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Today on the show we have a good friend of mine, producer’s rep Glen Reynolds of Circus Road Films. With 21 years in the indie film biz, he has produced 20 films and sold over 500 films. He founded Circus Road Film in 2006. Glen is also a producer, known for Blood and Bone (2009), Becoming and Conversations with Other Women (2005)
Glen has been around the block and has seen a lot in the indie film space. We met because of my scathing commentary on producer’s reps in one of my very first podcast episode (listen to that episode here).
We get into the weeds on how to hire a producer’s rep and/or sales agent, film festival strategies what to look out for and how to choose the right one for your project. Enjoy my conversation with Glen Reynolds.
Alex Ferrari 2:48
Now, today on the show, we have Glen Reynolds. He is a producer's rep and sales agent. And Glen I've been friends for a while now he's I got I got connected to him by another guest of ours Sebatian Tordas. They're both with circus Road Films. And Glen is one of the good producers reps. If you guys remember, my scathing review of producers reps back when I first started, I think it's episode three or four. Glen and I actually became friends because of that scathing podcast I did against producers reps, because there are a lot of producers reps out there and sales agents that will just steal from you straight up and smile while they take your money. But Glen is definitely not one of those guys. He is one of the good guys he really cares about as filmmakers. He really goes the extra mile. And I wanted to bring them on to kind of get an idea of how you do pick a good sales agent. How did you pick a good producers rep and what they do, how they do it and how it's changed a lot in the last three and a half years since my last producers rep podcast. So this is going to be really eye opening for any anybody out there thinking of using a producer's rep or sales agent to get their movie out there into the marketplace. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Glen Reynolds. I like to welcome the show Glen Reynolds. Man, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to the tribe today.
Glen Reynolds 4:14
Absolutely very happy to be here.
Alex Ferrari 4:15
Now of course Glen is a an amazing producer's rep with Circus Road Films. But he also moonlights as an actor on the side, because he was in my film on the corner of ego desire as a maniacal bartender at the world famous Sundance party that they throw every year. So thank you for your performance sir.
Glen Reynolds 4:36
Yeah I'm very particular I only worked with one director. And that's Alex Ferrari.
Alex Ferrari 4:40
I appreciate that tremendously. Thank you so much. You were fantastic and the parts Sir and and if we do get sold for millions of dollars, it will be strictly on your shoulders.
Glen Reynolds 4:51
Alex Ferrari 4:53
So before we get into a man at first, how did you get into this film business in the first place?
Glen Reynolds 4:59
Well, I I've always been a film freak from, you know, five, six years old, watching Disney movies and whatnot. And that parlayed a little bit into wanting to be an actor in my, in high school and then actually moving to New York to study acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse. I always had an interest in, in theater and movies as an art. And then I kind of did the math, I didn't, I just didn't feel like I was probably good enough to bust ever, you know, bust out to being a waiter. So I decided to go to law school. And I went back to Texas, got my law degree, bout halfway through decided didn't want to be a lawyer, but decided a better finish. And once I got out, I headed out here to interview with various people just try to get in the film business because I was still just, that was, you know, I think I spent more time in law school law school watching movies than actually cracking books. And, and so I fell into a job with an international sales agency. I'm just sitting at a desk, answering phone calls with my law degree in the door. And one thing after another, they didn't really have any buddy, like spearheading acquisition. So I kind of organized that. And then a business affairs person laughed, and I said, Hey, I got a law degree, I can do that. And I started doing that. And they were starting, they were producing a movie here and there. And so I, you know, I started reading scripts and trying to help with production. And so by the end of it, I was kind of do a little bit of everything, then was there for about eight years and worked for another company for two years. And then I decided I wanted to work for myself. And I kind of accumulated these various, you know, skills in terms of legal and aesthetic, and understand understanding the ways of independent film. And that's when I hit hung up my shingle to you know, say, Hey, I'm gonna start trying to help filmmakers get distribution. That's that's the, the long short story of it.
Alex Ferrari 7:22
So you're like Liam Neeson taken you have a certain set of skills?
Glen Reynolds 7:26
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I, precisely, precisely. Yeah. I yeah, I've always been kind of, you know, interested in doing lots of different things more than being, you know, specifically interested in, in, in producing or, or, or selling or acquiring or so I've always kind of been entrepreneurial, even when I worked for other people. And I've always, even when I worked for international sales agencies, I always felt like, I had more of a filmmaker perspective on things than a sales agent perspective on things always felt for them, when they weren't making the money. They didn't, they didn't make and always felt like I was going to bat for them internally in terms of what they were hoping for, in terms of marketing and publicity and, and transparency and things like that. So yeah, it just was kind of, I just kind of was a natural fit to, to, to lead me to something that, you know, kind of incorporate different parts of my, my personality.
Alex Ferrari 8:38
Yeah, you have you do you you have a lot of hats, you wear a lot of hats. It's not just one thing. You've produced features, you work in distributions, you work with festivals, you, you do a lot of and you act, of course, on the side just for me. You do? You are you're a hybrid without question.
Glen Reynolds 8:56
Yeah, it's, um, you know, I think it's what's kept me kind of in the business and doing, you know, surviving through, you know, what's been, you know, at one point, when I first got in the business, independent film business was, was gangbusters. And there was, you know, cable channels around the world that want to indie films and, and, and, and DVD and blockbuster type stores around the world that wanted films and since all that's kind of declined, I think it's, it's helped that I kind of can do a few different things to you know, keep the keep the chum rolling, as they say.
Alex Ferrari 9:35
So then you are arguably a producer's rep, not arguably You are a producer's rep
Glen Reynolds 9:40
Yeah, it's um it's kind of a you know, it's a bit of a misnomer, I think because you know, you don't not really representing a producer per se as you are trying to help place the film, in distribution. You're trying to help sell it per se or license it and but what goes along with that kind of you know, they're, they're, they're different kinds of so called producer route. There are some people who just purely have got a sense of the business and learn who buys films and, and looks for films and tries to sell them, I have a little bit of an advantage in that I've got a legal background. So I, you know, arguably can look at a contract a little bit more closely than then some other producer reps. But then I also compete with people who are sales agents, who, who do the same thing?
Alex Ferrari 10:33
Yeah, what is the difference? What's the difference between a producer's rep and the sales agent?
Glen Reynolds 10:36
Well, most, you know, the way I the way I would look at as most sales agents, when they represent themselves as sales agents, are really take taking over a film per se, and probably do an international, right, go into the markets, the Mercedes element can and the AFM and the European film market and the MIPCOM of TVs, and they have a booth and they meet with distributors from around the world every 30 minutes, and show the movies and sell to them. And to do that they really have to kind of take over. So they're kind of a quasi distributor in that you deliver as the filmmaker, you deliver the film to them, they then go and make the contracts directly between themselves and the distributors overseas. Those distributors pay and are delivered by the producer, I Sorry, sorry, with the international sales agent. And then that sells agent reports to the producer on a quarterly basis, just like a distributor says and pays them.
Alex Ferrari 11:47
So it seems like it's almost like a another middleman in between you. And a distributor
Glen Reynolds 11:52
It's definitely a different kind of middleman. And it's in a way, if you have a film that's worth it, that's a that has an international sales agent, you almost need one, unless you really want to be one yourself, right? Because as an international sales agent, you have to stay on top of who are all the different distributors in the various territories where the contracts look like you have to there's, you know, there's different ways films are delivered to those, those countries and those those platforms around the world. So it's a bit of a I mean, things are changing a lot because there's less opportunity in an international world for true indie films. And a lot of people are taking worldwide deals and just doing digital that that goes across different territories. But if you, but if you just if you just go buy what they do for films that have value in that market, it's just that you need someone that does it, that gets their teeth, you know, sunk in a little bit deeper than what I have to do at the end of the day. I'm just as a producer Rep. I think producer rep is somebody who specializes in selling films to the US market. And in order to do that, I don't have to be the middleman that actually collects the money, and then reports to a filmmaker, I can just set up that deal directly. And then the filmmaker can pay me my share, as they get it. You just don't need someone to think that you don't need someone to to deliver you don't need someone to do all the things you have to do to sell till the international sell territories. Now sometimes those international sales agents also sell the US. So they they do the same thing we do, but they go about it a bit differently. In terms of how I handle it
Alex Ferrari 13:39
Now I early on, which is a funny story because we You and I have met through a mutual friend of ours Sebastian Torres, who has been on the show and I've co hosted things with at Sundance. And originally when I first launched indie film, hustle, I did a scathing podcast, scathing podcast on producers reps, because I was screwed by someone who she will remain nameless. But you know she is. And everybody in the business does. And so I'm in good company, where I was basically taken for a lot of money. And a lot of promises were made and all this kind of stuff. So there was there are a lot of those kind of shysters out there. The reason I brought you on the show is because I know you I've known you for a while. And I know what you guys do at circus road, and you're one of the good ones, without question. So that's why I brought you on the show. But what should we look out for with some of these? Let's call les reparable. Producers reps.
Glen Reynolds 14:43
Well, there's, there's your story is not a solo one. Right. There's there. Definitely lots of people that have had really bad experiences with producer reps and sales agents that are just Not honorable. And the main way to find out whether or not someone is is good at what they do and does what they're going to set it does, what they say they're going to do is to go through IMDb and look up the films that they've sold. And where where they've placed them. If they've actually had films that fox or Sony or Warner Brothers or Magnolia or whatever, and to call and if they can email or call those filmmakers and find out what their experience was. Now, everybody has people that don't like them. I've been pleased 100% of my filmmakers by far, and at the end of the day, if a film doesn't do as well as they expect, you know, it's it's a lot easier to blame the distributor and the sales agent and to look at your own film and think, well, it just didn't quite work. But you at least can, if you do enough of them. I wouldn't stop with one. You know, if you can look at how long they've been in the film business. Look at the film, do you like the films that they've sold? Do you know they're eight to 10? people that say, Yeah, they're, you know, they do what they say they're gonna do. That's the, you know, that's the mean, good. Always just call me and I can tell you. It's good. But I I'm a little bit biased. So it's definitely good for people to do their own homework.
Alex Ferrari 16:29
Yeah, without question. I've actually have gotten phone calls about that other producers rap over the years. people asking me about her and I would be, I would be honest. I would say Run,run, run.
Glen Reynolds 16:40
Oh, yeah. Yeah, no, there's there and they're still, um, I don't know if she's still in the biz, because I've heard her name in a while. So
Alex Ferrari 16:49
I'll tell you a quick story about her. And and then we will move on. I saw her at AFM. Last year, I went into my international distributors office and the the other distributor that was being shared, sharing that office with she was sitting right there. I'm like, Oh, my goodness. She wasn't the distributor, but she was meeting with the distributor. And I'm like, I can't build I can no effing way. Do you just tell I didn't say I didn't say I didn't say a word. I didn't want there to be a scene. Yeah. But it was I could not believe that she was still bumping around after all the damage she's done over the years. But anyway, enough about her.
Glen Reynolds 17:34
There are you know, the thing, here's the thing there are there besides me. And I'm biased about me. There are good options. Sure. There are people that do it properly. You know, it's just a matter of just finding the right fit at the end of the day. And there's also other you know, either you've had other podcasts about all the different options, there are these days, too. So it's not that every film is right for a producer rep too
Alex Ferrari 18:00
Yeah, that's another thing I wanted to ask you. So like, Yeah, because this specific kind of films because that go to a producer's Rep. There are films that just don't need it. So like someone like someone like me, who's been around the business, I've sold a few films I've known I know a lot. I might not need my handheld nearly as much by someone like you right away. I mean, I could consult you and talk to you, of course, I don't know everything. But I'm a little bit more savvy than your general filmmaker. But as opposed to someone who's like living in Kansas, has never sold a movie they just finished doing their first feature, it probably would benefit them to hire someone like you.
Glen Reynolds 18:38
Yeah, I think you know, I think definitely In the latter case. The other case, I'll say is I do have producers, I've worked with three to four times that come back to me to do what I do. Sure. And they have learned a thing or two over time, but it's more of a personality thing. Like you're just not that curious about it. You're You're a curious bird.
Alex Ferrari 18:59
Strange bird sir.
Glen Reynolds 19:01
Exploring all the different angles of this business, right? So, you know, it kind of goes to sell the whole self distribution thing to like people who, if you're going to self distribute, it shouldn't be in your bones. You know, I mean, it should be something that you're like, wow, I really want to do this. I have the right kind of film for it. And I know I can accomplish it. You know, you really have to have that. You know, I've had some filmmakers who, you know, when they when they're poking around producer reps or sales agents, they asked me, you know, well, should I do you think I should just self distribute? Like, you know, if you have to ask me, you probably shouldn't you should know you have to, in order to self distribute, because it's, it's time consuming. You have to have a passion for it, you know, and you have to have the right kind of thing. I mean, there's a lot of things we see that most of the films we see are right for self distribution, because they're not. There's no niche for it.
Alex Ferrari 19:57
And you would agree that I always tell people the same thing. Like if you Going to self distribute a has to be really niche, like so niche that you can target that audience abroad comedy self distribution, you're dead, you just not
Glen Reynolds 20:09
Yeah, pretty much I mean, if you don't have, you know, broad comedy without an alias name and without, you know, a million dollars in the bank to do your own PNA fund or something, and even then, even then, you know, the, you know, betting on one film is a is not a great investment idea. You know, distributors, pay play a, you know, winners pay for losers game in terms of the takeout 20 films and three or four work to pay for all the other stuff. And so better, you know, even betting on one film as a filmmaker, you know, even if you have the money is, is, you know, borderline crazy.
Alex Ferrari 20:55
But we all are a little bit. That's why we're here. Exactly. Another. I mean, that's a very good point. I mean, I mean, I could I do self distributor, my first film, this is Meg. But then I still went with international distributor for international sales. And I did wrap around REITs, and write all that kind of stuff afterwards. But it made sense. Because I had an audience, I was bringing them along for the process, all that stuff, it was a very low budget, I crowdfunded it, it all made sense. And it's something that I do I know, marketing, I know this, I can hit my audience, all that stuff. But you know, I had somebody come up to me the other day was like, Hey, I have I have a 250 $200,000 movie, and I'm thinking of self distributing, we're really savvy marketing, I'm like, but you kind of broad comedy man. Like, I don't care how good you are, it's gonna be tough to penetrate the audience and to get an ROI back, even if you throw 60 grand at it, and marketing to get an ROI. That's, I mean, that's gonna be
Glen Reynolds 21:55
Yeah, it's, it's really kind of good, you know, bad money after bad point, you know, it's, you know, if you have that kind of film, um, either you've, you've struck the right chord, and you're going to get the great festival in be one of 10 to 20% of the movies at that festival that sells, and there's three or four of those in terms of festivals, or your party, probably, you know, you're most likely you're ending up with a good distributor that maybe has the, you know, might do a little theatrical, just prop it up, and you see, you know, one to 10 City type things out there, trying to help, you know, push the value, or it's gonna be a company that is purely going to give it the digital treatment, and try to get it on cable, you know, and I mean, any making on iTunes, so that's, you know, they would do that, but those kind of companies also tried to, you know, brought it out to cable VOD, and then try to package to Netflix and Showtime and companies like that later. Which gives, you know, a bit of a shot. But the revenues is most of the time pretty new. You know, it's, it's, it's, it's distribution. And so you can say here I've been distributed and Lottie da but mostly you're having to use it for pitching your next movie, you know, right and not if you're sitting around waiting for the money to come in. So you can finance your next movie,
Alex Ferrari 23:31
You'll be waiting for a while.
Glen Reynolds 23:32
You'll be waiting.
Alex Ferrari 23:33
It's not the 9 it's not 90s it's not the 90s anymore.
Glen Reynolds 23:36
Yeah, exactly exactly.
Alex Ferrari 23:39
In the 90s I mean, there was so much money flowing around it for independent film and for via DVDs. I mean, not as not as bad because I remember in the 80s literally if you just made a movie in the 80s it got distributed you could get a 35 millimeter film made even there was a dish you made money with it. Almost
Glen Reynolds 23:58
Yeah, no it was crazy you know, Walmart Walmart bought movies and in massive amounts and and sold them it was you know, you know, South Korea paid $100,000 if you just ran around your backyard with your with your you know, 16 millimeter camera.
Alex Ferrari 24:17
Oh my god, can you imagine catchup? That's nice. That's insane. So now you also are an advocate for filmmakers at film festivals. Can you tell me what avocation for film festivals is and what you the truth about because a lot of people have a lot of people think they'd like look I if anyone ever tells you and I think you might agree with me. I can definitely get you into Sundance. Oh, I can definitely get you to slam
Glen Reynolds 24:44
used to be an agent at the remain nameless at an agency that will remain nameless used to tell people I have three slots at Sundance. Yeah, that was just letting them have three slots. He just walked in and put whatever movies he Want it? Can you imagine? Yeah. Know what all what it mostly is, is helping put a film on our radar? Over the years by selling movies and being at festivals, we've gotten to know a lot of the programmers at the big ones and medium sized ones and not so much the smaller ones. But you know, the ones that have some kind of value for a film niche or something like
Alex Ferrari 25:28
Glen Reynolds 25:28
And yeah, and. And so since we've gotten to know them, we're chummy and can get them on the phone to say, Hey, you know, you should take a look at this movie. And all that really does is get a film it stay in court at the end of the day. Because the reality is that they say they watch all 10,000 movies that were submitted, but there's absolutely no way they can. And that doesn't mean that maybe some intern watched, you know, maybe an army of interns and junior programmers watched it, but didn't have the bump, you know, then it has to, they have to like it has to bubble up to someone else who likes it. And what we can do is just make sure that someone who has a true voice at the festival watches the movie is I you know, it's not so much that we we certainly pitch it a little bit and tried to say why we think it's great. What's so unique about it, or why it's good for their festival. But truly the you know, it's going to be their experience watching the movie that determines whether they take it or not. It's not what is the same with selling movies, right? Like I can't, I can't convince my wife that a movie I just liked and she hates is good as a good movie. Right? It's It's, it's, it's really 95% plus them, watching it and liking it. And then it being likable enough that it rises to the top, and whatever internal politics that that festival has, in terms of them fighting over, like what films get accept,
Alex Ferrari 27:10
Can you talk a little bit about those internal politics because I mean, I would love to get a little bit more of an insight from your point of view, at least an inside look at some of these festivals, because as we talked about, right before we got on the phone, before we got on the call was that, you know, of course on the corner of ego and desire was rejected from Sundance as 14,000 other films this year, got rejected from Sundance. And, and, and I still argue as like, as, as perfectly as a film could be set up to be at the Sundance Film Festival, a love letter to the Sundance Film Festival, right. filmmakers I you know, I don't know what else I could have. I could I don't know what else give me a midnight slot, just give me something. But it didn't it didn't happen for me. And that's fine. But there's a lot of things that go on behind the scenes. And can you talk a little bit about that? So people who are listening? Don't feel so bad, the 14,000 of us didn't make?
Glen Reynolds 28:04
Well, the one thing you hear people say is like, Oh, well, it's political. Yeah, right. Right. You know, the big guys get their films in and, you know, I, I don't know that that's really true. I've known some pretty big wigs that got pissed off because their film didn't get in. And maybe some other film that they is part of their library got in and they're pissed off, it was about filming another song. I think that, you know, programmers are human beings that have their own subjective take on things and are watch a lot of movies, and then have to discuss them with their, the other people in there. And they're going to debate and go round and round. In some places. It's it's different. Like there are some festivals where it's, it's truly a gala, terian. And there's 10 people that kind of get in a room, and they all vote on movies, or give us give scores on movies, and then ones with the best scores rise to the top and then they vote. There's some where it's kind of top down, right? Where there's a grand Pooh bah. And that person is really going to kind of get presented to him or her. The the, you know, the best of the best of the films, and then they're going to kind of say yes or no to what's been selected. So kind of depends on the film festival a little bit. And the reality is just like it's 14,000 movies, right?
Alex Ferrari 29:35
It was 14,200 movies this year.
Glen Reynolds 29:37
My God is that so many movies, I mean, you could wind it down a bit that it's, you know, a narrative feature film because some there's some shorts or some docks or some international still, but still it's been a while. Okay, we've whittled it down to maybe three or 4000 movies. Right? And that's just a lot of movies, and there's ended up being maybe 10 slots for your kind of movie right? So a lot of us and say it again,
Alex Ferrari 30:03
It's a lottery ticket.
Glen Reynolds 30:04
It is a lottery. It's totally a lottery ticket. But the problem is that everybody's like, well, what's the other? what's the alternative? If you're talking about just traditional distribution and not self distribution, you know, that's the only place where you really grab the brass ring as a true nd. Right? Now, I'm not talking about films that have names in them, that they're financed by international sales companies, and they kind of, you know, there's a different game being played there. But just talking about true indie films made with your money, or your family's money, or dentist money or whatever. You know, that's, that's the only place where you're going to get that, especially if you made a real indie film. No, the massive caveat to that is, you know, I do you know, indie filmmakers that put together you know, if it's a horror film, and it has a great art rd angle to it, and you get some neat, you know, maybe it's on a marquee name, but it's a meaningful name to the community. You know, there's, there's a market there for that, if you make a family movie with a dog, and, and you have the right kind of music, and in a certain level of cast, there's a market for it. Without that human, both of those kind of movies are not made for Sundance or south by right, there's a market for those still, it's a small market. So you still, you know, you have to make the move those kind of movies for under 200 grand to hopefully, you know, recoup and you in there, and you still can in those genres, but you still have to do everything pretty right, and be with the right distributor and get the right kind of deal, etc, etc. But, you know, for for, for your film that goes to this really met, like, you know, that's a drama, or a dramatic thriller, or, or comedy or rom com, or, or some kind of other artistic genre. Um, you know, you're not going to get a big deal. Unless you're in a situation where, you know, distributors sometimes make mistakes, which are the major festivals, because the reality too is, you know, at Sundance, I don't know what the percentage is. But let's say, you know, 20% of the narrative features get a great deal, or they have a big advance, and a PMA commitment. You know, not all those movies are going to even do well.
Alex Ferrari 32:41
Oh, Rahman. What was it a slate was a slave of a nation or what was that movie? Yeah. 1212 years? No, no, that's what he was like the other night? Yeah, you're talking about? Yeah, it was about the slaver. Yeah, God, they'd sold for like $12 million, or $15 million.
Glen Reynolds 32:55
And then they had a controversy and it's died, you know, they died. It died. Yeah. And but for even that, like that, and you know, like, so there's whiplash, right, which has the great story of making the short and when they sold the feature, and then it did great. And now he has a career. But that's just one movie of the movies that were acquired out of that crop of films. In Sundance, there are probably 10 others that got similar kind of deals that we don't remember, you know, and where the filmmakers because the film doesn't work, like whiplash don't really have careers. Even with Sundance success, oh,
Alex Ferrari 33:41
I mean, I was involved with the movie, in 2010, that won two awards at Sundance. And she couldn't get it sold. I mean, and she made it for about 100,000, no caste, drama, quirky drama, that she was able to eventually make her money back selling, you know, airline rights and Sundance put it on the Sundance Channel, and she got some money there. And Sundance kind of helped her. But overall, though, it was not a it was it was just, it was regardless if with Sundance or not. It just couldn't make money. It just wasn't. that's a that's a years ago.
Glen Reynolds 34:16
Yeah. Which is a lot more rosy than today. Yes, that kind of movie. Yep, too. So it's, you know, try not, maybe I should get off of being debbie downer. But
Alex Ferrari 34:33
It's just a reality. This is the reality of what we deal with. I mean, there are rah rah rah times and there's other times that we need to hear the truth and that's why I bring guests like you on and we will talk about happy stuff in a minute, but but unfortunately, this is the truth of the matter. I mean, in PDF, don't you love people who I've had I've had filmmakers talk to Ed literally had this conversation with the filmmaker. The other day, I'm like, what's your distribution plan for your $150,000 feature film Oh, I'm submitting it to Sundance. That is the whole that was the end all be all that was the end of the conversation. I'm like, What do you mean? Like, what we're gonna get into Sundance, and then we'll get a deal? And then, you know, I'm like, Are you kidding me?
Glen Reynolds 35:16
Yeah, I mean, and that's, you know, that's okay. If you went to your investor and said, Hey, we're probably throwing all your money away. Yes, exactly. Right. I mean, and certainly there are people that don't mind that, that that's they just want to support you, as a filmmaker, they love the idea, or they, there's a cause behind it, or something that they've Okay, this is represents less than 1% of my my income a year, you know, I've got it, so why not spend it and I want to be in the film business, you know, shorter that almost every representation of making money off of film should be the look, we're probably pissing it away. And the hard part too, though, also about like, you know, the, I've had people even that, that know that they should probably try to raise some money, along with their production budget, to help distribute it right to market it in case it doesn't get Sundance or south by or something like that. The problem is, is that this that's the first thing to go when they don't raise enough money, all the money. Right? Right. And, and that's almost always happens, because you never raise everything that you hope you could for a movie. And so a lot of times, it's like, okay, we're just going to go ahead and make the movie regardless. So even I've had lots of people that knew that they should do that, but they just don't, you know, it's just hard to raise every dollar you you think you need. And, and then things happened in production to like, you know, like, you know, oh, well, that's gonna cost a lot more than we thought. You know,
Alex Ferrari 36:52
What do you what do you mean? The I have to, I'm creating an entire hobbit village. In post? What do you mean? $5,000 is it's usually marketing money, then the next thing that gets cut off his color grading sound, almost all the posts are getting dwindled down to like, well, I'll just edit it on my laptop and a guitar in the back. I'll show my guitar in the background. And, and I need a 4k DCP with that. Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. Right. It's just the it's just, it's, it's sad. It's sad. But that's what that's what I'm trying to help with. With indie film, hustle. I'm trying to get the information out there. So people don't make these mistakes, the mistakes that I've made and mistakes that my guests have heard, or made themselves in, yeah,
Glen Reynolds 37:42
No, it's Um, no, I've watched a lot of your videos. It's, it's, I wish everybody knew about it. You know, that was it's almost that like, once they graduate from film school, they should all have to sit down and watch hours and hours of indie film. Because that's the real education at the end of the day beyond knowing, you know, where the, you know,
Alex Ferrari 38:05
What the 180 degree with the 180 degree is, and that rule of thirds is, yeah, exactly. Once they know that, and they know how to wrap a cable and make a good cup of coffee, they actually need to know how the business
Glen Reynolds 38:16
That's right. You know, you know, the history of the French New Wave cinema,
Alex Ferrari 38:22
Which is fantastic. And I loved it. I loved watching it, but that does not help me with distribution today. Totally. Now, speaking of distribution, what is hybrid and theatrical distribution? Because I know you guys help with that as well.
Glen Reynolds 38:36
Yes, so um, what hybrid usually is the hybrid just means you're doing traditional and self distribution together in some way. And that can mean a lot of different things. So sometimes, I've had a few filmmakers who got traditional distribution in terms of a distributor taking the film out to the various digital platforms, try you know, running with the blu ray trying to sell Showtime and other other platforms downstream. And then the filmmaker will go off and do their own theatrical to try to support that that's one version of hybrid distribution. Another version that I used to see more often was and I see less often today is selling your own blu ray or DVDs in at the same time that your your distributors doing it their way. I think that's just dropped off because less people watch films that way. So I have less filmmakers wanting to try that. At and that is hybrid could also just mean though, that your ghost you have a distributor and maybe they're they've got an in house person assist, who's working that angle, but they're not really spending anything on Facebook ads, or something that you feel like would help the cause. And so you can coordinate with them in that way, or it could be the reverse. They're going to spend some money on some ads in some way, but they don't really have any publicist. So you hire someone, or try to do some publicity yourself at the same time. So those are the different kinds of hybrid distribution deals that we've, you know, helped contractually, pull off for people if that was there, if that was their inclination.
Alex Ferrari 40:34
Now, you've mentioned a lot about the digital platforms like s VOD t VOD, a VOD, what do you feeling? What is your feeling today for independent filmmakers actually being able to recoup money? through those platforms, whether as self distribution or even in traditional distribution? What are the differences between the two? Because at the end of the day, you know, we can get our film up on iTunes tomorrow. And if you go with a distributor, they can get their their film on iTunes tomorrow. What is the big difference between the two? Like, why would I give 20% or 3040 50%, depending on the deal is to a distributor, if I'm going to do this marketing, I'm going to push it what's the point with it? Tell me what your feeling is?
Glen Reynolds 41:15
Totally, totally. Yeah, I mean, there are definitely scenarios where you shouldn't give it to a traditional distributor, if if all they're going to do is put it on iTunes. That makes no sense. And there are some distributors out there that say, Hey, we're gonna do all this stuff. And they just don't, they purely just put it on iTunes. And they're taking 20 or 30%, just for doing that. And recouping ridiculous costs,
Alex Ferrari 41:42
And then holding it for seven holding it hostage for seven years. Yeah.
Glen Reynolds 41:45
So there's all sorts of scenarios that you should avoid and not do. And that self distribution would be a better than than doing, you know, it traditionally with somebody else. The reason to go with the traditional distributor, there's, there's several reasons that can be combined together, any one of which might make someone do it. So one is, if you are completely out of money, and a distributor will at least do the encoding. I mean, I mean, you have $0, and they will do the encoding, and perhaps they'll pay for the insurance. And maybe there's a couple other costs that you just don't have, then, you know, giving away 20% for what can be five to 10 grand and costs might be valuable to you, because that's where you are. And at the end of the day, if you're thinking of, well, I'll just put on my credit card, and I'll just get up on platforms don't have any more money left didn't support it, or the time and effort to support it, you're just throwing away more money. So you might as well have them throw away the money. The other the Secondly, there are some distributors, that you have the muscle to get better placement in the digital hemisphere than others. That doesn't mean that if you self distribute, you won't get good placement, because that has happened. But it's also possible that you don't. And what's hard about it, it's also possible to be with a big studio, and the placement not end up being great, either. It's not a guarantee. But over time and looking at this stuff. We see that in general, there are some companies that just get better placement over time, even further indie films than others. And so when we're going out to distributors, and we're getting the offers that part of the Intel that we're able to share with our filmmakers, hey, here's, you know, how they have positioned their films in the past and how they made more money than you probably would with this other distributor. In addition, there are some distributors that that do marketing. Now, for films that are just a digital release, that could be as limited as having an in house publicist and or paying for some Facebook ads. And so, you know, again, if you don't have the money for a publicist, and you don't have the money for buying Facebook ads, and you don't think that the company making the offer to you can get better position that you can through an aggregator then and you don't and you don't have any money, it's probably best to go with the distributor. And then up from there. The The hard thing too though, is it's always You know, you always have to be, whenever we're advising about this, it always gets more granular and specific, because we're talking about particular companies and what they do. And none of these companies are the same in their strategies in their relationships, sure, in their practices and their ethics in their contracts. So it's not, it's just not that cookie cutter. And, and so and they're always changing over time. So we're constantly having to, like, re look at them every month. What are they doing now? You know, and what did they do last month for that film?
Alex Ferrari 45:37
Well, we'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Glen Reynolds 45:48
So, and certainly, you can't just go off of what they tell you they're going to do. You have to look at their past practices to see what they did. And find out from filmmakers what they did, to see if they actually did these things. Like, you know, because some people say like, Oh, yeah, we're gonna do a whole social media thing. Okay. What that ends up meaning is that they put it on their Facebook page, right? The movie? And they did. That's it,
Alex Ferrari 46:17
Which has, which has 500, which has 500 followers?
Glen Reynolds 46:20
Yeah. And when did they even see it? No, of course not. Because unless them up in their thing. So you have to, you know, you have to know how to talk to these people and see what they've actually done. Did they actually buy Facebook ads? I mean, did they actually do a targeted campaign to the demographic for that film? Now, the jump up from there now, for that digital type play. You know, if someone's saying they're gonna spend $100,000 to market your, your digital only movie, right? Then they're lying. Right? No one spends that amount of money to market a digital only movie. Correct? If that's what your statement looks like, it's, it's incorrect. So the jump from someone spending, you know, 1000s, not hundreds of 1000s. But 1000s of dollars on publicity and marketing to a bigger level is if it's theatrical, not that every theatrical is big, but, or even going for box office. But that's the only time you ever see a truly robust marketing spend, is if they're trying to support a theatrical of a certain size. And then that, of course, is where it's kind of obvious that, to me, at least, that you know, if you have someone wanting your film at that level, you just got to you got it hope get the best terms you can and hope that they can do it properly. And then beats all the other films because you doing that is not going to be even close to the same. So yeah, in a nutshell, that's that's the difference.
Alex Ferrari 48:14
That's the difference. That is a nutshell. There's a very large nutshell. Without question no, without what I mean, it's it's true. A lot of the stuff you just said, you know, is such inside information that only like you and I sitting down at Sundance silver drink my talk about, and it's generally stuff that people talk about outside. So thank you for, for sharing that. Oh, yeah, no, absolutely. It there's, I mean, there's so much, there's so many shady deals, there's so many, you know, there's much more shady than are reputable, and all parts of our business. I think, from my experience, at least, there are really good companies out there really good distribution companies out there who have really good ethics. But I think you might agree with me that there's probably a lot more that don't. And we have to be careful.
Glen Reynolds 49:04
Yeah, it's, you know, it's, um, you know, it's, it's, I don't know if I know if I can quantify it, though, because I don't, I don't run into it very much, you know, when we, most of the films we take on are referred to us. And and so we're don't find yourselves like competing per se, like, Oh, well, are we going to get it? Or is, you know, this other company going to get it? Sometimes we find that after the fact that someone went with a criminal, and we just shake our heads, but we're just moving on to another film and trying to, you know, work with other filmmakers. So, it's actually kind of hard for me to, to gauge like how much how much is criminal and how much is, is real. And Part two is like, you know, truly, it's hard for even the people who do it legitimately And quite often, even legitimate companies get blamed for what happens. And
Alex Ferrari 50:07
Yeah, like you said,
Glen Reynolds 50:08
Early days is the hard business. It's just a really hard business to make to turn a film into, you know, something that makes money. It's just very, very hard.
Alex Ferrari 50:18
Why do we do it, man? Why are we here? I mean, I don't understand what like, I mean, you're, you're I mean, you've also produced a lot of films over the years as well. So you, you are not just a producer's rap, you also do many other things. But at the end of the day, like, why, why do we do this to ourselves?
Glen Reynolds 50:35
Well, I think if we hadn't grown up when we grew up when we grew up, right? I mean, I say that, but then there are people coming out of college now want to be filmmakers. And maybe it's a smaller slice of the population than it was when we were young. But it still happens.
Alex Ferrari 50:54
Oh, I think it's a larger thing. It's a much larger size.
Glen Reynolds 50:57
I think. I think there's more people because there's more people. But I think there are more like more people are like, there weren't people wanting to get in and make games when we were when at least when I was young.
Alex Ferrari 51:07
No, of course,
Glen Reynolds 51:08
You don't need there weren't people wanting to be games, you know, developing games, there's, there's a lot, you know, or other kinds of media and media, right? So I don't have any numbers. I just my instinct is that the his percentage is smaller. It's like in the 50s. The big thing was to be an author. You know what I mean? Right? Like, and the authors were kind of rock stars. And then in the 70s, and 80s, and maybe 90s, his makers were were rock stars. And I don't know who I mean, now YouTube stars. Yes. The rock stars. So it's just a different. It's a different worlds, I think we're a smaller slice of the population. But it's still a heavy number. There's still a lot of people who grew up loving movies and wanting to be a part of it in some way. And oh, look, that film, you know, whiplash, or whatever, they made a movie, I can make a movie, you know,We all have that feeling
Alex Ferrari 52:01
Isn't it? Do it. Isn't it amazing, though, that that one of the few people have art forms. I mean, I would assume books as well as being an author, but it's like you watch a movie. And you say, Hey, I can do that. Or you read a book and you're like, Hey, I could write a book. But you never see, like, I heard a Mozart, I can write a symphony. Like, did you stop there is like, yeah, like, I've walked into a building, I think I can build one. Like, there's not those conversations, but for whatever for reason. Our art form, specifically anyone who watches a movie, because we've seen it so many times. Like, I've seen so many movies, I'm sure I can make a bit I can make a movie, that's good.
Glen Reynolds 52:43
Absolutely. And the means to get there has gotten easier to write, we can make it on our phone now and edit it on our computer. So the access is it is a lot simpler just to do you know, just do that. So, you know, I get movies all the time. You know, we can people refer to as the movies that just literally they made on the, with their phone or something. And they, you know, the acting is terrible. And the lighting is terrible. No stories, like whatever. And, and so, you know, that's that's definitely the bottom of the barrel. There's all different levels of bad. There's an ocean of awful out there, but it's you know, the thing is, it's all subjective the day and, you know, when I made shorts with my brother, when I was 13, I thought they were amazing.
Alex Ferrari 53:39
Oh, listen, when I was when I was growing up at the video store, I thought john Claude Van Damme was the greatest actor of all time. So, you know, times change.
Glen Reynolds 53:49
And, and, and yeah, so I think I partly that is, like, if you can accomplish at least something, and that makes you feel like it's possible. Whereas like, you know, programming a game, I you know, I can't even know the first thing about programming anything,
Alex Ferrari 54:07
I can't even think about
Glen Reynolds 54:09
It's not there unless you go and really study it and learn it.
Alex Ferrari 54:12
Absolutely. Now, what when you guys are taking on films, what do you look for in a film to actually take it on as a client?
Glen Reynolds 54:20
I, you know, it's it's different things. It's certainly like the bottom line, we have to feel like there's a place for it. Right? We have to feel like there's a you know, what we that were the appropriate company for the movie and that there's a whether it's a, you know, a whether it's theatrical, or it's a company that does a little bit more than just place it on a platform, we have to feel like we add value that way. So that's number one. Number two, um, I got to like the movie to certain degree. I don't have to think it's, you know, Gone with the Wind. But I have to pitch it, you know, to distributors, and and share with distributors. And they have to I have to hope that they'll call me back over time,
Alex Ferrari 55:10
Right! Because if you take a crappy film, you say this is fantastic didn't never take your call.
Glen Reynolds 55:14
And certainly I've also had films that we thought, well, this is, this is not for the top tier theatrical distributors. But it could go to a good digital distributor. And as long as the filmmaker understands that, that's what we're going to try. And that's where we think you can go, then we can help them. But we certainly have turned down films where we turn on lots of films, because they're not very good. And we turn out we have also turned out films because they think that they're going to get, you know, Fox Searchlight, put it on 400 screens? Sure, you know, and they're just totally delusional. They may even have a good movie, but that's just not going to happen for them.
Alex Ferrari 55:57
Let's see, we could do a whole episode on delusional filmmakers. Yes. Good. Oh, my God, that the stories, I've heard the things I've seen. And listen, I was a delusional filmmaker when I was coming up, but but we all have, you have to be a certain level of delusion, and crazy to do what we do. Absolutely. But there is that the reality wall that sets in and like, you know, I just spent a million dollars on a film with no star shot and black and white. That is shape of water meets et with Transformers drizzled on top. Which is the movie that by the way, that is the movie that my actors, or my cast was trying to pitch in the movie ego and desire. That's the exact pitch for it. I don't think you've ever heard that pitch. No, I don't think so. Mostly in black and white, mostly a little bit in slow mo. And it's like a mixture between like a Truffaut and a Criterion Collection.
Glen Reynolds 56:52
Yes. Sounds delicious. I, you know, it was hard. What's hard, though, to what's what's harder than that, though? Is the film that you like, okay, yeah, this could get a little distributor to do something little for them. And they don't want to self distribute. And maybe they'll put it on one screen. Or maybe it's just a really good release, and they'll sell it to Showtime or Netflix or somebody later, it's got a chance, but they just don't they just think it's more than that. They think it's a little bit more than that. And it's in what's hard is I want the film. But you can't, you know, just can't go there in terms of like saying, like, you know, yeah, you've got, you've got a chance. And that's, and I think that you know, going back to are you talking about cheesy producer reps that are out there, that are some little just blow the smoke up the butt. Because at the end of the day, when it does not work, there's still going to be on the film as the producer wrap, and get to make the deal regardless. And we've lost films over being honest with people about what the chances are. And that's what makes it you know, even more hard to you know, when, to your question of like, what we what we see in the movie, it's, it's, it's thinking there's a place, it's digging it. And it's also like, feeling out the filmmaker to make sure they're just in the right frame of mind. You know, you have to you have to check their expectations,
Alex Ferrari 58:26
Glen Reynolds 58:27
Absolutely, you know, because if they, if they think that it's definitely gonna be on Netflix, for you know, his original content,
Alex Ferrari 58:37
And at least a 250,000 what they bought, yeah, $250,000 buy? Yeah,
Glen Reynolds 58:42
It's just, you know, it's not, it's just not, they're not doing that anymore. And so it's funny, I, you know, we sometimes spend, you know, two hours talking to people, you know, maybe in two different conversations, to educate them about the business only not to get the business because we've talked them, you know, we've kind of like spoiled the whole world for them, you know that now? They're just like, well, I can't they don't believe my films for Fox Searchlight. So I'm gonna go do it elsewhere.
Alex Ferrari 59:15
Well, now all you have to do is just send them a link to this episode. so helpful. Exactly. Because like, Listen, just listen to this. When you're done listening to this, if you still want to talk to us, we can talk to you a little bit more. But this is the reality of what's going on true. Play. So, tell me about your company, circus road and what you guys do.
Glen Reynolds 59:43
So where 95% of what we do is help filmmakers get distribution. And sometimes it's helping them advocate to film festivals to prop it up. Sometimes it's doing just going straight to distributors, sometimes it's trying to push distributors into a screening room itself by. So there's all different strategies for different films, it just kind of depends on how we feel about and how the filmmaker feels about it. But yeah, so we, you know, we, we generally represent three or four films at a time. We don't really have like a minimum or a maximum for number films, it just kind of happens to be what we're usually working on. And, and, and then, you know, I also have the legal background, so I helped them with the contract, and I negotiate it and redline it and, and do the back and forth to try to get the best deal. And then downstream, we also help filmmakers understand their royalty reports and get the distributor on the phone if they haven't.You know, they won't call them back.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:02
What that's what that does it,
Glen Reynolds 1:01:04
Believe it or not, there are lots of great distributors that call people back out there, but there are some No, no, no distributors perfect. They've all Everyone has their kinks. And so I was just eating, they need to kick in the butt to call somebody sometimes. And you're the boot. So it's a little bit of that. So we, we kind of feel like when we're on a film, we're kind of in the long term, with people depending on you know, how it goes. And, and quite often clients have turned into, you know, I do a little bit of producing, but I'm not a nuts and bolts guy, I'm not on the set, you know, doing that gig. It's more that I've either had a property and a friend of mine had a found some room with some money for it, or a friend of mine has a property and I found some someone with some money for it. And we helped cobbled together, maybe maybe there's a pre sale or someone who does a pre sale involved to help put it together. But mostly it's been, every film has been just a little bit different in terms of how we put it together. But fortunately, you know, my role, if I were to be an onset guy, I can do the sales part of this whole thing too. So it doesn't occupy a lot of my time I read a script here and there trying to find something interesting to work on. But it's a pretty small part of what we what we do.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:27
Well, Glenn, I'm going to ask you a few questions asked all of my guests. Yes, what advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today?
Glen Reynolds 1:02:37
Wanting to bring in business today, I would say filmmaker. So I would say try to get a job in the industry doesn't have to be related to exactly what you want to do. But to learn another angle, maybe as you know, maybe you're you know, if you're if you're if you want to direct write and direct movies, it's hard like just having a great script and trying to get a manager an agent that's a hard road rough and I think getting into the business in some way and the networking within the business while you're pursuing all that just increases your odds a little bit of being able to do something and try to go to the bigger festivals try to go to some of the markets if you can afford it just to see how how things work and to try to meet people in network that's um that's how a lot of the people that I've seen become successful do it but who didn't you know, start off me I've seen some people had money to make the first movie and it was great and off to the races but that's not the that's not you know, most people don't have that so I would say just try to try to network try to meet people try to be a part of the action in some way while you're trying to pursue your dream
Alex Ferrari 1:04:13
Very good advice. Very good advice. Now can you tell me what book had the biggest impact on your life or career?
Glen Reynolds 1:04:20
Alex Ferrari 1:04:21
This is like these are some deep questions to prepare
Glen Reynolds 1:04:24
Yeah, yeah. I can't say the Bible probably just lost a few clients there
Alex Ferrari 1:04:41
Glen Reynolds 1:04:46
I'm gonna say you know what was if I could maybe a category books, the works of Henry James was a big no yeah. me when I was in getting my English degree at NYU, I had a course just on Henry James. And just, it prompted me to read all his stuff. And I think it just, it made me a better reader of everything. And I think it also probably propelled me to law school a little bit. Because, and, and increase my ability to read in general. I'm not sure what I think partly I grew up in England as a kid, and mostly from Texas, though, and Henry James had this English and American kind of hybrid life. So I connected that, but just those great writer and, and it gets influenced me in several several ways.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:47
Okay. Now, what lesson took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life? I'm telling you. My goal, my goal here is to bring down circus road by you not being able to answer this questions.
Glen Reynolds 1:06:06
Lessons that I learned, took me the longest to learn. Well, I think I probably got there in my 30s, which is so many years ago. But it was probably just to, um, let's some arguments lie. and not have to win every battle. No, yeah. And I think that that, that has served me well, it certainly is doing what I do requires a lot of patience. Both with filmmakers who don't understand maybe every detail of the business, and with distributors who struggle and are having a hard time getting great getting films out. And I think taking them taking them being able to understand other people's situations and being able to the only way I got there, I think was over time being through those situations myself. And so I think, if I can, if I can sum that up, it's it's, it's, it's, it's taking the time to hear someone else's side of things, and trying to understand it that I think has served me the best.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:33
Very cool. Now of course, this is the last question that must be the toughest one of the three of your favorite films of all time?
Glen Reynolds 1:07:41
Londa Lundy ,This is spinal tap.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:47
Glen Reynolds 1:07:48
Alex Ferrari 1:07:49
Glen Reynolds 1:07:50
And I'm gonna say got a tie.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:00
Go for it. Okay.
Glen Reynolds 1:08:02
The Earies of Madame dia.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:04
Okay, I haven't heard that.
Glen Reynolds 1:08:06
And I won't pick up Martin Scorsese one because I love Martin Scorsese. I'll say main streets.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:17
Main Street over Goodfellas.
Glen Reynolds 1:08:20
Yeah, I just love how rod is
Alex Ferrari 1:08:21
it is pretty damn Rod in it. That wa indie movies. When? When indie movies were being made?
Glen Reynolds 1:08:29
Oh, yeah. Absolutely.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:32
It is a great film. Great film. And now where can people find you, Glen?
Glen Reynolds 1:08:36
So my website is circusroadfilms.com. My email is Glen.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:44
Don't Don't. Don't do it. Glen, don't do it. I promise you they're going to Okay, go ahead. I'm joking. No, no, you put your email out you will get email so prepare yourself.
Glen Reynolds 1:08:56
I'm all i'm open for business. prepare, prepare yourself. Glen Glen, which is the proper way to spell glen.circusroadfilms.com. That's the best way to get me.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:07
Alright. Glen man. It's been an absolute pleasure talking shop with you and and thank you for dropping these knowledge bombs on the tribe today. I really appreciate you taking the time,
Glen Reynolds 1:09:17
Thank you, Alex is a great, really appreciate it.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:20
I want to thank Glen again for coming by and dropping some major major knowledge bombs on the indie film hustle tribe today. Thank you, Glen. So so much. And as I warn you, Glen, you put out your email, you will get emails from the tribe? No question. So guys, be kind but you know, if you're interested in you need his services, please be my guest. And an email. I'll put the links to everything we talked about Linda how to get ahold of them. That email and everything on the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/303. Now there has been a little bit of confusion in regards to my book release date right now on Amazon. It says it's been released but it has not yet been released. It will Release March 8, as of right now my publisher is trying to deal with the demand, believe it or not. So, if you have have you, if you've ordered it, it will be coming out in the next few weeks. So please be patient. Thank you again, so, so much. If you're part of my launch team, and you have read the book, you can now go to amazon.com. And leave a good review for the book. And it means so so, so, so much to me that you do that. So please just head over to indiefilmhustle.com/mob, and they'll take you directly to the Amazon page. And there you can leave a review and please share it with as many people as you possibly can. And again, thank you guys so so much for all the support. And that's the end of another episode of the indie film hustle podcast. Thank you guys again. So so much as always keep that also going. Keep that dream alive, and I'll talk to you soon.
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- Circus Road Films
- On the Corner of Ego and Desire
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- Bulletproof Script Coverage – Get Your Screenplay Read by Hollywood Professionals
- Audible – Get a Free Filmmaking or Screenwriting Audiobook
- Rev.com – $1.25 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)