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IFH 400: Creating a Film Riot During COVID-19 with Ryan Connolly

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Well, we made it. #400! I couldn’t have imagined that when I started this little podcast back in 2015 that we would ever get here.

I say “we” because I couldn’t have done it with the IFH Tribe’s love and support over the years. I am humbled, grateful, and honored to have the privilege to serve you all. Thank you for everything guys.

As promised I wanted to make this episode special and today’s guest will do just that. We have filmmaker and founder of the legendary Film Riot Ryan Connelly. Ryan launched Film Riot on Youtube back in 2006 and has been helping indie filmmakers create killer VFX for their films ever since.

Ryan has shot over 15 short films and has taken his followers on the journey of how he made them. I’ve been a big fan of Ryan’s for a long time and just love what he has created with Film Riot. Hustle respects HUSTLE!

We discuss so much in this conversation. From creating Film Riot to when he’ll make his first feature film to how our industry will survive the Coronavirus. I just loved having Ryan on the show.

Enjoy my EPIC conversation with Ryan Connelly.

Alex Ferrari 0:55
And as promised, this episode had to be epic. So how else could I have done it? By bringing the OG in the YouTube filmmaking in the film space Ryan Connolly from Film Riot is on the show today. Ryan launched Film Riot back in 2006, where he has been helping independent filmmakers create killer VFX on a budget ever since I've been a monster fan of Ryan, his brother and what they do over at Film Riot for a long time. And I even joke with Ryan in the in the episode where I I see what Film Riot has become. And I know what I could have done something similar back in 2004 2005. When I long I've actually released some of the first if not the first film independent filmmaking tutorials on YouTube, where you can still see them online. But But I'm not bitter. I'm just want to let you guys know not bitter at all. No I really am a huge fan of what Ryan does with Film Riot and, and he provides such an amazing service to independent filmmakers. And I wanted him on the show, I wanted to sit down and talk to the man, because hustle, respects hustle. So this is a fairly epic conversation and we talk about everything from how he started Film Riot to when he's going to make that first feature film, to how we're going to deal with COVID-19 as an industry, especially as indie filmmakers. So without any further ado, please enjoy my epic conversation with film rights,Ryan Connolly. I'd like to welcome the show Ryan Connolly, man, thank you for being on the show today, Sir.

Ryan Connolly 5:48
Absolutely happy to be here.

Alex Ferrari 5:49
And so so everybody understands where Ryan and I are right now. We were about 40 minutes 45 minutes into our first interview when the Coronavirus took out my power and and then we started again, and then his light went out. So we're gonna give us a well, we're gonna start it again. So I'm gonna ask a lot of questions. I already asked Ryan before, but we're gonna go down this road again. And I think you know, take two take three let's see how it goes. But I think it's gonna

Ryan Connolly 6:18
Third time's a charm

Alex Ferrari 6:19
Regardless. So like I said before, right. I'm a big fan of what you you done with Film Riot and and the good work you've been doing for filmmakers since 2009. And I told you this before, but I'll tell you. I was my first video. I was one of the first guys ever to put up a tutorial on YouTube with my first short film broken in 2005, which is still up there. And I wish I would have kept going, but I had that conversation with myself which obviously you didn't which said, I'm not a teacher. I'm not a I'm not gonna do filmmaking tutorials. I'm Spielberg. I'm going to be the next era and Tito. Tarantino doesn't do tutorials. Why should I do tutorials? And that ridiculousness stopped me from continuing down the path which I have now fallen in love with again since 2015, when I launched the indie film hustle. And it's kind of like I wish I would have bought apple at $8. Scott enough situation. So, um, but you and Rocket Jump. I know. Those guys and Indy Mogul. You're You're an OG man. You're an OG in the filmmaking space brother.

Ryan Connolly 7:30
Yeah, we've been doing it for a minute. Yeah, when we started it, it was it was for me, it was kind of filling something that I wish existed but didn't exist. Because it was, you know, I was four or five years out of film school at the time. And I had done some short films. And you know, since film school before film school, it was another like 4050 short films a day. But since film school had been a handful of short films, and, you know, nobody's even seen these and, and then just getting information even at that time was so difficult. I mean, there was Indy Mogul, which was just basically they just did prop builds and stuff. And then there was Philip bloom, who's doing like camera views. And then of course, there was Andrew Kramer, who is doing after effects tutorials, which is basically how all of us learned after effects. And there was this real big slot not being filled. And a friend of mine wanted to go to film school, but didn't have money to go to film school. And he was just venting to me, and then I just thought, you know, what, if there was a thing that created a community more than everything, not that I was like, I'm a film instructor because I didn't even like to call myself a filmmaker, like I was, you know, I had I've had a hard time not making a feature and then calling myself a filmmaker, even to this day, you know, I'm a little bitter about it now, but we're just silly, I know. But in the early days, it was very much about like what our opening said in the opening of the show, I said, you want to be a filmmaker so to y let's figure it out. And that was kind of the heart of what I wanted to do just to put out there and show the process of this you know, person who is pretty obviously green still, again, only four or five years outside of film school, but with a little bit of knowledge thanks to film school and thanks the experience that I've had I had since then, but putting out this thing of you want to be a filmmaker so do I now let's go along this journey, and every week was about me trying something new, somebody sent in an email, hey, how would you do this and be like, Well, let me figure that out. Here's how I did it. I grabbed some duct tape and a firecracker and, you know, stuff like that, you know, like literally like making light stands out of PVC pipe and stuff like that. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, old school stuff, man. Oh, no. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 9:43
Oh, no. Yeah, the Home Depot, like remember the Home Depot lights

Ryan Connolly 9:46
To this day I have them to this day. They're in my studio, we still use I've used those clamp lights. And I even made this like bathroom fixture light which Shane hurlbut showed me like years and years ago, this thing that he made where it's like this two by four and I'm sure he's put it out since then, but it's it's two by four and he put like light sockets across it and created this really beautiful light. So I've just went and bought a bathroom fixture and then I've mounted like a little baby arm to it and and, and then use that as a light. We showed how to build that on the show. And I did construction work before I that once I came out of film school, my dad was a, an electrical contractor. So I went to work with him for several years just making money to, you know, three jobs at one time sort of thing making money to get gear and then that eventually led me to be able to build enough of a reel to where I got work at Alienware, which is Dells gaming division. And so I had a little bit of electrical knowledge, I could build those things too. And, and I still use those things to this day, at least one of them show up on every film set of mine, to this day. So it's like, you know, they still have their uses. It's not always the, you know, $20,000 light.

Alex Ferrari 10:57
Oh, yeah, there's, there's no question, I still have things that I built that I kind of bring onto set every once in a while. And people are like, people are like, what's that I'm like, let me show you. And like, that's how I am like, you know, and,

Ryan Connolly 11:09
And I just, I love the look of a tungsten bulb dimmed halfway, you know, that just real nice, orange, it's just so nice. I love using it, especially just as practicals within the scene, obviously. But um, you know, I really wanted to even then it's like, I've always tried to be very objective about where I'm at, in my career, where I'm going and, and I knew very well, that I was nowhere near ready to make a feature in the beginning. And so it was very much like, Man, what if this could start now, and I know, I'm, I don't know how many years but I know I'm many, many years away from being able to make a feature, whether I just make it myself, or if somebody actually takes a shot on me would have this thing, just track that. And along the way we built the community and you know, figured it out together. And because, like we talked about before, overnight success, you know, a lot of people have talked about how David Sandberg went from, oh, he made this one short film with his, you know, with his wife in Sweden, and then boom, he's making a feature film. Yeah, but no, he, it's like a decade of stuff before that, just like the rest of us. So it was like, What if there could be this thing that showed that this, you know, even five years after film school, it's been another 10 years since then we're going on, you know, 11 years. Since then, uh, you know, trying to get to the point of a feature just busted ass every single week, because there's an episode every single week, sometimes two times a week, just showing that work being put in constantly, hopefully, curbing what we've seen kind of pop up with, you know, that, you know, Willy Wonka golden ticket, you know, mindset that not all have not all, but so you have you do see some people talking about why like, you we do when we do competitions, there's inevitably somebody who is mad that they weren't even an honorable mention, like, I'm disappointed that I'm not even an honorable mention. Well, that should just tell you that not yet. You know, you need more experience, work harder, don't let that discourage you, instead, let that be okay. Let me show you what I can do next time because of what I learned from this time. And let that be, you know, the trajectory. This one's still not good enough. Well, the next one will be okay, this one isn't, well, the next one will be and that's been my mindset and kind of what we wanted to bring to to Film Riot and, you know, not so much to try to be like, you know, a video essay of here's why they did that because I think that's just bs stuff. You know, it's, it's, it's not useful. It's, you know, we just wanted to be something of like, here's the hard work and you know, good attitude that might, you know, get you to a place

Alex Ferrari 13:46
Isn't it? Isn't it true that most Well, I'd argue to most filmmakers they just don't understand what a long road This is. They don't I didn't I didn't either like I thought I was like shoot I should be at the Oscars like next year. I'm like, I'm good. You know, like let's like I gave myself start prepping my speech. But I mean, I got five years solid to get to the Oscars. I mean, that's just come on. So there's there's a level of delusion, which I think you have to be delusional in a general sense to be in this business because it's not it's not a solid logical path to walk. So you've got to be a little bit crazy, but the egos that are involved in our industry. We've all had them I still have mine but it's tamed at age teams it a bit sometimes depends on the person I guess. I just been beaten up so much to be like, yeah, okay, that's fine. It's fine. No much rejection. It's so much rigid. Like I always say I take in shrapnel for like, you know, 25 years in this business. I've just been taking shrapnel I got it in my slower. I walk slower. I got a limp in my knee hurts when it rains. But that's That's kinda how it is in this business. But they don't realize that this is absolutely a marathon and not the sprint, that the sprint that they think it's going to have. And that's what Hollywood sells. So Hollywood sells the golden ticket idea, Holly, because it's a great story. The Robert Rodriguez story is fantastic. The Tarantino story, the Spike Lee's story, the john Singleton story, all these stories that we kind of grew up with paranormal activity, all these kind of stories. They're, they're magical, they're mythical, in a sense, but that's not they're outliers, they happen. You know, once in the gym, I'm still talking about all of like, four of the five of those guys, all of those guys came up in the 90s, four out of five of those guys were in the early 90s. And we're we're like 2020 as of this recording, so like, it shows you how many of these stories lights out, that's one of those stories, but that's also you know, it's an outlier. It's it's a thing, and I don't think they understand the, you got to go in every day and just do the work every day.

Ryan Connolly 16:04
I mean, even even David's story, it just appears to be that and that's what I wanted to that's what I love about film, right that hopefully it will, you know, if Fingers crossed, I can get to that feature that it'll you know, it's right there to watch from 22,009 to whenever the feature happens of how long it took, where's like, you know, David, I know I know David and I know how much work he put in before time I you know, all the short films he did all the time he put in figuring out how to craft these ideas how to connect with an audience you know how to direct the scene, you know, what coverage he needs to accomplish the thing that he wants to so it wasn't this thing where he made a short and it got noticed and you know did is because all the work he put in trying thing after thing and putting thing after thing up. And you know, this competition that competition until finally the right person saw the right thing when he was in the at the right time, in his you know, path to then move to you know, that point. And a lot of people I know it that that's what's really great about where we're at now is like it is possible for you to put something up another another friend of mine just finished writing and directing his first feature starring Idris Elba. He did a short film called the cage and 2017 incredible film, which is awesome, great, great, great short, but it only has like 60,000 views. That's it. But that got passed around to the right people, because it was just great work. And that got this person attached. That person attached this, this producer wanted to talk to him and he was ready for it. And said, here's the other stuff that I have that I want to do, because he's been putting in so much work behind the scenes preparing other things, that he could be like that hit one, you know, I love your short What else you got, oh, I got this, because I've been putting in the work non stop behind the scenes with no congratulations because it's thankless work to do because nobody even knows it exists. But he was ready for it when the opportunity came knocking, and that, you know, turned into making his first feature with frickin Idris Elba. You know, and, and, you know, I have a similar story to what's going on now. You know, it's like, again, it's more outward, it's more open, even our failures have been very open. We were going to have like, it was like, gonna be a $300,000 short film. And it just all fell apart last minute. And that was very, very much an open failure. And but that turned into one of my favorite short films, I've made proximities. So that, you know, great, sure, that's where it went. And so all of the path for what I've done is, is very, very much open. But there's a lot behind the scenes that I just don't talk about that I'm constantly working on, on top of the stuff that I've seen. And it's that stuff that kind of just, it's the ammo that if you ever have the chance, like ballistic, opened up some chances. So when people came calling, I could be like, Well, here's the other stuff I have. Here are the other ideas I have. And then I mean, the interesting story about that is you know, it's all stuff that's going on now. So it's not something that I could talk about in detail, but it's like ballistic, led to getting managers and producers being interested. And then that led to developing a feature but I'm a first time director with an original action sci fi property that would be a very large budget. So you know, that is Yeah. Yeah, so that's where we landed. And we're like, Yeah, we got a producer attached that was a very exciting producer. And he was the one that was like, I really love this but out like a script. I don't know I don't see the path for this and then so I was able to be like well, here's another one and this is a sub 10 thing and it's you know, it's horror. And that's there comes a knocking which I made a short add up. So then I wrote the feature with that because I already had this like 70 page script already written because I just been putting in the work behind the scenes assuming these were, you know, you always got to have that ammo and they all really responded to that. And so we developed that a little further and then decided that a short film would be the right way to go before sending out the script. And so we did that. So we were able to couple the short film with the script. And now you're talking like a year and a half, since, you know, it started since ballistics. And now, they went from ballistic to this. And now we're a year into this. And I still have, you know, it's still thankless, but now, okay, at least I get to make this short film. So I do that. And then, and then finally, we send it out, and it's just silence for months, but then all sudden meetings start to pop up. But now maybe it's not going to be this thing. Maybe it could be this other thing, because then you're in these meetings, and you're talking and then even if they don't like the current project they're doing, they like you. And then they say, Well, what else you got? You know, and if you put all your eggs in one basket, and you're not constantly, like your head says, Hustle, Hustle, Hustle, they're constantly putting in the work behind the scenes that nobody knows about, except your closest friends and collaborators. You know, my answer would be like, Oh, well, I have some ideas. But instead, my answer is, I have these other pitches completely done. And I have pitch docs. And if you're interested, send it to you. I could pitch it right now, if you want in there. Well, let me that that one sounds interesting. Let me hear it. Okay. Well, let me tell you about it. And then boom, you can, because you've already you've already put in the time pitching this idea to friends, just in case, the right person asks you, and then that opportunity presents itself, and then you can deliver it. So it's just, you know, it's all that stuff, I think is what leads to success. And they're not, you know, it's not my original ideas. This is just going off the backs of the smart people who, you know, I've been lucky enough to pick their brains for the past, you know, six years, and I took their good counsel and you know, follow those things.

Alex Ferrari 21:38
Yeah, I mean, the thing like I, with my first short film, broken, the one that I uploaded those tutorials in 2005. Yeah, that that short got around a lot because it wasn't anything like that. There was I was a mini DV short with like, 100 visual effects shots in crazy unique. So yeah, it was it was really unique. And it looked like film. And it was like, you know, film, you know, if you look at it now be like, yeah, doing something for people. But back then people were like, holy crap, what did you do? It was very moody. And it was like shot in a great location. And I got around town, and I started getting calls from producers, agents, managers, I even had like some Oscar winning producers, contact, I was 20. I don't know 24, 25 27, something like that.

Ryan Connolly 22:25
Oh, man, that is too young for me to have that I'm so happy. It didn't happen that you know, it's in myself,

Alex Ferrari 22:31
Well, this is what happened. So I would go into these meetings. And they're like, this is great. And like, do you have a script version of the short? And I'm like, we're working on it. Mistake number one. Do you have anything else? Yeah, I have ideas. Mistake number two. And by the time that the heat, you know, like I was pitching to studios, I was doing stuff, but I didn't have anything ready because no one had ever told me to do what you're doing. Or what I've done since is to have other project prepared other pitches prepared. And by the time I got around with the script, it was obviously like $125 million. extravaganza. Right. And, you know, all the people that were interested in me, I was like, yesterday's news. And I was just like, know that the spotlight is on you for a minute. And you've got to strike when that minutes ready and have a lot of stuff ready to rock and roll. If you're if you're trying to play the studio game, you know, which is, you know, depending on the size of the work you want to do in the projects you want to do, unless you're independently wealthy or can raise that kind of funding yourself, you're going to have to work within the studio system, I opted out my first two features where I opted out of the studio, I'm like, screw it, I'm just gonna do it myself. And I'm like, I'm just gonna do it real low budget, and I'm just gonna do my own stuff. And that's fine. But again, like I always say, Kevin vague. If you're listening, I'll take the meeting. You just let me down to talk, Kevin, anytime. I got some ideas for the next Avengers. But uh, but I was, it was funny. I was in, I was in an agent's office. And this really was kind of jarring to me. I had another short film. I did like five years later, that got a lot of attention as well. And I got to do the tour, the water bottle tour again, I was already here in LA at that time. And I did the water bottle tour around town. And I walked into an agent's room, and they were like, We really love your short this and that, blah, blah, blah. And he goes, listen, I want you to watch a couple of shorts that we have and want to see what you think of it. And they had these other shorts, and this is like 2000 I must say 2011. So we're still early on, you know, the YouTube thing had not really like you know, people weren't watching shorts yet like that on a high level like they are now. It wasn't as it was today. So I was watching DVDs of short, and some of these shorts were from directors from overseas, and people had never heard of, and they were amazing. Like, like insane like Quiet productions Zack Snyder, production quality, David Fincher production quality on short stuff. And I'm like, why haven't I heard about this? Why haven't I seen this. And he's like this is the other project we're looking at. These are the other directors, but they, you know, we're working on developing other stuff. And at that moment, I really, and by the way, most of those guys, I think almost every single one of those shorts didn't ever, they never materialized. They those projects never went anywhere. Because I remember the names, I wrote down the guy's name, like, I want to see it, this guy goes anywhere. And a lot of them didn't go anywhere, they might have gone into commercials or music videos, or something else. But they didn't get to make their features in the studio system. And that was the moment I realized, like, oh, talent doesn't mean everything. Talent is great. And skill is great. But it's also with timing. It's about timing. I mean, if, if El Mariachi or clerks showed up today, we would have never heard of who Robert Rodriguez or Kevin Smith is, period. And they've said it themselves, like, it just wouldn't have made it because that was that moment of time for that, that kind of product. You know, I think I think like a young Robert Rodriguez today would have done what you guys were doing, doing like these really awesome, you know, visual effects, late and short films and putting them up on YouTube and stuff like that. But what he was able to do in 91, you know, it was a different time. So it's about timing as well. And it's weird, and that's the thing, you've, you've kind of got to be ready. At all times, like you're training constantly. You're training constantly for the Apollo fight, you're on, you're always you're you can't be like hanging out, you know, eating bomb bombs, you know, because one day Apollo is gonna call you, hey, do you want a shot at the title? And, and, and you've got to be constantly in shape, constantly ready for when that opportunity comes? And that could take 10 years?

Ryan Connolly 26:49
Yeah. And it's, it's kind of like, you have to have heat and you can try to create heat for yourself and, and that he dwindles out very quickly. And then you got to wait till the heat has been created. But it's the lottery, you're just playing the lottery over and over and over again, you can't I mean, they, there's very few things you can do to like, this is going to create heat. For me. It's like you just try over and over and some of the stuff that I did, I did a short film called Sentinel right before ballistic. And it actually got me contacted by several producers. I never would have guessed this in a million years, it was this short little piece that I just did for fun and kind of just to try something where it was just a visual effects. And one guy, I didn't even write a script, I made it all up as I went, we had a crew of like six people in the middle of nowhere and it costs me sandwiches, you know, and that got me more attention than the $30,000 short film I did with a 30 person crew. And all these actors that I flew in and all the stuff that got me zero attention. Nobody contacted me after that one. And, and similar to you. I had the similar night I didn't really do the water bottle water. Or, but after proximity, I was contacted by some managers, some agents and two different producers. And all of them asked me the same thing and I had the same answers, you know, what's the future version of this? Oh, I didn't even think about a wait a future version of this. That would be cool. Wouldn't it? Ready for that?

Alex Ferrari 28:21
Like should you should write that like you're telling them you should write that all directly good. You should want your help and call me when it's ready.

Ryan Connolly 28:28
Yeah, totally. And then it's like well, what else are you working on? Well was this I was working on this I got a PA get all of that just evaporated because it just tells them like this person's not even kind of ready anyway moving on. We'll see what they come up with down the line. So that taught me a lot and then talking to friends and whatnot needed them telling me the same then after that it was like everything I did I tried to make sure the thing that I could talk about after that and it's just like after that's just constantly trying to make a little bit of heat for yourself like ballistic got some heat which got me some stuff going and then that heat dwindled but then doing the short film there comes a knocking actually brought that heat back up that was like the main reason for making it because yeah, we have the script but if we also have the short that puts some heat because it's something actionable it's something right now that they can look at that you know Begley ballistic created enough heat to have the managers that would then allow this to get passed around because without brutal ballistic that doesn't happen. And then you know, there comes a knocking shows what is it but even what's funny is like everything is gonna lead to something if you let it like I did a short film called Ghost House back in. I think it was 2016. So it is a short film called Ghost House in 2016. It was just for fun. It was basically like a punchline of a short film like horror movies in real life. Like your house is haunted. No one's staying there. You're burning that thing to the ground. Like that's the short film in a nutshell. And a friend of mine saw it and he passed it to a friend of his who was an assistant at three arts at the time. I don't believe he was a manager yet. And and he was like, Oh, this is cool. I'd love to chat with him. So we just talked just Hey, who are you? I may, you know, this is what we do. Oh, that's cool. All right, man. Well, it's great to meet you. That was it from 2016 to the end of 2018, when ballistic hit and then all of a sudden, there's all these different producers, there was like five producers at the same time all saying they wanted to develop a feature with me. And I'm like, how does this how do you navigate this? And so I asked director, friend of mine, he's like, dude, you need a manager now. I'm like, great. So how do I do that? You know, and then I had remembered, oh, this guy, three arts. We really hit it off. Maybe he has a night. So I emailed it. I'm like, man, we I don't wanna take any your time. But I'd love to just pick your brain. Here's what's going on. And I'm not sure what to do next. Not knowing that he's now a manager at three arts and then he's like, Hey, can we jump on a call and then we jumped on the call and he really responded that short. And and that's how I got my manager. You know, and now the him and Luke Maxwell and will Robotham are at three arts are now helping me navigate all this stuff. But it's because of a relationship that just to Hey, man, what's up in 2016 for a short that nobody cared about, you know? So it's like, it's all those little things, like you said, always being ready for whatever it is. And like, all these little ingredients, eventually amount to hopefully that final baked delicious cake, you know.

Alex Ferrari 31:25
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. The one that they've been telling us about since we started this damn journey, talking about getting heat. So I actually, I was I had my first short film broken and the heat kind of fell off a little bit. But then I submitted that short to a little show called Project Greenlight. Oh really as, as a as a sample of my directing. And I made it to the top 20 Top 20 of second season a Project Greenlight. And actually, I'm in the first episode of Project Greenlight Season Two Oh, wait, are you really I am for five seconds and you here and it's I did this. Like my my video, like whatever that video is that you had to put in like the submit yourself like I can do this kind of stuff. I was 20 whatever. I was some 20 something. And I have the I actually posted the video on my YouTube channel because it was so embarrassing. so ridiculous. Like I was so egocentric. I was so like it was and I just like Alright guys, I just wanted you to see what happens. And when that aired on HBO, because that was a big thing for our industry like, project we'd like everybody in the business watch Project Greenlight, because they all wanted to see the train wreck. It was a great show. And, and then I would get calls from the managers and agents that that I like not that like oh, yeah, he's whenever Hey, what are you up to? I saw your project it was that you on Project Greenlight, and it's just me, oh my god, like five seconds in the opening montage saying, I can do this. I can do it. I've lived this. I breathed this. I could do this for I've been wanting to do this for my entire life, something along those lines. And then they cut to somebody else. It's like the montage of all the filmmakers that didn't make it. And it's just so and it's just my face, like so intense. With completely jet black hair. I didn't had no gray back then. I mean, I will I will. For everyone listening, I will put it in the show notes. Because I will put it in the show notes because it needs to happen.

Ryan Connolly 33:54
That's it. They like everything we put online. It's there forever.

Alex Ferrari 33:58
It's brutal. It's brutal, man. Yeah. No, I wanted to ask you, man, you've been doing film right for 11 years, man. How? How do you keep going because I I've been doing mine now is going to be five years in July. And I've seen a lot of people come and go, I know you've seen a lot of people come and go, as far as YouTubers, as far as podcasts as far as film blogs that come and they go and they don't really stay or they do a nice run for three or four years and then they're out. There's a level of endurance that is needed to do this kind of work. And while you're still also chasing your dream, and also doing work that you want to do, and also building and also building your business because you've got to feed that business. I don't know about you, but for me, I find it so rewarding helping people. It's addictive. It's addictive. Now I I can't live without doing something like this, because I see the impact that my work is doing for people. And then I still get the pleasure to do my own work and direct my own movies and Do my own projects and stuff like that. But the endurance is something that a lot of people come jumping into this filmmaking space either on YouTube or podcasting or blog. They have no understanding. Yeah, what it takes, like I want episode almost, I'm getting close to 400 on on this podcast, and you know, you guys, how many videos do you guys have? Like,

Ryan Connolly 35:22
It's almost that cuz we don't count everything we put up but as far as like episodes of film right go We're almost at 1000 but if you would count everything we're well over 1000 but then we used to have a show called film state, which was like a movie news show and that had something like 400 episodes. So all together with like all short films, all videos we've done 2000 probably around 2000 Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 35:49
So that's an insane amount of work to create that much content and consistently do it, which is one of the reasons why you're one of the one of the brands that has has survived and are left at the mountaintop if you will. There's a handful of of those brands that have been around for a long time that are still around but I remember I remember brands that in companies that that were around when I was starting out they're gone to just

Ryan Connolly 36:19
Yeah, you know, yeah, it is an endurance game like you're definitely right about that but I mean I think just like the industry you have to have a sickness you know takes a broken brain like we have Yeah, it's just like where sanity and insanity insanity it's just you cannot help yourself I mean, a story I told earlier on on on another show was you know ballistic when when we shot that there was there was two legs two ballistic was a an action sci fi I did and released in like 2018 and there was an LA leg to it. And there was a Texas like to at the Texas was all night stuff. It was thriller ish. And la stuff was all day action. And there was about 100 plus people on set. We had like six to eight cameras, we had practical explosions. wirework dude lit on fire, you know, ISIS car that we were launching and blowing up and madness, madness. And I had to orchestrate this chaos and Dude, I dry heaved in the morning, and on the way to set every morning, I was like, I want to go back to the hotel, I want to go back to the hotel, I want to go back to the hotel. Yeah, but then the second those monitors come up, all that falls away, it becomes blinders, and you're just in it, and it's like Game on. And, and you get through that process, and it's the most stressful, you can't eat, you know, and it's, it's horrible and amazing. And you get through the process, and you're at the end of it, and you haven't slept and you feel like shit. And you're like, God, that was hard. I can't wait to do it again. We're just sick. We're sick individuals, you know, just even like what we've been talking about, about trying to make it like, it's Jesus. It's like 16 years since film school for me longer for you. And yes, still beating our head against the wall. Because we just can't help ourselves. It's that somebody asked me yesterday, they said, You know, I haven't been doing this this that long. But I feel like I'm not getting better. And, you know, just feels like maybe this industry is not a super viable industry. And I'm like, What can I do? You know, how do you think I'm like, the only question you have to ask yourself is can you do something else? If you could do something else and be happy? This isn't for you do that thing? Yeah, you can't. If you cannot do something else, then yeah, pursue this. But you know, still be smart. I mean, you know, my I will not stop until I either die or make a movie. I don't one or the other, you know, but you still got to be smart just as you have and be able to pay your bills and provide for your family. So there is that no matter what having your financial backup plans as you're still pursuing your goal, you got to be smart, but there's no anything else I don't, I couldn't do anything else. I would be miserable. In fact, there was just like, to emphasize the point. There was a time. God, I think it was around early 2017 where I was getting so burnt out. I was just like, not super happy about life. My wife and everybody was like, dude, you need to take a break because I was working almost seven days a week like once my kids were born I took it from seven days a week to six days a week. But I was still working like insane amount of hours a week and I was starting to get sober dot and my I hadn't taken a vacation since my honeymoon which was like, you know, seven years ago and my brother was like, Alright, I'm forcing you're pulling the plug. You have to go on a vacation. I was like, fine. Okay, yes, I'll go on a vacation, went on a vacation for seven days and I came back feeling physically more refreshed but mentally I felt the exact same. I'm like What is going on? We just went on a week long, gorgeous beach vacation. I should be so like ready to get back to work. And then I started a new project and also Have that, like miserable feeling just went away. And what I realized was, it had been like over a year since I was working on something outside of just general weekly Film Riot, like, like a short film or just writing something. And I was like, Oh, that's what was making it. That's what it was. And which I, you know, we set this we have to do this thing. It's a sickness,

Alex Ferrari 40:22
it's a sick sickness,

Ryan Connolly 40:23
Just to have that like, clear evidence of like, Oh, yeah, I have to be doing this, or I'm legit, miserable, it doesn't make any sense. But you know, if if you have that sickness, it, it makes it a little easier, because you just it's not, you just can't help yourself. And then like you said, it is a bit of a drug to help people like to see it actually helped them is like, more rewarding than anything that we do. Like, if in the end, all I do is film, right, I never get my chance to make my feature. Because either a, I can't bring the finances together, myself or the studio, which is not going to happen, I'm going to do it no matter what's going to happen. But even if that were the case, the reward that Film Riot has been for me for us, would be totally worth it. Like there's been some meetings that I've had for people that, you know, are way more advanced than me. And they're like, Hey, I used to watch film, right? When I was in film school, and I'm like, shut up. Crazy. Yeah, yeah, I've had that too. It's insane. Isn't and it's a sad feeling. And then when they tell you, not only did they watch it, but then they say like, that really helped me, or this is what made me realize this is what I wanted to do. That's like, dude, nothing, nothing is more of a gift than hearing that. So that that's like a huge, you know, motivator. And, and I think, I think that feedback, not just being able to make stuff, like just being able to be creative on a weekly basis, and the education that has been brought, but that feedback, or, you know, the feedback of somebody telling us that it's entertainment for them that lets them get their mind off this or that. That stuff, I think is really what fuels the tank for us to do it over and over and over and over and over again, because it does get you know, it does get tiring. Just having that community. Yeah, that that definitely is, is the fuel for that is the main fuel in the tank, I think.

Alex Ferrari 42:19
Yeah, without question, man. And it can can you can we talk a little bit about the positive side of failing? Because Oh, yeah, because so a whole episode on it, I moved because so many people like I don't want to fail, I don't want to fail, I'm like, you have to, it's very hard to fail big and fell off. Because that's the only way you're gonna learn, you know, you don't win. If you when the, if you hit a home run, every single time you're up at bat, you will never understand when it when and where and when it doesn't happen, you won't be able to handle it because you won't have the resources inside of you. The coping mechanisms to deal with the failure, you should fail often all the time. So when those when those when those things happen that are like amazing, then you're like, Oh, this is nice, but something's gonna happen. I see it, let's go back to work.

Ryan Connolly 43:11
But and then it's also multifaceted. Like I said, I've said, since the beginning of Film Riot, my, my phrase has been like failures, the bridge to success. I don't know, if I stole that from somebody. That's my own thing. I actually don't know at this point. But I had been doing it long enough to know how important failure was. And especially now I understand even more that you two things, one, you can't appreciate what you have, unless it's been hard as hell to get it. If you eat the best $100 steak in the world every night for dinner, you know, it's not going to mean but if you just have shitty fast food all the time, and then you get to take a bite of that steak, then it's like, oh my god. So one, you're appreciating what you have. And it just makes you more well rounded person. All that failure is going to make you like specifically for me, for a director, all the failure that we've had has made me a better director, because it makes me empathize with my crew crew more, and let you lead them better with more empathy and you know, sensitivity. And then I don't know how you can be a well rounded, good storyteller that connects with an audience without experiencing that failure. But understanding of that failure is one, it's just the human experience. And it's gonna put everything in perspective for you. But to every single failure is the best education you've ever had. Like, I don't learn off of success when I show somebody a script, and they're like, this was fantastic. I'm like, cool. But what didn't work though, you know, the that all you say to me is this is fantastic. And there was nothing that didn't work for you. There's nothing I can process. There's nothing I can learn from. But if it comes back with this didn't work, this didn't work. This didn't work, even if it's not, this is why I think it didn't work that's not always needed. It's just like, Okay, this isn't landing for you. Why is that and being able to analyze those. So it's the, it's those failures, those those negative outcomes that allow you to You know, proceed get better advance as a human and a storyteller. And just a craftsman overall, I think.

Alex Ferrari 45:10
There was, there's a this young filmmaker, his name Spielberg, he never heard of him. Never heard of him. He did a few things early in the 70s and 80s. But exactly, not really into cinema, but almost take on that one. Close, I'm so close. No, um, a lot of people look at Spielberg and be like, oh, Spielberg is you know, he's the most successful film director of all time. He's made the most money, all this kind of stuff or close to it. And a lot of people don't realize it because, you know, he did Jaws, we did sugar that express which was a success for its for what it was that he did jaws which exploded. Then he did Close Encounters, which was a hit. Then he did the Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark, as well. So he was like hitting home runs at a level. But then there was this little film that no one talks about called 1941. And everybody pretends just didn't have a just everyone pretends it was this huge, like big, kind of like, john Landis style comedy with john Belushi, and all this kind of kind of stuff. And it was it was fun. It was like a really bad arm. And he, I think, as I've heard him do interviews about it, he was just like, I didn't even know what to do. He was not prepared for that kind of failure. Like, you know, because he had just been rocketing up to the top. So when he fell, it took him a minute to recoup himself and then he did etc. And then and he's had ups and downs. But he's had ups and downs you know, you know, Empire, the sun, you know, the color purple that weren't these big monster hits that he wanted them to be. So he's been up and down constantly throughout his career. But it was very interesting. Even someone like him, I mean, all of them have had it. I mean, I think even like Cameron and Scorsese and Nolan has Nolan had a bomb. I don't know if you still believe. I don't think a bomb. He's pretty much been on a rock a rock meteoric Mira kit, he's, but he's like a mutant. He doesn't really. He's a robot. He's not a robot. I actually saw him on the I saw him on the backlot once in from a distance I was on the Warner Brothers backlight and I saw him walk you just like, No, no, I actually tried to absorb whatever, Musk. He was putting off the aura of Mr. Nolan. And I saw him walk. Like he was walking. But when he walked it was like a walking of purpose. Like he's just like, I don't have time for anything. I am working. He's a mutant. He's one of those like, those creatures that just keeps keeps going. It's a very unique, he is a genius. There's absolutely no absolutely you just show there's very few directors you show up just because it's them. You know, Tarantino makes a movie. You're gonna watch it no matter what it is. You know, Nolan Fincher. You know, they make something you're like, dude, we gotta watch this is this is happening, huh? My language? Come I can't I'm so sad. Am I not mine hunter no more. No more episodes, they canceled it. Like he had five seasons set up by Fincher is crazy. David's crazy is great. David is crazy. David is good. But he's also a sir. A certified genius. His whole family is prodigies. I don't know if you knew this or not. His. His entire families are prodigies, like in music and other areas. And I've known a few people who've worked with him,

Ryan Connolly 48:44
What did they eat?

Alex Ferrari 48:47
I don't know. But they are like a whole like he when he, they're like he's at a whole other. He's playing chess and the rest of us are playing marbles. Like it's not even checkers. It's a frickin marbles. Like he's at a different place. And when you when you meet, when you meet, I've had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to some of these, these people who are at that level. And it's always fascinating, just like it's a you're like, I would have loved to make Kubrick like I would have just loved to have that conversation just for five minutes, but the meaning of your life, like I mean, exactly, you know, I mean, who else could have Tom Cruise and Nicole Kim and the two biggest movie stars of its at that time, locked up for a year and a half doing a drama and just beating down Tom Cruise with 100 of the same damn thing. He's like, I don't really see I don't really see anything until like take 72 that's when we really start getting the engine rolling.

Ryan Connolly 49:50
Okay, yeah. Yeah, actually just I'll be in the trailer. Once you're on take 80 just call me I'll come out and we'll start shooting the movie.

Alex Ferrari 49:58
It's It's insane man. Now there is something we haven't spoken about at all in this episode, which we should probably talk about, there's that elephant in the room, which is called the the Corona, their cerveza sickness that is going on. And it is devastating not only the world, but since this is a film show, we're going to talk about how it's devastating our industry. And I'd love to hear your point of view where you think things are going how things are, are changing, and will change and will not go back to the way they were. There is a lot of stuff happening. This is a once in a generation. Once in a lifetime event, this has never happened in the history of the world. And the way it is happening now. And in our industry is never dealt with any industry hasn't dealt with this. But let alone our industry has never dealt with anything like this. I mean, I can't I can't fathom a summer without a blockbuster summer. I'd like I can't, I can't. Because I'm not going to the movies this summer. I don't care if Dr. Fauci shows up and says, We're good. We're good. We've got the vaccine Rue that Yeah, like, like he says, We're good. We've got the drugs to take care of. That's if you get it. It's just kind of like getting a sniffle. You're good. You're solid. Don't worry, everyone go back outside. If Dr. Fauci said that, which he won't, but if he would say that I still would not, it's gonna take me a while before I shake a hand again, or go into or go into a public place, let alone on a big TV, or an enclosed movie theater. So that's, that's the first question, man as far as how the business is, you know, the theatrical experience. You and I grew up on the theatrical experience, you know, you're a bit younger than me, but we both remember video stores. You know, and we both Remember, you know, I remember 1989. Batman, like it was yesterday. You know, like McDonald's cups. Oh, my God, all of that. Did I still, I still have the cards. I have it for Batman. I still have them somewhere in my account. That's I have all like in the card thing, all organized stuff with the rappers Yeah. But like, I remember that excitement of there wasn't like VHS is around, obviously in video stores around but that theatrical thing, which I don't see it as much anymore, maybe because I'm older. But even when Avengers showed up, which I mean, I obviously wanted to see Avengers in the theater. And game. There's so much competition for eyeballs. Now. There's so much more to watch. Yeah, but the theatrical experience is kind of a holdover from the past. And it should be a movement of the future. I think there'll always be at some sort of theatrical experience. But I don't, there always will be there always will be the IMAX experience. The the, it's I mean, AMC theaters, when you go in there, like those couch things that they got going on now. like they've had to take their game up. But what do you like, I just read the AMC is probably going to go bang. Yeah. Like, what? How do you how do you? How do you? How do you see this going? Yeah,

Ryan Connolly 53:06
I just have a lot of questions. You know, it's like, you know, is this something where you know, you're gonna have a repeat of like, 1918 1919? Where you saw a studio step into the theatrical system? Or? Who knows? I don't know. Um, I think for sure, you know, you're, it seems to me that lower end theaters are going to have a real hard time surviving this one. And I think theatrical experience will exist, because I think people want to get out of their house, obviously, you know, people are going stir crazy. And then just the experience of seeing a movie with them, there's just a whole different level, you can't pause it, you can't, there's a different level of reverence and like respect, and like that communal experience, I don't think will ever go away. You know, I think that'll always be there one way or another, but I definitely, it definitely seems like it's changing quite a bit. And I've talked to a few people that are, you know, what, no way, way more than I did, and then ended up consulting with a few companies, which obviously, I can't I can't say about but consulted with because they're looking at other avenues. Because of the lay of the land. Yeah. And the companies that I was talking to for that it was kind of blown my mind because it's like, Man, what does this mean if you're talking to because you know, they're talking to you guys like us, because we're in this space where the YouTube space, we're in the streaming space, we understand that market, the lower indie market, and so they're starting to turn, you know, their gaze in that direction of what could we do to add another leg in that area? Because this thing is sort of, and that's kind of like, Man, what does that mean? And I don't have an answer.

Alex Ferrari 54:43
Like, if they're talking to us, we're in trouble, right? Yeah.

Ryan Connolly 54:49
Exactly. So it's like I don't know what that means. You know, and and I don't have an answer for it. I just know that those thoughts that those that thought process and those questions are being asked, and that's Like, man, and pretty much everybody I talked to says the same thing like, not 100% sure we're kind of taking it one day at a time, and we'll see what happens. But everybody, you know, keep saying things are fundamentally going to be changed, but then no one's following up with what that change is. Exactly. And so I think no one really knows. You know, I, the optimist in me, and I just, you know, it's just what I think I think we're gonna get back to great stories, I think we're gonna get back to you great storytellers, telling those great stories, you know, entertainment, and the arts are so inter woven with our daily life. And so no, Horton says, just so I mean, that's that, but like, at what in from what platform will be the main you know, source like, you know, you see like trolls to came out today straight to streaming that was gonna be you know, that was gonna be a big moneymaker in theaters for sure. And, you know, for a second, I was reading that they were considering sending wonderwoman straight to streaming and then they might push it.

Alex Ferrari 55:55
They might though, they still might, because there's their mind, how long are you going to push this stuff? Like, everyone's been pushed everything, it's going to Christmas into the winter holiday. And then you're gonna have like, 100, big blockbusters for Christmas. Like, that's not gonna be? Well, not only that, but you know, there is a very good possibility that this thing comes back in the winter. Right, right. And there is a wave of it. There's another wave of it. So and even even if everything's okay, okay, how many people went to the theater? Yeah, like how many people are really going to go to the movie theater? Like, personally, my love hate relationship with movie theaters has happened since I was a teenager, where they've had I've always said they've had a combative relationship with their customer. They they charge for food, and popcorn and stuff. Like you're like you're in an airport. Like, we don't know what a coke cost in the real world. Like there's an in these inflated costs there. And then, for a long time, the experience wasn't particularly that great unless you spent money at a higher end theater. Like now like, AMC figured out that like we better we were putting the money in. So now the seats are good. The floors aren't sticky. The floors are sticky. If you remember that dollar theatres dude. Oh, they're so gross. They were nasty. They were selling if you ever clean this ever, I mean, it was just like layers of like soda pop on the floor. And oh, it was just Oh, oh, it's horrible back in.

Ryan Connolly 57:24
Back in the day when we used to leave our house and go places. Alamo Drafthouse was my thing. Like, that's where me and my wife went like once a week, we'd have a date night to Alamo Drafthouse. Yeah, because it also it also no phones, no talking, like when you

Alex Ferrari 57:37
I love those ads. I love, love, love

Ryan Connolly 57:40
If somebody picks up their phone in front of you, and they're on Facebook, and you're like, What the hell are you doing? Like, it's one thing if you're like a parent, you're like, just checking real quick, and it goes away. Alright, I have no problem with that. But like, you're literally scrolling Facebook, like everyone else paid to be here to row like, yeah, go outside.

Alex Ferrari 57:55
So I've always felt that they've had a combative relationship with their customer base. And now I feel that it's kind of biting them in the ass because now the second there's another opportunity or their second, there's something else. They're like, you know, what I really kind of don't want to go and now have an excuse not to go because I don't want to get sick. That's going to be a difficult thing mentally, to kind of break through the customer. Like the customer is gonna have to feel really comfortable to be in an enclosed space. And that goes for concerts. That goes for huge events. This is going to be it's going to hit so and film festivals like a south by you know, and all the everything's happening with that Kansas holding in there. But the you know, there that's Yeah, that's I don't see I can't see that happening.

Ryan Connolly 58:39
It's just so crazy and interesting to me because it all just is so unprecedented that there's really no like, because I mean, you can look all the way back to 1918 100 years ago like what is that really going to tell? You know what I mean? Like

Alex Ferrari 58:56
didn't even know what they had no idea what bacteria was, they didn't know that washing your hands was a thing.

Ryan Connolly 59:03
And there was no home entertainment that wasn't a thing now we have all these streaming services. We got Netflix, you know have you seen the trailer for that new Chris Hemsworth movie that's going straight to Netflix looks like $100 million blow

Alex Ferrari 59:14
I heard it Yeah. Who is it? Isn't that with the Russo brothers? Yeah, I didn't know that was going to that's going to the Netflix that's going to Netflix

Ryan Connolly 59:21
Going to Netflix and they produce it and I think Joe Russo maybe wrote it one of the Russo brothers read it maybe but it looks badass but it looks like this massive to it is this massive tentpole project and it's just going to, you know, it's a Scorsese film, what straighten it. So it's a different world. So that kind of throws you know, a wrench into the works to of trying to be, you know, trying to predict what might be the outcome of this situation. So it's like, it's just a lot of questions from me. The only thing I land on is, you know, we're gonna keep telling great stories. I don't know what the medium for delivery of those stories are going to be as far as like the main Like, well theaters start to take a much bigger backseat and be less of a thing. You know, for the first time ever, I would say maybe, but are they going to go away? I would say no, no way. But who knows who freaking knows this thing is so crazy.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:14
I mean, look, I remember when home video wasn't a thing I remember when I remember going to my first video store when I was in 84. It was in New York, and I went to my first video store when we rented Flashdance. We rented Flashdance and we watched it on the other top loaded, it was a top loaded VHS I remember I remember it was a tablet, a tank of a VHS and we watched it. And I remember walking into a video store. And I remember, like I worked in a video store when I was in high school. So I worked there for like four or five years. And I I remember that that what like home video wasn't a thing. Like no one ever thought that that was going to take over. No one ever thought that DVDs were going to do the thing. No one ever thought that streaming was going to be a thing. And now we're saying no one ever thought that movie theaters weren't going to be a thing. And if they aren't, and if you look at the current model of businesses, let's talk a little bit about money here. In the current business model, in order to justify a 200 plus million dollar tentpole, there has to be a theatrical revenue stream to justify it. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show that you can't make Avengers for Disney Plus, you might be able to get away with it now. Yeah, right now you can Oh, we can know that you could do it now, because they still only have 20 million subscribers. But when you hit mass, critical mass, in the US, let's say let's say 200 million people sign up for Disney plus. And that's it. Like you're not there's no more if nobody else is gonna sign up for it. Now you're spending 200 million to keep what you have not to make more. So how there's going to be a moment where that money has to drop. And so it makes sense to keep that revenue stream, you see what I'm saying? Where Yeah, me. And also before the $200 million movie was completely reliant on the US box office, which now it's completely reliant on the international box office, which now like when China shut down every once in a while, what what, what what happened? What happened? And then now Oh, Europe, just shut down. And then everything just shut down? So if those revenue streams, aren't there, I, is there a future for as many tent poles? As we're getting?

Ryan Connolly 1:02:45
Yeah, that's that is a good question. That is a very good question. I think, you know, the rest of this year is gonna, like at least present possible outcomes, you know, because I think we're gonna be really, like heading in a direction for the next few years? No, I don't think we're really going to land on the this is the outcome of this happening for another two to five years. But I think, you know, toward the end of this year, I think we'll finally have an indication like, we'll have a mile marker to, to sort of be like, okay, here's what this looks like. It's where where it can be predicted at that point. But, like, right now, at least for me, and I don't know. But I, you know, curious and hopeful and my fingers are crossed? Because, I mean, I certainly don't want theaters to go away.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:31
I don't either. I think they're loved that experience. Yeah, absolutely. But the one thing also, I feel that there is going to be some casualties in the, in the business meeting, our companies, companies or companies are going to go down and studios are going to be either go down or get acquired a big, big studios that we know of, and have grown up with, I mean, look, Fox just got bought, for God's sakes, you know, by Disney. So if Fox could get bought, you know, there's four or five other studios that have that were lower on the totem pole that could easily be purchased by Apple, Google, Facebook, you know, any of those big guys who have those guns, it's that the landscape is going to change in such a way that we can't, nobody really knows. Nobody knows what's gonna happen.

Ryan Connolly 1:04:16
I think it's most definitely going to accelerate the acceptance of and the draw to streaming. I mean, we're already headed there. But obviously that's just gonna accelerate like be the acceptance and adoption of it from some of the major studios and players I think are is going to happen far quicker than it was going to that but that's just kind of obvious. Because what other what other option is there? It's don't or there's this.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:43
Yeah, and I'm curious about this whole $20 you know, I call it premium t VOD, that they have like trolls came out today at 20 bucks. Yeah. You know, like, I don't I want to see numbers. I don't how many people are paying 20 bucks. I feel that's a fair number for a family

Ryan Connolly 1:04:57
Kind of but that's what they charge. Anyway, like It's usually about 1999 when a brand new movie comes it and so it's not even an insult,

Alex Ferrari 1:05:05
But to buy the who's buying who's buying movies nowadays? That's the other thing. Like, I know, I've seen TV numbers, and that but you come from a different generation though.

Ryan Connolly 1:05:12
Yeah, come from my mom. I buy it for the special features if I could rent the special features I totally what,

Alex Ferrari 1:05:18
But the point but yeah, but you but you're an anomaly. Like you're a very small market, like you're a film very true. You're a, you're a filmmaker. And you also come from a generation where we were used to purchasing these things. Because that's what we that's the only way. So we had physical media libraries and DVDs and things like that. But there's a generation that expects all this for free, like or expects it as part of their subscription model, like

Ryan Connolly 1:05:41
Or just feels free because their parents pay for this thing, and they never have that experience of it.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:46
Yeah. So you know, I I'm really curious to see also how much longer I'm now I'm really curious,

Ryan Connolly 1:05:53
is how much is it that to rent like, what's what does it cost to rent for a brand new,

Alex Ferrari 1:05:57
like, if you were gonna rent? No, no, no, it's, it's 20 bucks, period. It's 20 bucks

Ryan Connolly 1:06:02
To rent it?

Alex Ferrari 1:06:03
Yeah, it's not you're not buying if it's in a box, it's renting it for 20 bucks, because it's premium. It's like going to the theater. Gotcha. Okay, so it's not available? That makes more sense. Yeah, it's not. So you're paying a rental. Now, if you're gonna go out to the theater, and you want to first run a movie, and you have a couple and you've got kids, that's an 80 $90. If you get popcorn and stuff, it's 8090 bucks, 100 bucks to go out to the movies. And if you got a full family, or you're going out with Francis, it could easily, you know, go past three figures. So $20 for home in you have a nice system at home. It's not outrageous. But I'm used to paying something else in this environment. And I the psychology of that.

Ryan Connolly 1:06:47
What you're saying is, is because also a ticket costs me let's say 15 bucks. Right? Right. But then I'm looking at him like, this is $20 kids movie, are you kidding me? When really, you know, like you said, in actuality, I'm buying my ticket, my wife's kit kit, my kids ticket, then we're getting popcorn. And it inflates to like this $80 fair wear but it's like $20 for a cartoon just to rent it. That's because of the psychology of like, exactly what you said in this space.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:15
It's a very, so I'm really curious on what those numbers are going to be like, because, you know, they haven't released a bunch of them already. And some of them, they have to have no other way to make any money with

Ryan Connolly 1:07:29
The numbers because they don't really they the streaming numbers are always a lot pretty confusing. They're not as cutting drop box.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:35
Right? And they and this is not a part. This is not a thing like you know, premium t VOD number this week, box off. Yeah. So I'm curious to see what those numbers really are. And if they're making, you know, I know they're not making 20 I know trolls is not gonna make $20 million $30 million. I just don't. I just don't see that. And this never

Ryan Connolly 1:07:57
looked much into streaming numbers. There's there somewhere that that posts those numbers like yeah,

Alex Ferrari 1:08:03
there there isn't there, isn't there? There. I have some back end friends who work at some of these places that showed me numbers. But I would see some of these numbers. I would see some of these numbers and I'd be like, Oh, so that tentpole movie made 50 grand this week. Oh, oh, okay. You know, like, like in TiVo like, Oh, Oh, right. I mean, I personally think t VOD is dying a slow miserable death because nobody want no one's renting. It's very difficult to rent or purchase. Most people are waiting for Netflix waiting for the part of their subscription model. It's just like, they're like, there's just so much good stuff to watch. I don't need to go out unless it's like if it's Avengers, like I paid 20 bucks to see Avengers. I would rather see it in the theater, but I would pay 20 bucks for the next Marvel movie. You know, I probably like I'd probably, you know, I'll probably pay 20 bucks to blackwidow my page 20 bucks for Wonder Woman you know these big, you know, extravaganza kind of films, spectacle films. I might do that. And that's a big might do that. But I mean onward the Pixar movie. It was one week and T premium t VOD. A weekend rentals. like normal and then it's in freakin Disney plus, like two weeks later, I was like, yo, what's going on? What's going on? Like, explain? I don't understand. So the business it's like we are in an upside down Bizarro world right now. I don't think that they I've been saying this for a while that the the the money that's being spent in streaming is a bubble. Like you can't keep that. Spending just buying catalogs buying libraries. 100 billion dollar $100 million for this friend's thing and another 150 for all the South parks and and all this stuff. And they're just buying content buying content cuz it's kind of like a space race, if you will, a streaming race or streaming wars as they call it streaming wars, right? Yeah. To try to bring every By the end, but I think a lot of that is based on future projections of growth. But if those future projections of growth are not there, or slowed because of what we're doing, do you know how much Netflix is? So in the whole Netflix is billions in the hole. And they're leveraged to the hilt, because they're just trying to grab market share. They're trying to grab market share, trying to grab market share. And I don't know, I don't know where it's gonna go, dude. I mean, it's, it's, it's a weird word.

Ryan Connolly 1:10:31
Yeah, yeah. Same here, man. I have no like solid predictions. I just have, you know, optimal towards a story. And that's about it. And then it's like, well, I guess we'll see, you know? Yeah, it's crazy. Have you?

Alex Ferrari 1:10:47
Have you seen any noticeable jumps in your, in your numbers, from traffic and stuff? Since the corona thing, like more people find our

Ryan Connolly 1:10:56
Yeah, our numbers have gone up quite a bit. However, our other show hasn't. Under under my company trying films, we also have another show called variant which is about comic books. But that has pretty much, you know, stayed even keel. And I've noticed other channels didn't, I wasn't really seeing a boost there either. So it's probably more along the lines of the content we're putting out that people were just attaching to because, you know, we're doing the contest of like, we're all stuck at home. Let's, let's talk about that. So it seems to be people are just, you know, responding to that more, maybe I don't, I don't really know, I guess we'll just have to wait and see in the months ahead. As we do different content, if it goes back to normal, or if it will see because it also it all kind of hit at the same time. Like there's been a little bit of a slowdown in film, right as some behind the scenes stuff was worked on. So that's been a little more slow goings. And just as of a few weeks ago, we started wrapping back up and this hit so it I don't really know which thing is doing that, because there's three things happening at once. And I'm, maybe it's all of the above, that's, you know, that's doing that. So I can't really tell because everything else other than that seems to be no difference.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:09
So, sure, so since you are you are a YouTube OG, I have to ask you the question. If you were going to start a YouTube channel today, is it a viable way to make a living?

Ryan Connolly 1:12:25
I mean, I think, you know, I think it's as viable now as it was then like, it's just a stupid idea. You know, it's just like getting into the industry, it's the same thing, you know, if 100 people do it, maybe one of them might be able to be fine, some, you know, success, success, and and, you know, maybe one out of 100,000 might find actual solid success, and maybe one out of a million might find longevity in that success, you know, and that seems very, you know, to be the case across all sorts of media, this kind and it's just and I mean, Film Riot, at first I started as a show called making the film, which in an episode, we put up one of those original episodes, it was unbelievably bad. But I did that for free. Because YouTube didn't make money. There was no monetizing at the time, there was no money to be made. So that came from sponsors, but how am I going to get sponsors and I didn't even know that was a thing yet. So I had no aspirations of money out of the thing to start with, I was just doing it for the love of it. And then it got picked up by revision three, and then they blew my mind with Oh, you can put sponsors on this. And you can actually make this a job. And I was like, wait, I'm sorry, this can make money. And then that happened. And it didn't make me any money for I had a full time job for over I think it was over a year before I was able to finally quit my full time job and focus on this. And then even that it was several years before I could pay anyone else other than myself, really. So it was me doing everything by myself. And then finally I was able to it was bit by bit it took years that turn it into a thing. It wasn't like, you know, you have people who, you know, go on and hit for doing this or that, but that that candle ends up burning out, you know, it's the ones that put in that it took a long time to build and understand. And it's kind of like you You were saying earlier, the maturity that comes with it, I think is what leads to longevity. Because there, you know, it's been really hard. And then sometimes reviews are really good. And sometimes they're not. Sometimes you're getting a great rate from sponsors. And sometimes they're like, Listen, dude, you're getting 30,000 an episode, we cannot pay you that and you're like, great. So then you have to have multiple legs. It can't just be this one thing is one basket, you know, you got to have multiple shows in a store and you're also doing stuff work on the side that no one will ever hear about, but it helps pay the bills. They're versatile. They're diversifying your revenue streams. Exactly. diversification is everything. My dad always posed it to me as like, which is probably you know, he probably got it from somewhere but he's like if you're gonna sit on the stool, you Do you need four legs right now? Like, yeah, that's the like, take off one of those legs now sit on the stool. How comfortable is it? I'm like, Oh, he's like, now take off two legs now How you doing? Oh, now have one leg on that stool? Are you able to sit on that stool? Nope. He's like, there you go. I like and I own a company. And

Alex Ferrari 1:15:16
I'm gonna steal that I'm gonna steal that. That's so good. So good.

Ryan Connolly 1:15:20
And that's what he taught me that since you know, I was young, because he owned a company. And so he really understood what that meant. So he's been quite quite a mentor to me as far as you know, building a company and, and that was I had that person to talk to to help. But if it wasn't for that, thinking, if it wasn't for my dad, putting that four legs on the stool mindset in my head, I don't think film right would be around today, because there's no way I would have sustained it. In fact, we just went through a period of time where we had several months without a single sponsor, we were doing Film Riot, for free. It was everything else that was helping us sustain us through that time, as we move out of one thing and into another. And it had to have that so we could move into a new, you know, path. But you know, the, it's difficult. So I guess the point I'm making is, I don't think it's viable for anyone on its own. If you're gonna do this, it needs to be multifaceted, there needs to be multiple things, and you need to be regardless if it was 2009. Or right now, you need to be ready, just like anything else in this industry, which is basically been our entire talk, you need to be ready to plant your feet in the ground and endure this thing for years and years and years and years. Not case views. We've never chased views. We do like some like flash speed effect every now and again, because we want to because it'll be fun, not because we know it's gonna get a ton of views. And that's been one of the reasons why, you know, our show has probably built slower than it could have the views, you know, are up and down a little more than that. But for me, it's if we're chasing views, I just can't do that. I wouldn't be able to keep doing this. I don't care. You know, I want to talk about what is the psychology between why I put together this action scene not just Hey, check out this cool stuff. But let's talk about the psychology but let's talk about the intention of what's going on. You know that what is it you know, what does it mean with what is happening with the camera you know, that stuff? That stuff doesn't always get the most views but you know, it's the stuff that really matters to me so we balance it out. So it's you know, I think it's that doing something that you have to do just like anything else if you're doing YouTube to make money from it, but it ain't gonna last and and YouTube revenue just frickin forget it unless you're making millions of views every single episode you're not making enough money to sustain it's just not a thing. It's like the YouTube revenue we don't even hardly pay attention to it. It's all that's all like sponsor base or however else you could parlay that into something. So yeah, man, it's just super hard. I think anything in the entertainment industry comes back to that same thing I said before with that Twitter question of the only question you have to ask yourself is can you do something else? If you can? Don't do this? Because it is friggin hard.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:06
And everything you just said and obviously film a shampoo prank videos. That's obviously how

Ryan Connolly 1:18:12
Well obviously shampoo pranks and be a horrible person and blogs and you're

Alex Ferrari 1:18:21
How about if you do a shampoo prank video on a cat while being a douche? A billion YouTube channel now I'm going to ask you a few questions I asked all of my guests sir. What advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today? Besides the shampoo prank cats and being a douche? Okay, besides the shampoo douchebag cat prank? Cats the douchebag and do i think i think we should do a collab honestly, we should do a collab and really do that video.

Ryan Connolly 1:19:00
I think it see what douchebag but I think it's just kind of what we've been talking about is you just need to do it. Everything is for me, it's been entirely about building experience in my entire career has entirely been about building. I mean, even you know, recently, excitingly I'm able to which we've been open and honest about it on the Film Riot channel and will something come of it I don't know. But I've been able to talk to you know, studios and stuff and we're starting to do that thing and being able to have these conversations and pitch the way that I've been able to pitch has been a result of the experience that I've gained from Film Riot and being come becoming comfortable in my voice as a filmmaker and again, that's just all experience based being able to direct their comes knocking like I did or ballistic like I did was purely based off the experience that came before it with each one, learning from it and learning how to you know, not diving into the deep end right away but dipping my toe into the the shallow end of the pool and then getting in Then moving Little by little, you know, starting to work with a dp, I used to do it myself. Now I worked with a dp. Okay, I know what that is. And he taught me all these things. Okay, great. Now we bring in a sound team, and they're teaching me what that is. Okay, great. And now I'm bringing in makeup and wardrobe. And they're teaching me Okay, great. And then the stunt team, and then more of a visual effects team. And then a full post pipeline, and my editors really teaching you how this pipeline works. Okay, great, you know, little by little crafting that experience over the course of it's been, you know, 10 years publicly, but even more so after that. Before that. And then even before getting to those collaborators, all the time that I put in doing it myself, and spending, what could take two hours with a crew is my entire day of shooting, you know, when I shot my short film, tell, which we actually shot in 2008, before film right ever existed. And then we released in 2012. But we made it seem like we were shooting it now. Because, you know, obviously, it would be a lot more fun to feel involved in the moment. But in 2008, I didn't know anybody in film, the only person that knew anything that was happening was my roommate, who's also my cousin who went to full sail with me. So we're the only two people there that know anything about film, my 13 year old sister was the boom operator. And the actors were cool with it, which was amazing, you know, tons of DIY gear, it's me operating a crane as the director, dp sound guy, you know. So it's, and that took, you know, every weekend for that, I remember how it ended up being like a 30 minute short film. And, man, I don't know how many days it actually was, I don't think we put all the days to get we combined days to like, make it faster on the show and not be so boring. But it was more days, just weekend after weekend after weekend after week, because we all had full time jobs. And I put it all on a credit card, which I don't suggest you do, obviously, that's stupid. But you know, I did what I had to do. And so I think that that's it, like getting out of your head that this is an easy road, it is not, it is a very bumpy path. And it is a very long road that might lead to a dead end, it might lead to a dead end, that's just fact, this path that I'm on, it might be a dead end, but I'm going to stay on it until I don't have a choice, you know, and understanding those things, I think is really important. Because they're just hard truths, you know, and you might be a thing where you end up being a filmmaker that you're making film to because you're doing it yourself, no one ever opened the gate to you, you know, that's a possibility. You know, that's, that's more of a likelihood than not, which is discouraging. But if you're doing it for that end goal, I don't know how far you're gonna get anyway, it has to be that sickness, it has to be the passion and love for telling a story and connecting with an audience through that story. If you have that, then that's all that matters, you know, so that would be my, my main bit of advice is Do it, do it again, do it some more and just keep going

Alex Ferrari 1:22:56
And, and enjoy the enjoy the path. Because if that path does lead to it, and then you and your only hope was the end goal, and you hated the path you walked, you're going to be you're going to be the I always say you're going to be you become that angry, bitter filmmaker. And I always anytime I do a talk or something, I go everybody here, we all know an angry and bitter filmmaker. And if you don't know the better filmmaker, you are the angry and bitter filmmaker that everybody else knows. You're the dude that if you don't know them, that means it's you.

Ryan Connolly 1:23:30
That is a that's actually a great way to distill it of no matter what even if you make it because I know we both know filmmakers who are currently doing it. And it is not the end result. That's the reward. It's the journey that's the reward that Olds hold saying and even in the short film realm, you know, I've been lucky enough to make a short film and I have an audience to put that short film out and you know, I think ballistic is over a million views now so but that's not the reward you know, making it there was a reward and then the journey of the audience connection to it is the reward you know, and then if that's on thing well then now I'm on to making the next one and that you know, that path is the reward so it's like you said you got to be happy with the path because the end result may never be a reward.

Alex Ferrari 1:24:15
Now what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life Oh, man, that is a tough one because I'm I'm flawless Obviously, I'm polishing my Oscar as we speak.

Ryan Connolly 1:24:28
Yeah. God, there's so I feel like every other day I'm learning something that I'm like, God, I'm such an idiot. You know? I think balance Yeah, that would absolutely be which is a mixture of, you know, career and life. And to my wife's credit, she is you know, the most patient, angelic saint like human being I've ever met in my life. And I think that's what all of our if we're all still with someone, that's what they are. She She gently helped me arrive to a place of balance. Because you know, I just burning the candle on both ends the entire time. You know, before kids were born seven days a week, minimum 15 hours a day minimum. So my average was 1518 hours a day and then I'd roll into bed roll out of bed and go right back to it. That's just like legitimately what was going on. And often, especially the first year of Film Riot, I've talked about it, I call it the dark days, I went two days without sleeping every week without fail because I had that full time job. And on Wednesday night, I would have to deliver the episodes. So I would stay up all night, finishing the episode, I would hit upload pants on and go right to work, I kept the pillow at work because of that. So you know, during lunch, I would try to take a nap I that's when I discovered Newton naps where you keep a spoon in your hand and you like lay on the thing. And then once you doze off, you release a spoon, it hits the tile and it wakes you up. And that was like these little micro naps and actually helped me out a little bit. And it got even worse during like holidays because then Alienware would ramp up with contents on producing way more. So I'm already working overtime and Alienware. Plus, there was still this thing. And, you know, that was kind of, you know, what choice do I have situation, but then that way of living stuck. And that's how I worked. And it took a while, but there was a, it finally landed on. If I stopped work at this time, the world's not gonna fall apart, everything's not gonna first. It'll be here tomorrow. And it was really the birth of my first kid, my daughter that clicked like, I am not missing this. And I kind of I just regret five years of being married and wasting so much time that we could have been doing more fun stuff. And she was just being patient, waiting for me to figure it out, you know. But even with my kid, she she had a sit down talk with me and, and it's I credit my wife entirely. And she just had a heart to heart of being like, I'll follow you, wherever you go. It wasn't an ultimatum. But she's like, I am terrified that in 20 years, you're going to look back and regret all the time. And I've said it on film, right? Ever since I quoted on film, right ever since at 80 I will not look back and regret the movies I didn't make I'll look back and regret the time I missed with my family. And a man that's that's the lesson that has been learned. And I'm still trying my best I've been doing better. You know, sometimes in this industry, you know, it just gets hard. Right now is one of those times finding balance. So it has its ups and downs. But for the most part, I've found a decent balance. And I've been trying to be there more because I don't know who said it. But I so far, I think it's the truest thing I've ever heard is, you know, just being there is 90% of the way toward being a good parent, you know? So that's I've been really focusing on making sure I'm there and not like this ghost of a memory to my kids like that. That would be the dagger to the heart for me.

Alex Ferrari 1:28:15
Very great answer to that question, sir. And quickly three of your favorite films of all time that will be on your tombstone go.

Ryan Connolly 1:28:23
Jurassic Park. Okay, Alien. God, I have a bunch of Indiana Jones and Mission Impossible? Can I add,Can I four?

Alex Ferrari 1:28:32
How about that Jaw's sitting behind you?

Ryan Connolly 1:28:35
Oh, jaws is up there. Basically any film from hit Oh, rope, rear window. Dial M for Murder psycho. You truly don't understand your film.

Alex Ferrari 1:28:45
You truly don't understand the topic of three.

Ryan Connolly 1:28:48
This hurts me. I would say like, everybody knows who watches the show. Everybody knows my, my sick love for Jurassic Park. And it's just because Jurassic Park like changed my world. I was already making like stuff for my family. But when I saw it as like bark, I was like, 11. And it was an experience. Like I watch movies like that. Yeah. I mean, it really was experience that no one had. But you know, I love to watch movies of that. Yeah, at 11. And so I felt so unsafe in this safe place. So after that, I became obsessed with this Spielberg dude, like, Who's Spielberg? And what's a director because that's what I want to do. Like, and once I figured that out, it was just like, so that's my like, I mean, plus, it's just an incredible film. But that's, you know, that's my massive admiration for that film is that's what made me realize what I specifically wanted to do like what I've been already pursuing and not knowing and to that experience that I felt as an audience member as has been something that I've been chasing ever since. Now, where can people find you in the work you do, sir? You can just go to a Film Riot, calm and pretty much everything's there. Of course, we're on YouTube as well at YouTube. comport slash Film Riot but film right comm has pretty much everything, including the podcasts we do and page to connect with any of us our social media all that.

Alex Ferrari 1:30:09
Man It has been a pleasure talking to you, Ryan for the second time. We just nailed out to full blown podcasts. Thank you, Kyla, thank you, quarantine. Thank you so much for the show. But for all the good work you've done community for the last over a decade of work and all those sleepless hours that you put into, into the work you do with fullbright. Man I truly appreciate and hustle definitely recognize this hustle. So I appreciate everything that you do. And thank you for being on the show, brother.

Ryan Connolly 1:30:46
Thanks. I appreciate that. Thanks so much. And thanks for having me. This is a blast.

Alex Ferrari 1:30:50
I want to thank Ryan for being on the show and dropping those knowledge bombs on the indie film hustle tribe today, brother I I am a fan Ryan, I am grateful for what you do for the filmmaking community at large and have been doing it you are an OG in this space. So thank you again for not only being on the show, but for everything you do, man. If you want to get links to anything we spoke about in this episode, including checking out some film rights awesome content, head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustlecom/400. And guys, I wanted to let you know that the beta version of my new epic course on film distribution called film distribution confidential, or predatory film distributors do not want you to know is in beta launch right now. So I have 100 seats, actually less than 100 seats now available for anyone who wants to jump in early at a massive discount. And you get to watch me build the course and help me build the course as I start uploading new lessons every week. And everyone who's inside so far is loving the course, really giving me some great feedback and helping me build out the most comprehensive course on film distribution for today's world that exists on the planet. So if you want to check that out, head over to indie film hustle comm forward slash let me in. Thank you again, for listening guys. I am again humbled that we have gotten to this, this level in this podcast of Episode Number 400. I continue I plan to continue going I don't see any time in the near future where I will stop doing these. If anything, I'm adding more and more on the pot on podcast on my podcast plate if you will, as you guys know the new podcast filmmaking motivation, which has been very well received when you get your weekly motivation to keep going down this path as insane as it might be sometimes. And we of course launched the ifH Podcast Network, which is going to be housing some of the best filmmaking, podcast and screenwriting podcast around as I personally will be curating new shows as they come in. We are adding new shows all the time. So if you want to check out what we have, and if you want to discover some new podcasts if you don't have enough to listen to with me, you can head over to eye f h podcast network.com. I appreciate you and I thank you guys so much for giving me the privilege of doing this for you every day. Thank you again. And 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 177: How Facebook Watch Can Help Indie Filmmakers

Right-click here to download the MP3

The online video landscape is changing on a daily basis. The newest gladiator to step into the ring is Facebook. Facebook is launching Facebook Watch, a new “show tab” that will host original shows produced exclusively for Facebook. Considering that Facebook has 1.32 Billion people who come to the site on a daily basis this is a game-changer for filmmakers and content creators.

Facebook watch, Apple TV, Amazon Video Direct, YouTube

Credit: Facebook

Facebook Watch will launch with a handful of shows first but they plan to open the platform up to independent filmmakers, production companies, and content creators.  They will also be adding REVENUE SHARE option for all content creators. My sources tell me that the revenue will be higher than YouTube. Many are saying that this could be a YouTube killer, only time will tell. Personally, I don’t think Facebook Watch will kill Youtube but it will injure it for sure.

Facebook watch, Apple TV, Amazon Video Direct, YouTube

Credit: Facebook

We are living in an “Attention Economy.” Whoever can command the most attention will be successful. Take a listen to the podcast as I go into a bit more detail about Facebook Watch and how indie filmmakers can use it to build their brand and/or companies.

Keep Hustlin and enjoy it!

Alex Ferrari 1:00
So today, guys, I wanted to do a short episode to give you this amazing news that I think is a game changer for indie filmmakers, and for content creators out there. Facebook Watch has just been announced. And it is a huge deal. Facebook is throwing their hat in the ring. For Video Creators, they're basically challenging YouTube, and they have 1.3 2 billion people that show up to Facebook every single day. So when you have an audience that big, generally speaking, if you have video content, someone's going to be watching it. And but this is the kicker, they're starting to do ad revenue share, just like YouTube. And from what I'm hearing through the grapevine, which I have a couple of little spies with in Facebook that I talked to, it's nice to have friends in high places. What they're telling me is that right now, Facebook is launching a bunch of original programming, very similar to what YouTube read did. And obviously what Netflix and Hulu and Amazon have been doing as well. But Facebook is a little bit different, since it's a social media platform, very similar to Amazon is Amazon is very different because it's, it's where you buy everything. And their business model is different than Netflix is business model. But what makes Facebook unique is that it's has a massive audience. I mean, we're talking about 1.3 2 billion people that come to the site on a daily basis, that is monstrous. So for them to throw their hat in the video creation, and working with other video creators and filmmakers, is monstrous. And what they're going to be doing right now is launching a bunch of original shows, with a little Facebook watch tab that you'll be able to get to and incorporate into your Facebook, watching and spending time on Facebook and so on. It's pretty ingenious. But what they're also going to be doing is ad revenue share same business model as YouTube, paying creators through ads, that is huge. And from what I'm hearing, those ads are going you're going to be making more money on Facebook than on YouTube. I'm just saying this is a very big deal for filmmakers, and for video creators. So when they launched, it will only be curated content and only be original programming. But as they start rolling this out over the next month and possibly year. So you will be able to as an individual and independent artists and independent production company or producer to create your own show tabs. So basically now anybody and everybody can have their own show, complete very similarly to what you could do on YouTube. But the audience is so much different than it is on YouTube, and you'll be able to make more money. It's just another avenue for you to be able to monetize your creations. And it doesn't have to be House of Cards, you can be just talking on a camera. And if you got an audience that wants to watch you for free and watch ads, you'll get paid. I really want to impress upon you guys, what a game changer This is for all filmmakers. All you got to do is start creating start thinking about how you can create content for this medium as well that you can use for any other medium. And if you happen to be sitting on a bunch of content, whether that be YouTube videos that you've done over the years, whether that be short films, feature films are just sitting around gathering dust. Why not? Put it up. If you have a series, let's say a series of videos, and you put it up on amazon video on YouTube and on Facebook watch, and you start generating revenue on it, why wouldn't you do that? You're getting your work out there, you're getting your face out there, and you're making money along the way. Are you going to get rich by this? No, would you release a feature film that cost $100,000. And that's the only way you're gonna make your money, no. But you can start creating content. And you can start making money and getting your brand your movie yourself as a filmmaker or production company out to a much larger audience. And if you happen to have a large Facebook audience already, this is going to be amazing for you guys. So I just wanted to kind of put this out there for you guys. So you can know what's going on and know what this ever changing landscape is like. So just like, just like I did an episode on Amazon Video direct, which you could start generating money. I've already started generating money on just my short films and things like that. You can start doing that with Facebook watch when they roll it out for individual creators, which hopefully will be soon they might mention it today at their big announcement, or in the months to come. But definitely keep an eye on that. And on a side note, another little guy who's been thrown his hat into the video creation ring is Apple, they just announced that they're going to spend $1 billion this year on video original video content. So they're going to be throwing their hat in the ring as well. You've got these juggernauts, all battling for eyeballs. Because this is an attention economy. That is what we are in an attention economy. Don't let anyone tell you any different. It's all about who can grab the attention of the customer, whether that be Amazon so they can sell you stuff, or whether it be YouTube, Facebook, or Snapchat, which they're trying to start getting getting into it as well, to keep you on their platform to keep you watching to keep you buying. That is what people are looking for an attention economy, listen to what I'm telling you guys, if you can grab a customer or the audience's attention as a filmmaker, whether that be making films, short TV series, documentaries, how to videos, however it is, you will be in power, the larger your audience, the more money you can make, and the more control you can have over your art form. This is a huge deal. I wanted to bring it to you guys. And let you know I'm gonna put a link in a bunch of links in the description, talking about Facebook watch, as well as the Big Apple announcement that came out a little bit ago. So guys, what are you waiting for go out, make your movie, go out and make your shorts. There is never been a better time to be an independent filmmaker, never been a better time to be an independent filmmaker, you can get your films, watch, you can get them out there. There's no effing excuse anymore. But you can go out there and be a successful filmmaker and understand this is not a one year plan. This is a 10 year plan. And you have to think about it that way. And if you start going down this path, and you're doing Oh, after four months, nothing's happening, then you're not cut out for this business and go sell some shoes somewhere else. All right. I'm sorry to be rough. I'm just excited. I wanted you guys to get this information. And as always, keep the hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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IFH 152: How to Build a YouTube Empire with RocketJump Co-Founder Dez Dolly

Right-click here to download the MP3

So I want you to get ready for an epic podcast. Have you ever been surfing through Youtube and come across a channel with 5, 8, 10 million followers and ask yourself:

“How the hell did they build that audience?”

I do all the time. Over the last year, I’ve had the pleasure of working on a killer new show called Dimension 404 for Hulu and Lionsgate.

The series is created and produced by the boys over at Rocket Jump. Now, Rocketjump is one of those Youtube channels with 8 million followers I was talking about. I had the opportunity to sit down with one of the co-founders of Rocketjump and showrunner of Dimension 404 Dez Dolly.

Here some more info on Dez Dolly:

Desmond Dolly is a writer, director, producer who got his start in the industry selling TVs at an Indiana Best Buy. After graduating from USC Film School – Dez wrote and directed an independently financed feature film, Champion of Glory while climbing the ranks as a commercial director & editor. Building a post-production company from the ground up, Dez cut his teeth on AAA ad campaigns, boasting a client roster that includes Google, Viacom, Warner Brothers, Fox, Visa, Kraft, Dodge, Samsung, and AT&T, to name a few.

In 2010, Dolly partnered with film school classmates Freddie Wong and Matt Arnold to form the digital production company and entertainment banner, RocketJump.com. There, Dez and his partners pioneered new forms of online video, bringing professional content to the YouTube platform. Their culturally influential viral videos have accumulated over 7 million subscribers and tallied over one billion views, making Dez one of the most-watched video directors on the global web.

Dez Dolly directing on the set of Rocketjump’s Dimension 404

The first season of his flagship web series, Video Game High School, gained over 130 million cumulative views over 21 episodes and was named “#1Web Series of 2013” by Variety. Season 3 was heralded as a must-see People pick in 2014, and was nominated for a 2015 Producers Guild Award for Outstanding Digital Series.

Dez Executive Produced and co-starred in the Hulu docu-reality series, RocketJump: The Show. In 2017, Dolly renewed his first-look deal with Lionsgate and served as creator and executive producer of Hulu sci-fi anthology series, Dimension 404.

Dez is a wealth of information and drops some MAJOR knowledge bombs in this episode. If you’ve ever wondered how you could build an audience of almost 8 million then perk up your ears and get ready to take notes.

Enjoy my conversation with Dez Dolly from Rocketjump.

Alex Ferrari 1:55
So today's episode, guys is a huge, huge treat. It is an epic, epic podcast. And I'll talk to you a little bit about my guests in a second. But you guys have been listening to me talk about the show I've been working on for the last 555 or six months, which is called dimension 404 for Hulu, and Lionsgate I've been I was hired to do all the color grading and online editorial and deliverables for the show. It's an amazing anthology series six episode run with an insane cast. And you know, I've it's some of the best work as far as my color work is concerned I've ever done in my career. I'm really, really proud of the work that I've done on it. You guys are if you guys have Hulu, definitely check out dimension four, four. But one of the other great benefits of working on dimension 404 is I got to meet the founders of rocketjump, Freddie Wong, Matt Arnold and Dez, Dolly. And, you know, I've been picking their brains for the last six months here and there at lunches, and in sessions and stuff like that, trying to kind of figure out how they were able to build this insane online Empire. And if you guys don't know who rocketjump is, just go to YouTube and type in rocket jumping, you'll see there are some Oh, geez, in the YouTube space, they were they started back in around 2010. And their story is pretty remarkable. They've got close to 8 million followers on YouTube. And they've been able to unlike other YouTubers, they've been able to leverage their audience on YouTube to start creating higher end content with bigger and bigger budgets. And again, like unlike other YouTubers, they actually start seeing a plan. far ahead of the game, they start seeing around the corner, they're like, Look, we don't want to keep doing just YouTube videos all for the rest of our lives, we want to actually start creating more narrative content, episodic content, feature films, things like that. And what they were able to do with the rocketjump brand is, is pretty remarkable and kind of unheard of in the YouTube space, and dimension. 404 is by far their most ambitious and largest budget production they've ever undertaken. And it is epic. What they were able to do with the budget they had is kind of remarkable. I know we had over 1400 visual effects shots that I personally inserted every single one of them into each episode throughout the series. And it's pretty remarkable what these guys did. So I wanted to get Dez Dolly, who is the executive producer, and also showrunner of dimension 404 on the show, so we could pick his brain a bit about how they built an audience, how they've been able to leverage that audience, you know, create content for that audience and build careers, basically We offer YouTube their stories kind of crazy and desert story specifically it's pretty inspiring and just plain amazing and you know it's it's you know we talk a little bit about this in the episode you know it's about the right place right time right product, same thing with Kevin Smith or Robert Rodriguez. But you know any of these guys that you just hit at the right moment and rocketjump with Freddie Mac and as they all hit at the right moment, but they kept going with it didn't just sit on their laurels, they actually started building something building a real production company building up some something that can actually do more than just funny little YouTube videos, but actually take it to a whole other level and that's what they did. So I drove over to rocketjump headquarters and sat down with Dez and really just beat him up and I actually picked his brain with every for every ad question I wanted an answer to and hopefully you know, a lot of the stuff he talks about you guys can apply to your careers in your filmmaking journey but it's a pretty inspiring story but also just knowledge bomb on top of knowledge bomb on top of knowledge bomb was dropped from a perspective of someone who you know he's not a YouTuber all the way you know, he is you know, he went to USC film school so he did grow up in that 90s independent film world you know, the Robert Rodriguez the Kevin Smith Quinn Tarantino's that world but also has not only a foot in that world but has a foot in the YouTube world so he's a very unique individual because he's able to kind of straddle those two worlds and it's pretty pretty insane man so I just want you guys to sit back this is a long one it's gonna be you know almost by the time we're done with this episode is gonna be almost two hours but I guarantee you if you stick to it, there is some major major stuff in this episode that you guys are just going to love and just just get ready to write some stuff down man so without any further ado, here is my epic podcast with Dez Dolly I'd like to welcome to the show the one the only Dez Dolly from Rocket Jump sir thanks for jumping on

Dez Dolly 7:11
Ohh thanks for having me. How are you?

Alex Ferrari 7:12
I'm good man. I'm good for all you guys that don't know me and does have been in the the trenches now for a few months now.

Dez Dolly 7:21
We've been we've been at the indie film hustle base camp. Yeah headquarters. Since when?

Alex Ferrari 7:29
Well no, I originally I came on in June of last year. Oh, and then and our fearless post production supervisor leader told me no, they're just gonna do a few reshoots and then I didn't get anything till November I think when I first got matchmaker was in November for for this week

Dez Dolly 7:50
we definitely underestimated how many pickups we would be doing on this show. Yes. And we greatly underestimated the amount of visual effects in the show as well

Alex Ferrari 7:59
but we'll get into we'll get into dimension 404 and a little bit of water to kind of dig in a little bit about your past deep deep deep Oprah questions I'm going to prepare you so

Dez Dolly 8:09
you're gonna make me cry

Alex Ferrari 8:10
if you were if you were a tree what kind of tree you would be no I'm

Dez Dolly 8:15
a tall tall tall thin handsome super rich

Alex Ferrari 8:20
that all the other trees wanted to do with

Dez Dolly 8:22
relatively wealthy popular

Alex Ferrari 8:26
so um so let's let's take it back all the way to the beginning. All right, um, what made you want to make movies because it's a crazy business?

Dez Dolly 8:35
That's a good question. What made me want to make movie

Alex Ferrari 8:39
and then what made you stay in? This is after you went down that there wasn't

Dez Dolly 8:43
the money? Obviously. Um, okay, so taking you back that's a good question. So you know it's funny when I was home for Christmas this past holiday my family and I were going through old family videotapes of VHS cassette tapes

Alex Ferrari 9:00
What are these VHS as you speak of?

Dez Dolly 9:02
Hey all right. Big Thing recorded to magnetic tape anyway

Alex Ferrari 9:08
you're speaking gibberish

Dez Dolly 9:09
I know. Sorry youtube youtube Jenner you guys have tuned in to speak to some hip young YouTube generational type and I am so I'm one foot in and out of this generation. Yeah, but so anyway, so we're looking at my father's VHS tapes of us and we went back to some of the earliest ones and I think I was five six years old opening a a pilot with a thick detailed book on elements of production design, costume design and all this stuff and I'm I'm watching this table can I my parents like it I asked for that. Like how I was that into the mechanics of filmmaking back then. You know back then it

Alex Ferrari 9:50
wasn't a cool thing Don't forget we mean when you were doing this is not like now that everybody's a filmmaker.

Dez Dolly 9:54
Oh, no. This was back when they were still stuffing nerds and lockers. Yeah, this is Was I was I was the weird Dolly. Yeah, I got two younger brothers. Everyone was in my family except for me, of course very athletic. My family is sort of famous in the region for wrestling, pro wrestling. actual real rasslin. So Midwest. Jimmy is like a flight supervisor. But that's a whole other you have to get my brother on your show talking about progress. But yeah, you know, it was my father was in the film. Okay. He was always a fan love the monster films, especially like the universal monster movies. Sure. He had gone to the drive in with his buds when he was a kid. That's how his friend's parents used to babysit them. So he had he was a bit of a cinephile. He was definitely a genre freak and I don't know that was just something that we did very early on we bonded over that we're a part of that young video generation Video Star generation exactly you know not having a lot of money as a kid weekends were the Friday was the night to go to the video store Absolutely. So we're gonna we're gonna we're gonna get a stockpile of tapes we're gonna get one for the family to watch one for the brothers to watch you know and then and then one weird one you know that was just that was that was it like now it's good make selections based on like box cover art cardboard cover? I love those days you would find these strange ship but that's just what we did as a family and I can't recall I couldn't put a fine point on it. It just felt is you know, strangely enough like that love was always there. Maybe I think after I saw was probably like, seven Voyage of Sinbad. And you've got the fighting skeletons the house and stop motion animation. Jason the Argonauts? Yeah, you see that? And, and I really got into that. I remember having a love for stop motion cinema. I was really into magic at the time. Just the illusions that you can create small films. Yeah, exactly. So you know, my dad had this VHS camera that you know, he used for shooting family stuff. And he and I, when I was, you know, some around six to eight, started making stop motion animated films. You know, I'd make little clay creatures and they're all genre films. Sure. My first one was a monster movie. The second one was a war epic. All stop motion and little green army man, a big spruce cruise. You know, and we did a lot of in camera, sound effects and stuff like that. It was just I don't know, man, that love was always there. And I never knew how to. I was always struggling to find a way to develop it. How to learn more. I was so hungry. There's nothing to be involved in show business. And I couldn't Yeah, you didn't have special features. I remember. Do you remember that Discovery Channel show? Yes.

Alex Ferrari 12:40
Movie Magic.

Dez Dolly 12:40
I that would I would. I was okay. For your audience. For the three old guys out there listening to this. Yeah, you need to go to the I would go to the newspaper, or a TV Guide. What is this newspaper TV? And you would look up the time and date of the next show. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Magic. There's nothing I can plan around it. Oh, yeah. Be home and have a fresh videotape. Ready to record it, and then study it. Yeah. You know, oh, yeah. If you'd missed it, you'd never get to see it again. That

Alex Ferrari 13:11
was the one that got me because I had I watched all of those. Yeah. And then they came on video. Yeah, years later, they came. They really? They came on video. I'd love to go back and watch those. Yeah, they're there. They're just genius. Yeah, but the one that stuck with me was the making of T two. Yep. The Making of T two blew my mind. Yeah, I never and I just watched watching it. I'd watch James Cameron, do all this stuff. And they the way they shot the chase and the LA River and all this stuff. And the VFX I mean, can you I mean, back in 91. When that came out, I

Dez Dolly 13:44
remember there was more than most films in that era. That was the one there just happened to be this huge swirling storm of supplemental supplemental. Yeah, wasn't it? It was just a massive blockbuster that had you know a lot of really cool effects. So grabbing a lot of a lot of stuff that came out around that movie, I remember that I remember I had the book. You could oh god I go. Yeah, you know, I found a couple of catalogs. And you could order some filmmaking books or like, theatrical makeup and wardrobe costume design books out of the backs of these catalogs.

Alex Ferrari 14:16
And nothing like today that you can literally just log on to your phone and hit you have 1000 film podcasts. 1000 film podcasts 1000 tutorials. You have full film schools online. Yeah, that you can just learn anything and everything you ever

Dez Dolly 14:28
wanted to know. It was a it was a treasure hunt. And that I think that was part of the thrill. You know, tracking this stuff down and yeah, you know, I was just I was always into making things. I was like a crafty type. I was an indoor kid for sure. You know, my brothers wanted to go out and play and go to wrestling growing up. I grew up in South Bend, Indiana. Mishawaka, rather, the princess city. So it's right where Notre Dame is town wouldn't exist if it weren't for the university, of course, and you know, we're,

Alex Ferrari 14:56
I saw Rudy. Okay. Yeah, yeah. And

Dez Dolly 14:59
a lot of family and The background and the broody yeah that was a big to do when Ruby came by

Alex Ferrari 15:05
by the way if everyone listening if you haven't seen Rudy you've got to watch Rudy yeah you will Yes. You will cry your eyes I don't care how big of a fucking dude you are you will cry your eyes

Dez Dolly 15:16
but our that was our life Notre Dame it still is that region it's all Notre Dame football that's all that matters. There's some parts of Indiana where it's all basketball but right there it's all my hometown. Most of my family went through Notre Dame most of my family still works at Notre Dame and obviously jobs there I went to school there for a time like that is what you do when you grow up in that region. You live in Britain or today but

Alex Ferrari 15:40
it's obviously a film Mecca as well. So you had an amazing support

Dez Dolly 15:48
rally went through who didn't know

Alex Ferrari 15:50
Sydney Sydney Pollack Yeah, he went directly to Notre Dame but the film school is not really is their film school I think they have one they have they have a media

Dez Dolly 16:01
I when I was choosing between that or USC I

Alex Ferrari 16:04
think he chose which which brings us to USC Sure. How was your experience at USC because I was I had the pleasure of speaking at USC the other day and I first time I walked into the campus and I was just like you know the Lucas building and the Spielberg bill Yeah, and and you just kind of sense all the stuff that's happened there's an energy there is an energy at that place that is pretty freakin cool. That can you just like oh yeah, Lucas was walking down these halls and cold knuckle blows us at UCLA. But even just a list of Ronny Howard. Yeah, Ronnie Howard and a million Robert Meccas? Yeah I mean the list goes on and on. Oh USC grad so how was your experience at your time? When did you go in the 90s right.

Dez Dolly 16:44
I graduated and knows that early 2000 early 2000s I graduated in 2009 Okay, okay 2010 I got there I got there at 2000 2006 okay transferred from

Alex Ferrari 16:57
I did I did all four years there.

Dez Dolly 16:59
I did two and a half I was a transfer student I came in during the spring I did a couple years at art school in Chicago where I was getting more of like a broad art history degree knowing that that would you know feed my my film background while I was trying to get into a film school somewhere

Alex Ferrari 17:18
gotcha because that our degree and paying the bills but

Dez Dolly 17:22
you know I didn't I'll admit I wasn't I still didn't again because the internet was very premature then I didn't quite know where to how to take that next step I knew Okay, Chicago is two hours away there's an art school there that's that's where I'll start you know and just you know digging through phone books and calling universities and having to do all that hard work I found out okay USC is sounds like the place to go Okay, so that's I'm naive like that. I decided okay, that's where I'm gonna go now. And so just worked and worked and worked for years getting building my grades up until you were like, you were like rude I was the Rudy of USC No, look, I remember the day I put all my eggs in that basket. So I had no

Alex Ferrari 18:09
backup plan other than you know, basically going on my distribution my distributor plan is Sundance and that's it

Dez Dolly 18:16
you know that's that's how it works. So you know, like by then you I had read a handful more film books is a little some of that stuff was becoming more popular. The Sundance generation made the idea of filmmaking more popular, the Tarantino audience, you know, you can, you could get Robert Rodriguez's book, or you could get easy writers raging. You know, rebels on the backlot, learn more about filmmaking. And so I realized, okay, so this is not a lot of folks do it. You get to film school, or at least you get rejected, and then you use that as fuel. So that's the next step. I need to try to get into film school. Now I'll put money together, go to an independent film, take that to Sundance, it'll win. Sundance, and then I'll

Alex Ferrari 18:56
come in, he'll represent you, right? That's his history.

Dez Dolly 18:59
Right? So I was like, okay, USC film school, I did apply everywhere, okay, and got in nowhere, except for USC. It was the last place I heard from. And I got in and I remember dancing in front of my mailbox.

Alex Ferrari 19:14
That's just so you get rejected from all schools. But the the number one film school in the country said, Yeah, we'll get we'll take

Dez Dolly 19:20
a you know, I saw a lot of a lot of schools. just looked at your grades, my grades were, they were great. So I don't really know how they were making those distinctions. USC, specifically, you had to write a lot of creative material. And I was always into Creative Writing when I was a kid. So I think I had a leg up there, as opposed to places like NYU where they're actually looking at a portfolio of short films, and minor garbage. Frankly, you know, that's why I was going to film school to learn how to learn how to make better films, so I don't Yeah, I'm not surprised that they would look at that and go this is no, it's not gonna happen. You USC, I was able to sort of swindle my way in there with some colorful essays and stuff like that. But,

Alex Ferrari 20:07
but at USC, from what I understand from talking to a lot of USC grads, it's it's not only the education which is wonderful, but it's the connections and the relationships that you build at that school that kind of help you propel to the next level.

Dez Dolly 20:19
Oh, yeah, no, I met my my partners to this day met Arnold and Freddie Wong in practical special effects class, taught by a gentleman by the name of Tom Anderson, who ran the optical printer on the original Star Wars title crawl. You know, like, this is an old school guy. It was like the last film class there at the university. We shot stuff on 35. And you learn how to do like hyperfocal calculations and force perspective, you really needed to know what you would do you Yeah, you know, like there was math involved in filmmaking. But we like, you know, I met guys like that we bonded over that. And I've so many friends that I met at USC. And we all still work together, like everyone on my crew is either someone I met at USC, or they're a friend of someone I met at USC, or they auditioned, you know, or send in a resume. And you see how they went through USC? I know that they probably, you know, like myself got a well rounded education there. You know, I'll give him a shot.

Alex Ferrari 21:14
Now, very similar to me. You came into the business through post op on post house. Yeah, absolutely. Back in the day. So how did that help you move to your next level, how important is post in your whole journey as a filmmaker, because I always preach it like, like crazy, like, you guys got a no post, if you don't know pose, the days of, you know, wearing the monocle and the bullhorn and just being the director is, those days are gone. In my opinion. What do you think?

Dez Dolly 21:40
Yeah. Oh, yeah, they're gone. I feel like filmmaking has. And I'm not saying this is the I'm not endorsing. This is not the way it should be. But certainly, when you're looking at a lot of the young up and coming filmmakers, and looking at a lot of folks on YouTube and stuff like that filmmaking is mostly post production. It's very posed. Not necessarily a lot of thought put into story and character and the production, it's all about, like, let me get the coolest camera, and I'll just point it at stuff and I'll throw it in After Effects and I'll really fuck with it until it's good.

Alex Ferrari 22:13
Right? Exactly. Or I'll fix it in color.

Dez Dolly 22:18
I don't really know how that applies to me. I guess I'm just sort of commenting on the state of things. Sure. USC prepares you I mean, they make no bones about it that they're preparing you for a role entry level role in the business. And I'm talking like a coffee pouring pa and I always found that frustrating that whenever I expressed bigger ambition, they were like they would sort of scoff and laugh and a lot of there were teachers that weren't working in the business so you wonder if there's jealousy or some cynicism there sure. You know, they've gotten their asses kicked and now they're back to

Alex Ferrari 22:55
teaching not to say that all teachers are that

Dez Dolly 22:58
Not tonight teachers we had fantastic teachers there but there was just this air of you could sense from the faculty that this is going to be tough. And they you know, they never sugar coated that, like most of you, I remember orientation day it was they would show us short films of I remember Justin Lin, they showed us a short film. And I remember being I was floored and they said okay, this is the one student who's off doing something now the rest of you won't make it you know, look around, there's like 150 of you here one of you will make it everyone else will be schlepping XLR cable the rest of their lives. So you need to buckle down. You need to work hard and one of these folks sitting next who is going to offer you a job one day so you need to get to know them. So it was like boot camp. It really prepared you for getting your ass handed to you out here and it does yeah Oh it does every day

Alex Ferrari 23:52
every day even to this day

Dez Dolly 23:56
you know so i still having that. I mean coming up being a fan of you know the film school kids or not the film school kids like the Sundance kids Tarantino and Rodriguez. Those guys were heroes. You know, like, these are dudes who just went out and made it happen you know, and coming off of sort of that cynical feeling that yucky feeling in the film school when everyone's saying you're probably not gonna make it and the industry's impossible I'm saying I've read these books these guys went and just charged a movie on their credit card and made it work I will will this into existence Yeah, I'm not I remember having coffee with with classmates and peers those last couple of weeks of school and everyone's looking at each other which is that that face those like that when we care who is going to actually give me a job nobody's gonna let me make a movie and I said then let's go make a movie.

Alex Ferrari 24:48
And but the thing is, at the time you cam came out was when you graduated what 2009 the technology had gotten to a point where you could go do it on the cheap and it taken a bit Because when I made my short in oh five, the tech it was the dv x 100 a Final Cut was just coming into its own. The technology was just starting to get there and that was still standard def Yeah, you had already gotten to the even got cheaper, more powerful. Yeah, but you know what they did in the 90s that was ballsy. That was that was like, you know, hey, we're taking 27 grand shooting on black on my film in a fucking convenience store. Yeah. And editing on a flatbed right in their apartment. Like that's,

Dez Dolly 25:27
it's commendable. God bless them, right? No, I had the benefit of after after effects package, you know, and having a copy of Final Cut from school. Literally, Freddie and I would go down into the archives at USC. And we would burn CDs with sound effects. Oh. Oh, God, you know,

Alex Ferrari 25:48
and a lot of stock footage. Yeah, stock footage just from our bins and stuff like that. I still got books full of bootleg versions.

Dez Dolly 25:56
Yeah. But then, you know, the red one camera came out. That was around then. Yeah. And I realized, okay, I only really need to get together like 20 grand to buy it to just make a film, I can rent one and hire a crew and I can afford I basically did the math and ran the numbers and like the least amount I can put together a movie for would be about 20 grand, you know, well, I could have done it for cheaper but I figured note with the people I knew that's the bare minimum I could raise right right, you know, and the maximum so I just I said the hell it I told my buddies, you know, they looked at me like I was crazy. But I said it has to be this has to be crazy. But you know, you got to be naive in this business to make something and nutty. Yeah, so I said, Let's go make a movie. I you know, and then I was forced to put my money where my mouth was, so to speak. I just told everyone we're gonna do it. We're gonna, I don't know how we'll raise the money. I'll write the script. You know, it was all just, it was madness. But I told everyone and I convinced a bunch of friends like you're gonna you're gonna fly out to my house this summer, right after commencement. You're gonna live at my place and we're gonna shoot a movie and everyone went, Okay, that's not we had literally nothing else planned. So I wrote a sports comedy based upon my experience in youth wrestling region didn't start my brother, and was definitely heavily influenced by a lot of independent comedies, you know, your, your clerks and whatnots. But it had this I had seen foot fist way. Around the time I was graduating with Danny McBride and written directed by Jody Hill. Yeah, the Virginia boys and that really floored me that you could do something dark and I had a really twisted sensibilities. So I thought, you know, my brother's a bit of a character, let's sort of create this little fun vehicle for him. You know, he was he had been the star of all my short films and stuff like that, all those years. So it just made sense. Put together a prospectus, based upon basically a formula that I pulled from the Evil Dead companion. Yeah, written by Rob tapper and Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell who's chronicle the way they put together the original Evil Dead film literally laid out how they put a business together every single step and then sold stock in the business to dentists. So did the exact same thing. I created a corporation for this movie and sold stock to friends and family and anyone who's the ear you know I can talk into and raise 23 grand

Alex Ferrari 28:29
and you made hundreds 1000s of hundreds of 1000s off that movie right

Dez Dolly 28:33
oh yeah I'm frickin loaded you were loaded off that one that bought your first Ferrari right Yeah, exactly. No didn't make a dime off that but I lost every penny we spent on but I got to make a movie. Right? You know it's an experiment that changed me just being able to say I made a movie i did it i learned what works you know, being able to have your ass handed to you on a movie right out of film school is also an awesome learning experience. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 28:57
I mean that's that's a ballsy move like you know it took a look. It took me it took me 20 years to make my first feature Really? Yeah I mean I just finished it like last year Yeah, because I just didn't want to it was that mountain it's that's what was the feature film is that mountain and

Dez Dolly 29:12
I didn't I didn't want to I knew I just had to I just had to get to the hospital so I could see the land. Yep, you know and just get that out of the way

Alex Ferrari 29:21
you just like it's I don't care if it's good, bad or indifferent. I'm just gonna make this feature and I could just say I made a feature

Dez Dolly 29:25
well Yeah, exactly. No, I had assumed that it would be

Alex Ferrari 29:30
a massive course of course Yeah.

Dez Dolly 29:33
Yeah, I'll be the next link later and sure we all so forth. We all how it's gonna go from there but you know, reality set in. I mean, look, taking a step back. I shot the movie. Would you shoot 21 days on the red one, okay, rented it from a guy here in Los Angeles friend of a friend and flew him and I think eight other guys from USC down. We all live on air mattresses in my parents house. I had a letter from the mayor of Michigan WOC Indiana that was essentially a gold key to do whatever we wanted for this production to shoot wherever you want to wherever, whenever.

Alex Ferrari 30:07
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Dez Dolly 30:18
I mean, we would have cops show up to set out of curiosity and then just offer help, you know, like, what can we do? Do we need to wrangle crisis

Alex Ferrari 30:25
just literally like in a shooting here in LA? It was.

Dez Dolly 30:28
It was a family affair. It was awesome. It was it's such a small town. So the dollies and I was in the filmmaking and they were making something that I made fun of for being into all those years. Sure. And everyone, you know, raised an eyebrow when I got to tell them, I'm moving to Los Angeles to pursue this. And they went, Oh, he's not the weird kid. He's actually he's got a plan. Yeah, you know, and then to be able to come back and you know, show them this letter, and walk in with a crew and say, we're doing it everyone went, Okay, cool. What, what, how do we help? Yeah. And it was an amazing experience. So we finished shooting, and started calling friends around Los Angeles and said, I'm coming back to town. I just shot a movie. I need a place to live. Because if I stay home, I'll never make it back out there. Of course, you know, again, I've got like 500 bucks left over from the film and spending cash. I'll crash on couches for now. And found Freddie Wong who was you know, we were friends in school. He said, Look, I got a place. It's not pretty. You can stay here and it's cheap. So I said let's do it. I packed up my car I drove out here. Literally a mound of garbage in this room. All concrete square space. That was built in an old paint factory down in East LA. Nothing completely inhabitable. You know there you guys were bums dumpster diving outside my quote unquote, bedroom window. was not pretty but we were in LA, you know, and I had two hard drives with a movie on it. So like I'm like here with this like, buckle down. buckaroos like let's frickin do this

Alex Ferrari 32:13
that's awesome and it's you know, it's so it's so true and because we both come from outside of La we weren't born here. I know Matt was born here. I was born here but he lives in Pasadena Yeah, he's been here most of his life but you know I'm from Florida you're from Indiana and and you know that half the battle is just getting here. Yeah, and then the other half is staying here. Surviving figuring a way to make a living and just stay in you could be in a rat infested place down in East LA but you're here right you can make that you can go to that meeting you can you can show that movie in a place you know, it's just getting here is the biggest

Dez Dolly 32:49
I remember. Yeah, man. I was so excited to get into school out here and I just it's gonna change everything and and it did but I remember when I first got to town my mother drove with me She came out with me She made the trip and the first thing we did after we moved everything into my dorm room were sitting there on my little twin bed and she says Okay, so now we're here you're moved in what's the first thing you want to do in LA? And I said we're going to Hollywood

Alex Ferrari 33:20
oh god haha everyone does the damn same thing I did it Yeah, I got it. Let's go down to the walk of fame.

Dez Dolly 33:27
What a shit show what on absolute just a hot dose of reality.

Alex Ferrari 33:33
Oh Mike isn't isn't but listen isn't Hollywood Boulevard the perfect analogy for Hollywood NLA in the business in general because on TV when the Oscars are playing they only show like a block and a half

Dez Dolly 33:47
the block and a half that's been carefully curated for two weeks leading up to the award

Alex Ferrari 33:51
correct yeah and that's it but when you go down and I'll tell you my quick Hollywood story when I first got here I I'm coming here visiting a friend and we're like checking out places to my wife and I to live we're gonna move we came out like two or three times just to check neighborhoods and stuff yeah so we first time we come out he's like we're like hey we you know we want to go see Hollywood right and exactly the same reaction both you and I were like Jesus yep All right. And he's like all right if you want to go We'll go so we went at night never forgot it we parked right behind man is Chinese whatever it's called now but China the Chinese we parked right in that little parking lot on the side of it. I think now is madam to SOS.

Dez Dolly 34:30
SOS is like an AMC or so it's still man's but it's like man's AMC. Yeah, whatever.

Alex Ferrari 34:34
But yeah, but so anyway, we parked there and the second we get out the car. We turn around and we see this girl I swear to god is this. You know some girl and she's like, welcome to Hollywood and flashes us literally in the parking lot. My buddy just turns without skipping a beat like, welcome to Hollywood. Yeah, and we walked it in. It's just the most disgusting.

Dez Dolly 34:56
You get the scummy freak shows and there's like a low cost. Taking hustlin extorting people out of money for photographs. Oh,

Alex Ferrari 35:04
it's Oh god. Yeah, yeah, those

Dez Dolly 35:05
gets a hot dose of reality.

Alex Ferrari 35:07
It is. It really is early. It's so let's get into, you know, rocketjump Okay, how the hell did a guy from Indiana right? And Freddy and Matt and all these guys just get together and start making short films and build this kind of rocket jump Empire?

Dez Dolly 35:22
Sure. Well, you know, those guys and I bonded because we all had similar because backstories you know, we all had similar upbringing and association with film, where we all experienced backyard, DIY filmmaking with your friends and your brothers and stuff like that. So we bonded on that immediately. And obviously I moved in with Freddy out of film school. And that's where I was putting my film together while I was doing odds and ends jobs trying to make money. I remember before I'd gone to film school, I sold TVs back in Indiana. So I thought, Okay, well, maybe I'll go back and get a job at Best Buy. Boy was that just demoralizing thing to have to go sell cameras. At an electronics retail store. After you get out of this amazing film school thinking you're going to be whisked away into Hollywood stardom. Oh, no, I lasted maybe a month before. This is I can't I would rather eat ramen, you know, live dirt poor. Yeah, waiting for something better to come along. And I mean, I did a lot of crap. I edited a lot of garbage for actors. It was all awful remedial work for nickels and dimes. And it was one of those film school connections. I had a friend from school a mutual friend of Freddy's that called me one day she knew I was editing for folks. And she called and said, Look, I'd and I have an editor on this commercial. And he called off sick today and the director needs somebody here. Can you be in Santa Monica in 45 minutes? And I said, You bet. You know, and I went and the director and I bonded both being Midwest kids, shared love for Neil, the thing and 80s you know, supernatural sci fi horror films. And I ended up sort of getting Shepherd under his wing in the world of commercial editing, all that stuff. So I did that for many years and started climbing the ranks relatively quickly in the commercial business, which was awesome. You know, it was again, it all happened because some guy call off sick and rush into someone at USC. Yep. And I was ready, I was confident enough, having cut enough reels to say I'll, I can do it, I'll figure it out. Um, so I learned a great deal from him when I was doing a lot of commercial work for the time. And, you know, in the meantime, Freddie had just started figuring out that YouTube was a thing he had heard from folks that they were buying houses with YouTube money, you know? And I remember scoffing I'm like, no, that's not okay. That's not even tell you about the concept of a film festival. And here's how this works. And, you know, Freddie had been working sort of in that side of the business he had been producing, like direct DVD, or which I got a kick out of like, some of my early jobs, were cutting the behind the scenes special features for those movies that he was producing, you know, so we were all working together and he said, I'm gonna give this YouTube thing a try. And I remember you know, Matt and I would be going off to our jobs. He was working at Disney at the time in their video game department. He was a video game producer. And he started making short films around the office and we were like, Oh my god, filmmaking. The whole reason why we came out here, let's do that. So we would work together on things you know, being being Freddie's movies, hold a camera and a boom mic for Freddy because it's it was the thing that we all wanted to be doing. And, well, hell if he if his first videos didn't start getting millions and millions of views, you know, I was incredulous at first, like, this is impossible. How is this happening? It doesn't make sense, you know, and,

Alex Ferrari 39:10
and, and that's to remind everybody this time is what 2000 This is

Dez Dolly 39:13
10 11 11

Alex Ferrari 39:15
About 11. Right? Yeah. 2000 so YouTube is basically five, six years old at that point. Google had around

Dez Dolly 39:22
Google already bought a villa just bought it. Yeah, it's it was still niche.

Alex Ferrari 39:26
It was still small, and the quality still wasn't Yeah, it wasn't that great yet. But so everyone understands what

Dez Dolly 39:32
was it was literally the advent of creators a new batch of creators using it as a distribution platform. And it was unheard of you know, while everyone else guys like me, thinking you have to you know, schlep it through this you know, this archaic says this archaic system, you know, frayed just recognize that with YouTube, you didn't have to you go shoot a movie for you know, the cost of pizza and cake. Water.

Alex Ferrari 40:00
And it didn't have to hide it. Sure, yeah, it didn't have to be this 100,000 $200,000 short film to make it all this production value, you can just make something that's entertaining, right? And that's all.

Dez Dolly 40:11
A lot of people were uploading home movies and stuff like that, like, that's what they thought YouTube was for. And so for Freddie to be able to use just a little film school know how and some After Effects VFX wizardry, he could create, you know, really, as far as everything else is on YouTube, just content that was lightyears beyond anything else you could find.

Alex Ferrari 40:33
Yes, I was gonna ask you there wasn't there wasn't anybody really else doing what he was doing? Or what you guys were doing?

Dez Dolly 40:38
You know, there were other creators on there expressing themselves with a with a touch of production value that you weren't seeing on but nothing but a platform for nothing with VFX. Ready? is a you know, he's a VFX wizard. He was the guy in film school that we would go to because he knew After Effects, right? You know, he did. He did title design and explosions and muzzle hits in all of our, all of our videos in school. He was that guy. So, you know, he was into those movies. And you know, he's definitely a nerd. In that respect. He knew after effects. So yeah, but by by nature, he could do things in his shorts that nobody else was capable of doing at that time. So it really stood out.

Alex Ferrari 41:19
So once again, you know, and we've had this conversation off off air, but rocket jumps rise to fame and is basically a good place of timing to Oh, yeah, it was Yeah, right place right time.

Dez Dolly 41:32
Yeah, no, that's I don't I can't recall who said it to give them proper credit. But luck is preparation meets opportunity.

Alex Ferrari 41:40
Yeah, I don't know who said it either. But it That's true. That's all that

Dez Dolly 41:43
it that's it, we were literally right place right time. You know, with the right product. We had the we had the proper training, we had the ambition. We had the technical know how we just didn't quite have the money. And we were all stuck in these other jobs. And YouTube was paying creators through ad revenue.

Alex Ferrari 42:01
When you had to like when you had to still apply for that not not automatic like it is now

Dez Dolly 42:05
Exactly. But Freddy got in, because he had met folks through some other filmmaking competitions that were in YouTube. And he spoke to the right people. And they were going to allow him into the system to make some money off of YouTube ad revenue. And we saw that there was a platform that there wasn't a lot of bureaucratic red tape like it, there was no, there was zero, we could literally upload a thing, complete way to mass of people, complete control, and make money just express ourselves. And then yeah, hopefully, at least cover the cost of the film itself. That was the goal.

Alex Ferrari 42:41
And that was, I think he clips pretty much. Yeah, you guys did better than just the $400 or $300 that it cost to make those.

Dez Dolly 42:51
It was surprising how much money you could make off of YouTube in those days. It was like

Alex Ferrari 42:55
obscene, right? And then you guys also figured out an obscene but you know, obscene and today's you know, just in general

Dez Dolly 43:00
Sure. I'll say it wasn't PewDiePie money or anything like

Alex Ferrari 43:03
Nozomi. Who I mean, who makes PT Batman? Yeah, but But no, but still, it was it was more than 300 bucks.

Dez Dolly 43:09
Yeah, it was it was it became it got to a point where to just so to bring it back to your original question, like what was rocketjump it ballooned very quickly past the point of it, just covering the cost of the film itself. And we started to see, okay, we can actually pay ourselves for the labor. We're starting to earn, you know, as loosely includes a living out of doing this. Yeah, this isn't necessarily the end game, but this is a means. And it's providing us with an outlet we can actually afford to go out to dinner and talk about what movie we're going to do next. So there's a lot of exciting

Alex Ferrari 43:46
we're basically getting paid to be filmmakers.

Dez Dolly 43:48
Yeah, nobody gets to do that. Is that dream the dream That's the dream and to be able to literally fall into that fuckin ass first right out of college is absolutely insane.

Alex Ferrari 44:00
It was again exactly like I always tell people like being replaced the right time. I mean, if a mariachi shows up today, it doesn't hit No. If Clark shows up today doesn't hit. No, you know, now if Reservoir Dogs comes today hits. Yeah, maybe me? No, but that's a different. That's a different conversation, but generally speaking right place right time. Yeah. And, and that's what you guys did. And it's fascinating. And the basic concept here guys, who's listening, whoever's listening to this podcast right now, is, you're being paid to be a filmmaker.

Dez Dolly 44:31
We were professionals, you were? Well, I would say we were professional amateurs.

Alex Ferrari 44:36
We're professional, amateur amateur professionals. I'm not sure being paid to be filmmakers in a new I guess I hate to use the word genre. But in a new Yeah, it was all it's all new. It's still on.

Dez Dolly 44:49
It was all I would definitely say john. I mean, we weren't doing dramatic stuff. They were all action concepts. A lot of it was birthed out of there was there was a guy Andrew Kramer We're have Andrew Kramer and himself video copilot. Yeah. Yeah. And he was putting out these really cool After Effects tutorials. Yeah. And so we would watch these After Effects tutorials, you know, just consume how you do these create these illusions and a computer for basically $0 and cents. And you could reverse engineer an idea that we like, Okay, well, so we can create a shockwave in the course of a day. All right, so it would be a cool idea, you know, focused around a shockwave and you reverse engineer from a cool effect. And you wrote a story or you write a little story, right? Okay. So it's like, you know, again, this came down to our backyard filmmaking day. So it's like, Alright, we've got an out and industrial looking alley in East LA, we've got one shitty car, we've got one camera, one mic 40 bucks, and Shockwave effect, you know, Friday, you'll be in it. Of course, we've got one actor, if everyone else is holding a mic or camera. Okay, we literally left with off ready. That's the box, you know, how do you feel that? So it was all out of necessity, you know, all experimentation really early on? Well, it was always experimentation. But it's amazing how relatively quickly it became business, you know, there was money to be made there. And we saw something bigger than just YouTube filmmaking, we saw that, okay, this is a means to an end, we can potentially open up doors here, you know, there's agents reaching out to us managers reaching out to us, maybe we can, if we can keep this going, we'll build an audience. And that the building like fostering an audience of people, gets us meetings, and then we can talk about maybe in the future one day doing a Marvel movie or something like that. So

Alex Ferrari 46:43
what In your opinion, because you I mean, you're the perfect person asked this question about because you have one foot in both camps, you have one in the old way of doing things. And it's still very much the standard way of doing things, which is the normal, you make your independent film, you go to the festivals, you get seen, or you make a short film, you get an agent, and that gets you a job, and blah, blah, blah, you have your foot in that sandbox, but you also have your foot in the digital world. So you're not one or the other. You don't live in one or the other. You live in both. Yeah. And you come from both. So the way the world has shifted so much, recently, in the last five years, even what's your take on the whole shift of where things you think are going because, you know, I've just finished my feature, I've gone down the festival route. And I'm going to do, we're going to do streaming, we'll do iTunes, all that kind of stuff. And we'll see if we make some money with it. But part of me wonders like well, maybe I should have just put it out on not YouTube, but like Amazon Prime or something like that. Sure to see if I can generate some revenue off of it. What's the What do you think all this is going?

Dez Dolly 47:50
I have? I have mixed emotions. I mean, look, I make no bones about it. If if the business hadn't changed, when it did, I wouldn't have a TV show on Hulu right now. Right? You know, I just I'd still be bundling cable. So I mean, it created so many opportunities for us, there is a credibility that you get taking the quote, unquote, traditional, rather old school route that you don't get in this digital space yet. Yet, it's I would, I would say there's a type, there's a specific type of credibility that we've garnered doing things the way we have, which has certainly got the attention of mainstream media and the traditional folks. But they still kind of look at us cyanide. It's not I can take in 100% serious Yeah. And we're certainly hoping with dimension 404 that we approached with a more ambitious quote, unquote, traditional mentality that we can change that perspective a little bit. But I mean, I don't know like part of me would love to go as a next project, go get a few $100,000 and go make any move in any movie, like the puffy chair or something, you know, just and just turn around, take the festivals just because that's, again, that was also a dream of mine to be able to do that and just experience what that feels like good, bad, or indifferent. You know?

Alex Ferrari 49:15
It's, it's fun. I've gone through them, right? I've gone through it. It's fun. It's wonderful. But you're coming from a different perspective, because you've already achieved a that's a success. Yeah, from where you're coming from. So now you're kind of going through this other project. I love to feel what it's like to go and run at a festival walk the red carpet at a festival with a movie that I'm doing, and they're gonna show it on the big screen and stuff like that, that whole process, right? And I've done that multiple times with my projects, and it's wonderful, but I want to go down the path you're walking down and see how that feels like wow, imagine just putting out a video and you've got 2 million people watched it, right? Like that's an experience that I've never had. It's weird. It's weird. Yeah. How was that experience like when you have something that just

Dez Dolly 49:59
it's just shaking. It's It's a gift and a curse. It's the you know, pros and cons. There's look, you want to know how your art is perceived, you know, and the internet's

Alex Ferrari 50:11
very kind and gentle that way.

Dez Dolly 50:14
Yeah, exactly. And specifically in regards to filmmaking, it is it is a shared experience, or at least that's the way I view it. Yeah. I think it's the reason why we keep coming back to the you know, proverbial campfire after millennia. There's something about that shared experience experiencing that art together and as a filmmaker you want to see how people perceive your work so being able to literally click a button and get instant feedback on YouTube is incredibly gratifying nasal also fucking horrifying. People on there are a special breed they're brutal. Yeah, rude, right and another group of people it's weird I tend to stay away from that now you know, sounds like you have the ability to put something out and get that feedback but you have to stay away from it because it will drive you absolutely crazy. Oh, I know. with with with dropping a show on Hulu is the complete opposite of a festival affair in that there was no screening we didn't have the cast and crew together to watch it on the big screen to be able to hear the laughs are are the cringing uncomfortability the shifting of seats when something there's a lot of tension on screen even if something isn't working, you get that immediate feedback. This show just dropped at midnight and I'm at home alone on the couch you know zero feedback which is very different from its anti climatic the YouTube thing you know, using YouTube as a platform. So sure, that's why i would i would love to experience that you know, willdan like we've talked we'll definitely have a screening here in LA just so we can all very selfishly stroke one another's egos and have the feeling of watching our thing communally on

Alex Ferrari 51:50
that. Now, how do you go from making YouTube videos, funny little YouTube videos, to working for Hulu? Lionsgate short and working them as partners? How's that transition? Because there's a lot of guys on YouTube, who make their little short film and make videos, but have not been able to make that jumping. You guys have done it in a very unique way with video school in high school.

Dez Dolly 52:13
That was it. That was the that was the sort of Rosetta Stone. bridge for us. Again, I can never give Freddie enough credit, and especially my partner, Matt, those guys very early on realized that that could be an issue, a perceived issue of value. If these guys are short filmmakers, why should we talk to them about making long form content? And I'd be curious to talk to Freddie more about where exactly that came from that if he was just sort of this digital monster Domus, if you will, or I bet a lot of it has to do with some of the meetings we were getting at that time, folks curious to meet with us for say, you know, like a Guardians of the Galaxy type film, and they're not being enough of product that demonstrates we could pull that off. So you know, the short version was we agreed, okay, we got to prove that we can do long form narrative. We got shorts in the bag, how do we do long form narrative, let's do a web series. And well, Kickstarter was a thing that had just happened at the time. And we figured, boy, okay, we love the creative control that we have in YouTube videos, and we fund everything ourselves. How do we translate that into a much higher budget web series? And, you know, we were very lucky in that we had at the time, the highest or as most successful film Kickstarter, you know, people were just again, right place, right time yet right place, right time, Kickstarter was new. People were loving the YouTube channel, the nexus of perfect timing. So we got the cash. And that a lot of that the credit for that show comes down to the writing, you know, and specifically Matt Arnold, and will Campos and Brian frenzy who the writers on that series put a lot of work in a narrative. We knew that that was our shot to prove that we could do that. And you really strated to YouTube, we lease it straight to you, because

Alex Ferrari 54:16
you it was our funding already. So you basically no out of pocket no out of pocket costs. And you're basically just paying back everybody by just showing it for and there weren't really a lot of options either. To make money, there was not a lot of streaming options. Like you couldn't put it on Amazon Video direct and start, you know, charging 399 or iTunes wasn't really a thing as much back.

Dez Dolly 54:35
Oh, no. I mean, our audience was our audience was expecting free content. Right? We had an audience on YouTube, right? So yes, if we want to make something bigger and better for them, we weren't ready to ask them to follow us somewhere else.

Alex Ferrari 54:47
Sure.

Dez Dolly 54:48
Let me look pay for it.

Alex Ferrari 54:49
Do you have to live there? Gotcha.

Dez Dolly 54:51
So in a way, we did ask them to pay for it by kickstarting Of course and just letting them know like you're not paying for the film, you're supporting this effort and you're part of it, you know, it was a, we really sold the communal aspect. But you can't do this without you guys. And then yeah, like, Look, it hit that first season went gangbusters. I think you got like 50 million views or something stupid like that. And, you know, just got to work on a second season and the second season. We said, Okay, so how do we take this a step further, let's try to follow a more traditional 22 minute television format. So the first season, episode length varied. From I don't know, maybe the shortest was around 16 minutes, and then the longest is be 40 something that you're all over 40 minutes, they're all over the place. You know, the cool thing about YouTube and being our own, you know, distributor was that the length of the content was dictated by, you know, the narrative. But then we realized, okay, well, let's take an opportunity, though, to prove that we can do a traditional TV format with the second season, so they were 20 twos. And then same with the third season, but then some got longer, as you know, as the season went on your finale was nearly an hour long and special special episodes. Exactly. But there were, you know, that make a long story short, there were a couple people in the industry, younger guys, you know, around my age, who were looking for new emerging talent, to full bring into the studio system to introduce to everyone and they saw what we were doing with that series. And they recognize that there was potential, you know, we were, again, at the time, there wasn't anyone else doing long form content, you know, we had inspired this movement of creators on YouTube to throw up short films and stuff like that, but we were the only guys who were mimicking a traditional television format. And the studio system said, Okay, so much like, music video directors in the 90s. There's something going on over here we should take a look at and I think that's what allowed us to get meetings over maybe even other way more talented folks on YouTube, it's gonna be demonstrated an ability to craft a long form narrative.

Alex Ferrari 57:18
And, and also, you guys have a very strategic ability to understand your audience. Like you didn't go make Downton Abbey, you made video game High School, because you know, that was the crowd that you had your audience

Dez Dolly 57:33
that, you know, Matt always tells the story a little better than I do actually will does have a name for it came from will another friend of ours, Chris, they were they were on a road trip once we're talking about the idea of doing something longer, what could it be? What would the audience like? And the joke was, well, the most knowing those people, the most pandering thing we could do would be a silly show called video game High School, you know, where it's those, those kids literally, in high school have an alternate future, playing video games to become professionals. That was just a joke. Like when they go nuts for that. And you know, to Matt and Freddie's credit, they went, Oh, I think there's something there. You know, maybe if we approach this with sincerity. We'll do and you know, and I think to our credit to self analyze a little bit, because we've made mistakes in in, in misunderstanding the audience. And coming to incorrect conclusions about what they want, and what they're looking for. And for us, it always just came back to making stuff that we wanted to watch, you know, Video game High School was, literally that show got made, because Matt Arnold said I would pay to see this. So I'm going to take up the mantle and showrunner and we're gonna make this happen. And we all went, Okay, this guy's passionate about this, let's make it work. You know, dimension. 404 is very similar in that respect. It was a natural extension of us doing short films, and then sort of webisodes. And we just thought, well, hell, there's a total vacuum of anthology television at this time, you know, we were developing years ago, and we said, we would all pay to see this, this is something we're really passionate about, is the audience gonna like it? Well, if it's something that we love, and we're passionate about, and we're giving it our all, it will, it will, by extension, find an audience and that's what we were more attracted to.

Alex Ferrari 59:22
Now, can you give any advice about how to build an audience because I think that is the key moving forward. I think as filmmakers in the future, like, it's about niche. It's not about trying to hit the mass market, it's going to be about finding that audience and feeding the audience that you can attract Sure.

Dez Dolly 59:36
Well, in the earlier days, a lot of it came down to consistency, quality, communication, transparency. We were we treated it like a business. We treated the audience with respect, you know, so very much like, Okay, so we're fans comic books, and we're kids. I get a comic book every every week. Here, so there's a new issue, okay. And I know what the story is going to be, I know what I'm going to get it. And I know there's going to be a certain quality that I can expect from it. And you know, the same goes for television. And that's the way we treated the YouTube channel. So even though we were completely independent, amateur knuckleheads making YouTube videos on the cheap, we treated it professionally, we knew there had to be a certain level of quality it had to hit every Tuesday at 2pm. People could expect to know what type of content it was going to be it all fit within this sort of genre Venn diagram. So it's not like we would throw out action one week, and then sincerely melodrama, right? Yeah. It was, it was it was branding. Yeah, that's what it was.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:43
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Dez Dolly 1:00:53
And then, at the time, a lot, a lot of benefit came out of running the second channel, which is very transparent, and specifically, a community building effort, where we sort of remove the corporate mask, and it was, hey, look, it's just us, it was, you know, pro blogging, in essence, you know, or vlogging, rather than, you know, most often it was already in front of the camera. A lot of behind the scenes content, like, look how much fun we're making this stuff. And we're doing it for you guys. thankful that you love it. Here's where you can go see more. And then furthermore, let's take an extra step. And let's show you how we do this stuff. If you're into this, like we were when we were your age, here's how we put it together, you know, and so we were sort of giving back in a digital way. What we got from all those DVDs, special features. When we were kids, you know, I think we were all because we were such nerds for that stuff. We wanted to be able to say Oh, yeah, just it feels cool to be able to share that with Oh, yeah, you know, and just bringing them in on that action rather than treating it like some sort of corporate entity. They I don't know everyone just said okay, these are real people. This isn't just a brand. There are dudes behind this. It was reverse engineered in that way. It was originally behind a person and personalities before we slowly introduced the concept of a brand around it as opposed to trying to personalize

Alex Ferrari 1:02:18
a corporation you're trying to make you're trying to make it a human connection. Absolutely. As opposed to like

Dez Dolly 1:02:24
Disney we are Yeah, we are artists you know and creators and we are making stuff that we're passionate about for people that want to see cool stuff as opposed to we are a brand that makes x product here's why product is good for you. You know,

Alex Ferrari 1:02:39
got it. So let's let's get let's get down to D 404. Okay mentioned four four. Yeah, how did it come to be? It's by far the biggest thing you guys have ever undertaken? ambitiously in budgetarily everything

Dez Dolly 1:02:53
Yeah. Why should a studios chagrin

Alex Ferrari 1:02:59
How did that come to be? And and you're the showrunner of it. So how does that feel? Because I know I know a little bit of how you Well, we could talk about that in a minute

Dez Dolly 1:03:09
show running as as it's a horrible. Yeah, no, it is an awful, thankless, thankless evil, nasty job. But an honorable one. Sure. And it feels good I'm proud of what we were able to pull together. Where did it start? Well, after season one video game High School, you know, we successfully distributed that first season and we thought okay, so we know we'll do a second season. Is there anything else we can develop? And our friends from here yet again, USC will Campos Dan Johnson David Welch said we'd love to do an anthology show and we have an i def for like a hook for one and a really cool title called dimension 404 and here's short, short script for an episode and we can do these as another web series just like video game High School will just release episodes on YouTube we can do them on the cheap and what was

Alex Ferrari 1:04:05
it What was that script? Was that one of those

Dez Dolly 1:04:06
it was it was Kronos

Alex Ferrari 1:04:08
Okay. He was calling us on the cheap

Dez Dolly 1:04:11
it was and this was before we had to change his name for legal reasons. It was called Captain Kronos in the time teens. oh four we had to change it to time writer and the crono teens. Captain Kronos is actually a name owned by Marvel Captain Kronos is when we went through the funny funny quick tangent here is when we went through the clearance process, we discovered that Marvel literally trademarked every possible cool superhero name ever, ever.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:41
Even if they don't use it, you should

Dez Dolly 1:04:42
the Rolodex of names for comics that they've never created, to me is insane. Wow. Anyway, they had a script, it was I think, 12 pages long, eight to 12 pages long. It was just a little web webisode. But I was I mean, God my favorite anthology film is Creepshow. And I grew up on Twilight Zone rewrite the stories. Amazing Stories. Yeah, outer limits. Those were my dad's favorite TV shows. So we would watch you know, bootleg videotapes, that stuff when I was a kid. So they presented the idea of doing anthology show, which was an extension of what we were doing. shorts and webisodes anyhow. So my little light bulb went off. And I said, Yeah, this is something I can see myself getting passionate about. Let's, let's talk more. And we slowly started the, you know, spinning the development wheels at rocketjump. Fast forwarding some time, it evolved from a web series to a television show. And that's around the time we got involved with Lionsgate, we signed an overhead deal with them, again, based upon what we're able to do with video game High School. There's an executive over there who said, You know, I think you guys above a lot of other folks we've seen on the YouTube platform, the digital space in general, you demonstrated you can do long form narrative, let's talk, what do you want to do? And we pitched dimension 404 is something we were going to do as a web series. And they went, No, you're selling yourself short, we can sell this as a television show, you know, we bought this is what we do. We've got a television apartment. Let's go make it a show. Can you make it a show? He's like, yeah, we can do anything, you know. And it was originally being developed because they were shorts, we said, well, there'll be half our show. And then the economic start to get involved. And I guess, in place of that, so I'm jumping ahead. The studio said, Okay, well, why don't you guys develop that? Let's get some finished scripts. And we'll take it around and pitch it folks. Try to find a distribution partner. Do you have anything else and we pitched rocketjump, the show, which was something that didn't require as much development and was a true extension of our creating short films, and they said, We can go do this right now. You know, so we walked over to Hulu, who they were very friendly with and who loved the idea. And we went right to production into that, while we were simultaneously developing dimension 404. So we already had a partnership with Hulu. very fruitful partnership, those guys, excellent collaborators. I have only, you know, the utmost respect for them.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:16
Yeah, I've heard from I've heard people who work with Netflix, and Hulu and even Amazon. It's it's a completely different experience than working with a traditional studio. Like they just kind of let you go a lot.

Dez Dolly 1:07:28
You know, I've never really been in in a traditional quote unquote, studio environment. So I can't say All I know is that Yeah, they gave us the freedom on that first show to do whenever we wanted, you know, same thing, good or bad. And the same thing with dimension 404. You know, so we had the one show going, we were developing dimension for a for the studio calls and says, Okay, well, you know, we're looking at the economics here, and we think this might be better served as an hour long show. And at first we're hesitant, we're like, okay, I don't know, this feels weird. Why do we keep changing the format. And then when the writers and I, you know, super talented writers, the again, the guys who came up with the original title for the show, Dan, David will. And then of course, my friend from Ruby dog films Jake Andrews, and Catherine Garcia. We all said, You know what, there's something to this. We have to change the format of the episodes. But this is really liberating. Having an extra 20 minutes, we can explore more advanced character arcs. We can we can, we don't, we're not building to a twist ending. We can open with a twist and or we can have a twist ending even come at your second act low point. And then really take off and see where it evolves. From there. Like imagine an episode of Twilight Zone, we get to the twist ending. And then there's another 22 minutes where you explore how that character deals with their sheer set of circumstances. And we thought, okay, now that's just like something that we can use to distance ourselves from those other shows. There's always a fear of ours that we are going to be. It's funny in hindsight, we were always afraid everyone's gonna say you're just a druid of Twilight Zone. Instead of doing your own thing. Now unfortunately, everyone's saying Black Mirror this black mirror that Yeah, for the record listeners, we had developed this show before Black Mirror was ever premiered. So I don't want to hear it.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:16
Yeah, but even the black mirror is a completely different show than before. I

Dez Dolly 1:09:19
think if you've seen both, it's quite odd.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:21
It's completely different. We

Dez Dolly 1:09:23
were We were terrified when we heard this thing called Black mirrors coming out. And we saw the first episodes when we loved them, but we side relief, knowing Oh, this is its own. This is not us. We I grew up in a Sam Raimi camp. And I wanted it to be that spooky blast theme park ride of a show. I wanted it to be fun, funny, weird, pulpy. Just pure genre entertainment. And of that said, we wanted it to still have a message and a theme and to say something about the world that we live in. But it wasn't about and you do, sir. It wasn't about techno fears and anxiety like some of those other shows. Yes, you wanted it to be an adventure. thrilling adventure hour

Alex Ferrari 1:10:01
and you know after I you know I've been so blessed to work with you guys on this project and it just came it's right up my alley and it's from the same like you know it's the same school I'll give you an I lived a block from each other we probably would have been making movies and and a good time yeah back in the day so that because it's exactly the kind of movie a kind of show that I would watch. And it's it's so much fun and just like you said pulpy and and kind of quirky. Yeah, can I get away with stuff because of that? You're just like, yeah, I'm just having a good time.

Dez Dolly 1:10:30
No, I mean, it's it things really came together when we settle on the hour long format, because then we realized, okay, we're not we're not doing Twilight Zone. We're literally doing mini movies. Every this event tell it is every week more like amazing stories every week is its own mini piece of cinema. really ambitious stories with a high concept sci fi hook, and they're all about something. And, you know, every writer, there was a shared love for genre, but everyone had their own influences. They were on their sleeve. And that's why these episodes. That's why that the show really took on the quality of it being a series of small films as opposed to something I don't know, perhaps a little more thematically cohesive than it is. It's definitely a mixed bag. But

Alex Ferrari 1:11:18
oh, yeah, that's why I love about it though. Right? Well, like amazing stories. Yeah, amazing stories was, I mean, they were all pretty much a mixed bag. Yeah, one week, you have less stuff. That's the fun of

Dez Dolly 1:11:27
Anthology, you know, there's a little something for everyone. And then again, that's why we got excited as filmmakers because we all knew, alright, there's going to be some that Dez is passionate about writing, directing, Matt, you know, and Freddy, and then we'll bring other people in to do stuff that they're really excited about. And hopefully if we get a chance to do second, third, fourth, fifth seasons, we can bring in other cool filmmakers, maybe people that we admire that come in and work in quote unquote digital space and let them do their thing so there's just a lot of potential and opportunity

Alex Ferrari 1:11:54
there right right excited about now what is the biggest lesson you learned? On d 404?

Dez Dolly 1:12:00
The biggest lesson I learned man I don't know if it was a new lesson but you're constantly reminded how hard filmmaking is.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:15
Even with all the tech even with all the resources

Dez Dolly 1:12:18
you guys have more money than we've ever used me I've ever had access to before it never gets any easier ever, ever ever and you always think that okay on this next project because it's it's one step higher in the echelon of where I'm trying to get you'll coast there'll be a lot yeah, we'll be able to Coast A little more and it only gets harder you know because you get more ambitious you get more ambitious we're always constantly trying to push the envelope and yeah Jesus man is hard it was really hard putting the show together it was certainly a hell it should have been a lot more expensive than it was we did this for nickels and dimes you know oh budget you know what you're getting paid

Alex Ferrari 1:12:57
yeah no no no question and look how many visual effects shots were there 1400

Dez Dolly 1:13:03
if you include what we did here in the office Yeah, roughly around 1600 it is on par with the same amount of VFX shot and wrote wrote one

Alex Ferrari 1:13:11
right right yeah. And to do that many VFX shots at the quality you guys did and because the quality we didn't want

Dez Dolly 1:13:18
it to look that was I said that I you know from day one when I spoke with VFX vendors and then we settled with our good friends that play fight we don't want it to be TV quality and they aren't it should be cinema quality VFX you know we didn't want this to look like television.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:34
Yeah and you achieve that without question it's at times time yeah and and I personally inserted every single one of those VFX shots in that all 1600 1600 those goddamn shots I put it to each episode so you know I think great and I oh my god the VFX that kept coming in. Like we descend a Thrax. Yeah, and polybius those are the two Those are my two favorites but I know you direct about them. I'm not kissing your ass. They're two of my favorites

Dez Dolly 1:14:01
that's my It's okay

Alex Ferrari 1:14:02
It's okay yeah, well that's how it works here got a little smooch emotions that never hurts no but in all honesty because they're more of my sensibility and synth tracks and specific a Bolivia's when I was when I was dying because I had the offline yeah for weeks right and I'm watching it I'm like and we'll we'll are the post soup on this he kept telling me like other common and they look great because it was the monster and rice kind of stuff and

Dez Dolly 1:14:27
the meat and then a lot of it's really superfluous we always everything we do has to tie back to story and character right but boy It was really look flat out disheartening know there's it's your film is never as awful as that first assembly. Oh god and i remember how crushed I felt. I mean completely defeated and like an epic failure when we saw those first assemblies or the episodes. And you know, that's just that's, that's the process but actually when

Alex Ferrari 1:14:56
there's so many effects you have no you can't it's hard to even imagine You know but that's

Dez Dolly 1:15:00
how it is to me to answer your question How is it never not surprising every time you you get through every stage you go I I've lived this 100 times now and every time you're you're you're never prepared for how awful that first assembly is or how awful your your first I don't know sound design passes or your color pass or whatever you know it's always like oh shoot that's not what I was expecting. That's not what I pictured in my mind's eye. Okay, but let's roll up our sleeves and get into this you know, how do we work with this? And look I gotta say, despite all the those negative aspects of being sort of caught off guard when as you're sort of, you know, slugging your way through an ambitious low budget project like this I'm always constantly surprised as well and how amazingly the things come together in those last couple steps when you get the final be effect that's where I found that's where I learned Yeah, you it's a little easier for you because I live with that you get to see all the pieces come together in the final stage you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:16:02
you know sometimes I'll be honest with you like throughout the entire process I rarely watch the shows until the final online we really like I seen every shot 1000 times I usually don't have the audio on so like a lot of times that asked you have like so what do you remember when you watch it like so what why is she doing that and who's in it and you look at me like Didn't you like now I just wait till everything's in before I watch it. So when I watch that final long like like I still haven't seen impulse fully yet with all the with the full info I've cuz I've watched the whole show 1000 times Yeah, I've had to read online right? I haven't heard it. So now I'm like okay, and then when the second I start hearing stuff I'm like I'm having so much more

Dez Dolly 1:16:43
good I'm glad I'm glad to have that works so much better. You know what it's actually quite nice to have a set of fresh eyes that lately game

Alex Ferrari 1:16:50
No, I really yeah, I tried to do that. So when I call her something I generally don't watch the movie. You know unless it's something specific that's just my process. Yeah, but at least I'll just I just look at it completely yeah fresh but that's I didn't know if you knew that or not but that's how I

Dez Dolly 1:17:05
had a sense yeah, I had a sense

Alex Ferrari 1:17:08
I wait for the VFX and all that stuff to come out

Dez Dolly 1:17:10
man the VFX look great. It's the first like I've made a billion short films and web series worked in commercials and I've done a lot not a whole lot yet you know like I feel like I'm just at the very beginning of my what I hope to be a long career sure sure. But boy, was it fun watching these episodes finished you know, so I can I have given birth I always find it difficult I feel like learning the craft of filmmaking has in many respects ruin watching films for me Oh, before having a love for filmmaking that was my favorite thing to do you know watching movies and you know just knowing seeing behind the curtain spoils

Alex Ferrari 1:17:50
that but occasionally once in a blue moon you get that movie that you forget and you get so caught into chasing that high you you look for that highlight you just completely forget about the process you forget about the lighting you forget about the VFX you're just there right that moment when you saw Star Wars for the first time right? That's what you keep a high is what we chase

Dez Dolly 1:18:11
thing the American Werewolf Yeah, exactly

Alex Ferrari 1:18:13
one of those one of those movies Yeah, so I've got a couple more questions before we go because it's been going on for a little bit but I have a couple more questions I always ask everybody but yeah, specifically the last question I wanted to ask you is if you were going to start building an online audience today Yeah, from scratch, right? What do you do? What do you do and I'm not saying YouTube I'm just saying audience in any shape or form podcasting website blogs or shorts or anything.

Dez Dolly 1:18:42
Okay look, well you You first have to figure out what it is you want to share with this audience? What product are you delivering to them? Is it film is it music? Is it your personality and your critique in the way of some sort of blog or vlog or what have you you know, what is it that you're going to be creating? What are you passionate about? Where is your particular skill set? And then you have to ask yourself, you know, precisely which niche that falls into and so you can target yourself at a specific audience. And I think it's really important for folks to ask themselves you know, what it is they're passionate about, because you got to be making something for yourself and that's what people are going to be drawn to as there's a lot of folks out there who I think chase in the wrong end of that stick you know, they chase them if you take it for the money you chase it for the money are you just thinking okay, I'll just do what somebody else I'll just replicate the process you know, as opposed to actually having you know, passion for something like No, I wouldn't do it if you think you're gonna get rich off of it because it's nothing nothing's, you're not going to necessarily you're almost definitely not going

Alex Ferrari 1:19:50
to get if you go into it with that mentality. You definitely want them

Dez Dolly 1:19:53
and it's not gonna happen. I'll also say don't say anything racist. Don't say anything racist on the internet. You know, but Again, it comes down to creating quality content, something that you're passionate about. And tying yourself, you know, finding a platform where the community can, we're a community who's into that kind of thing can very easily find it, you know, it's got to be of quality, keep your content consistent, you know, give the folks what they want, they're not going to come back, if it's sporadic, or they don't know if it's when the next thing is going to drop, you know, be transparent with these folks. Let them know a little bit more about your personality. People don't want to subscribe to brands, they want to be inspired by artists, you know, people with unique personality. So I think people need to be self reflexive, ask themselves self evaluate, you know, what makes my perspective unique? And what do I have to offer? Is it something new? And if it's not something new, maybe you should take a hard look at that being a road, you actually want to go down? You know, that's just got to start me, it's got to start with you, yourself. And I, you know, what are you into?

Alex Ferrari 1:21:03
No, do you agree with this statement that any kind of audience building is a long game? It is not a short game? Meaning that it's going to

Dez Dolly 1:21:12
take absolutely no, absolutely. There are exceptions to that rule? Or they're few and far between? Right?

Alex Ferrari 1:21:18
The lottery tickets,

Dez Dolly 1:21:18
the exactly the The reality is, the rest of us have to play that long game.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:24
Yeah. Because it took you It didn't I mean, rocket jumped in just take off in five months, or it took a little bit it was it was fast, but it was it did take time. And to build it to where it is today that took years.

Dez Dolly 1:21:35
It took many, many years. And and it will, it will constantly be that way. You know, as your audience grows, tastes change, as our tastes as filmmakers and our goals and ambitions change, we're going to be appealing to a slightly different subset of that audience, or perhaps a whole new audience in general, you know, the original audience was built around us making short action VFX videos. So if I want to go off and do a drama, which I may very well want to do at some point in my career, I have to start thinking ahead of how do I how do I broach that with my current audience? Do I need to build a new audience? How can I extend the boundaries of the folks I currently produce content, I don't even want to say content. I hate that. I hate when people throw that around. Like, like, we're just making a product, you know, our, our we're making art, but we have to be real and that there's there there's the whole commerce, flip side to this coin. It is a business,

Alex Ferrari 1:22:31
the word business has twice as many letters as the word show. Absolutely. And my friend Susan Lyons said that I was like, yeah, that's, that's awesome. You know, and

Dez Dolly 1:22:39
I think that's what a lot of folks fail to realize. You're building something like this on your own is that it is a combination of art and commerce, you know, you can't have one without the other. I think a lot of folks are really talented artistically and have something unique to say, but they don't take the necessary steps to keep it at a certain quality, keep it consistent, you know, reach out to folks in a professional manner. And then vice versa, you get a lot of folks who sort of break down this the successful strategies of building an online social presence. But they don't have anything unique to say, right? It's not necessarily artistically inclined in any way shape or form. They understand SEO but that's pretty much it. But it's if you look back to the fundamentals of filmmaking, you have directors meeting, you know, their perfect producing partner and you have their comedy. You have your your Rob tapper to your raise. Ron Bryan, raising your Ron Howard. Yeah, and a million other examples, like, you know, so if you're someone who's not, you know, necessarily inclined in a business sense. Go find someone that is someone who's good at that someone who's looking for a partner, you know, reach out to folks, involve yourself in these social circles. And, you know, God, I mean, I would love to hear more on your perspective, because I know my, we were able to build a hell of an audience on YouTube, but God my my Twitter game sucks. So hard, so hard, you know, well, I

Alex Ferrari 1:24:04
have a horse. I'll send it to you, please. It's called Twitter hacks.

Dez Dolly 1:24:07
All right.

Alex Ferrari 1:24:08
Easy. It's literally Twitter hacks. I got 10,000 followers in 10. weeks. Yeah. Organic Byam. No, not organic. Yeah. Audience specific. And look at will go off on a quick tangent on social media. So you asked about it. You know, social media for me, especially because Twitter and Instagram, those guys, and even Facebook, all of it. You know, it's it's nice. You have to have massive numbers, right? You're talking millions, right? To make a dent. Because, you know, on YouTube, you've got almost 8 million followers. But every time you put a video out, you don't get 8 million views, right? There's a percentage of those people that watch that. So generally, that percentage is 5% 10%. You guys have a little bit better percentage, depending on how active your audience is. Yeah, but when you post something on, you know, how many people actually interact or work on it's minuscule? Yeah, so for me, Twitter, specifically All Twitter has been really good for its Yeah, I have caught audience members there. I've gotten people there and I people follow me there. What it does is I'm able to reach out to other people through Twitter. Like I tweeted, Jim rules. The writer Fight Club, right? I tweeted him I'm like, and this it's still weird for me to say that I tweet. Like I tweeted me Oh, it feels so unnatural. It's just the weirdest thing. Yeah. But I tweet him and I go, Hey, you want to be on my show? Sure. And then I got a chance to meet and speak to the writer of Fight Club, one of my favorite movies of all time, where the first half hour was just me talking. How is David Fincher? Yeah, and how was he working with him gushing? Yeah, and I was just completely just, you know, but that's what it's good for. Because when they go to my Twitter, they'll see almost 40,000 followers, they'll go, Oh, this guy's serious. That's what Twitter is. For me.

Dez Dolly 1:25:49
I'm certainly learning to be a lot less bashful on there and reach out to nobody Exactly. Like you're saying, reaching out to folks that, you know, I aspire to be like, Yeah, I just appreciate something that they did. You know, and letting them know that I'm a fan and I slowly starting to learn how to insert myself into other circles.

Alex Ferrari 1:26:09
You know, it's amazing, man, you can cut it's a direct contact. Like, I didn't have to call an agent. It's cool. When it works. It wouldn't work. And it's worked a million times. Like I've gotten so many guests on, on the show purely by tweeting them out like, hey, big fan. love to invite you on my show and talk show I saw

Dez Dolly 1:26:25
you just reach out to Larry curzio ski I did. I tell you, Mike connexional Aereo? Okay, you get Larry on the show for me. I could I could maybe ask him but Larry is he's, I owe him some credit, even though he probably wouldn't take it. But when I mentioned my father going into drive ins as a kid, and Larry probably is like, why is this kid always mentioning me, but I feel inclined to give him I feel indebted to him in some respect. But my father and Larry were friends when they were kids. No, and Larry's dad would take them to the driving to go watch the monster movies. And oh my god, you know, I think that's, you know, obviously Larry was really into film and you think you think Yeah, exactly. It's my dad. A lot of that rubbed off on my dad, which in turn rubbed off on me. So he works. We're sort of friendly in that respect. And I couldn't be more happy for that guy. Success being a fellow South Bend kid. He's he's done well for himself, right? I mean, people vs. Larry Flynt. And I mean, and then the little v oj simpson is Oh, my God was asking. And that's, I mean, yeah. How do

Alex Ferrari 1:27:27
you take a story that we all know, and I was still on the edge of my seat. It's so well done credible. But yeah, Larry, for people who don't know, I'll put it I'll put some information about him in the show notes. But when you see his credit, you'll go. Oh, that guy. That guy. Yeah, exactly. But yeah, like I reached out, I just tweeted him just to see Yeah, cuz he came up on my Twitter feed. I'm like, I would love to talk to you. I

Dez Dolly 1:27:47
hope you get to because he is he's the nicest guy and he. He knows his stuff. And cyclopedic film knowledge.

Alex Ferrari 1:27:54
I'm absolutely sure. No question. So I'll ask you the same four questions I asked all my

Dez Dolly 1:28:00
guys. Okay, you put me on spot. Here we go.

Alex Ferrari 1:28:02
These are the rough ones. Okay. This is the lightning round. You read it? If you were going to give one piece of advice to a filmmaker starting out today, what would it be?

Dez Dolly 1:28:10
Just go megaphone. Simple as that. Yeah, right. Look,

Alex Ferrari 1:28:15
I can hear someone right like this. No fucker just said, Go make a film. Is that really? No,

Dez Dolly 1:28:19
you have to embrace the naivete, you know, you have to be a crazy person to survive in this industry, you got to, you got to throw rationality out the window, and just be freaking nice. There are so many people that work with continually because it's a pleasure to work with them. And there's a lot of folks out here who are not and they don't get phone calls back. So

Alex Ferrari 1:28:42
and it's, it's about talent, but you'll take someone who's just slightly less talented. If they're nice and

Dez Dolly 1:28:49
tolerate working with them. If you

Alex Ferrari 1:28:51
could sit in a room for eight hours, and not kill them are on a set for eight hours.

Dez Dolly 1:28:56
There is a thick depth chart of folks waiting to get their shot in every field in the in show business. And the second you someone takes that ticket and they step up to the counter if they're a jerk, you tell them to move to the back of the line. You know, it's an N word. And ever you never know who's going to be your boss.

Alex Ferrari 1:29:18
Dude. Um, look, look at perfect example. I'm talking about Larry, I just wanted to reach out to Yeah, imagine if I for whatever reason, screwed you over. And then five years from now I'm in a meeting with Larry and you happen to mention my name to your dad or to Larry directly and all of a sudden like, oh, you're that guy that fucked over does that day, huh? Yes, sir. We're not going to work with you. I've seen that happen.

Dez Dolly 1:29:41
People. It's Hollywood's when people gossip, you know, people gossip. So leave a good impression. Absolutely. That's

Alex Ferrari 1:29:47
a good piece of advice. Yes. Absolutely. And as big as you think the town is, it's really small. Yep. It's extremely, extremely small. Okay, what is the what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in life Or in the film business.

Dez Dolly 1:30:02
The lesson that took me the longest to learn life or in film business hmm i don't know maybe. I mean in life The most important thing that seems like the most obvious, but now in my elder years you just have to find happiness You know, in any way that you can. And for so long I chased it through film and but again that's just a means to an end. It's a tough

Alex Ferrari 1:30:40
it's a drug man. It's like it's like it's like being a heroin addict like if you chase a lie constantly through film and that is your only happiness you're going to Janaka I have

Dez Dolly 1:30:51
I have really I have spent my entire life chasing this only now to realize that the most important thing is spending more time with the people that I love. Yes, and you can get lost chasing that Tiger morphine drip of filmmaking you know? Yep, yep, yep. And before you know it, you know life has passed you by and I know I'm speaking like I'm having some sort of midlife crisis it's okay I'm only 34 years I've been going like cuz I spent the last two and a half three years buried in the show. Why not not spending enough time with friends and family and I'm, I now get to say I did I achieved a dream of mine. I got to make a TV show people really dig it. But what matters most you know, what do I want to go do next and do like literally my next project now that I've wrapped dimension for for spending time with my family?

Alex Ferrari 1:31:42
Yeah, I just asked you right before the show. Like I went on vacation like next week. And if you guys could have seen the look on his face when I asked him like, when are you off? He's Wednesday Wednesday, it was just so dead on like, it was like shark eyes. And he was like, I'm

Dez Dolly 1:31:57
out flights booked? I am out and I have zero plans for when I get home other than sleeping on the couch and rolling around with my my dogs.

Alex Ferrari 1:32:04
Yeah, exactly. You know, the more you know I have a few years on you're not much we're similar genre. Similar. vintages? Yeah, but you learn that after a while, because when you're young, you just it's all about the big the big, the big, the big Jason that tie you chasing that tiger? Yeah. And when you get older, you know, I've got a family. I have a wife and all that stuff. You start realizing you look at the end of the day, and you start watching all these guys that like you know, Don Rickles just passed. Yeah, these legends were a loss, right? Oh my god, he was amazing. All these guys last year was brutal. I mean, how many famous you know how many people are ours that we lose last year? And you go to the end of like, you know what, at the end? What does it really mean? Like, are you going to be thinking about on your deathbed. You know how many projects you got off the ground? You know, it's art is art, and that's great. But at the end of the day, it's about being with people you love,

Dez Dolly 1:32:55
I think. Yeah, and this is turning into like the WTF pie.

Alex Ferrari 1:32:59
It is what it is. And it's it's going deeper. It's deeper. I'm not uncomfortable with

Dez Dolly 1:33:03
it. I think you know, as an artist, I definitely chase that. Probably because there's a piece of me that wants to leave something behind. We all do. You know, absolutely. You know, we like to see we're reaching for that slice of immortality in a way but you can't lose sight of living in the now you know, in chase of I mean, look at Luke trying to live forever.

Alex Ferrari 1:33:22
Look at Lucas I mean, George George created, you know, Star Wars. Yeah, He's good. He's legacies pretty much locked. But he took

Dez Dolly 1:33:29
Why don't know he seems like he's not happy. That way things have gone. Well, I mean, which is sad. It's so sad, isn't it? Okay, put a frickin dent in the world. He no he didn't the universe. Yeah, literally, right.

Alex Ferrari 1:33:41
He literally Damn. like Steve Jobs a

Dez Dolly 1:33:43
boy. He just doesn't. I feel empathy for that, man.

Alex Ferrari 1:33:48
You know what I think? And I had a chat. I did have a chance to meet George once. And it's it's interesting to see how I'm not sure a lot of time. I think Coppola said it best he goes, you know, Star Wars was kind of almost, I won't say the worst thing, but it's a shame that he got caught up in it. He said, Yeah, because he never got a chance to be a filmmaker. Right? And that's what because THX 1138 and like, what a wonder what he would have done or American Graffiti. I mean, really, really great. Once, but once you get into Star Wars, that's it. You're done. You can't get out of that. So almost like the universe picked. I don't want to say the wrong guy for the job. But he just seems very reluctant. And it's his journey. And it's afforded him I mean, you know, the empire that he's built. Yeah, but he took 15 years off the we didn't get a Star Wars movie, because he's just like, I'm out. Yeah, then we got the prequels.

Dez Dolly 1:34:41
Then we got the prequels. There's

Alex Ferrari 1:34:43
there's moments. There's moments but we won't talk. We won't go into that. Okay. Final question. What are the three favorite films of all time?

Dez Dolly 1:34:50
three favorite films of all time?

Alex Ferrari 1:34:52
As of right now?

Dez Dolly 1:34:55
Okay, unfortunately, well, not unfortunately for me. They're awesome. movies. I don't know if your audience is into the same horror schlock that I am, but I have to go with three of the movies that not necessarily the quote unquote best films, although I think they're masterpieces in their own right. But these are the films that had the most significant impact on me as an individual and as an artist, and a professional working in show business and that would be Halloween, awesome first movie that, you know, scared the living shit out of me. And my earliest scripts were Halloween sequels.

Alex Ferrari 1:35:32
And it bubble it real. Is it true that john carpet is still hates USC? Because they sued him? Yes, because very true. He made Halloween with USC gear. And when it became the biggest independent film of all time, it's time USC sued him for the money.

Dez Dolly 1:35:48
I believe there is truth that I have also heard a story that they he shot a film they had asked him if they could have the leftover set flats to use at the university. And he begrudgingly loaded them up on a truck and had them carted over and dumped on the loading dock at like two in the morning or something like that, right? A legend that they tell him He's like, just dumped a garbage on their their doorstep. I look I've again, I've had mixed experience with the bureaucracy. Sure, over at a large, well endowed University. I'm not gonna say anything nasty about USC,

Alex Ferrari 1:36:27
of course, but I just thought that was funny that you said all the ways. Absolutely. Okay. The other

Dez Dolly 1:36:31
ones and and this is only because you're asking me today every day, it's a different, a different mix. But American Wharf in London was another film that set me on this path. Not only is it just a just an awesome, hilarious and terrifying movie, but seeing the werewolf transformation effects done by Rick Baker. Oh, change my it blew my brain right open. Sure. And at that moment, I knew I wanted to be a special effects makeup artist. No, I obviously now am a filmmaker because that business died off, but I spent you know, 12 Wow. Yeah, about 12 years of my life as a special amateur special makeup artist sort of chasing that dream. And that got me into writing and producing and directing all that stuff. And then, oh, boy, the third one. That's tough. Maybe I gotta go with another Carpenter jam. The thing? Sure. Yeah. Just think the thing is just such a rad movie, and it's just got that bad ass Carpenter vibe to it, you know. And again, those effects are unparalleled. I'm just such a sucker for all the practical gooey rubbery

Alex Ferrari 1:37:39
as I as I know after watching some of the episodes of of your episodes from dimension four for

Dez Dolly 1:37:45
another film I my father showed me when I was way too young, and I can still visualize the nightmares I had. After I watched that film, those are the three movies that again, I'm not saying claim. They're the best movies ever made. Although they are fucking perfect. They're the best to you. They made the biggest dent on me and who I am. Yeah, that's, that's awesome.

Alex Ferrari 1:38:07
And so real quick, where can Oh, by the way, because you said the thing and Halloween. What do you think Robert? remaking Empire Escape from New York. With Carpenter's blessing.

Dez Dolly 1:38:20
Right? So the news is we talking about Robert Rodriguez being tapped to do Escape from New York. remake and remake? I look. I always look, I'm approaching that with caution. I will, with all films reserve judgment until I see it in the theater. Sure. I think because one of my all time favorite movies The thing is a remake.

Alex Ferrari 1:38:44
Oh God, it wasn't that great. That remake? Now the original thing was a remake.

Dez Dolly 1:38:50
Yes. Correct. carpenters made that Yeah, no Bart carpenters thing is a remake of the thing from outer space. And I think that movie is, is fantastic. So you know, I reserve judgment until I see what the filmmaker comes in and does with it. I'm skeptical. Knowing Rodriguez is such an outspoken fanboy for Escape from New York, that he may have some difficulty approaching it with a fresh perspective. And I'm worried that we're just going to get a lot of liberated courage. attainted you know, modernisations you're gonna get like the psycho remake with Vince Vaughn essentially, Ghostbusters. I haven't seen it yet.

Alex Ferrari 1:39:37
It's the worst thing ever made. Okay, well, it's absolutely the worst out of people like that. Now it is the worst thing ever. I love it. We're in it. Yes, for five seconds. I'll see it. But but the four girls are awesome. Yeah, they're, they're great. They're great. Excellent. And and if it was a handing off of the baton, it would have been perfect, right? But because they're like talking about it like it's like they rebooted it you don't reboot ghosts

Dez Dolly 1:40:04
no it's everything now is days is a reboot cool no no no not a direct sequel without a direct reboot it's like this just JJ Abrams z antic dude give the dude credit what he did with Star Trek basically rerouted what we were seeing in Hollywood happening today everything is a reboot cool you know like we're going to reset the timeline not erase the original for all of those fans but try to update it and there's nothing like that goes by I would rather see with a case of Escape from New York to bring it back to that I rather than grab some weird hungry ambitious young dude young guy, you know or girl. Absolutely. That would be amazing. I would love that would be awesome. I would love to see a female and and recast snake plissken as a female oh my god can you imagine someone on Twitter said Wouldn't it be awesome as Emily Blunt played snake plissken and I said fucking yeah yep yeah that sounds I want to see that like let's get something fresh lately fresh

Alex Ferrari 1:40:58
Can you imagine Emily Blunt playing

Dez Dolly 1:41:01
now have they announced who they've cast in the film yet

Alex Ferrari 1:41:03
Am I amazing?

Dez Dolly 1:41:06
I know for summary well now for some reason is for good reason Rodriguez has garnered a lot of ill will is his last wins last few films. But you know that guy still has a soft spot in my heart. His book Rebel on the backlot was you know a Rebel Without a Rebel Without a crew? Yeah, excuse me was a you know, that was that was Gospel to me. And it still is. And that's a special features on his feminine film schools. His 10 minute film schools really helped me out in my formative years, so I wish the guy the best of luck. It sounds like something he's really excited in doing and I know how frickin hard it is to make a good movie. So Best of luck.

Alex Ferrari 1:41:41
And where can people find you?

Dez Dolly 1:41:43
I'm on time in Burbank.

Alex Ferrari 1:41:46
Here's my arm as

Dez Dolly 1:41:49
you can find me in Burbank. Or back in Indiana as I go on vacation. Now I'm on Twitter at at does Dolly with z No. So we're going to work and we're going to work on your Twitter game. We're gonna work on my Twitter game, send me your tutorial. And then the show of course right now is well it's everywhere. here in the States on Hulu. So as of this recording, we've launched four episodes on Hulu matchmakers Sena Thrax Bolivia's and Kronos and again if for anyone who's interested in just flat out good TV, really cool genre, sci fi action and something that's fun funny and weird. It is don't come into this expecting black mirror is nothing like black mirror. It is it is a roller coaster ride of a fun sci fi show you know so if you're looking for fun, something fun, funny, weird and different. dimension 404 is the anthology show for you so that's on Hulu here in the states and we've got a new episode premiering the last two Tuesday's in April it's also on iTunes in Canada and it's on HBO overseas

Alex Ferrari 1:42:51
nice nice and then of course Rocket Jump comm

Dez Dolly 1:42:56
rocketjump.com we got a lot of behind the scenes material and mini chronicling of the very very long development it's all on the show and then a couple other fun shorts that a lot of the filmmakers around the office have put together inspired by the show so yeah, and of course you have that little YouTube channel we got a little YouTube channel we're gonna give it a solid go just starting out yeah youtube.com slash rocket jump and we're gonna try it see how it works out we're gonna see if we can garner a viewer to the YouTube channel

Alex Ferrari 1:43:27
does man it's been an epic interview man it's been

Dez Dolly 1:43:30
An epic six months this is a good working with you and you know for for your fans out there. They should know how appreciative we are how I am oh thank you everyone at rocketjump for the work you've done your contributions to the show this was it was a labor of love for sure there's no question about that there's a lot of sacrifice that went into it and just a hell of a lot of elbow grease and we couldn't have done it without you did an amazing job man appreciate you guys if you're fans of Alex you should definitely check out the show just for that alone because his collar work is it's unparalleled and

Alex Ferrari 1:44:03
If there's any mistakes I didn't do it

Dez Dolly 1:44:04
Exactly it was somebody else that has been

Alex Ferrari 1:44:08
Thanks again I appreciate it

Dez Dolly 1:44:09
Thanks dude love talking to you.

Alex Ferrari 1:44:11
Man I want to thank Dez a he's a super busy guy right now who just finishing up the last episodes of of deferral for for Hulu and he took a couple hours out of his day for this interview because I told him how important it was for us to get on the podcast I wanted to get this information to you guys so desmin Thanks again so much for taking the time out. I hope you guys picked up a lot man I absolutely did I plan to now have 10 million followers on my YouTube in a matter of weeks if not hours but but it was great information and really great information about how someone who's actually done it did it you know as a lot of times people talk about stuff and all you know in theory this would work on theory that work well this guy and his partners did it. You know they did it this Way, and there's no reason why you guys can't do it to, you know, the world is big enough that there's so many people in the world that you guys can create your own niches for what you're trying to do your own audiences for what you're trying to do, there's absolutely no reason why you can't. And that's what YouTube has, has proven to everybody. That's what the internet's proven to everybody. Sometimes they'll run across a site, or a personality or, or a channel and go, Wow, man, this guy, I've never even heard of these guys. And they got 5 million followers, or 2 million followers or a million followers. And you're like, Wow, there really is an audience for almost anything, you know. And now the size of that audience is another story. But you can build a niche audience and if you build a passionate audience, you can do amazing things. Look what you know, we've been able to do as the the tribe, the indie film, hustle tribe, you know, we got Meg made, you know, you crowdfunded. You guys helped me with that. I'm hoping you guys are gonna help me with us trying to break iTunes, as I call it, and I'll be talking more about that in the coming weeks as we release it in the summer. But you know, it's amazing what a group of people we're passionate about something can do. So I hope this inspired you guys inspired the hell out of me. And again, Dez Thank you very, very much for dropping some major knowledge bombs. For the the tribe and myself. And if you want links to anything we talked about on the episode, head over to any film hustle calm Ford slash 152 for the show notes, and don't forget to head over to free film book calm. That's free film book calm to download your free filmmaking and screenwriting audio books from audible. Alright guys, this episode is long enough. I'm out of here. Keep that hustle going keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.

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