IFH 357: The True “Horrors” of Independent Filmmaking with Todd Jenkins

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Today on the show we have Todd Jenkins, the filmmaker behind the new horror film Cherokee Creek. Todd went through hell making his film but when he finally finished it and put it out in the world then the fit hit the shan.

Todd decided to self distribute his film using, the now bankrupt, film aggregator Distribber/Go Digital. As many of you know the Distribber debacle has caused many filmmakers horrific pain and stress. After the hard journey to bring his film to life only to have his first check taken from him by a company that goes bankrupt is BRUTAL.

At this point, he hasn’t even gotten his film back from Distribber/Go Digital and is losing money every day. We talk about how this company is hurting so many filmmakers but I wanted to put a face to the pain. I wanted to bring Todd on the show to share his story with the tribe. Making indie films is tough enough with companies like Distribber/Go, Digital hurting filmmakers.

Cherokee Creek is an 80’s style raunchy horror-comedy about a bachelor party in the woods that turns deadly when the ultimate party animal Bigfoot shows up and crashes it. Equal parts vulgar, gore and dark comedy Cherokee Creek is a can’t miss tale of debauchery and sasquatchian horror.

Enjoy my conversation with Todd Jenkins.

Alex Ferrari 0:02
I'd like to welcome the show filmmaker Todd Jenkins. Man, thank you so much for being on the show, brother.

Todd Jenkins 3:19
Thanks, man for having me. I appreciate it.

Alex Ferrari 3:21
I appreciate it. Man. We have we I we've been introduced. I mean, I think you've been listening to me for a little while, right?

Todd Jenkins 3:27
Yeah, I think I listened to you a whole lot more once the distributor thing happened. And I learned that you were you were full of knowledge of a lot of valuable information that I needed to know. So okay, good. So without having people you know, driving to LA and checking things out myself, because I wasn't getting my first quarter payments from distributed I was in a panic. Well, we didn't know. I didn't know how many other people were going through the same shit I was. So it was great to hear there was other people, but I know it fucking sucks, you know?

Alex Ferrari 3:56
And without without question. And we're going to get all into distributor in a little bit. But I wanted to kind of talk a little bit about your story about how you made your independent film, Cherokee Crete. So tell me about the film and how it came into into life. As far as conception all the way back to that conception, but just let's say you know, like, starting the production of it.

Todd Jenkins 4:17
Right, right, right. Okay. Well, I've been in the industry working in front and behind the camera for about 20 years now. And you know, I kept hearing a horror story after horror story of every movie that would go through the the normal distribution map, you know, there's just people whenever making money, and I was always like a producer on these projects, but a lot of times I didn't get you know, all the information or they wouldn't tell me for whatever reason. So I decided if I wanted to know everything and be in control is going to do it myself. And plus, as an actor I wanted to I was getting really pissed off that these roles weren't happening. You know, you get up you get up for these parts of these huge studio films and then they could just pull the carpet out from underneath you at the last second. So you're kind of like, dude, I got to do something. So, if you look at a lot of the great actors today, a lot of them just did their own thing to get known. So I was like, Man, I'm going to do that path, you know, I'm going to do my own movie. I'll control everything. And if it is anybody's fault, it'd be mine. And I'll know 100% of what goes right or goes wrong. So I had the bright idea that I would do charity Creek. Okay, fair enough. Um, you know, and then I started hearing about distributed all these things. And I thought that might be a way to go, but we'll get to that later. But as I started wanting to make a movie, I had to figure out like, you know, I wanted to do something I knew that would generate a lot of buzz and hit a niche audience, which I hear you talk about a lot. And I was I've been to a ton of research on Bigfoot movies, and every Bigfoot movie I saw, I 98% or more god awful. I mean, they were terrible. So other than exists at that time, there was no other Bigfoot movie I like, of course, except for Harry and the Hendersons. But

Alex Ferrari 5:53
Obviously, that goes without saying, sir.

Todd Jenkins 5:57
So I was like, Man, this is something I could do. And I was even in a horrible Bigfoot movie myself. So I was like, I've got to do this great Bigfoot movie, but how can I do that and make it different? So I thought, maybe take the whole raunchy horror comedy at style by going into it. So I wanted to do that. And little did I know that when people read the script, at least in Texas, they were gonna freak out about it and say, Man, this is just way too raunchy. It's got nudity. It's got too much language. You know, I can't be a part of this. So people just started pulling out of the project right away, or they didn't show any interest. And even my the guys that were promising me my first money to shoot my very first scene, to kind of help get the Indiegogo campaign going. They pulled out at the 11th hour and just ghosted me like a week before. So then it was all about Okay, what do we do now? It was like, okay, talk to the why I'm talking to my business partner, we're gonna just put, I'm gonna put a lot of shit on the credit card to get us going. So that's how it started. Then we tried the Indiegogo thing, and I didn't know what the hell I was doing with that. I think we only raised about four grand on Indiegogo, which wasn't friends from friends and family basically. I man friends and family don't have me.

Alex Ferrari 7:08
Okay, so Okay, good. So you got you got people from like Bigfoot, apparently.

Todd Jenkins 7:13
Right? I guess I got people. Well, I mean, there's probably more friends than family, you know, fair enough for your fans of my work. But yeah, we got some people there. So we decided to push forward with the with the project. And then after I shot the the opening sequence to the movie, I thought we had a real winner there. So I just kept investing more and more of my own money, because at that point, I was just tired of getting screwed over meeting with investors who were full of shit most of the time. You know, a lot of times and even some of them had such egos.

Alex Ferrari 7:44
Shocking, shocking. Shocking. Yeah,

Todd Jenkins 7:46
I was like, dude, I just can't handle this. I just can't handle any more of these meetings. So I was like, all just put in my money as we go. And we were usually shooting you know, maybe a day or two a week, so it wasn't too awful. I think I ended up because I already own a lot of production gear anyway, because I'm on production company. I think overall as far as budget it for the movie itself. By the time it was over six months, I think I spent maybe 2025 grand that's still a lot of money.

Alex Ferrari 8:15
No, no, it's it's a lot of money. But in the scope of making a movie. It's a lot of money for me to like have you ever had if someone just told me like you need to drop 35k right now be like, I've got I've got family. I got I got after I've got after school care. Do they want summer camp? I don't know.

Todd Jenkins 8:36
Well, that's the weird thing about the money thing too, as investors who you knew were like millionaires. They were such tightwads man, by their millionaire circle.

Alex Ferrari 8:47
Or that's why that is why they're millionaire sir.

Todd Jenkins 8:51
Well, we'll get into that. Be like distributed, you know, funding from people. Yes. It was seemed like people who were fans, you know, or it had some money, they would be willing to write you a check for two or 3000. So I was like, This is so weird friends and family that I know don't want to give any money. But these people I don't freaking know, are giving money. It's really weird. But we just kept making just enough to keep going. And I was blessed enough that the cast was willing to work for deferment, which we know is always a bad idea. But in my case, in my experience, I felt like hey, I'm an honest guy. I'm going to take care of these guys. I know from the numbers this movie should generate 50 to 100 ran at worst. That's what I felt knowing what I knew. But of course, that's a whole different story to now. So that's kind of how I got it done. A lot of favors and then I had to do everything. One of the things I didn't mention was the cast that a lot of the cast I had to you know fire or just had to start over with because they were freaking out that there was nudity in the movie and they didn't you know, there was language, everyone just freaking out about the script all of a sudden, and I grew up watching movies like, you know, Porky's and hot dog and American Pie and the hangover and all that stuff. So I was like, What the hell are these people talking about? You know, and the funny thing was a lot of these people were fans of like Games of Thrones Game of Thrones. So I was like, how is this movie that bad for you? Like, why are you so freaked out by it? But anyway, we finally got the right people together. But I had to be the DP, I had to do the gaffing, I had to do the sound mixing, I had to do everything. And luckily along the way, I ran into a relative that my cousin had just married this guy, he was my gonna be my relative by marriage. And he's like, man, I want to be a filmmaker. And I had remembered that conversation. And I remember telling him like yet right, you know, sure. Everybody says that. So I called him and said, Man, you said, you want to be a filmmaker. So if you want to be a filmmaker, and you want to make no money, and you want to come be an intern, film me, whenever I'm doing my acting in the movie, come on out, and you can help. So that happened, and that's how we got the movie made. It was like no crew. I mean, I was literally doing wardrobe, craft services unique. I was having to do everything, and I was a lead in the movie. So it was a lot to keep all that shit. In your mind. It was a 24 seven thing. That was all I could focus on. There was no, there was no outside stuff coming in. Like, even if my wife wanted to talk to me. I was like, Hey, I can't talk to you, right? It's all about the movie today. So sorry.

Alex Ferrari 11:22
Fair enough. Fair enough. So then, alright, so you see you finish your movie that which was an odyssey in itself, and you dropped out about 25k out of your own pocket to make this thing happen? What was your distribution strategy? What What made you like, Okay, so how am I because I'm assuming you were thinking, how am I going to make money with this movie from the very beginning. But don't say, of course, because a lot of filmmakers are like, I'm an artist, I'm just gonna make a movie, just because I'm an artist. You I'm assuming you knew about the business side of things. So you try not

Todd Jenkins 11:50
Years of getting screwed over and watching and talking to people for years that have gotten screwed over I was like, not doing the regular distribution, Batman, I'm not gonna do that, that business model, I'm gonna do my self distribution. And then I started kind of submitting to film festivals, and I wasn't getting any luck. There. They were, I'm sure they thought the movie at the time. And I think the me tube movement had just started battling. With all this nudity in my movie and all this I was like, dude, I'm not gonna get in anything. But that actually ended up being a blessing that the the local Film Festival here in Dallas didn't want to screen it. So I was I, when I was putting my own screening on. So I did. I did two screenings of it. I brought in, stand up comics to open the movie. I did the red carpet, some people came out to the documentary of the two screenings. It was awesome. I mean, we had tons of people, I think, I think we ended up grossing between 14 $15,000 off that said, I was like, Wow, that was the best thing that ever do. It was so much better. Because if I would have been in that local Film Festival,

Alex Ferrari 12:52
I wanted and I want to just say something so many filmmakers don't understand that part of it is like, Oh, I just want to put it into film festival. You're not getting any money from that exam, especially if you're in a local Film Festival in Dallas, that really no one cares about No offense to that festival. But there's only three four or five festivals in the world that anyone even gives two craps about for really that mean anything to the bottom line, at least, you know, that mean? Anything to the bottom line? Maybe Fantastic Fest would probably do well for you or, or screamfest or something like that.

Todd Jenkins 13:20
No, I know, I know the movie did but you know, but that's the point. I didn't want the right people.

Alex Ferrari 13:26
Right. Exactly. And don't get me wrong. My my last movie did the same thing. I you know, I got into one big festival and after that, like nobody else accepted it for whatever, stick up their butts. But anyway. But that's the thing is filmmakers don't understand if they put their own screening on they can actually make money. And you know, why not? Yeah, I mean, I have another guy who did a movie that he made, I think, like, upwards of the mids mid five figures off of his screening of one night. One night plus merchandising plan. He built an event. But the

Todd Jenkins 14:00
T shirts there I bought a great hold off. Wait 20 $500 on the T shirts because we sold all 100 t shirts.

Alex Ferrari 14:06
And there and there you go. I mean, look at that. And then you're like dammit, why didn't I have 200 t shirts?

Todd Jenkins 14:13
Yeah, and then you're like, well, as soon as I did that my dumb ass was thinking hey, man, I can't wait to get this thing out on digital. Big mistake.

Alex Ferrari 14:23
I would if I if I if I would have you If I would have been consulting you at this point. I would have gone Dude, you got to go to horror conventions, set up a booth and and sell DVDs, sell blu rays, and sell even VHS copies if you can make some VHS copies of it. Because your niche your horror niche loves physical media and you can make a ton of cash touring. Just horror conventions. And you're an actor, so you have fans so you could be doing autograph sessions. That's where I would have told you to go. And you can still do this by the way.

Todd Jenkins 14:51
We are doing that now. Good. Did it late. But looking back I'm thinking you know, why didn't we just hold on? What was this rush to get it on digital When we could have, we could have built this buzz and did more of a limited theatrical release. And did it more cities you know, because of all the buzz we generated from the first two screenings. But once we put it out on digital, and also made another mistake at the beginning of our movie, we put the ski mask on and we told pirate people who pirate movies what we think about them, you know, we tell them that they're pieces of shit, they should fucking die. You know, we did all this plus, it's meant to be funny, shit, serious message. And a lot of people loved it. So we just kept doing this, we would do this at the screenings, and we would do videos, you know, these things. We call them the kidnappers, and everybody fucking loved it. But Amazon did not love that. So what happened was when the movie came out on December 25, as you know, your movie gets pirated pretty much within the two hours that comes out on iTunes or any digital platform. They didn't like that overseas too much. So our movie went from having like a 7.58 rating on IMDB to almost like a two because all the people who stole the movie gave us a one because they didn't like that we're making fun of them for pirating movies.

Alex Ferrari 16:05
so ironic, ironic, isn't it?

Todd Jenkins 16:07
So once within so when I woke up Christmas morning, my movie went from like seven eight on IMDB. They almost like to it was like, What the hell? I mean, I knew piracy was bad, but I didn't know it was that bad?

Alex Ferrari 16:20
Oh, it's really. And especially for your genre, your genre being horror is pretty, it's very pirated genre without question. Alright, so you decide to go digital. And now you're doing self distribution. And I think honestly, again, if I would have been consulting you, I'm like, this is a good candidate for self distribution. To really cook as a smart number, you made the movie for a smart number. It's a good genre, even though you don't have any stars, but horror films, you don't need stars, you have a great book. It all makes sense. So you decided though, with this little company called distributor. Now, for everyone listening, at this point, you should know about distributor and the debacle that has gone on with the stripper, and I was the first one that came out and broke the story about the stripper. And Todd, I met Todd on our Facebook group, protect yourself from distributor, which I launched shortly after my first podcast. And, and we've I've seen him on, I've seen you posting stuff. And then of course, you posted that very restraint restrained YouTube video that was very kind and very, you know, eloquent, and how you perceive the situation I felt and hopefully get with him. I mean, I'm not gonna get. So I'm being facetious guys, he tore up everybody who ever talked to him at disturber. And so and with complete, I completely understand I completely support that feeling because I'm in the same boat, not in the same exact cell phone again. Let's not do this. Now, listen to this. We're recording as we speak. So there's no need. But when I saw that video, I was like, You know what, man, that guy? And I said, do a little bit more research about you? And I was like, You know what, man, I think you're a great story to have on the show because I've talked about the stripper on the show now for four weeks now. But this is a unique situation because now we're I wanted to put a face. And also a story behind what the pain that is happening to filmmakers like a You are a representation of 1000s of filmmakers who are going through this this horror story, this devastating nuclear bomb that went off in their lives. And I wanted to bring you on. That's why I wanted to talk about how you made the movie, your struggles, everything that you've gone through. And now so you go to self distribution, you go through distributor, explain what happens. And then we'll we'll figure it and then we'll talk about the wheels coming off.

Todd Jenkins 18:37
Okay, um, well, I started having some issues with distributor early on. And I did you know, I wasn't thinking it was going to be as big a deal as it ended up being but in December, we were supposed to have our movie come out December 25. And I already paid for Fandango now. And Amazon. They were two of the other platforms. I was supposed to be approved to be released on December 25. So we start I mean, I'm all in on this movie. This is like this is like my last hurrah in the film industry since I've been doing it so long. And I I'd made a deal with my wife and everything because I'm sure she's tired of me being in the industry. So like, when's the fucking money gonna come in? I'm like, it's coming in on this movie. I swear to God, it's coming in. Just Just wait. You know, I'm putting my whole life on it. Betting my marriage betting her money, betting some friends money, but everybody, including my own money on

Alex Ferrari 19:25
Can I stop you here for a second? I've had that conversation with my wife. We've, if any, any filmmaker who's married has had that conversation with their wife. It is not a fun conversation to have. It is especially when you're you you're doing your own money. And you're working with family money, because it's not your money. It's not like you're living on ramen. With four roommates somewhere. You got a family. It's a whole lot of conversation. Dude. I'm gonna right now. I am sorry, sir. But I hope looking ramen, Bro, I hope I hope it's organic ramen. At least. Let's move on. Jesus organic Bro, I got to get the Walmart special fine. Alright, so go ahead, man. Go ahead.

Todd Jenkins 20:06
Yeah, yeah, it's speaking of that. Yeah, I actually had our loan somewhat because we did some stuff on Best Buy, I bought the Sony A seven s Mar two. And I had her get that through Best Buy. I think at the time, I must have spent four grand on the damn things, I got the warranty, you know all the batteries, I went all out on this fucking camera back then. And now you can probably buy the thing for 1500 bucks. So I owe more today on the camera than it's worth. And that payment through Best Buy is due before November 1. So I wasn't worried about this though, because I'm like looking at my reports from distributor and I'm like, hey, I've got a check for 10,000 check for 5000 and I got all these checks coming in. I'm not worried about it. You know? Until this debacle happens now I'm like, holy shit, how am I gonna pay my wife, my friends and survive, you know, so the end of the year? That's what I'm freaking out now. That's why I'm so exhausted. I'm taking every freaking job I can take no matter what it is, you know, and I'm working 24 seven to just stay afloat at the moment because I literally, I literally went from as an actor working in a Bella Thorne movie, if you know, to Bella Thorne Yeah, just did a movie a couple of Bella Thorne. It's called Southland it's gonna be an awesome movie, you can look that up cuz I can't talk about it. And having my movie in the top three position on iTunes under poor comedy. So I was just pumping in like $500 a pop in the marketing on all the social media platforms and everything. And I thought, Man, I'm gonna, this movie's gonna go great. And I would, and my ego was trying to beat out the studio movies he knows. So when I got the third, it wasn't good enough for me No, first because that I can put that, you know, I can do a story on that. And we can build more publicity make even more sales. So I just kept spending more money on the marketing. So next thing you know, I'm probably in three or $4,000 hole in this marketing campaign. But the movie is generating money and I can see that it is so it doesn't bother me. I'm like, I'm least doubling whatever I'm spending on marketing. So I'm not really I'm not really worried about it. Cuz I know the checks coming in from distributor, obviously. But, of course, it did not come in. So that's why I'm right now I'm in this book in huge hole, man. And, you know, I haven't seen $1 from distributor, from any the quarters of 2019. No money. So

Alex Ferrari 22:12
all. So basically, you've never seen a dime off of the digital release of your film yet, even though you're owed anywhere between 15 to $40,000. Let's say somewhere around there. Is that fair to say?

Todd Jenkins 22:24
I have no idea what I'm owed to be honest with you. I think the reports are false. I think they last thing they said I did total on iTunes was like 700 something units, which I don't believe.

Alex Ferrari 22:34
But you but you but you were making? Long, you know, we did 700 units, and it's been out for nine months. But the report but but you had reports saying 5000 10,005 that you saw things that were coming in? Yeah,

Todd Jenkins 22:45
I saw a report saying that. And I and I and I'm going by what? The gross of the movie is not what they're paying me if that makes sense? Sure. Sure. Sure. like Amazon takes 50%. So even if 40 Amazon pays me 20. You know

Alex Ferrari 22:58
what? Yeah, whatever it is? Sure. Sure.

Todd Jenkins 22:59
It's still it's still $20,000 or still shit ton of money to me. Yeah, of course, of course. So I wasn't worried about the $500 a month on marketing or anything like that I was, I was feeling good about it. I was feeling great that we were in third place on iTunes. And I knew you know, in the charts just kept going up until this debacle happened. And the second I heard, I felt it was happening. And then I heard what you guys were going through, I pulled all my marketing, and then my movie just completely disappeared is still on the digital platforms. But I mean, it's, it's nowhere to be found it's so far down, are so

Alex Ferrari 23:33
you So not only did you make, you know, take $25,000 out of your own pocket to go make this movie, then you started taking a loan out to actually do the marketing on this as well as well. So all together how much you think you've spent on this film? Oh, God, at least 50,000 at this point. So you spent about 50 grand on this film at this point. And you would have been, you know, that was a good investment to a certain extent, because you were making money with it, like you had a good ROI with your marketing campaign. You You were seeing, you know, you put five bucks in you were seeing either five bucks come out or more, you know, and you're just like, Well, wait a minute, I'm gonna feed this beast, I'm gonna just keep feeding the beast. You were feeding the beast, right? Because, you know, the money's gonna come in. Why wouldn't it? It doesn't make any sense. Why wouldn't get a check? You'd never that that thought never crossed your mind. Right? Never. It's like,

Todd Jenkins 24:24
I thought that the dashboard is kind of like, you know, and I would tell my business partners, I was like, Look, this is basically our bank account. And when we put money in it, it's just like, it's going into savings. We're going to get it back. Yeah, that's how I pitched it to him. Cuz I would be like, Look, you can see right here, it says 15 or 16,000. So, you know, whatever the number was on that platform, I'm like, and iTunes would would update probably every three days or something like that. And I say, Hey, you know, if we put in, you know, we put in $50 for that day on that ad and it generated 150 in revenue. So let's just keep putting, let's keep feeding this monster. So they were all for it. You know, but that wasn't that wasn't an investment from them. That was actually a personal loan I was doing from so they were getting that paid back immediately from the first check wasn't like, so you

Alex Ferrari 25:08
actually leveraged leverage the distributed dashboard as proof that you were going to get paid.

Todd Jenkins 25:17
And that I could pay the loan back easily. Yeah, easily

Alex Ferrari 25:20
because the money was there. And in all honesty, everything that you were doing, made perfect sense. And you weren't scamming anybody. Because I would have said the exact same thing. If I was in your situation. I'm like, Look, I got $20 $20,000 sitting in my distributor account. That's proof that checks and then they just got to cut the check next month. And I get that money. It's my money. Why would I get that money? And

Todd Jenkins 25:45
I was starting yet. I finally after begging, I got the first report for the first quarter. It just came in, probably like six for this whole debacle happened. Probably like six weeks ago. It took forever to get a fucking report from him, of course, but I did get paid. I did get that first report. They finally give me the check for those five days or whatever I was on from December 21 to December 31. I got like a $2,000 check or something. Because my my movie was live only for a few days of the fourth quarter.

Alex Ferrari 26:16
And that was the last check. You got?

Todd Jenkins 26:18
Yeah, six months after it was do you know, whatever the hell.

Alex Ferrari 26:21
So thank you. So things. So things were already there were some fishy stuff going on. year, a year ago, a year and a half ago, even that though, you could just tell that people were just taking forever to get paid. things were happening, because I've heard all these stories. And I'm like, Yeah, man, it's taking me forever to get reports. I remember that I I you know, with my movie. This is Meg. I just kind of at a certain point, I just I just stopped even asking about it. Because I'm like, Ah, it's been out forever. If I make you know, 100 bucks. 200 bucks. Great. It's not I'm not concerned with that. got other things to worry about. Yeah, I'm taking a long time to pay people. Yeah, I'm like it's taking them a minute. And by the way, I knew people who work there. I knew the CEO. I knew. Jason. I knew Neil. I knew all these guys. Michael. Right. Michael Sorensen I didn't know my I met I think I might have met him at a party at Sundance. I think that might have happened once. But I didn't know him. I know, Nick, I've had on the show. Nick, I had on the show. Jason I had on the show. I had Nick twice on the show. I had Jason has been on the show twice. And I think Neil I had him on once. So I was I mean, I was all in with the stripper or in the early days, because they took good care of me. Like, I got a Hulu deal. I got paid off that Hulu deal right off of a $5,000 movie. I interviewed multiple case studies of people making millions off a distributor like so to me in like what like just like you were like, Oh, is that that's what it's gonna be. That's what

Todd Jenkins 27:46
I was hearing too. I was hearing that from people. But then you would get these people who would do a video kind of like a video I found recently, they would say almost distribute suck. But it was basically because they weren't making any sales because they didn't know how to market their movie. So I wouldn't. I didn't I just kind of like, ignored those kinds.

Alex Ferrari 28:01
And I heard those two, I heard those kind of rumblings as well. I'm like, but I, I mean, I'm getting paid. I see other people that I know are getting paid. I just I kind of didn't put any, any, any merit in it as well. Because you know, you're angry, you're pissed off, I get it. And that's fine. But there was no reason. There were no real big giant saw signs that the ship was going down. And it was gonna take the rest of us with it. Nobody knew

Todd Jenkins 28:27
that. I mean, it was just people complaining that their movie wasn't, you know, in the top 10 on iTunes or Amazon, stuff like that. And that's

Alex Ferrari 28:35
just ridiculous. Yeah. Yeah,

Todd Jenkins 28:36
that's up to you. That's what you signed up for. It's like, if you made a movie, they can make any money. That's your fault. I mean, you can't blame that on the stripper. Exactly. They're just

Alex Ferrari 28:45
they're just, they're just a middleman just trying to get your film out there. Now, what point did you realize that there was a problem with the stripper and you're like, wait a minute, there's something fishy here?

Todd Jenkins 28:55
Well, when we started talking, and that I had, I kept I wasn't hearing any responses from them back, I guess at the end of May. It might have been even in June, July, something like that. The responses were taking longer, but I was still getting responses. Still got my report. But then I was uh, I was emailing the project manager through the dashboard, whatever the hell saying, hey, I need an ETA on this check. I need this money because we were planning on taking a vacation as well over the summer with the check. The first check that was, yeah, that never came in. So knowing that I am not paying the white back. I didn't take her on the vacation. I promised her for the summer. So I'm just digging a hole deeper and deeper with my wife constantly with this damn distributed debacle. But I said, Hey, I did the same thing. Hey, here's the dashboard. You see the checks coming in, I would have done the exact same thing. Good report. When the check comes in. We'll you know we'll go to Hawaii, we'll go do our thing. I'm going to pay for this great vacation, I'm going to pay you all the money back that you will mean, everything's fine. You know, I never thought

Alex Ferrari 29:55
I would have done the same thing. Anybody in your position would have done the exact same thing because there was no reason to Think that a company would not pay you money that you're

Todd Jenkins 30:02
out right? Or that they can legally get away with this. I never end fans on them ever that they could just close up shop disappear, you know, into thin air. Because that's what I was telling you. I had somebody in one of my producers said she was in LA. And I gave her the address to distributor said, Hey, could you go by there and she went by and she's like, there's nobody there. And according to the people with this building, they're saying never see anybody there in like a month or even longer. And I think I told you that information as well. And you can you were doing your stuff as well. And that's when I started thinking there. Oh, shit, we're in trouble. But we didn't you didn't we didn't really have any real answers at that point. But check this out Friday the 13th of all fucking days. That's when they sent me this email from last Radnor saying, Hey, we don't we understand we owe you money. But our everything's being handled by class right now. And I'm like, Well, what the hell does that mean?

Alex Ferrari 30:52
Yeah, so I got, I was wondering, I was probably one of the first to get that email. And when I got that, and when I got that email, I made a few phone calls. And then I and then I was sitting on a lot of information that nobody else knew about. And I said, I can't I can't sit on this. I just can't I have to I have to get this out there because I was already hearing people. I remember getting tweets, like people were tagging me on tweets and posts saying, Alex, I haven't been paid from distribute. This is horrible. What's and I just kept hearing a few. And I was like, and it was in the middle of my own thing with my my projects that I had going on with them. And I said, there's something here. So that's when I started getting a little bit more rough with my emails. And I reached out and Michael emailed me back and he said, Sorry, we're reorganizing. And when I heard the word reorganizing, I said, Oh, crap, they're going bankrupt. And that's when I dug in a little deeper and I found out a lot of the information that I was able to release in that first podcast. And and then I just and then after that I just came out guns blaring because I was like, No, no, you have an agnostic they're gonna go bankrupt that they know and that's the thing that really pissed Well, there's many things that really pissed me off about this whole situation but the way glass Ratner has handled this the way distribute go digital as handled, this is atrocious, atrocious, because all they have to do man, look, look, all they had to do there was gonna be pissed, you're gonna get pissed off people regardless. because no one's gonna be happy. Nobody wants to hear that you're not going to pay them. Or there's a problem with your money. Nobody wants to hear that. But the way they handled it, which is this kind of very sneaky behind closed doors, no information, just kind of this wall of like nothing. The only reason anybody knows about any of this is because I'm the one that came out originally and just started blowing up blowing everybody up about I'm like, Dude, this No. And then they even reached out to me, like, dude, you need to stop that. I'm like, No, man, I'm not going to stop that what you guys doing is immoral and horrible. Just Just an I even offered to them. I'm like, dude, if you want to use that, just let I'll talk. I'll be your mouthpiece to just send us information. So I could just get information out to filmmakers who are struggling and hurting. And we're still at the very early stages of this because I didn't, I didn't know stories like yours. I didn't know the scope of this yet. I was just like, I'm like, oh, there's a handful of filmmakers are being affected by this. Let me let me get this information out. But then as I started to really dig into this, I was like, holy crap, we're talking about millions of dollars. We're talking about 1000s of filmmakers. And it's not like these, you know, guys who live in the Hollywood Hills, like, Oh, I'm not gonna able to buy my Tesla this month. Not those guys. It's guys like you and me, who are struggling, just to make money with our films. And you know, and in your case, you're like, like, I'm in real and you're in dire straits because of this.

Todd Jenkins 33:37
Well, I think I think you know, another thing we were talking about, really, when I was when I went ahead and decided to go with go forward with making the film. I was watching a lot of these motivational videos, things that motivated me to keep me to push forward. And the things that would do that would be like watching Kevin Smith talk about dude, when you want to make your first movie, your parents aren't gonna believe in you, your friends are in no fucking person is gonna believe in you. And that's why he had to put it you know, everything on the credit cards. It's an NSL is common, of course, but he made Rocky's like, man, people were offered me 330 grand and I fucking had nothing and I still wouldn't take it because I knew if I didn't take this role, that I would never I would never be anything I had to take this role and I had to hold out. So I mean, in that story, and then of course, you know, Robert Rodriguez making El Mariachi so every every one of these stories and even going back as far as swingers, you know, like it events bond and Jon Favreau didn't power through and make swingers that was like their first independent movie to do together. There'll be no Marvel Universe right now people don't even realize that they did that movie to help launch their careers even more. And then he was able to do Iron Man because of that, you know, it all LED is all stepping stone. So we wouldn't be where we are today. If it wasn't for all these guys who started out like where we are in the indie world. There wouldn't be no James Cameron there wouldn't be any of these guys. I love doing all this load. legit shit. I think Matter of fact, James Cameron was fired from

Alex Ferrari 35:04
the spawning. Yes, sir. Yes. And then where he would and then when he would, he would they were doing it in Italy. And then when he was fired, he would sneak into the Edit room at night literally, like break into the editing facility, re edit the scenes that the editor had edited a day before and leave. Wow. And that I've studied this scenario a lot, sir. And then one night, he got a deep flu of like, 104 degree temperature. And he was and he had delusional, like nightmares and dreams. And that is where he came up with the image of the exoskeleton from Terminator. And that's where the Terminator came from. From the Parana to firing is why we have the Terminator and James Cameron everything else he did. Sorry, aside that.

Todd Jenkins 35:50
Yeah, so me being like, you know, those those videos and those stories definitely were motivating me to keep me pushing through this hellacious time which I could go into stories about that, too. Now. We went through so much hell on this movie so much hell. I mean, we've lost we lost people like lost like they died. The one guy that did come on this guy. I was in a movie with this guy didn't even know if it was a movie called knucklebones. And he played some bomb or something in the movie. And come to find out later that guy was a producer on that movie. Well, he was watching me from afar, like on social media, and I didn't even know who he was. And he called me up and said, Hey, come meet me at this Chili's, I got something for you. And I was like, Oh, Jesus Christ. What's this guy won, you know,

Alex Ferrari 36:31
cuz all big. All big movie deals are done at Chili's, obviously,

Todd Jenkins 36:35
Chili's man. But the devil, he writes me a nice check, sends it over goes, I got nothing to say, man. This is not me. This is not a meeting. This is me offering this to you. Because I appreciate you and what you're doing. That's all it was as hell. And then one other dude. They gave us a chat kind of like that. There's this funny stories. I could go on. We could spend hours talking about him. But he did, I was on the way to the airport to pick somebody up and he's like, where are you at? And I was like, I'm going to the airport as I pull over. I'm like, 10 minutes from you. I got a check for you. So it was just stories like that these these angels just coming out of nowhere. But uh, that guy he the guy who gave me that ticket Chili's, he ended up dying December 23. A couple years back, and a house fire. Oh my god. And then the the guy who played the original song, the song for our movie. He played the drums and he's in the music video on the blu ray that we have out. His girlfriend murdered him. So it was just like, fucking cursed. I mean, it was just like, death after death. My freaking my, my cat was was my best friend that helped me get to this movie. He had to be put down because he was dying. It was just like, everybody was dying. My dad died. My aunt died. My uncle's died. I mean, like, it was just like death. Everybody was losing family members. And people would literally be on set getting phone calls that people were dying or died. And I was like, Dude, this is jet. And then my mom when I was shooting, one of the biggest scenes in the movie went into ICU. Oh, Jesus, man. I am on set trying to finish the scene. And I'm arguing with actors and I'm like, dude, I don't want to argue with I'm trying to get to the hospital. See my mom, let's just finish the fucking scene. You know, but I had so much money invested that day like 10 or something. I was like, dude, I gotta finish this. Everybody just shut up. And let's just get the scene done. You know? Right. But yeah, I mean, every day was a hardship man. It was always a hardship. Something just not going right. As you know with film. Murphy's

Alex Ferrari 38:38
Law always comes into play. Now did you? Did you discover how did you discover distributor?

Todd Jenkins 38:43
I did they do? They? Obviously they were spending money on ads, because it was popping up everywhere. You couldn't go on Instagram, Facebook, or? I don't I don't think you could go on Twitter without something about distribute coming up saying 100% rights you keep them 100% revenue in your pocket. I mean, that was

Alex Ferrari 39:02
that was what I heard in profit in profit faster. As they said,

Todd Jenkins 39:05
Yeah, yeah. And the guy that died in the fire, he had put that movie, that movie out. And he saw his first check in he goes, whatever you do with your movie, man, do not do the normal distribution thing you get, we got to come up with something different to do with your film. And that's what I thought, Man, this distributor thing sounds like the right avenue to go. And I kept talking to people they said, If you think you can handle the marketing, which most people can't, they go for it. So I literally spent 24. Seven on social media looking for fans. That would be a fan of my movie, and I'd send them the poster and information about and everything. And I think now I'm up to like almost 11,000 on Facebook, almost 12,000 on Instagram. So those were my two that I focused on the most. And that's the only reason the movie did as well as it did because I was on it. 24 seven marketing to those fans, that people don't get that they don't understand. It's like dude It's not gonna be fun. I mean, I, I tell him if you're, if you're good used car salesman, and you can sell the worst piece of shit on a lot. That's what you got to be able to do with your movie. Because when you say you made an independent film, there's so many bad ones out there. Most people aren't gonna give them the time of day and they sure as hell I can pay for it.

Alex Ferrari 40:18
Right. Exactly. Exactly. And was there anybody specifically at distribute that you worked with a lot that you've anything like that? They I mean, I know, you've mentioned a few names.

Todd Jenkins 40:29
Jason Brubaker with, you know, he, he called me a lot at the get go, when he saw that I was interested, you know, to kind of sell me and push me over the hill to why I should go with them.

Alex Ferrari 40:40
So, yeah, and,

Todd Jenkins 40:43
and he and I seemed like we were on the same page. He's very friendly guy. You know, it seemed like it was the perfect fit for what I wanted to do, because I wanted to show filmmakers a new way. Because every single person, like I said, he said, Man, I lost my ass. But this movie, okay, it's been out a year with this distribution company. And I've only made like, you know, 1000 bucks, or I made no money, or I made 5000. I was like, dude, there's got to be a better way. I'm gonna find a better way. And I'm gonna, I'll let you guys in on the loop when I figured out. But this this was not the better way, unfortunately. But yeah, I really thought it was. But you know, Jason was one of those guys I can reach out to I could text him. I actually texted him the day after Christmas. You know, I actually texted him on Christmas day, when our movie didn't appear on Amazon. And he responded the next day. He said, we're 26. So that was good that we were least able to figure out why it wasn't on Amazon. And at that time, they were saying it was too offensive to carry or something but they could never get in touch with a real person. You know, they can never give me any real answers. So I just had to go in, cut the cut the kidnappers out and then have the project manager resubmit the movie to him when he got on? Wait. Apparently they didn't like the guys in the ski masks.

Alex Ferrari 41:53
Fair enough. Fair enough. Sensitive time.

Todd Jenkins 41:59
Everybody was coming out against our movie, like every horror website, every podcasts are like, dude, they can't make movies with nudity like that anymore. And you can't have these sex scenes and you can't have all those languages. I was like, What are you talking about? every movie has this every movie? No, no, it doesn't. And then I'd have to go down a list of like, everything. I was like, come on. I'm like, dude, even the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall has like three penis shots. And it Come on. every movie has to be in it.

Alex Ferrari 42:24
There's again, your your film is going after a specific niche audience like you're going you're going after me. This is not a broad audience kind of film. You know, this is not going to find millions and millions and millions of people who are going to probably want to watch this. But for the budget that you saw shot on, it makes sense. It just made like if you would have spent a half a million on this. Or a million on this. That's that probably a smart idea. No, no, no bigger names that would have bigger names. Huge names. Yeah.

Todd Jenkins 42:52
But if you understand at the time we were doing this, I was up for some very big, I'll just say they did kind of have a little ties with Marvel's I was up for one of those of us huge roles, that was going to be life changing for me. And then I had brought in Billy Blair, who was from the machete series. Yeah. And he had a bunch of movies, too. So both of our careers at the time we made this movie a few years back, we were kind of you know, we were on the up and up and he had just gotten cast, James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez had just cast him in the lead a Battle Angel. So we didn't know what that meant. We didn't know what his role was going to be in the movie. We didn't know how big it was gonna be. They did cut out quite a bit of it out, thank for the release. But at the time, we were just like, dude, we're things are going on the up and up for us. We're gonna get this movie out. Our acting careers are going great. So with that, by the time this comes out, you know, people will know who we are. And now what's the status of the film now?

Alex Ferrari 43:42
Have you been able to pull your movie off of these platforms? What's going on?

Todd Jenkins 43:46
Well, you know, I think she said several movies, Linda had said several movies disappeared on Amazon. Ours was one of the ones that disappeared off of Amazon, the digital part version of it. The blu ray is still up there because it's through screen team releasing. But the digital one version is not up there. Somehow it got pulled off. I don't know who pulled it off. I'm almost thinking Amazon did not did that. Yeah, it wasn't it was not. I think she thought it was distributed who did it? Or somebody But no, it's Amazon. Got it. Because they didn't take me down from anything. I'm still up on every single platform and I'm sending them emails every couple days. And I think one of the guys other day gave us out gave us the email to contact glass Ratner. Not just at two I've sent emails to Seth saying Hey, man, get the tan movie off the platforms, man. I'm gonna move on, you know, with a new distribution deal or you know, do something else with the movie.

Alex Ferrari 44:36
So So what is the plans for your freedom movie now in the future?

Todd Jenkins 44:41
Well, I'm wanting to talk to Linda over at indie writes, that are gonna happen soon. I did send her an email with all my stuff. Hopefully she'll get to that or she may want me to go through the, you know, the submission process.

Alex Ferrari 44:53
Almost likely you're going to go through submission process because she's just she has so much she's been inundated with films after this whole debacle. Everybody, I went, I went through I went through the submission process, so you're going to get the submission process. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Todd Jenkins 45:19
Don't mind going to the submission process. I just want to have a call with her first. Sure. Sure. Sure. Call first and I'll go through the submission process.

Alex Ferrari 45:26
Sure. It's a little crazy right now with AFM to they're going nuts trying to get everything ready for the American lender, you need your degree, obviously, obviously, obviously, it's a moneymaker. You've made money.

Todd Jenkins 45:38
I can tell you I'm a I didn't know what the fuck I was doing. And I made 65 gross 65 grand doing the things I was doing so right which sale

Alex Ferrari 45:46
we can even better. So without without question, and and now you but you still have the DVDs and blu rays. Is that generating any money for you?

Todd Jenkins 45:54
I think last check. Was it gross about 13 grand so far? That's me. You know, man, that's

Alex Ferrari 46:00
great. That's great in a dB. Yeah. Because again, that genre really does like physical media. So DVD and blu ray works really well. You really should if you have a chance if you're able to do it. Do you know that? I don't know if you've ever heard that episode of mine. Drew marvic, who did Pool Party massacre, which is kind of right, right?

Todd Jenkins 46:18
He he actually I didn't know it was him. He bought our movie at one of the horror conventions and he was hanging out in a different booth. And I didn't know it was him. And then later on, I got a copy of his movie and I was watching us like Dude, that was the guy that bought a copy of our movie. Yep. And hit me ahead as well. So he's a cool guy

Alex Ferrari 46:36
he drew is awesome. He's been on the show, you should listen to his podcast episode cuz I, I actually even use him as a case study in my new book, the film the rights of the film entrepreneur, because he was able to do something in the horror genre I just thought was so brilliant, cuz it's similar. And you're the new because you guys are both low budget horror films that are very niche. He's doing an ad slasher flick. You're doing like an ad slasher raunchy flick. And, but what I love the did it was one of the reasons why I called them when I saw when he pitched me about being on the show. He was selling VHS copies of his movie, and they looked amazing. I'm like, they were clamshell. Right. And we did that for a little while we did that. Did you and did it work? I'm sure you sold.

Todd Jenkins 47:17
Yeah, I think I've been trying to get with screen team to sell more of those. But you know, I don't know. I think the sales are kind of slowing down with the blu ray at this point. I don't know.

Alex Ferrari 47:26
What do you have the VHS right to the scream team had their they have the

Todd Jenkins 47:31
VHS and the blu ray for at the moment? You know,

Alex Ferrari 47:35
I think if you have a conversation like do Just give me the VHS rights plaque please. What you do is this, you go to all your thrift shops around the around your neighborhood and around the cities around you. And by every Disney VHS copy that you see in the clam case that you take it back home, get two VHS tapes and record that is that what drew did, he recorded over Pinocchio? Wow. And he labeled it and he wanted the he had a green series, a yellow series or red series. And then he just puts slips in. And that's how we sold them. And he would sell them for 2530 bucks a pop because they're unique. And it was so good that people would buy his movie, thinking that it was an 80s movie that they just missed. Right?

Todd Jenkins 48:17
That's what I thought when I saw I was like, This must be some old movie I missed. You know,

Alex Ferrari 48:22
you know why? Because he got the poster art guy who was an artist, a cover artist from the 80s. To doing because when I saw that cover, I'm like this looks. I mean, I could have seen this in the VHS.

Todd Jenkins 48:32
I think he's making the second one right now. Anyway, he's about so I need to call him and say dude, cast me in your movie. He

Alex Ferrari 48:38
does have to be careful what you wish for because it'll do it. No, he's really smart. Sure. $5,000 Come on. He'll pay. Yeah, I charged all my actors only $5,000 to

Todd Jenkins 48:48
all my actors to be in my movies. I'm guilty if we had to do that for hours. I mean, there were people who made those donations, you know? And then of course, everybody's like, Hey, you should cut this person out of the movie. And you're like, Oh, I can't do that. Sorry. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 49:03
it's it. Sorry. It's called filmmaking, politics, indie film politics, as we like to call it. The role of somebody the kid stays in. Amen, brother. Amen. I understand completely cut somebody out that paid and help us make the movie that that's not smart politics as far as trying to get your movie made and getting it out there.

Todd Jenkins 49:24
The one decision I made that was probably the best decision on casting. I brought in the guy from tactical response to train. Jeremy Renner from The Hurt Locker. Okay. If you ever see the movie, he's in a really funny scene. But that dude has sold more copies of the movie probably than any of us. He's got like hundreds of 1000s of fans and he runs a tactical training school.

Alex Ferrari 49:44
Oh, yeah. I saw that. I saw that. They posted it on his YouTube.

Todd Jenkins 49:49
Yeah, he posted it on his YouTube and it probably I don't know where we're at now, but he's got

Alex Ferrari 49:53
five 6000 10,000 people

Todd Jenkins 49:56
about how much distributed there there are people over at distributed Well, geez, that's great. My cat decided to lock some shit over. Sorry. It's

Alex Ferrari 50:04
all good. It's all good. We're a lot. We're live show. I don't get it. It's fine. But So listen, dude,

Todd Jenkins 50:09
It wasn't me. Come here. This is the guilty one. This little girl right here.

Alex Ferrari 50:16
Look at that. There you go. She looks she looks at me. Yo. So um, Well, listen, brother, I do appreciate you coming on the show, I really wanted to have you on the show because I wanted to kind of really put a face and a story behind this, this this horrible situation that the shivers put us all through, you know, a lot of filmmakers. Some filmmakers are hurting a lot worse than others, you are hurting. You're one of the probably one of the hardest stories I've heard. I know filmmakers who are owed two $300,000 dude, like literally two $300,000. Like they're getting attorneys involved, and they're trying to, you know, reaching out to the FBI, they're really doing as much as we can. I mean, so when you think you're bad, there's always someone who is owed more or worse situation. And I'm not saying that, but you're in a pretty bad situation. And I wanted to kind of put you up there and want to put a spotlight on your story, because I think it's important for people that are listening to understand the pain that filmmakers are going through because of this ridiculous, horrible situation. And by the people behind it a distributor, everybody involved anybody that was complicit in this information, knowing about this information and left the company or was, you know, or whatever, because they're like, you know, this is not for me, I'm out of here and didn't do anything to inform any of us about what was going on even on a you know, like a simple Well, a simple crime. I say no matter what, it is a crime, Sir, it is a crazy crime

Todd Jenkins 51:40
I mean, it has nothing to it is it when you try to explain it to people in even talking to attorneys now that I've tried to talk to about this situation? And almost everybody, they still think that distributor because of their name, or distribution company? You know, they don't understand that, like, This happens all the time. And I'm like, No, this is this is an aggregator that did this. This is not a distribution company. We paid for the services which they were just basically encoding our movie. And it still really bothers me is like how many freaking me fucking people did did they hire over there? Like Where did all this money go? Us? I know as well as I do. It doesn't take that many people to it was taken on what 90 plus days to QC a movie. And the encoded.

Alex Ferrari 52:21
Yeah, I mean, look, it's not lattes. I can tell you that. I don't I don't think they'd lost millions of dollars in lattes. You know, I know lattes are expensive, but I don't think that's where it went. And I don't know where the money is. I you know, I originally said mismanagement, but I don't know what happened. Spanish but this this had to be diapers I you know, I don't know what's going on. I don't know the details inside. But with that said, there's so much fishy stuff that's going on so much information that's that's come out since we started this whole journey, which has only been around three weeks now been three, four weeks or something like that, that I launched that first podcast. And, and every day, it's it's more informations coming out that group that I started, protect yourself from, from distributor, there's so much valuable information. And there's so many people telling a story. So many people updating us about Hey, I just got this email, hey, like just today I posted that rev calm glass Ratner or the the assignee, or whatever that company is, that's taking care of the payments, actually sent an email, a statement to rev to say, anybody who was a distributor client can get their can get their closed captioning subtitles back for free, if they can prove that they are the owners of the movie. So that's huge for us. Because now you don't have to go out and redo it, and spend another $100. Because my cuts different. So well. That's what that's what that's on. But, but generally speaking, if your film hasn't changed, you can get that in front man, I know guys who did a series, they're gonna have to spend $1,000 to get all of the closed captioning back for all of this, this whole series that they went through distribute with. So that's, I mean, like, I don't want to say like, it's like it's salt in the wound at this point. So that information just came out. I got Linda did a lot of a lot of legwork on that. And we posted that out. And we've got a big article coming out with the LA Times hopefully soon.

Todd Jenkins 54:11
And I don't know how these guys are walking around. Not feeling scared. I would be so

Alex Ferrari 54:17
Oh, no, no, I promise you, I promise you. All of them are scared shitless. And the reason why they're scared shitless is because people like me, like Joe, like you, like everybody in the group are not letting this die. And all of us listening cannot allow this to die. Because if we just let it go, like I'm just, I just don't want to deal with this. I just want to move on. If you do that, they win. They win. So we have to make it that's what

Todd Jenkins 54:44
I'm trying to explain my wife too, because when you're married, this is drama in your life every day. You got to take a call, even from the LA Times or anybody or the FBI ever who were doing but you got to do it. You got to do this every single day but you You know, the family life doesn't understand that, you know, they're just like, they want you to wash your hands and just go on, you know, my wife wants me to put this behind us and just get out of the film altogether at this point, you know, because she, she just seems she just sees the whole thing is just, it's an evil business. And there's no way to recover from it. And I, and I'm trying to say, No, there's a way to recover. You know, when I go with indie rights, or somebody like indie writes, I can prove to her there is some good people out there. And that this, this is, this doesn't happen every day. And I it happened to 1000s of people, we're not the only ones it wasn't because I was a dumb ass and made some stupid fucking mistake

Alex Ferrari 55:37
And signed a horrible NDA signed a horrible predatory distribution deal with some company that just stole everything

Todd Jenkins 55:42
They stole from us, and they stole from 1000s of people, right. And, you know, we're gonna hold on to the fire fart, we're gonna make sure they pay the price for all the shit that they've done.

Alex Ferrari 55:50
And that's, and that's, and that's what we're trying to do. And I think everyone listening, if you are involved with this, or even if you're not involved with distributor, if you can spread the word, if you could keep at it, and keep pushing on it and keep the noise up. That's why I'm so excited about the la times because they're there the LA Times, you know, that is a huge noise.

Todd Jenkins 56:11
Everything man, I gave him my dashboard and my anything that they could use, you know, for right now, to help this case. Yeah. And please do not minimize it the way that variety did, you know, and anyway, I was like, you gotta make sure you're putting in the article, it's 1000s of people effect and

Alex Ferrari 56:27
Millions of dollars, dollars, millions of dollars,

Todd Jenkins 56:30
Somebody 2000, you know, 500, whatever, that just minimizes the story. Like, it's not a big deal, like you lost a bet, a fight or something.

Alex Ferrari 56:38
Yeah, I'm just, I'm just hoping that this does go a little deeper. And it sounds like they are going to go a little deeper. And I'm very appreciative of indiewire. I'm very appreciative of variety to even cover this. Because I mean, I'm even appreciative of no film school, all these guys that came out after I did. And I've just put a little bit of shine on it, even if it's small, or even if it's a little bit bigger, it's something but I truly hope that it's something or I do hope that the LA Times really does blow it out of the water. And I do feel it is, by the way, anyone listening, the FBI is aware of the situation, because this is this is copyright issues. This is fraudulent actions. There is there is talks with the FBI, there is talks with the LA district attorney. This is a serious thing, man, this is no joke. And we have to leave the rest of all too, because going on it. Guess what, don't worry about taxes, don't worry. Well, IRS is always around it. Don't worry, they that's the one audit, so we can find out how much we got screwed. Don't you worry, my friend. They got Al Capone on taxes, brother. So they always get you no matter what. And I really, I really hope that some sort of justice happens. I and I've said this a bit publicly before and I know it's something that you've said before I lost hope that we're ever going to get a dime back. I don't I don't truly believe that we're going to get any money back. If there's no money there. And these guys are what if there's no money there? The money has been taken mismanaged. Whatever. I don't know if it's going to come back. I hope it does. Maybe we'll get something but I'm not. I'm not waiting for a magical cheque to show up with all my money.

Todd Jenkins 58:17
Well, what we need is one of those angels in Hollywood that's got billions of dollars, or even the digital platforms who've made all this money off of us, they go Hey, guys, we understand that we were partners with pieces of shit. Yes, yes. Why don't we give you some of that money back? Because it seems like and I can't get iTunes or anybody to comment about what's going on? Why can't iTunes or any of these people help us? You know, why can't they Oh, well participate in this? \

Alex Ferrari 58:43
There's one company that I know of that is which is Netflix. Netflix is anybody want a Netflix deal? They're taking care of the situation in one way, shape, or form. So if you're owed money, I think Netflix is gonna pay you well, if it's Netflix, but it's Netflix, and that's a special deal. That was a contractual deal. It's an S VOD deal. It's not transactional, it's a different story. But all of these other companies need to come to the plate. Because if not, if I'm hoping that the LA story goes national, the only time story goes national and a lot of shade gets thrown on these platforms, because it's their responsibility to take care of us the independent filmmakers because they forced us to go through to go through these aggregators, without any sort of responsibility financially, or any fiduciary responsibility, any requirements by the platform's by these companies to handle their money in the way they handle their money other than self regulating, and we see how well that worked with the stripper. So they're on the hook in my eyes, those companies are all liable. Those companies are all responsible for this situation because they forced us unlike dealing with distribution

Todd Jenkins 58:44
I agree, if you force someone to go with an aggregator that you approve, and you've got 1000s of movies, on your platform underneath that aggregator which you're making money on or going to do their research. gonna look it up, like I looked up distributed, you saw 1000s of movies and movies that you saw and had watched before and you're like, that makes them seem more legitimate. You know, we're This is you guys are betting this company. Basically, they bet a distributor saying, Hey, we work with these guys. They're good guys.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:15
If I call if I tell my buddy Bob, and go, Bob, look, I'm gonna send, Todd's gonna do the work for me. Right, Todd's gonna, he's gonna, he's going to remodel your house, and then all the money is going to go through Taj, I'm going to just send a check to Todd and then Todd is going to send the money to you, Bob. Now, if you leave town, and don't give the money to Bob, who's on the hook for that, it's not you, you're gone. Because I told you to go through you. I'm on the hook. They're gonna come after me. Now, mind you, I'm not as big as these billion dollar conglomerate conglomerates, but they are responsible. And the one thing that someone told me, which was great, it's like, they might not care about the money. But they do not want a public hanging. They don't want a public hanging. And that is what's going to happen if these guys do not step up. If these guys don't step up. And let's not even talk about the go digital board, which is full of very well to do people. And I want to know what they knew when they knew it. And why the hell has nobody come out and said anything about it. None of the board members, not one board member has made a comment, not one ex employee has made a comment about what's going on with the stripper. And they know what's going on. Even glass Ratner has not made a public announcement that wasn't for us doing what we're doing. No one would know anything. So all these other guys are all hiding. They're all scared and they don't want, they want this to go away. But I promise you, this will not go away. Because it's not going away. It's not going to go away. Because people like you, like me, like Joe, like Linda, everybody else is going to stay on this until something happens for us filmmakers. And we get down to the bottom of this. Because if we

Todd Jenkins 1:01:57
Try to explain to the other filmmakers in the industry, and to egos, because as you hear it was like you see these messages constantly, well, you're an idiot, why did you go with distributor? I told you they were bad. You know all this, no matter because if they're allowed to get away with this, then it means another aggregator could do it, the deputy can even happen. Should Have you scared that it could happen to you. Because if your movie goes through one of these aggregators, you're not going to get paid. If your actors are sag actors, they're not going to get paid. It affects everybody in the industry, every single person, and they should all be concerned about it. They're just like, you know, I totally get this all the time. Well, we didn't go with a stripper. So we're not worried about it. That's all they say. But I might I've heard that too, you got to worry about it, you got to worry about it.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:42
Because if it happens to us, it could happen to you.

Todd Jenkins 1:02:45
It could happen to you. Exactly. It needs to be regulated. Something has to change with the digital platforms and their business model and the way they're going to handle business going forward after this debacle. because no one's protected right now. It just say it right now is saying, Hey, I can just sit up as an aggregator still all this money for one year and leave and not a fucking thing happens to me.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:08
And they're and they're taking advantage of the weakest of our industry, which are independent filmmakers in many ways. As a small independent filmmakers,

Todd Jenkins 1:03:16
There's 1000s of us and it ended up being costing all of us millions of dollars when you add it up. So somebody is getting away with millions of dollars. From all of us.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:27
Someone's living on a farm right now. Someone's living on a farm right now living the life with with with, you know, with situ, you know, with money that possibly could have gone to us. I know blessing.

Todd Jenkins 1:03:40
Justified, people keep saying, Hey, you know what, maybe they spent it on this or that might do. There's no way to justify it. Trying to justify what they did would be like I film auditions for the studios. And I do it by myself, right? Like people come in and they audition for all the big Marvel movies or whatever. I have a nondisclosure agreement with the film for these different TV shows and movies. I filmed these auditions. I can't fucking go out and just say, Oh, well, I hired fucking 50 fucking people to do that. And that's what they did. They had they have all these people there. And when it literally all they were doing was queue seeing our movie, which was probably done with software. It didn't really take it. No one was physically sitting there watching the movie without blinking looking for our mistake.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:22
No, it sounds when it's done with software.

Todd Jenkins 1:04:25
Yeah, everything was done with software. The cue scene was done with software the encoder was done was

Alex Ferrari 1:04:29
Oh, and there's one little lovely note that I looked at, I'd like to bring out there. They were charging 14 $100 to do subtitling and captioning sometimes, or part of their, their $2,000 package or whatever it was. And then I would say when I did my movie, I'm like, Hey, I'm just gonna use rev.com to do it. And they're like, Oh, no, we've heard a lot of bad things about Rev. It's not it's not it's not you know, we've had a lot of things got kicked back and this and that and I'm like, Oh, alright, well some of this is included in the past. I could find, but you know what they did, they just sent it to rev. Oh, that's why they that's why they sent it to the company that they were using. They were bad mouthing, that's the company that we're using. Why? Because then they could triple the fee. So if it cost them, if it cost them 150 bucks, which is $1 a minute, so that whatever, if it's a two hour movie, it's 120 bucks, it's 90 bucks, if it's a 90 minute movie, they would charge you for 50 $500. Because in the olden days, it used to be 678. dollars a minute to close caption for quite a while, know that that was part of their business model, because they needed to make some money somewhere. So they were just trying to rip off filmmakers every which way they could, like we

Todd Jenkins 1:05:41
And we paid them, we gladly paid him for it. So they made the they made their fucking money, charging us upfront and steal our money.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:49
But that but even with that it wasn't enough. It wasn't enough to keep the model going. It wasn't enough to keep the company going. And that's that's where we're talking about this mismanagement or some Hanky Panky going on behind closed doors. But it's bs man. And and I'm really, you know, very cautious, obviously now with any film aggregator out there. But it's a it's a broken model, even the biggest aggregators out there. And a lot of people I won't name names, but everybody knows the other aggregators out there. They're all self regulated man. They're all the same thing. It's the exact same things that distributor was doing. They they do they have their money in a separate account for everybody. Maybe, maybe not, that you know, who has access to that account, who has

Todd Jenkins 1:06:30
Everybody has to change, no matter what it has to change, it has to happen again.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:36
And if we don't do if we don't continue to make noise about this, I feel real passionate about this, obviously, you know, I do, if we don't continue to make noise about this, this sends the sign to another idiot or another thief or another scam artists out there to open up shop and take advantage of people and I'm including distribution companies as well in this conversation with predatory distribution companies, which is so long overdue for a smack in the face, because I'm sick and tired of hearing stories, like you told me like, don't go with distributors, man because they're just going to rip you off. I'm tired of that normal everyday bs story. that's inherent. It's a it's a virus that's inside of our business for independent filmmaking. And it needs to go away. There are good distributors out there. There's indie rights. There's, there's Tara films with Jo Jo days, guys, these guys are honest people, to my knowledge, at least I can again, always do your research. I'm never, I'm never ever going to advocate for a company. I always say look, in my opinion, I think they're good people. It's super duper careful what you say, because people listen to people listen, but it's your responsibility as a producer and as a filmmaker, to do your due diligence. And to follow up on anything to any recommendation that anyone gives you, let alone me. So there are good people out there that are good people trying to help filmmakers out there that have been around for a long time. But the majority of everybody out there, for lack of a better term are crooks. They're crooks. They're shady. And I'm talking about the big distribution companies in the indie film space as well. I won't name names, there's some good ones, there's some horrible ones, there's some of them that put out 40 or 50 movies a month, a month, and you actually think you're gonna put any information any kind of marketing budget behind your movie. No, it's called the shotgun approach.

Todd Jenkins 1:08:19
If they just make $2,000 off that movie, they're gonna, they're gonna line their pockets because of volume.

Alex Ferrari 1:08:25
But don't forget that they but they're also going to charge you for encoding, they're also going to charge you for closed captioning. And they're going to just start up charging you all this stuff. And don't let Simon get into charge backs for going to that would take another couple hours to just chargebacks and fill market payments and all that kind of crap with their model that they have now. Anyway, that's a whole other conversation. I did a whole conference I did a whole podcast on predatory distributors. But I will continue this this battle with this because I think this is the biggest problem we have.

So much man and everybody in the group. You guys are all awesome. If it wasn't for this group. There's no telling what stupid thing I would have done. You know, who knows? You guys are out there helping with the good fight. That's good. You know, I

Todd Jenkins 1:09:08
I was contemplating on driving over to LA myself. You know, I'm

Alex Ferrari 1:09:11
Finding some. Yeah, well, let's not do that. Let's not do that. Please.

Todd Jenkins 1:09:16
I'm not gonna shoot anybody. I might punch him in the face.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:20
Just for your own your own feeling. I get it. I don't. I don't. I don't advise anybody to punch him in the face. I think it's worth it. I advise nobody listening to go punch anybody in the face. Let's But listen, there's 1000s of us.

Todd Jenkins 1:09:35
There's 1000s of us. If every single person affected by this barkos

Alex Ferrari 1:09:40
and punches somebody in the face, don't do that. Don't just punch them. Don't do that. Sir. I cannot I cannot I cannot propagate or promote this. This kind of this kind of action, sir. I cannot but see. But I understand your feelings. I truly do. But I cannot I cannot promote this.

Todd Jenkins 1:10:01
You know, when I was growing up, we just punch people in the face and it worked. Everything got itself worked out. Yeah Dave remember this this this could probably require a few punches to the face.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:11
And it might be a nutshell but anyway.

Todd Jenkins 1:10:14
Oh yeah, a couple of those for sure. I gotta I gotta run cuz I got an appointment I'm late for but, uh, thank you so much for your time. Everybody's doing

Alex Ferrari 1:10:23
Thank you again so much brother I really do appreciate it and keep up the good fight man. Again, I want to thank Todd for coming on man and being so open and raw and honest with us and transparent about what he's going through, took a lot of bravery to, for him to put himself out there like that. So thank you, again, so much, Todd, for coming on, man. And we're gonna keep fighting. We're gonna keep doing what we can to help as many filmmakers as humanly possible with this whole distributor thing. And if you want to get the latest information about distributor, just go to Facebook, and you could look up the word distributor or find the Facebook group, protect yourself from distributor. And that's where all the latest information updates on everything that's going on in the distributor, the buckle is there. I will put it in the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/357 also have links to to Cherokee Creek information about Todd and then also links to the episodes and podcast in regards to this whole distributor distribution debacle that we're going through man. So thank you guys for listening. If you haven't already, please head over to filmmakingpodcast.com subscribe and leave a good review for the show. It really helps us out a lot. I really appreciate it guys. Thank you so much. As always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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What to Do When a Distributor Goes Bankrupt

What to Do When a Distributor Goes Bankrupt

Read this if you:

  • have been using Distribber
  • need to know what to do if your distributor collapses
  • want to reduce the chance this will happen to you

DISTRIBBER OVERVIEW

When Distribber was launched in 2007, it provided a new way for filmmakers to get their films on iTunes and other digital platforms. Instead of having to find a traditional distributor and split the revenues from digital platforms, filmmakers paid Distribber a one-time fee and received 100% of the revenues from digital platforms. For many years Distribber provided this service to independents, guaranteeing they would get on iTunes, and passing on all of the revenues from TVOD platforms.

It was shocking to hear that Distribber and its parent company GODIGITAL have collapsed financially. While much is still unclear, here’s a breakdown of what I’ve learned so far.

NOTE: The following is not legal advice. I recommend you speak to an attorney for legal guidance.

1. Distribber is in dire financial straits. It has not paid many filmmakers for many months the money it owes them from the revenues received from platforms. Some other filmmakers have paid Distribber to place their films on platforms but Distribber has not done so.

2. Rather than entering into a bankruptcy process, Distribber is utilizing an ABC (Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors) process.

3. Distribber is using GlassRatner to manage the ABC process. Senior Managing Directors Seth Freeman (San Francisco Office: 425 California Street Suite 900 San Francisco, CA 94104 – 415.839-.9280 x 700) and George Demos (Orange County Office: 19800 MacArthur Blvd Suite 820, Irvine, CA 92612 – 949.429.4288) will be leading the process. (see #8 below)

4. The best way to contact Distribber is to email: [email protected]

When filmmakers contact Distribber, they can:

  • terminate their agreement with them (see termination language below)
  • request that Distribber take down their film from each platform
  • request that Distribber release all rights back to them
  • request that Distribber pay all monies owed to them and provide a full accounting of all revenues Distribber received on their behalf
  • request that Distribber ask the platforms to pay all future revenues directly to the filmmakers
  • request that Distribber refund any fees paid to them for services not provided

5. Here is the termination language in many Distribber agreements:

Termination

Either Party may terminate this Agreement by written notice to the other:
1   in the event of a material uncured breach or default by the other Party of any of its obligations under this Agreement, such to a thirty (30) day cure period (if the breach is curable); and/or

2   in the event that the other Party (i) institutes or otherwise becomes a party, voluntarily or involuntarily, to a proceeding alleging or pertaining to the insolvency or bankruptcy of that Party; (ii) is dissolved or liquidated; (iii) makes an assignment of its material assets for the benefit of creditors; and/or (iv) initiates or is subject to the reorganization proceedings.

Upon any such termination, GoDigital shall be relieved of all obligations to Licensor hereunder, provided Licensor shall remain obligated to pay the Delivery Fee.

Under this language, filmmakers can terminate their agreement immediately. They do not have to allow a 30-day cure period since Distribber has already made “an assignment of its material assets for the benefit of creditors.”
 
6. Filmmakers can also contact the platforms where their films are available:

  • alerting them to the fact that they have terminated their relationship with Distribber
  • requesting that all future payments be paid directly to them (rather than Distribber)

Platforms never want to interact directly with filmmakers and make it very difficult for filmmakers to contact them. However, this is a critical situation affecting many filmmakers that the platforms are well aware of. Netflix is already transferring titles from Distribber to individual filmmakers, enabling them to receive payments directly.

Filmmakers should request that all other platforms do the same. Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, and other platforms should follow Netflix’s example and help filmmakers through this crisis.

While it is possible for platforms to simply change the payee as Netflix has done, some may require that each title be first taken down (by Distribber or the platform itself) before the film can be put back on that platform via another aggregator. This will require the filmmaker to find and pay another aggregator. I don’t know how much this will cost or how long it will take.

7. Filmmakers should be very careful about selecting a new aggregator. They should do due diligence to make sure that the aggregator:

  • has direct deals with each platform Distribber put their film on
  • can efficiently place their film on these platforms and possibly others
  • has competitive rates
  • has good customer service, enabling filmmakers to speak with someone when needed
  • is financially stable, ideally part of a larger business that generates income from other services

8. Filmmakers can also contact GlassRatner directly to:

  • request the payment of all monies owed to them and a full accounting of all revenues Distribber received on their behalf
  • request the refund of all fees paid to Distribber for services not provided
  • request that all platforms be instructed to pay all future revenues directly to them

9. Filmmakers whose films Distribber failed to put on platforms even though it was paid to do so, are in a special position. They don’t have to get their films removed from platforms; no revenues are owed them by Distribber.

It’s possible that they may get their initial fees refunded via their credit card companies. See the following post from Protect Yourself From Distribber

laura_somers_post

Here is a copy of the letter that Laura sent to her credit card company:

Dear ____,
I am writing to dispute a charge on my Credit Card on November 14, 2018, to the company GoDigital in the amount of $1,520.00.   This was supposed to be for aggregator services to place my digital content on iTunes and Amazon.  I had sent them all the needed materials and they never completed the work.  My last day of communication with them was in March 2019 and I never heard from them again.  I just discovered that the company has recently closed down and is filing for bankruptcy and is currently working with bankruptcy specialist GlassRatner. GoDigital will be owing to its clients’ hundreds of thousands of dollars and they have not been communicating with their clients. I would like this charge to be reversed.  Thank you!

Kind regards,

10. Filmmakers must be determined, persistent, and loud to maximize their chances of succeeding. When contacting Distribber, the platforms, and GlassRatner, filmmakers must be clear about what they want and unwilling to take no, or silence, for an answer. The squeakier the wheel, the better. Filmmakers can have an attorney write a letter discussing possible litigation or make it clear they will hire an attorney if they don’t get a satisfactory response. Either way, they need to let the decision-makers understand that they are serious and committed to achieving a fair outcome. They fought hard to make their film and bring it into the world and they must stay as tenacious as necessary.

———————————————————–

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR DISTRIBUTOR GOES UNDER

The Distribber situation is a cautionary tale. Here are the key takeaways.

1) If your distributor becomes insolvent, files a petition for bankruptcy, or makes an assignment for the benefit of creditors, act immediately. Speak with an attorney and other filmmakers to learn as much as you can.

2) You may be able to easily terminate your agreement with your distributor.

3) You can request that the distributor immediately provide letters of direction to all sublicenses exploiting your film directing the payment of all future advances, fees, royalties and commissions to you.

4) You can request that your distributor pay all the monies owed to you and provide a full accounting of all revenues received.

5) You can contact digital platforms, alert them to the fact that you have terminated your relationship with the distributor, and request that all future revenues be paid directly to you.

6) If the distributor is using an assignment for the benefit of creditors process, you can contact the firm managing the ABC to request: the payment of all monies owed to you and a full accounting, the refund of any fees paid to the distributor for services not provided, and that all platforms be instructed to pay all future revenues directly to you.

7) You may be able to get a full refund from your credit card company for any services paid for but not provided by your distributor.

8) You must be determined, persistent, and loud to succeed.
_____________________________________________________________

HOW TO REDUCE THE CHANCE THIS WILL HAPPEN TO YOU

1) Before you sign any agreement:

  • do due diligence about the company with 5 filmmakers currently working with them (in addition to any references the company provides)
  • make sure the agreement includes fair bankruptcy, termination, and dispute resolution language
  • have an experienced attorney or producer review your agreement before signing
  • negotiate for a shorter term
  • avoid automatic renewal clauses

2) After you have signed your agreement:

  • make sure you receive revenue reports and payments on time and review them carefully. If they are delayed significantly, determine whether the delay is a sign of underlying financial instability. If so, take steps to protect yourself from an impending financial meltdown.
  • pay attention to reports and articles in various publications and online that may give you a sense of the distributor’s financial health

For more information on distribution sign up for Peter’s Distribution Bulletin.
For the latest updates on Distribber join the Protect Yourself From Distribber Facebook Group.


Peter Broderick is President of Paradigm Consulting, which helps filmmakers and media companies develop strategies to maximize distribution, audience, and revenues. His seminal article, “Maximizing Distribution,” has been reprinted in publications around the world. His reports, “Welcome to the New World of Distribution” and “Declaration of Independence” are concise guides to the latest distribution strategies.


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IFH 167: How to Make $3 Million Selling Your Indie Film on iTunes & Amazon w/ Range 15

Right-click here to download the MP3

We all hear that self-distribution is the future for indie filmmakers. Build an audience and make a film for that audience but finding real-world examples of a “true” indie film breaking $1,000,000+ using that model is tough. Well, I’m happy to introduce you to Range 15, the indie film that not only made $1 million selling on iTunes and Amazon but generated $3 million+ to date, and growing.

Today’s guest is Nick Palmisciano, one of the writers, producers, and actors in Range 15. His story of how this crazy indie film came into the world is truly inspiring.

Nick and Mat Best, his co-producer/writer/lead of Range 15, had a crazy idea to create a feature film for the communities they had built up over the years. They are both military veterans and own the military-themed apparel companies Ranger Rp and Article 15 Clothing, respectively.

They wanted to make a film that the military community would enjoy and they did just that.

They crowdfunded $1.2 million to make the film. Their goal was $350,000 but they made that in the first 30 hours of the campaign. With the extra cash, they were able to get William Shatner, Keith David, Sean Astin, and Danny Trejo to join the cast.

As you can tell from the videos above Nick and the gang don’t take themselves too seriously but what is serious is how much dinero Range 15 has pulled in. For an indie film with no studio and no distributor to break $3 million bucks is a miracle. My hats off to the cast and crew of Range 15.

Nick and the boys also produced a remarkable documentary on the making of Range 15 called Not a War Story. It’s starting to get buzz around Hollywood.

Enjoy my inspirational conversation with Nick Palmisciano.

Alex Ferrari 1:09
Guys, I am so excited to bring you this episode. I've been chasing this guest for almost a year now. And it was just we couldn't get our schedules, right. And it was always always something going on. It was just really tough, tough to just nail down a time that we both could do this. And we finally did it. As promised in Episode 166. Today's guest is Nick Palmisciano, from the indie film miracle called range 15. Now Nick and his compadres put together $1,000,001.2 million film that went on. And by the way, they crowdfunded that $1.2 million. And we're going to discuss how he did that, because he's never made a movie, nor anybody on the team, really, that put this whole thing together. I've never made a movie acted in a movie or written a movie. And they decided just to go out there and do it, raise the money and go, and they crowdfunded that budget. And then not only did they crowdfund the budget, and they self distributed it through distributor, and they went straight to iTunes, and Amazon. And they have, according to Nick have made over $3 million to date and counting. And that's only been around a year old, that is in sane, in sane for a horror comedy zombie flick, as I quote Nick to go on, and not only make that amount of money, they were able to break the top 10 of I have all of iTunes competing with the studios. And they actually got all the way to number two, on iTunes. Only Angry Birds beat them. I mean, come on, seriously, you can beat Angry Birds, but and I know that will drive Nick crazy for the rest of his life. But they got to number two. And the studio's even started taking notice like Who are these guys? How do they get up there? What is this movie, because the top 10 of iTunes is generally, you know, held for the studios 400 $200 million movies. But these guys were beating Batman vs. Superman, and just big monster studio temple films. And I wanted to get him on the show so he could share his story on how the whole project came together, how they crowdfunded it, their journeys through Hollywood, because they're not from Hollywood, in the distribution game and the crazy stories and meetings they had with distributors, and then finally getting to distributor and getting their movies through distributor to iTunes, and Amazon, and what both of those platforms did for the film and continues to do for the film. And also the ancillary products that they've sold, t shirts, blu rays, DVDs, posters, and so on. And guys, I mean, they just an inspiration, Nick and the team that they put together range 15 is an inspiration of understanding Your market and making a product for that market or that community, as opposed to making a movie, then going out and trying to find a community to sell it to, or a customer to sell it to, they knew their customer and built something for their customers. This is business 101. So, without any further ado, I want you to enjoy and please take notes and get ready to be inspired by Nick from range 15. I like to welcome to the show Nick Palmisciano how about Palmisciano?

Nick Palmisciano 5:33
Palmisciano

Alex Ferrari 5:34
Palmisciano. Thank you, brother. Appreciate it. So thanks, man, we've been we've been playing phone tag or email tag for for a long time now probably months, if not almost a year. So I really appreciate us finally connecting and having you on the show, man.

Nick Palmisciano 5:49
Yeah, man. It's my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Alex Ferrari 5:51
So Nick, tell me a little bit about yourself and your background. So the audience kind of gets to know who you are and where you came from.

Nick Palmisciano 5:57
Sure. kind of grew up all over the place. My dad was a Vietnam veteran that ended up working for for the military as a as a do D civilian for a long time. So grew up in Italy, and kind of have been just about everywhere at this point. When went to high school in Massachusetts, so I'm a diehard Patriots fan. So apologize for all of you out there that you know hate us.

Alex Ferrari 6:21
And I'm a very I'm a very sad dolphin fan. So I've been sad for 30 it's been it's been been sad for about 30 odd years.

Nick Palmisciano 6:31
Well, you guys used to kill us when I was a kid. So I refreshing to be on the other side when Marina was around. Yes.

Alex Ferrari 6:39
Okay. Anyway, Marina was around, we'll keep talking.

Nick Palmisciano 6:43
I went to West Point. And after West Point, became an infantry officer, which I, which I did for six years, got out of the military, went to grad school, got the corporate job, and felt very empty, and started a little hobby on the side just to kind of keep my connection to the to the military community. And that was the apparel company that I now run called Ranger up. And it's been 11 years now, believe it or not, since I started that hobby, and we've been able to do incredible things. Since then, most recently, we teamed up with our friends at article 15 and other military clothing company and we launched a movie called range 15.

Alex Ferrari 7:28
And we'll get and we'll get all into range 15 in a little bit.

Nick Palmisciano 7:33
And then after that, a documentary about that film called not a war story. And so that is the 62nd version of my life is a lot lots of travel, joining the military, got a job and then started a hobby that became my real life's work.

Alex Ferrari 7:52
No, No, no Ranger up is is not like a little company anymore. Right? I mean, this is substantial apparel company.

Nick Palmisciano 8:00
Yeah, yeah. It's, you know, we've we've, I think, I think we crossed like, we crossed seven figures, like, seven years ago. Yeah, we're, yeah, we're pretty, you know, we're we saw a lot of T shirts.

Alex Ferrari 8:13
That's awesome.

Nick Palmisciano 8:15
Now, it's weird because people don't realize how many t shirts you have to sell.

Alex Ferrari 8:21
I think it's a seven figure number. No, it's a massive.

Nick Palmisciano 8:24
I wish we were selling like battleships. You know, we sold one battleship we're good for the year would be preferable?

Alex Ferrari 8:31
Exactly. Now, tell me the story of how and why you launched a YouTube channel.

Nick Palmisciano 8:38
Yeah, so, you know, I think people that are starting companies now are growing up in a world where Facebook and social media and Instagram and all those things are just the norm. When when I started Ranger up Facebook existed, but you could only the only reason I had Facebook was because I went to grad school at Duke University.

Alex Ferrari 9:05
Right? It was college only

Nick Palmisciano 9:06
I remember that. It wasn't even college only at that point. It was like a like, you know, quote, unquote, elite colleges. You know, I started with Harvard. And they added a couple more than they added a couple more. So, you know, almost nobody was on Facebook, certainly nobody that, you know, was super interested in what we were doing. So I wrote a lot of articles for blogs and did a lot of stuff that was very popular back in the day, you know, kind of these different networking sites. And then, you know, Facebook started started becoming a thing. And I was like, Oh, it's, you know, kind of makes it easy to share content. And this was like 2007 2008 and I had been making videos like my entire life, you know, I made I made funny videos with you know, two VCRs when I was in the military, you know, when I was a kid I made, you know, highlight videos and joke videos, you know, for, like my wrestling team. So I've always kind of had a passion for film. And, and even when I was at Duke University, we had a, we had a show called fuchal vision that was very similar to like a, like a really bad Saturday Night Live focused on, you know, Duke life. And I spent, like, more time doing that than I did, you know, academics, and I'm not, I'm not saying that as like a joke. I mean, I really spent more time, you know, in the, in the editing room, right, and I did working on class. So, you know, I've always had a passion for film, and all of a sudden, I had this medium where, you know, we could come up with content, and you could easily share it, and you know, and back then, when everyone, all this kind of stuff started, you know, if you if you got a couple 1000 views, that was huge, like, wow, you know, a few 1000 people watching my stuff,

Alex Ferrari 10:57
That's huge. It's like, everyone think looks at like, Oh, I gotta, you have to get a million views, like 2000 people is a lot of

Nick Palmisciano 11:04
A lot, right? when you really think about it. And so, you know, back then it was just like, well, this is a cool way to kind of, you know, do something fun, engage, you know, with, with like minded people, and, and no one else was doing this, like, you know, we were the first military apparel brand, you know, before us, you you could buy like skulls, shirts, and, you know, skulls with snakes wrapped around from above, and that kind of stuff, but nobody had made it cool. And so, you know, we created this whole industry. Now, there's 30 something brands in the industry. And then we were the first to start creating content, you know, and we didn't come out with tough guy content, it was always funny, you know, it was like, I've always felt that the toughest dudes never take themselves too seriously. You know, so like, if you've got a bunch of military guys, and they're just trying to tell you how tough they are. Like, they probably aren't that tough. The dudes that I knew that were truly bad asses. Were never sitting around talking about themselves, they were talking about other things that had nothing to do with the military, or they were talking about training, they were never just sitting around going. I'm the baddest, so I'm so good. And so good. You know. And so, you know, when people do that, I kind of instantly start raising an eyebrow, when somebody's spending a lot of time telling you how tough they are. So we never wanted to do that. We we just created a lot of funny stuff. And like, one of the first videos we did was called the Ranger up workout video where it starts off and you think it's gonna be serious. And then, you know, everybody's in super short shorts. And it's, it's not it's not remotely a workout. And, you know, it became like, a huge success, you know, you know, at the time, big numbers, you know, hundreds of 1000s of people watched it. And

Alex Ferrari 12:57
That's still big numbers, by the way, I would kill for that.

Nick Palmisciano 13:02
Not Not as much anymore. But back then it was huge. Right? But yeah, it was wild. So and so, you know, we kind of started committing to doing this more and more, and we got better at it better at creating content, you know, start investing in equipment. And, you know, fast forward 11 years, you know, we're coming off making two movies with our with our buddies from article 15. So it's been a wild ride.

Alex Ferrari 13:25
So and then how So basically, you It's okay, for the audience to understand you understood who your market was, the niche that you were trying to go after, then you started creating content for that niche and building that audience up. And I'm assuming that was to help you connect with your audience and sell more product.

Nick Palmisciano 13:44
Yes, so I've got a weird I've got a weird outlook on all this stuff. And, you know, I don't want to try to I'm not trying to sound like a holier than thou dude or anything. Sure. I do not. I don't love apparel. Like I have no passion for apparel. I didn't want to sell t shirts, because I just love t shirts. Right? I really like the community. And when I left the military, it was very bittersweet. You know, there's never, I don't know anybody that that is worthwhile that left the military and was like, just 100%. Yes. I'm so glad I'm out. Almost always. It's I'm glad I'm out for these reasons. But I missed the guys. I missed the camaraderie and I missed the mission. And I fell into that category. And so I wanted to connect. And so yeah, I created, I created t shirts, I wrote articles. And I tried to build a community where there wasn't one before. You know, when you get out, you're kind of isolated. You go from having all of these friends around you with shared values to you go back to wherever it is you're from, or you go to some new place and now you're alone. And a lot of people have problems with that. And so I wanted to build a virtual community with Ranger to just keep people connected, like in the back of my head, I was like, Yeah, yeah, I might make a few few 1000 extra bucks doing this. But, you know, I had a big time corporate job. And, you know, there was no real thought to leaving that in order to sell t shirts.

Alex Ferrari 15:17
It doesn't make a lot. It doesn't make a lot of sense.

Nick Palmisciano 15:20
Yeah. And I'll be honest, you know, when I decided to do it, there is nobody. I mean, like, literally no one in my life, it didn't look at me like I was an idiot.

Alex Ferrari 15:29
Right? Right. That's generally the I don't know, I would agree. If you if I, if you were in my life, and you said the same thing. I'm like, maybe. But you know, it's still it's still a pretty big risk, but a pretty big jump.

Nick Palmisciano 15:44
Yeah, it was, it was it was kind of a crazy moment. And I did it. I did it because I found out I was getting promoted. Oh, and the rate, and the raise was going to be about 100k. And, and I was, you know, at that point, barely over 30. Right. And so I'm sitting there going, like, if I take this job, I will never get out, I will never do anything else. Because the money is going to be too good. I will never be able to take the risk. And so I found out on a Friday that, that I was getting promoted and gave my notice on a Monday after thinking about it for the weekend.

Alex Ferrari 16:23
That's that's pretty amazing. And so basically your audience, well, let me ask you, how important is your audience, the building been to your business as a general statement? incredibly important,

Nick Palmisciano 16:35
You know, that? My audience is my business? You know, there's there is nothing else like yeah, there. You know, there are people you know, that buy our stuff that have no idea who we are, you know, don't don't really care about the values we have they just like the shirt like, absolutely, and that you're always gonna have that. But you know, I think the majority of our customers, you know, buy from us not just because we sell a quality product, but because they believe in the ethos,

Alex Ferrari 17:01
Right of what your of your community have, basically, the more the values of your community that you've built up. Yes, absolutely. So then what made you decide to finally go into the crazy world of full blown filmmaking and make a feature film?

Nick Palmisciano 17:17
So really, really, interestingly, you know, I've, in 2009, I did my first real interview with Ranger up. And in that interview, which, which went to a Fort Bragg newspaper, I said, you know, someday I want to, I want this company to be big enough, where we can do feature film and affect policy. And get laughed at a lot for that, like, I actually saved some of the comments, because, you know, people were like, stick to T shirts, you know, like, Are you kidding me? You're gonna do movies, like, how are you going to do that? You know. And so then fast forward, you know, to 2014 and Jared Taylor, from article 15, called me up and was like, Hey, man, like, I'm working on this project, like, I had this idea about doing a movie. And I want you to see the script and tell me what you think. So he sends me the script. And I thought, I thought it was a great concept. I was laughing the whole time. And I made a bunch of notes. Like, I probably sent him, you know, four pages of like, alternative dialogue or ideas or whatever. And so, you know, and he calls me He's like, so you know, so You liked it? I was like, Yeah, man, this is really cool. Like, if, you know, if you make this a little more military here, and that, you know, and, like, this could be really, really funny. And he was like, how about we do this together? I was like, yep, let's do it. Amen. And so at that point, you know, Jared, and I became the, you know, we started formed a company to do this film, and, you know, became the CO managers of, of, you know, creating range. 15. And, man, I, like neither of us really had any idea what we were signing up for. Hardest, the hardest professional accomplishment of my entire life. Oh, yeah. That was dragging this movie across the finish line.

Alex Ferrari 19:22
Oh, yeah.

Nick Palmisciano 19:24
And, you know, we thought the hard part was going to be the script, you know, because, you know, the script took months and months and months to get right. And we were, you know, we argued about it and, you know, knockout drag out fights, and you know, but ultimately, we ended up with a better script as a result. And we were fortunate I didn't realize how many people in Hollywood actually end up kind of, you know, breaking up as friends over Oh, creative.

Alex Ferrari 19:51
Every I mean, I've had it's happened to me it's happened multiple people I know it that's generally the way it goes.

Nick Palmisciano 19:58
Yeah, it's interesting because In the military, we're so used to like the the culture of the military is, you're supposed to fight the fight, like if you believe something, you're supposed to fight it. And then once it's resolved, whether you got your way or not, everybody's supposed to drop it like that is the culture that we have where it makes sense. You know, if if you don't fight the fight, you're not you're doing a disservice to the men, you're doing a disservice to yourself. And you're, you know, and you're, you're being cowardly. But, you know, but once it's decided, you either get on board or you go away. And so that's just so you know, we'd have these fights, and then at the end of the night, you know, we'd be sharing a beer or something like it never, it never stayed. And so that was one of the things our director found really interesting is that we would have these, like, you know, pretty aggressive conversations, like, everybody would be fine. And he just did, he kept waiting for the ball to drop,

Alex Ferrari 20:56
Right here, because that's, that's our training, and our, in our business. That's exactly when you see stuff like that I'm like, this is gonna blow up at any moment. And the whole thing's gonna come crashing to a halt or down, and we're not gonna be able to finish this movie.

Nick Palmisciano 21:08
Yeah, yeah. And, you know, it was just, it's just the way that we were all used to kind of acting that, you know, it worked out. So we thought the script was going to be the challenge. And then we thought, you know, raising money was going to be the challenge. You know, we couldn't get money from Hollywood, for obvious reasons. You know, like, we had, you know, none of us had made a movie, none of us had written a movie was had acted in a film, you know, there were, there was no reason for Hollywood to give us money. So we went to Indiegogo. And, you know, we were just hoping, hey, if we got 350k, then, you know, Ranger up an article 15 could kick in another, you know, a few $100,000. And we could get, we get make a small, you know, half $1,000,000.06 $100,000 movie, and it'd be cool. And then, you know, we ended up raising, you know, just shy of 1.2 million on Indiegogo. And I was able to bring in a bunch of other sponsors.

Alex Ferrari 22:05
Yeah, can you? Let me let me stop you there for a second. All right. So you crowd. So when you start a crowdfunding on Indiegogo, you basically went out to your audience, and then you told your audience, hey, this is what we're doing. And they responded, much better than you can ever have dreamed of.

Nick Palmisciano 22:21
Yeah, I mean, I did think we were going to get the 350 I thought we were going to grind it out and get to 350. But not in my wildest dreams that I think we were gonna cross 350 in 30 hours. That's insane. You know, it was insane.

Alex Ferrari 22:35
That was the power of your audience. That was the power of the connection you made with your audience.

Nick Palmisciano 22:39
Yeah, you know, it's, we, it was very, we planned that, you know, surgically, like how we executed that. You know, we, first of all, you know, we had just watched super troopers to raise 4 million. Right. And we, we modeled a lot of what we did after super troopers, you know, because they had, they had created an effective model for doing that. And then, you know, Jared, and I reached out to lots of different, you know, supportive websites, supportive audiences. So it wasn't just, it wasn't just Ranger up in Article 15. It was also the ancillary characters in both of our companies. So Matt best on his social media, Tim Kennedy on his social media, but then also, we were able to enlist, you know, friends like other other personalities, you know, military supporters, Medal of Honor recipients, and we had it all staggered, so that, you know, every, you know, six hours, somebody new was that had a large audience was posting it, which kept it very fresh on Facebook. And so, you know, and then then it kind of took on a life of its own, you know, it went over, went over 350. And then Marcus Luttrell, you know, I had a, I had a small relationship with Marcus Luttrell, from a previous event, you know, we weren't tight, tight or anything like that. But I had his contact info. I reached out to him, you know, asked if he might be interested. And he did a little video that said, Hey, you know, if I'll be in this movie, if it goes over, you know, a half a million dollars, and he posts that video. And then like, a day later, we're over a half a million dollars and, like, it just it just kept going and going and going. And that was when we started. were like, Oh, we have a real movie now. And our director said, Look, you know, you you guys know have the budget to actually bring in some actors, right? You know, not just not just you know, you guys and you know, in some some You know, working actors and I say that with absolutely no disrespect to shares, a lot of times working actors are truly the best actors.

Alex Ferrari 25:07
Marquee, marquee value actors and other organs.

Nick Palmisciano 25:09
Yeah. And so I started writing letters, in particular, like I really wanted William Shatner to be in the movie. I just, I'm not, it's not like I'm a huge Trekkie, or anything like that, but I really loved him as, as Denny crane in Boston Legal. Yeah. And he quietly does a lot of stuff for the military, he doesn't make a huge deal out of it. And I just thought it would be absolutely epic, if we got William Shatner. So we all had, we all had kind of like our dream list. You know, everybody wanted Arnold Schwarzenegger, everybody wanted Stallone, you know, that would have been amazing. But those guys are, they're a little busy.

Alex Ferrari 25:49
Just a little bit a little bit, you know,

Nick Palmisciano 25:51
But but even Shatner, we didn't think we're gonna get them. And he, you know, he got the letter that I wrote him and he said, you know, no one's ever sent me a letter like this before. And, you know, I might, I might be making a mistake, but I'm going to do it. And he came out and he did it. And once he signed on, it was it was magical. So as soon as everybody else was interested, you know, then it was a real movie. And nobody, nobody wants to be the first of the party. That's the way it works. And the Tao No, because, you know, if you've seen the movie, you know, we really went for it. It's dark. It's very inappropriate. So, you know, people were worried about their careers, you know? And, you know, so I want to say, I want to say we got, let's see, we started with William Shatner, then Randy Couture, who's a friend said he would do it. And then Keith, David signed on love Keith, man. And then Sean Ashton actually called us. So imagine, you know, imagine your art director and a, your phone rings, and it's like, Hey, this is Sean asked, and I was wondering if I could be in your movie. And like, you know, Ross was like, you know, sure, like, call my call. But I'm pretty sure the guys are gonna be thrilled. Let me check with the guys. And so, Jared and I on a conference call, and he's like, hey, Sean asked and just called and he wants to be in the movie. And I was like, samwise gamgee. Don't ask, like, Is there a new like, up and coming? Sean asked? No, no. samwise samwise? gamgee? Like, yeah. And that was that right there is when I became a hero to my children. Yeah. There's a Lord of the Rings generation they're not Star Wars kids or Lord of the Rings kids, that Sam was in the in the movie. So and then then it just got crazy man, like, people couldn't believe the cast we had, we couldn't believe the cast we had.

Alex Ferrari 28:02
Yep. And entities in a decent budget, a very decent budget, I mean, budget for what you guys were trying to do, because you guys that you guys went for it. We went for what but you did a fantastic job for what for the budget you had, it looks awesome.

Nick Palmisciano 28:15
Look, really the budget we had and the time we had, I'm very proud of what we pulled off.

Alex Ferrari 28:21
Now. Can you talk? Can you talk a little bit about how the sponsors worked? And how did you incorporate them in your information.

Nick Palmisciano 28:28
So I went to sponsors exclusively that had ties to the military community, or it supported the military community in the past. So you know, instead of going for, you know, kind of big marquee names, you know, for like, the energy drink, you know, we went we went to kill cliff, which is, which is, you know, they're a sizable company now. But they're, you know, they're, they're a veteran owned navy seal, owned company. You know, that, it makes a really great energy drink. And, you know, it's, it's designed for, like, the CrossFit kind of athletic community, it's not as heavy like, you know, if you drink a Red Bull or something, sometimes that can be on the heavier side, you know, you don't want to drink a Red Bull and then sprint. Right. And I love Red Bull, but, you know, you just, there's certain things you do and don't do with it. Whereas, you know, with kill cliff, it's, you can, you can drink it and then work out. Gotcha. And, and so, you know, ask them if they want it to be involved, and they surprise the hell out of me by coming in big they wanted to. They wanted to come in and, like, be the cure. That was like, that's awesome.

Alex Ferrari 29:39
Okay, so this was product. So this was product placement. Yeah. Nice. Okay. So you created a, you went after your, again, so I'm just trying to break it down for the audience. You have an audience that you know, you're your niche audience. You go after niche companies within that audience or that community. Have those guys proud. placed inside your movie, which helps raise the budget of the movie, obviously and give you a better product. Yes, that's, it's, it's, it's it's so amazing yet, it seems like it's it's genius, but it seems so logical.

Nick Palmisciano 30:13
Yeah, you know, it's just the it's not even, I don't even want to take credit for having some kind of strategic magical vision. It's more like, these are the people we like and trust, you know, North American rescue is, you know, is a veteran owned company that also happens to be, you know, the largest supplier of like emergency metal medical products, you know, in the world, like Gnar saves more lives than any other company. So, like, if you are carrying a tourniquet, you know, odds are, you're carrying a cat tourniquet made by Gnar if you're carrying, you know, if you have like a nice, you know, emergency health kit in your car, or in your house, it's probably made by Gnar gotcha. These these guys came in, you know, and they wanted to, you know, they wanted to get the cat tourniquet placed in a few places. So like when, you know, the Medal of Honor recipient, Leroy Petri, you know, he had actually lost his arm in combat, and was saved by someone applying a cat tourniquet to him. So in the movie as a joke, like we blow off the other arm. Yeah, like, you know, with a terrible pr stetic like it's so over the top. But, and then we, you know, he gets a cat tourniquet applied to it by another Medal of Honor recipient, right. Which is also crazy. We had you know, we this is the most decorated movie ever made. And it's a zombie flick right? There's no movie history itself that has had more military muscle in it than then this film.

Alex Ferrari 31:48
Yeah. Wow. That's, that's insane. Now, so yeah, you get the movies done. you've edited the movie. It's all finished. Now you're like, Okay, we're gonna try to sell this thing. Well, what do you do you go to obviously traditional distributors. But what was your experience talking to traditional experience distributors? I was not good. It was not good. Can you tell me like an example of one conversation?

Nick Palmisciano 32:11
Just Yes. So people my favorite my favorite conversation was that these guys wanted us to reshoot the movie with john Claude Van Damme. Okay. He's like this. This is a this is a funny concept. They wanted to replace Matt best. Right?

Alex Ferrari 32:31
Who's the star? Who's the star of the film? Right? with john Claude Van Damme, but you've already have a movie. It's done have a movie. We have a movie. It's done. But they're like, no, let's reshoot the whole thing. Let's reshoot it with john Claude Van Damme. Did they offer you money for this?

Nick Palmisciano 32:45
Yes. Okay. And it was it was just comical. And then another another one wanted us they wanted to buy the film. I want to say it was like 350k or 500k or something. And and then they wanted to put us into another movie. As like the the they were a small firm so it wasn't like we were going to they sound like they wanted to buy it and put us in Transformers they wanted to buy buy put us in like an even worse be flick right? Oh, that was completely you know uncreative. But behind a known act or not a big actor, but like somebody that you marquee value that you Yeah, that has some marquee value. Yeah. And, you know, we were like, no, like we can, we can sell, we can sell the movie for more than a half a million dollars just by putting it on iTunes and Amazon. And they're like, no, like, everybody thinks that, but it doesn't work that way. And we're like, No, we like we know our community like we want 100% we'll, we'll get that back. And basically, everybody just kind of everybody just acted like we got really lucky. And maybe we did. You know, maybe we did get a little lucky. I mean, I understand that a lot of people that really know what they're doing. have been have failed at this. But I think one of the things that that people do, I think out of order, is they try to create a film and find an audience. Right. Whereas we we had an audience and created a film for that audience. I think I think there's a big difference. That's the future. Now.

Alex Ferrari 34:32
I think that's the future of independent filmmaking in general.

Nick Palmisciano 34:34
100% agree, I think I think we just gave everybody the blueprint for how you should make an independent film. Not that there aren't other ways to do it. I'm definitely not I'm not trying to pretend like we came up with some amazing thing. But hey, again, who are we like we're no one know how, you know? We are not household names. No one, you know, no one knows who we are. If you're not in the military community, but I can tell you that we're the only independent film in history to ever top the charts on Amazon, and that's from Amazon.

Alex Ferrari 35:09
So yeah, so before we get to that, what what made you want to go with distributor? Because distributor was the final company you decide to self distributor film with, right? Yeah,

Nick Palmisciano 35:17
Yeah. Talk to a lot of different people, you know, get a lot of different feedback. And, you know, there's some other Okay, companies out there, but Nick Saurus gave me some, some pretty significant time, he's their president, because he just kind of, he just told me his story. He's like, Look, man, like, I made film, you know, I made film, I made successful film. And somehow, like, I would make a film, and it would make a lot of money. And I would get none of that money. Over and over again, like, he's, like, I ended up upside down on, you know, half my films, and, you know, other films, I made, like, a little bit of money. And but but there was all this money being made. And I was sitting there going, like, what's, you know, what is the motivation to do something only to like, hand it over to other people who are going to, you know, take all of the all of the profit from it, and throw scraps at me, like, that's not how you get independent filmmakers, you know, to thrive, you know, and, you know, and Nick and I have had a lot of, you know, conversations about this, you know, China now pretty much phones, the film industry. And I'm not saying that in a bad way, like, you know, okay, Business is business and they, you know, they are, these multinational companies have bought most of the major production houses in Hollywood now. But the result of that is, they are going to build film that is going to sell on an international scale, not film that is necessarily interesting or good. You know, like, you're gonna make trend transformers and Fast and the Furious movies forever. And there's nothing wrong with those. I'm not sitting here judging like, you know, Fast and the Furious eight, like, you know, watch it. No, and it's entertaining. But I don't want to just watch Fast and the Furious eight. And I feel like that is the direction we're heading. And I think if I think there are going to be very few production company, major production company films that are interesting. In the future, the trend is definitely more towards, you know, very cliche, action packed films.

Alex Ferrari 37:35
Yeah, for every baby driver. There's 45 transformers. Yes, basically. Yes. You know, and I haven't seen baby driver yet. But I hear it's, I can't believe that made in the studio system. You know, it's like, oh, my God, how did that happen? But yeah, atomic blonde is another one. I can't wait to see.

Nick Palmisciano 37:53
Yeah. You know, it was great was a Ex Machina. That was a great film.

Alex Ferrari 37:58
Oh, yeah. Exactly like that.

Nick Palmisciano 38:00
Yeah, that was a great film. And, you know, I don't think that ever saw theaters, or if it did, like, I didn't know about it.

Alex Ferrari 38:06
It did, but it was very small. Very small. Yeah.

Nick Palmisciano 38:09
Yeah, I found that on. I found it on iTunes. It was like I'm flicking through things, like, want to watch a new movie. And it was like, Oh, what's this? And I stared at it for like three weeks. It was like, Man, this thing is not falling off the, you know, the top charts. Like I finally bought it. I was like, Man, this movie is awesome. Yeah. And so you know, but how do you how do you get those films out there? If you're somebody like us, like, you know, you almost couldn't do it before. And so, you know, with the stripper, I felt like I had a guy that actually cared about, you know, he's not going to do the work for me. I mean, at the end of the day, like, doesn't matter what your distribution is, like, if your movie sucks, you're not going to, you're not going to get anywhere. If you don't have an audience, you're not going to get anywhere. But I felt like he gave me a very fair way of putting my film in a situation where it could succeed. And that's the most that you can hope for, you know, from a distributor. Right? So, yeah, so, you know, I had no issues with distributor, they did a great job with everything, you know, they, anytime there was any kind of issue, they addressed it immediately, like they raised issues to me to like, improve the way that our our film was going to be viewed. Like it was a great experience. I'll definitely use them again.

Alex Ferrari 39:23
Now with Can you talk a little bit about the release strategy of interesting like, did you go all through iTunes? First to kind of get the ranking up? How can you can you talk a little bit about that?

Nick Palmisciano 39:34
No, we, we did iTunes and Amazon at the same time, okay. But we, frankly, we just didn't know what we were doing. So we felt we felt like iTunes was going to be bigger. Because, you know, an iTunes also shares more of the profit with you. You know, like, I've had iTunes forever and so you know, at And as has Jared, and so there's a little bit of a bias to what you know. And so we've we thought, you know, iTunes is going to be the bigger one. And Amazon would be like a distant second. And actually, it was quite the opposite. And so I mean, iTunes did very well, don't get me wrong, I think I iTunes the first week beat Amazon. But that was the last time it beat Amazon. And helium, the different. Yeah, the difference there is the platform. So with Apple, we were just in, we were in also ran, like, we were just, we were another product in their system. You know, even even though we went all the way to number two on the charts, and we lost the Angry Birds on iTunes, which they supported big time, because they're, you know, they're film. But even though we, even though we were number two on the charts for 11 days, nobody from Apple ever reached out and said, you know, can we, you know, can we get some graphics? Could we do can, you know, can we pump this hope? Nobody pumped it, nobody pushed it, nobody did anything like it went, it went to number two, sat there for over a week. And then, you know, started coming down. And, you know, it stayed in the top 25 for, you know, I think a month and a half. And, I mean, like it did very well, but like there was no, there was no like movement, you know, we just kind of got ignored, and that's fine. Like, I'm not there's no judgment there. But with with Amazon, actually had I had breakfast with two Amazon executives, when I was out there for not a war story talking about, you know, our, you know, how we're going to launch that with Amazon as well at some point. But they were hilarious. They're like, Look, man, here's the truth. We woke up, we checked the dailies, and we see this movie, range 15 that's, you know, over, you know, Batman versus Superman and over divergence, and we called it because we thought we either got hacked, there was or there was some error in our system that needed to be fixed. And, and then when we realized, you know, oh, this is real, like, people are actually buying this movie. They, you know, they had low man on the totem pole, go and Google it and figure out who the hell we were. Because they had no idea who we were. And then they reached out to us. So this is all within 24 hours of being on their site. And he reached out to us and it was their executive vice president, it wasn't just somebody. And he was like, Look, you know, you've got lightning in a bottle here. Like, we want to push it, here's what we need. And they gave us a bunch of sizes that they needed to explore. And, you know, we made those graphics within an hour had the backs them, the next day, they were up on the site, and you know, and they're still talking to us, like, Oh, you know, hey, we've got Veterans Day coming up, we could do this, that or the other thing, like those guys know how to Amazon knows how to sell better than anybody on the planet. Ever. That's true, that is very true. But everybody else is in distance second. So these guys, you know, they have a product, people want it, they want more people to buy it. And they're they're incredibly easy to work with. So

Alex Ferrari 43:31
So then so a lot of the a lot of the traction you got on Amazon was strictly because at the beginning, you got a big push from your audience, but then they just saw it and they decided to move with move on it and help you. So yeah, by them helping you It definitely kept the revenue coming in high because your profile went up.

Nick Palmisciano 43:48
But But even now, even now, you know, like they were they're laughing they're like, they cannot believe how many people are still buying the film. You know, they said like, like, films, uh, you know, it's a year, it's a year from when we launched right now. And, like, you know, you typically at this point, you know, you've got your, you know, maybe three $400 a month come in, and especially for an indie film, we're still, we're still doing 1000s of dollars, you know, on a monthly basis for the movie. So

Alex Ferrari 44:19
That's insane. Yeah, it's really cool. Now, let me really cool. Let me ask you a question. So to even to get up to the top 10 of iTunes is pretty substantial. You need to do some major numbers. Can you talk about sales as far as sales or rentals or transactions? How many do you think that people need to get, you know, to make any sort of traction whatsoever? Is that something you could talk about? So, I don't I don't know exactly how many you have to sell, you know, to give or take to you know, we did you know and that that first was that first month we Did about a million dollars in revenue? In our, our cut, okay, you're just you're Jesus. Wow. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. So the movie, so this movie definitely has broken seven figures. Yes. Jesus Christ. Yes. So it's a very successful independent film, to say

Nick Palmisciano 45:36
The least successful independent film. Yeah, we're, you know, we're, like I said, we're very proud of, of the community for, for making this thing happen.

Alex Ferrari 45:45
And it's still go and it's still going people are still finding it.

Nick Palmisciano 45:48
People are still buying it. Still still watching it. You know, and yeah, so, you know, like, it's, it's, you know, it's not, it's not a huge film, but, you know, like, you know, we've done, we've done, you know, a few million bucks on this movie at this point. And, you know, we put some of the money towards, you know, towards the documentary and yeah, it's, it's, you know, and, and we're hoping that that does, you know, frankly, better, we're hoping that that's a that's a bigger film, and in a lot of ways, then the film than the actual movie was so

Alex Ferrari 46:21
So just so they could you said, like, it hasn't done a lot. I guarantee you that everybody listening in this podcast right now would kill to make a million or 2 million or $3 million on their independent film. So it's, it's substantial. I mean, being I've been in the indie business for in the film business for over 20 years, getting close to 25, for God's sakes. And I've rarely heard a story like this. This is a, a unicorn style story. So you should be extremely proud of that I appreciate that's why I want to join the show, when I heard this story, I was like, this does not happen every day. It's very rare. And it's and it's still niche. That's the thing that I find so fascinating about range 15. This is not a movie that blew up into the mainstream, because a lot of indie movies go and they they find their audience and they just kind of blow up and everybody hears about them. range. 15 is still within its niche, very, it's kind of broken out a little bit here and there, maybe in the action genre. But generally speaking, it's still niche. It's still underground.

Nick Palmisciano 47:24
Yeah. And so right now, you know, we're gonna, you know, we're hoping we're either going to end up on on amazon prime, or we're going to end up on Netflix, and I want I want to pair the documentary with the film. I don't want I don't just want range 15 to end up in one of these things. I want both because I think people that watch the documentary and then watch the film will get a better love the film forever. Yeah. People that just watch the film like they either love it or they hate it. But like, you know, with the documentary, people have an appreciation for how hard it really was to get this movie done.

Alex Ferrari 48:03
Got it now. Within how well have the the DVDs and blu rays have been selling a branch with Dan? I'm just curious, because oh, yeah, cuz a lot of people say that DVD and blu rays dead.

Nick Palmisciano 48:14
Now we've sold a ton. And it's interesting, because we've we only have sold them on range. 15 calm. Yeah. And the reason for that is, even though Amazon is really easy to work with on a lot of things, you know, they have a lot of rules to protect the customer. And because we've never because we've never actually sold DVDs before, we need to get like a waiver. And what by the time we realized all of this, this, like, you know how you had to do it, and you know how long it took, and we just didn't have time because the movie was releasing, so we definitely ever put it on Amazon. So we're selling all these DVDs and blu rays off of like, a website that it's literally it's only function is to sell blu rays and DVDs. That's it.

Alex Ferrari 49:07
Yeah. Now, how and how, how did you leverage range 15 to sell other products and create other revenue streams.

Nick Palmisciano 49:17
So, you know, we are in the process of of working on a app right now like a phone game associated with rain 15 we created uh, you know, apparel off of off of rain 15 posters off of rain 15 You know, we're in that business already. So, you know, we both own apparel companies infrastructure was easy to put it into your into your product into your into your pipeline. Yep. And, you know, and, you know, when you look at the other guy's, you know, Rocco, Jared and Matt own, you know, led slingers, whiskey, which was the other part of the cure, you know, in the film, and you You know, so now for all time, you know, their whiskey is, is in this, you know, cult military movie, you know, and so everything, you know, we are, you know, we are meatheads, and we are, you know, to some extent, you know, clowns. But you know, we really kind of planned all this out so that, like everybody would win long term all these people that, you know, all these people that came and supported us all of the the sponsors that came in, like I really want these people to all win win for all time, you know, because they supported this film. Wow.

Alex Ferrari 50:39
Now, can you talk a little bit about not in other words, not not a war story, the documentary behind it?

Nick Palmisciano 50:44
Yeah, absolutely. So it started off as a, we were gonna do a short that we just included on a DVD. And I asked is this guy Tim O'Donnell? So earlier, we talked about, you know, the first silly video that we ever made the Ranger up workout video. That was nine years ago. And Tim O'Donnell is the guy that I hired to do that, you know, he and I met at a UFC fight. He was an art teacher. And he had just, he had just made his first documentary on the side about a wrestler that he had coached. And we were there, because I was sponsoring a fighter by the name of Jorge Rivera. And he was doing a short about Jorge. And he didn't have a lot of commercial work at the time. And so he thought to be, you know, I thought it'd be cool to do some funny videos with us. And so, you know, I think, man, I think that first, the first paycheck for like, a whole weekend, I think he, I think we paid him like 1500 bucks, and he paid like seven videos, you know, like nothing. We weren't big, he wasn't big. And we just had a lot of fun. And so he and I, over the years have made, you know, for pretty significant documentaries, that have won some festival awards. They're just passion projects, you know, to tell stories about veterans. And when we were doing this, you know, I asked, I asked him if he was interested in doing and he was like, Yeah, absolutely. And again, the plan was, he was going to come out for the, you know, come out for a couple sessions, and then come out during filming, and, you know, make a 1015 minute short for the DVD. Two days in, you know, he, he took Jared and I aside and he was like, Guys, I don't think this is a short. I think I think this is a feature film, I'm getting gold, you know, the interviews with all the bats that are here, you know, is absolute gold, you know, the crises that you guys are constantly dealing with is gold. Like, I think we need to do this. And I was, you know, Jared and I talked about are like, all right, absolutely. Let's do it. And so he and, you know, the second unit director for the documentary, Alex Miller, proceeded to capture, you know, the next year of, you know, everything that happened, you know, the editing, the selling points, the Sundance, selling, going to Iraq, with the film, you know, everything. And we ended up with a film that we think is, you know, and you have to take all of this with a grain of salt, right? In some ways. It's, it's not in any way disrespectful to like the making of ranch 15. But range 15 as you know, is a funny v flick. Not a war story is a really powerful film. far more powerful than I expected, you know, actually watching it, it gave me anxiety because I was reliving the things that had happened. Sure. And that I had forgotten all about, you know, but and, and audiences thus far have loved it. You know, we've done two screenings, one was like a test screening with, you know, 50 people, and we actually purposefully chose the most liberal people we could find. They're all you know, because we wanted them to have like, literally no affiliation with the military. We almost tried to find people that were almost combatants towards the military, to be honest, because I wanted the worst possible experience. Right. Right. And, and, and they loved it. And so and then we had our, you know, our premiere at the Academy of Motion Pictures, arts and sciences, which frankly, was a surreal moment. And that must

Alex Ferrari 54:41
Be a surreal moment.

Nick Palmisciano 54:44
Yeah, standing there, like between two Oscars giving a speech about a movie. And, and it got, you know, pretty universal acclaim out there. And so, you know, we're now in the process of Submitting our application for an Oscar bid. Which, you know, we, we 100% realize is a long shot. But you know, I can't think of a, I can't think of a better win for the community, then as miraculously pulling this stuff pretty insane, like just coming back and saying, guys, like, you know, you did this?

Alex Ferrari 55:25
Are you self distributing it as well? I

Nick Palmisciano 55:28
I don't know yet. You know, and so we've had some great meetings with a lot of people, and we're gonna, we're gonna see what happens. Gotcha, I would I would love for this film to have broader distribution, because whereas range 15 you know, we delivered it, we, you know, we told we told our constituency, we are going to make this movie for you. And so everybody else wanted to change it, they wanted to remove scenes, they wanted to release it on their timeline. And, you know, we we could not do that, like, the community funded the movie, we made a promise to the community, we had to deliver on that promise, with not a war story. I think it's a bigger film in that I've never seen a film that does a better job of bridging the civilian military divide. You get a window into the military community that I think is needed, because it, it humanizes the military. It's very, it's very easy to, to turn veterans into characters, right. And the caricature that most people, you know, convert you to depends on kind of your worldview and where you grew up and how you grew up, either, you know, you think veterans are broken by war. Maybe alcoholics may be suicidal or you think veterans are, you know, perfect white knights with, you know, the moral fiber of like, you know, Sir Lancelot. Yes, thank you. And so, you know, neither of those things is true, right. And, you know, you see very clearly that, like, we're a cross section of society with different goals, different belief systems. But they were, you know, we're a very tight knit community. And we use gallows humor, you know, a lot to kind of, you know, deal with things when things go wrong. You know, there are more jokes, not less. You know, as things get more intense, we tend to get sillier. And that's because that's the way it is in the military. That's what we're accustomed to. Now, all of that is captured, you know, in this film.

Alex Ferrari 57:42
Well, Man, I wish you the best of luck with that film. I can't wait to see it. I really, really want to see it. Now. Do you have another narrative film on the horizon? Are you going to try to do rain? 16? No, I'm joking. But do you have another show on the horizon?

Nick Palmisciano 57:56
So you know, right now, you know, in terms of another group project, I think we'd all like to work together on another major project to sequel at some point. But, you know, literally right now, Matt is, is deep into finishing his book, where he got he got a huge deal with Penguin Books. Nice. And, you know, that's he's got to focus on that. Tim Kennedy. You know, he's on season three of hunting Hitler, and he's about to launch a new show about just, I can't even talk about it. It's a crazy show, where Tim basically almost dies over and over again. Okay. Vince Vargas is going to be on the Mayans. And also has a show coming out on the History Channel. And so the Mayans is the sons Ban archy spin off. Jerry Taylor is doing a reality show called blood on the deck where he is, he is a ship boat captain who has never fished before trying to compete against Dakota Meyer, who's a Medal of Honor recipient on a different boat. And you know, and, and I am, you know, I'm taking not a war story across the finish line. And also pitching a series right now that we are we have, we have four in the can call 22 for 22 which are 22 documentaries. So 22 veterans a day kill themselves. And people I know, it's crazy. And people focus on that number a lot. And what we want to do is we want to tell 22 inspiring stories, try to reclaim that number a little bit 2222 people that have that have faced adversity, and dealt with it and not always one like not always, like, Oh, yeah, you know, things were tough. And then they got incredible, like, sometimes things were tough. And I worked really hard and they're still tough, but they keep moving Yeah. So we want to tell, we want to tell 22 stories of people that are taking it on the chin, and continuing to drive forward to show people that they're not alone. And so that's my, that's my documentary project. And then I am I'm writing a, I'm writing a super dark, super dark movie right now, going a totally different direction from what I did with range 15. And starting to build a team to do that. So that's awesome. That's awesome. So you know, we'll see what happens. like everybody's doing really cool stuff. And the nice thing about this group of guys is, you know, we all support each other, like, you know, I'm hoping Matt, you know, ends up with the New York Times bestseller, I'm hoping Jared ends up with a top Show. I'm hoping Rocco turns into a big star as a result of doing the Mayans, like, you know, it's a cool group of people. And like, everybody's everybody's pushing forward.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:57
Now, can you give, what advice would you have for a filmmaker just starting out in the business?

Nick Palmisciano 1:01:03
So I give the same advice to aspiring filmmakers that I give to aspiring entrepreneurs, and everybody, everybody wants to win? Right out of the gate, you can argue you can argue, you can argue that we did, right? That argument is false. Yeah. You know, it, it took me a decade to build this audience. Yeah. You know, it took the article 15 guys three years to build their audience. And before that, though, you know, before they built their audience, you know, Jared was making videos for four years, Matt was making videos for three years, you know, so, you know, you start with something like you want to be an aspiring you want to make a film, start making films, start making shorts, post those shorts online, build an audience figure out what the audience likes and what they don't like. Sometimes filmmakers, you know, get a little bit up their own butt and they think that they are these, you know, the greatest creative. And, you know, like, I'll be honest with you, like, I watched things like Project Greenlight. Oh, man, I've got to shoot it on film. Like, can I swear on this app? So fucking literally. Like when I watched that dude, get handed $2 million.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:29
Which, let's see which season which season? This was the latest one was the very last one I haven't seen. Yeah, the last one on HBO.

Nick Palmisciano 1:02:37
Yeah, he gets handed, he gets handed $2 million, which is the most they've ever handed.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:41
Right? Yeah, they've never handed that much out.

Nick Palmisciano 1:02:43
And he's like, I got it. I've got to shoot this whole thing on film. And the producers are like, you know, we really don't think that's a good idea. And like, they go to like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and like, he wants to shoot on film. And they talked to him about the difficulties, but then they're like, well, he wants to do it. So we're gonna let them like, I would have been like, you know what fucker, like, not only know, but like, get the fuck out of here. We're gonna pick someone else. If you're that much of an ass clone, that you don't realize that this project is already going to be so hard. Somebody is handing you $2 million. That isn't your money. Right? And you you're not listening to their advice. Like, you don't need to be in this business. Like, you

Alex Ferrari 1:03:22
Don't need to call my friend My friend. You know, that's, that's the majority of people. I mean, it's, it's Yeah, and by the way, a fun little fact, I was in season two of Project Greenlight. Really, I was in the very opening a very small part. That was in the opening sequence of Episode One as one of my entry tapes. Because I made it to like, almost the top 50 of filmmakers into the top 50 that year. Yeah, that's really cool. It was a lot of fun. But those those those stories, I stopped watching them. I couldn't do it anymore, because they're just so just nying at you like something is Yeah, is that like, Dude, are you kidding me? Yeah,

Nick Palmisciano 1:04:02
I did not know the show existed. So after we finished Ross, our director for range 15 was like, you've never seen Project Greenlight. He's like, he's like go watch it. Oh, dude. Oh, watch it. Oh, he's like those guys have been given every opportunity and they still managed to screw it up. And man, I was furious. Like every single time I can't stop watching it though. Because it's like, like, they're all clowns, you know? Yeah, it's the season the season one guy was probably the best

Alex Ferrari 1:04:31
And he a he was humble a little humble. Just was in a very ignorant and very ignorant to the process ignorant but humble. Yes, you can you you know. Yeah, you can.

Nick Palmisciano 1:04:45
You can understand somebody not knowing what they're doing. And that's fine. Wow, you can allow for that. Yes. When somebody is cocky and they don't know what they're doing. That's dangerous combination, my friend. Yeah, it's really bad. It's completely $2 million.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:59
He knows And only understandable if you don't know what you're doing. And if you're ignorant and my god that kid was thrown into, I mean, a whirlwind. He had never seen anything like that before. And he was just trying to hold on for dear life. And that's fine. But when you're an ass about it, yes. I mean, yeah, come on. I've

Nick Palmisciano 1:05:17
Gotta make my first movie on film. Dude, are you like I still even now thinking about it? Like it pisses me off? Like,

Alex Ferrari 1:05:24
I mean, I had on the show, Shaun Baker who shot tangerines on the iPhone, the one that that that gets old to Magnolia and went on to be doing things. He's like, dude, I wanted and he, by the way, in the next movie, he shot he shot on. That was his fifth movie. And he chose to shoot on the iPhone for the look, because he could have shot on entity and it was with the duplass brothers and all that stuff. Yeah. But he just went out and did it. He just went out and did it. It's, it's fascinating. And I'm gonna ask you three questions I always ask or two questions, I always ask all my all my guess, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn, whether in the film business or in life, life is not fair. Amen, brother.

Nick Palmisciano 1:06:07
On it Honest to God, like, you know, everybody keeps waiting. People have a belief that, oh, if you just work hard, for a little while, you're, you know, there's this meme that that they post for entrepreneurs, where it's like, you know, entrepreneurs, or people that work, you know, that worked five years, harder than anyone else. So they can live the rest of their lives, like no one else, I don't know, a single entrepreneur that isn't still working his ass off. And I don't care if like, you're a multi millionaire, or billionaire, you know, just starting out now, like, everybody's working, you know, that's the that's the way it is like, the challenges only get harder. And sometimes things happen, and you have no control over it, and they suck and they hurt you. And you know, people lose businesses all the time, or things that they didn't even do. And, you know, life is not fair. And so you just, you can't, when bad things happen. And they will, you cannot sit there and go, you know, Woe is me. You know, this isn't right. But don't you guys understand it happened? Because it is reasons like no one cares. And you have to deal with the now if you don't deal with the now it will get out of control, you will lose control and you will lose, you will lose all you have to deal with reality instead of dealing with what should

Alex Ferrari 1:07:19
I know it's not bitching about what should be a wash? Yeah, I shouldn't be this shouldn't be that as does you no. Good. And now would you agree because you work with I'm sure there's a lot of entrepreneurs after you started, basically the the business that you're in with the T shirts and building up that apparel company, that must have been multiple guys who've come along, trying to replicate and go after it? Well, the one thing and some have done it successfully, which is fine, which is fine. I mean, that's part of the business, you want to have a bigger, you want to have 100 guys, so the industry is much larger. But do you find it and I find this I find this quote from Eric Thomas, I don't know if you know who Eric Thomas is. He's a motivational speaker. They call Yeah, I don't, I do not know him, but I'll look them up. They call him the hip hop preacher. Because he works with the he works with the Patriots. He works with a lot of NFL a lot of end goal guys and stuff. He says this is this quote, which I thought was so great. He's like, you can't love the goal. You got to be in love with the grind. The process the grind you've got because if you're in love with the goal, you'll never make it you've got to be in love with that day to day, ball busting got to get the job done. No matter what situation whether being a filmmaker or an entrepreneur, is that it would you be in agreement? That's 100% true. Now, what are three of your favorite films of all time? Oh, that's always that's always obviously interesting. But no.

Nick Palmisciano 1:08:53
So let's let's try to kind of break it down. I'm not going to try to go for anything like super heavy and like, oh, look how many great films I've watched. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:03
Citizen Kane, Casa Blanca. I'm joking.

Nick Palmisciano 1:09:06
I do I do really like Casa Blanca. Who does? That would be that would be disingenuous. Casa Blanca. Oh, amazing. recent film that I really love is a card.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:19
That was a great flick man. Good flick. I

Nick Palmisciano 1:09:21
I love that love that film. I probably watched a Korea 1314 times because I love the way he shoots it. I love the feel of it. And I love the no nonsense like, like, you know no nonsense way that the characters kind of deal with life. So really enjoying that film? I love Rushmore. That's a good am I gonna say it's one of the best three films of all time. I

Alex Ferrari 1:09:48
I don't know. To you. It's not it's not it's not a list for everybody else's lips to you.

Nick Palmisciano 1:09:53
Yeah, I think I think Rushmore is is a great flick. I personally certainly think it's Wes Anderson's best. I know a lot of people disagree with that. But oh, man, you know, and you know what, like, you know, I know it's super typical, but I'm gonna go with Lord of the Rings. And the reason I'm going to source one of the rings, the first Well, yeah, just, you know, the reason for that is because I've always loved fantasy. But before Lord of the Rings, every fantasy movie was cheesy and terrible. And it just made you feel like a nerd. You're like, man, like, I'm watching this movie, because I'm a nerd. You know, because I used to play Dungeons and Dragons, because I, you know, because I read, and I read these books, but like, I know, deep down, this movie's terrible Lord of the Rings comes out and you're like,

Alex Ferrari 1:10:48
What's an Oscar? wins multiple Oscars?

Nick Palmisciano 1:10:51
This movie is amazing. Right? You know? And, and now it's cool to make fantasy movies. And like, you know, without, without Lord of the Rings, there's no Game of Thrones. Oh, absolutely. Peter, because Peter Jackson had to show everybody how to do it. Right. So

Alex Ferrari 1:11:09
Question now I'm gonna go. I want to go back real quick on on fantasy movies. I think you and I are similar ages are close at least. Do you remember a movie called crawl? Yes. One of the greatest movies ever saw as a child? If I look at it today, it's embarrassing. It's Yeah. Liam Neeson first movie. Yeah, really? Liam Neeson first acting role

Nick Palmisciano 1:11:36
Its unwatchable now. Yeah. Like you watch it only because you grew up with the memory.

Alex Ferrari 1:11:42
I don't want to watch it because I want to keep on I want to hold on to that memory. Because it's kind of like, yeah, I'm gonna go watch Willow, you know? Oh. Yes. So Nick, where can people find you and your companies?

Nick Palmisciano 1:11:58
I'm sure you can. You know, we're all over social media. Facebook, you can look up Ranger up. You can look up Nick Paul Machado. Same thing with Instagram Ranger up or Nick Paul Machado and then you know my my compatriots. You can did the films with you can find on article 15. Matt best Jared Taylor, Vince Vargas. Also our side, Tim Kennedy and jack Mandeville, and then the movie itself. Range 15. And we're literally any single anything you go to like whether you're talking Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, like we're on everything. So, you know, Ranger up Nick Paul Machado and all those other guys.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:42
You're everywhere, man, dude. Man, again, I wanted to say thank you for not only being on the show. Thank you for your service, man. I really, I wholeheartedly. Appreciate it. And, and thank you for sharing your story, your inspirational story and how you got Ranger 15 out man, I hope it inspires some people to get off their ass and actually go make some movie because there is there is a blueprint and you can do it. But it's not gonna happen in a day. It might take five years to do. It might take 10 years. Yeah, but it's absolutely, Nick. Thanks again, brother.

Nick Palmisciano 1:13:14
Yes, sir.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:15
If that doesn't inspire you guys to go out and make a movie. I don't know what will. Honestly I just want to thank Nick so much for being on the show and sharing his story. And inspiration for all of us as filmmakers that it is possible, you can do it, it just gonna take a lot of work, and a lot of grind. And you've got to learn how to love that grind that day to day day in day out work to get your movies out there to make your dreams come true. And Nick and the whole team of range 15 is a perfect example of that. And I really hope you guys find some inspiration in Nick's story. And as you heard in Episode 166, my entire distribution, self distribution plan and how we're using distributed do it. I'll put links to all of that stuff in how to get ahold of re arrange 15 and how to get all the neck and everything in the show notes at indie film hustle.com forward slash 167. And don't forget to head over to free film book calm that's free film book.com to download your free filmmaking or screenwriting audio books, guys. It's awesome. I listened to audio books all the time. And audible is awesome. They have a quick quick, great app. And you can try it out for free man get one free audio book, no strings attached. Head over to free film book calm and as always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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IFH 166: Independent Film Distribution & Marketing Blueprint with This is Meg

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Over the past 6 months or so I’ve been getting an enormous amount of emails and messages asking me the same question:

What is your distribution and marketing plan for This is Meg?

I hear you IFH Tribe, so I decided to put this podcast together and layout the marketing and distribution blueprint I created to get This is Meg out into the world. You can’t be a Filmtrepreneur without one of those.

In this episode, I break down:

  • Why I didn’t go through a traditional distributor
  • Why I didn’t do a theatrical run through TUGG
  • How I will be self-distributing This is Meg
  • What platforms I’ll be selling on and why
  • What my marketing strategy is

This is Meg has been a giant experiment to see what happens and I wanted to share the ride with you, the IFH Tribe. Thank you for all the support. Take a listen and keep on hustlin’.

Alex Ferrari 1:55
So today guys, we are going to talk about a question I keep getting asked about I keep getting getting emails about it and Facebook messages and tweets about it. How are you going to distribute this as make what is your distribution strategy? And how are you going to break iTunes as you're trying to do and all this kind of stuff? Well, I'm going to talk a little bit about my my decision as to how I was going to distribute, this is why I'm going to distribute it this way and how I'm going to actually do it. And you guys are going to go on the ride with me to see how it all turns out. Now, first and foremost, why did I decide to self distribute as opposed to going through a normal distributor? If you guys have listened at all to this podcast, you know that depending on the kind of movie it is, distributors might make sense, good. There's a lot of good distributors out there gravitas ventures is a really great distributor, a 24. There's multiple good distribution houses out there that can do good stuff for you and are honest and are going to actually give you give you actually pay you some money, which is rare in the distribution game. So certain films make sense for that. This is Meg is not one of those films, it did not make sense for me to go to a traditional distributor because yes, I have some faces. And yes have some amazing, amazing cast that worked on this as Meg. But I lacked the marquee value that distributors are looking for. And that's fine, and it's also a dramedy, so it's not an easy sell, it's also probably not going to travel extremely well, either. So it's pretty much going to be a domestic or English speaking kind of film as far as distribution is concerned. Now a few people also ask me, why didn't I go through tug, or gather or one of these other companies that help help you go through a self distribution? platform theatrically, I said, I feel the same way. Again, this movie didn't call for that. It didn't have the kind of instill instilled market or community that would support something like that. And I didn't also want to go on a year or two year grind to get out there and try to go theatrical with it, it didn't make financial sense for me, or through for the time that I would be spending, trying to market it promoted in different territories and things like that. Also, what it would do is if I did go out through tug, it would suck away some of the money that I would be able to making through customers who are interested in seeing it would probably be interested or audience members would be interested in seeing it would probably be interested in renting it or buying it on on a on a streaming platform or in DVD or something like that. So you'd be kind of like siphoning off some cash by doing so. And it didn't make financial sense for me at this level of film for other films different for documentaries, absolutely different. It's a it's a great way to go but for me in this is Meg didn't make sense to do it. So I decided to go with the stripper. As all you guys know, I'm a big fan of history. I'm big fan of Nix OS who's the CEO who's been on the show before in Episode 128. And I knew of distributed through Jason boo Baker, a buddy of mine, who works there. And also has, you know, runs filmmaking stuff calm and so on. And they, I kind of just made kind of sense to go with them because they allow you to get access to all the digital platforms, you can imagine. Even some cable VOD as well, you could submit to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, all of those platforms at a very affordable price. No, they charge depending on the package you get. But all I do know is like one, I think it's like in between 1000 to $500, to submit to different platforms. And then you could buy a package of three or five or 10 different platforms for X amount of dollars. The great thing about what Nick and the team at distribute does, is that they, they will refund, if you let's say you want to submit to Netflix, and it costs $1,000 to submit to Netflix, you submit to Netflix, and if Netflix doesn't take you they refund everything up to $150 everything besides $150, they keep $150 for just processing and running their company and doing all this stuff. But they refund refund most of everything else back. So there really is 450 bucks, which is in many ways. A lot of film festivals, cost $150 ridiculously enough, or, or a couple of Film Festival submissions, you get a chance to submit to Netflix, which you can't cannot do by yourself. So that's why I decided to go with distributor. So you know what, I feel that I have an audience, I feel that the cast has an audience that we can sell this as Meg to, and it made sense to go through distributor. So the team a distributor, and I've been working feverishly for the last few months, putting everything together getting all of the deliverables distribution, you know, everything I need to submit to iTunes, which by the way, iTunes is one of the most strenuous strenuous QC processes, technical QC processes, there are in the digital platforms. So if you can pass iTunes, you can pretty much pass almost any of the other guys as well. And I've also submitted to Hulu in other places as well. Trust me, iTunes is tough, but very doable. As long as you have certain things in place, you can do it. Also quick tip. And if you guys are listening to this, this can save you hundreds, hundreds of dollars. I have not been paid by this company, nor do they know who I am. But I've used their service. I am a huge fan. And their test was if I can get it through iTunes, and it did the company I use for closed captioning, closed captioning and a big, big issue. If you want to submit to Amazon, you got to have closed captions. You want to submit to iTunes, Netflix, all of them you have to have closed caption is part of your digital deliverables list. It's usually anywhere between five to $8. Depending to close caption a minute to close caption a feature film, it gets really pricey. You can go to a company called rev.com rev.com. I will put it in the show notes. And there you can get your movie closed captioned for $1 a minute. A distributor friend of mine suggested I do it. I looked at like you're using it. He's Yeah, we use it all the time. rev.com It's $1 a minute. I I sent them the specs of iTunes. They gave me gave me back a closed caption file. It went through iTunes, iTunes accepted it. So if iTunes accepted it, it's good for everybody. So rev comm will save you tons go to them again, not been paid, not a sponsor. They don't even know who I am. I just love what they did. And it saved me a ton of cash, getting a closed caption for this as Meg. So now you have a file, you have all your deliverables ready to go. And you choose what platforms you want to go to. So we're submitting to Netflix, we're submitting to Hulu, and Amazon for s VOD. Now there's a difference between s VOD and T VOD. svod is subscription based video on demand. TV to you is transactional video on demand. So when you do a transactional video on demand, which is your iTunes, your Google Play, your Fandango, now your, your Amazon as well as you could do transactional as well, um, Playstation x box, all Roku all of these places. That's transactional video on demand. Now, the one big mistake that so many filmmakers make is that when they put out their movie on these on these platforms, let's say they go through distributor, they put it all they put them out on all the platforms on this at the same time. So what happens is you don't make an impact at any of those platforms. Now, eventually, this is Meg will be on all platforms, and eventually it will be available for svod. But there is going to be a window that it's Gonna be available for tvod only. And that window could last a long time, it will probably last at least six months to a year before you can see it for free on Amazon or something along those lines on amazon prime, or any of these kind of services. But why a lot of people are like Alex, why are you only submitting it to iTunes at first? Well, because I wanted to and this is by Nick. Nick's suggestion is to focus all of the buying power at iTunes, which is by far the largest of all the transactional transactional VOD even larger than, than Amazon, believe it or not for independent film, iTunes, if we can focus all of our audience, and people are interested in this as Meg to iTunes, the more sales and or rentals we get, the higher we get ranked in their ranking system, whether that be hopefully in the top 10, or top 25, of comedy, or drama it to possibly hope God, I mean, it would be amazing to crack the window for the top 10 or top 25 of all of iTunes. So let's just put it this way, a lot of people say oh, a lot of distributors will tell you a lot of people tell you, you know, yeah, you can go through someone like distributor, but they're not gonna help you market it. And it's true, they are not going to help you market the movie, that is not their job, their job is to open the door that is close to you. So you have access to a marketplace, what you do with that marketplace, is completely in total, totally your responsibility, how you market it, how you strategize, to get your film out through these platforms is up to you, it is not distributors job to market your product to market your film, it is your job. So a lot of people will tell you Oh, well, you know, you're not gonna be able to make any money with that, because you're just going to be thrown on their platform is going to be one of many. And that that comment is actually true. But if you're able to market it, push it, push it to your audience, push it to the actors, audiences in the movie, push it, if you're a documentary, push it to the audience that wants to hear about that information, it is your job to do that. So that's what I'm going to do with this is Meg, and I'm focusing all of my buying power on iTunes. So we can crack that five, that top 10, top 25 of either comedy, oh, God forbid, the top, because understand something, if you're thrown into the pool with all the other hundreds of 1000s of movies that are on iTunes, you'll be thrown in the same pool with everybody else. And you don't have the marketing power to move yourself up. So if you're able to kind of game the system, and this is a hack, this is the iTunes hack. And this is what I talked about breaking iTunes, if we can generate enough sales or rentals, they both count the same. Either you buy it for 1520 bucks, or whatever, or you rent it. For 399, it counts as a transaction, it counts towards your total transactions, which helps you get ranked, the more transactions you get, the more you get pushed up the totem pole on iTunes. And that goes for any platform you choose, I could have easily chose Amazon to do the exact same thing. But I wanted to try iTunes first and see what would happen. The distribution of this as mag is, is basically an experiment, this whole project has been an experiment to see what can be done, what can we do? How can we raise money to make the movie? Can we make the movie Can we make a quality product and we get a great cast? Can we distribute the movie and actually make a little bit of money with it. And I wanted to kind of go through this whole process with you so I could show you guys how it is done, and how it can be done. And we'll see if it works or not. So after it runs, maybe 30 days on iTunes, we will open it up to other platforms like Amazon and Google Play. And all the other ones we will try to be submitting it to Dish Network and cable VOD as well. And we are in talks with Netflix and Hulu and see if we can get into any those platforms. And as I do, you guys will know about it. But that is our distribution strategy. On what why and what we're doing with this is Meg now. How am I going to market this thing? How am I going to get it out there? Well, I've spent the last two years building an audience through indie film hustle. And you guys the tribe have been so supportive and so wonderful to me to indie film, hustle. And to this is Meg. I mean, we couldn't have made the movie without you guys. You guys helped finance the movie through crowdfunding. So thank you for that. And now I'm going to hopefully get my audience which is you guys to watch the movie. And I'm also going to be leveraging Jill's audience. Christa Allen's audience Joe Reitmans audience, Deborah Wilson's audience, Carla does Rocky's audience, our entire cast his audience, they're gonna pump it out through all of their channels, and all their social media channels and the audiences. They've been building up over the course of many years. So by leveraging those, we will hopefully get sales and people interested in what we're doing? People, filmmakers are going to be interesting to see what a film that is as low budget as ours is, looks like and how we went through the entire process. And what you're going to be seeing in the coming weeks is clips, I'm going to be using clips of the movie as a promotional content to be pushing out there. So people could see small funny clips from the movie, getting them excited about it, that's a really good technique. A lot of the big studios do that a lot of indies do that. Not as many as I would think, as many as I see as they should. But it really helps because people start getting interested people start seeing it. So if someone sees a really funny clip, I get three, four or 510 1000 views on something like that. Maybe there's a percentage of those will buy it or rent it. And those By the way, keep going on for forever, they just keep going. So they will be out there in the ether on YouTube on Facebook, pushing forever, as long as we just keep going on and there will always be a link to go back to either buy it or rent it. We will also be sending out stills of funny, funny stills from the movie with calls to action, a call to action is you're telling the audience, you're telling your customer what you want them to do, if you don't have a call to action. That is one of the biggest mistakes most filmmakers make. They'll put up a trailer, but they have no link, they put up a funny picture, but they have nowhere to go or what you want them to do. You have to actually tell your audience what you want, you have to ask that ask your audience what you want them to do when they see this funny meme, this funny photo, this funny video or clip or trailer, and you tell them look, here's the movie, you could preorder it now you guys have probably already seen this pumping through Facebook, and through Twitter and Instagram, and all the other social media outlets for indie film hustle. But you know if you notice, the front page of indie film, hustle has a buy it on iTunes button now for this is mag same thing goes for this is mag comm you go to this is mag comm calls to action everywhere. So you can tell people what's happening, what to do, and how to be involved, whichever that whatever that might be, if you want them to sign up for something, you want them to buy it or rent it, you gotta tell them where to go, and so on. That is what we're going to be doing that is the marketing strategy we're doing for this film, we've been planning it for a few months now. And again, because of the size of mag and the kind of movie it is, this is the business strategy I'm doing with this as mag, different movies that I'll be doing in the future will be marketed differently, completely differently. This is not the same way I'm marketed. And you've my shorts, or lipstick and bullets, the compilation of all my shorts, I'll put all links to all that stuff in the show notes. So you guys can take a look at if you haven't seen it yet. But it's marketed differently. So each movie has its own path. This is the path that I've chosen for this as mag, and all of us, including everybody listening here. Well, we'll find out if it works or if it doesn't. And I'm not planning to be super rich off this. I'm not planning to make hundreds of 1000s of dollars though that would be nice. off of this is Meg it's an experiment, an experiment that I did for myself. And an experiment I did for you the tribe I wanted to make a movie that is of quality. That is funny that it took us very little time to put together a little time to edit it and put it in post and get it out there. You know, we premiered at cinequest which was a huge festival for us and we're so grateful for we're going to be also at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival we got accepted to and and we're hoping to get into one or two other festivals this year sometime. So now it is my call to action for everybody listening to the podcast. If we're going to break iTunes, if we're going to try to make a dent in iTunes and make this as make a little movie that came out of nowhere into something that catches the eye of somebody catches the eye of Hollywood catches the can be a story that people can tell of like hey, this is a successful story. Look what Look what Alex at the indie film tribe did together. This is what it's this is what this is the blueprint that we can make. What I need you guys to do is go and preorder iTunes now if you preorder it you get it for 999 it will be 1299 once it gets released August 4, if you go now to this is mag comm forward slash iTunes. It'll take you directly to iTunes and is available in all English speaking territories that iTunes available in like Great Britain, Canada repair the Republic of Ireland, Israel, Taiwan, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, British Virgin Islands, Armenia, Belarus, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, sorry, Australia, your country a lot needs a a rating and it needs a rating of some sort and ours is unrated. Because we do not want to spend the $5,000, the MPAA will charge us to get a rating on this is Meg. So Australia will not be able to purchase it on iTunes, but we'll be able to get it on Amazon or Google Play or the other platforms when it gets released probably 30 days after August for sometime in September. And same thing goes for Canada, unfortunately. So again, guys go preorder it now. This is mag comm forward slash iTunes. If you guys can help us get this as Meg up to a certain amount of sales to get us just a crack the top 10 of even comedy or drama t that would be huge for this as Meg because then it would be finding audiences that have no no idea who I am, who any of our cast is, possibly, and just be interested in watching a good, funny drama. So and then again, I'm going to report back and let you guys know the honest truth of what happened and where we went with this. So I do need your help, guys. So thank you so so so much for the support. And please spread the word. If you're on it. If you're on Facebook or Twitter, you see any of our postings, funny clips, anything like that, please forward it, share it, tell everybody you know about it, it really helped out a lot. And we only have a few weeks left before August 4. So anything you could do to get us on August 4, it's all pre sales count as our first day sales number. So if we can get that number up high, that will hopefully help us crack that top 10 of comedy or drama T. And as always, if you want the show notes, head over to indie film hustle.com forward slash 166. Now, I also have this week, on Thursday, we're going to be releasing the another podcast and epic podcast. And I know a lot of you might be thinking, Alex, this whole method that you're talking about, of releasing it through self distribution and all this stuff. But I don't think it's going to work. You know, there are really no case studies to prove. Without a doubt that is going to work for a narrative film. Well, I've got an insane success story coming up on Thursday, I literally just got off interviewing Nick, and Nick from range 15. And I'm tell you a little bit about the story range 15. And you're going to hear the story on Thursday. And if you guys are interested in self distribution, and how to build an audience, how to make money, distributing your films on iTunes, Amazon, and so on. This is the podcast for you. Nick made a movie. His name is Nick. I don't want to embarrass myself by trying to pronounce his last name. But he owns a company called Ranger up. And he made a movie called range 15 range 15 has made to date over seven figures strictly from self distribution on iTunes. And Amazon alone, haven't even gone out to the other platforms strictly on Amazon and iTunes alone. He's made over seven figures, and not just barely over a million. We're probably talking about. He mentioned about three to three $4 million in a course of Well, the first month he made a million take home after after iTunes got there to cut. So it's substantial. And he tells you the story of how he did the entire process. He's an inspiration to me, and how he was able to do it. And I've been chasing them probably for almost a year to try to get him on the show. And I finally wrangled him, his schedule finally opened up to a point where I could sit down with him for an hour and really beat up how he did it. And his experiences through distribution. And just amazing story. These guys are amazing what they did and is a narrative zombie action be flick as he calls it. So it's not a highbrow movie. It is a silly and again his words, kind of silly zombie action movie with some people you recognize in it, William Shatner, Keith David, Sean Aston, and of course, Danny Trejo because Danny Triana is in every movie. But except maybe I couldn't get him for Meg. But in that story, and in that podcast, you will hear how he was able to raise $1.2 million, crowdfunding that campaign from his audience, and he was only asking for 300,000 or 350,000. And they got that within the first 30 hours. So definitely check out Thursday's episode. If you're interested at all in self distribution and marketing of your independent film. I hope you guys learned something. Please don't forget, this is mac.com for slash iTunes. And as always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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IFH 133: Sydney Freeland: Working with Netflix & Maintaining Creative Freedom

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SPECIAL SUNDANCE EDITION of the Indie Film Hustle Podcast

I ran into many filmmakers while fighting the blizzard at this year’s Sundance Film Festival but one of the most impressive of the bunch was director Sydney Freeland. Sydney has had a challenging journey to become a director and her story is inspiring, to say the least.

Prior to making her first feature-length film, Sundance darling Drunktown’s Finest, Sydney Freeland previously worked as a production assistant, as a writer, and as a camera intern. Freeland worked in a number of areas, including; National Geographic, Walt Disney, The Food Network and Comedy Central. Freeland garnered her first taste of success with the six-minute short filmHoverboard, utilizing Kickstarter to help fund the short. The film was inspired by her love of Back to the Future Part II.

Drunktown’s Finest is her second venture into filmmaking. The 95-minute long film is a coming-of-age story about the complex issues surrounding identity and the struggles faced by Native American people. The film’s name is inspired by a controversial 20/20 segment on ABC News, which branded the town of Gallup, New Mexico as “Drunk Town, USA“, after the increase of instances of alcoholism on the border of the Navajo Nation.

Freeland wrote, directed Drunktown’s Finest as a means to combat the negative stereotype of her home community. Sydney Freeland, who is herself a transgender woman, is also directing a digital series about queer and trans women called Her Story.

Photo by: Netflix

At this year’s Sundance Film Festival Sydney Freeland is premiering her latest film Deidra & Laney Rob a Train, which was financed completely by Netflix. Two teenage sisters start robbing trains to make ends meet after their single mother’s emotional meltdown in an electronics store lands her in jail. Coming to Netflix on March 17. Here’s the trailer.

We sit down and discuss how it was like to work with Netflix, if the rumors of creative freedom are true and what Sundance has done for her career.

All of these Sundance Series episodes will be co-hosted by Sebastian Twardosz from Circus Road Films and a co-production with Media Circus.

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  3. Rev.com – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)