IFH 220: How to Package an Indie Film for Investors with Tiffany Boyle



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Today on the show is Tiffany Boyle from Ramo Law. Tiffany helps indie filmmakers package their projects in a way that helps them attract producers, investors, other top-end actors, and studios. We had a great conversation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Here’s some info on today’s guest.

Tiffany Boyle has been with Ramo Law since 2009, where she works with the attorneys to review, collaborate, develop, submit and supervise creative materials on behalf of clients within the Firm. Boyle actively works with clients in connection to production and distribution opportunities that bring their new material to life. From television (unscripted/scripted) to feature films to internet properties, she oversees all creative content represented by the firm. Her recent projects include REBIRTH (Netflix original film), YOUTH IN OREGON (starring Christine Applegate, Billy Crudup, and Frank Langella), SPRING (premiered in TIFF), THE 12TH HOUR (documentary narrated by Jeff Bridges), STUCK IN LOVE(starring Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly), FRANKIE GO BOOM (starring Charlie Hunnam), SOME GIRL(S) (starring Adam Brody), and FREE SAMPLES (starring Jesse Eisenberg). She also executive produced I-LIVED (directed by Franck Khalfoun).

Prior to joining Ramo Law, Boyle was the Director of Sales at Crystal Sky Pictures (GHOST RIDER, TEKKEN). Her responsibilities included the creation of marketing materials, coordination of marketing and delivery materials for international buyers and planning and selling at markets and festivals (including EFM, AFM, Marche Du Film, MIPCOM, Sundance and Toronto). She also acted as the financial intermediary for buyer collections and proper bank filings.

Boyle was previously a development assistant at Crystal Sky, working under the head of production Benedict Carver (UNDERWORLD, RESIDENT EVIL) and head of international sales Daniel Diamond (THE BELIEVER). She worked in all aspects of production on the company’s films, including DOOMSDAY, BIG STAN and BRATZ.

Thanks again to Media Circus PR who co-produced these podcasts episodes with me. Enjoy my interview with Tiffany Boyle.

Alex Ferrari 2:08
And today's guest is one of those people, Tiffany Boyle from Romo law is a packaging expert. What she does is help independent filmmakers put together packages to attract producers to attract investors to attract high end talent, distribution, everything and she's able to understand the marketplace and kind of destructure projects in a way that gives them the best opportunity to succeed. And I never had anyone like this on the show. So I really wanted to dig in and see exactly what she's doing and how she's doing it. So she gave us a lot of secrets in this in this interview. And I'm very excited to bring it to you guys. So without any further ado, here is my interview with Tiffany Boyle. I'd like to welcome the show. Tiffany Boyle. Thank you so much for being on the show.

Tiffany Boyle 2:58
Thank you for having me.

Alex Ferrari 2:59
I hear your voice is very Sundancey.

Tiffany Boyle 3:01
Yeah, you know, it's that time of Sundance where everybody can speak.

Alex Ferrari 3:04
Yeah, so I don't have the Barry White generally. So, um, so tell me, how did you get in the business in the first place?

Tiffany Boyle 3:11
I grew up I always wanted to be in the film industry. And so I knew I wanted to since high school and came out to LMU for film school and then luckily found a job immediately after and foreign sales world and continue from there.

Alex Ferrari 3:26
So like you how you got an early in foreign sales.

Tiffany Boyle 3:30
Yeah, I was right out of college.

Alex Ferrari 3:32
Oh, great.

Tiffany Boyle 3:33

Alex Ferrari 3:34
Foreign sales isn't very educational.

Tiffany Boyle 3:37
Yeah, I didn't even know. school didn't teach you about. So I didn't know existed. So it was very, it was an extra. I was paid to learn about it.

Alex Ferrari 3:47
So a lot of FM's a lot of can.

Tiffany Boyle 3:49
Yeah. And then my husband and AFM.

Alex Ferrari 3:51
Oh, really? Yeah. Very cool. So what are you doing now?

Tiffany Boyle 3:54
Now I work at Remo law, which is an entertainment law firm. And we represent mostly producers, finance ears and a handful of writers.

Alex Ferrari 4:01
And you do sales and packaging.

Tiffany Boyle 4:02
Yeah, I'm not an attorney. Right? I run the patching and sales arm of the firm, which really helps clients develop business oriented packaging and

Alex Ferrari 4:12
Business orientated packaging. Can you define that for everyone?

Tiffany Boyle 4:15
I'm not going to help you get Brad Pitt attached to your movie. It's more about finding the right producing partners, qualified partners, e.p. And then sometimes its earlier most of the time it's post selling, but also figuring out your sales agent and distribution.

Alex Ferrari 4:32
So what's the process? Let's say I'm a filmmaker. I've got an I have a script. Obviously, it's an Oscar winning script. It's an Oscar. It's a great script. What's the process? How does how does someone even go down the path to work with you?

Tiffany Boyle 4:45
Yeah, it I've had people come to me with just a clean script. And I've had people come to me with completed films looking for distribution. So I really can look at content in any and all of those phases. So let's say the screenplay let's think Yeah, just screenplay only typically it's me looking at the screen. First, seeing if it's something that I feel I can even push forward, and from there having a open discussion about, like, what their expectations are versus what I can really do with it. And clean scrubs, really, it's about finding the producer first, that really, you know, they're the backbone of getting a film made. And so I really focus on mining producers, production companies. And once that comes in, I kind of act almost in like an EP role where while the producer is helping push it forward, I'm kind of surrounding it and then moving the pinging in as needed.

Alex Ferrari 5:35
You're moving the pieces to try to help get Yeah, yeah. And and then when someone has a full movie, what are they? What's the process there?

Tiffany Boyle 5:43
I take a look at the screener. And we have another frank discussion about,

Alex Ferrari 5:48
Let's let's just talk about the frank discussions, because I think it's something that isn't talking to film school is a lot of delusions of grandeur. Yes. And there's a lot of expectations. Yeah. Because it's your baby. It's I've worked two years on this script, or I worked two years in this movie. It's something that I've run into a lot in my doing what I do, how do you have that conversation with filmmakers? And can you give a good example and a bad example of after that conversation with Tony?

Tiffany Boyle 6:15
Yeah, um, it I tend to be a bit more on the Frank side, which, you know, can be frustrating for specific potential clients. But I'd rather be honest and open about it up front, then promise and I'll be able to deliver on it. Right. So, you know, I've had, I've had, I have one client right now working on an $11 million film that just unfortunately, doesn't have enough cash. But it's really well shot, it's well done. And it's finished, it's finished. And, you know, he, I've been super upfront with him about how, because of the cast has been hard, and he still really believes in the movie, but he just takes me telling him what I need. And he he's one of those guys who just kind of understands and is okay with the fact that like, he helped it in TNA if he has to later but he, he's okay with my bluntness. And in LA, that's actually quite appreciate it. It's in the right hands. Yeah. If it's the right kind of person who's been down that path. And who's been like, I guess, mishandled in the past? Yeah. They tend to appreciate more when you just say it how it is. And if it turns out better, great, great, but at least you know, I'm kind of giving you the conservative, this is what I think the outcome will look like. And there have been some that have said, you know, like, I've read scripts and given them feedback, and they get very upset. You don't know what you're talking and sales a package? Yeah. And my answer is always well, you know, this is how I feel. And you know, you are obviously entitled to your opinion. And, you know, I'm always here to kind of read a new draft if you're ready, but good. Good luck!

Alex Ferrari 7:50
You're very sweet about it, though. You've been just while you're talking about I try to try to be your kind I could get that. That energy coming from us. You're kind about it like, Look, it's not gonna work out. You know, it's kind of like I have a $20 million budget, and I have no stars. And it's black and white. Yeah. Right. Exactly. Yeah. And it's not going to get into any festivals. And all of a sudden, like, I need I need you to sell this for me.

Tiffany Boyle 8:10
Yeah. And but I would love for you to prove me wrong, please. I would love that. But this is what I'm seeing. I you know, we work on the firm works on 90 films a year. So I'm in I track all of them. And I and I watch the reports coming back from all of them. And I have a good sense of what's selling where, why how and so it's not an uneducated response.

Alex Ferrari 8:33
Right. And so when you're packaging, let's say, for screenplay, let's say we've gone past it's a good screenplay. And then at that point, you say, Okay, look, we think this has legs, we can really think we could do something with this. And although all the stars are aligning, at that point, do you go Okay, well, you need to hire, we need to attach a good producer. Yeah. Once that producer comes on, then that will attract certain talent. But yes, producer at the director, when is the director come in?

Tiffany Boyle 8:58
Usually, it depends on the producers viewpoint at that point. I find some producers really have great direct relationships, and they go that route first versus others that have more financing relationships, and they go that route first. Or, or it's really all at once. It's a crap, you know, there's no right way to make or TV. So I have, for example, like I have one project where I brought in a producer who's had some phones that have been nominated for Oscars in the past. And she immediately brought in a really quality female director. And then I've had I have another one, where we brought in the producer and then I they have been kind of having a hard time finding the right people for it. So I brought it to an investor and now he's coming in bring in people, there's just a

Alex Ferrari 9:42
Million ways to make that cake. Yeah, without question and then as far as distribution is concerned, and you how what's the process that you do you find a producer's rep that can help So can you talk a little bit about that process?

Tiffany Boyle 9:56
Yeah, if it's, I would gauge again the expectations of the client Sometimes it's also about did we do production legal on it? Or was this somebody that just kind of found us later. And if we do production legal on it will typically be more involved in helping them find the distribution directly. But if it's something that gets into like Sundance or you know, one of the bigger festivals that I really go through the path of trying to find the rap either one of the agencies, circus roads, or Marine, those types of companies Got you. And then every film has a different path and distribution, some can go one way, or the other, depending on star quality.

Alex Ferrari 10:35
How do you do at that point, once it's in the producer apps, and you kind of just I'm out?

Tiffany Boyle 10:40
No. Okay. Usually, usually, I'm also hired on to help track reporting and financing coming in. distributors and sales agents, not all of them, but some of them to be a little sneaky. So, repeaters being sneaky. Yeah, that is a that is a exclusive here. So I tend to track the reporting. Make sure it looks good. ask the right questions to distributors about what what is this manufacturing cost? exceeding what we have for you agreement? And you're going through it? And you're Yeah, compared to this deal? And make sure that they're, yeah, keep keep keep it keeping them honest. Yeah, cuz there's a really sorry, I have a worse No, please, please. You know, that good stuff.

Alex Ferrari 11:25
So then, yes, because I've had a lot of experience with distributors as well. You know, so then all of a sudden, the poster cost $20,000. Yeah. Which it can depending on? Well, yes. But if your movie cost 20,000. What kind of budget ranges Do you work with? And do you work with a micro budget film? Yeah, the proper, you know, festival or something like that?

Tiffany Boyle 11:46
Yeah. I'm sorry.

Alex Ferrari 11:49
It's okay. Good Ahead.

Tiffany Boyle 11:52
Yes, we work on micro budget, all the way up to we've worked on 30 to 40 million movies, I tend to not go that high. Because at that point, it's usually just studio and you're never it's, there's no. But usually up to 15 to 20.

Alex Ferrari 12:08
What's the low?

Tiffany Boyle 12:09

Alex Ferrari 12:10
50 grand right. Yeah, that's Yeah, that's and that's amazing. That's really good. So that gets out to filmmakers listening to like, Look, you have a $50,000 movie that actually yeah, match and go somewhere?

Tiffany Boyle 12:19
Yeah, we have 14 phones in the festival that the firm worked on. One of them was, it'll be a little bit more what they do finishing costs, but it wasn't made for 50 grand to get into the basketball.

Alex Ferrari 12:30
That's amazing. Yes. Great. And does it really fulfill you like when you see a movie, go get successful and go all the way through?

Tiffany Boyle 12:37
Yeah, it's so cool. And it's so cool to watch the trajectory of, you know, clients you've worked with and how they're growing and the cool things they get to do after that.

Alex Ferrari 12:48
Now, can you talk a little bit about again, I'm gonna harp on this a little bit expectations for filmmakers out there right now, listening to the podcast, or watching this, about what they can expect cuz I consult with clients all the time, and you'll have million dollar million dollar movies with no stars in it. You might? I'm sorry, I just don't think.

Tiffany Boyle 13:10
I have that very tough conversation on the daily.

Alex Ferrari 13:16
Like the executioner but but but very kindly.

Tiffany Boyle 13:21
Some people listen to what I have to say. And some people kind of tune it out. And that's their prerogative.

Alex Ferrari 13:27
I can't was I just spent a million dollars. I can't listen,

Tiffany Boyle 13:29
I guess I got it. So yeah, you know, but I often, and I will say that, you know, I think distribution right now is kind of like the Wild West. I tell my clients all the time, it's the Wild West, like, I can give you my estimates, I can give you my thoughts about what that's gonna look like. But no, even distributors don't even know what they want right now. And they don't and they're a little all over the place and how they make offers on why they make offers and what they're doing with it. And so I can be as honest as I can about it. But at the end of the day, I don't control what distributors and right exacting offers.

Alex Ferrari 14:07
Now you said about certain talent being touched? Can you please kind of give us a guideline on like, if you have a movie, that's $50,000, you can be a little more experimental. Yeah, question. Yeah. At what point do you have to as a being fiscally responsible to the investors go, look, this is not an art project anymore. You are now in a in a point that 100,000 200,000 like, you've got to have somebody that's going to sell? If not, you know, you're rolling the dice that you get into Sundance when Sunday like now that's a lottery ticket mentality. Yeah. Where what's the threshold In your opinion, like, at certain point, like, if you don't have someone attached, the movie is could be the best thing in the world. But if it doesn't get the attention, you're not gonna make your money back. What's the threshold in European?

Tiffany Boyle 14:52
I'd say it's probably a couple 100 grand but there are factors to it of where it is. best thing in the world, it will find it will find its way. It is a lot about storing lottery tickets. It's still a lottery ticket, it is more risky. Yes, but you know, it is very execution dependent. If you really can deliver, you'll do well. But, like the $50,000 one that we have here, they did a really great job with it. But um, you know, I think if you're going to try to mitigate your risk, it's probably a couple 100 grand. So at that point, you're like, Look, you gotta put someone in there.

Alex Ferrari 15:30
Yeah. So we need to we need to make cage basically the cage and

Tiffany Boyle 15:32
Not at a couple grand

Alex Ferrari 15:34
Can't even get him to show up for less.

Tiffany Boyle 15:38
Like, doing it for his son or something. Right. Yeah. But that's the point. Yeah. And that's where you use sales agents and other you know, people who've been in the industry a long time that have been in the sales world to really help you say, here's some cash that I'm running against this budget. What is that going to look like in terms of my recoupment? Because that's going to be key. And you might think, based upon IMDb, no, no meter rating that that could show the number three person is going to be great. But that's not how it really works in terms of what distributors and foreign buyers are looking for.

Alex Ferrari 16:19
Absolutely. Someone could be extremely popular here in the States being nothing overseas, and not being popular here. Yeah, on a TV show and sell territories like water over correct David Hasselhoff. Even Steven Seagal,Jean Claud Vandame who they sell every year, they're making money. I was already a finisher. Yeah. Did you see the poster? Which was Steven Seagal versus mike tyson? The most afma movie ever? It literally was Steven Seagal person, so that you know it's gonna sell everywhere overseas because of who's attached. Now the one thing I find with with a filmmaker as well as they mix the art with the business. Yeah. And they don't know how to and they don't understand that, that you have to mix. Yeah. So let me say I have a cast list here. What does that mean for my recruitment? But I really want to hire this actor who's never done anything. There's never been anything. She's perfect for the role. He's perfect for the role. And like, if it's great for you want to do that, but you're not going to sell such a difficult conversation. Yeah, you want you really have a tough job. You hold it well, but you do have a tough job having to cut you're constantly Breaking Bad news.

Tiffany Boyle 17:28
I gotta say like, thanks for bringing that to my attention.

Alex Ferrari 17:31
But the point is that you're the thing is, you obviously do a lot of good news as well. But you're the realist, because you've been you've been in the game a long time. Like, look, I've seen this 100 times 1000. Yeah. If you don't do this, this is gonna happen. This scripts not gonna work. That's just my opinion. Yeah, business. So take it early. I'm not perfect. I'm people listen to me. Some people don't. I'm not perfect. Yeah, no. So if you have any advice for filmmakers out there, so one with a script, trying to get some sort of attention. By the way, if someone approaches you with a script, I'm assuming you don't take any script off the street, there has to be a conversation that has to be you have to retain you guys

Tiffany Boyle 18:09
Yeah, there ought to be a conversation and there is a world in which, like, we'll read a script, but you kind of pay me. Of course, no, that's not you. But then there's other things. Sometimes we're like, I'll waive the fee, or, you know, if it's got kind of the right momentum or people behind it, or I've worked with you before, and we have a really great relationship. That Yeah, there's that trust factor there.

Alex Ferrari 18:31
Sure. But as far as distributions going, what advice can you give somebody out there? With that, you know, half million dollar movie with, you know, maybe a few TV stars or something like that, in it?

Tiffany Boyle 18:42
You're going to struggle with a half million dollar movie with the maybe TV stars right now? Unfortunately, it wasn't even that way, like a year or two ago? Um, yeah, especially stars. Yeah. And it's gonna depend on the genre, and obviously, the execution. But if it's a bit more genre, you might be in a little bit better position.

Alex Ferrari 19:01
Can you talk about that genre? What are the genres that are actually selling much better? I know the answer, but what do you mean?

Tiffany Boyle 19:07
I mean, thrillers, if you can make an action film at 500 guy, which, actually my husband does here and there and like they said, Oh, yeah, um, you know, so action films. sci fi, if it doesn't look cheesy, it's a really tough to do a sci fi. Yeah, stuff. And then yeah, family can do well, it's just about how it translates over the rest of the world, right. Um, you know, like a foreign sales agent will be very happy with that family, but it's about like how you recoup and you may not be able to see all of that money back.

Alex Ferrari 19:44
It's a miracle that anyone ever makes movies or gets paid to make movies. Yeah, it really is. Yeah. Now what advice might actually be a question I ask all my guests. First of all, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life? Oh yeah, it got deep.

Tiffany Boyle 20:03
I think it's not worrying and I'm still working on it. Okay, I tend to like focus too much on kind of the little things adding up and don't see the big picture sometimes. And worrying about that. And that's that goes for my job and in my personal life and so I think that that's something I've learned over the years and and still focusing on and not being too anxious about it, you know, life is what it is sometimes just things have got to happen the way they need to sometimes,

Alex Ferrari 20:39
Umm, what advice would you give a filmmaker just starting on the business?

Tiffany Boyle 20:43
My advice is to really, number one, make sure you have good content, you know, getting the right feedback from the right people sending it out, getting reviews, getting coverage, working on your craft, taking notes. Not everyone's going to give you the best notes, but being gracious when somebody is read your script and, and accepting the feedback. And then also, it's networking. I think networking is so important. And not used enough especially because I know writers tend to like to just write they don't want to go out there and do it. But we're not a world anymore. where, you know, agents are just finding you off the street that you got to really put yourself out there and go to those functions and meet people and develop the relationships and almost be your own producer until you get that one.

Alex Ferrari 21:32
And what are your favorite films of all time?

Tiffany Boyle 21:36
Im from Utah, so I love Salt Lake City SLC punk.

Alex Ferrari 21:40

Tiffany Boyle 21:43
And then like john Hughes movies like breakfast. Yeah, just your favorite Johnny's Breakfast Club. And then I love like I love grounded sci fi silly I love like I origins and another those types of very cool.

Alex Ferrari 21:59
Well, thank you so much for doing this interview

Tiffany Boyle 22:01
Thank you for having me.

Alex Ferrari 22:02
Pleasure having you

Tiffany Boyle 22:03
Thank you for listening to me.

Alex Ferrari 22:04
Absolutely. Thank you so much. Have you guys picked up some tips and tricks on how to package your film and your project to attract producers, investors and hiring talent that will help you get your film made. So thank you again to Tiffany and romola and I will have all of her links and information and contact info in our show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/219. Guys again, thank you. I know February has been a little rough. For me in the podcast, I am doing the best I can. When I released the information about my top secret project, you will understand why it's been so rough for me. But it I can't wait. I'm just just jonesing to tell you guys what I've been up to. It is going to be explosive, to say the least. So I can't wait to share it with you guys. So just hang in with me for a couple more weeks, March we'll start rocking our normal regularly scheduled programming. But thank you again for your patience. And as always keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.




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