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Today is a sad day guys. My dear friend and fellow filmmaking podcaster Scott McMahon is closing up shop. Scott runs Filmtrooper.com and has been a beacon of hope for indie filmmakers for over 6 years. Scott wrote the best-selling book How to Make and Sell Your Film Online and Survive the Hollywood Implosion While Doing It. (FREE AUDIOBOOK VERSIONS HERE)
Scott decided to have me on his last episode of the Filmtrooper Podcast. We had an EPIC conversation about what both of us had learned all the years we were running our websites and podcasts. The information was so great I wanted to share it with the IFH Tribe.
We also discuss the current and future state of the film industry, how indie filmmakers should prepare for the coming changes and we discuss the three paths you can take as a filmmaker. Scott explains what he’ll be doing after Film Trooper and in the future.
Get ready for a great interview with my friend and ever-lasting Film Tropper Scott McMahon. Stay safe out there.
Alex Ferrari 0:07
Now guys, today I have a very special episode. It is a somewhat sad episode, but it is a special event. I have today on the show film trooper extraordinare Scott McMahon Now for those of you who know who Scott is, Scott runs filmtrooper.com, which was an amazing resource for independent filmmakers and has been running now I think for a little bit over six, seven years. And, and Scott and I have become really good friends over the years. Many of you know that I used to have a mastermind with Scott and a handful of other independent film, kind of blogs and podcasts as well. And Scott decided to kind of close down film trooper and wanted to have me on as his last guest on his podcast. And the conversation we had was so epic, that I begged Scott to allow me to publish it on my podcast because the information that we talked about was so so valuable. I wanted to make sure that everybody in the tribe got to hear it. And Scott and I kind of go over what both of us have learned over the course of the last five to seven years running our podcast, the biggest lessons, the biggest takeaways we've taken from all the people that we've interviewed and worked with over the course of the last five to seven years. And we also talk about the elephant in the room, the Coronavirus, how it is affecting our industry, how it's going to affect our industry moving forward some predictions of what might happen and how you can best prepare yourselves to take advantage of the new way of doing things. And I promise you, like I said last week, things will change and things will never be exactly the way they were before. So this episode is just chock full of knowledge bombs, and it is almost two and a half over two and a half hours. So not that you guys have much to do right now you're probably at home quarantine. So sit back, relax. If you want to bust out a notebook or your iPad to take some notes, do it because this is an epic episode. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Scott McMahon.
Scott Mcmahon 4:12
Thank you for like joining on literally the last episode for the podcast or film trooper. It's been I've been dormant for a while anyway, so people were like wait, I didn't know that podcast is still around. So those four loyal followers or listeners or are that are getting this episode, at least we can wrap it up I kind of wanted to really use this opportunity to do sort of as as we can a little bit of masterclass like everything that we've learned running our podcasts and working in the independent film space and meeting a lot of amazing people. And other people you're like what no, anyway, the the, I really just want to, you know, have these takeaways. So you can have like, here's one episode that says, Hey, man, this is after all these years doing this stuff. This is what I've learned. And this is how I'm putting Applying the knowledge that I've acquired to the future now and the future of independent film and this? I don't know, at the time of this recording, yes, we are basically a month into our COVID-19. Shut down. You're in California and Oregon. And yeah, being a month, we, you know, we don't know, if it's another month, a couple more months, whatever it might be. Let's definitely new world. And everybody is like, first of all, just trying to figure out how just to the basics, just survive, let alone your dream project or any film project and all that kind of stuff. Are the current projects you're working on? Like, where does that all fit into the play? So I'm hoping to use this this episode as sort of like breaking down the principles of what we've learned. And maybe that's where no matter what the situation is, the principles still hold true. So the biggest question is when asked you and then I'll answer myself too, for a my end of things is, after all these years are running any film hustle, not just the podcast, but like everything about the the empire that you've built? Okay? What is really kind of like the one takeaway that you've learned, after all learn? I don't know, what's the biggest thing you've learned about at all in terms of independent filmmaking?
Alex Ferrari 6:21
Well, there's two questions. So it's about independent filmmaking, or is it about running indie film hustle? Because there's,
Scott Mcmahon 6:26
Let's let's focus on any indie film, just filmmaking, because, like, like running, not everybody has a podcast and things like that. So let's let's focus on like the filmmaker going. Yeah, after all, you guys have talked to a ton of different people interviewed a lot of different people. What is their what is our biggest takeaway from all this experience?
Alex Ferrari 6:46
I think the biggest takeaway, for me at least is that the filmmaker mentality, or the mindset of the filmmaker, independent filmmaker, is really stuck in the 90s and early 2000s. And the way things are done, and not only in the way, that, you know, obviously, the way things are done, meaning the filmmaking process itself has changed dramatically, even in the last 10 to 15 years, it's completely different than when I you know, in early 2000s, to now, how films are made is drastically different. It's the more affordable more technology and so on. But the other parts of the business, meaning how movies are made, how are they exhibited? How are they sent out? How do you put together a project that is changing so rapidly, that I think the biggest thing I've learned is to constantly be adjusting constantly be pivoting my techniques, my approaches to the filmmaking process. Whereas in my last film, on the corner of ego and desire, which I shot in about four days at the Sundance Film Festival, I couldn't have done that 15 years ago, it would have been a lot more complicated to do something like that. And it wouldn't, even 15 years ago, wouldn't have been at the cost that I was able to do it. Now. As far as you know, I think we spent about $3,000 and change on that film. And that being able to understand where the markets going, understand the tech, understand how to pivot, I think that's the biggest lesson is to not be afraid to change your trajectory, to pivot to adjust to an ever changing marketplace. And like I was yelling at the top of my lungs for all of last year, guys, something's coming. Something is coming, we're due, I had no idea was going to be the pen. You know, I'm not Nostradamus, I had no idea there was going to be a pandemic. But I did say that, look, guys, there's going to be a financial crisis of one way shape or form, we're going to have a downturn. And everything that's happening in our industry right now is all in very good. In very good economic times, whereas in everything else that we did as far as, as good economic times. So as soon as something changes, all those, those weaknesses, all those cracks in the infrastructure, that is Hollywood are going to start to show and the water is going to start leaking in the dam. And it's going to just break down to the whole dam is going to come crashing down. And I do believe that. And you sir, with your first book, The Hollywood implosion, I don't think again, you didn't think there was going to be a pandemic that would do it or financial crashes that do it. But something was going to happen. And I think that and we're seeing it now even four weeks in, you know, there's reports of AMC shutting down period. So and yeah, and there's good I promise you there's going to be a few before this is all said and done. We're going to lose a studio or two either through acquisition or just straight up bankruptcy because they're just so leveraged, and so in debt, and so non diversified. That they're not going to survive in the new the new film world that we have the new economics or ecosystem that that we live in today. But I could keep talking forever. But that's just generally the The first thing I said, that's the biggest thing I've learned.
Scott Mcmahon 10:16
That it's, I'm gonna I'll do the improv thing like, yes. And sure, yes. And I will add on to what you were saying. It's just because we met up in person a few months ago, prior to all this stuff happening. I was drinking Corona. Yeah, pre Corona ice. Yes, pre credit, I stopped by the indie film hustle headquarters. Very cool. And, you know, we've known each other for many years. And I remember, you know, we're in your driveway, and I was showing you like that graph, like, Yeah, yes. Yes, basically, it was this, this chart that was showing we are probably in the largest economic bubble that's about to pop. And, like, again, we had no idea was going to be a pandemic that was going to kick it off. But we knew that was something was brewing around the corner. And so you and I both had this look, our faces in the in the driveway going, Yeah, man, something's happening gonna happen. I don't know what's gonna be but Oh, boy, here comes
Alex Ferrari 11:14
And I, by the way, I showed that graph to everybody, like anyone I would meet on the street, Hey, come here, come here, look at this thing. Look at this thing. And then you see their faces just go, Oh, my God. And by the way, everyone listening, that we are not in an economic crisis yet. This is all still spawn from a pandemic, the issues that are in the economy are starting to show, but they're pumping so much money into the system. Do you know this funny money that the Fed is throwing in there, that they're still going to? Oh, we have no, we just wait. And I'm not sure I don't wish it. I wish it doesn't happen. But we have not seen an economic crisis yet. We're just starting to see it.
Scott Mcmahon 11:54
Right. This is just the the impetus to, you know, set this thing off that it was already due for a correction anyway. But anyway, so moving forward, did that make sense? Because we were like, okay, when you're an independent filmmaker, and, you know, what is that classic quote from Orson Welles, like he spent 95% of his time hustling, chasing money, and like 5% of his time making movies, so and that's he was just like, That's no way to live. Like this is Orson Welles. And that epic economic paradigm, or the business model really hasn't changed in a long time? Because Isn't that like, the biggest question a lot of independent filmmakers have? It's like, Well, how do I get the money for my project? You know, where do I where do I get the funding to make something happen? Right?
Alex Ferrari 12:41
Where I think the question needs to be switched, is that how can I get money for my project is, how can I create a project for the resources that I have, or the resources that I can get to? So instead of chasing that golden carrot for five years, because I need 5 million to make my epic, I can't make a movie for less than 5 million, which I had that conversation with myself and other people. Unfortunately, throughout my career, I finally decided, hey, what can I afford? And what kind of story can I tell within that, and then humble myself to go down the lower budget, which is smart is much smarter financially, it's much smarter for longevity in this business, and then slowly build up from there, where then you can't get to the 1 million in the five minute, but you've got to prove yourself first. And even if you have made a few features, you want to make another movie, I promise you in the coming years, it's going to be a lot harder to find one or $2 million investors, because no, the one or $2 million movies aren't making money anymore, because that's a whole other conversation. We can get to it later, in regards to the distribution world that we're dealing with. But that's I think that's how you should switch that conversation in your own head.
Scott Mcmahon 13:48
Yeah, that's a good one. And so with, you know, with my experience, and all the different people I've interviewed on film trooper, you know, I was on I was on a quest to just find out the goal of like, how does it you know, we have like different paradigms of like the film world, we have, like, obviously, the studio system, I called sort of like the indie film market, or like the film market world. So this is like the people that are operating in the Cannes Film market world, the American Film market world. And then you have about whatever 95% of everybody else, working in the ultra independent the hustlers, the indie film, hustle, hustle community, the film trooper community. I mean, I was using a term called Uber independent filmmaker, which is like you are not you're not playing that world, like you can make your movies and you could use these different services that keep changing left and right. And you know, Who else knows better this than yourself with all the work that you've done on, you know, distribution companies and things like that, but having these resources to get your work out there to the world online. You know, we're 95% of us are working in that world. And a few a few of us a very small percentage. He actually gets to move up the ranks, maybe get into the film market world get into the studio system. Again, very, very, very few. So from that experience, I was on a quest trying to find out well, how does like the Uber independent filmmaker, who I've chosen not to live in California, up in here in Oregon, how to someone like myself, who wants to make, you know, story content or film content, make a living, using these online resources that we have now. And that was sort of the quest, the film trooper, and the biggest takeaway I got was from, to me, the greatest successful independent filmmaker of all time was George Lucas, you know, the guy, you know, made a Star Wars film for the studios, but ever since then, he you know, he all the money he made, he made all his movies on his own at that point, yes, or studio, you know, involvement here and there, but he wasn't enslaved by the studio system. And his biggest takeaway, after all his years of experience, he said, you know, what, all the money is in the action figures.
Alex Ferrari 15:59
It doesn't lunchboxes, that's it.
Scott Mcmahon 16:02
That's it. And when you unpack what that means, is, is simply saying that the the art that we create the films, the books, the music, you know, whatever it might be, that's just like a starting point. But in order to make money in terms of the money to create a sustainable living, you have to have this all these ancillary research, materials and sources coming out from that project, which is you talk about in your latest book, The rise of the film, entrepreneur, right? You mean this one, sir. Oh, love that. Okay. You, you know, watch this. Yes, it's also discussed. But it's through, it's, it comes down to this thing, like, okay, so I kind of I came away with it going. Okay, so our films are nothing more than an advertisement. And like, we're, you know, so what is it that we're selling that has a higher price point, especially if our films you want, you can get them for free online, or somebody might just wait to the 99 cents rental, or you get a streaming deal with, you know, which won't necessarily always match up to your budget, per se. But you're like, Well, how do I control the the ownership of that property so that I can exploit it more. And that's really what it is. It's like the whole business of film, the film business is exploitation license exploitation, is in a book by called the biz by Schuler and more, who is an entertainment lawyer, he just says it just bluntly, I mean, it's just like cold and you know, cut, cut and dry. The whole business revolves around the exploitation of the license. That's it. As soon as you wrap your head around that you're like, that is the business. So how do we, as Uber independent filmmakers, be in the business of exploitation of our own licenses? And that's why your book is fantastic, because it just lays it out. You know, and I hope that my book adds like a little bit of knowledge bombs here and there to help people, you know, takeaway from that. So my takeaway from the whole experience of film trooper was, okay, if our movies are, if all the money's in the action figures, what is the action figure that I'm creating, which is why those who have been following me, I switched a couple years ago, I got into real estate, and I said, I'm going to use film content, some sort of creative content, as my amplification to sell a higher price product, which happens to be a higher price service, which is real estate. So now, and not only that, but it got me out of the world of, I guess, servicing independent filmmakers, because any film hustle, your customer base would be that part of your empire is is for the independent filmmaker. Once I cease really putting once I switched the my audience and I went from basically independent filmmakers to people that are looking to buy and sell homes or real estate lot, then the whole I had to start from scratch. It's not like I had a huge following from like, independent filmmakers were like, oh, we're gonna fall into like buying and selling houses. In Oregon. It's like, Yes, exactly. It's completely started from scratch. But I was trying to apply the principles of like, I get to make a creative creative show, which I have. I have a little show called around the neighborhood, neighborhood.tv
Alex Ferrari 19:30
It's amazing. I watch every episode, sir, every episode. Look, I always love it.
Scott Mcmahon 19:35
So I you know, the principles of filmmaking are still there. I still have to come up with the subject. I still have to I actually write scripts because I'm trying to find nuggets of how to create like mystery enough questions to be answered upfront. That are questions proposed up front and then they throughout the story, you it's uncovered by the end of it and then and then the whole process of filming, you know, editing, you know, music, all that kind of stuff, all that stuff is there. It's just now that I'm, I've embraced knowing that this is a free product, this is the free content. But it's, I get to choose how I make it, because it's, it's creative enough for me to have that creative outlet. And the byproduct just happens to be selling a higher price service. And one of the other takeaways, I don't know if you've really came across this to Alex, but you know, a lot of people in the film industry, they, they have a production company, because they have the skill sets to just shoot video product. And, you know, and they have a production company, and a lot of these, and they're really a lot of them really good. And that but what it is, is the the basis of that business model is they have to wait for a company to hire an advertisement agency, that agency controls who they work with in a production company. So your production companies hoping you have relationships with an ad agency, that's going to give you money to make a production but your base off the clients needs. So that pays the bills. So for a lot of people out there, you're running a production company is paying your bills, but you always have this dream of like, I can't wait to make my short film, use this money, all the resources, I have to make more independent film. So I thought to myself, What if you flip it on its head? Instead of waiting for the ad agency to hire you or hire your production company or client to hire you? Why don't you find the product that you like, and maybe become sort of like a, an affiliate salesperson for that product. But the content you make for that product, you get to dictate it, you get to dictate, you know creatively how you want to advertise or sell that product. And that's really what I've just done. All I've done is saying, I get to create this, like around the man town show and creatively go into it. But again, the byproduct is that. What have interesting things have you found interviewing a lot of different filmmakers and their situation that makes you kind of that maybe a little added nuggets that you have in your book that can't expand upon that kind of go like flip things on its head a little bit so so filmmakers can start looking at things differently again,
Alex Ferrari 22:20
Well, the the book Rise of the filmtrepreneur is kind of like a complete mind shift in how you make films, it completely changes the way you read that book and you can't unread it. It's kind of like one of those things when you you hear the concept you just like, well, I can't not think about this anymore. I can't unsee it. One thing I have found, and I've had and I've had a few conversations, the books been out now for about four months or so. So like for about four months and change. And the one thing I hear from certain filmmakers is that I've actually had angry filmmakers who are just like, well, I'm an artist, and I can't, I'm an artist. And I know, it's hard enough to be a filmmaker, let alone have to think about how to sell a lunchbox or build out a business to sell vegan products for a vegan movie that I made like, this is ridiculous and all of this stuff. And I've heard that a handful of times, and I've had some debates with certain filmmakers about it. And you know, I want to kind of lay out something really clearly here. When you have when you create something that is a different way of looking at it at the same problem that's been looked at the same way. There's always going to be resistance, there's always going to be someone or somebody that's stuck in their own mindset. They're stuck in their own comfort zone and don't want to do it. That was the car with the buggy. That was the that was a gas light with the elect the electric bulb. It was it's constant. Anytime there's a shift. Anytime there's a big change in mindset, there's always going to be people who want to fight against the change, whether that be their own insecurities, or whether they just don't want to, they want to hold on to what was the only thing they've ever known. So I've had a little bit of, of pushback from that. And I wanted to lay out three different paths, very simple paths that all filmmakers can walk. film, film path number one is I'm going to be a director, I'm going to be a director for hire. So I'm going to try to create a demo reel, maybe even make an independent film really low budget just to kind of get my semones can see what I've done or before used to be music videos and commercials. But I'm good. My goal is to play in the studio system to play in television or in the studio system and basically be an employee a very high paid and well paid employee but an employ never the less and there's nothing wrong with that path. The greatest filmmakers of all time have gone down this path. And that that's fine. The second thing path is okay, well, now I'm directing and I'm working. And maybe I'm doing commercials and music videos, maybe I've been making maybe some making some documentaries or docu series or whatever. But I'm still, instead of being an employee working for all these companies, I'm going to build a production company. And now you basically become a self employed film director or filmmaker, you're a self employed filmmaker. So now you're not just an employee anymore, you're creating your own jobs by working directly with clients and or studios. So you could be producing shows, you could be producing commercials, music, videos, any kind of video content at all. But now you're in somewhat more control, but still dependent on a client still dependent on the whims of a client, and or studio down that path. And there is nothing wrong with that path, either. If you want to walk that path, walk it, I walked both those paths, before I found my path, then there's the third path. Now the third path is, arguably, you still have a production company, let's say you're still you're still making the film, you're still a filmmaker. But I'll go into the post world. Now, all of a sudden, now instead of instead of just being an editor for hire, and then opening up your own post house, or freelance editing with your own gear, now you create a post production company that is selling your services to clients. But again, you're like, you know, I wouldn't, I wouldn't mind some of that passive income, some of that, you know, that I'm asleep in money. And then I'll start, maybe I'll create a lot package for color grading, and maybe I'll create some motion graphic templates that I could put up online to sell. And all of a sudden, that company starts creating and generating other revenue streams, other than its key point, which is post production, whether those be editing, collaborating, whatever, you know, dollars for hours, basically, you're still here, that's what's paying the bills. But you're starting to build out these other revenue streams, maybe you're shooting some stock footage, maybe you shooting VFX, plates, all these things that you're putting out into the world and selling it on a passive income standpoint, meaning you put it up on a platform, and or sell it through your website. And people are buying this from you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without you having to put any more hours other than what you originally created, in that in creation of the product itself. Sooner or later, if you're doing your job, right. And you want to get out of that kind of that nine to five rat race of working for a client, then this business has to grow. And these revenue streams have to grow enough to overtake that revenue stream. And once that happens, you're free, you're free to do whatever you want, you're free to create whatever you want, within the realm of your reality, meaning within the realm of your financial reality of within your resources within your connections. That is what I am selling. And that is what I am preaching and teaching in Rise of the film shoprunner is to create a business that pays you while you sleep using the creative product that you are making, which is an independent film, a series A docu series, web content, whatever that is. It's all created within the film entrepreneurial method. That's what I found myself to be happy with. I know a lot of filmmakers like well, I want to work with the best of the best in the world. I want to work with deacons. And I'm like, that's great, dude. But there's like 30 guys who do that, you know, he's only made 60 movies or whatever he's made, you know, there's that that's a very small doorway to try to get into. I'm not saying it's impossible, but there's still a lot of other you know, filmmakers you can work with, with a cinematographer, director, writer, whatever. And if that's the path you want to walk at, go for it. Like I said, some of the greatest filmmakers in history have walked that path. But every great filmmaker that has walked the path in the studio system, understands the business understands what they're doing. Yes, some of them are tours, you know, a tours like Chris Nolan, David Fincher, those kind of guys, but they all understand the business of it. They're not just creating art for the sake of creating art. They understand their market, they understand their audience, they understand what they're trying to do. They're just playing in a much, much bigger sandbox. But even those guys have to work within the rules of the sandbox. There's only one filmmaker on the planet who could have brought avatar to life. And that was James Cameron. Nobody, they weren't given Spielberg half a billion dollars to go do what he was going to go do. He was the only filmmaker to do that. You see that? Just very small amounts of people at that level. And that's at any industry, any business whatsoever, the web be music, whether it be writing, whether it be whatever, there's only a handful at the very top. And my thing is, like you were saying earlier, there's the studio system. There's the markets, and then there's the 95% of us. I'm trying to help the 95% We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. The other people that the other people who are the 5% that want to make those kind of films, my god Go for it, you could actually still use some of the techniques in the film shoprunner method are in your path without question. But if you're smart, in my opinion, and the way I feel that the business is moving forward, because I feel that those two systems that those two paths that we talked about earlier, I feel that that whole infrastructure is starting to shake, and starting to crumble, we're seeing it right now. And in six months, you're gonna see it even more, where if you want to survive as a filmmaker and have a fighting chance, without the lottery ticket of getting into the studio system, or getting into that system by playing by those rules, and so on. creating something that you own, you create you control allows you to do whatever you want. And that freedom is I think the biggest thing I'm trying to sell with this book, and with this entire concept is the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want. And it had I'm the perfect example. Because I walked all three of those paths. I started off as a director going up director for hire, and an editor for hire. Then I opened a production company, produced commercially produced series, I did all my post production for all that stuff. Then I while that was still going on, I started creating indie film, hustle, I started creating other revenue streams to the point where that other stuff took over the revenue stream that I was doing through post production. And I just shut down my post production and my directing, by production company, for outside business, unless it's something I want to do, or it's a partner I want to work with. But I don't have to do that anymore. And I became financially free by creating myself not rich, financially free. And that's a very, very big distinction. I am not rich by any stretch of the imagination. I'm still hustling every day, I still got to come out and work at my business every day. But I choose to do it. If I have to take a week or two off, the business still makes money. And that's what I want filmmakers to be able to do with their films. And in the book, I had lay out so many case studies about filmmakers or doing this. Is it a long term play? Absolutely. Is it going to take a lot of work? Absolutely. Is it completely the opposite of everything they ever taught you in film school? Yes. And that's why a lot of filmmakers are upset about it, a lot of filmmakers get angry about it. Like I just, it's hard enough making a movie, I can't think about all this business stuff. And don't, then don't walk the other two paths and see how it works out for you. If it works out for you great. If it doesn't, and you're 10 years in, and you're still trying to make that thing go and you're working at Taco Bell, as a side hustle to keep chasing that dream, do it if that's something that you want to do, go for it. But I've given another option that filmmakers have not really been thinking about on a grand scale. And that's what I'm trying to change the mentality of how films are made. But I wanted to kind of lay out those three distinct paths, because it's been a lot of confusion and confusion. But a lot of you know, I get a lot of pushback here and there from filmmakers. And I just want to clarify that and I think that hopefully will help kind of clarify the whole situation. What do you think?
Scott Mcmahon 33:21
No, I like it. I like how you applied aspects. So the Rich Dad Poor Dad model, employed self employed business owner and investor yes into the three scenarios as well as Pat, Flynn's a whole
Alex Ferrari 33:35
Scott Mcmahon 33:36
Passive income model that he's put out there to kind of get people thinking. So it's great to see it all wrapped up together. But I think to like what you mentioned about the angry filmmaker. It's true when I brought up the scenario, which is like, hey, guess what our films are nothing more than an advertisement for something more expensive, that rubbed a lot of filmmakers are in way, because they don't want to see that they're just like slaves to some sort of, you know, commerce or they see their their art form, as you know, something higher. So I, I said, Well, if you're not comfortable with that analogy, just use this analogy. If you're an artist listening to this, and you're still not comfortable away what we're talking about, then switch it, you know, turn on its head and come to grips to say that your film is an amplifier. It's an amplifier for something bigger. What is that bigger thing? What does that bigger message? And then if that message, can you monetize that message at a higher price point than your initial film? So that, you know again, it's it's basically the same thing, but as what you're comfortable with in terms of how to come to grips with it. Is it an amplifier? Or is it an advertisement or are they both the same? And how do you work with that? So yeah, so with that said, I, I want to talk about like just some principles of filmmaking that seem to hold true no matter what is going on in the world, in terms of what I, you know, come to grips with is, if we're talking about a narrative both either feature or like a feature or a short film, or even a documentary, the narrative, the it's the aspect of storytelling is still, that's it that's at the core of everything is storytelling. I worked in the game industry, I worked for Sony PlayStation for over, you know, a decade. And I discovered that in the world of video games. Gameplay is king, that is at the core of everything, which is why it doesn't matter if you spent all this money have the best looking graphics on like the latest platform in the video game world. And a little game that has, you know, like Minecraft, that's using eight bit graphics, but the gameplay is addictive and super fun. People will gravitate towards that. The same applies for the world of filmmaking. It doesn't matter how gorgeous your lighting is, and all that kind of stuff and what cameras are use. If the story is just dry, the performances are dry, or your documentary subject is dry, boring. It's not going to engage an audience. But you can have like the worst shot stuff with the sound pretty good. But if the stories is compelling enough, you'll stick with it, you'll you'll put up with all the other garbage just because the story is intriguing enough. So those are the two the main things that I came away with is like no matter what happens, that in itself is always going to be the tried and true principle. Do you know do you do you agree? Or do you see other other things that I might be missing in terms of principles of just filmmaking no matter what's happening in the world?
Alex Ferrari 36:43
Well, before I get to that, I wanted to piggyback something on the last thing we said really quickly. Then I like the amplifier. In the end, the Martina you're just trying to be nice, you're such a nice guy. I swear to God, you're like the nicest person I know, Scott. I'm a little bit more hard aged. So I you know, this is this is the Frank raw reality of this, if you have a problem with the concept of money and making money with your image with your movies, or with your video content, understand that you're a hobbyist. You're not a professional, there is a huge difference between a hobbyist and a professional. I see two guitars sitting behind you, Scott, I could pick up one of those guitars and start to learn how to play guitar, I could play the guitar, I could sit there for six months, and play the guitar and learn how to play the guitar in my house, then maybe if I'm even somewhat Okay, go out to some coffee shops, post Corona, go out to some coffee shops, and and maybe maybe work for maybe do a for a couple free gigs. And then maybe a little bit later I can maybe get a gig or two here on the weekends, is that going to support me and my family? No, it will not until it grows into something much, much larger. So during that process, I am a hobbyist. Now if I can go and sell out Madison Square Garden with my guitar, I am a professional. If I can go sell 10,000 streams and make a buck a stream for a month. I'm a professional, I am covering You see what I'm saying? That is the difference between a filmmaker who's like I don't want to talk about the money. Well, if you don't want to talk about money, you're a hobbyist period, you're an artist, that's fine. And there's nothing wrong with it. If you want to be an artist, be an artist, create content and create film, and create stories that are important impactful to you. But understand that if you cannot sell it, if you cannot monetize it, you will not survive in this industry at the level that you want to be meaning that if you can make your movies for five 500 bucks a pop, my friend, do whatever you want. But if you need $100,000 $50,000 $200,000 $500,000 to make your movies, you have a fiduciary responsibility to respect the money and understand how you're going to recoup that money. Unless it's a gift. You got to recoup it because unfortunately, unlike that guitar that's sitting behind Scott right now, I don't know how much that guitar costs, but I know it doesn't cost 5000 I know it doesn't cost 10,000 it's a very affordable art form to play where playing as a filmmaker is an extremely if not one of the most extremely expensive art forms and complicated art forms on the planet. So understand those distinctions and that will hopefully help clarify your position. I'm sorry, I had to go on that tangent. I thought it was very hard to say that.
Scott Mcmahon 39:49
That was great. I thought that was great. And then we could piggyback to the other one which is principles of filmmaking now that every gonna go okay. They hopefully people are in this situation go Okay, where do I fit In this camera, where do I want to go? You know, they're there lately. You know, Scott and Alex are laying down some things here. So now moving forward, you know, now that now that we're moving to the part of inspiration, I'm like, What can you do now? Now that we kind of laid out like, okay, here's the reality of the world that's changing, you pick what lane you want to be in, go for it. But just be aware that the other lanes exist. So it's one of those things like now, the inspiration, what do what the filmmakers do now moving forward? We'll start with the principles I brought up just a simple principle. It's like, it doesn't matter. The story is still King stories.
Alex Ferrari 40:34
Yeah, story is always King. There's no question about it. You look at paranormal activity. You look at Blair Witch, you look at some of these low budget films that that don't look particularly well. But the story is intriguing enough to to the core audience that they're going after. That makes sense. So story is number one, I don't care about the Alexa, I don't care about the red, I don't care about cook lenses, or whatever lens you're going to do, or whatever cool little drone, or a gimbal or what no one cares. No one cares about the gear, you've got to have it. Look, my iPhone shoots well enough, as Shaun Baker proved with like four versions, five versions back with a tangerine, he shot an entire his entire movie on an iPhone, and it and he was a professional, he understood he was doing with that camera, it doesn't matter about the technology anymore, that the image is going to be good enough. If you're remotely competent, you're going to be able to get a good image. It's about story. First and foremost. second principle is understanding your audience, you have to understand who you're making this movie for. If you're making a generalized drama, then I wish you the best of luck unless you have some major money behind you. So focusing on the audience and who you're going to go after with this audience, that's going to be really key. Because if you don't have someone who's going to want to see this film, then you have no chance of making your money back. And if you're trying to make a broad movie, and you're going to try to independently self distribute and all that stuff, you are doomed. It's going to take even I've seen some movies, I've seen some shows that are so good. I mean, talk about cream rising to the top, it's so good, but there is so much noise in today's streaming world, there's so much content to be could be consumed. That even if your stuff is the best of the best, it still might get lost and have to be found somewhere else later in life. But you're not by that time, it's not going to mean anything. And I know a lot of people like well, it's really that good. Someone's gonna notice. Maybe, maybe. And that was the case, I always argued that cream will rise to the top and I you know what they very might well be. But uh, you might say that and maybe the greatest films of you know, the great your great film is submitted to Sundance south by Tribeca can and all in like five or six of the other big ones, and none of them get the genius. None of them get it. And I promise you, Sundance has gotten it wrong many, many times, Southwest. And many, many times. And these films that got rejected from those but look, I mean, Chris Nolan's first movie, the following, was rejected not only from Sundance, but this popped by slam dance the first time, then you waited a whole year and submitted it again. And he finally got in Chris Nolan get out like they don't. They're not the Nostradamus of filmmaking by any stretch. So if you don't understand your audience, and how you're going to sell this thing, how you're going to get eyeballs on your product, then you're not going to make it you're not going to make it and the way this world is changing so dramatically. Were before theatrical was the that was the bulk of the money was originally back in the days that's the only place you could you could exhibit your film, and, and, and generate revenue from it. Then VHS came in and home video came in and DVD came in. Then this cable over the cable was in there somewhere as well tv deals, all that stuff. But then the streaming thing showed up. And then there was t VOD, and then there's s VOD. And now there's a VOD. And there's so many different ways to generate revenue. But that number, that money just keeps dropping lower and lower and lower. And the same thing that happened in the music industry is happening in our industry where music is essentially worthless. on a on a price point, not the the artistic aspect of it. But the model the way it's set up. Now, artists, musicians don't can't make money with their music anymore. They have to sell. They have to do tours. They have to sell engagements. They have to sell, you know photo ops, and t shirts and hats and get sponsorship deals to survive, to survive. And that's where we're going with in especially in the indie film space, and the filmmaking space. So those are the I think the two big principles story and understanding who your audience is and how you're going to get That movie to that audience.
Scott Mcmahon 45:02
I like it. I want to do the again, the improv. Yeah, and I think the that's a good point about audience not just Okay, I'm going to take a deeper level, we're going to go deeper level, unpack it even more in terms of audience, knowing your audiences, not just for your film, to the eventual audience, but made and getting it successful. all the way along the line, knowing who your audience who you're talking to is, this is really just a basic business principle and, and communicating principle. So you know, you and I've had opportunities to kind of dabble into the opportunity of like pitching ideas or getting a project in place that looked like it was going to go big, like it was gonna go studio. I had an experience knowing my audience I had going all the way to pitching a movie to Lawrence Bender, who was Tarantino's producing partner, you know, I made it all the way through all the gatekeepers, my script and the project, everything like that got all the way through. So I had a face to face meeting with Lawrence bender. The problem was, you have to know your audience. Even though I got that far, meaning my audiences learned spender. And I had a kind of raunchy American comedy that was in play. And he doesn't make raunchy American comedies. Right. I was selling my shoe design to a hat maker. This was not going to work. Right. Not only that, but I made the fatal flaw to have like talking about my production experience at Sony's PlayStation and things just to say my competence level, and the reality is when you get to these pitch meetings, number of stories King, they don't care. They didn't care. And when you ever go, our friend, Stephanie Palmer from getting a room, you know, she's transitioned from like screenwriters. She's, she's up here in Portland. So so so she is out there, helping business owners and taking the next step. But she was running for many years at the American Film market. They had the pitch conference. So it was a very popular conference and then our l Sondra had taken over since Stephanie's you know, stepped down you know, there's forget the producers name from Dallas Buyers Club. He's his brothers Cassie now was from The Princess Bride and all these great 80s and 90s. And he he's one of the main producers is for a long time and another producer. And you get to see, in real time in this conference, people pitching their story ideas to a known proven producer. And you'll see cringe worthy, these people that are pitching bas are hard, they have the courage to be exposed everybody in pitching their idea for real. You'll see the fatal flaw that I had made. And other people may because they will go into here's what the poster looks like. And all this kind of stuff you realize who cares that's knowing your audience producer at that very moment does not want to know that you're going to be that involved with like the art department and all this kind of stuff. They just want to know, do you have a interesting story that I can champion that we can move forward to the next step? Your Your goal is not to get the damn thing made right there. Your goal is just like, can you hook them with an interesting story. So the guy who wins the night guy with like, the few times I've been there that the ones that win the pitch conference is the one that has stripped down, they don't talk about their filmmaking experience. They don't talk about anything, they just go. Here's the story. They tell the story. It's if it's interesting, intriguing up, they always win. So again, knowing who your audience even at the micro level before you get things made is very important. On top of that, one of the one of the great takeaways I learned, after all the years running film trooper in the podcast was this episode I did where scientists, you know, scientists, a lot of them don't believe in luck. They believe in high probability or low probability. So you're talking about, somebody makes an amazing movie or a docu series, it's just really well done. So they've helped their chances because they've increased their probability of getting a discover or moving to the next level, because they made something phenomenal. But they have to put it in play with all the right pieces to increase their probability of getting picked up, or getting it sold or making the next level. If they don't, then that property goes probability goes down. So when you're looking at luck in the industry, it's one of those things like if scientists don't believe in luck, but they believe in probability, you got to work every little angle you can to either increase your probability, are you going to decrease it? So that's like, like pragmatic things that go Oh, okay, that's great. So now we're talking about, I want to kind of dive in a little bit about case studies. You No, because we you have in your book I have in my book and some of the stuff that the case studies are important because I think they, they leave a lasting impression because we're going to tell a story. Now you and I get to share stories about other people making it. You know, I'll start with mine mean that I made. We're talking about low budget. So I made a feature film called The Cube, where I made for like, 500 bucks without a crew. Now it was like what? Well, a crew. All it was is like you set up a camera, you set up all the gear, you light the space, I learned this term from the half Nelson cinematographer who got an Oscar nod for nomination, I think for his work in half Nelson. And all he talked about, he said it was so low budget that they were like, We just had to light the space. And let Ryan Gosling roam around and I just had to, you know, capture it, as opposed to film like lighting each shot. So I was like, okay, in the world of no crew, you like the space, you set up a crammer, there's not a lot of hands, you know, motion the camera and you hit record, you jump in you hope things are in focus, and you go. And so it was doable. But the main takeaway from that is that my film wasn't very good. Like, I'm proud of it, but like, I look like, my acting was really rough at the beginning. Because as an actor, I'm thinking about everything. I'm on camera going, Oh, my God, the microphones too far away, I got a project. I'm not being true. Like it was just terrible, like I got through it. But I'm proud of it. Because it still has a story. That's the beginning, middle and end, I was able to sell it online, I kept my budget so low, because I knew. Here's the thing that people need to know. For a while there, my wife worked at a company that actually saw the real numbers of what films were making in the VOD space, or the digital download space. To an I was appalled. films that had no stars, no major distribution backing, were maybe making $3,000 online at the time.
Alex Ferrari 52:01
And that was that was back in the day. And that was a success story.
Scott Mcmahon 52:05
Yes. And then when I did the analysis of films that had, you know, name distribution, and some name star or somebody who kind of knew, maybe they were making 25,000, then what I took away from that was like, holy cow, like this means that these budgets for these movies, were not $3,000, they were not 25,000, they were a lot more, and they're not making any money. It forced me to make a feature film for $500, then the exploration of selling that online was using all these different platforms, and realizing that I eventually made my money back a little bit more. So I can say I'm a successful filmmaker, because I made a profit on my film. But running film cheaper was exploration of like, all the things I was trying to do, and meeting people like, what's the next step? I found out that I made more money selling my book, then I did my movie. Shocking, so I'm just saying, Yeah, so I'm just saying like, they put that in perspective, but we're talking about the cream rises to the top. Just now just like a few days ago, one of the one of the great stories that a case study we can look at is the director David F. Sandberg, who's I think he's from Sweden, I think, up in the Nordic world. He made the movie The short film called lights out. Yeah, they got picked up made a feature film called lights out. Because the Oh gosh. The Great. The guy who made saw and The Conjuring movies.
Alex Ferrari 53:41
Oh. Lin, Justin Lin.
Scott Mcmahon 53:45
Yeah, no, not just in that he did. The Fast and Furious movies. But just Australian. Oh, another asian guy. Sorry. Okay, how likes another asian guy? that lets you know we're gonna take a quick look at Wait, I gotta look this up. I can't believe it's running. But he he. Yeah, he's Australian, but he's Asian. But he's from Australia. What like my I might my glasses on the Oh, James Wan
Alex Ferrari 54:16
James Wan. Thank you, James. James Wan.
Scott Mcmahon 54:18
Okay. James was amazing. If you don't get his films, I'm a huge fan. That I can't remember his name. But anyway, the by Okay, so he champions David F. Sandberg. Movie lights out becomes and our buddy Jason buff from Hindi film Academy at a really great long interview with him on his podcast and got him at the at the right when he was in the middle of making the lights out, you know, feature film, so you have to understand, and it was a really, first of all, his short film was fantastic lights. And he had a YouTube following because he was just sharing his filmmaking experiences. But he made a very solid two minute enjoyable, creepy scary horror film lights out.
Alex Ferrari 55:04
But with that said, it's a lottery ticket. He got he got a lot he went a lot ticket.
Scott Mcmahon 55:11
He did because he won a film festival in but what I'm saying is he he did the first step was make something good. And we're talking about directing shows his shops in the most economic way possible a two minute horror film that gets picked that gets the notice and gets the next step meetings you know, where he gets, you know, the the back? Sure, so they put them on a feature. You know what, from that feature, he gets Annabel creation into he delivers on Annabel creation, you know, because if you're a fan of those series, it just works. But then he gets Zam. He makes zahm Well, this is a great story because he if you want to take that first tract of becoming a director, he was making quality content in a short form translated to a long form. You know, that did well enough. He understood the economics of it. But during this Coronavirus, shut down, he made he just made another film called shadowed if you haven't seen it, again, it's just it's brand new, a couple like a week out, we could go came out. And it's fantastic. It's two minutes long. He's working with his I think I don't know if it's his actress or his wife or his girlfriend together. But he does this whole behind the scenes and you get to see his vulnerability where he's like, having the same struggles of all of us filmmakers. But what he's doing it's like he's still delivering even he went, went full circle. He did a short two minute film got three features I did well, he does this short two minute film, and he's still struggling at the two minute film. But that's a great story. If you look at look up David f Sandberg Look at his trajectory from lights out to his feature films to his latest short film and the Coronavirus called shadowed, yes, a lottery ticket. But for people that want to see if they're a good director, this is my little thing like you know, if you really want to see if you're a good director. Go ahead. They know also if you're a screenwriter, if you're a screenwriter, go ahead and adapt a famous short story that is in the public domain, something that exists already.
Alex Ferrari 57:27
Or Stephen. Stephen, Stephen King will give it to you for a book. It gives you a license, it gives you any of his short stories for a book for all filmmakers to make. So that's something you don't know about that you can get any short story that Stephen King still has the rights to, he will license it to you for a buck. You can't make any money on it. But it's a great showpiece and Frank Darabont did that and a bunch of other filmmakers have done that over the years? So yeah, go for that. That's another area. Okay.
Scott Mcmahon 57:53
So there you go. So there's existing so as a writer, you have to see how well your story chops are? Can you translate an already existing entity that is proven? Then to test your directing chops? You direct that you? Can you direct a Edgar Allan Poe short story. And if you can't direct it, then you know, you can't blame the story. Because it's proven. This really will test you to see whether or not you're a good storyteller. If you have story sense, if you're a good director, if you're able to do that, they'll give you the confidence to move forward with your own stuff. So those are like case studies of how to, you know, take that first path, you're talking about working towards a director for hire, or even that good, because let's be honest, we see a lot of independent filmmakers come through. And they do make a lot of a lot of filmmakers like, wow, they make a lot of films, and it's like, but then the other day, you're like,
Alex Ferrari 58:49
man, they're not that good, but they still make them.
Scott Mcmahon 58:52
So you're not gonna get hired as a director of hire. But you know,
Alex Ferrari 58:56
I if I may piggyback on that as well. That example is great is a great example. I know his work. But that, but David's David's opportunity was presented because he won a lottery ticket in the sense that James Wan saw and championed him. There probably 10,000 data sets on Sandberg Sandberg, David Sandberg, David F. Sandberg, yeah, David Sandberg out in the world, if not more, that are quality filmmakers. And if given the opportunity to play in that sandbox still kill it without question, but he was at the right place at the right time with the right product. That's a lottery ticket. And Robert Rodriguez was that way Kevin Smith, basically every filmmaker from the early 90s were in that in that camp where they made something at the right time because a lot of those films if they were released today, El Mariachi wouldn't even be looked at today. clerks wouldn't even be looked at today in today's world We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. So he was the right place right time with the right product. What I'm always talking about now with the entrepreneur method is to hedge those hedge your bet a little bit will help that probability a little bit more. Maybe by building an audience online, maybe by getting attention from a large group of people where you have an audience who's really loving, you may make 10 or 15 shorts like that, where now you have to 300,000 people following you, and then all of a sudden, that noise attracts certain people to you, as opposed to you throwing out that line. That one line to catch a fish, where you're creating a full net, where you can hopefully draw us and leaving bait for someone to come in towards you. It's happened to me in many ways, by what I've done with with indie film also on my other companies. And and I think that's another plant both the same, both the same path, just looking at it a little bit differently. So just because it's really good doesn't mean that James Wan is going to look at it doesn't mean that JJ Abrams is going to go Hey, kid, you can come and direct me, or what's his name from direct district nine? If it wasn't for Peter Jackson? Do we? Do we know who he is? Neil, Neil Blomkamp, and I'm not taking anything away from his talent. I'm a huge fan of Neil Blomkamp, and I've loved his films that he's made. But if that movie comes out 10 years later, five years later, does anyone care because he was at a certain point with visual effects where it could make a little noise. You remember that movie? That short film 405 Yeah, you remember those guys? Those guys made this little short film back in the day when visual effects were just coming out. And he they took the whole town by storm with this this little short film about a 747 landing on the 405 and it was a great to create short but that today it's just a cool YouTube video. It no one would really care but back then it was right place right time. Right situation. So you you always have to head yourself a little bit. But
Scott Mcmahon 1:02:22
yeah, I know. That's a great point. Because you and I know there's so many stories you see in the industry was right at type time replaced a lot of heat in the industry. Like they get a lot of attention. They might even get an opportunity to make a feature film studio back everything. But then you know what they make one he never heard from again.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:42
Correct. Happens all the time. No, there's
Scott Mcmahon 1:02:44
there's a lot of case studies, a lot of stories that I go what happened that guy that or like, you'll hear stories, like, you know, like, yeah, these guys made this amazing visual effects short, and now they're in development. But then their development hell they never gets they had they had an office space on the studio. Sure, nothing happens.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:01
No, and but that's the way it is. It's this town eats people like that up, this town eats talent up. It's insane.
Scott Mcmahon 1:03:12
So if we break it down back to principles, again, if you are always of the director, filmmaker, but you're really honing your craft all the time making solid, you know, stories in a film content world, then no matter what happens from there, you still have your, your core talent in place. I just, you know, I don't know what happened to these other you know, these all these filmmakers that had this the golden ticket in their hand, and they never move forward with it. The great thing about least David Sandberg is that he's capitalize, again, there's a few people like can you capitalize on the opportunity needs that are in front of you? And are you ready for them? You know, it's like that whole 10 year overnight success, which takes 10 years to get, you know, that 10 years of working towards Are you really you know, honed in on your craft that way.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:58
The problem is, I think with a lot of these guys that do get the opportunities and do get these like magical stories. And there was a lot of film directors from the 90s that that we you know, had this meteoric rise, and then they just fizzled out or they're gone. And that was the end of it. I mean, Kevin Smith was that basically at the beginning, he did clerks. Then he had a big studio movie called mallrats. That died a miserable death. And he was pretty much gone. He was he they just wrote them off. And then he went to Miramax and got $150,000 from them to go make Chasing Amy and that movie brought him back because it was that good as arguably still probably one of his best movies ever. In my opinion. And but that was exactly what happens. And I feel that when you when you're only focused on that employee standpoint, which by the way, I want to make it very clear if Kevin Fey he wants to call me about a Marvel movie. I will take the meeting. I'm not against that. at all, I think that would I would love to play in that in that sandbox. But while you're chasing that dream, I'm in the camp of building something that could support you building something that can support your dream, I was able to continue my directing, chasing my directing dream of being a filmmaker, because I opened up a post production company, because I was opposed to a freelance post production editor, and then colorist and post supervisor and so on. I would that was my foundation, it's creating that foundation. And I would much rather instead of, you know, having a taco truck, as my foundation of revenue, creating something within the industry, where I can learn and grow, to build a foundation to still continue to chase that dream. And I feel that a lot of these guys that that pop that go into that world, they don't have a backup plan. Like this is all they were going after. This is it. And if it doesn't work, if they like, you get to the show, you're at the show, and it's like the baseball player, all he does is work and work and work to play baseball all his life, and they get to the end, they get to the majors and they blow out their knee. And that's it. It happens all the time to athletes, whether NBA NFL, or Major League Baseball, I need to be they all their lives, they've been focusing on going after the one goal of playing in the big leagues, which would be playing in the studio system for us. And when something happens, you blow out a knee, something happens you can't play anymore, or you or you're you're basically Oh, you're that movie that they gave you. It didn't do financially what they wanted you to do. So you're gone now. Now you've got to figure something else out. And that's where so many of these guys fail. You've got to have a foundation to build off of to launch yourself off of if not, you're you're basically playing on the tightrope, you know, and look how many filmmakers we know that did four or five, six movies, but then they have like, Why don't happen to Wolfgang Petersen. So Cray filmmaker, where's what was, where's Wolfgang what happened Wolfgang is called the Poseidon. Once Poseidon bombed, he was he got put in director jail. He's made some of the great movies of our generation and Wolfgang Petersen haven't heard from him. There's so many of these directors who are gone after a certain amount. And if they don't have anything else to backup from, they better hope save the money that they did when they were eating the high in the hog. Because if they don't then, you know, all of a sudden, unfortunately, you turn into Gary Coleman. You know, who was making millions of dollars and then essentially crashed and burned. You know, he was a security guard. After a while because he didn't have a foundation. They didn't build something out for them. That's a different scenario. But you get you understand the the analogy, you have to have that foundation to be able to build something off. If you want to go real quickly. I always like using this example. On the on the kid star thing. That can be Oh, the awesome the Olsen twins. You have the Olsen twins and you have Gary Coleman. Okay? Both Okay, pretty much the biggest stars of their time, and also Urkel. Let's throw erkel in there as well. I forgot his name, but Urkel. That kid actually played Urkel. So Gary Coleman went down generally the path that is like legendary mythical, he was the biggest, you know, TV star of his time, he had a run in a very big show, he made millions of dollars. And then because the parents weren't there to build something for him, help him build a foundation help him build a career. He basically crashed and burned. And unfortunately, what happened to Gary happened to Gary, the Olsen twins, had good people around them and figured out Hey, let's start building something ourselves. And they started making these independent family films starring the girls straight to VHS, they bait and then after their whole bill, they built out such an empire, that it was over a billion dollars in just a billion dollars and worth of the Olsen Empire. That's insanity. But they built a foundation because once Full House was done, they had somewhere to go. And they knew that their window of opportunity might not last for 1015 years. It might be only 678 10 years total from the moment where they started to their early teens and maybe early 20s. And they're done. That's it. They can't generate revenue anymore. So they built that foundation. And I heard from I don't know if it was from you, was it from you? Did you Were you the one that met Urkel in Uh,
Scott Mcmahon 1:09:24
no, I didn't know.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:24
Okay, so it was another filmmaker who met Urkel at some, you know, talk, and he came up to him, and he was talking to him and Urkel real told them He's like, Oh, I'm in real estate. I own like, I own like six buildings. My parents bought all these buildings for me with the money because he was making obscene he was making obscene amounts of money like the last four years of that show. Because the first few he was like, screwed because he had a bad contract. But like the last four or five years, he was making millions. And his parents were smart enough. He's like, no, we're gonna buy you any bottom like 678 apartment. And buildings, and that generates so much revenue for him that he's good, because he has a foundation has a business that's paying him. And then he can go off and direct and he could go off and act and could do whatever you want. That's the basic principle of what we're talking about here.
Scott Mcmahon 1:10:15
That is that story scenario is great, because you'll find a lot of people like that. There's somebody we know that's in the film, education space, you know, and you that's been around for a long time. Yeah. Type Simmons, I think. Yeah, like, nobody, apparently, apparently. I think he's made a lot of his money in real estate. Most of his real estate. Yeah, most was my, I met an actor. I was I was acting for a while there. I've been, you know, making a part time living up here in Portland, as an actor, and I was on the show, grim. And I was working along this character actor, who has been everything from Iron Man to American Sniper. He always plays like a mill, like either FBI agent, a military guy, he's just that look, yeah. nondescript white guy that just plays those types of characters. Real quick
Alex Ferrari 1:10:58
show real quick, what is your description? Sir? What is your stereo?
Scott Mcmahon 1:11:03
I yes, I was fortunate, again, talking about a little less a little, little lottery ticket. On that's primary white actors. And I since I'm half Asian, half white, I had this, they've come to describe my type as the ambiguous non threatening ethnic,
Alex Ferrari 1:11:26
non threatening ethnic, but that is your that is that that is a perfect niche for you. And that got you. Because there's not many other there was little competition in that space, where you where you live.
Scott Mcmahon 1:11:41
So it's important to understand, like, I was how I was, I could help sell a lot of products that because my look or type was, you know, you go either way, wherever you want to go. Like, I was not threatening enough that that you know, it's going to decrement your products selling
Alex Ferrari 1:11:59
I could sell your products or I could have a much more threatening than you are, sir. Yeah, just my facial. I'm always Yeah, yeah, um, it's not the time not gonna work.
Scott Mcmahon 1:12:08
Well, that's it's funny, because, you know, all this stuff's going on. I remember being you know, I was paid an actor's salary for being a spokesperson for a credit card company, banking company, beverage companies, like all these companies. So again, the ability to turn in on a hit on its head and say, I'm going to make my own show where I'm the spokesperson, spokesperson for my own company, which happens to be this the real estate services. So, you know, sometimes I, you know, I've been asked to be like, a spokesperson for some other people's real estate companies prior. So I said, Well, why don't I just be get the license, you know, so that there's the three line right there. But while I was working on that episode, this particular actor, it was, you know, for any other actor, his resume is very impressive. And he's been able to be in all these major projects before, not a name, no name, just working actor. And he was mentioning like, Oh, no, I'm a full time real estate agent down LA, like this, you know, I just do this when it comes up. I thought to myself, that's all I need to know. You know, I mean, it's like it gets one scene, you know, it's just like, it changed my perspective, like, you need these moments. And this is hopefully this conversation is these moments for people listening. It's like, you need to hear these things. So that it's a shift, so that you can look at it differently, but still feel whole. Like you. You finally felt like Alex Ferrari like, this is you running you're hustling the world of indie film, hustle. You know, I was on a self exploration trying to find out what is the the secret tell this? And then how do I apply for myself moving forward? So a lot of this stuff is Does it mean that I'm not going to you know, making the next you know, narrative or feature? No, it just means I for the last three years, I had to like get my home base squared away first, you know,
Alex Ferrari 1:13:59
yeah, you have to build your foundation. You have to build the foundation,
Scott Mcmahon 1:14:02
build your foundation, and then you move forward. And the great thing again, you know, talking about really quick some other case studies, I know that running long
Alex Ferrari 1:14:09
No, but no, no, please, guys, it's the last one. It doesn't matter. Scott, just go. Do you have somewhere to go Scott? I don't. I'm stuck here in quarantine as well. So let's just, let's just Yeah.
Scott Mcmahon 1:14:22
Okay, so hopefully, you're getting a lot of stuff out of this. So we can talk about some other case studies understanding your foundation. Meaning that the great quote that I always love is is I someone said it's from Mike Tyson. I guess it's from Mike Tyson, the one that says everyone's got a plan and you get punched in the face. Amen. And I teach that stuff and we are literally as a world. We all had a plan. Yes, we all got punched in the face by this epic pandemic. So now we got to pivot. Now. We got to change. Yes. Now we got to adapt. Yes, you know, and we can't sit cry like, buckled down? You know, we are, in some weird ways this could be like our version of the Great Depression, like there was the, you know, things has changed in terms
Alex Ferrari 1:15:11
No, it's active. Absolutely I my last podcast, I just did this last week, as of this recording, I basically had the first part of my podcast, it was about side hustles in the pandemic times how to make some money. But I started I'm like, Hey, guys, there's a, I want you all to know that there are filmmakers and screenwriters out there, who are still thinking that when this is over, it's going to go back to the way it was, I have a rude awakening for you, it will not, it will be changed, and it will be different. And if you do that pivot, and do not change, thinking, you're thinking about how things are going, we'd all nobody knows how it's going to end up. Nobody knows in six months where we're going to be, but you have to be aware and be just kind of like getting ready, getting ready to kind of like take advantage of opportunities that present themselves because in these moments in time, is where the big changes were out of the ashes come the new, the new evolutions, the new things that take us forward as a as an industry, like look at 2008 streaming started to come on board from Netflix, and that look at how that completely revolutionized our business. There are moments in time, and this is that moment in time. So you have to think that nothing's going to be the same. I just have to educate myself as take advantage educate myself, prepare myself figuring things are how am I going to think differently? Because if you're thinking the same, you will not make it.
Scott Mcmahon 1:16:37
Yeah, and then agreed, again, we all got punched in the face. You know, so let's move forward. But like at the core, you know, we're talking about foundations and the core principles. One of the things that's great about the filmmaking or the need, artistic need is to be able to tell a story, whatever that format might be, if you are a writer, you know all these I know we know a lot of screenwriters, you have the bulletproof screenwriting, our screenplay is a screenwriting, screenwriting, okay, bulletproof screenwriting, you know, so, at the core, you're starting there and saying, like, Hey, this is important. There is this visceral, like, enjoyment and struggle and pain of crafting a story, you know, and finishing it in a format if it's written format, like that's the first step. Like you're just excited for somebody to read your script. You know, one of the things I discovered in my time running film trooper was that it was so much fun just writing the screenplay for the cube and then making it just just the process of doing that and feeling satisfied going, you know, what, if there was a beginning, middle and end I completed a thought, like, I completed something of this and reflect on it. I go, Oh, my God, look how bad it is. So it's all man.
Alex Ferrari 1:17:56
Oh, yeah, we all we all have those. Yeah.
Scott Mcmahon 1:17:57
So so but when I thought about it was like, but I was able to make something for so little money without a crew you finish? What if? What if the story was better? What if the story was better? So that got me back to the core principles of that, but then writing the book, how to make and sell you from online is via the Hollywood implosion while doing it, that process you know, you've written several books since we've known the, my gods. the discipline of sitting down, buckling down and finishing these chapters is brutal. That last 510 percent is brutal, like you can get a lot done but that it's just finishing it. What's worse,
Alex Ferrari 1:18:39
worse, worse for me is the audio book. Brutal it's so brutal reading your own stuff and performing and all those horrible but yes, it's not easy. It's not easy. So,
Scott Mcmahon 1:18:54
no, so but what the joy out of that was finishing it, having it in a real paperback form, like it's, it's tangible. Oh, you know, something real. But yes, the audio book to like just having all this stuff. It's done. It exists out there. But it got caught me thinking like, I remember I was a huge verb fans of podcasts. You know, prior to starting my own podcast, I was a fan of the creative writing screen. screenwriting podcast goldbloom, I think was like Goldman Goldberg. I forget his last name, Jeff something he was the host did a great job. He did these private screenings in LA different theaters. And after the movie was finish you they would have this podcast interview for an hour plus, with the screenwriter, or sometimes the filmmakers. And then he turned that into q&a or something that his own podcast so he left as as as a senior editor for screenwriting, creative, screenwriting magazine, and then turn his own podcast into the same format. But one of the guests he had, which I can't remember her name, she was a proposal like a legendary screenwriter who wrote a script They did very well. And they were, in retrospect, interviewing her. But it was really fascinating to hear what she had to say at the end. She says, you know, what, if I would have known now, what you know, back then, you know, whatever, like if the stuff that I'm now Wish I could apply back then she said, instead of just writing the screenplay, I would have read it in the book, I would have read it, like, tell us, she was already realizing like, I had control over the content that I created the license that I created, that she could exploit many different ways. After, I don't know if you're experienced. But after writing this book, even though it's not a creative narrative book, like how to, you know, my book, in your book, their information, books, but the process of doing it got me thinking, like, wait a minute, the next story that I should be working on, I should make a book version, a narrative story, then you could turn that into a script, and then you can make your movie and you can say, Hey, this is a movie that's based on the book. And if you know how to work, Amazon's book selling algorithms, you could say this is movies based on the best selling book for one week or one day.
Alex Ferrari 1:21:10
Oh, no, no, absolutely. Absolutely.
Scott Mcmahon 1:21:14
So when I meet screenwriters, I tried to tell him like, is there a way they can turn this into a narrative and people like people think like books need to be long prose, and they're like, two 300 pages, I want people to go and get the book called A Monster Calls. Remember that movie that came out with the tree and it was up for a couple years ago? Well, it's a very touching, sad story. But if you read the book, I'm telling you, it is very short, easy to read, it will change your perspective of what a book really means in terms of the formatting. Because you can read this and that book, that narrative book and say yourself, this is a script that just got turned into a narrative in the most creative simple way. And so now you can create a book from your screenplay. So you have multiple sources that way. And if you're able to become a producer, or make the film, you put together a team, it can be any work, the understanding what it makes to sell a book online, listen to Alex's podcast, read his book, read my book, listen to my podcast, there or just go down that rabbit hole, you can see that you can on a very low budget way, still tell your story, which is that which is the core of it, which is like the the creative release of like, I had a thought I wanted to put in a narrative form I did it. It exists in a tangible way. And it's out there being marketing properly.
Alex Ferrari 1:22:43
I'll tell you, when I launched Rise of the film entrepreneur, I didn't the day that I put it out for presale, I also launched an entire website, an entire podcast, a YouTube channel, everything at once. And I remember when you call me like what Dude, what do you what are you doing, man? How do you when you call or text me like, what do you what what? Because I already realized that this isn't going to be a one off, I can build something around the concept of being a film entrepreneur and provide more value to my audience. Other than just the book, the only thing I'm missing is the course which I am working on, which is the online course on going deeper and doing a deeper dive than the book does. And that would kind of create the holistic ecosystem of the film shoprunner method. It's so vast, I mean, I can't explain to you how valuable that is. Because I have multiple revenue streams coming in off the book, which then I used my movies, and I'm making more money off the books than I am off the movies that I talk about in my books, and so on. And so many different revenue streams coming in from this one idea, this one source, as opposed to the normal way of going about it, which is where you write the book, you find a distributor, you are a publisher, you get through go to them, you get 10% if you're lucky, and you own nothing. And that's it and you pray that they're going to put it out there. And if they don't, you're screwed. And that would have been the normal way of going about it. But I decided no, no, I'm going to take control of this book, where my first book wasn't that I did go with a traditional distributor or publisher with that. That's another podcast for another day. But I take this and now I'm able to generate monthly revenue streams that are still coming in and surprising me monthly on what I'm able to generate coming off of that. Do you know the story of JK Rowling and her her film shoprunner serial inclinations with the Harry Potter series? Do you know what she owns and what she doesn't own? could share with us I don't know other people Yeah, okay, so obviously when she wrote her first book, she was nobody she was on welfare she you know, nobody wanted the book and so on. Then it blew up obviously got picked up and it kind of exploded from there. She did own I do. I do,
Scott Mcmahon 1:25:13
although I do know that. I just interject there like I if I understand correctly, when eventually got to a publisher, these publishers have relationships with producers, the smart savvy producers, film producers, know what books are on the horizon before they're ever released to the public. Yeah, so I think the, if I understand correctly, the the, the film producer got wind of this manuscript, before they even published it. So it was on the radar to be made an option into a film. Anyway. So it's one of those things like that. That's like a its own sub industry is like,
Alex Ferrari 1:25:53
Oh, yeah, Jurassic Park was that way Michael crighton. Me Spielberg had it before the book ever came out?
Scott Mcmahon 1:25:58
Right. So in terms of how that industry works, so I'm sorry, did I just want to make sure I got that in there before people understand, like, there's another sub industry where people are increasing their probability of successful project, because they are injecting themselves into the decision makers, for mass media, you know, and you might be find yourself down that track one day, but just see work,
Alex Ferrari 1:26:20
but just to understand, so she was smart enough to understand that she needed to control some stuff. So I don't know the details, but I know that she had leverage, meaning that if they wanted more books, they're gonna have to do what she says. So as far as the movie rights and so on, they made so much money that they basically gave her the keys to the castle, essentially, and that rarely happens. But the one thing that she has that I had no idea she owns, she owns the E book. Of all the she owns the rights 100% to all the ebooks for Harry Potter. And it's sold exclusively through her website. So when you go to Amazon, this is how big Harry Potter is. The Jeff Bezos had to kowtow to her when you go to Amazon and you click on buy ebook of Harry Potter it goes to their website her website and she that alone that one move alone made her a multi billionaire because of that move and on top of the the revenue and all the licensing and she gets I don't know how much the percentage she gets off the the merchant and stuff like that, but I'm sure it's it's it's good. It's good but that was thinking she she was thinking differently already. She was already like, you know what, I'm gonna control this this and this because I have a very unique scenario here and that and that's what happened with George Lucas but George did it really slickly with with Star Wars He's like, Look, don't pay me a whole extra a lot of money like I'll take a cut on my direct and just give me the the sequel rights and this merchandising stuff. You know, you guys don't even do that. The last big thing that came out with Dr. Doolittle on a died of merchandise, let me just have the merchandise and they said Sure, no problem. And that one, it was like it was like Bill Gates and IBM IBM's. Like, and Bill's like, you know what, I don't want to sell you my software. If DOS, I need you to license this license, I needed that one more that one moment in time created the which the richest man in the world great, one of the biggest fortunes in the history of this world. And it was just just thinking just a little bit differently.
Scott Mcmahon 1:28:31
You know, let's, let's another way to think differently, but it seems tangible, like reachable. Right now, like for anybody listening, this is what you could do. I'm gonna use this as a case study from Aaron manky who does the lore podcast. So l o. r e. It's like, you know, scary stories. So the big thing to look at this case study is he's a writer, he writes like scary books. And because it's just him writing, he's able to write his books. Mm hmm. upload them to Amazon. You can make a hardback copy a paperback copy like all the audio book, Amazon audiobook everything. So what he does is he did a he wrote a few novels original fictitious scary story novels. And but he decided to start a podcast. His podcast is called lor l. o RT. And he what it was it sort of like almost like a glorified Wikipedia research. So he, in his his efforts to create his art, his art is writing books on scary stories, is he has to do research on you know, folklore and all this type of stuff. And in his process of doing this research, he turns it into a podcast.
Alex Ferrari 1:29:53
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Scott Mcmahon 1:30:04
Boom. The podcast for some reason took off. It was just the right niche they got picked up. If you understand how to work like the podcast, launch, you know, like for a while there there there was like if you wanted to get high rankings and Apple podcast, you have like eight weeks to make something happen. So he a little bit of luck, little high probability. He was creating a stuff it got picked up. He got a lot of followers following his scary story podcast. And it started taking off, but he was using the podcast. It's so play and to let people know that he writes scary stories and he can find the links afterwards. Yep, so he was he was doing the film to printer or the film trooper like, by the way, it's funny because you have entrepreneur and mine is film trooper, because for a while there, I was messing around different taglines like empowering the film entrepreneur. So we're all in the same. You and I are in the same mindset. Yeah, absolutely. So. So he was doing this. He's not a filmmaker, but he was a storyteller. And he had different means to tell his story. And this thing takes off all sudden, like some of the producers from walking dead, or listening to his podcast, they turn he gets one thing leads to another and he gets this into an Amazon series. So if you go on to Amazon Prime, there is a an anthology called lore. So they've taken a an existing audience that had a following on his law podcast, that was enough to get the right meetings in place to turn it into a series on Amazon. It hasn't blown up, you know, but it doesn't have to, doesn't have to what we're saying here, this is a real case study, that doesn't necessarily have to do with hype, a lot like luck, or high probability. This is somebody I'm writing, I like to write scary stories. I'm going to put another aspect of my world out there and a podcast to share my research. But I'll do it creatively. But then I'll use the podcast it as a self published author, to drive people to my book sales. Yes, that's it. Yes, let's be honest, I'm going to uncover my podcast ended up turning out to be like a free content marketing advertisement for my book. And I still make money on my book today, you know, on a monthly basis, and ask will probably attest to with all the different revenue streams he has, with any film, hustle, and all this all the offshoots of it. Those are revenue streams that are, you know, making monthly and that we're not talking retirement money. We're just talking like, for me, I just make enough money to pay for the online services to keep it going. Like I'm not, it's not like I'm like, buying houses from this stuff. It's like you're not seeing that kind of money, and you're not going to see that kind of money with your film per se, you know, when we break it down. But Lisa lor Aaron minkeys, I think, pronounce his last name correctly. That is a tangible case that absolutely wrap our heads around saying that's something that you can chip at, and make something work.
Alex Ferrari 1:33:06
In the book I use, I use the case study of like, if you're a horror director, and you want to make zombie movies, would it be cool would it be it makes sense to create a zombie podcast or a podcast that leverages the biggest zombie property on the planet, which is walking dead. So maybe you have a show that talks about the show or about zombies and build up an audience of zombie lovers through your podcast? Oh, and by the way, I also am a filmmaker who makes zombie movies. And then Oh, you guys, you know, I know. We just saw the walking dead. My new movies coming out next week on Amazon and on iTunes or wherever, if you want, if you want exclusive to this, get to blah, blah, blah. And then oh, by the way, I also make zombie t shirts as IV hats. It's up emergent zombie, all this stuff, because he's been able to understand who his audience is his niche audience. Like I say the riches are in the niches. He understands his niche audience. He's creating content and being of service to that audience. And then he's also selling them his art. And by that time that you've given them so much free content, so much amazing service, that there is a percentage of the audience that will reciprocate, it will purchase your merge will purchase your movies, your offsprings off this stuff at the movies, maybe you have events, maybe you have zombie get togethers, there's so many ways to monetize and to build revenue streams. That is not only just about the money, it's about being of service to the community, if you are not of service, this does not work. If you walk into it only thinking about money, it will not work you have to think about being of service and everything else. You know, when you are able to be of service to a community and you're trying to build a business to keep your art or yourself to sustain yourself, then the money will come you have to start thinking about how you can provide that service. Even better to that audience but that's a great example. Particular um, you and me both are Casting was, it's my, I'm not a YouTube star by any stretch, because it was a lot of competition in that space. But when I jumped into the podcasting space, which you're you're older than I am, as far as being in the podcasting space, you were already around when I jumped in. But I've been in it almost five years. And there wasn't a lot of competition. There wasn't a lot of filmmaking podcasts. Now, there's a ton trying to do it. But you know, I'm one of the, I'm one of the last standing. From our time, you know, when I started, there was not, there's a lot of guys that were around when I walked in, are not there anymore. They're just not because this is hard. This is hard. And if you can't figure out how to monetize, if you can't figure out how to be of service, and then monetize that audience in one way, shape, or form to benefit them and benefit yourself. You can't keep going unless it's just a hobby. And when it's a hobby, it's a hot, it's a tough hustle, man, episode a week, you know, it episode a week, and I was doing three, I do three to four episodes a week now, through all my podcasts. It's it's a lot. But But yeah, that's, that's it? Yeah.
Scott Mcmahon 1:36:07
Well, you know, you, I think, the fact that you brought up the zombie analogy or the case study, I think that's great for people, I want to unpack that a little more. Because we get into wanting to do a movie or tell a story about a certain subject, you know, and this thought of like, Oh, my gosh, I'm only have to live in this world for a long time. You know, I we know a lot of filmmakers that are still they made a good film that but there at the same time, they it's five, six, almost 10 years of the same subject matter because it takes that long to build traction of something they made. Well, you know, creatively, sometimes you just like, I want to make something be done with it, move on to something creative. Another thing. Sure. And the idea that you have to build an audience, for each subject matter is daunting. Oh, and so it's daunting, it's hard. So like, you say, like, if you're going to be as if you're a zombie enthusiast, then that can be something that you're good with. We and one of the things I offer with people, you know, come in. to film super is I offer a hack, like how do you build your audience quickly? And the hack is make a fan film, like, you know, like Star Wars fan films, or stars or
Alex Ferrari 1:37:25
Batman vs. Aliens and stuff like that? Yeah,
Scott Mcmahon 1:37:27
yeah, so but you can do a Star Wars fan film, you can get a lot more followers to your movie. And then if you can get a little bit of following out of that, you can tell them the next project you're working on, you know, that might as long as it's in the same ilk of like sci fi, fantasy, or whatever it is. So that was a big struggle for me on if we're going to break down case studies and things like that is I reached a point with independent filmmakers where I don't know if I could service them, per be of service to them, as opposed to ServiceNow. But anyway, the absurd AV service to them. As because I was watching what you were doing, like I think Alex has got it. Like he's going up though Dan is like I, I may not be able to offer as much you know, more than where I've, I've hit this crossroad, where I was like, I became more interested in like exploring another audience. And so the ability to create a show, like my little show around the neighborhood, again, started from scratch. I was became a neighborhood. I was interested in neighborhood stories. And that allowed me to just focus on that. And then that allowed me to meet all these different people in town, which again, I understand that's my byproduct is real estate. But you're talking about being of service to somebody of you know, a lot of times like I'll do the show, and people want to talk to me about other things. But by just meeting them and helping them with right now we're talking about musicians being hit hard, we talked about, like, if they're if they can't make money, just selling their music online, because there's no money or merch or rely on live merchandise or live performances, all these musicians that I know locally that were making a regular living playing gigs, they can't pay gigs anymore. So now they're online. And so and now you see all these Facebook Live, you know, footage of somebody playing guitar, like send me some money and things like that. It's like it's getting a little daunting, you know, the virtual tip jar. So I'm working with some local musicians helping them out. And you know, I'm not being paid a lot, but I realize I'm helping them out there. They're both Hall of Fame inductees, the Oregon Music Hall of Fame here so, so I'm helping tell a story of like their life and music and then they would play music and it's just a subtle, standalone video that has like tip jar links to where they go. Well, because I was doing just helping some people out locally. Again, being service with the with the skills that I have, that is end up turning into like spawning like Oh, the turning into a little bit more of a documentary than I expected, you know, great job of that, right. But on top of that it's turning into remember how my higher priced service is real estate? Well, it looks like it's turning into a real estate deal as well. So it's like, you know, it's like, I didn't go out like hard press and selling it, it was simply being of service to a community. Again, breaking it down to the audience, like, I had to, like, do some deep soul searching of like, which audience do I which audience can I serve in a long term? Like, I'm thinking 30 years that I'm going to be exalt enjoying each time I get out there and do it. I think film super kinda reached the apex for me, where it's like, I'm not sure I'm enjoying. Because I don't feel like I'm just gathering and curating information, I'm not applying it. And then filmmakers I'm talking to, there's doesn't seem like enough of them are applying it, you know. So it's like, I got to move away from like, filmmakers, and I got to apply what we're talking about. And then then I have to find a new audience, an audience that I that I really, truly think I could serve for the next 30 years. And do that. And so that's a question I think a lot of people have to ask themselves, like, you know, if you find yourselves going down the path of making a film, can you live with this subject matter and the audience around it for the next 10 years? You know, it's something
Alex Ferrari 1:41:30
you know, it all depends on your, your perspective, like, I know, some horror guys who just love horror movies. And you know, and it's not a big stretch from zombie to horror. So if you're in that same kind of niche, in general, the horror niche, if you're a horror guy, and you're gonna do horror for the rest of your life, and again, although Toros probably not going to make a comedy, though, I would love to see a comedy like that, but but generally, he's, he's good. He's gonna be horror for the rest of his life. And he's very comfortable with that. And that's No, no issues with that at all. So you have to ask yourself the question, Where am I going to be in 10 years? Do I want to keep doing this? A lot of times you don't know that answer, man. You know, like, I, you know, you remember, I owned an olive oil and vinegar, you know, shop and a company. If you would have told me, I was gonna open up that like, you know, eight years ago, I would have said, You're crazy. You're nuts. But I did. You never know what happens during the path. But this is one thing that is true. If tomorrow, I decide to stop, you know, creating amazing, amazing amounts of content that I do for indie film, hustle, a bulletproof screenwriting or film shoprunner, this machine will continue to run. Without me at the helm, it might drop in revenue, but the machine will continue to run while I build something else. So if you're able to build a machine that runs in that niche, you can still service that niche and service that machine and keep that machine going. Because it's generating enough revenue for you while you're off making another movie, you know, that's not a horror movie, making or opening up an olive oil store or going into real estate, or whatever that other other opportunity might be. But you have a business that's still creating money for yourself and still generate revenue, while you're still able, because you've created so much content. I mean, look, I've got I got close to over 500 podcasts out of all my podcasts, that that's a lot of content, that's just the podcast, not to mention, the videos and all the other stuff that I do. That's a lot of that's evergreen, that's gonna keep finding, you know, I got articles from 2015 that are really popular. And people still find it all the time. And it's evergreen stuff. So if you're able to build up a business, in that niche that you're doing in generating those revenue streams, there's no reason why you can't pull back from that, go down the other path, and either let that do its thing, or just feed it every once in a while, or hire someone to feed it, maybe hire someone to take it over, where you're still generating revenue, and you're still servicing that audience. But now you're moving into another direction in your life, because you never know what's gonna happen. You know, I don't you know, like I said, if you would have told me I was gonna open up an olive oil store, I'd be like, what? Like, it doesn't make any sense still doesn't make any sense. It was a dark time in my life. I don't want to talk about it. But but but you never know. But again, the foundation is sound. If you're able to build a business with your films in that audience, then there's no reason why that can't keep going. If you've done it correctly, if you've built a very strong foundation up, if you haven't built a strong foundation up, or wasn't making enough money when you were up 100% then it doesn't make any sense. It has to kind of die off. But look, I have a great a great example of everyone listening knows Wes Craven, the famous horror director who kind of fell into horror, horror wasn't his thing. really wasn't the biggest thing in his life. He liked it. And he enjoyed doing it. But he eventually wanted to break out of horror. And the only time that I know of that he did a movie outside the horror genre was after he did scream. They really wanted him to do scream, too. He's like, okay, I'll do scream too. But you've got to give me a movie. And that movie was called music of the heart, which was about a drama, about 500 violins that go to a low income school starring Meryl Streep and Gloria Estefan. And had like insync in it. And like, that was, that was the movie he wanted to make. And it's, by the way, wonderful film. I enjoyed that film a lot. It was really wonderful film. But it didn't do box office numbers. And guess what, didn't get a chance again. So now he goes back, and he does scream too. And he continues his his path down that road. But I know, because I actually had, I was really good friends with his personal assistant at the time, that he he really wanted to break out of that, especially as he got older, as he got to like what what excited me at 20 does not excite me now, in my age of 45. It just doesn't the filmmaker I was in my 20s is not the filmmaker, I am in my 40s so you have to give yourself the opportunity to adjust. But if you're smart, and you build your your foundation, and you build revenue streams, whether that be in the business, or buy apartment buildings, and have you know, have a revenue stream, have cash flow coming in, to kind of support your creative endeavors. That is the dream that is the goal. And there's no reason why you can't have your cake and eat it too. In my opinion.
Scott Mcmahon 1:46:34
Yeah, definitely. So here's some other case studies that are things like impressions that that made a big impact on me over the years of running you know, film trooper and the podcast and different people I've talked to. One of the guys was this fella that I was in a in a mastermind with for a while he's out in New York, he ran, he runs bloop animation. So if you go to YouTube, go bloop animation more maryrose he just started off doing like being a fan of animation, 3d animation, Pixar animations, Disney animation. And then he views his growth in his YouTube channel, giving short tutorials. And then he turned into selling courses, beginning animation courses. And then that led to building more courses and that build to building courses on the different software because not every animation is software the same. At the same time. He's making short films. So he's like, I'm making this short film. So he's a filmmaker, we're talking to animator that made his own animating animation buddy. But behind all that stuff. He had a YouTube presence that was giving edge, you know edutainment, so it was educating but also entertaining, but he had a mechanism in place where he was selling his courses. So this builds this whole company. And because we're in the mastermind together, there's a lot of years, he's also getting hired as a contract for hire animator at different studios. So he's making like his, his day money as an animator for contract for hire. And then at night he was or whatever on the side side hustle. His side hustle was blue animation, building courses, doing YouTube videos, and then that grew. So then he didn't have to take on as much contract work. And he started meeting other animators and they start collectively, you know, doing their own short other short films. So and it just keeps growing. And every you know, ages new courses come out so it's his whole point is uh, he built a he built the film to printer system in place, he gets to make his animated film, but there's a mechanism behind it that allows this to continue
Alex Ferrari 1:48:51
You got to pay to play you got to pay to play brother You got to pay to play unless you've got a unless you're rich, or you got you know, a trust fund somewhere. You've got to figure out how to make some money. This is the world we live in, man, you know, unfortunately. So this is what has to be done. I know it's not sexy. It's not sexy, building up a bit. I think it's sexy, but a lot of people are like, I don't want to build the work of building a business. I'm an artist. I'm like, okay, man. And you know what? Da Vinci is a da Vinci or Michelangelo, one of the two I think it was the Vinci who you know, he was an artist. But he was he wasn't a starving artist. The whole concept of the starving artist is such bs because the Vinci was an extremely savvy businessman had multiple revenue streams coming in. He was extremely wealthy was probably one of the most wealthy people around in his in his town in Italy. Because he was doing a million different things and he was hustling all over the place. So he was able to generate all this revenue and still be able to create the art that he wanted to create. with, you know, sometimes it was commissioned, sometimes it wasn't, but that concept is something that we, in this world that we live in today have to understand. If you want to be in show business, you need to understand the business, as our friend Suzanne Lyons says the word show and there's the word business and the word business has twice as many letters as the word show. And there's a reason. So if you don't understand the business, you will not get to do the show.
Scott Mcmahon 1:50:23
There's it's interesting brought up Da Vinci, I read his book, Walter Isaacson book, Ananda was fantastic, very long. Way, right. He, you know, the he got into plays. He was like, he was just not a painter. He was a lot of other things that architect everything one of the one of the other aspects that you brought up that I wanted to make sure there are people listening, is there's a thing about a champion, we talked about early on about David F. Sandberg, how James Wan came in as a champion. There is this thing that's true out there. Like you said, there is in the world of filmmaking, there is a lottery ticket. But it's essentially, are you creating good enough content, good enough films that are interesting enough? And are you getting them in the right in front of the right people, and create increasing your probability of moving to the next level? Because what you're looking for is that champion somebody, if you look through the trajectory of all your favorite filmmakers, there's always like, you realize, like, wait, there's always somebody behind it. That is, was really helping it push forward. Oh, yeah. You know, well, Walt Disney, without his brother Roy, who was the banker, the the logical one, the financier, the one who's making things happen, you know, Walt Disney would not be as successful as he was, you know, the every, if you want to be an artist, you better partner up with a trusted, and the key word is trusted. Because a lot of artists get taken advantage of no matter what form of format, you're in music, art, you know, movies, whatever acting, people will get taken advantage of, if you don't have the right champion in place. And so you have to do what you need to do to increase your probability of finding the right champion, or putting yourself in the place to get to the next level, the right champion. So that's one of the major takeaways that I got from running the podcast is really breaking down sort of that through line like, Oh, that's interesting. If you want to get to the next level, that way,
Alex Ferrari 1:52:24
I found my perspective on the champion is that I got tired of chasing the champion and trying to try to get the attention of the champion in the in the traditional ways. So I decided to create bait for that champion to find my define me. And that bait could be an it's an amazing short film that happens to fall on this person's desk. That happens, but that, again, is a lottery ticket in today's world, where if you build enough noise, you build an audience, you build something that is makes you stand out from the crowd, because yet everybody in their mother has a good short film, but not everybody in their mother has an audience around the art or the work of a filmmaker, and or company. And that is the new way, in my opinion, to get attention in hollywood, hollywood cares. I was talking to an actor, a seasoned very seasoned actor, friend of mine, I had coffee the other day. And he was telling me, he was in, in a in a casting. And he was telling me how the world changed because he used to be one of those actors who he played like the bus driver, the landlord, he just plays that guy. And he would be able to play the dad in these. These national spots, he do one or two national spots a year. He's good. The rest of the year, offer residuals, because the business has changed so much that residuals are gone are going away. actors are getting it's going to become worse and worse for actors. As far as residual payments are concerned. He was walking in doing the casting, and he was there helping a friend of theirs. He was like he was basically just reading lines for the other people like hey, do you want to come in and we'll pay you X dollars to sit there and read lines all day? And he did. And he would have and we sit there and it would just be the the producers. And the second they would before the person would walk into like john john smith coming in 75. And then it was like, Betsy is coming in to 25 and then other Oh 10 in these numbers would just be spread out. And and then like at lunchtime, he pulled them off. Like what are the numbers? He goes, Oh, that's their Instagram followers. Yeah, that's your Instagram followers. Because even for actors, you can't just be an amazing actor. That's not enough. You can't You can't just be the best looking the most talented, right for the part. It doesn't matter anymore. It does to a certain extent. Of course you'd that let me just put it this way, all the things I just said, that's the starting point, before they used to be the finish line, that's the starting point, you just have to understand that there's at least another 10 people who have as much talent as you are as good looking as you and are perfect for the part is you. And the only thing that differentiates you guys is your following is the audience that follows you, as stupid as that might be. That's what it is, period. And that's the world that actors are starting to walk into. And they have been in that world for a little bit now. But now filmmakers are gonna have to start doing that as well, because their talent is great. And there's a lot of talented filmmakers out in the world, talking about generational for the last 100, like alive, how many directors are there, who are capable of creating amazing art, and amazing cinema, there's just hundreds of 1000s of that millions throughout. Throughout the last 80 years, let's say who are still alive and able to do it. Let and also the new actor and all the new directors and filmmakers are coming up. So that's the there's just too much competition now. Right, you're able to control that audience, if you're able to build something, whether that be a book that you own, an IP that you own, something that makes you stand out and want them to come to you, then you're in a position of power in that situation. And it's it's just starting to, you're not begging for an opportunity. You're having a conversation about being a partner. And there's a very distinct difference of having a conversation like so can I can I please have some money for my movie, sir? Sir, with your hat out, or that same person walking in, hey, I want to I want to do business with you. That's a different conversation. And that's the place where I've figured out that that makes most sense for me, is to partner with people not to beg for opportunities, I create my own opportunities. And that's where you have to be in this world, I think.
Scott Mcmahon 1:56:57
Right? And I want to definitely do the Yes. And I think that's a great thing. So there are there. Yes, yes. And because now, people listening to this, like said, like, you know, this is a marathon. This is like everything you're talking about you and I this is our opportunity, this massive brain dump onto the audience to close out this, this this show that for me to do the Yes. And it's true, which is I brought up again, like hacks like well, how would you? How does somebody get all those Instagram followers? How does somebody get a following if you're starting from scratch, and that's why we talked about the the advent of a hack, which is simply okay. Make a fan film. Like if you're a filmmaker, we're talking about filmmaking here. So you make a fan film. And we say I say stuff, like I just put Star Wars out there. But Star Wars, because there's already a built in following for that kind of content. And it's the same adage of saying like, if you want to be the leader of the parade, just jump in front of the parade. The analogy there is instead of working your way from the very back line of the parade, trying to work your way up to the top of the front of the parade. If you jump in front of the leader of the parade, that means that there's an audience already exists a following already exists. So how do you just jump in front, this hack of creating a fan film, like a Star Wars fan film, means that you can almost guarantee if you do it correctly, by just making it for free, put it up online, and tagging all the right places in Star Wars and all the fandoms that are out there, and Facebook and Instagram and YouTube, that you probably get about 25,000 views on your movie. And but if it's really good, it gets reshared. And you could do millions, we're seeing Star Wars fan films and the millions and millions of views. And your job is to make sure you have a mechanism in place to do what we call in the world of online marketing the conversion rate. So let's talk about the conversion rate real quick. So people get their heads wrapped around that. The days of like when you get mailers, you know, like advertisements in the mail, like Bed Bath and Beyond or whatever it might be, you know, these are coupon in that world of marketing, direct mail marketing or direct call direct to consumer marketing. The marketers are only hoping to get they're expecting to get about a one to 2% conversion rate, meaning that for every 100 mailers they put out, they're going to get a 1% You know, one or two people are gonna one or two people are going to show up. Yeah, that's maybe just show up the nest is that doesn't mean they're gonna actually buy anything, right? So that's why they have to do it in bulk. Why you have to have these vast numbers of like a million, you know, hundreds of 1000s because then you've you do the just the mathematics. Just count on it one to 2%. And does that actually work? weirdly it does. If I looked at the one thing that I've noticed, like you can take a look like if you have a mechanism in place for your film. For me, the cube was the I have the trailer for the movie online for years. And over time, you can do like an a breakdown of like how many trailer views your movie gets, do about a one to 2% conversion rate, that's how many people will probably going to buy your film, or rent it.
Alex Ferrari 2:00:25
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Scott Mcmahon 2:00:36
So you have to decide, like, if I'm renting it for 99 cents from selling it for $10. And I'm only getting 20 people, you know, do the math, you know, you're you're not gonna make your money back unless he has some other mechanism in place. So some of the other case studies we have in terms of by having a start like Star Wars fan film or a fan film of some sort, you jump in front of parade, you get like 25,000 views on your short film, is there a way to do a one to 2% conversion of that following to your actual website to the to the behind the scenes things you're offering to anything about how you made the film to get them onto a list, we call the email list, get them so that they're following you so that you can follow up with them later, with your own original movie. You know, hopefully it's of the same genre, so they're not totally thrown off
Alex Ferrari 2:01:25
It has to be the same it has to be the same shot. Yes. It has to be as to be something similar until you build up enough street cred or reputation that you could jump genres and you know, like, like Kubrick, you know, or, you know, those or Spielberg or these people like for a while Spielberg was not allowed to do anything other than fantasy Action, Adventure films. Then he said, No, I'm gonna do color purple. And then I'm gonna do Empire, the sun, I don't care. And to the point where he then did Schindler's List in Jurassic Park in the same year, and he was good. But yeah, but good.
Scott Mcmahon 2:02:01
No, no, no. So that's right. So that we're looking at like this thing. Understanding conversion rate understanding the way to get in front of an audience. Another case in point we can use an industry something like music, something more relevant. Today, Tori Kelly, this this this singer songwriter, she audition for? American Idol was told by Simon Cowell, she has like one of the most annoying voices this this pretty girl from San Diego, you know, but since she was, you know, changed by that that was her plan. She got punched in the face. She got Mike tight, you know that the world changed for her. But she started doing cover songs on YouTube. Yep, she's she she worked on her craft, learn how to play the guitar better. So she you know, talk about jumping in front of the the the prayed, which is simply like, what is the most relevant popular song going on right now. So a YouTube artists will I'll do a cover of it. So they get a following because then you know, the, if somebody sees like, Well, whatever the popular song is now Oh, there's somebody did a cover of it. And they really liked that person. And she gets this following. And then she was able to say I'm gonna be releasing my next album or my own album. And then people realize her genius was she has like the most one of the most amazing voices in the industry. And the same thing happen if you're talking about actors. Somebody or a personality, like a you know, on screen personality Michelle Phan for she did makeup tutorials on YouTube. Hey, girls, like here's how you do this is that those are super, super popular. We're talking about conversion rate. Well, she did like how to do like makeup for like a lady gaga video, because that's where the parade was. She piggyback jumped in front of that audience. Her YouTube subscribers jumped up to whatever, a couple million right? conversion rate one to 2% converts into really dedicated fans. So even though she had a YouTube following of a couple million, I think it was I think the conversion rate got down to like, she was offering exclusive, like, hey, if you want to get pre made, like makeup packages sent to your house, join my club, you know, and it's like $10 a month. So she has this free youtube channel. She's got a subscriber base of whatever couple million the conversion rate one 2% she's looking at, like 78 75,000 people that signed up that do the math there. 75,000 times $10 a month. Let me I'll do that real quick. So
Alex Ferrari 2:04:38
75,700 $50,000 $750,000 a month. Yeah.
Scott Mcmahon 2:04:46
Seven she talks about talking about she built her audience. And guess what? Major makeup companies came calling she signed a billion dollar deal. She has her own makeup line. Of course what I'm getting at what We're getting out is like these are the metrics or how to do it. So Alex is running film, indie film hustle and all the other offshoots bullet score screen, bulletproof screenplay and film, film intrapreneur. Like,
Alex Ferrari 2:05:14
but you match them up yet, but yes, sir.
Scott Mcmahon 2:05:18
Thank you. So, you know, it's a, what we're saying is, these are things that you can try to follow. It's, it's not. It's easy to understand. Because when x wrapped around it, it is so hard to execute.
Alex Ferrari 2:05:32
But it's simple. It's simple, though. It's easy. That's the thing. It's easy to grasp, but difficult to do. It's like playing the guitar. Sounds easy. looks easy. But to actually do it is extra to make a good to bake a good bread. Say it's simple ingredients. It's like, you know, can I just bake the bread because we're in quarantine. But, um, but you know, we have it's like five or six ingredients, but and everyone has the same five or six ingredients, but what do you do to execute it? To do it very, very well. Writing, same thing, all are all great art forms. It's simple, but they executed at a very high level is very, very complex,
Scott Mcmahon 2:06:15
you know, executing on you know, so I make my show. And so like, I'm not doing the YouTube youtuber paradigm. Like, it's not just a vlog show, you know, it's people will look at it. It's not like a vlog show. But the thing is, like, I'm not, I'm not trying to bet on the YouTube system, because YouTube but you want to be a YouTuber, that's they want you to be producing every day in order to feed the machine in order to keep your subscriber count high to keep the notification to be part of their
Alex Ferrari 2:06:45
Scott Mcmahon 2:06:46
that you get to seen all the time. And you see a lot of YouTubers burn out after a couple years. Our boy Casey Neistat, you know, he's the poster child who's done it. He's the first one if you're a fan of his stuff and YouTube member, he had a deal with HBO, he was making shows for HBO. He will be the first one to tell you he's like this is the next evolution to be able to be a YouTuber, like a filmmaker on his own terms. He feels like this is way better than working for like a company like making content for a company like he did before. And but even him, he's gotten to a point where he's he's had to take a break because he burnouts there.
Alex Ferrari 2:07:25
No, but he was he was going crazy. He was making so much calm. He was doing a daily vlog and these they were edited. I mean, he's taking two, three hours a day to edit. He's a beast, he's a beast makes me look, I know, I know. You guys. A lot of you guys talk about how I make content. Oh my god, nothing. I'm like this man. Nothing. Oh, my God, the definition of muscles. But but he's he's worth. I mean, he sold his his app, his like YouTube app or something to CNN for 60 million. Like he's, you know what I mean? Like, he's alright. I'm not crying for Casey, but he busted his ass for a decade doing this.
Scott Mcmahon 2:08:03
And then again, he's finding other ways to leverage and license and exploit what he's created to other venues. Career I think for people, we started this, this, this episode talking about I was mentioning like, the biggest takeaway I had was that our films are like all the money's in the action figures from George Lucas. Like our films are nothing more than advertisement for something more expensive. If you look at the world of music, I think no better example is Beats by Dre. There's Dr. Dre. Yeah, you know, world renowned rap artists, musician, but it really wasn't until some other champion entrepreneur, use his likeness has he leveraged that leverage leverage in his world to create these like, headphones, and sell it for a billion dollars to Apple? And if you want to know, like, the poster child for the ultimate, that might be it?
Alex Ferrari 2:08:56
Well, I mean, Jessica Alba is not too far behind.
Scott Mcmahon 2:09:00
Oh, yeah. That is where the radar
Alex Ferrari 2:09:02
Yeah, like for everyone not knowing Jessica Alba, who was you know, the most beautiful she still is. But we she, you know, she was a heart, you know, a sex symbol. In the early 2000s to mid 2000s. She started a company called the Honest Company, because after she had her first child, she wanted, she couldn't find any really clean baby products. So he's like, hey, there's a there's a there's a hole in the market here. So she created the Honest Company, which I'm sure you've probably seen that Target or Walmart, stuff like that. The company is worth over a billion dollars, and she owns 35% of it. And she's basically the poster child for it. So she's like, she's the, she's the model. She's the one up front, but she's got business partners behind her. But she was able to leverage her celebrity to get her into a business that now makes her so much money that she just acts when she wants to act and she's produces and she directs and she does her own TV shows. She does whatever she wants. Whenever She wants why, because she has built an infrastructure to build a machine that is now generating cash flow for her revenue streams for. So she has freedom. She has absolute freedom to do whatever she wants, whenever she wherever she wants. And she could give away money. She can do philanthropic things, she can do start charities when she has. She's helping people. Why? Because she built up a business. And it's not something that she's even doing 100% herself. She's got business partner, she's got other people doing a lot of the heavy lifting the things that she was not good at. But she brought something to the table that they couldn't have done without because she got the attention. She was on the Today Show. She was on these big shows, because she's Jessica Alba. And she was able to leverage her celebrity. And same thing. Look, the the the the entrepreneurs behind Beats by Dre would have tried to come out with headphones, it wouldn't have worked. They need Dre, who is Dre is the ultimate DJ and has the street cred that everybody said wait a minute, and then he leveraged all of his artists and all of his labels. So every music video had beats I saw the whole documentary about Beats by Dre. Every every every single music video he produced. All the artists were wearing Beats by Dre every single time. So instead of becoming a sponsor, becoming a spokesman, like you said earlier, become a spokesman for somebody else's headphones. Hey, I'm going to make my own headphones. puffy did this or P Diddy or whatever he called himself. He did this with vodka. So did what you call it, Ryan. Ryan Reynolds just did it with a gin a gin company. I know or tequila tequila company. And then George George Clooney did it. George Clooney has made more money outside the film industry because of who he is. And honestly, is because he made three movies, Ocean's 11 1112, and 13. Those three movies he is leveraged into multibillion dollar real estate deals in Las Vegas and has his own tequila company, which I think he's about to sell or has sold for 100 $200 million, or something like that. Insane. But these are all artists who leveraged what they had to build something else. And now they could do whatever they want, and they were fine before they were multimillionaires before. Don't get me wrong. But now they've taken it to a whole other place where now they can be philanthropic build up, create other opportunities for other filmmakers for other companies for their people that they wouldn't been able to do before. the more money you have in the the more money in the right hands equals more impact for people around.
Scott Mcmahon 2:12:32
Yeah. And you know, we talked about before that quote mike tyson ever he's got a plan to get punched in the face. Well, another boxer George Foreman, foreman. I mean, it's not like he made all
Alex Ferrari 2:12:43
this money boxing. He made it because his family is set up for generations upon generations, if they're smart with their money, he's a multi billionaire off of putting his name on George Foreman, by the way, just so you know, George Foreman wasn't their first choice. Hulk Hogan passed on that. Hulk Hogan passed on that. And believe me, there's not a day that goes by that he's not pissed off about.
Scott Mcmahon 2:13:12
Like that kind of stuff. So if we rein it back in on a smaller scale, like I was mentioning, like, I now been applying this for a few months, the last few years, you know, I changed professions to some extent, because I needed to learn how to become a really good real estate agent, you know, I didn't do it, learn my craft, and to serve clients the best, before I really started putting effort into the show. So I was dabbling with my show a little bit, sporadically once a month, once every other month. But now the beginning of year, I was like, I'm gonna commit to once a week. And then I got because I'm not a YouTuber, I'm, I'm able to create my show. And again, I'm writing it, I'm the spokesperson, I'm having a blast doing it. But I get to focus on a more very micro specific local level. And I realize the, the niche, the niche is much more active on Facebook, you know, you're in
Alex Ferrari 2:14:09
a niche, by the way, it's a niche you could control. It's not a control, but there's a niche that you can access. It's not like all real estate for all of Oregon. No, no, it's right. This specific area, this specific kind of customer, this is who this this content is created. You're using the the film intrapreneur method, without question.
Scott Mcmahon 2:14:26
Yes. So bit, so I don't have to be succumb to the algorithm of YouTube. I don't have to be a YouTuber. You know, I don't have to have this large, like million, 2 million followers to do a conversion 1%. I have a very micro like hyper local specific. And so then, it wasn't until I had a breakthrough on finding like a hot button that meant something in the community. And there's so many things was if you just sit and you listen and you read what these community posts are talking about, there's next door app as well. All of a sudden I think I was able to create very specific content with the right headlines, that just suddenly all of a sudden my videos took off.
Alex Ferrari 2:15:07
And what's the conversion? The conversion rate? I'm assuming is more than one or 2%?
Scott Mcmahon 2:15:11
Yes, it's gonna be a lot higher. Correct? I'll tell you. So it's been three months now. And that has led to, you know, I have been a part of three different local governments because of the the videos I'm making. And that's got me more exposure. And in terms of and it's it's my version of the modern day version of the bus stop billboard for real estate. Yeah, yeah, so now, but I also purposely tried to create the videos so that they are evergreen. So that's a matter when you find them, they will have some relevancy. And I know it's working. Because some of my videos have been banned from like places like next door app, because other real estate agents, I think, reported as promotional. And other real estate agents have, like, on their own Facebook groups that they started, and they won't put any of my content on. And so it's like, it's really fantastic. Like, Oh, great, now it's working. Because if, like the people probably see as a threat, and it's growing and things like that. So I wanted to share that with the audience is saying, Here, we are talking about how you and I are applying these things in our daily lives. And it's a struggle, it's at work every day. It's not like we're, we're pimping it, you know, it's like we are
Alex Ferrari 2:16:30
every every, it's a struggle every day. But the the big difference is that I love doing what I do every day. And it's, yeah, it's enjoyable. And I want to do it, I just want to do it every day, it's so addictive, to help people in my side. And I know you do, too, you're helping people get houses. But you're also able to express yourself as an artist, these are the times where the greatest opportunities are presented. If you're smart, this could be the time where that great shift that you need to make in your life happens. Because a lot of times you don't make this shift, you don't you don't take that jump until you're either forced to, or you're like remember that we've talked about this before on other shows like that place where you're like, it's not too bad, but it's not too good. I'm like in that little midway, like, I'll just deal, that kind of world, you only move when you come become completely uncomfortable. So you're going to go to the gym, once you find out that you just had a heart attack or, or your blood or your blood work came back and like if you don't change something, you're gonna die. That's when the pain becomes so, so powerful that it moves you it launches you into the direction you have to go, we are that we're in right now is that pain for a lot of people. And instead of being angry or depressed about it, look at it like, Okay, this is the world we live in, this is my reality, how can I use this pain in this place? To make that shift? Should I start writing that book I've been wanting to write, should I start, you know, doing that business I wanted to create online? Should I start doing you know, creating a YouTube channel, should I start doing this or writing that script, whatever that thing is that thing that you've been putting off, this is the time to maybe start down that road, and it could turn into the road, the business where you go, who knows in six months, you might just be the virtual tour guy in Oregon, Scott, and and that and that becomes you've cornered that market. Because you were the guy there when it all happened. It happens all the time in these kind of crisises. So maybe this is that time for you to look inside of yourself. everyone listening and see what can I do differently? How can I think differently? How can I build something from this pace? Because I would have would have never in a million years done it. If I wouldn't have been forced to the situation that we're all in right now. That's kind of what I was the message I wanted to put out there before we go.
Scott Mcmahon 2:18:59
No, it's, it's great. And we'll wrap this up here. Surely, we write it's the stressors that are needed. They have like a crisis. It really defines your character. And, you know, moving forward and all I can say again, whatever path any of us take, it's hard. Every day is going to be hard but you it's what's You and I are talking about. It's the process and dealing with that challenge. If that's what's enjoyable, that's the only thing that you can count on. One of the things I took away my made the movie The Cube was exploring in my mom's from Thailand, my dad's from New York, you know, there's you know, growing up with necessarily two ideologies, but, you know, the Buddhist teachings was like this one, quote that was really simple. It's like, really the whole point of life is to share, share knowledge with others. When you acquire it, you share it that's it. So with that said, is like the daily beings About a B in the moment doing the work itself is the is the is the whim. Whatever happens at the end, just kind of like you just hope that you're prepared enough for it that when the opportunity arises, you can take advantage of it. But before we wrap up here, I do want to share this one bit of information that I thought was really pivotal. In my experience running film trooper that gave me for the perspective of going down this path of the film to printer or the film trooper, or whatever it is, like you and I had just come across and talking about over years,
Alex Ferrari 2:20:36
is when people
Scott Mcmahon 2:20:39
we're going to go to how sort of like the movie, how movies make money, or where money comes from, for these movies. And where we all fit into this. We you and I've shared this before. But I got this from Scott Kirkpatrick you know, who works in the distribution world a little bit. But he wrote a book, but he just really briefly breaking down. Like, if you want to know how producers make money, or movies make money, this is just a case scenario. We talked about this before, which was this distribution company, or production company has a relationship with these international buyers, again, all this stuff is gonna change. But I'm just trying to say that these are sort of the principles of like how people like Harvey Weinstein made all his money, you know, before he went to jail, and you know, where all that kind of stuff happens. But, hmm, so these you, you and I could start a production company or distribution company, and say, You know what, and build these relationships with some international buyers like these, say, we have a relationship with some Japanese film buyers, like they will buy content if it's of a certain ilk. And so we have this relationship. And we're about we're good. We've over the years, we've been going to film markets, all the International Film markets, all the local flea markets is building up our relationship with them. And okay, and then this is it. So. So, from there, we just make a poster of a big giant monster destroying a city, maybe a helicopter over its head. Right? Right, right, just show this to our Japanese friends that we know that this is the type of content they buy. We show this to them. And then yeah, this is great. And they say, this is great. If you can deliver this film by this date, you know, let's make a deal. And so say it's 2 million, we'll give you $2 million for this movie. So we shake hands, we write up all the legal documents saying if we deliver this movie based on this poster we created, then they'll give us $2 million. Well, let's back up. This is how the world works in the film business. There is no script, there is no movie, it was just a poster and a relationship. And then this sort of promissory note that we got from this company saying, we will deliver $2 million, they're reputable. They'll give us $2 million. Yeah, we go we you and I will go to a bank that does this type of loans, show them that we're reputable, that they are reputable. Meaning that like we've done this before with a reputable company. Yeah, we've done this before. So they say okay, we'll give you the loan for $2 million. So you're thinking like, Hey, we're gonna make a film for $2 million. That's based off this monster poster. That's not how it works. You and I were going to pocket one and a half million dollars, we're only going to make the film for 500,000. So we hire the director, the writer, the producer, and all the crew member when you're working in the world of filmmaking, your your salaries based off what the budget of the film is, like, hey, the budgets only 500,000 so yours your your salary can only be paid this per week, right? So the film is made for $500,000 we deliver that to Japan. They said you made it That's great. It can be schlocky can be terrible, as long as they're delivered on the post and they're happy I was promised to them. They gave us $2 million. We take it to the bank, we pay back that loan. You and I just packed pocket a million and a half dollars. We didn't have to make the film we just made the deal. So this is all Harvey Weinstein and all those guys make their money. They're just making deal made
Alex Ferrari 2:24:17
past tense made their money he's not making movies anymore.
Scott Mcmahon 2:24:20
Yeah. I'm saying of his kind show. So if you're ever wonder where you fit into the whole scheme of things in the money making machine goes if you are working on a film or television project, and there's a budget set for X amount, just know that the bonds are making way more because they made the deal. You know, and then you're you're just stuck making what you're making. You're gonna make your day rate or whatever it is. And then you move on. And so you put your head wrapped around that it's like being a film to printer film trooper moving forward in this world is like do you want to be part of that world Or just be aware that that's how it works. And then how do you gain more creative control and self empowerment to weather the storm. So you're not, you know, basically part of that machine that that you don't have a lot of say in sometimes,
Alex Ferrari 2:25:17
if I, if I may bring it back to the beginning, the book and it, you have the, you have the three paths, you can be the employee, you could be the production company, or independent contractor or small business owner. Or you could build the business, an asset that generates revenue for you while you sleep. And all three are very respectful paths, but you have to choose the path that you want to go down. Because there's people who just want to be an employee, there's people who just want to own a production company. And then there's other people who want to build a business that generates revenue for them, to give them the freedom to do whatever they want, creatively, artistically, in life in general. And that is the question you need to ask yourself, which path Do you want to walk? There's no right or wrong answer. I'm obviously lean in one direction. Scott and I both lean in kind of One Direction. But if you you know, like I said, some of the greatest filmmakers of all time, walk the first path. You know, Hitchcock was, you know, I think Hitchcock was an employee pretty much his entire life, because he came from the old old Hollywood system, where he was just a hired hand. And then later on, I don't know if you ever had a production, I think he had a production company. I won't. But yeah, when he opened up the TV show, he started doing when he started doing TV, he did it through production, his own production company, but so on, so forth. But some of the greatest filmmakers of All Time went down that path, you just have to ask yourself the question, Where do you want to be in how you want to be? How you want to walk this path, which is a very, you know, you chose this this filmmaking world. And it's not an easy world. And it's getting more difficult and more confusing every single day that goes by. And before we finish up, Scott, I want to personally say thank you for doing all the work that you've done with film trooper over the years. He from trooper was around before I ever walked out onto the scene. I still remember the day that you reached out to me after you saw me show up with guns blaring. And you were like, Who are you? Where did you come from? Like, what's going on? And that story, I always tell all the tough like, you know, this guy from cooperia. This is what's God did when I first came on the scene. And we became fast friends ever since then. Yeah, but I really do want to thank you, for all the stuff that you've done for the community in the way that you've done it in the flavor that you have done it. Because it's a very Look, I can't ever be Scott McMahon. That flavor that non threatening ethnic, I can't be that. But what you've done is helped a lot of filmmakers along the way along the way. And I know this is the last episode of the show for you have a film shoprunner I'm excuse me, film trooper, excuse me. See Florida and slip. No. I'm so used to seeing film shoprunner I don't say film super often. But this is the last episode of film trooper, man. And I'm so blessed and humbled that I would be the last guest. This has been an epic conversation. This is so packed with information and value bombs that both you and I were able to drop in there. But I want to thank you again, for having me on the show. I've been on the show three times, I think three or four times four or five times. I'm one of them. Yeah, I've been on the on the show a few times. And I truly, truly, truly appreciate everything you've done for me for my audience, my tribe, but more importantly, what you've done for the, for the film trooper tribe, and for filmmakers who ever had the pleasure of listening to one of your podcasts or consuming some of your content. So from the bottom of my heart, my friend, thank you so much for all the work that you did, and you will be missed. But I hope this is a good send off.
Scott Mcmahon 2:29:01
Definitely. Thank you so much. Well, thank you for taking this time. And again, for everybody listening. I really do hope you got a lot of nuggets out of this just to think to be like, Whoa, where do I fit into this world? And how do we move forward? But, you know, we'll still be around. Hopefully I'll pop on your film. intrapreneur
Alex Ferrari 2:29:20
Yeah, anytime, anytime. Anytime, Scott, whatever you want to come on and talk about what you're doing in the film, like your film entrepreneur method with the real estate. I'm all about it. You let me know when you want to come on.
Scott Mcmahon 2:29:33
Right? It doesn't mean that I won't necessarily make another narrative or documentary stuff like that then and yeah, there's, it just means that I am applying something to a new my base, my foundation, and that foundation is solid. Nothing stops you from creating all these other things.
Alex Ferrari 2:29:50
So absolutely, man. Absolutely. Again, thank you so much for everything you've done, brother. And if anybody wants and you're still going to keep your website up and running, right Yeah, it exists. It always exists and the podcast will still be on archive for people to listen to. Yep. On our Yep. All right. So, all right, my friend will talk to you soon. I want to thank Scott for not just being on the show and also having me on as his last and final guest on his podcast. But I truly want to thank Scott for all the hard work, and dedication he's given the indie film community. In all that time that he's been running film trooper. He truly wanted to help filmmakers as much as humanly possible. And if you haven't checked out his book, surviving the Hollywood implosion, I would definitely suggest you check it out. And if you want to visit film trooper which is going to stay active as an archive, you can listen to all his podcasts, his articles, he's got a ton, a ton of information, and great knowledge on that website. So please head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/383. And I'll have links to everything there. And if you haven't already have an audible account, you can download his book for free by signing up through audible and the link is in the show notes as well. Now I know a lot of you out there are in quarantine, listening to this podcast stuck at home, dealing with the uncertainty that is happening right now in this Bizarro world that we're living in right now. But I can promise you one thing that this will pass and this time that you have locked up in in quarantine by yourself or with your family or close close ones. You need to prepare yourselves as much as possible. For whatever comes our way. In this business. You should be taking this time to educate yourself. You should be taking this time to read books, to take online courses, to watch YouTube videos to write to read all of it. Educate yourself as much as possible. Make those contacts have zoom conversations or Skype calls with other filmmakers create groups. Talk about what you guys want to do, how to do it, start thinking outside the box. But prepare yourself because when this is over, I want you all to be locked and loaded ready for action. The business will change and it will not be what we were once was but it will be a new version of normal. And I want you guys to be prepared for it. I promise you, this will pass. I wish you and your family nothing but safety and success. Moving forward. Thanks again for listening guys. As always, keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. Stay home, and I'll talk to you soon.
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