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How to Shoot & Sell Digital Series (The Bannen Way) with Mark Gantt
Today’s guest is Mark Gantt. He’s a man of many talents, actor, director, writer, and producer. He’s best known for co-creating, producing and starring in the award-winning [easyazon_link identifier=”B0030M8TVW” locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]The Bannen Wa[/easyazon_link]y for Sony Pictures Television. Financed by Sony’s Crackle distribution arm, this unique web series/feature film had a compelling cast which included Michael Ironside, Academy Award nominees Robert Forster and Michael Lerner, and Emmy winner Vanessa Marcil.
Within the first 10 weeks of release, The Bannen Way garnered over 14 million views and went on to win 4 Streamy Awards including Best Actor (Mark Gantt), Best Drama, Best Director, and Best Editor; as well as being nominated for two Webby Awards and a BANFF Award. The film is currently distributed internationally on VOD, DVD, iTunes, and Amazon as a feature film.
I wanted to bring Mark on the show to discuss how he got The Bannen Way shot, how he got HUGE sponsors to come on board and how he convinced Sony Pictures to buy a web series…in 2009. Here’s some more info on Mark Gantt.
Mark’s onscreen credits include American Horror Story: Hotel, Ocean’s Eleven, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Dexter, Major Crimes, Bluff, Barely Famous and currently recurring on The Arrangement premiering March 2017 on E!
As a director, Mark feature directorial debut, Murder In Mexico starring Colin Egglesfield premiered on Lifetime in Sept of 2015. He recently directed Intricate Vengeance for Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s New Form Digital with Wilson Cleveland. He’s also won several awards including Best Director at Philadelphia First Glance Film and Best of the Fest at the Cinema Series Festival for the short film Donor. He recently directed the branded series Seamlessly She with Monica Potter for AOL and GMC as well as two episodes of the branded series Suite 7 with Shannen Doherty, Jaime Murray, and Eddie McClintock. Suite 7 episodes were nominated for the 2011 BANFF Rockies and the 2012 Webby Awards. Shannen Doherty was awarded Best Performance by the Webbys for her work in the episode.
As a producer Mark recently completed principal photography on Psychophonia, a thriller that his wife, Brianne Davis, directed. Mark starred opposite Vedette Lim (“True Blood”). He’s also completing post-production on two horror/sci-fi films, The Night Visitor and The Night Visitor 2: Heather’s Story with Blanc-Biehn Productions’ Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, Michael Biehn, Lony Ruhmann and Brianne Davis.
In 2013, Mark began teaching acting at the Beverly Hills Playhouse where he studied with and assisted Milton Katselas on two dozen productions. He and his wife actress/director Brianne Davis started Give & Take Productions, a film and television production company with several projects in development.
Enjoy my conversation with Mark Gantt.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- VideoBlocks.com – (IFH Discount SAVE $50)
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: FREE AUDIOBOOK
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Alex Ferrari’s Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story)
REAL-WORLD STREAMING FILM EDUCATION
- Indie Film Hustle TV (Streaming Real-World Film Education)
- Hollywood Film School: Filmmaking & TV Directing Masterclass
- Filmmaker in a Box – Learn How to Make an Indie Film – 18 Hours+ of Lessons
- Storytelling Blueprint: Hero’s Two Journeys
- The Dialogue Series: 38 hours of Lessons from Top Hollywood Screenwriters
- Filmtrepreneur® Podcast
- Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
- Six Secrets to getting into Film Festivals for FREE!
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
Alex Ferrari 1:15
So guys today on the show, we've got Mark Gantt, Mark Gantt is a director, and producer. And he did. He was one of the first guys to really do a streaming series or digital series, right? He produced a series and co created a series called the band and way back in 2010. And that's how he came to my attention originally. And what they did is they did this series that was picked up by crackle, which is owned by Sony and they're their digital arm. And they had a big budget for a web series. You know, they had Michael Ironside, Robert Forster, Vanessa Marcel and, and a ton of other people. And it was a very big success. They had sponsorships, they had everything. And I always wanted to know the inside story and how they got this web series, when there really were no web series, or very few of them around how they got it off the ground. And how were they able to get the big budgets and the sponsorships and everything. And Mark opens up completely about that entire process. He also talks a lot about his directing career because now he's become a director since then, and he's been an actor and has over 54 credits in on IMDB as an actor alone. So the man is constantly working. It took us a while to get this interview up and off the ground because we've been chasing each other for about a year. But it was just a wonderful, wonderful conversation about someone who's in the business working in the business. He's doing a lot of television, he was in the ocean, he was in Ocean's 11 has worked with some very big stars, very big directors, and has some amazing stories from inside the Hollywood machine. So I wanted to come on to really share his journey with us and and talk about how he was able to get that, that really kind of Pinnacle series off the ground. So without any further ado, here's my conversation with Mark Gantt like to welcome to the show Mark Gantt man, thank you so much for being on the show and taking the time out to talk to the tribe, man.
Mark Gantt 3:24
Absolutely. I'm very excited about this.Im a huge I'm a huge fan.
Alex Ferrari 3:28
Oh, thank you, man. I thank you. We've been trying to do this now for I think almost. It's been, we've been going back and forth just trying to get our schedules in order. It's so I'm glad that we finally found that little, little moment in time that we can actually do this.
Mark Gantt 3:44
The problem with hustlers is we're always hustling.
Alex Ferrari 3:47
That's the truth. That's You know what, amen, brother. That's the truth. It's not like we're just sitting around waiting, right? We're always gonna do we're always doing something.
Mark Gantt 3:55
I talked to my mom last night, she said, Hey, have you watched the unabomber series yet? I'm binge watching us and I haven't watched it yet. She goes, Yeah, you haven't watched it because you're busy doing stuff. She's like, I'm sitting at home, which is like, you're always doing stuff. I'm like, yeah, I try.
Alex Ferrari 4:09
That's that's what my mom does. Exactly. Have you seen this? Have you been like, No, I know. I didn't even know that was a Yuna bombas show. You're the first time I've heard what was it? I want to see this.
Mark Gantt 4:20
It's on Discovery. Actually, the one of the writers I've been friends with that. It's been the former FBI agent who's working on criminal minds. He's the he created the show, discovery and all real facts about and the real guy that that caught the unabomber is his co writer. So Steve, that must be pretty awesome. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 4:42
So Mark, how did you get into this crazy business man?
Mark Gantt 4:45
Oh, man. It started I would say a nice. Long time ago in San Diego. I moved I lived in Northern California and moved down to San Diego to help. My best friend's sister moved into College and we ended up signing up for a junior college and stayed there. And within like a year and a half, there was a lot of production going on in San Diego. And so there's a friend of mine was doing some go into some party and she's like, Oh, yeah, it's a wrap party for a movie and, and then she came the next day. She's like, yeah, my friends looking for a proper assistant. And I was like, proper system. That sounds cool. And she's like, yeah, if you want to do it, it's like an intern. And I was like, yeah, and because I always wanted to be an actor, I always wanted to be in the movies and be a part of it. And, and so I met the prop master. And he gave me the script and said, Alright, read it three times. First time, just read it. Second time, highlight everything you think is a prop. And then the third time, make a list of all the things that we need to be shopping for for props, and that can get done by tomorrow night. And I said, Sure. So I did that came back the next day, had a notebook, the script highlighted the whole thing. He's like, nobody's ever done that. He's like, you're awesome. You're on. And that like, you know, I started as an intern. And then by the end of the show, I was on set dresser slash prop Master, because everybody had to go on to other shows. And I moved to LA, like a month later to do a little pa job on this universal thing, and I packed up my Nissan Sentra with all my stuff. And I never came back. And I just started doing production to transportation to art department to prop mastering. Then eventually getting into acting, writing, directing, producing and that whole stuff, but yeah, I just sort of like fell into it. And and I just done every single job there is.
Alex Ferrari 6:38
Right. You just took the opportunity when it came to you. And you hustled. Exactly. Yeah, it's Yeah, a lot of people don't take those opportunities. When they come. They're like, Oh, I don't want to do that. I don't want to. I don't I'm not a prop guy. I'm a director. Right! When you're 20. You got to work. You got to start somewhere.
Mark Gantt 6:57
It to me, it informs everything. I mean, I think what I was just had a meeting with these producers the other day, and I was describing what I've done and blah, blah, blah. And she was like, Wow. So like you you're kind of coming from not just creative, but like you understand the budget. And I said oh, I mean, I think that's important, I think Yeah, you have to know everything. So when I'm on set, it's not like I'm like yeah, well, why can't we just do the thing I know it's gonna cost us X amount of dollars to get that location to have everybody had to drive everybody across town to get to the thing. There's shuttle bands, there's parking there's, and the look on her. I was like, I love you. I want you know, and she's like, I love this. I love this. And I think that's I in a time when I was doing it. I always feel like I really want to be directing. And I'm doing this that props. Oh, yeah. Yeah, what do you guys need? But I'm on set and I'm getting this watch people do it. Well, people do it not so well. And then how all these pieces, you know, go together?
Alex Ferrari 7:54
You know. So you mean, we can't have a techno crane all the time? You totally can't No, no, you totally can. I mean, obviously you can have a techno crane. Yeah. To to techno greens. 60 footers all the time. Absolutely. Organic by just like just if you need it. So I'll tell you a quick story. I'm down in Miami. In 90 something probably 92 or something like that when True Lies was being shot. And I was still not in the business obviously still a kid. And I go to the to the set. And I see you know, James Cameron and all these guys shooting, you know, a scene, I think one of the scenes in Miami, like in Miami Beach or something. And literally, I just saw every single camera toy crane helicopter. All of it just sitting there. Right in case James feels like using it. Oh, yeah. But when you're James Cameron, this is okay.
Mark Gantt 8:55
Absolutely. And you know what happens? I think a lot of times people come out of film school or they, you know, sort of come from a place that they think oh, yeah, well, like the we just got this. We had this money we raised you know, this is how it goes right? And then you get on real production, your first job and their first thing they're telling you is like, No, no, basically every job of the producer production manager right now is no, you don't have to like, but I that's what I see the drawing. See.
Alex Ferrari 9:25
They see like, I've got 55 shots in this scene. Why? Why can't I get those 55 shots,?
Mark Gantt 9:31
Like and we have six hours to get that shot. So which 22 shots are you not using for that one? The other 22 for that one is crazy.
Alex Ferrari 9:38
It's no every time I've ever come to a set with it with a shot list. I always come with I literally come with like 60 shots. And I look I literally handed the first ad I'm like, we're not going to do all these. This is my wish list. We're probably going to do about 10 to 15 days, right? Yeah, right. And then we're going to move on but I'm going to put these all in just in case. Yeah. But you know, yeah, but we scare the hell out. loves getting the hell out of production. Especially they don't know who you are as a director. They just kind of like, I don't know who this guy is, and you just show up and you drop down 60 shots for like a scene.
Mark Gantt 10:12
You know what I love? I love when I can do that. And then also get it.
Alex Ferrari 10:16
Yeah, there's, there's those days.
Mark Gantt 10:18
I just like, you know, maybe not 60. But you know, you're just like, Oh, yeah, no, I feel comfortable. I get that they're like, really? Like, what? Trust me is it we're gonna get this piece here, we get this piece here where again, the DP and I are already moving forward, and we're on the next thing. And then you get it. And they're like, holy shit, How'd you do that? Or like, you know?
Alex Ferrari 10:35
Yeah, just yeah. And especially when you feel comfortable with your crew, if you've got a dp that you have a relationship with, and you feel if you two are on same on the same wavelength, then then you can knock it out? No question. So back in when I first found out or like, discovered You, sir, was in 1009. Back in the day when the ban and whey was making all this noise, and you were kind of, you know, at the beginning of this whole streaming series thing with the ban and way because at 2009, it was not Netflix, it was there was nothing like that. So you know, you were on crackle, which was a up and coming, you know, streaming service from Sony. And I just remember, I was like, wow, this guy just came out and did this. And I was shooting a short film with the same actor that you use Robert. Robert, who's one of the most amazing human beings I've ever met guy, right? He's just did it give him all day long? Oh, yeah. He gave him Yeah, he gave me the gift, right? Yeah. So classy, dude. Like, it's so of everybody that has worked with them always get the like, got the get. Did you get the gift? It's like, yeah. And by the way, the gift is awesome. I don't know how I'm hoping it's the same if he gave me but it was a letter opener right. Now he gave me a Ferrari. Nice, nice. Yeah, he gives this awesome letter opener to everybody. It's just awesome. But so I was working with him at the time. And he was telling me He's like, Yeah, I just did the show for the internet. And it was such a new concept back then. So I really want to dig into how, like, you're the executive producer on the band, and you're also a star of it. How the hell did you get this going? How did you get money for it, like, in a time where this just was not being done?
Mark Gantt 12:23
Well, we started, it started out because I was frustrated as an actor, you know, and I was doing great work in acting class. But, you know, I couldn't get any auditions. And I had a great agent. And she's like, I love your reel, I got great luck. There's just you know, it's just top, you know, guys, you raise your virgata series, you've already had this blah, blah, blah, all these excuses. And, and so I decided that I'm just going to like, create my own stuff, I'd already been directing, I'd already, you know, production stuff had already understood that. And I said, we should just go make something. And so I, you know, I made a list of three directors that wanted to work with me. And one of them is my friend, Jesse Warren, who was in class with me, and he had the script, sort of, like Italian Job. Very similar to that, like, he'd written it, then the Italian Job came out. And he was like, Well, what am I gonna do with this? And, and so what we did is hidden because he came up to me in classes that, you know, you're, I'm writing a character, and it's like your hand. And so we got together and I said, maybe we can create something based on that character from your script, and, you know, do a short film and you know, do Sundance blah, blah. And so we got together a couple times to start talking about what that could look like, you know, you know, shooting at a bank, you know, and how much it will cost and, like, there's a lot of money for a short film and that we're not going to you know, get to Sundance 10 people are going to be there in the audience. Yes. So I said, you know, let's at the time I you know, I was webisodes and you know, web series were just started coming. There's a couple things like Sam's seven friends and pink and there's a couple things that came up. I was like, this is kind of cool. We can do as a web series, but fucking kill it, like knock it out of the park. Yeah. And so and so that's what we went after him as we were working on it. And coming up with a story we got together, like every day, you know, as much as we could five days a week, I'd go to his place. And we, you know, when we weren't doing our day gigs and like, write and come up with story ideas. And then we realized there was no structure for web series. Like everything was like, like three minutes, five minutes, you know, one minute, 30 seconds. Yeah. So we said, what are we going to do? And a friend of mine had had his film, a feature at Sundance that got distribution, and they got this big DVD deal and like, all this money, and I was like, Oh, yeah, well, what if we do this as a feature, but we cut it up as a web series. At the end of the day, we can, you know, recoup our money because at the time, we didn't know where we get the money. We didn't know anything with that. We're going to, you know, raise the money through family and friends, shoot the movie and then sell it distributed, blah, blah, blah, is a web series is a movie and so that gave us a structure and we said okay, we'll just do it three. Structure each. Each episode will have a cliffhanger to lead us on to the next episode. And we created, you know, an outline and then wrote the first six episodes. And we're like, yes, this is awesome. And we went and like we had a friend at UTA we pitched it to UTA, we could do some finance years. And everybody was like, This is awesome. Way too expensive. Nobody's gonna give you guys a friend of mine who was ICM at the time said you know, you're not Clooney. And he's not Soderbergh. No one's gonna give you guys the money. So we're like, Alright, so we got the press. And then we're still looking at it and going, why don't we just shoot the first two episodes, and then we can shoot us a proof of concept, maybe raise some money, you know, blah, blah, blah. And so we did we, we spent about, I think it was like eight grand to shoot the first two episodes, we shot it over Valentine's weekend, I got reached out to Jaguar got them to give us a brand new x f Jaguar the heavy and been released in the US, they dropped it off at our house.
Alex Ferrari 15:58
And that's, that's, it's just slow down for them. So you just reached out to Jaguar. And you said, Hey, we're making a short. We'd love to highlight one of your cars in it. Will you? Will you drop it off?
Mark Gantt 16:09
Yeah, let me back up to say that then before that I had created a whole website. All the characters the story as seeing everywhere it's gonna go who our audience was we basically created a pitch deck and a website. We didn't even I didn't even know that existed pitch deck. I was just creating the show. I was like, Alright, so how do we pitch the show to people so we can get money? Let's create something, here's the thing. And we just like literally were just putting images of like the, the BMW shorts were big, big back then with 501. So I had videos of clay vo and, and blah, blah, blah. So I sent that to I got the contact because I used to do props. It's like Jaguar and GMC used to do our Ford and Jaguar used to be together. And so I read this product placement person who put me in branding who put me into marketing. And I thought this guy and he's like, how did you get my number? I did the thing I call the so and so and they did the thing is like, okay, I don't know what I can help you with. He's like, what are you doing? I said, Well, it's like a TV series for the web, and blah, blah, blah. I said, can I send you the link to the to the site and you can take a look. He's like, you know, I'm really busy, but send it to me and you know, so I sent it to him and then I called him back like 10 minutes later Hey, just want to make sure that you got it he's like yeah, I'm looking at now hold on. I'm the wrong guy. Let me just get standby Hold on. So then he puts me on hold another guy picks up and says yeah, he's just hold on I'm just looking at your What? Whoa, you got Clive Owen as like no I don't I have the next best thing I mean me and so we talked on the phone he said well let me talk about with the guys and then he came back and he said Listen, this looks really cool. And I can really see this going and he's like we've got a new x f that's coming out we'd love to get it into something and you're interested we'll You know, this is a color that we have in LA and I can you know when you start shooting and literally that's how it went and so that was that was sort of the the opener for us and that was that using the the website which then also we used it into a pitch deck as well PDF format and all that stuff. God has more connected you know, so when we were pitching it to people even actors are acting we got you know, Sonic Haddock did the original thing went on to do castle, she had done the pilot for castle was doing a double oh seven movie, and she's like, Oh, this sounds interesting. I'd love to do that. And so she shot the pilot and was originally going to be in the whole show. But then castle came and so she couldn't do it. But it was because the the website like she got it, she goes, Oh, I get this series.
Alex Ferrari 18:41
So I want to just stop for a second because I want everyone listening to understand and really grasp this concept because it's something I've been doing since 2005 is creating an insane website. Because that's your marketing tool. That's what gets you everything that gets you actors that get you money that gets you sponsors that gets all that because you create the image of something much bigger and it was just basically YouTube. You know, that was it, but you build but you build a lot of smoke and mirrors to kind of show off like, Hey, we're much bigger than what we what we looked at what we really are.
Mark Gantt 19:17
Exactly, and I mean part of that is it what it and what it did for us besides exactly what you said. It also gave us the confidence because we were like, Oh yeah, we really know this show. Right? So when it came down to like shooting it or, you know, getting things together, we got to set the first day it was like it's been in our bones and we know exactly and you know, and you're striving for perfection. You're trying to get this thing but it was so clear, like oh no, this show this shot, you know, we were both at the same time going slomo. This, you know, lens flare, door open.
Alex Ferrari 19:50
It was a slick show. It was a super slick show, man, very well produced.
Mark Gantt 19:54
Thank you. So basically that was what we did. We shot these two episodes and we created a, you know, a trailer out of it. And while we were still in post on the two episodes, we had the trailer, I mean, again, we wanted it to be done. We did it February 14, we wanted to be done. You know, March 14, nine later, we were finally done when you talk about free, everybody doing it for free. thing and. And when we finished it, we had the trailer and I sent it. You know, we sent out like this email blast to everybody that we known and had the website and the trailer. And the first person to respond was the guy who said I wasn't Clooney. And he wasn't Soderbergh. He said, I'm on my way to Disney. Can I pitch it was like sure. And they came back and said they love it. I'm going to Sony and there's a new new thing called crackle. Can I pitch it to them? We're like, Sure. So he did. They loved it. He goes, can you come to the office tomorrow, we need to talk. And and that was on it. We met a ton of people. We met ABC box, everybody. And it was like we had a proof of concept. We had the site, we had the PDF, we had the trailer then it was like the two episodes came in, we showed the two episodes, it was like, Oh, this is what it could look like. And so it was just a perfect situation where cracco was looking for a feature film, because they already had that distribution in place. And you know, they want to do web series. But then it just came to like, well, what if we broke up a film and made it into a web series. And then then my, you know, our friend was the agent he came in, he's like, I have it, they've created this. And so that was that was the first one that crackle did was on a comic book, but it was a movie that they cut into a web series. So it didn't work as well for them as much as you know, they hadn't even aired it yet. They just they were just shooting it when when we pitched it to, to them. So it was sort of like this Kismet thing of like, they're looking for this thing that we didn't even know they were looking for when we created it, because we write it out of as anything else necessity. Like I don't know how to write a web series, but how to write a movie reacts that way. I know we could break this up. So it's basically six episodes in the first act, you know, eight episodes in the second six again. So that's how we did it.
Alex Ferrari 22:05
Now and then just pop that out there and then and then crackle finance the whole thing.
Mark Gantt 22:09
Yeah, so we, we pitched it around town. And we had a was between universal who wanted to do like a branded thing go out to brands, we'd have to wait like a year until a year where or go to crackle and sell it to them. And so we sold it to them, they own they own the REITs. And then they financed the the actual production so and since it was the first time they'd ever done that, because the other one was sort of a separate thing. We were like we had offices at the Culver studio and Sony television offices, which is the old Culver studios. We have like you know we were in crackles offices, we had like a bigger office than most people because it was like the special offices like they didn't put us away this awesome space we got to create there, we wrote the we, you know, we learned on the job what to do, because basically we had six episodes written? And they said yeah, you know, can you guys do it when we did the deal? They're like, Can you do it for X amount of dollars? We're like, yeah, that's like 10 times what we thought we were gonna get. So yes, and come up with a budget, we're like, came up with a budget just to have like an empty budget, I was filling out and got to the bottom line that they wanted. And then they said, Great, now write the scripts. So we wrote the scripts, they budgeted those scripts, and it became it was double what I what they said they could pay. And so we basically spent four months figuring out how to make spend my story that we created a smaller and smaller and smaller to fit the money that they had. I mean, it's so funny, because by the end of four months, you're like, I understand, we're so good. The story is so good. Why don't you just give us the money, you know, and like I understand, we didn't know how did we know? And they're like, it's not our issue. You said that you guys could do it for this amount of money. And so that was my first thing of understanding. There's a studio there's a networking you say it's that there's nobody going over, you know what I mean? And so we we knocked discrepant, we literally were decided we had you know three by five cards of like seeds that we were you know, going to let go up to the left and to the right one of the things that we just kept like you know, our producer kept coming in I hired a friend of ours to produce it he kept coming in He's like, Guys any 10 of those any 10 scenes and that side by the end of the day, like we got to lose 10 scenes. We just can't there's no way we're like we did you know we finally did it and you know, and it was a learning experience all around you know, and it was tough because there's just so much fear involved because like every day is like it's gonna happen not gonna happen. We're not gonna get greenlit until we get this got to get to the budget. Five budgets later money's being spent people are looking at as a walk bias and these glass windows look bias and go guys comment, how's it comment now and so there's pressure and and literally right before we were going to get greenlit, they said they were totally cool with the cast except for Stannah, we were still not sure if she was gonna be able to do it. And they said we're selling pre selling this I'm totally spacing on the other movie. He did. And it doesn't have big enough names on it. So you guys need some names for the band way, like, okay, and they're like, well, we don't have any more money in the budget. Have you ever like, what? Of course Yeah. So that's where you start scrambling. And, you know, the our producers, mom used to date Robert forester. And so he reached out to him. Another guy was friends with you know, Michael, Vanessa, we got actually through, you know, a casting assistant who was helping us out. And Michael Lerner came through the casting assistant, and it was just like, all this like stuff. And we met with Robert and he was like, I love it. I want to do it. That's our presence. And then start talking about Tarantino and all this. Yeah, I just happen to say yes, yes. Yes. So, um, as I was sitting in this table, this is where I was. This is how it went down. It was amazing. Yeah. And so that was it. Yeah. And we, you know, we had we budgeted we had 18 days shoot, and, like the eight weeks to fully post but then of course, in the middle of post, they said, Oh, yeah, you guys need to turn in a DVD first, and then you need to do the movie first. But then the web series, but then because we got to get it to Netflix. And we're like, what, but no extra money to do that. You know, I mean, it's just like,
Alex Ferrari 26:15
Oh, that's what dude that look when they have you on when they have you under your thumb under their thumb. Dude, they just milk you for everything you're worth. Oh, yeah. It's so Oh, God, I know. I yeah, I know the feeling just like they just keep Oh, yeah. Now you need to get you need to get Will Smith and you still have no more money? Yeah, exactly. It's like It's like stupidities, like soaps. And like, what and that's how this town works, right? Yeah. So crazy. It's it's not it's it's so counter productive in so many ways. And that's why sometimes movies come out. And you're just like, Oh, well, how did that how did that get made? Yeah. Yeah. And then so when you were so good, let's go through the production a little bit. How many days did you shoot? The whole thing? Was 18 days, shoot. Okay, and shot on the red if I remember correctly
Mark Gantt 27:03
Shot on the red. It was actually one of the first red ones. Yeah, yeah. First ones, and also the first, I think, second feature slash digital series that was shot on the red. So we were like, you know, again, early, everything early, early, early.
Alex Ferrari 27:19
We're on the bloody edge of technology. Yeah. How was that? How was that workflow?
Mark Gantt 27:25
Oh, my God.
Alex Ferrari 27:27
2009 read workflow. How is that?
Mark Gantt 27:30
Horrendous. I just remember, I remember our D it was just like, I go over there and just check in you know, like, hey, just we're gonna see some of the stuff that we shot that day, whatever. Yeah. And he was just like, Dude, this just brutal, brutal, like, you know, just just so hard. It's like, I don't know. transcode. Maybe come back and like a half hour.
Alex Ferrari 27:53
Like, the thing was like me, you're live and for everyone listening, you have to understand 2009 your di T's are a new thing. Like that. Like the whole concept of digital filmmaking is still really in its infancy at that level. Like there had been other digital like, you know, the the Panasonic Ah, VX and other other little cameras. But when the red showed up, that was the first kind of cinema, real cinema not the very cam, but like, real Cinema Camera. And that's basically they started everything that we know now with the with the Alexa and black magic and all the other cameras. But But yeah, back then. And I was I was in the I was here, I was in the thick of it. And I was one of the few guys that knew the workflow. So I got a lot of work. It's a beast that I had. I knew I knew feature films that were literally sitting in a hard drive for two years. Oh, yeah. Waiting to figure it out.
Mark Gantt 28:50
I was crazy. It's crazy. So yeah, so we shot on the red 18 day shoot, we shot everything at Lacie studios. Oh, and, and that was like literally the only thing we could afford. And we went there on the first day, and we were and Jesse and I were like, no way. There's no way we can shoot here. Like, we created a highly slick series. Yeah, like, like, you know, like transporter like kick ass like, you know, like smoking a, you know, lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Like that's what we created. What are you talking about? We can't shoot here. And And literally, we were like, then the producers and everybody would just like this is all the money you can't afford anything else. Everything has to be here we had all these great locations. And, you know, we actually got one location, we got to go to Griffith Park to do like the end of the movie. And it was like the 11th hour they let us shoot that the rest all had to be at Lacie studios. And so that was also you know, your na going network changing story in the thing and maybe it's not maybe it's a party, maybe it's not a mansion. How do we get this What is it? What does that mean now, so And
Alex Ferrari 29:58
So again, I want to start So I want to just kind of highlight what you're going through right now for the audience is like, even when you're with a studio like Sony, you have you've been greenlit to do a show, you are still basically an independent film, and you're hustling and kind of maneuvering around the limited resources that you might have. And it's it's fascinating to hear, because what I saw didn't reflect what you're talking about. Oh, thank you. So I mean, honestly, when I saw it, I was like, these guys did something super slick, super, like really high in production value. So that's why this story is so like fat because when you said Lacey, and for everybody who doesn't understand it doesn't know what Lacy studios is lazy studios is a I'm going to say a sounds it's kind of like a studio, but it's not. It's basically like an old abandoned warehouse that they're converted into 55 different sets,
Mark Gantt 30:50
Not in a soundstage. Not like that soundproof? No, literally they just build walls and and created rooms. Yeah, like there's
Alex Ferrari 30:58
The hotel, the hotel floor, the empty. It's just they got everything there. And everyone shoots there, like every every major movie shot. Yeah, you know, TV shows, I see it all the time, like others lazy, others lazy. saw was completely shot there. I totally, totally, it's so.
Mark Gantt 31:16
So we so they had said that, you know, we were in that in that situation where it's like, we created this thing, and we didn't know what we were doing. And you know, every we just thought, Well, you know, three quarters a million is gonna go and go a long ways. And then you start going, Oh, yeah, by the way, because it's Sony. It has to be IATSE artsy, oh, you're gonna have to be Oh, so we're done. So we already have PNA we have like all this stuff. It's WGS DGA, because all that which is great, yet it all costs. And you just siphon money out our money, our budgets, actually 200,000 that's what our budget is, you know what I mean, at the end of the day, we had $200,000, basically to make it because everything else is just going to, you know, not going on the screen, not on the screen. And so it was really, really challenging. And so we got there and you know, when the things that saved us was his I mean, besides Roger gingery and our dp who's amazing, was the our production designer, and we were trying to we had like three production designers that we wanted to work with, including one of my friends, and they were all busy, they couldn't do it for the money. And, and that's where, you know, having Sony Sony's done their daytime television, they said we have a guy who worked on general hospital with us, and you know, he's available, we're like, Yeah, well, we should meet them, you know, and see, and they're like, actually, no, he's available and we offered him the job. Okay, and we were so hessed for like, you just at that point, you know, we're up against it, and they're, they're like, we got to make a decision. So this guy comes in and he was like Bulgarian and he for five bucks made every set look amazing. He literally no matter where we were, what we were doing, he brought in stuff he's like I paint he was coming we prepping he's like painting by himself a whole room and like an hour. It's like I take care of it's no problem. It's no problem. I take care of it. And he killed he killed it for no money and and since I was props, I was able to go to like ISS prop house and they hand prop room and say, Hey, guys, I'm making my first thing this is my thing, blah, blah, blah. And they gave us an insane deal on everything. And so you know, we're like you said we're independent you know filmmakers? Yes, we're at the studio it just handcuffs like golden handcuffs where the studio and still yet we're like, you know, pulling favors getting everything we can for free getting the jag. I mean, all that stuff. The jag Of course, changed they sold the company for is no longer in charge back. I no longer works. They're literally the 11th hour, day and a half before we're shooting. I finally get ahold this woman in New Jersey, who's at home with her kids on her day off and I somehow got her cell phone. Okay. How did you get my number? I said, I looked on a press release for that you did and your name and number was there. I have no idea if you're the right person to talk to. And I told I was doing and she goes, you have some balls. I love this. She's like, give me an hour. an hour. She called me back kids screaming in the background. She's like, I have a black x k in the port in Long Beach right now. I can have it delivered tomorrow. And it did. And it was like incredible. It's like
Alex Ferrari 34:39
That's insane. Because they mean even to rent that cost good. A good chunk.
Mark Gantt 34:44
Oh, so my head for the whole production and a couple of weeks after she's like do you want to drive it for a couple of weeks after the production you can't out need to back until the whatever the day was? And I was like, yeah, so it's just what the thing is like, that's just the hustle. You know what I mean? There's just no there's there. There is no Like there's, I mean, it felt like, you know, it's funny, it's like, you know, when you when I'm thinking about like as an actor or trying to get work as director, you know, it's like you put yourself out there and you get the rejection and a lot of people just give up, you know, you rejection, you know, the nose and I have this, you know, a producer friend of mine who's, you know, he's a successful guy has, he's got like, he's the guy that has like 25 films in development and pre production on IMDB with like everybody from Joel Silver to whoever. And he's like, I'm an independent producer, because every day I get, I get, I'm just collecting the nose, I just collect the nose. And when you're doing a production like that, it's like you collect those, you're gonna know that your dp is gonna like bail out the day before makeup person is not going to show up. Look, you know what I mean? There's gonna be those things that are just going to be no, no, no, no, and you just have to create you just have to you have to be so passionate to like to win that you just don't give up and and I felt like that was there's some I mean, we all we joke Jesse nights that we should call our, you know, our production company, no productions, because literally, we are just hit with, like, how many hoops we have to go through to get this thing made? Like literally they were like, hey, here it is. We got it. Oh, by the way, you need names? Oh, by the way, you have to shoot it in one location. Oh, by the way, you actually don't have any money because it's all going to die. And do you have to have 399? You know, if we go on things, you gotta have teamsters, you know, we're like, What? Why? How can't we, you know, just like, we just roll our eyes and go like, you know, let's do it. It's really a challenge, you know, because
Alex Ferrari 36:32
They were trying to do I think back then they were trying to shove in the legacy way of or the old school way of doing production into the new form, which is web. Yeah. And you can't Yeah, nowadays that doesn't. I mean, no, no, it does. It doesn't happen like that.
Mark Gantt 36:47
Now a lot of times more more with even, you know, stuff with before, even in the beginning of Hulu stuff. And Amazon, it was much more you know, you're you're doing the the indie production, they're not the production company, you know, they do the negative pickup or though you know, say they promise you the money, then you have to fund it yourself and pay for it, then they'll pay you but it's just like even that is yeah, that's pretty. That's pretty. Yeah. Like, wait, so but you guys can always say you don't want it. Oh, great. Yeah, that out. So
Alex Ferrari 37:22
Yeah, that's Yeah. Sorry. So that was so the show is done, you've gone through hell and back. Now it gets released, how is it received?
Mark Gantt 37:33
It was very well received, you know, it was interesting, we released I think it was four episodes at the end of the year of 2009. So that we could qualify for streamy Awards, in other words that were coming out, because we originally wanted to we're supposed to release it in November. And then they pushed it because they wanted to do a DVD release. And so at the last minute we ended up having to change the date. And then so we released it in December and then released at the beginning of first week of January the rest of the episodes like every other day. And you know that that little riff in the beginning was a big thing in the independent world because the independent web series were like this is a studio and network show that's getting you know the special attention of you know, but all we needed was for episodes to be released in the year and that qualified us and you know, we want we worked our our asses off to get to that place we didn't want to miss that window. And and what ended up doing is you know, it sort of bonded us with you know, the other filmmakers because at first I went from them hating us because we were doing that to us defending us and then us seeing them you know add like the to filter events or any of the other webserie events we show up and go like hey, we want to talk about this we're just like independent guided making something that's it we're not like the studio we're not some studio guys that have all this money because this is what happened. And it was just a really interesting thing. So the the show itself got really great reviews, people really dug it. We were like breaking records again, this is early on. So you know, we get you know, we get 10 million views in the first two weeks. And it was like nobody was getting those numbers.
Alex Ferrari 39:15
Yeah. And that was on crackle. Yeah. Was on crackle that people were hard. It was hard to find. Yeah.
Mark Gantt 39:21
And so it was really an awesome experience. And then we went on to you know, be nominated for six streamys you know, tied with the Guild, which was like the big comedy at the time and we end up winning for Best Director, Best Actor, Best editor and best show and I was crazy, just really, really a crazy ride.
Alex Ferrari 39:44
And now after you released it, then you released it on DVD as a feature film.
Mark Gantt 39:49
Yes. As a feature film on DVD, and then also VOD so and and VST. So it was like you literally at the same day you that they released it. DVD, you can get it. Actually, on the last day of shooting. Last day it aired online, you could rent it on, you know, iTunes and Amazon. But in the beginning, you could rent the whole thing. I could buy the whole thing at the beginning. So that way you buy it. And so is already available as a movie on iTunes, and then DVD, Redbox and Netflix and stuff. And then it started to air as movies, you know, worldwide as you know, I get the normal distribution model. That's Sony's home video ads. So
Alex Ferrari 40:36
And then it did. I'm assuming it did fairly well for them.
Mark Gantt 40:38
Yeah, I mean, here's the thing. I love that this is you know, it's the creative accounting. Oh, no, you've
Alex Ferrari 40:44
Never been looking at.
Mark Gantt 40:46
I'm like, Wait a second. What's this? $100,000 you know, TV and distribution fee? Like, where's that coming from? Like, how do you guys you know, but yeah, oh, no, it made money. It made money did good for them. And never,
Alex Ferrari 41:00
You never saw a dime?
Mark Gantt 41:01
No. No. And the last, the last thing I got is like, literally sighs like there's $150,000 TV distribution fee that I don't understand where they threw that in or what that word that even means. And so I'm you know, I'm reaching out and trying to find out if I can even get an audit and I talked to people, they're like, good luck. Good luck with that. Yeah. You know, but
Alex Ferrari 41:26
Yeah, because if you do that, then you'll you'll be blackballed. No one will ever work with you again.
Mark Gantt 41:31
So it's not like, Hey, give me that money. You know, the, there's a small fight, and it's just not worth it. You know,
Alex Ferrari 41:37
Right. I mean, Forrest Gump did make money. So yeah, yeah, exactly. I mean, so there's that to the point where they actually had to talk with Tom Hanks and Tom, it's like, Forrest Gump made money. I don't know what they're talking. Yeah. So and then. So how did Ben in the band and way kind of changed your career trajectory? Like, how did you start getting like what happened as a result of it for you as a director?
Mark Gantt 42:02
Well, so you know, what ended up happening is, because on that I was actor, writer, and producer, and not the director, you know, Jesse went off to, you know, really focus on trying to do features. And so he went his direction is like, I need to do my thing. I was like, get it. And I'm going to try to do my thing. And so I went into, again, developing projects for myself as an actor. And in that process, it was like, I need to, you know, make some stuff, I want to direct some stuff like I really, because our deal was, we were both actor directors. And this one was going to be one that you know, he was going to direct I was going to act and then like the next one, I would direct and he was going to act, but he was like, yeah, about acting, like directing. It was like, Yeah, but I, but I, I was gonna think we were gonna do the thing with that, and you do. And, and so, you know, one of the people I connected with was Wilson, Cleveland, who did a lot of stuff. He's out in New York, and he did a lot of branded series and stuff. And so he and I connected up and I was able to direct an episode for lifetime in the better sleep Council. I got to cast away one like hasn't Jamie Murray from you know, she's on warehouse 13 and Dexter and Eddie McClintock from warehouse 13. And we got to do this and that sort of opened up a whole bunch of doors from in that I got to direct another episode of that, and it really sort of expanding out of what I was capable of doing, you know, so I did a couple more shorts. And and then sort of, in that world of me pitching tons of shows, and you know, like almost almost there shooting sizzle reels, shooting actual pilot presentations, pitching them so close, and just like all those things, and while I'm doing all that stuff, you know, sort of go I still want to direct I still want to do so I put together you know, making sure my director site was, you know, was good. And I was putting my cutter reel together and sending it out to people and a friend of mine on Facebook, reshot, she's like, hey, you're hustling, like to eat you, you know, you're doing great service. Thanks. She's like, Yeah, I'd like to put your name in the hat for a feature that we're gonna do for a lifetime. And then, like, really awesome. And she was our production coordinator on the band. And while she was like, like the person that got stuck doing everything, and she was amazing at the time, and when we work together, and we hadn't really seen each other Facebook friends and so we met and I read the script, and I really dug it and so that really just opened up a whole bunch of doors for me, so I did the movie and and that was called murder Mexico and premiered in September 2015. And it did really well for them. And that has, you know, led to me doing more branded series for GMC and then in doing a lot of commercials, I had a student of mine who said, you know, you should do commercials. I as a as an art director and prom Master, I know there's like 5000 directors in LA Like literally there's like that guy right there.
Alex Ferrari 45:02
There's more than that. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Mark Gantt 45:16
And he said, he said, I Well, I just like your style. You know, I think you have a really good eye and a lot of drama. And like a lot of people do comedy and cars that you know, just like a storytelling, and I was like I am. So like, you know, it's funny. It's like, I would tell him to do something for his career. I would expect him to listen, but I didn't listen to him. And so like a month later, he goes, he's like, did you ever are you doing? You ever think about that some more? And I was like, yeah, the thing is, is letting you know on a given my excuses, just like he would give me his excuses why he couldn't get a job. And he goes, you know, but because I I get it. He's like, you know, but that's what I do. I go, What do you mean, he goes, I grep. Directors. Will you say that? Yeah, exactly. He's like my mom, I work for my mom. And she does this thing. And we read, you know, we read like the Coen brothers and blah, blah, blah. I'm like, What? You did tell me that, you know, and, and he's like, Oh, I didn't, I thought, you know. And so anyway, that sort of started this whole thing. And even though nothing happened with that, like, I met her, and she was great. And she wanted to, you know, try to help me with production companies. And I end up getting a job through people I knew. And so I booked these ESPN and Nissan spots. Because I knew the producer. I told her that she's like, wait, I bid on that job, who got it? I said, me. Right. And so it came this thing. And so I think what what Bannon has done for me, it's given me it's opened the door for a lot of opportunities. And then the acting, you know, it's given me, you know, direct offers and shooting movies in Barcelona, and, you know, Canada, TV shows, and like, that's really just open up a ton of opportunities for me. And, you know, I think what, you know, I would look at is when, as I was talking to me that day, I was like, I think that the only thing that, you know, if I would do something different, you know, it's like after ban and like, I felt like I drank the Kool Aid, like, everybody's, oh, you're gonna get a series out of this, you're gonna be directing stuff, you're gonna be doing this. And then what I end up doing is like just pitching stuff all the time, because people want to take meetings, meetings, is about meetings about meetings, taking things with like machinima when they were doing stuff and like then Hulu, and then, you know, and then amas, I like all these meetings, about meetings about projects. And none of them were like, really, my projects that I was totally excited about. A lot of times, they were like me teaming up with their people, or, you know, oh, they want that. Hey, guys, let's work on something that fits that. And then we go pitch that get really close. And so I feel like the more I'm, you know, passionate about what I want, then stuff starts to happen. And I think that's where a lot of people get lost in like, Okay, what, because I hear so many people go like, yeah, so people want like sci fi. So I'm going to do like a sci fi thing. And like, is that are you? Do you care about sci fi? No, but that's what they want. Or a horror or whatever. And you see, and you're like, you can tell you don't care about what you're doing. Like, that's not the subject you should be shooting. Yeah, right. Anyway, and the guy just went off track there. What your question?
Alex Ferrari 48:11
So good. And you also did a series, or an episode or two for Ron Howard. And Brian Grazer? is digital arm, right? Yes. How did you? Did you work with those guys directly? Did you meet with them? or How was that experience?
Mark Gantt 48:24
I didn't they they did approve all the projects. But they didn't. They weren't involved. They have, you know, a full on, you know, company team and teams and teams team that's, that's doing just that just like imagine has the people imagine and stuff? Sure. But, you know, I really like what new forum is doing. And they they're sort of switching it up. Now. I mean, you know, again, the space is changing, like literally every six months is something different. And you can see they're all trying to figure it out Facebook doing you know, I guess there was a
Alex Ferrari 48:56
Facebook was Facebook video or whatever it's called now.
Mark Gantt 48:59
Yeah. And they just made a huge deal with somebody that is insane.
Alex Ferrari 49:03
Yeah. And they've been bringing out Yeah, I've been pretty close to the whole Facebook video thing they're trying to take over. They're trying to basically cannibalize YouTube. Yeah. And, and take over what they're doing. And which makes perfect sense, because everyone's over on Facebook anyway. Yeah. So it does make sense. Yeah, but you're right. It just changes. I mean, look how much the business has changed since 2009. Yeah, we're talking about what, seven years? No, six, eight years, eight years, basically. And it's like, you know, from 1970 to 1978, the business didn't change that much.
Mark Gantt 49:36
No, and now it's like literally, you know, it's it's such a shift where you know, now, you know, from YouTube read Oh, YouTube read that just made a deal with somebody insane. Somebody, you know, I can't remember who was
Alex Ferrari 49:52
It but they're playing because they got money. Yeah, and apple and apple and Apple just threw their hat in
Mark Gantt 49:56
The ring. Apple's doing that too. So here's all these opportunities. You know, that our, you know, showing up again, everybody wants, you know, those kinds of places what the, the, the House of Cards. So you know, they're looking for the bigger names and bigger stuff, but they're still great opportunities out there.
Alex Ferrari 50:14
Now there's so much opportunity for filmmakers now much more than there ever was. Even five, six years ago. It's insane what's being done right now. But there's this one little thing you got to do. And that's hustle. And that's the thing a lot of people don't want to do. And I'm sure you know those guys.
Mark Gantt 50:30
Oh, no, I was, it's what I was talking to my agent yesterday. And she was like, we're trying to women been taking manager meetings, and she's like, I just am so frustrated. Nobody wants to hustle. Nobody wants to win. This business is like everybody's lazy. She goes, What I don't understand is like, like you're, you're you're giving them your yarn, a silver platter, they don't understand how you're gonna hustle more than any client that they ever have. You will do you're doing all these things. You're basically giving them money. No opportunities. Yeah, yeah. Opportunities to pitch you to get you meetings, because you're doing stuff. You're not just sitting there going, Oh, I got the script. And I'm waiting. And she's like, I don't understand, why don't people you know, and I just booked this, this, this role on a TV show. And like, I knew the writer, and we've been, you know, working together, we've been, you know, trying to do stuff and keeping in touch, and then the casting people and like, it was like, 35 actions for me to get this part that I got offered after I'd been in for them 10 times and my hustle is insane. It just gonna do the one thing and do the stuff. It's like, and most people are not willing to do that. They do a couple actions. And they're like, No, I didn't get anything. All right. You know, and it's like, you've got to out create that stuff. And it's so easy. There's, there's so much there's so much rejection, you know, just in the normal thing. I mean, that you can't even tell your friend a story without them going, Wow. I'm done. You know, I was like, Oh, right, that they did do that, didn't they? You know, or, or whatever? Or like, when are you gonna get that full time job, you know, Johnny,
Alex Ferrari 52:03
But what the but the thing I find fascinating about you know, because we can smell our own the hustlers. So that's why I wanted you on the show. We could smell our own. But the thing I find fascinating is that when you tell people about things you're going to do, and the like I you know, you probably won't be able to do this, you probably won't be able to do and there's always that negativity. You occasionally have champions, but generally speaking, most people, you know, you know, because they don't want to, I don't know why they do it, but they just do. And, and then when you show up with the project done, and you did it in six months, and they're just like, do you just talking about that a little bit ago? I'm like, yeah, it's done now. Yeah. Oh, and by the way, we just sold it to Hulu. And we also just sold it on iTunes. And we're Yeah, we're and we're going and we got three other ones lined up right afterwards. And it's, it's the Mark duplass style of doing? Yeah, you know, it's just kind of go and just do and just stop talking about and stop taking meetings.
Mark Gantt 52:59
It's the depth of it. You know, it's so funny. It's like, and you get a Leeuwarden Like I said, I drank the Kool Aid, you take the meetings, you do the thing. You meet the managers, they're excited they do a thing you do. Oh, you talk to a producer. They're exciting to think and they meet these writers and think, Oh, yeah, and then it's like meetings, about meetings about meetings. And it's like, but nothing's happening. You know,
Alex Ferrari 53:17
Mark Gantt 53:18
I you know, I'm right now I'm so guilty of not creating right now I'm jonesing I like I put myself I have basically four weeks to shoot another spec commercial and a short film by the end of the year. And you know, working on that's going to based on this feature, because I got to do it.
Alex Ferrari 53:36
No, just just stop for a second, you're shooting another spec spot after you have a demo reel full of real spots.
Mark Gantt 53:43
Yeah. Because there's like stuff that I want to do that, you know, that I'm you know, I this this production company that's hip pocket. me they're like, yeah, they sent me a Porsche thing. I was like, ah, I love that. Like, yeah, you don't really have anything on your reel. That's, that's not a car stuff spot. It's a car spot, but it's not it's more, you know, lifestyle. And the thing is, like, shit, I need that. So, like, I'm like, Alright, I want to create something, again, what I want, you know, something, you know, create that, that thing that's going to get me the more work that I that I want to be doing.
Alex Ferrari 54:11
It's, you know, that work ethic, I think, in our generation is is is embedded in a lot of ways in our generation. But yeah, but you know, it's so hard to kind of preach to people. Like you've got to do this. You got to keep hustling no matter how old you are. And I always use the example it's like, Look, Spielberg couldn't get money for Lincoln. Right? It's Steven freakin Spielberg mad and he had to hustle to get money. Scorsese couldn't get the money for that last movie. He did. The one that just got released last year silence. That was that was his dream project. Couldn't get money for it took him forever to hustle that money to make that movie. So even the Giants the gods of our business, have to hustle sometimes. Yeah, you know, it's just they don't just Drop buckets of money on you know,
Mark Gantt 55:02
You know, even people, you know, like Clooney, it's like, you know, they're hustling he's a hustler to make stuff happen to, you know, to write stuff to, you know, hire people to you know, like he's not he's not sitting around going, I'm cloning I can do whatever I want to do it's like otherwise he would be doing a ton of crappy move. I mean he's hungry to tell stories that he wants to tell, you know, right, right and he's gonna do this movie. I get that money. They gonna put it in here so I can direct that. And he's
Alex Ferrari 55:29
In the movie, honestly, an amazing director. I think he's a very under, under under underestimated or under, not not taken as seriously as he should as a director. Yeah, Andre. Yeah, underrated. underrated. Yeah. Yeah, he's amazing. Ever since I saw Confessions of a dangerous mind. Oh, what a watch. Like Jesus. That was his first first outing. I was like, Well, yeah, there you go. Yeah, he's got the gift. Now, you've worked on some very big movies, Ocean's 11. And I think Charlie's Angels as well, and a bunch of other big movies. As an actor. What's the one thing you've kind of? What's the biggest thing you took from those things that you put into your own work today?
Mark Gantt 56:12
You know, it's interesting, I feel like every director has their own style, and their own sort of, you know, way of communicating way of telling the story. And I always what I think the takeaway from the most part is, I have to be true to like, what I, what I want, in terms of like, what my vision is. And so I always see, I've seen the saying that today, it's like I, if there's a situation that most of the situations I've been in are how not to do something like that's my learning experience. Like when I'm on a set or doing something, it's like, oh, that's how you don't do that. You know, and so you get to see that, and then there's like, the great times where you're like, Oh, that's actually how you do, you know, whatever it is. And so I think the guys, and the women that I've worked with that are so, so clear about the vision they want, and not backing down on it, but working as a collaborator, I think that's the biggest, that's the biggest takeaway. It's like the guys that succeed the most. I've seen have been collaborating across the board. They're not this sort of, you know, you know, maniacal like it goes like this kind of thing. Yeah. And that, and I think that's important. You know, what I mean? I've worked with David Russell. And, you know, he's sort of like, he's that way I'm saying, but the collaboration, it's like, you know, it goes his way. And he's the king and that's it. And it's like, it works for him. You know, that's not my style. You know, Soderbergh I barely gives direction, you know, and he says, and he's one of those guys that says, You know, I, you know, my, my directing my casting, he's like, I'm casting the people that I know, we're going to do the job I want, you know, that are that are that those are the characters. And then he gets to play with them sort of like props. Go stand over there be here, I'm gonna do this camera here, lighting here. This music here, this cut this way. And those are the storytelling elements. And then other people like Brad silverlink is like he's in it. He wants to get in there talk the actors. moment, it feels good, right? So you're holding yourself, which is there. Then the cameras gonna come around real slow, when reveal you right here. And he's got the like, you know, the lens right in her face. He's like, I'm doing that. Yeah. And so it's like, it's a different thing. So you know, what I've, you know, my takeaway has been on so many levels, just like being able to see what's really, really cool. storytelling and best ways to tell the story and that difference between just like, Oh, yeah, we're just going to shut that set this shot up this way, or this way, compared to, I'm telling the story, the camera has to move this way, you know, or we're not moving the camera at all. Because why, why? Why did we move the camera, it's not being motivated, you know, or whatever, you know, sort of a point of view is, and, but I think that's the biggest thing is like the strong point of view, and to me the collaboration and being able to go like, here's my idea, this is what I'm trying to accomplish. Instead of like pushing that idea to go to dp to the costume designer, production designer, prop guy, everybody to go, how do we get that? You know, and they're like, well, we could try this or do this. You're like, Oh, it's way better than my idea. I like that. Let's go that way. You know, Got it. Got
Alex Ferrari 59:25
Yeah, in Salzburg, and he shoots his own stuff as well. Yeah, it's insane.
Mark Gantt 59:31
Yeah. And that's, and I think that's why it's, it's not something that he can, I mean, again, everybody has their own their own thing. You know, my wife is a director, she's an actress, director, and she directs completely different than me, like, she doesn't think about camera, as much isn't thinking about certain like, sort of like how the framing of it, she cares about the the the emotional, you know, storyline the thing that we're going to like beat drawn into she wants to connect with that. And so everybody has it so Soderbergh I feel like you got the camera on there. He can't pull the camera off. Give it to the assistant. Okay, cool. So I want a little bit more here. Like he's in there going, I'm telling the story in this. Just deliver it, you know, please just deliver I hired you. Because you're amazing, right? Yeah. And, and they do talk beforehand. Their questions me. It's not like he never directs. But sure. He's not like, every time he you know, each tag, he's like, Okay, that was great. So let's, um, I was great. Just one more time, we will have a thing. Just go again. Let's go again. Great. Go again, right now. And so he's creating it in the camera. He's looking at it and going, this is the moment I'm gonna pan over here. I'm gonna stay on him. I'm gonna pan over here. I'm gonna go down to her hands. You know, and he's telling the story for us. And he's also at its most of his own stuff. He has editors, but he edits You know, I've heard him, you know, taking over people's movies. You know, as an editor, people ask him to come take a look at their movie. You know, like, just just recut the movie. They said, Yeah, Soderbergh recut the movie. It's like not my movie anymore. I'm like, What do you mean? Is that your movies? Like, it's not my movie is like, I have to tell them. I don't like what he did. Because it's not my movie. It's his movie. It's now his movie. You know, but that's how genius Yeah, he just Yeah, he just downloaded it. He didn't. I didn't give him anything. He just took what I had cut it up, put anything. And now there was a new movie. It's like he did that. And like an hour. I'm like, I didn't the day. I'm like, holy shit. That's amazing.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:27
Yeah, he's just got his he's that guy.
Mark Gantt 1:01:30
Thank God, he didn't retire when he said he was gonna retire whenever that was like, he keeps
Alex Ferrari 1:01:35
I don't know why he keeps doing that he can't retire. He needs to keep speakeasy working. So listen, man, I'm gonna ask you the last few questions asked all of my all of my guests. What advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today?
Mark Gantt 1:01:50
Oh, gosh. You know, work for as many people meet as many people get as many sets as possible. That's it. I mean, that's the key for me is because I've been on so many sets and doing so many different, you know, positions. I know how that works. I know. I can I can I can tell you know, how we can fix something sooner than later. And, and all those relationships, and it's all this, the town is about networking and relationships. Like it's, you know, anybody that's been here long enough, you know, everybody, that's just how it goes. And so when I need something, I've got an idea. I can call somebody get some help. And it's it's much easier if I've just worked for free on their short for me to call up and go, Hey, man, can you help me out? I need this thing. Rather than you know, yeah, I heard you did that short. Hey, can you help me out? And and so I think for anybody getting into filmmaking, it's like to get on as many sets as possible, doing every job that you can possibly do, and, and learn, you know, so that you're, you have all those tools when you're going into creating your own stuff, or getting hired to do something that you understand what it means when they're saying, Yeah, the grip trucks gonna have to back in and chop off the dolly and do a thing and they do these runs, you're like, what does that mean? You know, but I know it because I actually was in the van driving to go pick up the stuff and the thing, and I understand it, and so I think that's the biggest thing is to get, you know, get as much experience as possible. So that you, you, you've got, you've got this basically an arsenal tool bag of you know, stuff to do, and then go out and do it and make mistakes. Like, yeah, don't be trying to, like make the perfect short film, I have a friend that has a short film for nine years now that's still not edited. Because, you know, he's living and the thing has got to perfect and then you know, like, and it's just like, No, man, gotta get it out and just done. Just done. Move on to the next thing. And it's so hard. It's hard. I mean, for perfectionist like myself, the only way to to get over that is to continue to hustle and create, just keep doing keep doing keep doing keep doing, keep doing it. fail, fail. It's like, and then you're asking me about the spec. I'm like, Yeah, because, you know, I'm excited about the stuff I've had, but like, I still haven't gotten the chance to do the movie I want to make I got a chance to do the short that. You know what I mean? It says, All right, let me create that. Let me figure out a way, you know, you know, doing a pilot in the, you know, I met with the showrunner and he's like, we're talking and he was like, so you're gonna direct it as like, I wanted to, and that was going out to some peatland people to actually get a big director to and he's like, you're directing the pilot? And like, right, he's like, you're directing the pilot. Let them tell you. No. But you direct the pilot. You say you want it. This is your vision. You come to them strong. This is my thing. I was like, Oh, right. Yeah, I mean, right. So sometimes I forget that because, you know, you just sort of keep doing stuff and everybody keeps, you know, telling you what to do. But I think that's part of his like, you know, like I'm willing also to get it made, you know, whatever it takes to you know, continue on to keep creating, right sort of one off is at the end on that and that last question, but it's all good. It's all good. So much information in my head.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:08
I got to read I got you. Now, can you tell me what book had the biggest impact on your life or career?
Mark Gantt 1:05:17
Wow. I think on the road really changed my life. I think that was one of the first, you know, Kerouac is the first sort of this guy, you know, just taking, you know, just this guy that's like, bigger than life. And this taking this journey in this road trip, and I just, I there was something about it, I just that that then sort of opened the door to for me literature cuz I wasn't a kid. I didn't go to college. I didn't, then you know, hated reading. And I read that and it just opened up like literature to me, and then open the beatniks and open up a koski that turned into you know, other, you know, novocherkassk and all that kind of stuff that was just like, oh, literature, storytelling, rich characters, you know. And so that really inspired me to, you know, to be a writer to tell those kinds of stories.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:11
Now, what lesson took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?
Mark Gantt 1:06:18
Just because I haven't done it doesn't mean that I'm going to be that I'm not good at it. I think part of me feels like, I feel like I need it all figured out. Before I can go do something shit. So I feel like I that I think the hardest thing, the hardest lesson for me is to trust my own talent. And, and, and to, like, keep putting myself out there. You know, as a hustler. I'm still doing stuff. I'm still, you know, making these happen. But I think there's a part of me that's still still not, you know, 100% you know, believe that I can be the Soderbergh You know, my legacy sort of early if that sort of book. Yeah, of course. You know, but to say that, you know, I'm enough to go do that thing that's been like the the hardest lessons like see, as I'm looking at my, my life, my career, my body of work and going yeah, how can I not think like, you just say, why are you doing that? You've already got real Why are you crazy? It's like, yeah, cuz I still I, you know, like, I forget that I've done this thing, because I'm already like, on to the next thing. So I think that's the biggest thing is to like, be in a place of like, I know what I know. And create from that. That's the biggest challenge for me. And what are three of your favorite films of all time? Ah, let's see. breathless, excellent film. More sparrows? Awesome, Phil. I hate I hate the thing, I would say. A place in the sun.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:55
Oh, yeah. I liked that movie.
Mark Gantt 1:07:57
Just somebody brought up to me recently. And I remembered that movie. And I'd watched it again. It's so good. So so good. I mean, there's a ton out there, but those are, those are
Alex Ferrari 1:08:08
As of right now. That's those are the three. Yeah. And where can people find you digital online, you know, like digitally or Twitter and all that good stuff.
Mark Gantt 1:08:18
[email protected] So that's that's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Yeah. And, and my website's MarkGantt and MarkGantt director as my director site. But at all You go to MarkGantt it's all there.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:30
Very cool. Man. Mark. Man, thank you so much for doing this.
Mark Gantt 1:08:33
Thank you, man. This was fantastic. Thank you so much.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:36
It was great talking to mark and I'm so glad we were able to finally get that interview on and scheduled because I was really wanting to get him on and delve deep into how he was able to get the band and way up and the behind the scenes stories of that as much as everything else we discussed. So Mark, thank you again, so much for doing that. And I hope you guys got something out of it. I did, I learned a bunch. You know, every time I talk to somebody new on this show. I'm learning stuff as much as you guys are. So thank you so much for listening. If you want to get links to anything we talked about in the show, just head over to indiefilmhustle.com/203 for the show notes. And guys, of course, if you have not done so yet, and you guys are fans of the show, please go to iTunes, and leave us a good review. It would mean the world to me it really would. So just head over to filmmakingpodcast.com for that. And I want to thank all of the tribe that went over and took advantage of the insane Black Friday Cyber Monday Udemy deal at $10 a course a really appreciate it. We picked up almost 2000 new students in the tribe. So thank you again, so much. I hope you guys get a lot out of those courses. We've got a ton of new courses coming out in the next month. I've got two right now. And then January is going to be pretty in sane guys as well. I got some one big, big question. That I'm working on right now that I'm going to keep quiet, just until a little bit closer to the new year so that you guys know what's going on with that. But thank you all and as always, keep the hustle going. Keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.
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WATCH A FREE 3 PART LOW-BUDGET FILM PRODUCING VIDEO SERIES
Taught by veteran award-winning film producer and author Suzanne Lyons. The filmmaker behind over a dozen profitable low-budget feature films.