Today on the show we have directors Megan Petersen & Hannah Black. They are the winners of the Seed and Spark/Duplass Brother Hometown Heros Contest. Here more about this remarkable contest.
Join us for an opportunity to have your feature film executive produced by Duplass Brothers Productions, Salem Street Entertainment, and UnLTD Productions and be eligible for a total of $50,000 in no-interest loans for your narrative or documentary feature. Whether you’re from a small town, the suburbs or a special corner of a major city, now is the time to bring your hometown-centered story to the screen.
Their film is called DROUGHT. Join Sam, her Autistic brother Carl, estranged sister Lillian & friend Lewis, as they try to navigate life in a small town. It’s 1993 and the south is in the worst drought in history but Carl is fascinated by weather. Hoping for a better life, they steal an ice-cream truck to become storm chasers.
We sit down and discuss all things indie film, what it was like to direct this film while having the guidance of indie film legends like Jay and Mark Duplass.
Enjoy my inspirational conversation with Megan Petersen & Hannah Black.
Right-click here to download the MP3
Alex Ferrari 0:04
Now today on the show, we have two filmmakers by the name of Megan Petersen and Hannah black. They were the winners of the seed and spark hometown heroes contest with the duplass brothers as their executive producers. Now being winners, they get access to $50,000.18 days to make their film, which is called drought. And also you have the bonus of having Mark duplass and Jay duplass, as your executive producers, and they've been working with the duplass brothers closely during this whole process. It's really wonderful to to see how the duplass brothers work and mentor young filmmakers and not only meant to them, but actually give them access, give them the resources to go out and tell their stories. And that's why I wanted to have Megan and Hannah on the show. Now, as a side bonus, these two girls are just amazing. You can actually feel the the enthusiasm, the the joy of filmmaking come right through the voice in the in the sound coming into your podcast device. As you listen to this interview. It was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful to talk to them. And they gave us some really great nuggets of information on their process and what they've been doing and how it's like to work with the duplass brothers, what they've learned from Mark and Jay. And their whole experience so far making their movie which they're still in the process of making that movie, because as of this interview, they are just starting post production, but they wanted to get out there and really share what they've learned so far, even up to that stage. So I'm excited to bring this to the tribe. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Megan and Hannah. Guys, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Megan Petersen 4:20
Hannah Black 4:20
Thank you for having us.
Alex Ferrari 4:23
So we have today Megan and Hannah, say Megan, raise your hand. And Hannah, raise your hand. All right, and we're gonna talk today about your amazing journey, which is still in the process of going through your in post on this journey. But the reason I wanted to have you guys on the show is because you have a very unique story and how you got there. And you're working with a few unknown executive producers, which we'll talk about later. really curious about how you went through all that process. But first and foremost, how did you guys get into the film business? What was what was it that made you jump into this ridiculous business?
Megan Petersen 4:59
Write this crazy business. For me, I always loved acting. And when I moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, there was already a film network here. And I found myself on set. And so that is when I was like, wait, people do this like for a job. And I want to do it too. And so I joined an acting class here in town at a studio. And that's how I kind of got into the mix.
Hannah Black 5:29
Yeah. And I was just out of college, and I was teaching. And I was super unhappy with my life. I just didn't enjoy my job. And I have always loved movies growing up. And for some reason, I guess it just took being really unhappy with my job. I realized, like vegan movies don't fall from Mars, people actually do this for a living. And it's a thing. And I was really interested in the aspects side of it. So I quit my job and enrolled in the same acting classes, we both enrolled at the same time, but did not know each other. And just kind of got hooked to I just love acting. And then we were in a miser class for two years. And our awesome acting coach really encouraged us to create our own work. And so we did a couple of short films. And that's when we realized we love working together and, and filmmaking as well.
Alex Ferrari 6:26
So that's Yeah, so how did you guys get together? Like, you just said, hey, let's, let's just join forces?
Megan Petersen 6:31
Mm hmm. That's a great question. We audition for roles here in the southeast. And please know, we are grateful for all the roles we audition for Yes, but they're typically one line to five lines, and a lot of nurse, nice nurse or, you know, snarky waitress, one to one, not even one, come on. Doctor, Mom, number four. So we were like, ah, disgruntled actors that wanted to make our own content so that we could play characters and women that have more of a back story and are more interesting. And so we had been, we did one short film, kind of in a style of certain people we look up to where we have improv, during short film, had given ourselves a relationship and that kind of thing. And we shot that it gotten to some festivals in that when we were like, Oh, I think we have like something here. We work well together. And then that is when we started writing more short films together. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 7:42
And then now you are. You're directing your first feature film? Yes. And that film was called drought. The movie. Yeah, drought. Yeah, just draw what's called drought. I call it this crop.
Hannah Black 7:55
Right. But we always say like the movie. What I don't understand. So we're like, yes, it's moving.
Alex Ferrari 8:01
Yeah. So tell me about what drought is about. And then we're gonna go into the process of it.
Hannah Black 8:06
Yes, yes. So drought is it's like a coming of age dramedy, I guess it's set in 1993. It's in a small southern town going through the worst drought in history. And this girl named Sam, she is, you know, taking care of her younger brother, Carl, who has autism. And he is obsessed with weather, but their town is going through a drought. And that's a total bummer. Not a lot of weather happening, right? Um, and so they're a strange sister comes into town, and lots of things happen, and they decide to go and chase storms. And so it's really about it's about siblings, and forgiveness and family and just accepting who you really are.
Alex Ferrari 8:50
What I found, what I found was interesting is when people don't find like me, it goes all the way back to an earlier than this, but Good Will Hunting when Ben and Matt could not find work that they wanted to do. They wrote their own work. And I found nowadays when they did, it was much harder than it is today. It really is, or what it was so much harder. So now I'm just so happy that the technology is around that allows people to, you know, an artist to kind of express themselves and create projects that they want to do. There's really no excuse anymore.
Megan Petersen 9:22
Right? I know, it was kind of like either, we could stop complaining about it and just accept, you know, what was gonna come our way or we could do something about it, and tell a story that we felt the world needed right now. And that's how we came to that Hannah came to me with this idea. And we were in the short film track and I was like, Hannah, this is this story is bigger than a short film. And it's probably it's bigger than, you know, anything we've ever taken on. So it was an exciting adventure. Now here we are.
Alex Ferrari 9:55
So then you you signed up for this contest, right? That seed and spark and a small producer coming up a complete producer called Mark duplass. And the duplass brothers in general, we're putting together for everyone listening. See the spark and the duplass brothers did this amazing contest to give, I think it was like two winners, or one winner of 50,000 been up to five. And they chose two films to film. And they gave each of those films 50,000 and you were one of those 50,001 of those too
Megan Petersen 10:28
close they had up they updated it for this past year, they did a second round that up the money. So the year we were in it, they did one grand prize winner who just who got the executive producer ship, and then we got the executive producer, ship and 25,000 will pay we'll take it
Alex Ferrari 10:47
off. Still not that bad. It's incredible. And then so did you. Did you go through the whole crowdfunding process through seed and spark is well can you can you get tell us a little bit about that experience? Because I I hated it. I hated crowdfunding. I did it on seed and spark as well. I love them. And they're fantastic. But man, crowdfunding Sachs is just Oh, so tell me your experience.
Hannah Black 11:13
Yes. So we had, we had only crapped my thing. We had only crowdfunded once before. And it was only for one day for like $500. So very different from this. And also it was a competition. So it was, it was the crazy, it was the craziest thing that we've ever done. Even after shooting the film, shooting drought, we still have back and we think that the crowdfunding was the most difficult thing ever. And Steven
Megan Petersen 11:41
spark set us up for success with like all of their education stuff that they put all of the videos they have, like when you get a crowd coming slob. We didn't have a ton of time to prepare, because we saw the competition late June, and it was launching the middle of September. And so in that time shot, you know, a pitch video got all of our crowdfunding site together, other LLC to get got our company together everything we've worked on the script for three years, but we were at a point with it, that we were either gonna have to, like, get money for it, finance it, or put it on a shelf. And you know, say that was a good experience, and that we saw a no film school article about the competition, right at the exact time that we needed. We were trying to make that decision. So crowdfunding, it was fun. It was, like insane. And the hardest thing we've ever done, we raised right under $25,000.
Alex Ferrari 12:44
So that's an addition to the grant. That is, so you ended up being with a $50,000 budget. Right? That's right. $50,000 budget. That's awesome. Yeah, everyone listening. If you guys haven't checked out Seaton Spark, they're amazing. They are so wonderful. And film they are. They're the best crowdfunding platform. Because they are here. They really do. Emily, Emily is amazing. I've had her on the show. She is just Yes. Amazing. She's a an inspiration, to say the least.
Hannah Black 13:17
Yeah, she's changing the game of filmmaking for independent filmmakers, because anyone from like South Dakota, or you know, like in the middle of nowhere can make a film by raising money through this site. And it also what we found through hometown heroes specifically, was our community just rally rally together to make this film a thing. So yes, you're raising money, but the way seed and spark is the way it runs, you're also creating a film community in your town, but also across the United States. Because we're able to connect with other filmmakers through the same seed and spark family, which has been really cool. And to build an audience in 30 days of 3000 people. That's
Megan Petersen 14:02
insane. It was insane. And that was the the great part about participating in a rally to raise funds is the momentum you gain from building an audience as well, which has been really helpful in other things we've done since going into production, how we can reach out to that audience that we've built and let them know what's going on. Or if we have needs that kind of thing.
Alex Ferrari 14:27
And then did you did you raise did you do the crowdfunding before or after you got the one that the grant with with the duplexes?
Megan Petersen 14:35
So it was actually the rally. It's a really unique rally, the competition for the grant was part of crowdfunding. So the two things you had to do was you had to hit your crowdfunding goal, and which you could set for yourself anywhere over 70 $500 but we knew in order to make the film at all we needed to set it at 24,000. So we set it at that and then you had to be in the top To end with the most followers, that was when it got it out.
Alex Ferrari 15:05
So you were like content, you were like content for followers, you were hunting for people, like even if it's $1, even if it's a buck, that's fine, just just get on, and you have to do the top. That's so awesome. That's a great, it's actually it's a really great kind of gateway to get to this contest. Because you have to prove that you have an audience, you have to prove that you can hustle, you have to prove that you can get through there. And it kind of really, you know, the the cream definitely rises to the top. Yeah, when it comes to that. Now, do you have any tips for filmmakers? And crowdfunding?
Megan Petersen 15:43
Yeah, as the number one is just be prepared, it's really turns into becoming an extra full time job. Um, we would see when we were active on Facebook Live or messaging people that that's when we would gather followers and funds in the times that we were at our real jobs. It was go silent. So that I think my biggest thing is you just have to stay in front of people and stay active. And also remember the message of your film and to just to be intentional with the way that you are marketing it, and just a kind way.
Hannah Black 16:28
Yeah, and being true, as cliche as it sounds is being true to your yourself and what your film is. Because if you're trying to be something else, it's not authentic, and people aren't interested in that. So it's just we're weird. So we just were weird. And I think people enjoy watching these weird people do this weird thing. Um, and it just makes it more enjoyable. to just be yourself because you for us at least we're in front of Facebook live like crying and then laughing and making it I actually,
Alex Ferrari 17:02
I did actually see a couple of those Facebook Lives. They are quite entertaining. I saw them on your Facebook on your Facebook page. It was it was quite, quite. Yes. It was good. Yeah. I think we should just leave it. We should just leave that at that. Let's just move on.
Megan Petersen 17:22
Then people watch them.
Alex Ferrari 17:25
Isn't it crazy? Like you're sitting there and you're like doing this thing? And you're like, oh, somebody is watching us somewhere. And then all of a sudden, that number starts growing like oh, there's 20 people, there's literally 20 people or there's 100 people or there's like 500 people watching what I'm doing right now. It's eerie. It's kind of creepy. But yet it's kind of cool. Like, do you have that kind of access? Instant on your phone? Why people aren't streaming more now become like an evangelist for streaming? Because I absolutely love live streaming now. It's like, amazing. Because you can just get to an audience very quickly and provide great content for them. instantly. Instant Yeah.
Megan Petersen 18:01
Not with them were like, they could ask us questions, and we can answer right away, and it just gave us. So truly, there's like no reason. We all have Facebook or Instagram, or Twitter. So there's no reason like people can't do this. I think that's what I felt more than anything from the rally. If two ladies from Wilmington, North Carolina can do this, like, it's possible that you can be empowered to do this yourself to
Alex Ferrari 18:33
absolutely no question now. So you did work with, uh, with the duplass brothers. I know, Mark, did you work with Jay and Mark, or just mark or just Jay,
Hannah Black 18:42
it's mostly mark. Um, so the, the, the grant is from both of them, their company. And then once we won, which still feels weird to say, um, we sent the script to them and mark and one of his awesome assistants who we love helped us make it the best that it can be on the budget that we have.
Alex Ferrari 19:06
So yeah, that helps you break down the script a little bit and go, okay, you're gonna have to change this location or this thing or that thing? Because you just ain't got the money. Right? Pretty much. Yes.
Megan Petersen 19:16
A little reality check with Okay, the movie you're trying to make is a $250,000. Movie, you have 50,000. Let's try to make a $25,000 movie, or 50,000. So let's try to scale it way down, not just to 50 but to 25. And then you have this extra money that will help elevate it. And they really helped us just focus on story. paring down the locations and some of the characters and focus on the heart of this story. That's awesome.
Alex Ferrari 19:51
And then so if you had a lot of one on one interactions with Mark
Megan Petersen 19:56
Yeah, we had a lot of it's via email, huh? Cuz we're like coast to coast. Yeah, busy. folks doing lots of things clearly have a lot on their plate. But they're so kind and anytime that we needed a call because we couldn't figure something out or had questions about changing something in the script, they were there to schedule it and
Alex Ferrari 20:23
talk it out or email it out or all those things. That's, that's pretty awesome. Yeah. So now you're so you're so you're working with you're working with the duplass brothers, who are a legend in the independent film space? Without question. I'm a huge fan of what they're doing. I'm sure you're still like, I don't even understand. Because you're still in the process. You're in the you're done shooting, now you're in post production, correct? Yes. Right. Which is, that's another handful of months. And I'm curious to see what their interaction with you is, because I'm sure just by working with someone like Mark, and like Jay, who've done this a lot in their career, you're gonna absorb a lot of stuff. When you're, I always tell people, you have to surround yourself with people who are better than you. So you can learn and grow and be inspired. Well, you've taken that to an art degree. Yeah. It's crazy. So I'm really curious to see how that next process is moving forward and post Now, while you were on set, what was the biggest challenge you dealt with? And by the way, how does it work with you, too? Are you like the Cohens like one of you direct and one of the producers? Are you both kind of direct? How does it work with the utilizza? team?
Megan Petersen 21:28
I think it's interesting to talk about how he ended up directing.
Hannah Black 21:32
Yes, we should talk about that, please. Um, yeah, so we wrote, because we started off acting, so we consider ourselves actors first. So we wrote the roles to the lead roles for ourselves. with finding someone else to direct we're, that's just what we want it to do at first, especially because we've never been leads in a feature film we've been blonde to and waitress, you know, so, which is great, which is great. But it's just like a whole different animal. In addition to producing it and creating the story and stuff. Well, we talked to mark, and he was just like, so you guys are going to direct it, right? We're like, Oh, no. And he's like, why not? And we're like, I'm scared. We're really hearing reason for it. But we were really afraid. And he was like, Well, basically saying you should do it. Um, and just his belief in us and not even like, batting an eye about us being believes in the film, and then also co directing. It made us feel okay, we can do this. So we did.
Megan Petersen 22:40
We would definitely, if we are not in a scene together, whoever is more heavy on acting that day would concentrate more on that part and the other person will take over directing more. And then we had a really strong first ad, which now after going through this process I can not advocate for Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 23:03
yeah, yeah. Whoa, yeah.
Megan Petersen 23:05
In a short film, short films a whole different. Sure. Sure. I think I had to get away with some things. A feature I cannot imagine if we did not have a strong first ad. And for us, she was Kristie ray is her name incredible. She's an actress. And so she was also able to look out for our acting and performance with we were both in the scene.
Hannah Black 23:29
Yeah, she was incredible. So we had her whenever we were both doing the scene together. And as well as who's our editor right now in set deck slash props. Who is an incredible writer and director himself pierced like leather. So both of them were, you know, they would tag team together and discuss and then come to us like in the middle, or after the scene is over. We POW and then we go back and see it again. So just an incredible team all together, looking out for performance and stuff.
Alex Ferrari 24:00
That's insane. It's insane. Blast. Yeah, I mean, I've been on sets with bad first IDs and good first IDs and and no IDs and certain budgets and make sense with no add. But yeah, but when you're you have a bad ad. you trust me? It will it'll bring the whole ship down real quick. Yeah, yeah. sets the tone. Yeah, sure. So when what was the biggest challenge you guys dealt with on set? I mean, it sounds like just acting and directing. Were pretty good. But like, was there any like specific day, any specific day that something happened to just like, how are we gonna get out of this? Oh, there were two. There were two really tough days or days. First, this
Megan Petersen 24:46
is crazy and kind of like sad, but it's true. It happened on our sixth day. I got a phone call in the middle of the day that my mom unexpectedly passed away. Right? Crazy. And so it happened on a Wednesday and we were shooting, I was done with my scenes for the day. And Hannah. I was not many scenes The next day, and then we had two days off. So Hannah and the team were incredible. Like they just, I mean, it was a really hard balance of like, this is a real life thing. Life doesn't stop because you're in production right? still happen, tragic things happen. And to see the team pull together on day six like that, for me and for the production just glued us together even more to get this project done. And so I was able to step away for that weekend, and have time with my family while they kept going. Because, as you know, indie film hustling you can't really stop production like it's not really an option, especially just
Alex Ferrari 25:59
me You just can't you don't have the budget you don't you know, like, you know, it's not like when you know, Tom Cruise buses ankle open, they shut everything down. Well, they have insurance, they've got hundreds of millions of dollars. It's a whole other beast with us. It's different. You got to just keep rockin I remember I still remember I was about to direct a series one day and grandma died. And and I like I honestly for me, it was probably one of the better things to do is because I had my mind focused on on directing all day. So it was a lot easier for me to just kind of roll with it and then grieve after but it just kind of like push through. So sometimes it's it happens what is supposed to happen. But yeah, you that's one big lesson that everybody has to go through. Like the show will go on with the train left the building. Yes, the train is on its way to the wrap up nation. If you want to be on it, it's up to you, but it's gonna go in my in my derail, but it's going yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, as it did the real,
Hannah Black 27:03
some more times. But Megan, was the strongest purse, she is the strongest person I've ever met. My it is true, because three days later, she was back on set and directing and being a boss. And we also have a really empathetic crew who's just there just we have the best group. That's all I have to say about that. But um, then a week and a half later, we only had I think five days left to film. On our last week trekking along with 105 degrees. Well, there's a hurricane coming our way. Yes, um, category four, which is, of course for the movie is called drought. So that's really cool. Um, but so we actually had to shut down production and pause, and for two months, because it was a category four. And then by the time it hit, it was a category one, but it was moving three miles an hour through our town, or in state, and it just wreaked havoc on our state. And it took two months for everything to get back to normal. And so then we resumed production Two months later, again, we have the best crew in the world, our sound guide, just I gaff, graph, sorry, a gaffer and get it's like hard with getting married. He's like, we're gonna pause our honeymoon and come finish out this film with you. Just awesome, right? So we had these really devastating things happen. But we also had the most incredible things happen simultaneously. so
Alex Ferrari 28:35
tough stuff, and we made it and we made it. I'll tell you what I was shooting my first big short film back in 2005. And Hurricane Wilma showed up in Florida and literally destroyed our sets while we were there, and then the best thing about it was no, no, it worked out good. A week later, we just added it into the story. Because we had no other choice. And then while we were shooting, we were shooting at a hospital where FEMA set up so we had 1000s of people outside in line trying to pick up waters and food. And we're just like oh, and you know we did a whole documentary about it behind the scenes is there but you just kind of roll you got a nail You know, when you have $200 million you have a money hose to throw problems at as Robert Rodriguez always said, you throw the money hose at it. We don't have a money hose. We don't even have a hose. Got a roll, you just got a roll. And if you if you're too stringent about what you want and need. It's all about compromise. Directing is pretty much compromise. Totally because it's never gonna be what you exactly have in your mind. Right? But then it turns out better somehow exactly where it's if you're open to actually miracle if you're open to it. Yes, if you open Take care, because there's a lot of directors I've seen that just like this way I'm like, but that's gold. I don't care. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Megan Petersen 30:12
Release for us. Like, if we look back on it now, we were so tired. So spent, I don't know how we would have gotten through those last five days. And that gave us a break to like recoup, I could grieve, we could wrap our heads around the last five days. And we realized that the script needed one more scene. And I don't think we would have had it in our brain capacity to figure that out if we are just trying to get to the end. So it, it ended up working out in the moment though it felt it for a
Alex Ferrari 30:49
little while. It always does. When you're in the moment, you're always look back now and you'll be like, Wow, did we really do that? I'm sure you say that. Now. I'm sure you're saying that right now. Like, while you're watching while you're watching your dailies, and you're trying to edit this, you're just like, Did you really do that? That's insane. Who did that? It wasn't nice. Yeah. fever dream? Yeah. Let me ask you, what is the biggest lesson that you learned working with Mark and Jay, on this? Like, what's the one thing that you're like, Man, these guys just dropped this knowledge bomb on me and I can't believe it?
Hannah Black 31:24
Or how that's a good? That is a good question. Because there's a lot true. Truly, there's a lot. Do you want to go first? Or do you want me to
Megan Petersen 31:30
first thing I think, for me is this, the way that they have produced with us is so empowering. And so the thing I think that I'm probably knew somewhere deep down, but didn't have the courage to realize it is that you have and they preach this all the time. So why didn't I hear this other places, but we have what it takes, you just have to do it. You just have to go out there and just make it happen. They were pretty hands off when it came to like, okay, the script is ready, go make your movie. And really us. Okay, Okay, sounds good. I think I just gained this whole new confidence in myself. To be able to do this. More, I think that's the biggest thing I learned at least I don't know.
Hannah Black 32:26
Um, I guess to piggyback off of that, also letting it trickle down to the people that you're working with. And also, just, and we are such an advocate for kindness on set, and, and just, you can work really hard and have fun and be kind all at the same time. But then seeing also that that is something that mark and Jay do as well, and they're incredibly successful. And people enjoy working with them. It's this attainable thing that can truly just continue on. But also picking back piggybacking off of what Megan said, finding other people that are part of your crew, or actors or whatever, that just like us don't have necessarily the experience, but are willing to work hard and are passionate and are kind. And we'll do what it takes. And we had a handful of both we had our dp is like incredibly seasoned and talented, and also really, really kind and patient. And then we had other people on set who had never done that particular job before but rocked it. Um, because we believed in them, just like Mark and Jay believed in us. So
Megan Petersen 33:44
yeah, I definitely think it's that they have given us like a they've helped us to the next step, and then just continuing to go back and do that for other people. Also, one of the things they really encouraged us to do, which we did is and I will probably always do as long as I produce things, is everyone in the cast and crew are paid the same amount. So there's no strange hierarchy of a scale. That way, everyone knows that they are the same. We need the I can't think we need the grip just as much as we need the DP because we're on a crew of 10 people, everyone is equally as important and getting this thing done and showing that through pay scale was one thing they recommended and that we took.
Alex Ferrari 34:39
That's awesome. That's an awesome way to do it. I mean, I did that am I done that in my films as well, especially when they're low, super low budget. You know, but that's a really great way to do it. And I've actually interviewed I think three year the third directors that have worked with the duplass brothers. And I've and they've every one of them has said the same thing that that mark Just, they just trust. And that's a really good way of producing and working with a director if you're on tour, because they easily could throw their weight around, they can easily show up on set, and everyone's gonna listen to them. And you included, you know, you're just like, whatever you want to do, Mark. But they understand that you have they're building, they're building, you know, filmmakers, they're building confidence in yourselves as artists, as directors, as writers, as actors, everything. And it's, it's really inspiring to see what they do you guys, and they've done with all the other other directors as well. Yeah. Now, since you're still in pose, and you're not haven't gone to this part, but I always preach about marketing and distribution. So what is your marketing plan with this film?
Megan Petersen 35:49
Funny. So we've been a little different, I think, then sometimes what's recommended in filmmaking, where we just take everything one step at a time, getting through each step, especially since it's our first, even though we've read articles about how you should think about this in game. And that's how you can funnel things through. I understand that, but the learning curve for us on that is so high, it just overwhelms us. So we're taking it one step at a time. Ultimately, our hope is that we submit to some top festivals and get to go there get to screen and premiere at one of those. And go from there. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 36:36
Well, I mean, you guys, you guys are pretty much in the black at this point in the game says you crowdfunded. And you got a grant. So you don't have a whole lot to lose per se, as far as financially is concerned. So you can kind of go with that strategy. Generally, I always, I always preach to just like, Hey, I'm just gonna submit to some festivals and see what happens. Generally, that's not the greatest distribution flat or marketing plan as a general statement. But I understand that you have a you know, an EP is name that does open doors at certain festivals, without question. So you're a different beast, if you will, you're in a different year a different kind of product than a normal indie film on a normal 25 or $50,000 indie film. So I'm very curious to see how it goes for you guys without question, and see what happens, because you're going to learn that you guys haven't gone through this process before. So yeah, marketing is going to be one thing. I mean, you're you're literally doing an interview on a show in post production, which is a rarity. I never ever, I just don't have people do it. So that's an interesting conversation. Why did you want to jump on the show now as opposed to like, hey, let's wait till we get this thing done. I'm just curious.
Megan Petersen 37:49
I think I don't know for me are so kind of fired up that we want to share with any filmmaker that's sitting out there trying to figure out if they should do this or not, to tell them go do it. Like, it's a lot of hard work. It's so much hard work, but it's so worth it. And even though we're not on the other end yet, because we're in post, and we're seeing the dailies and how they've turned out, I think we just feel like maybe now was the time that someone else needed to hear that get ready, they're gonna do another rally soon. spark is always there. So go ahead. And now in January, start getting your your script ready. Your crowdfunding video, like start researching stuff about crowdfunding that way, you're a little more ahead of the game than we were when we
Hannah Black 38:38
started the rally. Yeah, that's why I felt come down to do it. Yeah. I mean, same, we just want to let people know that they can do it, and they should do it. Um, yeah, the more
Megan Petersen 38:50
boys voices that are out there, the more diverse voices that we hear and stories from all over the country, just the I think will improve the landscape of films. You know, going forward, that we'll hear more stories, and I'm not just the one centered in hubs, where filmmaking is kind of there, right?
Alex Ferrari 39:13
Yeah. Very cool, guys. Well, you are an inspiration to say the least. Girls are an inspiration. And that's one of the reasons why I wanted to have you on the show. to hopefully inspire some some filmmakers out there because look, it's a scary thing. It's scary. I mean, yeah, it's Look, I'm sure that if it having the duplass is behind you, gave you a lot of courage. Because you know, and that's and it's great. And I know a lot of filmmakers out there right now are thinking Well, like I don't have mark and j behind me. I can't do this. I'm like you can because I hate to tell you that most people don't have more kids.
Megan Petersen 39:51
Is this like it's this strange, awesomeness and scared, different scary because we were going to make the move Whether we won the competition or not, and we didn't think we were going to win I truly did not fear so shocked. totally shocked. And so there's this different level of scary now like, Are we the whole imposter syndrome? Oh, yeah. I was like, so this is great. We have this, but what if a movie is like, bad?
Alex Ferrari 40:23
So real quick before before, I want to hold on some the imposter syndrome. That is something that a lot of people deal with a lot of filmmakers deal with, but they don't even understand what it is. So can we talk just a second about what that is it from your opinion, because it is, it is just it will screech your entire world to a halt, it will stop you and you will wake up and you'll be 60. And you'll be like, why didn't I go for it? And right because of the syndrome, if you will. So can you just tell me about what how it worked with you guys? Because I'm fascinated.
Hannah Black 40:52
Yeah, um, so we have imposter syndrome and not only for directing the film and writing the film, producing them also acting in the film. So like, there, every single angle felt like people are going to find out that we are totally not qualified to do that.
Megan Petersen 41:18
Guess what, everyone? We didn't go to film school, we had totally different career path plans. And we're like connecting with all these people that are major film people. And when are they going to realize
Hannah Black 41:32
we were in doing this for five years total. And that's not even filmmaking aspect of it. So it feels, it just feels
Megan Petersen 41:41
you feel not good enough. I think that's what the imposter syndrome is to me. Like there's probably someone out there better qualified to direct better qualified activists. And I should just step away and let someone else do it and tell the story better, because this story deserves to be told in the best way and you start hearing all those lies, and could easily step away from it. And I see why so many people don't follow through and make it happened.
Alex Ferrari 42:06
It's no, it's a terrifying prop proposition to direct a feature film especially, I mean, you guys are braver than I was. I mean, it took me till I was 42 to direct my first feature film, because I was so scared. I was so scared and like all this big giant thing that the feature film it was like this, you know, and I'd had 20 years of experience of directing commercials and videos and series and other things. I'm like more than capable of doing it. But it was that syndrome that kind of like a one moment you were just kind of someone gonna walk in and go you What are you doing here, you get you get off the set. Get off the set, you obviously don't belong to be here European Move, move. Not that there's anything wrong with being a PA but if you're a PA being a director, that's not good. You're out. And, and that kind of that kind of fear is paralyzing. It is an absolute peril paralyzes you. So I hope everyone listening to the podcast, really understands that. Yes. Is there somebody better? Absolutely. There's someone called Chris Nolan. There's someone called David Fincher, there's someone called Mark duplass. There's someone called the you know, Martin Scorsese, these guys are much more qualified directors in every aspect of the world to direct a movie that I'm doing our movie that you're doing, but the big difference is, they're going to bring their own as I like to call stank to it. And no one and no one can compete with your stank. Because your stack is your vision, your vibe, your energy. I like to call it stick, but you know, throw your stamp all over the place. That's what people go to see they go to see a film because of the filmmakers. Vision the filmmakers energy about it. That's why we want go see a Fincher film or Nolan film or Tarantino film, or Robert Rodriguez or whatever those films are, you are attached to them, and what their vibe and their energy. So it doesn't matter if they might have more craftsmanship because they've been doing it longer, or have more skill or just more talented in many ways. And you might be, but they don't got what you've got. You've got your magic stuff that nobody else on the planet has. And you've got to be brave enough to put that stuff out there.
Hannah Black 44:10
I feel Yeah. Yeah. So true. Not to mention, I think it always like whenever there is that imposter syndrome. For me, at least I go back to, well, what else the heck am I going to do? Because I've tried to do everything else. And I either hate it or I really suck at it. So I'm gonna just do this. And if I fall, I fall, you know, at least I did it. So that's a great attitude. Cool. Got to you just got to let your shoe but I think that you just push it aside and just press forward because there's not time.
Megan Petersen 44:44
Yeah, there's not time for it. That's what we found most for doing crowdfunding rally stuff when we were pushing. I mean, we were pushing ourselves outside of our box for crowdfunding, and then not to mention all the other things in production. And when you just realize Like you just had, there's no time for doubt. You just got to do it, then something happens within you and you start to see it like works. So even before the plus came on the scene, and we were just crowdfunding, I think we changed perspective a little bit right now.
Alex Ferrari 45:19
So I'm gonna ask you a few questions. I asked all my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today?
Hannah Black 45:29
I, you go first, oh, I felt like imposter syndrome. Like I feel totally under qualified to give advice.
Alex Ferrari 45:39
You've been Listen, you've done something that a lot of people listening to this have never done or don't didn't have the courage to do. So you are absolutely qualified. To give advice.
Hannah Black 45:52
Thank you. I guess advice that I would give is, for any filmmaker, whether you're a writer, director, whatever, um, be really intentional with your work and work really, really hard on whatever it is, whether it's your script, or you know, I don't know your craft, work really, really hard on it and be intentional, so that you can put out the best work possible and be happy with it. And I don't know. It's just do and I know that sounds so cliche, but just do it. Because you're gonna look back and you're going to be so stinking bummed that you didn't do it, and see your friends that did it, or the person that you went to school with who is doing the thing that you've always wanted to do? It's better to just do it, and you can fall or whatever, and keep on going than to just never, ever do you ever try.
Alex Ferrari 46:55
Why are we here? Why are we Why are we here?
Hannah Black 46:59
Right, you learn from those things. And it's, I think that's just what life is. It's just a giant learning lessons. So it's not going to be perfect at first, and it's not going to be the best unless you're a prodigy. And that's cool. more power to you. I'm not most people are not so yeah, just do it. Nike. Yeah,
Megan Petersen 47:20
I know. It's just thinking that we have just do it. I can't say it to Nike. But yeah, that's it, I think, find if you can, whether it's in your town, or through the internet, or we're all connected, to find someone who you can collaborate with. I can't imagine doing this by myself. And I know that there are people out there that are and those people are the rapists, yeah, who are her doing that, if possible, if you can find someone to collaborate with, they're the people that are going to pick you up when you are feeling like you don't want to keep going and vice versa, you can be there to encourage them. And so I think trying to reach out to community, I was gonna say like, listen to podcasts and get as much information, obviously, listen to the podcast.
Alex Ferrari 48:09
I mean, obviously, listen to the indie film, hustle podcast. I mean, that's just a given.
Megan Petersen 48:17
So I was like, well, they're listening out there right now. So good. You're doing that thing. If you're a writer, take an acting class. Learn all the all the things. So
Alex Ferrari 48:31
yeah, Jodie Foster. I just heard Jodie Foster say this is like if you want to be a director, take an acting class is going to humble you. It's going to humble you. I've taken a couple acting classes and it is humbling. It changes your perspective on how you work with actors. Without question, I advise writers and, and directors should always take at least one or two acting classes just just to see what it's like. The vocal exercises just oh my god, then the loosening up thing. Yeah, you're all crazy. You're all nuts. It's totally crazy. Well, generally we all are we're all carnies. I mean, we're all just a carnival folk. Right? 100% actors might be the craziest thing I agree with you without without question. Nikita, tell me. Can you tell me what book had the biggest impact on your life or career? Well,
Megan Petersen 49:25
I don't know life or career. The first one that pops into my brain is safer cat.
Alex Ferrari 49:32
Yeah, that's a great book. Of course,
Megan Petersen 49:33
a lot of people use it. But when we had no idea where to start, it gave us a really good, like, base to begin. We did. I mean, we followed it kinda close. But we went off like once we had established our structure for the film, we rewrote it was rewritten seven, eight times. So it but it's a great place if you've never written anything and you're itching to write something a grateful To start to get an idea of story structure, that's just the one that came to my mind. Of course, like brothers by Mark and JT,
Alex Ferrari 50:08
obviously like brothers like it's really a great book. It's a great book. I read that book. It's excellent. Yeah. I don't. I don't know. I feel like I know yours. You probably know more than than I do. Why don't you tell her what her book is? Your favorite book is maybe? Yes, yes. Um, I was gonna say that I was like, not film related, but it kind of doesn't matter.
Hannah Black 50:36
Yeah, that actually the movie when I saw the movie, that's what inspired me to want to act. What was the book that title again? The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven schlocky, great book, yeah, great book, um, and the movie is really excellent to who and he directed it. Um, but I love if people haven't read the book, they should because it's written like in diary format. And it just, I think it just makes you want to be a more intentional kind of person, because there's so many people, everybody's going through stuff in life, and you just need to love on them. And I think that book really highlights that which is great for a filmmaker because you want to create empathy for the characters that people are watching and the story and stuff like that. It's just, you know, a personal favorite.
Alex Ferrari 51:32
That's awesome. Now what lesson took me the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life I'm still learning my lesson. I haven't fully learned it yet. But what is what is the lesson that you're still learning
Megan Petersen 51:48
wherever it is that what we keep going back to, to believe in myself? To believe that we all have a unique voice and a perspective that is worthy of being heard or told and that when you believe in yourself, it's not selfish? It actually helps other people know that they're worthy of who they are and things they've gone through too.
Alex Ferrari 52:15
That's, it's that good. I mean, that's good. Your lesson is good enough. You guys, dude. I should have a show online. I'm just saying you guys just should just sit there and talk back to back it's just this is this will be I'd watch it be very entertaining. And three of your favorite films of all time.
Hannah Black 52:37
Oh, wow. This is fun. Okay, do you want to go first name one big fish.
Alex Ferrari 52:43
Fish. What a great movie. Love them. It's Tim Burton's best.
Hannah Black 52:47
It's my favorite of his good. Billy Elliot. Another good one. Really, really good. Love Billy Elliot. You're scared. You're gonna say another one. It changes all the time.
Megan Petersen 53:01
I got one okay go um, the helped me the intangibles. The intangibles. Very different film. The upside just came out with Bryan Cranston. say there's an original that is a French version with Omar. sigh gotta watch it. The in touchable I'm not saying Untouchables.
Hannah Black 53:21
It's an um, gosh. I love the fighter by David Russell. Okay, incredible. Oh, great. Love it. I'm just blur.
Alex Ferrari 53:35
I'm gonna kill it. We can leave it there. I don't want to I don't want to beat you guys up about it.
I think that many whelming there's so many. It's like the different categories. I mean, obviously puffy chair, obviously.
Hannah Black 53:45
obvious. Well, I'll say one that's really inspect. bluejay we love I had Alex on the show. He was so amazing.
Alex Ferrari 53:54
We love Alex is amazing. He said he's a great filmmaker. And I love the Blue Jay. I thought Blue Jay was brilliant. You guys haven't seen it? It's on Netflix. It's Mark duplass and Sarah Paulson. Paulson, right. Yeah, yeah. Sarah Paulson. What an amazing little film. Great, great, great, great film. Now where can people find you guys find more about drought and everything you guys are doing?
Hannah Black 54:19
Yeah, so we update our seed and spark page if you want to be one of our followers on the seed and spark that seed and spark.com slash fund slash drought. I'm on Twitter we're at drought the movie and Instagram as well at drought the movie
Megan Petersen 54:38
we are also on Facebook as drought the movie Wow. But we're not as great at posting updates on Facebook. I'll be honest, or Instagram but we're trying
Alex Ferrari 54:50
to talk to you guys about social media and how to work with social media a little bit guys. You gotta gotta pump it out there got to pump it out. I know. I know. It's many things. I mean, you guys are sitting on Goal between just the two interactions with you guys, you could be putting out stuff all day people just tune in just to watch you to banter back and forth. I think it would be hilarious. Man, thank you so much for being on the show. I really, really appreciate you taking the time out and and inspiring the tribe a little bit. I truly appreciate it. These are the kinds of stories that I like to promote and put on the show because it really does show that anyone can do it. And that you just have to get up and go out there and go for it. And not to be afraid and Well, you know what, be afraid but do it anyway. Yeah, yeah. He'll and do it.
Megan Petersen 55:38
That's the key. Yeah. Even if you're nervous, just do it.
Alex Ferrari 55:42
Mm hmm. Thanks again, guys. I appreciate it.
Hannah Black 55:44
Thank you so much for having us.
Alex Ferrari 55:48
I want to thank Megan and Hannah for coming in and dropping some wonderful knowledge bombs on the tribe today. It is always wonderful to hear very enthusiastic filmmakers about the not only the the process of making movie, but just their excitement about being in the business and doing what they love to do. And I really wanted to bring that energy to the tribe today. So thank you, again, Megan Hannah for for infecting us all, and hopefully this will get somebody out there listening off their butt to go out and make their movie. So thanks again, Megan Hannah. And if you want to get info on their movie about them, you want to connect with them, just head over to the show notes at indie film hustle.com forward slash 316 for the show notes. Now if you haven't already, please head over to shooting for the mob calm and pick up my new book shooting for the mob, the story of me almost making a $20 million movie for the mafia and all my misadventures through Hollywood meeting big billion dollar producers and movie stars and so on, while going through the most difficult time of my entire life, not only as a filmmaker, but as a person dealing with very, very difficult circumstances. It is definitely an inspirational story it is. I call it the companion piece to Rebel Without a crew by Robert Rodriguez because his story went one very positive way mine went on very negative way. So it was both sides of the coin of being a young filmmaker and getting a shot at the big time. So you can buy it on Amazon and just go to shooting with two O's shooting for the mob.com. And that's another episode of the indie film hustle podcast, guys. Thank you so so so much. I am working in the lab as we speak on some big big stuff for the tribe. In the coming weeks and months. I cannot wait. And if you miss the April 25 screening of my new film on the corner of ego and desire there will be another one on May 25 for the new filmmakers la Film Festival and you just got to go to indie film hustle.com forward slash screening to get tickets to come there's it's a really great film I can't wait to share it with everyone. So there's another shot for you guys to see in the corner. big win desire. Guys, thank you again so much for all your support, all the love all everything you guys give me I really really appreciate it. I'm glad you guys are liking the weekly motivational videos that I'm putting out on YouTube doing twice a week. I got some other cool stuff coming for YouTube as well. And of course don't forget indie film, hustle TV, brand new stuff every week at ifhtv.com. Thank you again guys. As always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.
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- DROUGHT – Seed and Spark
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- On the Corner of Ego and Desire May 25, 2019 – Newfilmmakers LA
- Alex Ferrari’s Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Story) Book- Buy It on Amazon
- Bulletproof Script Coverage – Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
- Audible – Get a Free Filmmaking or Screenwriting Audiobook
- Rev.com – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)