IFH 189: How NOT to Direct a Television Pilot with Dave Bullis



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Before I get any hate mail I wanted to let you know that our guest today reached out to me and offered to do this episode. So I didn’t ask a fellow filmmaker to come on the show and tell us all how not to direct a television pilot. Dave Bullis is a director, writer, and podcaster. He approached me with this idea and I said let’s do it. The more truth bombs I can lay on the IFH Tribe the better.

Game Over (GO) was a TV pilot Dave filmed a few years ago about five employees at a video game store struggling to get to the next level in their lives. He went through hell making it and his stories even surprised me. Dave also decided to write a length guide to help filmmakers shoot their own projects.

There’s much to be learned so listen up. Thx Dave for your honesty and candor. Below is the FULL Pilot of Game Over.

Alex Ferrari 1:14
So today is a first for the indie film hustle podcast, I have a good friend of mine named Dave Bullis, who is a prolific podcaster like myself, and hosts an amazing filmmaking podcast called the Dave Bullis podcast. He's very creative that way. And he came to me and wanted to share a story with the tribe. He said, Look, man, I made a huge, monstrous amount of mistakes, making my pilot my television pilot called game over. And I wanted to share with your tribe, how not to make a television pilot, and all of the mistakes he made and everything I was like, well, no one's really ever offered to do that. I did that in a prior episode about how not to shoot a $50,000 short film. But I've never had a guest come on, say, Hey, I made a whole bunch of mistakes. I want to tell you guys how I what I did, and share that with you guys. So you don't have to do the same thing. So as you know, I love this kind of stuff. So I wanted to give you as much of the truth of this industry as possible. And Dave has been so gracious and brave, to come out and just just lay himself out there like Mel Gibson in Braveheart at the end, right before they disembowel them. He just kind of puts it all out there for everybody to see, warts and all. And I am infinitely grateful for Dave for his sharing his journey. And a lot of the things that we're talking about for this TV pilot easily translates to feature films, short films, web series, anything else you're doing that's in production. A lot of these mistakes can be avoided in all of those different kinds of formats. So prepare to take some notes because this is a doozy. Enjoy my conversation with Dave Bullis. I'd like to welcome to the show the legendary Dave Bullis.

Dave Bullis 3:12

Alex Ferrari 3:12
I your a friend. So that's why I call you legendary.

Dave Bullis 3:15
Thank you. Thank you, Alex. It is really good to be here. You and I have been friends for years now. You know, it really is. It's good to finally come on here. And I thank you for having me on. I really do appreciate it.

Alex Ferrari 3:25
Yeah. You mean, Dave, for everybody listening. Dave has an amazing podcast as well. very humble. He called the Dave Bullis podcast. And he has a he is he's prolific. He's, he's got a lot of episodes out there. He's got a lot of great interviews as well. So I'll put links to his podcasts in the in the show notes. But today, we're here. Because it was a very unusual request, Dave reached out to me and said, Hey, Alex, would you like to do a podcast? interviewing me telling people how not to shoot a pilot? And I said, Sure. You know, cuz I did that before with my episode on how not to shoot a short film a $50,000 short film, but I would never ask anyone to go like, Hey, you really didn't do well, on that project? Can you tell us how you did it specifically? Like it's not something I would do so that the audience knows I did not request this. Dave approached me with it. And I'm like, well, it'd be a great learning experience. I want to know what you did wrong. I want to know what you know, and I think a lot of people listening will will hopefully find some some solace in what you have to say. But first and foremost, Dave, why did you want to do this?

Dave Bullis 4:38
Well, it's because I'm actually going to end up releasing it onto YouTube. And basically, I just wanted to talk about, you know, all the things that have happened with it and been for a while it sat on a hard drive and did absolutely nothing. It just sat there, almost like the proverbial redheaded stepchild.

Alex Ferrari 4:57
Everyone he's redhead

Dave Bullis 4:59
Speaking from from experience if they you know, so basically what happens was it just laid there on a hard drive, doing absolutely nothing. And every so often I would get it legitimately I would get an email, like, Hey, you know, whatever happened to that, that that thing you were doing because you and people who listen to the podcast, they hear me talk about it from time to time. Well, I actually ended up meeting a couple people. And I actually started telling him about it. And these are people who are managers out in LA. And, you know, I was just talking to them, you know, basically off the cuff. This wasn't like a serious pitch meeting or anything. And they were like, Wow, that sounds pretty interesting. Is it done? Like, where is it? You know, and I said, it's so my hard drive, you know, and they unanimously said, you should really get that back up, and just post it with everything else you're doing. What's the harm now? Yeah, it's terrible. They said, you know, who cares? Because you're gonna have a bunch of other stuff that, you know, you've done later on and say, hey, look, our improved, and or vice versa, at least get some eyes on you. And I mean, I've seen other filmmakers recently, you know, who put stuff up there. And you know, they've gotten just, you know, different people. It doesn't it's not a mean, it's a means to an end you want I mean, it's just to get your foot out there. And plus, you know, if there's one thing I know about Alex, it's being mediocre.

Alex Ferrari 6:16
Nice. So So what's the name of the pilot? Game Over? Game Over? Very, very, very good. Name. Very good name for very poetic. Thank you. It was it was over before it began. So tell me so. So take us take us through the journey. Tell weave the tale. What? How did the project come to be?

Dave Bullis 6:38
Okay, so I'm basically here the event about 2009. I actually had this idea that I've been playing around with, for probably for a few years, I actually used to work at a GameStop you know, GameStop is Alex.

Alex Ferrari 6:51
I do, sir? Yes, it's still around. It's still around. I worked at video stores, but I do know what a GameStop is.

Dave Bullis 6:56
He there is there is some overlap there. But you know, because like I, you know, working at those types of game stores, you know, I've met different people along the way. And, you know, we always trade stories, but anyways, I'm sorry, I'm gonna hold topic. But what happens is with work again, I worked at gamestop. And I always had these ideas in my head. I'm like, you know, I should just do something with this, you know, I had an idea that I'm playing kicking around. So I actually made a couple of short films. And finally I said, you know, what, if I can make a 2530 minute film, how I can make a TV pilot, and I saw what always It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia did, they made a pilot for like, I think was like five bucks, and they pitched it to FX and said, This is what it could be like, and you know, and you know, they eventually FX picked it off, etc. So, I started to formulate this idea along the way. You know, I've picked up a couple of people I've wanted to work with, picked up a couple of people I, you know, picked up who I thought were going to add something to it. We ended up pitching it to the like number two, number three biggest video game distributor in America, a video game store called gamer doc. They absolutely loved it. I actually got a chance to pitch to the president of a company. He actually personally called me loved it. Long story short, they long story short, they backed out. I then pitched it to independent game store. He loved it. Long story short, he backed out. I then got to shoot it at a multimillion dollar studio they just built here right down in Brighton, Philly. It's actually an Aston Pennsylvania. I'm actually from Aston by the way. You know, I tell everyone I'm from Philly, but you know, nobody knows where Aston is.

Alex Ferrari 8:31
Yeah, I say I'm from Miami, but I'm really from Fort Lauderdale.

Dave Bullis 8:36
I actually know in Fort Lauderdale is like asking people what the hell is that? I go it's right by Philly. Oh, okay. Yeah, so anyways, so I and they just built this studio. And I was able to not only film it there but hold auditions there. And right after us After Earth was literally filming right where we were with with M.Night Shyamalan

Alex Ferrari 9:00
They built that and they built that for m night I know people in Philly they're like yeah, they they basically built the entire film industry around one director and it didn't go well originally.

Dave Bullis 9:09
When we were shooting there this is a little story. We were I was there with my one of my producers really good guy named crisper minica really, really sweet guy and in walks a bunch of people and I'm like, What the hell is this? It was all of the crews for like the Bourne Supremacy. World War Z was around that time they were all these crews that were in the area looking for stuff and they came to sun center to look to to think about shooting on the two main sound stages. Well, we shot we were we were on the property right next to this the the big set to the first soundstage where people would walk in they were like, oh, did a video game store used to be here. And I said yes got them. So if the Hollywood people who have millions of dollars could be you know, sort of fooled by what I pulled together with like nothing. I was like hell yeah, we got it. So that was Actually one of the really cool moments and then after, you know, we filmed it.

Alex Ferrari 10:05
Whoops, sorry to hear that the books finally fall on, you know, my shade just fell down. Sorry about that. It's sorry, edit that out. Okay, but we don't edit here. So everything just flows. Man, that was a Yeah, the books didn't follow me thank God by the way, just so everybody knows, every time I see Dave, when we Skype, he's got just piled. It's like a hoarders kind of books piling, like hoarders, but then he's got like, you know, macho man and a couple of you know, WTF, you know, but at any moment, you just feel like, Oh my god, that thing's gonna just fall on me kill him. So when that fell, I automatically thought anyway, we digress continue, sir.

Dave Bullis 10:43
In fear for my safety everybody. But so after we were able, we shot it up on this on this soundstage, it worked out beautifully. It was like serendipitous. That's the word that other people were using. I was in all the local filling papers, like Dave's that, you know, how did he pull this off? That was a question I got asked a lot. And as soon as it was over, a lot of Fallout happened between myself and somebody who was trying to claim ownership on the project between myself, but no, it was just to myself. But there was other problems I had boiled over with other members of the crew and cast and stuff like that. And I kind of had put out a lot of fires, which is really time consuming. And also it was really, like I was getting pulled in all directions. And I actually edited the thing. And so I got and I got a full time job right around this time.

Alex Ferrari 11:38
So I started so stop for a second. Let's go back for a second. So you're, you're being you, other people are coming out. And there's problems starting to be created, which none of this sounds new to me. I've had this happen on me at my projects early on, and, and all this stuff. So other people were coming out and trying to take credit it did you not have contracts? Did you not have agreements in place?

Dave Bullis 11:59
I did. here's the here's the kicker to all this. So I'll just take a huge step back. When I first started doing this. I had contracts with everybody, everyone who had to come on had a contract. One guy, one guy refused it. And he said, this is filling. We don't sign contracts, who cares? I said, Well, I said you're leaving yourself at risk. I said, Oh, you know, well, as soon as we as soon as gamer doc joined up, he like snapped. He was like, Oh my god, how you know, you were taken this net. This guy approached me to just read the script and give feedback. There was no mention of any of this other stuff. Well, the first thing he had asked for was he had asked for a couple of amenities I did I decline them. I mean, this got into a messy, messy, I got a lawyer, he got a lawyer. And I said, and here's the first lawyer was like, Look, she goes, I she was I don't Well, I got bad legal advice from her at the end. The second lawyer I got was like, you know, curse on this, Alex.

Alex Ferrari 13:02
I prefer not, but I'm sorry. I'm sorry. We can we can. If an F word. If f bomb drops by that's fine. But I'm trying to keep it. I'm trying to keep it cleaner these days. I'm sorry. So because you know, I'm from Philly, we curse I curse to look, I haven't had episodes. I've cursed like a sailor. But if you give an F bomb drops, it's okay.

Dave Bullis 13:20
Okay, I'll try to refrain. So basically, this is my second lawyer was like, screw this guy. He doesn't own anything. So we basically booted him from the project. And he tried to come back in and say, Well, I'm owed this and I'm owed that. And finally, I was like, you know, I don't know what the single everyone was like, is this guy insane? And I said, Yes. He's fucking insane. I'm sorry, say I already said, Oh, sorry. It's all good. Continue continue. So I said yes, he is absolutely insane. And, and we were so it was such a deep, deep web. And it all this, all this started from two things. And so this is how I failed by doing this. I want everyone to learn from this. I don't care if you're doing a project. That's everyone's working for free. And you're just doing this for the hell of it. And just for the fun of it, you Everyone has to sign a contract. Yeah. I don't care who it is. When this guy refused. I mean, I just I was like, hey, it's on you, buddy.

Alex Ferrari 14:16
Now you should have just said no. Yeah.

Dave Bullis 14:19
Yeah. I mean, what when he said, Well, cuz he wanted to come on because he wanted to learn. He said, you're wanting to learn how everything because he saw like what we were putting together. And slowly but surely, he was trying to ask for like a co producer credit. Friday, he was kind of trying to get a co director credit. And I was told to Rector and here's the kicker, too, he would call me up. And he would say two things to me every single time. Every time he called me up. He would say how talented he was. And also how much he hated my one of my producers, which every time and I would say is usually a problem or something with

Alex Ferrari 14:53
Tourette's. Like the Tourette's?

Dave Bullis 14:54
Yeah. I used to think it was I years after this all happened. And we had this falling out. And all of this stuff kept happening. We were always trying to save the project, my one producer and I, and my one producer, and I was I would always say, you know, he was he's, I don't want to sound like I'm bagging on religion, but he's a Christian. And it always comes out that he likes to help humanity, you know, and he doesn't he is the hire fast fire slow type of guy, you know what I mean? And that sort of was always Hey, Dave, let's just ignore him. He doesn't get involved in anything. And suddenly, you know, he and I were at odds because I wanted to just get rid of this guy. And it's just again, we're here we are. We're not we're instead of worrying about producing the the short here or producing the TV pilot. We're sitting here talking to lawyers, about going through over emails and going over all this other stuff. All because he said he was going to sue us if we went ahead with this. And now I'm sitting here going, this can't be happening. How does this tie? So eventually,

Alex Ferrari 16:00
All this, all of this stuff would have been completely taken care of who to sign an agreement? Or you would have just give him his walking papers to second, he did not want to sign anything?

Dave Bullis 16:10
Yeah, because then this time, he didn't want to sign anything. It wasn't a big deal at that point. Like I was just like, hey, it's on you, dude.

Alex Ferrari 16:17
It's never a big deal at the beginning. It's always a big deal when when you win the Oscar,

Dave Bullis 16:22
Exactly. When that's when gamer doc signed on, that's when everything changed. Well, then they backed out, I said, hey, look, you know, what, if we don't have it anymore, so it doesn't even matter anymore? The independent game store came on and then they basically they wanted to, you know, they were going to give us a little bit of money not much at all. And see gamer doc was cool, Alex because they were going to let us use a store, they were going to give us $10,000 to just work on the project. And they were going to give us a couple other amenities, amenities. This, this little independent one was like, we can't, you know, he's like, I don't have anywhere near the reach that they have. And the reason, by the way, that gamer doc dropped out, was because they really just they said, I'm gonna be honest with you, Dave, we don't have the extra money. And that's a bad sign. If you can't find $10,000 out of your marketing budget to put something towards something new and fresh. You know, I'm just gonna say and, you know, there's not too many gamer Doc's around anymore, but right, so so then we go to this little independent store, I actually found him. I actually emailed him and I said, this is what it is. And he said, Sure, you know, I'd love to do it. He actually, this is again, a little tip from from me to your audiences. When you when you pitch locations. Don't be surprised when they back out even when they everything seems like it's peaches and cream. And everything seems like it's going right. I was actually bringing him a contract to sign just to, you know, for the location. I had a copy of our insurance bond. I hadn't everything. And he goes, I called him. I said, I'm coming up now. And he goes, Oh, yeah, actually, he's like, I can't actually film here anymore. And I said, What happened? And he just was really aloof about it. I have a feeling that somebody along the lines told him all these guys are ripping you off, or something like that, or some friend gotten his here. And, you know, now I'm just I said to him, I said, well, you won't even let me help you out. And he goes, I don't want to be stuck babysitting you guys. And I'm like, here we go. So I just said, You know what, I'll talk to you later. When, when when you you settle down? Because again, I always try to kill with kindness, even when I when I even when I'm clearly in the right. And he emailed me later and he was like, no, it's never gonna happen. He goes, You can't film here. So by chance, I was at the Pennsylvania Film Industry Association meeting, which is poppea. And I was at a table and we were just there for this producer was in town. I forget what producer was but so by by just by chance, guess who sat at my table? But, but, Mr. Mr. Rob Witte who owns who is the CEO of sunset studios. So I actually shake his hand we get to talking and he goes up you know, sounds cool this that and gives me his card. He says, Call me anytime. Well, I needed some help. I reached out he goes, you can have your auditions here. reached out to him again after the gamer dock and then the independent store dropped back out. said if you want you can film here, we redid a bunch of stuff, we offered a lot of value to him because not only did we get a ton of freakin press, but we also fixed up this one area that hadn't been fixed up yet. And I'm going to give you some photos Alex check out of how we actually fixed it up from like, almost nothing from like it was just like a cement slab. Alright to accept decorating the whole year.

Alex Ferrari 19:41
So how much So where's the money coming from for all this?

Dave Bullis 19:45
So the money is coming from a couple different areas. The first thing we did was I just basically started using my own cash, no credit cards, nothing like that. And what I was doing and so the auditions were free, I believe for maybe like 100 bucks and To pay for the cost, we also crowdfunded. And this is when Indiegogo was first started. And nobody knew what the hell it was. And it was like, you could, I mean, my God, I mean, I think we were actually on the front page for a while, I don't know, maybe there was nobody else there was nobody else on there. It was like, it was like a ghost town, you know, and then all of a sudden, now, everybody has a crowdfunding campaign. But you know, you were back in those days, like, people were like, what is this called? What issue goes, you know, people were like, what is this? My equity in the project? No, it's crowdfunding. And even my producers, like real skeptical about doing it. And eventually, we also have a PayPal, the PayPal account got blocked by because they thought it was a scammer a scam. Because Game Over was the name of was was so some scam that was going around. So they blocked the call. I mean, like, Alex, I'm telling you, there were so many times where I was like, What the hell am I doing to myself? Like, why am I subjecting myself to this? And so finally,

Alex Ferrari 21:03
So how much how much cash that was? How much cash did you put into this thing?

Dave Bullis 21:07
After all is said and done around I'd say about 10 to 12,000 out of your pocket. Some was crowdfunded some of out of my own pocket. We got donations through PayPal. So I would say more like 40 to 50 out of my own pocket, and then the other half through donations and stuff like that.

Alex Ferrari 21:26
Wow, man, that's still a lot of cash.

Dave Bullis 21:29
Yeah, I know. It's still a lot of cash. I don't know what the hell I was thinking. I was young Alex, I don't know what the hell I was thinking. But,

Alex Ferrari 21:35
I mean, I spent I spent 50. So multiple times in my career. So I've learned I've learned not to do this anymore.

Dave Bullis 21:44
Seriously, man, it's, and the thing was we got so people usually ask how I got all the props. And I'm gonna tell you exactly how I got all the props. Number one was right down the street from sun center was a blockbuster that was going out of business. I walked in, and I started talking to people who were who were basically, you know, gutting the store. And she goes, you can buy whatever you want. And she goes, you have to take it out of here, because I can't help you with anything. We bought the counter. We bought the signs. I bought all the racks. Yeah. And we bought a lot of like, the empty cases for games and stuff like that. And I think that whole thing I honestly think came to like 200 bucks, maybe at most,

Alex Ferrari 22:26
Oh, Jesus a counter for Jesus. They just wanted to get it out there. Yes. Yeah.

Dave Bullis 22:30
Well, we actually said I actually, and here's, here's another thing was, I actually said to the, to the location to the building manager, I actually knew him. And I said, Hey, how about this? How would I film in there? You leave it up. And after it's done, we'll break it all down. And he goes, Dave, I wish I could say yes, but there's businesses in that are still around. And if you guys disrupt them in any way, yeah, they're gonna come to me and say, What the hell are you doing? You know what I mean? And I still I don't buy that argument from him because it was on the end. And it was a way from every other place, like, doesn't matter. Still,

Alex Ferrari 23:07
I get I get it. I get completely 100% get his point of view. It's a liability. He doesn't want to deal with I get it, man. It makes sense. But yeah, yeah, I get I get you. But yeah, but there's no there's not a win win for him at this point again, so But anyway, regardless. So you got you got this insane production value, because you bought everything for a couple 100 bucks. And you start building it out into into this amazing location studio that you got there. Did you pay anything for it? Or just a little bit?

Dave Bullis 23:36
We paid a little bit and I mean, he charged us, I think a miniscule amount I actually, that's where we're probably it was like 250 300 a day.

Alex Ferrari 23:45
That's definitely that is nothing I know, right? Like nothing. That's a gift as a gift. Alright, so you did all that. So now, you've got you've got some further production going on. How are you? So you're starting production? How many days did you shoot, by the way? We shot for for four days. Now, please. You start on a Friday? Who's the director? I'm the director. You're the director. Okay. How did that go? It actually went a lot better than the rest of the story. Okay, so now, I'm not making fun of you as a director, but I know some of the things that happened to you as a director. So that's why I was I was being a little sarcastic with the question.

Dave Bullis 24:30
So tell me, Well, here's the thing. It was the best cast I've ever directed. I'm gonna be honest with you, okay. They were some really good people. The problem I had was that people kept coming up to me and asking me to solve production problems. And I said, Guys, I don't know why. Because, I mean, okay, I'm going to toot my own horn here. Because people would always say to me, like, Dave, you're a great problem solver. Like you can solve a problem like that. And I said, hey, that's I really appreciate that. But I'm not wearing the producer hat right now. We're in the director hat. You're supposed to solve this. And it was like, it was just unbelievable. And I'm going to tell you where it kind of came to a head and I'm going to little funny story. We wish this is the second day, which was the worst day of all filming was that second day, because that first day, Alex, I'm gonna be honest with you. I was finally a little happy. I was like, Oh my god, this is actually coming together. Holy crap. That second day, it all just got torn down and burned. And, and and everyone just kicked ashes on to me. So basically, the second day ended with me and my producer getting into a argument in front of everybody. She She came on to set I shit I kid you not dressed as the Black Swan in full makeup. And I was just like, the first line to it was, well, I said to her, she comes in tells me how unprofessional that this day has been. And she just starts harping on me. And I lost my mind.

Alex Ferrari 26:00
So so so stop for a second because I want it's just too much. It's it's like a machine. It's like a Gatling gun going on here. There's just too much stuff coming out. And I want the audience to understand, because I'm here to kind of to highlight the lessons of what went wrong and what you could have done differently. From my point of view, at least. So So day one, you're the director. You didn't have a proper first ad or professional first ad and or line producer to handle the production problems. Is that correct?

Dave Bullis 26:30
Well, they he actually was solved the first day. I did have a first ad he wasn't like a pro first ad. But But him and my producers, it was more of my actual producers producers coming in and being like, you know, oh, bah bah bah. So that that's what I was referring to.

Alex Ferrari 26:47
So the producers that you had on board, I'm assuming this was not their This was their kind of first barbecue.

Dave Bullis 26:53

Alex Ferrari 26:54
They did. So these are professional producers. They've done other things in the past.

Dave Bullis 26:57
Yes, sir.

Alex Ferrari 26:58
So then, was it that they felt that for whatever reason, they could push you around as a director, because you were kind of a first time director?

Dave Bullis 27:07
Well, here's Actually, this is what happened, basically, and this is a lesson for everyone out there. Just because somebody has a credit and something does not mean they actually did it.

Alex Ferrari 27:20
Very much true. So yeah, I could, I could put myself on IMDB that I worked on Avengers, but at the truth is,

Dave Bullis 27:29
I mean, and and not to harp on or down crowdfunding. But I see people who are getting like, oh, we'll make you a producer. If you give me 1000 bucks. Oh, yeah. And they get and they get this credit. And then like, they go around saying, Hey, I produced this or this. But but then they try to do go on set to actually do producers jobs up there. And it hits them, like a frying pan in the face, man. They're like, what the hell am I doing?

Alex Ferrari 27:53
I've had those guys. Oh, or early on. I had to God, I could tell you stories. But yes, that's absolutely true. People say their producers and say their first day days and say their DPS. And you put the pressure on them and they just crack. And until you are as a director or as a filmmaker can tell what that is. That only takes time. That takes time. You got to build that that kind of radar up to like, smell like this guy doesn't know what he's doing. Or this person doesn't know what they're doing. But yeah, so. So go ahead.

Dave Bullis 28:26
Yeah, and really that does help to Alex because you start to understand, just by the things that people say, and just how they act, even when you meet him at like a networking party, whatever. You start to see who the professionals are, and who really, you know, I mean, thank God for social media, because social media, especially Facebook, you know, many people that I was going to work with who I go on their feed, and it's just they're ranting and raving. And and they're, they're, they're just throwing people in the mud. At least when I do it. It's funny, Alex, come on. Oh, all kidding aside, it's like, I sit there and I go, why would I ever work with this person? So it's just stuff like that, that I see. I'm like, you know, thank God for Facebook. I thought I'd never say that. But thank God for things. So as as just to continue my story about that second day. That basically is the point where I actually took everyone out, like all my producers out and I was like we had we had a talk. And this one guy who had the most sad experience of anybody was like, he goes, I was ready to follow you out. He goes, I thought you were going to kill all through your producers in one fell swoop. He goes, I've never seen somebody so angry before. And I was like, really? He goes your face was as red as a tomato. And I said

Alex Ferrari 29:38
I with the hair and the hair. It must have been a site. I look like the heat miser from for a minute from inside out. Yeah, the anger dude. Yeah.

Dave Bullis 29:48
Okay, the anger. By the way. Somebody got me that doll for Christmas the other year? Of course, they grew emoji Of course.

Alex Ferrari 29:55
Of course. Why wouldn't they? Why wouldn't they? Yeah, right. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. You sound like you sound so pleasant. I've never seen you angry. So you've always been very pleasant to be.

Dave Bullis 30:16
You know, it's I try to be, you know, I mean, I, this is what I am, I always want to be a nice guy and joke around and make a lot of jokes. But I mean, I everyone has a limit I've learned I mean, as you've learned in life, Alex, even even people who seem so quiet and nice, they have a limit. And then it's like, oh, and that's what happened here. And plus, you gotta remember to, I was dealing with all that bs from that guy who was trying to sue me. So like I needed like, I was just like, it kept going more and more. It was like Michael Douglas from falling down. I was like,

Alex Ferrari 30:50
God, that was a great movie. I love that. That's such a great movie. So also, didn't you have a new dp introduced that day?

Dave Bullis 30:57
Yeah. Well, here's the this is the the kookiness of my ever evolving crew. I would turn around and there would be another person, like, just on crew and I'm like, Who are you? I'm the Whatever. I'm like, how did you get down here? I said, Are you on the so I'm sitting there going, are you in the insurance bond? Do they know you're here? and and you know, stuff like that? And basically, she was going to take over as as dp. And I said, Oh, okay. I because the other dp was still there, by the way,which was even kookier.

Alex Ferrari 31:29
Okay, so Okay, okay. Okay. This is not just getting crazy. First of all, you hired the DP, right? Yes, exactly. Yes. So then who said that this other person who is going to become the DP wasn't a problem on the first day with the other dp?

Dave Bullis 31:41
No, he actually said it. And the reason he said it, because I actually asked him about it. He was like, She's so talented. He goes, she's way more talented than I am. And I said, I have, so I pulled them aside. I said, number one, I've never seen a work. Number two, Oh, my gosh, she has no clue what the hell we're shooting. She has no clue whatsoever. And I said, I said, I said, Let's do this. I said she can be she can run first camera. And I said, what you have to work closely with her? And he was like, Oh, yeah, usually, you know, that sounds fine, but he's not gonna trust me and she's a natural and all this stuff. She's phenomenal. But that that whatever. Let me tell you something else. I saw her footage when we're when I was going back and I had all the footage and I'm looking through it. I don't think the woman could see

Alex Ferrari 32:25
I got it colorblind got it colorblind dp like an Edward Got it? Well, I would take it a step further. framing was way off and never seen a movie never seen a movie

Dave Bullis 32:36
Never seen a movie. Yet never seen a movie. I don't even think she even know what a camera was. sweet person. But framing was completely off. And I had to depend on my second camera guy who I want to give a just a quick shout out to his name is Mike by SLE. He is a gentleman and a scholar. And I will never say a bad word about him. He he is he toughed it out every day. And he was one of the unsung heroes who helped me stay sane during this time. And, and he was awesome, like a rock. And I'm so glad he was a part of it. And, and, basically, you know, as, as we got to this day, I was just like, you know, what else could come at me? You know, what else could come at me? So as we grind it out this day, a little problem here, a little problem there? Sure. Um, my producers backed out of locations or argue with me about a location. I said, Guys, we're going to be there for 10 minutes, tops. That took time and it just us arguing with each other. And I'm like, I can't I just don't get this. Because I sorry.

Alex Ferrari 33:38
So when did the Black Swan show up?

Dave Bullis 33:41
That was at the end of the day at the complete end of the day. Okay. So, basically that

Alex Ferrari 33:47
Please explain that you have to you can't just drop that bomb, please.

Dave Bullis 33:52
One to the next word. No. But what happened was, so it was, you know, we're finishing up for the day. We had, we were behind schedule, obviously, as you can tell from these from, from what I've been explaining my day, too. So we're a little behind schedule. And I'm saying okay, and I was talking to some people and I'm like, Look, if we can just, you know, we're just going to chalk this up. I said, you know, to a lack of basically a loss, and we're just going to suck it up. And we're going to do better tomorrow. You know, we can we can do better tomorrow. And we still have a little wiggle room because I actually built in more time on the schedule. She comes in, dressed like the Black Swan in full makeup. Why? Why? Um, she got bored and the makeup designer was like, Hey, you know, I was practicing this or that. I am telling you I was she comes in and starts telling me how unprofessional today had been right in front everybody

Alex Ferrari 34:40
As dresses, dresses as a black swan.

Dave Bullis 34:43
And I said, you're going to tell me this dress as the Black Swan that I'm unprofessional. And she goes, Oh, this has nothing to do with that Dave. And I honestly, I said you're talking down to me in front of everybody. And since you want to ensure that I'm not talking down to you, and we started going at it and I mean It was so day three, I actually know. And by the way, if it wants to know what I said to them that night, and I said, Look, I said you guys have every every win that we had on the first day, we lost the second day. I don't know what what happened. I don't know who's not talking to who I said, but and by the way, I was not this calm, by the way. I was saying, we had to communicate, we have to depend on each other. Because that's, that's what we're doing here. And I said, if there's any more Bs, I'm going to can you in a heartbeat. And I said, Please don't techni and after this speech, suddenly everyone was working to date day three, was actually productive. It was and we actually had some, like, you know, cool people stop by from different film sets. And they were like, as well. So it was actually really, really interesting. And it was fun. And it was a little I mean, but and again, then again, anything was better than day two. So I mean, so So basically, as we were finishing up, we had to go another day. So we waited another week. And we actually filmed it, where I actually worked at at the time, because we just needed like a stock room and some weird, like, just a weird pickup shots. But other than that, that was it. And we got all that and I had all the footage. And the editor who I had was going to edit all this together. Well, he and we were going to have a party, basically like a fundraising party slash launch party and put all this together. Well, he said, Hey, I'm gonna edit the trailer. I really want to edit that trailer. So as I gave him the footage, obviously, him a copy of the footage. Well, I said to him, Hey, you know, when am I going to see this trailer, we're getting near to that launch party. And nothing nothing. So the day of I said, Where the hell is this, and he never responded, nothing. I kept calling him so I had to make one real quick on Premiere to bring their now I want to also give a shout out to rock star, the guys, the great people who make GTA they actually awarded me the key to Liberty City for making this pilot. I have a box in my room. It was so freakin cool, Alex. You know, I just I don't know, I kind of Geek down for a second.

Alex Ferrari 37:09
Sure. Fair enough. You're probably like, Oh, god, look at this nerd. It's, I have a left side note on my house.

Dave Bullis 37:18
Oh, man, what a geek. Exactly. But, but basically, all that happens. And, and, you know, I had this thing I'm like, obviously, it's not gonna, you know, it's not too good or whatever. Well, that the you know, the guy who was trying to say that I you know, he owned part of it. He wanted to come and show his support for it. And I said you and he said he's going to bring some people. And we I said, if you want to bring some he brought three people, I brought 8 million. And it's it's unusual, because it's a little funny story, too. He once told me that, you know, he when we launched the crowdfunding campaign for Game Over, he never mentioned at once, right? never mentioned at once. I sat there and I said, if you don't want if he doesn't want to mention it, I really don't give a crap either way. Well, he told me it, you know, when he called me up one time that if he if he would mention it, it would get funded in a second. So I said, Okay, I said, let's put your money where your mouth is. I said mentioned on your Facebook, let's say not one single person on his on his, Facebook, anything, even $1. And I kept a list of every single shirt or shirt.

Alex Ferrari 38:24
So it seems it seems to me and I don't mean to interrupt you. But again, I'm just gonna, I'm trying to put some perspective in this story. It seems to me that there's a lot of delusions of grandeur, with the people that were involved in this project, not you, but everybody like your producers in this, people, just these guys would think that they're bigger than they who they are, and want to act like producers but don't want to actually do the work. And I've run into these kind of people throughout my career. And it's one of the biggest mistakes filmmakers make in the especially in the early part of their careers, or just when they're inexperienced that they they get bamboozled by these kind of human beings that are all about ego and you know, they want to live the entourage lifestyle, but they don't want to do the work. Is that a fair assessment?

Dave Bullis 39:14
Um, I would say for one person, yes. Okay. The other people, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I will say that I you know, because this was this was a different kind of project. So that's what I really want your listeners to gain was this wasn't like, you know, a lot of super inflated egos to begin with. It was a lot of actual people who were you know, concerned about and they wanted to make a good project, but it's the conflict of how to accomplish that. And you know, that I only only one person who I made the movie with was a friend of mine. We're still friends and we didn't have a blog or anything. But it's just like, I did my best to make sure I had a great cast and crew. You know, some left some came on some some I don't Talk to anymore. Some I still talk to pretty much maybe every week. And it you know, it's just building that team and making sure that you know, you it's kind of like what they say about the military. You don't go to war with the army that you'll want to go to war with the army that you have.

Alex Ferrari 40:17
Yeah, I get you, I get you and, and a lot of the soldiers were subpar. Yeah, they were they were they already look like they've been through a war. Yeah, exactly. And you had issues with actors as well, and other crew people. I'm sure you have stories upon stories of that. But I mean, I just seems because I'm thinking about putting myself in your position. And I'm like, Okay, what would I have done differently? And I think it was just, from my point of view, at least, it just seems like there was the team that you assembled, definitely was not cohesive. And there was a lack of experience on the team, like there wasn't a really experienced because no experienced producer would do what blacks wanted, like no one. And and, you know, people don't sue for that, like, you don't do that kind of stuff. When there's nothing, it's frivolous, it's just more about I need something to do. So I'm gonna go mess with these guys. You know, it just seems, you know, I think it was a lot of it had to do with the casting of the team and being put together. Do you agree?

Dave Bullis 41:24
Yes, I concur. It's about the scope of the project. It's about expectations versus reality. And just like you alluded to Alex, it's x input versus output. You know, I've noticed that when there's two different kinds of filmmakers, and two different kinds of people in every role, you're either focused on the input, or you're focused on the output. The people who are focused on the output are I mean, you and I have both been there, Alex, I'm guilty of it, too. I'm going to make, you know, whatever this movie is, or whatever x is, and it's going to go to Sundance, we're going to win $10 million. And we're all gonna move to Beverly Hills, we're all gonna go into a Jacuzzi. And that's, that's focused on the output. The people who focus on the input are all about, I'm just going to live to the next moment, and I can make this better, and this better, and then this better. And then that's how, you know, all these really cool projects get me and that's what I've done my podcast to is, you know, I want to dig below that surface and find out how the heck did all these guys do this? How did the heck did these people do that? You know, and it just, you start to, you start to dig a little deeper. And it is there's like, you know, there's a couple principles I can talk about right now. It's it's building a team of people that you can trust. It's you know, if if there is any problem, people, you hire slow fire fast. And that is a key in all aspects of life. And, and honestly ask for referrals. You know, now, the internet is a lot different than it was in 2010. Just because, you know, social media is a lot lot bigger, it's different. Actually, I should say it's different. And just because, you know, I can go on right now I can say, okay, who's Alex Ferrari? Oh, well, he's the guy from indie film, hustle this or that. And people can go on and say, Hey, who's the fullest? Oh, he hosts this crappy podcast. And he made his TV pilot nobody's ever seen. So all right.

Alex Ferrari 43:07
But he's being very, very humble. His podcast is not crappy. But now people will actually see this, this, this bought this this pilot. So what what happened in post production? Please, please enlighten us on what were the mistakes happened and what you should have done differently.

Dave Bullis 43:26
Sure, thing. So. So in post production, I finally sat down to edit this thing myself again, I was speaking of the editor who just vanished. And basically I started to edit this and I actually was able to pitch it to some really cool people. And I'm a very good networker. I think that's one of the things that people usually pick up on, because they usually ask you, how did you meet this person? How did you meet this person? It's because I that's just a really good skill that I have.

Alex Ferrari 43:49
You're very lovable. You're very lovable.

Dave Bullis 43:52
Thank you. I can use it to my advantage wherever I can. I tell people I'm a real life. George Costanza. Let's dance. Galaxy there.

Alex Ferrari 44:07
I am good. Okay, sorry.

Dave Bullis 44:09
I lost it for a second. But, but um, basically, you know, I started editing myself and I was able to pitch it to g4 right before they left, because

Alex Ferrari 44:19
G4 yeah

Dave Bullis 44:20
And g4, and they actually said to me, this is exactly what would have wanted, but we're actually going out of business and becoming the GQ channel. So yeah, but, and I also got to talk to Jennifer Bersani, who's a wonderful, wonderful person, by the way, and I actually, you know, talked to her about it, and she watched it and gave me a ton of tips. And she was like, Look, she is, if I were you, Dave, because you can use this definitely as a way to get even like a manager or something. Because she goes because you're actually out there doing stuff. See, and this is another thing that I've learned over the over the years is people think that they get a manager or an agent. It's like immediate success, you know? I'm going to easy streak. Now, that's just the first step in a long, long line. Because basically they want to, especially managers, they want to see you, you're actually doing something, because managers are in it for the long haul agents or the quick sale. But if you're, if you're going to a manager, and they're going to say, Hey, listen, I'm gonna work with Alex for the next 345 10 years. I want to make sure he's actually out there doing stuff. He's motivated, he's not going to put all this time and effort into him. And he just turns around and goes, Yeah, I don't really want to do this anymore. Yeah, exactly. We'll call up be like, Why haven't you gotten me work? right?

Alex Ferrari 45:34
Exactly. And I think that's a that's a big, that's a big mistake. A lot of filmmakers and actors and writers make, they think that an agent or manager is good is the end all be all, but at the end of the day, they're just there to help it sometimes it's all about you. And every, all the professionals that I talked to, in the business, they're all about, they're all about doing their own work and getting their old projects off the ground. And they said, My agent doesn't do anything. You know, he just hangs out and he negotiates the deals that I get them.

Dave Bullis 46:05
It's like it because they think it's basically where the the agent or the manager is constant, calling them being like, hey, got your audition? I got you this. Yeah, I mean, there is some of that, obviously. But I mean, it's not you have to be out there, you know, putting your you're putting the hammer to the ground, you know, and and that's the that's sort of what is what is missed, and a lot of times again, focused on the output, not the input.

Alex Ferrari 46:23
So what I'm where they're, where they're more threats, more lawsuit threats coming into you in post production.

Dave Bullis 46:32
No, I'm not. No, there was none. That was all gone. I actually ended up firing Black Swan producer, I ended up firing that guy too. And I said, Look, I said if you want to go out, and cook, because he here's the here's the thing with with as we go back to this contract thing, and this, this is another thing, I always tell people get contracts. When I gave him a, I think was a file that gave him a contract. He didn't want it. And that was a first time. Second time. He said that that's when all this came out that I owed him all this. And I said no way. Third time, he took it to the most expensive law firm in Philadelphia, and they charge them 500 bucks to read it. And then he just went off about how I was ripping them off. I was like, No, I No one told you to go to the most expensive law firm to ask about a contract reading. So basically, by the end, I we still never had a contract. And I just said I don't owe you anything. And you know, if you want to sue me go ahead and sue me. But you know, you're fired from the project. And that's the end of it. You don't own anything and never have you never will. And that was the end of that. So.

Alex Ferrari 47:34
So I have to ask this question. You were the boss. So you literally were you've hired all these people, right? There was nobody like none of these producers were putting their own money in you weren't partners with them. You literally hired them. Yes. So why in god's green earth? Did you not just tell the Black Swan person? You don't talk to me like this on set, you're fired? instantly? Like, why didn't why was that a thing? Like what she What was she doing have any value?

Dave Bullis 48:04
Well, to be honest with you, I should have fired her. And I'm looking back, I should have fired her. I guess I was trying to sort of hold out hope that maybe she was having an episode of temporary insanity. Or maybe that she just made a bad decision. And as it turns out, I made a mistake, I should have listened to my first decision and fired her right off the bat. There's a lot of times where I should have fired people right off the bat. And it's it's kind, you know, and again, if even if you're making a project for free contracts, and don't be afraid to fire people, and that's why you don't hire your friends. Because if you fire him, Alex, you can still be friends with the people. You know what I mean? You don't want to hire your friends because you fire them. You're not gonna be friends anymore.

Alex Ferrari 48:46
Right? Right. Exactly. So. So you try post production and a couple times right to get it off the ground because it took you for how long did it take you to finish this project? We're going on I think this is about six or seven years now. And what's your what's your shoot on by the way?

Dave Bullis 49:03
We actually had two Panasonic hv X's I think or maybe a little a little more. We actually, we actually had the the DP actually came with his all his own stuff. He actually doesn't work in the business anymore. He actually sold it all off. But but but he actually, you know, brought his own stuff. He he hadn't came fully equipped all that stuff. And, you know, I mean, I think we think that's what we shot on. It could be completely wrong, though. But, but at the end of the day, the reason eventually, is because I actually came back to it. You know, I left it after the g4 pitch. I just sat on it. And I'm like, you know, well, about a year or two later, I actually was talking to an agent who wanted to talk to me and I showed him this and he was I guess I can say this he was actually fired from his position. I'm not gonna say his name or where he worked, but he was fired shortly thereafter. Not by not because he talked to me,

Alex Ferrari 49:58
But I'm I'm afraid of being fired but I don't have a boss.

Dave Bullis 50:02
Okay. I was just saying like, I if you ever hear me tell a bad story, Alex, I always I never tell the person's name. I always, I always tell you know what I mean? I just, I always want people to learn because I don't want because I think if you tell someone's name,

Alex Ferrari 50:14
No, you shouldn't. That's not professional.

Dave Bullis 50:17
It's also because people don't listen to the story anymore. They're listening to the character. I will, I'm trying to, you know, I'm trying to make sure people listen to like the moral of what I've learned. And I always want to make sure that's what I come across. As I know, it sounds negative. Sometimes I'm like, Oh, this guy sucks. But I never really mentioned I hardly ever rarely any mentioning these names. And basically, he basically was like, Hey, listen, don't put this up anywhere. They're going to steal your idea. And because you never know who's out there. I said, Okay.

Alex Ferrari 50:44
Where was it? Was this an LA agent? Yeah, he was actually for the biggest firm out in LA. Oh, God. I mean, because that Alright, go ahead.

Dave Bullis 50:52
So about it. So another year later, I talked to another marketing person, and she's actually pretty big in the film industry. And she's like, Dave, put it up. Just get it out there. I waited about another year or so. And I was doing other projects at this time, too, which I could I can always come back and talk about more failures. By the way, Alex.

Alex Ferrari 51:10
I think we're good right now, sir. Even more than honest, and more than more than helpful so far in this episode. So I mean, we can you could just start a whole other podcast like Dave Bullis, you know, failed projects, you know, the podcast, it would be 200 episodes. Easy. Yeah. You know what I'd have? I'd have a handful of episodes there myself, sir. So every episode, me just poured a bottle out, you know, just put a little glass of Jim Beam in you imagine that. Bed she's showing up just black swan. Crazy. Bitch, you ain't there. Anyway, sorry. That was that was the comedy for this episode, everyone. Thank you for listening. So I want to go back to I want to go through every stage of the production. And I want you to know what you think the biggest mistakes you made, and the things that you would you should have done instead. So in pre production, what was the biggest mistake you made? What should you have done differently?

Dave Bullis 52:08
Biggest mistake was not making sure everyone had a contract. Nobody comes on to set anything I've ever done since without signing an ironclad contract. Because we had an LLC, we had an insurance bond, we had all that other stuff taken care of. But that was the big part. That was the biggest biggest problem.

Alex Ferrari 52:27
Okay, now production, what was the biggest and what was the thing you would change?

Dave Bullis 52:33
Firing people fasts, that was that would be the definite big thing. And making sure that everybody is on the same page. Even if you have to turn to a micromanager. Sometimes, it's you know, as long as you kill people with kindness, and just nl if you're not yelling at people, you know, you don't need to people respond to respect people remember how you treated them. I that's why I always try to treat people with you know, fairness and kindness and always try to crack jokes, you know. And and that's what I would have done though, is I would have fired people a lot faster. Now in post production, post production, I would have, I really would have basically tried to try to find another editor quick more quickly. And I also would have pushed myself a little more to do a little things a little differently, including, obviously, getting the editor getting it out there talking to more marketing people. And I think if I put this on YouTube, maybe back then I would have had an audience right now, this building it from something. And because I mean, not to sort of segue off into this, but I just want to say a really quick, little anecdote. When when I talk to other producers about this, they always said, Hey, Dave, you know, it's a cool idea. You know, why don't you just take it and try to put it one location like one episodes in some guy's basement one guy here. And I said, The set is so expensive, I can't afford to keep it up. So after it was after we're done filming, I was like, I have to bulldoze this thing. And it sucks. But that's just the way things are. And, you know, they said, Well, can you film with someone at someone else's house do this or that I said, believe me, I thought of this out of every angle you could think of and it just wasn't going to be at that production level that I want it to be at.

Alex Ferrari 54:13
And in distribution and finishing a marketing the project, what would you have done differently?

Dave Bullis 54:19
I would have just put it up earlier. I kind of just alluded to this and the question before in the but honestly, if you have a movie out there, and there's a ton of movies that I know of friends of mine have made they're sitting on some guy's hard drive. My advice is this. Do yourself a favor. Go watch a movie called American movie. No, so good.

Alex Ferrari 54:39
So good. So good. That one it overnight those two. Oh, that's a good good double feature, man. Oh, that's a scare the hell out of you from being a filmmaker.

Dave Bullis 54:52
I mean, I mean, my God, I mean, he had the wall by the balls, and he just destroyed this

Alex Ferrari 54:57
This is overnight and I'll put links to have both of these in the in the show notes guys. overnights is about Troy Duffy, a director, who basically was given the key to Hollywood and he completely, literally screwed the pooch at did an entire post and have a whole thing about that, that article about that. And then American movie though, please tell them a little bit about that movie, because that is so brilliant.

Dave Bullis 55:20
So American movie is actually a documentary. We're by this by this guy named Chris, I forget his last name, I'm sorry. But he was actually the director of following Mark horshack. And his friend, Mike, as they they try to finish this movie this this short film they did called COVID. And it took him two years to make this and you find out, you know, why the hell does it take two years to make a movie? Well, it's because of stuff like this. And you know, Alex, that all happens in the movie. And it's like, I always tell people, you know, when you when you start making a movie, or writing a script, there's that there's the honeymoon phase. And that starts to fade. And then you'll be doing you're going to be on set, you're going to say what the hell am I doing here? And then it's that and then you're going to get to the rocky parts, those hard parts that you face, those really difficult situations and how things start to get tougher. That is life, testing you out to make sure you really want to do this. If you ever get a chance, read a book called resistance by Steven pressfield. The Art of War by Steven pressfield.

Alex Ferrari 56:20
Oh, yeah, we did a whole episode on that. The War of Art the Walmart. Yeah. I said we're the art of war. Yeah, the War of Art.

Dave Bullis 56:27
That's not so that's sunsoo. Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, I'm sorry, the the War of Art by Steven pressfield. It is brilliant. I read it one time, Alex at a really bad part. I was really just down about different things at that point in my life. And I read it and I said, This man is a genius, a literal Oracle giving advice from the top of the hill. And I read the book as soon as I was done with it. And I said, this is exactly what I've been trying to say for years. He actually articulated it and put it into a book. I actually got to meet him one time. But nominal guy. Oh, that must be amazing.

Alex Ferrari 57:00
Yeah, I read that did the same thing. I did that one. And then the sequel do the work, which also great as well. No, he's Steven pressfield is amazing.

Dave Bullis 57:07
Absolutely. Actually, I actually have all four of his books on writing, which is, you know, do the work turning pro. And then the other one is, it's like it's called just foolscap, which is about writing The Legend of Bagger Vance. But um, you know, Stephen, actually, one time went to went to on Oprah show on her on her network. And he got to go to her private island in Hawaii, of course, and, and he gets a boat ride there. And everyone on this island works for Oprah. And it's a private. It's a private beach. Everyone there works for her. She owns everything you see, there's all her property. And Steven was like, it was like surreal. It was like visiting a Fantasy Island family.

Alex Ferrari 57:47
Yes, it's Fantasy Island Fantasy Island.

Dave Bullis 57:50
Just you know, I'm Oprah. We're, you're on my network on my show on my island. This is it. It's like, Oh, my God, this this woman hasn't made it?

Alex Ferrari 57:58
Well, I mean, it took her few years to get there was an idea. Yeah, exactly. It took a few years to get there. So um, what is honestly, what was the biggest takeaway from this entire experience for you?

Dave Bullis 58:14
Who I can trust and what I have to ask people like, what I know now what to look for. And I've taken this, I honestly taken all my advice, and I've actually used it. Since then I've, I get pitched a lot of projects, Alex. And I don't want to try to sound like I'm anything, you know, major or anything like that. I'm not. But I get pitched projects all the time. And I always turn them down. Because I can tell you one of a couple of things. Number one is, I can tell from from the gate if you really are sincere about this project. And, and what you what you expect from me. I mean, that's a big part of this. So when people go up, you know, and I asked him, you know, what do you think a producer does? You know, what do you think a director, cinematographer, he does. And you really start to understand, you know, give people how they work, you know, that flow of how they work. And most of the time, Alex, they come up to me and they're like, Well, hey, look, you got all these connections, you got all this? You know, you come on, and, you know, and you're going to be our producer. And I'm like so basically I'm just shepherding you along. And then when you get all the all the glory and I'm all the guts, no thing.

Alex Ferrari 59:17
Got it. Now what? What advice would you give a filmmaker just starting out in the business?

Dave Bullis 59:23
Don't do it. Honestly, watch movies. And this is something that nobody else really talks about. But I'm going to give this piece of advice watch movies that you could make right now. And what I mean by that is watch COVID by Mark bullshit. Did I actually mentioned watch paranormal activity by Oren Patel. He held Friday the 13th part one

Alex Ferrari 59:48
Yeah, the duplass brothers this long years of the world. Yeah.

Dave Bullis 59:51
Yeah. And watch these movies and say, you know, how did they do this for such a minimal budget? How did they do this stuff? I and that's really What you should be focused on? Nobody should really watch movies like I don't know what Inception and go hit. You know what I'm gonna make Inception next weekend with my friends. We're all gonna do this thing and it's gonna be great. And we're all going to Sundance, we're gonna make $10 million. And I mean, it's just the Beverly Hills. Yep, that's it. That's it man that mansion, the hot tub.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:24
Now, what's the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Dave Bullis 1:00:29
Um, patience. That's That's it, man. Yeah. It's, it's a cruel mistress. And I don't know, honestly, man, he things always take longer than you think they're going to take even stuff that are slow. Even stuff that slam dunks, like, you know, just something goes wrong, you have to go in with the best of intentions, you know, whether you know you subscribe to the method of the secret or whatever. But you know, imagine you got to attract the best, but you got to really prepare for the worst just in case it's going to happen because it probably will cuz you're making a movie. And just so always be ready for anything it's going to happen and that that patience is key. Because if you take a little longer to make a movie you might make, you're probably gonna make a better movie, you know. And now what I've done is I've actually stopped making things altogether. Just because I got frustrated. And I, you know, basically, I just went back into screenwriting, as you know, and I just basically said, I want to be able to do a lot more and get better at screenwriting. So that way, when I do go out and do other projects, I'm a much much better screenwriter. Because the producing and networking part again, I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I'm actually really really good at that stuff. Guys naturally, you know, and it's just the patience is really the key stuff.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:43
What are three of your favorite films of all time?

Dave Bullis 1:01:47
Oh, three of my favorite films of all time, I'm going to say we can at Bernie's I am going to say Zodiac genius as well. And I'm going to say Dumb and Dumber.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:01
Really Dumb and Dumber. Hmm.

Dave Bullis 1:02:03
And if there's a bonus one I my favorite movie of all time is big trouble Little China.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:07
Well, that's just I mean, of course, you got mean of course you have to you have to put that in the list. Man, I can't even tell you what a blessing has been have you on the show Dave and you sharing your, your being so honest and brutal with yourself and honest with the with the tribe and really just exposing yourself and not in that weird, creepy way but in a really good, honest way. That shows, you know your failings in this project. And we've all gone through them, I've gone through them I've spoken about them publicly many times, you know, you have to failing you have to fail often to make it in this business. And get those failures out of the way as fast as possible. So that way you can can learn from them and move on and just keep going and, and and I'm so grateful that you decided to come on my show, and kind of share this whole journey with you. And I look I know a lot of people listening, have similar journeys have gone through this, you know, it's not, you know, this is not a unicorn story. Unfortunately, this happens often it happens daily, anywhere, everywhere around the world. There's always something like this going on. But hopefully the tribe learned a little something from the mistakes you made along the way. And as you have as you have along that along the way as well. So where can people find you online, your websites, all that kind of good stuff.

Dave Bullis 1:03:33
You can find me at Dave bullas.com and Twitter. It's at Dave underscore Bullis. If anyone listening ever wants to reach out to me just to say hey, I really hated your episode on Alex Ferrari his podcast, please feel free. I'm gonna be putting Game Over up online. If you want to check it out. If you're curious, you want to ask questions. If you have questions about your project, honestly, please feel free to ask me there's a ton of other stuff that I could give you info about. Like how I found locations all that good stuff and Alex I honestly I want to say thank you I really truly do your podcast. It's awesome. It was like a it's like a meteor man it's like flying through the atmosphere. And and you know I'm that guy like looking at it through the telescope like hey, look at that

Alex Ferrari 1:04:20
Appreciate that very much bro I really do and and by the time this thing airs we'll have a link or actually the video the pilot embedded in the end the show notes by the time this airs so so hopefully everybody will get to see this this amazing piece of cinema and and see what no and see what what com what came out of this man and and you know what you did? But you know what the big thing that you did, man as you went out and you did it, whether you made it and you made something and whether it lived up to your expectations or not. That's irrelevant. The point is that you went out you did you moved and that's 99% more than most in this business, so you should be very proud of that accomplishment alone that you went into battle. Many people are afraid to even get out of their house and go into the battlefield, let alone going straight into and living there for many years. So congratulations on that accomplishment, sir.

Dave Bullis 1:05:19
Thank you, Alex. I really do appreciate that.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:21
And thanks for being on the show, brother.

Dave Bullis 1:05:23
My pleasure, Alex, take care buddy.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:26
Again, I want to thank Dave for coming on the show and literally just putting himself out there. So thank you, Dave. So so much, I hope everybody listening. And everyone in the tribe has learned what not to do when shooting a television pilot. But like I said before, a lot of the stuff that we talked about can easily be transferred over to feature films, short films, series, as well as commercials or music videos, or anything, anything that deals with production, a lot of these mistakes can be avoided. So hope you learn something again, Dave, thank you very much. Now if you want to watch the actual pilot for Game Over, head over to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/189. And enjoy it in all of its glory. And guys, yesterday was a big day. This is Meg is now on Hulu, in the US. So if you guys have Hulu, please go and watch it. Leave us a review on Hulu. That would be huge, where they're going to be there for a year, we got a 12 month deal. And depending on how many people watch it and leave reviews and all sorts of good stuff will determine if we get picked up again for another 12 months. So please check it out. I really appreciate it. And as always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.




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