IFH 169

IFH 169: How to Make Money Renting Your Film Gear with ShareGrid


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Have you ever wanted to make a little extra cash with that film gear sitting in your closet? Have you ever wanted o rent that new Arri ALEXA but were afraid you couldn’t afford it? Well, I came across the solution for both problems, it’s called ShareGrid.

ShareGrid is a per to per community, think Airbnb for filmmakers, that allows list film gear for rental or rent gear directly from other filmmakers with instant insurance. I reached out to Brent Barbano, co-founder of Sharegrid to discuss how he built this community up, talk about how to be a working cinematographer and just talk shop.

Heres a couple of videos explain what ShareGrid is all about.

Enjoy my conversation with ShareGrid Co-Founder Brent Barbano.

Alex Ferrari 1:57
Today on the show guys, we've got Brent Barbano, who is the co founder of an amazing service called sharegrid. Now sharegrid I just discovered a little while ago while I was doing research for vintage glass, believe it or not, I did a whole article on vintage, vintage glass shoot out which Brent share grid duclos lenses, and a couple other companies put together to show off all the vintage cinema glass they had. And when I found out when I did the research in them, I looked at him I look at what this is share grid I see. So I want to share a grid and what share grid is, is a place for filmmakers to make money renting their gear and also save money by renting other filmmakers gear and all in a peer to peer kind of situation kind of like an Airbnb, but for for filmmakers and their gear. And it was pretty insane. And I started going into it or looking at it. And you know me, I always like to promote anything that gives more power to the filmmaker helps them put some some dollars in their pocket, and helps them make their movies. And as a disclaimer, I am not getting paid at all, for this interview or promoting share grid. I'm not getting paid anything at all, I just thought day service was so cool that I wanted to reach out to the tribe and let them know about it. So I reached out to Brent and he was more than gracious to come on board. And to talk about not just how you can make money renting your own gear, but also how you can save money, renting other people's gear for your for your productions, which is dramatically different. And it's also 100% covered by insurance. So you don't have to worry about insurance cuz every time you go to a rental house, a lot of times you got to deal with insurance and you got to deal with stuff and rental house stuff a lot of times is you know, let's face it a little beat up. But when you're renting from another filmmaker, you actually go meet that filmmaker who's taking really good care of their gear, you talk about it a little bit you connect. It's also a huge networking opportunity to meet and network with other filmmakers in your area. And they're in a bunch of cities all across the US. And I think that one day, we'll start setting up things over in Europe and other parts of the world. But right now, they are in the US. But it's a great story and how they put the company together, what you can get out of it. And also Brent is a working dp. So we got into a lot of details about cinematography as well, and what it takes to be a working cinematographer in this world today. So without any further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Brent Barbano. I like to welcome to the show Brent Barbano. Man, thanks for being on the show, man.

Brent Barbano 4:41
Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Alex Ferrari 4:43
So let's let's get into it. Man, how did you get into the business and why did you want to jump into this ridiculous business that we call the film industry?

Brent Barbano 4:52
It is ridiculous.

Alex Ferrari 4:53
It is. When it's good. It's good. But when it's bad, it's bad. It's kind of a relationship isn't it?

Brent Barbano 4:59
Yeah. It's funny, I'm actually coming up on my 10 year anniversary of moving out to LA. And it's it's still ridiculous. I still can't believe that I did it in some ways. But yeah, so I went to film school at Syracuse University, I'm actually from Syracuse, New York as well. And I don't know, I, like every film student, when you're a junior senior, you start to make that come to that realization and that decision that you need to move to at that point, either New York or LA, really, that those are the only two big markets that were, you know, viable for a career in this industry. And New York at first was, was sounding enticing, because it was close to home for me, but I had interned in LA the year before. And, you know, la just kind of has a lot of opportunities. And a lot of people kind of said, If you really want to really give it your best shot this industry, you got to try LA for so right after graduation, I packed up my my jeep and drove across country with my dad and, and 10 years later, I'm still surviving. So did

Alex Ferrari 6:06
You did you see when you showed up here? Did you know One?

Brent Barbano 6:10
Well, I mean, in some ways, yes. I didn't know. I didn't know anyone have great influence. But I had, you know, students that I had gone to school with that had moved out here, either the year before or the year with me. So there was definitely a support group. There was definitely, you know, fellow alumni that that I kind of knew to collaborate with and, and work with out here. But yeah, in terms of I didn't have a job lined up, I didn't have a lot of money saved up. It was just kind of, you know, one of those crazy dreams that you that you hear about where you just drive across country and try to make it happen. Wow. So

Alex Ferrari 6:52
You went west young man, as they say. Anyone knows if anyone knows what upstate New York is, like? Not like Manhattan?

Brent Barbano 7:01
Yeah, six months out of the year. It's not the warmest place to be. So I I chose Sun's sunshine, you know, an earthquake 65.

Alex Ferrari 7:11
Year sunshine, earthquakes, sunshine, earthquakes and landslides? Yes.

Brent Barbano 7:16
Yes. I'll take their breaks. I'll take the earthquakes for the snow.

Alex Ferrari 7:21
Oh, God, tell me about it. So you so you're a cinematographer? Yes. And that's how and you want you wanted to be a cinematographer? Since you came out here? Did you fall into it?

Brent Barbano 7:33
Um, I kind of found it in film school. I think that's one of the if you're thinking about going to film school, I think the thing I learned about that is that you shouldn't, you don't have to know what you want to do in film school. Or what you want to do this film industry, film school is about discovering that and about finding what it is that makes you passionate and what it is that excites you. So I went into film school kind of wanting to direct I think that's what everyone defaults to everyone's like, right director and stuff. But I was always, I was always a very visual person. I just didn't have the technical knowledge yet. I didn't really understand how cinematography worked. You know, so when I was in film school, I kind of just fell into it and, and found myself always going back to operating the camera and lighting and coming up with interesting shots that helped tell the story and, and I think my junior year of college, I was like, Oh, I think the ping is actually my call. And I think that's, that's more of what I want to do. It's what gets me excited, more than anything. So that I started honing in on that the last two years of my college career and making sure that I was, you know, best best set up once I graduated to really take on that that career path.

Alex Ferrari 8:47
Now. I came out here about 12 years ago from from the East Coast as well from Miami. And one thing that kind of shifted dramatically. In the business in general, it was this kind of revolution of the Affordable Cinema Camera, whether that be DSLRs, or the red, or, you know, or Blackmagic, or any of these cameras. And it turned into I know a lot of cinematographers, a lot of good buddies of mine are cinematographers. And they all kind of started resenting the fact that they couldn't get hired unless they had their own kit, their own camera. And as opposed to the olden days, where they would just hire you based on talent, not that you actually had a red camera. And then of course, that opened the door to a lot of people who can afford a red camera but had no business shooting with a red camera. So can you kind of talk a little bit about how that has changed in your kind of world because that's basically the way it is now like especially, I mean, when you're at the higher levels, you know, ASC, you know, $200 million movies. That's not the, that's not the norm, but for the rest of us to schmucks down here. And I don't mean to throw you in with the schmucks like myself, sir, but I'm assuming that we're all kind of at the same world. Yeah, I mean, I kind of i don't know i So look, I

Brent Barbano 10:04
Actually never owned a legit Cinema Camera, I owned a Sony f3 for about a year and a half. And then the when the f5 came out, I sold that immediately. And then I said, screw this, I'm out of this, this game of chasing the new technology because once the f5 came out that no one wanted that three, no one wanted to read my f3 even though I still think it's a good it's a really good camera. But I can confidently say that I've actually never really owned a camera that was like my go to I never own an Alexa mini or a red, whatever, or even a C 300. I've never owned a camera and I've done just fine. Yeah, but I you know, part of which is I also am co founder of share grid, which we talked about later, but I have access to, you know, the best cameras in the world at a great price. And

Alex Ferrari 10:55
So you were kind of packaging yourself, you so you could kind of package yourself with a camera but not actually own it. Yeah, I

Brent Barbano 11:02
I mean, I not even because of sheer grit but because of my cinematographer friends who own a lot of gear, I love to give them rentals. So I will always say yes, I don't want a camera but my buddy has an has an amazing Alexa mini package with these lenses and the perfect for this and that can get us a good deal. And that is usually all the producer needs to hear and to done deal. So right though I'm not getting the business I can get us you know, these, this amazing gear but, um, you know, to touch on what you said about the you know, camera making the cinematographer? Yeah, I agree. I think I'm Uh, I'm not saying I'm got this incredible talent, but I've made a living not owning a camera. And that's because of, you know, relationships I've built and the kind of work that I do, I don't think you need to own a crazy expensive 30 or $50,000 camera, to all of a sudden stamp yourself as a cinematographer. You need to know how to like you need to know how to work with people, you need to know how to delegate, you need to know how to scout and pre planned and do pre production and work with the director. I mean, there's just, there's so much that goes into being a cinematographer to say that just owning a camera is the end all for your career is is super short sighted.

Alex Ferrari 12:20
So you mean to tell me that if I go and spend $75,000 on an Alexa mini package, that doesn't make me I won't shoot the reverent? Is that that?

Brent Barbano 12:35
I do think that camera is beautiful, and it does incredible stuff. Sure. No, yeah. It will not give you an Oscar.

Alex Ferrari 12:43
I did. I did a whole I mean, this is this is one of my one of my first podcast, I did an entire podcast on yelling, I'm like you are not a dp don't hire cinematographer, just because they own a red camera. Because it's like that was the thing when the red came out. I mean, these guys were like me, dentists were like buying them call themselves freaking cinematographers. And then I was imposed that always would get the leftovers of the footage. And I'm like, and they're like, Well, can you make this work? I'm like, Are you kidding me? You're under your underlit like, you know, five stops, you know, you can't just go out that night and shoot with an F, you know for? Because it's a red.

Brent Barbano 13:25
Yeah, why reds, reds done a really good job to marketing themselves with God with specs and numbers, you know, 8k 6k, whatever. 100 220 frames per second. And that's what's tight. That's what's exciting people and not to say those things are great. Those are great tools, just tools to have at your disposal. But people think that by owning a camera that shoots 8k, that is amazing. Well, you know, YouTube barely supports 4k and it's compressed and sometimes doesn't even look that good. Most TVs, Apple TV only does 1080 I mean, what's the final output, right? So people are being becoming obsessed with case, you know, becoming obsessed with resolution, which drives me nuts when they're not thinking about the end product. Now obviously, future proofing is great. And being you know, being able to adjust your framing a post is you know, super important. But, you know, but let's work within your means and shooting at 1080 is perfectly fine and looks amazing. Under most under most displays. So that's what drives me nuts is people just get get obsessed about specs. And really, it's backwards. They need to they need to think about you know what's best for their budget and creatively for the project First,

Alex Ferrari 14:37
I mean, I shot I shot my feature on a Blackmagic 2.5k. And I mastered a 1080 and everyone was like Why didn't you master a two cam like because a 1080 bump up is no problem. And I projected it at 1080 and it looked our 2k and it looked insane in a big huge AMC theater. I was shocked at how good it looked and I was like my god what the hell is everyone Like, losing their mind about.

Brent Barbano 15:02
Yeah, I know. I mean, it's, it's, it's crazy, but I think it just comes with time. I think some filmmakers learn the hard way and especially the the post end of it. I mean, if you're dealing with all this footage, I mean, it's just it's crazy. It's such overkill.

Alex Ferrari 15:18
I mean, if you're doing Guardians of the Galaxy, Michael, please shoot 8k? Yeah.

Brent Barbano 15:22
Oh, yeah, no, totally sure. And I've done I've done green screen stuff and, and we need every bit of resolution we can get surely understand that totally will. That's what works perfectly. But if it's a web series, a low budget web series on the weekend, and it's gonna be intense at and it's not even going festivals and white display in 4k. With a Why are we shooting on a red? A No, no,

Alex Ferrari 15:44
But no one does does this too. I mean, it's it. It's rare to display in 4k in theaters, but most of them are displaying in touquet. Like 4k display is expensive. It's just a projector is too damn expensive. So even when you're watching a $200 million movie digitally displayed, it's generally 2k. Yeah, it's Yeah, we could Yeah, we could go on and on and on.

Brent Barbano 16:10
It's a learning curve. I think it's an education that people need to have. And I'm constantly doing it. And I'm not, you know, talking down on read at all, I think they do amazing stuff. I just think you need to work within your, your budget and your means and your timeline and things like that. And it's okay to not get the best camera because if it doesn't fit your project, that's, that's okay.

Alex Ferrari 16:32
It's like, it's like getting the most expensive paintbrush in the world. Right? And there are and there are some really expensive paint projects.

Brent Barbano 16:42
If you're a shitty painter, it doesn't matter what, what's good. Is it going to do? Yeah, you're still gonna paint on the lines, and you're going to screwed up? And yeah, as well. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 16:50
Might as well buy a $2 paintbrush because you're not going to get much better. And that's what I think filmmakers don't get a lot of times with, with gear in general, like, like lenses, and we will talk about lenses later as well. But I mean, you can buy a literally a $75,000 lens. And do you need to buy a $75,000 lens? Or d? Could you get away with something if you're gonna buy something that costs 1000 bucks or, or if you go vintage 500 bucks, you know, depends on the story depends on what you're trying to do.

Brent Barbano 17:23
Our, our lens test the we'll talk about this later. And I'm sorry if this there's no context for people, but we did a spherical lens test last year. And the beauty of this test was we had, you know, Master Master primes, which are, you know, arguably some of the best, most perfect lenses in the market versus these old vintage Nikon. Still lenses that percent of eyes that are like $200 and you you size them up and you compare them and you're like, Okay, I mean, these Nikon's look great, they're bokeh looks good that they're pretty damn sharp. Contrast is there. I mean, it's like that's the beauty of that lens test. But again, it comes back to Yeah, it doesn't matter what tools you have in your in your pocket, it's how you use them.

Alex Ferrari 18:09
So that's how we actually came here. That's how you came into my orbit was this Yeah, this lens test. I was talking to Matthew duclos. And we I saw that he was involved with this this lens test vintage lens test, and it was probably arguably the most insane vintage lens test ever created in my opinion. And I actually did an entire post on it on and I'll put it in the show notes for everybody that you can actually see this insane lens test and what are the lenses that you guys put up

Brent Barbano 18:42
So for the spherical off the top of my head we had Oh, we had master primes that was kind of our control those are the one nonvintage just so you had a benchmark to compare to but we had a cookie pink rose canon k 35 is a super speeds these old Nikon still lenses we had like ours that were rehoused by GL optics. Carlos any prominent ours we threw in Lomo anamorphic for fun because it was kind of cool that like size up all the spiracle lenses the seven spherical lenses and then just have like the anamorphic aspect ratio which when you look at it, you're just immediately like drawn to it. So that was kind of that was kind of fun to have in there. And I'm drawing a blank if I'm missing one probably like

Alex Ferrari 19:31
Us like do you have a like

Brent Barbano 19:33
yeah, I said the like, is like us Nikon's Zeiss yeah but there's a eight sets of lenses which was which was super exciting and it kind of snowballed. We kind of just at first we were just, you know, coming up with an idea of how to just do a very basic lens test and that kind of became this check this giant three day. Yeah, man. It was it was amazing, but you know, but it was awesome credit. Just to see how many people came out for it, and and were willing to donate their time and their lenses and for the, you know, the sake for the sake of education, but that also set us up for the next time around, which is what we did a couple of weeks ago, which is the anamorphic lens test, which was even bigger two times as big

Alex Ferrari 20:18
To me, I cannot wait. And I'll make sure that the tribe knows about this when it comes out. I yeah, I'm a self diagnosed lens addict. And and I have a bad case as what I like to call gas gear acquisition syndrome. Oh, man, that sounds that sounds serious. It is. It's a serious condition. I'm working on it, talking to my doctors. It's pretty bad right now. It's getting really bad. Yeah, it's tough. It's a really expensive hobby. Oh, God, isn't it ever. But so. So that's how we met. And then I when I, when I started doing research, I found this company called share grid. And when I did some more research on shared grid, it was absolutely amazing. I was like, I can't believe I had not heard of this. So I wanted to bring you on the show to talk a little bit about share grid, how it came to be and all that stuff. So how did you get the idea? For sure grid? How did it come to life?

Brent Barbano 21:18
Well, there's a you know, I have two other co founders. And it's funny how we found each other, I'll tell you my, my perspective. But this was now three and a half years ago, which is scary to even say that I can't believe it was that long ago, but I was shooting a documentary up in San Francisco, about the sharing economy, which is share grid and Airbnb and Uber and all these peer to peer marketplaces that, you know, sell services and goods to, to other people, you know, the platform. And I was interviewing, I was shooting an interview with one of the co founders of Airbnb. And it just hit me that the and just to give you context of that time, three years ago, the sharing economy was catching on. But it wasn't what it is now. I mean, now there's that this business model for literally everything you could think of dog walking and babysitters, anything you'd ever need, you can just go get an app on your phone and order it via another peer. And I thought, oh my god, I at that time, I owned more gear than I do now. But I was like, I don't have a good platform to rent out my gear and all my friends never make money back on their investments. And it's hard to find gear at a good price. And it's readily available sometimes. And I thought, oh my god, this is we need this. We need this in LA. But I'm not I'm a dp I'm not a I don't know how to start a marketplace necessarily. started a website. I knew how to build my website. But that was on Squarespace. I mean, that's a little bit different. A little different. So I was so excited. And I came home after the documentary. And I was like working on ideas and writing down notes. And I built the landing page the way I wanted it to look, which made no sense, because that's not what you need to do first. Do

Alex Ferrari 23:10
The visual thing, right? Your vision board is your vision.

Brent Barbano 23:13
Yeah. Yeah, it's a low hanging fruit. And I so I did that. And then I one day was on Facebook. And this ad popped up. And I said sure grid, right. You're here to local filmmakers, within city insurance, or something like that. And I and my, my heart saw, and I was I was devastated because someone had beat me to it. And this was like maybe the best lesson in life that I ever learned. Because I gave up I stopped I I remember talking to my friend and I said, you know, that's it. Someone beat me to it looks like they got a beautiful website, they got a new landing page. They know what they're doing, I could see that they were in San Francisco. And I was like, Oh, that makes sense. That's, you know, that the tech capital of the world. I mean, that that's where they should be. These guys got to figure it out. Oh, well, I'll just go back to DPA. And I gave up and for about two weeks, I just was really sad and depressed and thought my idea was was stolen in a way from other someone else.

Alex Ferrari 24:13
Right, even though they had it before you did, right.

Brent Barbano 24:16
They had it before me. But then I one day, I just said you know what, I'm going to email them. Because they're in San Francisco. I'm here in LA I'm deeply immersed in this industry. They need to open in LA I know this industry in and out and know a lot of people here I think we could, you know, work together. So I emailed them and I said just that to kind of pitch myself. I said I had the same idea. I even sent them to the landing page, which looks horrible now when I look at it, but I said them like my my rendition of what I wanted it to look like and and they got back to me and we Skyped and and those are my now co founders and we joined forces and it made sense because, you know, they were the two brilliant people that have worked in product For a long time, especially on mobile apps, and so they understand ecommerce, they understand marketplaces, they understand transactions, you know, when it comes to transacting online and, and designing websites, which I don't know, shit about. So same time, they're not in that they're not in the film industry like I am. And so it was a perfect marriage and, and now now three and a half laters. You know, there's three of us, but we have a team of I think, I think we're up to 11 people now. And and we're growing, we're growing pretty quickly.

Alex Ferrari 25:33
That's awesome. And now, so explain to explain to everybody what share grid is.

Brent Barbano 25:39
Yeah. So share grid is I'm sorry, I didn't do a good job in the intro. But share grid is a peer to peer marketplace where filmmakers and creatives and photographers can rent gear to others with within instant insurance. We, you know, do verifications. And where you can you know, search your city to look for literally anything you would need, whether it be studio spaces, you know, cameras, lenses, lights, audio gear, anything that you would need for your production you can find independently on our website

Alex Ferrari 26:12
Is that is that so you see studio spaces You mean like actual like sound stages and things like that.

Brent Barbano 26:16
That's just but what we're even starting to get practical locations, yeah. offices, or houses if you want to rent if you want to rent a house for a shoot edit suites and we have a lot of color correcting and editing suites as well, which is pretty sweet.

Alex Ferrari 26:31
So that's awesome. So you're really growing it not just get you know, renting a lens. But now you're trying to create an entire ecosystem where anyone can rent anything, or borrow it not borrow but like rent anything that you need for a production. Yeah,

Brent Barbano 26:47
Yep. And we have we just checked the other day, we have over $240 million of inventory of gear. So we're,

Alex Ferrari 26:57
We've got a lot of stuff. And I'm assuming a big chunk of that's here in LA.

Brent Barbano 27:02
La La is our biggest market. But you know, New York is we're in five cities. We're in LA, New York City, Atlanta, San Francisco, Seattle. And we're opening in Chicago at the end of this month. And la Yeah, LA is definitely still the biggest market. But you know, New York and Atlanta are kicking butt there's a lot of production in both the cities and, and San Francisco and Seattle to it's pretty amazing. From 10 years ago, when I said I moved out here when it was to me at that time, it was just New York, LA and now I feel like as a filmmaker, you can move to any of these cities and they could make a pretty good living,

Alex Ferrari 27:38
and what other cities you guys planning to roll out to?

Brent Barbano 27:42
We don't have a set map just yet. But it's pretty obvious. You know, we have a lot of interest in cities. Yeah, Austin Austin's a big one. New Orleans is a big one Portland. You know, these all these cities have such a rich creative community. And they've had it they've had it for years. But we bit we have our our barometers of where to open up to is based on our signups we have a waitlist. So if you were Hong Kong and you signed up, we we track that we we we capture that information. And that helps us decide where the demand is and where we should go next. And so yeah, there's a lot of people in our waitlist from New Orleans and causton and Portland and such, even cities like Dallas and Houston, which you wouldn't think historically have as much of a creative industry as you know, let's say Austin does, but I mean, they're just such giant cities that there's just there's so much production still happening there.

Alex Ferrari 28:48
Don't forget Miami. I mean is a big one too. Yeah, absolutely. from my hometown. And yeah, no, my stop there for sure. So So can you explain to filmmakers what, oh, you know, how they could benefit from working or using share grid?

Brent Barbano 29:05
Yeah, so as a renter, if you're if you have a production, what's awesome about share grid is that our prices are are typically cheaper than a, you know, your traditional rental house. Because our owners are independent, they don't have the overhead as a rental house, they're just sometimes operating out of their house or their garage or they have a small setup. So prices are 30 to 50%. Lower than then what you normally get at a rental house, which is obviously huge. If you're on a budget, you're doing a shoe and you do want that red camera for whatever reason, or an elective. You can afford it which is which is great. But our also our inventory is amazing. Like we talked about earlier, the the the amount of inventory that we have, you can search based on a map to you can look around you what's closest to you. That that's incredible. The fact that I you know, I live in Pasadena, which is On the outskirts of LA, and I can search basis and pass the data and find, you know, a bunch of cinema cameras and lenses near me. So I don't have to travel across city across town in traffic to pick up whatever they want. So you know, so yeah, that those are, you know, price and inventory are, are huge. I would also say availability is a biggie, because, you know, brick and mortar places are open nine to five, they're not open on weekends. We're open, technically 24, seven, you can rent from someone on a Saturday or a Sunday, or you can return on a Saturday or Sunday, whatever works for you and the other party. That's fine.

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

Brent Barbano 30:49
So I think that that's a huge benefit for the community. But also, I would say, one of the biggest recipes to our secret sauce would be our insurance. So

Alex Ferrari 31:02
How does that how does that because that's the that's the big thing, man, how the heck does that work for you guys? No,

Brent Barbano 31:08
it's a biggie. So, you know, rewind to the interest story I was telling you, when my co founders and I joined forces. You know, we asked our community, we had a bunch of signups at the time, and we hadn't built anything. And it was a beautiful model. I mean, it worked on me, right, because my co founders built this landing page ran Faiz basic, basic, basic Facebook ads to see if the idea was even viable. And I responded, of course. And within like, a couple weeks, I had like over 3000 signups, and we thought, Oh, my God, well, I guess we need to build this thing. People actually want this, this community, but the biggest need that everyone wanted, it wasn't price. It wasn't just availability, it was insurance. It was how are you going to secure and make sure that my gear is covered that I'm covered? And, and so we knew that we couldn't just open a community without that. So we call insurance companies left and right. All laughed at us, man. I mean, it was worse.

Alex Ferrari 32:12
It makes excellent sense.

Brent Barbano 32:15
I mean, if you what's crazy is if you go to insurance company websites, now they still their websites, this still have a fax number. I mean, that to me boggles my mind that faxing is still an option, I guess, I guess it needs to be put. We call the number of the top rental house rental, I'm sorry, insurance companies in the country and pitch the idea, they just thought no, there's no way we can automate insurance. That was the big thing is we didn't we wanted to get rid of paper, we wanted to stop having to print and scan and, and have a 24 hour 48 hour waiting period to get a policy 2000 and that point 2014 2015 we thought this needs to change. And so we at the 11th hour, I actually found at those insurance, which is higher now insurance partner who was also in Pasadena, California, and I talked to Kat the founder and I pitched the idea and, and she loved it, she thought that, you know, aligned perfectly with what they're doing. And at that point, they had already had an automated system on their website. But the key was get convincing them to build this brand new product with us. And basically have a the first ever online platform where you can buy insurance instantly, up to $750,000. So we we it was it was actually a tough business decision because we were ready to open and we delayed everything by at least six months to just go in and build this thing. And I know way more about insurance than I ever thought I would want to know. But it was an important decision because we stopped what we were doing. We tested we refined we retested and we you know finally built this platform so now when you go and share crud you can buy a policy up to $750,000 within minutes you can buy so is it is

Alex Ferrari 34:05
Is the renter who's buying it or the rentee?

Brent Barbano 34:09
Well both so as a renter, you have the option to buy a short term or annual policy but the cool thing about annual insurance is that there's it's also becomes an owner's policy. So you can buy an insurance policy that helps you to rent from other people. But there's also the option on there to insure your own equipment for your own productions or when it's in your house, whatever. So it's kind of a manual assurance is definitely the best bang for your buck. But it definitely applies to both to both parties. But I'm share grid we don't allow a transaction without some form of coverage. So that means the renter needs to I guess in your case it would be the rentee but the person with the with the shoot that needs the gear the renter has to either buy our short term or short term or annual policy on our website instantly or They can provide their own third party we recognize a lot of productions have their own insurance, that's totally fine. We manually verify it, we call the insurance company and verify that the policy is active and it's valid, and it's correct. And then use it for that amount. Or for certain items that are, you know, $20,000 replacement value or unless they are they're allowed to use our damage waiver and damage waiver pro damage waiver and theft program, which isn't insurance, it's just in the event of damage or theft. But it's also a nice and more economic option for for filmmakers that maybe don't want to fork over a couple $100 or more for short term insurance, they can just buy a damage waiver for you know, a five D or DSLR package or whatnot.

Alex Ferrari 35:49
So that and that's something you could buy the renter goodbye or like the person renting the gear could buy it instantly as they're renting. So like let's say I have a an Ursa mini package, which you know, replacement value with everything not including lenses is 10 grand, let's say that would fall into the damage waiver such a situation. So as a renter as the owner, do I tell the rent team, like if you want to own the if you want to rent this, I don't have insurance for it. So you have to get a damage waiver and include that in the you know the checkout.

Brent Barbano 36:23
Why as an owner, you don't even have to tell them every person, every renter, so I'm sorry, I say renter and owner. So every renter has to provide some kind of coverage, you cannot rent on shared, right, unless you purchase some form of coverage or provide proof of coverage. Even if I had

Alex Ferrari 36:40
Even as the owner, if I have it doesn't matter. They have rights.

Brent Barbano 36:44
Yeah, as as an owner is never an insurance license insurance person. So I can't give advice. But as an owner, it is never smart to use your own insurance, you know, you get in a car accident, who's that whoever's at fault, I mean that that insurance work. So if you're renting out your equipment to someone else, that renter needs to provide insurance for you, your insurance is kind of your last line of defense. But in this case, we we never expose the owners insurance for a transaction. It's always up to the renter to provide coverage. So

Alex Ferrari 37:17
Then basically, they'll share goods and I've been around for three and a half years. Generally speaking, I'm not going to ask for specific details, but our numbers, but generally speaking, obviously, it's going fairly well. So there is it's not a very big percentage of lost or damaged equipment, because it's not like not like when you rent from a from a rental house, as they say on the set. It's a rental Don't be gentle.

Brent Barbano 37:45
No, we, we were actually very proud of this, we we only have some form of claim, point 02 percent of the time. So most obviously most of our rentals go without any issue. And and that's something we're very proud of. And a lot of there's a couple reasons why I mean, one of which is we've really grabbed a an amazing professional community here. I mean, the filmmakers and photographers and artists in our community are top notch. And it shows people that are renting gear from other professionals are professionals and they take really good care of the gear. That's not to say we don't have film students, we don't have you know, younger filmmakers that are just learning things. Of course, we have, we welcome them as well. But we have a lot of professionals and and also, I think there's something to be said about when you meet a person face to face and and you go over the gear with them, you you you treat it as if it's your own, you want to take good care of that person, vintage lenses or that person's camera, as opposed to just renting from a giant corporation or company. When there's a face to that equipment, I think naturally as a renter, you want to take better care of it.

Alex Ferrari 39:00
Now as a as a owner, do you set the price or does circuit set the price patels

Brent Barbano 39:06
Owner sets a price where we've been very adamant about not controlling pricing, which you know, comes with it's it's good and it's bad. But as an owner, you you have the right to set your own price.

Alex Ferrari 39:20
As ridiculous as it might be

Brent Barbano 39:22
As a certain you know, prices. We have set thresholds that that if you price too low, you will know that you know not being best match and and best matches the searching category that helps people find gear that best matches their needs. And if you price lower than a certain threshold, you will be revoked from that search. I mean, there's a couple things that we do to discourage people from pricing too low. But that being said, it's a free market. It's an open market. We don't want to manipulate we don't want to control people's pricing too much and yeah, as an owner, you So you want and we have a recommendation tool when you list a new item you can we recommend based on the market what you what you want to what you can price it at.

Alex Ferrari 40:09
So basically filmmakers, an independent filmmaker, now could have access to a high end camera with some high end glass that might cost up to $100,000. But on a budget, if they're shooting on a week or two weeks or something like that, they can make a deal and get that access much easier than if they would go to a rental hostel trying to rent an airy many or, or read epic or dragon with some super speeds, prime. It's gonna cost you an arm and a leg plus you need to get this kind of weird, you know, not weird insurance, but like full blown coverage and all this kind of stuff, as opposed to going through shark raid where you have, it's just it seems easier.

Brent Barbano 40:54
Yeah, it's actually it's a lot easier. It's it's really fast. It's really intuitive. We have a cart actually, you know, just like, you're on Amazon and you checkout with a cart, we're building a cart, which makes it even quicker. That's going to be coming out soon. So yeah, I invite you and everyone to go on the website. It's really fun. You can search for every anything you want, add it to your cart eventually and, and check out within, I mean, literally within minutes. But But I also want to point out that we do have rental houses on our website, and I don't want to talk, talk poorly about rental houses, I think they're incredible. They provide an amazing value as well. It's just a different type of value. And and so we have rental houses on our website, and we welcome them. It's just that we have typically lower prices than then because our owners don't have the same overhead. But if you want that rental house experience and you want a prep tech and a prep floor and and even more amazing inventory, a one stop shop experience, you can get that on share grid, you can find a rental house on share grid as

Alex Ferrari 41:56
Well. Very interesting. Now, there's also another benefit to using share grid networking. Can you talk a little bit about that? Yes.

Brent Barbano 42:05
Yeah, this is actually what excites me honestly the most about it. And we haven't even really built the platform to you know, encourage it too much or automate the networking aspect in terms of finding jobs. But to tell you a very quick story, I was shooting these testimonial videos, but two years ago, where I was interviewing share code members about why they like it, and how they you know how much they enjoy using share grid. And I scheduled independently from everyone I scheduled for different owners and renters on at a specific time within like half an hour of each other. And I was done interviewing one of them. He and I came out of the room in a waiting room was another owner and he they knew each other and I was like oh my god, this is amazing. How do they How do you guys know each other? Oh, he rented from me last week? And oh, wow, cool. And then they said yeah, I'm gonna see it to shoot next week. Yep. And so they're working on a project. And then five minutes later in comes another owner from the door and now go mark, and they all know each other. And it was just like, that was my first realization that we are building this insane community. And those three owners knew each other just because of share grid. And every time I talked to someone I hear all the time that they're collaborating with someone that they met on shared grid, and they hired someone because they met unshare grid. And to me that that's, that makes me the happiest is to is to connect people. And you know, we're looking at ways to to, you know, build up features that really promote that. We know that you know, hiring is huge. We know that people you know your crew is your shoot is as good as your crew. And we know that's really important. But also just collaborating and talking and debating and conversing about things is really important as well. So we we want to encourage discussion and we want to encourage connecting in every way possible.

Alex Ferrari 44:03
Now what some of the top gear that rents on share grid out of curiosity.

Brent Barbano 44:07
Yeah, we actually I actually did this, this crazy video, the end of last year about the top 10 items rented on share grid for 2016 and it's on our YouTube page, but the it varies. Read epic is obviously rapid dragon was I think, a third most rented item tied for one and two though I gave the edge to the ronin but the time for one or two is basically the DJI Ronin and Sony A seven s two. Those two items were are just constantly being rented. I mean, it's only a seven s two is just an incredible camera especially in low light and it's it's very inexpensive, and the ronin is great. I mean it's you know, great for music videos. It's great for you know that steadycam esque type look but it's fairly easy to learn. But other than that Alexa minis are up there, c 300. Mark one and Mark twos are big c one hundreds are, I think in the top 10 of last year, and DSLR, glass, you know, Canon 70 to 224 to seven days. I mean, those go out daily, because they're versatile. They're they, they're used an indie, low budget cinema projects, but they're also used for photography. So yeah, they're great.

Alex Ferrari 45:29
And so can you tell me what advice you would give to a filmmaker just starting out in the business?

Brent Barbano 45:36
Oh, man, um, I would say, there's so much to talk about. But I would say the number one thing is to, is to shoot and to create and to, you know, find the time that you can to make to make projects, it's really easy to find excuses, to not shoot and to not do stuff. And, and that's, that's all fine. And I think starting out too, is, especially if you're a production assistant, you have no life you're working, you know, 1415 hour days, you're driving around, you're exhausted, you have to find some time carve out some hours in the weekend, and just shoot and make stuff. And even if it's crappy, if it looks terrible, who cares? No one has to see it. But that's how you're going to learn, you're not going to learn by just reading blogs or, or watching videos or talking or even film school. I mean, film school only takes you so far, you need to get out, get your hands on gear, collaborate with others, and shoot and shoot and shoot and shoot. And that's the only way you're going to refine your craft and also figure out what you really love to do. And then at the same time, you're building up your, your reel, you know, I spent three, four years, my first four years out here in LA working with my friends from college, and we just were shooting our own stuff. And we were some of it was really bad. And I'll never show anyone, some of it. Some of it was great. And some of it went into my demo reel. And it got me more work. And it also taught me you know how to work with certain equipment and certain certain lighting scenarios. That's huge. And I think back then, 10 years ago, the best cameras I had was like, a Sony x one or an hv x 200. I mean, these cameras. Yeah, I mean, those cameras were the best I could get. Now you can buy a DSLR and get some, you know, DSLR glass. And if you do it right, if you light it right and put it in the right stereo, you can get some gorgeous looking stuff. There's literally no excuse, in my opinion, to not shoot and create your own stuff. You've got YouTube, you've got Vimeo, you've got share grades, you've got all these tools at your disposal. It's really easy to come up with excuses not to like it was for me to not pursue sheer grit, it was really easy to get it. But at the end of the day, there's 15,000 other people in line ready to take your spot. And so if you want to be competitive and you want to get that edge you got to create you got to get out there and make stuff.

Alex Ferrari 48:11
You said the HP x 200 I have to give a shout out to the dv x 100 day.

Brent Barbano 48:16
Yeah, dv x one 100 was the camera I shot my senior thesis on so I went to film school. And it was still very much a film school and it cost like four grand to buy film to buy 16 Super six. Yeah. And I was like, This is ridiculous. I knew my senior thesis wasn't going to be anything groundbreaking. It wasn't going to get me a job. And I thought and I've already shot on film a lot for that, that. That major and I just said I'm just gonna just shoot this in the dv x It was 24 p it looked great at the time, even though it was standard definition. And I told my professors and they were really mad at me and I said I'm sorry, I saved me money so that I can you know, make a career after this. I'm going to shoot on digital. And I did and looked looked okay.

Alex Ferrari 49:04
Standard def standard def 24 p

Brent Barbano 49:07
Hey, yeah, man, but it was fine. And I still I still I still love that camera for you for what it did for my career.

Alex Ferrari 49:14
That camera had a Leica lens on it. Oh, yeah, it did, didn't it? It had a Leica lens on it. I remember. And that led that camera man I shot while I shot my first short film with it that went on to do good stuff for me and it. I loved that little camera man. I loved it. It was a workhorse. And it was it was the first thing I sold when I got out here. Some guy some guy wanted to buy it. I'm like you sure and I sold it for like 1000 bucks. I was like oh yeah, dude, they get a that's a good that's a good salary. He's like I want to start shooting short films. I'm like you do what you got to do, brother man go Yeah, I got I got out. I got out quick. Oh my god. So what is the lesson that took you too long? To learn whether in life or in the film business, oh, wow, deep, deep questions. That's a very good one.

Brent Barbano 50:10
I mean, there's again, there's so many, but the one that comes to mind right now is to, I would say not compare yourself to your other peers. It's really, it's really easy to compare yourself to other friends that came out of film school at the same time you did and had the same exact opportunities that you did. And they're maybe a little bit ahead of you. In some sense. That is such a toxic way of thinking. It's really it's really detrimental. I think for for men. I mean, I think anyone especially just creatives, filmmakers, actors, actresses, anyone. You just can't think like that you got to stay focused on you and your own path. Because the truth of the matter is, you could be the same age, the same film school come and move out to LA in the exact same time startup exact same job. It's still not apples to apples, there's just so there's so many discrepancies in differences. And if your buddy got an opportunity, because he just ran into someone at a coffee shop. Well, that's, that's because that's what happened to them. That didn't happen to you, you weren't there. And you just can't compare yourself. It's just going to be distracting. And so that that took a while for me to kind of not compare myself and get competitive, and just stay focused on me and my path and my dreams. Which sounds so cheesy, but it's

Alex Ferrari 51:32
True. No, that's absolutely true. I mean, you could you could look at Robert Rodriguez, many filmmakers just compare themselves to Robert Rodriguez. And his his thing or how many people you know, Spielberg was comparing himself to, to Orson Welles. And he failed. Because, yeah, Orson made his movie at 23. And yeah, and he made jaws at 27. That's, that's the

Brent Barbano 51:54
Other thing is the age thing. That's the worst is like, especially now that I'm 30 I'm about to be 32 in a couple weeks and Shut up.

Alex Ferrari 52:01
Shut up. Yeah. You're a bit younger than I am, sir. All right. Well,

Brent Barbano 52:07
You may you make me feel good, because I, you know, I go on Facebook, and I see friends and buddies that are 2725. And they're shooting amazing stuff. And they're shooting with Disney and they're shooting with these incredible clients. And I'm just like, oh, man, what did I do wrong? And but Dude, I have to stop myself and say I did nothing wrong. I'm doing everything right. And kudos. And more importantly, kudos to them. They're kicking butt and that's that's awesome. And I'm proud to call them my friend or my colleague,

Alex Ferrari 52:34
You know, I your age. I was shooting with the dv x 100 day in a steaming bathroom. Steaming basement in West Palm Beach, Florida shooting a short film. Oh, man, and I was shooting it with a dv x 100. And I it I was so far from Hollywood. I can't even explain to you. Yeah, I was 10 years, at least at least three or four years away before I finally moved out. I tell you, man, I look at look, I'm 42 bout to be 43 and I've been in the business for 20 years, and I've seen a lot of shit. And man, you know, I meet these 1819 year olds like Yeah, man, I just shot my sixth feature. I'm like, shut the fuck yeah. It's so not but but that's but that's what, that's what they have. That's what they haven't. I mean, if I would have been 18 in today's world, that'd be doing the same thing. Because that the you know it can you imagine what Hitchcock would have done? A young Hitchcock would have done or a young student olbrich would have done with this kind of technology and this kind of access you know, it's just it is you are on the path that you were supposed to be on at the time you were supposed to be on it and all of us always look back and go oh, wouldn't have been great to be in the 70s making films with you know, Scorsese and spielberger Wouldn't it have been great Huh, I know it was super It was super hard but like if you were one of those guys it was awesome you know to get and then they were looking back like man wouldn't have been a cool to make films in the 50s like john Ford, and you know, say like, all look and then the 15th guys are like ah, Orson, you know, it's always the same man, you know, guys now looking back in the 90s, like, oh man, Tarantino and Kevin Smith and Linkletter and all those guys in the 90s. Wow. But now is where we got to focus our energy on. Yeah, exactly,

Brent Barbano 54:33
Exactly. It comes, comes back to what I was saying to I mean, this is the proof of it with how many how successful filmmakers are at a young age. I mean, you have no excuse now they're taking advantage of the technology and social media channels and distribution. Distribution. Yeah, the the accessibility to resources is, is just infinitely better than it was even five years ago. And so these young you know, Scorsese. protegees are these young filmmakers that are just kicking butt and early 20s in their early 20s in minutes, this is why they're doing it. They're, they're taking advantage. So I think don't compare yourself don't get hung up. But at the same time, you do need to have a little bit maybe 10% of the anks a little, a little bit of that, like competitive, a little bit of competitive edge that kind of keeps you going, keeps you motivated. I call it you know, there's a cheesy millennial term FOMO fear of missing out, but it's true, like when I'm online. I don't get mad or upset when I see other filmmakers doing awesome things. I'm happy for them. But then I'm like, goddamn, I'm gonna go do that. Now. I want to go shoot. And that's, that's what you need. You need that little bit of push now to you know, make make your own. Carve out your own your own niche.

Alex Ferrari 55:48
Yeah. And I used to be that I used to be that guy too. When I was younger, you know, you go on, you're like, oh, man, how did he get a feature? Why the hell they give them the money? Yeah, can I do that? Like if I would have gotten that you didn't you get all that you get caught up in that toxic mentality. That and it hurts you hurt me for many, many years till I finally broke free of that. And I just said screw it. I'm just gonna be me.

Brent Barbano 56:09
Yeah, you got to harness energy and just being positive. Yeah, he don't focus on the path. Just use it to motivate you to do your own stuff that that's all you can do.

Alex Ferrari 56:18
And last question, three of your favorite films of all time. Oh, wow.

Brent Barbano 56:23
Well, any of my friends listening are laughing because they know that I'm obsessed with Jurassic Park.

Alex Ferrari 56:29
And it's not even for it. Because how old were you when it came out? I was. Yeah, I was. I was I was 18. I was in high school. So yeah, that's a completely different perspective. It's kind of like when I saw Empire, or reject the Jedi that's like, oh my god that

Brent Barbano 56:50
This was that this was that turning point for me. Because at that point, I had only seen Disney cartoons and shit really, really sugary movies that are really saved and, and this movie scared the crap out of me and

Alex Ferrari 57:01
I was can be scary. Absolutely.

Brent Barbano 57:03
It still is like my palms get sweaty at certain scenes when I even though I've watched the movie like 1000 times. But it was so real as the first time I watched a movie that was like, wow, these dinosaurs are real. They're these kids are gonna get killed. This is horrible. But I kept when it was in theaters, I kept going back I brought my aunt I took my dad, I went back and saw it like, probably eight times in the theaters until it came out. And then of course, I bought it on VHS. But, um, but yeah, that movie, not even first technical achievements. But just because of like it, you know, was the most real movie I had seen at the time. That's what really sparked my interest in cinema. And then after that, I would I mean, Godfather Part one is just, it's just a perfect, you can get a movie, it's just it holds

Alex Ferrari 57:52
Take the cannoli leave the gun.

Brent Barbano 57:56
You know, I am Italian as well. So there's just that aspect that I just showed me how I love just all those references in the movie. Um, so yeah, the Godfather Part One, got a third one. It third one's probably like a 10 way tie. But, uh, the first movie that comes to mind that I, I love a lot is sideways. Which is, which is interesting, because not even as cinematography, I mean, it's beautifully shot, but it's not like a godfather or anything like that. But I think it's just gorgeous in its own way visually. it sideways I love because of the way it was, you know, written and storytelling. And that's what really sparked my interest into how filmmaking is only as good as its script. I mean, the script in that movie is just brilliant. And the acting is fun. And that that really that movie just stays with me. It's probably also fresh in my mind because my girlfriend and I went up to one country last month. And so all I could think about was sideways the whole time when I was up there in my mind, but

Alex Ferrari 58:59
Did you take the sideways tour? Did you think as always,

Brent Barbano 59:02
I didn't we went to some of the wineries that were there and talk to some of the workers and we talked about the movie but now we didn't do the sideways tour and

Alex Ferrari 59:11
So since you're such a big Jurassic Park fan I've got a slight bit of trivia for you. I was at at a an event with Dean Conde. And they for everybody listening being Conde was a cinematographer of Jurassic Park as well as Back to the Future Escape from New York Halloween. I mean, he's been around and someone asked him in the audience, what was the best scene you've ever lit? The best, the best. He's the one he's the proud of stuff of all the words. And he said he said the Raptor scene in the kitchen. Okay, okay, because it was so difficult. You've got shiny objects everywhere. CGI. To CG quote unquote CG Raptors that no one knew if that would work, right. And he was the one that came up with the idea of the pots falling off the top. Because he, yeah, he's like, why don't you have them fall off? So when the CG guys hit it, it looks like it's more real. And Steven said, Stevens like, not a bad idea to go. Thank you, Steven.

Brent Barbano 1:00:23
That's awesome. Yeah, that that when I mentioned earlier about my palms getting sweaty and certain scenes that scene is at all why it's still Hey, dude. Man.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:35
It's like someone who watched The Exorcist when they were like, 10 I mean, no matter how old you are no magic behind the scenes you watch. It's the freaks you the hell out. It's that vulnerability that

Brent Barbano 1:00:47
There's these little kids nearby to get eaten by these dinosaurs. And when you're that age, and you're watching I can I could be in there. So yeah, that that seems brilliant. Yeah, that movie is awesome. I'm probably gonna go watch Jurassic Park now.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:02
So where where can people find you and more about your good?

Brent Barbano 1:01:07
Yeah, so just go to our website, www dot share grid comm you can sign up right then and there. If we're in your one of the six cities. Or you know, we also have a blog blog that share good calm where we're churning out content weekly. We have amazing articles. We've got an amazing set of writers now. In our YouTube page, just google share grin on YouTube. And you'll you'll find our page and we're doing videos almost weekly now that give a lot of education. It's for me, personally, I have my own website, Brent barbado. calm. And yeah, I'm on my cinematographer. But I do focus a lot of energy and share grid nowadays. But now you can see some of my work on the website.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:53
Very cool. I'll put all those links in the show notes guy. So man, Brent, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, man.

Brent Barbano 1:01:59
Thanks for having me. It was fun. I appreciate it.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:02
So you guys see there is a way to make money with that gear just sitting around in your closet that you paid all so much money for all those years ago. So if you got some old lenses, you got some current cameras that are not being used, lights, whatever, hey, this is a good way to make a little extra chatter on the side guys. So I hope this helps you guys out a lot and hopes to get a little bit more money into your pocket and helps you along your creative and filmmaking journey. Because a little extra chatter in the pocket is never not wanted. So hope that helps you guys, don't forget to head over to free film book calm that's free film book calm and download your free filmmaking, or screenwriting audiobook from audible and today's show notes are at indie film hustle.com forward slash 169 with links to everything we talked about in this episode, and as always, keep that hustle going keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.




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How to Produce a Profitable Low Budget Feature Film

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