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The Wrong Kind of Women in Hollywood with Naomi Mcdougall Jones
Today on the show we have award-winning filmmaker, actress, author, speaker, women in film activist and force of nature Naomi McDougall Jones. Many of the IFH Tribe might remember Naomi from her first appearance on the show talking about her distribution adventures with her film Bite Me. You can listen to that episode here: Making Money Self Distributing Your Indie Film with Naomi McDougall Jones
Bite Me, is a subversive romantic comedy about a real-life vampire and the IRS agent who audits her. The film premiered at Cinequest, won Best Feature Film at VTXIFF, and then went on to the innovative, paradigm-shifting Joyful Vampire Tour of America in summer 2019, a 51-screening, 40-city, three-month, RV-fueled eventized tour that involved Joyful Vampire Balls, capes, a docu-series and a whole lot of joy.
Naomi’s first book, The Wrong Kind of Women: Inside Our Revolution to Dismantle the Gods of Hollywood, is now available wherever books are sold in hardcover, audiobook, and e-book. It debuted as the #1 New Release on Amazon. It is a brutally honest look at the systemic exclusion of women in film—an industry with massive cultural influence—and how, in response, women are making space in cinema for their voices to be heard.
Naomi has been a vocal advocate for bringing gender parity to film, both on and off-screen. She has spoken at film festivals and conferences around the world and written extensively on this subject. Naomi’s TEDTalk on these issues and what to do about them, “What it’s Like to Be a Woman in Hollywood, has been viewed over a million times.
Enjoy my eye-opening conversation with Naomi Mcdougall Jones.
IFH Academy’s Film Distribution: Confidential Course – What Predatory Film Distributor Don’t Want You to Know.
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LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- DONATE to Feed America to help with people affected by the Coronavirus
- The Wrong Kind of Women: Inside Our Revolution to Dismantle the Gods of Hollywood
- Self Distribution Case Study: Bite Me Series on IFHTV
- Making Money Self Distributing Your Indie Film with Naomi McDougall Jones
- Naomi Mcdougall Jones – Official
- Naomi Mcdougall Jones – Twitter
- Bite Me
- Rise of the Filmtrepreneur®: How to Turn Your Indie Film into a Moneymaking Business (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
- $1 Closed Captions for Indie Filmmakers – Rev ($10 Off Your First Order)
- The Complete Indie Film Producing Workshop with Suzanne Lyons (COUPON CODE: IFHFILMPRODUCE)
- Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Filmmaking Story) (FREE AUDIOBOOK)
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
WATCH THE FILMS
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- Indie Film Hustle® Podcast
- Bulletproof Screenwriting® Podcast
- Filmtrepreneur™ Podcast
- FreeFilmBook.com (Download Your FREE Filmmaking Audio Book)
Alex Ferrari 2:09
Well guys, today we are in Episode 399. Next week, we will have the epic episode number 400. And I have a very special guest that I think you guys are going to love. But today's guest is a returning champion to the show. Her name is Naomi McDougal Jones, whose first episode on the show was Episode 342 called making money self distributing your indie film. And there we discovered everything about her film bite me and how she went on a tour around the country, and even created a documentary series which is of course available on indie film hustle.tv. And now she has written a book called the wrong kind of women inside our revolution to dismantle the gods of Hollywood. It is a brutally honest, look at the systemic exclusion of Women in Film, and an industry that has massive cultural influence, and how In response, women are making space in cinema for their voices to be heard. I am a big believer that we need as many diverse voices in Hollywood and in our industry as humanly possible from women, from people of color from every corner of the world. And this book really opened my eyes to I mean, the stuff that we talked about in this episode stat and and just this is systemic issues that this industry has had with not only women, but with people of color and just having a different perspective on the world was pretty eye opening. So Naomi is a force of nature without question, and I cannot wait for you guys to hear this episode. So without any further ado, please enjoy my eye opening conversation with Naomi McDougal Jones. I'd like to welcome back to the show returning champion Naomi McDougal Jones How are you doing Naomi?
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 4:16
I'm okay and the quarantine is off.
Alex Ferrari 4:20
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 4:21
Thank you for having me back. This is such a bright spot it feels it almost feels like life might be passing by normally
Alex Ferrari 4:26
I you know it's it's one of the things I wanted to do while while in quarantine. I told my audience, I'm going to keep putting out content I'm going to keep we'll you know, we'll talk a little bit about what's going on in the world. But I need to keep keep it normal. So there's some sort of something you can hold on to that makes you feel like it's something's normal because the show is a lot of people do listen to the show and it's part of their weekly routine. And if you take that away from it, it's just another thing that they don't have anymore, you know, or it's kind of it's another thing so it's making it my goal to kind of keep these Things Yeah, going Not that I have anything else to do obviously wrangle your eight year olds, yes, my my children Oh the miracles of life, aren't they? No, it just for everyone listening beforehand, I had a venting session with Naomi about the quarantine and, and what's going on here at the house. So it's just it's difficult anytime I do any interviews now it's like, oh, look an adult, I get to talk to an adult without a mask on. So that's always you never know. See your mouth move. Right? Instead of just like Bane from Batman was born into darkness. Sorry. Okay, so we brought you back on the show because you have a new book. But before we get into the new book, your last episode, which was about your self distribution, journeys, and adventures, he was one of the most downloaded episodes and in in the history of the show. And it was also put out in the entrepreneur podcast as well, and people loved your story and loves your documentary series about your truthful raw documentary series on indie film, hustle TV about your journey in your self distribution journeys. So can you give us an update? Because at the time you did that episode, you had just started getting numbers back from online from t VOD, and s VOD. And you seemed fairly depressed about that. I want to see how to continue with the raw truth. How how's it gone with bite me?
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 6:32
Well, so the the T VOD numbers continue to be horrendous. I think we've made about 18 $100 so far. But from iTunes, Amazon and Google Play combined into VOD antibody we've made. I think 50 $500 from seed and spark because they're awesome. alone.
Alex Ferrari 6:53
Yeah, they pay. They pay ridiculous amounts further. Don't ask questions, just take the money, take the money. Take the money.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 7:04
And so I think overall, from the whole tour, plus t bot, and everything, and merchandise. From that whole episode of our journey we made about $54,000.
Alex Ferrari 7:16
That's including that's including the the trip around the country. And and so that's, that's all the money you've made for them
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 7:23
All the money we've made so far. But in a, in a surprise twist ending. So So part of the thing that had caused us to go on the tour in the first place, was the incredibly depressing conversations we were having with distributors the fall before we did the tour. And where they were just going like we love this movie, but we have no idea what to do with it. And you could just sort of feel the despondency wafting off of them. And we're like we we can't, this is not a good way to distribute this movie. So then we did the tour. And we collected all of this data about our audience. And we had all of these incredibly high click through numbers from our Facebook ads we have we had all of these people come out in costume we had, we had made this, like, audience reaction reel that we cut together. And so then we went back to distributors and sales agents off the back of the tour and knowing that we need to do try to recoup more money in other ways. And we and we had six offers within two weeks of going back to them a year later after the tours
Alex Ferrari 8:31
Is that with MGS? or just offers to take it?
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 8:34
Umm offers to take it there weren't any MG's But out of that we got a sales agent. So out of that pool, we decided on the sales agent, Teres Linden cone from top level media, who seems to be like one of the only honest sales agents in existence. And we like really vetted her knowing what we knew by the end of the tour and like talk to old filmmakers that she distributed films with almost every single one of them said they'd bring their film back to her for their next film, and we're like, okay, so she took the film to Berlin to try to sell it internationally, which sort of melted into the Coronavirus, but seems to have a lot of offers in the pipeline. So we'll see. We'll have to have you back. Because I want to know where this goes actually in a support and an even bigger surprise twist. We've been invited to pitch the movie bite me as a TV series to a major network. Yes. So we're working on that pilot?
Alex Ferrari 9:37
That's awesome. Yeah, because I went with it. When I saw it. I was like this would make a great Netflix show or you know, a nice series. I mean, if it's limited, even if it's a limited series, because I don't think you could keep going with the same characters. It would have to be able to create an entire world around it and this kind of stuff, but it seems it seems like it could do very well for
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 10:00
Here's where people kept asking us if there was going to be a sequel. And I was like, No, like, what are you talking?
Alex Ferrari 10:05
I was like a sequel that When Harry Met Sally, like, there's like, I don't understand.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 10:10
But But I but I think what that means is that it was just characters in a world that people really wanted to spend more time in. So that seems to suggest that it would do you really well is a series
Alex Ferrari 10:19
And it is unique. It's a unique, it's a unique world. That's not a world that I've seen very much on screen before. And there's definitely a niche audience that's interested in that world. With so well, good. So it's, it's a long play, this movie is a long play. It's a lot. This is not a short Dine and dash kind of situation. As far as the cash is concerned, but it's a long play. And you you've learned a lot, what would you do differently? If you knew what you knew now? Would you have made the move that movie for that budget, knowing the world that we are in as far as no another Coronavirus, but just in general?
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 10:58
Yeah. And I am not sure about the budget, I definitely I would have, I would have still done the tour. But I would have known how to do the tour more cheaply. Like if I if I had the information I know I have now I know how to do the budget version of the tour because I know what worked and what didn't. And we were just we had to like spend money and everything if we didn't know what would work and it didn't look like everything, like everything. And so I would do that. But I wouldn't put the film on T VOD during the tour because that didn't end up amounting to that much cash. And then would have tried to find a creative distributor who was willing to sort of parlay the tour into more deals like immediately after the tour.
Alex Ferrari 11:52
Yeah. Because I feel that that also could do very well because of the genre. Could do very well in physical media. Because the audience loves physical media, DVDs, even old VHS is and things like that. T shirts, hats, all that kind of stuff. Yeah, we do very well with that. It's Yeah, I always go back and like should I What would I have done differently? So it's always nice. It's nice to do a post mortem, no pun intended. Empire jokes are an endless but yeah, it's very interesting. And you and you've been so courageous to be so forthcoming in the the warts and all experience of the film and getting it out there. I'm really curious, please keep me updated on where it goes. If it gets sold internationally, we're in. Yeah, and because I was like, I sold my my, like, little micro budget film in five, four or five territories internationally, which easily covered the budget. And then some, I was just like, it does they do now in today's world? I don't know which
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 12:58
I know. That was the twist ending was going very well. And then Coronavirus happened. So who knows what's gonna happen?
Alex Ferrari 13:06
So that brings me to my next question. What do you think? Or how do you think this industry is going to move on? You know, after this massive change, because it's, you know, the industry will grow, it will continue to go it's never it's never gonna stop. It's it's very resilient. But the way it goes will be different. There is absolutely no question that things have never be back to the way it was a month or two ago. It just, it just won't. I'm curious, just to hear your perspective on where do you think the industry is going to move in, in general? Because I mean, I just saw an article right now that AMC might not open up again. Yeah. And, and you know, all these events are shutting down and not all shutting down. They're all gone. They're all shut down. Yeah, for and nobody knows what's gonna happen. But even the the experiment now, which people been wanting Hollywood to do for a long time, which is to go direct to T VOD. Instead of going theatrical or do a combination of the two day and day with some of these bigger titles, and they are doing it and people seem to be liking I don't know what the numbers are. I don't know what kind of revenue that's being generated. But it's a really interesting time.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 14:20
I mean, for sure, I feel pretty excited about it from the perspective that you and I talk about in your audience thinks about, which is that a moment like this is ripe for some kind of new model. And like, we've been trying to force a new model anyway. But now people's behaviors have shifted. I think, also the fact that everyone's becoming used to low fi production value, because they're watching Jimmy Fallon from his living room with all the lighting and they're watching, you know, like john oliver and
Alex Ferrari 14:56
Jimmy Kimmel, everybody. Yeah.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 14:57
And so I do want If it's going to kind of allow us to strip back to the essence of what matters about storytelling, and allow us to make films more cheaply, but maybe not in a way that doesn't pay people, but just like, like, does it matter if you have this insane production value? Or is it the story that matters and the character that matters? And
Alex Ferrari 15:22
And we've been we've been, we've been kind of going that direction, in general, because the studios are not doing those smaller budget films. And when I say smaller budget, 20 million, I mean, it's like, they're, they're, you know, Disney basically does all they do except for the occasional like, Queen of whatever that that the African just yeah, which was great. But they do that, like once in a blue moon, or they do the Disney nature movies, which don't really count. They're stuck basically, they don't count in the sense of in the scope of Disney World. But they're stuck to doing studio films. And when I say studio films, they're tentpole 100 million plus, don't even look at don't even talk to me. And unless it's 100 120 5 million, and there's an IP behind it, but that's where all the studios have gone already. So everything else is kind of gone lo fi but even then, look at television, I mean, look at Game of Thrones was 12 million an episode or something, right?
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 16:18
Yeah. Like, I don't know that that's sustainable long term, either, particularly now that you know, there's Disney plus and all like the the propagation of platforms, I don't know that any one platform is gonna be able to spend that much money on shows anymore.
Alex Ferrari 16:40
That's the key to that's the thing, because when you you pay for a ticket to a movie, you're you bet you make a product you sell that you sell the access to that product. And that was the studio system for you know, over almost 100 years. And there was a revenue stream from that and then you can just from that one revenue stream, then you can go to home video, then you can break down the cable, there's different windows to generate revenue from that thing, where now that the windows would be closed in the sense that like onward, which was a Pixar Disney movie, which was great, by the way, so that's not likely yesterday or two days ago with my kids that went straight to Disney plus, like they did the the experimental t VOD theatrical for like two weeks. And they just said screw it. We're putting it on. I was I was shocked. I was honestly shocked. I did not expect that to go to Disney plus likely that was related to the Coronavirus. No. Well, of course, yeah, it was. Yeah, it was because it was being forced to go to the Coronavirus because of the Coronavirus. So it was shocking. And it did some money in the box of it. But it wasn't in the box office for a long time. So it was it was really interesting. So I'm curious to see where Wonder Woman is going to show up where Black Widow is going to show up, where james bond is going to show up? These movies that are finished in the can ready to rock. But they're like, do we release it? Right? We don't know how long are you gonna wait? I mean, that's the point like how long are you going to sit with 100 $200 million product on your shelf? Like it's weird, like, if you do release it? Like, is it a write off? Because Are you going to generate $400 million? You can't. So that the new model is instead of windowing, you basically have the one window which is your own platform. And it really is not about getting to a certain extent, look, look what happened to Netflix, they got 150 million of us here. There is some growth here in the United States, but not a lot. So that means you're basically now funneling money in just to keep the engine going not to acquire not to grow.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 18:40
And from what I understand about their business model, that's why they're a little screwed right now because I think they've always borrowed against future growth in order to pay for the content right now. And like, they're quickly approaching the point where every human on the planet who will ever have a Netflix subscription already has a Netflix subscription. So then what do they do? It's gonna crater
Alex Ferrari 19:00
it's gonna create exactly so I've been saying this for a long time to that, that this this golden age or this buying spree that everyone's spending all this obscene amounts of money on content. It's gonna it's it's, they can't it can't it's not sustainable. It's a bubble. It's a bubble within our industry, it's going to pop
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 19:18
well, and it's going to pop because it relies on foreign markets, buying our movies, which already even in China, they're starting to go like, wait a minute, why are we watching all these movies about white people? Think our own movies about ourselves and see those movies. And that's going to like the more and more that these audiences become sophisticated and watching these movies, it's going to happen all over the place.
Alex Ferrari 19:42
Right? And there's only the few studio movies that will will penetrate like, you know, like the Disney movies and the universals and all the big the big tentpole things. And if you notice all those big temple films all of a sudden have more Asian actors in it. Right? We have more of this. I mean, it's not. There's like the ones that this is not that not my movie. This is like the mag that big shark movie. It was so the end of that big it was like the it was like basically jaws every every, like 10 years they put out a new job. Yeah, but it's like a dinosaur version of jaws was like disrupting the whole movie was like, like two or three Chinese characters. It was a Chinese company that was setting up the whole thing, but Jason Statham who was in it, but it was just like so blatantly kowtowing to the Chinese market, it was just like,
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 20:27
wow, because because domestic audiences hate their stuff now. So like, they're like, and they know that and they don't care because they're making a billion dollars per movie overseas. But it's it's, as you say, it's not sustainable. But this is where I see there's such an opportunity, correct, independent film. And and the problem is that we haven't figured out the distribution revenue model and it keeps changing. And now there's Coronavirus. But But if we could solve that mechanism for revenue and distribution, we should be able to step in and fill that void that Hollywood has left for grown up movies in the United States.
Alex Ferrari 21:09
Yeah, I do. I do agree with you. 100%. I do think that I mean, we were saying earlier, Rome is burning. And some people don't even realize that like, hey, it's hot in here What's going on? While a lot of us are like, dude, do you not see that Rome is burning, and when I say Rome, it's Hollywood. So it's slowly starting to started to shake and certain things are starting to fall. And within a bit before this is all said and done, there will be a lot of casualties. Some of the studios will be acquired or or gotten acquired no one, they're never gonna go away. Right? There'll be acquired by some of their libraries will be acquired by somebody else. But in the rubble is when the great new movements come out, then great new opportunities come out. And I mean, it was in 2008 2009 when Netflix started streaming. And, you know, look what happened then you know, it there's a lot of things that are going to be changing in the coming weeks and months. I was just such an unknown. Like we literally have no idea no fucking I nobody has any idea. In our we're gonna have a summer season. Like, am I gonna go to the theater? I doubt it. Even if everyone says, Hey, we're good. coronas taking care of, here's the vaccine. Here's some treatments. It's all good. Now just go down to your local CVS and get this little shot, you'll be good to go. You're good as rain. Even with all of that, if that was all said there's still going to be kind of this hangover. Yeah, that's left over. And I'm not going to go to the theaters this this. You know, I have kids so I rarely went to the theaters anyway. Right? Because the cost and that's a whole other conversation of how the movie theater industry has basically been abusing us for the last year. It's ridiculous pricing. And now it's people are like, Oh, really well, you know, you really weren't that good to us that but we're good. Now we have these home systems. We don't need to do this.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 23:04
It's a shame. You were overcharging us and making shit content for the last 10 years. Like why why are we coming out for you when we might get Coronavirus? Exactly so
Alex Ferrari 23:15
it This might be the first summer since summer blockbusters became a thing in the 70s that we might not have a summer blockbusters Did you I just read that the only pulse left in the theatrical box office is drive ins. Maybe drivings will come back driving or the sale silver lining here is the only place that people are going to go watch movies is driving. I just saw a whole article about it like because there's the week before it was like zero and made like the whole box office made nothing. Then some drive ins opened up again. And now people are going to drive ins and people were like we I want to I want to go out I want to go but I'll be in my car with my with my dad or my family. Genius. So now drive ins are becoming a thing and that I was like again, isn't that insane? It's like like vinyl is become a thing, though. Because vinyl now is outselling CDs for the first time since the 80s. Yeah, that's true. The vinyls outsell CDs now. For the first time since the 80s. So now drive ins Can you imagine drivers are coming back? Maybe a track? Who knows it's coming back.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 24:24
We're just going backward. We're just going back. The other thing I think so we for my third feature, we're we're looking at an opportunity to turn it into a radio drama during quarantine. First, with the idea of kind of like creating a pre existing IP thing and building audience and testing the idea and all these things. I think that might become a viable model to
Alex Ferrari 24:56
be. Yeah, well, I mean, the whole the whole you know A radio drama is huge and has become a thing. I know a lot of authors who write fiction created their own podcasts to talk about their fiction. And sometimes they'll actually write for them and then sell their books on there. So it's kind of like using the film intrapreneur model, like in the sense of creating content to sell ancillary product lines or services or things like that. You have to start thinking outside the box, period. I mean, that's the only way you're gonna move forward, if you think and I said, I did a podcast about side hustles, for filmmakers and screenwriters in the Corona, the era. And I said, Look, if you guys believe that in three months, it's going to go back to where it was in January, you're out of your mind. You've got to think differently. And I'm still talking to directors and writers and people in the industry, who who are, well, this is fine. If it were good to where everything's business as usual. It's a little bit of a downturn, it's kind of like the writer's strike everything kind of shut down. Like no, guys, no, no, this this is not this is going to really change and, and I don't know if it's delusions, or they're just denying it to themselves, like they just don't like they don't want to believe it.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 26:13
I don't think they want to believe it. Because you and I outside of the system were like ready for this moment where like, we've been preparing, we have the information, like where do we sign up for building the new model? But like if you've invested Oh, no, your whole career in a system that may just have collapsed under your feet that is going to take some time to adjust to
Alex Ferrari 26:33
it that psychologically it's going to take a minute to adjust it. There's no question. I feel like I feel like we're, we're Rocky and rocky one who've been kind of like training around and someone's gonna just kind of like, hey, Apollo just said you want a shot at the title. Like it's kind of like, and Apollo happens to be the Hollywood system. And we're just like, let's do this. Let's let's get in. We have to take them down Coronavirus did it for us. He's weakened, he's shaking, his knees are shaking, we could take them out. And look guys, we joke Look, there's there's hundreds of 1000s if not millions of people who are affected by this in our small industry. And, you know, it's gonna it's gonna change things, there's so many lives that are who are reliant on the industry on the system. Like every, like every business everywhere. But regardless of that, you're going to have to, you know, whether you like it or not, you're gonna have to change like Mike Tyson said, The Great, incomparable mike tyson said, we all have, everyone's got a plan to get punched in the face. And, and we just kept on when we you and meet you. And I've been taking punches for quite some time. We're just like, this, this is just a normal this is I mean, it's harder, it's stronger, it's different. But we've been being punched all day, as far as our industries.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 27:57
I've been thinking a lot about the analogy of forest fires as a natural part of the cycle of a forest. And the fact that at a certain point in growth in a forest, the sum of the trees basically get too big, and nothing can grow underneath them. And so in the natural cycle of things, a forest fire will happen, and it will take down those bigger trees. And after that happens, it's is the only time that new trees really stand a chance of getting any sunlight and being able to grow. And I feel like we're This is that moment. And like, yes, there's destruction, and there's pain, and there's suffering, and I don't want to minimize that. But it's also this unbelievable opportunity for growth. I'm going to steal that
Alex Ferrari 28:42
110% because I when you said it, I knew exactly where you're going with it. And it's a great analogy. Because and I think that's I think that's the, in a lot of ways. There's a lot of industries like that. There's a lot of industries that are fat, and bloated and leveraged. And they just kept, you know, doing their thing and thinking that the good times when it's like it's sort of like the roaring 20s again, it's like it's a great gas. Everything's gonna be great forever. And, and now all of a sudden, the guys were the ones outside the party. We've been knocking on the window for a while and the party's been going great. It's up and now the party's down. And now they're coming out like where do we go? Oh, there's these guys that couldn't get to the party. Let's see what they can do. They've been building a boat. And we're in the succeed guys. We're Bye bye. All right, we've gone off on a tangent a little bit. But I think it was important to kind of talk I'd love to I wanted to hear your opinion about it. And, and this kind of brings us into your new book called the wrong kind of woman. So first of all, tell us a little bit about what this book is right? Because obviously it's about an evil woman who is hurting a man obviously to
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 29:52
take all the men's jobs obviously. The book is called the wrong kind of women in some Are revolution to dismantle the gods of Hollywood. So actually, our last conversation was a perfect segue into this discussion. So the book is about the fact that if you've watched primarily mainstream us movies in your lifetime, 95% of all of those films you have ever seen were directed by men, and overwhelmingly white men. 80 to 90% of all of the leading characters that you've ever seen on screen were men, and overwhelmingly white men. And 55% of the time that you've seen a woman on screen, she was naked or scantily clad. And that has been true for most of the history of cinema and is still true, which is pretty mind boggling when you consider that women are now 50% of film school graduates. So like, somewhere between women graduating films, what 50% and only 5% of them directing studio films, a lot of careers are getting bled out. So the book is, is a look at the how that's happening. How is it possible that that is still true in 2020? What are the mechanisms by which those careers are being bled out? What is the impact that that's having on the brains of the people who are watching our content that that, that our contents coming almost exclusively from this monolithic the white male perspective, and it's not that it's a bad perspective, it's just that it's one perspective out of a whole new perspective, that is currently controlling 95% of our content? And, and then the book is about solutions, like, Okay, what do we actually do about this? Because we've had 7000 panels and discussions and the studios have sent out press release, after press release, saying, look, we've solved our woman problem, and they never have and it's like, Okay, how do we actually fix this?
Alex Ferrari 31:50
Yeah, there's, um, you know, being a, I'm a Latino man, and have been all my life. I didn't, I didn't choose that. Now. I was born that and, you know, for I remember, growing up when I was in the commercial business, I was doing commercial directing. And I worked in Miami, which was, you know, obviously a very Latino area. And there's a lot of, you know, South American clients and things like that. I was told that I couldn't put Spanish commercials on my reel, because I would lose out for anything domestic. That's how ignorant it was, you know, this is before Gizmodo, Toro, Robert Rodriguez, you know, just on the Latino side, and of course, there spike and, and john Singleton all the other great directors of color. But I still I never forgot that I never forgot. It was like, Oh, it's just like, Why? Why can't I you know, I'm not less of a director because I understand Spanish, or just because they're Spanish character or Spanish speaking people on the screen does not mean that I cannot direct English speaking. Right.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 33:04
It's an insane and i would i would question whether that would be that different today, even with those that you cited?
Alex Ferrari 33:12
It is it isn't it is, is not? To a certain extent, if you are because you have to understand, especially in the commercial world, but even in Hollywood, it a little less than Hollywood, but worn in the commercial world. They want to put you in a box, you're the the tabletop guy, you're the dialogue guy, you're the comedy guy, you're the this director, that director and you heard me say guy, every time I said that, right? You've heard me say God, I never once met a female commercial director ever. In my, in my whole journey as an editor as a director, working with 1000s of clients. In the course of my career. I never once met a female commercial director, I worked with many female feature directors and television people, but never, never in the commercial world. And never in the music video world either. Not that they're not I just never ran into them. So it was and there aren't that many for sure. They're just not and it's such a boys club. It was essentially a you know, Anglo Anglo boys club, that it took a while for, you know Latinos to break through and African Americans to break through and Asians to break through like, it's, it's, it's a difficult thing. And I can only imagine for women because, you know, from my perspective, I was raised by a woman, obviously, single, single mom, single mom, and I have only daughters, and I basically have no testosterone in my life. especially nowadays. I talked to a guy in a house with three, locked in a house with three women and think I always tell him like if we get a pet. It's a boy, I need some sort of some sort of testicles. I can't take this anymore. And I can only imagine what's gonna be like it's when they're teenagers, and I don't want to think about these things. Not to think about it these days, not these days. Exactly. So, you know, I, I've always, I've always saw the problem. And I was dealing with my own problems of just trying to break through as a Latino director. But when I saw it when I saw your book, and I saw your TED Talk, by the way, this was Twitch, which was fantastic. It was shocking, but it wasn't shocking at all. Like, the numbers that you just threw out, are, are just ridiculous. They're I mean, that's the thing. It's like, it's so unreasonable. Like, it's not like it's like a 40 7030. Like, it's not like slightly, it's like, 5% it's like, it's stupid. It's stupid.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 35:39
And just, it's stupid. And and like, just to put it in perspective. White men are about 30% of the US population. Which means that the rest of us are 70%. population. And again, it's not that it's a bad perspective, it's not that it's an invalid perspective, it's 100%, valid 30% of the time, it's just that it's taking up 95% of this, of the content and the space.
Alex Ferrari 36:05
Yeah. Without without question, and I think I mean, I do have I have to say, there has been some change in the in the recent years ever since the the me to movement, I have seen change. It's not nearly enough, in all scopes of life. It's got scopes of the job market, but I have seen more like when I watch television, I always watch who directed it. And I always want to see and I have been seeing more female directors.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 36:29
Yes, but but can I get at least bad news? Sure, go ahead. Okay, so yes, and and this, this is sort of this danger point that we're in because we had me too, we had all of the articles we wrote, you know, Weinstein, all this. And, and one of the things that we are seeing that is real changes, there are more diverse characters on screen. So we are seeing more stories about characters who aren't white men, which is good. The problem is that the numbers behind the cameras are the people telling the stories are changing, almost not at all. And the reason that you feel like you're seeing more female directors is because there's been such an explosion of series content, that there is just more of it overall. So it is there are more women directing more shows, but the percentages have not changed, barely at all.
Alex Ferrari 37:25
Guys, there's just more opportunity. Basically, there's more opportunity in the scope of all the opportunity to draw.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 37:32
Like, there's more opportunity for you if you are seeking it out. Or if you tend to like that kind of content to find content, but in the in the scope of what everyone is watching, it is still the same percentage. And I feel that
Alex Ferrari 37:48
Yeah, that makes that makes perfect sense. And, look, I remember when, you know, one of my heroes growing up, Robert Rodriguez showed up and he snuck in the door like he was he's completely snuck in. He was like the first major Latino director working with major budgets doing doing what he was doing. And I always tell people, regardless if you like his movies or not, you got to respect them Africa, how he does what he did, and how he continues to do it. And then get mo and Alfonso and and what's his name? Oh, God. The other one. There's three of them. Yes, interactive. They all they all came in and they just won every Oscar ever. I
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 38:30
know. But okay, but this is super interesting. So you're right. But they are all from foreign countries. For this,
Alex Ferrari 38:37
they're not domestic. This
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 38:38
is super interesting, because in this whole, like, it was awesome. The parasite one, love the director. He's amazing. so great that it won. But a lot of the Hollywood press was like, see diversity is soft, but actually look at the last 10 Best Director Oscars, nine of them went to foreign male directors, which is really interesting, because, of course, they've they've never given that the best dressed director asked her to an African American of either gender and only ever once given it to a woman, which was Kathryn Bigelow. So so it brings up this sort of disturbing implication that the Academy is more willing to see greatness, and empathize with the stories of men who live on the other side of the world than with the women in the people of color beside them.
Alex Ferrari 39:36
Yeah, and that you're absolutely right. I've actually when I was when I was still chasing the, the Hollywood dream years ago, I was like, maybe I should make a feature in Spanish. And, and and just, you know, submit it to some festivals as a foreign film.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 39:51
You'd have to like pretend that you were from Spain or some are threatened by
Alex Ferrari 39:55
it. It's weird. It's a weird it's a weird thing, but look, this is the This is a system that is been in place since since Edison started this whole thing, you know, or the Lumiere brothers. Technically, we're actually somebody
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 40:08
almost. But did you know that during the silent film era, there were more women, directors, writers, studio heads, then at any time, so
Alex Ferrari 40:20
when did it switch? And why did the switch?
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 40:22
So it switched when talkies came around, because before that, it was considered basically an eccentric hobby. like nobody really thought there was an industry there. Sure. And the and the men were sort of away fighting World War One. And they were like, yeah, whatever, that's fine if the women are doing this, and there were actually more women, and they were getting paid better than the men were in Hollywood. And then when the talkies came around, and everyone was like, Oh, shit, this is going to be a real thing. Wall Street came in. And you can see in contemporaneous documents, they said to the guys, they were like, okay, we'll invest in this. We'll build it into an industry. But you've got to get the women out, first of all, because they don't know how to run business, obviously. And second of all, because they're making these really radical films about abortion and cross dressing and lesbian ism, and we're talking
Alex Ferrari 41:10
about like the 30s, Jesus, yes.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 41:13
radicals, they were making films that were sparking riots, they were getting, they were shutting down theaters. And so the Wall Street guys were like, we're gonna have a real problem in society, if women around the country keep watching these movies, and start getting all these ideas about what their lives should be, like. So, so. So after an era where there were actually more women than men in these key positions in the industry, by 1945, they had so completely evicted, the women that only one half of 1% of all films were directed by women between 1945 and 1979. One half of 1%, Wall Street strikes again.
Alex Ferrari 41:53
Yes. Well, then this, this makes absolute perfect sense. I didn't know that. I had no idea about that. That's, it's, it's, you know, I've been I've been talking about the sizzle on the steak that Hollywood has been selling people for the longest time, the Hollywood dream. Can you talk a little bit about the Hollywood dream that you were sold, and we were sold together? Yeah. And, and the ambitions to make it in the business. And because I mean, from my perspective, I was sold. You know, when I went to film school, every every student was going to go to Hollywood, and every student was going to be a studio director. If they wanted to go into the directing side. And you were you it was, it's just, it's just you're just wait in line, when Spielberg is not working, you could jump in. And that was, that was kind of the story they sold, because that's how you got those kids in the door. Because if you told the kids, hey, this is really tough. And I came up in the 90s, which was a lot different than it is today, as far as opportunity. And as far as competition as far as anything. If you told them the truth, they would never have a full classroom, because it's like, Who would want to jump into something insane like that? So well. So for I want, that's my perspective. As a Latino man. I would love to hear your perspective as a female filmmaker. What what was what what was the story that they sold you to even think that you could even do anything in business,
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 43:21
one thing that they definitely never said was, Hey, your percentage is gonna go down from 50% and film school to 5% of directing studio films, like there was never any discussion about the gender, the gender disparity about what we would run into, about the sexism we would be up against which I, I have been, since the book came out, really pushing it to film school professors. And Dean's saying, like, well, you are doing a good service.
Alex Ferrari 43:51
I wish I hope I wish like I would love them to have my foot my book, The rise of the film entrepreneur, but it completely shatters what they're selling.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 43:59
Well, I guess we've got to start our own film school, then. That's another conversation. Another conversation, but but the point being like, so so I interviewed over 100 women and mostly women, but some men also for this book, and, and ask them about their experiences to like, what did you expect leaving film school or acting school or whatever? And then what happened? And yeah, like I watched the Oscars every year from the time I was six years old in my pajamas. And there was like, I bought the myth, hook, line and sinker. And I never occurred to me that it wasn't a meritocracy, right, which was idiotic and naive, but, but I certainly never occurred to me that unless you were a white man, you basically had no transport like a ridiculously small chance.
Alex Ferrari 44:52
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now, back to the show.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 45:03
And so what I, what I noticed in interviewing all these women for the book is that basically everybody goes through the same cycle, they, they go to film school, like raring to go, confident in their voice as a storyteller, film school slowly starts eroding that, right, because all of the films that are taught are, here is what great cinema is. And it's all buy in about white dudes. And so it's like, slowly, this messaging begins that your perspective doesn't matter that films that resonate with you aren't great. And then, and then you get out into the industry, you face all of this sexism, all of this racism. And you, you think, but you don't compute that, that's what it is, because nobody ever told you that that would happen. So then you go through this 10 year period of blaming yourself, trying to make yourself into something that they will pick, shaving pieces off of yourself. And then eventually, maybe getting to the point of understanding what you're up against, actually, and then maybe, maybe maybe, beginning to think about finding ways around it. But But if you could just, you could just, like, have them read my book, or a book or something and be like, Hey, here's the deal. This is so unfair, but this is what's true. Here's what you're gonna face, here are the things people are going to say to you. And here are some tools to think about how to get around it, you would save them decades of despair. right up front.
Alex Ferrari 46:28
This is what this is basically, my my mission in life. With what I do, yeah, it's what I try.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 46:37
But it's but but but it's interesting how those two conversations tie together. Like this isn't unrelated from what we were talking about in the first half of the episode, because it's all the same myth, right? Like, it's also the myth that you have to wait for the system to choose you. Well, if you're waiting for the system to choose you, and you are not a white man, you are going to be waiting a very, very, very long time, and probably never have a career. So the the necessity of building new systems and finding ways around and being a film intrapreneur for people who are not white men is even more important.
Alex Ferrari 47:14
Without without question, I was mentoring. A friend of mine has a daughter here in in LA and she just got out of film school. And you know, she was a fan of mine and everything's like, do you mind talking to her? I'm like, do you really want me to talk to her? You just want me to talk to her? And she's like, No, no, no, give her the real truth. I'm like, Okay. And I sat her down. And she was the bright eyed and bushy tail. This is right before she got into before she hit the streets, if you will, yeah. She's, she's been in the business now about six, seven months. So you could do the shine is off that. She's She's already been beaten, like she was out on location working in production in our department. And then the director ran off with the money. And they're all left out there with no money to pay the bills, and they like have to drive home. And she's like he took turns out other job like this is she's already she's already going through the wringer a bit. And I told her when I sat down with her, and I told her, I'm gonna be really, really frank and honest with you. And I don't want you to take this the wrong way. But I would rather you hear this from me, then go through pain. Whether you like it or not, unfortunately, you are going to have to be about 100 to 200% better at your job to match up with a man at the same job who's 300% less than you? That's the starting point. And it's unfortunate. But yeah, it's the reality of, and I've seen it on my sets, which I try to always do. And I'm like, why is this dude here? She's much better, or that other dudes much better? Like, why are you here. So on my sets, I always try to make it as you know, I try to employ as best I can, whoever, whoever I can, but, and she was just like her eyes open up. I'm like, I want you to understand. And I go and by the way, that's not this industry. That's basically the world, unfortunately. And I look at this because I have two daughters. And I'm going to have that same conversation with them when they're of age and going to go, guys, this is what it is. But yeah, doesn't mean that there's other ways of going around it, but
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 49:26
right, well, that's what I want to say is that so? So what I had, I'd been an activist in the women and film space for a while before writing this book. So I kind of thought, you know, I I knew I knew what there was to say but but I did these 100 interviews, I pulled 1000s of pages of data and research and scholarly papers and sort of laid that all and like really looked at the whole situation. And there were a number of things that really knocked even meet my knees all over again researching this book, and one of them is that I was looking at this Oscar data right so only five women have ever been nominated for Best Director Oscar in 92 years of the Oscars, and only three of them have been in the last 25 years. So,
Alex Ferrari 50:10
I mean, I laugh, but it's not funny, but it's just like, it's ridiculous. It's absurd. Oh,
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 50:15
it's Sophia Cappella, Kathryn Bigelow and Greta gerwig. And so then I was thinking, Okay, well, like how did they do it? Right? Were they was it just that they were 1,000% better than everybody else? Like, like, what is the thing that they have in common? How did they actually manage to do that? Well, they're all white, straight sis. able bodied women for one thing, but then I was looking at I was like, okay, but what's the real connector is that every single one of them is either the daughter or the romantic partner of a man who had already been nominated for an Oscar by the time they were nominated for an Oscar.
Alex Ferrari 50:52
Yeah, yeah, I just when you said that I connected the dots. I know. Each person is like, yeah,
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 50:59
Francis Ford Coppola. Healthcare is a living icon. That's good. James Cameron,
Alex Ferrari 51:03
another living icon, Cameron,
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 51:05
Kathryn Bigelow and Greta gerwig know about back. Now, these are all very incredibly talented women also, right? I'm not taking over, of course,
Alex Ferrari 51:12
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 51:13
But what that means is that, in the last 25 years, if you have been incredibly talented and ambitious, and white straight says able bodied have all of the privilege, but you are not also directly related to a man who has already been nominated for an Oscar, it is not more difficult for you to reach that peak in your career, it has been literally impossible. And so that is the thing that I want women to understand is that if you play by their rules, you will lose.
Alex Ferrari 51:45
Of course, you're stacked against you,
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 51:46
of course, because they're big against you. Like it's not, because I think there's a feeling sometimes like well, but if I just keep my head down, and I don't say anything, and I don't complain, like yes, it's only 5%. But I could be one of the 5%. So a lot of what I want people to understand is there is no woman who has or person of color who has ever had the career they would have if they were a white man, there's nobody. And so then the only option, the only reasonable option is to invent something else.
Alex Ferrari 52:13
So what you're trying to say is just pay the minimum do on your credit card, and everything will be fine, right? You don't have to pay off, just pay the minimum payment. And it'll all work out. equivalence, for advice for like, exactly, just charge it up to the top, or pay your minimum. That's what they say. And if you play by that rule those rules, you'll be okay. You'll be fine. It's the equivalent of it. I actually, I knew a couple of crew members from Point Break. And I was talking to him about like, what was it like, you know, we're working with Katherine and this and that, and, and they were telling me, frankly, like she had the roughest time ever On Point Break. Because James wasn't there every day. James was off doing what James does. But James produced that. And if he wouldn't have produced it, she wouldn't have gotten the opportunity. That's it regarding kathryn bigelow is probably one of the best action directors of all time, or there's no question. And there's that she should be directing a lot more than she has even now.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 53:14
Right? Even now, nobody's had the career sheet that man would have, like if kathryn bigelow had testicles, like, what is the career she would be? She'd
Alex Ferrari 53:24
be Michael Bay, she'd be Michael Bay, Ridley Scott, there's no question about it. Because she's, you mean, look at Point Break, and you look at that just just Point Break, and then you look a strange days and stranger days and other action movies that she did in her career. She's She's remarried, she's better than most men that I've seen. They're much better than most of the big Hollywood directing men that I've seen. But she was having a really, really, really rough time. There was no respect, and this was like, 90, so they shot that in like 89. So you could only imagine a female director on an action movie on a studio production. If it wasn't James. I mean, honestly, without James Cameron signing on, she just wouldn't have done it. Right. And then also james cameron did the next movie with her. So James Cameron basically opened the door. She was done. He was Donnie Brasco. He was like right she's a good fella. They said what it was and then it's Coppola did the same thing for Sophia. Again not taking anything away from their talents but it didn't hurt to get it got them in the door.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 54:26
And it was impossible without that is my point like you can be as talented as kathryn bigelow and if James Cameron as a white man doesn't say like hey, she's she's okay. Oh backer, backer, then you still won't have that career
Alex Ferrari 54:42
without question and I didn't know all three of them. I'd never thought of it. That was bananas, all three of them. And in the scope of thing. No, Batman is a fantastic filmmaker, but he doesn't have the push or pull in town that James Cameron Did you know at all but you And then it's still something and it's, it's fascinating. It's fast. And that's why I like someone like Robert Rodriguez, he snuck in the door. And the person who let him in was his agent who happened to be the most powerful directing agent in Hollywood and brought this 23 year old and he's the one that said, Guys, guys, you gotta check this out. Hey, guys. And then I think he also brought in Singleton. A though and then that started that whole ball rolling. There's always someone if you're going to play this game, you need someone to get you out the door and open that door for you. It's you have to do something so astronomical, so revolutionary, to get the notice of the system outside of this kind of, you know, Donnie Brasco world,
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 55:47
but then also win the lottery, like you also win the lottery. Why would you like don't play that game?
Alex Ferrari 55:55
So that's what I've been, I've been preaching for the longest time because I chased that I chased that dragon for 20 years, trying to make my first feature, I'm like, Oh, I'm gonna do this. I played all the games I shot I shot my feature, I shot my short, I had a business proposal had the ppm I did an animated short up, you know, the pre order, sort of, like I created this entire IP. And I went out to town I met a bunch of people had actresses, attacks, actors. And my and of course, for whatever reason, most I think every single one of my films has had a female lead in it. I don't know why. But every single movie I've made, including my two features, have a female lead and it wasn't it was unconscious. I always just said, well, that's just more interesting. Because you spend your life surrounded by women is probably if we're gonna go deep into this Mr. Floyd on this, right? No, but but it's so I mean, I've I created this whole EPA, and I remember I still remember going into these meetings with these guys. And they looked at this this action short that I directed and this Japanese animated prequel, I had a comic book, I had all this stuff that I created for it. And they looked at me like Yeah, can we make the lead a guy cuz just can't make a female actions? Did the females can't, you know, Helm an action movie? And this was 2011 1213. Yeah,
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 57:13
no, no, in 2011 and 12. When I was trying to make my first film, which was about two women, heaven forfend. Everybody, with no explosions
Alex Ferrari 57:23
with every meeting, we went with no explosions,
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 57:25
no exposure. Right. So it's not just the female action problems, or sort of the woman, the woman problem in general, that every single meeting we went into, they'd say, Well, you can't make a phone back to women who would watch that. Like, I don't know, the 51% of the population that is women. And men, maybe, unlike some men, presumably,
Alex Ferrari 57:49
I actually. So my last film I made was called on the corner of ego and desire, which was a film about filmmakers trying to sell their movie at the Sundance Film Festival. While the festival is going on. I completely gorilla the entire movie. And I know we've all seen the great movies about making movies, you know, the player and living in oblivion and all this stuff. But I had never seen a female director in the lead writer, and I've never seen it. So I decided to make my director who happens to be her name is Sophia. Sonia Hara. I know her so Sonia. Sonia is a great she was she was amazing. In the park. Yeah, she's a psychotic in the movie like you want to. You want to wring her neck sometimes with the things she said it's a character. And I'm like, Oh, my God, you're a genius. But that movie wouldn't be the same if I would have put, which originally was going to be a male. But when I saw Sonia, I'm like, Oh, no, you're you're you're the director. I have to have you as director because it's so much more interesting. And I was like, I'd never seen it. I just thought about like, I'd never seen a female director portrayed on cinema, period. I think in the I don't know if in the history of cinema Has there ever been a female director, there might be I've never seen it, and definitely not out of the Hollywood system. Even in the olden days, there was never because that was just not a thing. So when women might start getting ideas that they could be dangerous, that's a very dangerous thing you don't want. You don't want the women in the ethnics. Getting ideas above their station. And again, I want to be very clear, and I think you've been clear about this as well. There's nothing wrong with being a white male. And there's nothing wrong with white male films. There's nothing wrong with a male perspective. There's nothing wrong with a female perspective and nothing wrong with a Latino or Asian perspective. I mean, crazy, crazy rich Asians. That's a fairly Asian perspective. And it was a huge, huge monsters hit. It's fine. It's just trying to balance it all out a bit more to kind of represent society.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 59:50
Right. That's my point. Like it's, it's so unreasonable. Now it's so like the fact that 30% is taking up 95% of Have the jobs and the content creation, just like at a very basic level makes no sense.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:05
And I lost my train of thoughts on second. So do you find that the system in general, is built to be kind of predatory? In the sense he didn't even, even slow down? Definitely. I mean, I've women, to women and to, to women specifically, but to newcomers in general, like it's about, it's about eating them up and spitting them out and just absorb, like, kind of like almost leeching off of whatever talent or skill to have. And for you to kind of break through that and actually make a name for yourself in the business is, is a miracle. For a woman. It's just like, basically the Second Coming.
I mean, as I can, I can literally count on one, one or two hands, how many Latino directors of name recognition there are in our industry? With one hand, I could do Asian with one or two hands, I could do African American with women? Definitely one. You know, that's that seems to be a problem is, I mean, I'm just saying that seems to be a problem. And again, I'm nothing against the the, you know, white males, but we don't live in an account in a country or specifically in the US. That is 70% white male, you know, and like,
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:01:30
well, and like your life is would you wait, man, your lives would be better? Also? With no
Alex Ferrari 1:01:39
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:01:40
I guarantee like, a the content would be more interesting. So that would be better. And be like part of what makes our industry so toxic is this is that it's all of the people are the same too. And they've whipped up this sort of like penis war toxic masculinity tornado that lies at the core of our industry. And like, it doesn't have to be this awful people.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:05
I'm sorry, stories. Can we can we just back that up for a second? Did you just say penis tornado that,
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:02:12
I think I said penis word toxic masculinity tornado.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:17
But let's go back to the penis tornado. I think that is and I think that's a sequel to shark NATO. I'm thinking it could be peanuts, NATO. And this should be directed by a woman. I'm just saying, Let's throw that out there right now. anyone listening? Take it, it's free, no IP, free it make millions to go make millions with it, let us know, give us a special thanks. Though, the other thing I was gonna say. And again, I'm going to go back to my daughter's with this is this is the system. This is the realities of the system. And what I was saying before, when I, when I was chasing my own dream of being, you know, doing my own feature and stuff like that I'm playing by the system by the rules of the system, they have to do this, this, this and this, and I did everything right, and still couldn't break through. I just said to myself, I'm tired of playing by their rules, I'm going to create my own rules, and I'm going to do my own thing. And the second I made that switch in my mind, my entire world changed. And I became much more free as not only an artist, but as a businessman and, and being able to provide for my family and being able to express myself as an artist and to cast whoever the hell I wanted to cast. And, you know, I keep my budgets really low to do what I want to do to have more freedom to do that. But I would tell my girls growing up, I would say, if you don't like the rules of the gate of the sandbox you're trying to play in, then go play in another sandbox or better yet, go build your own sandbox, and play your own game. And I promise you, the kids at the other sandbox will eventually start knocking on the door. And if they don't, it doesn't matter. Because you're having a better sandbox, you're you're going to be doing your thing. And that's exactly what's happened with me in my career where I started to build my own sandbox and now people from that other sandbox have been knocking and Okay, how can we do this? Hey, can we can do that. And that's I think that's the goal. I think that's the only way to do it. Because you know, maybe you and I are both a little bit a little too much shrapnel in us from the business you know and and we just know the realities of the business. I'm curious to see what's going to happen again at the end of this whole thing with the with this and see what because if if things were tough when things were good, meaning like if things were tougher, people of color and women when money was plentiful, when all that tightens down. Oh yeah. I don't see a lot of opportunity in the system. For those stories. They're gonna they're gonna just go straight down to what they know. Yeah, we're gonna do another john Claude Van Damme meets Steven Seagal meets Mike Tyson. And that's going to be sold in that Yeah,
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:04:56
right and they're gonna go Yeah, and all those these conversations we've been having since meet And ask her So why didn't like Yeah, but like now, now we need to get down to the real business and like, we don't have space for those conversations anymore. And like, we just need to get back to the white dudes. But But again, like I said at the beginning, this is our moment like, they're weak, right? They've been hit. They they are, they're the Hydra, they're absolutely going to double down on their old thing, but their old thing doesn't work anymore anyway. And like, well, this is the this is the opportunity for something else
Alex Ferrari 1:05:35
I want I want to there's a moment in our history in the film industry that this happened. This has happened a few times, but very not like this, but where there's a weakness in the system. It happened in the 70s when they the Hollywood system had no idea what to do, didn't had no idea how to make useful films. They saw a movie called Easy Rider show up and just blow them out of the water while they're making. Finland's dancing, whatever made it you know, thing that Coppola did, he directed this thing and did like 97 it was like, and no one went to go see it or, or Heaven's Gate are these kind of movies. And and they were like, what do we do? Well, let's, let's let these kids in. And because of that moment, that window of opportunity we've got, you know, again, some of the great Cinema of them in the 70s is amazing cinema. So Spielberg, Scorsese, melius, you know, Coppola, all those kind of guys. They got opportunities that would have never, ever gotten in the system, like Spielberg would have never been able to walk in to the 40s. In the 50s. It just, he wouldn't have been given that opportunity would have been very difficult for him. And I know these are all still white males. But we're talking about that time in history. Yeah, but that but that opened up an opportunity for that. And then it happened again, in the 90s. The Sundance generation, the Tarantino's the Robert Rodriguez is the Spike Lee's that Don Singleton's original link letters of the world. And that group was that small window, right? To get those opportunities. Then there was another window with commercial directors, when the features in the bays and the anti fluke was came in, as well. But you can notice every single time I've said any of these movements, there's no women. No women being spoken about that would be radical. I mean, we're talking about these people of color. So there's some there's some movement, progressively more of those words. Yeah, we get we're getting there. But, but this is going to be that for a for God knows what else, you know, I mean, I always, always tell him, like, you know, imagine Fast and Furious. It was, if it was, you know, the Dirty Dozen, it'd be pretty boring. Meaning that like, it was just like, dude, yeah, you know, that's one of the things that make that film. So well, that whole franchise, so well received, it's that there's such a multicultural. Yeah. And, and, and everything is in there. Moving out? I don't know. It's a very, it's a very tough topic to talk about. And I really am glad that you came on. First of all, I'm so glad you wrote this book. And I want to ask you, what do you what is your hope for this book? What is your hope that this book does for people?
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:08:17
Well, so it's, again, it's only been out about a month and a half. And already, I feel like a lot of the things that I'm most wanting to accomplish with it, I've heard are happening. So one, one thing is I'm getting a lot of emails from women, some of them, you know, from high school, all the way up to have been in the industry for three decades writing and saying, like, Oh, I didn't understand what we were dealing with before. And now I do. And I'm never gonna approach my career the same way again. So that's, so that's exciting, right? So it's like, it's like breaking them out of the matrix. I've gotten a lot of emails from from white men who have said, Hey, I didn't, I didn't understand. Like, I kind of got it. But I didn't really know. And like, now you gave me tools to actually be part of the solution. And I'm now like, I'm going to change my behavior going forward. But I have actually gotten a huge response from film schools, we'll see if they if they program it. But so far, there's been a really excited response about the idea of using it as a tool and film schools, and one of the major streaming networks that I can't name, read the book and bought a copy for every member of their content staff to help them understand how they were contributing to this problem. So that's
Alex Ferrari 1:09:41
That's very so look, it's it's books have a very amazing power. There, you know, I've been, I've written a couple books and books will go to places you will not even know about, and yeah, it will affect people in ways that you will never know. never see it. I mean, just the same way as I read, I read a couple books a week, and I try to absorb. And they, I mean, they've changed my life, they've changed my perspective that changed the way I think about things. And when you write a book, and you have that effect on other people, yes, it's, it's pretty amazing. It's it's pretty amazing experience. I got a, I had a school call me up and like we'd like to buy in bulk. I'm like bulk. Okay. Let me set that right up for you. Now, how many of you want and you know, it's like, I guess we're selling in bulk now. So, you know, there were, there were people that were excited about my latest book. And, and I've seen the reviews and the people come back to you, like you said, they come back to you with these things. Like you've changed the way I think about making movies and moving forward. And it's, it's very gratifying. It's very gratifying,
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:10:50
So gratifying. And it's, it's so exciting. And I think, like what I would say, to people who are like, well, maybe I'll read this book, maybe I won't. Like, you don't understand. Like, even if you've read articles, and you know, the numbers, and you've listened to this interview, and like, you kind of have a vague understanding, this is a problem. The thing that you can do in a book that you can't really do in any other format is pulling together 100 interviews, pulling together 1000s of pages of data, overlaying the human stories with the numbers and the percentages. And everybody who's read the book has said, like, I didn't really know until I sat down and read this cover to cover and like, saw the scope of it, and like actually understood, so and I think once you do, you can't ever move forward or watch film The same way ever again.
Alex Ferrari 1:11:43
Oh, no, I mean, without question, without question, you look at you like the perspective of what, and I grew up in the, the the 80s, essentially 80s and 90s, you know, coming up, and all I saw was what you said, you know, movies made by basically white males. That's why when she's got to have it showed up, everyone was like, what, what? What is this, you know, or even better? Hollywood shuffle. You remember? How do you remember Hollywood shuffle?
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:12:13
No, I think I'm, I missed that slightly.
Alex Ferrari 1:12:17
So Robert, so just to I want Robert on the set. Robert Townsend. You know, remember Robert Townsend, the actor. Okay, so Robert Townsend. So Robert Townsend was so upset about all the parts he was going out for in Hollywood, that he was just like, you know, he was the gang member. He was the this, you know, he was the drug dealer. He was the drug addict. He was like, you know, the butler. He was like those, he was so redeemed. So he's like, you know what, I'm gonna make a movie about that. And he made Hollywood shuffle, which was, it was made in 1987. It was the it was the first time To my knowledge, filmmakers, at least at a grand scale film, a filmmaker, put everything on his credit cards. So he spent he spent like 30 $40,000 $50,000 on his credit cards, and made this movie on film back in the day, you know, he made the whole thing, and then went on to gross like 10 $15 million. And it was all about how, like, how there was a white acting coach telling a black actor How to Talk black. It's hilarious. like, Nah, man, you see, you got to do it. Like the more bait like and he's like, and you see that and the black actress speaking very well. It's really okay. I'm from Juilliard. And it was just so brilliantly the satire was fantastic. And how he did it. So when these kind of films showed up, people were just like, oh, mariachi showed up, and Desperado, showed up on Robert Rodriguez aside, it's, it was amazing. And I was remembering, well, even Sofia Coppola with Virgin Suicides like that was just like, how it's just so it's jarring. It's like you don't know until you know it's you see it, you don't
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:13:59
realize you're in the matrix until you I had a 60 year old 60 year old African American woman come up to me after a talk. And she said to she said, when I watched Queen sugar, she said that is the first time in my whole life that I ever saw my family and myself on screen. And she said in that moment, I suddenly realized that that is what white men experience every time they watch a movie. She was 60 years old.
Alex Ferrari 1:14:30
Wow. Yeah. And that's shameful. It is without without question. And you know, whether you love them or not Tyler Perry, what he's been able to do, you know, with his with his work. He's he saw like, no one saw themselves up there. And I'd argue to say that Latinos are still struggling with that. There's not a lot of there's not a lot of, you know, there is more. There is more we a we had JLo JLo and Shakira on the Superbowl. What more do we want? I mean, seriously, I
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:14:57
know staff complaint. I mean, come on. It's I had an older white gentleman on Twitter the other day, said he, I had made reference to the fact that women are half of the population. And so he first corrected me and said women are actually 51% of the population. And also, it's getting very exhausting listening to women complain all the time. Not as exhausting as it is to have to complain all the time.
Alex Ferrari 1:15:28
So I'm going to ask you one last question. What would advice would you give a female filmmaker wanting to break into this business today? Before you step out of the door, I say the same thing to you.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:15:49
And also read Alex's book, too. It is your civic, moral and ethical responsibility to make sure that you find a way to tell your stories and get them out to audiences who desperately need to see them and want to see them. And if the system works for you, great, but never, ever allow them to determine your worth. Because you have to understand that the system is fundamentally not set up to recognize your worth or your voice. So if it does not work for you, and they do not give you value, you have to make your own and you have to find ways around and tip it please, please find a way to tell your stories, because we need them.
Alex Ferrari 1:16:31
I can't set it better myself. That is a great way to end the show. Can you tell everybody where they can find your book?
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:16:39
Absolutely the wrong kind of women inside our revolution to dismantle the gods of Hollywood is available in hardcover, audio book and ebook wherever books are sold.
Alex Ferrari 1:16:49
Um, it's such a great title. That's such a just in your face title. I love it. I love it.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:16:55
I have this Oscar on the cover. You that's a real benefit of buying the hardcover is that you get to have this book on your shelf with a decapitated Oscar.
Alex Ferrari 1:17:07
Naomi and and then where can people watch bite me on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play at the moment at the moment and hopefully other places coming soon. Yeah. Naomi, thank you so much for taking time out of your quarantine to to speak.
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:17:28
Thank you for having me back.
Alex Ferrari 1:17:30
Yes, and thank you for doing the the work you're doing and hopefully this episode will shine some light on it and open some minds and help help some filmmakers regardless of of race or gender to be able to tell stories that they want to tell within the system or preferably without outside the system. I just more fun being outside the party. I just
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:17:53
Very bad party.
Alex Ferrari 1:17:55
Naomi Mcdougall Jones 1:17:56
Alex Ferrari 1:17:58
I want to thank Naomi not for just coming on the show. But to having the bravery to write a book like this. I absolutely recommend all of you to pick up the book on Audible if you want. If you want to pick it up for free, head over to freefilmbook.com and sign up for a free trial account of audible and you can download that book for free. Or you can go to the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/399. And I have links to everything we talked about in this episode. And guys, if you haven't already checked it out, I have launched the indie film hustle Podcast Network, which is going to be the place to get all of your filmmaking, screenwriting, and film analysis podcasts. We have 11 podcasts in there already, including obviously all of my podcast but we also have indie film Academy Dave bullas podcast, film trooper and scrip summit, screenwriting podcast and we are working on getting more podcasts in there. So if you want to check it out, head over to eye f h podcast network.com Thank you for listening guys. I am so excited for next week and what I have in store for you guys in Episode Number 400. Thanks again so much guys. As always, keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. Stay safe, 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.