries to sign up. either me or our moderator, one of our moderators will check to make sure everyone is good. We're very protective of this group. And there's a lot of great information there and people are there to help. If you want the latest on what's going on. Go to that Facebook group indiefilmhustle.com/protectyourself. We'll take you right there. Stay safe, everybody, wash your hands. Don't get crazy. Toilet paper will be there. You know, this is not the end of the world by any stretch of the imagination. But I want you to be aware of what's going on, and how it's affecting our industry and how it can affect you. Now, if you want to link to that Facebook group and some other episodes in regards to where we're at in the film industry in the new film world economy that we're walking into, head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/378. Now, everyone, please be safe out there. Wash your hands for God's sakes, and just do common sense things to keep yourselves and your families safe. Thanks for listening. And as always, keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

IFH 137: Jason Michael Berman – Producing 5 Sundance Films & Making it in Hollywood

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SPECIAL SUNDANCE EDITION of the Indie Film Hustle Podcast

I had the honor of speaking to Jason Michael Berman at Sundance this year. He’s a Sundance vet. He has premiered 5 features at Sundance over the years and has the record for the highest-selling film at Sundance ever, The Birth of a Nation which sold for $17.5 million. Crazy! This year he premiered the remarkable film Burning Sands at the festival. The film is about the intensifying violence of underground hazing on a college campus.

Jason dropped some great knowledge bombs in our interview with my co-host Sebastian TwardoszHere’s a bit on Jason Michael Berman:

Jason Michael Berman is the Vice President of Mandalay Pictures, where he is responsible for developing and structuring financing for Mandalay’s slate of independent films, in addition to packaging projects.

Berman has produced feature films that have debuted at premiere film festivals around the globe, including the Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, SXSW, Tribeca, Berlinale, and Edinburgh. Berman was named by Variety in 2011 as one of the Top Ten Producers to Watch, and by Deadline Hollywood in 2012 as one of the Top Ten Producers to Watch at Sundance.

Berman produced Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation, starring Parker, Armie Hammer, Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union, and Penelope Ann Miller, about the true-life story of Nat Turner’s slave rebellion. The Birth of a Nation premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. – Wikipedia

All of these Sundance Series episodes are co-produced by Sebastian Twardosz from Circus Road Films and Media Circus.




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

IFH 136: How to Break into the Film Industry with Stage 32’s RB Botto

Right-click here to download the MP3

SPECIAL SUNDANCE EDITION of the Indie Film Hustle Podcast

One of my most downloaded episodes ever was my interview with Film Industry vet and CEO of Stage32.com, RB Botto (Click here to listen to that interview). Ever since then I’ve been wanting to bring him back on to the show. The stars aligned at Sundance and I didn’t just get him on the podcast but I also recorded the interview for the IFH YouTube Channel.

Here’s a bit on our guest:

Stage 32 is a US-based social network and educational site for creative professionals who work in film industry, television and theater. Stage 32 links professionals in the entertainment industry including directors, writersactors and entertainment staff.

It caters to film industry professionals with featured bloggers, online education taught by industry professionals, news from Hollywood and filming locations around the world, Stage 32 meetups page, an online lounge and a film business jobs page that allows members to connect with others on film ventures, along with standard social media functions.

CEO and founder, Richard “RB” Botto, an Orson Welles fan, drew his inspiration for the name “Stage 32” from the old RKO Soundstage 17 where Citizen Kane was filmed. That sound stage is now Paramount’s Stage 32.

We had a ball talking and partying at Sundance this year. A lot has happened since our last interview. I’ve done over 100 more episodes of the podcast and Stage32 has grown into a juggernaut. Add the hangovers, snowstorms and my co-host Sebastian Twardosz to the mix and you get a hell of an interview.

Curl up to a warm fire and enjoy our conversation with RB Botto.

All of these Sundance Series episodes are co-produced by Sebastian Twardosz from Circus Road Films and Media Circus.




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