Today on the show we have film producers Jason Armstrong and Rob Goodrich.
Armstrong and Goodrich founded Walk Like A Duck Entertainment, a film production company that develops and produces high quality scripted and non-scripted content.
With a combined 30+ years in the entertainment industry, Armstrong and Goodrich have held positions in all aspects of production with a focus on IP acquisition, development, packaging and raising capital.
The company has forced strong and supportive relationships with filmmakers and talent, advising and collaborating through all aspects of production.
Jason and Rob are currently in pre-production on Andy Armstrong’s SQUEALER, and recently completed production on the following films: SLAYERS (starring Abigail Breslin, Malin Akerman, Thomas Jane), DIG (starring Thomas Jane, Emile Hirsch, Liana Liberato), SKELLY (starring Brian Cox, Torrey Devitto, John Palladino), and SALVATION (Claire Forlani, Thomas Jane, Skeet Ulrich, Theo Rossi, Ashley Moore).
They have also acquired life rights of John Fairfax, an adventurer who crossed both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans in a rowboat, which they’re currently developing with Tiffany Fairfax, widow of John Fairfax.
Armstrong and Goodrich puts a premium value on developing creative and strategic partnerships across sales, distribution, co-production and post-production companies. The trajectory of a project varies on a case by case basis, Armstrong and Goodrich are uniquely positioned to manage all aspects of a projects lifespan.
As music, publishing and sync-licensing continue to establish increasing revenue streams and relevance in a financial model for a film or TV series, they have established 6 To Midnight Music, an ASCAP / BMI affiliate with a Co-Publishing deal with BMG Music, headed by Walk Like A Duck Entertainment partner, Cameron Goodrich.
Film producers Jason Armstrong and Rob Goodrich have created a way to produce profitable feature films in record speed durning one of the craziest and uncertain times in film history. I sat down with both producers to see how they are doing what they are doing, how they ramped up so fast and how they are making money with there system.
Enjoy my conversation with Jason Armstrong and Rob Goodrich.
Alex Ferrari 0:00
I like to welcome the show, Rob Goodrich and Jason Armstrong. How're you guys doing?
Rob Goodrich 0:17
Good. Thank you so much for having us.
Jason Armstrong 0:17
Great. Thank you!
Alex Ferrari 0:19
Thank you so much for coming on the show guys. You guys are you guys are as they say, in fuego right now, doing a lot of a lot of productions. And I want to and you have a very kind of like a different way of doing what you guys are doing, which I really want to kind of get into. But before we get started, man, how did you both get started in this insane business?
Rob Goodrich 0:43
Well, I leaned over to Jay, he's my senior. So I'll let him go first.
Alex Ferrari 0:49
I'm sure and I'm sure he reminds you about that all the time.
Jason Armstrong 0:55
Or vice versa.
Alex Ferrari 0:56
Jason Armstrong 0:57
So yeah, no, I started off in the business originally as a copywriter in in commercials and everything. And then Antalya commercial down in LA met a producer asked me if I was interested in writing for television. So So then he developed a children's while sort of a tween series. At that time, he had an Oprah deal with Nickelodeon. So it was originally something for Nickelodeon. And then Disney came in and, and sort of swept, swept, swept it away, to get worked, worked on that, and then created another series. I would say probably about a year after that, and and then you sort of fall into that writers room, you know, sort of the in house writers and, and everything else. But that was sort of the the early, you know, the early stage into the business was was very much from a writing perspective. And then in that tween world, and then started slowly moving into producing, you know, my own content, having a little bit, a little bit more control, obviously, right or over the creative to an extent, to an extent that that stage, and then yeah, and then did a lot of children's series Brucella children series, a lot of CO pro deals. At that time, I was in Canada, so I was doing a little copro deals between Canada and the UK. And then just kept, kept rolling into two different things. There's some obvious some lifestyle stuff that came into play. And then and then dove into into the features.
Alex Ferrari 2:35
And how about you, Rob?
Rob Goodrich 2:39
Well, you know, it's funny, I never, I never considered myself much of a film guy growing up, I always enjoyed going to the movies, I enjoyed renting movies. But you know, as far as telling you, who was in every movie, who directed it just never really was my forte, I never took a huge interest, what I did find was that I had a really good rapport with people. And I had a good, good ability to sort of put pieces together. I found that through playing sports as a kid and, you know, always sort of being in a leadership position. So I guess through college, which had no film intentions, I started to develop more and more of an interest in entertainment. I ended up working on the music side. First, to be honest with you, I was working with a lot of artists helping to coordinate sort of like those radio concerts that they would do, seasonally. So what that really did was that taught me how to work with artists and work with sort of the in and out demands of not just a rapper or a band or this or that, but their entire entourage. And so it was sort of a culmination of taking my ability to sort of put puzzle pieces together and my growing fascination with film. So through that sort of music thing and introductions to a lot of managers and sort of that, that circle of that high level music world. I took an interest in film, and I did what we all sort of hope I hope we all do his IPA, IPA on a ABC reality show, which I will not name. Realize that that was not for me. And then I got a call from Paramount that said, hey, you know, you you work with Justin Bieber? On the music side? Would you have any interest in coming and sort of consulting as a producer with us on the Never Say Never Bieber tour, which Paramount did? So I worked with some of the other producers on that prior. And that really sort of kicked it off. I mean, I think it's I don't know if I had a career path set in mind. I've always looked at producing in sort of a broad scope. You know, I think entertain entertainment is entertainment and what is entertaining to somebody is different to another row, I, I've always taken my background in music, transitioned into film, and a little bit of TV. It's all sort of just being the same thing. You know, it's all just sort of management from top to bottom. So through that, ironically enough years later, that's how Jay and I met under the roof at BMG Music through a colleague who said, I think you guys would really mesh well. And so we'd both sort of taken our own paths in the film world and had some success with that, and certainly climbed our way up, and touched every corner of the business and had some success and had some failure and got our bruises. But by the time Jay and I met at BMG Music, it was actually to discuss the film and immediately hit it off. And I think it was that perfect moment where we collided and could really complement one another with where we were at in our own careers and where we were, you know, aiming to go.
Alex Ferrari 6:03
You know, it's so funny, because I've been in the business now for 20 odd years. And, you know, when you're when you're working with somebody, especially a producing partner, it's like dating, like you're getting into a marriage you are, you know, there's no question about, especially when you're like, on one project, it's like that, let alone multiple projects over the course of years. So that's something a lot of filmmakers don't really understand about the partnership scenario. It's you're dating before you get married, and, and you're married after you signed the deal to make the first film. And then you're like, alright, well, we dated already. You know, we could divorce after this project, but we're going to go through this project.
Jason Armstrong 6:47
As soon as you create an llc.
Alex Ferrari 6:54
No question it is, and there's so you guys seem to like, you know, from what I was able to gather through your IMDB profiles, you guys have been hustling for a while, in your own worlds. But it seems like when you guys got together in more recently, actually, you just started all of a sudden, like you were in a lot of productions, and a lot of different things going on at the same time. So that's very unusual for a new, you know, producing partnership that I've seen, I don't see like it just doesn't, overnight, just come up, you guys have both been working out. You've done some work in the future world who doesn't work in television world, but really not likely, you're doing now not at the level, you're doing it now with the cast and things like that, what kind of what started this explosion of, of these, you know, doing so many projects and with the caliber of people you're doing so recently,
Rob Goodrich 7:45
You know what it was sort of a collection of years where we very mindfully said, you know, let's, let's get that IP, let's get the content, let's make sure that our catalogue is full of stuff where we know we can pull something out. And when we've got that extra piece, we can really start to package it more seriously. And, you know, look, I mean, we've been fortunate with the snowball effect. We've identified IP that we that we think fits into the market well, but we've also identified a time that, unfortunately, has been so damaging for so many businesses, we've, you know, we've used a formula in the past two years, where we've been able to create, you know, marketable films, for modest budgets. And, and really, when the world has been so scared about, you know, big crowds and heavy footprints, we've been able to go shoot these movies, you know, not on a Netflix budget, we're not concerned about insurance, but really more on a smaller budget with smaller crews, where we can say to actors, look, we need you for six days, or we need you for three days. We've limited our shooting schedules, and you know, this, the scope of our films are sort of in that mid range. But you know, we've shot six this year as a result. And I think that snowball effects, when you can go to an agency and actually deliver a fee on time and escrow. And you can get an accurate, calm and have a pleasant experience. It really has a positive effect. And I mean, we're fortunate now where we've got a lot of agents calling and saying, Hey, what do you have that I can sneak in accurate? Or would you look, would you look at this project. So so we really were aware of not trying to jump the gun and just make a movie to make a movie, but really be a little bit more strategic in how we rolled it out.
Jason Armstrong 9:39
Yeah, and also, I would say I'm just sort of add on to that. You know, through that time, a story can be achieved in just the same way haven't be self contained. You know, you can still have great stories that doesn't that don't have to have an incredible number of company moves and have all these different settings. There was you know, through COVID, there was this opportunity to still have, you know, tell great stories, and focus very heavily on the character development through the story. And that could be achieved, you know, with fewer cast members of your locations, and still, you know, still deliver great content that didn't speak to the market. So, you know, it was it was just that opportunity, and also to touch on the other thing that you mentioned, Alex, with regards to sort of moving quickly. I feel as though there's, you know, everyone's sort of, if they've been involved in the business from every angle for a long period of time. So, I mean, like, Robin, I like before mentioning, the PA, you know, worked is, I mean, I've been a scripting, you know, I've been a continuity director, I mean, I've been a general, I mean, so like, hearing through all these things, and what happens with all that is you have, you start to develop this very, very large network. And when you find someone to partner with, that isn't so safeguarded, and protects that network, because I feel a lot in our industry, you know, even if people partner together on one film, you're like, Oh, these are my guys, or these are, this is my network, this is who I access. And the problem is that just puts up these walls immediately. That shouldn't be there, because this is a collaborative business. I mean, that's, that's where you thrive. And I feel as though Rob and I wouldn't be partnered, our success sort of happened very quickly, because there were none of those walls it was, each of our networks became one large network. And we're able to sort of pinpoint where certain strengths and certain projects could stand and, and access those without delay. And I think that's sort of you know, that's, that's what you that's what you need to do, if you're going if you are going to partner together and build a slate, and evaluate the IP and determine whether the market speaks to that, you know, that content and everything you need to be able to, you know, open book with regards to what your access is.
Alex Ferrari 12:00
It's interesting, because if I go back to the analogy of the marriage, when you start dating someone or you, you start moving in with somebody, you don't have a joint account just yet. You have separate, you have separate accounts. And then when you have a joint account, it's serious. Now we're sharing our money. So it's the same thing. You're sharing your contacts, you're sharing your network. And by doing that, you're able to basically put gasoline on the fire because you're able to access so many things. Yeah, I've been with I've, you know, I've had I've partnered with people, they're like, I, I hang out with Tom Cruise every weekend. I'm like, Can Can Can you? Can you? Can you talk to Tom Cruise? No, no, I can't. That's very sensitive. I can't talk to Tom Cruise. I'm like, yeah, what the hell are we doing here? I'm using as exempt. I don't know anybody who knows toppers. But anyway. But I get the boy, you get the point like and, and it could be something as like, Oh, yeah. Me and Thomas Jane, go hang out. And we go golfing. Oh, can we maybe pitch them this project? You're like, well, that's, it's my that's my connection with Thomas. That's not with you know, it's weird. But it's, it's kind of this whole energy that a lot of people in the industry have of lack of, of fear. Because you know, I think you go it's gonna agree this entire business is run on fear, Hollywood is run is completely run on fear on FOMO fear of missing out huge deals have been dropped huge amount of money have been dropped purely on the fear of losing out. And if and we and we unfortunately have seen some of those movies over the years, but But Rob, you were talking about your formula, can you kind of dive into this, this formula that you're that you're you guys are working on that are able to do all this and today's environment? Cuz I think you probably started prior to COVID. But you were kind of like, primed, ready for it when it came out in a way.
Rob Goodrich 13:50
Yeah, we really were. You know, it's interesting look, at the end of the day, for any filmmaker, it's always about money. And and not necessarily, hey, how am I going to make money? But how are we going to source money. And I think that's where that's where I think we really separate ourselves. We, you know, we're genre agnostic. And by what I mean by that is we don't measure ourselves to a horror film or a drama or this. I mean, we're looking at the market, we're filmmakers, but we're also businessmen. And we want to be able to say, alright, if I want to do this one day, I have to have the track record of doing XYZ before that, to be taken seriously. Right. And so we're really in the business of establishing partnerships, creating, you know, good relationships with people. I know, that sounds sort of cliche. So a big part of our formula is, you know, who do we like to work with? Because who can we call next to say, Alright guys, you know, I'm in I'm in Las Cruces, New Mexico right now. So okay, guys, here's the tax credit here. Here's where we know we're certain soft money sets. Can we go to the usual partner so we start to analyze a product Based on certainly location, and what those tax credits look like, so we can get some semblance of where, where our financing structure comes into play. As that's happening, we're in daily communication with our sales partners, our distribution partners, really working backwards, so that we can say, alright, this finance plan actually does fit in line with the scale of the film, the budget, we can make this type of movie with this amount of crew, for instance, we're a union production company, we're always hiring union crews. So by working backwards, obviously, like a lot of filmmakers, we're in daily communication with those distributors, or those sales companies say, Okay, what do we think about this cast list? What do we think about this so that everything that we're doing, we're checking a box, so that we don't have that pardon my French that oh, shit moment, you know, when we're supposed to go off, I, if I just did this differently, if I just had that actor, or I just thought about that other seat currently. So we really, we try to work backwards to a degree. One of the things, you know, that I think it has been working for us is, you know, we built some good relationships with talent. We've We've got actors that enjoy working on our set, we try to keep it relaxed. And, you know, we welcome the creative feedback and collaboration. So when we're able to call an agent or an actor, and say, Hey, we've got this project, or they're calling us and saying, I'm looking for something for two weeks, what do you have? Well, that's such a big piece of the puzzle, that we're then able to really get that packaging process, going a lot faster. You know, we're not necessarily always hunting, to make a movie, bring it to a festival, get all the awards, do everything. I mean, it's a different climate today. As we all know, we were very interested in exploring and evaluating every project and every sales opportunity every day that we're prepping, filming, and then post so that we're always elevating the value of a project. We're looking at streamer deals, we're looking we look at the article, but we're always exploring what that best fit is for any film. And we've been very fortunate. I mean, New Mexico has been terrific. Massachusetts has been terrific. Toronto has been good to us. So I hope that answers part of it.
Alex Ferrari 17:30
So usually, what you guys are basically saying is don't shoot a $2 million period piece personal film, with no stars attached shot in black and white is generally it's generally not what you want to do. And that's the approach of so many filmmakers they just like I want to make art. I'm like, great, if you want to make art make it for $5. Don't make it for 5 million and mortgaged your house, which I've had people on the show who have mortgaged their house have lost their house, because they're like, Hey, I think this is gonna go it's the craziest in our business is so insane. Because I've talked to investors and the like, you guys, this is insanity. I'm like it is Yeah. But yeah, if you know what you're doing, it can be you can make money with it. But the scope of of, you could spend $2 million and have literally a useless product, you spent $2 million on cookies, you have $2 million worth of cookies you could sell. Right? So there's a product, there's a product there.
Rob Goodrich 18:33
Yeah, you know, and we're not afraid either. And I think it's important to be honest, in this business, I don't think you have to be a jerk. But I think it's good to be transparent. And look, I mean, we know how to finance films, we know how to package talent, we know how to sell films. So we can we can analyze a project from really any perspective, not to say we're the best at it. But you know, we've got a pretty good understanding of each, so that when we're talking to a filmmaker, or we're talking or evaluating a new project, we can very easily to your point, say, look, I totally love where you're coming from. But here's why that wouldn't work, right? In today's world. Instead of saying your project sucks, we're not going to do it. Maybe there's some value in it. So then we can have a more collaborative conversation and say, Look, this is how we might approach it. These are the types of people we might bring into it to help you see, you know, this follow through with your intentions. We never want to say no to any project off the bat. But we are pretty quick to say, here are the things that we know won't work. And that's based on real time, experience, real time, market trends, real time investors, etc.
Jason Armstrong 19:43
Another thing I would want to say too, is I mean, a lot of art is a timing chance, right? I mean, it really does play by time and chance, especially within the arts. So there are things that are going to speak to certain types there. You know, there's going to be an audience for certain content at a certain time. And unfortunately, you know, something can get lost. If it if it isn't, you know, released or, or evaluated at the right time. So I mean, that's the other thing that will pay very close attention to is, is recognizing you know what, right now, this would be unfortunately the it's not so much even how it's being built out so far is just that it will not achieve the audience that it should right now. So in order to and then that and then that becomes just this lost art. And to your point before it is a business. So if it's, if you are going to do it as a hobby in the arts, then that is one thing. If it is going to operate as a business, then yes, you need you need to develop something that people want, and that will sell. And, and that doesn't. And then there's a lot of fear that surrounds that, then people when they hear that they start to think, oh, how is that going to jeopardize the creative? How is that going to alter this, this, this and this, this, and it doesn't actually have to do that. And, and at the same time, let's let's look at that, if it's something that is not flexible, that cannot be flexible, cannot be examined, you know, in order to sort of build it in a different in a different way than it might be it's something that just sits somewhere and is never seen. Never heard of no one's ever aware of which is fine. But one of the one of the most valuable things in the art world is literally in you know, having an effect on people you know, provoking a conversation, excitement, anything like that. That's that's that's sort of the the largest payoff outside of VR was that, you know, investors obviously, one of the largest payoff is actually having that developing an audience having an effect on its audience. Right. So that's, you know, that's something you really, you know, you do have to pay attention to the timing of these things. And if something's not now it can't be a year from now it can you know, in or find a way for it to be that So,
Alex Ferrari 21:54
Right. So in other words, contagion not gonna come out right now. As a brand new movie. Not really like it. I don't care if it's Steven Soderbergh not happening right now. Nobody wants to see them. How many? How many? How many pandemic movies have you turned down in the last two years?
Jason Armstrong 22:15
Alex Ferrari 22:16
Rob Goodrich 22:18
It's funny how quickly people pick up on a trend and go, here. I've got this. What do you think?
Alex Ferrari 22:24
I've been yelling on my show for the last two years. Nobody wants your pandemic script. Nobody wants to watch it. Nobody wants to see it. I don't care if Meryl Streep's in it. Nobody wants to watch it. Because we're living it. It's kind of like having a terrorist movie A week after 911. So one of the things is there something that you see, in your, in your day to day, some mistakes that you see filmmakers make when they're pitching to producers, or trying to pitch you guys a script, or or project or something like that, because there is a you know, I do my best with this show to educate as many filmmakers as humanly possible about the realities of this business. And the realities of life. Don't run up to you at a Starbucks and go, here's my script. Read it. I don't know who you are. You don't know who I am. You don't know who I am. But here read it. There's certain ways of doing things. Is there mistakes that you consistently see that you can kind of call out and hopefully help some people listening?
Rob Goodrich 23:22
Well, Jay, I can jump in first. I mean, I think I think a common thing that sort of gets under my skin a bit just because it never works. And I never, you know, we've all pitched something before, right? So I don't ever shame anybody for doing that. You know, when you come up and you say, Oh, I've got money attached to these investors or this actor, I want to call BS every time. I mean, one of the ways that Jay and I typically vet a project and about five seconds, is I say, tell me where your bank account is. And I'll make a $1 deposit. Because if they've got a bank account open, well, then they're more of a business to me. But it how do you have these investors? And how do you have this infrastructure set up to make a movie that we can just jump in and start packaging? It's not really set up. And then it's the Phantom investor or it's the Phantom actor, who to your point earlier is like the cousin of Tom Cruise that went out once but I don't want to call him yet because he's, you know, Uruguay. So that's a big red flag. I would much rather see a project when somebody says, Hey, I love this movie that you guys just did. I think I have something that might connect with you might not let me just send you a logline. Or would it be okay, if I just send you some preliminary info? Without all the baggage, you know, then it could be more appealing to sort of say, oh, you know what, this is pretty cool. Let us follow up. Let us see where it's at. Because we have the tools to help package that if it's something that we like, it's just sort of the
Alex Ferrari 24:59
So the letters of intent, not so much?
Rob Goodrich 25:11
it's nice to have I guess?
Alex Ferrari 25:14
Be honest, be honest, it's absolutely almost useless. It's like it's literally it's absolutely almost useless letters of intent. I got I was up, I was packaging a deal. And the producer was like, Oh, we have this letter of intent from this Oscar winner. And, and I saw it. And everywhere he, I mean, literally, if he could have tattooed it on his frickin chest, he would have tapped because everywhere he walked in, he's like, here's my letter of intent with this dude, that I spoke to unconvinced the first talking point. Yeah, that's first talking points. I have a letter of intent from this Oscar winner. Here's his signature. So all that says to me is that you were able to calm this poor, older actor with a little commitment. No, no. The letter What? No, I said letter of intent, sir.
Jason Armstrong 25:52
From the talent, a letter of commitment for the financing,
Alex Ferrari 25:57
Commitment, stop it.
Rob Goodrich 26:00
Well, you know what, here's here's the, here's the behind the curtain of all of that, right? Yeah, we obviously work with a number of agencies and ensure projects from that. And they'll have talent, quote, unquote, attached, that are, quote, unquote, attached. So it's hard enough for the people that are in the industry, the managers, the producers, the talent, actually have a project that is that far along. So when you've got somebody that is fairly new to the game, or trying to break in, or has a great idea, it's just that much more unbelievable, to no fault of their own. But it's just such an uphill battle. I mean, really, where we are in an industry right now. And we're, we've had some success, not to give the company sauce away. But look, you make an offer, you make a payer play offer, and you deliver the funds. And that's going to make it real to an agent. And it's amazing how quickly that reverberates through the industry. Oh, wow. They, they actually escrow that talent, a day before it was due, or was due, oh, yeah, they signed the contract. So that's what makes it real, no one is attached until that money is in that account. And for better or worse, where we are, I mean, it's such a competitive market right now, there's so much out there, and there's so many places to put content, that you've got to make it real by putting the money in the account. And you got to be willing to part ways with it. And with that comes a lot of risk for producers. But you know, you got to be confident in what you're doing.
Jason Armstrong 27:26
You got to be offering the model that you put together, right? Because there's always been a filtering system that's existed, right? We know that. And it's because otherwise, there just be so much being channeled into all of these outlets. And now there's just so many, so the filtering system is just become even more prominent, and important. And so the way to actually get around that is to have everything built. So if you are going to engage, you have the money to engage, it's not, it's not oh, we're engaging, and then there's going to be this long period of time where nobody's talking about it, because you couldn't really have the follow through. That's, you know, immediately that's a red flag and people are going to take seriously. So the second that you do engage with the people that you do need to put your project together. Everything has to be in place. So that if you get a yes, immediately.
Alex Ferrari 28:22
And that is that's refreshing, because that doesn't happen in our business at all. It's a lot of talk, it's a lot of talk a lot of luck in the lip service and all this kind of stuff. And I mean, God, how many people like oh, I have this guy attached, or I've got this money's about to drop. Oh, I love that term. The money's about to drop tomorrow. It's dropping. Oh, we got pushed back. Oh, because his allowance hasn't hit yet. Because, you know, he's a multimillionaire in England. And his wife gives him a million dollars every month as in and he just wants to be in the movie. And we've Yep, sure. I'm not telling you stories, you're gonna hurt. It's a small, it's a small little roll, like maybe at the bar or something, you know, give him two lines, and he'll finance the whole movie. Like we hear all these stories. And by the way, everyone who's not watching this we're all laughing we're all we're also we have smiles on our faces because we've all heard these stories before. But it's so fascinating over my career, it doesn't change now what those stories that we're just talking about happened to me in the 90s when I was coming up and they're still happening today and they think that they work and that's why I kind of call out you know letters of intent and like the all this kind of stuff that's all kind of fluff you know or I could get this guy on the phone right once walked by this person or you know I parked cars or where this guy plays golf or something. There's always so many of these stories but when you guys are doing is interesting because you're actually I don't know doing what you say you're gonna do. Which is oddly a rarity in this business. How I've always found it fascinating how anything ever gets done in in Hollywood and I can't even comprehend at the 100 $200 million world, how many moving parts? How many things because even that world, they're still financing these things, they still they're still banks, they're still like, you got to go? Absolutely. I mean, it's not like, Disney is just writing checks, though they probably can at this point, but they're smart enough not to use their own money. Yeah, right. You know, it's
Rob Goodrich 30:24
Our big thing, too, is look, I mean, we've got, we've got projects in pipeline for the next year or two years that that are those studio level films. But for right now, we're the world's at where we're at, we control the clock, you know, and we're able to really, we're able to work with AD's and work with mine producers and work with directors that we can talk to every day. And, and, you know, we can control the financing and the model, and control the sales and control the marketing, you know, to a degree, right, but we're able to control the clock a little bit more, which is, which has been helpful, and it keeps us busy. But it allows us to sort of work with and to spit out a product that, you know, we know, sort of shares the integrity that we went into it.
Alex Ferrari 31:13
Can you guys talk a little bit about the importance of a bankable star, based off of budget. So you know, cuz I always tell people, like, Look, if you got a $50,000 movie, anytime you could put a bankable star, and even if it's a phase, do it anytime, at any budget range. But as that budget continues to go up, you at that point need to have bankable stars of certain magnitudes depending on the budget. So certain actors can finance a million dollar, or $2 million, even a $5 million, but they're not going to finance a 30 million, then you need another two or three of those guys. Well, you need Bruce Willis to show up. Or you need to, you know, and Bruce does I think movie a week now I think he's doing a movie a week.
Rob Goodrich 31:55
A One day One day shop.
Alex Ferrari 31:59
Pops up it's 365 movies this year. It's fantastic. But, but filmmakers don't really get that a lot of times and they're like, Oh, I wanted to, again, it goes into that hobby thing. Where like, oh, I want to be pure. I'm like, Well, I'm not the best actor for the role, then do it for 50 grand, don't do it for 500 grand. So can you talk about the importance of it, and then how you're able to attract these actors, I think we kind of touched upon this, like money talks. So if you show up and drop some money, you're gonna get people's attention pretty quickly.
Rob Goodrich 32:29
We through the years, everybody's got a gatekeeper. Right. And so the agents and the managers, they're gatekeepers, it's like any business, you know, you sort of all come up together, or you meet here and there. In my world, I was in Venice Beach for a long time. And it took a lot of the sort of the razor blades out of the agents out of the managers, when we were having a beer at Hinata, or the whaler or, you know, at the beach. So forging those relationships, you know, it's a q&a, you know, we're on the producing side, they're on the, they're on the deal side. So we've been able to, over the course of a few years, balance each other, say, Hey, let me you know, pick your brain on this, let me pick your brain on that. So that access to talent, or that access to a quick read, has been very beneficial. And that's a relationship thing. And I hate that term, but it is relevant, like any business. I think that you know, money talks, that's how you get your talent, you got to get to the talent. So how do you get through the gatekeeper? Oh, good story, some level of packaging, and then the offer that you can come in with. Now, once that talent is there, what we really focus on is having a good experience, you know, we want our talent to feel as though they're valued on set, they're not just a hired piece, you know, and so far, that's been pretty successful. Those conversations, go beyond the film, they turn into text messages, hey, you watching this game? Or hey, are you gonna be in LA or boulder or this or that? So it is it's relationships. And then, you know, we've been very fortunate to sort of repeat working with certain actors, and then when you do that, like anything else, it's human nature. People say, Well, these guys got to be doing something right. This guy's working with them a number of times and they bring in their friends and it's sort of a pyramid
Alex Ferrari 34:26
It's like kind of like who's dating the you know, the hot girl and then like, and then all the other girls all the other girls are like, well, in this ugly dude, obviously is I'm not the guy with the ugly dude. But
Jason Armstrong 34:40
I didn't know this was visual. So normally we need to
Alex Ferrari 34:48
But it's it's always kind of like but it's it goes with investors too. It's like who's the first one to the party. And then when you you have, you know, a hot girl or a hot guy at the party all the time. Everybody else all the other guys and gals go away. And why is that movie star hanging out with these guys? Constantly? Yeah. And then like, then you start investigating it. And they they're like, Oh, well, this. And I have to ask you, though, you know, once you build relationships with actors, which I've had the pleasure of being able to build relationships with actors over the years, I call them up sometimes directly, I'll go, Hey, man, I got a project you want in? We've already know it's a, it's a one on one relationship that we've built over years. And I go, I don't want to cut out the agent because you don't want to piss off the agent. So can you talk a little bit about the political minefield that is calling up the actor directly? Or maybe talking to the actor first and then go into the age? How do you guys know it straddle that?
Jason Armstrong 35:41
Well, we do exactly that. So I mean, we'll we definitely play by the protocols of how to detect it. Because the reality is, even if you have that relationship, you can have that conversation, you do need then to engage the team, because there's a lot of moving parts behind, you know, and certainly in the caliber of the actor actress, it that, you know, that teams obviously larger or smaller, there's a lot of moving parts in there. And, and you could probably have a Creative Conversation with talent for a little while. But in order for it to become real, it has to it has to go through the proper channels. And I feel as though there's a lot of cases where there is maybe that one on one relationship, and, and they'll talk about something for, like for an extended period of time. And because they haven't started engaging the right parties, it never really gets there. Because things are being built behind all of these talents. All the time. I mean, things are being evaluated for them to be started. Their schedule is filling up. I mean, sometimes their schedule is filling up, almost without their being aware of it. And it really I mean, I mean, they have to, they have to, they have to okay, but my point is, it's like there is a machine behind them. That is that is handling what they are attached to what they get engaged on. So So we typically, and I don't want to speak for both Rob, like for both of us, but we typically will have that conversation, but then we will then we go immediately to their team. So that so that everything, there's just clarity, and everything was just transparent, right from the start. Otherwise, it's almost getting the reset button. You know, you engage have this long conversation with town, and then you hit up the team. And it's like, you might hit reset, because right, it starts all over again. So
Rob Goodrich 37:35
Yeah, I mean, let's not pretend that there are egos that go top to bottom.
Alex Ferrari 37:39
What Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait a bit. There's egos in this business? No,stop it.
Rob Goodrich 37:44
So the funny part is, is there, I hope agents and managers aren't listening. But you know, a lot of times, there might be bigger egos on that side of the aisle than the talent. And so I think that if you're not sort of appreciating and respecting every lane of the business, sure, then there's a lot of butthurt people, and they will literally stall, what could be a pretty easy transaction, you know, they get paid, the Africans paid, we get our actor, you know, and so, you know, what we try to do is, even if there's that personal relationship, we're very quick to stay in our own lane. Hey, you know, actress acts or actress bathroom, what, you know, we would love you for this project, we're gonna have our attorney reach out to your representation and have this go the right way. We present offers through the appropriate channels, we really tried to lead on our legal Well, we can just sort of create some buffer between what could be a relationship, whether it be an agent or an actor, and the actual business. I mean, we all I like to think we all have the same goal in mind. And 99% of the time, that's the case. But to Jay's point. I mean, we really are adamant about just doing things the right way. And we're the type of people that will go the extra mile and do the extra work. And if that means, you know, one extra step to make sure that that last person was on that email, or got notified that hey, this is gonna come through. We just wanted to do it this way. Well, then everybody's on the same page. And then that that actor or actresses team, then they can determine how to sort of circulate around something and we're very hands on from that point.
Alex Ferrari 39:25
I can't tell you how refreshing this whole conversation has been so far. I can't it's for people listening. It just doesn't happen. But what you guys are saying is what should be the industry norm, but is not. There's so many different kinds of players out there who don't do the basics. This is not like revolutionary stuff. You guys are talking about that. It's not rocket science, guys. It is it is basic, like basic thing. Like if you want to make coffee, you need a coffee bean like it's a simple, real basic stuff for most people. Like I'm gonna make coffee But out of mind, I'm like, Okay. And I'm gonna, and then I'm going to tell you it's it's the best coffee in the world. And I have a letter of intent from the best coffee being in the world. So it's remarkable, remarkable. Now, another thing that I find fascinating, but you guys is you guys are a production company. So but you do have deep wells in the investment world, meaning that you you finance your own projects, essentially, how do you? Or do you have any advice on pitching investors on your projects and how you kind of package them to a certain extent for for filmmakers, because that is, obviously everybody wants to know, like you said, at the beginning of this conversation, it's all about how we're going to get the financing to make art and hopefully make some money doing it.
Jason Armstrong 40:44
Well, I think that sort of circles back to your, your original, one of the questions that you made, Alex, which was if young filmmakers are trying to put something together, and they're going around to either look for a CO production partner, or something along those lines. One is, you know, betting things properly. And, and to making sure that you do have a model behind you. But I mean, for, for investors, it's recognizing that it's a business that you are, you're selling something. So you know, one of the things that Robin a conversation that Robin I have had with, with people when when we maybe don't see eye to eye, they brought us something, and we're looking at building it out with them, because we actually really do like the IP and everything. And don't worry, this is circling back to financing and money. But, you know, looking at building it out, is and there's some pushback look at them saying, I mean, tell me about another business that can operate that way. Like, take yourself out of the film business, and save what other business on earth could ever operate that way? Right? Where people would where people would be like, let me in, you know, let me let me give you my hard earned money, right, that I've been working for years for and I don't even care if you inherited it, it's still it was somebody, right? Somebody worked horses part earn money and put it into this, right? I mean, so that's like, the first thing you have to think about when you're approaching anyone is, wait a second, like you in depth, take yourself out of the arts, if you're trying to if you're trying to get people to give you a lot of money for an art take, remove yourself from it and recognize how would this operate in any other format? Right. And if you can see that, then that's great. But that's the that's one of the first things that Rob and I will say to someone, how would that ever work? So then outside of that, it's, it's like any business, you are trying to mitigate risk? Okay. And one of the one of the first things that anyone is going to talk about with regards to film, or sorry, or any, any, any form of media, for that matter, is, it's a risky investment. It's, it's a risky business. Because what you're selling is you're selling the product, but but you're also you're relying on people to like it, not that they need it, and especially right now, where there's endless content available to everyone. Now, it's not so much like, oh, you know, well, I need it, I need something to watch in the evenings, right? I mean, the kids have gone to bed, ideally. And now, you know, I can sit down and watch something and escape for a little period of time before you know, the morning comes there, they start to get that, that well is mess. So now, it's got to it actually has to be It can't just be the content. That's not what you're selling, are you actually selling something that people actually like, and what? So So I mean, that's, that's the whenever we talk about finance and bringing in money, we one we will have a model, so that we can show, look, we've evaluated the market, we recognize that the budget is going to speak to the market right now in this Shaundra our talent, this comes back to where you asked about, you know, or made a comment about finding that a Lister or that star that is going to drive sales, or be your most marketable piece in the film. You know, you have to actually, you have to pay very close attention that because not every actor speaks to every genre. And that'll be something that a lot of people present to us, they'll say, Oh, we think this person is perfect. And you know, and they sell so well. And be like Well, no, they sell so well but not not genre. They there's there's no knowledge in that. So yes, there are no name, but then you do have to actually it has to be you know, well researched as to whether they are going to inform sales speak that. So all of that is is basically just trying to find ways to mitigate the risk of investment on every project.
Alex Ferrari 44:53
And it is it is when you're when you're hiring an actor or a name actor, you're basically paying for marketing upfront, is you are investing in a marketing budget up front. So if you're getting if you're paying for Thomas Jane, he has a built in audience and a built in built in awareness that he's been able to build up over his career that has valued you. Can you do that for Bruce Willis? That's telling investors and that's telling people who are buying your film and buyers, you've, you've pre invested in marketing, where in a world where you know films of your size, you can't compete with the studio's just there's no way you can compete marketing money. There's just you can't you can't market your film.
Jason Armstrong 45:38
We're not matching. We're not matching our budget in marketing PR,
Alex Ferrari 45:42
No, no, are doubling or tripling. Yeah, exactly. And even if you did, what, what would that be? What value? Would that bring? Like? Seriously? Like, how could you would you even make a dent in the universe have some sort of awareness, but you put Bruce Willis in your movie, there's automatic awareness is automatic. So when you're scanning through 1000 things, you're like, oh, there's Bruce. Or there's Thomas, or, you know, there. And that's what you're paying for when you hired these these named actors. And that's what filmmakers need to truly understand. And also, another thing I always try to say is some actors. We were kind of joking about Bruce Bruce is still Bruce. And Nicolas Cage is still Nicolas Cage, no question. But there were certain actors who oversaturated the market with themselves. And I worked on movies, where the like, oh, this poor guy, like paid a good amount of money for this one actor, but he did 25 movies that year, I'm not exaggerating. And he went out to the distribution companies, like we already got three of those guys have that guy this year, we're good. And he got sick, he got saddled with a movie they couldn't sell, because the actor was oversaturated. So there's, you've got to kind of figure that out as well. It's a, it's a lovely type rope, we work we want.
Rob Goodrich 46:51
That's why we do pay close attention to speak pretty regularly with our sales guys and say, you know, what's in the pipeline for this individual? You know, what do we need to be aware of not today, but six months from now? Right? You know, I want to add one more thing to the financing. So, two things, really, I think the most important thing for people to take away is you have to be flexible, and you have to adapt, that adapt to the money and you have to adapt creatively. Because they're, they're intertwined, no matter what. So one of the ways that we really kickstart our projects, we have skin in the game, we'll put skin in the game as a company, so we can give an investment group and investor another company for a copro some level of confidence that, that we're in it. You know, we've got something to lose to we're working
Jason Armstrong 47:39
It is like being alone. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 47:44
Misery, misery loves company. Oh, yeah, absolutely.
Rob Goodrich 47:52
The other thing I was gonna say in sort of, as we're looking at financial models, and as we're looking at sales, and how do we maximize something being marketable, we have not not changed the the gender of an actor or an actress in a film, we have flipped roles, because we've identified Oh, well, you know, that actor might be more might be better as an actress, because we can get this individually and might increase the marketability, so long as it doesn't take away from the creative. And, you know, Jay and I are very, not pushy, but very upfront with our filmmakers to say, look, any suggestion we have, we're in your corner. As a director, we're in your corner as a creative team, we are always going to be pushing for what makes this movie, the most marketable, most commercial it can be, because aside from the money, that means more eyeballs are going to see it. So if there are ways for us to make improvements like that, that's how it all connects the marketability, the commercial ability to sales, the money, the investors get their money back, they come back to us and say, What do you have next, and the actors are happy.
Alex Ferrari 49:03
So it's a win win, win win across everybody across everybody's and that's, again, another rarity in our business. To say the least. Now one thing, most most filmmakers have this problem and I think everybody at any stage in the in the game other than in the studio system is distribution is actually making money with their product. Because before the you know, with the cost to make the product was such a difficult thing and expensive thing. Now you can make a pretty high quality product with the right people at a low cost. But getting it out to the marketplace and actually generating revenue with that is more difficult now than ever before. In the ever changing landscape where T VOD used to be a thing now is no longer a thing really, especially in the independent film market. S VOD is great, but they don't pay you for three years. So how do you how do you make that business work? You know, a VOD is great, but you know so and then foreign sales is not what it wasn't the 90s or the early 2000s, and you don't have DVD to fall back on anymore. So how do you guys, you know, generate revenue with your films? Like how is it like how were you doing sales agents? Are you doing pre sales? Foreign? What? Where's that kind of work? I mean, obviously, don't give me numbers. I don't want to your entire business model guys, but just generally,
Jason Armstrong 50:19
No, absolutely. I mean, look, we honestly, it's, it's different with every film, so that that's just a fact. You know, there are a lot of there are a lot of filmmakers right now that are a massive part of their finance model is foreign sales. So they'll they'll lock in a certain amount of foreign sales, and then they'll maybe try and leave domestic open, but more often than not, they'll, you know, make a big domestic deal, too. And then they'll evaluate with that shortfall or that gap. And
Alex Ferrari 50:49
Is this pre is this pre production? Or is this after production,
Jason Armstrong 50:53
Alex Ferrari 50:53
So your pre sell your pre selling based on selling
Jason Armstrong 50:56
On pre selling to foreign, and then even looking, and then looking at an MG domestically, and then evaluating what a gap or shortfall could look like, Okay, now, that's so that could that back, that's why that's we need to pay very, very close attention to the film. So, you know, to how it's how that genre has been performing over the past couple of years, how your talent within the in the film have been performing, or who you're looking at signing into the film, have been performing over the past couple of years. Because if you have sort of pre sold the fill to all the major markets, and now you're you are recognizing that you still have a gap or a shortfall, and you're filling that with potential equity, instead of or maybe looking at your senior financing and thinking of bridge or something along those lines. The problem is that, that is where you can find yourself in a spot where you're training someone you saying, Well, this is what's left. And you know, we need this as a as a shortfall. You want it as equity or make an equity investment? Where are you pointing to the potential ROI for that money for the person that's coming in, because you've pretty much sold the Fill everywhere, where it's going to perform well. And if if you were so in need of the money to make the film, to greenlight the film, that you weren't able to evaluate the best deal, either from a domestic sale or in foreign, you weren't really looking at the windows, you know, or like when it was gonna be built. So you're all of a sudden, you're sitting at a spot where sure you got a complete model if they fill the gap, but how are you? How are you explaining to them where they're going to see revenue? Right, because things are going to get eaten by the foreign distributors and then the sales agents going to take their fee and then it comes back in and then if you were working with senior financier to cover all that, then they've got their fee and then that's coming out and and then all of a sudden, there's all these things are getting paid out ahead of this gap, or shortfall and the gap or shortfall doesn't even have any collateralised territories or profitable territories to sit on so so that's something to be very, you know, conscious of when you're when you are examining that sort of pre sale model, which we do and then if you know if you if you have a strong enough relationship with with sales and distributors and you can engage in these conversations and not have to perhaps you know, sell your film right up front but but have those conversations recognize what its worth is again, that's a lot of that is relationship based but it's also having worked with them in the past and delivered right so so there's there's that and then then when you're speaking to to someone from an equity standpoint, hard money as opposed to soft money, you can say look, we've deliberately left this this this this open, and let me show you how this genre and this talent has performed and not not five years ago.
Alex Ferrari 54:05
Yeah, so no Blair Witch projections, and no Paranormal Activity projections that's a horror movie and your sales pitch now like they made a billion dollars you could too
Rob Goodrich 54:18
Those other ones when they show you the comps in there from 2003
Alex Ferrari 54:25
Blair which is still on every low budget horror movie comp ever
Rob Goodrich 54:31
We see insidious Blair Witch
Paranormal and paranormal don't forget paranormal.
Jason Armstrong 54:37
Yeah. See, that's that's also so that's that's that's that's the other you know, that you know, we're that's what brings up a very important subject. We deal a lot with sort of savvy investors, right. So that have already been in the game so they expect a certain thing from our model. They know that they're going to get a game If they're evaluating it from a from hard money standpoint, that that we have, we have we can answer to their ROI we can answer to their immediate ROI. And, and we even have room in the waterfall, right? I mean, because, you know, people love talking about the waterfall. But there's so many cases where the gap is a shortfall, it would take so long for them even get their ROI, their initial ROI and their investment. Forget about the back end points. I mean, my God,
Alex Ferrari 55:30
Well, it's kind of like, it's kind of like a river. And it's going over to a waterfall. And at first, it's wide open, and the waterfall is plentiful, and there's a lot of water running through. But every time you throw some new financing, there's another log, there's another, there's another giant rock, and then all of a sudden that waterfall starts slowing down to the point where it's a trick by the time it gets to the edge. It's it's a trickle, but you sold them. You sold on the open waterfall. And that's the problem.
Jason Armstrong 55:57
Rob Goodrich 55:57
I can't tell you how many times we've been distracted at earlier stages that Jay and I are big, you know, contract guys, right? So everybody knows what's going on? Everybody involved? You put it in the drawer after you sign it. Hopefully you never look at it again. But there's no lingering. Well, what about this? What about that kind of conversation? I cannot tell you how many how many projects have been stalled by producers or other individuals fighting for back end points. And you just want to say you got to make the damn movie first. Oh, yeah. Yeah, then maybe we'll see. So. But that's, that's a target. I always sort of get turned off by
Alex Ferrari 56:39
Oh, everybody. I mean, how many times I mean, I've had I mean, when I was first starting out, we were meeting my original producing partner when I was just starting off off a short film I was producing that was getting a lot of heat around town. And we were taking meetings, we were fighting about the feature rights were like, I want this credit. I want that credit. And I want this back end point. I'm like, and you know, only time kind of shows you like you're idiots. There's this is not Spider Man, guys, you need to calm the hell down. Like it's not you want to fight for those points. Absolutely fight away. But there's no potential let's make the damn thing first. And then let's talk about talk about what's kind of music. It's the same thing. Who's got the publishing rights? It doesn't have the publishing rights, same thing.
Jason Armstrong 57:23
Yeah. And, and I think that's the thing when you're saying sort of saying people using the Blair Witch on you know, on a deck to help sell their film or to help or to help work on investment for investors, you know, drop some hard equity into it. It's I mean, that can work for for investors that have no experience in the business dentist, a dentist. Well, that's sexy. I mean, yeah, I can't get an ROI like that on any other investment.
Alex Ferrari 57:50
But it's so but it's immoral. It's immoral. You can't you can't throw an anomaly. Blair, which was an anomaly, parent paranormal activities anomaly and didn't send
Jason Armstrong 57:59
There's no longevity to that. Right. There's no longevity. So you'll make one movie. And Robin, I've had this conversation many times, we have no interest in making one movie. That's so if you if you deceive, right, essentially, that's pretty much what it is. You just see, of course, investors, or you just see partners that are coming in on your project, and never coming back. And anyone they know, is never coming back saying you. You haven't forged a relationship that's now going to come back on your next two or three films.
Alex Ferrari 58:31
It's toxic, it's toxic,
Rob Goodrich 58:33
Starting from scratch all over again, on your next bill. We put so much work into building that out, would he go nowhere.
Alex Ferrari 58:41
And then and then and again. On top of that you're not even starting from scratch, you're starting worse than scratch because now you've got a bad reputation out there. And now you're gonna fight against that. That's when you move. That's when you move from Louisiana to Atlanta, Atlanta, and then from Atlanta to New Mexico, and New Mexico to Vancouver.
Rob Goodrich 58:59
Well, it's crazy, because it's such a it's such a big, big business, and it's expanding across the world. But it's a
Alex Ferrari 59:06
Rob Goodrich 59:09
Alex Ferrari 59:10
You have no idea like I'm sure if you and I started you guys and I started like talking off air about who we know. I promise you we know the same people. And I've talked to so many people on the show and I'll be like, Oh yeah, I worked with that guy. Or that guy. I started with them when they were coming up or oh this guy or that. There's this but now and it's it's people think it's a big business. It is not everybody knows everybody small world. It's very small and it never ceases to amaze me how small of a world it really is in our business. And if you piss somebody off or you do somebody wrong, it will come back to you. There's no question, no question about it and the best advice I ever got for being in the film business and everyone listening knows this because I say at nauseum don't be a dick right? that goes from the grip to the PA all the way to the producers in the director. Because you don't want to work with you don't want to work with a dick. Oh,
Rob Goodrich 1:00:09
Well, you know, I always find it takes more energy to be a dick to just either be nice or walk away.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:17
Well, that's for you because other people have made it into an art form of being a dick. Have you run it? Have you run into that guy? I've run into that, but he might just only one. There's only the one guy in Hollywood. Who was a dick. Everyone else is super cool. But now, so what do you guys up to next? Well, your next project.
Rob Goodrich 1:00:39
So we're out in Las Cruces, New Mexico right now doing a film called Squealer with Andy Armstrong of the Armstrong family, huge stunt coordinating family and he is behind the camera right now. Big second unit director. So our idea behind that was let's take a sort of a horror thriller actually feel and punch the hell out of it and really pump up the stunts make it look like something people haven't seen before. We've got West Chatham, Theo Rossi, Catherine knotek, our cast is growing we're attaching to more today. We're thrilled about that. We dropped a pretty good nugget the other day in variety. We've acquired the rights to fame adventure, John Fairfax, who if you haven't been familiar with who this man is, the most interesting man in the World commercials were based off of him. Wow. So we're, we're very excited rode the ocean twice single or guys wild
Alex Ferrari 1:01:37
Single word, single or really?
Rob Goodrich 1:01:41
Yeah. So I mean, I would advise anybody to go to his obituary New York Times, John Fairfax 2012, your mind will be blown.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:51
So you mean to tell me that sharks have a week dedicated to him is what you're saying.
Rob Goodrich 1:02:01
But now we're looking at a couple of big properties. We just, we just options, something with Thomas Jane, we're going to copro his next movie of Western late spring. And a number of things in the works. I mean, we've been very comfortable and excited and happy living where we've been living right now. And I think 22 and 23 are going to see us take a take a Leap, leap forward with some sort of higher caliber higher scale projects. That really, instead of doing this, four to four to seven movies a year, probably get it down to about three or four,
Alex Ferrari 1:02:38
Three or four Bigger, bigger ones, as opposed to bigger pictures. Yeah, that's a good four to seven super fun.
Rob Goodrich 1:02:45
That's a pretty good standpoint. I mean, we're always, you know, if we're EP in a project, that's fine, if that makes sense for us, and we can be of use, we're always looking, and we're always happy to help friends or finding projects. But from a real hands on producing standpoint, I think we're really looking to, to elevate the scale of what we're doing a bit, and we've got some good property to deal with.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:08
Now, I'm gonna ask you guys, quite a few questions asked all my guests. What advice would you give to a filmmaker trying to break into the business today? Well, JJ is literally pissing himself right now. Jay is literally pissing himself right now.
Rob Goodrich 1:03:22
My assistant Alyssa, who is a huge fan of this podcast.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:27
Oh, that's awesome.
Rob Goodrich 1:03:28
She is She was a PA. And on our last production, I said, you know, I just My hands are too full to the production office. Do you guys have anybody who can help me out a little bit? Well, I'll tell you, she and her boyfriend have been the hardest workers on set as PDAs. And what they ended up doing on our last film was Alyssa was working with me on her third film, she's now flying out here to work with us. Her boyfriend ended up driving talent around, ended up working in different departments. So my advice and j then you can chip in is get in, get in there and PA, because if you are within eyeshot of somebody you're within your shot, and you're within arm's length, and they're going to pull you in, and they're going to give you an opportunity to say, come help me out. And eventually that conversation turns into, Oh, what do you want to do? Oh, you want to be in the camera department? Well, let me see if I can get you to be a camera PA, something along those lines. My big thing is start at the bottom. You know, you don't have to have a script. You don't have to try to be a filmmaker to be a filmmaker, I would really urge you know, try to get in on the ground and do as much as you can onset or in an office working with the people that are doing it.
Jason Armstrong 1:04:39
Yeah, I mean, so just to touch on and carry off what Rob said. The Yeah, I mean, really get engaged, get really engaged because understanding all the roles is so valuable. I mean, even if you're even if you're a screenwriter, an aspiring director, anything Understanding every everyone's job that's required in order to produce these things to deliver these things, because it's a lot of moving pieces. And if you're ignorant to any of those moving pieces, it's gonna affect your ability to, to, to properly present yourself or your material. So, so yeah, I mean, get in there, get different jobs, you know, even if it's not something that you want to do, learn it so that when you do actually get that door open to the, to the field that you love, you can actually speak intelligently, but what you need from different departments, different key heads, everything else. And then I would say outside of that, don't be precious, just don't be precious over your material, right? I mean, God, the number of people that are sitting on potential IP, and they're like this, well, I just it, this isn't the right, this isn't the right fit, or, you know, this, I'm worried that they're going to do this with it, or if I show it now, it's not gonna work out, and then I'm gonna, you know, and then it's gonna be gone. So, just don't, because the truth is, you will do that forever. And then then that material that you thought was just so valuable, it's not relevant, or, or you've given everyone so much time to either touch on a small piece of it, right? Because, you know, so many of our ideas, and so many of our creative ideas that we come up with, they're, they're triggered from something we've read something we've seen something we've experienced. And to think that there aren't a vast number of people that are experiencing the same thing, and might have similar ideas or anything else. So get it out there. See an opportunity? Don't hold it close to your chest. You know, be smart. Be smart, right? I mean, protect. Sure, Mark, but don't be precious.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:56
Yeah. And I always tell people, the business is tough enough, man, you don't need to throw more obstacles in front of you. There's going to be plenty of them along along the way without you screwing yourself up. Just you know, don't as as, as a famous sage once said, don't don't push the river. Don't it's yeah, don't push it's gonna flop.
Jason Armstrong 1:07:13
And you know what the best thing to say about you know, don't be a dick. Honestly, our business is stressful enough. Oh, God. I mean, be around dicks. Come on.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:25
Oh, and we all have been we all had been when we were coming up, we all have to do we all have to deal with either bosses or? Or egomaniacs? Or you know, or sociopath. I dealt with a mobster for a while. That's a whole other story. That's a whole other conversation. Um,
Rob Goodrich 1:07:42
You know, I'll tell you a quick story real quick. And I don't want to press time. But you know, I was a PA before and we're talking about Bruce Willis. And, you know, he was he was due to come into the office, and I was working for a very well known producer at the time. And he was neurotic. And I was like, why are you erratic? He goes, well, well, Bruce really likes a clean office, which understandably, and I'm looking around, and I'm like, David, this place is spotless, and he gets on his hands and knees. And he gets under a desk and he pulls out a piece of trash. And I got it, I'll get it. I'll get it. I'm the assistant, right. And he goes, doesn't matter. We're on the same team. I'm going to get reamed out by him. He doesn't know who you are, doesn't care who you are. And he goes, I'll just do it myself. I'm right here. That little lesson taught me so much. I'm going to just go ahead and do it. We're all in the same team. I don't have to have any level of hierarchy, hey, you go do this. It's got to get done. And I think if you can lead by example, it travels down all the way down the line. I mean, for some, for somebody that's coming up, you know, impressions matter. And if you if you listen, and if you're, if you're astute, and you're a go getter, and you don't have to talk to necessarily, you know, just absorb everything and be in the room. And I think that that could really go a long way for a lot of people.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:04
I mean, I saw a video of Keanu Reeves on John Wick for carrying camera gear up Astaire upstairs. Yeah, on a company move. And everyone's like, look at Keanu Reeves. Oh my God. He is literally you know, a saint. And I'm like, he's a human being man. He's, he said, he's just a good dude, man. I mean, he's like, he's just a good dude. That's all it is. Like, he's not like, he's not Jesus guys. You know, but he's, he's a good dude. And I love to work with them. As I'm sure everybody. So Kiana if you're listening, any three of us, any of us would love to work with you, sir. Well, we'll make it work for you. We'll make it work for you. Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film industry or in life?
Rob Goodrich 1:09:48
Yeah. So you know, out mine is it's it applies to both. I have two young daughters. The lesson for me has been didn't know when to turn it off. So I always just been a hustler my whole life. And I always thought, Okay, I have to do all of these things if it's ever gonna happen, bla bla bla, you know, part of it's a function of being where we are career wise, that makes it a little easier. But, you know, especially during the pandemic, I was much more able to just press pause on everything, have lunch with my kids. And I think that that has translated into work as well, where I don't feel like I need to answer every email within five seconds. You know, there's a, there's sort of this, like, hurry up and wait mentality in Hollywood, but there's panic if I don't do it now. So I think the lesson learned for me is that it's okay to sort of take a be, you know, it's certainly been reflected in my work as well. Because I'm, I'm more you aware of what I'm putting out there. And I'm more conscientious of let's, let's just not push, push, push. But let's actually take a second, sit back, a take care of yourself for a moment, enjoy what's around you, and be you know, take some time to make sure that what you're doing, you're doing right,
Alex Ferrari 1:11:11
But is that but that also is his age. I mean, your 21 year olds are not generally coming to that enlightened state. You know, and it took me a while to man, I've been hustling as you can see still hustling with everything everywhere. Non stop. Yeah, to a certain point, my wife actually said, you don't, you don't need to garage sale anymore. We don't need you to go hustle out, you know, this or that. I got a real quick story. I gotta tell you, because it's so funny. And I think it really hits this point. A years ago, when we moved to LA for the first time. I was, during Christmas, I always figured out how to hustle things. So I figured out that on GameStop, there was this video game that you could buy on sale for like $15. But on Amazon, it was on sale for $50. So I was like, Oh, wow, this is cool. So most people are like, Oh, you must have bought like a whole bunch of things from GameStop. I'm like, No, that's way too much work. So what I did is I posted it on Amazon for 60. Anytime a sale would come in, I would then have buy it off of Gamestop put their address in and have Gamestop ship it directly to them. So I was basically doing auto arbitrage. And I pulled in like oh before Gamestop stopped, like 40 or 50 sales in before Gamestop saying what the hell's going on with this account. And I was so proud. I went to my wife. I'm like, Look how much money we made for Christmas. This is great. She's like, we didn't move across the effing country for use of video. We're here for you to be a filmmaker. I was like, oh, gosh, and this like that moment. You just have to go okay, I need to pull back for a second. Really what's important, and why am I here? What am I doing? As opposed to the I gotta make money? I gotta make money. I gotta hustle. I gotta hustle. I gotta hustle. Jay, what's your what's your answer to that?
Jason Armstrong 1:13:06
Uh, well then see, if we're looking at you know, without the years and age sort of coming into play. And young, I would say not to wait for tomorrow, like, where it's gonna be a little bit more perfected. Right. And, and so, and Rob was just sort of touching it like, I've got two little girls too. And same here.
Alex Ferrari 1:13:29
Yeah, same here. Amazing. Well, well, twin girls, twin girls, man, it's a I'm 25 Look what they've done to me. I'm 25 years old. Look what I've done to me.
Jason Armstrong 1:13:39
I think that's the thing. You know, I mean, it's it's basically, it's a you don't, because there is that, especially in this business. And again, you sort of touched on that where I was sort of saying to be loving, precious. It's, um, it's waiting, you know? Oh, it'll be I'll have this other piece attitude by tomorrow, or this will be finessed a little bit more by tomorrow. And then that tomorrow becomes the tomorrow tomorrow. And, and yeah, I mean, that's just it ends up being wasted time. So I would say I would say that that's something that took me a while to learn at the beginning. Especially as a writer at that time. It's it's you know, yeah, don't wait.
Alex Ferrari 1:14:22
The art of good the art of good enough. Yeah, the art of good enough because if not, you'll be five years on one script. And, and last question, three of your favorite films of all time.
Rob Goodrich 1:14:39
Oh, boy, you want to jump in there?
Alex Ferrari 1:14:42
Jason Armstrong 1:14:49
I mean, this guy you got to put in Weekend at Bernie's.
Alex Ferrari 1:14:52
I mean, obviously, obviously,
Jason Armstrong 1:14:55
Obviously Weekend at Bernie's has to be in there.
Alex Ferrari 1:15:00
David Oh God I forgot the director's name well, man
Rob Goodrich 1:15:04
Whatever you say is gonna sound better than mine
Jason Armstrong 1:15:08
I don't know we can hit one hit one we'll go bounce back and forth.
Rob Goodrich 1:15:13
Okay so I'll give you my three but one of them has an A attached to it So in no particular order we've got Rudy we've got Tommy Boy we've got Love Actually.
Alex Ferrari 1:15:27
Wow, so that pretty much told me everything I need to know about you sir. It's a pretty much got your entire personality wrapped in those three films.
Rob Goodrich 1:15:36
And I'll give you I'll give you my three a national treasure.
Alex Ferrari 1:15:41
Oh my God.
Rob Goodrich 1:15:45
Listen, I'm in this game. entertainment. Entertainment. I swear to God if national treasures on I am not moving and I can recite every line.
Alex Ferrari 1:15:56
I am I think I think you're not gonna have a beer sir. Those three those those three combination that's a hell of a. That's a hell of a compliment. Love actually thrown it will laugh. Tommy Boy, Rudy.
Jason Armstrong 1:16:10
It's so true though. If you actually back up and just evaluate your favorite films, but the films that you've watched 1000 times rideable number of times, and if it's on you don't turn off. And you actually don't even start multitasking. But watching well actually, I mean, that happened what for that? I can't even imagine the 100th time over the holidays. This you just keep watching. Because it's always on the holidays. And all of us go anywhere. And
Alex Ferrari 1:16:43
It's it's it's you know, we all could say Citizen Kane. We could all say Godfather but I haven't watched this again since film school. And Godfather is not a movie I watch every weekend. You know it's and don't get me wrong Godfather is an AMAZING film. But it's those movies that you just watch again and again. You know, for me, Shawshank fightclub the matrix that solid, solid solid three like they turn on, then you want to get into the 80s actions Lethal Weapon predator, Die Hard. And then we now we could just
Jason Armstrong 1:17:18
See this is what? I can't do this. I start saying
Alex Ferrari 1:17:24
Oh, but this was Oh yeah. You know, it is I always like throwing that out. There's like it's three that come to mind at this moment in time. It will change tomorrow will change five minutes from now. But at this moment in time, That's it boys. It has been an absolute joy talking to you guys. I wish you guys nothing but continued success in what you're doing. And I appreciate you guys coming on and sharing some real knowledge bombs with with my audience because if they need to hear it, they need to hear from people who are doing it and doing it right. So I do appreciate you guys coming on man and much continued success. You guys.
Jason Armstrong 1:18:01
Rob Goodrich 1:18:02
Thank you. It's an honor for us and we're fans of the podcast and you know, we're looking forward to making more movies.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.