The Reel Truth on How to Survive Making an Indie Film with Reed Martin
Have you ever wish that you could avoid pitfalls and mistakes that other filmmakers made before you? Today’s guest does just that. Reed Martin is the author of the best-selling book The Reel Truth: Everything You Didn’t Know You Need to Know About Making an Independent Film.
Reed Martin is a former adjunct professor at NYU’s Stern School and Columbia Business School. Previously, he has worked as the Director of Marketing at Independent Pictures, the New York-based production company of producer Cary Woods (“Swingers,” “Scream”). Martin is also a former research associate at Harvard Business School, where he created class materials for the senior faculty.
Here’s a bit on his best-selling book:
Did you know that most of the biggest indie filmmakers, screenwriters, and producers working today each made the same avoidable mistakes early on in their careers?
The Reel Truth details the pitfalls, snares, and roadblocks that aspiring filmmakers encounter. Reed Martin interviewed more than one hundred luminaries from the independent film world to discuss the near misses that almost derailed their first and second films and identify the close shaves that could have cut their careers short.
Other books may tell you the best way to make your independent film or online short, but no other book describes so candidly how to spot and avoid such issues and obstacles as equipment problems, shooting-day snafus, postproduction myths, theatrical distribution deal-breakers, and dozens of other commonly made missteps, including the top fifty mistakes every filmmaker makes.
From personal experience and his years as a freelance reporter covering independent film for USA Today and Filmmaker magazine, Martin uncovers the truth about the risks and potential rewards that go with chasing celluloid glory. Whether you’re writing a screenplay, looking for financing, about to start shooting or thinking about investing time and money (or someone else’s money) in an independent film, The Reel Truth is a must-read.
Get ready for some killer knowledge bombs and enjoy my conversation with Reed Martin.
Alex Ferrari 0:01
So guys, today on the show, we've got author Reed Martin, who is the author of an amazing book I read a while ago called the real truth, everything you didn't know you needed to know about making an independent film. What we did is he went around and interviewed over 100 different independent filmmakers, very successful filmmakers, and just ask them, what were the mistakes you made? What are the pitfalls that you went through? And he wanted to kind of create a resource for filmmakers not to fall into those kind of debacle and lose money in the in the filmmaking process. So of course, as you know, that's one of the reasons I even created indie film hustle. So we are of two like minds without question. You know, in the book, he goes over equipment problems, shooting day snack foods, post production myths, theatrical distribution, deal breakers, and amazing a bunch of just other stuff that you go through and even gives you a top 50 mistakes every filmmaker makes. So I want to get them on the show. I wanted to kind of really dig in, and just milk as much information here with his ease as he was willing to give us on this episode. So without any further ado, enjoy my conversation with Reed Martin. I'd like to welcome to the show Reed Martin. Thanks for coming on, man.
Reed Martin 3:05
Hey, thanks for having me.
Alex Ferrari 3:06
Appreciate it, man. So let's I want I always like to do the origin stories of my guests. So how did you get into the business? And how did you get interested in filmmaking?
Reed Martin 3:16
Well, you know, I've always been a film buff, I've been able to go to the Cannes Film Festival in 1995, as a guest of the French Embassy Trade Office, I had entered an essay contest that they had posted up at Columbia, and actually one that I wrote about French cinema and its challenges of, of finding an audience, a modern audience in the United States. So then after grad school, I worked at 20th Century Fox Film in Los Angeles. So worked in marketing there then I was director of marketing at producer Carrie woods, New York based production company independent pictures. And then I covered Sundance for USA Today. That was in 2005, and taught a course at NYU for six years from about 2003 to 2009. And during that time, I had the inspiration and wrote my first book, which is the real truth, everything you didn't know you need to know about making an independent film. And ever since then, I've been sort of out on the road just sort of helping people realize their dreams of making their first or second film.
Alex Ferrari 4:25
Now what can you tell us a little bit about your experience making making films have you made or have you made a film
Reed Martin 4:31
yet? I have actually Yeah, well, I made a short okay. thing was it was a very expensive show.
Alex Ferrari 4:39
Those always the aren't those the best type? Tell me about it almost.
Reed Martin 4:44
You know, you could almost make a feature for how much I made this short for door to door like $45,000 which is quite a lot. Yes. The problem is because I wasn't necessarily from the independent person. Inside, I knew a lot of people in the independent film world, but I didn't have a crew of people who were coming up with me, I didn't hadn't gone to film school. So I didn't really have a lot of people I could call on. And as a result, most of the people I hired to work on it were very, extremely talented, but they all came from advertising and creating ads. And so they typically wanted their day rate. And so all of a sudden, if you're in a most favored nations situation, then you're paying sort of full freight for everybody. And that, that's, that's, that's one challenge. The other one is that we shot on this very high end, high definition format, which can have its own problems, because once you once you decide to shoot on a very high end, and everything has to be done sort of that way. And so as we can discuss today in the podcast, that can have implications for post, it can have implications for your production, and so it kind of boxes you into doing things, you know, sort of the hard way or the expensive way. And so that was another issue, but, but really, um, you know, that having this experience of making this film, which had a very large cast as well, you know, I went about doing it, the totally the wrong way as many people. In fact, that's one of the that's one of the exciting, fun parts about my book, The real truth is that I interviewed all these famous filmmakers, 100 famous filmmakers that you know, and admire and want to emulate. And I asked them, you know, what's the worst thing that's ever happened to you on a film set, and very often, many of them, many of their first films that we think of as their first films are actually not their first film because their first phones never saw the light of day and they had to keep going another became their first film. So it's one of the reasons having gone through this experience myself, which was really akin to Steve Buscemi, and living in oblivion. Great movie that is great. It really encapsulates the whole, the whole experience, the
Alex Ferrari 6:55
grip, the grip, the grip with the screenplay in the back pocket is just
Reed Martin 7:01
the way that it's folded over. Yes,
Alex Ferrari 7:03
yes. It's all wrapped up. Yeah. Because it's in his back pocket.
Reed Martin 7:05
Exactly. Perfect. I know. It's, it's great. Every character was so indelible. And that's all. Um, you know, it's one of the reasons I wanted to write the real truth, because I had asked the producer Ted hope, who now works at Amazon, I had asked him way back when, at the I think it was at the issm, which I guess then became iafp. I said, you know, what are all the things that can go wrong on a film set? And he said, Oh, you know, it would take hours to explain, and it would fill the pages of the Manhattan phone directory. And so after I made this, this HD short that I made, I decided I would write a book that was actually as big as the Manhattan phone directory, or at least approaching it. It's 540 pages. Yeah, it's
Alex Ferrari 7:43
a pretty thick book. Yeah, I
Reed Martin 7:44
mean, because there's just so many things. And so you know, about everything that would go wrong on a film set, but I didn't want people to take it for me, because I wasn't someone who anybody had heard of. So I asked all the famous filmmakers I could, independent filmmakers I could speak to at leading thoughts on festivals in New York and Park City during Sundance and I asked them to tell me their stories and if it's something that I had gone through on my short extrapolate had ever happened to them. And in fact, the things that I included in the book were the things that happened to me and also happened to them and and to answer your question, you know, about the experience and making for so I mean, we had all kinds of problems that no one had ever mentioned, like timecode bubbles and bad sound line readings, and we needed a ton of ADR, we had missing shots that we didn't shoot because we didn't storyboard. There were some issues with the HD video, which we can discuss we had a backup, hard drive that failed, it just went on and on and one of the thing that was the most surprising to me, which is something that I just never heard of, and there's a ton of these, which is that we have some kind of weird Phantom reverb on some of the actors voice we're shooting in a giant in a very large room and so when you're shooting it in a space that's that large the actors voices can come in with a bit of an echo on it even if you have the boom right up to their shirt right up to their faces and so what so what I one of the things I talked about in the book is how if you're going to do a location scout, you find the perfect place you have to actually or you should bring your sound engineer along with you to the scout so that you can find out if there's some kind of issue whether it's, you know, whether it's planes flying over every five minutes or whatever it is, but there can also be very subtle issues with sound that make a location unusable.
Alex Ferrari 9:22
Oh, yeah, without quite I mean, I had an anomaly happened with me once I shot a film on actual 35 millimeter and there was something wrong with the gate and I got phasing in the film. Wow, I literally got phase and so there was like streaks of light coming out. Anytime there was a light there was a streak that would go straight up and it was just it was just the gate. There was something wrong with the gate. And light was leaking in and basically all the footage was we kind of fixed it, but it was pretty much useless. So these are things that people don't talk about.
Reed Martin 9:56
A lot, not some kind of a Kubrick effect that you are going for No, I
Alex Ferrari 9:59
will Should I wish I could say yes, it was but no, it was not a Kubrick effect, though now thinking about it. Yes, yes, it was no
Reed Martin 10:08
parents malloc or something with all kinds of or who has all the lens flares like, well, that
Alex Ferrari 10:13
would be that we didn't know. But that Butlins boys don't go up, they go sign up, it was very unpleasant. But yeah, things are like that like, like you were saying what the sound like, you know, like, Oh, this is a great location. But if sound sucks, then you get? The thing is and I find with with production in general and I know You talk a lot about this in the book is that you got to think about the long game, you got to think about the workflow, you got to think about the path, because this one decision can just that it could, the waves of that one decision can just affect so many things. And you have to have that mentality of thinking about things down the line, as opposed to just write what's in front of you. Does that make sense? Do you agree? I
Reed Martin 10:53
think you're I think you're absolutely right. I mean, one of the things I talked about in the book is that you need a fundraising effort to fund the fundraising effort you have to make, you have to raise some money so that you can have this interval to go around and talk to people because otherwise, you know, you may you may not be able to sustain your effort of raising the funds and to your point, you know, with workflow you have to make if you're shooting on some kind of exotic new camera or some sort of high end equipment, you need to you need to test your workflow all the way to the end, you almost need to make a short film a one minute short or a two minute 32nd advertisement or a YouTube video, whatever it is, you need to test your workflow all the way through post all the way to the end, to make sure that you're not going to have some strange anomaly as you pointed out, or some kind of thing that you just never would have thought of. Right at the end when you get into post production where all the magic is supposed to happen, you can end up in a complete catastrophe.
Alex Ferrari 11:45
Oh, and and I've seen many of those
Reed Martin 11:50
really is just the most collaborative of the arts. And the thing that people don't realize is that, you know, I'm not saying this to be discouraging, I'm saying this is what the real truth focuses on to help you, you know, realize your dreams and it's okay to have your head in the clouds as long as your feet are on the ground. But people people just don't realize that sheer force of will sheer force of will if you have the stamina and the drive of like a James Cameron or Kathryn Bigelow, that's not enough to carry the day because there are so many technical issues and there's so many people who have to be operating at the top of their game and very often it's just difficult to corral all that and also to foresee everything that you might run into and it's
Alex Ferrari 12:29
it's honestly a miracle when the movies made it's it's surely it mean for anybody who's been in the trenches to get a full blown movie made with everything hitting on sale on all cylinders? is an absolute miracle it really is especially in the indie world it's almost I mean it's just fascinating when I see a good indie film that everything worked the story work the cast work the lighting work the camera work the directing work it's such a rare thing.
Reed Martin 12:56
It really can be that's the thing people would be much more forgiving of movies that they see you know, they wouldn't shrug their shoulders and say or something like that. They knew all of the you know the effort and deprivation that was poured into you know, poured into that because it's it's very hard to even it's as challenging as you just said, to even make a not so great independent film not alone. It's a stellar film
Alex Ferrari 13:21
just a technically sound film. Just making a technically sound film screw the acting screw the writing screw the directing, just something that technically works. That's a miracle in today's world. You know, it's it's, it's really fast. And because I've been in post for over 20 years doing indie films, I ended up I mean, I from experience can tell you it is a miracle sometimes but but filmmakers do definitely have to think about about the whole process. And let me ask you look, what what are some of the troubles that filmmakers get into in post?
Reed Martin 13:53
Well, that's the thing you know, to your point, um, you know, a lot of people say, Don't worry, we'll fix it in post. You know, I hate that post. I mean, that's a sort of a catchphrase that people hear. And it's reassuring, but some what people may not know. And one of the things I discussed in the real truth is that some things go wrong, that they can't be fixed in post. Some things go wrong during production, but also things can happen in post that that can go off the rails and post and they may not be fixable. Not everything is fixable, and post and so an obvious one that people overlook, again is if they're shooting with very high definition cameras, or they get some kind of a deal on a free camera or a modern camera or test drive or some like that, say they're shooting in 6k or even we'll push ahead for you know, next year or so like that, say they have a chance to shoot an 8k. If that becomes a thing that's lunacy, that's lunacy widely available. So all of a sudden, so you have this amazing camera and you're shooting this Ultra High Definition format. But all of a sudden that causes big problems in post because the file size of the video are gigantic. So that means you need an editing an editing Bay, you may not be able to edit on a MacBook Pro, you may need some much higher machine like a Dell Precision or you know a Mac Pro tower so that's much more expensive and you know the the file size is so large that the store you have storage issues now with your hard drives and your backup hard drives and your scratch hard drives so if you were shooting in 2k or 4k Now you've got you know double the amount of equipment and backups that you need on the on the post side there's also you know, there's problems with sync sound I think you mentioned I had an issue with with with that at one point so if you're you know, if you're shooting on some if your sound equipment is not completely matched up to the the camera you're using then you can have an issue in post where you have to resync the sound and it can go out of sync and so you get dialog bleed and that can be a whole headache and so you can basically spend your entire post interval which people typically under budget for they don't think of they don't give themselves a cushion they may give themselves a cushion on the shooting where they may give themselves on the budget for a crane day or for some special Of course of
Alex Ferrari 16:00
course but ya know the Pope and post they never you always you always run out of money a post oh
Reed Martin 16:07
right and that's typically why so many people need finishing funds it's not because they need to film a shot that they weren't able to get it's because they ate into their post or they ate into their you know their remaining budget for other things for licensing or for music to just get the film shot but everybody ends up needing finishing funds on some level or another interval a fundraising another Kickstarter round at the end to be able to finance the post the post part I guess another recent problem that people are having in post is that you know, they may choose to shoot they may choose excuse me, they may choose to edit on you know, Final Cut Pro X or FPF cp 10 Final Cut Pro 10 whatever they're calling it, and not a lot of professional editors are using that anymore. A lot of folks who were using Final Cut Pro seven have now switched to premiere or avid or whatever they came up with themselves but all of these things especially in post people sort of push it to the backburner but it's something that the line producer should be discussing early it's something that the director should be and the producers should be discussing early
Alex Ferrari 17:07
absolutely and in a post supervisor would be lovely to consult at that at some point along the way.
Reed Martin 17:12
Not even at some point along the way. Get a post supervisor the post supervisor should be on day one yes so supervisors should be brought in some people think like well I don't want to have to pay this person's day rate for them to sit around and do nothing but that you're not that's that's not how it is you should bring in the post supervisor way early so that they can get out ahead of the things they're gonna cost you double and triple down line that's the other funny thing about post is that a lot of people who think like well every time you try to say he tried to do you know cut corners or save money or save a nickel you end up paying you know 10 times as much as it would have cost to do it the right way when the time comes around and so absolutely having your your post supervisor on early as part of the just as part of the main the main team is really crucial.
Alex Ferrari 17:57
I always always tell them if they can't afford a post supervisor at least consult one pay them a few hours pay them a day to come in and set up the workflow for you and then also be available for questions along the way. At minimum at minimum because if not like you say it will cost them down the line and it just it just will right absolutely. Now if you were gonna market or distribute an indie film in today's world what would you do
Reed Martin 18:24
well you know the thing is about marketing independent films today I mean there's so many more opportunities than there used to be I mean people used to just sort of take their their cans of film around with them you know from place to place or have screenings based on the topic of interest you know, where you might have screenings on army bases or, or whatever whatever it was, but um, you know, today there's just an enormous number of platforms that you can get the word out I mean, you can join up every film group on Facebook and there are literally you know, 90 I'm not kidding, like, no, hundreds, there's hundreds Yeah, join all those and you can, you can get the word out that way there's, you know, obviously there's Twitter and stuff like that. And while that might be an echo chamber or a vacuum of just the person's friends you know, there are other ways to sort of create a splash I mean, you can put something on Vimeo you can put trailers on Facebook, you can possibly take snippets of your film and use them as kind of bumpers to help promote a certain topic if there's if there's an issue that your your film addresses. So you can you can sort of use little trailers of your movie to, you know, to help promote an issue issue oriented or something like that. You know, there's the thing I would advise people on one of the things I talked about in the real truth is that, you know, hiring a publicist and you know, paying them 5000 or $10,000, that may or may not get you an article in a publication that would attract interest. That's not necessarily the best way to go and you might use that $5,000 to buy targeted advertising, again on Facebook, that's something where you can get really micro targeted. Just the other thing is just to try to, you know, try to get to festivals, try to, you know, try to interest, you know, publications or online publications, you know, or or, you know, publications that you might not think of which are covering a certain issue if there's a certain issue that that becomes Top of Mind in the in the in the national news, you might say, Well, I have a film that actually discusses that issue. And you can reach out to managing editors who you can find in the in the staff box of any magazine that you that you look at, and look for the managing editor and you can pitch to them and say, Hey, you know, this is a topic of interest. It's getting a lot of press, I happen to have made a film, we're available for interviews, and we can send you a copy of it and you can get some traction they're getting mentioned in a major national magazine, as the film that covers XYZ topic could be a springboard into generating more national interest.
Alex Ferrari 20:54
And also do Would you agree that in today's indie world, the filmmaker should not focus on trying to hit a mass market and focus more on a niche
Reed Martin 21:04
um, you know, I think that I think the niche audience is just where things are going I think it's very hard to beat to make an independent four quadrant you no movie that's gonna just attract everybody, I think, even if you are it really goes the other way. It's almost like Hollywood is making movies that are designed to appeal to the widest audience but are being being viewed by niche audiences just because people have their you know, they have their interests, they have their binge watching shows, and they have their, you know, their news feeds and things like that. And I think in many ways, while there's this cornucopia of content out there, people's blinders are on so that they really only focus on a certain number of topics of interest. So yes, I mean, if you're courting the if you're courting the exact perfect audience for your movie then that may be the most efficient approach definitely
Alex Ferrari 21:52
not and how about distribution? What do you What's your feeling on distribution in today's world,
Reed Martin 21:56
you know, there's a myth, there's a myth that you can get, you can for a while, you know, that you can rent out a house, you might be able to rent out a house in your local theater in your hometown for premiere one night, but there's sort of an ongoing myth that you can you know, take your film that you could show on a 2k projector in the local AMC and say, Okay, well you know, can I rent one of the houses in your multiplex and show your you know, my film and that that is kind of a myth of yesteryear The problem is there are so many namebrand independent films out there that have you know, that are in the pipeline for distribution that it's very hard for a theater or an exhibitor to take one of those films off and sort of kick them off and put up your independent film even if even if you have the money to pay for the for the house so so that's that's something that is you know, that people should have a reality check on at the same time though, you know, not every movie needs to be shown during the day obviously, if there's failure, you know, there's family fair that showing that's on a weekday that's not necessarily something that is going to need to be up on the screens for the for the 12 o'clock, two o'clock, four o'clock show on a weekday so that it is possible to and also because of digital exhibition now it is possible to make fast changes and to and to possibly get a an exhibition birth that way but as far as you know, distribution goes there, you know, there's there are companies like distributor distributor, excuse me, they're there, you know, there are companies that you know, you can Nope, not a lot of people, you know, buy DVDs anymore, and the traditional sales that they sales Ave that they used to, but you could sell DVDs from a merge table. So if you have if you have a free screening, or a presentation of your documentary or of our of your film, and you have people come to it, you might have people you might have 20 or 30 or 100 people who leave the theater and they want to buy a copy of the film as a DVD as a gift as a keepsake or as a souvenir and so even even generating screenings like that might be an avenue to possibly selling copies of the movie and generating revenue that way it's just always
Alex Ferrari 24:08
thinking outside the box basically in the game The rules are changing so rapidly almost daily now that you have to kind of roll with the punches and to start thinking on trying to intrude untraditionally
Reed Martin 24:19
well that's true I mean there are companies out there that can help you get your film converted to the right formats and digitized and put up on you know on iTunes and these other places for money so again, like distributor distributors are really great company. And so that's that's one of the avenues that people can look into to getting set up on on you know, online and having and monetizing their films that way. But then again, there are all sorts of issues like if you if you had you know if you if you were making a low budget version of like Blackfish about the you know, tillikum the Orca whale, you know, if you had something like that a version of that maybe it was about dolphins or whatever dolphin training or something like that. You know, if you had a lower budget that you might reach out to the ASPCA or to PETA or something like that. And you could possibly, you know, partner with them, give them some clips, there might be a way to, to sort of cross promote or cross market your project with somebody with an organization that's already established that has a huge mailing list that has a way to reach people who are very passionate and interested about your topic as well. And so that's a way to plug in and to and to reach an audience that you could possibly monetize, again with a keepsake DVD, not not selling the DVD as you used to, like, you know, in a big box store or something or in a bookstore. But just the people would buy it as a keepsake are a gift to people who are similarly passionate about your topic.
Alex Ferrari 25:40
Very cool. Now, what would you suggest for filmmakers looking for financing today? Because everyone's always looking for money for their next projects? What do you have any suggestions for?
Reed Martin 25:49
Well, you know, for filmmakers looking for financing that's, that's really where everything starts, that's probably the most important question there is. And I have a, I have two chapters on on financing actually, in the real truth. And one of the things I wrote about in the book is that filmmakers often think that they think erroneously, that there's only one person who can finance their film, it's like this one relative or that one friend, and that person is going to be their miracle. And they're going to either, you know, finance the movie out of their ATM card right then and there, or that that person is going to be a conduit to the quote unquote, right people that they have, that this person has a circle of, you know, friends, or high net worth individuals who that person is going to be the bridge. And this isn't always the case. And I think people get discouraged, because if it doesn't go well, if that person that they were counting on as the bridge to their financing doesn't really doesn't really groove on being thought of as as you know, as a pocket book like that, then they get discouraged. They think, Okay, well, my film, it's not possible, you know, my, my one miracle is not going to be possible. And that's actually not the case. There's a lot of different inflection points where aspiring filmmakers can get financing and they just shouldn't put their eggs in one basket, they should expand the timeline that they think it's going to take to raise the money because it often takes a lot longer than people think. But they should also think about other routes. I mean, yes, today, there's Kickstarter, there's Indiegogo, there's even Patreon. You know, there are ways for people to generate money from from big audiences. But also, as I talked about, in my book, you know, you might go to the Sundance screen screenwriters lab, you might get the script accepted into some other program, where it gets producers interested in then they can help with the financing, or they can help attract a star who will, you know, attract overseas, you know, financing or some other some other money from other sources. And so a lot of movies that start out as screenplays in the Sundance program or short films, they get made, you know, they get into a major festival and they, a producer, sees it at the festival and asks if there's enough material to expand the short into a feature film. Famously Napoleon Dynamite started out as a short that was in a festival and then producer said, you know, hey, let's let's, let's expand this. And then whiplash also famously started out as a short film, I think it was that big scene in the music room that everybody remembers, with JK Simmons freaking out. So I mean, that was just a short film just that bit. And so you know, having that having a calling card, or having a short that you can take around with people and say, you know, here's what I'm thinking of doing. here's, here's essentially the vibe that we're going for, that can help with the finance standard. And one of the things I think people don't think about either which is, which is another one is finding somebody who can storyboard finding an aspiring artist who's out there who can storyboard the entire screenplay, for a couple of 100 bucks, or even a couple of 1000 bucks, it's, it's worth paying for. So that you end up with this kind of, with this graphic novel. So you have the graphic novel, and you go around to people, and it basically is represented all the shots that you're going to have in the film and basically telling the story with the you know, with all the stencil and all that, and you basically can help people see your vision and see what this film is going to be realized. That's a lot more compelling than saying that going to somebody and saying, Hey, I'm an independent filmmaker, I have the script, will you read it? And you know, looking for money and having having your handout, it's much more compelling to have a finished thing, like a finished short that you can show people and you can say, this is what we're going for. This is the vibe, this is the energy, we're gonna expand it out. It's a much Don't you want to see what happens next. Or if you have this, you know, very high end, very glossy, very professional, and I'm talking about using storyboard quickness. saralee are doing it with stick figures, I'm talking about real full on polished, polished, comic graphic novel quality. And then that's something that you can go around to people and you can show that. And I think that's a lot more compelling than and it's certainly a much better approach than hoping that you know, the one friend that you have who has access to capital is going to bust you a check for $300,000.
Alex Ferrari 29:40
Right, exactly. Now, you were talking about attaching talent. What? How should independent filmmakers approach talent when they're trying to attach them through to their project?
Reed Martin 29:51
This is another thing that I actually I talked to, I talked about all through the real truth, because it's a tricky thing. attracting talent. I mean You know, for the real truth, I actually interviewed both Dylan Kidd, the director, writer, director and Campbell Scott, who's a writer director in his own right, who started Dylan's film Roger Dodger, which was actually one of Jesse Eisenberg's first starring roles. And so you know, Dylan kid at the time, who was an aspiring writer, director was working all kinds of odd jobs around Manhattan. I think he was a homecare attendant, and he was like a bouncer at a pool hall. And he's trying to drum up interest for a script. And he wouldn't happens. He runs into Dylan kid on the street. I'm sorry, he runs Dylan kid runs into Campbell Scott on the street, he pumps his screenplay on Campbell, Scott gets them to appear in the film and canvas that allows Dylan kit to write and directed.
Alex Ferrari 30:41
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Reed Martin 30:51
Now, that's a great story. And everybody is so inspired when they hear that, you know, panel discussions at festivals. However, the problem is everyone leaves hearing that story thinking that that's how it happens, or that that's how it's going to happen with them or that they're going to run into somebody on the street, they're going to pop the script on them. And that's just not how it works. The problem is, you know, somebody who's shopping for groceries at you know, Christie's or in LA and bonds or something like that. They don't want to hear how someone has some aspiring filmmakers going to resurrect their career like Tarantino or something, right? says, you know, hey, you know, you're kind of washed up, aren't you like, I can totally get you back on that. Like, I don't want to hear that. They also don't want to have to carry around a screenplay with their groceries, you know, in the checkout line, or have like five or six screenplays under their arm. So that's it. It's just a myth that people are delighted to hear you know how passionate a fan you are, and that you've got the screenplay and you happen to have it in your backpack on you. Or you have it in your car. Can I run out and get it? And the problem is, you know, there's only one Dylan kid, he's the exception. It's just not how movies are made. And people just don't want to hear that. People actually get mad at me. They're like, no, that is how it happened. And they really push back on that because it kind of upsets their applecart and it kind of breaks with the you know how their dream is organized. And that's the thing I didn't write the real truth coming from me personally, I interviewed filmmakers that you would know, Alexander Payne, Darren Aronofsky Verner Herzog, Christopher Nolan, you know, Ken Burns, Barbara kopple, all these people who tell you who basically confirmed what I'm saying, and then they tell you their stories. And that's why the book is is telling you is telling you the truth, this is how it goes. So to get talent to appear in your film. You just have to go through regular channels, you have to go through the actors agents, or you have to attend a festival or better yet, get into a festival with a short or with your screenplay, and then try to court actors that way. Or you have to you know, have money in escrow that you can make a formal offer. If you go to an actor's agent you say we have you know, $100,000 in escrow, here's the bank statement or we have $500,000 or however much it is, and we'd like your actor to appear on these days. That is that isn't that as an avenue we'll get your script read. But an even better, smarter approach I think to approaching talent is not looking for somebody who's been in a million independent films are not looking for somebody who the actor has their heart set on or who they you know, first, you know, got got excited about movies watching, you know, Jennifer Lawrence, when she was just starting out when Debra granik was casting and directing Winter's Bone she cast Jennifer Lawrence who had only been in one or two other small films before that and she was not the star Jennifer Lawrence was not a star I mean of course now she's one of the biggest, you know, actors there is ever and probably has a 20 or $25 million rate but the thing is the best way to approach talent is to approach the best talent that an individual filmmaker can have and create the next star or the next Jennifer Lawrence or something like that and cast the best actors that you can your project and not necessarily think not necessarily be wedded or tied to someone who is an established star or somebody who has been in other independent films that are similar to yours
Alex Ferrari 34:06
very very very good advice Now you also talk a lot about distribution deal breakers what are some of those because there is a long history of distribute distribution companies that are not on the up and up sometimes
Reed Martin 34:19
well I mean there's that but more often than not it's it goes the other way I mean, the aspiring first time independent filmmakers they've made so many sacrifices and you know they've ate eaten Rice Krispies and water practically all right, you know, whenever the the classic independent filmmaker line when they get asked what they like to drink a beverage with whatever their lunch order, no, you know, they're gonna save $2 on their lunch order. But you know, there's so much sacrifice that goes into making an independent film and the real truth really covers a lot of that. But when it comes to distribution, deal breakers, that's the shocking thing is that they can get all the way to having a finished film, and they can be talking to distributors and a major festival and then the whole thing falls apart and one of the biggest ones that I discussed in the book is really music rights, because people will assume wrongly that they can load up their independent films, all of this moving compelling music. And you know, it really makes the movie powerful. And oh my gosh, it's just it really cuts together well, it just cuts perfectly. And then they get to the distribution conversation and none of the music has been cleared, they may or may not even have festival rights to the music. And so essentially independent films every year at festivals become this mini subprime mortgage crisis. I mean, it really is how it is, they could they could very well look to independent film as as a precursor to that, because what happens is, you've got an independent film that that filmmaker wants to sell for 500,000, or for a million or for, you know, 10 million or however much they they're dreaming of selling it, but the film has a film might have a $700,000 or $1 million, or $1.5 million uncleared music budget. And it is wrong to assume that a distributor will just step in and make that go away or pony up the money from it. Typically what happens is it even if you do get the phone sold, the clearances and all that other stuff comes out of your advance or out of your entire payment. So all of the money that would have gone to the investors all the money that would have gone to the filmmakers, were working on deferred budgets, or who are hoping for points or upside, it all goes to clearing the music and everybody ends up with nothing or the distributor just says Look, that's there's no way it's too much Forget it. And they just walk away a lot of times distributors just there are other films who have done it the right way. There's so many films, who have done things the way that they're supposed to do that they don't have to hassle and they don't have to haggle with somebody who hasn't, who has all sorts of unpaid liabilities in their project. I mean, other distribution deal breakers are that they don't have the chain of title, they don't have to to film the they don't have clearances for all of their actors. And for all of your extras that can be a problem. There can be issues, there can be legal issues in terms of if the documentary subject is portrayed in a in a poor light or something that person may or may not sign off. So there are all sorts of issues that you can get into. And you know, these are things that you have to, you have to really talk about and discuss with your team up front. I don't want to give too many of them away, because I want people to take a look at the real truth. But you know, those are just some that that that folks should think about ahead of
Alex Ferrari 37:18
time. Now, let me ask you a question, though. Do you think in today's world, depending on the budget of the film, does it even make sense to go with a full, like a full blown distribution company, as opposed to self distribution, because if you make a movie for 50, grand, 100 grand, you know, could you if you're smart and build an audience, and so on and so forth, distribute the movie yourself and be able to recoup your money, but definitely something under 50 grand in today's world, or, or go with a distributor. Because you know, I'm that kind of budget, you know, I've seen so many times that they'll never see a dime ever, ever, ever, ever. And even if you get these big deals that get signed at Sundance, they're like, Oh, you know, they sold a movie for a million bucks. I'm like, that's great, but they will never see another dime again. That's all they're ever gonna see. So which is not bad. Trust me. I wouldn't mind a million dollar payday either. But, but in today's world, do you think you know, is it even worth going with a big distributor on a low budget indie like anywhere from 50 grand below?
Reed Martin 38:18
I mean, that's a great question that you bring out because that the issue is, it may not even be because of financial shenanigans. Because if people are assuming when they hear a question like that, that they're getting ripped off, or they're getting hosed in some way, but that's just not how it works. I mean, distributors are taking a huge, huge risk and they're ponying up the money for the for the for the film itself and actually probably you know for guarantees for for putting it out and distributing it but the marketing you know the marketing can be can certainly even on a larger budget film can cost more than than the film if a distributor is going to spend you know eight or nine or $10 million on marketing they're only getting back half of that from the theater so they may buy a film for a million dollars for you know for a minimum guarantee and then which which is also very high these days a lot of times there's no minimum guarantees are also kind of a thing of the past that's unless you're
Alex Ferrari 39:09
unless you're Netflix or Amazon or Hulu well I mean different business model different business model
Reed Martin 39:15
different as well but but the classic minimum guarantee where the filmmaker and the producer and the finance ears assume they're going to be made whole at a festival by getting a big Publishers Clearing House check that is not necessarily how things go these days more often than not, they'll get a promise for distribution and a certain level of marketing and guarantees for that but they won't get and then they'll have to sort of recoup the cost of the production from that it's not like here's here's the money that it costs you to make the film and then now we're going to release it that's that's something that is very much in the rearview mirror like that these days, not not in every case. Yes, you got the big headline grabbing, you know the big headline grabbing sales, but but more more often than not, minimum guarantees are very rare. And so the challenge is That a distributor is putting up say 10 million for marketing or 5 million for marketing. They're only getting half of that back from the exhibitor. And so the reason that the filmmaker never sees any money is because either the film was too aggressively released or the marketing was too aggressive, or the approach the release approach was such that the distributor themselves may not recoup initially until it reaches ancillary like, you know, home video or iTunes or these other these other platforms. So it's not always the case that going with a distributor is, you know, a way that you're you're not going to see a dime because you're being treated unfairly. It's just because of the economics of independent film are so challenging these days? Yes. to your question. Self distribution is a way that people absolutely the 500, I'm sorry, the 50 and $100,000 range can definitely have a better shot. But I think the problem is most filmmakers want to see their film, they want to see their name on the marquee, they want to see their film in an actual theater. And so given the chance, I think nine times out of 10 or 99 times out of 100 they're going to go with an actual distributor who can who can make that happen,
Alex Ferrari 41:05
right? But in today's world, I mean, not many distribution companies are putting out 50 or $100,000 movies theatrically.
Reed Martin 41:12
No, I mean, let's let's let's bump it up. Let's say it's 500,000. I think, yeah, 5000 or a million. I mean, a lot of people are making, you know, quality, amazing, independent films in that range. That's that's kind of what we're talking about. On the low, low, low side. Yeah, there there really isn't a market for the clerks or for The Blair Witch or for the goldfish are these these historical iconic touchstones of the independent film world that were written about in the in the in the john Pearson book, you know, like that, that that book really covers that that era? You know, those lower lower budget films that, you know, just like the darlings of the independent film world of yesteryear, those are much harder to released theatrically these
Alex Ferrari 41:53
days. Now, if you had any advice for filmmaker just starting out in the business, what would it be?
Reed Martin 41:59
Well, you know, I don't, um, I don't want to discourage people. But one of the things that
Alex Ferrari 42:05
was just so basically do something else, just do something.
Reed Martin 42:10
reframe their expectations. I once ran into a very famous filmmaker, I don't want to say who it was, but I ran to a famous filmmaker outside of the strand bookstore in New York, I said, do you have any advice for aspiring screenwriters? He said, it's never too late to quit. I remember thinking myself What a jerk. Gonna tell me. And then he, like, patted my shoulder twice, and walk away, didn't even say goodbye, just walked away. And I remember thinking, I remember I remember actually telling the story to people, like this guy is such a jerk. And I was, you know, he could have said something nice. He could have inspired me could have said, don't give up. And, you know, just keep going. And I went, you know, I crawled over glass and all the things that he did to get there. But the problem, I think, now that I've been through it, and I've made an expensive, short that had all kinds of problems. And I've written this book, The real truth, where I've talked to 100 well known independent filmmakers. The thing that I realized what he, what I guess he was saying is that if you're getting your electricity shut off, and your girlfriend is breaking up with you, and all these other things are happening, and it's all sort of going wrong. This is not part of the Mardi Gras. Like this is not I mean, you hear these, these things that happen to people like Kim Pierce talks about getting her phone cut off and having the student loan people calling all the time of sending letters. The thing is, and people laugh when they hear these these stories of Whoa, you know, about how they had to eat ramen noodles, or Tom Morton Berg had to donate blood for several
Alex Ferrari 43:34
years. He said, Robert Rodriguez did the medical experiments, right? Yes.
Reed Martin 43:37
When you hear the stories that kind of you get people chuckle and things like that. But the real issue is if you're if that's happening to you, then you're not doing it right, then you're not having the right approach, you should not follow your dream to the bottom of the ocean, you shouldn't have to, you know, you making an independent film. While it's one of the most challenging things you could ever undertake, it should not completely wreck your life and not and potentially wreck your life, you know, forever if you're running out huge credit card bills that take years to pay off. If you're promising pay or play agreements to famous actors, which then the whole project falls through for whatever reason, and you're on the hook for, you know, $100,000 payment for a movie that will never even get made. You know, this is not something that someone can write you a note to the PE teacher to get you out of like there are a lot of issues where you are making decisions about your life by trying to make an independent film or even just trying to write a screenplay. I mean, writing a screenplay in the middle of the night for an hour a night can have a deleterious and degrading effect on interpersonal relations.
Alex Ferrari 44:40
Oh god, yes.
Reed Martin 44:41
You know, and that's something to consider and something people have to be apt to be down for. And also there's something people have to be aware of. So what I tell people who are just starting out is a the financing is going to take twice as long as you think be you need a financing effort to finance the financing effort because you can't sustain it on your own. You actually need some seed capital just to get things going and get things rolling. You need to, you know, realize that there's not one person who's going to make things happen. There's not one person who's got a camera. One cinematographer who owns their own equipment or one wealthy individual that you're friends with, or one family member who's going to make everything happen you have to forget about that. There are all sorts of avenues you may not have to spend any money you can get accepted to a festival and get attract producers. You know, with a script, you can attract producers and get your film financed that way. The thing that the most important piece of this for the people who are starting out is to a read a book, it doesn't have to be my book, but read a book that will tell you about the pitfalls you're about to encounter. And be know that if a lot of things are going wrong, and your whole life is falling apart, you might be Steve Buscemi, and living in oblivion. And it might be funny like, Oh, I remember this happened to to Nicholas Rep. Nick rev in the movie. Yes. And I remember that this happened to Darren Aronofsky when he was talking about on a panel discussion about all the challenges he had with making pie. But again, if it's happening to you, you may you may want to regroup or backup or just halt the whole thing and restart once you have things better organized, because you may not be approaching it in the right way.
Alex Ferrari 46:12
I once worked with a filmmaker years, years, years years ago, and he financed his movie, which was a $200,000 movie by asking his his, his his in laws for the money. And the movie was was was did not do well. Let's just put it that way. And I'm like, My God, what kind of pressure on that relationship is that? I mean, like, you know, it's one thing to take 200,000 of your own money, but imagine taking 200 grand off your in laws money, and just flushing it down the toilet. I'm assuming Thanksgiving dinners not gonna be
Reed Martin 46:52
I mean, that's me. It's probably even worse than that. Because what happens typically on low budget independent films is that no people need finishing funds or they run out of money or they budgeted incorrectly or something like that. And they want to add a certain sequence or they want to have a crane day so this friend of yours may not all it may not only have been the first 200,000 they may have gone back. I mean, what Imagine if they have to go to the inlaws and say, Listen, I know I just spent the $200,000 but I budgeted it wrong. So now to be able to get get your 200 you know, to be able to return the the initial 200 I need another 200 or maybe i mean you know I need another 400 or whatever it was that they budgeted incorrectly for so so it can and again you don't want to put you don't want to put because at the end of the day, you know your your film is the most important thing to some people yes, but you don't want to put all of your independent your interpersonal relationships at risk just to realize this vision for a film that may that people may or may not ever watch and you don't want to essentially be alone sitting alone at home with a blu ray of your movie. You know, watching it by the flickering light of your
Alex Ferrari 48:01
of your standard def that definition energized? Yes. Well, while it's the standard def TV that's on cinder blocks.
Reed Martin 48:09
Are you having a TV that has like rabbit ears or has like, it has the old timey
Alex Ferrari 48:14
antenna? Yes, eating ramen noodles with ketchup in the fridge? right? Exactly.
Reed Martin 48:18
Exactly. Just you don't want to end up like that. And people net The problem is that festivals and all these other things, people never hear those stories. And I was somebody who went to Cannes, I went to Sundance three times you hear all these stories on the panels, you hear all these stories, which are inspirational. I went to, you know, the American Film market in LA and I attended I ffm. And then, you know, we became the ISP and I was, you know, hobnobbing and meeting all these people and I was so inspired by all the work and you know, you always hear these great stories of people who persevered and who never, you know, never quit and they kept going going going, but what you don't hear are these just harrowing stories of people who you know ended up with $30,000 in credit card debt or you know, who unfortunately mortgaged or leveraged all of their friends and family and ended up you know ended up in kind of a pickle and and this is not people you've never heard of this is people who have made it and whose first films are not their first films The first films that you know about are actually their second or their third films and so that's what I tried to capture in the real truth so people can have a reality check and not approach things in a way that's going to be self emulating you know a lot of people have hobbies they might be gardeners or they might you know, build model ships or whatever it is but a lot of people don't have hobbies or dreams or goals that that have such a potentially devastating impact on their on their personal lives and that's something that people really need to you know, I know you don't want to be a wet blanket or a Debbie Downer, but it's something that people really need to take more stock of,
Alex Ferrari 49:45
Oh, I talked about that constantly. I'm I always tell everybody as real as I can get it because I was I was similar to you. You wrote your book, I started up in the film hustle, specifically that to give people real information about what it's really like out here doing this and It's It's not easy. And it's a long game. It's definitely not a short game by any stretch. And a lot of people fall into that whole lottery ticket mentality of like, I'm gonna make a movie get into Sundance, and Harvey Weinstein is gonna write me a check for 5 million bucks and the rest is history. And then I could just go off and go to the Oscars. Like it doesn't work that way.
Reed Martin 50:20
That's a great point that you made Alex because the thing is a lot of people and I actually thought this I thought I was kind of I was fairly sophisticated, but I thought if you can just make a low budget film, then you can end up with a three picture deal. famous, famous fairy tale, three picture deal where you're set for life and you get to write you know, you get you get a bungalow on the lot, and
Alex Ferrari 50:40
you have a bunch of Spielberg, right, right.
Reed Martin 50:43
Or not even that, or they just, you know, somebody's going to cover your rent, and you'll be able to, you'll have two or three projects that you can do, you're going to follow this sort of Kevin Smith model where people are going to hand you rewrite jobs. Oh, yeah, that's another one. Like, if you can just write a script, just write that first script, you can just get that one film finished, then you'll get all the screenwriting rewrite jobs for $100,000. A pop mean, that just does not, it's just not a thing anymore. That's even
Alex Ferrari 51:05
worse than being a filmmaker, like scooping screenwriters is actually tougher than being a filmmaker, because it's great. Anyone can write a screenplay, it's very low cost of entry. To make a film, it's a very high cost of entry. But one
Reed Martin 51:17
thing that people also don't consider is that a lot of their famous I'm sorry, a lot of the a lot of the well known filmmakers that they admire, that they want to emulate. They're all doing TV these days, they're not it's very The money is, well, it's not just because the money is there, like the big money, they're doing it to make a living, I mean, people, it's very tough to make a living at that. A lot of times people who are producing independent films, the director may get, you know, the director may become Colin trevorrow, or something like that. But the producer and everybody else who's worked on this project, and to help make it a reality are not necessarily along for that ride. And so that's one thing that's very hard to take. The other thing is just that, that there's not that the TV is really where a lot of people are have to make their sort of daily rent money from, from something like that. And so it's not necessarily the economics of independent film are such these days that it's very tough to imagine that you're just going to be an independent troubadour independent filmmaker who makes these low budget films, and somehow earns enough back to to make a living from that.
Alex Ferrari 52:20
It is extremely difficult. That's why I mean, and that's why I've been in post for the last 20 years, that bit post has basically been a being able to, for me to do and I also direct commercials and music videos, but those are those things that that help supplement my habit,
Reed Martin 52:33
a lot of the creativity, a lot of the risk taking in terms of story ideas and story arcs. I mean, you know, ever since Breaking Bad and Sopranos, you know, TV is really where a lot of the creativity is happening. So there's there's also sort of a creative reason why people would want to migrate from from independent film to episodic TV but but again, mostly it's just because if you if you write and direct an independent film once every three years and take it to Sundance and then some maybe even if even if you were able to sell it at Sundance, which only about a dozen films out of the 120 that are there if you're lucky if you're lucky, lucky. Yeah, if you do that once every three years that's not that's not enough to sustain your meager lifestyle. It just isn't, just isn't so there's other you know, people are teaching there, they're like you they're, you know, they're doing other things. They might be editors, they might be working in post or there's some other aspect of the of the creative industry, but it's not necessarily just from straight up independent filmmaking.
Alex Ferrari 53:30
Now, what I always ask the same last two questions of all my guests, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life? Hmm, gosh,
Reed Martin 53:40
well, you know, again, um, my whole goal with writing the independent, film, book, guide, textbook, whatever you want to call it, the real truth, everything you didn't know, everything you didn't even know, you need to know that making an independent film is really designed to get out ahead of all these roadblocks and pitfalls that people are going to run into. I mean, originally, the original title was actually wrote land mines on the road to Sundance, because it's
Alex Ferrari 54:05
great, actually, that's a really good title.
Reed Martin 54:06
That's a really great cartoon, but the real truth was kind of a little more low key, but you know, the thing that that it takes you the longest to learn about, about this space, I think, is just that it's um, one of the things that's also a challenge is that there isn't really like you finish your screenplay and you type the, you know, fade out. And that's just such an amazing, momentous moment because you did it. You've written a first draft or a second draft. And the thing is, confetti doesn't fall from the ceiling. Right? It's very hard to take the fact that, you know, you might get into a festival and that's amazing. That's a huge accomplishment. And there are other festivals and Sundance. Yes, there are a ton of festivals. But the thing is, it's like, you know, again, it your life does not change on that day. The same way if you sell your film at a festival, your life, you're not suddenly like swimming in money, because the money that the The money that's promised for the sale the film maybe actually commitments for marketing and distribution, it's not a big Publishers Clearing House check. And so your life doesn't change that either. Because also you have to have all the deliverable, there's the deliverable issue where you have to make sure that all the sound and all the signed contracts and everything else chain of title has to be delivered to the distributor, all the music has to be cleared by you, not by them, all these things that have to happen before you'll get the disbursement from the check. So it's just incredibly long lead and so the timelines that people set for themselves to say, well if I if I can finish this film by September, you know, then I'll everything will be great, I have enough budget I have enough to live on until June, or however they do it, they have their timelines are just way off that the timelines have to telescope dramatically. Because it might take you more than a year, it might take you two years, it might take you three years actually. And so people have to expand that and also just that at each step of the way, where you expect the confetti to fall from the ceiling. It just, nobody cares. That's the hard part is yes, you might have a charmed life and i'm not i'm not trying to be discouraging or anything like that. I'm just trying to give people a reality check or just, you know, get them to get their expectation settle that you know, it's a very long road and that you have to be the cheerleader for your own project and you have to have a reservoir like a definitely a Verner Herzog level of commitment, and, you know, stamina to get to the end of the finish line because it's just much longer than people realize. And the thing I think that I've learned the hard way that I again, I actually talk about relationships in the real truth is that you just don't want to be losing girlfriends over this thing you don't want to don't, you don't want to have like, you know, the people who are closest to you, you know, have them sort of become casualties of this mano maniacal Ahab like project to get your first or second cellmate, you have to have balance, you have to know when to put your your laptop down, you have to know when to give it a break, give it a rest, you can't be up until three in the morning, every night writing your screenplay. I mean, that's just the fastest way to being single your whole life. Some people say you know that I'm keeping it real, you know, this is what it takes, this is what it requires. This is this kind of commitment it requires and if you can't, you know, be on board with that, then you must not have faith in me that's, that's not that's not actually the case people can have people in your life can have faith in you, and they can believe in you. But you can't over you can't over leverage that and and count that they'll count on that they'll just roll with it forever. Because it's very hard to find people who, who share your vision, whether they're part of your crew or part of your family. And so you have to take that into account, you can't just assume that everybody's along for the ride.
Alex Ferrari 57:41
And as Mark duplass says, the Calvary is not coming. It will tell tell me about what he said. He basically had this amazing keynote on the South by Southwest, at South by Southwest like a couple years ago. And I'll put a link on it in the show notes for everyone to listen to it did a whole article on it. Because it was as real of of the truth as you can get. And he just basically said, this is what's going to happen. And this is how it's going to be. And if you think the Calvary is coming, they're not, it's not going to happen, you're not going to be saved at the last minute, no one's going to show up with a magic check or magic distribution deal. It's not happening. And then he basically says this is how you do you make your first movie for 1000 bucks, go out, make a movie for 1000 bucks, get a bunch of friends get a camera, then have to be anything special. Go out and shoot a movie, put it together, you can get get it edited fairly cheaply on your own laptop, put it together, see how it works, then you have a movie, then you go in and you do another and then when you're done with that movie, do another movie, maybe make another movie for 1000 bucks or maybe even 2000 bucks, and then do that. Then after you have two films, then you go after a TV star. And you talk to them and you're like how many and then he just goes into this whole map of how to do it. And it's doable, but it's not a short game and it's not that lottery ticket mentality or the confetti falling from the ceiling. It's hard work that's going to take years to make happen it's not something that's gonna happen that first time out the gate very rarely does that happen. The Robert Rodriguez is of the world. Our our I mean, I can count on one hand how many of those stories have happened in the last 20 years. But that's every that's anything. Everybody always hears these stories. And that's why I always try to debunk this myth like you always hear about the lottery winner. You don't hear about the millions of lottery losers.
Reed Martin 59:35
What's your point? Alex? It's not even that I mean, the part of the fun of playing lotteries is playing the water itself. So that that's that is something but thing is everyone points to talentino and Robert Rodriguez is the shorthand. Well, those guys they made their films in like when was that? 1993 years and I like 192 9192 Okay, yeah, so 9192 or Reservoir Dogs, you know, in that people are still pointing to something that's like a million years ago when there was a completely different You know an independent film was in the middle of its heyday and and it was just you know, it was just an exciting incredible time and it was also just you know the like you said with the Weinstein you know Harvey is gonna step in you know, that was people who were at the top of their game in almost every independent film it was almost like a bubble It was like a housing bubble because every independent film that came out was like you know this incredible game changing you know, hit you had this you had this interval you have these string of hit after hit after hit, hit it for healing every single day. Even
Alex Ferrari 1:00:32
again, you hear a normal activity like paranormal activity is another one like that. That's but again, that's to win 20 years. Now, what are three of your favorite films of all time?
Reed Martin 1:00:41
Well, I'm kind of old school sci fi so I think Blade Runner aliens and a kind of a the third one on that list, which I think is an important film that people should see is the original. The original on the beach with Gregory pack. I don't know if you've seen that. It's no tiny science fiction, not the new remake version with Armando Sunday, you can leave that one alone, but the original 1950 settings 1956 on the beach. With Gregory Peck, he plays a submarine commander, it's it's actually I think it's an it's a it's an undervalued undiscovered gem that I think I would recommend for people if they can find it on Netflix or, or even just even just buy it used on Amazon or or however they come
Alex Ferrari 1:01:26
by. Very cool, man. So So where can people find you?
Reed Martin 1:01:30
Or buy a new on Amazon? You know, give the give the original author some some money? All right. What am I talking about buying us on Amazon, buy things new on Amazon, by authors who have worked in poured their blood, sweat, and tears and things authors don't get paid when you buy a used copy. So very true. But if you can afford to spend another couple of bucks to buy a new copy, it helps every little bit helps and helps the authors so they can write the next book. They're not trying to get wealthy. They're not trying to get rich, they just want to be able to write the next one.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:02
Amen, amen. So where can people find you?
Reed Martin 1:02:06
Well, I'm at the real truth on Twitter. And I think that's probably the best way to hit me up. And, you know, I'm absolutely open to answering questions, if anybody has any questions, they can just, they can find me there. And I can, you know, offer whatever guidance I have. And also they could, you know, they can post, they can actually post push, I think, I think actually, Amazon has a comment section for the real truth. And you can post questions there. And we can have sort of an interaction and the authors, the authors section of that page, so that be happy to answer any questions that people might have, or advice or guidance or anything, anything at all about that.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:44
And I'll put links to your book and everything else on the show notes as well. So, Roman, thank you so much for being on the show. I really, really appreciate it.
Reed Martin 1:02:53
Thank you so much for having me, Alex. I'm really delighted to do it. And it's great to discuss, discuss these things. Again, I want to help people, you know, definitely keep their feet on the ground where they're trying to make their first or second film.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:05
Thanks Reed appreciate it.
Reed Martin 1:03:06
Alex Ferrari 1:03:08
I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Reed Martin. He has a lot of great insights. And after I mean, obviously you interview 100 very successful indie filmmakers, which is an oxymoron in general. No, I'm joking. I'm joking. We're here to be successful people. We're here to be successful as independent filmmakers. And that's why we're doing all of this. God dammit. Anyway, after interviewing so many filmmakers, I mean, the book has a lot of great information in it, about what to avoid in it. So definitely check it out. I'll leave that all in the show notes at indie film, hustle, calm forward slash 144. That's indie film, hustle, calm, forward slash 144. And don't forget to head over to free film book calm that's free film book calm to download your free filmmaking audiobook from audible. So that's it for this week, guys. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you picked up some, some knowledge bombs, a little couple nuggets of information to help you along your path as an independent filmmaker. And just a quick update. I do have some very interesting stuff I'm working on coming up in the next few months. So definitely keep an eye out for some cool stuff coming from indie film, hustle, and some other little surprises I have for you guys. So as always keep that hustle going keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.
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- The Reel Truth: Everything You Didn’t Know You Need to Know About Making an Independent Film
- Reed Martin – Email
- Reed Martin – Twitter
- How to make a $1,000 Feature Film with Jay & Mark Duplass