IFH 159: How to Build a Film Brand w/ Zombie with a Shotgun’s Hilton Ruiz

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How to Build a Film Brand w/ Zombie with a Shotgun’s Hilton Ruiz

I always talk about building a fan base and making art or products that can be sold to that audience. Well, today’s guest is doing just that with his viral sensation Zombie with a Shotgun. Creator Hilton Ariel Ruiz created this film property and is really knocking it out of the park.

He has comic books, posters, a web series and soon to be produced feature film. I ask Hilton on the show because I kept seeing him pop up on my social media feeds. The man knows what he’s doing. With close to a quarter-million Twitter followers the man knows how to build an audience.

ZOMBIE WITH A SHOTGUN is the feature adaptation of the popular web series of the same name. Aaron and Rachel are on the run due to the fact that Aaron is infected by what seems to be a zombie virus. As the story unfolds, they find that there is more to this infection than it seems. For some reason, he has not developed the full zombie virus. He seems to be trapped in a transitional phase which grants him certain abilities. One of them is the ability to communicate with other zombies. This makes Aaron a valuable pawn as he’s being pursued by shadowy figures with ulterior motives. Now he must stay alive (or undead) long enough to figure out the source of his infection!

Enjoy my conversation with Hilton Ariel Ruiz.

Alex Ferrari 2:50
Now today's guest is Hilton Arielle Ruiz, He is the creator of zombie with a shotgun. And the reason I wanted to bring it in on the show is I kept seeing the zombie with the shotgun concept and keep popping up everywhere on my social media feed. And I was like, wow, this guy really understands how to build a brand from the ground up. He is an independent filmmaker who created this concept and has now take the bull by the horns and is running with it. And I wanted to kind of pick his brain on seeing how he's doing it, what his plans are with the property and what we can learn from him in regards to how to market our films, how to go after an audience, how to feed that audience, how to create ancillary products like merchandising, t shirts, hats, posters, things like that comic books, all sorts of stuff. So without any further ado, enjoy my conversation with Hilton Ruiz. I'd like to welcome to the show Hilton Ruiz, man How you doing brother?

Hilton Ruiz 4:38
Hey, what's up, man? What's up, Alex, thanks for having me on the show.

Alex Ferrari 4:41
Thank you, man. Thank you. You're the first you're the first guest on the show. That is recording from a parking lot of Popeye's

Hilton Ruiz 4:50
Yes, I am actually in the parking lot of Popeyes. I was actually heading into the city and I'm like, Am I gonna make Get up I'm gonna make it I know he was gonna call me and then I remembered I had to do something and I'm like damn not gonna make this announcement Popeye's parking lot

Alex Ferrari 5:06
Yeah so you're the first one so get get some biscuits when you're done with you

Hilton Ruiz 5:11
Absolutely with jelly

Alex Ferrari 5:13
Yeah dude good times good times so um so hold on man tell me how zombie with a shotgun came to life man

Hilton Ruiz 5:21
Does that mean shotgun came to life about five years ago

Alex Ferrari 5:24
Yeah I was gonna say you've been with this for a while

Hilton Ruiz 5:26
I've been this for a while and it hasn't really interesting story but wide kept on coming back to me and you know when I first did it you know it was basically to do like a web series you know as all filmmakers we are we do a project and see that project can grow we try to take a project for possibly investors to see you know they can look into the short film and could see the possibilities of just being a feature and being something that got something to invest in so what happened is I designed with a shotgun web series did the first episode and when I did the very first episode I can say that was like the very first time that I I would say myself I experienced something that went viral and I started getting a lot of like you know a lot of followers and what was amazing was getting a lot of emails people want to do interviews What is this is this a feature What is it started going crazy so I was like wow and you know that's what you really want when you do a project but I just never had expected that it would be for a zombie with a shotgun and so I wouldn't

Alex Ferrari 6:25
Why wouldn't you think that I mean when you when I heard this concept I'm like this is perfect like it this is

Hilton Ruiz 6:32
Uh you know you know I think maybe the reason why I didn't expect it is because you know there's so many other products I was working on and you know as a project that you feel like oh this is gonna be the one is has such a great thing going on great concept this is you know put so much heart and soul into it and designer with a shotgun was more kind of like this is gonna be fun and you know this is gonna be so cool I'm gonna do this this is a fun damn project and everything you know and and i think that expectation of just being you know being this fun project that just want to do something that you know is cool well just you know not not not so much concept have so much story into it and make everybody experimental complicated right right i think that's what it was and yeah at the long run you'd like yeah you're right why wouldn't it be you know very get popular and also I have a lot of other friends that did you know everyone was into horror probably did a zombie project and many of my other filmmaker colleagues never experience you know, something that I experienced with zombie with a shotgun and I think that's another thing also but I was able to experience it well i'll tell you

Alex Ferrari 7:37
I'll tell you what I mean the reason why I wanted you on the show is because I you know, I saw I saw the viral aspect of a zombie with a shot and I just kept seeing the poster or the images fly up through my Twitter or Facebook and I was like man that's a genius concept like it's just a it's just it's a high concept is super high concept It doesn't get any simpler than what's the movie about the zombie with a shotgun okay yeah I get it like you get it right from the title it's extremely high concept and it's specifically very generic very very targeted to its demographic like you know if you like zombies and you'd like shotguns you're gonna love this movie so and then you sell finance the the original web series

Hilton Ruiz 8:22
Yes I sell finance the you know they're very small you know like for between four or five minutes to this web the web the episodes and you know we plan to actually do a lot more episodes but we will only able to do five the lead actor and you know in the actress did not live in New York the lead actor deliver in New York but then he moves California was getting a lot more you know jobs out there and sure moved out there and zangwill shotgun also helped him you know, getting other things also so I understood that you know, instead so it was really hard to get him back and forth but when everyone had the chance to come to Europe and shot an episode so in total we did five

Alex Ferrari 9:04
And did you What did you do for marketing? Did you actually push this out there? How did you get the viral kind of action?

Hilton Ruiz 9:11
No, you know, I am, my first plan was you know, I did not mark it at all. What I just did is just put it up on Vimeo. I just put it a first episode of Vimeo and I think I did a YouTube at first and then yeah, that's it and then it just like I said, it just caught on so quick. And what helped a lot is that a lot of people wanted to do interviews, a lot of people wanted to talk about it a lot, you know, so that was starting to you know, stack up a lot of course, you know, and with that fan base and the other fan base, so started getting, you know, the promotion where it was coming from a lot of other outlets that were interested in Zama with a shotgun.

Alex Ferrari 9:56
Now so basically once you and I've seen this happen, and It's happened to me as well when you do a project and all of a sudden there's a lot of attention on it. You kind of you know, sometimes you are ready for it, but most of the times you're not. So when you finally got all this attention, you're like, Well, wait a minute, I've got something here. What was the next step that you took? You're like, Okay, well, it's this is not just a little thing anymore. Now I can actually turn this into something. What was your next step?

Hilton Ruiz 10:22
Yeah, that's definitely what you said was definitely everything said was true. You know, I was it grew and I said to myself, Oh, man, I haven't responsibility now because again, going back to what I said, that's what everybody wants. Everybody wants to get that project where it gets popular, and people want to see more of it. And here it is, it was right here in my lap. And you know, uh, you know, at first point, and at first I didn't really pay attention to it because I thought it was like a fad. I thought it was just gonna go away, you know, and I started doing other projects. But dude, it just people just was so into it, and kept on and getting emails and emails and my Twitter feed and everything was messages and everything. So I said like you said, I have to do something. And that's when I met this gentleman by name is Simona gooby. meanie is out in Italy. He's a famous comic book artists. He, you know, contacted me and we started talking he loved the whole idea and you know, we talked about possibly creating comic book and at first Yeah, whatever. So and we we just kept on talking weekly. And he was like, dude, let's let's collaborate, you know, you write the story to script and everything. I want to read it and see what we can do. Like, you know, I'll draw a comic book for you. So I was like, You know what, this might be the next step. This should be the next step. You know, you know, it's you know how it is I have to tell you, Alex is it's hard to go out there to find people for money just to give you money doesn't do

Alex Ferrari 11:52
That. It's called a unicorn. That's a unicorn, sir, if you see one, it's a miracle.

Hilton Ruiz 11:59
Yes. So it's like, you know what, this is the best thing to do. So, so Simona you know, what he did, which is really smart and go back to the marketing thing. him and I decided that okay, while he's drawing the comic books, every week, he will take one of his sketches from one of the pages that he draws from a comic book and we will promote that that week and talk about this is what's happening blah blah blah, with the poster with the web series and everything through social media, through social media through social media, and this is why it got such more a the popularity grew because then then you had the comic book world come in, then you had you know, of course, the film, short film, you know, everything zombie world, the horror world, and now the whole comic book thing. And then when they found out that the artist was a popular artist, already drawn for, like, you know, Image Comics and everything, they were like, wow, this guy came on board to do this comic book. And that's every week we have more images. So every week that went by, I had so much material to work on, on social media, like by now I have to do it. I don't know, I have like, maybe 100 and something images that I had so many that I could work on, on a daily basis and everything but you know, I usually, you know, I put, you know, the best ones that I like, I feel on everything. So that was that that was the next step. And then, you know, obviously, the feature was Next,

Alex Ferrari 13:20
The mountain that we all, all of us want to climb, no matter who you are in the film business. If you're the biggest television guy in the world, biggest web biggest whatever. Everybody's like all the put the feature.

Hilton Ruiz 13:35
Yes, yes, yes, yes, absolutely.

Alex Ferrari 13:39
And so so what was so at this point, you've already released five episodes, right? You've got a you've got a comic book? What kind of following do you have on like Twitter and Facebook and stuff?

Hilton Ruiz 13:52
As in what is it like you followers in

Alex Ferrari 13:54
General, like, was it starting to grow? to a point which was like, Wow, I can't I can't even believe that this many people aren't interested in this.

Hilton Ruiz 14:01
Yes. I mean, it definitely, it just kept on growing to the point that, you know, you know, you started when you start hearing from everybody else, that's when you know, you got something going on, you know, you suddenly was like, dude, you're your, your, your think is just keeps on growing and growing and growing. And then, you know, it's just the messages. And then, you know, I started getting like, you know, five messages to 10 messages a day to 20 messages a day. And, you know, I was like, man, I, this this is, this is something and you know, you know, when you get to that point, you start to a lot of other things come into your head like, oh, man, what do I do?

Alex Ferrari 14:38
You know, it's kind of like, it's kind of like the dog that is constantly chasing the car and then one day he catches it. He's like, What do I do? What do I do with this? I've been chasing this goddamn car for four years now. I finally caught it. What do I do with it? Literally, it's that's as filmmakers we're just we're kind of trained not to expect stuff like that to happen. Exactly so when it does we like what do I What do I do now? So yeah and actually it's again one of the reasons I brought you on is because I have been down this path with other my projects and and it was very interesting to see how you how you shifted how you pivoted and started growing with it and figuring things out as you went through your through your journey with the shotgun and then then you also created Can you talk a little bit about about the the crowdfunding campaigns

Hilton Ruiz 15:32
Okay, so again you know, it's funny because it will be five years in August that I released the first episode and it's funny it doesn't feel that long. It doesn't feel on but it's just time just flies.

Alex Ferrari 15:44
Oh brother to tell me about it. I don't know how old you are but I just woke up I'm like I'm 49

Hilton Ruiz 15:54
Time flies. I'm like, dude, it doesn't it didn't even feel like that. So what happened was again, you know, from another you know, you know, this obviously, you know, you have the comic book, you know, in production, you have the five episodes you got this great fan base and you got distinctness keep growing, you say okay, you know, I think that I think now I could go to people I can ask you for money, you know, and you you know, you do what you have to do you reach out to as many people as many producers especially that's on the field and you talk to all you know, the people that you know, are in the industry and you try to figure out okay, who's going to bite? Nobody? Nobody did you know, it was just yeah, it was basically I loved the concept but I don't want to be the first penguins jumping to somebody else that's gonna jump with you gonna jump out jump in with them. And you know, you get old and also how many bs artists you get. You get so many VSOs Yeah, yeah have this for you. And then you wait for like four or five months that guy disappears. I mean, I mean, all in the

Alex Ferrari 16:59
Oh my god, the money's dropping. Money's dropping any day. Now. Any day The money is gonna drop. It's an escrow. It's an escrow the money's in escrow it's coming any day now it's gonna come it's a rich guy from England he doesn't mean it's this is nothing to him Don't you love that one? Oh, what is it How much do you need 5 million that's nothing

Hilton Ruiz 17:19
Oh yeah he's right off

Alex Ferrari 17:20
That's all right. That's Don't worry about people right now listen to the podcast I'd like but but that's what they said to me. I know right? I hate to tell you guys whoever's listening if they just said that it's probably not gonna happen so

Hilton Ruiz 17:35
It's pretty amazing man. Like filmmakers that went through this don't know the whole story so you know I was never a fan of crowdfunding but as independent filmmakers we aren't you just gonna have to do it. Yeah, you have to do it man. And I'm like dude, I don't want to do it. I don't want to do it. I just don't want to put myself out there and beg sell

Alex Ferrari 17:54
And you're begging you're begging for money like hey guys yeah go ahead. Go ahead. No no good.

Hilton Ruiz 18:01
So what happened is I said to myself at eventually you know, I'm like dude, I have to do this crowdfunding thing. I went on the crowdfunding last year forget one month and when it was April May started crowdfunding and and you know, it's a priceless experience and all independent filmmakers should go through it is such a priceless experience. I don't even know about Alex but I went in it I first went in with the Kickstarter and I went to the Kickstarter didn't reach the goal I knew at a month that I would not reach the goal and I had to close it down which was unfortunately it was a hurdle so like it's brutal dad yes brutal brutal dude you know I was almost halfway you know, I first I think it was like 50 Grand i was gonna raise and I was like up to 20 something and I was like,

Alex Ferrari 18:46
This is what this is why I don't like Kickstarter because of that bullshit.

Hilton Ruiz 18:51
I know that I learned the hard way. I learned the hard way. And you know, whatever it is what it is it happened I went to Indiegogo. And you know, sometimes I feel like damn Indiegogo Kickstarter was the same thing as Indiegogo I would raise more money because I lost a lot of like investors sure already in for Kickstarter. So again, you know a lot of people that are listening to you know a lot of people I always tell him just because you don't want you to go doesn't mean you can't make your film because I did I made the film even though I didn't even have reached a goal. I said look, dude, I've been so many years doing film I mean, I do I can do it. You know what I mean? It's so I didn't reach to go but I got some you know, you know, I got some monies from other places there and there. So we had a pretty good budget. We started in I think, like I said, April, May and then I had to open it up and then June and July was the goal. The Indiegogo, and believe it or not, and I'm such a crazy guy. I mean, this is crazy stuff. I don't suggest anybody to do what I did. As soon as I finished the Indiegogo, which was like in first week of July, and One month I started production

Alex Ferrari 20:06
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor and now back to the show I'm sorry I'm sorry What do you say? Say that again?

Hilton Ruiz 20:22
I listen I'm a crazy this is crazy it's coming from a crazy guy very ambitious but don't do what I did was

Alex Ferrari 20:29
It a month that month one month after you close you just like hell with it we're shooting

Hilton Ruiz 20:33
Yes and I tell you what because no matter what month he would have been I would still done the same thing she's gonna give I'm gonna rationalize I'm gonna you know just just just

Alex Ferrari 20:44
Filmmakers are good filmmakers are gonna rationalization yes

Hilton Ruiz 20:47
I'm gonna say the reason why was because a September you know it was July August and September everyone goes back to school

Alex Ferrari 20:57
Absolutely yeah.

Hilton Ruiz 21:00
Yeah. And then and then you know and then after that is October and October you know, I just didn't you know, I just didn't I was like because either it was either August or October September Hell no. November you got everyone going to you know, thanksgiving all the way to June January 15. That's it it's done. Yeah. So I said August we have to do it in August so you know, we did in August and the day I started was a heatwave it was the three hottest days of the summer it was it was it was

Alex Ferrari 21:35
Worse it is why wouldn't it be

Hilton Ruiz 21:37
Yeah, it just has to be like that and then we you know we we you know we shot the film we did as much as we possibly can for the budget that we had and you know, we did go back and we shot some scenes you know, some extra scenes throughout you know, in the next couple months from there and

Alex Ferrari 21:54
Now this is the feet now this is the future right?

Hilton Ruiz 21:56
Yes correct. Okay. And you know, right now we are still in post we we we feel we should have something in the next month like a I would say possibly lock cut and from there we go to you know the other fun stuff which is Huh, we shoot another scene to make this make sense.

Alex Ferrari 22:17
So let me ask you so let me ask you a question because I know this is something that a lot of filmmakers go through for me being in post and being my own editor when I did my feature film I was I was done cutting it in three weeks and then I was finished with it within another month I had everything done audio color the whole ball of wax What's taking so long and why is it taking so long just so other filmmakers don't understand and also feel your pain money there

Hilton Ruiz 22:47
Yep it's money i mean you know you just so much that I can do you know what I mean I'm gonna need somebody to come in like a visual effects artists I'm going to need a title you know a sound mix need a freakin composer colors colors colors and you know you just so many things you know, ADR you know coming back with sound fix sound go back to it's so much elements there that like you're right a lot of people don't understand that and then after that you know, you know the other thing people don't understand is okay I finished a film I got everything done okay you release it next week now because you want to go distribution you got to wait to win their slot of releasing films out and that could be six eight months.

Alex Ferrari 23:31
So let me ask you a question though. Are you going to self distribute this or are you going to try to get a distribution deal out of this?

Hilton Ruiz 23:38
That is the that is a big question. I I'm gonna be honest with you Alex. I don't know until I think I will have that answer once I look at that final cut and I can say to myself you know do I have still more in the tank to self distribute?

Alex Ferrari 23:58
That's the that's the thing with self distribution man cuz you gotta it's it's it's it's it's the thing about it is I'm about to self distribute my feature this summer and but let me put if you don't mind I'm gonna I'm gonna do Do you want some unsolicited advice?

Hilton Ruiz 24:17
Yeah Do I mean I have I have my theory that what I'm thinking to do I can say it out also what I'm thinking so what are you gonna do? What are you gonna do? I'm thinking okay, this is this is my you know for for independent filmmakers out there. You know, I'm thinking I'm going to go international I'm going to go Canada and Europe. Just somebody to get Canada Europe you could take you know, whoever wants it could take that and domestic I'm probably going to I'm, I think I'm going to take a stab at self distributed and doing it myself here. In in, in domestic domestically. I know they have cuivre I know they have distributor and all that stuff. I look into all that stuff. So that's that's my that's what I'm thinking. I talk to as many people as you know, and a lot of people, even professionals out that I spoke to, or whatever you call professional but people that have been really experienced telling me that for for my for my project they think that's something that I should do so I mean Tell me what do you would give me some of your advice My

Alex Ferrari 25:18
Advice is well first of all, I would throw my name I would throw distributor in there without question. They're the guys if you're going to go self distribution, they're better than quiver and many aspects of things. And I'm biased because I work with them all the time. And they're distributing my movie but there's they're really good people, good people. But what I would say is from my experience of delivering God knows how many feature films over the course of my career, a project like this, because you have a fan base already here in the States and overseas. And you have and the basically the cost of the project is fairly low for you. In other words, you don't have $200,000 you don't have a mortgaged house on this correct

Hilton Ruiz 26:01
No.

Alex Ferrari 26:01
All right. You laugh but I know these guys I know. I had a friend of mine, a buddy of mine is like Yeah, I just finished my feature Like what? How much it costs? I cost 250 I'm like okay, but it has no stars in it. It's nice it looks great, but it's no stars in it and and it's kind of like a not a genre piece was kind of like a drama action or a drama thriller. And I'm like where'd you get the money? He's like yeah, mortgaged my house I'm like, are you and eat god's green earth would you do that and I've done multiple rants on my podcast about that. That don't don't do that it's it's it's not sexy anymore. It's look Kevin Kevin Smith did it that's fine, but don't do it anymore. It's just not so with this kind of project I would say because you don't have any any bankable stars in it. The thing that sells your movie is the concept zombie with shot yep so zombie with a shotgun can pretty much sell anywhere in the world It doesn't matter who's in it because of purely of the concept alone the poster art the concept it sells itself for you I don't foresee you getting any upfront money from distributors for a film like this I just don't see i i agree. Yeah, in today's world in today's marketplace, very difficult and if you get anything but you could find people to help you distribute overseas or or distribute internationally in one way shape or form. But I think your plan of staying in distributing it yourself in in the domestic is absolutely the way to go. There's no question because you have an audience already. Yes, yeah. Do you have an audience so if you able to market to that audience and push it you can get it up on iTunes? Get it up on on Amazon possibly sell it out to Hulu for svod or for a Netflix or Amazon Prime? And then but you could do tvod First there's multiple different distribution strategies for but I think that's the way to go man there's no question about it

Hilton Ruiz 28:07
Yeah, I say Dude, I have gotten like I said I've spoken to so many people they've like the guy that really know their stuff Yeah, that's exactly what you're saying. And that's that's basically the plan that I was telling you that's going domestic with like I said distributor and international give somebody I don't expect again I you're absolutely right there's no star actors so there's no money really going to come up you know I already you know, you know those deals you know, you just know that they're going to help me a lot of people have I high expectations when they do a feature they think I think Am I already know that there's nothing going to be upfront money so I already feel you know, what's really going to happen so that's basically the plan that I want to do and i think that i think it could do well you know, in that that's sort of strategy and where it can take me to the next level.

Alex Ferrari 28:55
Now what have you obviously are you selling the comic book now? I can't hear you say are you selling the comic book now?

Hilton Ruiz 29:03
Yeah, the comic book is releasing next month okay. And the second issue should be promoting advertising in the next couple weeks. So we're we're we're we've gotten to the point where right where the movies about to like you know, get locked in everything that comic books is coming out so it's, it's going to be a pretty really exciting year to see how much further that designware shotgun is gonna go. It's definitely you know, it's been going you know, I wish I could just take it off.

Alex Ferrari 29:44
Absolutely not the one of the again the other reasons I wanted to get you on the shows because your your film and your property has the ability and the potential to turn into a turbo kid to turn into a Kung Fury kind of property. You've With those two movies

Hilton Ruiz 30:02
Yeah absolutely yes

Alex Ferrari 30:03
So those guys made I mean bank like serious bank off I mean Kung Fury alone was all I mean just off of merchandising alone they've made hundreds of 1000s of dollars and I know the guys who put together turbo kid they've been on the show already and they're doing and they're still selling t shirts and things like that so personally I think you have the potential to create multiple revenue streams where the movie is the least of your of your income

Hilton Ruiz 30:33
I agree. Yeah, no no I agree and you don't you know and Alex is you know you know this as well it's just dude is that is that gas in the tank and taking it to the next level and I you know, one man show

Alex Ferrari 30:48
You're talking to another one man show brother I I know I look I feel you The thing is for something like this You got to start bringing in strategic partners. You've got to start bringing in people that can help you get your thing like you did with the comic book you found someone to partner with

Hilton Ruiz 31:05
That's what I'm trying to do right now. I mean I'm trying to get people to come in like I got with the comic book you know I got you know, a lot of people was telling me that here's another example people tell me that shelf distributed the freaking comic I'm like hell no. And I spoke to very experiencing very experienced comic artists and and they've told me dude do not do that you know, so I brought people to come in as a publishing company coming in there they're going to be handling all that stuff I just can't do everything well man show so with the merchandising It is something that's that working on right now you know setting up a new web page getting like you said shirts posters and stuff like that so that's the next thing that I'm working on trying to get somebody on the right person to come on to you know have the whole logistics down the layout of the website merchandise and everything so that's some that is the next step that we're working on.

Alex Ferrari 31:58
I mean, I mean you have the potential man to turn this into an industry at least a small business you know that you can actually start generating serious revenue with because just again on the concept alone of the IP of zombie with a shotgun people who don't even care about the movie will buy a T shirt or with zombie with a shotgun I

Hilton Ruiz 32:18
Totally agree with you i do listen and you know, you know I'm gonna say it out now on the show. I already have people offer me for the IP

Alex Ferrari 32:25
Oh, I'm sure I'm sure that the IP is is an insane IP. It's a great IP and you should and when I say by the way anyone who doesn't know what an IP is is intellectual property. That's what Hollywood runs on. It's all intellectual properties you know Disney Star Wars Star Wars pretty decent IP in the Indiana Jones pretty decent IP Yeah, you know, so Marvel pretty decent IP. So but that's how Hollywood run so you have in the, in this genre of very, very powerful IP that you should be able to milk and get multiple revenue streams from without question so you ask yourself if you have the gas in the tank, my advice to you is dude, if you don't have gas in the tank, go to the gas station and fill the fuck up. Because this because this won't happen again. This might not happen again. So you've got to take advantage

Hilton Ruiz 33:25
And again you know, I'm gonna tell you I'm gonna tell you a really quick story I had like I said have been approached with a lot of people I had actually attorney contact me if somebody was interested in the IP and you know, you have to have those discussions because you don't know later on maybe I'll get back to them or whatever. So one of the discussions that attorney was telling me was like, you know, just you know, you could take this out of your hands and start another one I'm like, dude, it doesn't work like that. It doesn't happen like that. I said it's just he won't happen again like that. It's just you know, you just don't come the next day say okay, I got this other idea and it's gonna grow just the same way as the first idea

Alex Ferrari 34:09
And lightning the bottle it's lightning a bottle it's very good.

Hilton Ruiz 34:12
Not gonna happen again. I mean, you know, you know I'm never say never but I'm not gonna take that chance.

Alex Ferrari 34:19
No, I mean, look, look, look George Lucas got one idea and he really wrote that hard, you know, he built an empire off that one idea and grew in and then and then he also had Indiana Jones and that was another lightning the bottle so he got it twice. But But the point is that Yeah, you should definitely take advantage of this man and, and I'm sorry that the interview was turned a little bit more into a counseling session. I'm sorry.

Hilton Ruiz 34:47
No, but you know, all the things, all the things that you said, you know, dude, I've gotten probably like the 1000 person is telling me Okay, you know, and I've, I've, like I said, I've, I've been doing everything that you know, That that I've been doing the right thing all along you know in the, to me the very one of the most important things for me for design with a shotgun before I went into venturing to the merchandising aspect is the comic book I think the comic book world is a freaking monster

Alex Ferrari 35:23
I'll do it if you go to Comic Cons with this Are you kidding me? Yes

Hilton Ruiz 35:27
So that to me because a lot of people what you see what he was telling about the merchandising people was telling me to do that and I would tell me was Yes, but I needed the comic book to be established I needed I needed to get the artwork I needed to get the team of you know of this going and I felt once that comic book you know gets you know we get the publisher we get the ball rolling we start selling the comics and you know look I tell you what, next month the first one a couple of weeks we're going to announce the second issue and then then like a couple maybe it was six weeks we had the third issue and then so on and so on. So that is working we were continuing like now the comic book is is a thing and it's going to be going and I feel something's going to be taking it's going to keep on going more than the film wise or whatever so that to me is really important we got it going and then we're going to the next step zombie shopping

Alex Ferrari 36:18
I mean again for the audience listening I mean again what I wanted Hilton on the show is because I I wanted to show you a model of something that's like you know kg fury turbo kit those guys have already done their thing but yeah, we actually caught you basically towards the middle beginning of this of this journey in the beginning of really this of really pushing this out to a much larger audience and starting creating to create multiple revenue streams and to think as an entrepreneur as opposed to just a filmmaker

Hilton Ruiz 36:50
Absolutely and you know to the audience also you know i mean like to like turbo kid and all those other projects you know dude I went in with no money you know those are the projects you know they raised their monies to get with it again you know, just to let the audience know that you know you can do it you could go out there and come with some idea and a couple 100 bucks here and there and get your idea going takes off

Alex Ferrari 37:13
If you have a strong enough idea Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So I have a few questions I asked all my all my guests so prepare yourself these are the Oprah questions What What advice would you give a filmmaker just starting out

Hilton Ruiz 37:33
Oh wow. Basically you know the 10,000 hour rule definitely applies to this I mean if you definitely if somebody ever heard that before and that definitely works applies for this being a filmmaker or anything but I you know, a lot of times I tell a lot of filmmakers you know just as long as you believe in that one project that you want to do is stay passionate about it you'll get a team that will believe in it because you have to believe in that project and you know, make sure it is the project that you know that you feel it's going to work or whatever but at the end of day you know the artwork but as long as you feel passionate about the project and you feel strong about it you create this aura around it because then when you start getting the team assembled they see you believe in it and they start to believe in it and that's very important in the project to get that backing of you know because it is a team it's a team effort as a team project it's never one guy doing it so once you get so many people like for example is done with a shotgun it's very hard to do and because they believe in it they see it and say oh man now the filmmaker who created this believes in so much heat that must mean something there so that's what I tell a lot of big filmmakers that go out there just make sure you believe in the stuff that you do.

Alex Ferrari 38:57
Okay, fantastic advice. And what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn in the film business or in life

Hilton Ruiz 39:10
Team again, I go back to that I go back to that you know, you start to realize that you know, it's a team effort it's not you know, you're not the only guy doing it you have to have everybody around you do it, you know, they have to everyone that goes 100% you know, on the project, and without the team you know, without help, you can't do it. You need help

Alex Ferrari 39:31
Known as as Bon Jovi says, No man is an island.

Hilton Ruiz 39:36
Need help to do to do projects and do film and that's the most important make sure you trust that help make sure you trust that person. Somebody is going to be with you for a long time or whoever whoever comes on maybe different project gets up, but it definitely needs to make sure it's a team effort,

Alex Ferrari 39:51
Isn't it? Is it me elden? Or is it or do you wish sometimes you could just have a piece of canvas and a paintbrush and that's the way you would do your art and now have to spend obscene amounts of money and grab a bunch of people and try to get your art out there that way.

Hilton Ruiz 40:07
Absolutely. Yeah, that'd be awesome but yeah, so true.

Alex Ferrari 40:12
Oh God, I sometimes I wish I'm like that I wish I could just draw or I could just paint or I could just play a guitar. You know, I could just, I could just do that as opposed to man I gotta. My art is expensive.

Hilton Ruiz 40:26
Yeah, rich man. Sport

Alex Ferrari 40:28
Its the rich man sport, man. Absolutely. And last question. What are the three of your favorite films of all time?

Hilton Ruiz 40:35
Favorite films all time. Oh my god, it's really hard. I mean, of course Blade Runner. Mmm hmm. Number two, that comes right top of my head deadzone

Alex Ferrari 40:53
Yeah, I love that. That was a great film.

Hilton Ruiz 40:56
Oh man. Oh, Wall-E.

Alex Ferrari 41:03
Well he's awesome man. That's it's a silent movie but it's fantastic yeah how he was able

Hilton Ruiz 41:10
To do that man is between Lion King and Wall-E i don't know i mean there's another that's what comes to my head right now. Now is tomorrow maybe a different

Alex Ferrari 41:19
No no, I of course of course every day is a different is a different list. But yeah. But it's very interesting that Wally's on your top three in your in your film is zombie with a shotgun

Hilton Ruiz 41:31
Again I'll go back to saying a would never expect design shock and it's gonna be this you know just keeps on going Dude, I mean, I get off the phone with you I'm gonna have like all these messages on my phone. It's just unbelievable.

Alex Ferrari 41:45
Dude, I wish you nothing but the best with your with your project and your film. And we're going to well I'll do the best I can to get the word out on it as well through the podcast and through what we're doing here but thank you for dropping some good knowledge bombs and sharing your experiences on your journey. Because you're in it with us the same you're you're at the ground level like the rest of us just trying to do well together. Yeah, so I appreciate you taking the time out at the Popeye's parking lot. Where can people and where can people find you man?

Hilton Ruiz 42:16
People could find me on Twitter zombie with Shaka and, of course 15 characters so it could be zombie w A Shaka and also have zombie with a shotgun comm that right now goes frustrating to Tumblr. The best thing I tell a lot of people is if you're really interested, as I'm going to shock and Google it. That first episode should come out watch the first episode and see if you like, you know, if you like it, you'll get hooked. And you know, you could just search around with a shotgun, you'll be able to see everything on it. But if people want to ask me questions, I'm always on on Twitter. And somebody could shoot me a tweet, or they could follow me I usually follow everybody back ask me a question. And I'm always there to respond. And earnings help questions or advice. I'm always there. I'm always asking people. And that's where you could find me.

Alex Ferrari 43:06
Awesome, man. Awesome. And I'll put I'll put the first episode in the show notes of this episode. So everybody listening can go check it out, man. Hilda Mandel. Thank you so much for for being on the show, brother. I appreciate it.

Hilton Ruiz 43:19
No, thank you, Alex.

Alex Ferrari 43:21
Man, Hilton is truly a definition of indie film, hustle, man, what he's doing with zombie with a shotgun is pretty impressive and pretty inspiring. So I hope that lights a fire under all your butts to go out there and just do it, man. There's no reason for you not to do this anymore. For God's sakes, how much more do I have to say? Just stop? You know, just stop. Don't stop listening to me. But for God's sakes, go out and do go make your movie. Go make your series. Go write your screenplay. There's no there's no excuse anymore, guys. So please, I hope Hilton was a little bit of an inspiration to you. If you want links to anything me and Helton talked about in this episode, head over to our show notes at indie film hustle.com forward slash 159. There you also have find links to all of our sponsors, and all of his contact information as well. So guys, I'm going to continue to try to do at least two episodes a week, one new one a week, and one throwback Friday a week impossibly do more. But I am in the weeds on this show I'm doing for legendary, the space program where we're doing over 100 visual effects shots per episode. And we're doing we're popping them out almost weekly. It's in sane, I'm going crazy. It's actually four o'clock in the morning right now. And it's honestly the only time I have to record this but I do it for you guys, man, because I love you guys and I want to make sure I keep giving you guys the inspiration, the knowledge to keep that hustle going. So on that note, keep that hustle going keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon.

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