IFH 393: Releasing an Indie Film Theatrically During COVID-19 with Joshua Caldwell

Today on the show returning 2-time champion, writer and filmmaker Joshua Caldwell. Joshua has been on the show twice before and both his episodes went viral.

Well, he’s back to talk about his new film INFAMOUS starring Bella Thorne, Jake Manley, Amber Riley, and former guest on the show Todd Jenkins.

Arielle, a young woman who lives in a small Florida town, is stuck. Arielle has always wanted more: fame, popularity, and admiration. But when she falls for a recently paroled young criminal named Dean, she drags him back into a life of danger, learning that posting their criminal exploits on social media is an easy way to viral fame. They embark on a dangerous adventure together that leads to robbery, cop chases, and murder.

Joshua and I speak about how he used his micro-budget skillset on a much larger budget. We also touch upon

  • Releasing his film during COVID-19
  • Working with movie stars on an indie budget
  • The development process
  • Working with a studio
  • Shooting the entire film in 22 days
  • COVID-19 and the future of our business
  • Working with tighter creative restraints

Since INFAMOUS is coming out to theaters right in the middle of COVID-19, his distributor decided to pump the film out to drive-in theaters. Let’s see what happens.

Prepare for some knowledge bombs. Enjoy my conversation with Joshua Caldwell.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 2:10
Now today on the show, guys, we have returning champion, Joshua Caldwell, his first two episodes Episode 121 and 199. Both went viral. And so many people downloaded both those episodes because Joshua's coming from a micro budget world. So his first film he made for about $6,000, which is called layover, which is of course available at indie film, hustle TV. And he talks all about how he was able to make that $6,000 feature. And then the second one, he went from $6,000 micro budget to $100,000 feature film and now he's jumped again with his new film, infamous, starring Bella Thorne to a little bit over a million dollars. So it's amazing and so inspiring to watch a filmmaker go from a $6,000 micro budget film, and jump all the way up to a million plus dollar film with some nice major talent attached. Now Josh and I speak about how he used his micro budget skill set on a much larger budget. He basically says that he couldn't have made this movie at this scale without his micro budget toolbox, and kind of guerilla filmmaking style of things that he did back when he was making those low budget films. So we'll talk about that. We're going to also be discussing his film that is being released today. This Friday is being released in the middle of COVID-19. And it's being released theatrically. But the distributor decided to send it out to as many drive in theaters in the United States as it could find. So it's going to be playing throughout the United States but in Drive in theater, so this is kind of an experiment to see what happens. So I just want you to get ready for a bunch of knowledge bombs because anytime Joshua comes on the show, we just talk and talk and just so much cool stuff comes out of our conversations. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Joshua Caldwell. I like to welcome back to the show returning champion Joshua Caldwell, man How you doing brother?

Joshua Caldwell 4:30
I'm good How you doing? How you holding up? Where are you in?

Alex Ferrari 4:33
Isolation isolation six feet apart, but apparently my daughter's don't understand that they're on top of me constantly. They're not allowed out because they will be the first to take me and my wife down.

Joshua Caldwell 4:45
Oh, for sure. Everyone's like, what's it the kids back in school? I'm like, yeah, cuz they're gonna maintain social distancing. You know?

Alex Ferrari 4:51
Isn't that insane? I'm hearing that too. Like, oh, yeah, you know, maybe in the phone like in the fuck no. Social distancing with nine year olds. Are you kidding me?

Joshua Caldwell 5:00
It's like every fall. I'm like, Alright, what am I gonna get sick with this time? You know, like, now you know what naturally occurring stuff and then now it's gonna be the thing that kills me.

Alex Ferrari 5:09
Right so I'm like yeah, it's Yeah. For all the parents listening out there we we feel you we have kids at home as well it's we can't lock them under the stairs like they do in Harry Potter. It's no, we can raise the greatest challenge of our lives right now. For whatever teach whatever teachers are paid you need to double or triple it. I swear to god.

Joshua Caldwell 5:31
Oh yeah, for a walk for a little bit. My wife and I were like, I don't know, do you think we should homeschool the kids and after this right? No. Not happening.

Alex Ferrari 5:41
I know. It's, it's gonna be interesting. But yeah, but so you've been busy though. You've been busy. You've been? You've been you've been busy. We're here to talk about your new movie infamous. Which looks awesome. By the way, dude, congrats, dude. It's really awesome. You sent me the trailer for it. And the movies not out yet. But you know, I'm always been a big fan of what you've been doing since our first episode back in December 6 27th 2013. Yes, because I off the top of my head. I remember these you knew it. I didn't look it up right before we jumped on it. It was Episode 121 when we talked about layover was the first time and that was a $6,000 film. It was extra 10 bucks. Yeah, it was extremely popular podcasts is still one of the most listen to podcasts I have in the archives, believe it or not. And then we brought you back for Episode 199 to talk about, aka was an app, please forgive me negative, negative. Thank you. And that was 100k. film. And now we're here with infinite switch. It's under $25 million. We can't give exact budget, but it's under 25 million. But it's substantially more than 100,000.

Joshua Caldwell 6:55
Yeah. Without question. So, um, you know, a good amount of money to make it but obviously, probably could have used a little bit more.

Alex Ferrari 7:04
Isn't that as always, you know? Oh, I'm sure even Scorsese after Irishman said, you know, with another 10 million? I could have.

Joshua Caldwell 7:13
Yeah, no. Well, you know, and the funny part is like, I have a couple of friends who ended up. They did like, you know, a $2 million movie. Actually Joe Penna I don't know if you know him. But Joe Penna did this great movie called Arctic and they made it for like 2 million. And then he was getting this other movie. You know, they were talking about budgets and all that stuff up. And, you know, I don't know what they made it for. But I was like, oh, like, What's it? What's it like to have like 8 million? He's like, pretty much like having a $2 million movie except now you're paying everybody

Alex Ferrari 7:39
Well, paying everybody well, right?

Joshua Caldwell 7:42
Well, yeah, so cuz that's the thing is like, as you go up, it's like the thumb more money for like, props and sets, it's like just more money, which is great. They should be getting that money. But it's not. It's a weird point at which, at one point in those in that 10 range, you know, 10 to 15 range, it doesn't change much.

Alex Ferrari 8:01
So you, you don't have a techno crane for every single shot. You don't that that's not the way it works. Not the way I'm like, I want to check out what we were talking about before we jumped on, like how we even if you reached out to me, or I reached out to you when like, how are we got, we met for the first time to get you on the show. And you told me that you reached out to me if I remember.

Joshua Caldwell 8:24
Well, I yeah, as I recall, what happened was, you know, I was just looking, I was always on the lookout for opportunities. And I I saw that you've been doing this podcast was really cool. But I was like, I know this guy. Because back when I was in college or something like that this guy had done this short called broken that he saw on the DBS 100 something. And I just remember like, at the time when I think that guy Roger Ebert watching this thing like this 10 minute short, like, I hate this dude, you know, cuz obviously, it was obviously good for you. Because like, if you're getting this stuff, but at the time, you're like, you're a filmmaker, you're trying to get attention for your movies. And you see, like, you know, this guy getting a lot of love. And you're like, I want to be that guy instead, you know, I want to switch places. I'll tell you remember this because you did that you have this great website with this great breakdown of all the behind the scenes and the special effects and everything you did was like, in truth as much as I was like, fuck this guy. At the same time. I was like, This is such a resource at the time when that kind of stuff just did not exist. Like now you have YouTube, you want to know how to do lightsaber or do blue screen. It's so easy to figure that out. And at that time in what 2005 2006 like, there was nothing like it was hard to get video just to see video online. It was hard to put your own work online.

Alex Ferrari 9:34
Very difficult. Yeah, it was extremely difficult,

Joshua Caldwell 9:37
Quick time and it bedded and there's like a whole night and

Alex Ferrari 9:40
And YouTube was horrible that YouTube was YouTube. Oh, it was horrible back then

Joshua Caldwell 9:45
But you know you you not only but not only had you made a film, you had created a really valuable resource on how you made that film. I learned a lot by watching it, you know, and that's and so when, when it was that connection kind of came Through it's just funny because there's been those things very loosely, you're you're connecting, you're on the periphery, you're like, Yeah, I remember that guy. Like he made that film. And now it's like, you get connected up and you become friends and you get to talking and you get to participate in stuff moving forward. It's really, you know, it's fun.

Alex Ferrari 10:14
It's very cool, man. And, you know, it's, it's not all, not everything that shines glint glimmers that it shines, because you saw Roger Ebert's review come out. So up until Roger Ebert review came out, dude, I was getting love. Like, I was like, I was, I mean, every review was every review. It's like, it's the matrix meets Fight Club. It was like, This is the craziest reviews for that short film. After Roger Ebert, dude, it was like 10 negative reviews, like, bam, like just destroying me. Like all the haters, the haters. We got to take this guy down a little bit. It might have been one of the those reviews. It's funny, but I've been I've been so impressed with what you've been doing, man. And you're like, basically the blueprint of an independent filmmaker of at least an indie film, hustle filmmaker or tribe member because you start off with a $6,000 movie, then you jump to $100,000 movie now you have a substantially larger budget movie. Obviously Kevin Fay, he should be calling you any day now. I'm waiting for it. I mean, for you know, Black Panther three or four. I don't know what it is. But you're, you're ripe to be called. So just please, on this show. If you do get that Marvel call, please come back and talk to us about that's about I will always come back. And the funny thing. The funny thing is, this is what's gonna happen. Like after you're done with the 150 $200 million movie, you'd be like, dude, I just so stressful. Oh my god. It's like, I don't even I'm gonna make a $6,000 movie again. I just gotta go back to make a 6000 I can't I can't even Yeah, I can't do this. I don't want to take your 200,000,000x I need my freedom. I need my freedom. When you when you get hired on a movie like that, it's you're playing in someone else's sandbox, you know? Yeah. by their rules. Right. And their politics. Yeah. And unless you're a bit like even just sweeten. And though, I mean, that machine will eat and spit you out?

Joshua Caldwell 12:11
Yeah. It's also challenging. I mean, now those things have become so big. And you see what happened with like Ryan Johnson on like, you know, Star Wars movie and it's just like, yeah, you know, it's a tough, it's a tough thing to walk into, to step into, you know, and either got to be somebody, you could just take it, you know, and you just, that's your thing. And you're you're bigger than that. You know,

Alex Ferrari 12:30
Who's the director? Yeah, Director of Rogue One. Which one Rogue One. Oh, God, can we get Garth? Great? Great. Yeah, Garth Edwards, Garth Edwards, Gareth. Gareth. Gareth. Gareth. Thank you. It's gonna right, let's get right. Gareth. I mean, he got he got kind of bus sod as well. Yeah, through that hug.

Joshua Caldwell 12:51
I thought Rogue One was great. It was it was fantastic. But it's just it's you're stepping into and this is nothing against I mean, Scorsese calls them rides. Like, that's fine that, but that's what you're stepping into, you're stepping in to, you know, you're you're stepping into a corporation, you're stepping into, you know, something that has much more going on than just the movie itself. The movie small part? Yeah, very small part. It's, it's the it's the 32nd commercial and Saturday morning, you know, that's all it is. And, you know, you have to be, you got to be respectful of that, if you're going to take that on, you know, yeah. And there are filmmakers that obviously get that willing to play in that sandbox. And there are others, it's, it's, it's really tough for them, you know, and I think it's, you know, the, the thing that's also challenging about this world is like, you know, you are as a director, regardless that you have the responsibility on you. And at the same time, you know, it's your name is on it, you know, and it's your filmography. Right. And, and that's gonna, it's the, it's directing is difficult. It's the, you know, it's the career where, you know, the things that you do are going to affect whether you get another job, you know, if you're a regular viewer at a regular company, and you do a project and the project, isn't that great? I mean, maybe maybe you'll be considered for being fired, I doubt it's just gonna be like, okay, that didn't work out. Let's move on to the next thing. You know, it doesn't follow you like your resume, and your filmography does, you know, and so that can be challenging too, especially if like, your particular try to be particular the way I am about, about the type of movies that you make.

Alex Ferrari 14:24
Right. Well, let's speak about the the, your latest film infamous, yeah. You wrote the script for this and wrote this and did the hunting and the packaging and putting it all together? Can you tell us the journey? Because I always I've been through that journey a few times in my life, but it's Oh, it's it's exactly what they teach you in film school, isn't it? It's exactly exactly they take they teach that and they don't that all I'm being sarcastic.

Joshua Caldwell 14:50
I didn't take that class. Um, yeah, no, I mean, Iyou know, I had come out of doing, you know, layover, I came out of doing south beach where and so you You know that I wasn't thrilled with the work that I had done I did a movie called beat somebody which was had a significantly higher budget than then layover, but I hadn't I didn't write the script, you know, there were a lot of issues with us going into production on that it was kind of a job. You know, and then I did negative, which was, you know, me going back and saying, Well, I'm gonna just go macro thing for myself, but suffering from, you know, just issues on the movie. You know, I also didn't write that movie. And time, there were a lot of these kind of like, you know, two to $3 million digital movies coming out Lionsgate was making digital movies, you know, legendary was starting to put these out. And I said, let me write something for that around that budget level, you know, that I think could be cool. And of course, you know, I just did a spy thriller with negative and I was thinking, you know, I kind of really want to do a heist movie. And trying to think of unique ideas for a heist movie. I don't recall what it was that really prompted this idea. But I think a couple years prior, I had seen this photograph by this, this photographer named Moe Gelber that have been posted on Facebook and it was a picture of this this young couple being led away in handcuffs. And the couple the woman was either pulling away from or going in for a kiss and she had a smile on her face and people were like Oh, it's it's a new Bonnie and Clyde modern day Bonnie and Clyde. True Stories. They didn't weren't robbing banks at the time they got arrested for the graffiti or something like that. But that image just kind of stuck with me

Alex Ferrari 16:27
Much less much less interesting film, but you're saying exactly.

Joshua Caldwell 16:32
But the image stuck with me and it was so it's kind of just a real visceral image and I remember at some point going well, is there a modern Bonnie and Clyde? What would that look like? And it would probably be something on social media. You know? If you look back at sort of the original Bonnie and Clyde Bonnie and Clyde were, you know, they were there The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde was created by newspapers to sell newspapers. You know, the real story is somewhat more tragic and much less romantic. But they were really kind of I mean, john john doe injure you know, baby face Nelson, these guys were the the outlaws that became celebrities as a result of media, you know, and so that you obviously have a natural comparison, which I tried to stay away from, but natural comparison and Natural Born Killers, even though that's a fictional film, it was still pertaining to this idea of let's take these killers and put them on dateline. And give them primetime interviews, you know, and thus turn them into celebrities. I was like, what's the modern version? Now? I'm like, somebody posting their stuff on Facebook, you know? And that just was that click, you know, it's like, okay, it's Bonnie and Clyde social media, modern day go. And for a long time, I told my agents about it. The idea. And I was like, well, maybe I don't know, if I want to write it, maybe, you know, maybe we'll find somebody else to write it. I was kind of just hemming and hawing on. And finally I said you want I think I do want to write I'm just gonna sit down and try and work this out. So I did and I spent, I spent, you know, I don't know, a couple months writing it developing it, you know, during the first draft. And then, you know, give it to my team, they read it, they had feedback, like, for example, in the, in the original version, they were just doing banks, and like, you know, small banks, and liquor stores and all that kind of stuff. And one of my agents had the idea of like, how can we make a different like, he's always going, how do we make a difference? And and one of the things he said was, what about like, what about putting in like a weed store? What are the Robin weed stores, because he had just seen this article about how like, all these all these dispensaries are unable to get bank accounts and credit transactions. So they have a lot of cash on hand. Like, awesome. Like, let's just do that. So switched up, put that in there. And then at that point, they were like, Okay, I think we're ready. Like to take it out. So we went through a cute, long process of like, taking it out to people take it out to studios, trying to get them on board, no talent attached. Tons of nose, you know, and I really kind of tried to firm up this belief at the time that like, you just got to go get your nose so you can get your Yes, you know, I remember a great story about a pertaining to this, which was about like a real estate agent who was trying to sell a house and her boss came and said, Well, how many how many nose Do you usually get before you get a Yes, she's like, well, like 25 He's like, how many have gotten 10? Well, you got a 15 more to go, you know, and it was that attitude of like, all I'm doing is getting through the nose to get the Yes. As opposed to letting it get me down that so many people don't want to do it. I'm like, takes one person, you know. And then in so pushing through that we eventually connected with a producer Scott Levinson really liked it. And he had a friend of his who was an actor who you know, had some budget available, you know, could bring money to the table and so we started going down that path and started looking at cast for the girl because he was going to play the lead and and then that kind of dissolved and went away and as things do

Alex Ferrari 19:54
No stop it and however happened for first time. First time, first time

Joshua Caldwell 20:00
You know, when Scott came to me and said, Look, I know this didn't work out, I believe in this project. I think we get a made, we got to take it out wide and and I said, Okay. And he started sort of giving it to some people. And one of the people he gave it to was Thor, Brian broadwell, who was Bella thorns manager. And Thor read it and really loved it. And because he had been talking to Scott and told him like Bella's looking for young writer directors, she wants to do this kind of thing. And Scott was like, I think I've got a script for. And so she read it. And we did a Skype call, like soon after, and she came on board. So we didn't have financing in place. We didn't have any of that. I don't know if she'll do that on another project. So no guarantees, but you know, because usually agents always Well, what's the offer? To her credit, she really believed in it. And she came on board very early, and we were able to use her to leverage financing. So it's like the whole thing of like, well, you take your financing without an actor and you can't get an act chicken egg, chicken chicken in the egg. We were very fortunate that Deb Bella, sort of we broke the mold with it. And we got Belle on board without having to commit to any kind of money at the time. And started taking it out and then went through a whole lot of nose again, you know, again, never have before and then finally landed with some some independent financier's that, again, really believed in the project and really want to get me you know, I went into it knowing that this movie was going to be a tough sell. I mean, there's violence, there's murder, there's robbery, it's it's got a punk rock sort of vibe to it, that I really tried to push in it. It's trying to be out there. You know, I remember, the one thing I wanted to do with this was I was like, the word subtlety is not going to be anywhere near this movie. Because I just think it's hard to break through the noise when you've got something that's like super subtle, and you're not backed by a massive marketing campaign going for your Oscar. You know, I just was like, I'm gonna make something like batshit crazy that people can't ignore. And so like Bella was a perfect complement to that. Right. Like, because she's attention getting, she's forward thinking, like, she riles people up, you know, and I wanted that for the movie. And, and so, you know, all this whole time, I was just like, there's gonna be people who don't want to make this. They don't want to come near it. I just want the person that says yes. Like, I do want to do that, you know? So that happened with Bella that happened with the venti tears that happened with our distributor, like they were the ones that said, yes, you know, and said, We love this. And we want to push it out there. And so that's the person I was always looking for, as opposed to being in a position where I'm getting so down on myself, because I'm a girl and nobody wants to make it. Who cares? If nobody wants to make it, you just need that one person to make it. You know, make it and that's who you're going to find. And sometimes you got to go through a lot of like, a lot of noes to get there.

Alex Ferrari 22:40
What was the what was the time period of this? How long did this take from the moment that you wrote this script to the point where you start shooting.

Joshua Caldwell 22:47
So I had the idea in 20, Summer of 2016. And wrote the script, September 1 draft was September 2016. We started going out 2017. Bella came on board in 20, July of 2018. And then we started shooting we shot the movie in June, no July of 2019. And now it's coming out in June of 2020.

Alex Ferrari 23:14
So basically it was three years, three years before before you start shooting. Oh, yeah. Before that. Yeah, three years before we started, and a year and a half before any talent was really any major talent. Yeah.

Joshua Caldwell 23:25
Yeah. So I just found that for a long time. But also like, it doesn't, I don't recall it being that long. I was kind of like, they'd be like, we're doing this and like, all right.

Alex Ferrari 23:33
But you were doing other things in between that while you were doing that?

Joshua Caldwell 23:36
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I hit you know, I was doing my own stuff. I was like doing client work, I was writing other things I was, you know, staying busy in that space. And, and, but at the same time, like, this was the thing, you know, and I wanted to the other thing that I was really quickly, I was also starting to get aware of was like, the topical nature of the film was like, This is not a film that can be made five years from now. Like, it's either gonna happen in real life, or it's just gonna die. I think you can watch the movie five years from now and still understanding love it. But I think like, I don't know, if this movie is gonna get made in three years, you know, like, so there's an urgency to have like, this feels topical, and it feels like we got to get it going now. So there was an urgency to try make that happen.

Alex Ferrari 24:15
You know, the the the other thing I wanted people to understand I asked you that that question specifically because so many filmmakers listening, have no idea what it really takes to go out and get financing. Because the other films you move much quicker, because they were much lower budget, you had much more control. And when you have more higher paying, and it was already there, correct, exactly. But when you're going out and trying to get, you know, seven figures plus on a budget and getting some cast attached, it's a time period, you got to play that game. And it's it you got I mean, sometimes I mean, I was chasing money for one of my projects for three, four years and still, they're still gonna pay you and you get it and you lose it. Oh, I get it. So many times, my knees about How many times the money is about to drop? Being wired, it's being wired. It's being wired today the money is being wired today oh my own there was a mixup with the wiring. They got the account number account number one out numbers went to the wrong place. Now I got bounced to England. And now this thing, I just can't even.

Joshua Caldwell 25:20
You know, it's the challenge to you know, that I think sometimes people have this perspective is like, oh, like, Well, certainly it's low budget, a couple million dollars is low budget, you know, it's also a couple million dollars, like, most people don't see that amount of money in their lifetime. And here you are asking somebody to give it to you, on the trust that you're going to return provided a product that is going to give them a high, right, like it's still a business transaction as much as about the creative. And so I see a lot of people and I was probably like this too, when I was much younger, which is like, oh, that just nobody believes that, you know, they don't get it. They want to want to give you the money.

Alex Ferrari 25:57
They don't want to give me my 10 million for my genius. Yeah, yeah, like

Joshua Caldwell 26:00
Exactly. Like I deserve this, I'm entitled to whatever. And I think like, you know, that's the thing is like you are going out, and you're asking for people to give you like a significant amount of money more more than whatever your house costs, you know, and putting that trust in you and backing you to make it and no amount of like, Oh, I did the greatest short film that went to all these festivals is gonna necessarily convince them nothing.

Alex Ferrari 26:23
And there's not even district nine, which is arguably one of the more successful short films ever made. You know, if it wasn't for Peter Jackson coming on board and saying, Come this way. Now, I'll take care of everything for you, sir. And right, and we're gonna make it never gets made and never gets made. So I don't care. And that's another thing. I want everybody listening if you have this short film that won everything, and we've seen how many, like just insanely viral short films, from really talented directors have come out in the past 1015 years. Like I still remember a product. Oh, yeah. Mark Wahlberg. I hooked on this one. And yeah, that one got hooked on that one. And I there are there. It's a long process to play in the system. Like if you want to play the game, those are the them the rule is prepared. Yeah, you want to you don't want to play the game. take six grand, go make a French speaking love story. Right? In the middle of Los Angeles at night. Exactly. Exactly. or run to Sundance over over four days in a movie. You can do that all you want. And then you have all the edits all the control you want. You don't have to ask anybody for anything. It is a wonderful place, but you don't get to play with the same tools. And the same twice.

Joshua Caldwell 27:44
Yeah. And and just nobody owes you anything. Yeah, you wrote a script, nobody owes you anything. No one cares. Oh, you no one cares. They just they just don't, you know. And so it's been it's a process of creating, you got to create a character you to create the version of yourself that people are going to care about and want to work with and want to be a part of, you know, as challenging because even if you're, you know, I mean, I'm certainly not close to being, you know, where I hope to be someday. And even, you know, but even with the things I've done, and the ability to say, well, I've done three features, I've done this series for Hulu, it's still going through the process of of tons of nose, you know, and you get the people saying, Oh, well, we're developing something similar, which is bullshit and their way of saying no, yes, I heard that. was also you're like, Well, where's that, you know, that did come out. But it's, you know, it's just Who knows? It's the it's the person woke up on a certain side of the bed. It's, you know, they don't like this. It's such a subjective experience.

Alex Ferrari 28:39
No, I promise you it's like it's a it's something as simple as the assistant that's reading your script. The boss yelled at them this morning going, Oh, I need you to find me something for that internet based. That's about some some kids on the internet doing wrong stuff. I want a script like that. And your script happened to land on that table, something along along those lines. I just wanted to bring something to your attention Joshua, just like you when you were in college, and you looked at my quote unquote, success with broken and you said fuck that guy. I promise you someone listening to this episode right now is like, this guy goes on third movies. Like it's, you know, above you know, you know, under 25 million screw this guy, man. Why is the trailer and like, this movie sucks. Exactly. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. So it's it's a, it's a circle of the filmmaker life. It's just

Joshua Caldwell 29:43
I mean, it's it's easy, man. It's like, it's hard. You know, it's I I'm still in that position where I see people getting opportunities. You're like, bam, like, what do they do? You know? And the one thing that I've also I mean, I wrote a big long article about this called relative success and in Hollywood, you know, the idea that like, well, what you need to define what success is To you, you know, because like, I've had plenty of people who are like, you know, I know somebody you got a movie with a great distribution deal and I talked to and you see the news, you're like, Oh, that's amazing. And then you talk to him. He's like, dude, we are screwed. You know,

Alex Ferrari 30:11
Wait, but you meet screwed by a distributor? No, stop it.

Joshua Caldwell 30:16
Don't talk bad about distributors that we love them. In the first video, it was like, Oh, it's a terrible deal. But it's the only one we could get, you know? Or, or Yeah, we sold our script, but like, we have no control over it anymore. And like, I don't know, the guy directing it. Like, we don't know if it's gonna be good. You know. And so it became like, like, I was reflecting a lot on this, because I was in this period of like, what do I want to do? Am I gonna be successful doing this? It's like, Well, what does that mean to you? You know, and so it's very easy to look at other people, and sort of have envy and have desire and say, Oh, I wish I was there. But like, you know, one, you don't know the circumstances by which they had to get there, you know, but to it's like, the only thing you can't control what somebody else is doing, and the advantages and the opportunities they're being presented with, you don't control any of that. All you control is what you're doing. So what are you doing? Are you pounding away writing that script? Like, are you doing what I did? where I spent fucking? Like, I mean, seven, you know, 10 years in coffee shops, you know, after a full time job, having dinner with my wife for an hour, and then going out for three, four hours to write I mean, the sacrifice that comes from that, you know, so like, yeah, I mean, I obviously people can look at me and say, Well, fuck that guy. This would be shitty, like, you know, yeah, whatever. I can fit two fingers, two fingers, middle fingers up. But like, at the same time, it's like, you know, I've been working at this for a long, long time. And I've been putting in the work, you know, like, I that's all I do it up, and I put in the work. And it's hard. And it's like, not an easy thing. And you got to stick with it. And that's where you're going to get to where you want to be you got to stick through those noes to get to find out one person that's going to say, yes, if you're going to be discouraged, after two, three people say no, then well, you'll never miss it. And this is not your business.

Alex Ferrari 31:55
This is so nice. And it's not even in Hollywood, again, is always the nicest fuse I've ever seen in my entire life. It's this. There's no other business that does it just quite so nice. They sort of learned their lesson that like you never know, you never know you don't want to piss this guy or this girl off because she could win the next Oscar. She could be the next director. He could be the next director. It's like the Oh, we're working on something similar. So we pass.

Joshua Caldwell 32:25
Oh, we got some in development that's kind of like this. And

Alex Ferrari 32:27
There's it's the nicest. Yeah. You create, like a cheat sheet of like the excuses that they say you're like, Oh, that's that's excuse number seven. Oh, I didn't know that one. That was good. Yeah, exactly. So all right. So you you've gone to this much larger budget, this is the largest budget you've worked with. Okay, so this is the largest book as you worked with in your career? What lessons did you take from your micro budget, low budget days into this bigger budget?

Joshua Caldwell 32:57
Yeah, you know, I've been thinking a lot about this, because, like, I think that one of the things that, that I so enjoyed about the lower budget stuff, the micro budget stuff was the freedom, you know, the ability to shoot in certain ways and, and get a lot of material and like have, you know, a ton of days, you know, where you're not, you're not trying to just adhere to a schedule, and a part of you is going like this is not going to last, like I'm not going to have you know, this you're not goobric you're not goobric Yeah, yeah, you got it, but there's the curve that you got to get through, you know, where you were, you don't and I was just thinking like, Well, how do I continue to do something that feels my aesthetic, my style, you know, you know, in a in my approach in a vein that is not going to have the same Unlimited, you know, non limitations on it. And true to form with this one, like, you know, we had that that was the case with this, I mean, you know, we It was a union shoot, so as I otzi you know, so that comes with an increase I mean, I think for us it was actually like the pay didn't increase because of the level we were at. But obviously you pay into health you know, the health insurance and like all that kind of stuff and those are added costs. But also you're now limited in certain ways with you got to have certain number of crew got to do this based on the tier that you're in. You know, and also like you can't suddenly shoot for 40 days you know, if you don't have the budget to do it, because you can't really scale down You can't just say okay crew don't work today. Brian just go shoots up on our own. And also it just come it comes what you know, we've all been on the bigger sets you know, it just comes with well not all of us but it comes with you don't if you running around with a five D and you can just go boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, okay, and shot five angles and five minutes. It doesn't work like that. You know, you've got equipment everywhere you got people explain what's going on. It's so much slower. And if you're trying to keep a pace and trying to do tons of takes and trying to do this like that can be a really challenge real challenge. I mean, there's absolutely no way I could have done this as my first feature would have been an absolute disaster. You know, but having done the previous micro budget things, it allowed me to have to frame a lot of the conversations with my creatives and with the producers around, how are we going to do this. So like, one of the things when the financers came on board, I said, here's the thing, guys, like, I'm not going to do this as a 15 day shoot. Like, it's not happening, if that's how you want to do it, you know, awesome, but we're not gonna make the movie together. Because I had done those 15 day shoots, and they're awful, brutal, brutal. And it's just like, the problem I have with it is it's not about getting the best material, it's not about making the best movie, it just becomes an assembly line. And I knew that this, make something really special and have the time to do it, right. And I knew that we're gonna have a lot of stunts and a lot of gunfire and like, a lot of locations, it's a road movie, there's like, 34 locations in the movie. And, and so you know, that that's what started, I said, we're not doing a 15 day shoot, I'm not saying it's got to be a 35 day shoot as much as I would like that. But we're not doing a 15 day shoot. And we are gonna end up doing a couple days of Florida, with a skeleton crew. And they said, Alright, of course, you come back to this conversation later, you know, two days before is supposed to go to Florida. But you know, I kind of was like, that's how I'm going to make the movie. And they said, Okay, I was in a position to bring my dp on who I'd worked with, on my second feature, who I really loved. Now, I dp negative, and very briefly thought about doing this, but you know, there's a comfort level with producers when like, you know, you're trying to do everything, and they're like, hang on, like, once you hire somebody that's actually supposed to do that. And I sort of always knew I was gonna do that I just was in my head thinking, Oh, is this a possibility? I'm really glad I didn't, because I think we looks amazing, thanks to Eve's contributions. But a lot of this conversation with her came out of the idea, like, Look, like I've done, I've done all these other movies using available light, using like artificial light making use of small lightweight cameras, like, we need to be in that world, because we do not have the time to be doing major major setups, you know, with certain exceptions, you know, and so we, sorry, my kids are popping in, but, um, with, with, without, with certain exceptions, we built in the schedule. And so, you know, and then I also made the decision to operate, because I had realized through previous experience, that, how I direct flows through the operation of the camera, and how that camera interacts with the actors. And I also knew we can move faster, because rather than trying to explain to somebody else, this handheld move that I want, or, or provide them the freedom to take a chance on something without the risk of being fired, right, because like, operators are like, Why don't want to ruin a take by doing something he doesn't want me to do? You know, you have to work together before because all this crew was out of Oklahoma where we shot you know, I was able to just move faster. And I was overdoing this, this, this, let me do the move. As soon as I knew I had it, we were done, we're moving on. And so and then also, it comes back to having those early conversations with your entire crew and your production managers and all this stuff of saying, like, we need to be mobile, like we need to be small footprints, like we need to be in a position to move quickly, because some of these days, we're gonna have three company moves. And it also includes a stunt, you know. And, you know, and so because the one thing I did wanted to do on this was I wanted to make a road movie, I wanted to make a movie that had scope, I wanted to make a movie that felt like it was big, you know, and, and, and so to do that, you got to, you got to move, but you also got to shoot quality. You know, like, I just really, I've never really wanted to do the whole, like, going to a room thing. You know, I think people can do that really well. I can't so much of the work that I do is about being on location and being you know, giving a scope and giving the wide shots like the wide shot is free, you know, like whether you should have close up or wide still cost the same amount of money.

Alex Ferrari 39:07
So okay, so let's touch on that a little bit. What are some tips to give your micro budget or even lower budget films some scope? Because just from my point of view with ego and desire, I mean, I was shooting wide all the time because I had a cast of 1000s who had no idea they were movie and just these mountain views and it was just it that movie looks so big, but it was shot with little little, little cameras so yeah, so what are some of your tips

Joshua Caldwell 39:39
I think it's um, it's not just about framing wide although you want to do you want to have positions where you can give scope but I think it's also about depth. You know, like if you continue in it's also about not being endorsed if you don't have to be you know, because I think when you when you're outside and you see a long ways down There's an assumption. First of all, most audiences don't know it. They just know, okay, they're outside and there's depth, but from the people that know, there's an assumption that you locked all that down when maybe you didn't, you know, or that you somehow had control over it when you did. So I, to me, I think it's about, it's about creating depth to your frame, even if you're shooting a lot of mediums or close ups, I think it's about getting your wives when they count. You know, I think it's about you know, in our case, we did a lot of long takes. So there are a number in the movie of really cool wonders that we did, that I knew from the beginning I was going to do, I did it intentionally because of the subject of the movie, or the way that we were started off approaching the movie. But I also I also knew that like, Well, so what had happened was, here's this is what is tip, but there's a little bit of a story. So I directed a series of two episodes of a series that have not has not come out yet Funny enough, it's about a pandemic. And but one of the episodes had was about this, like home invasion. And in the middle of the pandemic, and these, the two robbers and the two homeowners kind of get locked at home, and there's a fight and all this kind of stuff. And the script was the longest script of all of them. And there was a lot of action in it, and find all this stuff. And I remember one of the other directors who producers, creators of it was saying, like, Hey, man, we just spent like four hours trying to do a punch, like, you might want to think about the action in the movie. And I started thinking about it. And I started thinking, like, you know, if we could shoot a lot of this as a single take, we'll spend a lot of time setting up for it. But then once we got it, we're done. And the other thing that allowed me to do was it allowed me to, when you're in a single take, the audience understands that they're not going to see everything. And so what actually allowed us to hide some of the more complicated action pieces, like a guy getting stabbed in the stomach, you know, we didn't have to see that on screen. Because we were we happen to be over on somebody else, that was more important to be in that moment. And we come back and all of a sudden the guy's bleeding out. And and so what happened though, was we were able to get like the longest script done in about two to end the two days that we had with time leftover, because we spent a lot of time rehearsing. But once we got those, once we that was in the can it was in the camp, instead of going, Okay, we spent a lot of time get this one shot, got to do three more angles. And we got to do just as many takes, you know, and so for a lot of the scenes that involved robberies involved gunfire, I made the choice to do it as as this kind of complicated single take, but I knew that once we got it, we were done. Yeah, you're done it, and it wasn't gonna take if it takes to do it. It might take 10 but 10 takes is great.

Alex Ferrari 42:40
Yeah. And you know, so it's an ROTC. It's like an ROTC though return on time. So to cut out 10 minutes of your movie and shoot 10 minutes, and not have to edit really those 10 minutes to if you're able to do a one or that's four or five minutes, or even even a 10 minute one, or if you're really ambitious. Yeah, it might take you all day, but you knocked out 10 minutes like for you to shoot coverage of 10 minutes and edited it. That's a lot. That's not a day generally. Yeah, yeah. Generally speaking.

Joshua Caldwell 43:10
Yeah, no. And there was another one where we were in this. So we were in this house that was under construction, which is one of their hideouts, and I wanted to shoot this particular scene at what was supposed to be done, right. But pre dawn, so before the sun came up, and I was just like, well, we should just shoot this as a water because there's no way we can like this. There's no way we can, you know, but the other thing that I liked about it was, it wasn't just like a time saving tip or even like a scope tip. Like it was born out of the story. You know, it was born out of just a particular you know, with this movie, what I wanted to do was I wanted to create a very subjective experience of our main character, Arielle. So I've positioned it as basically this movie is Arielle, his Instagram feed, like you are seeing the story she wants you to see. And then I started thinking about, well, what are some things to hit it that without being literal, because it never says it in the movie? But like one of those things is like well think about like, how do we view content now like we're so used to seeing Instagram stories, which are 15 second long takes like you're, you're not used to seeing edits, you know, and all this kind of stuff you're used to seeing, you know, longer longer sort of just reality driven types of takes and so I want to do incorporate that and I also want to just the immediacy, I wanted the idea we're live streaming this you're feeling like you're there, it's as if they have a camera man with them, you know, and so it became a very subjective experience but at the same time that gave me so much freedom because I was like, well, we don't need to worry about shooting this I don't need to worry about shooting this like you know, we can get away with so much more especially the longer takes and so you know, the long takes are certainly good and and it's you know, I mean it kind of going back to layover it's about locations to you know, like, layover was shot very expensive inexpensively. But we were all over Los Angeles, you know, I mean, not always legally

Alex Ferrari 45:00
So you stole everything. And I stole everything. It's It's fine. Right? where we come in a long history Hitchcock sold stuff. It's okay. Yeah.

Joshua Caldwell 45:10
But it's the same thing. It's still having that mentality like, how are we going to steal stuff? The other thing that we did and again, part of this was designed in the movie was, you know, because it's, it's so much social focused and they're the idea that that our yellows filming stuff with their phone. There's a there's like a montage in the movie. And I'm like, they were like, how you doing the montage? Cuz I'm going like you're trying to do a montage in a movie on 21 days, like, forget it, like not happening, right? Because you want these little clips. But I said, I said to everybody, so they might dp I did myself. I told Bella, I'm like, here's some iPhones, just shoot, shoot everything. You know, like I so I'm driving to set shooting the sunrise like I'm getting like cars on the road, I'm getting all this stuff. I've been one shot a couple things that were like, I probably would have done on like the Alexa mini if I had the time. But I was just like, I'm just gonna do it on the phone, because it's better to have it than not having. And I've already established a visual language in the movie whereby we are using iPhone footage. And so as a result, it just feels so much bigger, because it feels like we had so much time to shoot all this extra content. That's one second one second, one second, one second, you know, but we didn't have to take up the time to do it on an on an Alexa mini where it just takes forever, because you got to set up and it's like, okay, we're gonna like this, we're gonna do this, you're like this is on screen for three frames, we don't need it.

Alex Ferrari 46:31
But that's the thing that people listening should understand is that if you are only going to go about your screenwriting or your your filmmaking process, in the way it's laid out in the textbooks, you will not survive. There has to be this out of the box. Like, hey, let's just go grab it. Like that's a great idea. And it works thematically with what you're doing. Like if the footage is not exactly perfect. Like it doesn't match exactly the Alexa, it's fine, because that's the kind of you're setting up that language. You've already seen it. Yeah, yeah, you said you set up that language within in the piece. But like sometimes, you know, I mean, I remember shooting you, I'll shoot with a red and then shoot with a Blackmagic Pocket somewhere else. And you just insert little shots, and nobody will ever notice. But nobody notices. But you're able to grab extra shots, extra angles, and that also adds a lot of more production value. The second you start moving that camera, you start getting different coverage, it just adds more production value.

Joshua Caldwell 47:27
Yeah, and it comes to look, but it also comes back to it comes back to because you just mentioned this that nobody notices is like it comes back to that right. Like, it's the same thing I did on layover, which is that the freedom that shooting on a five D at 6400 ISO gave us far outweighed the tiny little bit of noise that might have been noticed by one person right now, it allows you to it allows you the freedom to sort of tell the story, you know, if you could tell the story well, and you can tell the story with scope, and you can make something that feels personal people watching it, or his phone or whatever, that will far outweigh any kind of perfection in the image, you know. And so I would say that to my dp I'm like look like we are thought it's gonna be way better for all of us to have more angles and more of this than to just have that one perfectly lit image. Like it my dp agreed. And really what we settled on was the idea that the only time we're ever really going to take that time to light is either if it's at night, and we have to, because there's a lot of night stuff in the movie. Or if we're settling, like if we're going to be on Bella's face for a four minute scene. Right? Take the light and right, yeah, but for a lot of the little interstitial in the quick stuff, like he would be like, I'm not gonna like this, like I remember we went into there was a convenience store where we had a ton of action. There's I mean, in addition to like, just a couple scenes that happen in it, there was in outside of it, there was also a huge gunfight that occurs in it. And I remember talking to even like, because we initially talk, she's like, there's a lot to do in here. I'm going to swap the bulbs and let you go, you know, and I'm like, so that's also like, you got to have a dp that's going under Oh, oh, 110% and it is going to buy into it, you know, and and support it, you know, in the way that she did and I mean, I think it's like Personally, I think it's your best work and the stuff in there you don't notice you're not missing it. You're not going like oh, like there's a shadow there like it feels like real which is what I'm always going for like I always want that feeling of like oh, we just sort of stepped in here and turn the camera you know is that lends itself a reality

Alex Ferrari 49:27
That I think this I think there was a film specifically that was an inspiration of both you and I which was for lovers only. Mark and Michael Michael polishes and Mark polishes. amazing little five D film and they were the first five D feature essentially if I'm not mistaken, if not the first No, I think it was I think it was Yeah, if it wasn't the first definitely the most profitable of its of its day without question. But they you know they did they did very similar things. So I think we both took the same idea like you grab the camera and ran Around LA, I grabbed the camera and ran around Sundance day grabbed the camera and ran around Paris. And, and the value, the production value, the scope, the quickness the things they were able to get. It is it's exciting. It really is excited. Like I love that little micro budget. I you know, yeah. running around doing I mean yeah, like so much fun, man.

Joshua Caldwell 50:23
It really so much fun. So much fun. And the other thing too is like, you know, you got to, you got to, again, you got to know all this, like we shot on the Alexa Mini. But, you know, I've seen the Alexa mini really built out. Oh, yeah. Like a studio studio app on your shoulder, you're like, what? And I said to my team, I'm like, we got to keep it small, like this thing has got to be tiny. Like, you know, we got to get everything off it. We got to keep it super light, super mobile, because like, that's how you're then able to like, hey, just grab this, like, Oh, this is cool. Like, let me just pop in here, like, you know, and it drives my dp nuts, but at the same time, like, that's what you need, you need the ability to capture a lot of this footage. So they can very easily put something together that feels bigger, as opposed to being well, I only had the one angle, you know, right? I didn't have the cutaway or I didn't have this and like so, you know, it's it's, um, you know, you want to be you want to be like, again, I remember being a filmmaker, you know, when I was younger, going like, oh, let's get the camera as big as possible. Let's put on a matte box, even though we're not using it, you know, there's no reason to. But now I'm like, how do we get it as small as we can? That's, you

Alex Ferrari 51:29
know, when you're younger? Sir, you're you're compensating for a larger camera you did you need that you need that and you knew full zoom. Camera package, you need a full zoom, you need all the cables popping out there. Why? Because that's, that's a real filmmaker at that point. Yeah, because I see Spielberg and I see Nolan with that, like, I need to shoot IMAX. But the difference is they have 200 million plus to make 100 days and 100 days, if not more, to do whatever the hell they want it and you understand that? strip it man strip it down as tight and move as many as fast as you can. Now, so this was a, this was a project that you not only wrote it, took it through development and packaging and everything, getting it ready for production. But then you now have been involved with the distribution side of things, and and selling it. So how did you get this thing? After you get it done? You went with a sales agent or sales company? How did it go?

Joshua Caldwell 52:29
So the sales agent came with the financier because a lot of the discussions, you know, what we ended up doing was that whole foreign sales model, you know, so a lot of those discussions roll around, well, this cast member is worth this, this cast member is worth this, this is what they get you so, you know, I think that's also one of the challenges of indie filmmaking, you know, because you are in a lot of cases dependent on talents, previous work and their reach. You know, if you're doing a movie, I think like a big movie, big studio movie, I think there's ultimately, like, a total responsibility to, you know, really diversify and really, like, try and do what you can to, like, you know, build some people up because it doesn't matter, movies being sold on something else. But indies are tough, you know, we went through a process of having some real discussions about like, you know, about the film, and who's best for it, and you find yourselves in some way, like a little boxed in, you know, because there's a foreign market, and it's limiting. And, you know, it's, that's where a lot of that work has to be done, you know, to really helping build out, you know, the value of a lot of people, because people don't realize that you're like, Oh, just cast this person, like, well, not yet, you know,

Alex Ferrari 53:45
Let's say at the $6,000 movie, absolutely cast, whatever you want

Joshua Caldwell 53:48
But at some point, then you get to a budget where like, yeah, you're responsible for trying to get this back and your financier is are only going to guarantee this money if if the, the sales company can guarantee the sale for this amount of money. You know, and so, you know, so that that was also challenging, because you could say, well, I want this person or like, well, they don't have the same value that like this person does, you know, and you know, so you just got to you got to be smart about it, you know, and you got to really you know, sort of know what you're looking for but also be open to ideas that that you may not have thought of but they were on board in that casting process

Alex Ferrari 54:21
But you worked in with so then you you finance this film based off of predict of estimate presale estimates. Yeah, yeah. That's how the that's how the financing got put in place. That's how that Yeah, so it's just it was independent financing, right. So it's as secure as secure as you can get an independent film basically, like you have an sales company that says okay, in Germany, we're gonna get 15 $50,000 for x actor guaranteed. Next, England's gonna give us 100,000 if this actors are in it, and this is this genre and this thing, and you had all these estimates laid out first and that was Good, general idea. So the investors felt somewhat comfortable that they're going to recoup their money at least.

Joshua Caldwell 55:05
Right, exactly. And they do projections, which like, sometimes turn out to be true sometimes don't. But it's the surest thing you can get, you know, to having some kind of like, okay, maybe we might make our money back.

Alex Ferrari 55:16
But that's it. But that was a sales a sales agents or sales company, basically who wills company.

Joshua Caldwell 55:21
Yeah, sales agent sales company that was working with, yeah, they go to market. So like we announced, in 2019, we announced the project at Berlin, you know, and then they're a Berlin, they're doing the thing in the hotel room where we have this script with this actor, you know, with Bella Thorne in it, and this actor, you know, or whatever, and this director, and this is what it's about, and they go, okay, like, well, we would give this much for that, right? And then you take that as a promissory note, and you go to the bank, and you say, they will agree to get this as long as we deliver this movie. And the bank says, Okay, here's the loan or whatever it's going to be. And so it's a big thing. I hadn't really been down that before. before and it's it's, it's challenging world, you know, because it's, it's a lot of it's, you're like, this person is valuable in Germany and has no recognition in France. You know,

Alex Ferrari 56:16
I can't, I can't wait outside of the states. I just let you know, I can't walk the streets of Mumbai. I'm just saying I'm huge. Imagine broken, broken ruin. I mean, I can't walk the streets because of broken up. It's all sarcasm, just Sundance anymore, but that's what there's that. But that's for other reasons. everyone listening, it's called sarcasm. Anyway, so um, alright, so then you you got picked up by vertical eventually, right?

Joshua Caldwell 56:43
Yeah, picked up by vertical. So we, you know, we've independently financed it. You know, two great producers, Sean suhani. And Colin banks. Were on board to sort of the finance ears. And, and we basically sorry, not banks beats con bait. I always kill called banks, for some reason,

Alex Ferrari 57:04
Because he's got the money, baby. He's got the money to get it. Right.

Joshua Caldwell 57:06
I got it. Right. Yeah. But anyway, you know, so they financed it. And then, you know, look, I mean, we finished the movie. And we took we went to Sundance, you know, we got a cut done for Sundance, because like, why not take that shot? And didn't get in? Supposedly came close, but didn't get in?

Alex Ferrari 57:23
Yeah. And we're also developing this project as well. So we can't we have to pass? Yeah, save it. Yes. Yeah. You were so close. Oh, it's like you and like one other guy. Ah,

Joshua Caldwell 57:32
you it's between you and this other movie. We just decide to go. But it but, you know, it's tough because festivals are hard, man. You know, festivals are really hard.

Alex Ferrari 57:44
And now and now, which we have ever gotten to that we haven't even gotten to that part yet with the COVID. That situation like

Joshua Caldwell 57:50
I know. And so we actually then our our targets were Sundance south by and in Tribeca. Sure. And it probably the saving grace was we did not get into into South by or Tribeca I think it would have been much more devastating to have gotten in.

Alex Ferrari 58:07
Oh, and that screen canceled.

Joshua Caldwell 58:09
Forget it. And, you know, I think we kind of took a shot. But really, like, the our producer really believed, you know, look, festival will be great. It's not necessary. You know, because the other thing too is I mean, it's a it's a really, I think it's a really commercial movie. It's not some like you know dour after school special about the dangers of online social media crimes, you know, or something like that, like, wow, after

Alex Ferrari 58:34
school special. You have dated yourself, sir.

Joshua Caldwell 58:37
Exactly. did not make that movie. You know, but but what I tried to do what I really wanted to do, and what I've always wanted to do with the movies I made because I wanted to create a movie that had kind of this commercial backbone, you know, the spine to it, that was a commercial movie, but then had sort of a depth to it, you know, throughout that created really interesting characters with kind of asking interesting questions, you know, but at the same time, if you didn't want to pay attention, all that you could still just enjoy the gunfights. So I knew that we had something that was potentially desirable from a distribution Pam standpoint. Because it's a really fun movie that moves, you know, when there's a lot of action and clearly, you've seen the trailer so you can tell like, there's a lot to put in there. And that's the trailer is not even a fraction of the movie overall.

Alex Ferrari 59:25
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. So,

Joshua Caldwell 59:37
you know, so we really did, we felt that and then, you know, we just and then COVID gotten away of a lot of stuff, you know,

Alex Ferrari 59:43
so how is How is COVID been a pro and the cons of COVID because there is some pros to the release. Yeah, so tell me what you think. So,

Joshua Caldwell 59:52
it's been it was a bit of a negative because it's impacted. It's impacted sales, you know, because everyone's closed down. Berlin Not a lot of people showed up, you know, canceled festivals, not for us, but obviously for other people. You know, and obviously that this is all obviously the beyond the mass death and destruction and economic collapse that it's caused. I mean, that's

Alex Ferrari 1:00:16
in our small little world and in our small little world.

Joshua Caldwell 1:00:20
But at the same time, you know, and as a result, like with vertical, we would have done the whole like theatrical thing. You know, we're 2030 City, VOD, VOD day and date release that everybody does, you know, and so obviously, that's not happening. So we lose the theatrical but at the same time, like one nobody goes to see in the theater with those things anyway. But to I always believe that the audience for this movie or watching this at home or on their phone,

Alex Ferrari 1:00:46
yes, specifically this movie?

Joshua Caldwell 1:00:49
Yeah, I mean, it's not, it's not as cool as it is to see to the theater in a theater, because that's how you want every movie to be seen. More people see it that way. So I'm fine with that. You know, and so I think the only thing might be that there's a chance we might not have come out as quickly as we did. If it weren't for COVID. We might have waited a little bit longer. But I think we saw an opportunity, you know, with the lack of content coming out with a lot of people still stuck in their homes. You know, we wanted to we saw an opportunity to like, you know, maybe fill a void if people really wanting to see Josh Cobos. Next move.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:25
Obviously, sir, as obviously this guy fucked up now.

Joshua Caldwell 1:01:31
But at the same time, though, it's like we finished in January, like we were done with the movies pretty quick turn around, turn around right before this whole thing hit. So like, the other thing is, we had a, we had a done movie, you know, a lot of people were still in post or they weren't complete, or like, you know, the post houses got shut down. So we were in a position where we did have something that we could sort of offer and put out and I think that, you know, we saw, I hate to say it call an opportunity. But you know, there was, yeah, it is. But I mean, there was a chance for people starving for content to provide them with maybe something that would be fun to watch and kill a Friday night while there, you know, in quarantine.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:08
Yeah. And I think this film specifically has a really good, you know, it's it's a perfect streaming film. Yeah, it's built like for, for streaming without question.

Joshua Caldwell 1:02:20
And the other thing is I, you know, I mean, I hope people get it really like, I hope people get it because we really tried to explore, like, you know, Celebrity, like, Who are we in America, you know, I read this great book called fantasy land, which I've been recommending to everybody which talks, it's kind of a revisionist history of America, and the way in which America has sort of managed to create itself as this kind of like Fantasyland where, like facts no longer matter. And, you know, everybody can have their own viewpoint, and, you know, this kind of thing. And, and this movie lives in that world. You know, this movie lives in a world where it's not about like, you're not going to see the cops after them. In this movie, you're not going to see a detective trying to figure out, Oh, where are they, you know, you're not gonna see like, Instagram shutting down their feed like, that misses the point of this, you know, this is like a satire. You know, this is about this is about celebrity in America, the way that we anoint people. And, and, and give them a mouthpiece and give them a pedestal, whether they're deserving of it or not. And America's Got a history of man, we've already done it. We do it with Bonnie and Clyde, we did it with all these other serial killers. We gave them a voice to talk to America, and they did it. And America has supported that a lot of ways. And I think like, you know, you have those stories of like the Justin soco who like tweeted the like, going to Africa, hope I don't get AIDS, you know, and when you have America, waiting for her flight to land, to see what's going to happen. That's the world that this movie lives in. Because it's a movie where I firmly believe that this was going on, and it was too young, good looking people, we would all be following them. Do you remember seeing them and liking it? Oh, there's no question. If we hate it, and disagree with it, we would still be following,

Alex Ferrari 1:04:12
obviously, because that's the entire careers of the Kardashians. So I saw great I saw a great meme the other day, it was all the Kardashians, and they're just because you haven't heard about the Kardashians, like at all right? It's been a bit right. So they're like, yeah, they're all discussing who they're going to give COVID to set the cover relevant. There was a movie this this movie reminds me of this and in a completely different way, but yet similar. There's a movie in the 80s called The Legend of Billie Jean. Do you remember that movie? I can see that? I haven't seen it. But I heard of it. It's with Slater. Kelly Slater. I forgot her name. She's a she was Supergirl, the original Super Girl. But her really young it's Christian Slater's first movie, okay, ever he's a kid in it. And it's basically a story about, it's a lot more it's 80 is innocent, so, but it has, but she becomes like a rebel because she like, you know, stab somebody for protecting somebody else and she becomes an outlaw. And then, and then she gets it, she gets a cult following of everybody's behind Billie Jean. And it's like this whole reading. I love that movie, but it reminds me of it was media, it was media building, it was media building her up into something that was just literally a disagreement, a local disagreement that turned into a nationwide phenomenon. Right. Um, which was really in the hole cops were after her and all this kind. Yeah, it was is really interesting.

Joshua Caldwell 1:05:38
Yeah, I mean, I think that's, that's the world we live in now, you know, and I wanted to make something I also wanted to make something that was like, you know, reflective of that, you know, and so using things like trying to trying to think about the way in which the audience is now consumed content, you know, and trying to angle for some, like, something like that even even the opening font of the movie, that gives the title over over her in the beginning of the movie is that sort of neon cursive that you get on Instagram, right now. And, and we really wanted to saturate it, you know, really get the Chroma saturation in this so that it was reflective of the way in which we see posts on Instagram, that have all been filled, terrorized. You know, I didn't want to make this cool blues and blacks movie like this, to me was like, this movie had to be colorful, it had to be that look like content that we are already seeing, you know, line. And so that was the things we talked about it from wardrobe, to production design, to the cinematography was all about color, color color, it's got to be Poppy, it's got to be fun. And it's also got to be so sort of like unapologetic, you know, I'm not going into this saying like, This is bad. I'm also not going into saying that this is good. I'm kind of going saying this probably would happen. Like, you know, I wouldn't be surprised about it.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:50
So let me ask you now, because you know, we used last time you shot was late last year, moving forward, man. As far as COVID is concerned, how do you think shooting is going to be like, because like, we can't really the way you made this movie you can't make now the way I've made my movies, you can't make them now like that, like it's just not possible. And nobody really knows what the future lies and how long that future was. I don't believe that we're going to be social distancing for the next 20 years. I don't think that's gonna happen. But in the next two to five, maybe, maybe, how do you how do you like, as a creator as a film director, who needs a crew on set to make something happen? How do you see this playing out for yourself in your career? And for basically for everybody? That's a big question. And, and I don't expect you to have the answer by just like your opinion.

Joshua Caldwell 1:07:44
Yeah. I mean, I think it's gonna be challenging because I think that you know, I think it's gonna hurt a lot of Indies, you know, because you see these sort of production manuals coming out for like, here's how we do this. And you're going what you're testing everybody on set every day, like, Who's,

Alex Ferrari 1:08:00
it's gonna slow it's gonna slow down so much, it's gonna

Joshua Caldwell 1:08:02
slow down so much and, and at the same time, though, I, you know, I keep hearing like pretty, you know, people going, oh, we're ready to go back, we want to shoot in July. I'm kind of going like, nobody's going back to work until the unions and the guilds are going to believe that everybody is safe. And I have a very hard time believing that sag. Ever agrees to go back until there's a vaccine. Because I can watch is like a crew. As much as a crew can wear masks and gloves instead, for the most part to stay six feet away from each other. Actors can't do that. Like, what's the movie gonna look like? Where they're like, constantly six feet up, you can't do romance stories. You can't do anything, you can't do anything, you know. And so I think that's gonna be the biggest hurdle, because they can't wear masks in the scene. And most of the time they're in close proximity to people and if so it's gonna be very very difficult until that happens as much as everybody wants to come back and the other thing too is as much as you can go make a movie without like IRC. You cannot go make a movie without sag.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:03
Yeah, I mean, you could go non union But still, it's still

Joshua Caldwell 1:09:06
Yeah, but I mean, it's you got to get people to sign up you want to have that union act like you don't get a chance with anybody and then what are you doing you're making movies so small for such a small budget that like because you can't guarantee you're gonna get a million dollars back because you don't have a actor whose value correct no monetary

Alex Ferrari 1:09:25
And is he ever Is there even a foreign market right now there's not there now there's it's very difficult to sell anything.

Joshua Caldwell 1:09:32
So all the post houses are closed, nobody can do dubbing nobody can do subtitling so even if they can buy it, I mean, they probably loved the content because Europe's the same way their star for for content but at the same this is it's so weird. It's like you're trapped at home. But in all anybody do is doing is consuming TV shows and movies. But there's no possible way for the producers of that content dad to try and do more.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:59
I literally just signed up for HBO max. Because, because, because I need friends. I'm sorry. I need my friends and they have a couple of other things that they're going to have on there that I wanted to get. And then I just they get oh here we have HBO NOW AND I'VE NEVER I've never paid for HBO. I just this is just never a thing that I did. So I start going through I'm like, Oh, that's how I've always watched Chernobyl. I want to watch that. Oh, I haven't seen ballers I've been dying to watch ballers and like I'm trying to like all these shows are like, oh my god. Like right now we're in the middle of we just finished blacklist. So we just caught up again, seven seasons of blacklist. Wow. That's a commitment. We went through that in about three weeks. My wife and I we just pile through it, man. It was like, it's so good. And now we're like, How to Get Away with Murder. We're in the first season of .Such a great show. So good. Good.

Joshua Caldwell 1:10:47
We kind of stopped around season three, but it's it's good first seasons really, really good.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:51
Yeah, it's a really good, really good show. And now we're like after that, like, well, let's jump jump into remote. And then Netflix is popping out stuff. Every frickin week. And we haven't mentioned Tiger.

Joshua Caldwell 1:11:03
Tiger King. Oh, God. See, the fun part is like my wife and I are the opposite. Like, because we have like, we have our two young kids. I have a six year old two and a half year old. Like we get, you know, we get them down to a maybe we have till 10 because our kids are waking up at six. I'm like, look at all these people on Twitter that I fall and they're just like watching four movies a day. I'm like, you guys, nothing has changed for me back. I've consumed less content than I did before. No waiting because no time and I can't watch stuff around my kids. I can't put on like pocalypse now around my six year old like he's gonna be like what is although they have seen parts of infamous which is pretty, pretty graphic.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:46
No, it's like, I haven't like to watch a film. I've watched fewer films. I'm watching a lot of television. Like because we could stop midway and it's not that big of a deal. And you can just kind of cook through it. But actual cinema sitting down and enjoying so like the next big event for me and it's not even cinema is Hamilton when it comes out. Last year I'm like, Yes. Um, so it's been a dream of mine to get tickets. We haven't gotten tickets out. I was my wife was just about to get me tickets for my birthday. Or favorite this season because it came back to LA. It came back to LA and and then COVID happened. So I'm like, I'm never gonna see Hamilton. And now when I had July 3, baby, I'm like,

Joshua Caldwell 1:12:28
I also like to how they were like, Oh, they decided to move it up a year early. I'm like a year they were gonna sit

Alex Ferrari 1:12:33
I'm talking about you paid 75 mil for that. Come on. Jesus. Sorry. shot it like two years ago, which is great. No, no, they shot it first year. No, it was first. Yeah, whenever they would see original cast.

Joshua Caldwell 1:12:47
Right, right. I'm saying I don't know what that was what date that was, but it was a while ago. So they've been sitting on it for like,

Alex Ferrari 1:12:52
oh, they've they've sat on that for since the beginning and they just holding on to it waiting for the moment to finally release it. Okay, let's not go down our Hamilton path because I I've listened to so I can literally verbatim sing that the soundtrack. I've listened to that thing so much. Um, okay, so moving forward, man. I just like to hear what you think if you're a filmmaker, and you know, you and I've been down the street a bit a little bit been around a block couple times got a couple of movies on our belt. We've been working in the industry for a while. You're just starting out, man. And you're in COVID? What do you do? Like how do you like if you're just start like right now? You're at home? You got a camera? Maybe you have a couple friends? Who gives zoom? you zoom in on? Like, how do you like how do you start? Like what do you do because this is not going to go away in a month. I'm I'm fairly certain that this is going to be until 2021 and beyond. Before things start to settle back up right next summer. Will things will start to maybe start coming back hopefully by then. So that's a while what do you do, man? What do you do as a filmmaker?

Joshua Caldwell 1:14:00
Well, I mean look like if anything you shouldn't feel as urgent to you know, you shouldn't feel in that position where like, I got to get it done. I got to get my feature made I'm losing time. Right. Like I mean, I remember being 22 being like I haven't made a feature yet.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:14
I gotta do it. Orson Orson Welles made his 23 What am I doing with my life?

Joshua Caldwell 1:14:18
Yeah, like, like feeling that hurry? I mean, to me, I think it's the perfect time to be kind of fucking around. And like doing it without consequence. You know? Because learning I think that's Yeah, learning because I think that's one if you haven't gone to film school, that's what film school should be. But to you know, you're gonna there's gonna come a time where there's a lot of money. Hopefully, for some people out there, there's gonna come a time where there's a lot of money on the line. And if they fuck up, there's not going to be another chance, you know? And so what better time to be in a position where like, basically, you're like, you can't do anything except that which has no public consequence, right? Like, you're not going to feel compelled. You don't necessarily need to feel compelled to release it. You know, because you're like, I'm just gonna learn, I'm gonna learn how to go to green screen. I'm gonna like, I mean, thank god like it's not 2005 where you're like, all you're stuck with is Alex Ferrari is one site

Alex Ferrari 1:15:16
That one DVD

Joshua Caldwell 1:15:19
You don't know how to, you know, you're like, wow, I want to do lightsaber, it's like, well, sorry, I didn't do lightsabers and broken sorry. And you got all these broken knockoffs coming out? I think it's like, you know, you, you've got such a resource online, now, anything you want to do, Oh, do this, do that, do this, that and try taking the time because now you've given this sort of, you've been given a little bit of a pause button, you know, to, to, to kind of work on your craft, and you have if you have some friends, you know, I mean, look, it's, if you could do some fun stuff, you know, but like, the best thing that you can do is be in a position to work on people with performance, and that's hard. You know, so is it? Is it doing some live readings? You know, over zoom? Is it getting? Is it working on your writing? You know, is it is it sitting down writing because, like I look, I I've been in a position where I feel rushed or used to feel rushed to writing and I the scripts were not ready. They were not the best ideas. You know? I'm trying to figure out what I'm gonna do, let alone Tell me what other people to do it.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:23
Look, I was I was riding my bike with my family around the neighborhood the other day, and I saw an indie film crew, right? Oh, yeah, absolutely. And as I turn the corner I saw cuz you could smell them. You could just there's just something you could point them out. Like, I didn't see the crew yet. I didn't see the cast yet. But there was just something about their energy. I'm like, they're shooting something. I'd look around. I'm like, oh, there's a red. Okay, so they got a red. So there's the DP, the director, I guess, a producer, somebody else in a car, building it out. Right? No masks, no masks, no social distancing. Then I turn the corner there seven actors, huddled together together all standing together in costume. And they're making a quarantine movie. Can we just say right now? anyone listening? I'm sorry, if you're in the middle of editing your quarantine short, or your quarantine feature that you think you're really ahead of the game that no one else is doing? on the pulse of the society right now that you were the first to jump out at this. Please understand, I've been sent easily 15 to 20 quarantine shorts to look at in the last three weeks. And there's a Oh all the time. I'm getting them all the time that hey, we went on shot this court. Like it's just another way to kind of hack the system. And I was the king of trying to hack the system. Trying to like right, get the leverage whatever I could do to stand out and all that kind of Yeah. Stop. Nobody wants to watch a quarantine film. I have one quarantine film that they do want to watch. And that's contagious. Yeah, continue the content. I just finished outbreak I just finished outbreak again. I just watched I hadn't seen this is 95 I watched outbreak I'm gonna pry watch contagion. But that's not a quarantine movie. That's Yeah, exactly. That was a contagion.

Joshua Caldwell 1:18:19
But But even even so it's like, you know, and beyond that. Nobody is gonna want to watch it when this is all over? Oh, no, everybody's writing scripts or like, you know, nobody one, nobody's gonna make it. But to him, like even if they made it. This is the last thing anybody wants to watch.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:32
Nobody wants to watch.

Joshua Caldwell 1:18:34
Right? a comedy. The only thing anybody's gonna want to watch this comedy, you know, but I think I think that's true. And to that point, like, if it's for a quarantine short, like, I just find that incredibly irresponsible, because you're risking other people get sick, yes, for a movie that nobody wants to see. And so I think that's important too, which is like don't make quarantine short. Nobody's gonna watch it. Don't put people into you know, danger. Because you're trying to get a short made, don't make them feel like they've got to work if they don't, you know, or risk it for it. Because this isn't worth it. And, you know, I think that it's about having the time and the space to figure out something a story that you want to tell because that's it. It doesn't even even with like Southland I mean, I'm sorry, it was called South like, even with infamous You know, I've done a couple movies, but I haven't done anything that would make somebody go like, Oh, definitely, let's give this guy 20 million to do this movie. You know, so for me, it really came down to I just need a good script, a really good script that's going to attract talent, and attract finance ears because the talents attracted to it, you know, right. And I think that that takes time took me three years. You know, if you're not picking back up till 2022, like you got some time to get that script going. You know, so I think it really comes back to the the act of I do believe that like we need to get a little bit away from the technology side of it and this idea of cameras and this and that. Please stay on. Big breach. People just don't, they don't care. They don't care that you move your shot on red. They don't care that was shown on Alexa Mini, no care that is shot on iPhone, if it's engaging, and it's a good story and it's personal and it makes them feel something. They'll watch it, they'll get behind it.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:16
You know, absolutely look at ego and desire was shot on a Blackmagic 1080 p camera shot at MPP. It doesn't matter if you know and of course tangerine on an iPhone. We've gone past the point where the image is the barrier, like when I did make broken with the dv x mini DV standard def, there was limits to the image quality now literally what you have in your pocket is fine. Is it? Yeah. Is it the Alexa mini? No. But if you're making a certain kind of movie, who cares? I mean, so it's good enough for zabur he's doing I he's, he's he's doing all right. You know, you're right. But he also has a few Oscars under his belt too. So he can do stuff like that.

Joshua Caldwell 1:21:01
If he peed a few things, you know, but it's, I mean, his stuff was great. Like, I love the basketball movie. Like, you know, I thought it was cool. You know?

Alex Ferrari 1:21:10
He's, I love He's like, he's my here's my power animal.

Joshua Caldwell 1:21:13
I just want to see the movie. I want to see the movie he does during quarantine because you know, he's doing something.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:18
It's not contagious to I could tell you that. Yeah,

Joshua Caldwell 1:21:21
I mean, but he's doing something on his iPhone and he's gonna star in it. It's gonna be dishonorable.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:26
I think they brought him in for the DGA.

Joshua Caldwell 1:21:29
They put him as the head. He's like the head of like the DGA like recovery thing or something

Alex Ferrari 1:21:33
Like how to shoot in contagion? Yes. And is it? Isn't it the most Hollywood thing to do? Or get the guy who shot the movie about a pandemic put him in charge of figuring out how to shoot a movie during a panda? Yeah. Which has nothing to do with the movie, how he made it, just like he must know more than we do. When I heard that, I'm like, that's so Hollywood is like, get the guy who shoots. Yeah, it gets the guy who shoots airplanes, like do you know? Do you know how Tony Scott got a Top Gun? No, he shot a commercial with an F 18 landing behind a Honda or like a Mercedes or something. Oh, really? Right. And Jerry Bruckheimer is like, that's our guy.

Joshua Caldwell 1:22:15
That guy? Yeah. I'd be cool if you could, like, easily get a commercial with a f 18 Hornet and

Alex Ferrari 1:22:23
The 80s. And it was Tony Scott. He was Yeah, it was browsing commercials before he shot his first movie, rest in peace, Tony, we miss you.

Joshua Caldwell 1:22:31
It's, you know, I just think it's the craft, you know, the craft will be there. But I think the storytelling won't be and I think you know, take the time, also learn stuff, I mean, get get away from it to, you know, like, get away from you a little bit. Learn as much as you can something else learn as much as you can read some books I put exploring, yeah, you give it a pause, but nobody's doing anything. And odds are like, if you're a new person, like they're not going to be considering your script, like even, even if they're looking at scripts now and doing development, like nobody's playing to shoot anything right away. And the things that come back are the things that they know they can make money on. Right. So it's a little bit of Arrested Development of bow tie at the moment, which is, you know, I'm sure difficult for everybody, because sitting through, you know, a year two years of this can be tough, you know, but at the same time, like, I also know, if you're in your 20s, that's two years closer to being in your 30s when you're more likely to have success and more likely to get given.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:24
So just click through those 20s as fast as possible. It's what you say period,

Joshua Caldwell 1:23:28
Those 20s enjoy yourself. Have some fun, go have some adventures, get some life experience, then come back and tell stories about it. That's what you need to do.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:35
Look, I just woke up yesterday. I'm 45 Dude, I don't know how that happened. Like I don't don't look at I appreciate it's clean living sir. Clean living. But I mean, yeah, your 20s are a blur.

Joshua Caldwell 1:23:48
But I wasted way too much of my 20s Oh, I wish to try and make it. You know, I should have enjoyed my 30s I'm rebalancing it out and

Alex Ferrari 1:23:58
I'm seeing exactly yeah, it's only only age, if you're in your 20s guys, enjoy yourselves hurt, you know, hustle, learn, grow, get experience, but take advantage because I promise you Your body will never be that good again. No, no matter how good a shape you are. Yeah, if you're vegan, if you you're in amazing shape. Just be kind Be kind to your ankles and knees.

Joshua Caldwell 1:24:27
I am a professor of film don't Professor history of Bill professor in college who ended up he was so great, but he always had this thing. He was like basically you turn a tee and then you start to die.

Alex Ferrari 1:24:38
That's exactly true. Like your peak is 18 physically in your 30s You're dead already. Basically. You're dead man walking.

Joshua Caldwell 1:24:47
You're definitely walking at that point. You're like, Yeah, all right. Thanks for the encouragement. So can you tell everybody where they can find infamous and and get in contact with you or see more of your work? So infamous is gonna be Everywhere VOD, not subscription. You know, so not Hulu, not Netflix, but on June 12, will be everywhere iTunes Amazon, buddhu. Fandango, Google, you name it, you probably see it. And, you know, I'm on Twitter at Joshua underscore Caldwell. I'm on Instagram at Joshua Caldwell director. You know, those are good places to kind of get on on there and find me and, you know, I've really, you know, kind of, you know, this, I mean, coming on this podcast talking through stuff, how we did things, I tend to be trying to be very open as open as it can be about that process. And what that's like and respond in kind to, you know, I people hit me up, like, trying to do this, I live in Africa and want to come to the states go to film school and like, why? He's like, well, you get better. I'm like, dude, make yourself good there, you know, and then they'll come find you. But, you know, the thing that I the thing that I always say to people is like, if you can, if you can just take advantage of where you are, if you're in Kentucky, find some cool fucking ghost story that takes place only that is some legend in Kentucky that nobody's ever heard of. and shoot it there. People are so quick to get to LA, you know, because because if you get to LA, I mean, I did it. But it's like Dell, if you have a great story, you tell an awesome little story that's regional that's about your area and is really good and breaks out because nobody's heard of it before people will come find you.

Alex Ferrari 1:26:25
You know, so slacker slacker. mariachi clerks. Yeah, she's got to have it. Like all of those. They're all stories about where they're shocking. I mean, come on. Okay, stop it, just stop it around it. We've said that too many times. That's a personal story is a very personal story of, of a crazy person that gets kidnapped. Yes, and has special powers.

Joshua Caldwell 1:26:50
And, you know, but anyway, but I think that like, you know, there's a lot to be taken advantage of, especially if you're stuck at home, and you don't know where to go, like, do some local research. But yeah, but I mean, people are always, you know, people can feel free to reach out and I try to respond in kind. I'm always trying to be open about that process. And, you know, this kind of really insane journey.

Alex Ferrari 1:27:08
But man, Joshua, it has been a pleasure. As always, I know, we could probably sit and geek out for at least another five hours. But But I know you have kids

Joshua Caldwell 1:27:16
Do it over the years. We'll spread it out.

Alex Ferrari 1:27:18
I mean, you've got kids to go take care of now and homeschool.

Joshua Caldwell 1:27:20
So we got to stop the bouncing.

Alex Ferrari 1:27:23
Exactly. Man. It's a pleasure, brother. Thank you again for sharing your adventures with the tribe, man. Thanks again.

Joshua Caldwell 1:27:29
Great. Thanks, Alex.

Alex Ferrari 1:27:31
I want to thank Joshua for coming back on the show and dropping those major knowledge bombs on the tribe today. If you want to check out his movie, the trailer for his film, or links to his other episodes, head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/393. And guys, I just wanted to give you an update that my film distribution confidential course, which is the film course, that all distributors do not want you to take, because it will give you way, way too much information about their process. And how not to you guys not to get screwed, is coming along fantastically. Now, if you do want to sign up for early access, because I am going to be emailing those people on that they have signed up for early access, they're going to get not only a special price, but they're going to help me build and beta test this course because I want this course to be the ultimate film distribution, current film distribution course, anywhere in the world. So if you want to get access to it early, and get a special price for it, head over to indiefilmhustle.com/fdc that's FDC like film distribution confidential, so indiefilmhustle.com/fdc and I'll put that in the show notes as well. Thank you guys so much for listening. I hope you're hanging in there in this crazy, crazy upside down world that we're living in right now. This too shall pass we will get past this year. just won 2020 to be overweight. I really am not looking forward to the fall to the summer or the fall at this point. Because God knows I was talking to a friend the other day I'm like, you know any day now the mole people and the the dwell, the ocean dwelling people are going to come up to fight for supremacy for for Earth. So that's coming any day now. I think I saw Atlantis popping up and the aliens should be attacking momentarily. I mean, that's the I mean seriously, that's what's left for 2020. But when I said the same thing early on in 2020. So let's let's just hold our tongue and hopefully nothing else. Major happens this year. So thank you again, so much for listening. As always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. Stay safe, and I'll talk to you soon.



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IFH 199: How to Go From a 6K Micro Budget to Directing a 100K Feature Film

Right-click here to download the MP3

Ever wondered what happens to those directors who make a micro-budget feature film? Do they ever sell that film? Do they ever get to direct a feature film again? Today guest is filmmaker Joshua Caldwell, a rare returning filmmaker on the show.

He directed a $6000 feature film called Layover. Check out the trailer below. You can listen to his first episode in the links below.

I wanted to bring Joshua back to discuss how he leveraged that first micro-budget feature film to get a shot of directing his new $100,000 feature Negative.

We also discuss how he brought his micro-budget mentality to a larger budget film, how he used guerilla filmmaking techniques to get the biggest bang for his buck. Prepare for some knowledge bombs. Enjoy my conversation with Joshua Caldwell.

Alex Ferrari 1:23
So today on the show, we have a returning guest, his name is Joshua Caldwell. Now, his first episode, which was Episode 121 is one of the most popular podcast episodes in the history of indie film, hustle. And I wanted to bring him back because that episode was called the art of the $6,000 feature film. And he made an amazing film called The layover for 6000. And he really laid out how he did it and really was transparent in his entire process. But you know, I have a lot of times I have filmmakers. And you know, you hear stories of these filmmakers making a movie for six grand or five grand or 10 grand. But you never hear the story about what happens afterwards. What do you do after you make a $6,000 movie? Well, today, we have an opportunity to see what happened. Joshua then went on to make $100,000 movie. So we're going to talk about today how he was able to leverage his $6,000 movie and grow to $100,000 budget film, within a year or so of doing his first film, and his entire journey doing that and also now, how he was able to bring all the sensibilities and techniques that he did on a $6,000 film and apply that to $100,000 budget and how much more he was able to get as far as production value and just squeeze more juice out of his budget. So I really wanted to bring him back and and share this very unique perspective on the indie film hustle, if you will. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Joshua Caldwell. I'd like to welcome back to the show Joshua Caldwell, man Hey, thanks for coming back, brother.

Joshua Caldwell 3:08
Yeah, of course. Thanks for having me.

Alex Ferrari 3:10
Your last episode, the the What did I call it the blueprint or the guide to a $6,000 feature film or something? Rethinking rethinking the $6,000 rethinking the $6,000 feature film, which was your film layover, which was I found awesome and inspiring. And I think a lot of the the tribe did as well. And then now you've got a new movie, and you've kind of just upped the game. So you basically took the model of a $6,000 movie and just added $100,000 to it, but stayed in the $6,000 spirit. Is that correct?

Joshua Caldwell 3:45
Right. Yeah, that's right. That's right.

Alex Ferrari 3:47
So tell me a little bit about negative and how did it come to be?

Joshua Caldwell 3:50
So negatives a spy thriller. It's It's the story of this. This guy named Hollis who takes a picture of this woman in downtown LA thinks nothing of it goes back to his apartment develops the film because he's a 35 millimeter type of guy. And next thing you know this woman is at his door demanding the film demanding the negative and takes it by force him before they can escape or before she can leave men with guns show up. And she's forced to take college with her on the run. As you discover that she's basically a former she's she's now a former British spy who's being chased by the one of the Mexican cartels. And for reasons that become clear in the film, and so it was this just kind of really fun, you know, spy thriller road movie that I'd wanted to make and it was so it was born out of this idea I had in college which was you know, I was gonna make it I wanted to make a short about a guy who goes into Central Park he takes a bunch of pictures with his you know, a still a 35 millimeter camera and goes and get some that the one hour develop, you know, one hour photo develop and takes him out and finds a photo.

Alex Ferrari 5:00
You're dating yourself?

Joshua Caldwell 5:02
Right, right. Which is weird because I don't feel bad. Oh,

Alex Ferrari 5:07
Yeah, same here. It's things have moved very quickly, sir,

Joshua Caldwell 5:09
Very quickly. And so anyway, so now you know why, like you couldn't make this movie today. But anyway, the idea was he finds one of the photos and it's just a photo of this woman like staring at him, like through the through the picture. And I was like, okay, that's interesting, no idea where it goes, never could figure it out. And, you know, a couple years ago, I met this young writer, Adam Gaines, who he reached out to me about being on a podcast I was doing to talk about this like book that he was writing. And I read some of his stuff. And I really, really liked it. And he had just such a great ear for dialogue. I mean, he had a real like Sorkin esque quality to to his writing. And I said, we should do something together and a couple months pascall you know, didn't find anything. But basically, I was like, you know, I've got this random idea. It's the story of this guy takes a picture of this woman. And I was like, maybe it could be a spy thriller. You know, maybe it could be like he wants shouldn't have taken this picture of the woman. And shit happens. I don't know what else happens, right? And I go, but they'd be cool, short, and I've got these two actors, Katia winter, Simon quarterman, who I'm attached to this other movie with. And I was thinking like, just as an exercise, just be fun to do a short write just to like, get our, you know, get our feet wet, and try something out. He said, Alright, let me work on it. So he wrote basically the first 10 minutes of the movie. And then scheduling didn't work out for whatever reason. But basically, I told him, Well listen, like if we're gonna go to all this effort to make a short. And this was definitely post layover. So it was like, we're gonna go to all this effort to make a short. Why don't we just make a feature? Like I already am Anders. Amen. And he was like, Okay, sure. So then he went away and started writing. And I went away and did a series for Hulu called South Beach. And then I did another movie called be somebody for a studio 71 and paramount. And then he came back with the script. And then we basically, I was like, Alright, let's make this our next movie. But I want to do it in a very specific way. And I want to do it for very little money.

Alex Ferrari 7:04
Very cool. Now, how did you get the money? Because it's 100. budget?

Joshua Caldwell 7:08
Yeah. So it was basically I went to a company called marvista, who are known for doing I mean, their bread and butter is doing lifetime movies, but they've really started putting their attention and focus on doing some of these under million dollar, really different, you know, exciting, unique edgey type of films. And I had a relationship over there because of layover, and they were interested in doing something with me. And we were having trouble finding the right thing. And I came in with negative and they were like, We don't know, and I said, Well, I only want $100,000 to do it. And they were like, oh, okay, well, we could probably do that. And I said, but the caveat is that I kind of I would like you to leave me alone. And I want to go away and make this from a production standpoint, in a in a very specific way. I don't want to I don't want to be dictated to in terms of how I set up the production of this. I said, that's fine, just come back to us with the movie. And, and so that's what we did. And this was born out of it. This was born out of the other two projects I had done. And what had happened was in making layover, because we were lighting very little, using natural light. We were a very small crew, there was like just a ton of freedom. And there was a ton of time, right? Would you go to location, we'd put a china ball up, we'd start shooting, we'd shoot for eight hours, wouldn't light be lighting for four hours and shooting for four, we would shoot for four hours or eight hours. And we just get a lot of takes and a lot of material. We got to try things and discover things. And it was just a really great way to make a film. And then I went and did these two other projects, which had much bigger budgets. I mean, you know, 150 times the budget of Laos. And yet I feel I felt significantly more constricted because I was I was told Well, you only have you know, in the case of the Hulu series, I only had 15 days to shoot 150 pages of material. In the case of the other movie, I had 12 days to shoot an 80 page script. And so you have you know, what happens is, when you started getting into these under million dollar million dollar $1.5 million scenarios, what everyone is doing is they're taking the sort of traditional production model that they know and love that, that you have on a $10 million movie. And they're scaling it down to your million dollar movie. But what happens is what what you don't lose are the trailers. What you don't lose are the crew, what you don't lose are the equipment and all this stuff, right? What you lose are your shooting days. And your shooting days and time is everything in making a movie as we as we know. And I just realized very quickly that when we were spending so long lighting so long moving so long going from place to place, trying to do so much in one day, that it just wasn't conducive to getting really really great material. You know, you just feel like you're a bit in a factory and you're doing the best you can and you're working Within those constraints, which can be eye opening, and a learning, you know, learning experience, for sure, and people are certainly capable of the year all the stories, but I shot my movie in 10 days, it's like, this is great, you know, and people can do that I really struggle with it, because I really like having time with the actors. And to get the best that we can get. And I'm not yet in a position of working with, you know, those actors that can come in, I mean, Katya and Simon are different, but like, you know, prior to negative, it was sort of like, you know, some, some people struggled with, like only having three takes you needed more time with them just to get great stuff. And it's not their fault, like, it's nothing wrong with them, you just, you really wanted to spend time playing, and trying things and letting them explore it, instead of being like, you just got to say these lines, and you got to do it a couple different times. And we got to go, you know, I just I felt like I was betraying them, the actors in a way. Sure. And I just didn't feel great about the work that I had done. And so when it came to doing negative, I was very specific and saying, we're going to do this a very different way. And I'm going to, I'm going to take away the things that I don't think we're going to need, I'm going to take away the crew, I'm going to take away the trailers, I'm going to take away all the trucks full of equipment, I'm going to take away all this stuff. And instead, I'm going to give us time. So in the case of negative for only $100,000, by the way that that includes posts, so it was about a $75,000 production budget, we shot for 38 days, over six months, over six,

Alex Ferrari 11:24
How did that work? So like, Did you just like on weekends? I mean, how did you do that.

Joshua Caldwell 11:28
So we just, we just sort of did it when we had the time. Like it wasn't so much we had the time because we had a deadline when we had to deliver the movie, but we basically. So prior in the fall of 2015, we started shooting, we started shooting, we hadn't yet gotten the money, we hadn't closed the deal with marvista. But I was like we got to start because I have this other thing I got to do. So like, I'm gonna start shooting all the things that aren't gonna cost us anything. So I'm going to shoot the opening chase scene, we're downtown LA, we don't have permits, so we don't have all the stuff I'm do all this stuff that I know isn't gonna cost us any money to do, or it's gonna cost us so little that I can like get finance it. So we did like, you know, we go, Okay, let's do a couple days stretch, and then we'll take a break. And then we'll do a couple days stretch, take a break. And then in January, we came back and we did like all the motel stuff, you know, and then we took a break. And then we did all that. And then we still we'd sort of like, we do these like week long production gaps or production schedules. And then in between, we'd pick off days here and there. So like, we go up and do a lot of the driving stuff, which driving takes forever, if you're trying to do it on a on a really tight schedule. Like it takes time. So it's like, oh, well just do that. On those days, we don't have anything else to do. And it was basically like, the, you know, our crew is essentially myself, our producer will Borthwick the two actors, and a sound guy, for the most part. And that was it. If we were shooting nighttime, or we were doing sort of sort of bigger scenes, we we'd scale up and we'd bring on a gaffer or we'd bring on, you know, makeup or something like that. But for the most part, we kept the crew really light. So like, all the people going out. I mean, we weren't really paying ourselves. So like everyone going out was basically we paid a sound guy. And that was our that was our cost for the day. You own the gear ready, you own the gear, the car was mine, the actors, you know, we already bought the wardrobe. So like we were renting it. And so a lot of those days were like $100 days, you know, or $200 days. And then we do the other stuff where we're going out and getting a house in Palm Springs and Airbnb seeing it and, you know, scale up and those are the $5,000

Alex Ferrari 13:32
So that so that was another question I wanted to ask you about Airbnb, do you actually just Airbnb a house and then just go shoot?

Joshua Caldwell 13:39
We did. But in this case, we we did get permission.

Alex Ferrari 13:44
Now do you have you've done that before? You're just Airbnb and then just shoot? Yes. And now what's the what's the issue? If you do that from a distribution issue? Because all of a sudden you Airbnb a house, you shoot it? And then you know, a year later, the owner sees his house on a movie? Is that a problem?

Joshua Caldwell 14:03
Is that an issue? It can be I would suggest talking to a lawyer about it. Really what it does, it comes down to a situation where you just don't have a location agreement. So you technically didn't have permission to shoot there. It is, in theory, private property. And, you know, is the owner gonna sue? He might, I don't know, like, that's where your your errors and omissions insurance is supposed to come into play. But they are taking the big taking the position that you know, they're taking the position that you have these agreements in hand and thus are free. So my feeling would be don't do it. either use Airbnb to find places. You know, like, that's great. It's actually a great thing and then contact the owner and say we're interested in filming. You know, we're going to be a small crew. Yeah, like it's going to be four or five people, like you know, and then see if they might charge you a little bit more. You No, in our case, our case he didn't. But you know, it's one of those things where I would if you have money, I would avoid trying to do it. sketch in a sketchy way.

Alex Ferrari 15:12
In a complete unreal way.

Joshua Caldwell 15:14
Yeah. I mean, listen on layover, we did it. You know, nothing's nothing's ever come up on it. You know, we figured the movie was so small that nobody would ever notice. And we've been right. But I would I can't recommend it. Sure. But it is certainly a way of doing it. But my feeling is most owners are cool. What they don't want are 50 people coming into the house, right? And all that stuff,

Alex Ferrari 15:35
Right! Of course, it will be if you have a look, look, I'm gonna shoot some stuff. It's non pornographic. Right? I'm sure. You have to tell them that it's not Oregon that it's non pornographic. And you know, we're shooting this movie. And here we are. And yeah, and if you have a little bit of a track record behind us, you can send it Look, this is my website. This is who I am. I'm a professional,

Joshua Caldwell 15:53
And you know, hop on the phone, like talk to them. Like usually they're, they're cool, you know, and especially if it's a chance to make a little extra money. They just don't want the place trashed,

Alex Ferrari 16:01
Right. That's all they care about. Exactly. Yeah. Now, I did see some scenes in the movie that you actually shot in, in that that message was that little not a little Mexico but that place downtown?

Joshua Caldwell 16:13
What does it call? Yeah, the well there's there's the Chinese market and the town in Chinatown. And then there's the Yeah, what's its square?

Alex Ferrari 16:20
I forget we have the Mexican square. Yes. Where it run right, right across the street from the train station. Union Station. Station. Right. So I you know, I've been there. I've been to both those locations. And when I saw it pop up. I'm like, son of a bitch shot there. And like, how did he and like, and then I'm like, he must have gone there early morning. And got some stuff but then I saw you going inside, like where there's other people other things. And now obviously you don't have you don't have any permits, because that's not cheap. Right? Especially in LA that's what I find your work so amazing. It from from another la perspective, because I know how difficult it is. This is not you know, you know, this is not Wyoming? Like you write it. Everyone's very savvy here. But if you keep a low profile, I'm just curious. How did you finagle that how did you shoot in the in the Mexicans were and also in Chinatown, and like you even went behind the scenes, some places? And you know what? Yeah, so how did you do it?

Joshua Caldwell 17:18
So you just have to be it's the same way we did a lot of stuff on layover, you just have you have to kind of scout everything and have an idea of what you're up against. Right. And so in the case of like, the little square, the Mexican square, we went up there and we had, like, you know, so we should so the first thing we did was we shot on the we shot this pretty much the whole movie on the Canon c 100. Mark two and, and I had basically the Canon camera lens and Shogun recorder, because so in addition to directing this I also defeated right. And, you know, I was I had decided to shoot with a lot as an overlay. And so with the recorder, I was able to see sort of what approximately what the final image was going to look like. Because the lead, I was using really crushed blacks. And I just, I couldn't do it on the fly, like I had to know what I was getting. So But that said, it was still a very small compact package. We're like, if somebody was standing in front of me, you'd never see the camera. So we have that going for us. So the ability to sort of run around LA and just kind of like pick stuff off. You know, was was key because we were moving so quickly that nobody had time to even pay attention to us. And we had such a small camera. And we did not have any boom guys or anything like that that like, you know your attention. But right. You did draw attention to it. Yeah, exactly. In the case of the square, we actually went there. And we we didn't we didn't know that you had to have a permit. We assumed it was just public space. It might be it might not be sure it's not. I've looked. Right. So we basically said, Okay, well, this is what we need. So let's just kind of like put the tripod down. And it was me the tripod, camera producer and the two actors. And we started rolling. And then a guy came up security guard came up. And he was like, Oh, you need to get a permit. Oh, we didn't know that. We're sorry. Hang on, like my producer, why don't you go find out what's going on? So like he what he's like, yeah, you go go talk to this guy. So I was like, Alright, well, we'll just stay here and you go do that. So like, he basically our producer went away to find out what the deal was with getting a permit. And in the meantime, we just kept shooting. Hmm, you know, I just kept saying, like, just keep doing it literally just walk in and go that like, you know, you have to be you have to have communication with your actors, you have to say like, you just need to keep repeating it, I will shoot it, but just keep doing when you get to the end, turn around, walk back and do it again. And I'll get all the coverage of it. You know, and by the time he came back and he said well, yeah, normally you need a permit, like, oh, we're sorry, we didn't know we're just like film students like fucking around. We don't really like, you know, we apologize. We're just doing some tests, you know, just whatever the sort of BS answer is. You know, and then and then you walk away and you got your footage. In the Chinese market. We just kind of walked through it and shot as we went and nobody really paid attention to us and we you know, Just sort of shot these pieces that I then cut together later. Now this into this chase now with that, how do you deal with other people's faces and stuff like that? You just, you either cut it out or you just stay so blurry and so moving base that, you know, you just kind of get away with it.

Alex Ferrari 20:15
Got it? Because Yeah, that's always a concern. If you're shooting in a public place, you got to get permission from people you put it in.

Joshua Caldwell 20:21
Yeah, I mean, that's what we did with layover was, you know, we basically just, I, I tried to keep it so that you didn't never really see people's faces, or I just cut it out. You know? So like, if you see people's faces, we have permission from them. If you don't, and we did

Alex Ferrari 20:35
The same thing for negative. Same thing for negative Yeah. Okay. So if we see, yeah, cuz I saw some guy walked behind you with some iPod and he looked directly into the camera. I'm like, I wonder if they got

Joshua Caldwell 20:46
Maybe, maybe, if you're in a public area, it's different.

Alex Ferrari 20:49
Okay, so if you're in a public area, you're, if you're in a pub? Well,

Joshua Caldwell 20:53
I, again, all these things are like a little sketchy, right? Like, yes, yes. Like, if you're in a public area, like, you know, filming on a public street, and you're like, a small crew, usually you can get away with stuff. And like, people assume that by being in a public area, you're being photographed. Like, it's just, it's just something that that you deal with, again, I'm not a lawyer, I shouldn't be like, you know, consult all this. But in our, in our case, we just, again, what we tried to do was remove obstacles that would put us in a position of not being able to make the movie, you know, got it. And so in this case, it was like, let's just go for it, you know, if we end up having to blur his face, fine, will blur his face? Like,

Alex Ferrari 21:28
Exactly where we crop it or something like that to just

Joshua Caldwell 21:30
Yeah, you know, exactly. You know, in terms of pieces that were like more private, we tried to avoid it if we could. But if we couldn't, then we just hope that like, you know, they're probably not gonna see the movie anyway.

Alex Ferrari 21:46
Now, how did you light scenes, because, you know, you move very quickly, and I'm assuming when you're out there, and you know, you know, shooting without allow a lot permits and things like that you're not really lighting anything. So how did you light scenes that you were having, you did have some control over.

Joshua Caldwell 22:02
So we basically just used very small sources, we have small lighting kit of like, kinos, one by one light panels, you know, we would get, we scale up and get a lighting package of like, you know, some airy 650s and, and things like that. But the goal, the goal for a lot of it especially. So pretty much during the daytime, we didn't, we didn't like we just use natural light. For any of the nighttime stuff, what we tried to really do, what I tried to really do was step into step into a location and say, because I usually would pick the locations for how they looked right, I wouldn't go into any place where like, we're redressing everything, because we didn't have a production designer. So like, for the most in the case of the motel, right? Like the motel we owned, like we went in there, and we got permission, and we own the entire motel during our during our shoot, but what we didn't do is go get a permit to do it. Right? You know, because we're up in the middle of the desert is paying attention. No one's like it. We're a small crew, we don't again, we don't have trucks, we don't have a big footprint. So nobody knows no, if you drove by the motel, you'd have no idea that anybody was shooting. Right? Right. So what we would do is literally just try and make use of what exists, what existed, you know, like, what was already there. And then what I did, and this was one of the reasons I also decided to dp, it was one of the reasons why. One of the things that I was always frustrated by was certainty peace, and I love the DPS I've worked with, but still is that they have a knack for refusing to shoot above 3200 ISO, right? Even on cameras that you know, can handle it. Sure. And I had a belief that we can push, certainly the Canon cameras, but then we could push them far beyond 3200 days, so and still be okay. And what that was going to get us back was time, because it was less time lighting, less time having a crew stand around doing stuff. So I would go into locations, and I would say okay, like it's a little dim at what ISO does this as it is, look work for exposure levels. So so then I've said it if it was like, you know, 15,000 is so it'd be like, Alright, no, we can't do that. But if it was 564 I would I would do that. And then I'd say what do what do we need to add? So I tried to basically make use of what already existed in the space. And then we did either enhance it or take it away depending on what the scene called for. But it was using a lot of practical lighting, a lot of existing licensed lighting, and then you know, is was enhancing it.

Alex Ferrari 24:29
Now when you think about practical lighting, are you adding photo like are you adding like photo bulbs in it, you know, color temperature, you know, corrected bulbs? Are you just using whatever bulbs are in the house?

Joshua Caldwell 24:41
Well, we brought our own bulbs because you know, you just don't know what works but, you know, for the most part you're using what's there. So in the case of like the house, that that they get to Robbie's house that was all just whatever was there. No and then we would bring in a lighter to just to help fill in or take care of whatever was there and You know, in the case of like the motels, like, oh, let's we have a lamp here, like, we'll just we'll just take the bolt out of here we'll put in a bowl that we know is going to be consistent and work. Okay? For our purposes, but you know, with with when you're shooting at a high ISO, you don't need that, you don't have to go back to the 250 watt bulbs anymore. No, you know, you can put in the 60 watts and the 40 watts, and be completely okay. And so it was really trying to just be as fast as possible. So I'd say like, in most cases, we had a couple of lights, just helping to fill stuff in. Okay, so like a lot of China balls a lot, not even a lot of China balls, like I actually kind of like some harder sources. So we found ourselves taking some like 650s and punching him through a window, you know, and also lighting space, like it was very, it's always very important to me, that we try and light as much of the space as we can, as opposed to lighting the actors on a mark, right? Because I just, I don't like confining my actors to a mark. So I like that I like to light a bigger space and let them move within it and have the freedom to explore and try things and then sometimes you're like, Okay, you got to basically stand here. But other times I tried to be very open to it. So it was it was trying to use practical lighting, it was shooting at high ISOs. And it was just trying because I just I I love for me personally, I love realism. I love having something be as gritty and as realistic as as as it can. And so that means mixing color temps that means having imperfect lighting, that means having shadows that means, you know, having all this stuff that normally try and get rid of because I find when you get rid of all that stuff. There's just an artificiality in my own work that I don't like, right, which just I like, feeling like we're there, you know. And that means shooting more handheld, shooting grittier, darker, using things that are messy. I just like messiness, in my own work

Alex Ferrari 26:49
Now with you basically handheld, a lot of the movie yourself. Yeah, I operated the whole movie. Okay, so then you were just holding, basically just holding the camera, did you have a handheld rig? How did you actually do it?

Joshua Caldwell 27:02
It depended. So if we were doing stuff on the down low, it would just be the stripped down version of the camera, no matte box, like nothing like that it was basically the lens. And I use that I would use the 24 to 105 lens, because I could use the autofocus capabilities of the C 100 mark two, so I didn't have to worry about pulling focus. So in that case, it was that in other cases where we were under control or weren't worried about you know, somebody seeing the camera, I have a handheld rig shoulder rig that I build up with follow focus bat box, like the whole nine yards. And then we'd usually operate off of that. And then occasionally we did some stuff on sticks. You know, and then I did one scene with steady cam, which I didn't ever do again, but not with steady camera with a gimbal or with sorry, with a Glock was with a glide cam. Okay, high that I operated. But it just it just was like how much harder than I thought. I mean, I've done it, but it was harder on this than I thought it was going to be done. Like I'm just going to handle this for the rest of the time.

Alex Ferrari 28:03
Got it. Got it. Now, how did you record audio, which is a big thing. I know sometimes it when you're out on the street, I noticed that most of that stuff is MLS or not sound

Joshua Caldwell 28:14
Right. So you know we would either just go MLS, you know and know that what my sound designers would fill it in later. Or we would have them labs. And then it would be like going to a like h4 n recorder that I would carry in a bag with me. So like the scene where they walk through Union Station, right? Like there's a dialogue scene there. That was that they were already lagged. And they basically just did I just told them as soon as we get in that great hall, you got to do your lines.

Alex Ferrari 28:45
And once How was it shooting at Union? Did they get any shit?

Joshua Caldwell 28:49
Oh, no. Because literally what you see in the movies, the one take that we did you just walk you just walking. We just walked Yeah, we basically the route that they take where they get on the train in Chinatown. They ride the train, they get off in Union Station, they get out, they walk through the tunnel, they walk through the great hall and they walk outside. Like that was literally me just filming the entire time. Like we just did the route. And then I just recorded it. And then No, I knew I was just going to cut it up. Right Of course I just kept the camera rolling to keep all this stuff and get all this great, you know, all this great material. And then we added stuff like the drone shots of the subway and things like that. Metro and so. So in that case, like No, I was just like, Listen, when we get into Union Station, you got to do your dialogue lines. They're like okay, and we had them lagged and we got when we got and I knew Okay, I'll stay on their back. So like if we have to will EDR it, you know, like all I can add it in later. So we do something like that. And then in other cases where we were under control or we weren't worried about anybody coming in, you know, getting pissed at us or finding us we basically had we hired a sound guy to come out and actually lab them correctly and boom it and do all that stuff. Now did you and did you actually just drop the recorders like in their pocket while they're walking or was it all wireless? It was wireless and then wireless labs out The recorder which was in my bag, and I was like always right behind them. And then, you know, they just had the lab sort of tucked into their pocket.

Alex Ferrari 30:08
That's awesome.

Joshua Caldwell 30:09
Yeah, it's like, you know, you're just, you're just hiding it, you know, you're just they're just always miked. And you're just like you're subversively like, Okay, guys, I just need you to clap, like, just do a clap really quick, you know, and like, whatever. And I was, again, it's like, you get just get, you just get like, you're listening. You're taking a risk. I understand that. But like in low budget, I'm like, why not? Like, what do you have to lose? Like, you have to go reshoot the scene somewhere else? Like, all right, big deal. You know, like, people just don't care. Ultimately, they don't care. What they don't want you to do is messing up the space messing with customers, like, you know, or be blamed not

Alex Ferrari 30:41
They're being blatant about it.

Joshua Caldwell 30:43
Yeah, they're not out hunting you down after the movie has been made. Because like, frankly, they don't know. They know. Like, there was a movie negative that shot a parking garage and they had permission or not have permission. I don't know. Like, are the records of that? No, like, I mean, there might be permanent records, but I can't imagine they're totally complete. You know, and I can't imagine that somebody whose full time job is trapped, going and watching movies and saying, did we permit that scene?

Alex Ferrari 31:04
Right! Yeah, no one no one ever. Yeah, that never happens.

Joshua Caldwell 31:07
And also, frankly, like, you know, what I've learned is with a permit, a permit just gives you the right to be there at that moment. Hmm, it's not a binding contract. Like, you know, you have to have a location agreement. If it's a public thing, you can get away with it. You know, if it's not a public thing, like, like the highlight, track you down, they might not track you down. But again, it's like, you want to make your move. You're not, you know, like, amen.

Alex Ferrari 31:28

Joshua Caldwell 31:28
I mean, it's, to me, it's like the whole old, the old Werner Herzog thing of like, you know, learn to forge.

Alex Ferrari 31:33
Yeah, like, keefer. He used to forge his permit, like, Yeah, he's like a permit or something like that he forged literally, and he had, like, a military general in front of him or something.

Joshua Caldwell 31:43
Yeah, exactly. You know, and so, to me, really what this is, and, you know, it's sort of depends, you know, whatever your ultimate opinion of the movie, what I'm also trying to do is just provide a I'm sort of taking the lead on a different way of doing things that sort of creates, gets away from this idea of like, you don't have money, you can't make something scope. Yes, you know, and a lot of that involves breaking rules. And like, you know what, let's just do it. You know, they're not paying attention.

Alex Ferrari 32:10
No, I mean, I was I was when I was shooting a scene for my movie going up to the Hollywood sign. I was deathly afraid. I was like, it was just me and a camera and my two actors, and right, and I was, I was definitely afraid I was gonna get caught and then halfway up the hike. I'm like, hey, nobody coming. No, you literally could bring a steady camera up there. By the time they show up. You've got the shots, right?

Joshua Caldwell 32:34
Exactly. Yeah, by the way, like, it's weird because cameras nowadays are just so small over the place there. Yeah, so Well, everyone is filming. Right? Right. re one is filming vloggers everyone's got stickers. Yeah. So filming like people just it's just everywhere. And so it's just one of those things where people just have stopped paying attention. And you know, are you kidding me? Like you think like the bureaucracy of La has somebody like really trying to find out like if you had permission to shoot no exam, said that said it's frustrating the LA makes it so difficult. I have a buddy of mine who just did who just did shooting a web series good friend of mine college roommate, he lives in New York and he just shot a web series he was in Times Square with like a full airy rig sound guy no deal. No. And, and, and a guy in a mascot outfit. And I said How did you get away with that? He's like, Well, basically New York has now said that like if your handheld. And you're not putting any equipment down, down. You can shoot anywhere public in any public space. That's actually looting Time Square.

Alex Ferrari 33:33
That's actually the law in LA. I found it right. As long as

Joshua Caldwell 33:38
That's why I was able, that's why I was able to get away with a lot of stuff I got away with, right? As long as you don't put sticks down. Second, you

Alex Ferrari 33:43
Put stuff down, you're done, then Yep. And again, you're you're like

Joshua Caldwell 33:46
Under a certain amount of people. Like you can't have like 20 people around you. Right? Like so if you're like, if you're three, four people or some

Alex Ferrari 33:53
Yeah, if you got two or three people with you, and you're just walking around with a camera, you get away with a lot. And legally, legally, you can get away with a life illegally.

Joshua Caldwell 34:01
Exactly. And so but you know, and the funny part is about my friends experience because you think Times Square, it's like impossible, right? So they're not gonna lie. I was. That's an airy rig for God's sakes. I know, the biggest thing they got in trouble for was their mascot, who was like, you know, he was one of those like, furry characters. And they're like, they almost Yeah, he was not in the space that they were supposed to be in. Like, you know, mascots. The features in Time Square have to be in a certain space, right? So a cop came over and he's like, you're not allowed to be in here. And they're like, well, we were with the camera. And he's like, no, the furry guy, he's got to go into the green box. And so like basically, they just went over to the green box and they shot their movie. You know, so it's like so LA. Yeah, so I didn't know that but but even just the permitting process in LA is such a nightmare. We have a nightmare for another sequence that we actually did permit to shoot out of sequence and it was just such a headache.

Alex Ferrari 34:55
Did you and you shot but it was out in the desert.

Joshua Caldwell 34:58
It was out in the desert but what happened was It was within a certain number of feet from a neighborhood and has gone cuz we were going to be firing blanks in the middle of the night past a certain time, we had to go to the neighborhood, and we had to go around and do what's called a survey cheese, you have to get the it's not getting permission. It's just literally going around and saying, Hey, we're gonna be firing off weapons, like in dropping stuff at their door and saying, like, we just want to make you aware, don't acknowledge that you've been told this and don't call and they'll call the police. Right. And so the funny part was, first of all, you have to go do this. And we found this out the week before we were going to be shooting. So I'm driving up to this area, which is like an hour and a half outside of LA, and doing all these like surveys and you have to have like a 60% response rate. Right, like 60% of the neighborhood. You want all these half these homes are like derelict. Yeah, and like nobody lives there. Right. And then the other half, I'm getting them and they're like, Yeah, whatever. Like people are shooting guns up here all the time. Right, right. So they don't care. And then la goes la film goes up. And they they put the pert The, the notice of film Yeah. And everyone's boxes, and then they charge you for it.

Alex Ferrari 36:11
Of course they do.

Joshua Caldwell 36:12
And then we finally go to shoot and we had a sort of down the hill from where we were shooting, we're shooting up on this mountain top that was kind of this, like it was sort of in a bowl, bit of a bowl. And sort of on the mountain that was close to the neighborhood. I mean, as far away as like more than half a mile but like the we had an RV for actors and sort of base camp. And so as we started doing the weapons, we would we radio down and we're like do you guys hear any of this? They're like, No, we can't hear anything. So like just ended up becoming this massive headache and you know, la film, you know, it's just profiting for us. They are ridiculous, the ridiculousness, the high fees, so we're just like, fuck it, like why even bother? Like, it's like sag? You know, it's like, you don't have to go through them. Like, why go through them? Like, what's the incentive? Like, they're not helping you. They're not making your life easier. They're making it more difficult. And the only reason we did it was because we were doing playing fire weapons. So we just had to we owed a responsibility towards that process. But if you were shooting, we weren't gonna try and sure, but if it were just oh, we shot your songs are so much

Alex Ferrari 37:10
yeah, I'm gonna but if you're just gonna shoot like airsoft weapons that have no sound you could you could get away with it. Right? Right. Like if you have a nice recoil, put some, some VFX in and you're out the door.

Joshua Caldwell 37:20
Right. But you know what? I was like, we have money. We're gonna Oh, yeah, you

Alex Ferrari 37:23
Have $100,000? Like, yeah,

Joshua Caldwell 37:24
Do no take it personally. I personally wanted to, but a lot of the, by the way, a lot of that a lot of the other parts of the film, aside from that shootout, those are airsoft weapons. You know, so we went that route for sure. Yeah, I mean, I was doing that when we were doing things subversively. And we didn't have like time and we didn't want to hire sheriff. We want

Alex Ferrari 37:41
To hire all this. you imagine? And you had to hire? I'm assuming you had to hire police at that that night, or no,

Joshua Caldwell 37:47
We did that we Yeah, we had to have a sheriff come out. You know, and they, of course, like we had to dispute with them. Because like, you know, they were like, well, it's this much. And then he had to like drive back. And we're just like, but you like why you're telling us you're charging us more because you couldn't find a deputy within 60 minutes of like, the location? Like, why is that our problem? You know, and so it's like, it's just it's everybody's out with got their handout when you start doing stuff like that, which is why movies end up costing so much.

Alex Ferrari 38:13
Right! And then that's why filmmakers can't make money and then they stop making movies.

Joshua Caldwell 38:17
Yeah, so it's like, part of it's like, you know, what, what subvert the system a bit, you know, in order to get the movie made, and let's see, if we get what we could get away with can't get away with it, we'll put a little money into it. But it was just it ends up constricting you in ways that I understand. I get it, but at the same time, like, why not try some do something different?

Alex Ferrari 38:37
Now? You know, you got to have that kind of pirate attitude about it, you know, like, kind of think so I mean, low budget stuff, you've got to you know, and that's what I love about your story with negative is that you took that pirate attitude and added 100 because 100 that $400,000 movie $100,000 kind of action spy movie. And yeah, on top of that, though, if you would have tried to shoot this movie, in the traditional standpoint, with a regular crew, and regular everything, you would have never made it

Joshua Caldwell 39:07
Never never, it would have been wait one it would have been too expensive. You would have had to have way more of the budget. or two, it would have been the whole movie would have been in Ronnie's house. Right? Exactly. It just it just you because you end up paying for it. The problem is, like I said, go into that. But back to that production model. What you lose is the stuff that ends up appearing on screen, you don't lose the stuff that's like, surrounding the set, you know, the trucks, the trailers, the actors apps in their trailer and air conditioning and all this stuff. Like, you know, you end up losing all the time to get the really great stuff in the scope. You know, in this movie, like you saw, it's like a road movie. I mean, we we did the road trip, right? It's like a couple 100 bucks to drive to Arizona and back. And meanwhile, we got all this great stuff. We got them driving into Phoenix, like we were able to get all these things that like in a normal movie would have been way too much of a pain for somebody to figure out how to do that.

Alex Ferrari 39:55
And you also had a couple actors who were really gained for all this there. I mean, in your experience, working with actors are they all, you know that you've worked with? You know, you tell them right up about like, Look, this is what we're doing. We're doing this on the download. We're doing this on a pirate style guerilla style. Are you cool with it? Oh, yeah, for sure. Because then they all love it. They do, don't they? They all do love it, don't they?

Joshua Caldwell 40:16
They love so like, you know, I mean, you know, like with with Sebastian who plays Sebastian rochet plays Roddy. Like, we're like, Yeah, man, come out to Palm Springs. We'll shoot you for two days. And then you're done. He's like, awesome, you know, and it's a fun role. It's like a role he doesn't get to play gets to do a fight scene, you know, in the case of katene Simon, like, I mean, they were there from the beginning. They were there before we had a script, right? I was attached to do another movie with them. And it was taking forever. And I said, Would you guys like to do something kind of like layover, which is they both seen and loved. And that's what got me attached to the other movie we were doing. And which funny enough that other movie which couple million dollars, like, sadly didn't work out, you know, as most things do. But in the meantime, I got I got them. And I said, Would you like to do a sort of layover style movie, that's this spy thriller, you know, and I told Kati, I'm like, you're gonna get to play a character that you're not getting pitched for, and you're not getting cast for. And with Simon, it was like, you know, an opportunity to do a really different character to work with Katya. And I'm like, you know, we're just gonna, you guys will have ownership of the film. And we're just gonna go do it. And it's like, really pirate way. And like you said, and they were like, totally game for it. I mean, they were, they were awesome. never complain, never had problems, even when they're, when we're in the desert in the middle of like, you know, it's 30, it's 22 degrees and freezing in January, like they were out there like doing it, and they were loving it. Because what I said to them was, what you're not going to have is a trailer and you're not gonna have all these other things that you can get on the other shows you do, what I'm going to give you is time, and I'm giving give you an opportunity to really explore these characters to really like, be a part of this process. And to feel like you're gonna leave each day feeling like you didn't, never feeling like you didn't get it, you know, because they, they came from the world of CV, doing stuff, we're like, you know, khaki on Sleepy Hollow, they do three takes, and they're moving on, right? You know, and so I said, like, we're gonna, we're gonna take the time to do it. Because what I do with with way I the way I work, everything I do with in terms of like, you know, using existing lighting, not setting marks using a lot of handheld. What it's all designed for, beyond a certain stylistic approach is what it's designed for. It's designed to give the actors the freedom to do really great stuff. It's to not constrict them in any way. It's all about the actors. And then I step around the actors with the camera to figure out what the best thing is, for the camera to do. But it starts with the actors in the blocking in the scene, and giving them freedom to move and freedom to try things. And then I capture that. That's what I tried to do. That's the try to stage them for a camera, that may not be the place that gives them the most freedom, and then they're thinking too much about it. They're like, Am I hitting my marks? Am I doing this? Am I doing that? And of course, there's some of that, of course, yeah, it's all. It's all designed to allow actors to try and give the best performance that they possibly can. And that's, that was the Kubrick model,

Alex Ferrari 43:12
You know, did the exact same thing he would he's he never have a shot list. He would just show up on the day and go, alright, let's work it out. And that was the other thing that he really wanted time. Yeah, everyone always thought that he was this crazy man, but he wasn't he actually just stripped it down to what do I need. And that gives me the extra 60 days that I get to see and play.

Joshua Caldwell 43:33
Exactly, because that's what's the most valuable thing is that's what everybody's always fighting for. Right? Like everybody, you're always on a clock. And if you can just strip away some of those things like I, I don't think we ever shot a full 12 hour day on this movie. And except for the fight scene, the fight scene, because we did it all on one day. But I never left a day feeling like we didn't get it. Right. And I've left other projects feeling like we just didn't have time to really get it. You know, and I know that. And on this one, I was like, I don't want that to happen, which is why I approached it the way I did, and why I only went after $100,000 because I wanted enough money to actually make it like that. I knew we'd need to make it but I wanted so little that whoever gave it to me, they weren't going to be able to pay attention. You know, right, they weren't gonna have the time to devote to maintaining 100 you know, keeping an eye on $100,000 movie,

Alex Ferrari 44:19
Right! And they have the confidence based on your track record and what you've done right that you'll be able to deliver.

Joshua Caldwell 44:25
Right! In fact the funny part now is marvista comes back and they go Man, I wish we've given you a little bit more money. Write exactly like not because we didn't have anything but they were like what we what could you have done if you had an extra 50 grand or like you know, something like that? Well, let's

Alex Ferrari 44:39
Talk about the next movie then. Right? Yeah, exactly. Well, that's what we're doing. That's what we're doing. Now you you talk a little bit about sag Can you explain to the listeners how you dealt with sag because that can be a bit of a pain when it comes to filmmakers. You know, they're wonderful for actors, but they can be a little bit a little bit tough to deal with. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. So what was how did you approach sag in this project?

Joshua Caldwell 45:16
So I mean, I've always had a great relationship with sag in the past, like, I've always, I've never really had any problems with them. I know people have, but I've never really suffered through issues accepted, like, I made a mistake. And I didn't pay the P and H. And I thought I did and like, whatever, you know, and then they then they come after you. But in terms of this, I did the same thing that I did on layover, which is I went through the sag new media agreement. And they are they're obviously getting, they're sort of cracking down because obviously people are taking advantage. But basically the premises if you're if your film is or project is going to premiere online, then you're allowed to go through the sag new media agreement. The reason why I go through is one, I don't know if this movie was ever going to get the utricle. Right, and it didn't. So good thing, I didn't bother going through the theatrical ultra low budget agreement, right? Because it would have been a waste of time. So I go through sag new media because one, you don't have to escrow your actors, fees, your actor fees, so so if you go through like ultra low budget theatrical, you have to take the same Yep, if you have to take 100% of your actor fees. And you have to reserve it to pay your actors. And then you have to take down that amount again, and you have to give it to sag and sag basically holds on to it to guarantee that your talent is going to get paid. You don't get that money back until you turn in all the paperwork, and you've executed all the documents that sag requires. In order to get that money back on an ultra low budget movie, there's a ton of paperwork they have to deal with. I made that mistake. On layover, I initially applied for ultra low budget because I was like, Well, what else do I do? And my buddy was like, No, do you sag new media. So say new media has very simple paperwork, it's very clear, it's easy to understand. They have a situation where you can negotiate your fees or defer the fees with the actors. Now what I do is I don't do that. Because one, we have money in the budget. So there's no reason not to pay your actors and not to pay your crew. And what we do is we basically pay the actors the minimum required by the next contract up, which is I believe, the ultra low budget or something like that, which is 100 or 125 a day, whatever it is. So that's what we pay our actors, even though we don't have to. And we do that. Because if the movie were to get the article, we don't then owe a bunch of money to actors in order to get that theatrical distribution. We basically can call sag, we can scale up to the next agreement. We don't have to do anything other than inform sag that we've now had a theatrical which changes how the residuals get doled out. The other thing is you don't have to bribe proof of insurance. You don't have to provide like all these other things. It's a much simpler process to getting your movie made. And if you do end up getting theatrical? Well, it's a very simple process of scaling up to the next the next contract provided that you pay the actors the minimum that that contract then requires.

Alex Ferrari 48:04
Now what what about with the new media? Is there a residual situation there or not?

Joshua Caldwell 48:10
Ah, that's a good question. I'm trying to remember if there is,

Alex Ferrari 48:13
I don't think there is

Joshua Caldwell 48:15
I don't think there is but I could be wrong. Sure. And trust my my opinion,

Alex Ferrari 48:19
They always check it out. Yeah.

Joshua Caldwell 48:21
Yeah, this the fortunate thing is like, you know, with, with new media, there's also minimums, like in terms of like, how much you're spending per minute, that's like, we never got close to a lot of money. It's a lot of money. And so you know, but I found that sag has always been very helpful. And I basically always start off with any project at this stage, you know, these types of films, saying, I don't know if it's gonna get the article, I'm just gonna go through new media. This is the project I log in, you know, I sign up for the project and provide the the company papers, whatever they need. And they get they basically, you know, give me the docs and say, send it in when you're done.

Alex Ferrari 48:56
And I and then you did you have opened up an LLC for this company.

Joshua Caldwell 49:00
I'm just curious. Yeah, this one we did. Yeah. So we opened up an LLC, but with a

Alex Ferrari 49:05
Layover, you did your own production company. layover. We did it through our own production company. Okay, my production company. Yeah. Got it. Now, though. Just Yeah, just for protection, as far as you know.

Joshua Caldwell 49:15
Yeah. Yeah. But this one, this one, this one, we had different ownership structures. So what I did on this was, you know, again, like myself, Adam games who wrote the movie, kaki and Simon, like, you know, we paid ourselves a little bit of money, but not a lot, you know. So and I knew that going in, I said, this is not a move. This is not a project where we're all making money. So, you know, just to make everything fair, here's what we're gonna do, we're all going to have a fifth ownership of whatever profit participation that we get out of marvista. You know, so whatever the money gets, that gets made by you know, by the film will split evenly five ways. So that also made it better for us to go through a different, you know, through go through a unique LLC, in order to just maintain that ownership structure, but that was also one one thing. We did was saying I can't pay any money but we all have equal shares.

Alex Ferrari 50:03
Right! And they're doing it because they want to do it. Exactly. Yeah. That they're working. I always Yeah, Mark Polish shoes.

Joshua Caldwell 50:10
No, you mine and has we talk every now and then he his whole thing is like if an actor asked how much they're getting paid, they don't actually want to do your project.

Alex Ferrari 50:20
That's a very good team. I'm friends with Michael polish. And yeah, and I talked to him about his movie. For lovers only, which was, you remember that one? Yep. Yeah, that is fire. That was an inspiration for layover. Yeah. And it's an inspiration. It was an inspiration for my movie. Meg, you know, this is Meg. And it was just like, these guys just went out and to Paris. Yeah, it's just not. And then Ty is shot an entire movie, basically just the two of them and her. Yeah. And occasionally the sound guy would show up. I was like, What? And they made half a million with it. Which is not which is that? No, it's not bad at all. I'd take it. Now you've got four, you said about four to five crew members. Were at the top, a top end as far as production can again, can you break down what those crew members were and what they did specifically? So people have an idea?

Joshua Caldwell 51:12
Yeah, so I like I said, so I directed it. And Cameron peated. IDP did as well and operated. So that's two roles that I then took on. We'd have a producer, you know, will who would show up and kind of help out and you do everything from slating a scene to, you know, wrangling things to helping light you know, I mean, it was an all in process for all of us. And then we had a sound guy who pretty much just focused on the sound, which is all I wanted to doing. And that was like the core group of us. And then I'd say that was like 60% of the time. That was that was the crew, you know, and Adam would come by set and he'd help out. And then we scale up to sort of the next level. And that would include like having a guy who was a gaffer, so he come out and like basically helped us like help take on some lighting for myself, so I could work with the actors. We'd have, we are a stunt guy, because we did a number of stunts. So we had this great, great stunt coordinator named Daniel Llosa, Sarah who's like, I mean, right now he's working with Tom Cruise on Mission Impossible six, like, awesome, awesome, dude. But he was trying to get into coordinating and he's a great fight coordinate. So like he ended up not only doing the fight coordination for the fight that's in the movie, but he also would come out and handle help with any stunts, you know, that we would do. And then we would on some of this stuff later in the movie when Kati is like all beat up and bruised. Like, you know, we have a makeup guy who would come up with a good job, by the way, that makeup look great. Great. Yeah, the makeup guy was so fantastic. And obviously did us a huge favor, coming out with some in doing some of that stuff. And then let's see. And then I think after that it was like our big shootout day where we'd have an armor and we had a couple gaffers and grips like to come out and help move lights. That was a big but today, that was the big budget day big budget weekend rather. Yeah. And but that was as big as it got. I mean, maybe 1015 people total on set on on the biggest days. And that was Yeah, because you were doing basically a full blown action sequence. Yeah, exactly.

Alex Ferrari 53:14
Now, can you give any, you know, tips like go two tips for shooting on locations without a permit? That you like you have to do this? You have to do this? You have to do this?

Joshua Caldwell 53:26
Yeah, okay, so you got to strip down the camera to as small as possible. You got to scout that location as much as you can different times of the day or at the time of day when you want to shoot. So you have to have a really I mean, you have to have a great understanding of of what the scenario is in that location right if you're in the middle of the desert, fine. But if you're trying to shoot downtown What's it look like? You know, they're cops around like if you try and walk in and start shooting at a central station, it's like a heist. You got a case to join. And and I begin an example of this right is, is the scene in layover where they're, they're looking out over the city, they're sitting on the lookout. That was shot at the lookout over Mulholland because that was the best point of view. Now what I knew was I knew a couple things from having gone up there. A couple of days in scouting, I knew that it was the last location on the Park Police route for when they close down the park. I knew that the sunset about eight o'clock. And they didn't close it until about 1030. So I knew I'd probably have about an hour hour and a half to shoot the scene, meaning I needed all the blue out of the sky. You know, so like I'd have an hour an hour and a half. I also knew that people were up there all the time. And they were taking pictures and they were talking and they were all that stuff. So what that led me to conclude was I knew I could pull this off. I knew that the way I had to do it was I could only shoot their backs. I couldn't shoot any of the actual performance because I I'd have talking and flashbulbs and all this stuff going on. And I'd have probably an hour to get it done. So that gave me a couple takes. And so I was able to go up there and shoot that because I had a very clear understanding of of what the location situation would be when I got there. Right. So like, when you're shooting gorilla, no permits, you just got to have a really great, it's funny, you've got a case to join, you got to have a great understanding of like, what the situation is going into it, especially if you're, if you're spending money to do it, meaning you got to rent a camera and you got to do whatever and you're paying actors, and you're actually spending money to like get out there. So that's also important. And I think it's it's also in the design of the film, which is which is don't try to do it with scenes that are six pages of dialogue. You know, you gotta go You gotta go back to the French New Wave.

Alex Ferrari 55:48
So no, no Sorkin no Sorkin walk and talk

Joshua Caldwell 55:51
No, sir. No, sir, can walk and talk unless you're going to do long lens, you know, when you're in a car, you know, trying to like shoot out onto the square and across the street, what you get, yeah, across the street. No, you need to you need to, you know, plan the scenes so that you're not having to do cakes, you're not having to do performance, like the chase scene that we did. I never went back and shot the same area twice. Like I get one shot of this section, one shot at this section, one shot of this section, we just kept moving, you know, just kept moving through it. And I knew I would cut it up. You know, and I knew at the at the least I had a quick little sequence, you know, that I could I had something that I could cut up. Same with layover in the club. You know, we went into a club scene where we had permission to be in the club, but we had no permission to turn music off. He had no permission to change the lights. We didn't have permission to do anything. So I knew that wouldn't that would be the case. So I wrote a scene that didn't require performance and didn't require takes. So reserved those things, those scenes, you know, the scenes where you're doing public stuff, try and just limit what you have to accomplish and then really know how you're going to accomplish it in a way that's not going to require you to do tons of coverage, multiple takes those things that are continued continuing to draw your draw attention to your scene. Also, another tip is don't have that like nonpermanent location be the only possible place that you can shoot that scene. Right. Right. So like in layover, like our negative, we have the parking garage, you know, which they go to to get the car. Well, I really love that parking garage because of the view of downtown LA and really wanted to use that one. But it could have been any parking garage. Sure.

Alex Ferrari 57:29
So not so no shootouts. So no shootouts at Union Station. Exactly. That's a Union Station.

Joshua Caldwell 57:33
Do not have your characters even carry fake weapons. Are you kidding me? You know, but the funny part is so like for you know, and then and then you got to kind of this is actually Well, I'll get into this after I finish the tips. But basically, it's like, you know, just don't don't have the location, the the physical location meaning like, the specific location be dependent, be the only place to shoot that, you know, have options, because if you get kicked out of one, you don't want your entire movie, your entire scene, dependent on on it being that specific place, right? You know, so it's, to me the biggest secret to like non permitted guerrilla shooting. It's all in the design of your script. And your story, you know, has very little to do with like production. I mean, because you're just taking a camera and hoping you get what you get. But you need to be in a position where you can shoot a scene that is just getting what you get. And that comes from how do you design the script? We're able to take advantage of that stuff.

Alex Ferrari 58:28
Yeah, it's the mariachi style of doing things like you know what you have access to a What do you know, you can control everything around it?

Joshua Caldwell 58:35
Right? Exactly. Like the car for example, in our film, like, you know, it's a Volvo station wagon. Why is it a Volvo station wagon? Because I own a Volvo station wagon. You know, like, that's why it was and I was just like, Oh, well, Katya is like Swedish. There'll be a fun nod to that. And it just feels like an odd choice. And I'm going to go with it. Because you know, play in the movie is like an odd choice. It's just kind of fun. You know, that it's like a very specific car. You know, but it's one of those things where it's like, it's certainly using what you have. Because if you own the camera, if you own the car, if you own the actors, so to speak, like you can go shoot whenever you want. We did we did the car scenes just on a whim, you know, we'd be like, Hey, what are you guys doing Thursday, you want to go up and get this? You know, scene 18 it's car scene. They're like, Yeah, sure. You know, and that's what allowed us to really go out and get that stuff without feeling constrained by schedule. Right, you know, and then and then we own the drone like part of our budget was we just bought an inspire one drone and that gave us the freedom to take that out and shoot whenever we needed.

Alex Ferrari 59:34
The drone shots really add a tremendous amount of production value.

Joshua Caldwell 59:38
Thank you. Yeah, that was I mean, again key right like your big helicopter shots with these drones now you can really take advantage of it and it's it's just being really smart with how you use it and the quality

Alex Ferrari 59:48
Of the image was really good.

Joshua Caldwell 59:50
Yeah, it's great. I mean, it was the standard you know, a couple of them we ended up having that Micro Four Thirds camera cuz Santiago Salvy che who plays one of the Hitman In the movie, he's also a filmmaker in his own right. And he has a whole production company. And he's like a, he's like a actually drone pilot. So he did, he did a number of the shots in there in the film. And then I also did some of my own with the with their own drone.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:12
So it seems that the the key to this is not to be afraid of dogma and not to be afraid of just trying to break the mold, because people are so caught up with the way they teach things in film school, that you have to do it this way, this way, this way, this way. And I remember when I told people that I was going to do my movie, that people in the industry, they just look at you like, what? Right? I'm sure I'm sure you get that dog in headlights, or that deer in headlights look all the time, like, what did it get it?

Joshua Caldwell 1:00:47
Well, it's funny, because like, I've had meetings where people have seen negative and then they go we you know, really, you know, we'd love to do something like negative but like, you know, obviously we have like protocols and, you know, stuff that we can't just like, go do it the way you did it. I'm like, what the permits, like, I don't care. Like if you guys need to protect yourselves get the permits, I didn't get permits, because I didn't have the money. Right? You know what I mean? Like pay for permits, like, I have no problem with that, like get location agreements, do it all legal? I have no problem against doing it like that. Just budgets gonna go. You know what I'm trying to find out figure out in my own head as I because the other thing too, right? Like is how do you scale up this model? And it's not necessarily possible, you know, to suddenly shoot for six months on and off, although that's pretty much like, well, Mission Impossible does. But it's it's that kind of thing, where, how do you scale it up? And what I'm less looking at, I'm looking at more is how do I bring this style and this approach to scenes where I do have closed sets, scenes where I do have extras walking around scenes where I do have control, and yet create a feeling of not having had control because that really speaks to me in a unique way. But it also puts me in a position where I can always go and make a movie, if I can get $100,000 to

Alex Ferrari 1:01:59
Write or if you know, and that's

Joshua Caldwell 1:02:01
What I've always wanted to protect. I never wanted to be really beholden to anybody else in order to go make a film, you know, because that's your key. That's how you get, that's how you move forward. You're always waiting on somebody else, then you're always in a position, you're never in a position

Alex Ferrari 1:02:14
Of power. Now. Okay, so anyway, you know, so like, so after layover, you know, you've got your agents at CAA. And you got a couple other jobs. How are you? You know, can you just kind of walk through the kind of blueprint of how your career has progressed from making a $6,000 movie up into where you are right now, just so people understand listening? That like this is, you know, it's not going to be for everybody, but at least people can have an idea of like, where you could go by just getting out doing something?

Joshua Caldwell 1:02:46
Yeah, you know, it's been a challenging path, because I made layover, and a lot of goodwill came out of layover, and I got a lot of meetings and a lot of, you know, again, like, negative came out of layover, the person, the executive at marvista had seen layover and wanted to make something with, you know, but it took took two years before I had that project. You know, so I then I got I got hired to do this here series for se series called South Beach on Hulu, which was like, again, like, million dollar budget, you know, like, I spent seven months in Miami, you know, I got paid, like, way more than the entire budget of layover, you know, like, go and direct this thing. And it was, you know, I put a lot into it. And I certainly made some mistakes, from my point of view, in terms of some choices I made stylistically that I feel, it wouldn't let me it would have made me feel better about the outcome of the project. But um, you know, I put my heart and soul into it and put a lot of work into it, I sort of, in the same time saw sort of the limitations of the approach that we were taking, not having control over the writing, not being a producer on it, not having, you know, a sort of a say in how the money gets spent,

Alex Ferrari 1:03:59
You're hired, hired hand

Joshua Caldwell 1:04:01
Over hired him, but it's a job. And I went into it going great, like it's going to be on a it's going to be on a major digital network, you know, it's going to have promotion behind it, like it's going to get out there. This is exciting. This is cool. And then it gets finished and comes out. And you know, there's a regime change at Hulu. They're not paying their they don't care about your project anymore. You're not promoting it. The guy that, you know, fun, sort of produced it dolphin entertainment, like he's already made his money. So he doesn't want to put more money into it to like promote it. And it basically dies. I mean, literally, it's like a black hole. I mean, nobody has heard of this show. Yeah. Which is, you know, for me a bit of a blessing in disguise because I'm really happy with my own work on it. But in a way or weird way, I've been able to fail without it having any kind of like, impact on me, right. But it was really disappointing to sort of see it, see nothing come of it and feel like I was no further along in my career than I was before I had made it except I have a little bit of money in my pocket, which didn't feel worth it. Which is easy to say when you have a little bit of money in your pocket. But like, from a artistic point of view, it was it was a bit soul crushing. And it really, it ended up sending me on a journey of introspection and meditation on my career and what I wanted to be doing. And, you know, what does success mean to me? You know, and, and I basically, then the following Later that year, that was June 20 2015, when it came out later that year, I got hired to do another sort of digital film called be somebody, which would be my second feature. And again, a job, you know, and took it because I, you know, to be frank, I needed money. And yet, you know, did the best I could with it. I mean, I, you know, I'm not phoning these in, I'm really trying to give myself to them and spend a lot of time rewriting it. But again, it did just, even though it got released by Paramount, it was one of those movies creatively where I feel like it was not set up for success. You know, it just wasn't online in LA, it was more about getting it done, you know, I 12 days to shoot the movie, you know, working with severe limitations, and kind of started to really go like, is this, what I want to be doing is this, what's the point of this, you know, like these things where you're just churning it out, and there's no real artistic nature behind it. And there's, they're not well, not that they didn't want that, but they weren't willing to provide the resources and the time to really do it. You know, and, and then, you know, and that really led me to doing negative and negative now, you know, it's interesting, I finished negative last year in June. And so it's been now more than a year waiting for it to come out. So I was still come out comes out September 19. Okay, so it gets released on digital HD and on demand, and the whole digital package. Netflix will come later. But yeah, it's available September 19. So it's finally out. So my hope is what is this turned into, but a lot of last year has been, you know, sort of development on some digital series, you know, working with CIA to sort of figure out the next feature, figure out the next thing me writing, I wrote a feature that we've taken out, I'm adapting a new, I'm adapting a graphic novel now. You know, and a lot of it has been me sort of stepping back from the sort of self imposed pressure to produce that I felt over the last couple years, I'm a guy who loves being on set, I love shooting, and I feel when I'm not shooting, that I'm not doing anything. And I get itchy, and I get unhappy, and I get frustrated. And I just want to go, go go. And I think that, that leads me to places of, of working on things that aren't quite ready to be gogogo. Got it. You know, it's a quality issue now, for me. And so what I'm trying to really do is now step back, find other sources of income. So I'm not beholden to just taking jobs to take them because I need the cash. And really thinking and working hard on those projects that I really want to be doing, like, what are those things that really speak to me? Right? And maybe it means taking more time and taking more, you know, and slowing things down and really finding those those projects and those stories that I want to tell. And meanwhile, by removing the income question, I don't feel pressured to just take whatever comes at me. You know, because I think I've done that twice now. And it feels like it's not panning out the way that it should have. Right? Like, you kind of go Okay, I'll take this for the money, but it's gonna launch.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:46
Oh, God. I mean, I made that mistake too many times.

Joshua Caldwell 1:08:48
Yeah, I mean, in in theory, like, be somebody got me my agents at CAA. So like that something did come with that. And I got to say, you know, my movie was released by Paramount, but it was a movie designed for a very specific audience of like, you know, teen girls Sure. And they love it. But it's not something where I'm like spreading you know, sharing that around going like let me make your next thriller.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:09
It's outside.

Joshua Caldwell 1:09:10
Yeah, so negative was also of course correct. Negative was me going okay. I mean, layover, which is not a thriller, I mean, South Beach, which has thriller elements. It's not a thriller, I maybe somebody's not a thriller. I wanted making thrillers and action movies, and like, you know, dramas. And so, you know, negative was, of course, correct in that way to, again, stepping down the ladder in order to make the thing that I really want to make because nobody else is offering up that opportunity. And sort of proving that I could do action that I could do fight scenes that I could do, you know, things like that, that I hadn't really done before. And not only that, but do it for a buck. And so now you know, so it's it's a layover, making these movies has led to other things and I can't say that it works. Again, the path isn't for everybody. But it is something where the fact is that with this industry it's about Whatever you're producing, it's always always producing what's your what's your output, and you just got to keep doing it. And I think the best thing to be doing is to remove the pressure of Hollywood to begin with, you know, don't worry about Hollywood, don't worry about all that stuff. Just be making it, you know, and see, it's easy to say that when you're not working five, nine to five, and you're not struggling, and you're not trying to get your career going. But I've been there, certainly. So I totally understand. In fact, I'm not that far away from it. And, you know, you're just not gonna you're you got to really take the time to think about the quality of the stuff you're doing. And are you doing something that's really gonna stand out? There's so much content being made nowadays, that you really it's really hard to be in the middle, you know? And, yeah, so that's kind of a long day.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:45
No problem at all. Now, I'm going to ask a few more questions. A couple of these actually last time, so I'm going to couple new ones for you. What advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today, now that you've moved along another year or so since last we spoke?

Joshua Caldwell 1:11:03
It might be the same thing I said last time, I don't remember. But I think like you got to make a feature.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:07

Joshua Caldwell 1:11:08
I just think that in less Listen, you can go away and make those like five minute proof of concept shorts. But very rarely, are you getting to then make the feature. Like how many of those have come out how many of those have gotten guys not a

Alex Ferrari 1:11:24
Lottery Ticket Lottery Ticket,

Joshua Caldwell 1:11:25
It's a lot, it's a lottery ticket, like you are far better off, putting your time and energy into a feature, even if it's a low budget one, then you are making shorts, or anything like that. Now, don't make a feature if you're not ready. Right? Like, have the experience, make some shorts, get that get your feet wet, like have an understanding of like, how not to cross the line, like the basics of it, right? But you're really, really making that first feature, even if it's a low budget one, even if it's made for $6,000 it's gonna put you into that club that you know, is somewhat exclusive of somebody that's made a feature film. And if it's if it's somewhat good, then somebody might ask you to make another one. But you shouldn't be waiting on that you should make a feature you should be thinking about how to make another one how to make another one how to make another one how to make another one for 10 grand how to make another one for 20 grand how to make another one for 50 grand, you know it's it's keep producing, you know, and if it's not that then be putting stuff up on YouTube. Now just keep keep making things and but I think that I made what I thought some were some really good shorts and really some high value, you know, high production value shorts, and they didn't give me anything like layover got me.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:40
Right, you know, and lay overs and not an action movie by by and he's not an actual movie, not even an English friend, you know, you really went against the grain on that. But it works for you.

Joshua Caldwell 1:12:51
The other thing I would say is that I think he got it, whatever you make, it's got to stand out. It's got to be almost so batshit crazy, that people can't not watch it.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:04
No, you man, you're preaching to the choir man, I completely and totally agree with you. It's it's so difficult for anyone to get anyone's attention nowadays. You know, because you can't compete with Hollywood, you're not gonna have $150 million PNA budget to get your movie out there. So you've got to do something different. And that baseballs?

Joshua Caldwell 1:13:24
Yeah, I mean, it's funny, because when I had talks with layover, or sorry, talks with marvista, sort of about the promotion of the film, I was like, Listen, like, have you guys sold it all? Like, have you sold it to everywhere you can sell it? Because they were like, Well, why? And I'm like, Well, I kind of think we need to be able to talk about the budget. Because you know, originally, it's like the whole idea of like, if you haven't sold your movie, you don't really want to talk about the budget because you don't want somebody to undercut you know, come in and go, Oh, you made 400 grand, great, we'll give you 50 right, you know, like because you're underselling yourself, if they assume you made it for a million, then they're, you know, even though you made 100,000, they might give you a high 500,000. And he made a $4,000 profit. So I was like, how can we sort of talk about this? Because I think the movie changes for people when they know how much was spent? Sure. You know, I'm not I'm not trying to undercut the movie, but I, you know, I think if you assume it's a $2 million movie, you're kind of like, Alright, I guess, you know, I mean, right, like you've seen it, like, but I think if you know, it was made for say under five, or you know that the budget was $100,000. Like, it changes your perception of that film. And I think that's important, you know, for me, for people understanding it, because I want I want people to be able to watch it, not only just to enjoy it, and I hopefully I made a great movie. But at the same time, I also want it to be a bit of a life lesson for people to be able to watch and say, okay, that's what $100,000 movie could look like.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:44
Right! Right. That's a very good point. Now, can you tell me what book had the biggest impact in your life or career?

Joshua Caldwell 1:15:01
Let's see, well, okay, I'll give you the career one. So I read a book called, I might have already said this, I'm trying to remember, I read a book called the obstacles of the way by Ryan Holiday. And it really delves into sort of the principles of stoic philosophy. Yep. And which has been over the last couple years, basically, pretty much since after South Beach, came out and died on the vine has been a very serious pursuit of mine in terms of like, coming to understand a different way of looking at the world different way of looking at success. And the basic tenet of you know, what is up to us and what is not up to us. And it's, it's radically transformed sort of my mindset, and my perception of, of Hollywood in my own work, and where I'm putting my time and, and how I'm valuing myself versus others and how I'm defining success, that it's really sort of opened up a whole other world for you know, in terms of my approach to my career, that has also made me much more relaxed about it.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:07
Right. takes time to get there. It takes time to get relaxed.

Joshua Caldwell 1:16:11
Yeah, I mean, frankly, anything by Ryan Holiday is fantastic. He wrote a great new book that just came out called perennial seller, which is about why do you Why does a movie like Shawshank Redemption stick around, you know, 25 years later after it was made versus other things that just go kind of show up and go away? And, and he's got another book called ego is the and I'm a huge fan of his writing to begin with. But like that book, the obstacles away kind of really transformed. You know, sort of my approach to my career.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:39
Yeah, Tim Ferriss, I'm assuming you know, the Tim Ferriss. Yep. Yeah, he's big. Yeah, he's a he's very big into stoic philosophy.

Joshua Caldwell 1:16:46
Yeah, yep. He is. And in his nose, Ryan really well, like Ryan's always on his podcast and talking, talking about stuff with them. It was called obstacles on the way, an obstacle is the way the the obstacle is the way Yeah, it's very true. It is, it is. And it's, it's just a great sort of starter for for anybody looking to get into sort of the principles of stoic philosophy and, and how it can sort of relate. You know, I think stoic stoicism has a sort of bad connotation, but it's not, it's not that at all. And it's a really unique way of sort of like, again, like going back to Hollywood, like you're in LA, you're like, surrounded by billboards of people's movies, and, you know, friends that are having success, and you're having all this stuff, and, frankly, all that's out of your control. And if you're going to focus on all the things that you control, you're just going to drive yourself nuts, you know, which most people most people do. And frankly, I did, too, you know, I mean, it's, it's, it's a very hard thing to fight against. When you're, you're constantly surrounded by you know, like, and so it's really, really sort of philosophical change in in who I am, and led to me making some big changes in my life, like moving away from LA and moving to some property in New York State and sort of having a much more calling presence and, you know, just focusing on my career in a different way.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:04
And do you do you would you agree in the statement that generally speaking, when you are the most afraid of doing something, it's the it's the direction you should be going?

Joshua Caldwell 1:18:14
Oh, yeah. I mean, it because, but less so like, that is a great marker. It's a great marker, because I know it's gonna be a challenge, right? That's what it is. Right? Like, I know that it I knew lay I knew negative was going to be a challenge. You know, there's other things where I'm like, this is going to be easy. Like, I'll just show up in a lease. And that's what I'm always looking for is a challenge, because that's where you get your best ideas. That's where your focus so intently on it that, you know, you're so zoned into it, that that's where you get your best stuff. So, you know, absolutely. I think that if if it scares you, that means it's going to be challenging, which means it's going to be good for you.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:55
Absolutely. Now, where can people find you online?

Joshua Caldwell 1:18:59
So the best thing is Twitter. My handle is at Joshua underscore, Caldwell ca LD w e Ll, you can branch out from there and find all my other places. And yeah, and the negative is, like I said, it's being released on digital HD, iTunes, Amazon, all that stuff. And all on demand networks on September 19.

Alex Ferrari 1:19:24
Man, thank you so much for coming back on the show. Man. You're one of the rare guests that I've invited back. There's only been

Joshua Caldwell 1:19:30
Appreciate it

Alex Ferrari 1:19:31
Oh, I think only two or three out of 181 podcasts so far.

Joshua Caldwell 1:19:37
You know why? Because all your guests go from like the indie mentality and they'll become huge big guys reachable.

Alex Ferrari 1:19:43
Exactly, exactly. And I'm not there yet, or there are they're huge big guys to begin.

Joshua Caldwell 1:19:51
I love I love talking shop. So it's always a pleasure to come on with somebody that gets that approach in that mentality.

Alex Ferrari 1:19:59
Thank you again, just So much for being on the show. Appreciate it.

Joshua Caldwell 1:20:01
Thank you.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:03
As promised, that was a fairly epic podcast an episode. And I want to thank Joshua, again for being on the show and explaining how you, you know, don't forget your roots of where you're coming from, even though you might have a bigger budget doesn't mean you have to think like a bigger budget film, because you will get more out of not thinking that way. So if you take a $6,000 film mentality, and put it into a $100,000 budget, you're able to get a spy thriller action movie that looks insane and has high production value. Because you're able to go out and do things that you just wouldn't be able to do if you went down the mentality of trying to make a half a million dollar movie for $100,000. You know, the film swingers, which is a very famous independent film starring john Favre and directed by Doug, Doug Lehman, is a perfect example. They had I think, 100 $150,000 and they said, Why are we going to try to make a movie that we have a budget of 100,000 100 $150,000 to make a movie, and we're going to try to make a million dollar movie with that budget and make it look like a million dollar movie? Why don't we take that $150,000 and make it look and try to make a $25,000 movie look insane, and go down as opposed to trying to go up, and you'll be able to get more out of it. And that's what they did. And it was, you know, it did fairly well, in its day as well. So just go down this mentality, guys, I think you'll be very, very helpful to you in your filmmaking journey. Now, this is Episode 199. And next episode is number 200, which is going to be a special episode I'm going to be giving you a little teaser about that episode is how you can sell your movie using Facebook ads, we're going to talk to a Facebook ninja. And we're gonna go deep down the rabbit hole on how filmmakers can use Facebook to market their films themselves, their projects, and how to do it affordably, and how to do it right and how to use the most powerful marketing tool on the planet. That is going to be the big Episode 200 because I wanted to do something really cool and exciting for you guys. And something I know people will go back to and check out Episode 200. And this was I just felt so important that filmmakers understand this process and learn what Facebook and and what marketing they can do on social media to help to get their message out. So stay tuned for that it should be coming out this week I'm working on as we speak. And if you want links to anything we spoke about in this episode, just head over to our show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/199. In guys, if you have not had a chance to go and leave a review for the show on iTunes, please take two minutes, go to iTunes and leave us a good review. It really helps us in the rankings, getting more people to listen to us and getting the message out on what we're trying to do at indie film hustle. And the movement that I'm trying to create and the tribe is helping us create. So just head over to filmmakingpodcast.com and leave us a good review. It means so so much to me, man. I really appreciate it. And thank you guys for listening. I hope this episode was a value to you. And as always keep that also going keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you in Episode 200.




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IFH 121: Joshua Caldwell – The Art of the $6000 Feature Film

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I had the pleasure of meeting Joshua Caldwell, a brother in “indie filmmaking” arms. He directed a $6000 feature film called LAYOVER, which World Premiered at the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival where it was nominated for the New American Cinema Award.

The story of how he made the film was educational, rebellious and funny. Many things he said mirrored my experience making This is Meg. Josh really has a great philosophy about making films and content. Check out the trailer below to see what a $6000 feature film in today’s world looks like.

If you are going to make a feature film in the near future you need to listen to this podcast. It will change how you think about making indie films. Below, I also included a talk the Josh Caldwell did at the Seattle International Film Festival that is AWESOME! After you listen to the podcast watch the video below.

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Watch on IFH YouTube Channel

Joshua Caldwell – The $6000 LAYOVER: Rethinking Indie Film

Director Joshua Caldwell discusses making his debut feature film, LAYOVER, for only $6000 and how filmmakers need to rethink their role in the ever-shifting paradigm of independent filmmaking.

Here’s a bit more about Joshua Caldwell:

Joshua Caldwell is an accomplished director, writer, producer, and MTV Movie Award winner. He has worked with a number of high-profile producers, including CSI: creator Anthony E. Zuiker, for whom he produced CYBERGEDDON, the online global motion picture event for Yahoo!, and directed all of the film’s ancillary content for its immersive website.

His award-winning short film DIG, starring Mark Margolis of BREAKING BAD, was featured in numerous film festivals, and his latest short RESIGNATION screened at Comic-Con.

Alex Ferrari 6:03
So guys, I'm super excited about today's guest, Joshua Caldwell. I mean, Josh is I call him my brother in arms in my my brother in indie film arms, because, you know, as I was interviewing him for the for the show, I just started realizing everything he was saying was like, Oh my god, this is like, he's basically saying a lot of the stuff I've been preaching for a while now. But he's put a lot of it in practice. He's made now three feature films. And one specifically that we're going to talk heavily about in this episode is the layover, or actually just layover. layover was made for 6000 bucks, and he shot it on a on a DSLR you know how I feel about DSLRs. But I'm coming around. Again, I always say that DSLRs are good if you know what you're doing. And if you can shoot it properly. And my man knew what he was doing, because I saw the trailer for it. And it looks really, really good. He really talks a lot about really guerrilla stuff stealing every shot, you can imagine. I mean he was in he basically shot all around LA, went into the the highest profile locations and just stole shots, he actually went to LA x shot in LA x went on a plane shot on a plane. I mean it was it was pretty a pretty great story. And it just shows it shows you that you can go out and do it and you don't need a million dollars or half a million dollars or anything to go make your movie he did it. He proved it himself. And he just like you know what, this is the movie I wanted to make. And by the way, it's a French language. He's not a French, he doesn't speak French. But a French language indie film, basically done for $6,000. no action. I'm not sure about sex, but I don't think there's any sex in it either. And it's just basically a romp one night, throughout LA, it's pretty, pretty awesome. I can't I can't express to you enough how awesome it was to talk to Josh. And I really was excited to get him on the show. And then also to get this information out to you guys. So if you guys are going to make a feature film in the next year or two, or even thinking about making a feature film, you've got to listen to this podcast. It will change the way you look at movies, and how it make movies, especially in today's world. And the empowerment that you will have it which again is what I've been preaching all his time with what I've done with this is Meg when I'm going to be doing with my future projects coming up in 2017 and so on, and it's you I just want to give you guys the freedom to just go and shoot. And Josh really lays out a great battle plan, a blueprint on how he did it with layover and I'm really excited for you guys to hear his story, his antidotes and all the cool stuff that he's been doing over the last few years and he also have a common inspirational movie that kind of started us off this on this path, which is for lovers only I've talked about this movie by the Polish brothers many times on the show before and I will put a link in the show notes to the podcast with Michael Polish where we discuss in depth how they went and shot for lovers only which was basically done on zero budget. And a lot of these those techniques that they were using back then which is 2010 something like that 2011 is a lot of stuff that Josh used in this movie and I used in this as mag so without any further ado I'm not gonna talk anymore guys, I want you guys to hear this interview. Really get ready to listen up and listen to this many many times because it's very valuable information. Enjoy my conversation with Josh Caldwell. I'd like to welcome to the show Joshua Caldwell.

Joshua Caldwell 9:54

Alex Ferrari 9:55
I got it man. How you doing man?

Joshua Caldwell 9:57
I'm good. Thanks for having me.

Alex Ferrari 9:58
Thanks for thanks for reaching out. And so we were talking a little bit off air before we started and you actually remember, I guess you remembered my name from years ago on another project that did right.

Joshua Caldwell 10:11
It's a whole decade ago. I think at this point. Stop

Alex Ferrari 10:13
it, man. You're making me feel.

Joshua Caldwell 10:16
How do you think I feel? Yeah, I

Alex Ferrari 10:17
know. Right? Exactly. So yeah, you you apparently you're one of the people who bought broken back in the day. Well, I

Joshua Caldwell 10:26
buy it. I'm trying to remember.

Alex Ferrari 10:28
It's fine. You boot

Joshua Caldwell 10:29
like, that's fine. That's okay. Yeah, no, I mean, I saw it, I think because it was available at some point. But yeah, no, I remember, you know, it was it was kind of one of those things when, you know, the dbx x 100, a was coming out, the Canon XL two was coming out, and everyone was like, 24 p was the huge thing. But like, people hadn't really used it to make, you know, generous terms, a decent looking movie, you know, something really cinematic. And so I think your guys, I just remember you guys blowing up and sort of, you know, reading about it and reading about this, like the the process behind it, you guys had the whole website with like, here's how we did the effects. And here's how we did the color correction. Here's how we did all this. And it was just like, you know what, at that time, I mean, the people that are sort of into filmmaking now don't realize, like, how little information there was, you know, even 10 years ago. And so, you know, I mean, I've talked about that before, but this idea of, like, you know, you and I, I don't know how old you are, but you and I are like, those were similar vintages. They're similar, we're in the same decade range, I guess. But you know, it's it's like how how, even in the early stages of the internet, there still wasn't like a ton of info. And so you really had to, like, suss out, like, you know, online, like how people were doing things like I've just I've said, you know, I'd be watching, like the behind the scenes on Magnolia back in like, 2000 and seeing a dolly and being like, a fisher Dolly and be like, what is that thing? Like, you know, Mind blown?

Alex Ferrari 11:56
Where do you get one of those?

Joshua Caldwell 11:57
Yeah, or, or Yeah, exactly. Or, like, What is that for? Like, I don't know what that's for, you know, or seeing a shot in the movie and trying to understand, like, you know, Oh, is that a zoom? Or is that a dolly? Or is that a combo? Both are like how do they get all this walking stuff so smooth, and you don't know what a steady kin is, you know, and then you discover Oh, there's a thing called a glide cam that you could use with your, your dv x or your GL to or whatever you're using, and suddenly like, but you're stressing all this out. And I just remember like, you guys, like had put up you know, taking this film you'd made this film, you know, that was very well received. But then you would also gone that step further of putting up this like wealth of information in terms of how you did it, and that just being very, like a really cool thing in in a in a very, very small lake of film, technique and information at that time.

Alex Ferrari 12:46
Thank you, brother. I appreciate it. Yeah, when I went when I when I did that movie, I there was nothing. I did

Joshua Caldwell 12:51
nothing everywhere.

Alex Ferrari 12:52
I looked everywhere. And I was like, Well, I don't think this is

Joshua Caldwell 12:55
kids today's habits so

Alex Ferrari 12:57
Oh, these kids, they don't need kids. They could shoot on their iPhone, the iPhones better quality.

Joshua Caldwell 13:03
I know right? Like people people do this day I made it I did a short in college that I won an MTV Movie Award for called the beautiful lie. You know, that was shot on the exhale, too. And people are like, oh, Can I see it? I'm like, No.

Alex Ferrari 13:17
Yeah, no, that's no,

Joshua Caldwell 13:18
I don't even know if I can get it to for you to see it. Because it was like SD and it's on a tape somewhere and you're just like, don't worry about it, just let

Alex Ferrari 13:25
it go. Just let it Yeah. So how'd you get into the industry in the first place?

Joshua Caldwell 13:31
I so I started making movies in high school. And we just had a cool program where we had like avid systems and digital cameras, and we were able to like edit. And this is like 2001 no 2000 2001 that we had this and so I sort of just took advantage of it something that I kind of found myself really loving and you know, I grown up like you know, seeing movies with my dad and in playing you know, take seeing Batman and and coming back and playing Batman and getting neighborhoods get together and sort of play acting, you know, or building worlds with like Legos or Playmobil and sort of like creating, you know, narratives and stories and sort of acting that out, but not knowing what a director did or writer did or cinematographer or any of that, unlike kids these days, you know. And so you know, and then in high school, I discovered that they had this program and it was sort of being able to do this program for a learning perspective. But then we had our ASB officers Associated Student Body officers would make parody movies in order to sort of like you know, introduce the new homecoming theme or something like that and I had a friend that did it and so I started hanging out with him and sort of pitching ideas and eventually I took over directing these things and we did like you know we did a usual suspects rip off and these weren't like parodies like sometimes some of them were serious. You know, they weren't like all comedy, but I did like usual suspects. Rip off. We did like a snatch heist movie, I did a soap opera in in my big finale was we did an hour long Star Wars movie. Oh, wow. So it was like really great because we had the tools available. You know, talking about not having this info like, you know, back in 2002, trying to figure out how to make lightsabers work and do lightsabers on screen and After Effects, it was like, you know, and then I did one way and then discovered the way that you could actually do it where you could get it to flare out. And I was like, well, it's too late now to make it better looks now looks like a little toothpick that you're swinging around. You know, but just trying to discover that using like 3d Max and like, you know, getting free downloads of spaceships that that people have built in 3d maps and then animating that, you know, and just all that kind of stuff. But the idea was you always had, you know, you had a deadline. And we showed these at school assemblies. So like, you were somewhat censored, you can do whatever you wanted, but you were able you were expected to make 1300 Kids happy. You know, and so it was like a really great sort of formative experience at a very young age to sort of know that we had a deadline, we had no money and we had to find a way to make it work. And so that's that's where a lot of my kind of approach has was born out of

Alex Ferrari 16:17
which leads which leads us to I guess you did a handful of shorts, obviously prior to your first feature. Right? kind of got your your feet wet, and you learned a little bit of the tools. But on your first feature, which you made four 6000 from what if I read

Joshua Caldwell 16:31
6000? Yeah, 6000 layover? Can

Alex Ferrari 16:33
you tell us a little bit about that first feature?

Joshua Caldwell 16:35
Yeah, it was, um, you know, it's the story of a young French woman who is traveling from Paris to Singapore to visit her boyfriend. And she is sort of expecting him to propose once she gets there, and she has a unexpected layover in Los Angeles or a connecting flight is canceled until the following morning. So she's stuck here. For 12 hours, she has a friend here calls her up, they go out and that sort of starts this night of sort of self reflection and discovery and sort of consideration about you know, sort of whether the life she's flying to is the life that she wants and sort of in an interesting way she's given a pause button for 12 hours to sort of just take a breather and think about it and that's kind of what the show you know and it's a it's a traveling movie we traveled throughout the city of La you know we're all over the city

Alex Ferrari 17:31
I'm assuming you paid for permits and everything right

Joshua Caldwell 17:33
no no we had Yeah, we had the trailers and all that stuff following no no it was a total gorilla I mean shot on the five D You know, everything was stolen we didn't permit anything but it was an attempt and the 6000 was just that was the money we had so we made it work but we paid our actors you know, we had a small crew like we always get we get you know, online if you read some of the articles on like dough film school, you get a lot of people who've never made a movie before writing back and be like, Oh, you didn't make it for six grand? or How did you do this? And how do you do this? And it's just like, you know, one, well go make a movie yourself before you talk, but to like there, there are creative ways of doing it and you just didn't think about it. Like they would make assumptions that were clearly incorrect. Right? Oh, yeah, I

Alex Ferrari 18:16
hear it all the time. I hear it all the time. And people just always wanted like, well 100 100 Robert Rodriguez really make the movie for 7000 I'm like well, the movie he showed his agent was made for 7000 the one that we saw was made for 1.2 million.

Joshua Caldwell 18:31
Right after and everything exactly and so but you know, it's like it's possible it's possible nowadays certainly. And it was just one of those things where you know, we just did very limited crew there's four people the whole time and we didn't pay the crew but they got credit and we shot on weekends so nobody really cared if they didn't really want to do it. They didn't have to be there like it wasn't you know, it wasn't this thing where we had 30 people standing around and we weren't paying them you know it was very which is what you people usually do and I have done on shorts you know where you're like well I don't have the money volunteer and it's just like oh, you know, so layover was an attempt to sort of do an indie movie for very low budget that was different than what you were seeing made which was limited characters and like limited locations like one to three locations but they would have the crew and I just got to the point where I was like, well the crew is not what's up on screen. The crew is not helping me put something up on screen so having made these shorts and little things with the five D where I was running around town for no money and trying to shoot stuff and expected to turn in high quality work. I was like is this possible on a feature level Could I make a feature this way? You know and so I wrote a movie designed to be accomplished at that budget you know for no money I brought everything I you know, spent 14 years learning as a do yourself filmmaker to the table. You know, I brought my experience as a shooter to the table. You know, and and And we really kind of went for it. And it, it turned out pretty well. I mean, you know, it's a French language movie, I don't speak French, but we decided to challenge ourselves in that way. You know, and it was also coming at a time in my life where I was, like, you know, I'd been writing features and trying to get features made, and you kept going, like $300,000 for the type of movie I want to make, probably not going to get it, I don't want to spend time like looking for money. And it just kind of got kept boiling down to me going, alright, I'm about to turn 30 I want to shoot a feature. So what's the feature I can shoot, and if the feature I can shoot is layover for six grand, and that's the feature I'm gonna make. And, you know, it wasn't even a gamble. Because like the money was like, a non issue. Like, it wasn't like, you know, oh, I have this French language, indie drama with no stars, I'm spending a million dollars to do and I'm never gonna make that money back. You know, it was really so low risk that we never felt ever that we were like, We can't get this done or, or this isn't gonna work or it's not going to be as good as it can be. I mean, we you know, we shot on weekends, we had time in between the shooting days, to figure it out, think about it, which is a process I brought to, you know, another film I did negative more recently, you know, but that had a significantly higher budget, but we still brought the same approach, which was all basically, it was all in service of making of turning around the best movie that we could, which really involved getting the best performances that we could. And so everything about the film was shaped to give us the most time on set to get the best performance as possible. And so we didn't, we barely lit, we shot the five D at like 30 to 6400 ISO, you know, and that allowed us to basically spend like, show up light in 30 minutes and spend eight hours shooting the takes, and get us really, really, really great performances. And so you know, the thing that I say is like, everybody's sort of always thinking about their first feature and worried about the first feature, and I'm like, well, it's just a feature, you know, like, it's going to be good or it's going to be bad. And the thing is, though, is nobody's going to give you a shot until you just do that first feature. And really for me, like I made great shorts. I have a short that I'm like incredibly proud of called Digg and I spent like 40 grand to make it. period drama just got mark, my goal is Senate from breaking bad. It's like, really, really, really great. Nobody cares.

Alex Ferrari 22:14
No one cares, man. No,

Joshua Caldwell 22:16
I got I got nothing off of it. And the second I make a $6,000 French language neuron, the RS indie drama. Yeah, I get offers for the next three years off the same film.

Alex Ferrari 22:32
Now, first of all, I want you to I just want to say man preach on brother preach on because, I mean, I can't explain to you how much and the listeners know, this is as you've said, pretty much verbatim above at least three or four podcasts that I've talked about all those topics about backing into your budget. Damn something low for your first one. So you can just experiment and don't put pressure on it. It's not going to be a home run out the park, you're not going to get a deal with sun, you know, go to Sundance get a deal.

Joshua Caldwell 23:02
It could be it could no you could but that's a lottery ticket. It could but don't worry about Yeah, exactly. It's a lottery ticket. So very few people that can do that.

Alex Ferrari 23:10
Do the best work you can and that's all you can do within the within the parameters that you have. And that's exactly what you did. So what what what was the biggest thing you learned on shooting on the shooting layover.

Joshua Caldwell 23:22
So the biggest thing I learned shooting layover is that audiences. So really, it's a very technical thing, but it's a technical thing that leads into everything else, which is that audiences do not care about the image in so far as the way that DPS care about the image decision. What I mean by that is that as long as it looks decent, audiences do not care. If it as long as the performances are great, if you have a beautiful looking movie and the performances suck, because it took forever to get those beautiful shots, audiences will not care about your movie, they will not care performance and attachment to the story triumphs over everything else. And so in a way that gives you a huge amount of freedom. And I talk a lot about this now everything these new cameras like Canon cameras specifically and using them at very high ISOs which allows me to step into locations and not light and not spend time lighting shots and instead spend time getting performance because I've said this before on layover and a lot of people watch layover they think it's very beautiful because I think it's a beautiful film because you know use the natural city lights in LA and you shoot at 6400 ISO it's gonna look amazing. But I never once had an audience member. Watching layover say I really enjoyed your movie until I saw the shot with some noise in it and it ruined it for me Yet I have always had people say and some other projects I've done that will remain nameless, that, you know, we didn't, we spent a lot of time lighting and we didn't have time for performance and it was not set up in a way to succeed performance wise, people do not care about it, because the performances aren't great. When you have three takes, you're not going to get great stuff, unless you're using you know, unless you got frickin like huge a list actors and they know what they're doing. You know, and even then, but it really is like a thing where where I took from layover something that I now applied to everything that I have control over which is like, we are not going to spend three hours lighting the shot or this scene, like we're gonna, I'm gonna I'm gonna ask you to shoot above 3200 ISO which most DPS don't want to do. And I'm gonna ask you to trust me that it's gonna be okay, because I've spent two years doing it and doing it with great effect. And so, to me, what I took from that was, everybody really loves the performances and layover. And that was because we were in a place where we could play and we could try things and we can do things differently and we could spend the time to get the good performances and get the story right. rather than worrying about is this lit as perfectly as it needs to be. And guess what, at the end of the day, people still love the cinematography and layover. Right yeah, like Oh, it looks like shit and you can't you know, you clearly did it looks terrible, but the performances are great. It's like it still looks beautiful. It's really about you know, Mark polish and I talk a lot a bit about this now, because he and I have been sort of is sort of in the same vein,

Alex Ferrari 26:29
Mike saying that Mike's a friend of the show. Yes, I know. Mike. He's awesome. Mark his brother, Mark. Mark. I love Michael.

Joshua Caldwell 26:36
Yeah, Michael is great, too. But the market I've been talking about is sort of the idea of like, you know, framing is almost more important than lighting. Yep. And so in that respect framing doesn't take time like framings discovery framings like you know

Alex Ferrari 26:51
and still especially if you're shooting for like even if you're shooting at a higher resolution you can always reframe and post as well.

Joshua Caldwell 26:57
Exactly, exactly and it gives you that freedom and so like you know I took from layover this idea that wow, like we can go out in the street and go out into these locations that we've never seen before with a minimal light kit or a non existent light kit and shoot really really great material that people aren't going to believe we got and so that that to me is what I've taken from it and really have pushed DPS I've worked with now and push myself as a dp you know to sort of really take that to the next level and I think that that's what I'm most excited about what I'm most excited about in terms of like camera technology is low light sensitivity not resolution

Alex Ferrari 27:33
right absolutely in the cameras now are getting they're getting sick it's really getting

Joshua Caldwell 27:37
sick they're ridiculous I mean I you know parts of negative were shot on this this canon mb 20 that shoots up to 4 million ISO and we didn't shoot it that because it's unusable but you know we shot a big sequence in negative which is the shootout sequence in the middle of the desert. We shot that on at 25,000 and 100,000 ISO and you see the stars in the night sky and we were a little light with like you know i two people up there with a small light kit like huge lighting huge swaths of desert because those these cameras are just so sensitive and so it gives you a lot of freedom to move fast move quickly work with a small crew get a lot of materials spend a lot of time getting like great takes and great like I'd rather have 20 great takes I've got to choose from the Edit than one you know and so that's what it's about it's really about how do I on an indie budget build in the chance the opportunity to do sort of David Fincher Michael Mann style takes you know not 100 of them but a lot

Alex Ferrari 28:37
I remember looking at my freedom but look what Michael Mann did and he was one started he I think he's one of the first guys him and Fincher to use the Viper because it was one of the first cameras to actually see at night and you can actually see more than film could see with collateral I mean that movie Yep, I think he went to a foreign Miami Vice personally but

Joshua Caldwell 28:55
well it was a little great well agree to disagree on that one but

Alex Ferrari 28:58
it's a little grainy was just a little grainy that's Yeah, but

Joshua Caldwell 29:01
you know, I think what's I mean we can do this a whole side conversation. What I what I liked about Michael Mann is I think he's pushing he's pushing form. And the thing that's funny to me about Michael Mann in terms of people's like expectations of him as a filmmaker because they know him from heat and they know him like for these really great narrative stuff. I think like Michael at heart is in art is like an RD filmmaker. Like he's like so interested in the rd aspect of it and you see it now in his movies because he's got the freedom to play with it and like you're either gonna like it or you're not, but like, it's so much more about like feeling and mood and like that kind of stuff than it is about like a narrative thread. Like the narrative thread was almost like secondary in an interesting way but but anyway, but back to you know, yeah, so I mean, you know, everybody's sort of talking about this like resolution game. And I'm like, well, you got to think about like how that hurts you because like shooting at high resolutions means you got to pay a lot of money for storage. It's a lot of like, heavy workflow, you know, it's not something you can probably do on your home computer to you know, color it 8k, and so it creates a A lot of situ a lot of issues for you down the line that you're going to have to make sure you've got the money for in order to accomplish it and it doesn't 8k doesn't make your movie better no you know but I think that low light sensitivity on cameras can make your movie better because what can do is it can it can simplify and limit the amount of time you need to spend lighting which means you can now spend more of that time shooting and that's what's going to make you your movie better is to give you more material to shoot you know and to have in the Edit room than having one two takes

Alex Ferrari 30:38
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show now there's other there's the second move you made was B somebody had to get that off the ground

Joshua Caldwell 30:54
that was just a for hire thing honestly oh really that came out of yeah that that was something where they were looking for a director and they hired they had seen layover they really liked layover and I had also come off of doing a series called South Beach which was on Hulu and so be somebody kind of came out it was one of the it's one of those for hire things that kind of comes out of nowhere and you're like oh that's a really interesting story like you know I can see my sort of see myself doing this and and you know, it was something that was like an opportunity at the time and so I went for it and I sort of was intrigued by the idea of, of sort of taking this notion of like Roman Holiday and sort of you know and updating it and but shooting it in like a way that really spoke to me you know and sort of was my approach to it as opposed to you know somebody else's and so I and I was also intrigued by getting into this like digital world this kind of world of digital features and influencer movies and sort of seeing if that was something that you know would lend itself to my approach

Alex Ferrari 31:56
yeah what what affected Matthew's audience have on the financing of the film and also the selling of the film?

Joshua Caldwell 32:02
I mean financing was all of it it was all him you know i mean it was certainly like the impact of having 20 million very rabid followers you know you know possibly buying into that movie was was them determining This is worth the risk and then I know for a fact on Paramount side the reason why Paramount came in and agreed to you know license and release the movie was was an experiment as well to see like Oh, is this something real? This kid's got so many followers. Is it something we can translate into sales? I don't I don't actually know the answer on whether how that worked out. But I think it did I think it did pretty well.

Alex Ferrari 32:35
The I mean I'm sure they did pretty well on VOD and that yeah I mean

Joshua Caldwell 32:39
we did like a limited 10 week or 10 day theatrical you know for like a week but now it's on Netflix on iTunes on Amazon you know and so it it seemed to get you know i think that i you know I've had people friends of mine watch it they're like it's like it's good I get it and I'm like you know but I think it's like kind of directed in a very specific audience you know and but again like To me it was this idea of of again trying to experiment try things and it's like oh, how does this look if I have more money you know, but at the same time like one of my issues with that movie was I was given 12 days to shoot you know, like we shot that movie in 12 days and he's like yeah,

Alex Ferrari 33:19
from the trailer alone you but you bounced around a lot It wasn't like yeah room

Joshua Caldwell 33:25
bringing that approach which is hey, here's how we can sort of expand the scope of it but it was one of those things where I just you know now I feel like every in your listeners got to know there's like, here's the thing like you as a director we spend so little time actually directing you know, we're either editing when we're writing over pre production but like we spend very very little time on set directing and having that experience so the more that you can do it the better off you're going to be you know, I think about it like okay, like I did, you know layover or negative was like a 38 day shoot you know, and be somebody was a 12 day shoot. And then I just done sort of, I just did a short film that was a three day shoot and it just did a pilot which was a two day shoot. So like, what is that you know, 55 days so out of 365 days I've spent 55 of them on set directing,

Alex Ferrari 34:24
and the rest so prepping so those days Yeah, or editing those days right? Yeah, but

Joshua Caldwell 34:28
you're not there's not a huge learning until you're on set trying to figure out how to capture all this you know so so getting on set and having that experience and having to solve problems and figure things out is probably one of the best things you can do to learn how to do all this stuff and that's why like, you know, making layover I didn't do this at 22 before I'd done anything else I did after 14 years of just like Do It Yourself filmmaking and trying to figure out and going oh you know, this works this doesn't like you know layover is possible because when i when i the job working as an exact for Anthony psycho recruited CSI That was I was involved in digital then. And I didn't know much about digital and YouTube and all this stuff, but like, clearly you have no money. So it's like, how do you shoot stuff for cheap in digital, and so all of that came out of an experience of all these things like, wow, you have cameras that can shoot in low light, you can go out on the street and capture stuff without having to like, you know, because I knew from experience with the read that you can't really do that. And so all these things started to add up, but they all added up, because I was out there doing it, and testing and trying things and shooting narrative and seeing what worked and what didn't, you know, and so now it really is, like, you know, be somebody was like, sort of going, Okay, I don't understand how I have a far higher budget that I do on negative, and yet, I'm only given 12 days, and you know, negative, I can stretch it out to 38. You know, and then to me, I go, well, what's the better movie? You know, for me, it's negative, you know, in a certain way, but I really, I think that that's because I created a production model that, you know, as I mentioned, gives me more time to get greater scope, you know, and better performances for less money. And so now the learning is, well, here's where the waste is, here's how I can change this, here's where you need it, and where you don't need it, you know, and sort of starting to feel out. Okay, now, how do I take this low budget model of like me and two people shooting a movie and having it look really good? How do I apply this to things with bigger budgets? You know, how do I apply these things? Where I've unions? How do I apply these things where I have, like, you know, whatever. And so it's become like, now I'm trying to experiment with, with the whole form of production, the whole model of production, because, you know, one of the things that I find kind of frustrating is this idea, what what they what they've done in sort of the low budget indie world, is they've gone well, let's take the same production model of a 10 2040 100 million dollar movie, right? And apply it down to, you know, a million dollar budget. And guess what, you lose, you lose days, you know, obviously, you lose crew, you don't have the same size crew and $100 million movie, but you cut down to like, you still have a lot of crew, you still have a lot of trucks, you still have a lot of trailers, you still have a lot of this, that and the other thing, but what you what you really lose is days. And that is not really cool with me.

Alex Ferrari 37:14
Right? Because that that doesn't allow you to get the performance as you need. And to tell the story that you were trying to tell,

Joshua Caldwell 37:20
yeah, you know, I just had this, I just, you know, had this discussion with, with a producer on something. And, you know, I was given a bunch of reasons why one location was was better than the other. And I said, all of your reasons are production related. They have nothing to do with creative. And so I'm taking a less creative location, you know, to adjust for production, rather than production adjusting for creative. And what I need is sort of the power to control both, which is where I'm trying to get to, because when I can do that, then I can do stuff like negative where I have 38 days, you know, yeah, that's

Alex Ferrari 37:57
a pretty, that's a pretty bulky indie film. But yeah, well,

Joshua Caldwell 38:02
I mean, yeah, I mean, listen, they weren't like 38, full 12 hour days, you know, but the idea was to really not the, the idea was, we have so little money, so let's presume we have done, which means Let's spread it out. Like, you know, I don't want to find myself rushing to try and get, you know, car mount stuff, you know, and do every car mount scene in one day, which is what they would do on any other movie. You know, instead, like, we'll just go up when we go up. So like, you know, but I also was able to go and do like one of those a couple of those days, we're just going down and getting one shot. But that's the shot that helps expand the scope. But it's the shot you cut in a normal production.

Alex Ferrari 38:36
Right? Because you don't have the time. It's very summertime. It's extremely smart. A lot of the stuff that you're talking about is what I just went through with my first feature with Mike, it's just like, I had to just go out there and like, hey, let's just go do it and spread it out. And I hadn't days, it was all about time, having as much time as I could with the actors and Okay, it's it's all. It's It's wonderful to hear somebody else talking about this besides.

Joshua Caldwell 39:00
Yeah, I mean, I, a part of it, too, is just figuring out what works for you. That's true. Like, it's

Alex Ferrari 39:06
what like, what's your flavor? What's your, your process?

Joshua Caldwell 39:09
Yeah, there's some people that can deliver a movie in 12 days, three takes per scene, you know, with really, really great stuff. That's not really me, you know, and so it's hard to go and say, Well, I need 100 days. But like, arguably, I probably need 100 days and $100 million to really execute a lot of this stuff, like in the way that I would want to because it's like, it's weird. It's like, you either need so little money that you have none. And it's like you're just completely free. Or you need so much money that you can buy that freedom.

Alex Ferrari 39:36
We're all at the end of the day. I think all directors are aiming towards the freedom that Kubrick had. Yeah, with a complete with a studio behind you and you can do whatever you want. And but but a lot of people don't understand about specifically about Kubrick is that you hear about these long, because he had some of the longest he has actually the world record for the longest film schedule with eyes right? But the thing is, he has like You know, 10 people on crew? Yeah, that's it. He's like, just gonna just keep Why are you here? If you're not helping me anyway, get out? Yeah. And that's how he got all those days. He was never he was rarely over budget. That's the funny thing. I think of him as a recluse, but he wasn't he was actually always on budget. Thank you went a little bit over budget Eyes Wide Shut, but generally speaking, he was always on budget and just did his thing. But yeah, I think we're all aiming there. That's, that's what I would like,

Joshua Caldwell 40:25
well, and it's, it's sort of, you know, it's, I mean, it's, it has to get there, you know, because, like, people just aren't giving you that money studios aren't giving you that money anymore, you know, and so, yeah, so it's an interesting thing that I've been flirting with, and trying out and sort of like taking jobs, like be somebody sort of allowed me to sort of see how, okay, this is how this works. Here's how it change it. You know, here's how it adjust this. And so you know, you only have so much power in a for hire situation. That was it's hard. observer, it's hard for people to sort of understand and trust it, you know, because you're saying, you need to kind of give me the money. And let me go away and make this and people don't want to do that.

Alex Ferrari 41:03
Unless you have a hell of a of a resume, then yeah,

Joshua Caldwell 41:06
or you can just or you're just coming in. I mean, like, if I come in with a project, and I wrote the script, and I'm directing it, I'm going to produce it like, you know, I can kind of say, Listen, I'll take less than what you would normally get for this, but you need to like, let me just go do my thing.

Alex Ferrari 41:19
Gotcha. And you got to trust me. Yeah. Trust me that Oh, yeah. Done. Now, with layover, which is interesting, you have a $6,000 movie. What did you what was what came of it as far as your career as far as festivals as far as distribution? How that how does that help, because a lot of people listening can make a $6,000 film. So I'd love to hear the story of where that actually went to and what it actually did for you.

Joshua Caldwell 41:43
Yeah, so we finished it. And we were very fortunate. Both Travis, who is a longtime friend and writing partner of mine, like produced it. And we're both both from Seattle. So we have a friend at the Seattle International Film Festival who had sort of heard about us making the movie because we'd been tweeting about it and things like that. And he was like, Listen, I'd love to see when it's done. So we sent it to him steams. And sorry, his name is Brad up there. He runs. He runs the catalyst program. And he, he watched it and really, really loved it. And you know, he'd seen a non finished cut. But he really loved it. He wanted to program it. And we were, we were like, Listen, like, I mean, when we made the movie, we had no illusions about like, Oh, it's gonna get us in this. It's gonna get into Sundance, you know, we're gonna like, the, you know, it's, again what you said, it's like this kind of huge thing. It's gonna blow you up. I was like, No, I'm like, but I do think it might be a festival movie, because we're talking about it being like a French language

Alex Ferrari 42:41
day. Yeah, absolutely.

Joshua Caldwell 42:43
But so anyway, anyway, so they offered it to us, the premiere pro world premiere there, and we took it, we thought that like being a little bit of a bigger fish in a smaller pond would be good. Being in our hometown would be good in terms of like getting, you know, sellouts and things like that. And we really loved the idea of premiering, you know, our first feature at the, at the our hometown festival. And so, so went really well we have two sold out shows, we were nominated for their five plushie award there, which is like their their sort of prestigious independent award. And we didn't win. But it premiered there. And then I managed to get David Chen of slash film to come and see it. Because he lives in Seattle. And, and I said, Listen, I've got this, you know, you don't know me, but I've got this film. I know you're going to the festival, I'd love to invite you and have you see it. And he came and, and tweeted out some very nice things about it, and then interviewed me afterwards. And that was kind of the first notion of the idea of it being like us putting it out there that it was a $6,000 movie. And people started to not believe it, you know, and so we started writing articles. And we did a whole like, you know, we had a couple articles come out about like the sort of process we had something on no film school. And that sort of got us a little bit of attention. And then we got the usual like aggregators saying, hey, we'll put your money in a movie up and you know, not pay anything. And we're like, well, let's wait and see. And so so actually, David ended up coming on board as a producer, he ended up helping sort of provide some finishing funds for the film, and promoting it and sort of getting it out there. And we basically went through a couple more film festivals, not a lot, you know, kind of once you give away your world premiere, like, you know, unless you're a huge movie, people are really gonna play it, although some people, some people will, it's hard to know, I thought it was going to play more festivals than it did. And we started aiming for a fall 2014. So this was May of 2014. So then we decided to start aiming for a fall 2014 self release, we decided, you know, let's not do this aggregation thing, because we're never gonna make a dime off of it. And let's experiment again, like the nature of the film is to try things and experiment. So let's experiment with self distribution, and try that out and see if it's possible. And so David was also very intrigued by that and so we He ended up setting up our film on gumroad. Because they were like one of the cheaper, like they took less in terms of their their costs, and built a website and put it up and, and started selling it and put it up on Vimeo. And, you know, David David posted a couple articles about it. And, and then as a result of that, we ended up getting a guy out of Canada who agreed to sort of do additional distribution, and he ended up you know, he put it on iTunes, Amazon, that kind of thing, we kind of reached a point where we were like hitting our limit in terms of sales. So we were like, yeah, if somebody else wants to bond the cost of putting it up, like we feel like we've kind of made our money. But it would be beneficial just to get it out there.

Alex Ferrari 45:41
Was it a problem? was it? Was it profitable at that point?

Joshua Caldwell 45:45
No, well, it might have at this point, but it's it has not made, it's made probably last I checked, it's made about five of its $6,000 budget, okay. But here's the thing, like, here's what we learned from that, right? Like, we have no stars in it, you know, we have it's a it's a very friend, you know, it's French language, it's indie drama, and we kind of recognized Oh, like, there's a limit to this sort of circle of discussion about that extends out of you, right, there's a limit to your reach. And we kind of realized, okay, like, there's a limit to this reach. And it just never, it never really took off in terms of the public, you know, sort of consumption of it. But we were kind of always okay with that, because we'd made a feature in like, we made a feature that played into felt really reputable Film Festival was getting attention, and we were writing about it, people were intrigued by the $6,000 thing, and I started getting meetings off of it. And then I got, I got, you know, basically ended up getting the last three jobs iPad came out of directly out of layover,

Alex Ferrari 46:48
really. So that was just because that someone did people in the industry reach

Joshua Caldwell 46:52
out to you. Yeah, I mean, they just had heard about it, or saw it, or my manager was pitching me, you know, or sending it out to people. I mean, listen, like, the thing about Hollywood is while everyone's making Transformers movies, everyone came out to Hollywood to make the Godfather, you know, right? Well, for the for the most part, but creative execs really like you know, they love a lot of different stuff. And they're always looking for different things. And so the sort of idea of this low budget, French language film, made by a director that doesn't speak French, became very intriguing. movie on top of that, you know, they were, they were like, kind of always amazed at what I can do for the budget that sort of become the thing that I'm trying to Now get out of

Alex Ferrari 47:34
the cheap guy, he could do that. Yeah, he can do.

Joshua Caldwell 47:39
But I but it was more than that. Because I think like they've seen obviously a lot of cheap movies. And I think that it was really sort of just the right, it just works. I think the movie just ends up working.

Alex Ferrari 47:49
Got it. Now

Joshua Caldwell 47:50
what's but it was, but that's the thing that I that I also talk about is like, Listen, like if you want to go out and hunt down, you know, $4 million to make your first feature like by all means, like, go ahead, you'll probably do well off of it. But like, you can still do well, I mean, you need you should have your man, you should have an agent, you should have a manager, they got to be able to you somebody's got to be able to push you. But like it's possible to, to create a career out of doing something for for $6,000. That isn't some massive Sundance hit, you know, like clerks or something like that.

Alex Ferrari 48:17
Now, what's your approach when when you are working with actors?

Joshua Caldwell 48:22
You know, at this point, it's, it's hire the best actors that I can and kind of stay out of their way. You know, which sounds really simple but but what I do, what I do is I mean, what I tried to do is get get it into the text of the script, like, if it's not in the script, it's not going to be on screen. So like, get into the text of the script. And then what I do is I try to get it the best actors that I can, whether those are friends or whether they're whatever in it by in it in what I tried to do is also adjust the role to their sensibilities. So I don't ask the actors to do if they're not capable of doing big emotional crying scenes, I don't ask them to do big emotional crying seats. You know, it really is about creating, like limiting the role to what they do best. Because if they do that, and do it really well, no one's going to miss. Right? The biggest trick to movies is people don't miss what's not in the movie. Right? You know, if you don't, but what they do sort of what they'll cringe at or what they'll Scott that or what the roll their eyes at are the things that you put in the movie that you really couldn't afford to do well, right? Like, don't do a car chase, if you can't really do a car chase, do a foot Chase, because if you do a car chase to do it poorly, people are going to see that. But if you do a foot Chase and do it really well, people aren't going to go Oh, that was probably a car chase that they switch. You know. So it's sort of, you know, this so it's Same thing with actors like you know, you have to understand the sort of until you're in a place where you can hire whoever you want, and they're all very, very talented. You have to understand sort of those limitations, but if you can craft it If you can create those limitations in the character, then the actor can do what they do best. And you're not asking him to do something that they don't do very well. And so I sort of figured that out, we tailor the role to them. And then we sit down and we do a lot of talking, we do a lot of talking about the character and throughout the script, and this is where she's coming from this issue she is, and then if I can do any kind of, like, sort of real life training, like when we were with Katya on negative, she plays a spy. So we did a lot of like, you know, real steel gun training, we did a lot of like, you know, I have a guy that's who's a former British SS officer who does like concealed carry training. And so we did a lot of like, on the range gun training with her, you know, we did like, sort of some airsoft style training as well with like, you know, former former Army Rangers and things like that. So you're not using real steel, but it's still like you're holding a fairly realistic weapon, and you're doing, you know, cleanroom clearance and all this stuff, because like, what I didn't want her to do on set was think about how she was holding the gun, what I wanted her to do was behave, and just the gun was second nature. And so like, so we do training in that way if we can. And then and then really, once we get to set, it's about, we've done all that work, we've done all the work of the character, and then it's about just fine tuning, right? Like, oh, try this line, you need to be a little angrier here. But it's usually like not a lot of talking to actors, it's not a lot of discussion on set, it's not a lot of like, here's your motivation, which is like the cliche, it really is, like, just fine tuning what they already know. And then but also setting up an environment where you're not limiting, right, like you're not saying you got to hit this mark, because if you don't, then you don't, you're not in the light and the shot is screwed up, you're trying to get them out of thinking about the movie aspect, and more thinking purely from a character basis. So I set up the set and the way we shoot I do a lot of handheld, I adjust to them, you know, so if they aren't on their mark all move like I do a lot of these kinds of things were what I tried to do is like create the behavior and the blocking of what they're doing and then I shoot around them, I try to avoid asking them to adjust for camera and I try to adjust the camera for them. It's not always the case but like for the most part, I like to do takes where it's a lot of discovery and they're doing what they do and I'm just capturing it and then we go in and sort of like you know scalpel certain things. I'm like I just need this angle in this position or I need this and then we but they've already done the bulk of it, you know and so and letting them letting them do their thing like try not to get in the way too much.

Alex Ferrari 52:39
It's it's kind of like what I say is you're there to capture the lightning Yeah, yeah in a lot of ways.

Joshua Caldwell 52:45
And that just has come from me developing that approach over over the years of doing a lot of prep so I know the character they know the character it's all in the prep but like the idea of like you know, oh here's some action verbs or Oh like pretend there's a stone in your shoe or like oh try and get her to smile like I don't really do any of that like I am not really it doesn't really work for me and and I prefer try and do what I try to do is just get to as realistic a situation on set as possible.

Alex Ferrari 53:13
And then hiring actors who are close to the characters that they can play like you say their limitations are the limitations of the act of the character and a lot of ways and yeah,

Joshua Caldwell 53:22
that's really if you're working with they haven't been on shows they don't have as much experience they don't have as much like you know, talent because a lot of times you're starting out you don't have you know, unless you're in LA and you just know a bunch of actors like a lot of times you don't have like you know, access in the same way that you do. You know, as you build yourself up and you do more and so and so in that way you kind of want to limit it, but once you also get to a point where like, the actors, it's their job, it's

Alex Ferrari 53:49
Yeah, Meryl Streep is going to come in and do what she does.

Joshua Caldwell 53:52
Like you're not you're not directing Meryl Streep, you're just kind of like, you hire Meryl Streep, and then you let her do her thing. You know. So it's, it's, it's sort of that prospect, and I think it's trying to create, you know, you know, and this is something that I now it's like, kind of also onset, it's like doing a lot of like real environments, like again, like, even for negative we didn't permit most of negative we kind of just stole it. But in a live environment.

Alex Ferrari 54:19
So So tell us a little bit about First of all, tell us a bit about negative and then also the concept of stealing a shot because I know a lot of people don't understand what that might mean. So if you can explain the concept of stealing the shot, and what are some of those tricks that you don't get caught?

Joshua Caldwell 54:34
Right? So So I'll start with negative so negative is the story of basically it's the story of this guy, his name's Hollis, who's a, he's like an amateur, slightly professional photographer, a bit of a hipster and he's out one day taking photos and he snaps a photo of this woman. And next thing you know, he's back in his place developing the 35 millimeter film and there's a knock on his door and she shows up and she demands the negative two Man is the photo. And before she takes it by force before she leaves, men with gun show up, and so she escapes with him, gets him to come with her. And they have to essentially escape out of LA, you come to find out that she's a former British spy who was trying to negotiate a retirement deal with the cartel when things went wrong, and now they want a dead and because of his involvement with taking your photo, and whatever, he's involved as well. And so they basically have to escape from LA to Phoenix to meet up with a former contact of hers, and figure out what the next steps are. And so it's a bit of a spy movie bit of a bit of a road movie. It's a thriller. It's it's a lot of fun. It's really really it's it's cool. It was written by Adam Gaines, who's like this fantastic writer with really really great ear for dialogue and Katia winter for and Simon quarterman for Westworld, isn't it? And Thaddeus

Alex Ferrari 55:58
from where

Joshua Caldwell 55:59
Kati is from she was in Sleepy Hollow. Oh, very cool. And she's also been on Dexter and so she's been she's been around she's done a few things. And so marvista financed it and produced it along with myself and we'll Borthwick who's my producer on it and it was one of the you know I repeat it and it was one of these things where what I wanted to do was I wanted I wanted marvista to give me money and leave me alone and go I'm just gonna make this movie The way that I wanted to make it so that's what we did we basically like I said we shot for 38 days over the course of six months you know we have gun fights in it we have a really awesome fight scene you know we have a lot of travel we go from LA to LA to Phoenix you know we did a road trip to shoot a bunch of stuff on the road you know, we shot a bunch of stuff up in the desert you know, and I was as a dp was in addition to be a director and the camera operator was basically trying to collapse the conversation because I was like I think that I need to try and do this my way in terms of like the visuals and see if I can take the layover approach and apply it to something with a bigger canvas and see if that can work and I think it absolutely worked so it was a really really great thing and we're just now in the process of searching for film festivals like somewhere where we can premiere it and then you know and then we'll we'll Marvis still put it out and then release it probably sometime next year.

Alex Ferrari 57:17
Now this really interesting about marvista because you know this movie doesn't sound like generally when distributor or a company a production company like marvista or that caliber they're generally looking for some sort of star power that's going to be able to sell overseas and things like that which what you're telling me basically goes against convention in a lot of ways because it's not a job or movie in any there's not a horror movies that yeah you know unless there's a lot of nudity internet which i don't i don't know i don't think there is I'm thinking I'm now I got my my dirty AFM hat on right which is unfortunate I'm just curious about how that came to be

Joshua Caldwell 57:54
yeah well I mean marvista had been a fan since layover and you know their their their thing is they do sort of their lifetime you know they make a lot of money doing those kind of movies but they've started really looking for under a million dollar grittier Film Festival style movies, right? Like things that are very much against what they've been doing that like might you know, play festivals and win some awards and get some attention in a different way but make them low enough low budget enough that they're not taking huge risks you know, it's not like huge a huge gamble for them. And I think they were kind of intrigued I mean they really like the scripted like the package I was about to make it no matter what I was about to maybe even self funded and marvista came in and they were really intrigued by not only sort of every the package but also just you know how much we were going to make it for which I can't talk about unfortunately but also the way in which we were going to make it and I think that there was like the idea was give us enough money to make this but not so much that you really care and then let us go make it and let us bring it back to you and it was really me also talking to them and saying listen like I need to make this my way like I just come off doing a project that like I was not happy with because I didn't have control over it and I just I need creative control you know not final cut but I need I need creative control to execute this the way that I want to execute it and they were very very generous and in allowing me to go do that and very supportive of that process. So you know i think that they have a sense of what they can make off of it and they know that whatever they gave us budget wise is much less than

Alex Ferrari 59:33
what the obvious how that works. Yeah, no, no, I

Joshua Caldwell 59:37
think they're they're stoked on it though. They really like it.

Alex Ferrari 59:39
Now as far as stealing shots. Can you talk a little bit about tricks, tricks that you've learned along the way on how to steal shots, what to do and what is stealing the shot specifically?

Joshua Caldwell 59:49
Well, you know, listen, you know, when I talk about stealing shot, I'm not talking about stealing shot with a bunch of trucks and gear and equipment and crew and all this stuff, right? Like you'd be going Now route you need a permit like because that's what the least care about. But one of the things that's become really interesting with this whole YouTube thing and iPhones and all this stuff is the the the really proliferation of people shooting stuff, right people are shooting stuff specially in LA all over the place and it would be a police officers full time job to sort of police that. So they don't really care as long as you're not blocking sidewalks as long as you're not impacting pedestrians, as long as you're not, you know, sort of like creating a headache for traffic or, or doing anything dangerous, they're not really going to pay attention to you, especially if you're a limited crew, if you're like under three people, they don't really care either. So that gets you around sort of the law thing, the permit thing and again, like check with your lawyers do your due diligence, like don't take my word for it. But this is in my experience, because a permit only gives you really permission for that moment, when an officer shows up and says do you have permission to be shooting here, you know, that's it, it's not something you need for distribution, it's not something you have to prove later. Like it's literally just a document that's good for like the day that it's a fault, you know, it's dated.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:09
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Joshua Caldwell 1:01:20
And so, you know, that gives you a lot of opportunity to sort of steal stuff now, you know, stealing shot basically means not paying money for it, and not permanent. And so there's, you know, a lot of sort of looseness in that but really it's just it's getting the shots without people sort of stopping you and the fact is I've never really been stopped because I move so fast so like one of the things about like layover is layover again opens on an airplane flying by Los Angeles we're on a real plane and we landed at LAX and we walked through the airport and we get on a shuttle and we go to a hotel and all that's in the movie none of it is permitted none of it was paid for well

Alex Ferrari 1:02:02
you shot in the airport yeah How did you shoot in the airport

Joshua Caldwell 1:02:06
well up so we just walked through and we got one take and you know I had a five D kind of like pressed against my chest right behind my actress and we sort of just walked in I shot it all documentary style knowing that I would cut it up later and that's the secret like you can't do it where you have multiple takes and important performances and certain lines you got to nail and you can't do any of that if you're stealing a shot you need to kind of steal a shot like that that that you can shoot kind of doc style so that might not fit into like somebody's style of shooting works in mind but you know we shot in Union Station you know but we do all these is like kind of walkthrough so they like they show up is like seconds you know they show up is like the short things these interludes these in betweens you know and we we basically you know but that gives so much scope to it that gives such

Alex Ferrari 1:02:59
issues yeah if you're shooting at Union Station i mean i guess if you walk in with a small enough camera and you're not making a big deal of it you're just shooting with natural light and you're just following somebody or getting someone's yeah and

Joshua Caldwell 1:03:09
you're walking through like they don't even know to stop you they're not looking for that right you know they're looking for like shoulder cameras and like whatever and so you know I shot negative with the C 100 mark two and you know, which is a fairly small compact camera and so like by keeping it sort of close to my chest and like having a monitor where I could kind of just look down and see it it just walking like I chose a style that benefited from that approach you know that's what it's like it is my stuff

Alex Ferrari 1:03:37
and that's it is a compact camera but it's definitely not a DSLR camera so it does have a little bit of a footprint to it yeah you got to be a little slip with that but

Joshua Caldwell 1:03:45
now yeah but nowadays these cameras they have autofocus that's fantastic you know you can get away with like so much because these cameras are really small, they're compact, they're light, it's just really like it's it's it's if you're stealing it like we shot a whole chase sequence through this Chinese market in Chinatown, right and the way we did it was just walking through it like we just walked through it I would I would like I'd stop and I go okay we stopped and then I get to the front shot and I do like a walking backwards thing for like 20 feet and then we turn around to do a side shot like we would just move through it and I knew that I was just going to chop it up so much and nothing was the geography was not going to like be you know not have a continuity to it so it didn't matter and I could just like you know I could just cut and so that's very different than going out and shooting a dialogue scene where you know you need to do multiple takes multiple You know, you're trying to get performance you don't want anybody bothering you. And so for negative what we did for a lot of those was we were out in the desert we just went up to Palmdale and found like these tracts of land that, you know, I've shot on before, and we would just go shoot and nobody bothered us because nobody cares.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:46
Yeah, you know, I just went to one of the scenes in my movie, I wanted the Hollywood sign. And I was nervous because I'm like, oh man, but halfway up, I figured out I'm like, there's no one coming up here. I'm exhausted. No, by the time someone would call somebody. It's Over. Yeah, yeah, it's it was pretty eye opening and it gave me a scope to the movie.

Joshua Caldwell 1:05:05
Yeah. And again, people I think in LA, they kind of give you the benefit of the doubt. You know, like they kind of assume one again, like YouTubers are shooting all the time, you know, with layover layover was interesting because the other thing about shooting with a DSLR is people don't assume you're shooting a movie. Right? Right. You know people's perception This is what it really boils down to people's perception, although it's changing. But people's perception of making a movie or making a movie is not one guy with a small tiny camera. Right? You know, it's sound guys and lights and trucks and a lot of people and a big camera. And so that's what they assume making movies. I mean, when we were shooting in the airport, you know, we had people sort of be like, oh, like, what are you shooting? I thought I thought people were gonna flag me thinking I was taking photos. You know, like, but I was also not taking photos of like, you know, I didn't try to shoot the security area. Like I wasn't an idiot. I just looked like, like, the actress I was with just we just look like travelers. You know, so it was just you and her. It was just me it just me and her. Yeah. Done. You know, we bought we bought two tickets to San Francisco. And we went to the airport early and shot the end of the movie. And then we waited, we flew up to San Francisco. And when we flew back, we shot on the plane coming into LA and you know, and then we shot on our way out and yeah, like you just kind of like, you know, it just looked like we were taking photos. And so people just don't know, and they don't they don't assume that you're like making a movie. They seem like, you know, our our cover was gonna be, you know, oh, well, we're, you know, we're just like travel bloggers. And if people were like, Well, you can't shoot and be like, okay, right, you know? Yeah, like, it wasn't like, I mean, we even tested it. We went we went did a test shoot, we went to like the baggage claim area at LAX and shot with the camera and shot a couple things. And like, nobody paid attention to us.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:51
Wow, really? Yeah. Well, that's great. That's great, great, great advice.

Joshua Caldwell 1:06:55
I mean, but yeah, you know, and so but there's only certain things you can do, like, you know, I mean, I'm not going to attempt to do a scene where somebody is holding a gun in public, like, yeah, that's just that's just foolish. Yeah, it's just foolish. So it's like, so what it is, is it comes back to your script, right? It comes back to what you talked about, which is like, you know, adjusting your script for the budget you have. And basically, it's creating, like a modular script. So like, what you're doing is you're creating a script with scenes that can kind of be shot anywhere, and like, you know, like, you know, when layover and reference layover layovers easier because people actually watch it, you know, but like, layover, there's a club scene. And I knew I was never gonna be able to afford to do a club scene because I've done music videos. And I know, it's like, it's cost

Alex Ferrari 1:07:35
articulates, it's ridiculous.

Joshua Caldwell 1:07:37
So I was prepared, I was one I was like, okay, no people in the club, see, maybe I can come in with them, and bring a camera, like I'm a photographer, you know, like, and then we'll shoot the like scenes. Or maybe I'll buy a table for like, you know, part of the budget for three 400 bucks, and I'll bring my iPhone and we'll like to shoot on the iPhone, right? But the whole premise of this in terms of how we execute it was all done because in the script, I was like, I'm never gonna get like, a club that I own to shoot this scene. So I need to write a scene that does that, that has limited action, no dialogue, and does not require me to do repeat performances. Because if I have to steal this in order to get the size of us being in a big club, like I can't afford to have people go like why do you keep doing the same thing over and over and over again, you know, so I didn't so I designed it to be kind of documentary like the point of the club scene in layover is her letting go she's taking ecstasy she's like letting go she's having a fun night. And that's what that scene really needs to reflect and then there's a small bit of action now we ended up getting permission to come into an existing club that was open and we were allowed to be in there for an hour with our cameras and we were able to shoot a lot of that stuff but it was designed to be done in a way that did not require a lot of effort production wise and that's part of it right like just being smart about it like again though the airport not shooting stuff that requires a narrative not shooting like the narrative is she gets on she flies in LA actually gets off the plane she walks to the airport, she gets on a shuttle goes to a hotel, that's all you need to know. And I can roll a lot of it because all I'm looking for is a little piece that I can edit.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:12
Well, I mean it's perfect you're basically telling you basically saying the same thing that mark and Michael did a Polish did on for lovers only. Yeah, they weren't exactly they went over to France and shot and every Cathedral every place they wanted to because they were shooting with a DSLR and they happen to have a star in it was Dana that helped to sell it the selling of it, but yeah, but they on abortion standpoint, that's what they did.

Joshua Caldwell 1:09:38
Listen, like we got kicked out of the church then we'd shoot the scene in a cafe. Right? No, you gotta be you know, yeah, kind of like whoa, yeah, exactly. You got to be you know, so you design a script to be done like that. Like I always say, you know, don't write in. Don't be specific about things like don't be specific about the house. It's just it's a house. It could be a small house, a big house. It really doesn't matter. Because once you write in what you know, a way in which it matters, then that there's only one way you can do that, you know, there's only one house that you can get, and that's gonna cost you money. And that's, you know, like, if your uncle, by the way has a Ferrari dealership, and he's gonna loan you a Ferrari great, right? The Ferrari is awesome, you know, but don't write in a Ferrari knowing you can't get it without paying for it. And so Exactly, yeah, that's the kind of thing and also like, you know, and I ran into this on South Beach, because, you know, I came in to South Beach, South Beach was my first job after layover. And it was certainly massively not massive, but it was a much, much bigger budget than I had a layover, although pretty much any budgets bigger than what I had in labor. But you know, it wasn't a lot. And so what I, you know, I sat down with them, because they were like, well, these locations are costing more money than we expected that it into, and I said, Listen, you guys have written a TV series or a Hulu series, but you've written a story that's entirely about rich people. Like everyone in this story is rich. And so, you know, you've set up expectations for an audience, right? Like, you've got Samantha, who's a club owner of the hottest club in in South Beach, you've got her dad, who runs the hottest record executive record label is in Miami, right? These are people who require the look of success in your show, or nobody's gonna buy it. So suddenly, you've got to find you can't give this high powered record, record label owner, a corner office in a basement. You know, you can't do it, you got to give them something with views. So that stuff, you know, you can't have 20 extras in a club. That's the hottest club in South Beach. Like you need three 400 people to fill this thing. You know, so I'm like, that's that that's your problem. The problem isn't like it's costing you money. The problem is you wrote us you wrote a script that's cost you money. You know, there's only so much I can fake. You know, I can fake nice clothes. You know, I can't fake

Alex Ferrari 1:12:02
300 people club, right? Yeah. There's only so much I can do. Yeah, and

Joshua Caldwell 1:12:07
so Yeah, exactly. So but that's the thing is, like, you know, don't write scripts about rich people. You know, like, you're not gonna be, you're not gonna be able to afford just to fund the creative that's required to make them look the part. And then you're in that whole, like, you know, middle school thing where like, you're playing, you know, you're shooting your brother's playing gangsters and cops, and they're 12 years old. You know, that's, that's where you get into. And so Amy, like, the thing for me is that I'm, I've said this before, like, I'm really allergic to cheapness as a director, like I don't, I will make any adjustment I can to make it not feel cheap. Because if you feels cheap, your audience is just gonna sense that too. And then we're going to turn off because it's again, going back to like the chasing right, like, fast, fast, the fast series has cornered the market on chases, like so unless you're chasing is so outstanding is so different and so unique and achievable with whatever money you have. Why are you bother, don't bother, because everybody's gonna compare it to that, right? You know, and so find a way to be different because trust me, like, I've had the experience on stuff, I've produced stuff I've been involved with, not as a director, fortunately, but on other things, where you write a chase sequence, and it just gets cut, and cut and cut. And all of a sudden, you're in a loop de loop, you know, in a warehouse. That is not very exciting. You know, and everybody sees Wow, that was a really rinky dink chase sequence that clearly they had no money. I never want people to say, Wow, you clearly had no money. I will do everything I can to not put in the idea in there into my audience's heads, that I had no money to pull off what I wanted to pull off, I would I hate this idea of let's take a million dollars and make it look like 20 million, right? Like, take a million dollars and make it look like you know, like don't reach for a $20 million thing. Do the million dollar version really, really, really well. You know, like do an outstanding put Chase, do an outstanding fight scene. Like because you could afford those things but you can't afford you know, to blow up an airplane. You know, as a car flies out of it. Like you're going to do that visually on your own home computer is gonna look like crap.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:24
And that was the funny thing is on swingers. Doug Liman actually said, you know, instead of us trying to make the million dollar movie, which I think they had, like, I think half a million bucks or something like that to make that movie or 3000 something like that, instead of trying to make the $300,000 we've got look like a million or two. Let's make the $300,000 movie look like a $20,000 movie, but let's just blow open the scope. And guess what they did? Yeah, it worked perfect cuz you look at that movie. You don't go Oh, that looks like a 345 million dollar movie. No, it looks like what it is. But they were able to travel to Las Vegas and yeah, do all this stuff that are all over the place. Yeah, with that with a net have been able to do if they were trying to blow push that production value up to a million dollars

Joshua Caldwell 1:15:05
that's what we did on layover you know layover is nighttime it's all shot at night run motorcycles are traveling through the city and shot on a five D it's not like you know it's almost entirely handheld you know like the lights are sort of blown out that not like perfectly lit like you know but there's a beauty to it and there's an experience to it and what I've kind of gotten to where I've gotten to that I'm very a place where I'm very very excited about is this idea of like you are following along on this you're not you don't feel like it's staged you that's the interest that's the feeling that I now as a director I'm interested in in trying to get on film and try to create for my for the audience is this idea of like, Is this real? Like because it feels like this is a documentary? So I know it's not

Alex Ferrari 1:15:54
I got you so I got three last questions I asked all of my all my guests go home what is the advice you would give a filmmaker just starting out in the business

Joshua Caldwell 1:16:07
Get yourself a camera, whatever that camera is don't worry about how good it is and and find and start shooting. And you know some of the best advice that I saw was funny enough on in you might have been on this not this thread, but like on the board. But remember the IMDb like messageboards of course, like with all the like filmmakers and there were some like a couple guys on there that were clearly like hot shots and they're like you know making like some direct to DVD movie. But But the best thing that I saw was Get yourself a camera find some plays short plays, and we're now at the zoo, whatever. Get to people that you know get a couple people together and start shooting and and and get some editing software and try to put it together and learn from that and see how you messed up and see what doesn't work and see how you cross the line. But really like I think that you can read about it you can study up on it, you can do it but you got to get out and you got to do it. You got to see what works for you. So like, I really don't think there's a substitute for like doing it. And nowadays, you know, if it's an iPhone, it's up choosing that like, you know, what's that the issue like 2k or 4k on the iPhone, the shot the shot. tangerine tangerine on Yeah, like whatever it is, you know, like there's there's you don't really have an excuse anymore. And don't worry what's going to happen with it. It doesn't matter. Yes, not right now Your goal is to just make things put them together, see how it works, see what didn't and then make it again?

Alex Ferrari 1:17:36
Don't be precious. Exactly. Don't be precious.

Joshua Caldwell 1:17:39
There's no any time to be precious later. You got to earn you got to earn it. You got to

Alex Ferrari 1:17:43
earn Yeah, exactly. As opposed to I know so many filmmakers, I make their first feature. And they and they are on it for three years. Yeah. And just on it for three as opposed to just keep going, keep going keep going. They're just on it for three years. What's the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Joshua Caldwell 1:18:01
I'm okay, I don't have one that took me the longest to learn. But it's something that it takes people a long time to learn. And that is, nobody's going to do it for you. Yeah. So I learned very quickly after I won my MTV Movie Award, and nobody saw the awards and nobody cared that I was not God's gift to filmmaking and not the second coming of Paul Thomas Anderson. Right. You know, I won this award and really thought like, oh, the doors are open. You know, I know it's an MTV Movie Award, but like who when you know, who's a student filmmaker wins an MTV Movie Award, right? And it just didn't happen that way. Doors didn't open, and I didn't, you know, get agents calling me and I wasn't making my first feature at 23 It took me a couple of years to really, you know, go, okay, nobody's gonna do this for me. So if I'm going to make it happen, I've got to start hustling. And that's one of the best lessons that I've learned and I was fortunate that I actually learned it early on, rather than 10 years of sort of bitterness waiting for people to read my scripts and give me a shot even though I hadn't really earned the right to do that.

Alex Ferrari 1:19:11
I am that bitter guy took me a little longer to figure that out my fault well

Joshua Caldwell 1:19:18
there's a lesson for you you can take that Yeah, no, it's the truth.

Alex Ferrari 1:19:21
I was waiting around I was waiting around I wasn't waiting around for people to do stuff but I was like I wrote scripts try to get the money yeah man got a short shot a short that shorts gonna blow me up because you know when I did broke and broke it did open a lot of doors for me. Right? You know, I got the I didn't get deals, but I got a lot of meetings, a lot of stuff. But I didn't have anything ready. I had no script. I had done nothing. And I lived in the East Coast at the time. So it was right. It was really a waste. All that was a waste.

Joshua Caldwell 1:19:49
It's so easy. When you have because I feel the same way. It's so easy at a younger age when you have something like that happen, right? Like all these people want to meet with me, or Oh, I won this award. Like unless it's literally like an Oscar, or like Sunday but then even even then even then, but but at least you could say you won Sundance or an Oscar. But you know, it's it's it's that thing of it's all just like it's all talk, it's just all talk even now I'm just like I'm telling my agents I'm just like, I got to stop it with the generals because like they're a waste of time for me. Like, I'm so tired of these, like, let's go in when I have something but like to sit to say like, like, watch.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:28
Let's go Yeah, let me Yeah, he's like hey, I just want to come over there and like have me agree.

Joshua Caldwell 1:20:32
Right? Because the idea is it's it feels like something's happening when nothing is happening. That's what this that's what this town is built on. Yeah, and it's distorting and you can get really lost in it and you can be waiting around saying Oh, they just they're gonna read my script and then and the fact is your scripts probably not that great. You know, and like, you know, you got to create opportunities for yourself like that's what it really is like we're in an age where you know, whatever system was in place in the 90s were like filmmakers could come out of Sundance and like blow up and do big big features you know, it's not that anymore like people are looking to YouTube and there's also no excuse now like you have such an opportunity with like the the cheapness of shooting editing sound equipment, but not only that, now you have distribution that's what's really cool and different about this world you know, whether it's indie film, whether it's YouTube whether it's whatever is like I mean for 2000 bucks you can pay to have your movie on iTunes, Amazon, VUDU, like whatever any of those you could pay upfront to make that happen. Yeah, you somehow that much like yeah, like the stripper or something like that. And so that was never available before you were making a movie and spending whatever money you were spending wrong hoping that somebody else would do it now that's not the case. And the fact is, like, you know, yes, there's so many people now on YouTube and it's like saturated it's like a saturated market but like, I think that what I've seen is like good content still breaks through and if you have somebody if you can get somebody like an agent or manager that can help push through into the Hollywood area because listen, people in Hollywood are not watching YouTube all day. They're being told who's on YouTube and earning a lot of money you know, and then they watch them and so you know, and also like think about this too like a lot of people make movies like you know for fans like or for an audience maybe your first couple movies should be made for the industry right like what movies would an industry like exact like to watch what would he enjoy because then he goes I really liked this guy. Let's get him to make this movie. You know, that's what happened with layover layover didn't find a massive audience in terms of the public because what America you know, it's America and who's watching you know, 80 movie with subtitles?

Alex Ferrari 1:22:40
That's why I find so fascinated about layovers, because it's so not El Mariachi, its own bar away from clerks, or, or any of those kind of movies. It's a foreign film shot in LA by a non foreign director. Yeah, it's like, if someone would tell me like, this is going to be my first feature and I think I'm gonna be able to get work off of this in LA. Oh, you're nuts.

Joshua Caldwell 1:23:03
Oh, yeah, for sure.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:04
You're nuts. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah,

Joshua Caldwell 1:23:05
it's, it's I never thought it was gonna lead to what it led to. But it's this idea of like, like you said, the pitch sounds so intriguing. You're like, I got to watch this. And then that's at least good. If it were terrible, you'd be like, forget it. But like, people seem to really connect with it in some way. Because it's about you know, it goes back to like, layover is about a choice layover is about coming to a fork in the road, and trying to figure out which direction to take. And everybody has been in that position.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:30
Hmm, amen. Now, what are three of your favorite films of all time?

Joshua Caldwell 1:23:39
Time is the insider. Okay. By Michael Mann. Yep. Good. second favorite film of all time is traffic to film. And I would say my third favorite film of all time is Casa Blanca.

Alex Ferrari 1:23:53
Nice. I guess I always always like I always find it fascinating to ask that question, because it really gives me a good idea of the sensibilities, especially when I'm talking to a director or writer. Yeah, their sensibilities and those three movies pretty much says a lot about us.

Joshua Caldwell 1:24:08
I mean, Costa Blanca is a huge outlier, but it's just such a perfect film. It is like it's just it's an unbelievably perfect film. It's one of those things I just like I can put on any time and just enjoy it. And so and I can watch it as many times as possible, but

Alex Ferrari 1:24:22
inside Yeah, sauerberg I mean traffic is is is a genius.

Joshua Caldwell 1:24:27
Traffic blew my mind. I saw it like five times in the theater. Yeah, but

Alex Ferrari 1:24:31
also Soderbergh is one of those directors that doesn't get as much credit as he should. Man is amazing. I mean, out of sight,

Joshua Caldwell 1:24:39
out of sight, even the even the che, you know, yeah, the two movies, like his work on the Nick is unbelievable. It's like, I mean, it's funny because I see myself starting to go in that direction. Like we're I'm a dp and I'm operating and I'm editing and I'm like, you know, and I'm like, Oh, that's that's kind of like the path he took in season. work out for him. But it's this idea of like, you just kind of get to a place where you're wanting to condense all these conversations, you know, you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:25:07
I mean, I just I just dp my feature I edited it I was the camera up. I was a direct I did I did yeah, pretty much everything on it. You know, almost everything. I had a three man crew on it. And you You're right, you're like, I don't want to have to, I couldn't have had all those people. It would just take too long. And we were able to shoot something and from idea to finish in six months. Yeah, there you go. And you're done. And you're out the door.

Joshua Caldwell 1:25:31
And it's all you Yeah, oh, for better or worse. Yeah, that was the thing on negative was I was like this. But for better or worse, this represents exactly what I want it to be, you know, whereas before, it's sort of like, okay, it's sort of what I want, it's close, like, the DP is fantastic. I don't really have a complaint about it, but like, I would have done this, or we could have sped this up or been quicker on the lighting with this, you know, and it's, instead of just being like, yeah, I'm going to put one light up. I mean, you know, I know you're, I don't know what you are on time. But like this last project that I just did, in, I just shot this project in Mexico City with canon. And it's called ciudad, it's a short, it's a it's a short, that's like a proof of concept for a feature. And the idea is, you know, we basically went down there and we, we can't shop completely without permits. And we shot in these, you know, it's a narrative documentary hybrid. So it's like, there's narrative elements where we're doing dialogue, we're doing it French New Wave style, or rent controlled environments, like indoors, restaurants, you know, apartments, whatever. And then we have these kind of like on your street is a story of like a combat of a photojournalist, you know, who's like, covering Mexico City. And so she's basically like, so we shot the narrative stuff, like like Mark is actually in it Mark polish, she came down, and that's awesome. And so we actually like, shot the documentary stuff, like, I mean, the narrative stuff, these conversations in these locations, that one I'd never been to before I'd never seen. And we did it with basically existing artificial light, like I put up like one or two lights, at most in these scenes. And I just shot it like on this canon c 300. You know, I shot at high ISOs that was a whole part of it, which was like, it was like a live learning exercise for like, DPS and students down there to sort of see, you know, you can push this camera beyond 3200. I know everyone tells you not to, but you can, and this is what it looks like. And this is what you get, you know, and be able to shoot like five page dialogue scenes in four hours, because you're spending 20 minutes lighting. And then you go out in the street, and you shoot all of this documentary, like we were like, basically, like Nightcrawler Lee, we're patrolling around Mexico City, trying to find like, you know, action with like cops and things like that. And it was like, it was really like life changing for me, because I was able to really prove how you can shoot something cinematic, without the use of like anything other than the camera. And so it's created now this, this sort of approach that like, I'm starting to blend into other things I'm doing, which is this kind of like feeling of documentary narrative hybrid. And the thing about the documentary and the thing about stealing shots, and the thing about like, that aspect of it is, you don't know what you're gonna get, right, like we were shooting with her. We ran into a police raid, with like cops and riot gear, we ran into a truck, a semi truck and crashed into a building, and then like, destroy the entire front end of the cab. And then we hopped happened upon a fatal hit and run, where we showed up and like, I mean, they were like, like, I have a shot in the movie of them moving the body from like the street to the corner, like bam. And it's just like, you would never plan that. And you can never do that without a huge amount of money to stage all that. And yet it works within the narrative, because it's about her being in Mexico City shooting this stuff. And so it's really, for me, it's like kind of the new thing, which is like this idea of like something like Soderbergh does this too. He doesn't like, you know, he builds the lighting into his sets, he puts up one or two things, and that's it. And he just moves he just moves, moves, moves, moves, moves, and shoots really quick, and like, by gets a lot of material. And so that's kind of where I want to be, which is this idea of like, let me break open this traditional production model, let me shoot things a different way. And then all you're doing in talking to terms of the money is expanding the scope of how that's captured. But the idea of blending reality, what is real, what is not what is in this movie is real. What is it? And having documentary and narrative footage look exactly the same? There's no differentiation, differentiating between them, is probably the is the next sort of frontier of what I'm exploring as filmmaker.

Alex Ferrari 1:29:34
You know, I think, and I'll end it on this, but I think that what what you discuss and what I've discussed in the past about doing our respective films, is that you you know, a lot of young filmmakers and just indie filmmakers in general. They get caught up in the dogma of film. Yeah, what they're told and books, what they're told in schools, that this is the right way of doing it. This is the this is The way it's been done all this time and it's it's the few people who said fuck it I'm not gonna do it that way I mean Robert Rodriguez you know he did it his way and you know all the guys from the 90s Kevin Smith Richard Linklater, you know all those guys, they did it their way SATA Berg. I mean is is the poster child for that. Yeah, and it's really just doing like Mark duplass I mean, seriously are just wow. Yeah. duplass brothers. I mean, the duplass brothers, Joe Swanberg, Lynn Shelton, all these kind of guys. They, they just do. They're just doing it their way. And, you know, I don't know if you've had the same experience. But I've talked to industry, friends of mine who are like either TV directors, or film, you know, big time film directors and things like that. And I tell them my process for making mag, and they just look at you like deer in headlights? Yeah, they don't get it. They're like, What do you mean? Like, I'm like, yeah, we shot? We shot it with three people on the crew the entire time. Yeah, but But how did you get? How does it look like that? Exactly. Like I did this, I did that. I'm the colorist on it. And all this guys. Yeah, they just don't get it. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. I find it so invigorating, honestly. Like, it's a lot of fun. It's like, Oh, you guys don't know how the sausage is made?

Joshua Caldwell 1:31:29
Yeah, you know, I remember. You know, it's funny, because I remember like, at, at the, at in Seattle, I was on a panel with all the catalyst filmmakers. And of course, you get the question of like, what was the budget on your movie, of course, you go down the line. And everyone's like, I can't tell you, I can't tell you, I can't tell you and get to me, I'm like, I'll tell you who's six grand. And then like, all of a sudden, you're the focus of that conversation, because they can't talk about what they spent, and they probably spent half a million dollars. And you're suddenly the like, the spotlights on you, because you're like, one, you can talk about it. And two, it's such a ridiculous number that everybody wants to hear about it. You know, a part of it, too, is like, you know, you've done this is like, how do you create a conversation around what you're doing? and get people to want to talk to you about it? How do you get execs to go understand how you made this movie for six grand, and then they want to meet with you. And then they want to talk about it. And then they want to find a way to like, do what you're doing. Because it's faster, you know, so it's just like, it's a really interesting sort of position to be in and, and sort of coming from that perspective of like, you know, it's, it's what I said, and I know people who are like this, we're like, you know, they don't want to edit themselves, they don't want to shoot themselves, they don't want to take the time to learn, you know, but as a result, they're always going to be reliant on other people to make their films, right. And if you don't have money, then you're asking favors, and who wants to keep asking favors for life. But if you're a guy who can shoot, edit, direct produce, right? You know, we'll leave off music and sound mixing. But you know, those are like five serious roles that you can do yourself. You're never in that position, the only person that's going to not get it done is you. You know, you've no excuses. Oh, well, I don't have a dp so I can't go shoot, go shoot it. Yeah, you know, like, there's nothing stopping, you just learn how to do it. And then all you need is the camera and you can get out and you can start creating content, you can start getting out there more and doing it more. But like, you know, in this low budget, indie world, if you're always in a position where you need money, you have to have this you have to have that then you're going to be doing a lot of waiting. And clearly people have created career out of that. But like, you know, it doesn't have to be that way.

Alex Ferrari 1:33:31
And go back to Sonnenberg real quick. I mean, you know, he did sexualize a videotape, but on the same, the same method he did Ocean's 1112 and 13 Yeah, let them for yourselves. I had no idea. He lit those themselves. And they're gone. Yes.

Joshua Caldwell 1:33:45
Yeah, I was having a conversation with Tim Smith at Cannes and he was telling me about how he was helping out Soderbergh on was it full frontal that like, yeah, back in the day, he was just like, Yeah, he's like, you know, we rented out a hotel and he's just on the Excel two and our Excel one s or whatever, and he's shooting around, it's just like, you know, it was insane. We were shooting so much. And he was just doing it. He was experimenting and like, you know, he's like Brad Pitt's sleeping on the floor next to me, because we're all tired. You know, and, and it's that same thing, he did it with skits. opolis, where he just went off and like, kind of made this thing and kind of like, you know, and so he's he's got that experience so that he can back it up, and he can, you know, and then and then what's really great about is that he's got $100 million that he can play with, you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:34:26
can you imagine he's like, Okay, he's right thing. Well, like he like, Oh, we can't go to a casino so we're just gonna build one.

Joshua Caldwell 1:34:33
Yeah. I mean, that's what Yeah, exactly. Then you have complete control. Like, Funny enough, my, a very great friend, dp mine. He does like, he'll do group work in New York. You know, like, whatever. But anyway, so he did a grip workout. He did grip work on a pickup scene, in haywire. So this scene where Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender are like, talking in the pub. I don't know if you see them. I haven't seen okay, but there's a conversation where they're they're talking in the pub, right? They're just having this conversation so that was shot in New York is supposed to be somewhere else, but it was shot in New York. So he's like so Paul is like my dp friend. He was like, yeah, so Soderbergh comes in everything's already set up. He's got his two red cameras. He's got a two monitors. It's already set up for the shot. He's like, they basically shoot the scene. You know, it takes them half a day to shoot this dialogue scene. Like that's it, and then they're like, getting ready to go and if somebody says, Oh, hey, Steven in this in this shit in the mirror, you

Alex Ferrari 1:35:33
Sorry about that. Can you say that one more time you just broke up.

Joshua Caldwell 1:35:37
Oh, I was just saying. So anyway, so right before they were getting ready to break up and pack down, somebody pointed out on the monitor that you could see one of the flags or one of the like frames, for the light for the lighting, like in the shot in the mirror in the reflection, and Soderbergh looks at and goes nobody's gonna see that it's like that's it and like True enough if you look in the movie, you can see it if you're looking for it, but if you're not looking for it, you never know you know, and it's like it's just that kind of thing where it's like you get what you know what you can get away with. And if you can do that then you can shoot faster and you shoot more and shoot better and you shoot differently and you can you can get to a place of doing some really really cool stuff because you know, you're not letting stuff worry.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:20
Yeah, amen brother. Amen. Now where where can people find you?

Joshua Caldwell 1:36:24
So the best place is Twitter. My handle is at Joshua underscore Caldwell ca l d w e Ll or you can go to my website Joshua dash Caldwell COMM And that'll have news and all that kind of info and you just kind of branch out from there.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:39
Very cool, man. Look, man, it's been an absolute pleasure talking to you, man. I feel like I found a brother in arms here, man. It's very

Joshua Caldwell 1:36:46
Yeah, well, you know, when I saw when I heard about shin and saw what you were doing, I was like, Alright, this guy's gonna get it.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:51
Yeah, absolutely. There's no question brother, I appreciate you. Thank you for dropping some major knowledge bombs for the in the for the tribe. And I appreciate it

Joshua Caldwell 1:36:57
Of course, anytime.

Alex Ferrari 1:37:00
I told you, I know it's a little bit of a longer episode. But there is a lot, a lot of knowledge in that episode. And I wanted to thank Josh for coming on the show and really dropping some major knowledge bombs on the tribe. And again, if you want to check out the links to lay oversee the trailer for layovers, you can really see what a movie, a $6,000 movie looks like. from his perspective, head over to indie film hustle.com, forward slash 121. For the show notes, and all the links of everything we discussed in this episode. It's an exciting time to be an indie filmmaker, guys, I have to tell you, and coming from a perspective of someone of my vintage, you know, I wish I would have had all of this kind of stuff when I was coming up. I unfortunately did not have that type of technology, nor the amount of knowledge that there is out here. So honestly, there's no excuse at all. For you guys not making a feature film a year, if not two, or three a year, and getting them out there making money with them and continuing to grow. As an artist, as a filmmaker. And as an entrepreneur. You're building up your filmmaking business, there is no excuse. And I will continue to hopefully prove that in the coming months and years, which is what I'm planning to do with all the features that I've gotten a taste since I've got a taste now to shoot a feature film, and I'm like, hey, it's not that big of a deal. I'm going to shoot more of them and I'm going to shoot as many as I can and tell as many great stories as I can and get it out there to the world and build a business because at the end of the day guys, it's called show business and the word business has four more letters, double the letters than the word show. So also today's show is sponsored by masterclass if you guys want to take some amazing courses online from Warner Hertzog Academy Award winning Warner Hertzog on filmmaking. Aaron Sorkin for screenwriting, uh, Hans Zimmer for film composing, as well as if your directors or filmmakers, you want to know how actors really act and how they like to get inside the head of an actor. You could take two classes from Dustin Hoffman, and Kevin Spacey. All at masterclasses just head over to indie film hustle, calm forward slash masterclass and check them out. I've been taking those courses now, since they've been coming out and I know they have a bunch of new courses coming out soon for filmmakers and I'm excited cannot wait to see what's coming up. So indie film hustle.com forward slash master class. And also don't forget to head over to free film book calm that's free film book calm to download your free filmmaking audio book from audible. So guys, thanks again. As always, keep the hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.




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