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The True “Horrors” of Independent Filmmaking with Todd Jenkins
Today on the show we have Todd Jenkins, the filmmaker behind the new horror film Cherokee Creek. Todd went through hell making his film but when he finally finished it and put it out in the world then the fit hit the shan.
Todd decided to self distribute his film using, the now bankrupt, film aggregator Distribber/Go Digital. As many of you know the Distribber debacle has caused many filmmakers horrific pain and stress. After the hard journey to bring his film to life only to have his first check taken from him by a company that goes bankrupt is BRUTAL.
At this point, he hasn’t even gotten his film back from Distribber/Go Digital and is losing money every day. We talk about how this company is hurting so many filmmakers but I wanted to put a face to the pain. I wanted to bring Todd on the show to share his story with the tribe. Making indie films is tough enough with companies like Distribber/Go Digital hurting filmmakers.
Cherokee Creek is an 80’s style raunchy horror-comedy about a bachelor party in the woods that turns deadly when the ultimate party animal Bigfoot shows up and crashes it. Equal parts vulgar, gore and dark comedy Cherokee Creek is a can’t miss tale of debauchery and sasquatchian horror.
Enjoy my conversation with Todd Jenkins.
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Todd Jenkins – IMDB
- Cherokee Creek – Amazon
- Protect Yourself From Distribber – Facebook Group
- IFH 346: Do Film Aggregators Make Sense Anymore? + Distribber Downfall Update
- IFH 345: Distribber Bankrupt? How to Protect Yourself
- IFH 343: The Dark Underbelly of Predatory Film Distributors – BEWARE!
- A Warning About Film Aggregators & the Future
- $1 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)
- 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 0:02
I'd like to welcome the show filmmaker Todd Jenkins. Man, thank you so much for being on the show, brother.
Todd Jenkins 3:19
Thanks, man for having me. I appreciate it.
Alex Ferrari 3:21
I appreciate it. Man. We have we I we've been introduced. I mean, I think you've been listening to me for a little while, right?
Todd Jenkins 3:27
Yeah, I think I listened to you a whole lot more once the distributor thing happened. And I learned that you were you were full of knowledge of a lot of valuable information that I needed to know. So okay, good. So without having people you know, driving to LA and checking things out myself, because I wasn't getting my first quarter payments from distributed I was in a panic. Well, we didn't know. I didn't know how many other people were going through the same shit I was. So it was great to hear there was other people, but I know it fucking sucks, you know?
Alex Ferrari 3:56
And without without question. And we're going to get all into distributor in a little bit. But I wanted to kind of talk a little bit about your story about how you made your independent film, Cherokee Crete. So tell me about the film and how it came into into life. As far as conception all the way back to that conception, but just let's say you know, like, starting the production of it.
Todd Jenkins 4:17
Right, right, right. Okay. Well, I've been in the industry working in front and behind the camera for about 20 years now. And you know, I kept hearing a horror story after horror story of every movie that would go through the the normal distribution map, you know, there's just people whenever making money, and I was always like a producer on these projects, but a lot of times I didn't get you know, all the information or they wouldn't tell me for whatever reason. So I decided if I wanted to know everything and be in control is going to do it myself. And plus, as an actor I wanted to I was getting really pissed off that these roles weren't happening. You know, you get up you get up for these parts of these huge studio films and then they could just pull the carpet out from underneath you at the last second. So you're kind of like, dude, I got to do something. So, if you look at a lot of the great actors today, a lot of them just did their own thing to get known. So I was like, Man, I'm going to do that path, you know, I'm going to do my own movie. I'll control everything. And if it is anybody's fault, it'd be mine. And I'll know 100% of what goes right or goes wrong. So I had the bright idea that I would do charity Creek. Okay, fair enough. Um, you know, and then I started hearing about distributed all these things. And I thought that might be a way to go, but we'll get to that later. But as I started wanting to make a movie, I had to figure out like, you know, I wanted to do something I knew that would generate a lot of buzz and hit a niche audience, which I hear you talk about a lot. And I was I've been to a ton of research on Bigfoot movies, and every Bigfoot movie I saw, I 98% or more god awful. I mean, they were terrible. So other than exists at that time, there was no other Bigfoot movie I like, of course, except for Harry and the Hendersons. But
Alex Ferrari 5:53
Obviously, that goes without saying, sir.
Todd Jenkins 5:57
So I was like, Man, this is something I could do. And I was even in a horrible Bigfoot movie myself. So I was like, I've got to do this great Bigfoot movie, but how can I do that and make it different? So I thought, maybe take the whole raunchy horror comedy at style by going into it. So I wanted to do that. And little did I know that when people read the script, at least in Texas, they were gonna freak out about it and say, Man, this is just way too raunchy. It's got nudity. It's got too much language. You know, I can't be a part of this. So people just started pulling out of the project right away, or they didn't show any interest. And even my the guys that were promising me my first money to shoot my very first scene, to kind of help get the Indiegogo campaign going. They pulled out at the 11th hour and just ghosted me like a week before. So then it was all about Okay, what do we do now? It was like, okay, talk to the why I'm talking to my business partner, we're gonna just put, I'm gonna put a lot of shit on the credit card to get us going. So that's how it started. Then we tried the Indiegogo thing, and I didn't know what the hell I was doing with that. I think we only raised about four grand on Indiegogo, which wasn't friends from friends and family basically. I man friends and family don't have me.
Alex Ferrari 7:08
Okay, so Okay, good. So you got you got people from like Bigfoot, apparently.
Todd Jenkins 7:13
Right? I guess I got people. Well, I mean, there's probably more friends than family, you know, fair enough for your fans of my work. But yeah, we got some people there. So we decided to push forward with the with the project. And then after I shot the the opening sequence to the movie, I thought we had a real winner there. So I just kept investing more and more of my own money, because at that point, I was just tired of getting screwed over meeting with investors who were full of shit most of the time. You know, a lot of times and even some of them had such egos.
Alex Ferrari 7:44
Shocking, shocking. Shocking. Yeah,
Todd Jenkins 7:46
I was like, dude, I just can't handle this. I just can't handle any more of these meetings. So I was like, all just put in my money as we go. And we were usually shooting you know, maybe a day or two a week, so it wasn't too awful. I think I ended up because I already own a lot of production gear anyway, because I'm on production company. I think overall as far as budget it for the movie itself. By the time it was over six months, I think I spent maybe 2025 grand that's still a lot of money.
Alex Ferrari 8:15
No, no, it's it's a lot of money. But in the scope of making a movie. It's a lot of money for me to like have you ever had if someone just told me like you need to drop 35k right now be like, I've got I've got family. I got I got after I've got after school care. Do they want summer camp? I don't know.
Todd Jenkins 8:36
Well, that's the weird thing about the money thing too, as investors who you knew were like millionaires. They were such tightwads man, by their millionaire circle.
Alex Ferrari 8:47
Or that's why that is why they're millionaire sir.
Todd Jenkins 8:51
Well, we'll get into that. Be like distributed, you know, funding from people. Yes. It was seemed like people who were fans, you know, or it had some money, they would be willing to write you a check for two or 3000. So I was like, This is so weird friends and family that I know don't want to give any money. But these people I don't freaking know, are giving money. It's really weird. But we just kept making just enough to keep going. And I was blessed enough that the cast was willing to work for deferment, which we know is always a bad idea. But in my case, in my experience, I felt like hey, I'm an honest guy. I'm going to take care of these guys. I know from the numbers this movie should generate 50 to 100 ran at worst. That's what I felt knowing what I knew. But of course, that's a whole different story to now. So that's kind of how I got it done. A lot of favors and then I had to do everything. One of the things I didn't mention was the cast that a lot of the cast I had to you know fire or just had to start over with because they were freaking out that there was nudity in the movie and they didn't you know, there was language, everyone just freaking out about the script all of a sudden, and I grew up watching movies like, you know, Porky's and hot dog and American Pie and the hangover and all that stuff. So I was like, What the hell are these people talking about? You know, and the funny thing was a lot of these people were fans of like Games of Thrones Game of Thrones. So I was like, how is this movie that bad for you? Like, why are you so freaked out by it? But anyway, we finally got the right people together. But I had to be the DP, I had to do the gaffing, I had to do the sound mixing, I had to do everything. And luckily along the way, I ran into a relative that my cousin had just married this guy, he was my gonna be my relative by marriage. And he's like, man, I want to be a filmmaker. And I had remembered that conversation. And I remember telling him like yet right, you know, sure. Everybody says that. So I called him and said, Man, you said, you want to be a filmmaker. So if you want to be a filmmaker, and you want to make no money, and you want to come be an intern, film me, whenever I'm doing my acting in the movie, come on out, and you can help. So that happened, and that's how we got the movie made. It was like no crew. I mean, I was literally doing wardrobe, craft services unique. I was having to do everything, and I was a lead in the movie. So it was a lot to keep all that shit. In your mind. It was a 24 seven thing. That was all I could focus on. There was no, there was no outside stuff coming in. Like, even if my wife wanted to talk to me. I was like, Hey, I can't talk to you, right? It's all about the movie today. So sorry.
Alex Ferrari 11:22
Fair enough. Fair enough. So then, alright, so you see you finish your movie that which was an odyssey in itself, and you dropped out about 25k out of your own pocket to make this thing happen? What was your distribution strategy? What What made you like, Okay, so how am I because I'm assuming you were thinking, how am I going to make money with this movie from the very beginning. But don't say, of course, because a lot of filmmakers are like, I'm an artist, I'm just gonna make a movie, just because I'm an artist. You I'm assuming you knew about the business side of things. So you try not
Todd Jenkins 11:50
Years of getting screwed over and watching and talking to people for years that have gotten screwed over I was like, not doing the regular distribution, Batman, I'm not gonna do that, that business model, I'm gonna do my self distribution. And then I started kind of submitting to film festivals, and I wasn't getting any luck. There. They were, I'm sure they thought the movie at the time. And I think the me tube movement had just started battling. With all this nudity in my movie and all this I was like, dude, I'm not gonna get in anything. But that actually ended up being a blessing that the the local Film Festival here in Dallas didn't want to screen it. So I was I, when I was putting my own screening on. So I did. I did two screenings of it. I brought in, stand up comics to open the movie. I did the red carpet, some people came out to the documentary of the two screenings. It was awesome. I mean, we had tons of people, I think, I think we ended up grossing between 14 $15,000 off that said, I was like, Wow, that was the best thing that ever do. It was so much better. Because if I would have been in that local Film Festival,
Alex Ferrari 12:52
I wanted and I want to just say something so many filmmakers don't understand that part of it is like, Oh, I just want to put it into film festival. You're not getting any money from that exam, especially if you're in a local Film Festival in Dallas, that really no one cares about No offense to that festival. But there's only three four or five festivals in the world that anyone even gives two craps about for really that mean anything to the bottom line, at least, you know, that mean? Anything to the bottom line? Maybe Fantastic Fest would probably do well for you or, or screamfest or something like that.
Todd Jenkins 13:20
No, I know, I know the movie did but you know, but that's the point. I didn't want the right people.
Alex Ferrari 13:26
Right. Exactly. And don't get me wrong. My my last movie did the same thing. I you know, I got into one big festival and after that, like nobody else accepted it for whatever, stick up their butts. But anyway. But that's the thing is filmmakers don't understand if they put their own screening on they can actually make money. And you know, why not? Yeah, I mean, I have another guy who did a movie that he made, I think, like, upwards of the mids mid five figures off of his screening of one night. One night plus merchandising plan. He built an event. But the
Todd Jenkins 14:00
T shirts there I bought a great hold off. Wait 20 $500 on the T shirts because we sold all 100 t shirts.
Alex Ferrari 14:06
And there and there you go. I mean, look at that. And then you're like dammit, why didn't I have 200 t shirts?
Todd Jenkins 14:13
Yeah, and then you're like, well, as soon as I did that my dumb ass was thinking hey, man, I can't wait to get this thing out on digital. Big mistake.
Alex Ferrari 14:23
I would if I if I if I would have you If I would have been consulting you at this point. I would have gone Dude, you got to go to horror conventions, set up a booth and and sell DVDs, sell blu rays, and sell even VHS copies if you can make some VHS copies of it. Because your niche your horror niche loves physical media and you can make a ton of cash touring. Just horror conventions. And you're an actor, so you have fans so you could be doing autograph sessions. That's where I would have told you to go. And you can still do this by the way.
Todd Jenkins 14:51
We are doing that now. Good. Did it late. But looking back I'm thinking you know, why didn't we just hold on? What was this rush to get it on digital When we could have, we could have built this buzz and did more of a limited theatrical release. And did it more cities you know, because of all the buzz we generated from the first two screenings. But once we put it out on digital, and also made another mistake at the beginning of our movie, we put the ski mask on and we told pirate people who pirate movies what we think about them, you know, we tell them that they're pieces of shit, they should fucking die. You know, we did all this plus, it's meant to be funny, shit, serious message. And a lot of people loved it. So we just kept doing this, we would do this at the screenings, and we would do videos, you know, these things. We call them the kidnappers, and everybody fucking loved it. But Amazon did not love that. So what happened was when the movie came out on December 25, as you know, your movie gets pirated pretty much within the two hours that comes out on iTunes or any digital platform. They didn't like that overseas too much. So our movie went from having like a 7.58 rating on IMDB to almost like a two because all the people who stole the movie gave us a one because they didn't like that we're making fun of them for pirating movies.
Alex Ferrari 16:05
so ironic, ironic, isn't it?
Todd Jenkins 16:07
So once within so when I woke up Christmas morning, my movie went from like seven eight on IMDB. They almost like to it was like, What the hell? I mean, I knew piracy was bad, but I didn't know it was that bad?
Alex Ferrari 16:20
Oh, it's really. And especially for your genre, your genre being horror is pretty, it's very pirated genre without question. Alright, so you decide to go digital. And now you're doing self distribution. And I think honestly, again, if I would have been consulting you, I'm like, this is a good candidate for self distribution. To really cook as a smart number, you made the movie for a smart number. It's a good genre, even though you don't have any stars, but horror films, you don't need stars, you have a great book. It all makes sense. So you decided though, with this little company called distributor. Now, for everyone listening, at this point, you should know about distributor and the debacle that has gone on with the stripper, and I was the first one that came out and broke the story about the stripper. And Todd, I met Todd on our Facebook group, protect yourself from distributor, which I launched shortly after my first podcast. And, and we've I've seen him on, I've seen you posting stuff. And then of course, you posted that very restraint restrained YouTube video that was very kind and very, you know, eloquent, and how you perceive the situation I felt and hopefully get with him. I mean, I'm not gonna get. So I'm being facetious guys, he tore up everybody who ever talked to him at disturber. And so and with complete, I completely understand I completely support that feeling because I'm in the same boat, not in the same exact cell phone again. Let's not do this. Now, listen to this. We're recording as we speak. So there's no need. But when I saw that video, I was like, You know what, man, that guy? And I said, do a little bit more research about you? And I was like, You know what, man, I think you're a great story to have on the show because I've talked about the stripper on the show now for four weeks now. But this is a unique situation because now we're I wanted to put a face. And also a story behind what the pain that is happening to filmmakers like a You are a representation of 1000s of filmmakers who are going through this this horror story, this devastating nuclear bomb that went off in their lives. And I wanted to bring you on. That's why I wanted to talk about how you made the movie, your struggles, everything that you've gone through. And now so you go to self distribution, you go through distributor, explain what happens. And then we'll we'll figure it and then we'll talk about the wheels coming off.
Todd Jenkins 18:37
Okay, um, well, I started having some issues with distributor early on. And I did you know, I wasn't thinking it was going to be as big a deal as it ended up being but in December, we were supposed to have our movie come out December 25. And I already paid for Fandango now. And Amazon. They were two of the other platforms. I was supposed to be approved to be released on December 25. So we start I mean, I'm all in on this movie. This is like this is like my last hurrah in the film industry since I've been doing it so long. And I I'd made a deal with my wife and everything because I'm sure she's tired of me being in the industry. So like, when's the fucking money gonna come in? I'm like, it's coming in on this movie. I swear to God, it's coming in. Just Just wait. You know, I'm putting my whole life on it. Betting my marriage betting her money, betting some friends money, but everybody, including my own money on
Alex Ferrari 19:25
Can I stop you here for a second? I've had that conversation with my wife. We've, if any, any filmmaker who's married has had that conversation with their wife. It is not a fun conversation to have. It is especially when you're you you're doing your own money. And you're working with family money, because it's not your money. It's not like you're living on ramen. With four roommates somewhere. You got a family. It's a whole lot of conversation. Dude. I'm gonna right now. I am sorry, sir. But I hope looking ramen, Bro, I hope I hope it's organic ramen. At least. Let's move on. Jesus organic Bro, I got to get the Walmart special fine. Alright, so go ahead, man. Go ahead.
Todd Jenkins 20:06
Yeah, yeah, it's speaking of that. Yeah, I actually had our loan somewhat because we did some stuff on Best Buy, I bought the Sony A seven s Mar two. And I had her get that through Best Buy. I think at the time, I must have spent four grand on the damn things, I got the warranty, you know all the batteries, I went all out on this fucking camera back then. And now you can probably buy the thing for 1500 bucks. So I owe more today on the camera than it's worth. And that payment through Best Buy is due before November 1. So I wasn't worried about this though, because I'm like looking at my reports from distributor and I'm like, hey, I've got a check for 10,000 check for 5000 and I got all these checks coming in. I'm not worried about it. You know? Until this debacle happens now I'm like, holy shit, how am I gonna pay my wife, my friends and survive, you know, so the end of the year? That's what I'm freaking out now. That's why I'm so exhausted. I'm taking every freaking job I can take no matter what it is, you know, and I'm working 24 seven to just stay afloat at the moment because I literally, I literally went from as an actor working in a Bella Thorne movie, if you know, to Bella Thorne Yeah, just did a movie a couple of Bella Thorne. It's called Southland it's gonna be an awesome movie, you can look that up cuz I can't talk about it. And having my movie in the top three position on iTunes under poor comedy. So I was just pumping in like $500 a pop in the marketing on all the social media platforms and everything. And I thought, Man, I'm gonna, this movie's gonna go great. And I would, and my ego was trying to beat out the studio movies he knows. So when I got the third, it wasn't good enough for me No, first because that I can put that, you know, I can do a story on that. And we can build more publicity make even more sales. So I just kept spending more money on the marketing. So next thing you know, I'm probably in three or $4,000 hole in this marketing campaign. But the movie is generating money and I can see that it is so it doesn't bother me. I'm like, I'm least doubling whatever I'm spending on marketing. So I'm not really I'm not really worried about it. Cuz I know the checks coming in from distributor, obviously. But, of course, it did not come in. So that's why I'm right now I'm in this book in huge hole, man. And, you know, I haven't seen $1 from distributor, from any the quarters of 2019. No money. So
Alex Ferrari 22:12
all. So basically, you've never seen a dime off of the digital release of your film yet, even though you're owed anywhere between 15 to $40,000. Let's say somewhere around there. Is that fair to say?
Todd Jenkins 22:24
I have no idea what I'm owed to be honest with you. I think the reports are false. I think they last thing they said I did total on iTunes was like 700 something units, which I don't believe.
Alex Ferrari 22:34
But you but you but you were making? Long, you know, we did 700 units, and it's been out for nine months. But the report but but you had reports saying 5000 10,005 that you saw things that were coming in? Yeah,
Todd Jenkins 22:45
I saw a report saying that. And I and I and I'm going by what? The gross of the movie is not what they're paying me if that makes sense? Sure. Sure. Sure. like Amazon takes 50%. So even if 40 Amazon pays me 20. You know
Alex Ferrari 22:58
what? Yeah, whatever it is? Sure. Sure.
Todd Jenkins 22:59
It's still it's still $20,000 or still shit ton of money to me. Yeah, of course, of course. So I wasn't worried about the $500 a month on marketing or anything like that I was, I was feeling good about it. I was feeling great that we were in third place on iTunes. And I knew you know, in the charts just kept going up until this debacle happened. And the second I heard, I felt it was happening. And then I heard what you guys were going through, I pulled all my marketing, and then my movie just completely disappeared is still on the digital platforms. But I mean, it's, it's nowhere to be found it's so far down, are so
Alex Ferrari 23:33
you So not only did you make, you know, take $25,000 out of your own pocket to go make this movie, then you started taking a loan out to actually do the marketing on this as well as well. So all together how much you think you've spent on this film? Oh, God, at least 50,000 at this point. So you spent about 50 grand on this film at this point. And you would have been, you know, that was a good investment to a certain extent, because you were making money with it, like you had a good ROI with your marketing campaign. You You were seeing, you know, you put five bucks in you were seeing either five bucks come out or more, you know, and you're just like, Well, wait a minute, I'm gonna feed this beast, I'm gonna just keep feeding the beast. You were feeding the beast, right? Because, you know, the money's gonna come in. Why wouldn't it? It doesn't make any sense. Why wouldn't get a check? You'd never that that thought never crossed your mind. Right? Never. It's like,
Todd Jenkins 24:24
I thought that the dashboard is kind of like, you know, and I would tell my business partners, I was like, Look, this is basically our bank account. And when we put money in it, it's just like, it's going into savings. We're going to get it back. Yeah, that's how I pitched it to him. Cuz I would be like, Look, you can see right here, it says 15 or 16,000. So, you know, whatever the number was on that platform, I'm like, and iTunes would would update probably every three days or something like that. And I say, Hey, you know, if we put in, you know, we put in $50 for that day on that ad and it generated 150 in revenue. So let's just keep putting, let's keep feeding this monster. So they were all for it. You know, but that wasn't that wasn't an investment from them. That was actually a personal loan I was doing from so they were getting that paid back immediately from the first check wasn't like, so you
Alex Ferrari 25:08
actually leveraged leverage the distributed dashboard as proof that you were going to get paid.
Todd Jenkins 25:17
And that I could pay the loan back easily. Yeah, easily
Alex Ferrari 25:20
because the money was there. And in all honesty, everything that you were doing, made perfect sense. And you weren't scamming anybody. Because I would have said the exact same thing. If I was in your situation. I'm like, Look, I got $20 $20,000 sitting in my distributor account. That's proof that checks and then they just got to cut the check next month. And I get that money. It's my money. Why would I get that money? And
Todd Jenkins 25:45
I was starting yet. I finally after begging, I got the first report for the first quarter. It just came in, probably like six for this whole debacle happened. Probably like six weeks ago. It took forever to get a fucking report from him, of course, but I did get paid. I did get that first report. They finally give me the check for those five days or whatever I was on from December 21 to December 31. I got like a $2,000 check or something. Because my my movie was live only for a few days of the fourth quarter.
Alex Ferrari 26:16
And that was the last check. You got?
Todd Jenkins 26:18
Yeah, six months after it was do you know, whatever the hell.
Alex Ferrari 26:21
So thank you. So things. So things were already there were some fishy stuff going on. year, a year ago, a year and a half ago, even that though, you could just tell that people were just taking forever to get paid. things were happening, because I've heard all these stories. And I'm like, Yeah, man, it's taking me forever to get reports. I remember that I I you know, with my movie. This is Meg. I just kind of at a certain point, I just I just stopped even asking about it. Because I'm like, Ah, it's been out forever. If I make you know, 100 bucks. 200 bucks. Great. It's not I'm not concerned with that. got other things to worry about. Yeah, I'm taking a long time to pay people. Yeah, I'm like it's taking them a minute. And by the way, I knew people who work there. I knew the CEO. I knew. Jason. I knew Neil. I knew all these guys. Michael. Right. Michael Sorensen I didn't know my I met I think I might have met him at a party at Sundance. I think that might have happened once. But I didn't know him. I know, Nick, I've had on the show. Nick, I had on the show. Jason I had on the show. I had Nick twice on the show. I had Jason has been on the show twice. And I think Neil I had him on once. So I was I mean, I was all in with the stripper or in the early days, because they took good care of me. Like, I got a Hulu deal. I got paid off that Hulu deal right off of a $5,000 movie. I interviewed multiple case studies of people making millions off a distributor like so to me in like what like just like you were like, Oh, is that that's what it's gonna be. That's what
Todd Jenkins 27:46
I was hearing too. I was hearing that from people. But then you would get these people who would do a video kind of like a video I found recently, they would say almost distribute suck. But it was basically because they weren't making any sales because they didn't know how to market their movie. So I wouldn't. I didn't I just kind of like, ignored those kinds.
Alex Ferrari 28:01
And I heard those two, I heard those kind of rumblings as well. I'm like, but I, I mean, I'm getting paid. I see other people that I know are getting paid. I just I kind of didn't put any, any, any merit in it as well. Because you know, you're angry, you're pissed off, I get it. And that's fine. But there was no reason. There were no real big giant saw signs that the ship was going down. And it was gonna take the rest of us with it. Nobody knew
Todd Jenkins 28:27
that. I mean, it was just people complaining that their movie wasn't, you know, in the top 10 on iTunes or Amazon, stuff like that. And that's
Alex Ferrari 28:35
just ridiculous. Yeah. Yeah,
Todd Jenkins 28:36
that's up to you. That's what you signed up for. It's like, if you made a movie, they can make any money. That's your fault. I mean, you can't blame that on the stripper. Exactly. They're just
Alex Ferrari 28:45
they're just, they're just a middleman just trying to get your film out there. Now, what point did you realize that there was a problem with the stripper and you're like, wait a minute, there's something fishy here?
Todd Jenkins 28:55
Well, when we started talking, and that I had, I kept I wasn't hearing any responses from them back, I guess at the end of May. It might have been even in June, July, something like that. The responses were taking longer, but I was still getting responses. Still got my report. But then I was uh, I was emailing the project manager through the dashboard, whatever the hell saying, hey, I need an ETA on this check. I need this money because we were planning on taking a vacation as well over the summer with the check. The first check that was, yeah, that never came in. So knowing that I am not paying the white back. I didn't take her on the vacation. I promised her for the summer. So I'm just digging a hole deeper and deeper with my wife constantly with this damn distributed debacle. But I said, Hey, I did the same thing. Hey, here's the dashboard. You see the checks coming in, I would have done the exact same thing. Good report. When the check comes in. We'll you know we'll go to Hawaii, we'll go do our thing. I'm going to pay for this great vacation, I'm going to pay you all the money back that you will mean, everything's fine. You know, I never thought
Alex Ferrari 29:55
I would have done the same thing. Anybody in your position would have done the exact same thing because there was no reason to Think that a company would not pay you money that you're
Todd Jenkins 30:02
out right? Or that they can legally get away with this. I never end fans on them ever that they could just close up shop disappear, you know, into thin air. Because that's what I was telling you. I had somebody in one of my producers said she was in LA. And I gave her the address to distributor said, Hey, could you go by there and she went by and she's like, there's nobody there. And according to the people with this building, they're saying never see anybody there in like a month or even longer. And I think I told you that information as well. And you can you were doing your stuff as well. And that's when I started thinking there. Oh, shit, we're in trouble. But we didn't you didn't we didn't really have any real answers at that point. But check this out Friday the 13th of all fucking days. That's when they sent me this email from last Radnor saying, Hey, we don't we understand we owe you money. But our everything's being handled by class right now. And I'm like, Well, what the hell does that mean?
Alex Ferrari 30:52
Yeah, so I got, I was wondering, I was probably one of the first to get that email. And when I got that, and when I got that email, I made a few phone calls. And then I and then I was sitting on a lot of information that nobody else knew about. And I said, I can't I can't sit on this. I just can't I have to I have to get this out there because I was already hearing people. I remember getting tweets, like people were tagging me on tweets and posts saying, Alex, I haven't been paid from distribute. This is horrible. What's and I just kept hearing a few. And I was like, and it was in the middle of my own thing with my my projects that I had going on with them. And I said, there's something here. So that's when I started getting a little bit more rough with my emails. And I reached out and Michael emailed me back and he said, Sorry, we're reorganizing. And when I heard the word reorganizing, I said, Oh, crap, they're going bankrupt. And that's when I dug in a little deeper and I found out a lot of the information that I was able to release in that first podcast. And and then I just and then after that I just came out guns blaring because I was like, No, no, you have an agnostic they're gonna go bankrupt that they know and that's the thing that really pissed Well, there's many things that really pissed me off about this whole situation but the way glass Ratner has handled this the way distribute go digital as handled, this is atrocious, atrocious, because all they have to do man, look, look, all they had to do there was gonna be pissed, you're gonna get pissed off people regardless. because no one's gonna be happy. Nobody wants to hear that you're not going to pay them. Or there's a problem with your money. Nobody wants to hear that. But the way they handled it, which is this kind of very sneaky behind closed doors, no information, just kind of this wall of like nothing. The only reason anybody knows about any of this is because I'm the one that came out originally and just started blowing up blowing everybody up about I'm like, Dude, this No. And then they even reached out to me, like, dude, you need to stop that. I'm like, No, man, I'm not going to stop that what you guys doing is immoral and horrible. Just Just an I even offered to them. I'm like, dude, if you want to use that, just let I'll talk. I'll be your mouthpiece to just send us information. So I could just get information out to filmmakers who are struggling and hurting. And we're still at the very early stages of this because I didn't, I didn't know stories like yours. I didn't know the scope of this yet. I was just like, I'm like, oh, there's a handful of filmmakers are being affected by this. Let me let me get this information out. But then as I started to really dig into this, I was like, holy crap, we're talking about millions of dollars. We're talking about 1000s of filmmakers. And it's not like these, you know, guys who live in the Hollywood Hills, like, Oh, I'm not gonna able to buy my Tesla this month. Not those guys. It's guys like you and me, who are struggling, just to make money with our films. And you know, and in your case, you're like, like, I'm in real and you're in dire straits because of this.
Todd Jenkins 33:37
Well, I think I think you know, another thing we were talking about, really, when I was when I went ahead and decided to go with go forward with making the film. I was watching a lot of these motivational videos, things that motivated me to keep me to push forward. And the things that would do that would be like watching Kevin Smith talk about dude, when you want to make your first movie, your parents aren't gonna believe in you, your friends are in no fucking person is gonna believe in you. And that's why he had to put it you know, everything on the credit cards. It's an NSL is common, of course, but he made Rocky's like, man, people were offered me 330 grand and I fucking had nothing and I still wouldn't take it because I knew if I didn't take this role, that I would never I would never be anything I had to take this role and I had to hold out. So I mean, in that story, and then of course, you know, Robert Rodriguez making El Mariachi so every every one of these stories and even going back as far as swingers, you know, like it events bond and Jon Favreau didn't power through and make swingers that was like their first independent movie to do together. There'll be no Marvel Universe right now people don't even realize that they did that movie to help launch their careers even more. And then he was able to do Iron Man because of that, you know, it all LED is all stepping stone. So we wouldn't be where we are today. If it wasn't for all these guys who started out like where we are in the indie world. There wouldn't be no James Cameron there wouldn't be any of these guys. I love doing all this load. legit shit. I think Matter of fact, James Cameron was fired from
Alex Ferrari 35:04
the spawning. Yes, sir. Yes. And then where he would and then when he would, he would they were doing it in Italy. And then when he was fired, he would sneak into the Edit room at night literally, like break into the editing facility, re edit the scenes that the editor had edited a day before and leave. Wow. And that I've studied this scenario a lot, sir. And then one night, he got a deep flu of like, 104 degree temperature. And he was and he had delusional, like nightmares and dreams. And that is where he came up with the image of the exoskeleton from Terminator. And that's where the Terminator came from. From the Parana to firing is why we have the Terminator and James Cameron everything else he did. Sorry, aside that.
Todd Jenkins 35:50
Yeah, so me being like, you know, those those videos and those stories definitely were motivating me to keep me pushing through this hellacious time which I could go into stories about that, too. Now. We went through so much hell on this movie so much hell. I mean, we've lost we lost people like lost like they died. The one guy that did come on this guy. I was in a movie with this guy didn't even know if it was a movie called knucklebones. And he played some bomb or something in the movie. And come to find out later that guy was a producer on that movie. Well, he was watching me from afar, like on social media, and I didn't even know who he was. And he called me up and said, Hey, come meet me at this Chili's, I got something for you. And I was like, Oh, Jesus Christ. What's this guy won, you know,
Alex Ferrari 36:31
cuz all big. All big movie deals are done at Chili's, obviously,
Todd Jenkins 36:35
Chili's man. But the devil, he writes me a nice check, sends it over goes, I got nothing to say, man. This is not me. This is not a meeting. This is me offering this to you. Because I appreciate you and what you're doing. That's all it was as hell. And then one other dude. They gave us a chat kind of like that. There's this funny stories. I could go on. We could spend hours talking about him. But he did, I was on the way to the airport to pick somebody up and he's like, where are you at? And I was like, I'm going to the airport as I pull over. I'm like, 10 minutes from you. I got a check for you. So it was just stories like that these these angels just coming out of nowhere. But uh, that guy he the guy who gave me that ticket Chili's, he ended up dying December 23. A couple years back, and a house fire. Oh my god. And then the the guy who played the original song, the song for our movie. He played the drums and he's in the music video on the blu ray that we have out. His girlfriend murdered him. So it was just like, fucking cursed. I mean, it was just like, death after death. My freaking my, my cat was was my best friend that helped me get to this movie. He had to be put down because he was dying. It was just like, everybody was dying. My dad died. My aunt died. My uncle's died. I mean, like, it was just like death. Everybody was losing family members. And people would literally be on set getting phone calls that people were dying or died. And I was like, Dude, this is jet. And then my mom when I was shooting, one of the biggest scenes in the movie went into ICU. Oh, Jesus, man. I am on set trying to finish the scene. And I'm arguing with actors and I'm like, dude, I don't want to argue with I'm trying to get to the hospital. See my mom, let's just finish the fucking scene. You know, but I had so much money invested that day like 10 or something. I was like, dude, I gotta finish this. Everybody just shut up. And let's just get the scene done. You know? Right. But yeah, I mean, every day was a hardship man. It was always a hardship. Something just not going right. As you know with film. Murphy's
Alex Ferrari 38:38
Law always comes into play. Now did you? Did you discover how did you discover distributor?
Todd Jenkins 38:43
I did they do? They? Obviously they were spending money on ads, because it was popping up everywhere. You couldn't go on Instagram, Facebook, or? I don't I don't think you could go on Twitter without something about distribute coming up saying 100% rights you keep them 100% revenue in your pocket. I mean, that was
Alex Ferrari 39:02
that was what I heard in profit in profit faster. As they said,
Todd Jenkins 39:05
Yeah, yeah. And the guy that died in the fire, he had put that movie, that movie out. And he saw his first check in he goes, whatever you do with your movie, man, do not do the normal distribution thing you get, we got to come up with something different to do with your film. And that's what I thought, Man, this distributor thing sounds like the right avenue to go. And I kept talking to people they said, If you think you can handle the marketing, which most people can't, they go for it. So I literally spent 24. Seven on social media looking for fans. That would be a fan of my movie, and I'd send them the poster and information about and everything. And I think now I'm up to like almost 11,000 on Facebook, almost 12,000 on Instagram. So those were my two that I focused on the most. And that's the only reason the movie did as well as it did because I was on it. 24 seven marketing to those fans, that people don't get that they don't understand. It's like dude It's not gonna be fun. I mean, I, I tell him if you're, if you're good used car salesman, and you can sell the worst piece of shit on a lot. That's what you got to be able to do with your movie. Because when you say you made an independent film, there's so many bad ones out there. Most people aren't gonna give them the time of day and they sure as hell I can pay for it.
Alex Ferrari 40:18
Right. Exactly. Exactly. And was there anybody specifically at distribute that you worked with a lot that you've anything like that? They I mean, I know, you've mentioned a few names.
Todd Jenkins 40:29
Jason Brubaker with, you know, he, he called me a lot at the get go, when he saw that I was interested, you know, to kind of sell me and push me over the hill to why I should go with them.
Alex Ferrari 40:40
So, yeah, and,
Todd Jenkins 40:43
and he and I seemed like we were on the same page. He's very friendly guy. You know, it seemed like it was the perfect fit for what I wanted to do, because I wanted to show filmmakers a new way. Because every single person, like I said, he said, Man, I lost my ass. But this movie, okay, it's been out a year with this distribution company. And I've only made like, you know, 1000 bucks, or I made no money, or I made 5000. I was like, dude, there's got to be a better way. I'm gonna find a better way. And I'm gonna, I'll let you guys in on the loop when I figured out. But this this was not the better way, unfortunately. But yeah, I really thought it was. But you know, Jason was one of those guys I can reach out to I could text him. I actually texted him the day after Christmas. You know, I actually texted him on Christmas day, when our movie didn't appear on Amazon. And he responded the next day. He said, we're 26. So that was good that we were least able to figure out why it wasn't on Amazon. And at that time, they were saying it was too offensive to carry or something but they could never get in touch with a real person. You know, they can never give me any real answers. So I just had to go in, cut the cut the kidnappers out and then have the project manager resubmit the movie to him when he got on? Wait. Apparently they didn't like the guys in the ski masks.
Alex Ferrari 41:53
Fair enough. Fair enough. Sensitive time.
Todd Jenkins 41:59
Everybody was coming out against our movie, like every horror website, every podcasts are like, dude, they can't make movies with nudity like that anymore. And you can't have these sex scenes and you can't have all those languages. I was like, What are you talking about? every movie has this every movie? No, no, it doesn't. And then I'd have to go down a list of like, everything. I was like, come on. I'm like, dude, even the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall has like three penis shots. And it Come on. every movie has to be in it.
Alex Ferrari 42:24
There's again, your your film is going after a specific niche audience like you're going you're going after me. This is not a broad audience kind of film. You know, this is not going to find millions and millions and millions of people who are going to probably want to watch this. But for the budget that you saw shot on, it makes sense. It just made like if you would have spent a half a million on this. Or a million on this. That's that probably a smart idea. No, no, no bigger names that would have bigger names. Huge names. Yeah.
Todd Jenkins 42:52
But if you understand at the time we were doing this, I was up for some very big, I'll just say they did kind of have a little ties with Marvel's I was up for one of those of us huge roles, that was going to be life changing for me. And then I had brought in Billy Blair, who was from the machete series. Yeah. And he had a bunch of movies, too. So both of our careers at the time we made this movie a few years back, we were kind of you know, we were on the up and up and he had just gotten cast, James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez had just cast him in the lead a Battle Angel. So we didn't know what that meant. We didn't know what his role was going to be in the movie. We didn't know how big it was gonna be. They did cut out quite a bit of it out, thank for the release. But at the time, we were just like, dude, we're things are going on the up and up for us. We're gonna get this movie out. Our acting careers are going great. So with that, by the time this comes out, you know, people will know who we are. And now what's the status of the film now?
Alex Ferrari 43:42
Have you been able to pull your movie off of these platforms? What's going on?
Todd Jenkins 43:46
Well, you know, I think she said several movies, Linda had said several movies disappeared on Amazon. Ours was one of the ones that disappeared off of Amazon, the digital part version of it. The blu ray is still up there because it's through screen team releasing. But the digital one version is not up there. Somehow it got pulled off. I don't know who pulled it off. I'm almost thinking Amazon did not did that. Yeah, it wasn't it was not. I think she thought it was distributed who did it? Or somebody But no, it's Amazon. Got it. Because they didn't take me down from anything. I'm still up on every single platform and I'm sending them emails every couple days. And I think one of the guys other day gave us out gave us the email to contact glass Ratner. Not just at two I've sent emails to Seth saying Hey, man, get the tan movie off the platforms, man. I'm gonna move on, you know, with a new distribution deal or you know, do something else with the movie.
Alex Ferrari 44:36
So So what is the plans for your freedom movie now in the future?
Todd Jenkins 44:41
Well, I'm wanting to talk to Linda over at indie writes, that are gonna happen soon. I did send her an email with all my stuff. Hopefully she'll get to that or she may want me to go through the, you know, the submission process.
Alex Ferrari 44:53
Almost likely you're going to go through submission process because she's just she has so much she's been inundated with films after this whole debacle. Everybody, I went, I went through I went through the submission process, so you're going to get the submission process. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Todd Jenkins 45:19
Don't mind going to the submission process. I just want to have a call with her first. Sure. Sure. Sure. Call first and I'll go through the submission process.
Alex Ferrari 45:26
Sure. It's a little crazy right now with AFM to they're going nuts trying to get everything ready for the American lender, you need your degree, obviously, obviously, obviously, it's a moneymaker. You've made money.
Todd Jenkins 45:38
I can tell you I'm a I didn't know what the fuck I was doing. And I made 65 gross 65 grand doing the things I was doing so right which sale
Alex Ferrari 45:46
we can even better. So without without question, and and now you but you still have the DVDs and blu rays. Is that generating any money for you?
Todd Jenkins 45:54
I think last check. Was it gross about 13 grand so far? That's me. You know, man, that's
Alex Ferrari 46:00
great. That's great in a dB. Yeah. Because again, that genre really does like physical media. So DVD and blu ray works really well. You really should if you have a chance if you're able to do it. Do you know that? I don't know if you've ever heard that episode of mine. Drew marvic, who did Pool Party massacre, which is kind of right, right?
Todd Jenkins 46:18
He he actually I didn't know it was him. He bought our movie at one of the horror conventions and he was hanging out in a different booth. And I didn't know it was him. And then later on, I got a copy of his movie and I was watching us like Dude, that was the guy that bought a copy of our movie. Yep. And hit me ahead as well. So he's a cool guy
Alex Ferrari 46:36
he drew is awesome. He's been on the show, you should listen to his podcast episode cuz I, I actually even use him as a case study in my new book, the film the rights of the film entrepreneur, because he was able to do something in the horror genre I just thought was so brilliant, cuz it's similar. And you're the new because you guys are both low budget horror films that are very niche. He's doing an ad slasher flick. You're doing like an ad slasher raunchy flick. And, but what I love the did it was one of the reasons why I called them when I saw when he pitched me about being on the show. He was selling VHS copies of his movie, and they looked amazing. I'm like, they were clamshell. Right. And we did that for a little while we did that. Did you and did it work? I'm sure you sold.
Todd Jenkins 47:17
Yeah, I think I've been trying to get with screen team to sell more of those. But you know, I don't know. I think the sales are kind of slowing down with the blu ray at this point. I don't know.
Alex Ferrari 47:26
What do you have the VHS right to the scream team had their they have the
Todd Jenkins 47:31
VHS and the blu ray for at the moment? You know,
Alex Ferrari 47:35
I think if you have a conversation like do Just give me the VHS rights plaque please. What you do is this, you go to all your thrift shops around the around your neighborhood and around the cities around you. And by every Disney VHS copy that you see in the clam case that you take it back home, get two VHS tapes and record that is that what drew did, he recorded over Pinocchio? Wow. And he labeled it and he wanted the he had a green series, a yellow series or red series. And then he just puts slips in. And that's how we sold them. And he would sell them for 2530 bucks a pop because they're unique. And it was so good that people would buy his movie, thinking that it was an 80s movie that they just missed. Right?
Todd Jenkins 48:17
That's what I thought when I saw I was like, This must be some old movie I missed. You know,
Alex Ferrari 48:22
you know why? Because he got the poster art guy who was an artist, a cover artist from the 80s. To doing because when I saw that cover, I'm like this looks. I mean, I could have seen this in the VHS.
Todd Jenkins 48:32
I think he's making the second one right now. Anyway, he's about so I need to call him and say dude, cast me in your movie. He
Alex Ferrari 48:38
does have to be careful what you wish for because it'll do it. No, he's really smart. Sure. $5,000 Come on. He'll pay. Yeah, I charged all my actors only $5,000 to
Todd Jenkins 48:48
all my actors to be in my movies. I'm guilty if we had to do that for hours. I mean, there were people who made those donations, you know? And then of course, everybody's like, Hey, you should cut this person out of the movie. And you're like, Oh, I can't do that. Sorry. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 49:03
it's it. Sorry. It's called filmmaking, politics, indie film politics, as we like to call it. The role of somebody the kid stays in. Amen, brother. Amen. I understand completely cut somebody out that paid and help us make the movie that that's not smart politics as far as trying to get your movie made and getting it out there.
Todd Jenkins 49:24
The one decision I made that was probably the best decision on casting. I brought in the guy from tactical response to train. Jeremy Renner from The Hurt Locker. Okay. If you ever see the movie, he's in a really funny scene. But that dude has sold more copies of the movie probably than any of us. He's got like hundreds of 1000s of fans and he runs a tactical training school.
Alex Ferrari 49:44
Oh, yeah. I saw that. I saw that. They posted it on his YouTube.
Todd Jenkins 49:49
Yeah, he posted it on his YouTube and it probably I don't know where we're at now, but he's got
Alex Ferrari 49:53
five 6000 10,000 people
Todd Jenkins 49:56
about how much distributed there there are people over at distributed Well, geez, that's great. My cat decided to lock some shit over. Sorry. It's
Alex Ferrari 50:04
all good. It's all good. We're a lot. We're live show. I don't get it. It's fine. But So listen, dude,
Todd Jenkins 50:09
It wasn't me. Come here. This is the guilty one. This little girl right here.
Alex Ferrari 50:16
Look at that. There you go. She looks she looks at me. Yo. So um, Well, listen, brother, I do appreciate you coming on the show, I really wanted to have you on the show because I wanted to kind of really put a face and a story behind this, this this horrible situation that the shivers put us all through, you know, a lot of filmmakers. Some filmmakers are hurting a lot worse than others, you are hurting. You're one of the probably one of the hardest stories I've heard. I know filmmakers who are owed two $300,000 dude, like literally two $300,000. Like they're getting attorneys involved, and they're trying to, you know, reaching out to the FBI, they're really doing as much as we can. I mean, so when you think you're bad, there's always someone who is owed more or worse situation. And I'm not saying that, but you're in a pretty bad situation. And I wanted to kind of put you up there and want to put a spotlight on your story, because I think it's important for people that are listening to understand the pain that filmmakers are going through because of this ridiculous, horrible situation. And by the people behind it a distributor, everybody involved anybody that was complicit in this information, knowing about this information and left the company or was, you know, or whatever, because they're like, you know, this is not for me, I'm out of here and didn't do anything to inform any of us about what was going on even on a you know, like a simple Well, a simple crime. I say no matter what, it is a crime, Sir, it is a crazy crime
Todd Jenkins 51:40
I mean, it has nothing to it is it when you try to explain it to people in even talking to attorneys now that I've tried to talk to about this situation? And almost everybody, they still think that distributor because of their name, or distribution company? You know, they don't understand that, like, This happens all the time. And I'm like, No, this is this is an aggregator that did this. This is not a distribution company. We paid for the services which they were just basically encoding our movie. And it still really bothers me is like how many freaking me fucking people did did they hire over there? Like Where did all this money go? Us? I know as well as I do. It doesn't take that many people to it was taken on what 90 plus days to QC a movie. And the encoded.
Alex Ferrari 52:21
Yeah, I mean, look, it's not lattes. I can tell you that. I don't I don't think they'd lost millions of dollars in lattes. You know, I know lattes are expensive, but I don't think that's where it went. And I don't know where the money is. I you know, I originally said mismanagement, but I don't know what happened. Spanish but this this had to be diapers I you know, I don't know what's going on. I don't know the details inside. But with that said, there's so much fishy stuff that's going on so much information that's that's come out since we started this whole journey, which has only been around three weeks now been three, four weeks or something like that, that I launched that first podcast. And, and every day, it's it's more informations coming out that group that I started, protect yourself from, from distributor, there's so much valuable information. And there's so many people telling a story. So many people updating us about Hey, I just got this email, hey, like just today I posted that rev calm glass Ratner or the the assignee, or whatever that company is, that's taking care of the payments, actually sent an email, a statement to rev to say, anybody who was a distributor client can get their can get their closed captioning subtitles back for free, if they can prove that they are the owners of the movie. So that's huge for us. Because now you don't have to go out and redo it, and spend another $100. Because my cuts different. So well. That's what that's what that's on. But, but generally speaking, if your film hasn't changed, you can get that in front man, I know guys who did a series, they're gonna have to spend $1,000 to get all of the closed captioning back for all of this, this whole series that they went through distribute with. So that's, I mean, like, I don't want to say like, it's like it's salt in the wound at this point. So that information just came out. I got Linda did a lot of a lot of legwork on that. And we posted that out. And we've got a big article coming out with the LA Times hopefully soon.
Todd Jenkins 54:11
And I don't know how these guys are walking around. Not feeling scared. I would be so
Alex Ferrari 54:17
Oh, no, no, I promise you, I promise you. All of them are scared shitless. And the reason why they're scared shitless is because people like me, like Joe, like you, like everybody in the group are not letting this die. And all of us listening cannot allow this to die. Because if we just let it go, like I'm just, I just don't want to deal with this. I just want to move on. If you do that, they win. They win. So we have to make it that's what
Todd Jenkins 54:44
I'm trying to explain my wife too, because when you're married, this is drama in your life every day. You got to take a call, even from the LA Times or anybody or the FBI ever who were doing but you got to do it. You got to do this every single day but you You know, the family life doesn't understand that, you know, they're just like, they want you to wash your hands and just go on, you know, my wife wants me to put this behind us and just get out of the film altogether at this point, you know, because she, she just seems she just sees the whole thing is just, it's an evil business. And there's no way to recover from it. And I, and I'm trying to say, No, there's a way to recover. You know, when I go with indie rights, or somebody like indie writes, I can prove to her there is some good people out there. And that this, this is, this doesn't happen every day. And I it happened to 1000s of people, we're not the only ones it wasn't because I was a dumb ass and made some stupid fucking mistake
Alex Ferrari 55:37
And signed a horrible NDA signed a horrible predatory distribution deal with some company that just stole everything
Todd Jenkins 55:42
They stole from us, and they stole from 1000s of people, right. And, you know, we're gonna hold on to the fire fart, we're gonna make sure they pay the price for all the shit that they've done.
Alex Ferrari 55:50
And that's, and that's, and that's what we're trying to do. And I think everyone listening, if you are involved with this, or even if you're not involved with distributor, if you can spread the word, if you could keep at it, and keep pushing on it and keep the noise up. That's why I'm so excited about the la times because they're there the LA Times, you know, that is a huge noise.
Todd Jenkins 56:11
Everything man, I gave him my dashboard and my anything that they could use, you know, for right now, to help this case. Yeah. And please do not minimize it the way that variety did, you know, and anyway, I was like, you gotta make sure you're putting in the article, it's 1000s of people effect and
Alex Ferrari 56:27
Millions of dollars, dollars, millions of dollars,
Todd Jenkins 56:30
Somebody 2000, you know, 500, whatever, that just minimizes the story. Like, it's not a big deal, like you lost a bet, a fight or something.
Alex Ferrari 56:38
Yeah, I'm just, I'm just hoping that this does go a little deeper. And it sounds like they are going to go a little deeper. And I'm very appreciative of indiewire. I'm very appreciative of variety to even cover this. Because I mean, I'm even appreciative of no film school, all these guys that came out after I did. And I've just put a little bit of shine on it, even if it's small, or even if it's a little bit bigger, it's something but I truly hope that it's something or I do hope that the LA Times really does blow it out of the water. And I do feel it is, by the way, anyone listening, the FBI is aware of the situation, because this is this is copyright issues. This is fraudulent actions. There is there is talks with the FBI, there is talks with the LA district attorney. This is a serious thing, man, this is no joke. And we have to leave the rest of all too, because going on it. Guess what, don't worry about taxes, don't worry. Well, IRS is always around it. Don't worry, they that's the one audit, so we can find out how much we got screwed. Don't you worry, my friend. They got Al Capone on taxes, brother. So they always get you no matter what. And I really, I really hope that some sort of justice happens. I and I've said this a bit publicly before and I know it's something that you've said before I lost hope that we're ever going to get a dime back. I don't I don't truly believe that we're going to get any money back. If there's no money there. And these guys are what if there's no money there? The money has been taken mismanaged. Whatever. I don't know if it's going to come back. I hope it does. Maybe we'll get something but I'm not. I'm not waiting for a magical cheque to show up with all my money.
Todd Jenkins 58:17
Well, what we need is one of those angels in Hollywood that's got billions of dollars, or even the digital platforms who've made all this money off of us, they go Hey, guys, we understand that we were partners with pieces of shit. Yes, yes. Why don't we give you some of that money back? Because it seems like and I can't get iTunes or anybody to comment about what's going on? Why can't iTunes or any of these people help us? You know, why can't they Oh, well participate in this? \
Alex Ferrari 58:43
There's one company that I know of that is which is Netflix. Netflix is anybody want a Netflix deal? They're taking care of the situation in one way, shape, or form. So if you're owed money, I think Netflix is gonna pay you well, if it's Netflix, but it's Netflix, and that's a special deal. That was a contractual deal. It's an S VOD deal. It's not transactional, it's a different story. But all of these other companies need to come to the plate. Because if not, if I'm hoping that the LA story goes national, the only time story goes national and a lot of shade gets thrown on these platforms, because it's their responsibility to take care of us the independent filmmakers because they forced us to go through to go through these aggregators, without any sort of responsibility financially, or any fiduciary responsibility, any requirements by the platform's by these companies to handle their money in the way they handle their money other than self regulating, and we see how well that worked with the stripper. So they're on the hook in my eyes, those companies are all liable. Those companies are all responsible for this situation because they forced us unlike dealing with distribution
Todd Jenkins 58:44
I agree, if you force someone to go with an aggregator that you approve, and you've got 1000s of movies, on your platform underneath that aggregator which you're making money on or going to do their research. gonna look it up, like I looked up distributed, you saw 1000s of movies and movies that you saw and had watched before and you're like, that makes them seem more legitimate. You know, we're This is you guys are betting this company. Basically, they bet a distributor saying, Hey, we work with these guys. They're good guys.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:15
If I call if I tell my buddy Bob, and go, Bob, look, I'm gonna send, Todd's gonna do the work for me. Right, Todd's gonna, he's gonna, he's going to remodel your house, and then all the money is going to go through Taj, I'm going to just send a check to Todd and then Todd is going to send the money to you, Bob. Now, if you leave town, and don't give the money to Bob, who's on the hook for that, it's not you, you're gone. Because I told you to go through you. I'm on the hook. They're gonna come after me. Now, mind you, I'm not as big as these billion dollar conglomerate conglomerates, but they are responsible. And the one thing that someone told me, which was great, it's like, they might not care about the money. But they do not want a public hanging. They don't want a public hanging. And that is what's going to happen if these guys do not step up. If these guys don't step up. And let's not even talk about the go digital board, which is full of very well to do people. And I want to know what they knew when they knew it. And why the hell has nobody come out and said anything about it. None of the board members, not one board member has made a comment, not one ex employee has made a comment about what's going on with the stripper. And they know what's going on. Even glass Ratner has not made a public announcement that wasn't for us doing what we're doing. No one would know anything. So all these other guys are all hiding. They're all scared and they don't want, they want this to go away. But I promise you, this will not go away. Because it's not going away. It's not going to go away. Because people like you, like me, like Joe, like Linda, everybody else is going to stay on this until something happens for us filmmakers. And we get down to the bottom of this. Because if we
Todd Jenkins 1:01:57
Try to explain to the other filmmakers in the industry, and to egos, because as you hear it was like you see these messages constantly, well, you're an idiot, why did you go with distributor? I told you they were bad. You know all this, no matter because if they're allowed to get away with this, then it means another aggregator could do it, the deputy can even happen. Should Have you scared that it could happen to you. Because if your movie goes through one of these aggregators, you're not going to get paid. If your actors are sag actors, they're not going to get paid. It affects everybody in the industry, every single person, and they should all be concerned about it. They're just like, you know, I totally get this all the time. Well, we didn't go with a stripper. So we're not worried about it. That's all they say. But I might I've heard that too, you got to worry about it, you got to worry about it.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:42
Because if it happens to us, it could happen to you.
Todd Jenkins 1:02:45
It could happen to you. Exactly. It needs to be regulated. Something has to change with the digital platforms and their business model and the way they're going to handle business going forward after this debacle. because no one's protected right now. It just say it right now is saying, Hey, I can just sit up as an aggregator still all this money for one year and leave and not a fucking thing happens to me.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:08
And they're and they're taking advantage of the weakest of our industry, which are independent filmmakers in many ways. As a small independent filmmakers,
Todd Jenkins 1:03:16
There's 1000s of us and it ended up being costing all of us millions of dollars when you add it up. So somebody is getting away with millions of dollars. From all of us.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:27
Someone's living on a farm right now. Someone's living on a farm right now living the life with with with, you know, with situ, you know, with money that possibly could have gone to us. I know blessing.
Todd Jenkins 1:03:40
Justified, people keep saying, Hey, you know what, maybe they spent it on this or that might do. There's no way to justify it. Trying to justify what they did would be like I film auditions for the studios. And I do it by myself, right? Like people come in and they audition for all the big Marvel movies or whatever. I have a nondisclosure agreement with the film for these different TV shows and movies. I filmed these auditions. I can't fucking go out and just say, Oh, well, I hired fucking 50 fucking people to do that. And that's what they did. They had they have all these people there. And when it literally all they were doing was queue seeing our movie, which was probably done with software. It didn't really take it. No one was physically sitting there watching the movie without blinking looking for our mistake.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:22
No, it sounds when it's done with software.
Todd Jenkins 1:04:25
Yeah, everything was done with software. The cue scene was done with software the encoder was done was
Alex Ferrari 1:04:29
Oh, and there's one little lovely note that I looked at, I'd like to bring out there. They were charging 14 $100 to do subtitling and captioning sometimes, or part of their, their $2,000 package or whatever it was. And then I would say when I did my movie, I'm like, Hey, I'm just gonna use rev.com to do it. And they're like, Oh, no, we've heard a lot of bad things about Rev. It's not it's not it's not you know, we've had a lot of things got kicked back and this and that and I'm like, Oh, alright, well some of this is included in the past. I could find, but you know what they did, they just sent it to rev. Oh, that's why they that's why they sent it to the company that they were using. They were bad mouthing, that's the company that we're using. Why? Because then they could triple the fee. So if it cost them, if it cost them 150 bucks, which is $1 a minute, so that whatever, if it's a two hour movie, it's 120 bucks, it's 90 bucks, if it's a 90 minute movie, they would charge you for 50 $500. Because in the olden days, it used to be 678. dollars a minute to close caption for quite a while, know that that was part of their business model, because they needed to make some money somewhere. So they were just trying to rip off filmmakers every which way they could, like we
Todd Jenkins 1:05:41
And we paid them, we gladly paid him for it. So they made the they made their fucking money, charging us upfront and steal our money.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:49
But that but even with that it wasn't enough. It wasn't enough to keep the model going. It wasn't enough to keep the company going. And that's that's where we're talking about this mismanagement or some Hanky Panky going on behind closed doors. But it's bs man. And and I'm really, you know, very cautious, obviously now with any film aggregator out there. But it's a it's a broken model, even the biggest aggregators out there. And a lot of people I won't name names, but everybody knows the other aggregators out there. They're all self regulated man. They're all the same thing. It's the exact same things that distributor was doing. They they do they have their money in a separate account for everybody. Maybe, maybe not, that you know, who has access to that account, who has
Todd Jenkins 1:06:30
Everybody has to change, no matter what it has to change, it has to happen again.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:36
And if we don't do if we don't continue to make noise about this, I feel real passionate about this, obviously, you know, I do, if we don't continue to make noise about this, this sends the sign to another idiot or another thief or another scam artists out there to open up shop and take advantage of people and I'm including distribution companies as well in this conversation with predatory distribution companies, which is so long overdue for a smack in the face, because I'm sick and tired of hearing stories, like you told me like, don't go with distributors, man because they're just going to rip you off. I'm tired of that normal everyday bs story. that's inherent. It's a it's a virus that's inside of our business for independent filmmaking. And it needs to go away. There are good distributors out there. There's indie rights. There's, there's Tara films with Jo Jo days, guys, these guys are honest people, to my knowledge, at least I can again, always do your research. I'm never, I'm never ever going to advocate for a company. I always say look, in my opinion, I think they're good people. It's super duper careful what you say, because people listen to people listen, but it's your responsibility as a producer and as a filmmaker, to do your due diligence. And to follow up on anything to any recommendation that anyone gives you, let alone me. So there are good people out there that are good people trying to help filmmakers out there that have been around for a long time. But the majority of everybody out there, for lack of a better term are crooks. They're crooks. They're shady. And I'm talking about the big distribution companies in the indie film space as well. I won't name names, there's some good ones, there's some horrible ones, there's some of them that put out 40 or 50 movies a month, a month, and you actually think you're gonna put any information any kind of marketing budget behind your movie. No, it's called the shotgun approach.
Todd Jenkins 1:08:19
If they just make $2,000 off that movie, they're gonna, they're gonna line their pockets because of volume.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:25
But don't forget that they but they're also going to charge you for encoding, they're also going to charge you for closed captioning. And they're going to just start up charging you all this stuff. And don't let Simon get into charge backs for going to that would take another couple hours to just chargebacks and fill market payments and all that kind of crap with their model that they have now. Anyway, that's a whole other conversation. I did a whole conference I did a whole podcast on predatory distributors. But I will continue this this battle with this because I think this is the biggest problem we have.
So much man and everybody in the group. You guys are all awesome. If it wasn't for this group. There's no telling what stupid thing I would have done. You know, who knows? You guys are out there helping with the good fight. That's good. You know, I
Todd Jenkins 1:09:08
I was contemplating on driving over to LA myself. You know, I'm
Alex Ferrari 1:09:11
Finding some. Yeah, well, let's not do that. Let's not do that. Please.
Todd Jenkins 1:09:16
I'm not gonna shoot anybody. I might punch him in the face.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:20
Just for your own your own feeling. I get it. I don't. I don't. I don't advise anybody to punch him in the face. I think it's worth it. I advise nobody listening to go punch anybody in the face. Let's But listen, there's 1000s of us.
Todd Jenkins 1:09:35
There's 1000s of us. If every single person affected by this barkos
Alex Ferrari 1:09:40
and punches somebody in the face, don't do that. Don't just punch them. Don't do that. Sir. I cannot I cannot I cannot propagate or promote this. This kind of this kind of action, sir. I cannot but see. But I understand your feelings. I truly do. But I cannot I cannot promote this.
Todd Jenkins 1:10:01
You know, when I was growing up, we just punch people in the face and it worked. Everything got itself worked out. Yeah Dave remember this this this could probably require a few punches to the face.
Alex Ferrari 1:10:11
And it might be a nutshell but anyway.
Todd Jenkins 1:10:14
Oh yeah, a couple of those for sure. I gotta I gotta run cuz I got an appointment I'm late for but, uh, thank you so much for your time. Everybody's doing
Alex Ferrari 1:10:23
Thank you again so much brother I really do appreciate it and keep up the good fight man. Again, I want to thank Todd for coming on man and being so open and raw and honest with us and transparent about what he's going through, took a lot of bravery to, for him to put himself out there like that. So thank you, again, so much, Todd, for coming on, man. And we're gonna keep fighting. We're gonna keep doing what we can to help as many filmmakers as humanly possible with this whole distributor thing. And if you want to get the latest information about distributor, just go to Facebook, and you could look up the word distributor or find the Facebook group, protect yourself from distributor. And that's where all the latest information updates on everything that's going on in the distributor, the buckle is there. I will put it in the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/357 also have links to to Cherokee Creek information about Todd and then also links to the episodes and podcast in regards to this whole distributor distribution debacle that we're going through man. So thank you guys for listening. If you haven't already, please head over to filmmakingpodcast.com subscribe and leave a good review for the show. It really helps us out a lot. I really appreciate it guys. Thank you so much. As always keep that 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.