IFH 279: How to Self Distribute Your Niche Indie Film with Brad Olsen

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Today’s guest is returning champion Brad Olsen, director of the documentary Off the Tracks. This time we discuss his misadventure in distribution. After meeting over 40 traditional distributors Brad decided the best path for his film was self-distribution. I’ve always said that self-distribution is not for everyone but with Off the Tracks it makes perfect sense.

We discuss how he got the word out of his film, got in the press that was in his niche and how he engaged with the audience he was trying to reach. We talk numbers, successes, and failures. It’s a pretty eye-opening interview. So if you are thinking of self-distributing your indie film take a listen to this episode first.

Enjoy my conversation with Brad Olsen.

Alex Ferrari 0:07
So today on the show, we welcome back Brad Olsen, the writer, director of the hit documentary about Final Cut Pro X off the tracks. Now the reason I'm bringing them back is we just had him on last episode to talk about how he made the movie and about Final Cut Pro and all that stuff. But today's episode is strictly about his misadventures in distribution, and how he was able to self distribute this film, and how he was able to focus his very niche movie and reach his niche audience and how he's been able to do it. We talk numbers, we talk marketing strategies, how we got the movie out there, and so much more. So this is a really interesting conversation. And he learned a lot of lessons along the way, including talking to 40 distributors, and why he decided not to go with a traditional distributor. And like I've said before, traditional distribution has its place without question. Self distribution is not for everybody. It's not for every film, but it made sense for this film because of its nature. So sit back and enjoy my conversation with Brad Olsen. I'd like to welcome back to the show. Brad Olsen, man. Thank you for coming back, brother.

Brad Olsen 3:03
Yeah, it's great to be here one week later.

Alex Ferrari 3:07
One week later, for the audience, it might be a little bit different. But yeah, no, I wanted to have you back. Because we we had a deep conversation about Final Cut Pro X and all things editing. Last time we spoke and there was a huge chunk of your story that we just couldn't get to, which was self distribution and how you got it out into the world. So first question is, what kind of distribution plan? Did you even think about when you start off the tracks? Or did you even think about distribution?

Brad Olsen 3:37
That's a great question. So initially, when I had the idea, I actually, you know, I, in my head, I was envisioning everything from a simple just throw, throw something, store some episodes up on Vimeo for free. To what if I, you know, got this up on iTunes and everything else? So I wasn't really sure I wanted, I really wanted to figure out what the quality of the content and the demand of the of what this content would be, before I necessarily locked myself into a plan. In fact, actually, I was having a conversation last week with somebody in New York, who, who was talking about how he's looking at everything I've done to promote my movie, and he's like, wow, you just had it all figured out. And I'm like, actually, I've kind of been feeling my way, step by step. Right. This wasn't, this wasn't something that was like a total masterplan from the front. Although I did imagine a lot of things and I kind of, I kind of thought, okay, if I want to get here, like, let's reverse engineer what I need to do today. So the ultimate pie in the sky dream was Let's get it on iTunes. Let's get it maybe on Netflix, which hasn't happened yet. But let's, let's see where we can get it. And if I'm going to do that, what do I have to do today to get it there? And you know, if it doesn't, if it turns out there isn't the demand or I don't get the Quality I want from it that I think there's some at least some interesting little. Again, throughout the interviews or episodes, little episodes on Vimeo was kind of my fallback plan. Okay, so that was what was in my head at the time when I very, very first started.

Alex Ferrari 5:13
So you just kind of thinking, you actually were you had no idea. Honestly.

Brad Olsen 5:18
I didn't know. I didn't know what it would do. I just knew that I had to start. And I tried to point my ship in the direction that would hopefully land. It's like Columbus trying to discover the New World, you know?

Alex Ferrari 5:31
So then, so after you, obviously have associated itself with Columbus. No. So at what point did you say, Okay, this is going to be a feature film. And I'm going to try to sell it and try to, you know, get it out there in the world as a documentary feature.

Brad Olsen 5:51
So I had already shot interviews at the Final Cut Pro 10 creative summit, which is an annual event that's held in Cupertino, Apple headquarters. And I'd shot like 20 interviews there, I went to LA and shot some more interviews. At that point, I was like, still kind of leaning towards the, I'll make like 615 minute episodes, and they'll go up on Vimeo route. And then, one day as I was posting about it on a Facebook group, a guy named Noah kavner, who runs an organization called FCP works, reached out and said, Hey, have you interviewed anybody from Apple for your documentary? And I'm like, I hadn't met a couple people at the creative summit. But I said, No, I haven't. Like they can't go on record is like, Well, what about Randy, and he was referring to Randy, you, billows. And Randy, you billows is the guy I think I mentioned on the last episode that invented premiere, and Final Cut in the 90s. And then went on to do like aperture and iMovie and Final Cut Pro 10. And Randy had retired in 2015. So actually, he's somebody that could be in the documentary because he wouldn't have to get permission from Apple to be in it. But he's also a guy that travels the world constantly. And I don't know him. And I didn't really know anybody who could put me in contact with him. However, here's the funny part of that story is in this Facebook group. Randy's actually a member of it is like this secret Final Cut group. And he's a member of that group. He's never posted, to my knowledge, anything in this group at all. But I have the option to tag him. And I thought, well, let's just let's just see what happened. So I said, I don't know. I don't know how to get ahold of Randy. And then, and I tagged him I'm like, but I'm would would love to interview him. Well, he messages back, not that like minutes later, he messages back and gives me his email. And I was just blown away. And that's when I went to interview him. And I realized that okay, this is no longer just the final cut communities story about Final Cut Pro 10. We've got the man in the film, this probably has some value. Let's run a Kickstarter and see where that takes us.

Alex Ferrari 8:20
Okay, so yeah. And I'll translate this for the audience. So basically, you were doing market research, when you didn't even know you were doing market research. But pretty much to the point where like, well, now you're very cautious and conservative on the way that you went through this process. No, because most filmmakers are just like, screw it. Let's do it. Let's cash out. Let's get a mortgage on the house. Let's do this. And just roll the dice. But you were very methodical and conservative in the way that you were kind of rolling this out. And you're like, Okay, well, I think we have something. Let's try to do a Kickstarter to see you wanted to test the waters of your of your niche audience. And this is obviously a very niche film. It's a niche of a niche of a niche. And it's not a large audience, but yet it is a large. It's not a large audience compared to the like the rest of the world. But

Brad Olsen 9:12
It's a it's a it's a small audience, but they're spread out globally, which is interesting.

Alex Ferrari 9:18
We'll talk about that in a little bit. All right, so now your Kickstarter campaign.

Brad Olsen 9:22
Yeah. So no Academy who had was the one who suggested I interviewed people at Apple here. He also lives in San Francisco. So does Randy. So he went with me to the interview. And he was actually the one who pitched the Kickstarter and said, I'm willing to help you out with this. So because he's in he'd actually i'd shown Randy the first opening 15 minutes of the film as I had it at that point, which is kind of a hard part of the film, I think for him to watch because it is just all about the lousy rollout rollout of the product, but Randy was gracious and he was, you know, didn't say didn't rip up the release form. There. Noah saw that and he's like, I think you've you've got some quality here I think you got something of value. So let's let's run a Kickstarter and see what where it goes. Again, you talked about being conservative, I was actually even conservative with the Kickstarter, I, I decided to reach out to two people who are like software trainers and plugin developers and podcasters and, and things that were in the final cut community that kind of that made their living based off of people buying Final Cut Pro 10 related stuff. And I committed them, you know, to like, put in $1,000 each. Some of them put in some more, like motion. VFX was a huge supporter of it.

Alex Ferrari 10:47
You were getting sponsors for this, or

Brad Olsen 10:49
I was getting sponsors before saying, Hey, we're thinking about doing a Kickstarter, if we did a Kickstarter, would you be willing to put in 1000 or $2,000. And, and based off of that, we're like, okay, we definitely got nine or 10 people willing to throw in money. Let's ask for $10,000 we know we can make it

Alex Ferrari 11:09
We literally have 10,000 sitting waiting, let's just open up a Kickstarter for 10,000 or

Brad Olsen 11:14
10,000. And, and I also was thinking, you know, I've shot almost everything I'm editing this myself, sure, you know, maybe some money to get a score, pay a lawyer or something. I don't know, like, let's just,

Alex Ferrari 11:28
You were doing it more for market research than you were for the money.

Brad Olsen 11:31
Yeah, and and it's like this was more about raising awareness that there is a Final Cut Pro 10 documentary The other thing that we did previously to launching the Kickstarter, and this was again, kind of know as marketing brain at work, and him kind of guiding me was, let's do a trailer. So, so I put out a trailer. And I like on Facebook got like 30,000 views, and got 200 something shares, and then got like 20,000 views on YouTube. And then and then we got all these like Final Cut and Mack blog sites writing about it. And saying there's gonna be this documentary is gonna be documentary. So that kind of all was the preamble to Okay, now let's do the Kickstarter. So when we did the Kickstarter, the first day now I mentioned that I had some people like lined up. And of course, there's not like written contracts, or, in fact out, but just got that feel. And, and we made the $10,000 in a day. And actually, most of that money did not come from my sponsors, which that surprised me really was like, Wow, so the trailer was effective. And once the Kickstarter, like, Hey, we have a Kickstarter now, you know, I'd already kind of warmed up everyone up and primed them. And then we can add some more sponsors kind of came on board, but we actually doubled that and got the $20,000 by a weekend. And then by the end of it, we were at $26,000. And that was really overwhelming for me, because it kind of showed that hey, this little thing that you've been doing, you know, basically started out with maxing out a business credit card. That's all there was, you know, a couple grand or whatever shirt in the bank. Now Now there's, there's obviously some people that are willing that want to see this. But the other thing that comes along with that is the the terror of Oh my Hell, I have to actually make this movie. Like I have to really do this because now I've got like 200 people that are sitting there saying, hey, when's the movie coming out? Hey, when are we gonna get?

Alex Ferrari 13:46
And how much? How much did you finally raise? $26,000 You know what, man $26,000 for a movie about Final Cut Pro X is not bad at all.

Brad Olsen 13:56
No. And I thought if there's if there's this many people that are willing to put in this much money now, then we you know, we can this is something that we can get out there on platforms and sell. I'm not expecting to make you know, tons of money off of it. But I think the last episode I talked to you when you said Well, I made a movie about this. And I'm like, Well, you know, final cuts, kind of has a message that I'm passionate about and want to get out there and I want to get my own name out there. So there was lots of motivations for me to want to do this not just make a bunch of money. But you know, I The fun thing about self distribution and doing this process is also just seeing can it be done? Can you make a low budget movie? And you know, proving to myself Is it possible to make make this kind of a thing that that I could repeat and do again and maybe do a little bit bigger next time?

Alex Ferrari 14:50
Well, I mean, your story so far is a perfect candidate for for self distribution. Like if you would have reached out to as a consultant, I would have said, Absolutely yes. Because it makes the most sense in the world. And you were in a very similar place than I was with my first feature, this is mag where I was walking in, in the black, like I, the movie, I was, I was already shooting the movie when I started my crowdfunding campaign. And by the time, you know, we didn't, we didn't even make that much money. We made I think, 15 or $16,000. And I was like, Well, great, now we can, you know, get real big sound design done and all this other stuff. But I was in the black. So the moment I released it, I was already in the positive, so you have nothing to lose. And that's, that's the best place to be obviously, if you can't be,

Brad Olsen 15:46
Right, no, with any product, um, houses didn't sell my car, nothing crazy, you know?

Alex Ferrari 15:50
Correct. It's always it's a perfect candidate for the film. And because it's such a niche audience, and it's, it's a niche audience, but you tapped into the larger niche, which is Mac, Mac, the Mac world. Yeah. And the Mac followers, and those because those guys are crazy. And that's a large, I'm one of them. I drank the Kool Aid A long time ago. But, but that or that part, that kind of fan base for Mac is a huge sub genre or subculture. And out of those there was, you know, a smaller culture, they even cared about Final Cut Pro, but that is still a good a good market to tap into now. So now you have the movie, you're going to go out to distribute it. How did you choose the platforms that you did?

Brad Olsen 16:35
Well, actually, I'm going to back up a little bit, because you mentioned like the the plan, from there kind of evolved to Should we try to see, like, I'm still testing the water. You want to believe me? You still don't believe? Yeah, well, I wanted I wanted to self distribute. But I also wanted to, I wanted to see if there was some magical partnership, or distributor out there that got this movie and thought that they could, you know, sell it. And I wasn't I didn't want to take any deals that were definitely no deals that were going to be like you have to pay money up front or stupid things like that. But I was curious, because I'd never been down this road of distribution, if there was somebody so we actually started reaching out to a lot of distributed distribution companies. That should be amazing.

Alex Ferrari 17:25
Tell me, tell me what they tell me. Tell me what they said. Oh, please. Please tell me what they said. When you call up and say, Hey, I have a documentary about Final Cut Pro X. And I want to hear the crickets on the other line. I want to hear what they said, sir.

Brad Olsen 17:41
Well, here's the funny thing. Most people never replied. Not surprising. The ones that did, yes. said, hey, you've got a great documentary. It does not fit our catalog. Okay. It does. We don't know how to sell this. Okay, I got really, in fact, actually, well, well, so that I kind of was going through that for a few months ago. Just trying to figure out if there was but yeah, they definitely didn't get it. And I that did not surprise me. Well, again, feeling my way I just wanted to see. I was curious. Would somebody offer me 10,000 $15,000 or $30,000 for the movie? Would they have one you know then and I felt like mostly I just wanted help with the the legal clearance stuff and the end the whole getting it out on different platforms? I'm not looking for like, definitely no, no, I have no ambition to do any sort of theatrical distribution right broadcasting didn't make any sense to me. But you know I wanted to get it on there I'd never done it and and I didn't approach it's not like all the distributors I approach were like big time distributors. But yeah, they're definitely. I mean, it's funny because actually, one of the distributors I never heard back from these guys, but they distributed a movie about Compaq in the 80s and you know, that's like super niche and no one cares about it. So I watched it and it was similar to mine

Alex Ferrari 19:18
I actually saw that I saw that documentary actually one of those

Brad Olsen 19:21
I like it, but I'm just saying it's kind of it's you know, and then what's funny about the documentary is they have to constantly like compared to Apple, which I'm like if they made this documentary in the 90s they wouldn't even breathe a word about viral but there may be a little bit about Apple but right is mostly because the time it was made. So anyway, I I tried to reach out to a lot of those people. But the crazy thing that happened, actually this year is around namb is right before I will I decided okay, I promised my Kickstarter backers and advanced download of the movie. So I put it up on THX I'd been running pre sales on VHS and as a way to kind of keep the Kickstarter thing going, you know, like generating a little bit more money. And, and then I will, I was going to release it to just them. And according to the documentation, there was a way to kind of release your movie to people before making it available for sale. But then, when I actually went to click those buttons, it didn't work. And I had to make the movie available for sale in order to send it to my Kickstarter backers. Sure. And so I'm like, I'm gonna be real quiet about this, I'm just gonna post a thing on Kickstarter, just a private message, or update and, and I'll just send it to them. Well, they started sharing it with me immediately, hey, it's up, it's for sale. Like I did no publicity and that like, and it was for sale for like, a day or so. And we were like, raking in hundreds of dollars, you know, nothing glamorous, but still, like, I think we ended up there was like, on sale for one week, and we made like, $3,000 in that or maybe was like 20 $500 in that week. Okay. And, and without me like, announcing it officially on Facebook, or sending out a newsletter, or just to my 200 Kickstarter backers that were like, excited about it. And during that time, that's when after, like, a couple months, one distributor distributor in particular, all of a sudden was like, hey, wait, wait, wait. I really want to help you guys sell, like distribute this movie. And I have this plan and whatever. But in order for us to talk, you got to stop sales. No. And I was like, absolutely, you literally have to stop sales. I was like, this is just a talk worse? Well, because he had a relationship with a bigger company. And he and he was so excited. He was a sales rep. He's actually theatrical distributor that works with other distributors to get things out on other platforms and whatnot. So he we told them that we'll we're not interested in theatrical. So he's like, that's cool. I've got a relationship with this company, actually a pretty big company that I was like, he's like, I'm really good friends with this guy there. And I'm like, Okay, um, I spun it a little bit. Because I realized that the thing that worried me the most is, if I stopped sales, are the people who already bought it, are they going to not be able to have access anymore? Well, it turns out on VHS, you can you can stop sales, and they still have access. So that was relief. I was actually I have actually a couple producing partners on this. I'm being very candid with you. By the way.

Alex Ferrari 22:48
If no one else is listening, it's fine.

Brad Olsen 22:51
But we were actually kind of in panic mode at the time, because it was like, how do we say this? Without being like, without this looking like a big disaster? Like, we don't know what the heck we're doing, and which we kind of didn't. And, and it actually worked really well. We did a little blog post we spent it is Hey, good news. We're we have a distribution deal in the works. And but in order to do that, we have to stop sales on this platform. But don't worry, you still have access to this you. We made everybody who bought it. And the Kickstarter, people feel very special. And actually, even in the again, actually going back to this conversation with a guy in New York. He was like, I was one of the guys who got it in March. Like he felt really special.

Alex Ferrari 23:36
No, those are called the super fans. Those are super fans. Yeah, there's there's fans, and then there's like early adopters, and those kind of people, those are the ones you want because they're the ones who are going to spread the word. And that's exactly what happened.

Brad Olsen 23:50
So we kind of we kind of we pulled it, you know, and then and then we waited and I was at nav when we finally heard back that they you know, said what everybody else said they're like, well, now we're gonna pass like, a really good job so ridiculous. And I'm like, Well, thanks a lot for giving me like, heart palpitations and stuff.

Alex Ferrari 24:10
So now Yeah, so back on on Vimeo

Brad Olsen 24:13
So well. At that point. We were talking to my Corton with the Los Angeles creative pro user group, about doing a Los Angeles premiere. So and that was going to be like Originally, I wanted that a little sooner, but he had people lined up, he had my back manager coming and other people lined up for his meetings. So we were going to we were having that set up in June. And I also decided this would be a good time to maybe take care of some clearance stuff that I maybe hadn't done up to that point. One of those things being like I talked to a lawyer and everything has everything had passed the initial kind of science fair use test. Yeah, this sniff tests. But there was one clip in particular, he was like, Ah, you know, why don't I was using the clip from the Conan show? Yeah. And, and arguably, it could be fair use, but I didn't have somebody in the documentary saying, you know, Conan even made fun of it or something if I had somebody who had actually said, like, had set up the clip, Uh huh. And then shown it that can count from my understanding getting not a lawyer, but my understanding was, that could count as fair use. But I didn't have that I just had the quote unquote. So he said, Why don't you just reach out to the people at Conan? And I'm sure they, you know, they won't really care, whatever. I don't know why he said that, but kind of bad advice.

Alex Ferrari 25:50
Never ask for forgiveness, not for permission.

Brad Olsen 25:53
Right. Right. So but but it's true. I found like some I found the Conan press releases. And I found a PR guy for Conan. And so I emailed them, and I told them a little about what I was doing. And he forwarded it directly to Jordan szalinski, who's the associate producer on the show, and if you ever watched Conan, yeah, you know who he is. He's definitely comes off as a weirdo and a lot of sketches. And I was like, holy crap, this George Lansky, and he's, and he's, like, fill out this form. So I fill it out. And he was pretty cool. But he was like, like he when he got back to me. And this was kind of holding me up a little bit. Just like getting it out on sale and everything. And then he finally got back to me. And he said, Well, it looks like you want, you know, in perpetuity, which is, unfortunately, our most expensive license. But if you think he's the geek broadcast world, I'm like, Dude, this is a documentary that's going to be out there. I can't like cut the segment out later. I mean, I guess it kind of could have but um, so I don't know any other way to do it. He was he said, if you just want to do for festivals, and whatever, we can license the clip for $500. And then with the understanding that once you get your full distribution in place, that, you know, you'll pay the full amount which he quoted me as $12,000 for like 14 or 15 seconds of Conan. Christ. Well, okay. And here's, here's the funny thing. I talked to a buddy of mine who works in documentaries, and he's made documentaries for like, discovery in a&e and things like in and things like that. And he said, and Smithsonian and he's like, okay, Brad, Walter Cronkite costs half that much. Freaking Cronkite data is like, it is not worth it. Not only did I not have the money, but it just was not worth paying that much for the quote unquote, lose the lose the 15 seconds of the film.

Alex Ferrari 27:51
I would agree with you. Yeah. So I would agree with him too. I just that doesn't make a whole lot of financial sense.

Brad Olsen 27:58
And he's like, even if you had $100,000 set aside for just licensing, this clip wouldn't be worth it. Now, of course, I could go the route of trying to do the clearance thing, but it just it seemed easier to just lose 15 seconds. Got it. Got it. So so I had that done. Right. Then I was like, Okay, let's get this thing for sale. Now. We've, this was the last thing in question. We've, you know, we've got everything else cleared. So let's just let's just get this show on the road. So there was about a month, June, I did the LA showing. And actually, we invited Rob ash to that showing, but he couldn't make it. He had to go home and watch some kids or something. I really wish he could have made it because we actually at that point has still had the code and clip in there. And then I and then I just once I heard back, which was after that screen, Rex thing was right before. That's when I started kind of prepping this July 24 release. Yeah. 24th. And that was VHS, and back on VHS. And then I wanted to like show that I had been doing something in this time period. So I also had gotten some, I think had been working on some captions in the meantime, like cheer sharing language such as Amazon, which, if you My understanding is if you go through an aggregator you can release some more territories on Amazon, but if you don't, you can still release through the US, US and UK. That's it right. And actually, Germany isn't on there.

Alex Ferrari 29:31
It was it wasn't sure if it's there anymore. You might have gotten in Germany, but they don't allow it anymore. I don't think I was just talking to those guys think Germany and Japan. Were the other two. Yeah,

Brad Olsen 29:41
Japan was kind of weird because you had to burn in the subtitles from what I was reading. Anyway, this is all this nerdy stuff. But the fact is, I could get it without paying for an aggregator at this point. I could get it on Amazon. I had also at the same time, been waiting to hear back from an aggregator. I'd submitted stuff to an aggregator for iTunes. But they hadn't assigned me a sales rep. And so I finally in July, like after a month of waiting to hear back, I wrote in their support, and I said, Hey, what's the deal? Where's my sales? rep, I want to get this show on the road. So I didn't have the iTunes stuff set up, set up in time. But by that point, people were like, emailing me daily. And messaging. Where's the movie? When can I see the movie? So, got it. I didn't want to lose that momentum. And that excitement.

Alex Ferrari 30:31
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. And then you really see you have a theatrical Oh, that you had a screening in LA, you've put it back out on VHS, and then the money starts coming back in. Are you starting to get attention again?

Brad Olsen 30:50
Yeah, so that's like, the that week, the last week of July On va checks I think we made we made about $3,000. Most of it being that kind of the launch day. And of course, I timed that with some articles and things as well coming out on different blogging sites a premium v lb five FCP, co we're just a no film school. We're all sites that were writing about it. To drive sales, and I was trying to get coupon codes out there. It was kind of crazy, because I put a bunch of coupon codes out and hardly anybody, like really shared them. And then even when they were shared, most people weren't using them. But I was like, okay, more money for me. As part of my whole, like, this will be good for, you know, marketing and whatnot. Specifically the bonus feature edition, which was like, which was basically the package I delivered to my Kickstarter backers at a stretch goal, like we'll do extended interviews and stuff and, and so that was because the Kickstarter thing was $25. I left that at $25 $25. But then I had a $5 off coupon for it. So anyway, you

Alex Ferrari 32:07
By the way, you're doing all this by yourself at this point.

Brad Olsen 32:11
Pretty much. I guess I have a couple people that were helping me with like Facebook ads and helping me with some logistical stuff. But you know, when you're seeing most of the posts are written by me and most the, you know, trying to like, in fact, actually the other boring thing I've spent way too much time and I still have to spend more time is like formatting captions and language.

Alex Ferrari 32:31
Fantastic. Which now you could just go to rev calm and do much

Brad Olsen 32:36
I have the transcript and have the translations and stuff. But yeah, Rev. Rev is

Alex Ferrari 32:40
So much easier. Yeah. Dude, dude, it's me for other languages. I think it's three bucks a minute. Just Are you kidding me? That's $20 a minute before?

Brad Olsen 32:52
Well, yeah. And I actually had somebody in Japan, of course, you did reach out to me. And he's like, hey, and he'd gotten the movie back in March. And he's like, I love your movie so much. I've been spending I've been translating it to Japanese. here's the here's the SRT.

Alex Ferrari 33:11
There are, there are there are wonderful human beings on the planet who do things like that? Yeah, fans, man. It's true. It's true. I get stuff like that people do stuff like that. Sometimes for stuff that I do. I was like, wow, God bless, man. That's awesome. Now you were talking a little bit about social media. So how did you? What How did you find where the where your niche audience was? How did you kind of attack and your marketing plans is now you already got the movie out? You already are selling it? And now how did you kind of come up with this marketing plan, a social media marketing plan? And what platforms did you use and so on?

Brad Olsen 33:46
Well, I'm kind of lame in that I'm not an I need to get on other platforms. But I'm not like on Instagram or Twitter. I have fans that are on there that share stuff on there for me, but I don't have an official thing there. Most of what I'm doing is on Facebook. The nice thing though, is because in the years leading up to making this film, I was already part of the Edit communities and the final cut communities and the apple communities on Facebook, and I'm an active member of those I already had.

Alex Ferrari 34:21
You already built in that. Because a lot of times, a lot of people, a lot of times I always tell people when they're going to try to go after an audience you go into where those audiences live. And you'll become part of that audience by hosting and providing value. You've already done that. So you already knew where this audience was living.

Brad Olsen 34:37
Yep. And they were already kind of aware of me and I and and what I was doing, and they've been following the making of process, you know, and I've been updating people on that. And I think that's a good thing, too, is Yeah, sometimes I feel a little guilty of that. I'm sort of just settling, try to sell stuff on there, but at the same time, this is information that they're all interested in writing Now you're providing value. Exactly. And, you know, I'm also always chiming in and helping people out with their editing questions and stuff as well. So it was, you know, it was like you said it was providing some value. And people are definitely always really excited when something when I mentioned some news, or whatever of, Hey, I'm on this podcast, or Hey, and then you got this thing.

Alex Ferrari 35:25
And you were saying that you worked on Facebook ads, the G, did you spend a lot of money? Or did you spend some money on Facebook ads trying to get the word out?

Brad Olsen 35:32
So, um, you know, most of the early stuff has been very viral and shared very well, which was just awesome. I didn't have to spend money. Once we had on sale, we started we've been we've been testing the waters with the Facebook ads stuff, I think in the next month or so. We're going to double down and have more targeted ads. I've got clips lined up, like short video clips from the documentary that I'm gonna start rolling out because video always says better. And I'm paying, obviously for for some ad stuff. So and there's there's a whole back end of building an audience on Facebook, some of it is a little bit creepy To be frank. But that's how Facebook makes its money. And that's how we target people.

Alex Ferrari 36:17
It is kind of creepy. I'll tell you, it's insane how detailed they can get.

Brad Olsen 36:21
Well, you Okay, here's an example of something, again, being very candid. But you can take and I'm not selling anybody's personal information? Of course not that clear. Yes. But you can take an email list. And because those people are on Facebook, you can you can build what they call a look alike audience, it's really easy to do. So I'm not like targeting the people that bought the movie, but it's basically saying, what are their likes and interest for the people that already like your Facebook page? And how do we target people that are like that, that have similar interests, like, and so that's the funny thing, when people think it's cute and fun to like, share their likes and interests on Facebook, or join certain groups or whatever. I'm like, you know, that's fun for you. But this is all data mining for these companies, which is a whole nother rabbit hole benefits. It can it can be working to your advantage. If you're an independent filmmaker, and you're trying to find more people that might be interested in what you're doing. Because you can pay Facebook, to target people in certain regions. Like my case, like, okay, New York, LA, San Francisco, there's probably clusters of people,

Alex Ferrari 37:30
Expensive to market to those people too, isn't it?

Brad Olsen 37:33
Yeah. Yeah. So I mean, but like you said that the nice thing about having a niche niche of just editors is I think it's a lot, you can narrow down a lot of those interests and things

Alex Ferrari 37:47
Very much. Now, how big of a part was the international audience for your film?

Brad Olsen 37:53
So yeah, when you look at when I look at my hits on the website, which is like, actually, the last week has been about 200 views a day. And, and then when you look at purchases of the movie, it's somewhere between 60 to 70%, are not domestic hits and sales. That's amazing. It's It is like, the craziest countries from all over the planet that wow. And you know, I saw a little bit of that when I ran the Kickstarter, and I was having to like mail packages to Israel and Spain and Australia and other places. But, but since the movie has been on sale, it's just been crazy. You know, Europe is obviously a big one. But even Asian countries and other places that I would not have expected hits in the Middle East and in Africa that I'm like, I don't even know how they know about this other than these are people who aren't they have. They're on Facebook, they have Final Cut. And any of the same thing can be said the number one final cut group was actually started by a friend and neighbor of mine, Braden stores, and it's got about 30,000, the final cut pro 10 editors group has over 30,000 people on it. And you can look at that and see is a very international group of people who were using and of course, it is because you know, the the number reported earlier this year, for total installs a Final Cut Pro 10 was 2.5 million. That was I shouldn't say installs. That's actually they they say the term seats, which was explained to me as actual purchases of the app.

Alex Ferrari 39:38
So just probably installed in many more places.

Brad Olsen 39:41
Yes, like you can buy a copy of Final Cut Pro 10. And the license agreement says you can put it on as many Mac's as you own or if you're at a business or school, then you have to have a license per machine because it's a multi user machine, you know, but that being said, there's no actual Physical mechanism to stop you from signing in on your Apple ID and putting it on 100 computers. Sure. So who knows how many people actually use Final Cut, or in what ways they use Final Cut, I'm very interested to know that, because we know they're not using Final Cut Pro 10 very much in Hollywood, per se, but there's this whole global audience of people that are using it for all sorts of things, which I think speaks to the democratization of our craft.

Alex Ferrari 40:27
Without without without question. So yeah, it's it's interesting how it cuz I have listeners from in countries that I'm like, how are you? How did you hear about me? How did you? What do you know, but they don't even speak English there. How are you listening to me, like, I don't understand. But I'm very grateful. And I have, it is interesting that this is a global thing. And you have to look at it as a global thing. Because filmmakers, a lot of times, they just concentrate on the US, they just concentrate on on America as the biggest market. And it is the biggest, but it's not as big as the rest of the world in many ways, specifically, depending on your movie, and, and I think you you unwittingly started seeing that by doing your movie and by using a platform like VHS, which is owned by Vimeo, anybody internationally could buy their, like iTunes, you have to go to territories and Amazon, you have to go to territories.

Brad Olsen 41:27
But with and I was told by the aggregator, you know, it's like to change the, to open up the metadata or whatever is like a $200 base fee. And for each additional language, which I have to do a new poster for. And a description for translated in addition to the subtitles, is another 150 bucks. So if you're trying to get five or six languages, like that adds up really fast. And that's actually the next thing I'm going to be doing on iTunes, but it's like this cost.

Alex Ferrari 41:59
So you are on iTunes, now

Brad Olsen 42:00
I am on iTunes yet. So as bout a month ago, little less than a month ago, we finally once the once I got a sales rep assigned from this aggregator, then the ball really started rolling fast on getting everything prepped for iTunes, there was a lot of learning that I had to do. And honestly, I should have followed your advice. I've gone with distributor. I did not go as distributor distributor initially, and that was only because I was looking at Apple's website, they have under compressor, which is how you make an iTunes Store package. They had like a list of four aggregators that they recommended there. And then and then I also had been, I'd made friends with somebody who was on the iTunes team, but now is moved over, they actually reached out to me at nav and said, hey, let's I work. I work at Apple for iTunes, I want to help you, you know, get your movie up here. Now granted, I probably shouldn't say too much about that, because it wasn't like sponsoring me or whatever. But anyway, he did introduce himself and he he still referred me I went through the regular channels. I want to make that very clear. Yes, he referred me to a list of aggregators. And and on that list of where these, you know, I found some of the same ones. So I ended up picking an aggregator. And anyway, it was just it was the the front end on their website looked very, very clean and upfront, here's the costs. But spray, the back end was kind of a nightmare. And if you'd done it before, now that I've done it, I could go through it easy. But I think this is the interesting thing that speaks to complicated systems is the people who build them. And then the people who use them, just kind of get used to it and don't recognize how bad it is. until somebody who's never done it before it comes in and says oh my gosh, this is like a total nightmare. I just want to get my movie up and compare it to VHS where I'm this is kind of where I was going with all this VHS. I want to add a new language. No problem. I just tack on the subtitles. I can switch them out at any time. Yeah, yeah, it's great. It's great that way, it's gives me full control and I'm not paying anybody to click buttons, I can click myself or is going through an aggregator. Well, they're the ones with the iTunes Connect account account and and I can't, you know have access to any of that. So I have to send them stuff then they have to QC it then they send it back and it's just this whole long joke of a process but I knew I had to get there because I have lots of people writing in and saying well let me know when it's on iTunes.

Alex Ferrari 44:58
Yes, you know, I know look, you made a movie. Got a final cut about an Apple product? for god sakes, you got to be on iTunes. Exactly. It is no, no question about it. No, picking the right aggregator for your needs is extremely important. And it could be as costly as picking the wrong distributor. If you're not careful now has now finally as the as the money is a movie made money is in profit.

Brad Olsen 45:22
Yeah, I mean, I didn't spend very much to make it like so. Are you retiring?

Alex Ferrari 45:27
Are you retiring to the French Riviera off this move?

Brad Olsen 45:29
No, no, no, no, no. So I'm on VH. x. We are close to grossing $10,000. That's awesome. on Amazon, which I haven't done a lot of push to Amazon, mostly because their profit share is not great. And I haven't I haven't unlocked prime yet. I will probably my prime eventually. But yeah, keep it off there till then. Yeah, yeah. But, but it's, I think my half of it is this. So this is kind of the net of it is around like six or $700 is all okay. And then iTunes is actually checked the other day, and it's humming along? Well, it's been up there for about a month, and it's made about two grand.

Alex Ferrari 46:14
Hey, man, that's awesome.

Brad Olsen 46:17
So you know, we're, I, you know, I think the sales keep coming, which is nice. So that and

Alex Ferrari 46:23
It's gonna keep coming in. Because there's I promise you there is not going to be a competition, a competitive film coming out, like the other documentary about, you're not gonna have that problem, like you are the only one in your category. And you are the only person ever to make a movie in that category. So I think you're good for a while. And this movie will probably continue to generate money for you. For for at least the next handful of years. if not longer, depending on how you might have to update it. Eventually, you have to do a sequel to it. Which brings me to my next question. Are you planning a series of documentaries on editing software? Like the avid dock? premiere? DaVinci Resolve doc? Well, and then of course, the Sony Vegas doc. Don't forget that one.

Brad Olsen 47:13
Yeah, we've got we've actually got a great name picked out maybe you and I can co produce this one. It's called back on track. DaVinci Resolve

Alex Ferrari 47:23
Nice. That would be awesome. Back on Track the sequel. Right. That's, that's awesome. That, you know,

Brad Olsen 47:35
I think I think what's interesting, and I kind of wish I'd found an angle. There's so many things to try to pack into dosha into my Doc, but but I actually do think that in a lot of ways, the final cut pro 10 story has a lot of parallels to the avid in the 90s story versus, you know, film based editing because film editors Oh, you said I'm not editing on a computer. That's a toy. And what did they say about Final Cut Pro 10. I'm not editing on that it's a toy. So it's, it's really interesting to to see the parallels there.

Alex Ferrari 48:13
I might be there might be a place for the avid documentary.

Brad Olsen 48:16
There might you know it might be I feel less inspired by avid just because in the last 20 years, I feel like they've just totally stagnated. And yes, the whole film industry has accepted the fact that and they're comfortable with the fact that avid really isn't moving the ball forward in any significant way.

Alex Ferrari 48:33
They just all they do is patch the holes in the ship. No, no, no, no, and I'm not trying to be a dick about it. But it's the truth like I because I've worked with come, you know, worked with avid and I've worked with, you know, studios that work with avid and having to deal with that workflow. And I literally, like I walk into the edit suite, and they're like, they're on Macs that are like 10 years old, because they're the only ones that are completely stable with the software. And that's the only thing so everything is super slow. It can't really run really well. And it's just like annoying as all hell and I know they're more advanced, you know, systems out there, but these are the ones that they were renting. And I feel like every single time there was a problem which was daily, the average guy would come in and like literally just patch a hole in the ship that obviously have leaks and it will drown it will drown eventually it will go under eventually but it there just

Brad Olsen 49:30
Ithat the irony though people like avid it's so stable, so solid. Well, you're paying Yeah, if you're paying hundreds of 1000s of dollars for avid support every year. Yeah, guess you guess it'll be reliable in that sense.

Alex Ferrari 49:43
Or you could download DaVinci Resolve or Final Cut Pro X. I mean,

Brad Olsen 49:46
Yeah, why not do something a little that's that's also reliable but doesn't demand the full attention support, like like you were talking about.

Alex Ferrari 49:56
It's like, it's like buying a really bad car. And then you have have to pay for a mechanic or for a mechanic to live in the back House of your home to make sure the car is running perfectly all the time. And it breaks down daily. So the dude's always working, but the car mechanics fees are another 100,000 plus the car, and they're like, wow, that car is really stable. Sure. You're paying 100 grand for the dude that live in your back? Oh, man, yeah, it this, this whole conversation is gone off off the tracks.

Brad Olsen 50:31
We've got it. We've got off that we've we've we can't help ourselves. We just keep getting back in. I mean, it is something I've been asked like, what about like the Adobe Premiere story and whatnot. And like, it's just for me? I was I'm very passionate about Final Cut Pro 10 Sure, sure. Sure, sure. I'm not so passionate about the other systems. And that's not even about Final Cut Pro 10 per se. I'm just passionate about the idea that a person with no connections with very few resources can go out and make a movie like anything that is gonna empower that and enable that. So you know, you 2003 for me, it was the dv x 100

Alex Ferrari 51:10
No 100 Acer 100. Yeah, the 108 police let's let's keep it straight. Don't forget, there wasn't 100 v. I was about to say there was a B but there was like only weirdos bought the B. Honestly, it was about the A everyone had. I don't want to hear about the B, it was about the A we have gone so off the tracks. everyone listening thought this was a

Brad Olsen 51:34
But it is about like now like I was just shooting 4k 24 frames a second footage of my I just had a kid the other day. We were talking about this before the show. So I had my second daughter earlier this week, and I'm shooting some 4k video on my iPhone that honestly, like is really really good quality

Alex Ferrari 51:57
Just like mom used to do. But definitely Yeah.

Brad Olsen 52:01
So to me, it's like, well, what's You know, there's, there's no more excuses. And that. So I see Final Cut Pro 10 fitting into that, that world. And that's actually when I'm more passionate about Final Cut Pro 10 could be could go away and something else could come about and or in and then there's other tools that could come around, then that's where I'm going to be anywhere that is is going to get rid of the gatekeepers that is going to allow me to connect to my audience or connect to an audience directly. And for us to just have a good time and not be told you can't do it. You know, because that's what I was told when I was a kid growing up. This all goes down to like childhood psychology and drama, which was I wanted to make movies because I saw my heroes George Lucas and Steven Spielberg making movies. And I was told you will never get to do that. So stop dreaming about it. Oh, yeah. Well, I'll show you along that the way you know, we saw all these innovations and things come about so when people react negatively to the message that oh filmmaking has, you know, gotten easier, it's more accessible, it's more powerful. And they're like, No, no, no, no, no, let's keep everything the way it is. And let's keep people out. I'm very, you know,

Alex Ferrari 53:23
That's avid basically is what you're saying?

Brad Olsen 53:24
Yeah, it's 35 millimeter film even though I think 35 million films beautiful. It's a it's a system that requires so much support and resources and resources and money that it represents to me this you know, it's the adult it's the teacher, it's the parent, it's whoever telling 12 year old me Stop dreaming stop, you know at attending

Alex Ferrari 53:49
Bradman I thank you for being raw and honest about your entire distribution process with off the tracks. It was a fascinating story to listen to. You are very candid, and I hope it does help somebody out there listening in whatever country you're listening in. That Hope it helps you guys figure out what's the best path for for you. But Brad, thank you so much for being so honest and forthright with your journey, sir. And of course, thank you for allowing off the tracks to be part of IFH TV.

Brad Olsen 54:24
Yeah, I'm excited. I'm excited to see what the tribe thinks of of my movie, hopefully. Hopefully they're positive.

Alex Ferrari 54:32
I think they'll be I think there'll be okay. But and you know, and the same

Brad Olsen 54:37
Feeling feelings. I know that.

Alex Ferrari 54:39
Well, the bottom line is it same thing that you were saying about the gatekeepers and stuff like that. I mean, I'm a dude that's opening up a streaming service, you know, aimed at the audience that I love the most, which are filmmakers, screenwriters, creators, artists. And, you know, I I'm not spending millions of dollars to do it. And I'm able to go out there and do it because of the tools because of the things that are out there to be able to make these things happen. And and you just did a story about one of those tools that really did help a lot of people tell their story. So thanks again, man for being on the show and no more. You're not allowed on for at least 100 episodes. No more conversations with Brad, this is enough to he's more than now, if you come back with an avid movie. You're you're first in line.

Brad Olsen 55:28
We're back on track.

Alex Ferrari 55:29
We're back are back on track with the victories. Oh, that's such a call back with a whole black magic. I think we can make this happen.

Brad Olsen 55:38
I think so.

Alex Ferrari 55:39
Thanks again, Brad.

Brad Olsen 55:41
Yep, thank you, Alex.

Alex Ferrari 55:43
I want to thank Brad for coming back on the show and revealing and being honest and raw about his distribution misadventures on getting the film out there. But if you guys are interested in seeing the film, don't forget it is on indie film hustle TV, it is a great documentary. If you're into editing, post production, or just want to know how Apple royally screwed up one of their product releases to watch that happen live, it is quite fascinating. So definitely check that out. I will put links to everything we discussed in the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/279. And if you haven't already, please head over to filmmakingpodcast.com. And leave us a good review. It really, really helps to show out a lot and helps us get this information out to more and more filmmakers. So it would be greatly greatly appreciated. And that's it for another episode of the indie film hustle podcast. I hope you guys are doing well. In this holiday season. You got to keep hustling. No matter what guys got to keep pushing, keep writing, keep learning as much as you can. And also, by the way, thank you so much for all the kind remarks of Episode 277, which I revealed my daily routine and has inspired a bunch of you guys out there to wake up at 4:30 in the morning. So do it guys. Keep hustling. And, as always keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.




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IFH 278: Final Cut Pro X SUCKS…Or Does It? with Brad Olsen

Right-click here to download the MP3

Today’s guest is Brad Olsen, director of the documentary Off the Tracks. If you don’t know the story about the major debacle that was the release of Apple’s Final Cut Pro X get ready to jump into the deep end of editing lore.

In 2011 Apple ended Final Cut Pro as we knew it and started over with a brand new video editing application: Final Cut Pro X. The disruption from this change is still being felt by the film, television, and video industries to this day. With misinformation running amok, Off The Tracks aims to clear the air once and for all. Industry insiders discuss Apple’s controversial decision to redesign the video editing application Final Cut Pro.

This documentary explores why the release of Final Cut Pro X upset video editors and how the software is being used today. Off the Tracks features exclusive interviews with the creative professionals who use the software and the developers who created it. Why did Apple make Final Cut Pro X?

I love this documentary about Final Cut Pro X so much I had to have it on Indie Film Hustle TV. Brad not only loved the idea but he also agreed to jump on the show to discuss why he decided to make a doc about a piece of editing software. He’s laughing all the way to the bank.

Enjoy my conversation with Brad Olsen.

Alex Ferrari 0:13
Now today's show is about Final Cut Pro X. That's exactly what it sounds like. We're going to talk about a new documentary called off the tracks by a wonderful filmmaker by the name of Brad Olsen, who is a lover of Final Cut Pro X and we go into the deep weeds on why he made this movie. And we'll give you a little bit of a preview of the of the interview, which is one Final Cut Pro, which is what I used to edit on all the time, back in the day before it jumped from Final Cut Pro seven to Final Cut Pro X one a jump to x it was the worst launch for any product Apple has ever done without question. And people are still pissed off about it to this day. And that happened in 2011, I think. And Brad wanted to kind of shine a light on Final Cut Pro X because it has grown a lot since that initial release. And we're going to talk about editing, we're going to be talking about going into the deep words of creative editing, technical editing, what Final Cut Pro does for you, and of course his amazing documentary, which is available on indie film hustle TV. If you want to watch it, the trailer will be in the show notes and I'll leave all that information at the end of the episode. But without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Brad Olsen. I like to welcome the show Brad Olsen man. Thanks for being on the show, brother.

Brad Olsen 4:25
Oh man. It's a pleasure to be here. And I'm excited.

Alex Ferrari 4:28
Yeah, man. I know you. You're jet lagged and you've had a lot of traveling issues. So I appreciate you being here.

Brad Olsen 4:35
Yeah, I just showed the movie. In New York frameio Luma forge and lion iron sponsored this event. And it was really cool to actually see my name on a marquee in downtown New York.

Alex Ferrari 4:49
That was pretty cool, man. But we'll get it Yeah, we're gonna get into the movie. We're definitely gonna get into movie but first, how did you get into this crazy business?

Brad Olsen 4:59
How did I get In the crazy business well, you know, it actually probably started back in the 90s when my grandpa wanted to get a new video camera. So he gave us his old half functioning video camera. And my brother was doing school projects. And at the same time, I was watching, like, behind the scenes of Star Wars and Indiana Jones and stuff like that. And so this idea came into my head that, you know, people actually make movies, which is something as I talk to people, there's this revelation, like, it's not just something obvious that people make these things that we're watching.

Alex Ferrari 5:38
Especially, and especially back then, like, yeah, in the night, and now it's a lot more of a common, you know, I mean, look, there's people who like their goal in life is to be influencers, so and have YouTube channels like that's, that's a career path. Now, back then you couldn't even think about filmmakers? What?

Brad Olsen 6:00
Yeah, so I was like, a 10 year old who's too thought maybe I could make movies and everybody said, No, well, that's like getting drafted in the NBA or something.

Alex Ferrari 6:12
That's actually good. Yeah, it was it was a rarity. If you could even try to break in back then.

Brad Olsen 6:19
So yeah, I just made and then I started making short films with my friends. So mostly spoofs. I like to say, you know how Robert Rodriguez is like everybody has What is it? 20 bad films. And then I think I had like 100 films.

Alex Ferrari 6:34
But you got to get them out. You got to get them out.

Brad Olsen 6:36
Yeah. And then I made one that made sense. It was the first one that made sense to people who weren't me, my friends that worked on it. And it was still really weird. But that was when I was 18. So it took me a long time to kind of like figure out storytelling and figure out how to communicate my ideas to people. But through that whole period, it was just a lot of fun to pick up a camera and make stuff up. And we didn't even really have scripts at the time. You're just like, what are we shooting today? I don't know. Let's that's it.

Alex Ferrari 7:11
That's a recipe. That's a recipe for a fantastic film.

Brad Olsen 7:17
Yeah, I yeah, I don't think many people would sit through a lot of the nonsense that we made during that period. But through that, I always kind of had a serious attitude about it. I didn't like the term amateur. And I didn't like, you know, people saying, uh, you know, someday you'll get better. It was just, I mean, I did have the attitude. Every time I made another film, this one's so much better than the last film and, and I was always trying to push myself, but I just, I took it seriously, even though I knew what we were making was total nonsense.

Alex Ferrari 7:47
Well, that's the way you have to take it. I mean, even Roger Corman took it very seriously. And a lot of the films he was making, you know, you know, was nonsense, and you know, straight, you know, straight to exploit days of exploitative world. So you have to do that I had, I heard a great analogy is like when you're becoming an artist, in order to find your voice. And to get all that bad stuff out, it's kind of like turning on an old faucet. And that faucet, it's just that gunk, that black water that comes out, and it's just just constantly there, and you got to let it run for a little while. And you guys just got to get it all out. And then slowly, but surely, it starts getting clear and clear and clear. And then every once in a while, if you take a drink, there still might be a little bit of dirt in there, but it's getting cleaner and cleaner and cleaner to the point where it becomes good. Yeah, and that's very similar to I think getting those 20 features, or 20 Films out of you that are bad.

Brad Olsen 8:44
Or 100 Well, they were short films, but yeah, I'm not and you know, like through that process, when I was 16, I was able to do an internship, my my brother found like someone a neighbor who worked at a video production company. And so they were doing like infomercials and things and so that's when I first got my hands on like avid, and before that we were using a hacked version of premiere that kept crashing on a really clunky PC blaming Hello premier crashing back. Oh, yeah, the version for like, barely usable.

Alex Ferrari 9:19
Did you ever edit Did you ever edit with like the video cube or media 100 or montage?

Brad Olsen 9:25
No, not none of those systems. I mean, before premiere it or even sometimes well even even if I could edit on premiere. So what we would do is just hook up the camcorder to the VCR and like you know do like the cam quarter audio is going through the white RCA plug and the music is going through the red RCA plug. That's how we were able to like put music and sound effects. And then and then if you wanted to add multiple sound effects and things then you'd have to go VCR to VCR. So by the time we were done like adding music and sound effects And trying to like randomly line those up by hitting play and record at the right time. And like cut out parts, right? It was like, you know that like just like a, I don't know, it looked really blurry and staticky, you could hardly see what the image was. But that, you know, that's that was a lot of fun trying to figure out how to you put stuff on there. And then, of course, premiere made that possible. But we had this issue where the capture card was made by i omega made a cap, oh, i omega buzz. And it was, and it was like 320 by 240 resolution, most of the time, it would at least drop six to eight frames, and the audio would get out of sync, obviously. And when we hit play in Premiere, because it was like an M JPEG codec, it just went black. So I actually had to look at the film frames, like I do the thumbnails in Premiere and zoom in on them to try to find where to cut. And then I'd have to export the movie. And and actually it would it play in the media player because that would crash. So you could you could right click on the properties of the video file, and there was a preview window and you could hit play on that. And through the iomega buzz card, it would go back out to the TV and VCR, and I could record it back on the VHS tape. Does any of that make any sense?

Alex Ferrari 11:28
For me? It does. I'm sure everyone listening is going What the hell are they talking about?

Brad Olsen 11:33
So he was gonna say, here's an interesting thing I learned when I was studying film history, when they before they invented editing like flatbed decks or you know, when they when they actually had the reel to reel and they would cut and splice film like any of the flatbed editing systems. And before sound, they would actually shoot rolls of film. And then they had women come in because they thought this is kind of like sewing. And they'd have like rooms full of women. And they would be looking at the film frames and then figuring out where to cut. And then they would load it up into the projector and watch what they had done. And then make notes and go and pull it back out. And I feel like in a weird way, I had to do the exact same thing because I couldn't really play it in Premiere, I had to render it out, which took forever. Watch it. And then Oh, we got to make that change and get back in. Yep. So it's like the digital fight. But

Alex Ferrari 12:27
Yeah, so let me let me make a disclaimer to everyone listening. Brad is an editor and put that in Brad, Brad is an editor. And we are going to go deep into some geek stuff in this show. So we're going to talk a lot about editing, we're going to talk a lot about super geeky editing stuff. So if you want to learn about this, then continue listening. But we're gonna go hard on this because it's two editors talking. I've had other editors on the show before, it generally goes off the tracks, no pun intended. Because we just get editors just talking about editing stuff, as he's already. Already I'm already off. Anyone is Brad has already gone off the tracks. I love it. This is great. So speaking of off the tracks, you know, the reason I wanted to bring you on is because you directed this insanely awesome documentary called off the tracks, which is and I'm sure you did this for the money. Obviously, obviously, the demographic is straight up cash grab.

Brad Olsen 13:38
Without clever, every mom and every kid wants to see this movie,

Alex Ferrari 13:42
obviously is this and talking dog movies. The film is called off the tracks in the movie is about the colossal failure of the launch of Final Cut Pro X, which was the the next generation after the much beloved Final Cut Pro seven. And it's a documentary that starts off like that, but then kind of goes into where Final Cut x is in today and everything. So I have to ask you the question, why the hell did you make a documentary about Final Cut Pro X, like in your mind, I want to I just want to literally just I want to get in there a little bit and go, you know, would be a really good use of my time. Let me try to make a documentary about a piece of software. That may be 100,000 people on the planet Really? What do you think? 100,000 people I'm generous. I'm scripture. I'm trying to make you feel better. No, but seriously, how did this How did this come around? Because I'm so glad you did it by the way, because I'm one of those 100,000 but what what how did what was the genesis of this project?

Brad Olsen 14:56
You know, it's it's weird, but I had multiple kinds of reasons. of why I wanted to go down this path and why I thought it was a good idea. Simply put, I, actually before Final Cut Pro 10 came out, I thought that I was thinking about the direction that editing software should go. And I was seeing what Apple was actually doing with iMovie when they rewrote it in 2008. Yep. And they made a new iMovie. And that actually was a little bit of a mini is kind of like, warning to what was gonna happen. For Final Cut Pro.

Alex Ferrari 15:31
It was a shot. It was just shot across the bow, sir.

Brad Olsen 15:34
Yeah. And, and you know, if you're paying attention, but I was like, look with where we're going with technology. There's some, there's some innovations and things that need to happen. Probably because, you know, did you notice like in the, from 2000 to 2010, there was this huge explosion with digital cinema, of course, our cameras were changing and codecs we were using, and we suddenly are getting to 4k and raw and all this stuff. Meanwhile, the editing systems weren't changing very much. No, I mean, they we were getting HD and whatnot. But you know, Final Cut. Seven was like you can it can support h 264. It couldn't really do six for now. So I was seeing that the software was having problems. So so I thought this is going to happen. So when Final Cut 10 came out in 2011. Aside from it being a little lacking and feature, lacking it features is the main thing. Aside from that, like the I thought this is the foundation that the next generation of editing software needs to be built on. So I, I believed in it. When

Alex Ferrari 16:41
So you're the one so you're that I was the one you're the one I heard about it. Well, before we before we go into that,

Brad Olsen 16:47
Well, I was gonna say this. Yeah, you asked the question of why why did you make this document? Yeah, so let's fast forward a little bit, I, I thought, at that time, that maybe I can position myself to be part of this kind of next generation. And, and be kind of ahead of the curve. And, and so, as years went by, and I edited feature films on Final Cut Pro 10. You know, I, the opinions weren't changing, it was kind of like everybody just turned off, and they stopped paying attention to what's happening. And I felt like I was the only person using the software. And it was getting upgrades regularly and getting better and better and better. And finally, in about 2014 2015 ish, there was a Final Cut 10 community that was really starting to rally around the software. And when I started getting more involved in that community, and I saw that they were all telling the same story about the horrible lunch, but look at where it is at today. And nobody knows how awesome it is. That's when I had this idea of you know, this is a story. There's a story arc here about the resistance to technological change. And and why do we you know, why we like this whole kind of like, tools and storytellers and all these really interesting themes. And that's when I thought this would be a fun little documentary, and I could maybe position myself and get my name out there. By making this among, among the professional editing community, I could become a little more well known and get more opportunities from there. So it wasn't, it definitely wasn't like, I'm gonna make tons of money off of this, it was I'm gonna make a name for myself and, and hopefully get some more opportunities to, you know, do more filmmaking awesome projects.

Alex Ferrari 18:39
So that makes absolute sense. It's it's absolutely a great marketing plan, you're using the film almost as a loss leader, to get you more work more notoriety, and to position yourself as a thought leader in this space, make pretty much pretty much and it's and it's working. I think so I think it has worked. You know, you're on the show. So that helps. You know, you got on the show. So that makes because I would have never in the middle. If you wouldn't have made this movie, I would have never reached out to you we wouldn't have in whenever contacted. So the movie has created multiple contacts for you throughout the industry. So that's amazing. And that's something that a lot of filmmakers need to think about when they're making their movies. It's not always just about being rich and famous. If you go after such a niche, and this is the niches of a niche, niche film I've ever heard of like it's so deep niche, it's, it's wonderful.

Brad Olsen 19:37
Well, we had that screening in New York on Tuesday, this week earlier this week and Emory wells who's the you know, the Founder President of frame i O. CEO, free bio said, this is probably the only documentary and probably will be the only documentary made about editing software ever.

Alex Ferrari 20:00
Can you imagine like the avid documentary, or the premier documentary, no one would care. Even us, I would never watch an avid documentary. Like I'd be like, if I'm on a plane, and I'm locked in, it's anything else. But what I find fascinating about off the tracks is that the community behind FCP behind Final Cut Pro was such a, it was a massive game changer. And I want to explain to people who haven't listened or haven't, you know, use Final Cut Pro, or didn't understand the power of what it did. When Final Cut Pro, I would say I'm gonna say when Final Cut Pro like three hit, it started to become taken a little bit more seriously. And with every, every new version, I started to grow and grow and grow to the point where it became a serious professional editing system. And I was an avid editor when I started out, because I was the only thing I could that was the only thing that's gonna where you can get jobs and all that. Then when I wanted to open up my own shop, you know, I call a bag and I haven't like that's $150,000 I'm like, go screw yourself. And I saw this final cut thing taken off around me and I'm like, Well, I can buy a system for under 10 grand, you know, within it wasn't because the final code was all the other stuff that you needed back then scuzzy drives and everything to, to run SD. And, and there was an emotional attachment to this piece of software, where I've rarely seen it in other pieces of software. And I think that's why your movie has an audience that people are really, really interested in. Would you agree?

Brad Olsen 21:38
Yeah, there's a huge passion for the original Final Cut Pro. And I feel like this new community file and some of them are people who stuck with the platform, but the Final Cut Pro 10 current community is also extremely passionate, and feels like we have this secret weapon, you know, and I think the original Final Cut Pro was that in like 2003, you know, through 2006 ish before it really started. Feeling like more of a mainstream tool. It was like the end and you know, people were in the mid 2000s, I think, I think in 2003, if you said hey, I'm editing on Final Cut Pro, you get, like, kind of weird looks. And with Final Cut Pro 10. Today, you can get some weird books.

Alex Ferrari 22:28
Listen, and talk into a post production supervisor like myself who deliver films all the time. And when someone says, which rarely happens, but when someone said, What did you edit? I'm like, oh, Final Cut x. I'm like, Oh, God. Oh, God, I'm never gonna get this into color. This is not gonna work well. And, and arguably, it hasn't. Back in the day because they were using, you know, older versions of final, Final Cut Pro X. But first, let's go back a little bit before we get into the deep geek. Why do you think the launch of Final Cut Pro X was such a disaster? I mean, I remember even watching. I was watching Conan O'Brien. Yeah. And Conan O'Brien did a whole piece on it. While his all his editors. Basically, were just so pissed off that they did a segment on why the editors, he's like, I don't know what's going on. But my editors are very upset. Apparently, there's this piece of software that's changed. And life is ended as we know it. I'd like them to, like literally I first time I've ever seen.

Brad Olsen 23:36
I mean, you've got Bloomberg and fortune and like I've been looking it up as research for the documentary. I don't know anybody who didn't publish a story about how that that launch was. It was everywhere. And I think a lot of people that's the only thing they really know about Final Cut Pro 10 is this, this horrible rollout and and it's to the point that I've talked to film students who's who said, when they've shown them I'm using Final Cut Pro 10. And they said, hey, my professor says Apple doesn't make that anymore.

Alex Ferrari 24:10
People are like, oh, Apple's making iPhones. They just they abandoned everybody.

Brad Olsen 24:15
Yeah, yeah, they abandon everybody. So I mean, let's circle back to that initial question. Why was that launch so horrible? I'm going to start with the fact that you know, right when Apple was taking off in the pro video space, you know, they had shake, and they had Final Cut Studio come out, and everything. Right around that time. There was a couple other things happening one, the OS Mac OS went to 64 bit, but the studio applications like Final Cut Pro did not go to 64 bit shake, they reduce the Platt price and announced that they were no longer going to continue making it past shake for so they the VFX industry was all using Shaykh, Lord of the Rings, King Kong, you know you name it was composited with shake, Apple buys it, releases some updates, and then says, You know what, we don't care about this market, we're killing this product,

Alex Ferrari 25:13
Which was I mean, shake was an amazing piece of software. Yes, so good. I mean, everyone used it, and Apple, literally bought it and then just shoved it into the end it killed it killed it. And I think that's what people were afraid of with Final Cut Pro X,

Brad Olsen 25:30
Yeah, and then Final Cut Pro six, and then seven, seven, especially was not much of an upgrade from six, and even reduce the price and it was very underwhelming. Apple also pulled from nav. And they said, we're no longer going to be doing you're only doing Apple, our own Apple events, we're not going to be on the show floor. So I think there was already some things that made professionals question whether or not Apple was going to continue supporting them. And so and so that it was all lined up. And so basically everything hinged on 2011. What's this new thing? There were rumors circulating around Steve Jobs, even emailed someone back saying the next release is going to be awesome, which is in my documentary. And, and so people like there's this anticipation, are they do they love us? Are they going to do something amazing? Are they going to roll shake into motion? Are they get a you know, give us full color and Final Cut Pro? And those were the expectations and and the expectations weren't changing the editing paradigm. In fact, I think the expectations is what we have with resolve 15 Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 26:45

Brad Olsen 26:46
That's what people wanted in 2011. But instead, Apple did what I predicted they were going to do, which was build an editing platform with new ways of interacting with your footage, like with skimming and film strips, and, and a magnetic timeline, which I didn't fully realize until I saw what they'd done. But I knew that something like that was coming. But everybody else that's not where they were looking. And that's not what they wanted. And listen, resolve 15, in a lot of ways was exactly what I would have loved in 2008 2009. Like, where my head was better. But then I saw some of these new ideas and I move Yeah, but okay, they're gonna, they're gonna make a huge shift here. So that expectations were that, and then they, they do this demo, and I think the demo was just such a whirlwind, and so hard for people to wrap their minds around. That, you know, there was a lot of negative reactions The next day, and and then it was just kind of this waiting. Well, let's wait and see what this is gonna be. But I think everyone was scared. I was reading just a couple of weeks ago. They were they were talking about the recession. And they were interviewing Warren Buffett and an article. And Warren Buffett said something I feel like is directly applicable to this final cut 10 launch. Which was when, when it comes to gaining people's confidence, that's a slow process that happens one person at a time. But when it comes to fear, that's something that happens to everyone all at once. And, and I think that people were afraid because and this is the other component, because if you're running a business, if your livelihood depends on a piece of software and a company, and I mean everything it was it was Apple hardware, and was Apple software and and you had and you were selling clients on the fact that you had these HD workflows and, and everything was going to be delivered on time. And then Apple stopped supporting trainers. They stopped supporting trainers, they they they dropped the final cut seven support completely. And they said this is the new thing. Oh, don't forget.

Alex Ferrari 29:11
And don't forget, you can't go back to Final Cut seven projects. So don't forget

Brad Olsen 29:14
You can't open Final Cut seven projects. That was actually the shock for me because I came home on the day Final Cut Pro 10 came out was June 21 2011. I coincidentally had a 2015 or sorry 2011 2015. That'd be great. No, I had a I had my 2011 MacBook Pro 15 inch and with Thunderbolt and I saw in the App Store Final Cut Pro. And then I was like cool and I was downloading it and in my head. I'm like what if what if it has everything and I can open my old projects and I never have to install Final Cut Studio. Well, I opened it up and I tried to open up a Final Cut seven project and it doesn't recognize it. And I was like well wait, what and that's when I googled and saw everyone losing their mind. losing their minds. And I was like, and I and kind of panic set into me, what am I gonna do like what I hate? Even even though I believed in the software, what if everyone's so mad that Apple just stops making this? And where do I go. And so, you know, people felt the band and I, I just kept my eye on what they were doing while everyone else stopped. And actually over the next six months, they did do things like XML and multi cam and a lot of and addressed a lot of the concerns that people had. But by that point, still, there's this other company who was doing some really great marketing called Adobe. And they were already like, taking the abandoned trainers and the third party suppliers and vendors and people and kind of coddling them and saying it's okay, we're here for you. And even though in 2011, premiere also had a lot of limitations and missing features. It was a familiar paradigm. And Adobe started beefing up premiere, so that by 2012, when I when I say Final Cut became usable. premiere was also usable, but premiere was familiar, and everyone had stopped paying attention. So there's there's a lot happening there. You know, there's competition from other vendors. And there's Apple just not reading their user base. Right. And, and thinking that they were going to just be excited by the new thing, like it was the new iPhone, you know,

Alex Ferrari 31:34
Right, right. I think they I think they got a little too cocky. And they thought we're Apple, we're just gonna tell them what the deal is. Yeah. And that's fine with AP, I guess with with like, it doesn't always work. Like people are still pissed off about the towers, like the towers went away, you know, the MacBook, the back pros went away, and they gave us the trash cans. Because I have a trash can. But I would like to have, you know, I'd love to be able to put a card in it. So I hear that they're working on something new. We'll see what happens. But, but it doesn't work all the time. And I think that's what happened with Final Cut Pro X was when I saw it. I opened it up. I was like, well, this sucks. And I'm like, Well, I get and I just said I just hunker down. I'm like, I'm staying on Final Cut seven. I stayed on Final Cut seven till 2015. Wow. Yeah, yeah, I was on it. And I did not I all my projects were on it. And I was still delivering so many movies would come in. And rarely would get a premiere project, especially indie movies, because Final Cut seven was so entrenched. So I would get those movies that come in and I would be able to work with it. And then I would export out to color and to App first of all to Apple color, but then I started going to resolve then then resolve started piquing my interest because I got to a point where I'm like, I can't, I can't work anymore. Like h two six fours and these larger files and I just couldn't work anymore. Final Cut Pro X was not even in my radar. After I left I abandoned it. I was like, Oh, you guys gonna abandon me? Well, I'm gonna abandoned you. Just screw you, man. And I was like, I'm out. And there was this beautiful new girl Her name was DaVinci Resolve.

Brad Olsen 33:21
Yeah. And well, and and coincidentally, some of the people that work on resolve. Were in those original classic Final Cut Pro days working on Final Cut Pro. So they you had some friends there?

Alex Ferrari 33:34
Wait, no, exactly. Because like when I already learned Da Vinci for color. But then editing was kind of like, Oh, it's like this edit tab. It was very I couldn't use it. But then at 12 five came out and holy cow, you can edit now. And then I edited my first feature on it. And then I did shows on it. I'm like, Oh my god, I could do everything here. And that just like it all just started to work. So now resolve is become my main thing. But I am intrigued with Final Cut Pro X because it's just another tool. If I have another tool in my toolbox, why wouldn't I use it?

Brad Olsen 34:07
Yeah, and I and I got resolve. I mean, I was doing the light and free versions for a while. And then they had it's for sale on the App Store for 499 when it was 1000 bucks, you know, so I'm like, I'm gonna buy it because resolve had by that point just become such a Swiss Army knife. I don't know what it can't do. I don't think there's anything it can't do that now.

Alex Ferrari 34:29
Yeah, that was 50 they could do literally anything you want it to do if you know

Brad Olsen 34:35
i mean where I where I kind of switched over and I did take the time to learn 10 and I love the performance and everything. There. They're just little things that resolve can do to fill in the holes of you know, like, for example, just making dailies for an avid editor, something I've done to resolve or making a DCP is something I've used resolve for or I don't know just lots of little little stuff. But I, I enjoy it. But I but the editing experience for Final Cut 10 is something I did convert over to. And it's something I can't really like, go back from going back to tracks for me is is very painful now because it just feels so much slower to me,

Alex Ferrari 35:20
Which was what feels slower to you?

Brad Olsen 35:22
Tracks like editing on tracks feels slower to me than using the magnetic timeline

Alex Ferrari 35:26
You're speaking in the devil's tongue, sir, I have no idea what you mean with this magnetic timeline? What are you on an iPhone editing? I can't work, click. I'm an old school. No, no, no, I'm joking. But I'm actually curious. I don't have the time. Right now. They're learning other pieces of software. But it's something that I will probably bring into my workflow at one point or another, as it continues to grow, but I still like my timeline stuff. And it's weird how editors, we are creatures of habit. We do not like change as a general statement, like, if I tell an avid editor that he's got a cut on Final Cut. It's like, it's like, they'll just like crack a bottle over the bar. And like, let's go. Like, I'm not kidding. Like, it's, you're right? Yes. Am I wrong? Am I wrong? Tell me tell an editor that he has to work with another piece of software, and they will lose their collective shit.

Brad Olsen 36:21
I'm wonderful. And well, part of it is, especially I feel like with with the older paradigms, you know, with with track based editing, and avid, and then Final Cut, and so on. It took a lot of effort in the first place to to master those tools and to learn all the hotkeys. And to get and you start getting in this ninja mode where you feel like you can do anything with it. And you know, like I'm walking these tracks, and I'm patching this and I'm moving this around and you're hitting all the hotkeys and you just feel like a wizard because you know, you've got this idea in your head of I want to cut from this shot to that shot to this other shot. And, and I want these sound effects and whatever, and you just you just start manipulating it, and you just feel like you're playing that instrument and you become proficient at it. And all of a sudden, you know, with something like 10 it gets it's like it's like everyone learns, learns the QWERTY keyboard layout. And with 10, they're like, and we just, this is a more efficient keyboard, but we've moved everything around and it works like this. And if you've never worked in us anything quite like that, but nothing tough. That's a tough sell. And And the irony is that if you take somebody who's never learned any editing system, and you teach them Final Cut Pro 10, they're going to learn it a lot faster than somebody who's never edited. But if you've been if you've taken that time to master an application, like avid, the final cut pro 10 is is just a tool. It's another plan. It's totally bizarre.

Alex Ferrari 38:01
But but also Don't you agree that was the Apple did not ease anyone into this, like there was no easing into this new paradigm? It's not like, you know, hey, we are we just turned on the camera for the first time in 1900. And then the next step is 4k. Like there was no, no time to just ease people into this, this new idea, which I don't disagree with by any stretch. I think it might be where we need to go. It might be another option or the toolset. But man, Apple just just,

Brad Olsen 38:38
You know, it's it's this whole thing of it goes back to that iPhone type of launch. They were very secretive about what they were doing. They were having apple. Yeah, they were they were having internal conversations for years. And there were debates. Why are there Why is why there's some people that are working with resolve or working on resolve that were on the final cut pro team. Well, there obviously there were disagreements at Apple about what they should do. And so they had to reconcile this internally, but they didn't like realize that hey, if this is such a dramatic thing internally, then why that is definitely going to be even bigger deal to everybody else. But they just kind of treated it like here's this new shiny thing. And it's amazing and look awake and do and everybody's like, I don't I don't get it. What?

Alex Ferrari 39:28
So So now you're making this documentary and you're going down this road, you're contacting people and it's a very small community. So when people start hearing about this, what is the reaction when you call people up like Michael up and go, Hey, I'm going to do an interview with you about what a disaster Final Cut Pro X was when I get launched? What was the reactions you guys when you got?

Brad Olsen 39:51
Well, the first person I approached actually was Sam Messman who was working a lot with this company called FCP works at Time. And then now he's all on board. He's the CEO, the co founder, president of Luma. Forge. And he's and his whole thing is pushing Final Cut workflows. I saw him as the guy who was plugged into everybody who was promoting Final Cut Pro 10. New Sam. And so that was kind of my first contact to introduce myself. And then AB. I emailed him afterwards, I told him about this idea. He said, that sounds cool. I said, Can we start contacting people? Like, would you would you make introductions for me? And he said, Well, go off and you know, write a write some more outlines, do this do that he would like say, make up make a little trailer, just like steal footage from the internet, make a little trailer. So he'd give me a little things to do for about three months. And he says, when it's real, I'll reach out to everyone. And that kind of bugged me because I'm like, when it's real, what do you mean? It's like,

Alex Ferrari 40:52
Yeah, I get what he's saying. I completely understand what you're saying.

Brad Olsen 40:55
Yeah. But I just was like, eager to just start introducing people finally he was, you know, three months had gone by any any made a very smart suggestion, which was, Hey, why don't you plan on coming to this Final Cut Pro 10 creative summit, which is like an annual thing they've been doing for the last few years. Since 2015, this was 2016 was talking to Sam, but now it's been a few years they've been doing this. And he's like, pretty much everybody on your list of people you want to interview is going to be there. And, and then when you thought you'd mentioned, Michael, I'm assuming you mean Michael cioni. Well, around the same time, I had put together this little teaser trailer thing, and I'd found clips of Michael cioni talking about Final Cut Pro 10. Because he actually was one in 2011. He was like, Guys, calm down. This is their right? This is the future of editing. And everyone's like, yeah, Michael, you're insane. Right, so I found all these clips and I and all I asked Michael cioni for is, do you think it'd be okay, if I use these clips of you in my documentary? Would you be cool with that? And he said, Yeah, I give you my permission to do that. But I really am passionate about this subject. And I really like you to come out and interview me. And I was like, heck, yeah. Go do that. So so I had these creative seven interviews lined up here. Sam reached out to them. And everybody that I wanted to talk to there was like, absolutely. The sounds awesome.

Alex Ferrari 42:22
Of course, you rallied the geeks.

Brad Olsen 42:25
Yeah, well, and the other thing to keep in mind is a lot of the people I wanted to interview are like, either software trainers or plugin developers for Final Cut Pro 10. So if they can tell the story of Final Cut Pro 10 and advocate why they like it, it just brings more sales to them. You know, so they're all passionate about it. And they also have a business interest in supporting it. That's that's part of it. Obviously, some of the people editors and people I interviewed just are passionate about the software and they've had a lot of them had that like they hated it at first In fact, Mike Matt store who was an assistant editor on focus, and now is a editor at Warner Brothers animation. He he tweeted that this is utterly Final Cut Pro 10 is utterly unusable. And he was really pissed about it. But then focus came across as a job that he could work on and and he started looking into it and figuring it out and actually made it work for a feature film. That was $100 million feature film star starring Will Smith.

Alex Ferrari 43:27
I was I thought it was that the movie I was like, we just have to focus on like, it can't be the Will Smith movie. It is that was edited and Final Cut x.

Brad Olsen 43:35
It was the first major motion picture edit in Final Cut Pro 10.

Alex Ferrari 43:38
Wow, that's pretty. That's pretty cool. How many other movies at one of the movies

Brad Olsen 43:44
And have it well, the same filmmakers had whiskey Tango Foxtrot. geostorm was originally cut on Final Cut 10. But then, the studio did a test screening and they didn't like the film. So they took it away. My understanding is they took it away from Dean Devlin and they who actually used use Final Cut Pro 10 on the show leverage. Yeah, that I know. Yeah. And yeah, and geostorm was taken back over by the studio. So I assume they re cut it on avid. There's a lot of independent films, there's a lot of foreign films, especially that have been cut on Final Cut Pro 10. One is called the Unknown Soldier, which was actually the biggest movie in 2017. In Finland, the highest grossing of their in their box office. And it was, you know, it was kind of intense. So there's the it's, it's actually in Europe. There's a lot of there's like a lot of people over there that are kind of secretly using Final Cut Pro 10. And in Hollywood, it's like they just all went back to avid and double down on avid, and that's for the most part, but focus was a movie where the filmmakers were like, let's let's do this and you actually think about it. They had to start doing that in 2013. Which is very, very Early in Final Cut only as a couple years old, and everyone on the internet said, there's no way this could be used on a major motion picture. But that team figured it out. And they did it. And not only did they do it, they actually found that they saved money and time by using Final Cut Pro 10.

Alex Ferrari 45:19
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Interesting, interesting. Now, when now you're making this documentary, I'm assuming Apple gets wind of this. I'm assuming and Apple is known for being very kind and gentle to people, especially when they're talking about products of theirs. So for everyone listening, I'm being facetious. Of course not Apple is, is not that nice when it comes to this stuff. So what happened when Apple heard about this?

Brad Olsen 45:56
Uh, you know, the interesting thing is, there are there's lots of different people working on Final Cut Pro 10. And I first had the pleasure of meeting a few of them when I went to the creative summit while I was filming it. And so so some of the, like designers and engineers, who I won't like call out, but they there's a lot of curiosity and excitement. And you know, it was but at the same time, like, Oh, I don't know if I can live through that, can we just move past it? And, and then from the marketing side, the people who are in charge of marketing, there was a lot of apprehension, of course, and worry and anxiety, what is this guy going to do? And are we gonna have to like, sue him? Probably. He's got I don't know if that if they thought that But

Alex Ferrari 46:47
Definitely, but there's nothing nervous. But there's all No, honestly, they can't do anything.

Brad Olsen 46:51
I mean, no, it's it's, you know, it's a documentary documentary in its fair use. And absolutely, you can state your opinion. So, uh, so yeah, they, but they, you know, I was, I was trying to reach out and reassure them that this would be good for them. But they didn't necessarily believe me. And, again, this is not I should make this very clear. It's not sponsored, it's not endorsed. And that was the biggest thing is they do not want to, you know, they don't want to, like, give me any money for this, or whatever they want this to be totally independent thing, which I appreciate. Because that's a question people ask us.

Alex Ferrari 47:29
Like, how much of this?

Brad Olsen 47:31
Yeah, did Apple Pay for this apple? Buy it? No, not at all. It's very independent of that. But I, the end result, I will say, again, without calling out specific people and communications. Now, I think they're happy with it, because it is a pause. It's a pause. In the end, it's a positive message. And it's stuff that it talks about, with what they got wrong, especially with the initial release. Not only is it fair, and I think honest, it's, you need a story, you know, you're gonna it's part of the story. And it's what people who have been ignoring Final Cut Pro 10 need to have acknowledged, you know, this is, and that's what I think differentiates this from just like a puff piece or an ad is, right, is that, you know, we address this, these concerns head on, in a way that Apple marketing could never do. Right? Right. But it's, it's the, it's absolutely the thing that the marketing that they need, you know, in order for people to kind of take another look. So I was passionate enough to like, go down that path and do that and do it independent of Apple, and do it without their permission. And without them even questioning, you know, and worrying about what I was doing. I think I can't confirm any of that. Because it's mostly just how I it's this what I read from the interactions I've had with certain people at events, that's something that people probably don't realize is Apple, even though they're not like always having their own big booth, they don't have their own big booths. And maybe and these events, they're actually there. So if you know where to look for them, and you know who they are like, you can go up and talk to them. But then you have these very, like, one sided conversations where they don't answer any questions, but they may ask you a question.

Alex Ferrari 49:27
Yes, Apple is very, very quiet. They keep everything close to the to the to the to the breast without question. Now, I have a one question for you, man. Why are people in our industry, so emotional about a piece of software? It's a tool I mean, you don't see plumbers losing their mind over the plunger they use. Like, am I wrong? Like you don't see a carpenter like, you know about, you know, so passionate about the hammer that they use. You know,

Brad Olsen 49:58
I would I would say like Any buddy who works with tools is going to be they're going to take a lot of consideration what tools they're using, right? But they probably are not going to lose their mind. You know, if a new power sock comes out or something that might differently, they might learn it, you know?

Alex Ferrari 50:18
Yeah, there is no documentary about the new power saw horrible launch of the power saw the Black and Decker did. And then, and then another company came in with their power saw and took over the market because of the hot does a horrible launch. The other one was, like it doesn't, you know,

Brad Olsen 50:33
And they're not following. It's not like they're like, what's the next version of this tool? Right, the new hammer gonna be.

Alex Ferrari 50:40
But I mean, it's fair to be that way about software, but it's software. I mean, we're, it's apples and oranges, even though hammer is different than an editing system. But at the end of the day, it's still a tool. So why are we as creators? So? So, so passionate about it,

Brad Olsen 50:57
Right! Like, it's the new version of 10 comes out? Why were people just kind of like, yeah, whatever, I'm just gonna go back to avid like, casually, they were, they're so upset, there's so much I've seen, you know, in releasing the trailer and stuff I've seen like just pure hate spew from people. Why International Trade Me. I can't believe them. They owed me and they didn't deliver. I think it's because remove that removing the tools. Like just filmmaking in general, you have to have such a drive and passion to succeed and get anywhere and film because it's so it's, so it's getting easier now. But it's still so hard to tell a story. With film, you know, it's it's all our, you know, takes dedication, but film requires money, and collaborators and like every kind of art and craft that you can think of goes into it. So I think it's, you know, starts because we're just passionate about telling stories through this medium. And then that gets tied into the tools that enable us to do that. So the original Final Cut Pro especially, was something that was the beginning of the democratization of tools. And, and so suddenly, you know, me as a high school kid, I could get my hands on it, and put it on my own computer. And I could make things happen with it. And so the tools that have this, there's an emotional, sentimental component to it. What's even what's still bizarre to me, though, is people with editing software, are I feel like even more passionate about that, then people are with cameras. And that's saying a lot, because you know, people are passionate about cameras. But if a new 8k, you know, 20 stop, you know, whatever Blackmagic raw camera or comes out, like, people are like, Oh, the new thing, they'll jump, they'll jump for it. And maybe that's why 10 wasn't as shocking for me because I was also a camera guy. So like, I was seeing that happen in the camera world. And I think I mentioned that earlier. And, and not in the editing world. And I was wanting that for the editing world. But every but yeah, editors just didn't want to so I don't know, I think it's that kind of emotional bond with, this is the thing that enables me to do the thing I like. And and it also took a lot of energy and dedication to master it. And so too, for a company to say, you know that that was something that Apple didn't do is they didn't have the memorial service for seven. Right?

Alex Ferrari 53:43
Because you would never think that you would lead a memorial service for a piece of software. But for the users for me, I that's the logical person speaking. Yeah, for the final cut editor in me, I agree with you. 110%.

Brad Olsen 54:00
Yeah, if they'd had some sort of, like, we know you love this, this is the amazing things, we've we've been on this amazing journey together. We hope you come on this next leg of the journey with us. We're gonna you know, we're gonna continue to support Final Cut seven for the next year. And but that was just something Apple felt like if they, if they had this, you know, the counter argument to that is, if you got this new thing coming out, and you continue supporting the old thing and letting people know you're going to get rid of it. Well, there's almost create some sort of false hope of, well, maybe they're just experimenting with this new thing. And if we all say the new thing is terrible, then we get to keep the old thing alive.

Alex Ferrari 54:42
It's a fascinating it's a fascinating conversation

Brad Olsen 54:44
But it's a kind of a conundrum right? You know, that like how do you deal with it and then because Apple wasn't able to come come out, you know, going back to this whole secretive thing. They weren't able to come out and and ask people questions and talk to people open About this big transition, they weren't able to kind of do the market research to figure out well, how people how are they going to react? I mean, I know that you know, some people be pissed, but I don't think, you know, Randy, you billows expected that Conan O'Brien was gonna mock his baby. Right? Horrible. We can't even imagine how that felt and the users, you know, here's another element to you mentioned the internet. I think the internet also changes things. This is kind of interesting comparison. But just like, think about if the last Jedi had come out 20 years ago, or 10 years ago, do you think I mean, and whatever opinions you might have about the last Jedi aside, do you think that the the anger and hatred and all the YouTube videos that I've seen uploaded about how terrible Ryan Johnson is and how horrible this movie is? I don't think that the hate for it would have been as strong in a pre social media era.

Alex Ferrari 56:04
I mean, look, the prequels survived. Can you imagine if the prequels comment came out now?

Brad Olsen 56:09
Yeah, in generally in the media, even though people kind of said, Our Jar Jar sucks the next episode, too, you know, so to everyone's like, at high hopes. And the initial reaction was, Oh, it was better than Phantom Menace. And then Revenge of the Sith in general, people were like, Oh, yeah, it's like the best one of these three movies. And some people even said, it's second to Empire. And of course, that's not really, but I'm just saying, that was what was being written. Sure. But that's not necessarily the truth. But it was because, you know, the naysayers couldn't bond together as easily as they can on social media. Yeah, of course, since her last Jedi gets like, slammed and, you know, I have my own complaints with it. But the level that it gets slammed, I'm like, whoa. And I think the same can be said for something like Final Cut Pro 10. Coming out, is you and you know, this is another interesting thing is you're making software for storytellers, and people who know how to communicate really, really well. And now they have a platform on social media, to be able to communicate thoughts to everyone right and bond together. So it's like this perfect storm of, you know, don't piss off, like they pissed off a group of people that you know, have the skills to fight have the skills to fight back. Exactly. It's not a huge if you think about it in the the population of the world. I mean, there's not that many professional film and television editors.

Alex Ferrari 57:41
No, there isn't. There's, they're not that many, but they are powerful. Yeah, very dense. And then I'm excited to say that off the tracks is available on ifH. TV, which is extremely exciting. So thank you for bringing it to the tribes of the tribe can see it, and experience what we went through all those years ago, and I will be giving Final Cut Pro X try in the future when I have a second to breathe, and try to learn a new piece of software. But I'm interested in it sounds a very interesting piece of of software now that you know, I always like to be the rebel. I've always been outside the box and outside the party, as they say. So I seems like Final Cut x is definitely far out there. Because I think resolve is out there your resolve is outside the box. But like, Final Cut Pro X is outside of resolves box.

Brad Olsen 58:40
Yeah, it's it's a totally different paradigm. And I think, I think people can watch the film and kind of see, what was the thinking behind the magnetic timeline? Why Why did they go for this paradigm? And, and why is it Why did Apple kind of broaden the market? And and, you know, it's it's an interesting thing to look at. They made the software easier for new users. And, and made it simpler in some ways, but then people assume that it's also not capable and deep, but as we mentioned, you know, it has been used on some feature films and improved itself. So the film goes, I'll let the film kind of speak for itself in that but there's that we definitely go into a lot of the thinking behind what the the the act explaining that Apple didn't do is in the movie.

Alex Ferrari 59:33
You're doing Apple shops. Are you doing God's work, sir? You're doing God's work in the editing world, sir. Thank you. Yeah. Now I'm going to ask you a few questions. I asked all of my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today?

Brad Olsen 59:48
There's nothing really stopping you from going out learning storytelling we talked about at the beginning of this my own experience, you know, using VHS and highlight tapes and everything. Looking like garbage and sounding like garbage and but now, you don't have those technical limitations you if you got a smartphone that can shoot HD or 4k video, you're way ahead of where I was at. And, and you can share that with everybody and you can get feedback. So just do it like find a story, whatever it is shoot some short videos, share it with people learn and grow. There's there's really nothing stopping you from from starting, there's no, you don't have to buy the $150,000 avid, you know, just do

Alex Ferrari 1:00:34
Horrible. And just just just, I can't I can't stand avid sorry. It's passionate as I am about Final Cut, I am equally as passionate about hating avid on many, many levels as a person who has to deal with their workflow coming out also as a person who, who looked to them for like, Hey guys, I am on your, on your side, I want to open a business around your software. And they said screw you, you little little peon. And I said Really? Okay. And that's where we are today. But anyway, that's on a side note. I just ramble. I apologize. Anytime I get passionate anytime I get to tabash a habit I do. But anyway.

Brad Olsen 1:01:22
Definitely, they definitely not position themselves for the independent content creator, filmmaker, I think beginning

Alex Ferrari 1:01:29
I will not be now either. Are you kidding me? No, I've never get an independent film with an avid. But I honestly do think that, that company, if they don't change which they are as entrenched in their way of doing things, as any company I've ever seen, if they don't change to the reality of where this business is going, they will go under, because their entire business model is based around the studio system around

Brad Olsen 1:01:56
Well, here's something that shouldn't, I don't know if it's a secret or not. But I've heard from multiple people that before 10 came out, like in a hypothetical world, if Final Cut Pro eight had come out. That would have been it for avid that would have they would have been done. They were so close to going out of business, really 2010 and 2011. The thing that kept them alive, is that professional market who is leaving in mass to go to Final Cut Pro, being scared about 10 and coming back to avid. And that's what's kept them on life support. And I don't know how they stay in business, actually. So I think you're right, I think

Alex Ferrari 1:02:39
It's all it's all it's all studio based stuff because they have a mentality and older mentality where the like the studio system is the only game in town. But the thing is that what Apple figured out, and what resolve figured out is making very expensive gadgets that only a handful of people can buy is a dangerous business model, which is exactly why when resolving Blackmagic bought Da Vinci which used to be a million dollars sweet. They said no, this doesn't make any sense to us, we are going to now give it away

Brad Olsen 1:03:17
And you know, it's working definitely for resolve and for Final Cut, because it is so approachable for users. And it's also a very cost effective tool or, you know, doesn't cost very much at all. It actually they've actually sold like around 3 million copies of the software now. So that's like you could add up all the other professional enrollees. And they don't do they there's not they haven't sold half that. I mean, it's really amazing. And I was just flying back from New York and one of the guys that was talking to the airport, and it's like, oh, what were you here for? Actually, we were on the shuttle right to the airport. And he's somebody who was out for a conference for his church organization. And he's like, oh, Final Cut Pro 10 Oh, yeah, I have that I use it once a week to make these videos for my church. That's a totally he doesn't consider himself a filmmaker at all right but he's using a he needs a professional video tool. And that's a market that Apple saw his broader market that Yeah, you're right I've it's completely ignore not only the independent filmmaker, but just your regular youtuber content creator. Just somebody needs to make a video for the church. There's so videos being used in so many ways now. And I guess this ties back into if you're just starting out, you the tools are in your hand, you know to get started and get going and it doesn't cost nearly as much you know, the crisis keep coming down on the quality keeps coming going up. So just do it.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:50
Um, now what book had the biggest impact in your life or career?

Brad Olsen 1:04:56
Just one?

Alex Ferrari 1:04:58
Just one. That's all you're allowed to say.

Brad Olsen 1:05:02
Man, tough to narrow down to one. But I feel like in recent history, there's so many making up books and things, but I won't go off on all those. I really liked the book creativity Inc, the Ed catmull wrote such a beautiful book. I mean, I know that they're ideals that even Pixar doesn't live up to all the time as given the recent history with john Lasseter. Yeah, yes, it makes me It breaks my heart. But the principles and the stuff that Ed catmull talks about in that book, I, I believe we're true. And I think the filmmaking world would be a better place if, if everybody could like strive for that level of collaboration and openness and honesty in the process. That's what it needs. It doesn't need pissing contests. It doesn't need, you know, people like I just don't like the top down management that you especially see in studio systems. I love the open collaboration, and then independent films. You know, that has to happen. The director can't think, Hey, I'm better than everybody here.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:11
No, I'm

Brad Olsen 1:06:12
The artists obviously, you have never, never get they'll never get any work done. You know, you've definitely got a you definitely got to listen and creativity Inc. Just give some fantastic ideas of how to brainstorm and work together and, and strive for just great storytelling. That's inspirational for me,

Alex Ferrari 1:06:33
I would I obviously would not spend time on an independent film set. Because the directors I've met. I'm joking, I know you have I know you have. But I don't know what magical world, we're all of them. Everyone's all collaborative. And the director doesn't think he knows everything he or she knows everything. There's been both I've seen both but

Brad Olsen 1:06:56
But you know, it kills the film. I feel like when when somebody just hits that ego and arrogance. And you know, it's tough, because in order to get started in a film, you have to have confidence. But you can't have so much confidence that it becomes

Alex Ferrari 1:07:13
There's a fine balancer. Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn while either in the film business or in life?

Brad Olsen 1:07:21
Lesson that well, maybe just what I just said,

Alex Ferrari 1:07:24
Don't let your confidence turn into arrogance. Got it?

Brad Olsen 1:07:28
That that's, you know, I'm speaking from my own, like, yeah, learning to listen to people and learning to it was, especially as an editor, where you, you figure out that is interesting, because editing is in a way a dark art. And so literally do all these things that the director and producers don't realize you're doing to structure the story. And so you get it. But then there's a little bit of pride associated with that. And if when they want you to change things, and you feel like you've kind of mastered what's your your craft, for me that that at first, that was kind of a hard thing to like, learn but but now, and actually, this ties in to Final Cut Pro 10. Final Cut Pro 10. Because I've embraced this kind of magnetic timeline and way of working, I feel a lot more comfortable making changes on the fly, and just trying things. Whereas before, because I was managing tracks and turning them on and off. And I had these sound effects lined up and these music cues and these titles. I couldn't manage that. But but it would take a few steps to make sure that things didn't get knocked out of sync. And as a result, when I was working with producers, and clients, and they were asking me to make changes, I would get into a whole discussion of whether or not we should actually do that change. And this was this isn't, by the way, not so much in the rough cut period. This is like we've been working on this for a while. And all of a sudden, they're like, I just want to try this shot here. And you're like, Okay, if I put that shot here, I have to do this, this, this, this and this, and then that would lead me into Okay, are you sure you really want to do it? Let's picture in our head. Well, now with 10 in the magnetic timeline, I'm like you want to try it? Okay. And I've had that moment to where they started to. They're like, they started into their counter defense before I start talking. Mm hmm. Because they figure I'm going to say, Well, are you sure you really want to do this? And they're like, well, I really want to do this because did it and I'm like no, no, it's cool watch. And like, Oh yeah, that doesn't work or Yeah, that works, but I'm much more flexible. So that's that's two sided. Like for me, the software has helped me with that. But also, I think even whatever software you're using, you need to be open to suggestions and ideas and trying everything in order to end up with the best quality work

Alex Ferrari 1:10:01
Fair enough to learn and the three favorite films of all time?

Brad Olsen 1:10:06
Ah, three favorite movies of all time it changes depending on what mood I'm in

Alex Ferrari 1:10:14
As everybody's Yes.

Brad Olsen 1:10:15
And and what and what yeah, I mean I would definitely put Okay, I'm just gonna say these three and I know that tomorrow my answer would be totally different an hour from now 15 minutes from now may be different but I think Raiders of Lost Ark Empire Strikes Back and Fellowship of the Ring would be up there all right that good list? Yeah, I have a lot of others dramas Shawshank Redemption is mind whatever. But they like a little carousel they rotate.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:47
Absolutely. And where can people find you in your work?

Brad Olsen 1:10:52
So I think right now offthetracksmovie.com And Fedorapictures.com are the two best places to kind of see what I'm up to and and what I'm doing.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:04
Very cool, man. And again, thank you so much for allowing us IFH TV to host your amazing film and share it with our community. So thanks again, man, I appreciate it. And thank you for geeking out with me and talking editing talk because it's rare that I actually have these kind of ridiculous conversations about software and editing and tracks and magnetic. Magical who has.

Brad Olsen 1:11:30
Well, if you wanted to do a follow up, there's a whole nother side of this about independent film distribution. And because you know, I didn't just add it.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:39
No, no, you did the whole independent documentary and correct. No, exactly. I actually was I did have a question. But it's like we are over an hour in 10 years. And I don't want another for another show. Maybe I just don't i don't want to push my audience too far. I'm like, Look, Alex, we've been talking about Final Cut x for an hour. Can we move it along? No. But thank you so much for that. I appreciate your time.

Brad Olsen 1:12:04
Yeah, absolutely. It was a pleasure to be on there. And I'm excited for everybody in the tribe to see it and hopefully get some perspectives and ideas that they haven't had before. or heard before.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:18
Thanks again, man.

Brad Olsen 1:12:20
Yep, thank you.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:21
I want to thank Brad for coming on the show and just geeking out with me over Final Cut Pro editing software. And just getting in deep into the weeds of the editors mind, which is a very, very scary place if I do say so myself. But thanks again, Brad, I appreciate it. And if you guys want to watch the movie, which if you're interested at all in this kind of stuff, it is an amazing documentary. That's why I went after this documentary forIFH TV, just head over to indiefilmhustle.tv sign up and you'll be able to get access to it. I will be putting the links to the put the trailer on in the show notes and links to everything we discussed in the episode at indiefilmhustle.com/278. And also, as a bonus, the next episode that we're going to have Episode 279 is going to be Brad again. But this time we're going to just talk strictly about his distribution because he's self distributed this film all by himself. And it was an amazing you know, we touched on a little bit in this interview but we want I asked them to come back just to talk about his experience in self distributing a very niche documentary and he's learned a lot and he should he jobs, major knowledge bombs on the tribe and this next interview so keep an eye out on that next week. And if you haven't already, please head over to filmmakingpodcast.com and leave the show a good review, it really helps to show out helps us get more information out to more filmmakers. If we get higher ranked on iTunes. I really do truly appreciate your time and support guys. And as always keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.




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