Color Correction vs Color Grading Process for Filmmakers

color grading, color correction, post production, colorists, post supervisor

So, what is color correction and what is color grading? How do they differ? What are the best practices and tips for each? We’ll go over the different types of color correction and grading tools available to you, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each.

What Is Color Grading?

Color grading is a process of stylizing the color and tones of your footage, so that you get to see all of the creative decisions that your digital colorist has made. The colorist will use color grading software, like the industry standard Davinci Resolve, to stylize the footage, emphasizing the visual tone and atmosphere of a movie, and making it look more cinematic.

What Is Color Correction?

Color correction is a term that encompasses all the processes of correcting colors, saturation, brightness, exposure, contrast, white balance, and other visual adjustments in post-production.

A film colorist works closely with a film’s director and cinematographer to ensure that the finished film looks exactly how the director wanted it to. It’s purpose to to match real world lighting conditions and looks.

What is Color Hue?

The hue is the color itself. It is the difference between blue and red. We’ll cover saturation and brightness when we give you a few paragraphs about hue. The basic color concerns of any video image are known as “HSB”.

Sometimes a hue doesn’t have to be a primary color. A fair skin tone is a brown hue that has little saturation and a lot of brightness.

A white hue, on the other hand, is very bright and has almost no saturation. A hue can be “warm” or “cool.” Warm hues have a yellowish cast, while cool hues have a bluish cast. The difference between warm and cool hues is the color temperature of the light source used to create an image. Hue is the color itself. It is the difference between blue and red.

What is Color Temperature?

Color temperature is a measure of the physical color of a light source, measured in degrees Kelvin (K). The term is used to describe the color of incandescent lighting, fluorescent lights, and other types of lamps.”

In general, the higher the temperature of a color, the more red it will appear, while the lower the temperature, the more blue it will appear.

Color temperature is measured on a scale that ranges from 2500K to 10000K. In general, colors with a color temperature of 5000K to 6000K are considered warm and are associated with creativity and relaxation, while colors with a color temperature of 3500K or below are considered cold and are associated with being logical and efficient.

When we look at a light source, it looks like a light bulb. But the actual light bulb emits a range of colors of varying intensities. For example, a red light will appear brighter than a blue light of the same intensity.

A white light is the sum of all the colors of the spectrum, which is the light emitted by the sun. This white light is called “white” because it’s perceived as “whiter” by our eyes than a pure red or blue light of the same intensity.

What is Color Saturation?

When we talk about color saturation, we are referring to the intensity or the amount of color that exists within a given area of a digital image or graphic design. The color saturation can vary based on the level of contrast or the type of imagery used.

High saturation images often contain many different shades of gray. A high saturation image will be very bright because there is a high contrast between light and dark areas.

In general, if your scene has a high saturation, it’s a pretty good indication that it has a high contrast. If you see a very saturated image, the photo probably has a lot of detail in the shadows and highlights. The opposite of saturation is value. Value refers to the darkness or lightness of an area.

Darker values will have less light and lighter values will have more light. Contrast refers to the difference between the lightest and darkest areas. In a high contrast image, the difference between the lightest and darkest parts of the image is large.

What is Color Brightness?

Color brightness is the amount of light that is in the image. It is measured in terms of how much light is in the space of a certain color. The color of a scene is determined by the light in the scene, so brighter colors are usually from a lighter area of the scene.

As the camera records footage of the scene, it converts the light into electronic signals. These signals are translated to computer files, which are used to make digital images on a computer monitor. The images can be viewed and manipulated by the user using software.

How to Color Grade a Film Like a Pro

The tool of choice by colorists around the world is DaVinci Resolve. It is the grand daddy of color grading systems. DaVinci Resolve is a powerful non-linear color grading and editing application for macOS, Windows, and Linux. Originally developed by DaVinci Systems, it was acquired by Blackmagic Design in 2009.

Let’s go over the basics of working not only on Resolve but any major color grading systems.

Choose a Picture Profile

Your camera has pre-determined picture profiles that help you create footage that is consistent in look, like color, saturation, and tone. A picture profile is a set of parameters for your footage that sets the baseline characteristics of your video, so it is easier to make it look consistently like every other footage from that type of camera.

White Balance

Color correction is a process of defining the color of the white balance. It also involves establishing the correct level of the white balance. Defining the white color is another part of the basic color correction process.White balance is based on the Kelvin temperature scale. There are 3 types of white balance definition: Kelvin, RGB and HSL.

The Kelvin white balance definition uses the Kelvin temperature scale and is very similar to the RGB definition. The RGB white balance definition uses the red, green and blue color channels.

What are Curves?

Curves are an essential tool when it comes to color grading. They can be used for precise color correction and color grading, and they will allow you to make subtle changes to shadows, midtones, and highlights with more precision.

You can control the entire color channel shift with any movement of the drag points, and you can also zoom in and make small adjustments as needed. The change isn’t isolated; it’s dependent on the entire color channel shift. It’s a gradual change rather than a big extreme change. You can always zoom in and add another drag point.

Three-Way Corrector

The most basic and essential tool for every colorist is the three-way corrector. It’s the first and most important step in almost every edit. It allows you to easily see and correct a variety of mistakes, such as clipping, blacking out areas, and adding or removing information from the timeline.

The corrector also helps you correct any issues that crop up during the post-production process, such as color, audio levels, and exposure.

Color Qualifiers

Color qualifiers are used to improve the quality of a digital color image by automatically adjusting one or more characteristics of a digital image, such as sharpness, brightness, contrast, saturation, hue and/or gamma. This article will cover the three main areas of color qualifiers – red, blue and green – and show how each of these can be used to improve your film post production.

Adjust Your Tones

Capturing great footage means balancing the dark tones (like black levels and shadows), highlights (the brightest light), and midtones (the mid-range between black and white) in your camera. All these elements are important in determining how much light your image needs.

Scopes are Your Friend

Scopes are useful color-monitoring tools that provide extra-detailed color information. For example, the vectorscopes in color correction software measure chrominance values like hue and saturation—your reds, greens, and blues (RGB). This is especially helpful for colorists when trying to color balance natural skin tones, as this color tool measures hue levels more precisely than the human eye.There are two types of scopes: RGB and HSL. The difference between the two is that RGB scopes display only one color at a time, while HSL scopes allow you to view all three colors at once.

HSL scopes are more useful for color grading images and video, since it’s easier to see how a particular color is affecting the overall look of the picture.

The Magic of Power Windows

Power windows are a form of vignetting and are also called Color Masks. They can be used to create a very specific look or to just make a scene a little more interesting.There are different ways to apply power windows. The most obvious is to cut a hole out of the window frame in a scene that you want to be brighter than the rest of the picture. That hole can be either on the top or bottom of the window. It can be a great way to add character or depth to your images.

Color Matching

Color Match allows you to overlay a virtual color chart of your choice on top of your source footage. Simply choose your color chart and camera settings, and then turn on the Color Chart in your viewer by navigating the drop down menu on the bottom left of the window.

Using LUTs

The lookup table (LUT) is an essential tool for any colorist working on digital video. It allows them to quickly apply pre-set color settings to the footage after it has already been shot.The tools that are part of Match Color will not only give you access to presets, but they’ll help you work faster by adapting the colors to match your original reference frame.

Secondary Color Correction

Before you take the next step in editing your images, it’s important to do a quick color correction. This step will give you a starting point from which to make your edits.

After the color correction, you should use a secondary correction to remove any areas that are too bright, too dark, or out of place.

Final Changes

The final step of the color grading process is to make any final color adjustments to the video, including making changes to the brightness and hue of the picture.You can do this using additive color options, which gives you greater control over the color of the final image.

In conclusion, Color Correction is basically the process of making adjustments to color balance, contrast, exposure and tinting on images from video footage to produce the best-possible look for the finished product.

Color Grading, on the other hand, involves using a combination of color grading software, along with a variety of tools, including the use of various filters, adjustment layers, and effects to create a more specific look for the finished product. T

his article covers the basics of the two processes and helps filmmakers understand the differences between the two and when one might be used instead of the other.

The Art of the Title Sequence: Stranger Things

If you haven’t seen Netflix’s breakout smash Stranger Things you are missing out. Being a huge fan of the show I noticed the amazing opening title sequence that takes you back to the glorious ’80s. Then I began to think about the importance of typography and design in creating a feeling in film. The remarkable title sequence was created by legendary title house Imaginary Forces.

Title sequences should be used to create mood, tone, tell a story, and of course list the credits. Take a look at this amazing mini-doc by VOX on the opening title sequence of Stranger Things.

The Stranger Things logo probably looks strangely (no pun intended) familiar, returning you back to a time when Stephen King reigned supreme. The show’s creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, said that they were directly influenced by King in the creation of the show’s logo, having sent tons copies of Stephen King’s novels to Imaginary Forces.

The Font

The font used in the creation of the title sequence is ITC Benguiat, and it’s hallmark of the era that Stranger Things is paying homage to. It was used on the cover of countless Stephen King novels, The Smiths used it on the cover of their album ‘Strangeways’, and it was the title font for those ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books you loved growing up.

The glorious 1980s revived retro typography from various art periods in a way that brought new meaning to their use. By reintroducing them again in 2016, as the Stranger Things team did so remarkably, we are reminded of the power of typography, the transcendental property of design, and the nostalgia that lives forever in our hearts.

Indie filmmakers should take notice of the power of design in title sequences, posters, and website design when creating new content. Typography is a very powerful tool in the indie filmmaker’s toolbox.

If you haven’t watch Stranger Things yet, here’s the skinny on the show: This thrilling Netflix-original drama stars award-winning actress Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers, who lives in a small Indiana town in 1983 — inspired by a time when tales of science fiction captivated audiences.

When Joyce’s 12-year-old son, Will, goes missing, she launches a terrifying investigation into his disappearance with local authorities. As they search for answers, they unravel a series of extraordinary mysteries involving secret government experiments, unnerving supernatural forces, and a very unusual little girl.

Title Sequences in Indie Film

I’ve always loved title sequences and insert them into my films every chance I get. Take a look at this remarkable title sequence created by my main partner in crime Dan Cregan of Numb Robot for my short filmCyn: A Twisted Tale“. This title sequence was shot by me and designed by Dan Cregan. It’s his homage to those amazing James Bond opening title sequences.

James Bond Title Sequence

Below is ALL 23 James Bond Title Sequences. A study in art and storytelling.




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

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

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

Enjoy my conversation with Brad Olsen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brad Olsen 55:38
I think so.

Alex Ferrari 55:39
Thanks again, Brad.

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

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




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

Right-click here to download the MP3

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

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

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

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

Enjoy my conversation with Brad Olsen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alex Ferrari 26:45

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brad Olsen 1:04:56
Just one?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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IFH 235: How to Become an Editor in Hollywood with Lawrence Jordan

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Today on the show we have film editor Lawrence JordanLawrence is a veteran feature film and television editor who has worked with many of the top creatives at the world’s largest entertainment companies, including Time Warner, Sony, Fox, MGM, HBO, Netflix, and Disney. He has supervised creative aspects of the post-production process on over 45 feature films and television shows with budgets ranging from 1 million to upwards of 80 million dollars. He recently completed his latest feature film, “Naked” starring Marlon Wayans and Regina Hall for Netflix.

With a passion for technology, Lawrence was fortunate to have the opportunity to be one of the earliest adopters of digital, non-linear, editing workflows. Along the way, he became an adjunct professor at the American Film Institute’s Center for Advanced Studies, and created and taught courses on non-linear editing at UCLA. He has also been a consultant and speaker for companies such as Apple, Adobe, and Avid Technology. Jordan has also written articles for periodicals including American Cinematographer, Editors Guild Magazine, DV, and MacWorld.

Jordan also created, an Internet community dedicated to providing information about Apple’s revolutionary new post-production software, Final Cut Pro. 2-pop quickly became the premier web destination for the rapidly growing digital video marketplace and was a catalyst for FCP user group communities worldwide. It was later acquired by Creative Planet. 

We jump into the “editing” weeds and discuss the craft, the business and the politics of being a Hollywood editor. Enjoy my conversation with Lawrence Jordan ACE.

Alex Ferrari 0:04
Now today on the show. We have Lawrence Jordan, who is a film editor with over three decades of experience and has worked on some amazing films like fallen with Denzel Washington. One of my favorite films from the 90s assassins Deuce bigalow, male gigolo, CSI Miami as well as a new Netflix film, naked starring Marlon Wayans, Lawrence and I sit down and really dig into the craft of editing. Well, how he started in his career, how he works with directors, some unique stories from the Edit room, and just talk shop. So without any further ado, here is my conversation with Lawrence Jordan. I'd like and welcome to the show, Lawrence Jordan. Thank you, man so much for being on the show.

Lawrence Jordan 2:39
My pleasure, Alex, great to be here.

Alex Ferrari 2:41
I've had only a couple editors on but I've never had an editor with your street cred on before. So I'm really excited to to kind of dig in to to your career and and do your techniques as well.

Lawrence Jordan 2:54
Oh, well. Thank you. I'm flattered. Yeah, you you got to get some more editors where, you know, that's where all the actions happen.

Alex Ferrari 3:00
Well, listen, my audience the tribe is definitely heard enough about post. I mean, one of my most successful podcasts ever is post production workflow, understand it or die. Good title, man. Yeah, absolutely. That was my story. That'd be right. If he just did just don't get post production workflow, and it will kill you. And nowadays, I mean, back in the day when you know, when you were when when I was starting out, it was avid and that was pretty much it. I mean, there's now we're gonna get a little geeky guys, and there was media 100 there was the video cube. Oh, yeah, you want to go even farther back the montage which is what I first learned on Wow, oh, yeah.

Lawrence Jordan 3:39
That that's you are, you know, well, you know, I was gonna I was gonna say, you're a much younger man than I because I started on 35 millimeter film. So I

Alex Ferrari 3:48
I when I went to I went I went I went to college, he taught me on the montage, which was just working on Windows 311.

Lawrence Jordan 3:54
That is amazing, man. Because, you know, actually, the first avid show that I ever did was, we started out on the montage, the editor that I was working with a guy named Steve Cohen, who's a terrific editor, and very into technology, you know, kind of turned me on to the montage picture processor, the digital version, you know, because they had like a beta cam version,

Alex Ferrari 4:16
Right! This is Yeah, this is the whole digital Yeah, with that with eight with eight gigs being like the size of a refrigerator and start with me, I mean, stories about about about storage, and then you get in you put the floppy in. Yeah. And then you take it over to the CMS 3600 and it would never work. Cluj to say, exactly, but when I actually when they actually took me to cut film, in college, they taught nonlinear editing first, then everything was online, nonlinear and then film while I went to film I was like, This is barbaric. Is this you? You cut with a razor blade and if you like it, you put tape on it. What are we the Flintstones? This is just crazy talk. And we all did I did the same, the same bit from was it Gunsmoke?

Lawrence Jordan 5:05
Oh, yeah, of course, the training material, everyone the Hollywood of a certain age cut, learned on Gunsmoke.

Alex Ferrari 5:13
You work and you count on that guys. And I was just I was literally baffled, like I'm holding, I'm like, and you hold the tapes, and you put them in this bin, like, it just blew my mind. It really did. But, but it's something that I think if anyone ever gets a chance out there, if you're listening gets a chance to actually edit a small little bit on film. It is a wonderful text, like the feeling the smell, it is wonderful. But on a practical standpoint, because of the speed that we cut today. It's just such a, it's just different.

Lawrence Jordan 5:40
Yeah, it was a different it was a different rhythm and a different process. But like you say, you know, a lot of fun memories of that method. But, you know, after I had been cutting for a while, on the avid, I was trying to do something on this product called radius edit, which I was helping. I remember that one. Yeah. And I was trying to do a feature on it, and it just just wasn't ready for primetime. So I told the guys who I kind of sold the whole idea to, like, you know, this isn't working, you know, we got to go in is all well, okay, well, let's just do it on film. And so I went back to film after having cut on the avid for like, you know, five years, and I was like, This ain't gonna work. I'm not gonna put myself through this. And finally, we ended up doing it on the avid. So everything worked out. Yeah, going back to film after digital, it's, it's, it's a different experience

Alex Ferrari 6:37
Without question. So So again, I apologize to the tribe. We just gone off on a tangent because this is going to happen when you get to editors in a room. This is we're going to start start talking geek, so please, bear with us, but there'll be some good stuff, I promise. So. So how did you get into the business in the first place, Larry?

Lawrence Jordan 6:54
Well, you know, I was lucky. I was born into a filmmaking family or as sort of like a technical film person family. My grandfather was a projectionist. Back in the day. He actually started when he was a kid crank in the Nickelodeon's in Times Square. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. And then he went on to be a sound and projection engineer at CBS News. Worked on 60 minutes with, with all the legends and Sure, yeah, so and then, you know, he, you know, he kind of got my dad into it. And my, my dad kind of looked around, and he said, you know, editing seems like a really interesting thing. And, and he became an editor and, you know, kind of got a job as a runner, you know, typical, and built this company back in New York, that was one of the first sort of like, high end post production companies for the commercial business. And, you know, he had all these huge accounts, like TWA and Clairol, and, you know, did a lot of famous commercials that I remember, as a kid, you're probably too young.

Alex Ferrari 7:52
I remember them. But But I do remember the pricing of those those post houses back in the day, like $1,000 an hour or something?

Lawrence Jordan 7:59
Oh, yeah, it was like the money was flowing back in it was sweet. He had he had a, like, 40 editors working for his time. And he was a real pioneer, you know, because, you know, my father had kind of like this technical side. Also, he's a very creative guy, but he was also an entrepreneur. And I mean, he created five companies out of out of that, you know, editing situation had 40 editors working for him. And so a lot of like, these big editors, that eventually that kind of transitioned into features, because with all due respect to commercials, they're very creative and stuff, but a lot of people certainly at that time, you know, they wanted to make movies, they wanted to make films, you know, also, so

Alex Ferrari 8:41
You're preaching to the choir. I started out in commercials as well, it's Yeah. I haven't watched a commercial in 20 years. You know, I you know, fast forward only fast forward.

Lawrence Jordan 8:51
Exactly. But DVR is my best friend. But, um, so a lot of these like guys who, you know, came out of my dad shop like Craig Mackay and Richie marks and Barry Malkin. I mean, those guys worked for, you know, written, you know, Richie worked for, you know, Jim Brooks and Francis koppla. So did you know, Barry and, and Craig did all of Jonathan Demi's films and things like that. So, you know, like these guys, you know, sort of, like, we're just part of my life and filmmaking was such a part of my life. So like, as soon as I had the opportunity, I just said, you know, that's what I want to do. I want to I want to make movies. And after a bopping around for a few years, you know, I was very young and I kind of like wanted a toy I was toying with cinematography for a while, but after a few years, you know, I just said, Hey, I'd really like to do this and I and I went to work went to work for my dad, you know, back as a as a runner, you know, as a driver schlepping dropping off cans of films at the studios and stuff like that. And, you know, and eventually just worked my way up, got into the union and got a job as an apprentice editor. And really, you know, it was a lot of starting at the bottom and I was an assistant in features on a 35 millimeter film for 10 years. Almost 10 years, about eight years, and I, you know, it was just, you know, it was tough coming up and it was slow. It's not like it is today can be much quicker, but it was great training ground, and you really got to work and see the process. And, you know, that was, you know, the best education I could have had, I believe, to become, to become a film editor,

Alex Ferrari 10:22
I feel I feel that a lot of the new generation coming up, they will never be able to get that they're never going to be able to get that 10 years of just grinding and watching and really honing the craft. Which I mean, I did I did that myself coming up. And it was, I loved it. I mean, yes, would have loved to have it faster. Yes. And then that world that worlds gone. It's Yes, not the same anymore. But it is, there's something to be said with the apprenticeship, there's something to be said to be, you know, to do it old school and take your time, because you really understand the process of whatever you're, you're doing.

Lawrence Jordan 11:01
I mean, you know, when, when you're when you're working on a cut, and you're looking at a scene that an editor has put together, you know, like in a first cut, and you know, it's, especially back on film, you could stop and talk about it and ask questions.

Alex Ferrari 11:16
Every cut was a discussion.

Lawrence Jordan 11:17
Yeah, exactly. And, you know, you could kind of get real insight, you know, about, like, where they were coming from with it. And then of course, with the assembly, and then starting to see changes. I mean, there was, you know, I think that with digital technology, as wonderful as it is, and I love it, you know, we're siloed to a certain extent, you know, the the assistant is in his or her room, and they're really kind of focused on managing all the data, and, you know, and so forth. And the editor is also kind of like cloistered in there, you know, doing their cut during production. And then of course, when the director comes in, they're huddled in there. And there's not that kind of like, you know, that that period of time where, you know, it used to take a while to make a splice and tape the splice. And, you know, the, the director would be on the phone for, you know, 10 minutes, because it took time to just do the Edit now, like, the director never has time to go on the phone, and actually have to take a break, and then they go outside and talk on their cell phone. But yeah, it's it's sort of a, it's a different rhythm. But having said that, Alex, I encourage, you know, I come from that world. And I and I really believe in handing down the craft to my insistence because I believe that's how it's, you know, best sort of passed on. And I, you know, I love giving an assistant, a scene to cut and seeing what they can do. I know that that's, you know, for the most part, if they show any inclination that they want to cut themselves and not be a lifetime assistant, which some people do, and that's fine also. But you know, most people want to be editors, and you know, you give them a scene, and then it's an education for me, because you get to see what they bring to the material. And so I encourage it, and I try to give my assistance as much as possible, you know, within reason. And then of course, you know, there's these other elements in digital that assistance get to use a lot of their creative, you know, abilities. Like for example, when I'm in when I'm doing my first cut, a lot of times, I'll just turn my, my, my cut over to my assistant, and I'll say, Hey, could you lay some sound into this, you know, give me some sort of foundation, just to fill it out? You know, because there's such a high expectation when you show the first cut, you know, that you're that you're showing the complete cut. It's not like the old days, where you used to show a first cut with no sound on film, you know, right. I mean, the the dialogue, but not a lot else. I mean, it just couldn't do it, you know, the cams could only play two tracks and even you know, the two headed move viola, which would play two tracks, but now it's like, you know, guys are cutting in 7.1 and 5.1. And these mixes are completely filled out. So the assistant really, you know, in, in my situation, you know, can flex their creative muscles and sort of get their feet wet just with sound. And that's a great foundation for cutting because, you know, sound is 50% of the deal. I think a lot of people you know, sort of ascribe to that, and I'm certainly one of them.

Alex Ferrari 14:17
Now, you you started off as a sound editor, right?

Lawrence Jordan 14:20
No, no, well, yes, actually, I wasn't a sound editor. But some of my earliest stuff was I was an apprentice in sound I was lucky enough to work for under DT Allen on a on a feature that she was doing. And

Alex Ferrari 14:34
Did you did you work on Back to the Future?

Lawrence Jordan 14:36
I did. I was Chuck Campbell's assistant editor on on back of the future and a bunch of other films.

Alex Ferrari 14:42
Now when you work it back to the future. Did you even feed it? What did you How was that? Um, it was just another gig. Did you sit? Did you sense anything that this was gonna be a special movie? I'm a huge batch of future fan. I'm just asking.

Lawrence Jordan 14:54
No, go ahead. I mean, it was an exciting place to work. It was a company called real sound and Charles Campbell. Who was, you know, like a legend? Was was the owner with with a couple of other guys, Lou Adelman and Rick Franklin, I think at the time anyway, Chuck had what Chuck essentially was Steven Spielberg's sound guy at the time, he had cut this won an Academy Award for 80. And, you know, he was sort of, like, top of the, you know, top of the, yeah, top of the food chain in, in, in sound editorial, and I was lucky enough to get get a gig for him. I just like taking a break and gone traveling in Europe for four months. And I had come back and I was just looking for a gig, you know, cuz I needed money. And I met with these guys. And they hired me to like, you know, the stuff that I had done in picture. And, yeah, it was a thrill to, you know, when Chuck came to me and said, we're going to do Back to the Future for Bob Zemeckis and amblin. And, you know, from the first time we saw the film, which was over at the amblin, screening room at Universal, it was a black and white copy of the movie. There were no visual effects in it. And, um, but we watched the movie, and we just all knew, wow, this was going to be something that people are just gonna, like, lose their shit over because it was just, it was a great movie. You know, it was just, it was a blast.

Alex Ferrari 16:18
Did you did you? Well, you did. I'm assuming you worked on the first part when they shot everything with Eric Stoltz.

Lawrence Jordan 16:25
By then, all right. No, by the time we came on, that had all been reshot.

Alex Ferrari 16:29
Okay, so you came on with Michael J.

Lawrence Jordan 16:31
Yeah, we didn't we didn't really even see any of this stuff with with Eric. Yeah, it was all Michael J. Fox. And you know, and he, he was just so good.

Alex Ferrari 16:40
Oh, my God. It's performance is legendary.

Lawrence Jordan 16:44
Yeah. Yeah. So we were really excited. And you know, it was a pretty, it was a pretty fast schedule. I remember, we actually, you know, once we had completed all the cutting, we were mixing on two stages and 12 hour shifts.

Alex Ferrari 16:57
Yeah, because they lost like six weeks of shooting that they had to go back on.

Lawrence Jordan 17:02
Exactly, exactly. So, so we were mixing on, you know, from like, you know, from nine to you know, whatever, to 12. And then from 12 to nine,

Alex Ferrari 17:11
It was 24 hour shifts.

Lawrence Jordan 17:13
Yeah, it was crazy. Yeah, I just remembered the screening for the previous screening and the wrap party and, and then the weekend it came out, man, it was, it was as good as it gets in the movie business. And I was just the assistant sound editor, you know, right. But then Chuck went ahead and he actually him and Bob Rutledge, the guy who worked with him won the Academy Award for that movie for sound

Alex Ferrari 17:35
As they should, that's an amazing, it was amazing job they did. Now, how did you jump from Sound Editing to I'm assuming assistant editing and then you jumped into feature editing?

Lawrence Jordan 17:45
Well, you know, I always wanted to be a picture editor. You know, I kind of you know, I have, like I told you my background is with people who were picture editors. And, um, you know, so So after I had done a bunch of sound assisting, I kinda like was looking around and I just started cold calling. That's what you know, you did. That's what I did in the old days. And, you know, I would look through through the, through the Hollywood Reporter used to list things on Tuesdays of like films that are starting now of course you can do

Alex Ferrari 18:15
You mean, you mean on the internet? Right? No. joking. paper on Tuesdays, it would come out films in films in the future. Yeah, I remember that. I remember that. Yeah. So you look for jobs.

Lawrence Jordan 18:26
Yeah. And I and I, and I was able to track down another legendary editor who I got very lucky with. Lindsay clingman. And she was starting a film called baby boom with Diane Keaton. Oh,

Alex Ferrari 18:41
Yeah, that's 85

Lawrence Jordan 18:43
Yeah. 80 Yeah. 86. Yes. And Charles Shire and Nancy Meyers. Were making that film. Chuck was directing it and Nancy and him wrote it and produced it. And Lynne, you know, she invited me over to her house and we had a conversation and we talked about filmmaking and my background and her background, and we hit it off. She, you know, she liked me and, and I got the job as a first assistant on that picture. And I just, you know, really, like was over the moon. I was so thrilled to be on what at that time was, you know, I thought it was a pretty, no good prestigious picture. I mean, it's certainly not

Alex Ferrari 19:21
Studio film. It was a studio from it was a big hit, too.

Lawrence Jordan 19:24
It was it was a really nice film. Sam Shepard was in it. And, and it was a lot of fun. And you know what, back in those days, I can't remember how long it was Alex, but we had over 100 days of shooting I think something I mean, it was for MGM UA at that time. Yeah.

You know, it was just a different environment for filmmakers and and budgets, and they weren't making that many films. And you know, and Charles and Nancy had done private Benjamin. So they

Alex Ferrari 19:56
Huge hit, that was another issue. So they had a certain amount of clout. We're looking at budgets back then. So people understand who's listening. I mean, the budget for baby boomers must have been like 10 million bucks. 12 million bucks. Yeah. If it was 15 I would be surprised. Right? It was it was not like, that's when studios were doing movies like that. Yeah, they would get 20 of those a year as opposed to just three $200 million movies a year now.

Lawrence Jordan 20:19
Exactly. Yeah, it was a different world. And they were, you know, there was a different market. And, and it was a blast, you know, the film was was just awesome to work on Charles and ancy. were, you know, there's such creative and there were a lot of fun. You know, in their own kind of crazy writer, director, producer ways. And, you know, I was young and I had a lot of energy. So I could work, you know, 1415 hours a day, and it wasn't a problem.

Alex Ferrari 20:47
Remember those days? Yeah.

Lawrence Jordan 20:48
Yeah. And again, that was a great experience. And then I went to do another film with with Lindsey little man Tate.

Alex Ferrari 20:57
That was a Jodie Foster his first directorial. Exactly. And, and, and the reason I know all this stuff is because this is the this is the sweet spot of the time, I worked at a video store. So I worked. I worked in a video store from 80. From 87. to like, 90 to 93. Yeah, so anything in that time period, I'm gonna know a lot of

Lawrence Jordan 21:19
Like, prime of my career, man, this is fantastic. Yeah, you know, so we did we did that together. And, and let me ask you something, you know, working with Jody was just no,

Alex Ferrari 21:32
I can imagine. I mean, that was her first. That was it was a great little movie. I remember watching it and and she's a great director. I think she doesn't get enough credit for it. But she is a really good director.

Lawrence Jordan 21:42
Yeah, she she actually directed a bunch of episodes, or at least a few of House of Cards, which, you know, I thought was, was kind of cool. And, you know, obviously, she's gone on to do a bunch of really interesting work. So

Alex Ferrari 21:52
She's, she's amazing. She's an amazing artist in general. Now, how do you how do you start editing a feature film? What is your process? When you, you literally first day, you've got all the raw footage, it's all been organized for you? How do you start? What's your process of tackling the story tackling the project?

Lawrence Jordan 22:12
Well, after I get over my initial anxiety attack,

Alex Ferrari 22:16
It is a daunting mountain you have to climb.

Lawrence Jordan 22:19
You know that that's, you know, something that I was lucky to get from my dad, I was just like, oh my god, how do you cut an entire film? You know, and it's like that old thing? How do you eat an elephant? You know, it's one bite at a time. And that, that, that, you know, if I could pass anything on to young editors, that's really sort of like the fundamental truth. It's one cut at a time once at a time. And I'm, you know, and I'm sort of a nonlinear thinker. I'm an audio visual learner, I was never a great student in school. You know, if anything English and you know, literature, were my strengths.

Alex Ferrari 22:57
Yep. Guys, like, yeah, we're both in the same boat,

Lawrence Jordan 23:00
Let's say pod. Not real strong in math, unfortunately. You know, so, yeah, my mind works in a very nonlinear way. And that's why when I saw the avid, I kind of like, knew this was going to be my future. And, you know, a lot of times, what I'll do is I'll just start looking at the material. And I'll just start pulling stuff that looks good to me, that if it's comedy, I post stuff that makes me laugh. If it's, you know, drama, I'll I'll try to, you know, pull stuff that moves me. But I'll just start pulling, selects,

Alex Ferrari 23:33
But you don't, but you don't go in order.

Lawrence Jordan 23:35
Some Yeah. I mean, this is something that I learned from Lindsay, you know, because, you know, she would like just start in the middle of a scene, she would say, Oh, you know, that that line is great. That's a great performance, that's a great reading. And she would just start cutting there. And I was just like, Wow, that's so cool. You don't even have to start at the beginning, you know, you can just you can start at the end. So yeah, I'll just start pulling stuff. And then you know, it's, it's that puzzle, it's like taking that select reel and organizing it into some sort of, you know, fashion. And then, you know, during the process, I might go through and start cutting intercutting dialogue, you know, not just pulling, you know, it'll be so my first sort of select reel, you know, to describe it best would be just sort of like this big mishmash of stuff that I liked. And then I go and I read through it, and I wait it out, and I try to make things work because invariably, you'll be pulling things that won't necessarily work together and there will be a part of a reading that you'll want to replace because it wasn't so great, but everything else was great from that reading. So, um, you know, it's, it's this incredibly, you know, just talking about it with you really gives me a sort of a sense of, you know, joy and fulfillment because that's really the fulfilling part of it. I would imagine it's something like when a sculptor is sculpting something out of a piece of marble You're just finding this, you know, beautiful object in there, or, you know, making it as beautiful as you can, you know, sculptor has a little bit more latitude. I mean, we are given a palette to work off of from the director, but, you know, it's finding those gems and, and sort of shaping them. And then of course, you get into the sort of, like the fine tuning and the tightening, and what I call trying to sing, you know, trying to make it really fly and make it a real scene. And that process is, is, you know, that's kind of like my process on every scene in the movie. And then, you know, you just go and assemble all those scenes. And then for you know, you got a movie,

Alex Ferrari 25:40
You know, it's it's funny that it's true, what they say the movie is written three times, in script form, in production, and in post, absolutely, every, those are different versions. And, you know, editing as long as I have as well as you I'm sure is that you know, you do find the movie, the movie kind of pops itself out at you, when you're when you're editing because, sure you have the script. Sure you have you know, scenes. But that's, that's very broad, you got to go in there and start chiseling out those little moments those little looks, that right timing, that's not on the paper. That's what the editor brings.

Lawrence Jordan 26:18
Right? Well, and that's also what the director and the actors bring, you know, of course, but but their cinematographer. But but like you're saying, you you're reading the script, and a lot of times as an editor, you'll look at the line script to see what kind of coverage you've got. And, you know, you'll read through the script before you start cutting it, I do at least you know, I look at the scene, what support what was the intention here, and quite often, you'll look at the film, and you'll go, Whoa, holy shit, you know, this is totally different, you know what I mean? And that's just, that's just the process, you know, so much happens on set, you know, improv and spontaneity and director brings new ideas. And, you know, quite often it's, it's much different than what's on the page. And, you know, that's another one of the exciting parts about the whole thing.

Alex Ferrari 27:08
I was watching the Ron Howard masterclass the other day, and the way he should, he's, he's an absolute technician. I mean, there's just as far as craft is concerned, you watch him actually direct scenes for like, two hours. Nice. It's amazing. But what I was fascinated with in regards to editing is that he is giving the editor, everything he or she needs to cut the scene and have so many options. And in order to do and that's what I think a professional director does, yeah, it just gives you those options, because you just never know, what's going to work and what's not going to work and a lot of times,

Lawrence Jordan 27:46
Yeah, I mean, when you work with a director of that, you know, that level of craftsmanship, you, you know, it's a joy, because they know all the pieces and you know, you hear about people talk about, you know, like, they see the film in their head, you know, as they're shooting it, they're seeing it play in their head, they're seeing all the cutaways and things like that. And then when you get that, you know, as an editor, because when you read the script, quite often, you'll sort of see it in your head also. And when you get that material, you're just like, Ah, thank God, you know. And, yeah, you know, it's interesting that you say that, you know, he sort of very technically oriented, you know, all of our crafts have so much of a technical aspect to them, it is a craft of technology, I mean, think about, you know, the earliest movies, they were these machines, and you need to know how those machines work and how to utilize them and how to how to harness the power of them. And that goes from everything from from, you know, now, I mean, even pre realization and 3d and stuff like that, to editing and, you know, some people poopoo the technical aspects of editing, and, you know, that's a shame. And, you know, you're really, like, some people have said that the art is derived from the craft, and, you know, you need to know how to use your tools to to, you know, really have have power over them.

Alex Ferrari 29:10
No, no, no question at all. Now, can you do me Do me a favor? And can you explain to the, to the tribe, what's an assemble cut? versus a locked cut?

Lawrence Jordan 29:20
Oh, wow. Well, you know, that's, that's a long journey. You know, I've worked on films where the first cut was five and a half hours long. So that wouldn't be the assemble cut, that would be the first assembly or the director's cut. And, you know, not to seem touchy or anything like that, because I really don't, you know, I'm not hung up about this. But, you know, it's really not an assembly I mean, maybe back in the old days of film, it was an assembly when they used to use paper clips to put it together and then they would have to be heights hotspots, I mean, with the with the with digital tools with the avid, you know, or really any any nonlinear editor. You can really refine your cut in the assembly, however, you're still assembling everything they shot. And sometimes, you know, you'll have 150 page script not as much anymore, but you know, you'll have 120 page script that will just run much longer than, you know, anticipated. And, you know, especially with the kind of things that I've been doing most recently, improv comedy, you know, you'll have improv that will just sort of like, go off the rails and just, you know, extend the cut. So, you know, improvise scenes, alternate scenes, things like that. Now, you have to show the director, everything they shot, at least I believe that you will show the director everything they shot, when you present your your first cut. So the journey is taking that first cut from what could be anywhere from, you know, two and a half to five and a half hours or longer, and bringing it down to whatever the, you know, appropriate running length of the film will, you know, ultimately be and you know, a lot of times the rule in comedy is, you know, comedy shouldn't be longer than 90 minutes. It's not always the case, but a lot of you know, I've worked for directors, you know, I'm not releasing this film for, you know, any longer than 90 minutes and like, a will our first cut is three hours, what are we going to cut

Alex Ferrari 31:25
Out of jokes ago, and

Lawrence Jordan 31:27
Yeah, exactly. And, and a lot of crap will go, you know, that just thought was funny, maybe and, you know, was funny in dailies, but you know, just isn't working isn't working in terms of the story. So it's, it's that process of of taking the film from its original, you know, assembly and, and bringing it down to the final length, the tested length, usually you will have several previews. And sometimes they'll be in a theater with random people. And other times, it'll just be, you know, friends and family, you know, 10 people in a room. And it's that process of refining. And obviously, now with visual effects, it's, you know, creating and finally, the visual effects, music music with the composer, and, of course, all the, you know, the the source cues now, and, of course, sound effects and building out a, you know, an awesome sound soundtrack. So that's kind of like, you know, where you start. And that's why they give directors 10 weeks as per the Directors Guild contract to put together their cut. And then of course, the producers come in, and they pitch their notes and give us their ideas. And then of course, the studio

Alex Ferrari 32:35
Executives, of course,

Lawrence Jordan 32:36
Yeah. And they pitch their notes and give us their ideas. And, and so it's this, you know, it's this journey from, you know, camera to, to now it's called a DCP. That the digital release

Alex Ferrari 32:50
Digital cinema package.

Lawrence Jordan 32:51
Yeah, exactly what you see in the theaters. So, you know, it's, it's like being part of a traveling circus, what can I tell you?

Alex Ferrari 32:59
Now, this is something I always love asking editors, because it's something that we've all have to deal with in a room with clients. Are there any tricks to handling creative differences between directors, producers, executives in the suite? While you're there, because I've had I've had produced I've had actual clients, throw fists in my room with each other. And I'm, and you're just the editor, you're just sitting there, like, I just and you're, you're trying to appease both masters. So you're basically Switzerland, you're like, you know, like Alex shown that cut, and I show him the cut. Now, on the other side, you're like Switzerland? So what do you do any any tips for those young editors out there? When they have that client, I'm not talking about create a difference between you as the editor and the director that shouldn't happen. But between to a director, producer or executives in the room?

Lawrence Jordan 33:51
Well, I think my essential lesson or advice would be stay out of the line of fire.

Alex Ferrari 33:57
Right, because there's a lot of that

Lawrence Jordan 33:59
Dodge the bullets as best as possible, hide behind your avatar, if possible. No, I mean, you know, it's a, it's, it's part of the it's part of the job, and it's certainly a skill set that you're going to need to develop and get better at, as, as you get, you know, further on in your career. You know, obviously, you worked for the director, and you're trying to, you know, help them realize their vision. And, you know, that's your first loyalty. And and you're going to have disagreements with the director, but you know, it's best that you have those without the producer in the studio around, you know, those are discussions, creative discussions, explorations that you're going to have, and, you know, you'll come to, you know, your ultimate decisions, you know, in those situations, and, and, you know, it's different. I mean, you know, let's say, if it's the first time you're doing a film for a director, you're going to be you're going to have to learn their process and how much They're willing to tolerate in terms of feedback and input and things like that. But you know, I'm assuming that film, the school maker has some pretty, you know, pretty substantial input on on film, but you think they've been working together for 25 years, you know, and they're not kids. And, you know, I think that he values, her strong opinions, you know, as, as most directors will have, you know, editors of that stature. But again, at the end of the day, it's the director's decision. Now, when directors and producers go at it, and try to put you in the middle of it, you really do have to become Switzerland, or you could be cutting off your nose to spite your face, you could be ending a relationship with a director by saying something that compromises their point of view.

Alex Ferrari 35:53
And that gets around,

Lawrence Jordan 35:55
Of course, you know, it gets around and, you know, as an editor, you know, you don't have that many clients, you know, you'll work on a movie for eight months or a year, as opposed to mixers who can do 345 movies in a year, you know, what I'm saying, or people in production, who could do three or four movies a year, I mean, the production is at, you know, at the longest these days is three or four months long, and most of them are more like 30 days long. So, you know, you're working on, you know, movies for a long time with a personal person. So that relationship is really important. Now, of course, you've got to respect the studio and their decisions, you know, and their desires also. But that's really, you know, that's really something that I've learned to let the director work out with the studio. And if the studio puts you in the middle of it, you got to say, look, you know, I'm just the editor of this film, you really got to talk to the director, and you really got to, you know, figure out a way to get what you want, by by working with them. And, you know, there are so many producers on films now Oh, God, you know, I mean, back in the day, if there were two or three producers, it would be, you know, that would be a lot, but now it's, you know, 10 2012, exactly. So, you know, it's more like, you know, a little bit of a committee, and a lot of times, if, if they're all in there, or maybe eight of the 12 are in there, you know, there's more of sort of, like, massaging of the, of the director's ego and sort of like persuasion. So it makes it a little bit easier for, you know, the editor stay out of the line of fire. But of course, when they leave the room, it's always, you know, it's always, you know, me and the director, sort of, like sorting out the opinions. And times will be just like, Oh, those, you know, flipping idiots. And

Alex Ferrari 37:53
So basically, what the second the producers leave, the director goes, Larry put it back the way I had it. I put it back, I don't care what they say, put it back the way I had it. Well, it depends, obviously, the situation. Now, what's the craziest thing that happened to you in an edit suite that you can discuss publicly?

Lawrence Jordan 38:13
Oh, geez, I don't know. I mean, there have been so many crazy things. You know, I've always tried to, you know, keep the peace. And like I say, you know, the, the older and wiser I've gotten, the more I've realized that it's important to stay out of the line of fire, and keep my mouth shut, you know, because he, you know, sometimes, honestly, you know, they don't want your opinion, you know, and they'll be very forward about it, you know, and, and, you know, that's the whole sort of, like, you know, above the line below the line, sort of, you know, I'm not a five time Academy Award nominees. So, you know, the power that I have, or the clout that I have, isn't going to be the same as you know, as some other people. But, you know, there have been all kinds of crazy situations, you know, that there have been more like, you know, nightmare situations where you are screaming in the film two or three times a week for 12 producers, and, you know, the directors, very, very insecure and indecisive, and you're ending up trying to, you know, you know, meet the desires of 12 different masters and you end up, you know, coming up with, with kind of, like a really disgusting stew that nobody wants to eat. And, you know, the really good experiences have been where a director is, is, has a vision, really kind of like sees what they want to do, and it also has the sort of political and diplomatic savvy to, you know, persuade, you know, the powers that be to, you know, to that vision, you know, it's different director's job is sort of like a, you know, I always think of Francis Coppola as, like this master of not only the craft, but also of politics. And, you know, and obviously, he was a great artist also, but you know, you're you're really having to, you know, sell people on your idea. And I can't imagine, you know, I haven't been in on any of the, you know, in any of the cutting rooms, I've never done like one of these giant tentpole Marvel movies or things, or Star Wars or something like that. And I just can't imagine what it's like, when there's that kind of money on the line. You know, I've done a couple of things. I did a film, you know, for Warner Brothers, it was a, you know, it was like an $80 million budget. So that was, you know, somewhat, but still, it was, it was a different time. And and now, 20 years later, I can't imagine what it's like the pressure on the director and the editor, or editors, and, you know, to a certain extent, you know, there aren't that many tours left and the whole sort of autour theory is sort of like really

Alex Ferrari 41:05
The Nolan's The ventures there's, there's a handful of them, but not many. There's not many of those guys left and and you know, and especially in the studio system, maybe more in the indie world, yes, but a studio system that you know, the Coppola's there's there's Scorsese there's Spielberg, but those are that's the old guard.

Lawrence Jordan 41:23
Yeah. And it's just not happening as much anymore. You know,

Alex Ferrari 41:27
It's hard with $200 million on the line. It's Yeah, it's just so hard.

Lawrence Jordan 41:31
And a lot of times, you know, on these on some of these visual effects movies, they're hiring, you know, people with a visual effects background, whether it's a visual effects artist or

Alex Ferrari 41:39
Soup or somebody that understands it.

Lawrence Jordan 41:41
Exactly. And, you know, they don't have a lot of clout. And, you know, I think that was evidenced by the, you know, the replacement of Ron Howard on the Star Wars film. Yeah. And, and, you know, so, you know, the studio's in those situations, you know, they're really running the show, they're calling the shots, you know, and they have final say, I mean, very few directors have Final Cut anymore, except for like you say the Nolan ones and

Alex Ferrari 42:05
Yeah, but but Nolan proved himself already. Fincher Fincher proved himself, right. I mean, obviously, Spielberg and Scorsese and run and that guy was Jimmy. Jimmy Cameron. Yeah, him.

Lawrence Jordan 42:17
Yeah. But again, you can count all those people on to your hand,

Alex Ferrari 42:21
Two hands, you've got I mean, there's not that many guys that can can can wield that kind of power anymore.

Lawrence Jordan 42:28
Right. So the rest of our of them are, you know, they're just in there slugging it out.

Alex Ferrari 42:33
They're just, they're just trying to just shine until, you know, until you make a billion dollars, and then all of a sudden, like Ryan Coolidge. I'm sure he's gonna have a lot more sway on the next movie.

Lawrence Jordan 42:43
Yeah. And then I don't think anybody else deserves it more than him. I mean, that that film Fruitvale Station was was I thought one of the best films.

Alex Ferrari 42:51
I was great. And crew and creed was awesome. I thought creed was very good.

Lawrence Jordan 42:54
Yeah, that guy's got some real talents. And now I mean, boy, you know, the world is his oyster.

Alex Ferrari 42:59
He blew it blew it out of the water, man. God bless. You know, that couldn't happen to you know better filmmaker. Now. You edited Assassin's was at that $80 million movie you were talking about?

Lawrence Jordan 43:08
Yeah, I think his Assassin's was something like that. I was talking about jack frost. I mean, that Oh,

Alex Ferrari 43:12
God. Yeah. JACK frost. That would be Michael Keaton.

Lawrence Jordan 43:15
Yeah. Kelly Preston. And that had a, you know, that had a $10 million budget just for ILM.

Alex Ferrari 43:21
So yeah. That was a huge the effects budget. I remember that. That was when when Michael was authored.

Lawrence Jordan 43:27
Yes, yes. off of Batman. Right. We actually shot it down at the the Spruce Goose dome where they did some of the early Batman's, and, you know, that that was a you know, that was a real good experience, though. You know, I, I had worked a lot at Warner Brothers coming up. And, you know, Troy Miller, and I had a real good relationship. And

Alex Ferrari 43:50
How was it? How was it to work with Dick Donner?

Lawrence Jordan 43:52
Because he's, I mean, a legend. Yeah. Dick Donner was a, that was a pleasure. And it was really, you know, I gotta tell you, it was sort of like, living in the lap of luxury. Because, you know,

Alex Ferrari 44:05
Of course,

Lawrence Jordan 44:06
There was a guy with cloud and talent and, and just a fun and nice person to work with. And of course, I worked on that with with Richie marks one of my mentors. And, but the crazy thing about that was that was one of Warner Brothers accelerated schedules. I think it was three months, I had three days off. So it was intense, to say the least.

Alex Ferrari 44:33
And just so just so everybody listening knows for who people who are listening who don't know who Richard Donner, I just call him Nick Donner. Because I know I'm obviously no, rich, Richard Donner because Richard Donner is basically the godfather of the superhero movie. He shot the first two Superman's, as well as the lethal weapons as well as Goonies and the list goes on and on. He's an absolute legend. I've heard nothing but he's the sweetest nicest person in Hollywood.

Lawrence Jordan 45:05
Yeah, he was a great guy to work for. I remember what coming and we were there on a Saturday once and they would have like a, like a mountain fruit. And you know, just so we have some breakfast and there was a little bit of fruit missing from this mountain. And he would come by and say, where's the fruit? Do they need more food, these people need food to work. And I was always like that. And you know, again, because he was such a powerful guy and, you know, filmmaker, with a lot of clout, you know, there was never sort of, there was no busting balls over over time, or things like that

Alex Ferrari 45:40
World, then you're in a complete. I know, people I know. I know, people who work in that world, that just like just just the money's not an issue. Just do the job. Just do that.

Lawrence Jordan 45:49
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So it was fun. I came on after they got back from location. And, you know, and Richie really was, you know, the driving force editorially. I mean, there's, you know, the here's the guy who, you know, who was sort of like the supervising editor on Apocalypse Now and godfather two, and like I said, all the Jim Brooks film, so

Alex Ferrari 46:05
He's done, okay. He did. Okay. Yeah.

Lawrence Jordan 46:06
Yeah, you know, nominated for, like five Academy Awards. So, you know, it was just a real privilege and, and fun, because, you know, I was kind of like, the hot shot at the avid and, and I'd be like, doing things like, putting a gun shot in, you know, I would like cut out a flash from Photoshop is like a creative genius, or they're like, Oh, my God, I can't believe you can do that. You know, back in 95.

Alex Ferrari 46:32
I imagined like, you're cutting out a muzzle flash in the avid into like, doing it for a frame. And yeah, like, what is this witchcraft? You're?

Lawrence Jordan 46:42
Yeah, yes. We must have this guy on all of our films, you know, and Joel Silver was there. And this has been real before the majors matrix.

Alex Ferrari 46:49
Joel was still Joel. I mean, he did the lethal weapons. He's I mean, he was a legendary producer before even the matrix.

Lawrence Jordan 46:54
Yeah, exactly. So it was a lot of fun. But it was a crazy schedule. It was just, it was just nuts. And, you know, it was fun, though. You know, it was fun. You know, it's a rush. And then, you know, being a freelancer, you do those kinds of things. And like, I was much younger than I don't know if I could do it today. Sure. But you do those things. And then, you know, you take a month off, you know, you you have to decompress after so

Alex Ferrari 47:21
Oh, absolutely. Without question. Now. Now, you, you are now starting to give back of yourself and trying to teach other generations. The craft, as we said, talked about a little earlier, and you created a course called the master the workflow. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Lawrence Jordan 47:37
Yeah, you know, I was doing this film. I've done two films with with a guy named Mike Titus, who's just a terrific director and a great guy. And we get along great and you know, he's been working with Marlon Wayans and Marlins partner, Rick Alvarez for a long time. And we were finishing up naked or we were sort of like halfway into it. And you know, I like I said, I always try to like, you know, sort of powwow with with my people and Richard Sanchez was my assistant on that film and Richard's a you know, a crack asst he's, he's just top notch. And reminds me of myself, when I was a kid, he really into the job, you know, into the technical aspect, as well as the creative creative aspect has like an encyclopedia encyclopedia knowledge of film, so he's a lot of fun to work with. And one day, you know, I'm in his room, just trying to, you know, get a breather, just get a break from, you know, the stuff that's rolling over your eyeballs. And we're talking and he's showing me, you know, sort of his process, and I'm just thinking about how different the process was, from the time I was an assistant certainly on. And he's showing me this, this digital codebook that he, you know, created in FileMaker Pro, and basically, like, the whole movie is in this file, you know, like, all of the information, all of the metadata, you know, the EDL, the continuity, the timings, you know, all the ADR and music notes, everything's in there. And I'm just like, thinking, Wow, that is such a powerful tool. And, you know, it just got me thinking that, where do assistants get trained properly in though the workflow where do they get trained in the process? You know, in the professional filmmaking world, and, you know, I certainly have, you know, a certain amount of respect for, you know, film schools and things like that, but, you know, it's not the real world experience, it's not being in the trenches and running up against the things that you run up against. And, and so we started like throwing ideas around about creating this course that would that would teach the the process from the time you meet with your editor, and how that sort of interview goes in. What you might expect from something like that, through starting the picture, all the way through final delivery. And every step of the way, and I'm talking about we really drill down, it's it's six modules, it's 32 lessons and more than 13 hours of material, of what the experience of assisting on a feature film, you know, it really could be at any budget level, obviously, there's going to be more complexity, the more you know, the higher the budget, the more of it, things like that, but we cover visual effects. And, and we just documented the process. And Richard essentially, you know, sort of narrates the whole thing, because it's, you know, it's his bailiwick, and, you know, he's an expert at it. And I, you know, obviously edited it, and we, you know, we, you know, bad, you know, feedback with each other. And, and yeah, and we put it out there, and what happened was, it can, the response was so great, it just really confirmed that there are so many people out there that want to learn this process. I mean, it's not like one of your typical certification courses that you might write avid, or Adobe, or even Apple, it's, it's sort of real world experience from people who have done, you know, cumulatively, Richard and I have been, I've done over 45 feature features and television shows, and, you know, he's done over 15. So, you know, people who have been there who have been in the trenches, and, and like I said, we're getting, we're getting great feedback. And, you know, it's, it's, it's really nice, because it's so it's, it's great to see these young people, and some not so young, who want this material who find it has a lot of value for them. And, and they're just so excited about making movies. And that's a thrill because, you know, that's kind of like, you know, that that's what lights my fire?

Alex Ferrari 51:54
Well, great, I'll put a link to it in the in the show notes. So everybody listening, if you want to get real training on how to be an assistant editor, or at least understand what an assistant editor does, definitely check out the course I bumped around in there a little bit, and I would have killed for that when I was coming up. So yeah, congrats on that. Now, what advice would you give an editor wanting to break into the business today?

Lawrence Jordan 52:20
Well, you know, I think we, we've talked a lot about, you know, you know, some of the things that you know, that I did to get into the business, you know, it's different now. But I think that on a kind of like a fundamental level, it's not really all that different, some of the tools that you use are different. But you know, you've got to kind of get, you know, if you want to work in long form, you've got to get into that world somehow. Now, you know, just getting your foot in the door, there's a lot of ways you could, you know, you could just get a job in some sort of, you know, production environment, whether it's a PA, you know, a runner, you know, if you're, if you're doing that, even on a production, you'll be able to a lot of times, sort of, you know, peek your head into the, into the cutting room and meet the assistants, and the editor sometimes, and, you know, you start making that, you know, your world. And, uh, you know, a lot of people get into editing these days through reality, and because that's actually a way from, you know, the best of my knowledge is, that's a way to get into the union. And, and, and major films and television shows are controlled by the unions, that's just a fact of life. So, um, you know, you you, sort of, again, you sort of make your, your, your goal, you know, part of your world. And, you know, another way to kind of, like, do this is, is by utilizing the power of the internet. You know, I know that young people are very familiar with all of these things. But, you know, I've been fascinated to see how many people have been able to make connections and introductions and so forth, through Facebook groups. And, you know, there are Facebook groups, for every part of everything, it can process everything, and in every city, you know, so if you want to localize things, you know, if you're in New York or in LA, or, you know, in Mumbai, you can, you know, you can look for a post production group there. And, you know, if you're a decent human being and you don't alienate everybody shows up, we'll do that in these groups. You know, you can really start to make connections. And that wasn't possible when I when I was young. I mean, again, we talked about it, you went through the variety and you looked for the films in production.

Alex Ferrari 54:43
Sure, sure. Sure. Now, no, got Yeah. Go ahead. No, no, no, no. So um, so what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Lawrence Jordan 54:57
Oh, Jesus, I'm still learning them, but In the film business, you know, the lesson was, you know, early on, there have been many lessons, my friend. But early on, if you're trying to get into the businesses, you know, obviously, you're there's going to be some time where you're going to, you know, try to, you know, do have some experimentation. But if you if you realize, you know, kind of early on maybe out of college or something that you want to be an editor, you know, focus on that and sort of be directed in terms of really going for that, I mean, don't take a job unless it's absolutely necessary, you know, in some other part of the business, where you're not going to be exposed to the post production process, you're not going to be exposed to editors and assistance and things like that. Because, you know, I sort of spent a lot of time pursuing the cinematography thing, you know, until I realized that, you know, just, I didn't want to live that life, I didn't want to be on the road, you know, if you want to be a centimeter of photographer pursue that, you know, if you want to be an editor pursue that, if you want to be a writer, you know, write a kind of a common expression. It's like writers write actors act, you know, yes, we all have to make a living, but, you know, I, you can't be half assed about this career path.

Alex Ferrari 56:21
No, you cannot,

Lawrence Jordan 56:22
It can't be half committed, it's just too competitive. And there are too many people out there. So, you know, that would that would be a lesson early on, I think, I think I mentioned one of the lessons as an editor, you know, say less, listen more, unless you're, you're, you're asked and then and then be careful what comes out of your mouth. I you know, I think as a young person I was, you know, I valued my opinions much, much more than, and

Alex Ferrari 56:55
That's youth, man, that's just youth in general.

Lawrence Jordan 56:58
Yeah. You know, and, and, you know, I think I think that, you know, could get people in trouble. I think that, you know, listen, stateville on fire, be respectful. You know, work hard, I don't think it's a any kind of, you know, mystery. It's a, again, it's a competitive business. And you want to make as many, you know, friends as possible. Always be nice to the apprentice, because you never know, when they're going to be running these, the studio was a was an expression that used to be a tool. And it's very true, you know, you never know when, when that was gonna be great, write a great script and get a directing deal. So you know,

Alex Ferrari 57:36
I just don't as as the best advice ever is, like, Just don't be a dick. Yeah.

Lawrence Jordan 57:42
That's something that Richard and I, you know, it's kind of Richards phrase, because a lot, you know, again, on this in this online stuff, you know, you've got people who are just, they're ticks and it's like, why are you alienating yourself from from your community here, you know, just be a nice person. You know, check your ego to a great extent. I mean, you could be a, you know, the next, you know, Tarkovsky but just, you know, show it don't talk about it.

Alex Ferrari 58:08
Exactly, exactly. Now, what are three of your favorite films of all time?

Lawrence Jordan 58:14
Well, you know, I came up. And the reason you know, the reasons I wanted to be in the film business were were films like Bonnie and Clyde. And Diddy Allen's films were great. You know, Didi actually worked across the hall from my father back in New York. So I always knew about her. You know, I loved reds. You know, I love period dramas. You know, another editor that comes out of that, sort of like school is, was a guy who just recently passed away a great editor named Jerry Greenberg cut the French Connection. The French Connection was, yes.

Alex Ferrari 58:50
What an amazingly edited film that was,

Lawrence Jordan 58:52
Yeah, yeah. So you know, Dog Day Afternoon, another film of DVDs, you know, was was kind of mind blowing. I mean, but you know, I go back I mean, I think about the films that kind of like shaped my view of the world like 12 Angry Men with Henry Fonda and all those great actors more recently, I mean, you know, it's just there's so many great films. Oh, I cannot mention Apocalypse Now. I mean, that was like my, I saw that at a at the Cinerama dome and a midnight show, when it was called the Cinerama dome, excuse me. And, you know, that was like, wow, you know, you can change the world with movies, and you can change people's, you know, ideas about war and, and politics and life. And I thought, that's what I want to do, you know, I want to I want to, you know, be able to help shape, you know, people's, you know, viewpoints and help them see. Now, of course, I went into Hollywood and made a bunch of silly comedies, but

Alex Ferrari 59:52
There's still there's still there's still much value in making people laugh without question.

Lawrence Jordan 59:56
So I mean, they just don't make those kinds of films as much anymore and if they Do they are already in the world? And? Yeah, you know, it's, it's those fields are few and far between. But now there's been a lot of movies that I've that I've loved

Alex Ferrari 1:00:11
Now where can people find you? Oh, well online, not like your house address.

Lawrence Jordan 1:00:17
Yeah, the course is is at And please come and visit us if you have an interest in getting into the assistant editing world, which, you know, we believe leads to Film Editing, and is sort of historically the best path to become a feature film editor. And you can check us out there we've got some, you know, free download some, you know, information about, you know, like your five key contacts on set, and some other information about the course. Yeah, check us out. And, you know, I want this to be timely, but we're going to be speaking at avid connect this year. And will also be at the LACPG. supermeet. at Las Vegas and nav this year.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:06
Are you going to be at nav great, I'm going there too

Lawrence Jordan 1:01:08
Yeah. We're partnering with, with people like avid and ACP we're, we're at the Edit fests. We were there in last year. We'd love it. If we're, you know, to put we're going to try to get to London this year. And yeah, we're just gonna be talking about editing and, and assisting and post production and introduce yourself and I'd be happy to to answer any questions. I can.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:32
Larry, man, thank you so much for just dropping knowledge bombs on the tribe today. I truly, truly appreciate you taking the time out.

Lawrence Jordan 1:01:39
Oh, well, it was fun. Alex, thank you for taking the time to talk to me.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:42
I want to thank Larry for being on the show and dropping some knowledge bombs on the editing front for the tribe. And if you guys are interested in his course, just head over to for the show notes and there you will have a link to his course. And that's it for me today, guys. I got a lot of work to do working on some cool stuff for you some new content. So as always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.




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IFH 143: How NOT to Shoot a $50,000 Short Film – Lessons Learned

Right-click here to download the MP3

So as filmmakers we all want to make the best films we can. Sometimes filmmakers think that a bigger budget is the answer, that bigger is better. This is what I thought when I went down the road and create my short film Red Princess Blues. After going down this road once before with my first short film BROKEN, I thought bigger had to be better. If $8000 was good (budget of BROKEN) then with $50,000 I could blow everyone away.

BROKEN opened a ton of doors for me as a filmmaker. I was contacted by studios, executives, producers, agents, you name it. BROKEN was an ambitious short film, to say the least. You can listen to that story here: How I Made Over $90,000 Selling My Short Film. 

In this episode, I discuss the mistakes I made when I made a $50,000+ short film. Mistakes with

  • Budget
  • Crew Choices
  • Size of Crew and Cast
  • Production Design
  • Distribution Plan
  • ROI (Return on Investment)
  • Who is the end-user (audience I’m trying to reach)

I do hope to get the opportunity to make the feature film version of Red Princess Blues someday soonI’m just not sure spending $50,000 for a proof of concept short film was the way to get that train moving.

Here’s the synopsis of the short film:

ZOE, a young teenage girl, is lured into an after hours carnival tent by the sleazy rock n roll carnie RIMO, and gets more then she bargained for. It’s up to the mysterious PRINCESS, star of the new knife show, to pull her out of the wolf’s den.

This is not the first short film I made based on my feature film screenplay. I co-directed, with my brother in arms Dan Cregan, a traditional Japanese Anime Prequel called Red Princess Blues: Genesis starring the legendary Lance Henriksen


I was a bit ahead of the curve on the distribution of Red Princess Blues. I was the first short film to be distributed exclusively on an iPhone app. Streaming was not a thing yet. I go over what happened with that in the episode as well. Check out this promo I made for the app.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Many amazing opportunities were generated from RPB, I just wish it wouldn’t have cost me as much. = ) These are some interviews and red carpet moments from Red Princess Blues’ World Premiere at the HollyShorts! Film Festival.


I do hope to get the opportunity to make the feature film version of Red Princess Blues. I hope you find some words of wisdom in this episode and that you can learn a few lessons that cost me a bunch of $$$ to learn. So if you are thinking of shooting a $50,000 short film, FOR GOD SAKE DON’T. Listen to this first, I beg you! = ) Enjoy!

Right-click here to download the MP3
Download on iTunes Direct
Watch on IFH YouTube Channel

Killer Ways to Brainstorm Short Film Ideas

Short films have become a lot more popular nowadays with the advancements in the field of media, but coming up with short film ideas can be challenging. Since short films are easier to make than the feature movies, the production cost is also a lot cheaper. One has to have some ideas and they may be inspired or may come mainly from your everyday life, personal life, personal experiences, experiences of others, or even on the fantasies that you have.

The first thing to remember is that you have maximum 10 to 15 minutes to grab your audience’s attention, so make sure to make the best out of the least. Some people do not have any trouble in coming up with ideas for the short film, and they get it spot on. On the other hand, most people do not even know how long should their short film should be.

Here are a few ways that you should try to come up some great short film ideas:

1. Brainstorm Short Film Ideas:

You can brainstorm a lot of short film ideas to get started, and it can be in the form of a small script or anything. The initial ideas are raw, and they do not have to make any sense, but you have to keep working until you find the right idea. Your short film idea or plot relies on your creative skills and thus, you have to start some brainstorming activities to start with the concept of the short film.

Everyone wants to get done with the visual content first so that they can visualize the main plot or theme of the short film. On the other hand, remember that you have to remain attentive while brainstorming the ideas and do not stop until you find something that you think will captivate the minds of the audience. Most of the award-winning short film ideas come from brainstorming, and you have to use brainstorming as a form of exercise.

2. Write It Out:

There is no doubt that the best of the directors are also one of the best screenplay writers. You have to use those writers as a form of inspiration to get that perfect idea for your short film. Writing about your personal experiences, or something experienced by someone else, can make a huge difference to the ideas that you already have thought of. Write about some believable or unbelievable ideas, even if you haven’t selected the theme or the genre of the short film.

Drawing an initial outline is the first step that you can take towards the formation of an idea. Before writing, make up some scenarios in your mind, and write about the central concept that comes to your mind with that scenario, and then, with the help of a few friends, you can form the idea to give it a defined shape. Work with instincts and instances and add some experiences so that your idea can remain original and the basic plot is set.

3. Create a Routine:

In an attempt to decide the major theme or the core plot of your short film, you can form a routine so that you try to generate the best ideas every single day until you find the right idea. The best times to produce the perfect ideas out of your mind is morning and at night. Creating a routine is a tricky concept as you have to devote 10 minutes in the morning, and that too, before having breakfast or doing anything else.

In the morning, your mind is fresh, and your level of creativity is at its peak, so make sure to use that time well. It is a quite healthy part of a routine and healthy for the mind. Plus, this way you can also use your dreams as an outline, or form something out of the dreams you had before. This similar routine can be integrated into the nighttime as well before you go to bed. There is a 50 percent chance that you will generate the best idea during one of these times of the day.

4. Watch Other Movies:

Everyone wants to make the topic of their short film unique and original. But then again, you can always use other films, or even novels, as a source of inspiration for the idea of your short film. You can become a keen observer to make something out of the most neglected topic in any movie or novel that you’ve seen or read.

You can raise an issue that you think that the director ignored in the film and created your short film around that idea; it doesn’t matter if you are in favor or against that idea. All you have to think of is to find a way to form and present that idea as yours, and make sure that it stays original no matter what.

5. Find The Right Resources:

Robert Rodriguez said it best when he was making his landmark film El Mariachiuse what you have access to. If you have a house, backyard, dog, motorcycle in the garage and a parrot write your story around those elements.  You should list the number of resources and make certain that you visit those places or people to form the right idea for yourself. Furthermore, if you do not have the right resources available for the idea of your short film, then you can start your research to find something that is more visually exciting for your project.

You have to remember that if your initial idea is not interesting enough, no matter how much determination you put into it, your short film will not be good enough. On the other hand, some miraculous directors can make the best movies using the simplest ideas by using the right resources and presenting it in such a manner that it makes the short film a remarkable one. The resources can be many things, i.e. a particular location, props, or anything that grabs your attention.

6. Make Up a Story:

By replicating a few quotes from some of the prominent film scenes, or by envisioning some of the mainstream plots of the most famous movies or novels, you can form some short film ideas, or find something that inspires. You can also create a story by developing individual characters in your mind; for instance, place your characters in a situation where they do not have any resources and no other way to get out. Use different challenging scenarios to make up the perfect storyline for your short film.

Entrap your characters in various and unusual circumstances and limit the resources they have to free themselves from these conditions. However, keep in mind that you should not choose such a conflict that can take too much of the time to be explained. Most of the short film ideas come from the exhausted themes or plots, and you have to find a way to present it in such a way that it becomes your original idea.

7. Stories from Real Everyday Life

Why don’t you look at your local paper for some short film ideas? You can choose an idea from the news, or you can create a short film from the actual real world situations. It can be on the financial affairs of the state, or the political conditions, or anything else that can be extracted out from the newspaper or the headlines. You can form the best short film ideas by incorporating any current headline and forming it into a recognized piece of art.

As they say,

“truth is stranger than fiction,”

you have to find the news that you think needs to be explained on a certain level and you can do in-depth research on the subject to form the plot and idea of your short film perfectly. The idea would be original, and your short film is going to be recognized by a larger audience. A good headline can result in a remarkable plot or idea for a short film.

8. Simple yet Engaging:

There is no doubt in the fact that first-time directors or screenwriters should consider opting for a simple genre, theme, or storyline for their short film. If the idea of the movie is too complicated or grandiose your short film will suffer. Don’t try to complete with big Hollywood tentpole films. Focus on a great story, characters, and plot.

Unless you are completely aware of the dos and do nots of the film industry, you cannot work on complex ideas. The best way to step into this industry is to find something that is simple yet intriguing to the audience. If your first short film is a failure, then most people would not be interested in watching your second film, even if it is one of the best short films of all times.

Alex Ferrari 1:38
So today, guys, I wanted to talk about a project I did many moons ago. And I learned a tremendous amount of lessons. It's actually one of the most valuable projects I ever did in regards to the lessons and what I learned from it, and how not to do things. Now, as the title of the podcast suggests how not to shoot a $50,000 short film.

Now, you must be asking yourselves, Alex, where the hell did you get 50 grand? Well, Mistake number one is I invested $50,000 from my savings that I had been saving over the course of years. But before I get into all of that, I'm going to go back to the beginning. And I'm going to talk to you guys a little bit about what how the project came to be, how I how, what happened to my journeys through Hollywood meetings, things like that, and where it is today. So the project I wrote, I wrote a screenplay A few years ago, a few years ago now called Red princess blues. And I wrote a full screenplay because when I went through this the first time with my short film broken, where I got a lot of press and got into a bunch of festivals and the detours got studios calling me producers calling me about the movie, I had nothing ready. So I said to myself, well, if I can make a cool short film, again, get a bunch of attention, but I'll have a screenplay ready, and it'll be ready to go. So when I do those meetings, I'll have that screenplay. And I can pop it up, and I'm off to the races. And that was the theory. So when I started doing when I went after creating red princess blues, that was my first main focus was to create a calling card for not only myself as a director, but also for the project and hopefully getting the project off the ground. So after doing broken I did, you know I wanted to do, I want to take everything up a notch, I wanted to get some name actors, or at least faces some really accomplished actors that I can work with. And I was blessed to have working with Robert Forster, an Academy Award nominee from Jackie Brown, Tarantino's Jackie Brown. He's a legend, legendary actor who worked with us on the project as of course, Richard Tyson, from Kindergarten Cop fame from back in the 80s. And he's always working and he's a very established actor as well. And Rachel grant who is a Bond girl from one of James once one appears Boston's James Bond movies back in the day as well. So these were all established actors and experienced actors and I want to just take everything up a notch from what I did before. So I wanted to create a world and create this environment which is a really seedy, carny. You know, Carnival folk, you know, backstage after a carnival, you know, hookers and prostitutes and drinking and all sorts of debauchery going on. And I had never seen anything like that on screen before. So I was like, Well, let me see if I can kind of create this world. So not only did I have, you know, the most experienced actors I've ever worked with, at that point in my career in front of the lens, I needed to have an insane team on the back behind the scenes as well. So I was able to work with a production designer from 24, the show 24, who was amazing and he was able to create these crazy sets and I'll tell you a little story about where we got the sets in a bunch of the sets in the first place. But we also was I was also able to work with a stunt coordinator. His name is Jeff parlanti who was the stunt coordinator on 24 he's been I mean he was on the CRO he was on Scarface I mean he'd been around for a while but he was the the head stunt coordinator on 24 and now has been the stunt coordinator on Hawaii Five o for the last seven years six seven years that he's been on that as well so he was able to gather a bunch of amazing stunt performers to come and work out work with us on this little action short and I again the quality of people I was working with was pretty much top of the industry I mean people were coming from Kill Bill the matrix You know, I'm insane you know, insane credits, we're all coming to work on my little short film that I was shooting here in North Hollywood for God's sakes. So these guys were coming up and helping me work on this stuff I had a great dp who you know very seasoned dp that I worked with as well and and we were pulling favors left and right I was you know, I was pulling fit and like you can imagine like, it cost 50 grand, but yet I got a lot of stuff gratis, I got a lot of stuff donated or helped or pulled favors or exchange services, all sorts of stuff like that. So I had a really top end team and when you see the short you'll you'll see that it was well put together I mean, and I'm not being cocky, but on a on a professional standpoint, the production value was fairly high on it without question because I had amazing talent working behind the scenes. So we built this insane set that you know, we were able to since 24 was just shutting down. My production designer basically went over to the 24 warehouse and just grabbed a bunch of flats which are basic walls pre done walls that had graffiti on them and had you know, brick on them so we were able to create the outside of a carnival inside of a soundstage. So we were able to do that we went to their prop warehouse and basically just took a shopping cart and grabbed whatever we needed for free this was all for free guys I mean so even with all of that you might you'll ask how where'd all this money go to? No, I'll tell you in a minute. So we were able to build this this really awesome short and I'm very very proud of it. And I'm gonna just step back for a second this is the second red princess blue short The first one was an actually an animated a Japanese anime that I co directed with my my brother in arms Dan creegan who is the animator on on it and I tried to create kind of like a prequel story to the short film into the into the screenplay trying to get attention that way. So not only had one short I had to really high end shorts that that I'm using to promote and try to get this project off the ground. So what's the first lesson I learned? Well, I'll tell you I'll finish up where this this short went. We made the short it got into probably I don't know 60 7080 Film Festivals I didn't keep going with it. I could have probably gotten to another 50 or 60 of them. But you know went out I did a lot of I did a lot of as they say the water bottle tour around la in the studio's meeting with different producers meeting with different studios who are interested in the project. I had a book of artwork created for it. I mean storyboards we had an entire investment package created a ppm all the legal paperwork to start getting the ball rolling with it. I mean we really I really went all out for it guys you know I I swung for the fences without question. I swung for the fences with red princess and I'm very proud of how it ended up I'm very proud of it's still one of my favorite things I've ever done in my life it was it was so beautiful and I was so happy with the way it turned out. Of course we always want to change things but that's that's the way all artists are all directors are, you know, you want to go back and like Oh, I wish I could have done this or that. But you know, we shot it in over three days. I think it was two days or three days. I don't even remember anymore. But it was pretty intense. And it was a lot of a lot of extras. A lot of wardrobe. A lot of a lot of everything. So what happened with what happened with the project? Well, a lot of dead ends. A lot of people wanted to be attached. You know a lot of a lot of producers like hey, let me go get money for it. It was set up i i optioned it a few times. Nothing ever came out of it, you know. So that's where a lot of not only that project, but all the projects I've done in my career. That's why I'm a little cynical about how things work in Hollywood as a general statement, but Nothing really came out of it. So, you know, where Why did it cost $50,000? Well, the very first thing is I was trying to create a world I was trying to do something that I hadn't seen before. And I was really trying to impress Hollywood and press studios and press producers or agents or managers. It was a, it was a point in my life where there was a desperation. It was a desperation in, in my work, and in the way I carried myself, a lot of the things I preach against Now, on the podcast and on indie film, hustle, I was doing back then. So when I say not to do it is because I know what happens when you do do it. And I was doing it for a long time. But, you know, I think one of the big mistakes that you make, and this is one of the this is one of the top mistakes that I made on red princess is trying to compete with a Hollywood production. As far as production value is concerned, huge. I was trying to create a 10 minute piece that had the same production value out of a 10 minute, a 10 minute Hollywood blockbuster of $100 million, which is not really, really not really possible. It really isn't. Now, you're a lot of people are listening to that as well. How about district nine, I mean, they did this insane visual effects, huge production value, and there's multiple other shorts that came out, that did things that are really high end to get noticed, and to get their projects off the ground. Yes, that is exactly it. So district nine, I'm going to use as an example, if you have access to high end visual effects, guys, that really are insane. And you feel that you can create a world and can create a production value that's on par with a studio. Great, do it. Okay, but my advice and my experience is don't because, yes, district nine happened, how many district nines Have there been in the last 1520 years? Not many. And there's a reason for that. Because when and again, this is my opinion, when Hollywood looks at new talent. You know, the El Mariachi model of like, look at all that production value, they got out of no money, those days are gone. They really are, they're not there anymore. Because production value is affordable. Now, you can get high production value. But now that that bar is moved from the days of El Mariachi, you know, an action movie back in 9291 92 is a lot different than an action movie now, before they were making 15 20 million $10 million action movies that were being released theatrically. Now they're not. Now they're making 100 100 and $50 million action movies. You know, it's not, it's not on par anymore. But what has created a lot of stars directors, writer, writer directors, who's created a lot of noise is been with good short films that are story based, character based, vision based. That's what Hollywood is looking for. They're looking for a unique voice. They're looking for someone who can direct story and character someone could tell a story and tell and work with characters and actors and have a point of view a vision. Okay, a voice a unique voice. Because this is the way Hollywood looks at things, guys. And this is again my opinion. They look at a guy like Chris Nolan. Okay, who started off with with a film called the following. You look at the movie called if you look at movie called memento or following, you don't think blockbuster you don't think one of the biggest blockbuster directors of his generation. You don't think that. But what Chris was able to do, or Mr. Nolan, excuse me, I don't know him personally. What Chris Nolan was able to do was show people he can tell a story, that he can work with actors, that he had a unique point of view, a unique vision. That's what you need to focus on with short films. And guess what, those kind of shorts, or those kind of independent features are affordable. When you go after these bigger big movie action style kind of films, and you're trying to compete with Hollywood, you're not going to make it and I'm not the I'm the I'm the first to say, never give up on a dream. Never give up on trying to try something new. But understand that there is a risk when doing it at a big dollar value. Like I did, I roll the dice with $50,000 of hard earned money that I had created. And believe me, it wasn't like I had half a million in the bank. That was a lot of money and it took a big chunk out of my savings out now if you want to go and try to create high production value and really compete with the big boys on a feature length film. You can I'm gonna have an amazing story coming up in the next few weeks of a filmmaker who just did that. Wondering $50,000 budget that looked like a 20 to $30 million budget. And it really did and how he did it. So the it is possible with the feature you have something you can sell, you have something that you can make money with, you can have an ROI. On shorts, it's very difficult to make a lot of money. It's unique if you can. So you can't invest a large amount of money in those kinds of short film projects unless you really feel that you're going to be able to make all of your money back. Lesson number one, focus on story on on how to tell a story how to work with actors and character and create characters and a vision, a point of view or new voice. That's what Hollywood is looking for with short films, specifically, if there are going to if there anything even happens with short films. I know many short films that like the Raven, which is one I'll put a link to in the description, I read all these articles Mark Wahlberg bought bought the script and all this stuff, nothing's happened with it. That's happened three, four years ago, it's probably stuck in a hotel somewhere. And I would love to know what happened with that project. Because it was a great little project had a lot of great, you know, there was a commercial director who did it, he busted out all his friends spent about 150 100 grand on it, and did a really nice job and really showed off what he can do. But nothing happened. Nothing happened with it. Not saying that there's anything wrong with that project. But it just didn't happen. It's just the way Hollywood works, guys. So and I've seen so many of these shorts that are all high end. When I was when I was doing this water bottle tour I was these guys were showing me shorts in their rooms of other guys who were doing cool things I was looking at, like why haven't I haven't seen this before? Holy Cow look at that doesn't matter. It was rough. So guys focus on story and telling a good story. The next mistake I made is, I didn't initially I didn't know who I was going to do that, who was who I was aiming this to who was my audience, I didn't know who my audience was, you know, I really thought like, well, I'll just make it and make a whole bunch of noise. And I'll do what I did with broken and people will come You know, if you build it, they will come. And it didn't work that way. So because I didn't understand who I was aimed this aiming this at or focusing this at. I kind of kind of like, floundered I didn't know where to do because I made a very conscious effort not to redo what I did was broken in the sense of creating a whole bunch of tutorials and put out another DVD and sell that I decided like, I'm not going to do that again, in my high end ego craziness that I was back then, where you're like no, I'm not gonna do that I've done that already. I've moved on from that. Well, believe me, in hindsight, I wish I would have done something like that, because then maybe would have been able to bring back a little bit of dinero from I would have maybe recoup some of my money, which was which I didn't. I did do one thing. And I did try to create a unique thing I was I think I was the first short film to actually create an app, an actual app on the iPhone and Android where you can buy the app for 99 cents or $1.99, or whatever it was and watch my short with a bunch of behind the scenes footage. And other things that I put on it. I was a little bit ahead of my time. But I also don't think it was a wise thing because I was out of the after making the after making the app and everything like that I might have if I was lucky, I might have pulled in 500 bucks, 1000 bucks if I'm lucky. And it cost me like 500 bucks to make the damn app in the first place. So you know, the the self distribution outlets, we're not there yet. This is 2010 2009 2010. So there wasn't amazon prime, there wasn't, you could put it on YouTube. But that was still very taboo to put a short film on YouTube back then, if you're going to try to get into festivals and stuff like that. So it was a bunch of different things that were going on back then. So knowing who you want the short, the short, that you're making to go to is very important, especially when you're risking so much money.

The next big mistake I made and I didn't ask myself this question because I was just so gung ho about putting it out there was where is going, what's going to be my ROI, what's gonna be my return on investment. You know what, I was really swinging for the fences on this. And I'm do I did basically everything I preach against. I had no real real distribution plan. I had no real way of making money with it. Because I had no I had no indie film hustle. There was nothing like that around. I had no audience I had nothing I can sell. So basically I was just going to put it out in the festival market and hope that someone watches it and someone comes down from Mount mount Hollywood, taps me on the shoulder and says you shall direct here's a check for for $5 million, go make your movie and you're off to the races. And it did not work that way and it does not work that way. That's why I yell so much about this when I when I talk about this subject We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. So I didn't ask myself that question, what's my return on investment, so I had no way of selling it, I had no way of making any money with it. And I had no way of guaranteeing that I even had a chance of making any money with it. So that was one of the biggest mistakes I made as a filmmaker is I invested as a businessman, I invested $50,000 in a product that I had no way of selling, I was just using it as a proof of concept. And $50,000 is a hell of an expensive proof of concept, you're doing it for a grand or to something that's really affordable in a smaller scale than Yes. And if you want to do that, by all means you can do that. But on an investment like $50,000, you look at that now a lot of you guys listening like 50 grand, I can make three movies with 50 grand you can make I could have made a feature film with 50 grand, but at that time, technology wasn't caught up yet. And this this new revolution, that DSLR revolution hadn't hit yet, as far as making really affordable, short, independent films, things like that. So please always ask the question, what's going to be my return on investment? Where am I going to make money on this? How am I going to make money on this? Can I afford to lose all this money? Or am I going to swing for the fences, and you can do that, and a lot of people have done that with features, you know, they mortgage their house, for God's sakes, listen to Episode 88. If you're thinking about doing something like that, and I'll put a shirt I'll put that in the show notes as well, you know, or to put it all on your credit cards, you know, and make $50,000 you know, it's very romantic. But anyway, I don't want to get into that because I'll go off again. But, you know, at least I did it with my money. And I didn't put it on credit and it didn't kill me. It was something that I could afford. It still hurt. So also, I wanted to go back real quick on the production of it. And lessons I learned from making a $50,000 short film like Where did $50,000 go? That's the question Where did 50 grand go if I got all this free stuff, people working for free, high end people working for free, or really cheap, how about where it all the scope I made the goddamn thing too big, it was an event you walk on that set that I had first of all, I had a soundstage that I had to run out for a week that wasn't cheap, I had to hire producer all the food the the I must have had on set on any day, probably 30 to 40 people maybe even 50 people on a short film. So all those people had to be fed all of those people a lot of those peoples were being paid a lot of them were actors and extras I had to deal with with sag and all the fees that had to pay for it back then before all the the rules changed so it was a little bit tougher back then to deal with sag so the thing was that there was just so many people and each of those departments needed a bunch of different things and if you watch the short film you'll understand like okay, there was a lot of stuff going on you know and that's what a lot of free stuff you know, I had a lot of favors I pulled to get it done but it was just so big. I had a really good production team for the most part there were issues there were people that I wish I would have not hired on my team because you know, I wasn't working with a lot of people that I knew and had only been in LA for basically a couple years at that point so I didn't have the the depth of connections and relationships that I do now let's say because I hadn't worked as much as I had at that to that point. So I was still I was still you know kind of green and I was definitely green working with a full full blown Hollywood set you know, full blown Hollywood set with really high end people that are expected to do certain things. So I felt that the whole short got a little bit away from me back then. And we're talking about now eight years ago, almost seven, eight years ago. And I learned a lot about how I wanted to run a set how I wanted to control my my vision and make sure that the vision that I have is gonna get gets onto that screen. So I had to fight on set with people's egos and stuff like that which I was not aware of. It wasn't any of my actors by the way all my actors were wonderful talking about people behind the scenes, and it could be the smallest thing it could have been the biggest thing but but because I felt like this was all out of control for me. I think that's where a lot of this money when I when when you when you do a project this at this size, there was a money hose and all of a sudden when you crack that money hose open, it just keeps flowing. It keeps flowing and keeps flowing and it's it is it's like opening up a brand new business which I have a little experience about as you guys all know with my gourmet shop. It was very similar to opening up our store like The second you open it, every day, there's something new every day, you need to put more money in here. And I didn't know that I didn't know that. And, you know, oh, this department needs this now. And this heart needs that now we need this permit. Now we need this insurance now. And, you know, we did a lot of things that I wish we wouldn't have done. But I felt that it was a little out of control. And once that train left the station, it was very difficult for me to control it. So that's that's just an experience, and running with a $50,000 budget when you were that inexperienced to something I think was a bit foolish on my part. Now, with all of that said, Those were the big mistakes, I felt, trying to compete with high low production, you know, values, not focusing on on story and vision as much. I didn't understand who I was really focused, how I was going to be able to make money with this and who I was focused, what my audience was going to do, and what my ROI what my return on investment is going to be and having a distribution plan at all. That's why I always yell. festivals are not a distribution plan, you have to actually have one. So what good things came out of red Princess, and whereas red princess today? Well.

A lot of good things came out of red Princess, I was able to do a lot of festivals made a lot of connections. I was on on panels with big, big star the Collingwood stars, made connections with them had the experience of doing a lot of La film festivals. I mean, it was literally every other week I was on a red carpet with this with this film, it was very well received. And people really do enjoy it and really liked it, which is great. And it did, it did add one thing it did do, it did add a level of legitimacy to myself as a director, and that little short did get me jobs. So I think probably from all the jobs I've gotten based off of that short, I was able to probably recoup my money, at least just from the jobs that I was getting as a director as a commercial director, music, video director, and things like that based off the quality that I was able to create with that. So on that sense, it was a very big success. I have been able to if you guys are part of the syndicate, you've probably seen the short film that I'm talking about short films I'm talking about because they're part of our of the syndicate, part of the filmmaking hacks course, that I have, where I talk a little bit about my experiences making the film will go a little bit behind the scenes of how we did some things I did do some behind the scenes, but nothing compared to what I did on on broken or the depth of the tutorials that I was able to do back then. And I By the way, I still have probably about 10 or 15 hours of behind the scenes footage. Maybe one day, I'll go into it and start creating some tutorials on how we did some of the cool stuff we did back then. But I'm busy right now you can imagine. So many of the lessons I learned on red Princess, I brought to this is Meg and this is Meg is the complete opposite of what I did with red princess. You know, it's a feature first of all is not a short, it was very controllable. I, I kept it really small, very small crew, and focused on story focused on character focused on vision of what I wanted to try to do, and the kind of story I was trying to tell as a director. And it you know, it's a complete and the risk is very minimal, comparatively to, you know, 50 grand or 60 grand on on a short film.

Well, let me go back, of course, obviously, this is made was made for under $25 million. And I released the budget once my my IRS artists done, but it was done on a humble budget, to say the least. But again, so I do believe that red princess blues was a amazing experience for me as a filmmaker. And I think, you know, I wouldn't want you guys to have to go through that and lose 50 grand and then wait years to hopefully get jobs to get yourself paid back. That's not a business plan. But um, you know, I'm very happy that I went through that. And I'm very happy that of the lessons I learned from it because it made me a much, much, much better director, and very proud of it and very proud of what we were able to do with it. Now where is it today? Well, my screenplays still available. And I love that screenplay. I love what I did with it, it has been read a bunch haven't really pushed it too much, I might start pushing it a little bit more in the next coming months. Once I start getting a little bit of attention from this is Meg hopefully, and I'll have something else in my back pocket to show people at meetings and go oh, by the way, I also did this short so I think the story of red princess blues and where it's going to take me as a filmmaker and a storyteller is, is still being written but I wanted to share this experience with you guys because I know a lot of people out there are thinking maybe of doing a big swing for the fences kind of short film. And I just wanted to show you guys my experience and tell you guys Mike experience of what I went through doing something like that. The bottom line is guys that you got to keep working. And you know, if I would do this all over again today I would take that 50 grand and make a feature film without question without question. In today's world, there's no reason absolutely no reason you would spend $50,000 on a short film, unless you're trying to do exactly what I told you not to do, which is to create a world create the same kind of production value that you're trying to compete with on a on a Hollywood budget film to try to get those jobs. If you're trying to get those jobs. My suggestion is follow what all the other really well known. directors who have gotten noticed the Darren Aronofsky is with pi, Chris Nolan, with with the following the momento, these guys focused on story, not big blockbuster films, hollywood figures that they can't hire a great team around a visionary director, because the technical stuff can be you can hire technical, it's hard to hire vision, it's hard to hire someone with a voice. That's something you can't buy as easily as a very competent, creative crew. So understand that and next time you're going to try to make a short film, a feature film to try to get attention or to even get your name out there into the world guys. I hope you got something out of that guys and hope you learn from my mistakes and it was an expensive mistake, but I'm proud of that mistake and I wear it with pride. So thanks again guys for listening. Don't forget to head over to free film book calm that's free film book calm to download your free filmmaking audio book from audible. The Show Notes for this episode our indie film Ford slash 143 and I have links to everything I talked about in this episode there as well as trailers for princess if you guys want to watch princess and are not part of the syndicate. You can always go to Amazon it's on Amazon Prime if you want to watch it there I'll leave a link there in the in the show notes as well. Or you can rent or buy there as well. And both shorts are on Amazon as well the animated one the red princess blues Genesis, as well as the the live action red princess blues. And don't forget guys, this is Meg is going to be at cinequest March 3 is our world premiere on Saturday. 320 put links in the description if you guys are in the area, please come by the whole the whole town the whole gang is going to be there. A lot of cast and crew are going to be there at the two premieres the two two showings that weekend. So please come by we really appreciate if you do. Thanks for listening guys. And as always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.




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IFH 092: Why Having No Budget Makes You a Better Filmmaker

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What is this guy talking about? No budget = better filmmaker? He must be nuts. Well, I’ll have to disagree with you. As I am going through my adventure on the making of my second feature film On the Corner of Ego and DesireI have discovered that’s the truth.  Having little or no resources to get your film made can really make you a better filmmaker. 

When you have little or no money and limited resources you discover new and creative ways to solve problems. Those creative ways end up on the screen and that’s where innovation comes from. Doing something people say is nuts.

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Credit: QuoteAddicts

“No one can stop you from doing exactly what you want to do. If you can accept that the cavalry won’t come, and if you can be the cavalry, it gives you a chance to be happy.” – Mark Duplass

When I announced I was going to direct This is Meg with a micro-budget I can’t tell you how many people said I was nuts. BTW, I love it when people do that, it lights my fire. I still think most of the cast and crew still don’t know how we’re going to pull this off.

In this podcast I go over the techniques I used to not only getting the ball rolling but also getting the film shot and edited. Enjoy!

Alex Ferrari 2:09
So guys today I know the title of the show is crazy is you know you become a better filmmaker when you have no money well you know what I'm gonna have to say yeah you do you become a better filmmaker when you have fewer resources. Robert Rodriguez said that back in the day he said that when you start doing studio movies or have bigger budgets, you just anytime there's a problem just throw a hose on it and call the money hose and that takes care of the problems when you can you lose your your ability to be creative and on the spot to kind of solve those problems but I wanted to bring this up because a lot of people have a lot of preconceived notions about filmmaking and what it what you absolutely need to make a movie and what you absolutely need to tell a story and I really kind of took this as Meg on as a experiment as well as my first feature film I wanted to see what was the least I needed to make a movie like literally what is what is the stripped down version of what it takes to make a movie so that's what I did with this is Meg so when Julie and I were coming up with the whole concept for this is bagging and getting it going and writing the script you know Julie was riding around locations that we had and I told her like you shoot here we could shoot there anything that we had control over and it worked out wonderfully you know just on a side note guys i'll give you guys an update on what's going on with this as mag. Right now I am in Edit I will hopefully have a locked a rough cut by the end of this week a full rough cut and a lock cut by the end of next week. And I move very quick I've moved I've been editing like a beast that's why I've been a little bit loose last week I only released one podcast which is the filmmaking hacks a film festival hacks podcast episode so I just been I've been busy in the lab guy so please forgive me for not coming out but i'm back with full force now with two episodes this week and moving on forward with two episodes a week as usual. But I you know I I'm learning so much and I've learned so much you know you think that just because in a lot of a lot of the tribes like well you know Alex has been in business for 27 years. You know like Yeah, but even at 20 some years you learn something new every day and this is a brand new experience for me to shoot the way I've shot you know I've shot on very big budget commercials and music videos where I had huge techno cranes and helicopters and and you know you're 50 people on the crew and so on. And this is the I really did not have that. This is mag at all. I stripped it down and I know A lot of people were asking me, what are you shooting on? What are you shooting in, what's the gear you're using, and I decided to use the Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5k not even the 4k version. Now the reason I decided to use the 2.5k as opposed to 4k and resolution was because I'm the DI t on this entire movie as well. And I didn't have the hard drive space and just all all bunch of different things I would have would have caused make it a little bit more headache, I would have to purchase more more cards for you know on set because it would have dropped everything in half as far as and so instead of 4045 minutes per card when we get 27 minutes per card, and so on. And it just didn't make sense for this kind of movie for this situation. The next movie I do, I'll probably shoot 4k probably won't shoot higher than 4k. Depending on what camera I use either the Blackmagic 4k Cinema Camera or the Ursa mini or something along those lines, but without getting too geeky. But the reason I'm bringing this up is because a lot of people get so caught up with all but I don't have this gear, I don't have that gear like I just grabbed the camera I had I own that camera. And then I was I was lucky enough to get a borrow a second camera. So we had a two camera shoot from my my main man and gaffer slash second camera, Austin, who was in who's my right hand man on this entire shoot, which I'm very grateful for. And I'll talk a little bit about the crew in a minute. How we were able to do this, but very, very important thing. I had a friend of mine who was on set not on set, but I think they'd heard about it. And they were going Hey man, what are they shooting their movie on? And this was a dp. And this is another dp who I barely knew. And they said, Oh, what are they shooting, like all the shooting on the Blackmagic and they're like, Oh, what a piece of crap camera that is. And then I just thought there for a second and thought about it. Because I've been a colorist for 10 years. I've done tests on my camera, and I know the image quality I can get out of this camera. But they're but they're biased. And their attitude was remarkable to me. So while they're still talking about like which is the highest resolution which is the best image quality, which is the best camera and blah blah blah blah blah. I've already edited my movie and I'm moving on to my second movie you know I hope that makes sense to you guys. Not to get caught up in that crap. And just because someone else like Oh, that's a horrible camera like well screw you then dude. You know, screw you. I know why you're still talking about that I got a feature made you know because I didn't let that stop me. And that's the thing I've been saying for weeks now. If not months is stopped throwing obstacles in front of yourself. You got to get a good camera you got to get a good image quality is the movie that is the camera that I chose the best image quality in the world. No. Is it 85% of the best image quality I can get for the best bang for the buck? Absolutely. It's going to look fantastic it's going to look better than a DSLR camera and so on and I just wanted to impress upon you guys what what people get caught up in this kind of BS is bullshit. About what people Oh, I need this. I need that you got to strip down what you'd What do you need let's let's strip down what you exactly need to make a movie. You need a camera. You need lenses. You need some lights, you need controllable environments. You need a good audio, you need actors. And the most important thing is you need a story. You know what else what else is there now mind you there's I know there's a ton of other things, y'all you need costumes you need, you need this, you need that you need art direction, you this look, the way we worked with this is whenever we got to a location I looked around, I said okay, that's because everything was lived in. So when you see my edit suite in the movie, I just tweaked a couple things I took, I took a Yoda and a Morpheus out of the way because I didn't want to deal with any, any copyright or you know, trademark issues. And everything else was left, I left the pens the way they were I left the post, it's scattered, because that's my desk. And it's natural, and it's supposed to look that way. And in this kind of movie, I can't stress it enough. And this kind of more realistic indie film, it makes sense. If I was doing a superhero movie, that's $200 million. It's a completely different mindset, guys. But for this kind of movie, you just do what you do. And you just use what you've got. And that's that's my point. You know, with this kind of movie. You have to think about story. And the most important thing is story and performance. And that's what this this process worked for did for me because I was able to focus on performance and story and the story that I'm trying to tell and the performances that I'm trying to get out of my actors and all the technical stuff. I just got the basics down. What are the basics do I know Need any good audio, I need a good image. And I need controllable environments. Well, I've got all that. And then everything else kind of worked its way out, work this way through. And I'm saying this because I don't want you guys to get stuck on not being able to move forward because I don't have this or I don't have that. Now the title of this podcast is, you know, you become a better filmmaker, when you have no budget, where you do because you're focusing on what really matters. You're focusing on the story, you're focusing on the actors where you are, you should be. Now again, it depends on the kind of story you're trying to tell. If you're trying to tell a horror story, or you know, you're making a horror movie, and you have blood and guts, and, you know, monsters and all this kind of stuff. Well, those are things you need to have. In order to tell your story properly. We were trying to tell a dramedy, so we needed a story, we needed actors, we need to call it a controllable environment, and all the other stuff that I was telling you, and that's it, tell the story we're trying to tell. So whatever that story might be, if you're trying to tell an action movie, there's going to be other AV other things that you're going to have to go through to get that told, because believe me, I've done action movies, and I know you need prop guns you need. If you're going to do stunts, you got to figure out how you're going to do stunts safely. If not hire a stunt person to be a stunt coordinator and stunt people to do it properly. Depending on the kind of VFX you might need. And then all everything starts getting more and more complicated. And for my first feature, I didn't want to get that complicated. I wanted to get it right down to the core, the stripped down naked, filmmaker, Nate just being completely make it just story, a good camera, some good audio, some good actors, some nice environments, and let's make a movie. It's exactly what we did. We shot the movie in around eight days, believe it or not, and I've been editing, I've edited this movie probably about two weeks, because we shot what we needed. And because I'm an editor, I shot what I needed to get done. Now don't think this was all a walk in the park. There were problems along the way, as there always is. in production, you figure things out, as you go along. You're like, oh, that didn't work out. Well, what could I have done better here? Oh, that's there are technical issues that we had to work around. And, you know, and things that we figured out along the way. And honestly, the other big thing i can i can suggest to you guys is in the in the tradition of Chris Nolan. Don't shoot your first movie, all in a row. Sometimes, this is the first time in my entire career. I have not shot in a row. We shot this over six weeks. But you know, two days here one day there, you know, all that kind of stuff based around the actor schedule that we had. And it was so wonderful to shoot that way. Because I could just shoot, look at bring it back, look at the footage, check things, see how things were going, Oh, I want to tweak this boom. And then you have time to think about other avenues of the story. And we made some big story changes. as we were going through this, Jillian, I like, oh, why don't we have this character, do this at the end, because now that makes just so much more sense. But if we would have been shooting in a row and scheduled all of it out, it wouldn't have been able to be done. But because we had that kind of freedom, that kind of free flowing freedom to do things in made the movie better. Again, it's this kind of story, this kind of budget, this kind of this kind of film that I'm talking about. Again, this doesn't work on bigger movies, more complex stories, more complex productions with action and horror and other things like that, you know, or, you know, big locales, or you've got helicopter drone shots, and you know, all these kind of different things. This kind of movie, it works perfectly. It's a comedy drama, and it's a drama, it's a drama it and they work perfectly for the kind of movie where we were attempting to make so you know, another another big story. You know, a lot of a lot of things. I've had a few of the tribe members contact me and asked me about because they heard I was they saw behind the scenes footage of the Blackmagic camera was using the like, Hey, what do you How are you dealing with a crop factor. And for those who don't understand what the crop factor is, when you have a 35 millimeter lens, and you put it on a camera that's not a full frame, super 35 frame, meaning that the chip is not the full size that it should be. You get a crop factor so means that if you have a 14 and a 14 millimeter lens, it really turns into more like a 24 to 30 millimeter lens, so you lose a lot of what the lens has to offer. So the Blackmagic Cinema Camera at the 2.5k has a crop factor and there is and it happens with many cameras DSLRs and so on until you start getting into the higher end cameras which are all super 35 or higher. And I just I just told them like Look, I don't know what it's supposed to Look like, I just grabbed the camera, put the lens on and what I get on that lens I get, and let's move on, and not bitch about what I don't have and just enjoy what I do Av. And that's something that I think is a great motto for filmmaking stop complaining about things you don't have, oh, I don't have this, I don't have enough money, I don't have the right stars, I don't have to just do with what you have. Don't complain about what you don't have. And you'll get far there's so much farther, so much faster. Look, guys, if you made if you and I know a lot of filmmakers out there, but let's say I repeat this process five times in the next two years, which is my goal, we'll see what happens. But I'm going to try to repeat this process a handful of times each time getting a little bit more ambitious, a little bit bigger. So while I'm I'm not waiting around for people, I'm not waiting around for the right camera, by the way. And by the way, just so everybody knows, I had access to full read packages, full area Alexa packages offered to me for free, that I could have this entire shoot. But I decided not I didn't want to deal with it. Because when you bring those guys on these, those kind of cameras are pigs, they're big, they're bulky, I wouldn't have been able to do the jority of the stuff that I did, because of their size, weight and infrastructure that is needed to make them work properly. Don't get me wrong, they're much better cameras and the camera I had. But they didn't fit the storytelling process that I had and the crew that I had, by the way, I'll tell you about the crew. I had one camera guy slash gaffer who had some lights, I had some lights. When I say lights, not a lot of lights, we're talking about LED lights, you know, 1k tops on anything. I have some five hundreds and a little a couple of little, you know, $25 LED newer lights that kind of mean a bat bounce things off. And so I had Austin, who was just amazing on this project. Who's my second camera and gaff. When I say gaff he plugged stuff in. Not to take away from that. But he moved lights, and he plugged stuff in, which are awesome. But he also ran camera for me, and is an IXP very experienced cinematographer. We had one guy running audio our boom guy, which was we had three guys on the entire show on and off. But all they did was hold the boom and run the task cam, which was my equipment. So they basically just came held the boom, hit record, and and rode the levels a little bit on that little Tascam no mixer. Okay. And what else who else do we have? We had Julie who was our actress, slash producer slash craft service slash slate, I'm going to do an entire montage of her running, doing our slates because it's hilarious. It was on an iPad. And I will talk all about that process later. We had let me see who else do we have. On occasion, we might have had one extra hand you know, just kind of like running around moving things, I think on one day or two of those eight days. And that's it, guys. That's it. That was my entire crew making. This is Meg, the actors did their own makeup, they came to set with us, like three or four different sets of their own clothes to, for me to choose from to see what's going to work for the movie. And that was it guys, everyone really just gathered together and we made a movie. And it was wonderful. We could move quickly. It was you know, it was just it was just great. We had a wonderful time. Everybody was fed, well fed the entire time. We didn't have spinning wheels of death. By the way, an industry term of spinning wheels of death means pizza. Don't ever bring pizza out for for onset, maybe once on a shoot. Maybe if you get into trouble, but don't do it. It slows people down. It gets them all heavy and lethargic and don't and they don't get they don't work as well. And it's just cheap. It's just like God, everyone had good meals, very affordable for the production and very tasty for for the crew. Everybody was there. Love being there, was happy to be there. worked there eight to 10 hour days, very relaxed. I don't think we work past think one day we work 12 hours because it was the longest day of the shoot because we had a day and a night shoot. And that was it guys, you don't need a lot of money to make a movie. Now mind you don't forget I have 20 years of experience. I have a pool a full post facility meaning that I have my Mac and color grading system and things like that that I've built up over the years but that's something that I've built up over the years. And if you were going to start to and also I also learned how to do it over the last 10 years so I'm holding a lot of hats in this move. I'm actually going to have to change my name, you'll have to look for some of my aliases in the credits, because it's going to be ridiculous how many times my name and Julie's name will show up in the screen in the credits in the in the credits. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. So, but, but that's what I've been able to do with my resources, these are my resources. These are my connections, my people that I've been able to build up relationships with, over the years. So you need to do the same for your movie for what you're trying to do. You know, you have to pull the relationships that you have, and use the resources that you have, if someone would have told me that they're going to make a movie with in a Mexican town action movie, where there's going to be explosion, a car chase with a with a school bus, and all sorts of craziness, blood squirts, but I mean, blood hits, all done with no visual effects. I would go You're nuts. You're absolutely nuts. You'll never be able to do this. Where are you going to get all this stuff. But that is exactly what mariachi was. That's what Robert Rodriguez said, Why because that's what Robert Rodriguez had access to. That was his list of stuff that he could use. And I know out there you I know you guys out there have resources that you might not even think you have. But you just have to check and see who you who will help you. And one thing I did learn on this process, guys, when you say you're going to go make a movie, you'll be amazed at how many people come out to want to be a part of it, and want to help. You've no idea. It was really interesting, I actually turned people away, that wanted to help on the movie. Because I it was it was remarkable. I could not believe how many people want to jump on, you have the same capability of doing what Robert did, what I did what Kevin Smith did with clerks, he had this video store, and he had a convenience store. And he's like, I'm gonna go make a movie. And that's what he did. He came in, that's what he had access to. And he made a movie called clerks. And that's, that's that was his list of stuff. So you've got to come up with a list that you have to go make your movie, also have a quick tip for all the film students out there who are actually going to a film school, who are going to a local community college, or a big big university or any of the big film schools out there. If I were you, this is what I would do, I would be borrowing all the equipment I could get for free from the school every weekend. And I would make a feature film over the course of a year. And you write it out and don't tell anybody you're making a feature. Just tell people, you're making scenes for something, because the second you tell them it's a feature school is going to hear about it. And they're gonna say, No, no, no, we can't let you do that. But you're like, No, no, every weekend, I'm just going out there and testing scenes, and so on and so forth. And then you just let your inner circle of the actors and things like that, know that you're making a feature a feature film, but that's what you should do. And you'd be foolish, if you don't, because I'll probably be the most you'll get out of that film school experience. And you should, because you're paying for it have access to all of their equipment. Okay, so go out and write a script, around locations and things that you have, and then rent out and get out there take out or borrow all the equipment you can from the school you're going to, and don't get caught up in the crap of I don't have this or I don't have that. That's what's gonna, that's when that if you keep doing that, guys, you're gonna wake up tomorrow and you're going to be 60 fucking five, and you're not going to be you would have said, Man, I wish I would have done this. Or wish I would have done that. You can't let that time go by guys. It took me 20 years plus years, to be right where I am right now talking to you guys with a feature film that to be honest with you, I'm very proud of. It's extremely funny and extremely touching in my opinion. But I'm proud of it and and it's in my hard drives as we speak right now. And it's taking me 20 odd years to get here. And I don't want that for you guys. I want you guys to be able to do it quicker than I did. That's why I do indie film hustle to help you guys get there. So you will become a better filmmaker when you have no budget. And I think I really really think at the beginning of your careers or at the first time you're going to try to make a feature film. You should do like Mark duplass says make $1,000 feature film, make a $2,000 feature film and and then grow from there. And then the next movie you make you make another two $1,000 movie, another $5,000 feature, and then you go from there, because you're going to learn so much from each time you make it. By the time you get to your third, fourth, fifth or sixth feature, you're going to be a pro. And then that's when the money comes in. Because I guarantee you when you start producing movies that actually make money and we can talk about how we're going to make money later. But let's just get it in the cab first guys, let's get a movie made, then we're going to worry about how we're going to market it and sell it because you guys are going to go on the same adventure I am on how to sell this movie, when it's all said and done. But this is about making the movie not marketing the movie. So I'm gonna leave a link in the description. By the way, the show notes are at indie film Ford slash zero 92. Now, I'm going to leave that in the show notes I'm going to leave a link to Mark duplass is the Writer Director, Mark duplass is South by Southwest keynote speech about how he made his movie, his first feature for $1,000. And his entire philosophy. It's like the Bible of how to make really small indie films to start. And he is huge now making millions of dollars a year, doing whatever the hell he wants to do. Whatever the hell he wants to do it, and making a wonderful living and just playing with his friends and having a good time. But it all started with one little movie called puffy chair, and I'm gonna leave links to to the trailer for puffy chair and all that stuff. But I want you guys to listen to it. It's about an hour long. You've got to listen to this keynote. It will change your life. You have to listen to it. indie film, hustle, calm, forward slash zero 92 So I hope this episode helped you guys out a bit I will continue to give you updates on indie on on this as Meg. Of course, if you want to just follow us head over to this is mag comm [email protected] forward slash This is Meg film, if you want to like our page and keep updated on what we're doing on this is Meg. And if you do, if you do sign up for our Facebook page, you're gonna start seeing some of my advertising techniques that I'm going to be using to get the word out on this is Meg. So just for morbid curiosity, if you guys want to see how I'm going to market this, this little puppy might be a good idea to check that out. Now I also want to talk about indie film syndicate and the membership site that is growing very fast. And to all my indie film syndicate. Members, thank you so much for signing on. And I know a lot of people have been getting great amount of value from all the courses and things we're doing and been very patient with my micro budget masterclass, which is all about this as Meg because I've been busy doing the editing on this is Meg. So we are going to be coming up with a bunch of tutorials because like I said, what I just talked about in this episode was a scratch on the surface of what I learned over the course of the last couple months. And I really want to really break it down for you guys and explain to you what and how I did every step of the way. The problems we face the things I did wrong, the things that did right. And all the things that went went along with this crazy ride up up until the point where I'm at right now which is post. So Oh by the way, I'm also editing this whole movie on DaVinci Resolve. And I know a lot of you guys out there, use DaVinci Resolve because it's a free editing system that you can download from Blackmagic Design comm if you guys don't have this program, download it guys, you can color there, but also you can edit and the new editing system there is pretty remarkable. I've edited this entire feature film on it. And it's been wonderful. It's been really, really wonderful so far, I'm gonna go into deep detail about how I edited what my workflow was, and so on in the in the syndicate. So that's an indie film syndicate comm and check that out, guys. So before I go, guys, I'm just going to give you this parting word of advice. Don't let anything stop you from making your feature film. Make a list of what you have around you. Right around that. I will go into detail in the syndicate on how we were able to write the entire movie in less than three weeks with with his very structured story, but how to high improv improv element to it, but extremely structured and a lot of scenes were written out in full and being able to put it all together. But you got to write that list out guys. What do you have the house you live in the car you own? Your friend's house? Does one of your friends work somewhere where you can shoot at night? Anything you can do just look around you and what you have access to what friends of yours has a camera where Why don't you buy your you know what do you need to buy your own camera by yourself a Blackmagic Pocket camera. And by the way Blackmagic pays me no money. I they're not a sponsor at all. I just really liked their products. I like any company that gives the power to the people. That's why I was a big, big supporter of Final Cut Pro when it first came out, not so much now. But when it first came out, it completely revolutionized the business because before then avid, cost 1000 1000s of dollars. And you could do the same thing on a Final Cut, bro. So what do you have access to just make that list up guys and it's I'm telling you right around that list, you'll get your first movie done by the end of the year. And I want you guys to reach out to me and tell me, Alex, I'm just starting my movie, I'm going to start crowdfunding it. I'm going to make my movie, make it for 1000 bucks, make a 2000 I make a $5,000 movie, and go and let me know how it goes Guys, please email me, message me. And let me know what the process is for you guys how it's going along. And I'll give you any tips and help I can give you along the way. Without question because I'm here for you guys. I really want you guys to succeed. And it's my goal in life to help as many indie filmmakers and artists out there, make their art. Because like I've said before, it's your responsibility to get your art out into the world because you have no idea how we'll change somebody else's life. So keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.


IFH 054: How NOT to Get Ripped Off in Post Production

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Over the years I’ve seen many of my fellow indie filmmakers get completely ripped off when they entered the post-production process. So many promises are given and the rates they charge are criminal. I wanted to put together a podcast to pull the curtain back on the “true” pricing of post-production services.

Now, this is based on my experience working in Los Angeles so the prices might differ depending on where you are in the country or the world.

I hope this episode provides a great amount of value and that it saves you your hard-earned cash while making your next indie film. Enjoy!

Alex Ferrari 0:00
So guys, today's episode is really dear to my heart because it has to do with post production where I've been making my bones for the last 20 odd years editing, feature films and all the other stuff that I do. And one thing I've noticed over the years is how much filmmakers get absolutely ripped off in post production, because they don't have basic knowledge of what things cost, and what to look for when hiring post production personnel. So first and foremost, I want to talk about the big post houses now. Before I start guys, and I know I'm going to get a lot of heat over these numbers, I'm going to get a lot of questions or comments about like, Oh, I can get this thing cheaper here, I can get this thing there. But that's great. And I wish you the best this is these are the numbers and the prices from my experience here in Los Angeles. Currently in 2016. This is what the prices are going for right now. And they're a good barometer doesn't mean that they're the end all and the end all be all that that this is Bible, this is gospel, this is what everything has to cost. No, it is my experience. And what I've seen in my time in the post production trenches. So with that said, let's start talking about big post houses. Now, I've worked for some big post houses in my day, mostly as a freelancer, thank God. But big post houses have a lot of overhead. And I'm going to tell you a little story about what how post houses came to be. Back in the day, when post houses were the only places you can go get post production done for feature films, or commercials or music videos or anything. They charged up the wazoo because they could and they had to because all the equipment, you know, before a color grading suite in. I remember these color grading suites, these were million dollar color grading suites, I mean literally million million and a half dollars worth of equipment in those rooms. So you had to charge $750 an hour just to start recouping their money eventually. But as technology got cheaper, these post production suite started showing up in people's houses like color suites and editing. Now everybody could edit on a laptop, to edit a feature film, you don't have to go to an avid somewhere in a facility that used to cost $200,000 just to edit your movie, you can do that now in the comfort of your own home, things started changing. Now a lot of the mindsets in post production houses didn't change. So they would still try to charge you to like plug in a hard drive. You know, like I remember I took a client to a post house. And I had to plug in a hard drive and I'm like, Oh, that's gonna be 50 bucks. I'm like, What? to plug it in and download something. Are you kidding me. But this is the mindset of post houses a lot of times, especially at the higher end post houses. So I'm I'm talking about independent film, independent filmmakers. I've also worked a lot in commercials, and that's a whole other world. But independent filmmakers. You know, post houses don't make a whole lot of sense. Big post houses don't make a whole lot of sense. And I'll talk about boutiques in a second. But I'm talking about these big monster post houses that everybody knows about in your specific town. So these guys are in a lot of ways rip offs. Now with that said there are deals to be made up the supposed houses, sometimes the post houses are hungry, and they're willing to drop their prices down. Believe it or not, I've had to compete against multimillion dollar post houses on bids for four movies that I'm shocked that they are competing with me one guy in a post sweet comparatively to their big facilities because you know, times were tough and they needed to go they're trying to go after that, that same client so there are deals to be made but to be very wary of them because they will charge you all a cart for so many different things that you won't even see coming. So if you are going to work with them, you have to have an upfront package deal and make sure everything's clear and there's no surprises if you're going to go down that road. But boutiques boutique post houses which are Smaller companies that have a handful of suites, these guys are good to work with, they generally will give you good deals, but packages, you're generally working with the owner of the company, or someone really close to the owner. So it's not like this big monster corporation that you're dealing with, again, package out deals for everything upfront. And don't try to get go by the hour or go by and you're gonna go nuts, and they're gonna rape you. So you know, I always like to package things out. I don't like generally going by ours, purely because it just doesn't make a lot of sense for independent filmmakers, when I bid out stuff, but that's just me. So. So where do you go if you don't go to these big post houses, or if you don't want to go to a boutique? Well, you go to independent contractors, a lot of independent contractors. Now again, I'm calling I'm talking about my perspective, here in Los Angeles, here, there's a million independent contractors, a million small little companies, a million guys in the back of their house, with full blown facilities that would rival anything in a big post house. That's here in Los Angeles, I'm sure there's like that in New York, and some other big cities as well. But here in Los Angeles, they're literally everywhere. But if you can't find someone in your town, then you might have to go to a boutique or to a big post house or ship it off here to LA or New York, or Atlanta, as well, we have a lot of facilities there as well. There's a bunch of places around the country that have a lot of depth with in post production, but New York la are still the two big guys, as far as a lot of big post production, even when companies and movies are made elsewhere in the country. post production generally always comes back to Los Angeles, as far as post production, that visual effects but just straight up post production. So with that said, Guys, independent contractor, so how much does it cost to get an editor to edit your movie, a real editor with real credits. My experience here in Los Angeles, it's around 12 $100, to anywhere from 1200 to 2500 a week, and they'll package out probably a six to eight week run of doing an assemble, cut, a polished cut, a Final Cut, and so on. So it's about a six to eight week process. Sometimes more, sometimes less, it all depends on the deal that you can cut with that editor. Generally, that editor will have his own editing system, whether that be an avid, or a premiere system. Now, even on all Final Cut system is still very feasible nowadays for editorial, especially for independent films, it's still used a lot Final Cut seven. But that's the price that generally, you're going to look for, for an editor. And when you do hire an editor, please look at their credits, make sure they've actually edited feature films, make sure they've actually delivered feature films, and not just hire someone who says hey, I've got an editing system, I can edit your movie. Now you can also edit your movie yourself, there's nothing wrong with that. I wouldn't, I would, unless you're an editor, a professional editor or has a lot of editing experience, I would let a professional editor edit your stuff, it's going to be a better scenario at the end of it. Next color grading, which is where I live a lot of in my color grading suite, color grading ranges anywhere on an hourly range from $200 an hour to $450 an hour. And it can range up all the way up to seven $800 an hour, even up to 1000 depending on the size of the post house and the suite. Now a lot of times filmmakers will get wooed by a big post house because they have a big screening room and they feel like they're you know big stuff sitting down in the in the theater. And they're color grading like all this is the way most James Cameron or Michael Bay must color grade. So this must be cool. You know, that's all wonderful man. And it's great. And if you can get a good deal on those kind of sweets, God bless Go for it. Generally those sweets are you're paying a lot for a good color is no question. But you're paying for extra stuff that you don't need. You don't need to sit in front of a theater in a theater, you can sit very comfortably in a suite with a nice 55 inch or 60 inch calibrated monitor and do wonderful work. And if you want to see a screening of it later on a big screen, you can, but that's going to be that's where I've colored. I mean the arch a bunch of theatrical films that I've done, as well as straight to DVD and VOD movies as well. So there's no real reason to be in those big suites unless you really want to, and you can afford it. But I would I would stay away from it especially in an indie film budget, no need for it other than ego and just being all look how cool I am. So just be aware of that guys. Now sound. Sound is a very mysterious thing to me. We're going to hopefully have a great sound mixer coming on the show in the next next month or two. I want to be recording the interview soon. But general pricing for a feature film independent feature film project and again And this is going to be very, it's going to vary wildly depending on the movie, it is if it's a huge action movie, if the sound has been done horribly on production, there's a lot of variables. So please use this range of money as a real rough reference. But anywhere between $15,000 to $50,000. To do a full mix, ADR Foley real Foley with like a real Foley stage, not just sound effects, sound editing, Final Mix five, one, the whole ball of wax with deliverables, anywhere between 15 to $50,000, is probably a decent range in the independent film world, it could obviously go higher than that. And that's one thing that you actually really do need to go to house, a post house for post production, post production sound is something that's extremely difficult to do in the back of someone house not you can Don't get me wrong, and I know a bunch of guys who do. But in order to get real ADR booth unless that guy's built out a real ADR booth, if they have a real Foley stage, which truly a I've yet to see a Foley stage in someone's back house at that point now that they're turning it into a big post facility. So you know, you need you need a post facility to do that kind of stuff, especially for high end sound, at least for Foley and other things like that. So I suggest going with a post production, audio house, not a big post house that happens to have audio in it, an actual company that specifically does audio, and they will work with you on price. Generally, like I said, I've seen budgets much lower than 15,000 for a full feature. But they were again, they're very variables. If it's an easier movie, if it's a drama that doesn't have a lot of action, the sound was recorded properly, there's a lot of variables that you have to take in consideration. But generally anywhere between 15,050 1000 is a good range. If you have your if you've shot Well, you've got good audio, things are, are are been organized Well, in post production, you have a post production supervisor who's organizing it 15,000 to 20,000 is a pretty fair price, you might get it a little cheaper. But generally you do get what you pay for when you're working with audio as well. So make sure the house has experienced doing this. And I'm going to just say this as a blank statement, guys. And I've heard this too many times. I've heard from other filmmakers from around the country that Lauren let I'm not gonna say the cities, but let's say other cities besides Los Angeles or New York, and they went to their local big post house to do their features. And these guys rape them, raped them, because they're charging them commercial rates. So I would I will come back like yeah, you know, these guys charged 270 $5,000. And I'm like, Oh my god, are you kidding me $75,000 to do all their audio and to do all their, on their color and their editing. And they have no idea what they're doing, because I've never done a feature film before. So if you are going to go with this big post houses, and they're not accredited or have a lot of credits, or have a lot of experience in feature film, independent feature film specifically, stay away, be very, very careful. Because these guys might have good intentions, maybe they just want a credit. They're like, Oh, I want a feature credit under my belt. But you might end up paying more for it later. So be very, very cautious when working with a post production company that does not have credits in independent filmmaking, or independent films, because you will pay for it later. I've seen it happen many, many, many times. Okay, guys. So now let's go on to talk about a little bit about deliverables. Now, their deliverables list could go on deliverables, by the way are things distributors, ask for masters of your movie, when you're all said and done. I'm going to kind of go over this really quickly. This list I can be on I could talk for about an hour to just about this stuff. But I'm just going to go the big boys the big things that you should look out for Okay, so a DCP, a digital cinema package, which is basically your digital film print that ranges anywhere from $800 to $5,000. I remember when they were first came out, you couldn't even find one for less than 5000. Now I've seen them for 700 $800 no problem. Now mind you, when you're paying seven or $800 you might not be able to see it in a screening room. Because the price is so low. When you start going up higher in price at the three $4,000 $5,000 range, you'll be able to view that specific DCP in a screening room to see if it works. If not, you're going to basically just get a bunch of files and then take it to the theater wherever it's going to play and test it there. I think that's fine. You don't need to see it in their in their in that TCP if there is a problem with the DCP they have to replay it has to replace it. They have to do it again. Make sure you negotiate that when doing it. Next, the currently still people are Still mastering to HD s Rs, which are your tape backups. This is still only at 1080 p To my knowledge, I think they might have just released a 2k version. But I'd have to actually go and check on that but so far I haven't seen any deliverables asking for 2k tape masters just yet, but makes dsrs a big post house was going to charge a big dub house is going to charge you 1800 50 bucks if you needed up to $2,000 for an H DSR hdslr will carry your movie your full all your visual as well as 10 tracks of audio. So you can have your five one, your as your, your stereo, your mini tracks, and so on all included in this one master tape. It's very valuable. Smaller houses were more reasonable price to get is around 11 $100. I've seen them cheaper. Just be careful who's doing them. Just because they have a deck doesn't mean they know what they're doing. So just make sure they knew what they're doing. But 11 $100 is about 11 $150 is a fair price for HTS ours. It doesn't matter if they're copies or masters going to tape. And if anyone tries to charge you output to the tape from the the final cut or premiere wherever they're having, and they're charging you extra for the first output. runaway these guys are thieves. No one charges for that. If they do they're thieves don't just find a place that won't charge you for the initial output for God's sakes. That's ridiculous. That's old post house mentality, not current day realities. And finally guys, Digi betas. I know they're archaic, but they are still asked for by a lot of distributors because of overseas a lot of overseas countries are still on Digi betas on standard def they haven't even upgraded to HD yet. So they asked for Digi beta masters. Did you get a Masters on NTSC is about anywhere between 450 like 250 bucks to 450 bucks for a feature film for a 90 minute or 120 minute movie, I would you know a good price anywhere. I mean honestly 450 bucks, 250 bucks, it's around that area. Honestly, it's you we're talking about 100 bucks here might mean a lot to you. But I would say 450 is not a horrible price 352 50 if you can get them, that's the prices you need to look for. And then expect to spend at least another 50 to $100 for pal versions of that, whatever those might be. Some people don't charge more for pal, some people do, you just have to kind of check that out. So I hope this episode was helpful to you guys. It's a way I really don't want my filmmakers and my tribe members to get ripped off in post production. And this is just a real quick glance, real quick overview over that there's so many different things inside of post production that could you know, cause I'd even begin to talk about visual effects, which is a whole other conversation. But there's a lot of different things in post production where you have to get you will you can and will get ripped off. So just be very careful. Do your research, talk to a post production supervisor, like I always say, even consult with them. You know, again, I'm a post production supervisor, I consult all the time, even if you can't afford me as a full blown post production supervisor throughout the entire process. Even a consultation for a couple hours would save you 1000s of dollars going down the road because at least we can guide you in the process of what you really need, what you really don't need, how much to spend, how much not to spend, and so on. So if you guys want to hire me out as a post production consultant, please just head over to indie film forward slash consulting and I am currently working on a post production workflow course that's going to cover a lot of the stuff I talked about in much more detail. And really hopefully have a resource for you guys to help you make your movies and not get ripped off in the process in post production. I wish you guys nothing but the best of luck. Don't forget to head over to filmmaking podcast calm and leave us an honest review. It really, really helps out the show a lot. So thank you so much for listening guys. As always, if you want show notes for this, it's going to be at keep that also going keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.


IFH 041: How to Craft a Freelance Career with Paddy Bird

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The Indie Film Hustle Podcast has been around for five short months. I have not had the same guest twice, until now. Paddy Bird from Inside the Edit. The last time he was on Paddy Bird dropped some major post-production knowledge on the IFH Tribe. I had to have him back.

Just as a refresher, Paddy Bird is one of television’s most prolific and accomplished editors. For the past fifteen years, he has edited dozens of prime-time documentaries, entertainment and reality TV shows for British and American television. He has even worked in war zones, spending time editing news stories on location in Iraq.

He also created Inside the Edit, the world’s best course on creative editing…period. You can get more info on Inside the Edit and listen to our last podcast here: IFH 013: Inside the Edit.

This time around we discuss how to build a career as an editor and a freelancer. Paddy goes into a ton of detail and as always delivers the goods. You may need to listen to this episode more than once. Enjoy my conversation with Paddy Bird!

Alex Ferrari 0:02
So guys, today, I'm bringing back my first repeat guest, Paddy Bird, Paddy Bird from inside the Edit, we had such a great time talking. Last time we did, which is episode number 13, that I had to bring him back. He was he's one of the fan favorites. And everybody that listened to that episode really, really loved Patty and me just kind of sitting down and hashing out to editors just hashing out old school kind of stuff. So it's a really, really cool episode of the checkout. But today's episode, we're going to be talking about what it takes really to become a freelance editor and what he did what I did, and what it really is to do to learn the craft of not just editing, we'll learn the craft of working as an editor, which is a completely different craft than just editing and how you handle clients, how you go out and get work, how you set up demo reels, how you do all that kind of cool stuff. So this episode is editor centric, obviously. But a lot of the things that we talk about can easily translate to other avenues. And other disciplines within the film industry, as far as freelancing is concerned is about getting work is about sustaining yourself as an artist and working. So don't just shut off the podcast because it's like, oh, it's just going to talk about editing for the rest of the hour. No, we're going to talk about editing but think and look beyond that. Because there's a lot of gems inside of this conversation that I wish I would have heard of when I was starting out as a freelancer. So without further ado, here is my interview with the incomparable Patti Byrd. So guys, welcome back to the show, Mr. Paddy Bird from inside the Edit. He is our first and only returning guests so far on the show. So that's how good he was the first time around that I wanted to bring him back and also his his episode is one of the best received and most downloaded episodes that we've ever had on the show. So I wanted to bring Paddy back and talk a little bit now just a warning to everybody who's listening. We are going to geek out hard a little bit hard on Star Wars at the beginning of this episode because when we're recording this the movie had just come out. So Paddy man thanks Welcome back to the show, bro.

Paddy Bird 3:21
Alex, thank you very much for having me again. It's a pleasure the first time and I'm sure it'll be a pleasure this time around. Thank you.

Alex Ferrari 3:28
So um Star Wars, thoughts. editing, how is the editing? How is the editing?

Paddy Bird 3:36
I thought his phenomenon and it was just I have to go and see it again for the ending

Alex Ferrari 3:41
And no, no spoilers, no spoilers,

Paddy Bird 3:43
No spoilers at all. But all I will say is wow I was just blown away. It was worth the wait. I loved it. I really really loved what he did. He took it he took it forward in a really beautiful way there was so many fantastic moments. The set pieces were great the action was fantastic. Just everything about it was just I came out feeling deeply fulfilled.

Alex Ferrari 4:11
As a Star Wars fan. I would agree with you. I completely agree. You walked out like I walked out of it and I was just like well you can yeah why was what I was it was quiet for probably 20 minutes I went with a friend of mine and 20 minutes we just kept like hey let's just go walk to lunch. Let's not talk about it for a minute. And that it was said it let it just let it wash over you. And the thing I loved about the movie The most is that you can tell it's basically a love letter to the franchise. It is so much love. You can sense it coming off the screen that everybody who worked on it was just in love with the there was not one guy walking around like I have a frickin Star Wars movie. Everybody probably from the PA the intern all the way up to JJ. Everybody was A reference of the material and so respectful of the material that he just I think he nailed it out of the park. I wish we could talk details about the story, but we won't. Because it's just too soon. It's too soon.

Paddy Bird 5:14
It's too soon.

Alex Ferrari 5:15
It's the way it is. I was worried, like I was worried to death because I wanted to walk. I hadn't even bought the tickets yet. And and I was like, man, where am I going to go see this? And a buddy of mine who works at Disney. Called me. He's like, hey, do you want to do? Do there's going to have some screenings on the backlog? Do you want to go? I'm like, Yes. Absolutely. When he's like, 10 o'clock on Friday morning, I'm like, pick me up, pick me up at eight so we can make sure we get a good seat. So we did that we went and the one the reason I wanted to do it, it wasn't the biggest screen in the world. It was it was a nice screen. It was perfect, you know, but it wasn't like IMAX or anything. I'm going to go back to see at an IMAX. But it was I knew for a fact that there was not going to be one person talking. There would be no cell phones. And everybody stays it's a la phenomenon. Everyone stays for the credits. Like No one leaves until the LA phenomenon. The 15 minute and credit Yeah, the 15 everyone stays and no one talks it's like it just it's just an LA thing. If you're an industry if you're in an industry screening of some sort somewhere in the world that that that would happen as well. But here it's just everyone stays and and then afterwards I went off I don't know if you saw it or not, but I took some pictures of some stormtroopers that were on the backlot and I wore and I wore my favorite Star Wars t shirt of all time. It says Star Wars number

Paddy Bird 6:33
One you really got in character than you You really did.

Alex Ferrari 6:36
Oh no, no, dude No, I there's just one t shirt dude. I saw people dressed up like full blown I was just like I didn't have a lightsaber or anything. I don't even own a lightsaber yet but it's Christmas it's gonna bring no there might be a Kylo Ren coming in my in my stocking I don't know my wife's gonna talk looking at it. But anyway, so my so I was wearing my T shirt who says number one Star Wars fan but it has a picture of the enterprise on it. Oh brilliant. It's like the most brilliant I literally walked up to the Stormtrooper and as I was walking up to take a picture the guy started pissing himself he's like that shirts amazing so anyway, I just wanted to get that out of the way I wanted to break the tension in the room let's get it out of the way

Paddy Bird 7:24
I had I had the same experience i mean i mean you know if you want to you know if your Star Wars fan you basically have to stay away from the internet until you watch it and I was not prepared to do that right? Oh no, I I have to use like most people on the planet the internet so I was like okay, I'm gonna go watch this first thing Friday at like lunchtime yeah halftime you have you have to do this otherwise you know you're done. Can we talk about it you know in

Alex Ferrari 7:53
and then the second I went online, people started talking about it like and people are trying to be as respectful as possible about spoilers and stuff but

Paddy Bird 8:00
there's always someone there's always someone there's always someone there's always somebody who's gone to the dark side

Alex Ferrari 8:10
you know what I read an article that the internet it literally the Star Wars literally broke the internet.

Paddy Bird 8:17
It was

Alex Ferrari 8:19
dropped the usage of internet dropped worldwide on opening day wow 5% in France like 7% in Germany the US dropped about four or 5% that people just were not going online because they were afraid of what would you know of lose you know getting a spoiler so I when I read that I'm like whole Lee crap man. Like how powerful is that franchise? Like it's the most powerful franchise there is. There's this and now they're gonna know the one thing I want to and then I'll get off the I'll get off the Star Wars boat. But I'm curious to see where and how they can maintain this for the next 10 years. Like we've been starved from Star Wars for 10 years. And arguably since Jedi a lot of people's opinion since Jedi we've been star from Star Wars, but but now they're going to be doing one every year. You know, every year I want to see how they can maintain it

Paddy Bird 9:16
that is that is freaky. I mean, I can't even begin to think of how complicated that is gonna be I mean, obviously, you know, like anything they kept a lot of things open on that at the end and you think Oh, where's this gonna go? Where's that going to go but I know

Alex Ferrari 9:31
it's a continuing saga and in the next next year, there's going to be Rogue One which is an anthology part of the anthology, which is just another story. I think it takes place. How how Princess Leia got the plans for the Death Star. That's the the movie Rogue One. That's the whole so that the group that went and died and did all the stuff to go get it. According to Princess, Princess Leia. That's what that movie is about. And then the next, then the next one will be part eight. And then That's the Han Solo movie. And then part nine.

Paddy Bird 10:02
Man, they got it all figured out. Wow. Well, they're

Alex Ferrari 10:04
taking their dish using the Marvel. Um, they're using the Marvel law. Business paradigm. Yeah, absolutely. And it works. It's been working pretty good.

Paddy Bird 10:14
Why not? Why not? It's worked as you say it's been working pretty good for them. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 10:19
exactly. So I did buy some stock of Disney, I suggest you all do this. It's gonna be they're gonna be doing well for them for many years to come. Anyway, so off Star Wars now now it's off, we're done. I wanted to bring you back Patty to talk a little bit about get into some deeper editing stuff. And I wanted to talk about my experiences and your experiences about about living making a living as an editor, how you started as an editor, some more detailed stuff about demo reels, and things like that. So I'm going to go way, way back. Okay, way back to when you were just a small lad. Coming up, what made you first think that you could even make a living as an editor? Because when you did it, and when I did it, that wasn't like in the popular stream of things.

Paddy Bird 11:09
It wasn't easy. I mean, it really wasn't, you know, I came in at the, you know, the start of nonlinear really the star tool in the mid 90s. And, you know, aphids, an avid, then I mean,

Alex Ferrari 11:24
I was five years old, five years old, it was avid was five years old.

Paddy Bird 11:27
And they were you know, they were 150 grand is for an for an offline, that wasn't the right one. So it was pretty crazy. So I guess I mean, I'd always sort of messed around with films and I've been obsessed with watching movies and stuff like that, and documentaries from a very, very young age. And I did a sort of I did an internship at a magazine when I was about 16. And I learned to use Photoshop and I think it was Quark Express at the time and illustrator work Express quote, yes back Yeah, I guess going back a few years. Yeah. And I just thought well, this is kind of interesting. I don't think I was very good at it. But then a friend of mine said, Oh look, you can edit movies now on on a computer. I was like Oh, that's awesome. So we started a production company and that was affiliated with a charity and we basically just because we were because we were sort of a charity or working for a charity I'm doing sort of corporate videos for charities and stuff like that we managed to get a lot of free time in Edit suites now around Soho which was pretty awesome people would let us in it sort of you know, midnight bottle of wine or something like that right right and said you know you know you just free to work until 7am until the editors come back in so I just I just went crazy on it to be honest you I was just like oh my god this is a whole new world This is amazing. And it was around that time as well that you know, a lot of the you know, the linear editors just sort of they thought avid was a fat This is never gonna last. Right? Right. I can't remember if I if I told this story in the in the last podcast, but I was I was in a went to write I was writing a script. This must have been about 10 years ago, I was writing a script. So a friend of mines got a tiny little flat, an apartment in this old village in Italy, and mountains in the Italian Alps was to go I think if a real solid,

Alex Ferrari 13:52
I think he I think he said he did tell us a story in the last episode

Paddy Bird 13:55
archived. Well, I won't go into any more. But it's what, you know, listened to the previous episode, if you want to hear the end of that story. But it was it was a phenomenal kind of change. And I didn't it hadn't really hit me at that point, how big that change was that, you know, for many, many years, it was being done a certain way. And I just took to it from the age I was I was you know, sort of 1920 and I just went bang, this is really, really cool. And I locked myself away and literally spent a year in the edit suite and was utterly fascinated by the power that you could have over narrative and I didn't know what I was doing. I had no classical training at all and go to film school. I didn't even go to university. I was just piecing stuff together and going wow. And we had all these clients coming in. And I would do anything I would I would you know, I'd edit through the night on an actor's show for you know, buy me a pizza and you know, I'll work for food because I was gaining that. You know, that whole you know, I need it. I recognize from a very young age I need 1000s of hours of experience to get my speed up to get my creative speed up so I knew pretty early on that I was in a unique position and but of course it's all changed now it's completely changed you can buy you know you get free software software for free software you can do it on your iPad you know it's it's it's a kind of crazy thing that that's happened within the country and it's awesome i mean i you know, with all my tutorials and inside the Edit I don't I'm not confined to the edit suite anymore I spend most of my time with my laptop I've got MacBook Air yeah drive and I was just like you know, I spent 1520 years editing in Edit facilities in Soho in London or in the BBC or something now I just sort of go Where do I want to edit today? And I just go to Starbucks right? I'll go to Starbucks or go to an art gallery or look at some art for an hour get inspired or a museum go and see some some old stuff and then I'll just sit and you know, make a tutorial or you know, edit something edit a promo or something like that. It's amazing. It's phenomenal. What's happened I thought I was lucky 20 years ago, but you know, people coming into the industry now. And it's just it's so amazing it's I'm blown away by all just all of it completely and utterly mobile and you're just free to create in the most amazing way. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 16:28
I mean, it's I'll tell you my quick story of when I started out I it's it's similar to your story, believe it or not, I was a I was a tape dubber in a in a commercial house and they had an avid next door to the dub dub station. So I was like you know what, let me just jump in there and start learning I literally just went in I took the avid course I got certified I took the avid certified certification course just like the two day weekend or something like that just to get it going. And I had to drive and this is like my uphill and snow barefoot story but I drove an hour a day to this to this job both ways our there our back and I would go early morning because that's the only time I could get in before the editors got in and I would stay late nights and this is something you could do when you're young and don't have a family and things like that so I and I did that for almost a year until finally I decided you know what I'm going to go off and and and make a living as an editor and it's just good stuff crazy stuff that you do when you're young like you know you now you'd like analyze stuff and like what's gonna be you know, how can I make money what's going to be my overhead before I was like, let's just go off and do it but the funniest thing Do you remember what was the first thing you ever edited was like professionally like you got paid to be an editor

Paddy Bird 17:47
Yeah, I do actually it was a daytime weight loss program and I walked into the This was the first time I was a freelancer and and I got back up pat i was getting paid to do three days tidying up it was like a half hour show it was like two o'clock in the afternoon it's for people people who want to lose weight and they put people on you know a diet and exercise and stuff like that. I've never

Alex Ferrari 18:15
heard of this this concept how's that work? I'm joking.

Paddy Bird 18:23
And I remember walking in because I had no training and I walked in and you know met the director and I was just like really? Like you know, I was really anxious and doing something Oh yeah. Great to meet you. You know the agency says so many great things about you. And I was like, Okay, I don't know what they're going to say that sounds because I haven't edited anything yet. Okay. Anything This is going to be interesting as you went okay, so let me just say about the project the the cutaways are in there and I was sitting there going Hmm I wonder what colorway is a phone a friend of mine have no idea what this is this she's using all this terminology stuff you know I just sort of worked out in my own head didn't really have a name for anything and yeah, it was it was it was pretty crazy I didn't know the software that well and then

Alex Ferrari 19:17
that's always dangerous man. Oh god that was scary.

Paddy Bird 19:20
It's dangerous she came in to go Can we put this title up and can you spin it around a bit and stuff like that and I had hidden the avid manual in the toilet and every single time you asked me to do something I didn't know I just said so I'm gonna go to the toilet and I went to the toilet and I okay, so you plot keyframes like that and then you put the title and the key could spin it around on the rotation axis. Okay, great. And they come back out. I went to the toilet about 15 times

Alex Ferrari 19:49
I was like, Oh, my God, this kid has a problem. This case like

Paddy Bird 19:52
Did he go out last night and a party or you know, did eat something that didn't agree with him? It was just but No, I didn't. I didn't know So it was it was a real trial by fire. But that's that's the thing. It's like

Alex Ferrari 20:06
you got you just got tossed in the deep end.

Paddy Bird 20:10
Yeah, and I survived. I was lucky. There were some definitely some hairy moments where I was like, she was like saying, I know what do you think about this? And I was like, Hmm, okay, I don't really know what I'm gonna say here and I just sort of, you know, made something up but she seemed to have believed

Alex Ferrari 20:27
Yeah, I'll tell you that like when I whenever when I was starting out and I was you know, in, in room with client always was nerve racking because if they if they asked for something that you didn't know how to do, or you didn't because if you didn't know the software well enough, you couldn't figure it out like and I was I became a master of BS. So I would like here watch this or do this and like while I tried figuring it, I'm like, hold on a second. I gotta restart the system. So while it's restarting, I'm thinking in my head, something wrong with the iPad let me restart the system and I restarted the system six times the first time I did it, it figured it all out and like sometimes I remember that one of my first gigs I actually edited the whole thing offline and I did not connect the timecode to the tapes. So when I went to batch it, I couldn't like all the work was gone. I had to live we have to do it from scratch. But my first my first project that I remember was and it's it's it's a little bit more fun than weight loss I have to say it was a career I was in Florida and there was a crazy guy who used to wrestle alligators and sharks now man That sounds

Paddy Bird 21:37
like fun

Alex Ferrari 21:38
Oh dude, it was I still haven't I haven't made a VHS of it in my in my closet. That footage this guy would go out and when I say wrestle alligators I'm like oh everyone sees everyone's I don't know everyone because I'm from Florida so I just assume everyone's seen a wrestling alligator match but you know you go into a pit and there's like a tame ish alligator who's like fat and doesn't move and you they kind of like and the guy will run around and jump on him and hold his mouth and all this kind of stuff right? Now that's not what this guy does. This guy would go into the Everglades into the swamp jump into the water No No dude and we're shooting a mini DV alright so it was everything we shot a mini DV should go into the water go into alligator holes.

Paddy Bird 22:22
Whoa, no, no, no, no, no

Alex Ferrari 22:25
alligator holes and drag out. Seven footers. Eight footers. I saw him bring out a third teen footer. The man was probably in his late 40s at that time, he was in the most amazing shape I'd ever seen a human being in he or maybe in his early 50s at that point, he had the grip of of a vise but when he shook your hand he was like almost a limp, very limp when he shook your hand Manny and so

Paddy Bird 22:55
this guy sounds like a proper Crocodile Dundee Oh

Alex Ferrari 22:59
no, he is no he was they call them they call them Tarzan of the Everglades and he would go in and you know just kind of go in and do the like pull this guy's out and and then one day he brought me footage by the way I had a ball with this footage like can you imagine that's your first that's your first gig and they're like yeah give it to the kid the kid will edit it and I edited this insane thing and I I brought in music you know copyright music I didn't give a shit It was like if I get mad just brought in whatever music I thought it was cool and people were like this is awesome. So that was on my demo reel which we'll get to demo reels in a second I was on my demo reel for years because people were like what the hell so the best is like one day I'm talking to the camera guy in him because we became good friends because they were brand new to this whole process and I said you know what have been good man like you know all you have is is out of water stuff I got no underwater stuff to cut to so I just only can cut to stuff outside. I have no coverage. wrong thing to say because the next the next day, I hear I get a phone call. It's the guy that gets to the front operators like Alex there's some crazy people calling you that something about the swamp I'm like oh yeah, it's Manny put them through. And I'll go back and Manny and mark the camera man's like, Alex, we're on our way. We just got this amazing footage. We went into this pit inside inside a cave with an alligator and we pulled it out. I'm like yeah, they literally came from the swamp they stunk of alligator his. his fingernails were almost pulled back because they pulled out like a 15 foot alligator out of his den. Oh pull them up onto the unlike the by the way he's never been bitten ever that it never been bitten by anything. It's insane this guy the guy has a way with alligators It was not even funny. So anyway, we go through this whole thing and then later they start jumping on like Tiger sharks and stuff in the flats of the fascinating footage. I still have a ton of it. They they went off to work with the jackass boys. Remember jack? That makes

Paddy Bird 24:57
sense. Yeah, jackass. He

Alex Ferrari 24:59
was he If you've seen jackass lazy dudes yeah if you've seen jackass you've seen Manny if like you've ever seen episodes anytime there's an animal man he's in the background he they became the Paramount hired him as like the official Wrangler. Like they wouldn't allow the boys to do anything without Manny there. So and that was my first experience as an editor. So it was it was a it was downhill from there as they say. So

Paddy Bird 25:23
unbelievable. I mean, it's stories like that i think you know, actually I'm really glad I'm an editor and the camera thing Oh, what's the stuff but I'm not gonna go out and shoot that kind of look, I'll tell you if that sounds crazy.

Alex Ferrari 25:41
I tell you what I've The reason why I became an editor was not because of I was like, basically doing tape dubber and I was playing Doom remember Doom the first person video game back in the day first first version of it and it was like we were Enter We enter we networked a bunch of computers in the office and an after hours a bunch of the geeks of us well stay around say play Doom on over Apple talk. Remember Apple talk we were over we were doing all that and then one day I said to myself you know if I get fired tomorrow or I lose my job I'm going to be pa I don't want a PA I've been I've been a PA I don't want to be a PA so I looked over there I'm like there's an editing system right next to me I want to learn that system and that was literally that was the conversation I had in my own head and then from that moment on I just stayed for like the next eight nine months just building my reel and doing all that stuff so which is an another question I wanted to I wanted to ask you how did you construct your first demo reel because that is a black art in itself especially the first one because you don't have a lot to do you don't have a lot to put on it. It's you know how did you construct your first and I'll tell you how I did mine

Paddy Bird 26:56
well unfortunately I've got a bit of a confession to make and that is real I lied for a good six to 12 months of this freelance career

Alex Ferrari 27:06
I like the highlight for the first two three years so don't feel bad

Paddy Bird 27:08
yeah, I didn't tell the truth for quite a while oh yeah absolutely the only way to go yeah yeah i mean you you know how do you make you know for you know for an agency won't represent you in I don't know it's like in in the States but in in certainly in Europe they won't represent you unless you've got three years of broadcast work and you're like okay, well how do I get three years brokers where we you got to go and get some broadcast work and like okay, well they're not going to give me any work unless I have a CV that you know, supports that so I just basically

Alex Ferrari 27:40
know a CV a CV is what

Paddy Bird 27:43
a demo yeah it's a CV we you know for long form in Europe we don't really have a demo reel of course we just have a CV you know your career is made on on a CV and what you know I had some very good advice I talked about this in the article that I wrote but some very good advice early on was look get into the you know, there's certain flaws within the system and the the flaws are based around the fact that the people who actually put you in front of the directors or the exec producers are not people who are filmmakers their production managers and people like that and so you know, it's a bit like fishing you know, you put you put your bait up and you see you see what you can catch and so I was told that a really good idea would be to go and do some very very low end work in very well respected production companies or production companies that were specifically known for the type of genre which you know, you want to get into my case it was documentary and stuff like that so and entertainment and so I did some sort of you know, sort of crappy you know, minute mood rules and two minute kind of you know, taster stuff that which no one really saw more a little making of for a DVD or something like that. And that was based and then you know, it didn't take long before I was being put forward for jobs by my agent with with my CV and you know, the production manager who's obviously always got you know, 2000 things to do in a day just because oh yeah, yeah, this guy here Oh, he's worked at that production can be bandmember Okay, yeah, we'll put him in jail. Okay, he can go for it. So it was kind of luck I mean, the amount of editors I know who have had no luck has been a real part of their career trajectory that first break you know, that whole it's, it's, you know, someone's ill someone's Miss, read your CV or something like that. It just it's, you know, but obviously at the same time, you've got to be Good at what you're doing and you know opportunity Meads you know whatever the saying is I come in mornings it's you've got to be you've got to be you got to be editing all the time so yeah I was lucky but there's so many so many friends of mine who are at the top of their game as well you know they were very very lucky as well i think it's it's like there's not one way in Oh no, there's multiple ways in

Alex Ferrari 30:32
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Paddy Bird 30:43
You just got to see you know where the cracks in the wall are and just keep on pounding and pounding and pounding but I was always told very early on to get as broad a show reel or mood reel or you know, CV is possible because that really is essential that that's the thing that's going to guarantee you work when there's no work around if you've got multiple genres on your CV so

Alex Ferrari 31:07
well i'll tell you what I mean what I heard from what I'm hearing from you You had an agency and all that that's like Rolls Royce kind of stuff for me I had no there was no thing like that in flow like I like I started my career in Florida so in South Florida so it's not like it was la so there was a very small it's a smaller market it's not a big market at all. There's a big it's a big Latino market so and I speak Spanish so that was one of my ways in actually my first job was doing a car dealership. Lincoln mercury commercial for with a baseball star. And was that through a production company? No, that was great. That was me sending out my reel. That was literally just me sending on my reel, I would just I would go to all the production companies and I sent that my put sent out meaning I have dropped off my VHS or my three quarter inch I had some three quarter inch at the time as well and dropped it off. So because I presented myself in a professional manner and what was on that demo reel is what got me the job and I'll tell you what I got what I did, I I didn't have any any real I had no commercials on and I aimed at commercial that was my that was my demographic was commercial work, because that was the only thing you can make money with in Miami. At the time, it was just commercials, music videos, we're not there yet. And they were much more of a niche thing. Long Form was so out of the word like not even close to where I could even attempt to do and I had no no way into any of that. And not not that there was much work for that promo work if you could get it at certain because there was a lot of networks there at the time, which I got into later. But commercials is where I made my my start. And what I did was and this is where the hustle of indie film hustle comes in. is like you I lied a lot. And I like to call it fake it till you make it. That's a much gentler and nicer way of saying it.

Paddy Bird 33:06
It's a gift for fiction.

Alex Ferrari 33:10
That's actually that's a brilliant brilliant it's a gift for fiction. Yes. So that's brilliant Actually, that's a really really good that's a T shirt. So I was while I was working at this commercial house in the back in like the storage area there was a bunch of raw footage, you know 35 millimeter raw footage on beta tapes. So I would talk to the directors in house I'm like hey, can I read it some of your footage on for my reel and I'll create some new commercials for you maybe repurpose some of this old footage for you make you some new fresh commercials for your reel because I'm young and hip because I mean in all honesty the guys that were being repped by the company they were in their 50s 60s these guys have been doing it forever and they were not getting the old the jobs that the young guys were getting anymore but their footage was cool you know they had some cool footage sometimes so I would go off and you know made a public a lot of public service announcements, a ton of anti drug public service because there was a lot of that footage around so I'm like all right I can and I like I put a nine inch nail because at that point is for you demo reel i didn't i didn't care so I just used whatever music I wanted Nine Inch Nails mixed in with Disney music mixed like it was I actually am going to put up my demo reel on on the site my old original demo I want to see that route it's I'm gonna put it up because it's it's I might put it up with this with this I'm not sure yet because I wanted to do a whole other podcast on demo reels but I'm talking a lot about it now anyway, so I put it so I did that and I created a few spots with that and and I made them look real I grabbed the logos from real organizations and slapped them on pretending that they were real. So wasn't outside the scope. reality that I'm like, oh, he probably he probably worked with this, you know this local Miami coalition against drugs like there's no reason to say I didn't work on that. Now what was the the coup de gras for me was de the company it was working for got a whole bunch of Spanish directors and European directors came in and all of their demo all their raw footage and all of their commercial spots came in. And the stuff coming from Europe was stunning, like Nike quality footage, like insane stuff I'm like, Oh hell yeah. So without anyone knowing I went and I just stole that shit. Excuse My French I literally just grabbed that footage because because the directors were not here. They didn't you know, I they weren't here they weren't in Miami. They were just being wrapped you know, and that would fly them in. So all their footage just showed up. I'm like, oh, I'll take that because I was in charge of it all because I was in the dub room. Awesome lesson and I reap and I built up Nike commercials I built up also I built up like perfume ads and all of these high end and then they were European companies. So it looked like I was huge. Huge in Europe. I'm hearing like yeah, I've been working on that. So if anyone asked I'm like, Yeah, I worked for that company that were to to work with. I like you know, it's like, bah bah, bah Francesco. Yeah, friend, but Bob No, yeah. But Francesca, Francesca forgot her name. She was wonderful. I just worked freelance mostly I don't work with a company. So that way they there was like no way for them to find out. There's literally no way. And that was the real I sent out. I didn't change my demo reel for two years. From the from the moment that first demo reel I sent out, even of work off offer that demo reel I got so much work that I never updated it because I didn't because all the stuff that I was working on was so subpar comparatively to what I already had on my demo reel. Even though that stuff was real, I just kept pushing. And that's where the hustle came. And that's something you can't teach. That's something that just has to come out of you. And that's what I did with that. So that demo reel. just kept selling. And then when I tried to bring that demo reel to LA that's when I got the slap down.

Paddy Bird 37:18
Oh, yeah, I know this directors. Yeah, that was a show you didn't edit this. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 37:22
that's the that's when that's when I first came to LA and I got my ass handed to me in 2000 I think it was in 2000 2001 when I first showed up, and it just the talent just ate me alive. But that's another story for another day. But

Paddy Bird 37:36
it's a great point that you know, here's the you know, here's the here's the secret that you know is very rarely talked about and that is there's 1000 very talented people standing behind us trying to scale the walls of the industry. Oh yeah. How are you going to differentiate yourself? How are you going to I mean, if you can do that if you can, and you know, I wouldn't say cheat and all that kind of stuff but if you can lie and get there I mean it's editing you know, if you take some footage and you cut it and it's good, that's it if you stolen his footage, and it looks the sequence you've created is awesome. That proves you can cut now you haven't actually got that job and you didn't actually do that specific thing that kind of doesn't matter it's irrelevant really you're just saying look, here's what I can do with this footage. You may be you know, gloss over the fact that you weren't actually the the the editor for specific commercial but you know, there's you know, is more people there's more people studying film and television there are in television and film every year how are we going to how are we going to differentiate ourselves and and go the extra mile it's it's a difficult thing and but I think it's I think it's probably more difficult to do nowadays because of you know, with the kind of stuff to tracking what people actually did and i raggy blah blah blah blah blah but it doesn't mean to say that there's some you know, there's tiny little holes that you can go in and go okay actually you know bang

Alex Ferrari 39:07
well commercial work now you within the commercial niche in that specific my that was my way in music videos you couldn't do that with because you can easily find out but commercials was this gray area that nobody really could figure out like public service announcements huge gray area like no that I mean seriously. So you can get away with things like that even today you could probably get away with certain things but it's a lot harder like you know it's a lot harder to get away with it

Paddy Bird 39:34
it's also got to it's got to do with the fact that the all of these genres don't talk to each other within an industry now that's a really good fact. You know commercials people don't talk to documentary people convention people don't talk to music video people

Alex Ferrari 39:45
there there are TV people or feature people like they it's different. It's different worlds different worlds is chalk

Paddy Bird 39:51
and cheese. They don't and it's it's about exploiting that to the best of your ability and to you know, if you can that One really good way of doing it and say are you know, have come from music videos have come from this and come from that whichever your whichever job you're kind of pitching to, because they're not going to check up and they won't know how to check up. And I think that's, that's a that's a little hole to be exploited and to try and creep through all of these little things they do matter. So yeah, it's it is a it's a great thing that none of these people talk to each other in rows within a short they do.

Alex Ferrari 40:27
Oh, yeah, absolutely. If you're a TV guy, and you try to hustle a TV, another TV guy, forget it, you won't. But if you're a commercial guy trying to get into TV, you can hustle that it's because there is that there is that weakness, like you said, there's a weakness and the defense is there. And you and you might be able to wiggle away in, you know, and I don't want to paint this whole thing as like, Oh, you have to be dishonest, or this or that. And I'm like, Look, this is the realities of our business. It is brutally, it's brutal, man, it's brutal. And it like in the perfect statement you said earlier was like, there's more people studying to be in the business that are actually in the business. So that says volumes about what the business is around the world, not just in the US or in the UK, but around the world.

Paddy Bird 41:14
Every country in the world. It's crazy. And it's like, you know, when I get young people come up to me Sorry, and uh, how do I get my first break and stuff like that, I mean, yes, I do talk about all this kind of stuff. But I also say look, the other major thing is, is the work ethic, you have to be prepared in those first 2345 years to break your back not want to go down the bar at six o'clock, seven o'clock with your buddies, because you know, that first couple of years in is earning no money and they're exploiting me and I'm doing all this work. It's I always looked at it and I got that as well. And I always looked at it as a testing period is like, you know, we have such you know, that the higher echelons in in film and television they have such an abundance of people to choose from, they they want people who only are going to be put their heart and soul into this and kind of forget every single other thing in their life. about this, so it's it's kind of like that, I always thought about it. It's like, if someone says to me, and I've worked 16 hours, and it's midnight, and I've been in there since you know, whatever, seven in the morning and come in, they'd sign up the sequence go great, brilliant. Get my coat on. Go home to bed. And just as I'm leaving the editor, the guy Oh, actually, no, yeah, you know, the three, four hours, I would never quibble I would never be like, because I knew I mean, I would now I'd be like, yo, Yeah, I know. time

Alex Ferrari 42:44
as you as you as you get older, like I don't know, if you if you know the comedian, Wanda Sykes. As you get older, less of a shit Do you give exact like, when you're 80 years old, you'll walk out naked and just go What? Like, you don't you just don't care problem problem is ever, so things you would never do in your 20s you completely don't give a crap about your 30s and your 40s you just laugh at so

Paddy Bird 43:10
I mean, that's the thing you're building that real you're building that should show rule that you're building that CV and it's like, you have to go through that, you know that trial by fire because that's what separates the wheat from the chaff. You know, that's that's, that's what the senior people are looking for. They're like, okay, we're going to test you and we're going to explore you. But if you come through that and that that's the thing, which so many people drop out they're like, you know, oh, god, they're, you know, they're not taking me I'm the next whatever.

Alex Ferrari 43:41
God please.

Paddy Bird 43:42
You can't you just can't do that because the guy okay, fine. We'll just you know, if there's literally got a 500 at CVS, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 43:51
There's 500 people sitting at the door. It's camping out to be it's like fight. It's like Fight Club. Literally, you have to stand outside of Fight Club or to get into the house to fight club. It's exactly what it is like, and they'll come out and they'll berate you and they're like that and like oh you're still here. Only those guys and girls who hang in are able to go through the rough parts can come out the other end it's like Shawshank at that point. You're going through that pile of crap to get out of the other end and it doesn't it does it does it does it does look I like my first internship when I my first internship, but the one that got me my job I worked for four months for free driving commuting an hour every each way every day. no hope of getting paid. And my friends are like why do you keep doing them like what else am I gonna do stay home at least they're I'm learning stuff I'm meeting people I'm and one day when my boss left he quit. Everyone looked around like oh he's been here every day when we give him the job. And I made and I made my $23,000 a year I was so excited.

Paddy Bird 44:52
It's not always apparent what were those breaks are gonna come it's like you know if you just sit there in you know if you sit there at the front You know, waiting for that break, it will come. People do notice this, and that's 90. It's not a, you know, it's not a

Alex Ferrari 45:08
people do notice people do notice. And they might, it might take some time, but people do notice, if I may quote Woody Allen 90% of success is just showing up. And it's true. Like just if you if you're not the most talented person in the world, if you don't have the genetics or the like, if you're going to try to go out for certain like, Look, you've I'm sure you've seen the movie Rudy right.

Paddy Bird 45:33
Rudy, I don't think I have seen the movie to do that.

Alex Ferrari 45:35
Okay, first and foremost, need to stop this conversation need to go and I'm joking. You need to look up Rudy,

Paddy Bird 45:40
let me go on iTunes. Okay, you

Alex Ferrari 45:41
got to look up Rudy. Rudy is a story about this, this, this this, essentially a psychopath. But no, it's about this kid who was obsessed with Notre Dame football, college football here, Notre Dame specifically. And his whole life he wanted to play on Notre Dame. But he was five foot three way he had no athletic skill. And he just did not get just would not give up the dream. He literally when I give up the dream, he did everything he could to get into Notre Dame. So like it took him forever, he didn't have the education, he didn't have the skill, to even the knowledge, like the mind, the intelligence to get in first, you know, he went to like, he did so many things to finally get into Notre Dame. So he got accepted, then he was on the practice squad. And then it took them forever to like to, and I won't ruin the movie for you. But you know, he just kept going. And like, if you're, you'll just tear up watching this was a brilliant, brilliant movie. But that's the thing you have to do. You have to just keep pounding it. And that's an every every discipline in the film industry or any discipline in general. But you just have to, you just have to just show up. And just every day, if you show up to a place, if you're working for free, and you show up to that place, and you do your best job you can every day, like I was I was interviewing Robert forester for the podcast, and he had this amazing He's like, Look, no matter how small the part is, just show up and do the best work you can. No matter how ridiculous the audition is just show up and do the best work you can because you never know who's watching. You never know who's gonna give you that shot. And and only good can come of you doing the best you can. That's and that's the best that's the thing you can do like I'm sure

Paddy Bird 47:29
you awesome advice. It's awesome is it you have to have an iron will I mean that's the thing that people no one gets through. No one's skills, the walls in whatever wherever you're, you know, whichever

Alex Ferrari 47:42
you got to be anti drug, you have to be anti the free and you have

Paddy Bird 47:45
to get you have to have that iron Will you have to say how badly do I want this and the amount of times I've been on my knees exhausted when I'm working with a director who's been a real pain, expletive. And you're just sitting there going, it's going to be worth it. It's going to be worth it. This is good for my real this is this this is this and you get to a point where you go Actually, I can turn down these jobs. But it's like, it's that you need that iron will is no one else is going to come and save you. No one else is going to push you no one else is going to, you know say oh you know you're the creative genius of the generation that those things happen to one or two people in a generation or 20 years. Yeah, there's only so many Tarantino's or prima ballerinas there's a great line and madmen I think it was series four or five and he was saying was a cat remembered something around? I think his wife was his name, the main character his wife, yeah, married and she was she was saying oh, you know, I really want to be a famous actress. And he basically he just said in there's only there's only one or two prima ballerinas per generation and then is that thing it's like, you know, a lot of things within the industry or, you know, within films, they sell the idea of, of this lottery ticket, you'll be discovered and it'll be the lottery. Yeah, but no 99% of the, you know, 99.9999 recurring of all everyone else has just had, you know, real fire in their belly and a real gut determination, a real iron will to drive through no matter what happens, no matter what the obstacles are, and just jump over and go, I'm not going to accept anything else apart from victory. And I've always had that I was like, you know, the amount of times I've just been, I can't handle this, this is too much. I haven't, I haven't slept for three days. We're broadcasting to 15 million people in you know, 36 hours and we've got, you know, hours of work to do. It's just like, you know, and and the directors having a meltdown and showing me it does take it does take that persistence and having that having that kind of you know, No surrenders I think it's probably watched too many martial arts movies in the 80s when I was growing up Bloodsport plus it was no retreat no surrender obviously or Nathan was no retreat no surrender to which is a better movie

Alex Ferrari 50:17
how you could improve on the first one is beyond me but with the ghost of Bruce Lee it's I mean seriously It was such a such a brilliantly bad movie

Paddy Bird 50:29
it was so terrible it was wonderful. One of those things

Alex Ferrari 50:32
it's when when a movie becomes so bad it just the needle kicks over to good Yeah, and there's a special play that's a special thing that only a few a handful of things a handful of movies can do but and this

Paddy Bird 50:44
is when you got six year olds who could spot continuity errors and you haven't made a good film. Yeah, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 50:52
Exactly. Nobody you were saying about iron will like just to explain I've made a live I made a living for God 10 years or more 10 to 12 years or more in the South Florida entertainment business as an editor like that. That's insanity and I only knew how insane it was once I got to LA because once I got to LA I was like oh my god I can't believe I've done what I like you didn't know any better it's kind of like the person who lifts who can lift a car up because they've been lifting a car up since they were five like they don't know any different like that's just what they can do. And it's similar because when I got here I was just like oh my god like this is insane. I couldn't believe that I've been I was able to do what I did at the time I was able like it wasn't like there was a plethora of production and stuff like that going on in South Florida it's just amazing you sit there thinking like and not working in the system I was completely outside the system. I didn't work in agencies I didn't work at networks You know, I've been fired from a couple of my network jobs gloriously fired I always say gloriously fired from my staff my staff my staff jobs This is years ago I mean I'm not this human being anymore but I was so I was so full of myself when I was a kid I mean I was 23 years old and I was making I was making about 80 grand a year in 19 dangerous and they Oh is it and living at home with no overhead and I was making 80 grand a year and I had I was doing infomercials like these long format infomercials weekly weekly infomercials basically and I literally was it was like cut it was like cut and paste number like it was paint by numbers for me like I literally would just cut the whole thing and literally just put dissolves on every cut just like across didn't there was no pacing there was like just because they didn't care they were just that's fine so there was no nothing to do and I had so I was making so much money at the time and this is back in 1990 god this is 9697 This is a couple years after I got out as a freelancer so I'm making this kind of crazy money. I have no overhead my ego is I can't even I cannot ignore her DOM is like small like it was so out of control. It was like I was the highest paid person at the company. I would walk in with like you know flip flops and I like I was just so arrogant It was amazing. so amazingly arrogant like all the guys like all the other guys like hated me I was the only editor so I was the creative so I thought I had to play the creative and the other guys wearing suits and shit like the sales guys

Paddy Bird 53:47
and came in in a beret and a Hawaiian shirt and I'm like come on I'm like and I show up

Alex Ferrari 53:51
at 10 and leave it for because I that's how long it took me to do my job. And then I'm like yeah, I need two days off a month because I really don't want to burn out. Um, no, it's I it was immense. So finally I just they kind of just let me go and I was like Okay, great, it's fine I'll just go off and be a director and commercial director and then I spent a lot of money in my demo reel and it didn't work out that quickly for me and that was life and life actually beat me down which is what I think anytime I see someone who's like that I'm like don't worry

Paddy Bird 54:23
I said amazing the universe's oh it's the greatest teacher every single time oh man you you rise a bit too high with the ego something comes in and goes boom oh actually.

Alex Ferrari 54:37
Actually that's not actually no no we're not gonna let you do that now sorry. And pay Yeah, here's the here's some pain. And oh yeah, dude, I could I can go on and on about that. But that was my first job I got fired from and then I didn't go to another staff job four years later, but and then I was fired promptly for being the highest paid editor again. I was an arrogant that time I was just the highest paid I was I was being paid 40 grand more than anybody else in the entire world. Yeah. And it was because I negotiated that deal with the guy and then a new a new, a new supervisor showed up and looked at the numbers like Who the hell's this guy? And they're like, well, we got to work. We got to work our way out to get get rid of this guy, cuz he's costing us too much money. So it was like,

Paddy Bird 55:22
it was good while it lasted. Oh, it was it was one and then two days later, I

Alex Ferrari 55:25
opened after I got fired two days later opened up my business, opened up my post, my post house. And the rest, as they say, is history. So we've been off, we've been kind of going all great material we've been talking about this is all good stuff. But I'll go back to what we were talking about originally. Now, when you first were starting out. How did you market yourself? Like, how did you get out there? Did you have the agency was the agency? What did it for you?

Paddy Bird 55:50
Well, again, I was very, very lucky. One of the Edit facilities that I used to do nighttime work in just practicing. I've got friendly with one of the assistants, who was there, you know, on the night shift, making tea and getting crumpets, crumpets teas and crowns on whiskey for the the heavy drinking editor's, yes, I we became kind of friends. And you know, we went out, you know, partying and bit and the, and then she just sort of rang me and said, oh, I've got a new job. I'm working on agency. So I'm probably not the best person to talk about because it was all luck. It was like, I just made friends. I mean, that's, if I take anything out of that. It's like, you know, I'm constantly surprised by how quickly people's careers move in this industry. And it's like, you, you know, I've been in, I've been in Edit suites with directors who talked to the person who's bringing their tea and toast in the morning, and they talk to them like crap, and you're like, Dude, that could be in two years time, that could be the exact producer you're working for. Never, ever, ever talk to anyone, and always make friends with everybody, you never know what that person is going to be doing in six months. And this was a prime example.

Alex Ferrari 57:10
Yeah, I completely and totally agree with you, and 100% you never know, you never know. You just don't know. And that's something and I was gonna ask you about networking, and relationships. As far as part of your business, you know, growing up, starting out, it's everything, without relationships without networking. with people, it's,

Paddy Bird 57:32
it's nothing, it's nothing one's gonna sit and sit there with a big golden hand and touch you on the shoulder and go, it's you, you're a genius, we're gonna give you, you know, millions of pounds to do whatever you want, and you're free, you'll get final cotton that it doesn't hurt. Like, you've got to go out there, you've got charm people. You know, be friends with people Chompy build relationships, build discussions about you know, filmmaking and editing. Be humble, yeah, editing, directing, whatever camera, whatever you're going into, and be humble and be passionate and, you know, be willing to work 24 hours a day, but I think, you know, is that it's definitely it's like, you know, creating a network as quickly as possible and as large as possible. And, you know, when, when two people working at the edit, edit facility, or the production company or the broadcast cell, you want to come out for a drink tonight or you want to go we're getting a bunch of us go for coffee or whatever, I would always say yes. And I would always try and charm people and you know, be friendly and stuff like that, because the amount of leads and the amount of Oh, man, I guess what someone's dropped out, I thought of you, you know, based on that conversation we had the other day in that bar, or in that coffee shop, or when we went out for pizza, wherever that that's what it is. It's like, I'll tell you this is a classic thing in in, in editing is like, I remember my early agent told me this. One of my early agents, who gave me so much great advice, he said, Listen, you're going to be locked in a room, this director is going to be locked in a room with you for two months, or a month or six weeks or three months, whatever how long the project is, they you know, they don't care, you're a genius. They're not interested in that whether you think that you're a genius. They would rather work with someone who's average and a really nice person, someone who's a genius and a real pain in the US. And that really sunk in for me it's like okay, I get it. You know, if you're locked in, in a room with someone, a dark room, watching the same thing over and over and over again and making tiny adjustments. If it goes wrong, that's like doing a prison sentence, you know, oh, we've been there not cool. It's not cool. It's like it's really important to to to be as cool person as you can. In anyone. You never know who You're going to meet, you never know what they're going to say. And the other thing about editors, as well as that you're never in the room when decisions are made, you know, you're always out, you're not on the shoot, you're not in the production meetings, you're not in any of these things, which pretty much everyone else in the process is, we are isolated by ourselves. So all we've really got his AR abilities, but secondly, our personality and our charm.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:24
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Paddy Bird 1:00:35
And that is really, really important. So, you know, when a bunch of senior producers come in and watch a car, and they're really dismissive, and they don't even look at you, it's not about getting really angry about that. It's about Hey, man, you know, how can I be as cool as possible? Because, as I say, we we are, we are probably the only people who are just by ourselves within the industry. We were not party to all those conversations and all those meetings and all that shooting and production.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:03
No, absolutely. I'll tell you a quick story of once I worked for sky, it was like a sky MTV or something like that. And I was doing promos at promo work, and the production manager calls me up. And she's like, Look, we have a gig for you, the producers a little bit of a pill Do you mind? And I'm like, No, I don't mind that. Like at that point. Again, I was so confident in I had been already editing for four or five years, I was very confident in my abilities. And I'm like, yeah, sure, whatever, man, I'll get along with whoever and, and whatever. So and I'm like, I need the work, sir. So I went and I sat with her, and her name is kita. And she came in like a, like a, like a, like a bull in a china shop. And I literally just whatever she said, I'd be like, yeah, that's fine. And I just would just roll with what she had. And then occasionally, she'd send me to do something, I just wouldn't do it. And I'm like, yeah, this is the way I'm gonna do it. And she just didn't know how to handle me. She had no idea. Fast forward, we've become with Trisha, one of my best friends in the world. And she got me jobs, for years to come from, she jumped from company to company to company, she became the head of direct tv promotions. So I got work from her there, she produced one of my short films, she is just like, all of this stuff purely because of that one gal engagement encounter with her, that built that relationship up and that could have gone very wrong. And I wouldn't have had her as that resource years years to come like, even recently, six months ago, you know, so it's,

Paddy Bird 1:02:41
it's amazing. It's amazing. It's like, you know, when you impress and charm someone, and, and you get in on that level, and they like your work. And they like you, you know, people, you know, directors would rather change their brand of cigarettes or football team. Yes. You know, the people never actually do in their whole lifetimes. They will stand by you. And that's really, really important. On it's like, you know, that time when, you know, sorry, I know you've got to meet, you know, your wife or your girlfriend, boyfriend or whatever. But can you can you cancel it because we got to do this work? And it's like, yeah, no worries, you know that that has that money in the bank later on? That really is it? People recognize those type of sacrifices?

Alex Ferrari 1:03:29
Absolutely. It's happened to me a million times.

Paddy Bird 1:03:33
Yeah. But I've got some of the best work I've got out people who were hashey app directors who are not very nice people. Not you know, but you're just cool with them and you're like and you do your best for them. And even though they can be quite obnoxious, not all of them. I'm very glad to say a low percentage of the people I've worked with over the years have been a noxious but it doesn't matter what industry you work in, you're always going to get those type of people because they love your work and you're easy to work with and you you know in you let them know that they're in charge, but also give them options and stuff like this. They'll give you work for years to come. It's just It's amazing. It's I totally agree what you're saying. It's phenomenal.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:15
I mean, look, there's a crew they've been worked has been working with Michael bass and bad boys. And Michael Bay's legendarily a pain in the ass as far as I'm using the word pain in the ass is a very light way of putting it. And same thing with James Cameron. Like, you know, there's there's a group of people that work with James and understand how he works. And he can be a pill and so can Michael Bay without question, but there's people who he can get along with, you know, and it's fascinating. I always find it fascinating sometimes when I was with someone like that had that reputation, who we were cool with and then they throw somebody else in the mix. Just and then I'd be like, oh god, it's like throwing fresh meat to ally and I just sit back and watch it like, man. Don't say that. That's not good. That's not gonna end well for you sir that's not gonna end well for you so um when you first started was first going into the going out as an editor Do you only knew avid right you didn't know anything else

Paddy Bird 1:05:12
there was anything else at the time I mean I think premiere was around but you know Final Cut didn't really come on the scene until

Alex Ferrari 1:05:22
the 90s no no till now excuse me knows now that 2014

Paddy Bird 1:05:26
as of I think version 4.5 they cut Cold Mountain on but it worked

Alex Ferrari 1:05:32
Yeah exactly.

Paddy Bird 1:05:34
It wasn't till version five ready that was sort of

Alex Ferrari 1:05:37
starting to stable Apple yeah starts there.

Paddy Bird 1:05:41
Yeah, it wasn't really I mean it wasn't any good for

Alex Ferrari 1:05:44
my type of now Exactly.

Paddy Bird 1:05:47
It never has been really any any good for what long form I'll go I'll

Alex Ferrari 1:05:50
go back farther and it was it for me it was avid and media 100 Media 100 Yes. Media 100 and I was I edited one thing on media 100 I could I afterwards I couldn't go back. So it's like this is just like you need me to do a dip to color I need to go into Photoshop. I need to make the color who I need to import import the JPEG throw to dissolves on it and now I have a dip to color. I'm like, Are you insane? Like sir like are you in Santa? It's like insane so there was maybe 100 video cube I don't know if you remember video q i remember that was sort of it was there for a minute. It was it was a minute it was a minute it was out for a minute video cube I learned on the montage. I don't know if you even know what the montage is. It was on Windows 311 that's what was in my film school. And it was strictly offline like strictly strictly offline I never learned Lightworks either I've never even seen a light works machine. They do mostly feature work with that.

Paddy Bird 1:06:52
Yeah, yeah it's so feature dramas Yeah, it was specifically made for

Alex Ferrari 1:06:58
for free or for filmmaker yeah it was before avid before avid

Paddy Bird 1:07:01
yeah was able to be known steenbeck since the fly that was

Alex Ferrari 1:07:04
right it was before avid took over that bit but so as a freelancer I think it's very important to us know understand as many today specifically to understand as many editing software's as you can because it opens up your ability to work because you know now I have it now I have a post suite and I'm like I do the way things I want do I want to do them and generally if someone comes in like this is my system this is what I work on and you know if you want to go I call her on da Vinci if you want to call her on scratch well I can't help you like it's not I'm not gonna have a scratch system in here as well. So it is what it is and then people generally have never had anybody walk away because I'm editing on Final Cut or or editing on or doing color and in DaVinci but but as a freelancer like if you're going to place the place to place you got to know premiere you got to know avid you got to know the old Final Cut and the new Final Cut and now Da Vinci's editing system is you know something people are starting to use and what and I think we'll grow into something in the next year or two probably into something more significant than it is now. So I think it's very important for for editors specifically to understand as many different understand Photoshop I mean seriously do you understand you do Do you know Photoshop?

Paddy Bird 1:08:21
I haven't used it in years I mean, yeah, I you know, I

Alex Ferrari 1:08:25
Well, you're at the upper echelon right now so you're at the top of the mountain us guys down here still struggling.

Paddy Bird 1:08:31
We're still I mean I use I use nine buttons on my avid right I use jkl Yep, you know, stop play play reverse mark in mark out insert, overwrite and lift and extract Yep, that's it. I mean, I don't use anything I wouldn't know anything else to be honest you that that's just I think that comes from being in reality TV for the first part of my career. You're not doing a lot of effects you're basically working at 400 miles an hour all the time churning out churning out churning out every two hours they change the tapes or the discs or whatever and they got bang and you got to be cutting an enormous amount of fruit so you're like Bang Bang, bang, all you're doing is and this is what what we what we teach in inside the Edit which is it's all about speed creative speed, you know, learning the software fantastic it really you know, and I totally agree with you, it really why would you limit yourself in the options because you don't know if you're gonna get a phone call tomorrow you meet someone in the corridor, that edit facility and they're gonna say, oh, oh, Ash, can you help us out? Someone's falling out? It's on Premiere are so I don't have to use premiere. You know, why would you limit yourself when you're starting, I mean, you're in the first 234 or five years, your career. It would be crazy not to just put in, you know, you know, a couple of couple of weeks just to learn. I mean, these programs aren't that hard, you know, they're not difficult to learn and they all pretty much with the exception of Final Cut x, they're all the same. You know, the same buttons, that same logic, it's a timeline, it's a couple of layers of video. You know, a couple of layers of audio and you know, moves left to right. It's not brain surgery. So yeah, no, I totally agree that it's, it's essential. But I think, you know, what's more essential is creating is what I call creative speed. Being a fast cutter, being being able to look at, you know, it doesn't matter how fast you push the buttons, what matters is, you know, how fast you can cut this in your head after, after watching this footage, that's where the real speed is, you can actually press the buttons. Head really, really fast. Because the films made in your head, it's not made in, you know, Van golf, always used to say, you know, I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream, you know, it's caught in your head, it's Oh, yeah, if you if you can do that, if you can, if you can exercise those creative muscles in your in your mind. You know, because you've only got a certain amount of time on a project, whether it's a two minute music, video, or corporate film, or commercial, or, you know, 90 minute documentary or drama, you know, you're, if you're fast at cutting, you're squeezing more options into that, two weeks, four weeks, eight weeks, six months, whatever your duration is. So if you're faster climbing, I think that's, that's the thing that's going to turn your film, from a great film to an excellent film is that you can try out more things in that same amount of time. But, but, you know, going back to your initial point, which is I totally agree with today's fast moving environment. And we don't know who we can't, you know, the press has always been, you know, always full of, oh, avid just leading, you know, premiere in the market share or final cuts coming up because, you know, MTV have just bought, you know, 50,000 premieres, we you know, it's nobody knows what's going on. And it's just like, for us down here, you know, actually making the films, it's like, it's so important to know, right, every single one of them really, otherwise, you're potentially canceling yourself out for for working as well, you know, you put that on your show, or you put on the CV. It's so important.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:10
Now the the business that to just one of the points, you say, being fast, being a fast editor, I was known in town as being an extremely fast cutter I could cut very quickly. So as on a business standpoint, that hurt me because at the beginning, I was doing hourly. So I would be cut, I would be done something that would take another editor, maybe eight hours, I'd be done in three or four. And I wasn't I wasn't making as much so I started doing like, I only do day rates. So you know, I will only do a day rate. So I would do I'll give you an eight hour day rate, I don't do hourly anymore. And people back then when there was money flowing in the 90s. Still, all the residuals of residual of the 80s was still flying around, there was some money in the 90s flying around. So that worked out that worked out well for me. So now tell me that so obviously, you are the founder of inside the edit the amazing inside the Edit as far as teaching you the creative process of editing, which there is nothing else on the planet like it and I advise and I always preach it from the top of the mountains, anybody who's interested in editing or storytelling to take the course. And it's not a course really it's a movement it's a religion really, it's it's like the

Paddy Bird 1:13:28
religion come and join this cult though because the

Alex Ferrari 1:13:31
way you shot it, it's like it is so beautifully shot and dark and this downstage with the, with the way you see the light with the honeycomb over you and I'm like, Man, this is like a like a circle religion is like inside the edits the religion. So um, so you should definitely check it out. So for people who don't know about inside the Edit, please tell me a little bit about it.

Paddy Bird 1:13:57
Yeah, sure. I mean, it's, and we

Alex Ferrari 1:14:01
only have an hour left. So please keep me

Paddy Bird 1:14:03
now and I'm joking. Can we can we get an hour and 10? No, I mean, inside there is. It's basically you know, I looked around, and I started looking at film schools, training centers and books at basically everything on the net companies like and all these. No one was teaching the craft, no one even if you spent three years at film school, no one was teaching the craft and if people were teaching the craft, they were not a list people, no disrespect, but they would not people who are at the higher echelons of the industry. And the other thing was is that editors learn in isolation. There's no film school that you go to Well, there's no training center or anything like that or book that gives you all of this stuff which each individual editor crazily figures out for themselves, all of these couple of 1000 things which are instinctual Within the creative process, everyone figures it out by themselves. And I just thought that's crazy. We need to do something about that. So I sat down and wrote a million words over three years, 200 tutorials, 20 chapters, and I pulled out my brain, it took me a year to just rewrite and rewrite and rewrite and just summarizing and conceptualizing basically stuff which had never been written down before because editors earning I learned in isolation and this this I checked out all the you know, the perspectives of all the film schools that no one was teaching this stuff no one was teaching the craft and the art form. So I just thought, Okay, this this is something that could be pretty, pretty cool. So I sat down and wrote, you know, essentially the most in depth look at editing the industry has ever seen the war and peace of this the war, the war and peace This is war on peace to write the revenge.

Alex Ferrari 1:16:04
Now, the Electric Boogaloo actually says the electric

Paddy Bird 1:16:10
breakdowns, right? Yes,

Alex Ferrari 1:16:11
it was the candidate a candidate.

Paddy Bird 1:16:16
So, but now, also is it's like what you say as well. It's like I looked at all the other costs, like, and all these online stuff. So okay, well, we were going to do this in a non run environment, because you can learn anywhere in the world, as long as you got decent internet line. And I just looked at everything else. And it looked like all the other people who were doing it, all the other companies, they looked like it was so corporate, it was not cinematic. And I just sat there and thought Hold on a minute. Exactly what the key demographic is filmmakers, you know, this should be a cinematic experience, it shouldn't be like you're trying to sell vacuum cleaners, you know, this is all this looks terrible. So there's no sizzle, there's no sizzle, as a whole, it's like, yeah, it's like this has to be a cinematic experience. So we spent a lot of time and a lot of money on the look, in every single tutorial is basically shot and cut with all the high end aesthetics of a high end documentary is like, you know, there's 200 documentaries, essentially, some of them 510 minutes long, some of them two hours long, depending on the complexity, and we've broken down the creative process. So we do a whole load of very, you know, interesting techniques and theories that are laid out in really, really, really cool looking graphics. But then we also go into these, these, these features could watch me edit. So we've learned all this stuff, let's go try this out in some footage. So we go into a live environment. But we've also spent a lot of money on animating the interface with the tutorial in avid. to basically do what no one's ever done before, which is making the interface of any editing software doesn't matter what you're using, because we teach the craft, not the buttons. It's another character in the movie. So we've treated the whole process like a movie, a movie, you're watching a movie every single time. So not only do you get all this stuff, which has never been written down before you actually really enjoying the process. But then the other thing as well is that, you know, you know, going back to what we talked about, you know, at the very start, you know, how do you get a real together? How do you get a real because no, you know, it's very hard to get high end footage. It's, you know, no production company in the world has ever released broadcast footage. So we went out and we shot, a feature length documentary, a really, really high end feature length documentary. So you get access, you get all of that footage, and you can use it copyright free. And to you know, this 45 scenes, you get 35 hours to download. And you can cut it in 1000s of different ways. And you track through the course you're basically cutting a primetime level documentary. So you get that you will get all the you know, all the stuff that you get in a pro edit suite like all the interview transcripts, the log notes and the directors, everything you get tons and tons of technical stuff in PDF form. But then we partnered up you also need music so we partnered up with what I always thought was the you know the best music library in TV and film and that's Universal Music, Production Music and you get hundreds of tracks as well which you're free to use, you can build your own reel and you can use it on your Vimeo channel and your YouTube channel. So not only do you get all this unbelievably in depth craft knowledge, which I've never found anywhere, but you get all the everything you need as well footage, music and all that technical information. So it's a complete package. It's the it's the world's first ever complete package for editing. So, you know, we're we're really proud of it, it's taken a lot of work a lot of hours, it's taken three years to build. But you know, we're in we're in over 50 countries, we've got filmmakers in over 50 countries in the world and it's, the response has just been phenomenal. It really, really,

Alex Ferrari 1:20:24
it's been around for what a couple a year now you're in change. Just

Paddy Bird 1:20:27
just yeah, just over a year, just every year. So yeah, it's, it's going really well and we, we, we basically, we're in a kind of TV production schedule, so every week you get a new tutorial 1020 3050 100 minutes long. And yeah, I mean, we've got loads of very, very cool stuff coming up in 2016 2016 is gonna be a big year for us.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:53
So let me ask you a question. Will this ever end like I mean, will this ever end like as far as like Will you continue to just put more and more tutorials on are just gonna eventually go and now you know, everything

Paddy Bird 1:21:05
I mean, it's like, you know, there's, it's we're gonna be doing inside because this is basically what we cover in inside the moment is everything apart from drama. And then we're going to be doing drama.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:18
I'm sure you could do a commercial version of music videos, versions

Paddy Bird 1:21:22
videos. So basically the whole premise is you know, we're going to get guest editors in excuse me, who are at the top of their game to come in and basically do what I have done in in documentary entertainment and kind of use and all the things that I've worked in I cover about six seven different genres so we're going to be getting a list people in with a list footage and coming in it and just getting the absolute you know, you will never get this type of in depth theory, wherever you work in the world, whichever production company whichever broadcast and no one's going to sit down over your shoulder and tell pour out their brains for hours and hours and hours about everything. It's

Alex Ferrari 1:22:01
like it's like it's like being a fly on the wall when Thelma Schumacher is editing with Martin Scorsese something along those lines

Paddy Bird 1:22:08
exactly that's that's the real you know, that's the real the goal for us you know that the whole thing the whole premise was round was based around the fact that there's no a list people teaching editing,

Alex Ferrari 1:22:20
no really no I think it's a few board workshop here their stuff

Paddy Bird 1:22:25
Yeah, but they only come in to do an hour and give some big kind of you know, inspirational speech about you know, when I was in speech when I was in the edit suite with Steven Spielberg blah blah blah blah blah there's no none of them pour out their brains for 20 3050 100 hours of content none of the no one has ever done that not even in film school. Right so that was the goal really that's that's that's the aim to have that kind of in depth and bring in a load of really talented people to help us achieve that so yeah, no it's it's it's a big goal but you know we're working we're working our way towards it to making

Alex Ferrari 1:23:05
this into a brand essentially which is which is amazing you've actually created a brand and you're you're turning it into the one stop shop for editing any any eventually you will have covered every every genre that you can every kind of you know from webisodes to music videos to commercials to high end professionals and and each of their disciplines but you're creating a brand you know a Rolls Royce brand if you will, an apple of you're creating the apple of editing knowledge.

Paddy Bird 1:23:37
Absolutely. Absolutely. And with that, you have to have high quality high end oh yes that takes you have to differentiate yourself differentiate yourself from you know, the Lynda dot coms of the world and all the other kind of you know, you have to put in an enormous amount of time money and effort and creative effort and I'm very lucky to work with some extremely talented effects guys and people like that who made that happen is a high end brand it's like we are the bar is you know, way above yeah yeah it has to be because you know, how do you differentiate yourself in a market you know, you can't just have amazing amazing theory and concepts and stuff like that anymore. You have to you have to go the extra mile and and provide a whole experience I think if you know if the Apple Store is now hold us anything Jesus you're you're part of a lifestyle, a community a life choice, you know, it's a it's an amazingly powerful brand and we've actually taken that concept and tried to do it with inside the Edit. So you, you really get you know, you really get the feeling that you're getting a lot more than what you're paying for. You know,

Alex Ferrari 1:24:54
it's funny enough that you say that like I've actually start creating one of my first courses you know, indie film, hustle. Soil is grown as quickly as it has because because of what I've been I've been trying to put out content like this and I in a similar way with what you've done with inside the Edit not nearly the expansion or the growth of the size of what you guys have done but in my small way I've been trying to put out content that is at a level that no one else is talking about like there's and like this conversation we've just had it there's volumes of great knowledge in there and tips of that you don't hear you know you and I have been around we don't hear this they don't teach this you know how to put together a demo reel like you know really how do you do it you know how do you go out and hustle this or how to hustle that so I'm trying to create that with indie film hustle and I think it's one of the reasons why it's grown so fast and it's starting to gain respect within the niche of independent filmmakers but I'm also

Paddy Bird 1:25:53
respond to quality that's that's the bottom yeah the fact that you've created something which is totally unique and such high quality people are not suckers they're not idiots when I'm when I'm buying products I'm into into that kind of you know I look for the quality above anything else and you know I you know I can I'm I'm flabbergasted by how quickly inside the Edit is grown but I'm also I'm I'm even more flabbergasted by how quickly you know indie film hustle is going but you take you take two minutes have a look at it and the content you like oh yeah well of course it is. It's such high level and it is It's that thing it's like not nobody's teaching this stuff no one's giving you this original content to this level. So no,

Alex Ferrari 1:26:41
It's I'm actually taking I'm taking your template of inside the edit and I'm actually going to create my course my editing course is called inside the editor no I'm joking No no, I'm creating courses on things that are you know that I do well that and one of the specific things the first course I'm going to do is how I was able to do social media and how I've been able to great grow to 20,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram within 90 days and and true fans like real people and how I'm able to focus that and get traffic from that and how to build that relationships up and how not only the techniques to get there but also how to maintain it, how to grow it how to get content, what the content is blah blah blah blah blah. So I'm actually creating that course right now and I'm thinking about how I'm going to be putting it together and then I start looking at inside the editor I'm like okay, well I'm not I'm not crazy I'm not doing 200 tutorials, but that's just mental as you say. And I'm not writing a million words on this subject matter because there are other people talking about this but not at the level I'm doing and definitely not at the level for any I'm going to do two courses one aimed at filmmakers and one aimed at everybody else. And it is I'm using you as a template I'm like okay, I need to I need to hit this quality level on my stuff because that's just I can't just throw up I see a lot of these courses like you were saying like you go to Lynda and you like it Welcome to creative editing 101

Paddy Bird 1:28:15
This is the trim tool

Alex Ferrari 1:28:17
This is the trim tool now i i've been editing local car commercials for 2627 years, not that there's anything wrong with editing car commercials every one I edited car commercials for four months, so I know how it is but not at the highest echelon of the craft let's just put it that way. So it's the sizzle is something I try to teach as much as I can and people don't get that that you need sizzle without in today's world without sizzle even if you have the greatest content if you could have made this content and that sizzle nearly as much and the content would have still been amazing without all the great graphics without all you know the packaging this the cinematic vibe of it you could have gone down to Linda route wrote if you wanted to and and just put out great content and you could still have the exact same scripts the exact same content but not nearly presented in that this beautiful way that you've presented it and and it's an inspiration to me like okay, well if I'm gonna do my stuff I got to take it up a notch I got to you know I can't shoot it on my iPhone Not that there's anything wrong with that but I'm not going to shoot it on my iPhone I'm going to be shooting it on a cinematic camera I'm going to call it great it you know I'm gonna do graphics on it and all this kind of stuff to make it look as cinematic as possible without going stupid the crazy like you did. Because you're crazy. You're absolutely nuts.

Paddy Bird 1:29:42
A little bit not so then there might have been that now. It's done.

Alex Ferrari 1:29:46
I can't even imagine the conversation. I can't even imagine the conversations you had at the beginning of this. Okay, so this is what I want to do. Like I like to the first person, that's the first person you talk to you like Okay, so this is my idea. It's gonna be cool inside the edit and I'm gonna Do this this and this and people are like what are you absolutely mad you know but but you and I both have something that is is fast and I don't know how you feel about it but to be able to create as a creator because you and I both are creators and we're both artists in our own ways to take something that did not exist inside the Edit was in your mind and there was no inside that calm there wasn't even there wasn't even a history of you doing this kind of stuff. It's not like it's something there was no history about it at all. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show

Paddy Bird 1:30:47
Hyperlink was when I started this internet company I had no idea the whole internet thing just passed me by but right it's like I knew nothing about it but you know everything's in your mind filmmaking is anybody walk out onto the street right now wherever you are in the world everything that's not green or Brown was made right off in someone's mind you know and to bring out from nature is cement you walk on the car, the television the advertising board the scenario is everything Everything Everything Everything is in your mind and that's where I certainly the big battle I've I've been I've been you know fighting for the last year of inside the Edit is fighting against not fighting against books certainly just sort of going Oh, hold on a minute, you know, I don't care that this is 4k or I don't care that this is Scott 64 bit background rendering. I don't care about any of that stuff. Um, you know, as john lennon said, you know, I'm an artist you give me a tuber. I'll get something out of it. You know, like it's the artistic side is deeply underrepresented in today's world. It's all about the technology and this and that and does it have this lens and that and

Alex Ferrari 1:32:02
The gear the gear porn?

Paddy Bird 1:32:05
Oh, yeah, yeah, you know that manual inside out. But it's like, can you tell a story that's that's what, what ever. The whole industry is in deep, deep, deep need of its people who can tell stories. No one cares, whether you've memorized the manual to that stuff, there's 1000 people were 10,000 a million people within the industry can do that. Better than you it's concentrating on being a storyteller and that's what we do in inside the edit and it's concentrating away from all of that all of that that tech techno porn it's just I I'm still flabbergasted by it but

Alex Ferrari 1:32:44
It's it's it's it's definitely a sub niche of a niche of the filmmaking niche without question and what I was saying earlier like the I can only imagine the immense amount of I don't know what the word is but that you've been able to create something from nothing and built this huge community and you're helping people and this is all came I literally out of your head and I love it and I've been able to do that with indie film hustle in my small way that literally there was nothing there was no URL I would I was out of the game doing other things for three years I was still in and out of business you know still ran my post house but I was not in it heavily. And I literally came back out of nowhere and launched indie film hustle and turned it to what it is now and now I get fan mail and I get texts that text but tweets and Facebook messages and emails of people like man thank you for that last podcast it's it's changed you know really changement I had one guy email wonderful feeling Oh my God,

Paddy Bird 1:33:44
That love and knowledge

Alex Ferrari 1:33:47
I started printing out the the emails and at the end the messages so I can have them in a book somewhere. So when I get down, I can just go back and read because there was one one podcast I did with on crowdfunding. And I forgot the person's name. But they emailed they messaged me and they're like, you know, I wasn't even going to continue going down this road. But after I because I just was so disheartened. Like, I can never get my movie made. I can never get it out there. But after I heard this interview with you, and Emily, you guys told me that I showed me that I can do this. And I'm going to go off and you know, do my dream now. And I was like, I was like, Oh my god, like that's so amazing. So it's a high that people don't understand unless you're doing it. And that this is you know that this podcast has turned into the number one podcast in filmmaking on iTunes and that is how many months that's that was in about two and a half months. It took about two and a half months to three months around. To get to the

Paddy Bird 1:34:43
What you're doing is is is 1,000% right, Alex. I mean it's phenomenal. It's just like you've found something and created something again, out of absolutely nothing, which now you're just wanting like oh no, this is phenomenal. I mean, I I mean, I haven't even heard that type of growth before.

Alex Ferrari 1:35:02
Well, it's and it's an Oh and by the way, it's not only in filmmaking I have it in like, if you type in cinematography, I'm right behind the ASC if you if you type in visual effects I'm number one if you type in a film, like there's certain keywords that like all these big keywords, I was like, What? Like, how am I? For a moment I was ahead of the ASC I'm like, I have two podcasts about cinematography, how is this possible but because of the the growth and the strength of the entire brand or the entire show, it kind of overpowers even smaller niches like that. But it's fascinating and it's so humbling honestly it's humbling and 2016 is going to be an insane year I can only imagine if the if I can continue to grow like this like you have like what you've done in a year is insane but if I could continue to grow the way I'm growing in the next year and make my movie that I'm planning to make and go through that whole process it's going to be an interesting interesting journey so

Paddy Bird 1:35:58
Absolutely no doubt that you will Alex I really it's phenomenal what you've achieved in in in four months it's amazing it's another year God imagine we're going to be

Alex Ferrari 1:36:09
I can only imagine where we're going to because it's starting to You know what's funny about our what we do is it snowballs it literally snowballs like the little bit like you know you start like okay, I got 20 followers on Twitter I got 155 I got 100 followers on Twitter and then all of a sudden you like Oh, I got 10,000 and then once you the thing that that people don't understand is when you start gaining momentum in any aspect of your business, whether that be an editing whether that be a filmmaker it starts to grow and it's it starts to become a little easier to grow and faster to grow because

Paddy Bird 1:36:41
More creates more it always has

Alex Ferrari 1:36:42
It's just fascinating to us I was just fascinated to watch that all of a sudden now I'm inundated with interview requests like I have so many people wanting to be on the show and and now I'm like I literally have shows for four months out now. And I'm like you know it's like insanity and I got content coming in like crazy so I've got all this high end content coming out and it's like how you grow it's becomes easier so it's just started it's like they always say is like you know it's easy to Be a Millionaire you just gotta get that first million

Paddy Bird 1:37:14
So they say isn't the first one is the hardest, the next 10 is.

Alex Ferrari 1:37:19
And that's it. Same thing with financing a film like if you got 100 grand, I can get you another 300. But getting that first 100 is a is a bitch. But But I want to thank you man, I wanted to thank you for coming back on the show, I wanted to kind of go into a little bit more detail about the the black arts of not editing, but of being an editor, and actually the survival of being an editor and a thriving of being an editor. And I think we've thrown out a lot of good gems and I just love talking to you. I'm sure I'll have you on the show again soon.

Paddy Bird 1:37:50
It was a pleasure. And it's always nice

Alex Ferrari 1:37:55
And then I'll put a link to And guys, I'll have a link on the show notes for inside the Edit where you'll get a special discount indie film, hustle discount, and I'll have that in the show notes as well. So I'll get you all that information soon. Batman. Thank you so so much for being on the show again, brother. I really appreciate it.

Paddy Bird 1:38:13
Hey, man, absolute pleasure. I really really enjoyed it. And yeah, very best of luck with indie film, hustle. It's gonna be weld. weld, domineering, I'm sure.

Alex Ferrari 1:38:25
May the force be with you, sir.

Paddy Bird 1:38:30
Take care, brother.

Alex Ferrari 1:38:31
Now, I did warn you that we were gonna geek out and we definitely did without question. I hope you guys picked up something from that episode, because there was a lot of wonderful gems in there as well as the last episode that I did with Paddy. It was just too old editing dogs sitting down and talking. But I would have killed a bit in that conversation when I was starting out in my career, whether being an editor or in any kind of part of discipline within the film industry. So I really hope you guys got something out of it because I had a ball I think you know, I think you feel that through the earbuds that you're listening through right now. So thanks again for listening guys. If you want to get the Show Notes for this episode, head over to and you get all the show notes there. And don't forget to head over to filmmaking podcast calm and leave us an honest review of the show it helps us out dramatically So thank you again so much guys. Oh and a little update, we should be releasing the Twitter hacks how to get 10,000 true fans in 10 weeks course in the next week or so. So I will get keep you guys all informed about that through either my social media, if you're on our list, we're going to be emailing you out about that. And of course if you want to get on our list, just head over to and sign up because you get a bunch of cool stuff when you sign up. And you get up to you keep updates with what we're doing at indie film hustle and get you a lot of great information. as well, so keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.




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IFH 040: Knowing When to Work for FREE in the Film Industry

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So I know working in the film industry can be tough. Breaking in is even tougher. Many people tell you to have to work for free or intern somewhere to get a foot in the door. Now those people aren’t totally wrong.

The question is when do you work for free? When is trading your time, energy and effort really worth it? In this episode, I break down when you should work for free or cheap and when you need to stand your ground and get paid.

This episode is not just for film students. I tell you my story of when I got to Los Angeles and what I choose to do and why even after having 10 years of experience, credits and work under my belt. Enjoy this eye-opening episode.

Alex Ferrari 0:00
Now this is something is really a touchy subject, because a lot of people like I'm not going to work for free. I'm I'm worth more than that, I'm not going to pour myself out. And that's great. And I'm proud that you feel that way. But I'm going to tell you how I did it and how I do it and how I suggest other people do it. And I've seen other people do this, as well. So when you're starting out in any business, specifically in the film business, you're going to work for free, you're going to intern, that's a way to get in, there's so much competition to get into the film industry in any aspect or any discipline of the film industry that for you to expect to be paid right out the gate is very unrealistic in today's world. So what I did is I started working for free as an intern at a production company in Miami, right out of school, and I worked for free for about three to four months. And I drove an hour there and an hour back every day, that's my uphill in the snow barefoot story. And they paid for my gas. But that was it. I paid for everything else. Now I was younger, I was living at home, I didn't have much overhead. And I was just trying to get my career off the ground. So I sat there and I worked. And I just was indispensable. And as at a certain point, my my boss quit. And when he quit, I got the job. And that's where my job my whole career started going through that through that process. So when you're starting out, you have to work for free, you have to see what you're going to learn though, because there's a lot of internships, or a lot of jobs or movies or things like that, that you'll jump on to learn and if they just have you running around doing coffee and crap, you know, at a certain point, you know, you have to do a little bit of that but at a certain point you got to learn something along the way. If not, it's not a real fair deal. Then if that if that's the case, then they should hire pa to go do all those runs. But look, I did it. We all did it. There was a bunch of that kind of stuff. I was interning at Universal Studios in Florida, where before before a while I was at school and I had to drive a producer, a producers I basically moved the producer he was moving and I was brought in to help carry furniture. So that's a bit abusive, you know, and at a certain point you just got to go this might not be what I'm looking for. But we all have to do it, we all have to kind of go through through the, the trials and tribulations of working for free. But you have to ask yourself the question, What am I going to learn? What contacts Can I get? And what can I leverage from this relationship. So what I mean with that is like, let's say, you get a job interning at a show, let's say you're working on The Big Bang Theory, as an analyst, I'm just tossing that out there. And you're an intern on The Big Bang Theory, well, because the Big Bang, the Big Bang, The Big Bang Theory, which is one of the biggest shows on television right now is on your resume, it makes it a little bit easier for you to get the next job. So that's where I would in and then you might do a little bit more grunt work at that job, because the prestige of working at that place, opens up doors, so you have to be smart about it. Now, if you're going to go work for free as an intern, or just work for free for a production company that just opened up, and it's two guys fold out tables, no credits, no read anything. And they expect you to do all this stuff for free, there's not really a lot and you're not learning on top of that, if you're teaching, they're teaching you a whole lot of stuff, that's one thing, but if you're not, what's the point, you know, it's like you're just working for free. And that's not the point, if you're going to work, if you're going to exchange your labor and your time, you need to have something in return. If it's not money, then it has to be education, it has to be credits, it has to be something that you can leverage, or getting experienced that experience that you would never be able to get in any other way or something that helps you resume something else that will move you forward in the film industry. So I'll give you a couple of tips, the things that I did, after I started doing all the grunt work. So once I did all that it opened up a lot of doors, having Universal Studios, and having a bunch of shows as an intern. While I was at school, I was already was interning at school. So I was at school and I would you know, skip classes sometimes, because I learned more on the set of working on professionals, you know, backstage and all that kind of stuff working as an intern than I ever did sometimes in in a class about audio, which is another story altogether. But um, so I would I learned a lot during those internships. Then once I got into the field, and I started editing. So that's my path. My path was editing and learning that I started to figure out what sometimes you get asked as an editor, what do you want to learn you can you do this job for free. So when I got to LA, I was Fresh Off the Boat, literally. And I literally just had my final cut system in my spare bedroom. And this is about about 10 years ago now. And I was just just I knew three people in Los Angeles when I showed up. And I was asked to do a few I started doing work and I started getting paid and stuff, but then I would get approached to do free jobs. So what I did was with free jobs that came in, I always analyze them to see what they would be worth to me. If so if it's a free job, I'm like, Oh, it's a free job with with a short film that has no stars, and has no anything that really I can leverage. Or even if it's not beautiful, like beautiful footage. So let's say I've done some free jobs before that the footage is just so stunning, that I knew would do really well on my demo reel. So I would either give them a really good deal or I would do it for free. And I don't do free. I don't do any free jobs now, of course. But at the beginning, you have to start building up that resume start building up those connections. So I would do free jobs. For that, for that purpose. For really gorgeous footage that was very rare, though there was very rare stuff that I would get like that. On a side note, guys, I just want you to realize that when I got to LA, I had already been in the industry working for probably about 10 years and had a decent resume behind me and a decent amount of work behind me. But it lacked a little bit of star power, it lacked a little bit of that Hollywood, you know magic dust, whatever you want to call it. So I was willing after being after already working in the industry for 10 years and building up a lot of credential a lot of credits. I decided strategically to do this again when I got to LA because in LA I was just another editor I was just another guy, I needed something to start making me stand out a little bit more. So that's why I decided to work for free on certain jobs for the reasons I've already laid out. So then I got offered once a Snoop Dogg video, and I stoop knock music video to color grade. And the director was a kind of first time director. He just happened to get Snoop Dogg to be in one of his music videos. And I said he's like Could you do it? I don't have a lot of money. And I said absolutely. Because I could leverage Snoop Dogg into other jobs. So the second I did that Snoop jobs Snoop Dogg video for free. I was offered a ton of other work and it kept paying off for years to come because I would have snoop on my reel. I would have snoop on my website. I would have Snoop everywhere. I would just market the hell that I worked with Snoop because I leveraged his fame and his cachet, to benefit me and to push me forward as a colorist. So then as other things started coming by, when people start looking at you, they're like, Oh, he's worked with Snoop Dogg. So he looks like I look much more professional. But really, I was just a guy in a bedroom. In, you know, Toluca Lake, you know, it was not, you know, it was it was in a big a big facility, but I gave the impression that I was. So that's one way you one reason why you would do free work like that. So after that, you start doing less and less less free work. And then at a certain point, you just don't do free work anymore. Unless it's something really significant, or someone you really want to work with, or it's a director you really want to build a relationship with, or a producer or production company or something along those lines. But at that level, when you're dealing with those higher up levels, generally, those people don't ask for you to work for free anymore. It's more when people are starting out. So that's that's one story. Another story is a friend of mine, who's a visual effects artist who wanted to get into the big visual effects houses, but he's starting to build his career. So he would do a lot of free jobs doing visual effects. Now, his his things were not as much well, and of course, anytime you can get a star on your demo reel, or be associated with a brand, a company, production company, a show a movie, a series, and that has cachet, you want to take advantage of that. So what he did is he would do jobs that would have visual effects shots that have that we're working on famous actors, his faces or in the background or shots with these famous actors on it. So he started putting those things on his demo reel, I was guiding him during this process, because I was telling him how to do this. So he would do a bunch of little, you know, little crap shots that you know, didn't really do anything for his demo reel. But all of a sudden, he would put a face on his demo reel. So his demo reel started getting better and better and better. Not particularly, not particularly like he would do some really high end shots. But the the shots that would be predominant in the demo reel would not only just be the high end shots that he would do that had no cachet to it other than the technical aspect. But he would he would sprinkle in all of these stars and actors and projects that he would work on that might have not been technically the best thing he'd ever done. But it showed that he worked with these people against leveraging their fame, their cache, to move himself forward. So he did a bunch of that. And when he went to get interviewed at digital domain, one of the reasons why he got the job, and a bunch of other people who were more highly skilled than he was to his he admitted this, they said specifically was because he was he had such a long history of working independently. And because of that, and then also the cache and having stars on this film that all helped. And he found that out later after he got in, like yeah, you're the only one that looked like you You knew what you were doing. Well all these other guys might have had cool shots, but none of them had the cache that yours did. And then it also he was building up his IMDb credits. So IMDb, obviously if nobody knows it's Internet Movie Database, or IMDb calm, which is the industry standard for where all credits are and stuff and everybody wants credits on there because that's where people go look you up. So people look me up all the time. You just type in Alex, Ferrari and IMDb, I'm generally the number one guy, there not a lot of other Alex Ferrari is doing what I do. And you'll see all my credits from as a director of production and so on. So if there's something that can build up your IMDb as well, that's another reason to work for free or very inexpensively to get that that thing going. So again, when you're working for free, you have to figure out and ask yourself those questions. What is it going to do for me? Am I going to learn anything? Am I going, how am I going to leverage this? And how am I going to use the cachet that I might get from this thing to move my career forward with credits, resume and or demo reel material. Now again, I'm talking about demo reels and posts and stuff like that. But if you're just starting out in production, you just want to associate yourself with amazing people and amazing projects. So pa on shows or interning on big shows will hopefully open up other doors and if you could, once you're in those doors, you can start trying to work for free. So let's say you get in the door of a show like 24 I'll use it you know before they cancelled it 24 was a huge show. And I knew a lot of people who worked on that show. So you know, an intern would come in work and then maybe they'll start paying but then they'll start befriending the production of the production design department. So then they would start working for free maybe off hours and you know, things like that for them to the point where they befriend those people, those people those higher ups in that department and they and they go Hey, do you want to come work for us? And all of a sudden now you're not just a PA but your production design pa or you're an art department pa and now you're going down that path And now you're building up your credits that so you have to choose which path you want to go. But this is how you get in. And this is how you start moving and leveraging and growing and building your resume building your, your ambient, not your ambience, but your cache as a person in the industry. So if you're in LA, this is a lot easier because there's so many big cache projects and people that you can work with. But if you take you know, you work here for 10 years, you go out to a smaller market, all of a sudden, you are the big fish because you've worked on all these other projects. So again, there is benefit to working for free, you just have to know when to do it, and why you're doing it. And don't get abused because there's people who will abuse the hell out of you. Trust me, I know this for a fact. I anytime I've ever worked with interns working for me, I've always taken good care of them, and always tried to teach them and help them. And in one of our past episodes I just did with one of my former interns Brandt's person who has gone on to direct you know, three or four big features and work on propaganda films with David Fincher and all this stuff. He was my intern, and I made sure to teach him everything I could teach him, so he wasn't just running around getting coffee for me. So I always try to help as much as I can when I have interns working for me So remember, just figure out why you're doing it and if it makes sense for you, but those are just some tips on how to know when to work for free. So hope you guys enjoyed this episode if you have if you want to check out the show notes head over to And again, please head over to filmmaking podcast calm and leave us an honest review of the show. It really helps us out a lot. So keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.




  1. Bulletproof Script Coverage – Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
  2. AudibleGet a Free Filmmaking or Screenwriting Audiobook
  3. – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)