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IFH 422: The RAW TRUTH about Film Distribution in Today’s World with Shaked Berenson

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Today on the show we have to return champion film producer and distributor Shaked Berenson. Shaked has been on the show a few times now and each time he brings a wealth of knowledge bombs to the tribe. Shaked launched his new company called The Horror Collective, whose mission is to foster a community of independent horror filmmakers and connect their films to fans, all done transparently and fairly. We provide direct distribution combined with a cost-effective, high-impact festival, marketing, and release strategy. The Horror Collective aims to bring your film to the right audience.

Shaked Berenson produced, and executive produced 22 features and two television series including many horror and cult favorites such as TURBO KID (2015), BIG ASS SPIDER! (2013), THE AGGRESSION SCALE (2012), and most recently, THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT (2019), EXTRA ORDINARY (2019), PRETENDING I’M A SUPERMAN – THE TONY HAWK VIDEO GAME STORY (2020), and THE LODGERS (2018).

In the past 15 years, Shaked financed, marketed, and distributed over 120 films across all genres. He served as a Board Director for IFTA™ (Independent Film & Television Alliance) since 2011, a PGA (Producers Guild of America) member since 2013, and currently on the advisory board of The Film Collaborative, a non-profit committed to distribution education and facilitation of independent film.

In this episode, Shaked and I discuss the realities of film distribution in today’s world, why most indie films fail to make money, why many film distributors screw over filmmakers, and how filmmakers can better position their films for the marketplace. The RAW TRUTH that Shaked and I discuss is not for the faint of heart but I truly hope it helps filmmakers better understand the marketplace they are entering.

Enjoy my eye-opening conversation with Shaked Berenson.

Alex Ferrari 2:09
Now guys, today I have a special episode for you because we have returning champion, Shaked Berenson and Shaked has been on the show a few times before. We've been talking for years in regards to film marketing, and distribution. But in today's episode, we're going to talk about the raw truth of film distribution in today's world. And it is a fairly brutal conversation. A lot of truth is dropped in this episode. And I hope I truly, truly hope that this is going to be eye opening for a lot of you in the tribe listening today. Because I know from experience that many times we as independent filmmakers live in somewhat of a magical world where things will all work out the way we hope they will or dream they will, that our films are going to get big deals at Netflix or at a studio that our career directing careers are going to take off. And I'm not saying that can't happen. It happens all the time. And I have those success stories on the show all the time. But you can't. And I wanted to sit down and talk about the other 99% 99.9% of filmmakers working in independent film, what they really need to do to position themselves and their films to have success in the market place that we are living in today. And that marketplace is changing so so rapidly, that episodes like this are needed more and more because right now, our business as well as the world is under siege by this pandemic. And honestly, Hollywood is trying to figure out what to do next. I mean, just the other day, Warner Brothers is going to be releasing all of their 2021 Films directly on HBO max. Those are the big studio releases that they have, as opposed to just going theatrical first, which is an atom bomb going off in our industry. It really really is everyone's just trying to figure things out. So Shaked and I talk about how all of this is affecting independent filmmakers, and how the marketplace is changing and how you can adjust to it. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Shaked Berenson. I like to welcome back to the show returning champion. Shaked Berenson man How you doing Shaked?

Shaked Berenson 4:47
I'm good. I'm good. I know if I'm returning champion. Well, I'm returning something but every time I talk to you, it looks like your empire is bigger. And I'm making the same movies. So you may be the champion.

Alex Ferrari 4:58
Well, I don't know. I don't All About that, sir. But you have been on the show twice before this is your third appearance on the show. And they every time you're on the show, people love the episodes. And you and I were just chatting the other day just catching up. And we were start talking about distribution. And I just said, Look, we have, we've got to record some of this stuff. This is this is gold. And we have to we got to put this out for the tribe. So you you were you were nice enough to agree to come in and burn some more bridges for yourself. Because Isn't it like every time you come on the show? You burn at least 1718 bridges?

Shaked Berenson 5:34
Yeah, every time I come to your show, I have at least 10 people that they end up not talking to me. But as I say it's you know, it's to burn bridges with people that anyway you know, steel and religion. Right. take money from filmmakers, you know, we might as well burn those bridges. Right?

Alex Ferrari 5:52
Abs. Absolutely. Now I wanted to I wanted to for people who don't know who you are and have not heard the other episodes. Can you tell everybody a little bit about who you are and what you've done?

Shaked Berenson 6:03
Um, yeah, I My name is Shaked Berenson was born in the States but grew up in Israel. This is why I have this weird hybrid accent.

Alex Ferrari 6:13
Fantastic. Very sexy, sir. Very sexy.

Shaked Berenson 6:15
Thank you. Thank you. I try if I if I speak like this, it's better. But yeah, I came to LA to go to UCLA study economics, got a degree in business. Didn't come here with any dream to be an actor or anything like that, like many people that come here, but I couldn't find a job as a bartender. So I started working for a film producer at that time working on a little movie called ghostwriter. And from there as a personal assistants started moving up to level getting experience in every aspect, both onset and different departments, but also on the business side, and in 2007, started my own foreign sales agency and produce movies. Since then, I've I think I just recently counted 41 films at the other executive producer, or was a lead producer. Beside that I've done sales and distributed over 160 Films sold to companies like Netflix, dozens of movies work with HBO. Right now I'm delivering a film to stars and AMC network, all the way down to small indie distributors in different countries, and some fly by night companies. So it's really done everything A to Z, and from being in small, produced some very low budget films, for a movie like Jerusalem, which is fun footage and was in the $130,000 range to Viking dome, which is an action film that we did for $11.6 million, or my animation franchise, space dogs, which is 20 plus each film. So I really have wide experience, really in all genres budgets, from an idea developing an idea all the way down to stocking DVDs at Walmart and doing the price reduction.

Alex Ferrari 8:13
So that's it. Yes. You've done you've done a little bit of everything in the business. And you've been in the business for a while. Now. I you as you started distributing your own films A while ago. Can you explain to the audience why you decided to Well, what happened and what caused you to say, wait a minute, this system is busted, I'm gonna get screwed, I got screwed, I'm not gonna get screwed again, let me build a system out so I can start funneling out my my projects in a way that I can kind of control a little bit better than if having to go to a distributor specifically.

Shaked Berenson 8:49
Yeah, it really came out out of necessity. Because the beginning, obviously, you know, the, I guess the most fun part is to make the movies and remake the movies and you give it to foreign sales, you have to get an mg, or you're not. I think it's better not to get an mg actually. But you get an mg. And then you spend the next few years chasing the sales agent for reports and for money and just wasting more time. And so we started to do on foreign sales in started traveling around the world. The time was probably doing six to nine months of traveling internationally, both to a lot of broadcasters in different countries in also the regular film festivals that we all know about. And then on the domestic side, we used to just sell our movies for domestic distributor, but then let me think it's probably was around 2013 that we started started venturing into the domestic distribution mainly because of a small film we made that was so small that we couldn't really get a good mg and also we made enough money from the foreign side. That we didn't we didn't need to get a big distribution from the domestic side. So and the offers were so lucky, you know, like, you go up to some movie and you get offers like 15, grand, you know, like 20 grand and about 2000. And probably 10 or

Alex Ferrari 10:16
But what was the budget of the film?

Shaked Berenson 10:18
Oh, the budget of the movie was 75 grand. Right. So the budget was 75. I'll never forget because ice I sold to Spain to quatro, which since then it's been acquired by media set, but quarterback bought, it was kind of like a sci fi channel. And they used to buy those, you know, low budget films, and we sold it for, I think over 80,000 euros just for Spain. So we covered the entire budget, just from one territory. So and you went directly and you went directly to them? Oh, yes, yes, directly. So I spend like I said, I spent a lot of time traveling to different buildings, building the network. And and really cannot do it any other way. Because it markets, he distributors usually slot 30 minutes meetings, which means that they need five to 10 minutes to find the next meeting and 510 minutes to come from the previous one. So you have 10 minutes with them, you can build a relationship like that. But if you go to Spain, two or three times a year come to their office, they invite you to launch, they always want to show you the sound stages and everything, you build a much stronger relationship. So the movie was already solid and profitable. And the deals were so low that we thought I mean, we can just stand in a corner and sell DVDs in a few hours a day and find the same money, right? So we might as well just try to do it. And we reach out to a few companies got a red box deal. So it was already like 80 grand, right off the bat, comparing to you know, the $15,000 off price. And then you put it on VOD through an aggregator that you mentioned your name before we started recording, but I'm not going to mention my name because I don't even ever mention because I try not to speak ill of companies but.

Alex Ferrari 12:06
Well, I mean, if it's true if it's if it's scriber, so you could speak ill completely sir, because I've spoken ill spoken ill about that company quite often because they screwed 1000 filmmakers and are owed millions of dollars and they went bankrupt. So I have no problem saying that. And I generally don't call any paper. And I don't I generally don't call out any companies in my my podcast, but they have a special place in my heart continue sir.

Shaked Berenson 12:30
Distribution out of necessity, because I found that you just get you know, in a good day is 75 grand or 125 grand. And that's it. And I'll give you a movie away for 15 years. And and sometimes I remember the first movie that I that I produced. Somebody on Facebook told me Hey, you movies on Redbox. You know, nobody even told me and, and to think about yourself as a filmmaker and your level of intimacy with the project and the knowledge of the people that can actually promote the film, especially these days, you know, 15 or 17 years later, or whatever it is. It's really a shame that those movie just go into a pipeline. And nobody tells the filmmakers when and if it goes out. And there's no transparency. And it's very hard for the filmmakers to promote. Because today, if the filmmaker is not doing a lot of the legwork to promote the movie themselves, you're losing a lot of the awareness that you can build for the film. So just as an example, you know, maybe the writer is Turkish, right, and he has connections in Turkey, and he can help you get a turkey sale, you know, but if the sales agent is not communicating with the producer and the director on a regular basis, they will never know that right? So. So I build distribution that is more oriented like that. And I made myself a mission to cut as many barriers between the actual release and the filmmakers.

Alex Ferrari 13:56
So when you said when you say 125,000 or you know, 75 or 125,000 mg, those days are are gone for the most part, especially for lower budget independent films. So I just want to make sure everyone understand is like, oh, why? I can go out and get 100 my film only costs 50,000 I'll get 125,000 mg like it generally doesn't work that way. Would you agree with me?

Shaked Berenson 14:19
He doesn't he doesn't know there are there are still companies sure that get that get those we just sold a movie for you know, especially when you sell directly to streamers like Netflix.

Alex Ferrari 14:30
what those are. Those are deals not not MGS is specifically like that's a deal. That's a selling deal. I'm talking about going to a distributor and the distributor going we'll give you 125,000 for the film for 15 years. And then when we when we make more than 125,000 then we're going to give you a check which

Shaked Berenson 14:45
Yeah, so so just to be an again, this is my experience in the people I've been talking I've been on the board of the Independent Film and Television lines for many years. So I have a lot of friends in distribution and the foreign sales side so you know we all share information. When we talk about a movie getting $125,000 mg from a domestic distributor, it's two things. First of all, we're talking about a $5 million movie. Yeah, or a $3 million movie, right? So it's not that you get for your basement 30 grand, you know, I made a movie with my wife and friends kind of thing. We're talking about a movie that has stars, right? We the Audience Award at South by Southwest has, I won't say stars, but you know, have recognizable sag actors. Those movies still gathered. So so so one is, is just to know, the budget level. And the second thing and this is something that that you and I spoke offline, that in this market, because you don't have the DVD you don't have if the optical unit we can talk about that for four hours, just that but because you have so much uncertainty and the number of deals is small, those deals usually happen because the distributor already have in mind or even a deal in their pocket with the streamer. Right? So if you have good relationship with if it's a Netflix or a shorter, and you're already talking to them and in festivals, and you know, the movies playing, and they're like, what do you think about this movie? Like, yeah, that looks great, that looks like something we're going to pick up, you know, you kind of have the relationship and you can feel comfortable putting those offers out, because you know that you backed by by somebody that that can help you pay that bill. But to have somebody just taking a risk on 300 grand on a film without having anything that they can think of to sell it. I think it's rare these days.

Alex Ferrari 16:42
Yeah, it's from what I from what I understand as well, it's extremely, extremely rare. And it's a percentage based thing. So like, if you're gonna have $100,000 movie, if you get an mg you might be five grand, might be might be 10. And 10 is a really great mg for $100,000 movie. So you have three or four, three or $4 million movie 120 550. It seems relative to the cost, but the days of getting an mg that's more than the budget show unless it's a Sundance thing or a lottery ticket. It's rare. It's extremely rare. So I just wanted to make I wanted to make sure that their audience,

Shaked Berenson 17:18
It is a lottery ticket. Yeah. And I think that that the funny thing is that when you talk about emojis in the five or 10, or 15, grand, and I used to give this lecture called the four things, your lawyer negotiating on matter, and one of them is the MG, because if if you can get a half a million mg, because you making a profit, or because it's big enough to pay back your bank, because you have a loan or whatever it is, then it makes sense. What I don't understand that, why would filmmaker for five grand, you know the difference between a 10 and a 15,000 mg will shoot themselves in the foot and go with a less experienced a scimitar or an aggregator that basically put out 100 movies a month, you know not gonna give them the time or the attention or get a worse deal. You know, for something like that. I think that too much. And a lot of lawyers and reps get into it. But they really look at the defense of a 5% commission or 10 grand in in mg. And for me, I think it's it's nitpicky and wrong because you probably want to look at the other films that the company is putting out and get recommendations and referrals from other filmmakers that worked with them and choose the company like that, because that five grand is not going to change your life. Right? I mean, it's not going to be a big difference.

Alex Ferrari 18:40
Exactly. And I think a lot of times filmmakers, you know, fight for that, like I was at AFM this last year and filmmaker came up was like, Oh, I got I got a I got a $35,000 mg. I'm like, great, how much did you film cost that goes with 350. And they were super excited that that was a win for them. Like they were like, We arrived. And I go What did you What did you give away for the 35,000? They're like, Oh, worldwide? I'm like you gave away worldwide for 35 grand and yet your film cost? 250 Do you understand that? You're never going to probably see anything more than the 35 grant if you even get to 35 Yeah, if you get it right if that's that's one thing is to write down how you're going to get 35 grand and once the movie, then it's a whole other other because generally, they don't just write a check and throw 35 grand down they generally partial it out over quarters and over a year or two or something like that. Even Netflix pays out every quarter

Shaked Berenson 19:32
Deliver there is oh you don't have a QC you don't have any you know insurance. Well, we can provide that and deducted from the MG and sunny 35 become 28

Alex Ferrari 19:42
Oh, yeah. Oh, you need closed captioning closed captions gonna cost you $10 a minute. Exactly. But this is the this is the game you're walking into kind of shark infested waters. And if you're not educated, like I consult I consult filmmakers all the time. That have that Going into a distribution deal. And then I'll ask, I'll tell them what to ask for. And the distributor, a lot of times will go Yeah, we just we know, you're asking way too many questions. We don't want to deal with you. Because they're just like, Oh, this guy's gonna be a headache, because he knows too much. Yeah.

Shaked Berenson 20:15
Well, it depends if you speak with companies, especially aggregators, and companies that just in the volume base, and for them, it's all about getting a lot of movies and getting the minimum out, right. So if a movie on average, just any film, basically a poster and a file that you're going to put up going to make a five to 10 grand, if you taking a even a 10% Commission, but you have a 10 grand in a marketing fee of some sort, you taking the first $10,000 or $11,000. So it really doesn't matter to you, right? So people can come out and have you know, oh, you know, my lawyer pushed him down to 10%, or push them down to five, can push him down to 1%. You know, I look at some of those deals, and I go, like, you know, you can give them 99% Commission, it doesn't matter. It's like you're not gonna see $1 right, so, so why why are you guys negotiating those things? Right? So I would prefer to have a deal that is a straight revenue share, but actually work with people that I trust and have a plan, have a strategy, have a festival strategy, have a marketing strategy to have a press and release strategy and not just have another movie to just go into the system? Because to feed the you know, the employees, yeah, feed a beast, they just need to have 20 movies coming every month, you know, they have a guy sitting in a cubicle just making posters, and nobody really gives it any attention. And nobody talks with the producers.

Alex Ferrari 21:44
Can I ask you, I mean, you've been in the business so long, and you've been in the distribution side for such a long time. Why is this system built this way? It's obviously a broken system. And it's a system that it's definitely not set up for filmmakers. And it's definitely not set up for the producer. It's in it's been that way. I've been saying that since the days of Chaplin, like it's, it's a systemic problem, where it's as, as I used to say, like, you know, the casting couch was a thing that was before me, too. It was a thing. People were like, Oh, yeah, it's the casting couch. It was a joke. It was a punch line. And you know, when it shouldn't have been, and now, how many times have you heard Oh, the distributor screwed me. Like, that's just a you know, Forrest Gump didn't make money according to paramount. Like, are you like Siri? Like it Seriously? Seriously made 670? And I won the Oscar like, but according to their accounting, it didn't. Why is it like this? And what do you think?

Shaked Berenson 22:37
I think there are many reasons. Obviously, one of them is, is what you just spoke, you were just talking about your your your correlating, devalue, ie to mg or the revenue to the budget, there is no correlation, right? I mean, you can make fun of activity for a few 1000. And it has a lot of value in the marketplace. Or you can spend the 100 million dollar in a movie and it just nobody wants to see it. Right. And I think that that there is a lot of expectation and and unrealistic expectations in Terminal, and I'm going to flip it around on you because I know it's easy to kind of bust distributors, but I think filmmakers have a lot of

Alex Ferrari 23:22
illusions, or delusions of grandeur. Oh, absolutely. Yeah.

Shaked Berenson 23:25
So you see movies that I swear to God, I mean, we get I get so many emails, we see, you know, anything from an idea to scripts to complete movies, and you see some movies that are on unwatchable. I mean, we both know that today. Everybody has, you know, this, this iPhone has four cameras on it, right? I mean, it's like, it's, it's fairly simple just to make something right. And, and people truly, I mean, it's hard to do to it. Some of them astonished me every time again, like people think like, you know, we're gonna win an Oscar status and it's like, an Oscar. Like, I don't see like your parents sitting through five minutes of this, you know? So, there is there is matter of illusion on one side, right? And like, I'm talking to you and when you talk to people, it's like, well, we know we need distribution mean, it's like okay, but you need to understand like you're gonna you know, to put something on iTunes gonna cost you $850 it's not gonna make $850 Right, right. And that's the cost that's not you know, the distributor pocketing This is the lab just the cost of you know, you need to pay people to

Alex Ferrari 24:30
Aggregate you gotta it's a cost of aggregation. Yeah,

Shaked Berenson 24:34
Yeah. And and when that happened, and they in seats on getting the movie out there and let's put in as many screens as we can, let's put it everywhere. And they don't make money. Of course, they blame the distributor and I always like to say it's like I never heard of this director saying, my movie to an odd shade, but thank God for the distributor to do such killer marketing and

Alex Ferrari 24:54
you've never heard that He never hear that. But that happens does happen.

Shaked Berenson 24:59
It's It happened more often than not, right? Because the marketing should be better than the movie if the marketing is not better than the movie, then the marketing is not good. Right? Right. So I think it's a lot of that side. And, and because of it, there is a lot of competition and the distribution side that encourage bad behavior, right? So if if I see a movie that I really think fits the audience that I know how to reach, and I come like, Listen, you know, we released one movie a month, on a, on a, on a busy month, right? We do one or you know, every month or two, we put everything behind it. We speak every week with the producers, we do all of this, you know, we have all this relationship. But I'm gonna lose this title because an aggregator offered 10 grand, you know, it's not really encouraging good behavior from side of the distributors. Right? So like, you say, like, people read books, and they listen to podcasts, and like, Oh, I have this list of demands to give. But it's really on a case to case basis, and you need to be open minded to what's best for your specific film. Right? And, and to find the right home, and not just like, Okay, well, these are all for 10 grand, these are for 15 these are for zero, this, this is distribution fees are 10%. This distribution fees are 30%. You know, it's okay, if lions get one to release your movie, and they're taking 60% distribution fee, give it to Lionsgate, you know, they're going to be much better than an aggregator is going to do it for 10%, you know, because they're not going to make it. Right. And, and people, sometimes we don't just think business wise, you don't think like, Hey, you know, free take this consultant that can help us and they take 10%? Like, do you think that our advice for 10% will generate for you at least 10% and $1, more than without it, because then it's worth it? You know, it's it's, sometimes people are afraid to kind of spare the wealth, and, you know, they kind of holding for themselves, you know, everything, but making the pie very small. Instead of, you know, taking on partners, you know, giving pieces giving, giving the incentive, oh, it's funny, like how a lot of lawyers and producer reps, there's so much beat beat the sales agents, or distributors to lower their their Commission's and their sales and the distribution fee. And I think like, you know, if you give me a film, and you beat me down to a 20% distribution fee, right, and I can't, you know, and you kept on my marketing, I can't put Facebook ads, I can't do anything, right, that can cut my own trailer, I can put my own poster. And then I have another movie that I get 35%. And I can actually, you know, have a budget of 200 grand that they can put Facebook ads and such. And the filmmakers are totally open to cut new trailers and posters and testing the market and see, you know, how to reach the audience of as possible. Who do you think is going to get more love and attention and resources? Right? So I'm going to be the movie that the lawyer beat you down for a greater deal. You know, so the deal itself is like, such a small part, I think from the success of your film, but really, what a lot of people focusing on, you know, the running at AFM in the end waiting in the lobby, it's like, oh, what offers we got? Well, it was 35 for worldwide from this company, or this company just going to do a really good job, and it only wants us screw that company. I want the 35 grand right.

Alex Ferrari 28:33
But the thing is, but that what you're saying works with the assumption that the distributor that you're talking about, is honest, actually cares, and actually is going to do what they say they're going to do. In your case, I get it because you have you do have a fairly stellar reputation other than the people that you burn your bridges with. In the business, but you're a unicorn in this space, there, you are definitely the outlier in the distribution space. So yes, I get what you're saying. But if you're going with a company that's doing 30 or 40 movies a month, that doesn't apply that logic that you just lay, it has no relevance in it, because they're just a machine. They're just a machine with a pipeline, like you said, and they're just trying to grab as much content as they can just to spit it out and hoping that something that they throw against the wall sticks that month that can pay the overhead essentially, and now they have a larger library, and there's all other reasons why they do that kind of stuff. But what you're saying makes perfect sense for someone like you, but and I'm sure there are I know there are other good distributors out there. Yeah. But they're rare. They're rare.

Shaked Berenson 29:41
Well, first of all, thank you. I really appreciate that. I'm sure there are many people that do distribution the right way, and it's really a matter of finding the right home. Right. Oh, right. I do agree. This is how the conversation started that maybe a lot of distributors start with a an elitist, you know, theory of how to do this, but because of the reasons we just spoke about their business model, keep changing into the you know, fuck it, we have to make money. Let's just give them what they want. And we'll just skim off the top to make up for it right.

Alex Ferrari 30:18
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Shaked Berenson 30:30
And I've seen that happen before. So it's important to have good relationship with your distributor. And also, again, this goes back to your expectation. For some movies, I was talking on the phone yet just yesterday was a filmmaker that has a field that was actually stuck with a company that got acquired by a company got the acquiring company to get stuck in the outcome, a bankruptcy, right? So he's about to get his movie back. But you know, the movies, whatever, 710 years old, is asking me what to do is it and my advice was if you can keep it wisdom, you know, and but the system that you actually can make your percentages as a producer, but not necessarily every movie. It makes sense to go out and, and do everything that I say some of the movies, okay, you made a movie, it was a good exercise. The best that you got from this movie was your experience and some relationships, give it to an aggregator, put it out there, try to do some, you know, friend, friends and family, you know, marketing, but just keep it out there for a calling card and work on your next one, you know, because these one is not going to make you rich, you know, you spend 50, or 100 is what it is

Alex Ferrari 31:47
And seven years old, seven years old. Yeah. And it's like,

Shaked Berenson 31:49
It can be also a new movie, you see a lot of movies, it's like it's Congratulation, you made a movie movie can be nice, or it can be even really good. But could be the wrong genre. You know, if you made a drama that has no cast in it, and you didn't get into festivals, because you made a mistake, or whatever the reason is, you didn't have the relationship to get into the right festivals. It's it's so easy for us as filmmakers, because we create content that is both a product, right? We just make potatoes, but it's also our children. Right? Yeah. And you always have this, this forces pulling you in in both sides. And I think that when you make a movie, treated like your child, right? When you deal with the initial the sales, the strategy of it, you need to treat it like a child. But then you need to put it on the other side and start thinking like the audience and start thinking like, Okay, well, who wants to buy these potatoes, and you know, where, where should I put them. And a lot of time, it will give you a better path to what you need to do. And sometimes you make a move for 100 grand. And that was the cost of going to school of how to do it, right? You know, people go to law school or medical school and spend half a million dollars to get to the craft to the point that they can actually work on patients, right? So like, Why? Why is it so easy to be a filmmaker, right? It's like, Oh, I watched a lot of movies. And I know where Starbuck is. So I'm a writer, you know, you're not you know, some you know, you need to write 25 unsuccessful Sheedy scripts until you start getting it, you know, and if you write one, and it just keep knocking on doors for 10 years, just keep beating people with this first script, you're probably not going to make it happen, you know, because you need to practice your craft. So and then do is just unfortunate thing I, I released the film many years ago, and it was a great film, really well done, relatively, you know, modest, but in a real budget with millions not 1000s it had good cast that you know, if I do the cast to recognize all the names, but because of a mistake that the filmmakers didn't know, they open in a very, very small festival, just because it was the same town where the investors live show the open over there. And the movie could have been easily assignments movie, but when you start in a very small festival, you don't get into other ones. And for a film that could have been in Sundance and maybe get a theatrical release and everything you just kind of have to put it out there and you know, rely that the level of cast and the story and the trailer and the poster will draw some of the money back but you can turn the wheel back and and do a premiere at Sundance and get your theatrical release and and it's not always the distributors fault, right? I mean, yes, it's a lot of distributors, they unaccessible sound and lies on them cheat. So you know, some of them just do a deal that you don't realize like I've seen, oh, agreements that just as it is, I'm going to try to censor redacted but it's a recent example. So I try I haven't done it in a while because of COVID or do I need to start doing it virtually. But last year, I started something called it the nama tree clinic. So, one Friday of the month, I would see it in a coffee shop. And I had meetings with filmmakers that just needed to help, you know, that needed to look at the reports need to look at their agreement. coproduction, which really anything besides teaching me, you know, I was very clear, it's like, this is not the place for you to just come and teach me the movie, but that can maybe help you with your pitch to other people, or general career advice a lot of people come to me with basically report and say, just sitting from the other nowhere, you know, and when you have experience, you know, I've been because I'm, I'm a data guy, I keep everything in Excel, I did over 6800 licensing deals. So at this point that can look very quickly on your agreement and see like, Okay, well, here's the pitfalls, he was probably where they're gonna, you know, hide the money. Or I can look at reports and because the name of the distributors or the broadcaster, you can kind of put together like, Okay, well, it doesn't make sense to RTL to in Germany, we'd buy this action movie with a face, and we'd pay only 15,000 years, it just doesn't happen, you know, so, you know, you get to a mode, and you can very quickly kind of like this is the places you should look at not being a lawyer not, you know, following up, like, it's their job to, you know, do something this is information. But I saw a format this from a filmmaker that showed me an agreement. And it keeps saying that this is a non exclusive agreement, this is a non exclusive agreement, but I'm looking at the agreement that you've done, and like, you know, you keep saying it's not exclusive, but if you read the document, you know, it says non exclusive at one point, but three, you know, clauses below, it gives him the option, and all those kind of things that like you locked were like forever, all right, you know, was then like you need to was it

Alex Ferrari 36:57
wasn't a perpetuity.

Shaked Berenson 36:59
It was, I tried to think I think the option was in perpetuity shows basically, like there was a very elaborate legal language, it gave him an option to do what they want forever. And the filmmaker had to jump through hoops to, to get it out. And this is something like so. So it's fairly easy for an acquisition person to use phrases like you can, you can get out whenever you want, you can do this, you can do this. But it's like, if you build your contract, that it's on the filmmaker back to chase the distributor to get out of the deal, then they just don't respond to you. And you stuck with them. Right? So it's not like, Okay, well, let's have a renewal. If you make a request to me 90 days in advance, and I confirm it, or it could be automatically if I receive at least $10,000 a year for performance performance class. Exactly. So Dewey's ways to do it. So if it's automatically terminated, it automatically terminated. But it was the film that it's it's acquaintance of ours from from Israel, that it's been released, didn't do anything, the company basically retitled it and everything and, you know, the, their agreement expired, right, according to the agreement, it expired. And they came to me, and we said, Great, let's help you put it up on some platforms, let's bring it back to the original name and, you know, revamp the poster and, you know, give it life and make it available, but the distributor keeps it available on their iTunes and their channels. Right. So, you know, the agreement expired, but now you still need to chase the distributor to get the right to get out. Yeah, yeah. And if you think that you can email iTunes, and, oh, by the way, company, ABC is no longer have the rights. Can you please from January 1, you know, send them a very funny, very help, you know, you know, CD, that's not gonna happen, you know, I don't like, you know, well, they're not gonna answer the email, but, you know, you can understand that they cannot do anything about it. And a lot of those companies, they, when you sign the agreement, the filmmakers or the filmmakers, whoever is signing the deal, basically take the liability. That is an issue with copyright, or is the chain of title so they don't care. Right? So literally, I can take your movie. Let's say I took it tomorrow with Netflix, right? And I'm like, Oh, I have this really great movie you know, produced by my friend Alex. I can sell it to them I can sell an agreement. They're not going to call you to check that a chicken actually have the right no zero rap does he have the rights? They were going to do some chain of title but how easy it is for me to just Like draft something and say Do they have the rights or or for your your paper like think about when you buy a house, how many hoops you go, right to go through, you know to do a title search,title insurance, that's

Alex Ferrari 40:15
Oh the amount of paperwork that you have to sign and get notarized and look

Shaked Berenson 40:20
You need to get insurance for this, like the bank, you will get a refinance on a house that you already paying a bank for 10 years. And they will have you repay and redo title insurance, right for refi. That you paying them for 10 years, right? And there is a reason for that, right? Because technically, you know, especially when you talk about Forget about it. Netflix is sophisticated, it's American, they have legal team blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. What if I said your company for India? or Thailand? Oh, forget right? Do you really think they're gonna be a lot of

Alex Ferrari 40:52
recourse, you have no recourse, you have no recourse?

Shaked Berenson 40:54
None of them is going to do enough homework to see if Alex actually gave me the rights. And also there is no recourse. You want to go and change a company in Thailand? I mean, maybe Netflix, this, you know, you can talk with a friend of a friend and maybe have somebody in the legal department, right? But what are you gonna do if it's a deal in Taiwan or Columbia? You know, it's gonna cost you $20,000 just to retain some lawyer in that country to you know, it just doesn't worth it. Right. I mean, if it's a million dollar deal in Netflix, you know, in the US or Germany or a country that is more organized, you'll go Okay, well, there is a million dollar on the line. Let's get a lawyer and do something. But for five grand in Turkey, you know, and that's five grand in the distributors pocket that I found once. It was the reason why I said turkey IT company based in Argentina, that they were pretending I guess or saying that they're accompanied by Argentine, I think you were based in Argentina, basically took my entire catalogue, your your attire, my entire color, change your logo, and send it to buyers in Turkey to sell. No, I'm sorry, that was a Turkish, a Turkish guy based in, in Argentina. I'm so sorry. It was a Turkish guy based in Argentina, that he took my catalog and he send it all over the place. Trying to sell the movies, right. And I had my French client that bought the film, sending me an email furious saying, How come you know you have your guys trying to sell your movie in France? I bought the movie over a year ago. I have exclusive rights. And I'm like, Don't mark it. I have no idea who this guy is. You know, and then he helped me because I told him like, Hey, can you? You know, we try to like, yeah, almost put a trap.

Alex Ferrari 42:48
Yeah, catfish. You're shaking your cat fishing your cat fishing?

Shaked Berenson 42:51
Yeah we're trying? Yeah. So so I had my distributor in luck. Luckily, I had the relationship with the guy for you know, years. So you know, I could smooth it over and it's like, Listen, let's, let's do a trick. Let's ask him about some of the REITs. And let's see if we can get links for him ask for screeners and ask for numbers. Let's see what happens. And the guy from what I remember, he was so you know, I guess he just does it and any so clueless or lazy or, or, you know, he never really followed up. But a lot of people can do that, you know, they're just in a different country. You know, just like in YouTube, that people just steal your movie and just put it and now it's only your responsibility to go and chase it. Right. And you spend money on lawyers and you just spend your own time you need, you know, to use your contacts to try to chase somebody in different country, but just representing your movies without any any any legal control over it. I've no idea how we got into it. But I have a million of like, you know, I have all these cars from different places that have shrapnel Sir,

Alex Ferrari 43:54
I like to call it shrapnel you have tons of shrapnel in the business. I mean, that's what was the question, but the answer is yes. Yes. It's fascinating. It's fascinating to hear a story like that where a distributor is being stolen from by some other like some other schlocky, you know, guy some thief. And and that's an amazing story. Like, I can't believe that that's a thing, but it is. And I was I was talking to a filmmaker the other day, and they were like, yeah, we have this deal. On the table, this guy in either France or in the UK or Spain wanted. He was the sales agent over there. And he wanted to get to Europe, like the European rights or something like that. And I'm like, Well, first of all, do have you done your homework? Do you have you vetted them? And then you have to ask yourself the question, if things go bad, what recourse do you have? are you flying to Spain to fight this guy? Are you hiring an attorney? So you know, at least here in the States, you can you can have some sort of legal route, you can sue somebody here, but if they're in the UK, the cost to try to sue somebody in the UK to get the rights back to your film is, is astronomical. Again, if there's a million dollars on the table, like you said, then there's some point. But if it's, you know, 10 grand here, 15 grand there, and your movie costs 100 grand, you can't afford that. And these distributors know that they know that they have, especially the larger predatory distributors, there's a lot of these low level kind of bottom dwellers who they do this stuff, and they're like, what are you going to do sue me, and if you actually sue them, and you actually take them to court and everything, they'll just go, Oh, sorry, are bad. Here's the money. And you've already spent, you know, it cost you 100,000 to get 40.

Shaked Berenson 45:37
So it's, it's your 100%. Right? And, and you need to be very careful. And I think, again, a part of it. I don't think that people, you will never hear me so optimistic. I don't think people get born just evil like that. Nobody, nobody had their 18 year old, you know, his two suitcases, I'm gonna move to Hollywood and steal money from the other people that I think that the business is so tough, and there's so little money in it, you know, it, the value of when a value of a $5 million dollar movie is about 120 grand in the marketplace. Right? And that's need to cover trailer makers, poster makers, dumpers, delivery people shield agent, QC manager, I mean, I can just, you know, so many people with the handout, everybody just fighting over, you know, like sharks just trying to fight over those pieces of meat. And I think that's create a situation and and unfortunately, a lot of people, you know, there are a distributor and friends. And they go to a lot of markets, and maybe some French friend, give them their movie and say, Hey, you traveled to Canada AFM, can you help me to sell it internationally, and maybe you sold a few territories and saw that it's valuable. So now they're also a sale, the sales agent, I mean, if you look, look at see Nando, or one of those sites, or you know, the AFM listing, it's like, everybody's a foreign sales agent, if you have an email and a pulse, your foreign sales agents, right? So easy to say that you are sure you can just collect movies, and maybe have a relationship in one or two territories, you know, but if I sign your movie, and I just don't need the least and UK and everything, everything else is, you know, remain unsold. It's a problem, you know, and you lose it, you leaving a lot of money on the table. And a lot of I think it's on necessities, because you can't make enough money as a producer. So you start getting into, you know, distribution, you don't make enough money distribution, we have opportunities to start getting into foreign sales. A lot of people I think they go, like I said before that this is it's a disease, like please, please, if there was anything to take from this conversation, don't be sucked into the best deal. You know, the numbers not telling the whole story, right? So if there is a distributor or sales agents, okay, we're just gonna take 10 15% you know, if it's too good to be true, it's probably because it's not true, right? It's, it's like, there is no reason for me to take a movie for domestic for less than 25 or 35%. Because I need to pay my people, you know, I need to pay, you know, the expenses, and I need it to be worthwhile for me to, to to work, right. So if somebody offered you 10 10%, you know, there's something wrong with it, you know, do something wrong with that deal, you know, and then you get to companies like deceiver, right? They just offer a deal. It's too good to be true. And then everybody gets sucked into it, and then, you know, it blows up in their faces.

Alex Ferrari 48:37
You know, the thing is that a lot of a lot of these, these distributors, if there isn't a lot of money in the marketplace, and that's the thing that filmmakers don't understand. Their film is not worth what they think it's worth as a product, if you're looking at it as a business that there is a value associated with a film. And it's also not only the value of the film, but the time that it gets released. So big ass spider, which is an amazing post that you have behind you, in 2008 is worth a lot more than big spider and 2020 in the marketplace. Is that a fair statement?

Shaked Berenson 49:16
Absolutely. I mean, unlike, you know, find wind did not get better in time. You know, it's rare to have movies like pretty woman or you know, evergreen.

Alex Ferrari 49:28
Oh, yeah, like Jurassic Park just became the number one movie the other day.

Shaked Berenson 49:32
The theaters. And Jennifer Aniston is still probably making $14 million a year based on friends in sure. But that's that's an exception to the rule. That's not if, if you listen to this podcast, I'm assuming knocking that bolt yet. You know,

Alex Ferrari 49:50
I'm Scrooge McDuck in it all the time. I have a whole pit of gold coins. I just swim in it. Every day I do a dive and it's very nice to have a little board and everything.

Shaked Berenson 50:01
We touch a lot of important important thing, you know, important thing to note, which is, you know, getting the deal. No, no, no, you're feeling to know your product and, and and what is the actual value? And what is the potential? I think that question that they always ask and I love to ask it when they have everybody in the room and I have the investors, the executive producer, producers and directors, what is their goal? Yeah, because of course, everybody's goal is to do as many festivals to make as much money and to be as many theaters and to, you know, it's like, you can't write if the goal is to, you know, try to get awards and being festivals and all that kind of stuff. That's one thing. If you're trying to make money, you probably just want to get on VOD and focus on that, you know, if you want to be in theaters, because that's good for the director's career, you know, it's all conflicting interest. And you have to be as a team, realistic about what is your end goal? You know, because when you ask these questions, almost every time everybody wants everything, and then you have to have this conversation, and then slowly, you hone down, and what is the actual strategy for the film? The second thing is this linear mode of thinking that a lot of filmmakers learn from out of nowhere, which is you make a movie, you go to a festival, you get a producer, and the producer plays you in a sales agent, the sales agent said it to distributor, distributor, give us the aggregator it's a horrible model, you know, you want to have some idea in some plan of what you want the movie to be. So you can back engineer your release. And I always said that it's like the whole. And it's fun, because you contact movies that just got in south by discovering Sundance. And you say, congratulations, can you send me a link? And like, No, no, I want to see it. In Sundance, you know, it's like, well, that's going to be too late for me Sorry, because I want to be in Sundance, with a PR team, interviewing the director and the cast promoting the movie. So when you have your 15 minutes in the limelight, I want the director to be able to say in an interview, we coming out two months from now in March or April, please check it out on your you know, nearest driving or you know, speeding to the time, or we're going to be exclusively on itune in Jul 15 Make sure to you know, Mark your calendar, you don't want to like spend all because you can only release a trailer once you can only use a poster once you can only break the reviews once you know varieties not gonna run a review on your movie, after 25 small blogs wrote reviews based on a small festival that nobody heard of, you know, so you kind of have to come up with a splash and you want in the end of the review, saying, you know, indie film, hustle taking it out on iTunes only July 15. Because otherwise people review go like, well, sounds amazing. And they're not going to remember you know, that's now you need to fight the fight again. So, have a plan when you go into this festivals, as opposed to hoping to find the person that's going to sell it to the person who's going to sell it to the person that maybe we'll come up and

Alex Ferrari 53:19
you'll never make a dime. You'll never make a dime. You'll never make a dime.

Shaked Berenson 53:22
You can make a dime, but it's like winning the lottery. You know, everybody, of course, you're like, Oh, look at this movie. Like, I want to make a comedy a comedy was sold for $8 million in Sundance. Okay, what about the 399 other movies that you never heard of?

Alex Ferrari 53:34
Right? It's actually 30,000 other movies you didn't hear? 300. And that's something that, by the way, I want to talk to you later about releasing the indie film, hustle the movie, I'll have to write it. And we have to do that. I don't know what that is yet. But I'm sure there's a vegan chef in there somewhere. I think the main problem with with the filmmaking business model, especially the independent filmmaking business model is that a film does not. If you like, if you buy a house, you make a house for $250,000. You know, the marketplace will value that house. If it's a new construction, depending on the neighborhood you build it in, then you're going to get 400,000 you might get 500,000. And that works in real estate. If you're going to buy if you're going to sell like I used to sell back in the day, I had an olive oil company where I sold bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. There was a cost per bottle, and the marketplace will determine what that bottle is worth. Generally speaking, I knew that I was going to cover the cost at very bare minimum of the manufacturing of that product. In the filmmaking world. There is nothing you can't do that. Like if you make a million dollars, there's no guarantee you can make a million dollar piece of crap. That will is worth $5 in the marketplace and that's mom renting it she won't even purchase it if she's expressing it. The $5 rental? She does exactly. So that's why I always recommend to filmmakers, especially if they're not savvy about the marketplace, keep the budgets as low as possible while retaining the highest possible viable product. So if you can make a film for 50,000, that has some sort of viability in the marketplace, great, but I don't want you spending 300,000 on that same movie. Because your chance to hire that budget goes, the less chance you have to recoup your money. Is that a fair statement?

Shaked Berenson 55:32
Yeah, well, you You touched a lot of points. I was writing them down. So I don't forget. Yes, it's, it's first of all, it's a it's a true statement. And I will start backwards. Just something you just said. The thing about making the movie for 30 grand or 3000? grand, I mean, obviously, it's not brain surgery, right? If I offer you the same, you know, if you can buy an iPhone, that iPhone store for 700, or, you know, you can buy it at a different store for 400. Why would you buy it for more, right? So, so you need to be economical about the way you're making them. Um, but one thing that I really would like, for everybody listening to this, and everybody from your tribe, right? I don't want ever in my life to hear again, my movie looks like that. I'm so tired of like, well, we made it 400 grand, but do you It looks like it looks like it's 100,000. But it looks like a 1.5 every these movie look more than the budget, right? nobody walks into my office and say, Oh, we made it for a million, but it kind of looks like half a million. That's not a selling point. It's will not put on the poster directed by Alex Ferrari, but it looks much better than the budget. To anyone they buy the moment, the moment you lock the film, past QC, a budget is irrelevant. Alright, the budget is relevant only to you. And, and but you know, the investors and your family that put money in into all that kind of stuff. Now you can maybe, you know, talk with other producers about your next film, right? And say, like, Look, here's this film, you know, what do you think I made it for 100 grand, you know, you want me to work with you, you know, I can bring some money. You know, I'm raising money, like, that's fine. But to sell that movie, that's not a selling point. Right? Well, I'm better yourself homemaker.

Alex Ferrari 57:33
But I think that's a holdover from the 90s. With honestly, with Robert Rodriguez when it started with the $7,000. That was a marketing thing back then. I don't know. But that was that was and it was a big deal to make a feature film for $7,000 in 1991. And then clerks with another one was the 30,000. And then it was all about so the cheapest movie

Shaked Berenson 57:50
Right about the potatoes, right? My wife, or any girlfriend or anything in a pass? Never, you know, looked on Rotten Tomato or a newspaper. If people remember what that is. And said, Honey, let's go this weekend to watch some movies. Because I heard it was made for cheap. You know, it just makes the movie cheap.Right?

Alex Ferrari 58:16
But that that marketing ploy doesn't work. And I look I have I have filmmakers all the time that reach out to me to be on the show. They're like, man, we made a movie for $30,000 I'm like, that's not enough. Dude, this is not 1990 anymore. It's not enough. I made a movie for $3,000. And, you know, and I got it released. Like, it's, it's not enough anymore.

Shaked Berenson 58:36
It works when you after the fact right? If you say Listen, you know, we made partner activity for eight grand and it made $200 million a box office. Okay, now we can talk about it. Right. But because

Alex Ferrari 58:47
it's a selling point.

Shaked Berenson 58:48
Yeah. It's because you already proven yourself. Right? But just to say that you made a move for 30 grand, doesn't mean anything. But I think the point we made a point. Second thing, let's talk about comms, right? Because you're talking about market value. And yes, I'll give us an example. It's it's I will never forget, it's it's one example I use. I got a PowerPoint presentation. somebody's trying to you know, like always trying to get you to to finance their film. It was a zombie movie, you know, for whatever, 300 grand or half a million I don't remember exactly the budget. But they had all this calm saying like how zombies are hot in the market right now. And they had a poster for war z and it says you know how much and and this is what we get talk about comps, right? When you're in real estate. Right? When you're trying to sell your house, your realtor or your appraiser look at similar neighborhood, similar square footage, similar number of bedrooms and bathrooms, right? It's something special about a pool, no pool, whatever, right? Yeah. You're not just like, Oh, I'm trying to sell my house. You know, in in nowhere by America's biggest field, and you know, there is a condo in New York that cost $150 million. So I want $150 million. Right? What were these based on a book? That was huge translated for 7000 languages. Right? And, and it has red beard. It's like, how, like, how is that money for woodsy? was not that it is zombies in it? Right? It is not acceptable for your $300,000 film. Right. And and I think that that's what you're talking about how people try to figure out what is the value in the marketplace? Right?

Alex Ferrari 1:00:39
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Shaked Berenson 1:00:50
And especially these days, and this is a very important concept, right? Not so long time ago, when there was a DVD market, and theatrical and decide when there was a DVD market, you had a sliding scale, right? So distributor, had a team of people in suits that had to walk from one mom and pop rental shop to another, or ones that had five branches in Wisconsin, right? And show them the catalog for what's you know, coming out next quarter, and get ready to get orders, right, they had purchase orders like, oh, we're gonna take 10 from this move, you're gonna take 50 from this movie gonna take one from that movie, right? Because, you know, the rental basis knew their market and blah, blah, blah, and all those purchase orders come in. And it will make 100,000 copies of your movie in CIB, remember, which made a lot of work for the distributor, right? But it meant that some movies can sales zero, some 10,000, some 100,000 some a million, like you had gray area, right? When you don't have that market. And basically, you movie either sell to Netflix for half a million, or they pass on it. Right? And they don't say, oh, we'll buy your movie, but just just for one week for 25 grand, right? They either cough the money, do it right?

Alex Ferrari 1:02:07
Its black and white, rIts black and white,Yeah.

Shaked Berenson 1:02:09
If you sell to red box, the other by 40,000 units and you get 80 grand, or whatnot, or zero, they're not like, oh, we're gonna buy it just for, you know, five locations by 711. Right? And that's true to almost everything, like you have a very binary kind of system right now that these are the yes or no. Right? So when you look at the value of the market, but he was like, oh, what do you think is the value so Okay, so you can create say a lot because it's like, Okay, well, on the view, the side transactional, which is a shrinking bits, it's almost shrunk. Every moment that we speak, you know, it's like a frightened turtle, just like,

Alex Ferrari 1:02:51
another fairy loses their wings every second that we speak.

Shaked Berenson 1:02:54
Exactly. The time we finish this, this conversation is going to be small, right? So, you know, you can't say, Oh, can a good day, you know, you can generate 150 on transactional for this movie on a bad day. It's gonna be 15, right? It's around rage, but then it's like, well, you've read books is gonna fake it or not? Depends on how many copies they're gonna take, you know, it's gonna be another 50 to 100 or zero, right? Who's gonna take it's gonna be another 150 or 300, or zero, right? So you can make that. But when you look at a range, you end up with like, a range between 15,000 and a lot of zeros, right? to making a million dollars, right? And I find people kind of like, just do them middle ground and say like, Oh, so we're probably going to generate half a million usually doesn't work like that. When when biggest spider, you know, you mentioned behind me when it go to you know, it went to South by Southwest and you know, it got a lot of buzz and you know, we sold first drawn to sci fi channel and then we sold Netflix and then occasionally you sell to everybody when they want it. And zero when they don't, you know, it's not it's rare that you you break out so much on one side and the other side, they just man and you kind of average in the middle. Right? It's it's you hit a homerun, you hit a homerun or you strike out. Exactly. So your expected return is not half a million, you know?

Alex Ferrari 1:04:16
Yeah, it's Yeah. Yeah, it's no it's I think the analogy is you to strike out or you hit a homerun because there is no, with Netflix is like, Oh, I hit a double now they're either gonna give you the homerun or they're not gonna let you even get up to bat

Shaked Berenson 1:04:31
And when you speak with you know, companies like Apple or Amazon, you know, they want to acquire all rights worldwide, you know, they don't want you know, they're not just buying UK and testing the water, right? They either go all in, they need to translate it to 25 different languages and they need to put dubbing for another 70 languages or whatnot, you know, so there is people this is another thing that kind of connected what you asked me about like why everybody hated the Scimitar people don't realize As the cost of the distribution, right? People don't realize it's like, oh, well, you know, Netflix is just just a file, you know, it's like Netflix in order to serve the world, they need to have redundancy of servers, right? So if you and I watched a movie from a son jealous, you know, it comes from a server farm that is, you know, nearby, probably somewhere, you know, a little bit north to here. If you're watching into New York, it's from somewhere else, right? Because you're not showing a movie for friends from the LA. So there is a lot of storage costs and a lot of infrastructure. Like, it's not like printing DVDs. It's not like, you know, making film rates, but there are costs, there aren't there is a cost for distribution. And if you ask me, like, hey, just put my movie out. And you know, if I need to have your file serving, Vimeo, whatever it is, for the next 10 years, just to generate 50 bucks a month, you know, it might not be worth it, especially if you tried to push me to just take 10 10% distribution fee, right? I mean, just think about it, you know, if if your movies seven years old, or whatever, or new but it just very niche, and and you're gonna make 50 bucks a month, and you want me just to make $5 off of it. It just doesn't work, the fees that you pay to feed me your, for your pork count for the terabytes that you need to hold those movies. Right, right. Now, it was your cherry picking.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:21
So would you agree that I've been saying this for a while now is that there is an A d value realization of bedia in our business. So the like the value that was associated to a film, like we were talking about DVD, there used to be a cost involved, there used to be, you know, that value was $20, to get a blu ray or $25 to get a blu ray or, or $10 for a DVD. And before that, and after that there was te va that actually was TiVo because it was kind of a cold over generation from DVD. So we were still used to renting things. Streaming wasn't completely 100% just there yet, as far as as far as I'm concerned. But it's slowly being whittled down to now Amazon's paying you a penny per hour streamed. This is exactly what happened in the music industry, where a song used to be $20, because you had to buy an album to get the song you wanted. Or you would wait at the radio to bootleg it off radio when they played it. With the DJ, you were hoping that DJ never spoke well in the middle of the song. But but there's just like holding your finger on the on the tape recorder. And you go and I know a lot of people are like, What is he talking about with this tape recorder? And what is the radio. But But there is a devaluation with the film with the marketplace of media. So when a filmmaker shows up with a $300,000 horror movie, let's say or, or a rom com that has nobody in it. And they expect to put it out into that marketplace, the value is not there unless you have a Netflix deal or red box deal for you know, selling different foreign territories that can just like can kind of take off, you know, start you know, cutting into the budget a little bit start buying us up back. But there's a devaluation Do You Do you agree? In general,

Shaked Berenson 1:08:14
I'm not on an agreed it was actually a lecture I gave a few times about the devaluation of content or just do a little correction to what you said, the media is actually very valuable. And it's enough to look at the value of Netflix the value of Oh, and it's like, the companies, it's the content, the media, the distribution has a lot of value. It's the content that basically I think we live in a world where the content is is as valuable as possible. And it's to remember that when you come out as a filmmaker, or as a content creator, let's just jump because you created content right now. Right? Right. You basically fighting for attention, right? the attention of the people, and if a video of a cat or somebody dancing on Tiktok, right, and detain 1000s of millions of people for millions of hours, you know, it doesn't matter that you worked on your podcast for so hard or correct. Somebody worked on your movie for five years and spend $2 million. It's it's entertainment. Right? So your entertainment is equal to playing fortnight, it's equal to right, going to a concert equal to other things, and you need to think about the value and the utilities that you get from it. And in the lecture that they give about the value of content always start with a picture from 1300 you know, we'll have a have a bank with it. Oh, and and this is like what is this? Anybody knows what is this? This is like the original, you know, iPod. And just just to you know, I'll try to condense you know, an hour into a few minutes. But if you think about how we used to have entertainment, right if you had to if you want to have entertainment in the old days you have to have a castle and you To have a lot of fancy friends, and you need to have a big enough castle to have like a piano room, right and invited, you know, Mozart or local artists to go there and you had dinner and you retire to that room, and they had to play live, because that's all that there was there. Right? In. What's interesting about it, is that every town had to have artists, you had to have musicians in every town playing in bars playing in people's houses, you had to have theater houses, like people forget, it's like, all those theater houses, you have to have actors in everywhere doing this, right? Not just New York, right? Oh, we're going to Broadway, where every small town had to have entertainment, because there's nothing else to do. Right? If you want to determine that's what you have to do. And then to cut, you know, cut to the chase, radio came out one person can you know, or before that the records, you know, record players came out and then the radio than the TV, then you know, mass media did like what you mentioned that the iTunes gonna broke the bill, you know, buy a whole record, and you can just download the song. And now songs worth 99 cents will actually less because

Alex Ferrari 1:11:08
seven years and 77 it was 70 cents.

Shaked Berenson 1:11:11
And not to be do your own the details. And we live in a world that Jennifer Aniston can make $14 million, right? And something she made in the 90s. Right, right. And we live in a world that we all can be entertained by Lady Gaga from a song she recorded 10 years ago, right? And we don't need to have a singer in every town, in every place in the world. Because you don't need to, we can access the best. Right? So it's a winner take all business just for the sake of that, you know, transition from, you know, everybody needs, you know, to create content. By the way I know, it's like, it's kind of funny to think about but used to be that children learn an instrument. Everybody played an instrument, because otherwise there is nothing to do, you know, like, you would have dinner. And you know, the daughter would go and play the piano or the violin or Yeah, how many people you know, and we live in one of the most creative places in the world, if not the most creative? How many people you know, that play the violin? How many violin players

Alex Ferrari 1:12:14
violinist? I don't I I know the court agonist accordionist. I know and a piano I know, piano players.

Shaked Berenson 1:12:22
I you know, they're your here's your homework, Google because, you know, I studied economics and business, right? Google and trying to find out what was the sales of pianos in violins from the days of the colonies to now? Oh, I'm

Alex Ferrari 1:12:37
sure it's okay. Of course, those things used to be households, right? Everything I remember, there was always even you going back to the 50s, you would still in every house, it would be that one piano in the corner. And that's what the it was still a holdover from that even in the time of radio and television, and it's slowly down now is like, if you have a piano in the house, like you, you really must be serious about the piano.

Shaked Berenson 1:13:03
Right. And now it's so funny. So you go from such a commune expensive experience, to everybody in the house, hide in their own bedroom with their own iPhone or iPad or some and watch their own content and have their own entertainment. You know, we can sit here in the living room. And you know, I'll be on my phone, my wife has another phone, her younger sister because she's she's a student, she's younger, she's on tik tok, like doing things that I you know, I don't

Alex Ferrari 1:13:34
And it's all tailored, and it's all tailored to you by the algorithm.

Shaked Berenson 1:13:38
Exactly. So content has very, very little value, like you said, and and you need to kind of understand it and and know that, that you're preaching to create more value added around it, right, and creating brands.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:55
And approaching and approaching a niche audience. So like the T shirt that you're wearing, right now you're wearing a turbo kid t shirt. And we spoke about turbo kit, right? Yeah. And we spoke about turbo kit in our other episode, which I'll put in the show notes. But that's a perfect example. You guys created a world around it. But it was a very specific story that appeal to a niche audience. It's a fairly large niche audience, people who like the 80s and you know, that kind of like Kung Fury, it hit around the same time as Kung Fury did, and it really struck a nerve in the in the world. And then you started building out other product lines, t shirts, hats and other products around it. You kind of build a world around turbo kid. And it's hard. Don't get me What you did is extremely hard. It's not easy to do. And you really need to know what you're doing. That's why I lay out how you could do things like that even on a very small level with with the film entrepreneur method that I that I came up with. It's doable, but it's it's work. And that's another thing, a lot of filmmakers when they get to the distribution phase, they're just like I'm exhausted. I don't want I don't want to do this anymore.

Shaked Berenson 1:15:04
Yeah, they, a lot of people don't want to do it anymore. And, and it's combination of a lot of hard work, but also a lot of luck, you know, you need the right time in the right place. Yeah. You know, in this case, turbo kid started in Sundance, and from there, you know, kind of blew up. So, you know, you can say, Well, you know, you guys professionals, you've been doing this for a long time you put the right team, which is all true and great. But you also have, you know, that magic ingredient of being in the right time in the right place, and, you know, very lucky to, to being able to have some breaks out, break out titles like that. And it's also very important for filmmakers to let go a little bit and bring because it's such hard work, bring partners and, and not be so tight Russia's role and refreshes with their money, because it is valuable to like, Hey, this is a good PR company. You know, maybe instead of paying them 20 grand, which we don't have, we can give them 10% of the revenue, you know, it's worth it. By the way, I always love giving people revenue share, because then they have an incentive to do better work. Right? So Oh, yeah. Um, so try to build a team and try to like find people that know better than you and let them do their work and compensate them for that, you know, let them make money from your product, right? Because then they're happy to win when you're want to work again tomorrow and the next one and I feel that that's not another place that a lot of filmmakers you know, they made two shorts and one feature and because of it, they're so sure that they know better than you and better than anybody else, how the trailer is supposed to be how the posts are supposed to be. Which you know where the movie supposed to be. Which festival is the best like alright, I just been doing it for like 200 times but great like yeah, then they force the hands of everybody around them and then when the movies unsuccessful they blame everybody else you know and so often that you see that it's like insistent of using their own trader on poster not to believe the numbers not to do test screenings now to do tests. I really like to test for the marketing just to see which marketing works the best not to agree to anything and even if you do it you know have all the excuses why you know the numbers are wrong and then when the movies unsuccessful because you cave because you don't want to argue anymore because distributors can get tired to write the point of view and say like you know we unsuccessful because of you and it's like well maybe one successful because you insist of using your friend to edit it and doing this and doing that and doing this and you know having our you know if your distributor with both hands tied behind your back it's really hard to generate money and it's a shame because you just get bad reputation because now you have filmmakers rocking around and you know talking shit about how bad work you've done you know and you kind of stuck in a rock and a hard place

Alex Ferrari 1:18:07
It look in and that's why I was anytime I tell filmmakers to actually always do your homework and go in it before you sign with the distributor talk to filmmakers who have worked with them before talk to that one and don't talk to the ones that that distributed give you look them up on IMDB pro call them up and go What was your experience and and why did that happen? And if you're you know if you're a smart filmmaker you could look at the movie that like oh they didn't know what they were doing and this and that and then you look at the movie and go This was horrible. I mean they did you know it's it's it's a catch 22 I absolutely agree the distributor is always going to get shit on without without question it like you said at the beginning of the swift like no one ever said oh my movie was crap thank god the distributor saved it it's the other way well my film is genius and the distributor screwed it That being said, it only applies to a small percentage of honest distributors because most of them are not going to screw you

Shaked Berenson 1:19:03
I want to point out because this is you don't hear that a lot but I'm gonna repeat what you just said because the second half of what you said is extremely important. Talk with the filmmakers and not just the director director producers activities and the second half is watch their film because after watching it you might feel like huh they actually got pretty good press compared to what I'm seeing you know what I mean? I always when I buy product on Amazon anything Oh is like sort to the bad reviews and then I read wider bad you know and then a lot of time like you're trying to buy a whatever a coffee machine and you read and bad reviews about like the customer service and like I'm not gonna call customer service when my confirmation right so it's like, it's like, when people don't talk shit about the submitter to dig down to really what was the core of the problem? Sometimes you find out like, Yeah, but it doesn't really apply to me. You know what I mean? Right? I'm not that smart. And we like to have the filmmakers involved, but the filmmakers and to make it a part of the team and not force your hand into doing things. Which is a shame.

Alex Ferrari 1:20:10
Now, what are you seeing right now in cope with COVID? Man? How is COVID affecting the distribution? You know, playing field from your point of view?

Shaked Berenson 1:20:18
COVID is very interesting because it, it moved so many different levers, right. So, okay, let's, let's talk very surface and we can get dig deep dig

Alex Ferrari 1:20:33
deeper into it.

Shaked Berenson 1:20:35
You may think it's tea, but I'm actually drinking whiskey here. So the obvious one is, okay, there's no physical production, right? There's no physical production, which means that nine to 18 months, in the future, there gonna be no movies. And obviously, there is no it and all distributors have budget and programs. So everybody needs to have content, so they need to buy it right now. Which means that content value is going to go out. Right? Okay. So that's one I don't want is everybody's home. They're not spending money going to a concert or spending money going to theater. They're not spending money, you know, they're just stuck at home. So everybody's signing up for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, eBay, upgrading internet, maybe buying bigger TVs, adding a TV in the bedroom? Yep. Getting more base with that, which should be more money for filmmakers, maybe, you know, maybe it's more money for Netflix. But who knows if that trickle down. Ideally, it's supposed to write because Netflix need to serve those clients and have more content. Beside that, an interesting thing that happened with with COVID is that a lot of companies accelerated coming out with content because people are now at home. Right? So maybe instead of spreading our content, Let's release it now. So suddenly, with a surge of things coming out on digital, and let's not forget COVID may not work, right. So, you know, people sitting at home. So let's put our movies out on VOD, because everybody wants to spend some time watching movies. Yeah, but maybe they're not going to spend 599 right now, because there was enough movies on this class and enough enough movies and Hulu and Netflix that they haven't explored it. So and they're just like I'm throwing stuff. Right? So it's economic levers that that move. So how does it look for us as an indie? indie filmmakers, right, because if your studio your Netflix is definitely different things. Because we always in the bottom, when there is no money, it's the first thing that's gonna affect us. Because, yes, maybe people would pay $10 or $20 to see a movie that was supposed to be theatrical. And now we came out on VOD, because universal, you know, made it go out. But still like to pay 799 for that movie that was made, like for 300. But looks like a million. That doesn't mean that money, right. But before they would spend it on the Star Wars, you know, maybe catching up with some studio movies that they haven't seen, right. But then for the other indie stuff. You know, there was enough stuff on Vimeo, youtube for free. There's enough stuff on Netflix that they haven't exported enough stuff. You know, Disney plus came out with the whole Fox library of blah, blah, blah. It is a lot of stuff that

Alex Ferrari 1:23:23
Oh, there's so much I'm catching up on TV shows that I've been waiting, like, I'm just clicking through seasons of it right now. Like, it's it's so much content, there's so much stuff to go the customer stuff.

Shaked Berenson 1:23:33
Yeah. So what we seen was in movies that we releasing that sound and perform extremely well, because they have, and this is not really changing anything in COVID. Like the movies that have audience appeal, doing extremely well. In in today's market, the movies that don't still don't perform, right, and so to anytime, right. Another thing that happened is the rise of the Avon. I think that the pandemic accelerated a lot of processes, so Avon, everybody knew that that's going to be the next thing. But because of COVID and people saving money, they're seeking How To watch more content for free. There you go. You're Pluto, you're Toby of all those Voodoo Voodoo of the abled a good side of it. So a lot of DOD started to actually create money for indies like us. Again, like you said, like with Amazon, they're paying about a cent per per hour watch. It's very, very little money, right? So people talk about like, Well, you know, Toby and Pluto and start making us you know, able to start making us a little money. But when he asked him like how much we're like, do I have titles that make you know, 1000 bucks a month? You know, it's like, well, 1000 bucks a month minus 30% distribution fee. You know? It's when you talk about a movie that costs 300 grand or to make it So nothing, right, but it's better, it's better than the nothing that that was before. So it really depends on where you add the distribution level. Because a lot of our movies are new, you know, we're not yet in the abl space. I'm not gonna put my movies on a board yet. I'm going to wait for them to to finish the transaction on the in the subscription, VOD cycle, before getting to that, but I heard a lot of movies getting getting there. But it also create, you know, there is an equilibrium. And because everybody knows that Toby and Pluto and the Avon space are starting to be profitable. They have a surge of producers and distributors giving them titles, which means that now less eyeballs on each one, which will reduce the price. There is a reason why, when amazon prime started, it was 17 cents per hour. And now it's one You know why? Because it was a gold mine and biggest fight, he was making 10 to five to 10 grand a month on amazon prime. And you know, a lot of us saw it, and started putting more and more content on Amazon. And Amazon, you know, they charge 100. So they know exactly 100 a year, right for prime. That's like 100 something. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, they know exactly what piece they want to be spending on on on the prime video, right? So if, at the beginning when biggest part of just got on to it, and it was relatively new, maybe there were, let's say, 100 million subscribers, and they viewed five hours of movies a month, right? So divide the money by to five hours. It's a lot of money, these to get bonuses, and Oh, yeah. But now they have 180 million subscribers, that each one watch 10 hours a day, during COVID of movies and TV shows, do the numbers, it comes out to be less than a cent the person, you know, it's not that Amazon trying to be a bad guy, you know, there's just a business. Right? Right.

Alex Ferrari 1:27:01
And he's just not there and the adaption. And anytime you're adopting a new platform, they're going to give you a lot of front to get those users to get that content. But once that's filled up, I mean, Amazon did it, Facebook did it. To me, they all do it. And then

Shaked Berenson 1:27:16
yeah, it's bought, you know, bought from us, you know, 20 movies time, 50 100 grand, you know, that, you know, we could have done those deals, now you can do it. Now they watch every movie, they they cherry pick, you know, they choose the movies that they want, and maybe they pay more for the movies that they want. But when they buy one out of 30 movies, instead of half your library, you're in a very different market.

Alex Ferrari 1:27:39
But do you think I mean, so COVID obviously, I this is what I've, I feel that COVID is, except, like you said, accelerating? what was going to happen in our industry anyway. But I feel that the model, the distribution model that's in place, I feel that Rome is burning, and I feel a lot of these companies are going to go under and we still have not even touched the bottom of the economic effect of what's going on. We haven't even touched it yet. So when that happens, we're going to start seeing companies drop like flies, and a lot of filmmakers are going to lose like you know, unless those deals are in place they're gonna lose access to the films it's gonna be a nightmare for film and I don't want to be like oh The sky is falling The sky is falling. I'm trying to I always say I prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Yeah, and I feel that that's what's going to happen with our with our industry I think next year will be very telling a lot of companies that we're seeing when I hear it I don't know if you hearing it I'm already hearing some people like oh, they're they're you know three months behind dude pay payments Oh, they're six months behind payment to the producers. Oh, is it and these are big companies these are not small companies. So when I start hearing that I'm like oh so if those bigger companies are having issues what what chance does the small predatory and make they're just they're gonna probably go wander and take as much you know, as they can as they go wonder what he would like what you feeling? Let's try to be positive for like I said, I don't want to be the Alec Alex Jesus Christ. I like I like the back and forth because you know, we you are you are the positive one. All of a sudden, generally you're the negative. Yeah, generally, you're not generally you're the doom and gloom. I am trying to help you, sir.

Shaked Berenson 1:29:19
Good thing about the independent. Yeah, he's that we're small. Yes, efficient. limbal. We're quick, right? We agile. So when AMC or whatever big, theatrical, you know, chains and they need to adopt and it takes them a long time and and they have a big machine to feed them in a lot more trouble than if you're a small distributor that can easily say, Hey, you know, we'll just take our 50 films, take them off Amazon, put them on Pluto, boom, you know, make more money. You know, it's like, you can do that. In terms of production. Studios and networks. Yes, they have the money to spend But when you making movies with big stars that afraid of COVID, and if something happens to them, they're going to owe a billion dollar and blah, blah, blah. It's very complicated for them to shoot movies. If you indie filmmaker that anyway should it movie with their few friends and you know, just a camera and a six people crew, you will look more agile to write a script change, you know, change a few things make it that it's all happening in one house Anyway, you shoot for 10 days or 12 days, you know, it's not like you're shooting for months, like studios networks. So you can create content, there's going to be needed, right.

Alex Ferrari 1:30:38
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Shaked Berenson 1:30:48
And, and I do think that, networks and streamers, and you know, studios less, because I mean, you can't make a blockbuster from you know, a small movie, usually that is made with your friends, but some of the other ones, they are going to look for interesting, compelling storytelling, that we can go out and do it. Today is Thursday, tomorrow, I'm going on a location scout, with a producer friend. And, you know, the idea is, you know, he has an idea to shoot a film, that's going to be an action movie, and it's just going to be five people. And he came up with a clever way to to do it with all the COVID restrictions. And to get it done. So you know, if he does that, by February, if we should, in in the next few months, by February, April, we can have movies, you know, ready to release? And, you know, maybe we can actually get good numbers from Netflix, or Hulu or Apple or wherever it is, because they're gonna have less content. Right. So I think what's interesting is from talking with, with my friends, the streamers, they actually not looking for content right now. Because when COVID started, they, they have enough liquidity. And they smart enough to basically load up with titles. So a lot of the schedules are actually already going to meet of 2021. Oh, no, I know that all of my friends, I call it the best time selling movie, it's like how come Netflix pass on it? Well, they pass on it, because they actually spent March and April and May buying so much. So they're kind of happy with the schedule

Alex Ferrari 1:32:25
A deal. From what I understand a deal deal prices, like, you know, Paramount are one of these big studios that they don't have any other revenue. So they're just emptying out their libraries at 25 cents to the dollar is what I heard. So that's why all of a sudden, on Netflix, I started seeing huge movies from the olden days, like this just popped up on my like, where do these all come from? And

Shaked Berenson 1:32:44
we're back to the future coming up to Netflix next month. Yeah, you know? Yeah, it's, it's, you know, again, all of these good for consumer, you know, oh, yeah, not the best for filmmaker. Democrats have the least amount of leverage, almost anything that will happen, somehow we will pay the cost, it just is a thumb rule, because because we are at the bottom of the of the food chain. But there are good things that we can do. And if you're smart enough, you're smarter to write something you can make. You can make it you know, on the cheap, safely with COVID, and all that kind of stuff. We had a production that was supposed to happen in Latin America, with a fairly, you know, big star, impossible to get it bonded and to get it insured at the moment. So those type of movies cannot happen. Right? But if you truly indie, you can make stuff happen. Because anyway, it's you know, just you and your wife or whatever it's not, you know, it's like, it's a bunch of friends you can get Yeah, yeah, I want to get into union and sag, you need to quarantine you need to, you know, build those rings, you know, and all that kind of stuff that, again, we talked about. I mean, it's already been almost two hours. But you know, it's like, we can talk about those things that it's another opportunity on the COVID Productions. But one thing that I get a lot from people that I kind of want to make it clear. I keep hearing this people developing projects thinking when the cure and the vaccine comes out. there going to be all these productions and people are going to need scripts. Right. Yeah. Think about what's happening. You have production house, those scripts are already greenlit. Right? Yeah. And everybody we sell laptop, writing scripts right now.

Alex Ferrari 1:34:31
And then these people and some of these people with the laptops, you're talking about, have Oscars, have, have track records have connections.

Shaked Berenson 1:34:39
So So if you think that let's say by April they're going to be a vaccine and our old production is going to go out. There's not going to be more pa DPS cameras. I mean, you can we already were making so much content to increase the capacity of what Hollywood is independent and formed. reductions we're doing do is not a lot that we can go up to, you know, we can increase it by 5% 10%. You know, there is a maximum amount of like DPS and camera scripts, there is a lot, right? So the value of scripts is not going to go higher, because maybe they're going to be a 10% increase, you know, hopefully in production, right. But with that said, is, you know, don't everybody that you remotely know, on your Facebook or anything, or writing scripts right now, everybody? What kind of surge of scripts? Like why why you know, how we're going to look like, in a role that scripts already have almost no value, because there is so much supply of them, compared to demand. And now it's going to be so much more supplies, because everybody's at home writing scripts.

Alex Ferrari 1:35:53
Right. And then the agencies are going to be inundated. And I think projects are going to be the ones who have the connections, who have package deals ready to go with talent with a director with everything attached. Usual. Yeah, like you. Yeah. So if you think you're going to just write a script and send it over to CIA, and they're gonna go, Oh, my God, thank God, you sent this over, because we were hurting for scripts? Can we just give you a million dollars cash now is that will that work for you like that, that's a delusion,and, and

Shaked Berenson 1:36:21
So many text messages, I think it's great time for these, it's great time to develop these great time to develop these, like, I'm not developing anything, yet, I'm helping my you know, I'm lucky enough to have connections that we have deals in the pipeline. So making this family, this family movie for a broadcaster, so obviously, I'm developing it was supposed to shoot in September, you know, we'll just have to wait until February or March or whenever it is to shoot it, you know, so I'm not slowing down on that one, or actually, I'm slowing down, but I know that it's going to go somewhere it is going to make a hole in our production. So oil production means holding your income, you know, that you need to be paid, you know, you need to eat

Alex Ferrari 1:37:06
But banks are very understanding they are very understanding and

Shaked Berenson 1:37:11
very much you should be so so yes, it's a problem for us. But you know, could fool you know, unit good place that, you know, you do have a place that I can get the movie finance. And then I'm helping other people to do this, like COVID type projects, which is interesting. But they're done in a very low budget, and they're done as, hey, we're gonna go out, we're gonna do it. Everybody's a partner, you know, we're going to spend 50 grand on whatever we need, you know, but nobody's expecting again, it's not a passion project that somebody worked for 10 years and they're gonna expect to win an Oscar, you know, it is what it is. It's, it's basically keeping these in keeping the people busy at the moment. There is a surge in animation, because everybody thought about the genius idea that you can do an emotion from home, you know, and they're the only one who thought about it. There was a surging podcasts, right?

Alex Ferrari 1:38:05
Oh, my God, please don't get Don't get me started with the power surge and podcasts. Every now all of a sudden I turn Oh, there's a new filmmaking podcast. Oh, there's nothing to filmmaking calm. And everybody had the idea. Everybody's coming in. Under? Yeah. All I need is a mic and a computer. And I could I could call some friends. And we could talk about film. Let's do this. And I'm looking at I'm all about, you know, I have a podcast network, and I'm bringing in new podcasts. But like, I started listening to some of these things. I'm like, Oh, my God, like everybody. And I'm few of them already started it off. Like they started in February. And now they're like, you know, you see it in June, June or July. They're just like, yeah, we're done. Is this? Yeah, well, you know, a lot of hard work.

Shaked Berenson 1:38:45
It's a lot of work. It's not, it's a lot of work. And it's not that easy. Now, it's easy to record, it's easy to just jump on Skype and just talk like this. It's easy to point an iPhone or get the red cam for cheap and pointed something, to have something that appealing and create value for an audience and also know how to find that audience and market very, very hard.

Alex Ferrari 1:39:07
And that's that, and that's the thing that if we could use podcasts as an example, they don't understand is that I've been doing this now for five years. I'm not the oldest podcaster by any stretch, but there's podcasters out there who've been in our space in the filmmaking and screenwriting space. I've been doing this for 10 years. But the thing is that we have an audience that we've built, I have an infrastructure, that's why I have five podcasts now because why not? But I have an infrastructure that I can kind of run things through. And that's what these what that it's a perfect analogy for what you were saying at the very beginning, was you have an infrastructure now to sell movies, I have an infrastructure to release podcast, and then do everything that I do with indie film also, because I've built that over the years, and I have a value there that I present to an audience. You have a value because you can make a call to that buyer in France, and go I've got indie film hustle the movie, and it stars Chicago and Alex and as a as a crime as a crime fighting duo that fights against evil distributors. And we're and I need, how much can we get and he'll go automate what both of you are in it 80,000, just for France. So obviously, but you have that I can't make that phone call, because I don't have that relationship, I can't provide that value, but you do. So it's just about and I want filmmakers listening to understand that, that it's, like you said, making content is easy. Opening up Skype calling you recording this is easy. The hard part is packaging it, you know, marketing it, putting it out there as a valuable thing to an audience. And that's where filmmakers need to understand women. That's why my whole film intrapreneur model is find a niche audience create value for that niche audience market to that niche audience, because you can, you can actually focus your energies on a niche audience as opposed to a broad, or I'm gonna do 18 to 45 males who like turbo kit, I'm like, that's a pretty large audience. You know, what I mean?

Shaked Berenson 1:41:05
And, and also just getting into it is, it's really about understanding the value. Because if I want to have a new podcast for myself, yeah, I'd much rather call you and say, hey, I want to make a podcast, can I give you whatever it is? 20% 50%? You know, can I join your network, and you help with the marketing, instead of thinking, Oh, this is easy, I'm just going to build a website. And myself, because probably, I can start from such a higher point. You know, even if I need to give you 50% not to like do marketing for your network. But even if I give you 50%, like I said before, it's like, if I can have at least 50% more revenue, right? Plus $1, or

Alex Ferrari 1:41:51
You get your Wow, you're gonna get a few more listeners being in an established filmmaking network. Exactly, as opposed to just launching by yourself and then trying to go after that same audience.

Shaked Berenson 1:42:02
Yeah, you leverage being you leverage, you think, Hey, I can put my movie myself on iTunes, or can or on Vimeo and YouTube, and it can put the movie myself on Amazon v. Amazon direct, you know, if you don't think that having a distributor, you know, and, and yes, paid him a 35% fee, if you don't think that they can, with their relationship in press, festivals, you know, experience with marketing, a mailing list of 100,000, or fans or whatever it is, if you don't think that will make you more 35% more than what can you do yourself? not consuming also doing a lot less work yourself? You know, you probably wrong, you know, you probably worth every percent of it.

Alex Ferrari 1:42:49
But the thing is also that is, again, case by case, it all depends on the movie, it all depends on the distributor. So there's so many x factors. With that statement that filmmakers need to it's there is no way the only business that there is no one path, there is no like, I make a bottle of olive oil. I go to the supermarket and I sell it at the supermarket, I go to a farmers market and I sell it at a farmers market, there's a handful of distribution outlets for that product. And there's a guaranteed price point that you're gonna get for that, relatively speaking within. If I spent if I spent $2 to make a quality bottle of olive oil. What type of olive oil Am I making? Is it? Is it gourmet that it's $25 a bottle? Which is what I used to sell my bottles for? Or is it more just a bucks just to get it out the door? But there's a range there in movies, there is it there's just well

Shaked Berenson 1:43:40
there is there is no intrinsic value, right? I mean, if you sell a car, then they you can even if it doesn't run, you can take it apart and departs.

Alex Ferrari 1:43:47
There's there's something there.

Shaked Berenson 1:43:50
But it's the only industry that you can build a car with no wheels and no doors in no windshield. And then walk around and say I'm supposed to be winning formula one with this car. How come I'm not winning? You know, how come this car is not selling? Because that's what we do. Right? When you know, you need to go to school. You know, you can't just watch other houses and say

Alex Ferrari 1:44:11
no watch HGTV houses HGTV that's all you need to do is watch HGTV flip houses

Shaked Berenson 1:44:15
the house is no door and there is no windows and if you didn't actually design it for the land that you have, and you need to like a foundation surveyed the land and figure out what it

Alex Ferrari 1:44:27
is a lot of work. A lot of work in a cell it's a lot of work. I don't want

Shaked Berenson 1:44:30
that anybody can shoot a movie with no audience in mind. No, you know, thought about it. No, you know, just no structure, no pacing, no anything, you know, but and just say that all the distributors don't know. I know the festivals don't know what they're doing because they accept your movie. So

Alex Ferrari 1:44:45
but at the end of the day, the difference is that this is art. Yeah, for lack of a better term it this is it's art. If you're selling art, that's why a guy who takes an old banana onto a wall sells it for a million dollars as an artpiece Okay, that's different. Okay, we can talk about that. publicity more than the No, no, but I i understand. Right, but but the point is that it's still art. Someone added, like anytime you buy art, art has no value to it. It's Canvas paint. Let's say it's canvas and paint, basically. Right? And a frame. And what

Shaked Berenson 1:45:22
No it's a canvas and paint. Yes. And the 40 hours it takes to make an old paint.

Alex Ferrari 1:45:28
Fine.

Shaked Berenson 1:45:28
And the 40 years it took the art correct. Practice. Owned?

Alex Ferrari 1:45:33
Absolutely, they're absolutely 110% you're absolutely correct. Now, the value that I put on that 40 years of talent is relative. I can look at that painting and go oh, my God, look at the strokes look at the way he did this. Look at the craftsmanship. Someone else will look at and go That's horrible. I don't like red. You know, and, and they will we so that's all about what a person that you're looking at, it thinks it's worth, you know, what did they just sell that? The most expensive? The Vinci they found that the Vinci painting, and they sold it for what $450 million? Or something like that? It was a record breaking change? Yeah. Right. But But when you buy something like that, there's literally probably 20 people in the world. 30 people in the world who could buy that? Yeah, that would would buy that.

Shaked Berenson 1:46:18
So but what's interesting is that, that that because so will increase in value, your your movie will not increase in value. Right? You know, movies. Unfortunately, if you build a house, if you take 5 million and use it to build a house, 5 million and you make it to make a movie, the house that you built for 5 million million will make your rent for eternity, right? Yes, you need to maintain it, you need to fix the roof. You You know decades. But if you don't sell it, you can make rent for your grandkids, your grand grandkids and your grand grand grandkids. When you take five minute make a movie, you can maybe have a big hit for the weekend of opening weekend and stuff. But you know, the value is going to go down. And if it's really good, it's going to have a long tail and maybe you know, like friends or like Seinfeld will make few million a year. But it's still in that scene. Yeah, you know, a decreasing long tail, as opposed to increasing and appreciating and making it consistent and even increasing rent for the rest of your life.

Alex Ferrari 1:47:22
Yeah, like if you look at, like, if you look at mariachi and mariachi, when it came out it had some value to it. And it definitely had a tremendous amount of value for his career. You know what, but how much does El Mariachi bring in a year for for Sony now? Like, honestly, what is paranormal activity? One bringing in you know, yearly, I'm sure it's still making good my swag. This is why I need to keep making sequels to keep keep alive and Pat and packaging it to get like the sauce, like how much the salt one make it that would only one saw. And that eight of them. How you know you can pack it. So there's like how can you continue to make money with these things for long periods of time? But you're right, the most money you're gonna make is at the top. And even now that what to call it because of COVID you know, Jurassic Park Empire Strikes Back these were number one movies at the box office again, we're still talking about a few million, you know, they didn't pull in 100 million. Like, they're not the same. Yeah, their peak is their peak. So you're absolutely right,

Shaked Berenson 1:48:20
those and those and those are brilliant.

Alex Ferrari 1:48:23
Oh, they're just that's the Picasso's? That's Picasso's

Shaked Berenson 1:48:27
Both commercial and his art. Right? They're brilliant on on those two things, right? They might look at either evergreen, one of my favorite, you know, we just watching Terminator, right, the first the first Terminator, you know, they're just so wonderful. They they hold up there to just steal entertainment and still, you know, you know, some of my movies, you know, watch him three years later, and it's like, it feels like a 70s movie. You know, they just don't hold up as much. Don't become classics. Okay, speaking on the network. Should I plug in some of our movies that are out now so I can absolutely, you're fine. So what are we doing right now? We just released a series. That is right now. First for 30 days on Amazon Prime exclusive and then going out. In other view the athletes go to Syria. It's based on their theory Film Festival, which is short films made by female filmmakers. The first season just came out last weekend. And we coming out with the second season next month and we're going to go every month with a new season relative six seasons in work. Besides that, we just released my company we just released a documentary about the Tony Hawk video game pro skater.

Alex Ferrari 1:49:45
Oh, yeah. Yeah, so the trailer for that

Shaked Berenson 1:49:48
it looks great on the top 10 on iTunes right now. It stopped in an Amazon it stopped in in a lot of places. It's called pretending I'm a Superman, the Tony Hawk video game story. I know it's a very concise niche.

Alex Ferrari 1:50:00
It's also a very, that's also a very niche film,which is fascinating,

Shaked Berenson 1:50:05
Very niche, very niche film on one hand, but in the other hand, I asked my mother in law if she knows who Tony Hawk is, and she knew and Tony Hawk is very supportive is tweeting about it as Instagram about it. portion of the revenue goes to his charity, which, you know, gives him an incentives By the way, you know, business people

Alex Ferrari 1:50:26
Business, you know,

Shaked Berenson 1:50:27
He's charities getting a piece of it. It's very nostalgic. It's, it's about the Pro Skater game and how it started. I remember it. Yeah, the new Porsche Gator remaster is coming out by Activision. So we riding on their marketing, you know, they're spending $100 million in marketing. So we do that smart beside that we release our label the horror collective, which is genre films, just with a few wonderful movies, we have a sci fi body Oracle shifter, which is right now, out in beauty everywhere, we just recently released blood vessel which is still in the top 50 or even to any on iTunes in the US. And about to come out in the UK, as well. And a comedy is shown of the day type comedy called two heads, Craig, which is 90% of Rotten Tomato doing very well. Ultimate beauty now, so please check them out, check it out, iTunes, check it out, Amazon, check it out on DirecTV spectrum, wherever you get your films, check them out and do a favor not just for those films, for all independent films, go on the platform, you watch them and give the movie a review. You know, give me four star, give it five star, whatever you feel is is fair, in why to small review, because the best marketing is in platform marketing. And their world today is so customizable. So when you go on Amazon, the movies that are directed you are not the movies that are promoted to me. So if you put reviews on the movies, you like people that like the same things are going to see the same content, and you're going to help the filmmakers get there. So please, you know, if you have filmmaker friends, go and read your movies, if you saw in the movies that you like, or TV shows, please go and review them. Go on Amazon going Rotten Tomato or whatever, write a quick reviews and help other people that have similar tastes. Find the same film, you know, giving a star review and writing a ship review doesn't really help because Amazon or Netflix, they don't recommend you movies that are you know, it's a positive system, right? Sure. Sure. Sure. So support the movies you like and just don't do anything about the movies don't

Alex Ferrari 1:52:40
Appreciate that. Absolutely, yeah. And check in the hospital. And obviously, subscribe on Stitcher or whatever, all those things, you know. And also, if since we're doing this, please everyone who's seen on the corner of ego and desire my latest film, please go on Amazon and leave a review, I get five star review five star review if you don't like the movie, and Alex said, Please, if you don't like the movie, then just just don't don't don't say. And one last question, sir. Is there anything you want to say to the audience about working with a distributor how to deal with a distributor? a myth that needs to be busted? I think we've talked a lot about that in this episode. But is there any parting words you want to give to the tribe?

Shaked Berenson 1:53:27
Yes, um, obviously, you know, we can talk about that for four hours. And we will come back and I will talk about that. But the first thing is, when you look at a deal, or look less about the deal, and ask more questions, it's got to do with the strategy, and who's going to be working on it, right? If it's the owners, or just, you know, just dealing with somebody in the system that get paid to just get the paper sign, that's a deal origination this, once you already have the deal, stay engage with the distributor, and help the distributor because the more you help and you stay, engage, they will be engaged with you. So try to make content not just like, Oh, you know, where's my report? Where's my money? But, you know, also keep working and reposting things and contact and say hey, you know, I'm talking to this my cast? Can we make them available for interviews? Can we make them available to to postings Can Can you share with us information so we can customize it for for a cast to keep their audience and fans engage? help them help you because really, like I believe that a director and a producer, you know, have to work together. The filmmakers and the distributors have to work together as a team. If they're not working together as a team then the movie is going to suffer for sure.

Alex Ferrari 1:54:46
And where can people find juicer if they want to reach out if you want anybody to find

Shaked Berenson 1:54:52
Okay, I'm easy to find them Shaked Berenson on Twitter and Shaked Berenson EP on on on Facebook My name is my personal one but you know I have a Shaked Berenson EP for business one company is in attendance quality it's more b2b but our labels like the hora called Oracle active you know has Instagram and Facebook and Twitter I believe we have a tik tok even

Alex Ferrari 1:55:19
wow Are you a tik toker sir? Are you a tik toker sir?

Shaked Berenson 1:55:22
am nota tiktoker im here to sell film. I will do it then. Write comments right here. Tell tell Alex if we should do a dance together to cell phone because we'll do absolute filmmaking an indie distribution will do anything it tates

Alex Ferrari 1:55:42
Dance, monkey dance, monkey dance. That's. My friend. Thank you so much for being on the show again. And thank you so much for being so raw, truthful, honest, somewhat brutal. I think I was a little more brutal than you which is positive today is a rare statement generally You're the one slamming the hammer but I think your your as you get older your your your mellowing.

Shaked Berenson 1:56:05
I'm happier this day.

Alex Ferrari 1:56:08
I'm becoming more bitter. I don't know why I just more Oh,

Shaked Berenson 1:56:12
No,

Alex Ferrari 1:56:12
I'm not I'm not I'm not

Shaked Berenson 1:56:13
You're building an empire. And, you know, I'm glad and happy. This is I think my third interview with you, like you said, a lot of the forecasts you do one interview and you know, they just disappear, right. So the fact that you can have the same guests coming and giving updates and build the community, not only for your audience, but also for your guests and your speakers. That's wonderful. So my friend, I take my virtual hats and my virtual conversation sir.

Alex Ferrari 1:56:38
Stay safe, my friend.

Shaked Berenson 1:56:39
You too Thank you so much.

Alex Ferrari 1:56:42
I want to thank Shaked for coming on the show and dropping those raw truth bombs on the tribe today. Thank you so much Shaked. And if you want to get links to anything we spoke about in this episode, head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/422. And guys, I hope you are enjoying these extra episodes that are coming out of the podcast tomorrow, there'll be another new episode to a week for the next, I don't know, five, six weeks, maybe a little longer. So I can get all of these amazing interviews out to you guys. I know that 2020 has been a brutal, brutal year for the world as well as for us independent filmmakers, and dealing with what's going on in our small corner of the world. But in 2021 I have a lot of cool stuff I've been working on in the lab to hopefully help you guys on your path and, and get you to where you need to be. So thank you so much for listening. I really hope that this podcast has helped you get through 2020 a little bit better, it is a little bit easier. And I appreciate you and honor the journey that you are on as a filmmaker. Thank you so much for listening, guys. As always, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. Stay safe out there, and I'll talk to you soon.

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IFH 221: Finding an Audience for Indie Films in 2018 with Shaked Berenson

Right-click here to download the MP3

Today’s guest is a returning champion Shaked Berenson from Epic Pictures. On this special edition, Sundance episode Shaked and I discuss marketing and finding an audience for your indie films in 2018. We discuss their recent acquisition of the Horror Blog/Brand Dread Central and how you can use today’s tools to find your audience.

Shaked has produced films like the cult hit Turbo Kid (SXSW Audience Award)Entertainment (Official Sundance Film Festival Selection), and the animated film Space Dogs: Adventure to the Moon. What is great about Shaked is that he has created his own ecosystem. From financing to production to distribution, all under one umbrella. This way he cuts out the middleman and he can keep more of the profits.

Enjoy my interview with Shaked Berenson.

Alex Ferrari 0:03
So today on the show, we have returning champion Shaked Berenson. From epic pictures, I had a chance to sit down with him at Sundance, and discuss the ever changing landscape of marketing and finding an audience for your indie film. Through epic pictures. They are an independent film production company. And they put out indie films constantly. And they're always looking for new ways to find that audience and engage with that audience. And we talk a lot about what he's doing over with Epic pictures, with their new acquisition, dread central calm, and how to find that audience and connect with them to hopefully give them the product that they are looking for. Now this episode is the last of the Sundance special episodes next week, we start back on our normally regularly scheduled program, I still will only be doing one new one a week for the next week or two, because my top secret project is almost done. And I cannot wait. I cannot wait to share it with you guys. I am so so so excited. I really think it's going to be transformative for the entire indie film hustle tribe, on on what this project is. So I know I've been building it up a lot over the course of the last few weeks. But hopefully it will it will hold up to the scrutiny when I when I finally mentioned and released the information about it. And you want to win once you understand once you hear it. You understand why February and parts of March are so difficult for me to get anything out. But I'm still getting these podcasts out for you guys because I know how important they are to you. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Shaked Berenson.

Welcome, guys, I'd like to bring back to the show. Shaked Berenson. Thank you so much for being here, man.

Shaked Berenson 3:43
Thank you for inviting me.

Alex Ferrari 3:45
We are doing our Sundance yearly tour.

Shaked Berenson 3:49
Very exciting.

Alex Ferrari 3:50
Yes. How has it been so far?

Shaked Berenson 3:52
It's been a lot of drinking, slow drinking. And I think the difference between Sundance and a lot of the other festivals that there are a lot a lot of work. And then heavy drinking in the end of the day was some that is kind of waking up and slow drinking throughout the day,

Alex Ferrari 4:06
And less alcohol because of the altitude.

Shaked Berenson 4:09
It's less alcohol. Yeah, because it's more about the, you know, the long term versus the long tail.

Alex Ferrari 4:15
It's a long it's a long term, not short term game. So can you tell us a little bit about you know, well, first of all, your last podcast episode was extremely popular, a lot of people downloaded it and really loved the information you gave. So that's why I wanted to bring you back because I know you've been doing a lot of exciting things with epic. So what is new with agriculture since last time, you were on the show?

Shaked Berenson 4:33
So last time, we spoke about turbo kit, which premiered here years ago, two years ago, three years ago. And we spoke about how at epic we build the system that we do everything from the development, the financing, the physical production, we do foreign sales, obviously, which is attached to the financing and then also us distribution. Since then, we We were in the process and we finished acquiring a piece of dread central media, which is a an owner publisher, obviously, you know, the guys, the co founders, you know, Steve Barton and john Condit, yes, yes. And what's interesting that it kind of gave us the last mile in that marathon, because it allowed us to really touch the audience. So, um, which for me, it's, you know, it's it's very interesting and exciting.

Alex Ferrari 5:24
So you perch to basically, you know, you talk about marketing and audience audience building you that purchased an audience. Yeah, access to that audience. So you can start building and using it as long as he doesn't.

Shaked Berenson 5:33
Yeah, it's it's several thing. It's, it's, well, first of all, as you know, a company that releases a lot of horror movies and movies. dread Central's been always great to us and writing about our movies, and we've actually been buying that space. What's that? I thought we were all in love one big microwave. And then slowly. And then we're waiting for like, some giant to like, open up and like, touch us like, oh, you're still soft, put back in and, you know, alright,

Alex Ferrari 6:06
So pick it up from where you were,

Shaked Berenson 6:08
I don't even remember we were talking about

Alex Ferrari 6:10
We we were. I don't know. Central, building an audience.

Shaked Berenson 6:17
Oh, so um, so as you know, no dread Central, you know, it's like, one of the top hops for orphans for any horsemen. You know, it's games and music and tattoos and an epic and epic, you know, releases a lot of horror and epic is epic releases a lot of films, we make a lot of films, and we really kind of became known in the horror genre and the family in general. And I'm sorry, my head I'm like, I'm thinking it's actually Sunday. So So yeah, no, it has nothing to because actually, actually, actually, it's all started two years before that. Okay. Should you go back? Go for it. So it's really started when I was workshopping. Um, so I'm literally like, as we talk, I'm like thinking about it that actually the seeds for all of this were many years ago. Okay. So two years ago, I was workshopping at UCLA, two things. One was a business plan that they put together to kind of disrupt a little bit, the theatrical business, the way it's done. I mean, we all know, you know, this movie pass and, you know, all sorts of things that, you know, try to change the theatrical business, and try to figure out how to bring more people to the cinemas, and how to monetize better. The other thing that we did was because our company makes movies of all sorts. So the year that we are to book it here, we actually had a movie called entertainment, which is an experimental art house drama, dark drama, comedy kind of thing. But people really know us for the biggest spiders the tales of Halloween, right? The turbo k do really nice genre, or the feminist late, you know, we have successful femicide. So a part of what I was were workshopping at UCLA was our branding. And a part of what came out from that research was that we probably should start a horror label and put all the horror stuff under that label. Because the imagery, the marketing, it's very dominant very much. So if you go on somebody's website, and they have to horror poster to family, to thrillers, and to documentaries, the horror stuff, just gonna take over it, which is nothing wrong with it. And we love the horror audience, because they're very loyal, and very vocal. And obviously, it's a big part of who we are and what we do. And the recommendation was to start putting things into boxes as we grow under epic family epic, or some sword or makeup, some name. And then, in the end of 2016, when the opportunity came up to buy dread Central, it makes total sense because dread central was a site that we went to, you know, it's like our go to place for everything whore. And it's a brand, it's already known in the horror. Right? Right. And they were kind of in in a trouble in a bad spot, toward the end of the year. And it was a good opponent who come help them because they've been great to us. And then also use dread central to start what we launched earlier this year, which called dread, dread central presents, which is basically going to take off our library of everything here. And we're going to release more horror movies using the epic disk distribution channels, but curated by the dread central reviewers. Interesting. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 9:43
So then, by using dread central presents as a brand you've you basically purchased not only an audience, but the brand name that is so recognizable within the audience that you're going after.

Shaked Berenson 9:53
Yeah. And so instead of like starting at midnight, or whatever, we come up with some Like that, and then start from scratch. But for us, it's more than that, because we make four to six movies a year. And not all of them. Many of them are genre, but not all of them. So having the dread center presents label gave us the space that we can also pick up other people movies, because we almost very rarely would buy movies, we would go to Sundance or South by Southwest, we watched the movies very rarely who actually go in and purchase one for distribution. But now that we kind of have that room that you can say, yes, you know, what epic is, you know, a dread is there is some crossover, but dread can buy pickup door movies with their own film, it gave us that room. And because we built the US distribution side. And you know, just to release four to six movies a year kind of leaves a lot of that unused. So it gave them a lot more work to do that is so and so juicy. The exercise is using our resources and networking and the things that we built to add more value to that audience as well.

Alex Ferrari 11:07
And how many now? Are you going to be able to open it? Because obviously, you'll be able to

Shaked Berenson 11:11
Yes, so the idea is, and this is where my my other plan came in, we're releasing 12 movies a year in theaters, okay, and the way we work it, it's almost like a book club. So instead of trying to sell every movie, on its own, we creating this communities in different cities that was screening it every month, it's a one night or two nights screening. And like a book club, like you come to all of them, and you can, you know, purchase the tickets, follow them, and do curated by dirt Central and do hosted by joint central writers. So our writers are spread all over the states. And they have their own little, you know, local communities. And the idea is to build this committees around a specific theater. And our first release is actually next week.

Alex Ferrari 11:58
So that's very interesting, though. So because theatrical is very difficult to Yes, we make money with in general, especially in today's world, because you need a lot of pee and a lot of marketing to get assets and Jesus Yeah, so this is very interesting model that you're using. So it's gonna be one night only and you're gonna do like series of it like so if it's one movie, you only can watch one night, kind of like a phantom events, kind of

Shaked Berenson 12:19
Yeah, so you know, I've seen me night also have Can I, you know, it's not, you know, we're not like inventing something. Sure. But the difference i think is what we're trying to do is that we realize that first of all, you know, tickets to the same are expensive. And it's really hard to get somebody to, you know, pay 12 or $13 per ticket depends on the city, it's a lot easier to get people to buy two beers for that price. So if you make it into an event, and we have our screenings are hosted by a horse expert, and then everybody goes downstairs to the bar or the bar next door, and can discuss it and have a horror trivia. We're planning to do a lot of talent connect via Skype, we have a lot of giveaways. I believe that in in all three first screenings, everybody's getting many posters when it coming in. And some of them also signed by the filmmakers. So it's a lot more kind of making it as an event. And as a label, it is all horror but it's it's the idea is to be very diverse. So the first movie that we're releasing is called zombie ology and jurists of tonight, which is a Cantonese speaking crazy, you know, film from Hong Kong. And we're releasing it as a double feature restricted, which is celebrating two years for its first release. Then in February releasing the lodgers having previous screening on February 15, a week before it's actually coming out in theaters. So we letting you know our community to kind of have the first you know, tip seeing the lodgers. And then in March, we taking a complete 90 degree turn and have a very, very gory slasher culture fire.

Alex Ferrari 14:05
So So it seems like before, I mean, just to be an independent, you know, company like yourself, to make any money in the theaters is very difficult. So the model that you're using it before you should get used to just be able to use the movie. Yeah, now you've got to make a shell, yes, to get them to get those assets and seats. And I think that's what you're doing. And obviously, it's working financially for you as a model to you know, to do that. And now, do you use those screenings as a launching pad for digital releases as well?

Shaked Berenson 14:33
Yeah, exactly. So for us, it's not really about making revenue from those screenings, like a loss leader. I wouldn't say it's a loss leader, okay. You know, the plan is to at least break even, but any money that generated from those screenings actually goes back into that community. So if you're talking about creating creating events locally or prizes, or basically, you know, having beer being part of the ticket, or just reducing the price of the ticket. The idea is that those community kind of going to be like their own little clubs or clubs in every in every city. So again, what you're doing is just really massaging your audience and building that audience and being very loyal to that audience. So you can kind of funnel through content, yeah, to the eyes that the audience is waiting for. Yeah. And the idea is to get them what they like, you know, and hopefully, they will be talking about it with, you know, their friends, and you know, their social media.

Alex Ferrari 15:37
Now, how you bring up social media? How are you using social media marketing, with your company, and with the new dread Central, other than content marketing that you obviously can do in Madrid Central's main website? But are you using social media? I'm assuming you're not putting billboards up? I'm assuming you're not buying full page ads?

Shaked Berenson 15:52
They shouldn't.

Alex Ferrari 15:53
I'm just saying, you know, I'm sure you're not, you know, putting in the Yellow Pages, your number for your company. So what are you doing as far as marketing in that?

Shaked Berenson 16:02
So a lot of what we're doing is actually stemming from a model that is first written in this book called Crossing the Chasm. And I've ever spoken about that. It's, it's a book that, you know, I'm going to try to summarize in a nutshell, but it talks about how integrating technology into the market. So it's really, it's somebody that I forgot the name of the author. But he's talking about, like, how to get, you know, the Toyota Prius into the market or, you know, a new iPhone, it's not really about something like content, which, unfortunately, for us kind of a commodity. But a lot of what he talks about, is how the product goes through this journey, from early adopters, to from innovators to early adopters, to the early majority, late majority and laggards right. Now, most of the independent films do not go beyond the innovators and the early adopters, you know, this, for example, just to know what they are, like we talking about, like the people that was like, stay overnight, outside the Apple store to get the first phone, you know, or the ones early adopters, you know, but when I tried to look at those models, and try to learn like, Okay, so what does it mean, for me as a, as a film producer, as a distributor? Um, from what I'm seeing, you know, the people that go and read, dread Central, or blood disgusting, or any one of our competitors, let's, you know, we love all of them, too. They are really the early adopters and the innovators in comparison to the people that, you know, read, you know, I don't know why a magazine show, you know, I forget what's the name of the apple one on iOS magazine? Yeah, maybe you can put it. And then the way to get into the the early majority, is really to capture some sort of niche market that can help you break into that. Sure. So really come out that's taking that model and try to apply it to what we do.

Alex Ferrari 18:07
You're not you're definitely not going after a broad audience, like a studio like that one of the big studios. Absolutely. You're niching down, I'm teaching them and you're and you're putting your bet on those niches because as I say, riches are in the niches. Yeah, in many ways, and you're focusing on we do this, well, this is what we're known for. And we're gonna keep going down these roads, as opposed to trying to go out and do action hour, or, you know, dramas are big.

Shaked Berenson 18:28
Well, we do that on the other side of epic. But in the past, I want to, say a year, if not even 13 months, I've been focusing on the retina acquisition, turning around some of the businesses that like with red Central, you know, the the podcast network, and the box of dread, which is a monthly subscription box that has horror memorabilia, and yes, it has beautiful. So I've been really working on that. And then on the dread central presents label, what it is, you know, hiring the right people manage it, acquiring the first few movies to do that, and how do you acquire movies? What's the process of applying? So that's the beauty of it. It started where we basically set up a system that if the reviewers have Dredd central if two or more like the film, and nobody is like really hating the film, then it will pass to the epic side to reach out and, you know, attempt to acquire the film distribution. So I've been managing this with like a big grid with like, all these people that you know, putting thumbs up and thumbs down and somebody said, like, Okay, well, I need to bring somebody to do that. And the opportunity came that I brought Rob golazo from he was in blumhouse. Okay, calm before the infant Korea. He knows. I'll admit it knows about horror movies 1000 times more than me, which means that he can speak that language, vision, all of those Reviewers better can streamline all that.

Alex Ferrari 20:04
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Shaked Berenson 20:15
And he came from the publishing world, completely new thing for him. So the beginning, there was a lot of being in the same, you know, phone calls and catching you up as all that was all of this, which he did an incredible job and caught up very, very quickly. And, you know, even before I landed in, you know, my own timeline, he was like, you know, being on the phone was the theater, the thing and closing those things himself. And you know, it was really great for me so I can put my attention. Other places. So so the process is email Rob, don't email me.

Alex Ferrari 20:54
So you have

Shaked Berenson 20:57
Our time is out, please.

Alex Ferrari 20:58
Our time's up, everyone.

Shaked Berenson 20:59
So this is people calling Rob. So that threw me off. Hold on second. We're talking about the origin of the universe.

Alex Ferrari 21:11
A gotcha. The meaning of life.

Shaked Berenson 21:13
42 dancers. 42.

Alex Ferrari 21:16
Acquisitions. Alright, so. So you're using basically reviewers as the gateway

Shaked Berenson 21:23
Who knows better about films?

Alex Ferrari 21:25
The horror movies?

Shaked Berenson 21:26
Of course, yeah, those guys.

Alex Ferrari 21:27
And then once they get past that they you get to the next level.

Shaked Berenson 21:30
Yeah. And the beautiful thing is that nobody knows better the audience will get Central, then the people to try to wonder it's Central.

Alex Ferrari 21:37
It's pretty is a very interesting model that you have going on. I haven't heard of many other companies that I at least in my

Shaked Berenson 21:44
Well, after this interview,

Alex Ferrari 21:45
Everyone's gonna be everyone's gonna be buying all of these and competing with you. That's fine. Um, you know, they'll be buying Fangoria and then all the other competitors.

Shaked Berenson 21:53
Um, well, actually, from Korea did have a label that they were launching. And, again, for me, and yes, I producing movies and everything, but I really come from, you know, for me, it's all I think we spoke about last time that for me, it's all about creating jobs. And for me, it's all about creating value creating, you know, things that people can enjoy, you know, and, you know, when you when you do that, you know, then you can take a slice for yourself, you know, I'm in opposed to, you know, kind of coming in the middle or, you know, something like that. And I think the business model that some of the other label had, they're missing some of the pieces, you know, the fact is that I could fairly easily take drizzles Dredd Central, and say, Hey, you receive movies to review, you know, which one you like, just better to epic, which already knows how to buy movies have the legal have, you know, the, the the vendor relationship and can put it on in demand and iTunes and BigQuery, and at&t, and I don't know, you know, all of all of those accounts, it was a very, relatively very smooth transition and marriage between between two, I think that a lot of those companies, if they need to start on their own and learn how to do distribution, or learn how to be a publisher, or learn how to do this, or go to somebody else and pay them 25% in the middle, then the whole things fall apart,

Alex Ferrari 23:18
Right! Of course. Now, with social media, do you use social media marketing, like Facebook ads or anything

Shaked Berenson 23:24
We do social media, we actually just hired into Social Media Manager, we used to, in the past, both do our own and also hire companies, outside companies to handle social media. I personally don't believe too much with outsourcing social media, because, for me, it's something that needs to be in house, because social media is about the voice of the organization. And unless you are a part of that fabric, how can you do that? You know, and diverse of organization? Is everybody that work in the organization, its defense, it's the vendors, it's the clients, you know, so it's not what, you know, I say, or Patrick, he was my business partner, you know, it's not like, Okay, well, this is our voice. It's not, it's our past employees, it's our current employees. It's all we together and like a big part, that's really the voice of our company, or any company, I believe, sure. If you want to do authentic, you know, of course, you can come in and say, We are a different company, or we are the company or we are and I think that it's create conflicts both internally. And also it's very obvious to the outside.

Alex Ferrari 24:40
So with, can you please explain to to filmmakers, how important audience building is because you're doing an obviously in a much grander scale than an independent film by himself or an even filmmaker by himself? Yeah. Can you explain this whole pot process?

Shaked Berenson 24:55
It's not, it's not you really just make a movie, put it out there and it just magically it just just magically everybody? Well, I think and again, what's for me was one of the things that was exciting about this partnership is readcentral is being for example, at, you know, with the booth, right? I mean, they have a booth now, it's we have a booth in Comic Con. Right. And in US Charolais and in midsummer scream, and, you know, and, and I, you know, I mean, you know, me for a couple of years, you know, it's like, I, you know, put a dress on the T shirt, I go down to the ground, and I stand there in the booth for 10 hours, and, you know, shake the hands and, you know, kiss the babies and, and it's really excited to, you know, to actually meet the fence, the fence, and, and the fence, really, I mean, it's been incredible how much love when they give you in one hand, and also feedback, you know, I mean, they will tell you, they will tell you, they will tell you, and that's great, because if we don't do what we do for them, then what is the point? Anything think that I know that, you know, like making money, you know, it's it's somehow have like, a bad word, like sales, you know, like, all those things had bad words, it's like, more sales agents equals if a distributor, you know, because sales is just gonna sound cheap, you know, but there's nothing wrong with it. You know, if if your movies making money, it means that people saw value and wanted to, you know, show it back to you and were willing to, you know, spend their time, you know, if it's, you know, Netflix or something that or spend their money if it's in theaters or transactional beauty. So there is nothing wrong with it. And I don't think I answered your question. To build an audience, the audience really find you and you kind of build it from that, you know, it's you have a mailing list, people need to sign up for the mailing list, you know, probably have to provide some sort of content that they're going to be interested in. Exactly. And, and you can by email list, you know, but then after two emails you send to those emails, they're all gonna unsubscribe. So what do you do there? And actually, you made it bad for everybody else, because we all know, the more spam we all get, the more that looks like, you know, us that we actually have the right message, which is actually a really good lesson to filmmakers as well. You know, it's like, don't just spam people with your script, you know, we could talk for hours about how to properly Yeah, yourself. So the same way that I feel confident, you know, using, you know, sending an email to our, you know, 10s of 1000s of people on our email list, because I know that everybody there is somebody who came to dread Central, or came to, you know, the website of turbo Cade, or biggest spider or something like that, and wanted to put their email there, and wants to hear about those things. And then when you selling to the right person, direct product, what he expected what he wants for the price and the channel they want, then you keep them happy, and then they will keep you happy back.

Alex Ferrari 27:51
It's a win win situation without question. So since last we talked, I'm going to ask you a few of the same questions once if they choke a little bit. The best advice you can still single

Shaked Berenson 28:05
I told you I'm not interesting, I see you as a friend, you know?

Alex Ferrari 28:10
What? What advice would you give a filmmaker just starting out in the business? In today's world?

Shaked Berenson 28:17
Starting, High school, looking at film schools or finish a sci fi or something.

Alex Ferrari 28:24
I mean, either I've never gone to film school, and I'm going to jump into the business somehow. Or I just finished film school. And I'm going to jump into the business. And I want to be director, writer, director, as a director,

Shaked Berenson 28:36
I would say my answer for this probably haven't changed in years, it's first go out and get some life experience. Because if you're a writer, an actor, a director, you have to create from something and unless you you know, your heart has been broken, you've been in a shoe job, or you know, you've been in amazing experience. Where would you bring those things into the page into you know, the screen. And what you find a lot when you're on our side, that you get a lot of scripts or a lot of the things, it's basically, you know, I'm sure you had the same experience, you're going to be described as like, Oh, so Okay, so this is the scene from Terminator, the same, you know, Die Hard three scenes from this is because, you know, a few 18 or 20, or whatever, and, you know, all you seen is going to high school, going to university and seeing other people movies, reading other people books, seeing TV, what is all you have to draw from right, it is valuable to have all that but you definitely have to build that. Well, you have to build and when you look at it, most of the more successful films, the old book adaptations, the old comic book doesn't all come from, you know, people that probably spend more time working on that base, you know, subs property, you know, because nobody goes you know, in like thing to do going to write the novel or maybe they are, but you know, I didn't want to believe you know, that novel by the time it's published. It takes years you know, it's an And people work on this thing. So like three or four years, you know, and not, you know, sitting in Starbucks, you know, half an hour a day and, and reading it, and you can tell, you know, when you get the script and you read, and you can tell that he didn't have the 10s of 1000s of hours that would have got into, you know, something that would make something really, really special. Now, we're in sometimes it was a fluke, that's fine, too, you know, there are the lottery ticket. Yeah, there is some geniuses that, you know, 14, whatever, they write something, and it's genius. And, you know, but for us, it's so much harder to even find it because we get hundreds of scripts. So you know, even one of them, there is some savant, you know, that he's like, you know, just like knocked his head against the wall, and somehow, you know, the scripts coming to him. or her Yeah, it's how even going to recognize it, you know, between these stacks of scripts. Now, what are three of your favorite horror films of all time, all time top three. And they cannot be, I assume, oh, no. No epic allowed no epic club? Well, I'm one of them. And not because it's because I wasn't friends at a time was the filmmaker, but my baseball partner, Patrick, he will the myself, we saw paranormal activity, right here in slamdance. When it was, yeah. felt like it was you know, probably 10 years ago, or 11 years ago, at a time must have been 10 years ago. a tech company was very, very small. I believe it was just us. Two people, and I believe it was the biggest offer remade for film at a time. And we knew that it was completely no budget. And you made a bit you made an offer on paranormal? Oh, yeah. And we're so out of the competition. But to really like, really, like, we know, when we're reading to bet the farm in the house, you know, one on the everything. And we would have won he would have. But the reason we did it is because we're watching it, it's at slamdance. And, you know, they have like this, like, you know, very intimate kind of room and you know, people see like on the floor, and you know, maybe Yeah, and, you know, when that clock was ticking, it's like, everybody's just like leaning forward and just quiet. If you hear anything, you just like the scratches of the fingernails, and then nothing happens, right? But that movie really stayed with us. For I believe it was two or three days after the screening. And then we contacted the lawyer that was wrapping it. And he was kind enough now I know because now I'm, I'm friend. I'm friends with the Creator. So now I know more behind the story. But so knowing what I know now, I guess the lawyer was nice enough to entertain us. Just talk to you. Yeah, to talk to pick up the call. Yeah. Because we were very far from the races. But, so that's one the other one. I believe also from here was the babadook. Okay, you know, if I want to look at like, recent ones, and then I'm gonna go with See, the thing is that I grew up in Israel and Israel didn't have independent horror movies. It could be a big independent, you know, so for us horror movies was jaws. Sure. It was alien, you know, and it was A Nightmare on Elm Street. Okay, you know, which I believe it was just called Freddy Krueger. Or something like that. Right. Um, so you know, obviously huge fan. Huge jaws fan. I'm always been a fan of the vampire movies. Okay, you know,

Alex Ferrari 33:45
Who's your favorite vampire?

Shaked Berenson 33:47
Dracula? Which one? forester for Google. Yes. I love that. Please just Dracula in red this. I actually own that one on LaserDisc. I still own it all. And and I do remember getting up and flipping the question on criteria. I would not think he got a little bit.

Alex Ferrari 34:09
Shaked. It's always a pleasure talking to you.

Shaked Berenson 34:11
That's a that's all the questions.

Alex Ferrari 34:12
That's it.

Shaked Berenson 34:12
Okay. Can I ask you questions now?

Alex Ferrari 34:14
Yes, go ahead.

Shaked Berenson 34:14
So I think you told me that you want to, you know, have it off the record. So

Alex Ferrari 34:19
Thanks again, my friend. Shaked is in the trenches every day, trying to get his movies made, scene purchased, enjoyed, and all doing it independently. So thank you so much for putting up the good fight Shaked and for coming on the show and dropping some major knowledge bombs for the indie film hustle tribe. I hope you guys got something out of that interview. If you want links to anything we talked about in this episode, just head over to indiefilmhustle.com/221 where you can get Shaked's information, their links to the website and contact info. Thanks for listening guys. And as always, keep that also going keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.

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IFH 141: Turbo Kid & How to Create an Indie Film Ecosystem with Shaked Berenson

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Turbo Kid & How to Create an Indie Film Ecosystem with Shaked Berenson

I speak a lot on IFH on how filmmakers should create their own ecosystem and revenue streams, today’s guest has done just that. Shaked Berenson is the co-founder of Epic Pictures Group, a film financing, production, and international/domestic sales company based in Beverly Hills, CA.

Shaked has produced films like the cult hit Turbo Kid (SXSW Audience Award)Entertainment (Official Sundance Film Festival Selection) and the animated film Space Dogs: Adventure to the Moon. What is great about Shaked is that he has created his own ecosystem. From financing to production to distribution, all under one umbrella. This way he cuts out the middle man and he can keep more of the profits.

Shaked came to my attention when I found out he was one of the producers of the internet darling Turbo Kid. The way that film was marketed, sold and distributed is something all filmmakers should study.

Here’s the Synopsis of Turbo Kid: Set in the post-apocalyptic year of 1997, TURBO KID is a retro-futuristic nostalgic tribute to 80’s action-adventure films follows a teenager who goes on an adventure to save the girl of his dreams. 

“Mad Max on a BMX: ‘Turbo Kid’ is an ’80s adventure with added gore, and it looks nuts.” – CNET

Also if you want to study an amazing crowdfunding campaign check out what the Turbo Kid filmmakers did on IndieGoGo. We go deep down the rabbit hole all things Turbo Kid, indie filmmakers, building your own revenue streams and much more.

Here’s a bit about Shaked Berenson:
Prior to Epic Pictures Group, Berenson served as Renegade Pictures’ Director of Sales as well as the Director of Technology and International Relations for the Giffoni Hollywood Film Festival. Before Renegade Pictures, Berenson was in the Israeli Defense Force for four and half years where he served in managerial and educational roles as a project consultant to Elbit Systems, and worked as a program developer for NetVision, an Internet solutions company. He holds a degree in economics and business from UCLA. – IFTA-Online.org

Enjoy my conversation with Shaked Berenson.

Alex Ferrari 1:45
So today on the show, guys, we have a producer who I've talked about a specific film a lot on the show as a is a an example of how to do it right. As far as social media as far as building multiple revenue streams. And there's films called turbo kid and it was done in 2015. And it's a really, really interesting film and how they were able to target their demographic their, their audience, how they use social media, how they've created kind of like a like a following a major following kind of phenomenon around this movie was remarkable. So I wanted to get the producer Shaked Berenson from Epic pictures and Shaked and I we also hung out a little bit at Sundance and talked a whole bunch about the business in this interview we actually you know, he breaks down what he his journeys through the business how he's an independent producer and how he's able to build his own ecosystems without having to go outside to big studios or anything like that. So he is a production company he develops projects he produces them and he also distributes them he's all within the same ecosystem and and how he's able to do that and create different revenue streams and we are different revenue streams per project. And he we also go deep into turbo kid because I really wanted to ask a lot of questions about turbo kid in regards to merchandising in regards to how we got a distributor how he got foreign over, you know, cuz turbo kid was everywhere, and it still is, and they did a theatrical release and how they did all that and the whole process. So I really wanted to go deep down the rabbit hole of how he did everything he did for tobor kid but also for everything he does in his business, and he's really inspiring and how he was able to put it all together, and how he continues to put it all together. So without any further ado, here's my conversation with Shaked Berenson. I like to welcome to the show Shaked Berenson man, thank you so much for taking the time and talking to the tribe.

Shaked Berenson 3:44
It's a pleasure to be here. And it's a perfect day because everybody's working from home today.

Alex Ferrari 3:49
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. So I wanted to ask you, how did you get into the business because this is a crazy business. I always love to ask my guests What made you want to jump into this business?

Shaked Berenson 3:59
I think it's a bit non traditional because I was I wasn't a film buff because I no real film buff. And it's very different than me. I grew up in Israel. And as many of those countries, we don't get a lot of the independent movies we basically have in theaters, all the studio films but but there are people passionate about the filmmaking process and I was playing with one of those dv cameras with my friends. You know, I'm sure everybody did the same videos in their backyard, you know, when they abusing the dog and the cat and also fake James Bond missions church to bended houses and all sorts of stuff like that. But they never really thought that it's going to be a career. I mean, it was in communication program in high school and theater. But it was more of a hobby and then in Israel, you know, you have mandatory military service. And I did four and a half years ago, I was a bit older. And because I was actually born in the US, I always knew that Want to check out my my second home after I finished my service. So I have some family here in, in LA. And there is a lot of good schools, you know, between Berkeley and USC and UCLA and great public schools. So I came here and really just coming to go to university, and I was looking for a job as a bartender. And Funny enough, I couldn't find a job as a bartender. So I started to work in a movie business.

Alex Ferrari 5:28
So you mean it's usually the other way around. People start bartending because they can't find jobs in the movie business.

Shaked Berenson 5:33
Everybody has the same reaction. But it's really true. Because I was new in town, I didn't have a lot of friends. I want to go to school, bartending is a great job, you meet a lot of people, you meet, you know, women, and you work weekends and nights. So it was a perfect job for me. But Gosh, I just could not find a job. And then I met a producer and became his personal assistant. And from there, it was one of those companies that when people leave or fired or quit, I just slowly started taking over people's jobs. Of course, not getting more money. But no, no, no, of course not. Of course, yeah. But very quickly, I started a development that started in marketing and started to do out delivering servicing that is probably something that most people don't even know too much about. Because you know, it's not something you learned in film school. And got into production from pa foreign sales. And we see in just a few years, I kind of seen the entire process. Then, the company started company was growing and making big studio films with we made with Sony and movie called ghostrider. The first one Sure, and, but the company started as independent film, and Patrick uworld, who's now my business partner, he was VP of production, and he convinced the owner because he's a big genre fan, to start a division to do genre films. And of course, because I'm the guy that always get more jobs, I was assigned to also work with him on that. So first movie, the only thing the first movie we did was blood Weaver, research director at the Mason and which we ended up selling to Weinstein Company, then we may do with the same director, a film called The Devil's chair that got into the Toronto midnight section, which was baby at the time, and was growing. But the movie ended up with Sony for worldwide. So we're developing and making movies, getting in finance, selling them and getting them distributed internationally. And at some point, we just decided to branch off and start our own company.

Alex Ferrari 7:46
Now what now you you are pretty, you have produced a lot of genre films, is there something that draws you to those kind of stories?

Shaked Berenson 7:52
Um, you know, maybe it's not a good answer. But I like the process more than I'm a big fan of almost every genre. It's not in particular, or action or anything like that, if anything sci fi probably be more of my interest. But I just like the process for me what what really exciting about filmmaking that, again, my starting a business was kind of non traditional, and also probably my motivation is not as traditional, but I like the fact that you know, you and I can be on the podcast right now, and just come up with an idea for a film, hire writer. Few months later, we're gonna have 50 people working on set creating all these jobs, their movie goes into post production, maybe there is computer graphics company in India, or Korea or Canada or I don't know what and creating jobs for another 50 or 100 people then we sell it internationally, every country has people working if it's in the theaters, lobbying, marketing, I mean, he just amazing to me how you can have a beer and come up with an idea and end up having a refill effect and create so many jobs for so many people around the world. So for me, that's really the exciting, the exciting part.

Alex Ferrari 9:07
That's, that's a great answer. That's actually a great answer. I've never had someone answer like that before. It's great because you're looking at it and you're looking at it as a more holistic Avenue as opposed to just, you know, looking five feet in front of you, you're looking at the whole journey,

Shaked Berenson 9:22
fortunate to have the opportunity to really work in all those stages. And now you know, epic is basically an independent studio, we do everything from buying IPS, or coming up with our own ideas and doing the development, getting the financing doing the physical production, we do foreign sales, so we place the films in every country and we have now in the past two years we develop our domestic distribution. So also releasing the films, in theaters and on digital and television here in the US and have the opportunity to actually touch the customer and and see the fence. You know usually we see them in film festivals, but now we can to actually interact and go directly to them. So it's, it's pretty exciting to be able to sit in a staff meeting and just somebody's like, Hey, I read a book that I really liked this weekend, and two, three years later you have it out in theaters or Netflix and, and actually have reviews and having it out there. So I think I think we're all fortunate to really to be in this industry and be able to do that.

Alex Ferrari 10:26
Now, you brought up a little bit about distribution. And considering that the world has changed dramatically, since when you first got into the business as far as distribution and pre sales and foreign sales, and all of that stuff, the world has changed so much, what is your outlook on how things are going today in distribution and getting your films out there? And what do you guys do specifically?

Shaked Berenson 10:47
So yeah, they will change a lot. I think the big turnaround was around 2008, which is right after we started a company, and we're lucky because we started in October 2007. And you know, as the economic crash, and everything, we're just two and a half people in a living room. So we were able to render the bad times. But yeah, I do remember and have reports from the good old days, when home video was, yeah, you can move it for 2 million and sell it for 20 million. And now it's, it's pretty much the opposite. So you need to be a lot more clever about how you structure your financing, and have a lot less exposure. So that means and again, I think we are living in a very exciting time. So there is so many different ways to finance a film there is crowdfunding that didn't exist in the past. And it's a way to both get financing and to get fans and marketing power in advance for the film. And it's also a testing room, you know, if you have a pitch on Kickstarter, and nobody connected, you know, maybe it means that it's not the right thing to do. Now, personally, we have not done ever any Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign. But you know, I commend people to do so and, you know, be happy to work with creative filmmakers that that want to go that route. So there is that there is product product placement. And I think we live in a world that makes a lot more niche than it used to be. If If we the world, in the past was basically controlled by Coca Cola or bank of america and all those big brands that work on these big films, there might be opportunities now with smaller film that are more niche to get more niche product. And, and I think brands also and marketers in the consumer product side, they understand that and they know the power of social media, they know the power of trending and, and they want to get their film out there, which is great, too, is all of tax incentives and different incentives around the world in the US not as much. But for example, we just finished shooting a movie called radius in Canada, which is a Canadian production. And it's the same team that we need to replicate also in Canada. So there is all these tax incentives. So if you bring jobs to different states or different countries, you get tax breaks. So we really need to be creative about the way you finance the film's and limit your exposure. So you know you can at least recoup your money back and maybe make a small profit. So you can do the next one.

Alex Ferrari 13:29
Right? So about you are as far as the whole, like streaming world and going directly and self distribution, obviously, depending on how much exposure you do have. So if you make a movie for under $100,000, as opposed to a movie for five or $10 million, is self distribution a viable option depending on the budget?

Shaked Berenson 13:50
Yes, he does. I mean, in the end of the day, there is so many tools, I mean, you can put your movie up on Vimeo and they take a very small share of it. And you can if you're good in promoting your film you can make basically like the book publishing business, that now you have a lot of authors basically do self publishing and because you don't need to print massive amounts to reduce the price. I think Amazon has a program that they basically print a book per order, which is pretty crazy. You know, it is, yeah, and in the world of streaming in the end of the day, it doesn't cost that much. I mean there are costs, that the thing some people you know, sometimes it's easy to forget, but the cost of the storage and redundancy in servers and the bandwidth. They are cost related, but it's obviously a lot less than printing DVDs and shipping them using FedEx to the other side of the country. So the opportunities obviously you know, everybody talked about Netflix and Amazon and Hulu and all those new entrants. I think it's create a great opportunities in the TV side as well because TV was such a closed circuit for basically forever and now You know, almost anyone can create a show and pitch it to those non traditional platforms and get shows finance which, which I think is it's amazing. The digital revolution I think created a very interesting marketplace that from one hand, there is more access. In the other hand, it's cheaper to to create content and to create great content. And you know, obviously YouTube is a great testament for that. But on the other hand, because there is so much supply of content, the value of the content itself went went down a lot so in the old days, you have two or three channels and you know, at eight o'clock on primetime, you can basically choose which one of those channels to watch and they could fight over the market share. Now, people have so many ways of entertaining themselves. If it's between video games and YouTube or Instagram and user generated content to what we do, yeah,

Alex Ferrari 16:02
it's kind of like in the 80s you literally just had to make a movie if you shot something on 35 millimeter it was sold No matter if it was good, bad or indifferent. They just needed content. And those those days are very much gone.

Shaked Berenson 16:14
And funny enough in the old days, like you say it could make you can make anything and it will be sold and it could maybe maybe be bad but now looking at it backwards those those films have so much cult following and so much nostalgia Yes. Seeking them and you pay double just to find where to see to

Alex Ferrari 16:32
write exactly that although I'm a big 80s and 90s fan as far as those kind of genre movies that that were made back then Toxic Avenger and those kind of movies that just were like what can you imagine a movie like Toxic Avenger well you guys you killed you I mean you know you did big spider. Yeah.

Shaked Berenson 16:51
And they're they're actually trying on an all public it is another their, you know, process trying to make a bigger remake of that. And actually, I'm good friends with Lloyd Kaufman received together on the board of the Independent Film and Television Alliance. And it's funny that you mentioned it because he has he put all of his films available on his platform back in plug in service. I don't know exactly where you guys students drama.com or something but you can find there is a way to subscribe and get all of his films for fairly low price because you know, he's he's a big advocate of net neutrality and allowing people to access the content.

Alex Ferrari 17:30
Right here. He's been on the show, he was on the show a while ago, and his place to get it is on. I think it's on YouTube. And you could actually Subscribe on YouTube because YouTube allows the subscription platform as well. It's just It's amazing. And I think at the end of the day, like you were saying I think marketing is such a big part of engaging that audience is such a big part of making movies today. Without it you really it's really difficult to get to get seen unless you're lucky enough to get a distributor to distribute movie and even then you'll never see a dime more than likely.

Shaked Berenson 18:04
Yeah, and you know, then you have big behemoths like Netflix I mean when you drive around in Los Angeles all the billboards or Netflix

Alex Ferrari 18:11
shows yeah no i know i ever everywhere you go it's a Netflix show Netflix movie an original documentary it's everywhere I mean LA is such a unique melting pot when it comes to that kind of stuff you know my my friends who come in from the East Coast are like there's movie advertisements everywhere I'm like yeah that's la

Shaked Berenson 18:31
Yeah, it's it's Netflix everywhere and then around Hollywood we have some advertisement for Las Vegas. Yes, exactly. Of course. Yeah. So so we talk Asana Netflix, basically control the advertising in the space I mean haka

Alex Ferrari 18:43
you're right I saw that I've seen so many of those billboards as well. Now one of the films I always talk about as kind of like models of that filmmaker should kind of follow his turbo kid I kind of studied a little bit about how they were able to do their stuff but can you share a little bit about first of all how you got involved with turbo kid? And then how if it was either you or your partners or the filmmakers were able to kind of get into that audience distribute Yeah, what was the distribution plan all the marketing plan all that stuff but first and foremost, how did you get involved with turbo kid?

Shaked Berenson 19:18
Yeah, so it's funny you bring it up I'm actually wearing a shirt here I'm gonna do my second plug. I like to promote what it's you know it's for other people but I just got yesterday samples from fright rags they're doing a whole line of turbo kid shirts nice. And I'm wearing you can't really see it in a podcast of course be listen very very closely you can hear it but I'm wearing a skeleton shirt that they just got yesterday sample so they should be out in the market fairly, fairly soon. But yeah, Toby could definitely touch something the audience and this Halloween we had we hadn't we found on Instagram at UK Add in an apple costume and you know, just crazy stuff. But yeah, turbo kit is an interesting one because turbo kit has obviously a lot of challenges. I think it's one one of those things that it's almost like you can you can tell anybody who's a writer or just starting in the movie business like this is the movie you should not be making, right? It's a very bloody film, right? Or, well, it's not really horror. No, but definitely speaks for the horror audience. It's comedy sci fi adventure

Alex Ferrari 20:37
with a little bit of horror dropped in

Shaked Berenson 20:38
with a little bit of horror, because there are like 4000 gallons a lot. A

Alex Ferrari 20:43
lot of Gore, a lot of Yeah. And and

Shaked Berenson 20:45
you know, it has a name that, you know, suggests that it's a kid's film. I mean, you'll be surprised to actually remember when when we start promoting it, I was sending it to the in one of the distributors. Give me a comment saying that, that it's just a bit too gory for a kid's film.

Alex Ferrari 21:04
Just a bit, just a bit.

Shaked Berenson 21:07
Sometimes you get those emails that just your mind is blown. Yeah, it's like, maybe it's not a kitzman. There's obviously a lot of things going against it. But it really fit in our model, funnily enough, because Patrick and I were, again, we're a bit different the way we do things. And we're really focusing on the people and the team behind projects. And this is why that year we had in in in Sundance, we had turbocad, which is obviously a fun entertainment film. But on the other hand, we had another film in some in Sundance called entertainment, with the very dark, experimental arthouse film with john C. Reilly and a cameo with Michael Cera and you know, great film got great reviews, but he just did completely the other end of the spectrum. And that's because we choose our project by the people not really by the genre, or, or by budget or by any other qualifiers and Jason Eisner who's you know, executive producing the project. He we really like him and and you know, we're trying to work together on his previous film called, I don't know if you hear daddy copters but it's one of the signs of being in Hollywood. That's very true. Yeah, so we really like what Jason Eisner does, we really like his hobo with a shotgun. We knew we want to work with him. We have been talking with and Timpson has you know, the the ABCs of death which is very close to what we do we actually had a film called VHS It was also a horror anthology. Then I wasn't there but Patrick met and Marie, the Canadian producer, the person who kind of you know ran the show in frontiers which is a co production market and really fell in love with Anne Marie I mean she just you know, some people you can just have a 1015 minute conversation and just say like whatever you do winboard you know um, so um, so Patrick came back you know all those kind of stars align the directors are just amazing you know, they're there again it just you fall in love with them for the first for the first minute and then I read the script and I go This doesn't make sense at all. So let's do it and I think it's one of those projects really, like nobody would ever put any financing in but but we're really the company you know, the we wrote a check to, to get to get the project done it was it was a New Zealand and Canadian coproduction so there is there was a lot of subsidies and tax credits coming from Canada and and from New Zealand through and Timpson and Tim Riley from from that side. So it was really a great team. I mean, I know it's kind of I don't like to use this you know the word visionary but it's really is like a group of people that kind of come together and say like, Okay, this doesn't make sense. But somehow we see that this will be great you know, and it's one of those films that I got the rough cut, you know, and I'm watching it and it's like, well, you know, no comments just you know, have them do what they do best and and funny enough even after the movie screened in Sundance and got great reviews, I mean the critics they loved it, we got great reviews and the fans were tweeting about it and you know, coming to us in the street we actually had Skeletor on and and Monroy and walking around the street and everybody coming through even then not a lot of distributors actually showed interest just because the mixed genre You know, when you go to iTunes, you go to action you want to have an action movie, you know, go to horror, you want to have a straightforward horror movie go to sci fi, you know you have

Alex Ferrari 24:49
it's an odd movie. No, quite. There's no question about it. It is definitely an odd movie that sticks out. It's not something that sticks into into a little box.

Shaked Berenson 24:57
Yeah, so I think I think a lot of a lot of these CBO is the way they look at something like that or finances they look like where would they put it you know in which bucket it falls into and I think that's if you look at the the slate of the films that you know Patrick and I do or we do pick up some of these but you know that's maybe a longer discussion but you know even biggest spider you know what is biggest spider it's a cop Comedy Action sci fi adventure mom's kind of a you know it's it's we we like the fact that that that the films are cross genre and a bit quirky and a bit out of the box and when people say like well where would you put it how do you know where do you place it? Well we know you know the people the people decide it's not which bracket it is in in your sub genre on iTunes or Netflix you know it's if people like filming and they like the storytelling they like the vision behind it you know, they will connect with the content.

Alex Ferrari 26:01
Now did you did your Did you with the directors or the producers? How did you guys start activating that audience? Because it has a very rabid fan base so how did you get that fan base and how did you nurture that fan base

Shaked Berenson 26:13
so we were very lucky in a sense that we premiered the film in Sundance and then it played in South by Southwest and won the Audience Award over that and I think Geez, I can open my Excel sheet I can't even count the numbers of festival we played but we played every major and medium sized and small festivals and everywhere we got great responses we made sure to be there or have presence and and have people know where to go to sign up for the turbo kit fan newsletter or to to follow us on if it's a Facebook or Twitter we try to keep in touch with people through all those outlets and and when the movie came out we just had this army of people that just will advocate for it. I mean, you can see the conversation people say like oh, Netflix is tuber kids Netflix you have to see it. You know, it's it's, you know, the people were really the ones that promoted it we put it up on I think it was 67 theaters at a time when we when we premiered it and we put it on on VOD as well simultaneously so it's available for everyone and yeah, it's really connected. Now we have a comic book that that came out of it and all the merchandising your merchandise merchandising shirts that Frederick bringing out we have a whole custom line so next Halloween you can be dressed as skeletron or Apple or the kid so we you know people just demand those things you know, you were but you

Alex Ferrari 27:47
built like a little like a little mini Star Wars in a sense, like you build an IP that you could start you could start monetizing and multiple different avenues not just the movie and a lot of ways very similar to like Kung Fury they kind of use the movie as a marketing ploy to sell other things at a certain point which is basically I think after the there's a life of the movie that so many people watch it on Netflix or something like that but then after that you're still making money with this IP for years to come based on the fan base and based on the merchandise that you're able to build is that correct?

Shaked Berenson 28:22
Yeah and it's really is all about the fans I mean, it's it's we don't plan to do this merchandising in and to like let's make more money from this it's just you go to Comic Con and and and other cons and just you see people dress up as Apple and skeletron and and the kid and then you know they demand those merchandising and then we get approached by those companies saying hey you know people want to dress like those people let us you know licensed and make and create those costumes so it really is defense more than anything else.

Alex Ferrari 28:52
Now did you do any sort of self distribute a South distribution with this or how was this distributed

Shaked Berenson 28:57
so this is where we're very lucky that as a as an independent studio we have all the distribution outlets so we we have a theatrical department we have all the relationships and the agreements so his platform so we released those films ourselves

Alex Ferrari 29:16
Okay, so you have you have you already so you don't go through a distributor or at least with that film you didn't go through a distributor you just know you have

Shaked Berenson 29:23
epic pictures group has basically three lines of three companies under the group one is the production side one is the foreign sales which you know for people who didn't know what it means is that you know, in order to place the film in Germany or UK or Russia you actually go out and license it in those countries. And then we have a huge distribution arm called epic pictures releasing that you know released films like biggest spider October kid, Nina forever. And tales of Halloween. So we released mainly genre films and family so we just released phone calls Bass dogs adventure to the moon which is a sequel to another franchise that we have for kids our main two kind of electrical pillars that the ones that we have a fan base and and we really nurture those sides easy genre and the family so for example for film entertainment which is our house we went to a different distributor that more experience in that side so for us it's also to do what's best for the film not only just to release it

Alex Ferrari 30:32
fans so then basically you've you've cut out the middleman in a sense by building up your own infrastructure to be able to sell and distribute your movie so you obviously you keep the majority of the income as opposed to the standard distribution of a filmmaker just like going hand in hand to a distributor and going Will you please release my movie and then you get the cut that you get the cut but you guys have grown past that is what you're telling me? Yeah, that's

Shaked Berenson 30:54
that's 100% correct and and do is two things it's in the good old days, there were just enough money on the table to share with everyone so it's okay if you had if you had the producer rep or an agent that sells it to a sales agent that he sells it to an aggregator and you know, everybody's taking 10 2030 50% in the middle. But still there was enough revenue to actually support the film but in today's market, the margins are so low so you have to be close to the to the market and to the audience in order to have enough revenue to the supply chain, it's just too long, you know, and it's to be close to the finance ears and the filmmakers which are the people that actually invest their time and money into the film. And that's one of the things we do but the other thing that the other the other thing that we do the other thing that we do that made us create this entire chain is to basically have the filmmakers as close to the to the audience as possible and it's a little bit hard to explain but I guess I'll give an example so you know releasing movie like tells the following right so he's been he's in Russia in theaters. In traditional models they're going to be a Russian distributor or maybe even a Russian exhibitor that worked with a distributor that then he needs to contact the sales agent the sales agent might got it from an agent or lawyer that worked for the producer and then he gets a producer right so for example if the distributor in Russia you know he has a radio station that says oh, we would love to interview Neil Marshall to promote the film you know how you have this entire chain of people that that you know by the time you get to the end of it you know three months? We yeah in our model because you know we are the people that made the movie you know the distributor just send me a text message and say hey, do you think Neil is going to be available tomorrow? And I'm like, let me check and I just sent him a text message Hey, Neil, are you going to be tomorrow at 5am available to wake up to do an interview in a radio station in Russia great done, you know, so it really helps marketing and and promote the movie everywhere. Also being close to the content you also know a lot of secrets and a lot of potential that maybe won't be realized if the product is just a product for somebody and I give you an example maybe one of your co writer is Turkish and he actually used to write and direct staff or x actor from Turkey you know, if you're, you know a sales agent and sold somebody you know that Michael aaronson in the movie or whatnot, but you don't have all that details you don't know like, Hey, you know, one of the writers you know wants to you know, you can use it to promote the movie in Turkey or, or whatever that is. So, so it's it's good to be very close to to the actual films and the filmmakers. So you know, all those little things, and you can exploit it as much as possible, because really today, in today's market, there is, you know, demand is high, but the supply is a lot higher. And you're need to turn every stone to find the revenue to pay back your investors and make the filmmakers make more money.

Alex Ferrari 34:22
So in today's world, in your opinion, then if you have a film, there's obviously outlets now to go directly to self distribution outlets, you could do tug for theatrical, you can use someone like a distributor to go into all the major platforms like Netflix, Hulu, so on. Do you suggest if a filmmaker wants to start building their own career, to start creating this infrastructure that you've created on a smaller scale, obviously and start building off of that, as opposed to trying to do the old model that really is is it doesn't benefit the filmmaker at all?

Shaked Berenson 34:58
Yes or no? So yes, I think every filmmaker and and you know, I use the word filmmaker very broadly, I think that people working in our department or you know, the actors, it's, you know, everybody's involved in the film business should be for thinking about building their own fan base and have social media and, and think about all of that and build that. So every project increases, its, its support. On the other hand, you also don't want to just put the movie out there on a one of those boilerplate or cookie cutter, distribution platforms, because as you know, for example, if you go to iTunes, if you movie just goes on iTunes, and you can do that, you know, you can put a movie on Amazon, Vimeo, anybody can put in a movie, but then your film is basically just on the platform. So somebody to find it need to actually go and search the name of the movie, or search the name of the director or cast, you know, to find it, or you need to promote it yourself, to push people to those platforms. So that the difference is that if you are in a relationship with with the platforms, and you have the marketing power, you know, and you go on Vimeo, or you go Netflix or go and you see new releases, or you see out tweak, that's the stuff that people see, and they can click on. So in a way, yes, you can release it yourself. And if you know a lot of people that that has that that relationship and enough enough awareness, you know, if you Louie ck, yeah, you can just put your your show on Louie ck.com, and people will come to see it. But if you're just starting, and you don't have that you want some help together. And also you want people that have that have a strategy in terms of how to roll out the film. So you don't over expose it. And you actually go to the right festival, you put in the right time, you release it in the right platforms, and in the right way. So as an example, you know, like, we, we have this film called inner forever, which we didn't produce, but we met the filmmakers in South by Southwest, we sponsor a dinner there for the midnight section. makers, and we met them there, we ended up, you know, going and drinking with the directors were there and the producers and a couple of cast members, and we hang out with them. We already like them as people, then they invite us to see their movie the next day. And then we watch the film. And I don't know if you see me forever, but you know, you look at it's like, yeah, this is like, this looks like a movie that we would have made. And it's basically a romance. But it's talks to the horror people. So it's for people don't know what it is. It's the story is a guy that his girlfriend died in a car accident. But then every time he has sex, she kind of comes back to life. So yeah, no, not traditional horror. I mean, she's not like a zombie running around trying to kill his new girlfriend. It's a lot more about relationship. And it's really an allegory about letting go of previous and past relationships. Yeah. But obviously, you have a dead girl that is bloodied coming out of the bed, you know, it will speak for the horror audience. So for example, this film were released on Valentine's Day as a genre, alternative date night, and we worked with feeders to give a glass of champagne with the movie ticket, you know, you kind of try to customize and find the right way to release the film. So you know, if we just put it up on iTunes, you know, it's not 100% or it's not 100% romance, it's probably to just be another thriller on the on the platform, and people have to search for it to find it, you probably get no traction at all. But using the festivals and using, you know, clever marketing strategies, you can find the audience. Well

Alex Ferrari 38:50
bred so good. Either. Yeah, I'm here. Oh, sorry. Sorry about that. So that's excellent, excellent advice. Actually, no, I was gonna ask you, if you, if you were going to some if you're going to do like, if you're going to premiere at Sundance, let's say, because I had a friend of mine who won a couple awards at Sundance, and she told me that if she would do it again, this is what you would do, I'd love to hear your opinion. If you're going to premiere at Sundance, arguably, that's probably when you're going to get the most attention for that film, on an indie level that you'll probably ever will again, you probably won't have the money to get that kind of marketing, push attention reviews, and so on. She told me that if she would do it again, she would premiere at Sundance and for a week, have the movie available on a VHS or a Vimeo, for debt for for download for viewing. Just for a week like exclusive so she can kind of monetize that attention. Is that a good plan or what? What would your advice be?

Shaked Berenson 39:49
So I'm so glad you brought it up. Because this is exactly where the traditional way of doing things kinda don't really work. So what happens is your filmmaker you make your second movie, whatever, it's great you submit to Sundance, I don't know how but you got in, right? Right. The moment the movie is in Sundance, and they announce it, you're gonna get a phone call from everybody in town, right? And what's happened is that usually at that point, the filmmakers either been convinced, or they're just overwhelmed, so they hire an agent or lawyer or somebody to sell it at Sundance, right? So what happens is, you use the 15 minutes in the limelight, in Sundance, to sell to the guy that's gonna be selling it. Yeah, so you have, you know, you're moving now, like, like your friend said, you moving out has all your attention, and you just sitting down to the guy is going to be selling it, that he's going to be selling it. And again, you kind of the toll that you move is going to be released a year later, you know, and, and you kind of lost all this cart. And also, we all know that in Sundance, you know, you have a handful of movies that have bidding wars for, you know, $10 million, but there is another 395 movies that people forget about, and, you know, two days after the release to the premiere, so and, you know, there was not a lot of articles about what happened was those films, right? So my advice would be, which your friend is 100% correct, but I would do it differently. We always advise people get somebody on board early because first of all, somebody like us or you know, company similar to us. First of all, we can help you get into sense we can help you get into the right festival, we can help you submit all this stuff. So you don't need to learn all these things on your own. And, you know, I mean, I'm sure that a lot of listeners go on Google and say you know how to submit to film festivals or getting this off the top film festivals in Europe. You know, we have a person or company that that's what she does for a living, you know, she's in constant contact with all those festivals, you know, and and know what they're looking for know when the submission dates know how to do it. So get in early with somebody that can help you with that strategy. And when the movies actually out, get its premiere, have a plan, how you're going to release it, you know, either putting in Sundance and then a week later at Netflix, or a month later, it's in theaters, or you're planning for example, October kid to premiere in Sundance, and then you have a whole plan in putting it in other festivals for the next six months before it's released. But at least have a plan so you don't have somebody was just sending it to the guy that just two months after Sundance gonna start thinking okay, what is this movie? And how what are we going to do with it?

Alex Ferrari 42:32
And how are we going to sell it? Exactly Yeah, that's that's what she told me she's like yeah, it get you get basically nine months later or a year later they release it no one you can't regenerate that interest. You can't build that back up you you've got that moment and you should take advantage so but you would suggest not to do that like week long. Like release on a VHS or Vimeo just to be able to monetize it you would say no,

Shaked Berenson 42:58
absolutely not. It's It's It's falls again, in what we talked about about 10 minutes ago, if you Louie ck, yes, you can do that. But you know, Sundance have, you know, a few 1000 people there, you have all the trades. From there to get to the real audience. It's a major, major leap, you know, I actually recommend you not, I'm going to plug another product again, I don't make any money from any of this. So hopefully, there is a business book about sales and product launch called I think it's jumping the chasm or, or Crossing the Chasm. And he talks about early adopters and late adopters and the actual world you know, and yes, you can get people that go to Sundance every year and that's the early adopters you know, if you compare it to an iPhone or an iPad or something like that, but to make the jump to actually have millions of dollars in box office or have you know, 1000s and hundreds of 1000s of people watching in the VOD it's you have this gap that you need to get to the general and the broad market and that jump is really hard to do. So in order to do that if you a household name, you can do it if you're redhead you can just give your songs for free on your website and say to people Hey donate as much as you want but if you you know have a beautiful but smaller film that doesn't have the cast and the awareness to push it I would highly not recommend to just put it out there because once it's out there it's already pirated it's already you know that other people will not want to touch it you know so so don't don't make those decisions I think without actually having a strategy what I do recommend these topics people early and this is the biggest challenge and I know that because we're filmmakers you know we know how it is to get the movie into South by and have all the phone calls. Don't get caught up with it because people are like oh my god you're gonna make focus feature is going to come in and you're going to buy the movie millions dollars and, and it's like don't get caught up with it too much because a you can still Do it right, you can see it actually go out to Focus Features before and say, Hey, this is going to be playing in Sundance, let's talk early, or have a plan and know that you can change it.

Alex Ferrari 45:12
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Shaked Berenson 45:22
You know, you can still have a good strategy, and then say, Listen, you know, we're going to screen in Sundance, a focus feature is going to come and bite us for millions of dollars, then that's going to change into that plan. But don't come thinking, Okay, this is what's going to happen. And I really don't have a full full background.

Alex Ferrari 45:38
Got it. So it's all about strategy. A lot of it's just strategy and just thinking about the long the long game,

Shaked Berenson 45:44
as opposed to go about the strategy. It's all about talking with people that actually care early. I mean, we talk with a lot of people with films that are not even, you know, fall or we'll be an epic movies, but be happy to give advice. Also, just submitting to festivals, if you don't know the people, it's also very hard. I would say it's almost like, a lot of them like putting your name on the ballot without campaigning, you know, you need to know what you're doing, you know, you need to speak with the people you need to, you know, email them or talk to him and say, like, you know, hey, you know, just, you know, just so you know, we have this movie coming out, you're gonna submit it, you know, make sure you know, give it some attention, you know, you kind of want to people to know about it, because, you know, the programmers that gets seven 8000 movies a year, you know, I mean, just imagine that the system in the process, they need to kind of flush out and bring all the stuff up to decision makers and actually put him in the program. And it seems more and more festivals are interested in bigger stuff that has distribution companies already behind them. And they're able to bring the director to bring the cast to create buzz. I mean, if you look at, sorry, that's all really, actually if you saw tails, the following, she's in luck is Mickey didn't want to come and say hi, what's going on. So if you look at the Toronto lineup, almost all the movies already had distribution. And it's great for the filmmakers and the distributor because it's a great platform to generate buzz and to get reviews and to get awareness for the film. It's great for the festival because they actually have somebody with a PR company and the ability to fly in the cast and and to help promote the festival as well. So it's a great partnership, you know, and if you are just, you know, couple of people out of film school just made a movie that might be amazing, you don't have that machine behind it, it can help you and it's not in a bad way you know, it's not like you need a money machine that is just you know, I know that sometimes it's easy to kind of look at the bigger company and say, oh, it just kind of put the posters up and they just have but but the business is filled with people that started going to a Fae and being filmmakers and just gonna learn from experience and moved up in their world and it was a lot of companies that can help do that.

Alex Ferrari 47:56
Yeah, that it's a very good point to make that there are companies out there that can help you and get that attention that you might need from festivals and so on. I'm going through it right now with my film, my first feature film that I'm going through as well and I was able to meet some certain program directors and things like that so they're aware of the movie and all you could ever do is hope to get it in front of their eyes. There's no guarantees it's just about trying to stack the deck as best you can. At least for them to just be able to watch it and it's up to and then at the end of the day it's the power of the film and if it's it's what they're looking for at that year and that time

Shaked Berenson 48:33
Yeah, you absolutely right and in the end of day a bad movies not going to get into a festival just because somebody has a relationship. Yep. But out of I don't know. I can't remember the numbers I think it's like 10,000 movies it's submit to Sundance you know they're gonna slot in a feature film what like 50 100 movies?

Alex Ferrari 48:51
I think competitions there's only 13 and I think in features I think it's about 100 some movies

Shaked Berenson 48:56
yeah like took like altogether so yeah, they have a lot of really good movies to choose from I'm not even talking about the bad movies you know you can just be a friend of the programmer and shove something it's terrible into a festival right but imagine how many really good movies that would have been qualified to be there just don't have the room you know and need to make decisions about why they're going to place this year and why they have to say listen, we'd love to have it just this year we have you know too many great movies you know it's it's a good problem to have for for everyone I guess for audience for the festival, but not for the homemakers depends not for the filmmakers if you know a few if you put 14 movies into the program and you're number 15 it's like yeah that's not great for you you know maybe you're before you're after you would get in but so so like you say it's good to know the people and I recommend filmmakers to go to the markets go to the film festivals, you know go to the networking events start to network so you do know those programmers and you know two or three years later when you actually have a movie you can say like hey, you know, remember me Like my movies finally done you know can I send you a link and then at least they remember your name and it's not just another submission through one of those platforms online platforms it's just submit submit films you know

Alex Ferrari 50:13
yeah, you need to find somebody or some audience for it you need to drive some traffic of some sort. Yeah. Now what do you look for when you're getting involved in a project

Shaked Berenson 50:22
so we really focus on the people which means that it The good news is that if you're a great person you can get in the bad news is that it means that usually we work with family and friends you know, so if you look at our films, there is a lot of repeating directors are being cast behind the camera we have repeating director of photography's and our directors and production designers and first HDS so but it's because we we know that we when we get into a project we are in for the long haul because we do everything from development all the way to distribution so if you come into his movies as we're going to be together for the next four or five six years of our lives unlike maybe you know some platforms or some distributors or if you just one piece of the puzzle you know you get the film you know right before can and then two months after can you forget about it we actually live with the people for a long time and we know that they're gonna be really high highs like you know going to Sundance and you know everybody giving you attention they're going to be really lows like you know being on set and it rains when it's supposed to be sunny and it's sunny when it's supposed to be rain and the sun is coming up and you didn't finish your night or you know you know that you have creative conflicts and you're gonna have big argument and the next day you all working together so you know we have you know ever saying that making films is a marriage it's not dating so we spend a lot of time getting to know the filmmakers and knowing and having direct chemistry you know, because sometimes like a project is amazing I can introduce still some people I don't think you know, the chemistry is not there.

Alex Ferrari 52:03
That's a really really smart way and I've out of out of being involved with so many projects over the years That's the first time I've actually heard a producer really say something like that and it's a brilliant way to do it and it's in the smart way of doing it and the guys who are successful in this business I mean, Clint Eastwood had the same crew for 30 years yeah you know and

Shaked Berenson 52:25
you build your people as you go along. Moving along the business and in the end of the day this business is so hard so risky and we can all make more money easier doing something else you know, you can do a podcast about diner politics during the election probably it's it's we all can can make money in easier ways and you know, have time to spend with our families and in and use our hobbies. But we in this business because we love it and we want to be in it and you need to know that you have your friends along for the ride.

Alex Ferrari 52:55
Now what advice would you give a filmmaker just starting out in the business

Shaked Berenson 53:01
that's that's hard You know, it's easier you know, some things like there is no right answers do is wrong answers, but there's no right answers. If you're just starting in the business is first of all, getting to know the business. I think that that there is this I guess it's an escape you know, if you go to film school, as you know, in a writer director program, and you just like I'm just going to plug myself in a room or in a coffee shop, and just write but you don't really learn a lot from that. I think that you should be out there meeting people and listening to advice don't have to take everybody's advice but it is listen to people's advice and be nice and respectable and and keep those relationship you know, give you a business card, take a business card, make sure to keep them because you also don't know you know, I suppose a personal assistant people that were I remember, we used to have assistant meetups, you know, those people are now agents and people in high positions, you know, sometimes also, you know, just take time, you know, to be there and to be friendly and make those those friendships. I think also, it's important to know what the other side wants, you know, if you're a first time filmmaker, and you have a small, you know, zombie horror movie that you want to put together, you know, don't hassle somebody from participant who's also only looking for, you know, he's in the documentary department. And before he's, you know, I mean, so try to know what the people are looking for. And these I think there is a lot more power in even coming in a party or a networking event, you know, like the American Film market and say, Hey, you know, just want to know I'm a big fan of your movies, I have nothing for you. Now I just want to say hi and my name. And if I ever have anything for you, you know, I hope that you know, maybe you remember me from this interaction, you know, and we can do that that's a lot better than trying to shove a script or you know, hold let me show you a trailer on the phone that you don't even know what the people are looking for. You know, so we get about 600 projects a year. We make about Five so that can show you like how little of them come in most of those are going to come through somebody just for the fact that we are working with friends of him you know we working with if somebody is like hey I had this friend you know we work together I worked with him I knew you guys are gonna be click, let's you know all grab drinks so we can introduce each other you know, that's a lot more impactful, then, you know, you get a lot of those emails like hey, I'm a writer and he was three loglines you know, and it's like, okay, you know, would you imagine how much time and resources you need to put to review like 600 projects god you know, just calculate you know, just calculate the cost if you have you know, a couple of creative executives doing that and then you know, when you start thinking about what the other side processes you can start thinking about what is their pains and what is their needs? So you don't just act to it, you know, it's like just to shove another script in in in a financier's hand you know now you're just creating work for them but if you actually bring value you know to the table then you have much better chances to move up ahead in the in the queue and also

Alex Ferrari 56:13
relationships if you have a relationship with that that person in one way shape or form that also helps as well.

Shaked Berenson 56:19
So tails The following is a perfect example you know, we worked with Mike Manders on biggest spider and a bunch of other things we're good friends he's friends with Excel Caroline that you know she told him about her better idea to do this anthology about Halloween basically that was it you know So Mike was like hey, let's all meet together it's all part of the same group we hang out together we you know we go to karaoke together we do all that kind of stuff so it's people you know they come they say hey, we want to do in the future but Halloween that basically we're gonna have a few segments and you know we're all going to direct something you know it's new martial that you know work with in a previous lifetime in a previous company and Darlene Bossman that we made the move in 2011 and and you know, just he just kind of came out from you know, just a group of friends there was really nothing there yet you know, there was just a concept let's make a fun Halloween movie. And we're like yeah, of course we're gonna make it you know, let's talk about what's going to be but don't forget that you can always change the script, you can always change you know, the strategy the budget, you can always work on that stuff. But if you work with people that you don't like or you have red flags, or just doing it because of the money or because the package the things are always going to be bad, you know, just

Alex Ferrari 57:37
you sir You seem to have it figured out. You try you try You speak very wise words, Yoda you do sir. Very, very wise words. And I'd like to and I love the way that you're very straightforward and honest and real about your answers. And that's what I tried to talk about on the podcast all the time. Because it is a tough business. It's an extremely brutal business and you got a lot of people sugarcoat it or or kind of tell half truths and stuff and I always try to tell it as straight as it can be and I appreciate you doing the same

Shaked Berenson 58:12
Yeah, and there is you know, there is a challenge in the business because you know a lot of people that they work for somebody you know, they're working in bigger companies and you know, there is a lot of maybes in the business because nobody wants to pass on Forrest Gump and nobody wants to greenlit something's gonna lose their company a lot of time so you speak with filmmakers in LA it's like oh this company is interested in these companies interested in this he said that he was the honest truth if somebody really wants something he says don't talk to anybody I'm going to call my boss I'm going to bring him today I'm going to bring him tomorrow let's make it happen you know all of like sounds great send me you know the next draft sounds great let me know when these updates that basically means nothing you know and and get people excited and get them maybe lose other opportunities because they're think that there's opportunities out there that they can reach to but I mean, you've been in the business you know, it's 90% of the time there is nothing there because people don't say no, you know, if somebody say no, this is not for us, I like you let me know next time if you have something that more fits what we want.

Alex Ferrari 59:16
That would be very refreshing if that was that was what the answers were in these meetings, but generally you're right no one likes to say no, it's the nicest efuse in the entire world. No one says f you better than Hollywood people. I mean, if you go to New York, they'll tell you hey man, screw off

Shaked Berenson 59:33
you know but but you know, but But again, it's all about instead of taking a position of kind of being mad about it, you just trying to understand the other side. You know, if somebody is a creative executive started working in company three months ago, he's still learning the ropes in his own company. You know what I mean? It's, it's not bad. If you sit in a meeting and somebody says like, sounds great. Send me the next thing. Just like okay, well, you know, can you please let me know what is the process on your side? What do you think are the chances You know what you know just you can ask questions and get kind of to the bottom of it and I think the other side will appreciate it too and against that like listen you know I know I want to pass on it because I like it but to be honest you know I don't know if that's going to be the thing so let's keep in touch but you know if you have opportunities go somewhere else You know, I think if if you know people talk to each other like people you can get down to the business you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:00:25
right you could get a lot farther people just talk like human beings as opposed to robots here in Hollywood

Shaked Berenson 1:00:30
yeah just look look at you know to eight year olds playing in the playground and it's like if everybody then everybody would be happier and more efficient and make more money and could create more stuff. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 1:00:42
absolutely. Now I always ask the same question last few questions to all my guests what is the the lesson that took you the longest to learn in the film business or in life? Um

Shaked Berenson 1:00:56
That's a big question. So in the film business is really is if there are any red flags walk away because there is other ways to do things because you know a lot of time you have like well you know, this project without the director is kind of like a maniac but you know, it's good cast don't don't don't do that. You know, don't do small movies now cast then doing a movie with big cast but the final tears wants his daughter or girlfriend in the movie is deleted or any one of those things, it's like forget about it, you know, it's like I rather you know, I can go work in a bank or whatever I can Uber, you know, Uber, you can always Uber, you can always right. I mean for now, soon enough,

Alex Ferrari 1:01:38
the the the cars will start driving themselves. Yes.

Shaked Berenson 1:01:41
So so you know, for now you can always Uber but they're gonna be enough for smart people, there's always gonna be something that they can do you know? Um, so that's that in life? I think. She's That's a big question. I think that somebody you know, I don't even remember who told me somebody told me or read it, it kind of sounds like one of those Facebook, you know, inspirational, bullshit quotes. It says, if you do today, what you did yesterday, tomorrow is going to look exactly like today, which kind of sounds good, but basically means that you kind of need to make the change. You know, and a lot of it comes because I know a lot of like, writers or actors, you know, they asked me for advice, like, what should they do? And I say, like, Well, you know, try to create your own opportunities. Especially if you're an actor, there is so many opportunities, you can just grab another two friends, take an iPhone and shoot the funny skit on YouTube, like you can do stuff today, you know, it's not that expensive. And also treat it like a business because it is, you know, all lucky to basically work in our hobby. And some people think that, that, you know, you try to do it as a career, you need to put at least the time that everybody else does, you know, if you work in a factory, you would at least work from nine to five, put at least that time you know get up get dressed, sit down and say what am I doing for the next eight hours because I know that that you know, some people just like you know, they it's easy to kind of fall into the getting a plate, having one meeting a day and you know, feeling like that's a lot of pressure. But you know, if you actually work in a company, if you're a lawyer, if you're an accountant, you're doing stuff all the time you know, you every 1015 minutes you're doing something productive and I think it's easy in our business because everybody's a freelancer to fall a little bit and then get into him but he talked about it earlier. It's like oh, that guy doesn't get back to me it's like well, it doesn't get back to you. Because it's a no no

Alex Ferrari 1:03:42
he's not saying he's not calling you because it's a no it's like yeah, that's great. That's

Shaked Berenson 1:03:46
again it's like oh, like it's December there's no additions you know, so whatever it's like it's December so you know, everybody was home and applying to their own house because they can't afford it because whatever they just Obering get him now and shoot someone you know the streets are empty go shoot something you know, it's like you know, get get something done that you can show value later, you know, can build your Twitter, your Instagram, whatever that is.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:11
Now, now what are three of your favorite films of all time?

Shaked Berenson 1:04:15
Um, I can I mean, there are films that I can always watch again like American Beauty or Forrest Gump. It is funny because I used to actually program I started recording a sudden a tech business funny. But I remember I think it was TBS, they used to like, have the same movie like 10 times,

Alex Ferrari 1:04:36
right? Yeah, like the Ferris Bueller's Day Off or something like that. They'll just like run it all Christmas Day. That's all they play.

Shaked Berenson 1:04:41
Exactly. So I used to basically code on the weekends because I wasn't making enough money in the movie business. I was building websites and doing all this kind of things on the side. So I was called a weekend. And I think Forrest Gump was playing in the background for I don't know, seven times. And in each one of those times you just kind of like crying this moments you know and you notice a few things even though even though it's in the background so that's definitely you know a movie you know that i think you know but you need to look up to of course you know the Alien franchise you know that's something that you know I would love to do most looking you know I once found a script that was this is a perfect example I always want to do one of those space because I'm big in CG and you know computers and computer graphics and always want to do like we don't spaceship kind of film and you know to shoot it you can build a modular model in a green screen room kind of do the things really hard to find clever scripts like that I did found once a script like that but it was attached I swear to god there were like four managers that were you know already getting like producer fees and their logo on the front and also the crazy stuff nice and I bet that script was never made because you know it's you can do that okay, somebody likes to scrape you know they want to put a million or two whatever to go and make it you should have it make it you know, don't create barriers to the film do what's best for the film you know? Yeah, yeah, absolutely. That's another big lessons we didn't talk about it but what a lot of what we try and we doing in our company is the movie need to be the most important thing so everybody's interests need to be aligned with the film which is very hard when there is a lot of other factors and other companies involved that have conflicting interests and for example, this is why we do worldwide distribution we do the US distribution you know also do foreign sales because you know the distributor for example right after Sundance probably want to go out quickly right because you still have the bad reviews but on the foreign side you know if you talk with the big companies you know, they have their scheduled 1218 months in advance they need to debate to German they need to you know do their thing so so you know obviously the US want to release it quickly but then you know a movie like Tobruk aid or you know VHS we pirate everywhere and then you lose everything on the foreign side and kind of everybody kind of need to be aligned and working together. And yeah,

Alex Ferrari 1:07:08
that was one thing I wanted to ask you about that we didn't talk about is piracy like how is that affecting you and and as far as your distribution plans are because you're right if you release something in the US that's why a lot of times these big studio examples are released in Europe before they ever hit the US a week early purely for that specific reason to try to get as much money as it can before the pirates get them and it is it is a kind of way of like you can't fight the pirates it's gonna it's just gonna continue to go but how does that affect your your distribution plan

Shaked Berenson 1:07:37
it affected a lot more in the past and I think it contributed for companies like Netflix to grow and you know, obviously you know, blockbuster disappearing and all of that I think at this point piracy is pretty much stable. And I don't think it matters anymore I mean, at the end of the day you know you can watch a movie on Netflix you know what I mean? It's like you don't need to go to some pirate site right? It killed the business in a lot of countries you know and if your movie and this is exactly why it's important to have strategy in advance because we really work to coordinate a release everywhere at the same time or at least in the same window because if you didn't release a movie like in Indonesia or something like that some countries are so full of piracy that if the movie is out already then nobody's gonna watch it you know? So then maybe you can do TV sales down the road but when we talk about genre you know, it's not the most TV friendly kind of content so his family you know, content it's easier but something like VHS you know, it's for theaters you know, basically that's it in a lot of the countries that don't have develop online can view the markets. So but I think it's stable for now I think people also used to use piracy as a negotiation tool, you know, to get prices down or whatnot. I think now people realize and acknowledge that the people that pirate movies probably not going to pay even 10 cents to see your movie. So it's not really a market you know what I mean?

Alex Ferrari 1:09:11
It's not hurt it's not hurting you per se

Shaked Berenson 1:09:15
it's hurting but there is nothing like if somebody is downloading movies and watching them online pirated, you know, you're not going to be able to take $10 wanting to go to the cinema or or, you know, you're just not you're not I mean, on Netflix, you know, if somebody is already watching all their movies, and pirating online, Netflix is probably not going to get them in a subscriber until they kind of go older, and they have a wife and they just don't have the time and the headache to deal with those websites

Alex Ferrari 1:09:42
go and download and figure it out. And the technology involved them. It's not it's it's easy, apparently, but not that easy. I just don't know.

Shaked Berenson 1:09:51
It's easy when you're 16 and you have time on your hand, you know, 40 you know, it's like your kids want to see a film. It's like Screw it, you know, it's 299 to rent it tonight. To you just rent it on iTunes you know and people that can afford it I guess you know they can find it but I know like for example before we we had a panel before release biggest spider in Comic Con and I actually told on stage they said if you can't find it or you live in a country that it's not available or you can't afford it or whatever the reason is send us an email we'll take care of you we'll figure out a way for you you know we available through our YouTube channel Facebook everything and and you know of course everybody cheered and all that kind of stuff but the point is I rather people get it for free from me then because when you using pirate sites you actually supporting them i mean they're not nonprofit organizations right? They make money right advertised and a lot of them actually a part of larger crime organizations Yeah. That have porn sites and child pornography and human trafficking and drugs and I mean if you don't have I speak about it in some forums about you know where is really piracy coming from and what's the effects but if people Google there was a lot of good books about it and a lot of good information about the organized crime that involved in film piracy and the other thing is that people I think don't understand is that when you pirate movies you lose your your your privilege as a consumer to vote so when we end up releasing biggest spider we had I think it was like over a million downloads illegally right and and which was I think we calculated we had about 100 illegal downloads to every legal ticket or or iTunes to do person and then we have all these people that like Hey, where are you going to see biggest spider to it's like well, you know, he doesn't mean and people that voted you know by lost their vote by actually contributing to the film you know, you kind of lose that that that opportunity because if if even 10% of them would actually watch it in a way that we can create revenue it will maybe make more sense to make a sequel right away you know and get it done. This is why I'm a big fan of those Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaign because you bring that audience in advance you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:12:13
and I'm assuming turbo k was probably fairly pirated as well it's it seems like it's

Shaked Berenson 1:12:19
fairly pirated and again, you know, it was fine and smart and it was not big you know, that big of a budget to recoup and everything and we had great partners and and it was a very long process of you know, strategy how to make it how to release it and everything. Some of these you know, have more problems. But in terms of piracy it's Yeah, I think I think people you know, people complain that all they see in the cinema is just sequels of the same tempo bullshit, right? Yeah. But you know, it's again, it's because the consumer need to understand that when you outside of the marketplace, you don't vote so if you go to see Batman in the cinema, because Batman is big, and you want to see it on the big screen, but then you pirate the turbo kids of this world and the VHS of this role and the ABCs of death. So this rolled, and you know, the hobos shotgun on this world, you're voting basically to have the sequels made, and the comic book and all that stuff that people keep complaining about in voting for independent films not to be made.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:22
On that note, sir, that's an excellent point. Very, very excellent and important point. So thank you so much. Where can people find you by the way?

Shaked Berenson 1:13:31
I'm so accessible I mean, nobody in the world has my name. So you can find me on Facebook, chicken Berenson, EP, which stands for executive producer. I'm on Twitter at educate Berenson. I'm on Instagram, chicken Berenson. And I'm visible people in the room,

Alex Ferrari 1:13:50
I'll put you a put you on a put a link to all your your websites and stuff in the show notes. So iseki, thank you so much for doing this man, I really, really appreciate it was really eye opening. And I hope I hope the tribe really grabbed a lot of the knowledge bombs that you were tossing out there. So thank you.

Shaked Berenson 1:14:05
Thank you so much, Alex, it's been a pleasure.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:08
Shaked really brought it in this interview. I mean, thank you so much for being on the show you were you're inspiring. And you know, I wanted to also bring him on the show guys, because I wanted you guys to hear someone who was doing a lot of the stuff that I preach about all the time, is creating that audience creating that infrastructure, creating that eco system to be able to not only do this once but to do this multiple multiple multiple times, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. And continue to build not only a career out of it, but also build a company out of it where you can hire other people and start doing other things and become a bigger, bigger and bigger and that's why shark head is done so brilliantly with Epic pictures and it's really just about thinking outside the box guys you know just don't go down to well worn path. You have to create your own path and choquette is a great example. Have that So get out there and start making your movies and start building that ecosystem for yourselves guys. If you want to get links to anything we talked about in the show, just head over to indie film hustle, calm forward slash 141 for the show notes of this episode, and don't forget to head over to free film book. com that's free film book calm to download your free filmmaking audiobook from audible. And as always keep that hustle going keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.

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