The day is finally here. My new book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business is finally out. I’m so excited to share this with you, the IFH Tribe. I’ve been working for months to make this happen. I wanted to give you a sneak peek at the book so in this episode, I’ll be releasing the first two chapters of the audiobook for your listening pleasure. These two chapters set the tone for the book. In the episode, I even show you a way to download the entire book for free.
“Alex Ferrari’s Rise of the Filmtrepreneur is an absolute must-read for serious indie filmmakers seeking to build a sustainable living from making movies. This is a radical shift in the current thinking about how to make money as a creative and puts the power back into the hands of the filmmaker. It is an inspiration.”– CHRIS GORE, FILM THREAT
Here’s a bit of what Rise of the Filmtrepreneur has to offer
It’s harder today than ever before for independent filmmakers to make money with their films. From predatory film distributors ripping them off to huckster film aggregators who prey upon them, the odds are stacked against the indie filmmaker. The old distribution model for making money with indie film is broken and there needs to be a change. The future of independent filmmaking is the entrepreneurial filmmaker or the Filmtrepreneur®.
In Rise of the Filmtrepreneur® author and filmmaker Alex Ferrari breaks down how to actually make money with independent film projects and shows filmmakers how to turn their indie films into profitable businesses. This is not all theory, Alex uses multiple real-world case studies to illustrate each part of his method. This book shows you the step by step way to turn your filmmaking passion into a profitable career. If you are making a feature film, series or any kind of video content, The Filmtrepreneur® Method will set you up for success.
“In this era of DIY filmmaking, it’s not enough to focus solely on the craft. An understanding of how the business works and how you can control your product is a must. This book provides a wealth of actionable info and many of Alex’s most lucrative tips and tricks. You couldn’t ask for a better filmmaking sherpa.”– RICH “RB” BOTTO, FOUNDER/CEO STAGE 32
“The dream of the Sundance lottery ticket is dead, but filmmakers are still asleep. This book is an essential guide to the current independent film landscape – packed with valuable real-world advice, inspiring case studies and industry horror stories. Filmmakers: Ignore this book at your own peril.”– CHRIS SHARPE, CO-FOUNDER YOGA WITH ADRIAN
I really hope you enjoy Rise of the Filmtrepreneur. I truly believe that the only way indie filmmakers will be able to survive the new film economy is by becoming Filmtrepreneurs. My goal for this book is to show filmmakers and creatives that they have to think differently. The old film economy is DEAD. Traditional film distribution is not set up to benefit the indie filmmaker. The cards are stacked against the creative and things need to change.
“This man knows his stuff. The future of indie film is already here. Read this book. Get educated, or get left behind.”– DARIOUS BRITT. WRITER/DIRECTOR @D4DARIOUS
Filmmakers need to take back control of their films and how they generate revenue from them. The day of handing over your film to a predatory film distributor because you believe there is no other choice is over! There is another way and the Filmtrepreneur Method is that way.
“If you buy only one book on filmmaking, buy mine. But if you’re going to buy two, make sure your second one is Rise of the Filmtrepreneur – it’s terrific!”– DAN MIRVISH, CO-FOUNDER SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
Let me know what you think of the book. Enjoy and…VIVA LA REVOLUTION!
Alex Ferrari 0:20
Well, guys, today is the day finally, thank you so much for all your patience, Rise of the filmtrepreneur is available for purchase two day, I've been working feverishly for months trying to get this book done for you guys. I know I launched it back when I launched this podcast. And this website, I think it was in June, July sometime. And you guys have been patiently waiting for the release of this book. And I hope the weight is been worth it. Now the book is available in paperback ebook and audio book. And in this episode, I'm going to give you a sneak preview of not only the book, but of the audio book as well, you will get the preface and the first two chapters of the book to kind of whet your appetite on what is coming in the book. And at the end of this episode, I will share with you how to get a copy of the audio book for free. Now, before we get into it, guys, I just want to express to you the importance I feel about this book and what impact I'm hoping it has on the filmmaking community. I think it is time for a revolution. I think it's time for filmmakers to truly take back control of how they make money with their art with their films. This system that's been in place for so many years, that is literally designed to not pay filmmakers is literally designed to keep all the money for themselves. And the creators get a fraction of what they're do. This system needs to crumble and fall. And I truly believe that the filmtrepreneur method, and that this book will be the catalyst for this revolution. I want filmmakers to take complete control of how they make money with their films, so they can build sustainable businesses around their art. And in this book, you will see how to do that. And I want this to be a battle cry for filmmakers around the world. If you really are serious and want to make a living out of filmmaking, a living out of making movies and series and video content, then you need to understand the business or else you will not survive. And especially in the new and upcoming film economy, what is happening to our films, what is happening to the value of our content that is being devalued, more and more every day. I did a whole episode on that. I'll put that in the show notes as well. The last episode I talked about the devaluation of film and the new film economy and how you guys have to survive in it. The world is changing boys and girls and if you do not change with it, you will be left behind. And I truly hope that this book helps you on your path. To take back control of your creative world and be able to build a business to build a career, or on what you love to do. So without any further ado, please enjoy these few chapters of my new book, Rise of the filmtrepreneur how to turn your independent film into a money making business? preface? Who is this guy? I would be asking the same question. My name is Alex Ferrari and I have been taking shrapnel in the film business for over 25 years. I've worn many hats on my filmmaking journey. production assistant office pa assistant editor, film editor colorist post production supervisor, online editor, television promo predator, movie trailer editor, visual effects supervisor lighting guy, but I don't consider myself a cinematographer, screenwriter, producer and finally, director. There probably another few dozen jobs I've done well following my filmmaking dream, but directing has always been my passion. I've been lucky enough to work with some of the biggest companies in studios in the world and have directed music videos, commercials, television shows, streaming series shorts and feature films. My award winning films have been screened in close to 600 international film festivals, sold internationally and licensed to major streaming services like Hulu. My first book shooting for the mob Chronicles my misadventures in Hollywood almost directing a $20 million feature film for a bipolar x gangster. Yes, it's a true story. During that long chapter in my life, I met billion dollar producers studio heads, the biggest movie stars on the planet, and I even got to meet Batman. Yes, that Batman, you'll have to read the book to find out how that happened. During my time working in post production, I had a front row seat to hundreds of film projects, I was able to see how those films were put together, how they failed or succeeded. Working in post production I spent 1000s of hours in a dark room with producers and directors, I would hear stories of film production dramas and distribution nightmares. It didn't matter if they were seasoned filmmakers or fresh out of film school they all had torture stories that they were all too happy to share. I kept seeing my fellow independent filmmakers get eaten alive by the film business and I finally had enough. In 2015 I launched indie film hustle as a real and raw resource to educate and inspire filmmakers on their filmmaking path. I set out to help filmmakers with some tough love and shared whatever experience information I had gathered on my trek throughout Hollyweird. To find out more about indie film hustle, go to www indie film hustle calm. Soon after I launched the indie film hustle podcast and within three months it became the number one filmmaking podcast on Apple podcasts. The show has since been downloaded millions of times by filmmakers around the world. I've had the pleasure of interviewing hundreds of the biggest and most successful filmmakers, craftsmen, film business gurus, industry giants, million dollar screenwriters, inspirational leaders, and everyday independent filmmakers on the show. I've always been drawn to the entrepreneurial side of the film business. As you will read in the upcoming chapters. It has been in my blood for as long as I can remember, while officially interviewing guests for my show unofficially asking questions of filmmakers in my post suite, or working on set I began to notice patterns of success what made one film project fly while another would come crashing down in a glowing ball of flame. I saw that success stories would fall into three categories. The lottery ticket winners, filmmakers being at the right place at the right time with the right product. mythical stories like Robert Rodriguez with El Mariachi, Kevin Smith with clerks and Oren Peli with Paranormal Activity just to name a few. This group went down the magical route. The savvy producer, filmmakers who understood the marketplace and built film product based on genre, domestic and international sales, attached star power and had an understanding of budget and marketing. This group went down the more traditional route. The Outsiders, filmmakers who took a holistic approach to creating not only films, but multiple revenue streams based off of those film projects. This group were outsiders making up their own rules as they went along. I was most definitely interested in the third group, they seem to be more entrepreneurial in nature, I coined the word filmtrepreneur to describe this group of renegades. I studied the patterns, thought processes, failures and successes of these filmmakers. This is the subject of the book you're about to dive into. I believe that the future of independent film will be the filmtrepreneur method. independent filmmakers need to think differently. They can't play by the rules that the rest of the film industry plays by. I identify with this group so much because I was using the entrepreneur method at the beginning of my career without even knowing it, but I'm getting ahead of myself. The filmtrepreneur is scrappy, hardworking thinks of the business before he jumps into the show. And hustles like there's no tomorrow. Before we get started, let's look at why most independent films fail. Chapter One why most independent films fail. Tell me if you've heard this one before a filmmaker who we will call Rick scrapes, borrows and steals money To produce his dream feature film, Rick has never actually made a feature film before. But that doesn't matter. He will just hire the right people to help him realize his Opus. Rick puts together a business proposal and starts hunting for money. This process takes over a year. by some miracle Rick raises $250,000 for his film, most of which is money he got from his family and friends even got a few investors who have always wanted to see their names up on the big screen as executive producers. Rick's movie idea has been swirling in his head for years ever since he was doodling thoughts in his notebook during math class in high school, and now finally, he will bring his film to life. Rick's film is a period drama that takes place in the 90s he decides to cast local actors and since most of the money came from family and friends, he cast them in the film as well. This is one of the prerequisites for him getting the money. Oh, and don't forget one of the investors girlfriends who just got bitten by the acting bug wants to be in the film as well. Let's fast forward a bit and give Rick a best case scenario. He was able to hire good people to work with him and shot a decent film. For the most part the acting is acceptable and the cinematographer he hired did a good job lighting and shooting the film. Rick is able to get the film through post production mind you It took him almost a year to finish the film because he ran out of money during post. Rick spends months hustling more money to finish the film. He even talks his family dentist into ponying up the rest of the money and Rick finally finishes the film. Now Rick decides to submit his finished product to the Sundance Film Festival. His entire distribution plan is to get accepted to Sundance when an award and get a fat check from a producer or film distribution company. Then his directing career can finally take off he can pay back his family, friends, investors and the dentist for all the support they gave him. In 2019 the Sundance Film Festival received 12,218 submissions to its Film Festival. Only 118 were selected. About 98.5 of the films are rejected from the festival when Rick receives an email telling him that he did not get into the festival. He freaks out. This was his only plan. He had no backup plan. Rick has been working on this film on and off for two years. His investors are out of patience and beginning to pressure him to get the film released. Rick does what most filmmakers in his situation do. He starts calling random film distribution companies to see if there's anybody out there that's willing to give him a deal. In the back of his mind. He's telling himself that everything is fine. They'll just get a big distribution company to buy his film, get a check for $300,000 and then he can pay everyone back with some interest. Unfortunately, film distributors are not biting rejection after rejection comes in. Many distributors are telling him the same thing. It's extremely hard to sell a period drama with no stars attached. After a while Rick starts to reach out to more predatory film distributors because he sees no other choice. After six months of trying one film distributor finally shows some interest. They say that they can't give him any money up front, but they'll do a 5050 revenue split. The distributor says that he travels to all the big international film markets, including Cannes and the American Film market, they believe that they can make some money overseas. They also say that they'll have his film up on all the major streaming platforms within 45 days. Rick believes his prayers have been answered. It's not exactly what he had in mind, but it's better than nothing. He receives a distribution agreement and he sends it over to his Uncle Bob, who's a real estate attorney so we could give it a good look over Bob reads the agreement very carefully. Unfortunately, Uncle Bob doesn't know what to look for in a film distribution contract and misses all the fine print. Uncle Bob gives the go ahead and Rick signs a contract. The length of the terms is an industry standard 15 years true to their word. The film distributor does get the film up on Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and other VOD, or video on demand platforms. Months pass and there's no word from the distributor recalls but it's impossible to get anyone on the phone. After a year. The first Rubin report finally comes in the mail. Rick rushes to open the letter and when he sees the numbers, his mouth hits the floor. Good news, his little film has generated $20,000 in revenue from a few foreign sales to China in Germany. Amazing. The bad news is the VOD sales are non existent. Rick told all his family and friends to buy or rent the film but not many did. Well 20,000 is better than nothing. As it goes to the last page of the report, he's expecting to see a $10,000 check. But what he finds is that the film is in the red to the tune of 30,000 plus. You see in the contract, the film distributor had to deduct film marketing fees, deliverable costs, travel expenses, poster design trailer editors, graphics and a list of other expenses. And since Uncle Bob the attorney didn't know to look the kept these expenses this film will never see a dime in profit. This is what the film business calls Hollywood accounting. So now Rick is lost control of his film has never gotten a dime for it can't pay it back as investors and has lost all hope of being a big studio director because no one will ever invest in one of his movies again after this monumental failure. Rick goes on to take Position working in a job he hates so we can make a living and then gives up his filmmaking dream. He ends up angry and bitter at the world because the film business is unfair, and it didn't recognize his obvious genius. Now I know what you're thinking that this is an exaggerated story and the independent film world doesn't normally work like this. Rick made a ton of mistakes, and most people can't be that ignorant to the standard process of making and selling an independent film. I hate to tell you, but I wish that were true. The story I just laid out is unfortunately all too true. Rick is a composite of many filmmaking stories I've heard or personally been a part of. It doesn't matter if you're a seasoned professional or a film student. If you haven't gone through or educated yourself in this process, you will more than likely lose money trying to sell your film. That's the problem. Most filmmakers are taught that traditional distribution is the only path to making money with their independent films. Schools are teaching ideas that barely worked 30 years ago, the rules of the game have changed. There are more opportunities for filmmakers today than ever before. But with that opportunity comes more competition. Technology has made it easier than ever to produce a feature film streaming series, or any high quality video content than ever before. Every month. 1000s of feature films are dumped onto the marketplace around the world. Consumers have so much content to watch that it will take a person 10 lifetimes to consume it all. independent filmmakers have major competition for consumers eyeballs, my film is going to be huge. I was consulting an independent filmmaker the other day, and he told me that he was going to direct a romantic comedy. I asked him what the budget was and how he planned to market and sell the film. He told me that the budget would be $100,000 and he would produce the film then look for a distributor to buy it from him and get it out into the world. I asked if he had any marquee actors attached to star in the production. No, I just have some local actors he said. So let's break this down. He has a romantic comedy with no marquee actors and his plan to make his money back is to pray a distribution company will pay him for the film and be responsible for all the marketing to get his film out into the world. Mistake number one. Shooting romantic comedy is extremely broad. It is next to impossible to advertise to such a wide audience with little or no money. The Hollywood studios have a massive marketing budget to put ads on every billboard bus bench television iPhone in the world if they wanted to. You as an independent filmmaker, need to think differently. Mistake number to $100,000 for a film with no stars in such a broad genre is not advisable. The higher the budget goes, the more recognizable the cast needs to be to attract eyeballs to your film. If a potential customer is scanning Netflix or Amazon Prime and they recognize a movie star, they will be more likely to rent or stream that film. The competition for eyeballs is fierce, it would take 1000s of hours to consume all the content being created on a daily basis. Your small indie film is competing with studios, amazing television, YouTube and streaming series. In order to recoup a budget of that size in a genre so broad, he would need star power he can't afford Mistake number three. If you think in today's world, a distribution company is going to look at your $100,000 romantic comedy with no stars and pay you an mg or minimum guarantee. You're sorely mistaken. There's so much product in the marketplace distribution companies have their pick of the litter they only pay for movies that are guaranteed slam dunks, the best way they know how to value movie is by the movie stars attached. The more likely scenario with this film goes as follows the distribution company would give them no money upfront, offer a horrible contract that would lock up your film for 10 to 15 years. And you would probably never see a dime from any sales. This is the harsh reality of traditional distribution in today's world. Of course, there are exceptions and outliers. This exact same movie with the same budget could be sold to a lifetime channel a Hallmark Channel, but the stars would more likely need to be television actors who those channels audiences would recognize. There are actors who have built entire careers just by starring a lifetime and hallmark movies. But before you call lifetimes, 800 number looking to speak to someone in the movie purchasing department beware, if you're an independent producer have little or no track record and have no connection to anyone in these companies, it would be extremely difficult for you to sell your film to them, you would have to go through a traditional distribution company that has those relationships and connections. So what chance does an independent filmmaker have in today's oversaturated marketplace? Is there any hope? What is the solution? Let's dive in. Chapter Two, what is a filmtrepreneur independent filmmakers can't play the game by the same rules that everybody else is playing by if David would have fought the giant Goliath on his own terms, David would have never stood a chance. David fought by his own rules. The small boy picked up a rock put it in a sling aimed at Goliath his head and fired Goliath came crashing down in front of an audience of shock soldiers from both sides. If you try to shoot market in distribute a feature film like most other independent films, you will most likely fail and lose money. It is said that 98 percent of all independent films fail to get any kind of distribution. And less than that actually recover their production budget. The ability to manage risk and hit the bull's eye on a film's release is extremely difficult. If you're trying to produce and market your feature film like the Hollywood studios, you will fail. You do not have the financial muscle that the studios do, nor do you have the marketing or distribution infrastructure that they have. You don't have $100 million prints and advertising budget to make everyone in the country know that your romantic comedy is coming out on Friday. Film intrapreneurs need to think differently, be smarter, hustle harder and play their own game. The future of independent filmmaking is going to be the entrepreneurial filmmaker or the filmtrepreneur. The filmmaker who doesn't just understand the business side, but also understands the marketing, distribution and product development side as well. The filmtrepreneur will understand growth hacking, viral marketing, crowdsourcing audience building revenue streams and alternative ways to raise money for their projects. The filmtrepreneur is able to pivot and change with the ever changing marketplace, adjust and exploit new technologies and film production, online marketing and distribution methods. The filmtrepreneurmust have a command of the entire filmmaking craft even if he or she doesn't perform each part of the process. filmstrip runner needs to create massive value for audiences that he can actually market and sell to his feature films and ancillary products will be so in line with his audience's wants, that they will not pay attention to the big studio blockbusters coming out on Netflix, or in the theater the week of his release. In this book, I will lay out concepts and strategies as well as multiple case studies detailing successful film intrapreneur projects. The secret sauce, the secret sauce of any filmtrepreneur is creating massive value for his or her niche audience. That value could be the entertaining film that fulfills in need in an unserved audience. Or it could be a plethora of ancillary products or services that have spun off the feature project, diversification in revenue streams from a given project will give a film The best chance of not only breaking even but actually making a profit. This is the secret sauce filmmakers do not understand. So many filmmakers just want to create a film to express themselves as artists. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But unfortunately, filmmaking is one of the most expensive art forms on the planet. If you want to create art, then you will need to keep the budget of your film as low as possible and prepare to lose some if not all of your investment in that project. As film producer Susan Lyons says there's the word show and the word business and the word business has twice as many letters as the word show. Can you create an art film and make money with it. Of course, the filmtrepreneur method works with any kind of film, you need to identify a niche audience creative value packed product, the feature film and follow the rest of the steps I will lay out in the upcoming chapters. As we move forward on this journey, I'll be referring to a lot of feature films. But the film intrapreneur method can also be used with streaming series, video content, YouTube channels, or any other visual media. Being a filmtrepreneur is not all about the money in business, you are working in a creative field. And if you are trying to create a film or product for the marketplace, then you should enjoy the process. If you're doing this just for the money, then you will have a hard time making a go of it being a filmtrepreneur this business is just too brutal. If you don't love what you do day in and day out, that love will get you through the evitable rough patches and make you sore during the monumental highs. When the show and the business come together in a beautiful marriage and you provide massive value to your audience, then you will have something special. audiences are way too savvy and sophisticated nowadays, they can smell a money grab coming from a mile away. The film enterpreneur method just allows you the filmmaker, the ability to create real value for your audience, and in turn generate revenue from your film without being beholden to a middleman, you stay in control of your own destiny, and you then have a fighting chance of building a business that will allow you to fulfill your dream of being a filmmaker and building a filmtrepreneurial career. So what is the origin of the filmtrepreneur method. It all started with a little short film called broken. And there it is guys the first few chapters of Rise of the filmtrepreneur I hope it gave a whet your appetite. I hope it gets you excited about jumping into this book. And if you want to buy the book, just head over to filmbizbook.com that's filmbizbook.com and there you'll have links to either buy it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and audible and if you want to get the audio book for free, and you do not already have an account on Audible, all you've got to do is go to free film book comm sign up for a free 30 day trial of audible which is completely free. And with that free trial, you get to download a free book and I would recommend that you download Rise of the filmtrepreneur and that way you can get it for free. And I know by being a member of audible that you will love the service because I literally listened to about two to three books. A week through Audible, and it is amazing service, but you can at least try it out and download the book there. So I'm excited to hear what you guys have to say. If you do buy the book, if you do read the book, please, I asked you, I beg you please leave as many reviews on Amazon on Barnes and Noble and wherever you buy it on Audible. Wherever you buy the book, please leave a good hopefully good review, but leave a review of the book on those platforms. It helps out so much the more reviews I can get. The book will be placed higher and higher in the algorithm of Amazon and Barnes and Noble of Kobo, of audible all these places. I want this information to get out to as many filmmakers as possible. We've had some amazing review so far from Chris gore from film threat. Dan Mirvish from slam dance Film Festival, our brother from another mother, RV bato from states 32 Darrius Britt from de fer, Doris on YouTube. And Chris sharp, from yoga with Adrian also words a guest of the show as well. And they all given it amazing reviews. And they're on the back cover as well. And I'm just excited that everyone who's been has read it so far has reached out to me has been blown away. And I'm so humbled and excited about the potential of what this book can do for the filmmaking community. So Christmas is just around the corner, and it makes a great gift for that filmmaker in your life. But no, seriously, guys, thank you so much for listening. I hope you enjoyed this sneak preview of Rise of the filmtrepreneur, and I have a lot of stuff I'm cooking for the new year because you know, I just can't stand still, because that's who I am. I have to hustle that as part of the brand and have to stay on brand. But I will be creating a bunch of new stuff for you guys, as well. Oh, and everybody who took advantage of the Black Friday sale for indie film, hustle TV. Thank you so much for joining the tribe. I will be adding a lot of new educational content on that platform coming in the new year and a lot of film trip earner training that I'm going to be creating series on expanding what I talked about in Rise of the filmtrepreneur so keep an eye out for that, guys. Thank you again, so much for listening, guys. We need to think differently. We need a revolution in independent film. And I hope this book will be the catalyst start that revolution. Viva La rivella Sean. Thanks as always guys, as always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.
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- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: FREE AUDIOBOOK
- IFH 364: The New Film Marketplace: Why Your Indie Film Isn’t Worth What You Think It Is